The whole of Bat Year Seventeen runs from April 2005 to March 2006. This first part of Bat Year Seventeen covers a four month timespan. Surprisingly, Year Seventeen is one of the least compressed years on our chronology.
April 2005 to July 2005
–Harley Quinn #6
April 1. Harley Quinn and her gang infiltrate Bruce Wayne’s April Fool’s Ball at Wayne Manor. As Harley begins to rob the mansion, the Riddler and his crew have the same idea and they enter Bruce’s home with the intention of burglarizing the place as well. Meanwhile, Bruce sneaks away from his own party (and also from Sasha Bordeaux who has yet to question him about the found Batarangs in his briefcase) to take care of some special business (see ‘tec #575, which overlaps with this tale). While Batman has his own adventure in ‘tec #575, Harley’s crew then begins to brawl with Riddler’s crew. Oracle knows what’s going on, but can’t make contact with any member of the Bat-family. Desperate, she puts out an alert to the JLA reserves with details about the Wayne Manor situation. Big Barda responds (!), thrashes the two villainous gangs, and ruins most of Wayne Manor in the process.
–Detective Comics #757
April 1. Batman leaves his April Fool’s Ball to chase down some cop-killing Triads and then saves a family from their car which is trapped underwater.
–Robin Vol. 2 #92-94
April 2. Robin and his Spring Break buddy (who learns his secret identity) escape from the Kobra Cult. King Snake also makes an appearance, showing up at the Himalayan Lazarus Pit to battle Kobra. Batman is pissed when he finds out that Robin took on the Kobra Cult by himself, but Robin is still pissed that he told Spoiler his secret identity. While unable to reconcile with Bruce, Tim is able to make-up with Stephanie. Tim returns to school and Stephanie continues her intense training with Batman. When Stephanie goes home she finds her dad (Cluemaster) hanging out with Query, Echo, and the Riddler! Cluemaster has an ankle-bracelet on and is now legally living at home due to prison over-crowding. He invited his friends over just to chill. (Friends? I’m pretty sure last time they were in a comic book together, Riddler and his henchwomen tried to kill Cluemaster by strapping a bomb to his chest, but oh well). Stephanie deals with this unusual situation, while Tim deals with an alcoholic teenager friend at school. Tim’s life is like one big after-school special all the time.
–NOTE: A bunch of wrongly-imprisoned aliens from the planet Competalia turn their gulag into a giant spaceship. The refugee Competalians crash land their flying city, called Haven, into Earth, specifically California. President Luthor immediately welcomes the aliens, and even makes Haven an official United States city, mainly so he can raid their alien tech (as seen in JLA/Haven: Arrival).
–Batman #588-590 (“CLOSE BEFORE STRIKING”)
Our story starts out with Dick (wearing the Batman costume) pretend brawling with Bruce (in his Matches Malone disguise) at a seedy Gotham bar in order to lure information about a new major crime player from onlookers. Bruce (as Matches) is taken to the boss, who turns out to be an old player; the Ventriloquist (with Scarface). Bruce (as Matches) is able to get the details on Scarface’s next heist. Later that night, Bruce (as Batman) is able to bust up Scarface’s action. Scarface thinks Matches is a snitch and wants him six feet under. The next day, the real Matches (who Batman thought had died seventeen years ago) resurfaces in Gotham to prove he ain’t no snitch, but winds up with a fatal bullet in his gut courtesy of Scarface. Why would Matches, who has been in hiding for so long, decide now that he has to defend his name and honor? Brian K. Vaughan’s body of work is either really strong or really nonsensical. Unfortunately, the latter wins out with this particular tale. But I digress and move on. Batman eventually avenges Matches’ death by burning Scarface into a pile of ashes. Meanwhile, Dick and Barbara share a moment of sexual tension. Oh my! NOTES: The real Matches estimates that he hasn’t seen Batman in a decade. He hasn’t seen him in almost 17 years. Also, Nightwing talks about Sherlock Holmes and refers to him as a fictional character. In the DCU, Sherlock Holmes is not a fictional character. In fact, Dick even met Holmes a few years back, shortly before the famous detective’s death.
When an ex-Children of Maya terrorist shows up in Gotham, Batman revisits an 8-year-old case and finds information which leads him in search of fugitive Jennifer Blake. Batman travels to London, where he meets with his long-time British informant, Bert. After Bert is killed by the Children of Maya, Batman stays in London for at least two-and-a-half weeks before finding clues which lead him to India. As Batman closes in on Blake, he passes out due to a combination of a viral infection and injuries suffered at the hands of the terrorist cell. Blake unmasks Batman and then, surprisingly, nurses him back to health! Blake is a bit schizophrenic, but claims that her past misdeeds are behind her, as she has joined a convent and has a group of villagers which she loves and cares for. The Children of Maya then swoop in and try to wipe out the entire village. Batman successfully wards them off and saves the town, but Blake dies in a fire. NOTE: There is a flashback to “8 years ago” in this story in which Batman is depicted wearing the wrong costume. He should be wearing his yellow-oval costume in the flashback.
A group of ex-special forces soldiers secretly analyzes Batgirl’s fighting abilities on behalf of the US government. The summary: Batgirl has the unbelievable abilities of a metahuman, but she is only a regular human. Batgirl can also take bullets and feel no pain. Conclusion: Batgirl is awesome.
–Green Lantern Vol. 3 #134-136 (“WHILE ROME BURNED”)
The JLA defeats Kyle Rayner’s evil arch-enemy, the yellow power ring wielding Nero.
–Second Feature from Batman: Gotham Knights #16 (B&W)
Scarecrow sprays Batman with a new Fear Gas which makes Batman afraid of bats and anything bat-related. Bruce deals with this horrible ailment for a full week before bribing Poison Ivy to concoct for him a similar Fear Gas which causes its victim to fear books. Bruce, disguised as a homeless wino claiming to know Batman’s secret identity, is granted an audience with Scarecrow (who loves reading books). At their meeting, Bruce doses Scarecrow with the Fear Gas. In a stalemate, both parties are forced to give each other the respective antidotes. Bruce, still in disguise as a homeless drunk, enters a bar and regales its patrons with a tale of what happened to him a week ago (this tale), claiming to have witnessed the encounter between Scarecrow and Batman. Why does Bruce want to continue this homeless bum charade in public even though it serves no purpose whatsoever? Because acting like an old drunk weirdo beardo is fun!
–Batman: Gotham Knights #16-19
May. Bruce is visited in a nightmare by the spirit manifestation of the Hindu karmic loop known as Samsara. Bruce first dealt with a Samsara occurrence less than a year ago. In the dream, Samsara guides Bruce to Matatoa, a Soul-Eater which has taken possession of a tattooed motorcycle-riding warrior. Bruce first encountered a Soul-Eater way back in Bat-Year Two when he was in a coma after a car accident. Basically, Soul-Eaters must consume innocent souls in order to survive. Matatoa specifically must consume the soul of an “undefeated warrior,” namely Batman. After Batman easily beats Matatoa in battle, the Soul-Eater offers up a deal. If Batman gives up his life, Gotham will forever be protected from crime and evil. Batman immediately sends Matatoa to Arkham, but Matatoa escapes in bloody fashion. Meanwhile, Dick visits with Batman and reveals that he and Barbara are officially a couple! Batman (with Nightwing) defeats Matatoa yet again, but more importantly, Bruce legally makes Dick his son. Therefore, Dick officially becomes heir to just about everything Bruce owns! (The legal documentation is actually shown on a splash page in issue #17 and is dated “May 16, 2001.” The May date is actually correct, but it should be earlier in the month, and of course, this is 2005). In issue #18 Batman is bored after a slow crime night and calls up Aquaman. Feeling a bit lonely, Bruce tricks Aquaman into hanging out with him by asking him to assist in the retrieval of his giant penny, which has been lodged at the bottom of a ravine ever since the earthquake. In issue #19 a petty criminal listens to one too many Batman tall tales at the bar and gets spooked on his next heist. He then spends the entire night running from an imaginary Batman until he eventually runs into the real thing. This issue ends with Bruce in his Matches Malone guise listening to criminals talk about Batman. Issue #19 also contains a B&W second feature in which Batman busts up a drug cartel, but in the process, a call girl gets shot in the chest. In a panic, Batman sends out a JLA emergency alert to Superman, who rushes to the scene and uses his heat vision to surgically save the woman’s life in time to get her into stable hospital care. Superman chastises Batman and reminds him that this is the second time his carelessness would have caused an innocent death if not for the intervention of the Man of Steel. Call me stupid, but when was the first time? Seriously, somebody tell me, because I have no idea as to what Supes is referring to. NOTE: The B&W addendum to issue #18 is a non-canon Elseworlds tale about Gotham’s fattest woman and some sentient grease that terrorizes the city.
Batgirl has not only been video taped without her mask by the police, but has even had her blood sampled and taken by the police as well. Not to mention, common thugs have been successfully landing punches on Batgirl in the field. Batman grows concerned and puts Cassandra through some re-training. Everything seems fine, so Batman sends Batgirl on a mission to infiltrate police headquarters and retrieve her video files and blood sample. Expertly, Batgirl completes her mission with success. Meanwhile, Barbara argues with Bruce over his treatment of Cassandra, saying that Bruce must acknowledge that Cassandra is more than just a crime-fighting tool; she is a growing 17-year-old girl that needs nurturing and happiness in her life as well.
–The Spectre Vol. 4 #2-4 (“REDEEMING THE DEMON”)
Shortly after becoming the Spectre, Hal Jordan was able to cast out and imprison God’s Wrath, the virulent, inhuman, and blindly vengeful half of the Spectre. (God’s Wrath is actually a sentient anthropomorphic entity unto itself, formerly the fallen angel Aztar). Normally, without the presence of God’s Wrath, Hal wouldn’t be able to act as the Spectre. But somehow Hal still manages to wield God’s power without his annoying dark-side interfering. And without Wrath/Aztar haunting him, Hal has been able to be a kinder and more fair agent of the heavens. However, the Wrath not only is able to escape from its prison and re-bond with Hal, but is able to take over the Spectre completely. Meanwhile, Superman meets with Batman and tells him that he thinks Hal make be alive again! They talk about the most recent JLA encounter with the Spectre, which was a while ago (before the quake) and decide to investigate based upon info from that old case. Bats, Supes, and Zauriel track the weakened Spectre to a floating citadel in the Pacific, home to the immortal supervillain known as Mistos. When they arrive the Wrath takes over Zauriel’s body. The Spectre battles a Wrath-controlled Zauriel while Batman and Superman deal with Mistos. This story is unnecessarily complicated, so I’m not going to go into any more details. Just know that in the end; Hal’s ever re-emerging personality is at the forefront of the Spectre, Superman still loves him like a teddy bear, and Batman still hates his murderin’ guts.
–Batman #591-592 (“SHOT THROUGH THE HEART”)
May. When old mob-boss Lew Moxon comes back into town, everyone wants a piece, including Deadshot, who wants the bounty on Moxon’s head. (PS We haven’t seen Moxon in ten years)! When Bruce and Sasha meet Moxon at a black tie event, Bruce is confronted by two surprises. One, Moxon’s daughter is Mallory Moxon, a young boyhood friend of Bruce’s from before his parents were murdered. And two, Moxon’s bodyguard is Philo Zeiss! When Deadshot sets off some fake explosions to test Zeiss’s security detail, Batman swings into action, but Deadshot is able to make a clean getaway. After Bruce has dinner with the Moxons, Batman encounters Zeiss, who tells him that he orchestrated Jeremy Samuels’ death (almost six-and-a-half months ago in Batman #583) as revenge against the Waynes for an incident which had occurred between Thomas Wayne and Moxon over thirty-five years ago. Enraged, Batman tussles with Zeiss and before he knows it has played right into Deadshot’s hands. By essentially using Batman to neutralize Zeiss, Deadshot has a clean opening and shoots Moxon in the chest, paralyzing him for life. Mallory blames Batman for the tragedy which befalls her dad and swears bloody revenge against the Dark Knight. Strong Brubaker stuff here. REMINDER: Sasha knows Bruce is Batman. She’s known for a month-and-a-half now (ever since ‘tec #756). However, she still doesn’t know how to handle the situation and has yet to confront Bruce about it. In the meantime, Sasha has been acting out her role as bodyguard as normally as possible, but at the same time has been secretly tracking all of Bruce’s nighttime Batman activities.
–Catwoman Vol. 2 #94
Ever since breaking out of prison, Catwoman has done enough political spin and damage control to make the public at large doubt that Selina Kyle was her real identity. Despite the relative success of this campaign, Catwoman’s troubles keep on piling up. Batman chases after Catwoman, who has just survived an altercation with Scarecrow and has now stolen a statue from the art museum. When he catches up to her they chat about their complicated history as rivals and lovers. Catwoman reminisces about the first time she saw Batman (in Frank Miller’s “Year One”). Catwoman says that she will never change her spots, but she wishes that the Caped Crusader would share his secret ID with her since they have been close for so many years. Catwoman then hands over the statue and kisses Batman passionately. Unknown to the pair, Deathstroke (who has been sent to execute Catwoman) is watching. When Batman departs, Deathstroke goes in for the kill, wounding Catwoman and sending her running into a Gotham crowd. Batman doubles back and tries to help her fight off Deathstroke, who blows up a gasoline tanker truck. When the smoke clears, seventy-two people are injured and Catwoman is missing and presumed dead. What happened to Catwoman? She barely survived the blast and will now go into hiding abroad in order to let the world continue thinking she’s dead.
–Detective Comics #758-760 (“UNKNOWING”)
The GCPD is convinced that a super-villain is responsible for brainwashing clean cops into committing crimes. Commissioner Akins is finally forced to do something he has been hesitant to do since gaining his position. He turns on the Batsignal and meets with Batman to discuss the case. Meanwhile, Sasha has become paranoid that Bruce may know that she knows his secret. As this pressure builds, Detectives Allen and Montoya are brainwashed into robbing a strip club. Who is behind these old school mind-control hi-jinks? The Mad Hatter, of course! Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce and Sasha finally have their long awaited confrontation. Bruce has indeed known for some time that Sasha was aware of his double-life. Sasha pledges her admiration and loyalty to Bruce and the latter agrees to make the former an official member of the Bat-Family! Together, Batman and Sasha discover that the Mad Hatter has been selling coffee with nano-controllers in it to Gotham cops, essential for controlling their minds. After nearly every cop in Gotham goes on a riotous rampage, Batman and Sasha are able to end the madness and bring the Hatter to justice. Afterwards, Sasha has become smitten with Bruce/Batman and is excited to speak with him at Wayne Manor. However, there is a surprise waiting for her at the mansion. Bruce’s old flame, Vesper Fairchild, has returned! (We haven’t seen nor heard from her since before NML)! NOTE: Issues #759-760 contain the first two parts of the second feature entitled “Slam Bradley: Trail of the Catwoman.” During a recent altercation with Deathstroke, the public thinks Catwoman is dead. However, the misinformed public incorrectly believes that a fugitive Selina Kyle is responsible for the murder of Catwoman (not knowing that they are actually one and the same). Private investigator Slam Bradley begins an investigation (funded by Mayor Dickerson) into discovering the truth about everyone’s favorite feline femme-fatale. He questions a ton of people, including Bruce Wayne.
–Green Arrow Vol. 3 #1-10 (“QUIVER”)
Kevin Smith’s epic tale. The official return of the original Green Arrow, Oliver Queen! Ollie returns in Star City and when Bruce spots him on a TV news report, he can’t believe his old friend is back. Aquaman runs into Ollie first and they team-up to defeat Black Manta amidst a media frenzy. After Batman investigates the Black Manta crime scene, he is able to confirm that Ollie is indeed alive and well. The JLA assembles on the Watchtower to welcome Ollie back, but Ollie freaks out since everything is so different. Ollie’s confusion is only increased because he believes he has only been gone for a few days when he has really been missing for three years! Thinking he is in the middle of a sinister plot, Ollie attacks the JLA, but winds up unconscious and in the arms of Batman, who takes him to the Batcave for further examination. As Batman and Spoiler study Ollie, the latter awakes and is still pretty freaked out. Bruce is able to calm him and together they try to put back the missing pieces of the puzzle. After filling in Ollie on all the happenings he missed while he was gone, Etrigan shows up with the intent to kill Ollie, saying that Ollie is a “hollow,” or soulless body which is a prime target for evil demonic possession. Etrigan then kills Ollie! After a trip through Heaven, Ollie’s soul is released back to Earth (thanks to the Phantom Stranger and Deadman). However, the heroes aren’t out of the woods yet. Kevin Smith has always had a knack for playfully using amazing age-old characters like no one else does, and Smith does it here excellently once again. Occultist Stanley Dover aka The Star City Slayer wants to be reborn inside Ollie’s hollow body. There is an amazing back-story here where Smith reveals that years earlier Dover had stolen the Occult tome known as the Magdelene Grimoire from Alexander Burgess i.e. the Magdelene Grimoire and Alexander Burgess from Neil Gaimain’s The Sandman #1! With help from Stanley Dover, Jr. and The Beast With No Name aka Stanley and his Monster (look it up), Connor Hawke teams-up with his dad and they are able to defeat Dover. I can’t stress how great of a comic book writer Kevin Smith is when he’s kicking his A game. Read this!
Over a month ago, a bunch of persecuted aliens from the planet Competalia turned the gulag in which they were imprisoned into a giant spaceship. The Competalian refugees wound up crash landing their flying city, called Haven, into Earth, specifically California. President Luthor immediately welcomed the aliens, and even made Haven an official United States city, mainly so he could raid their alien tech. Flash forward to now; the evil dictator of Competalia, known as Anathema, has discovered the location of Haven. Anathema is able to travel to Earth, but is unable to bring an army with her. Upon arriving on Earth, Anathema secretly brainwashes and empowers an army of humans to serve her bidding instead. The JLA teams up with the Competalian superhero team known as The Alliance and is able to defeat Anathema. In the end, Haven remains a US city and permanently settles at the former location of the destroyed Coast City.
–FLASHBACK: The flashback from the second feature of Detective Comics #758 takes place now. Evidence in a homicide case leads GCPD detectives to believe that Black Mask might be up to his old tricks again. Reluctantly, Commissioner Akins uses the Batsignal to confer with Batman. He also tells Montoya a story about how he doesn’t trust costumed vigilantes because of a past bad experience with one.
–Detective Comics #761, Part 1
Bruce starts Sasha on an intensive thirty-day training program designed to make her or break her. As Sasha trains in the Batcave, Bruce re-kindles his relationship with Vesper, who is now a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist trying to write a big story on Batman. By the tenth day of this issue, internal affairs has begun to crack down and investigate every GCPD officer (supposedly in response to the Mad Hatter fiasco from ‘tec #760, but as we will find out, that is just a red herring).
–second feature from Detective Comics #758
This is the second feature from ‘tec #758. Renee Montoya meets with Barbara Gordon for lunch (cuz they are friends now) and Montoya tells her the story about how Commissioner Akins reluctantly used the Batsignal last week. Montoya also stresses her belief that Akins is a good man and a suitable replacement for Babs’ father.
–Detective Comics #761, Part 2
Day 11 of Sasha’s training. Bruce goes on another date with Vesper (his third this week). Sasha is a chaperon, much to her chagrin.
–JLA: Black Baptism #1-4
This tale overlaps with days 11 through 13 of Detective Comics #761, which shows Sasha continue her training program in the Batcave. It also shows Internal Affairs continue to harass GCPD detectives. Meanwhile, The Diablos, a group of demons from Hell, go on an all-out attack against Earth’s primary magickal heroes, the team known as the Sentinels of Magic. After most of the Sentinels are severely injured, the JLA steps up to the plate. Aquaman, Tempest (formerly sidekick Aqualad), and Sebastian Faust (son of Felix Faust) tackle the demons head-on in the magical conclave of B’Miria (which exists in the frozen tundra of Greenland). The Diablos are able to steal the mystical Fountain of Lessing, which gives them unimaginable power. Meanwhile, Zatanna has been driven insane due to her encounter with the Diablos, so J’onn and Batman take her to Arkham and watch over her until she recovers. Sebastian Faust is acting very suspicious and Batman calls him out on it, but the former assures the latter that he is trying to help. Eventually, it is revealed that Sebastian’s father, Felix Faust, is working in conjunction with the Diablos in order to bring about the “Black Baptism” (a very bad thing). Everyone also finds out that Felix Faust has been possessed by Hermes Trismegistus ever since the Ghosts storyline, which took place three years ago. (If you still don’t know who Hermes Trismegistus is, read a book about the Occult, kids). There then occurs lots of magickal mumbo-jumbo and the good guys win. Yay!
–Batman: Orpheus Rising #1-5
This tale overlaps with days 14 through 17 of Detective Comics #761, which shows Vesper attempt (in vain) to snap a photograph of Batman. Meanwhile, as the top mafia groups in Gotham clash in bloody encounters, Batman begins developing a better relationship with Commissioner Akins. Meanwhile, cops are getting offed left and right, drugs are flowing, and racial tension and racial profiling are on the rise. Enter Gotham’s newest savior, Orpheus! He’s here to fight crime because (and I quote): “[There aren't enough] heroes of color.” Orpheus and Batman team-up and discover that a series of cop murders are linked through the fact that each officer downed had worked for the same precinct before NML. After exploring the underground of the abandoned precinct, the duo finds a weapons cache. Meanwhile, power-hungry and insane cop Karl Esterhaus has arranged a set-up that sends both The Deacons gang and the Russian mob towards the scene to slaughter each other. Batman and Orpheus are able to bring Esterhaus to justice, while Oracle calls in Black Canary, Batgirl, and Robin to stop the gang war. Orpheus gets the last line in this story: “Hello, Gotham. Now there’s a darker knight in town.” Oh, jeez. We get it. You’re Black.
–Detective Comics #761, Part 3
June. Sasha completes the last two weeks of her thirty-day training program. At police headquarters, IA reveals that they don’t care about the Mad Hatter incident. They are actually investigating the murder of Jordan Reynolds aka Jordan Rich (the man who shot Jim Gordon). This is very scary news for Bullock, since he is the man who organized Rich’s murder.
–Detective Comics #762
Bruce goes on a date with Vesper. Sasha is sickened to learn that she will be accompanying the lovers as a chaperon yet again. After the date, Batman takes Sasha up to the rooftops of Gotham’s tallest buildings, dresses her up in a vigilante superhero costume (!), and teaches her how to use a grappling gun. They then take down some would-be muggers. Meanwhile, Montoya and Bullock are feeling the heat of Internal Affairs increase by the minute. Things are looking bleak and Bullock can’t stand it anymore. He turns in his badge and quits the force!
–Second Feature from Detective Comics #761-762 (“SLAM BRADLEY: TRAIL…”)
Parts Three and Four of the “Slam Bradley: Trail of the Catwoman” story-arc. Slam is closing in on Selina and Batman warns him to back off. Slam ignores his old friend and winds up finding Selina, but instead of reporting her whereabouts to the mayor, he is taken by her charm and beauty and chooses to let the breathtaking bombshell keep her secrets. Batman then meets up with Selina and offers her his help in any way he can. This story-arc functions as a direct prelude to the Catwoman Vol. 3 series, which will begin soon, and serves as a new beginning for Selina.
–JLA: Gatekeeper #1-3
When Green Lantern’s friend is trapped in the alternate dimension known as Kurnugi aka The Land of Forsaken Gods, he recruits the JLA and Dr. Fate to help him out. Kurnugi is actually the divine realm of the ancient Babylonian/Sumerian gods. Naturally, the JLA and Dr. Fate enter the Babylonian god plane and battle the ancient demon-gods known as Nergal, Ereskigal, and Tiamat.
–JLA Classified: Cold Steel #1-2
When alien Ghoji refugees are almost killed by the monstrous Voruk aliens from the Lagoon Nebula after being chased all the way to Earth’s moon, the JLA decides to involve itself in an interplanetary war hundreds of light years away. Once at the Ghoji planet, the League learns that the Voruk race has designed a gigantic living-weapon known as the Infinity Coil. Each JLAer rocks his own battle mech, complete with a pimped-out paint job by Wally and Kyle, into space to take on the Voruk armada and the Infinity Coil. Once the battle begins, the JLA learns all is not what it seems. The Infinity Coil has created a time paradox on the planet Penumbra, which causes time to literally stand still. After a very confusing battle, the Ghoji and Voruk join forces (sort of) against the Infinity Coil itself. A sentient 900-year-old Voruk creature/battleship sacrifices himself to destroy the Infinity Coil, thus ending the crisis. Supposedly, this entire tale only takes a week. However, due to editorial time compression, it can only take, at most, three days.
OUR WORLDS AT WAR
Early June. Our Worlds at War begins on a Tuesday. When an alien spaceship crash-lands in Gotham, Batman investigates and discovers a government cover-up that leads all the way up to President Lex Luthor. After infiltrating a secret underground compound in Metropolis (with a little help from Lexcorp CEO Talia), Batman discovers that Luthor has been running secret experiments on both aliens and metahumans. He also discovers a secret project known as “The Doomsday Contingency.” The Dark Knight then pays Luthor a personal visit and gives an encore of his prior threatening Oval Office speech. Bruce Wayne then visits the Daily Planet offices (which he now owns) and talks to Clark about Luthor’s “Doomsday Contingency” program. What does Luthor know that they don’t? Luthor knows that Imperiex Prime is on his way to Earth and he is frantically trying to prepare for his arrival. And right on schedule, Imperiex Prime, a cosmic destroyer from the future, attacks Earth (having already destroyed several other planets on his way) with the goal of re-creating the Big Bang. Imperiex Prime and his army of Imperiex Probes and Hollowers detonate massive explosions across the planet, the largest and most devastating of which occur in Topeka, Kansas, Frankfurt, Germany, and Atlantis. Every superhero team (and some villains) are assembled by President Luthor to fight against the army of Imperiex Probes. Meanwhile, Nightwing and Oracle believe that a lethal computer virus from the future (that kills humans) is linked to Imperiex. Imperiex has indeed sent the murdering sentient virus from the future with instructions to kill a long list of heroes. Nightwing and Oracle head over to a secret STAR Labs location and hop in a time machine! I wish I was kidding. The machine is pretty unstable and they wind up jumping around from 1934 to the Precambrian Era to the Ice Age (where they fight cavemen) to an alternate future where Blüdhaven is a barren wasteland to WWI to the Cretaceous Age and a dozen other epochs until they reach the 1700s where they fake their own deaths. Supposedly, this temporarily “changes recorded history” or something like that, which fools the virus’ software and causes it to stop hunting down the couple. As the Imperiex War continues, Gotham is oddly and miraculously spared from most of the chaos, which allows Batman to continue on his own personal endeavors, such as taking down Philo Zeiss, who has been in hiding for over a month. Meanwhile, yet another alien craft lands in Gotham, and the FBI and DEO (on Luthor’s orders) try to take control. However, the cute little big-eyed alien escapes and takes refuge at a local church where Batman meets him and learns more about Imperiex, shortly before the alien dies of injuries. A short time later, Bruce Wayne and Mallory Moxon are both present as the crippled Lew Moxon is released from the hospital. Zeiss then shows up and re-pledges his allegiance to the Moxons. Concurrently, Metropolis is a complete war-zone as Imperiex Probes, and now a few other evil alien races, cause destructive chaos on an epic scale. Nearly every citizen of Metropolis is evacuated to a gigantic ark in outer space. Luthor is able to convince Darkseid and Braniac-13 to join in the battle against Imperiex. The President also finally unveils his “Doomsday Contingency.” Doomsday, telepathically re-programmed to be a superhero, teams-up with Superman (!), but is ultimately killed in battle. Braniac-13 turns out to be just as maniacal as Imperiex, so in the end the good guys eliminate both of the baddies. While the heroes can make a V for victory, the war is quite tragic for many reasons: Hippolyta is killed, Guy Gardner goes missing, Steel is badly injured and is forced into retirement, the Amazonian home of Themyscira is completely destroyed (and then rebuilt as an archipelago of floating sky islands), and Atlantis and all of its people completely disappear without a trace—including Aquaman, who is MIA and presumed dead. But worst of all, over 8 million people die on Earth. In total, hundreds of billions perish across the universe, making this one of the bloodiest occurrences since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.
–NOTE: Batman defeats the “semi-immortal” Death-Man two times in a row (as referenced in Superman/Batman #68). This Death-Man is a clever reference to a tale originally told in Batman #180. However, there is already a canonical Death-Man (Lord Death Man) in the Modern Age, a character referenced by Grant Morrison in Batman Incorporated, which itself is a reference to the character of the same name originally seen in Bat-Manga (the Japanese collected Dailies book). Therefore, the version of Death-Man shown in Superman/Batman #68 has to be a copycat of the original.
Still reeling from the events of the Imperiex War and the loss of many good friends, the JLA discovers a gigantic ancient spacecraft deep in outer space that may be Kryptonian in its origin. Batman and Superman travel to the ship in order to investigate and wind up fighting ancient battle droids. Superman then uncovers dozens of Kryptonian corpses and the remains of an alien life-form from an unknown race. A single escape pod has been jettisoned in the direction of Earth. (We will find out soon that the escape pod rocketed to Earth quite a while ago).
–Superman/Batman #68-71 (“OUR WORLDS AT WAR” Conclusion)
Tagged as an Our Worlds At War tie-in (although written nearly ten years after Our Worlds At War was originally released), this story-arc picks up right after Superman/Batman #64. Superman and Batman have just finished examining an ancient Kryptonian spacecraft in deep space. Back on Earth, Batman deals with the Death-Man copycat for the third and final time this week. After fighting the Death-Man copycat, Batman then examines DNA samples from the Kryptonian ship and learns that the non-Kryptonian sample belongs to a shape-shifter. This is bad news for the World’s Finest, especially since this shape-shifter is quite homicidal and thinks he is at war with Krypton. The alien, who has been on Earth for six months already, has murdered and replicated the director of STAR Labs, Anderson Gaines. Finally ready to strike, the alien hires super-assassin NRG-X to attack Superman at the Daily Planet building. Posing as the head of STAR, the fake-Gaines then meets Bruce Wayne and begins using the high tech STAR space program for his own devious benefit. The fake-Gaines then sends NRG-X to attack Superman inside the Fortress of Solitude. After quickly beating down the returning Hooded Hangman (!), Bruce finds out that fake-Gaines has fooled him, and Bruce is pissed. The Dark Knight rockets towards fake-Gaines’ orbiting satellite looking for a fight. Superman defeats NRG-X and zooms up to help Batman defeat the grotesque alien Gaines.
–Harley Quinn #9-12 (“QUINTESSENCE”)
Amusement park mogul Jack Happi has put a hit out on Harley Quinn, which draws all manner of loser assassins, real threats, and the attention of Batman. Batman—as Matches Malone—joins Harley’s henchmen family, The Quinntets, in order to keep tabs on and protect her. The Quinntets include Matches’ old buds, the Two-Bear Brothers, Kennedy and Nixon. After would-be-assassin Killer Croc fails in his task, Matches stops a traitorous Nixon from killing Harley, but can’t convince the rest of the crew of Nix’s true nature. Harley then dresses up in an old Barbara Gordon Batgirl costume and turns the tables on the hitmen pursuing her by attacking them head-on. Of course, she quickly runs into Robin and the real Batgirl, earning the violent ire of Oracle. Nightwing, Robin, and Batgirl chase down the fake Batgirl only to wind up teaming with her against a bar full of gangsters. Meanwhile, the Quinntets hire more members to bolster their defense of Harley. Afterward, Nixon stages a coup, takes over the group, and sends Matches to a surprise execution. But the killers don’t know Matches is Batman, which means they are totally screwed. Harley then kidnaps Jack Happi and brings him back to her HQ warehouse only to find a small army of Quinntets waiting to attack her on Nixon’s behalf. Batman, Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, and some cops also arrive and a lengthy brouhaha ensues. After Nixon is killed by Harley, the latter escapes unscathed with some help from best galpal Poison Ivy.
–Harley & Ivy: Love on the Lam
Joker—dressed as Batman—and Harley—getting a second use out of her Babs Batgirl costume—surprise Two-Face in the middle of a museum heist. After a showdown (since both parties want the same loot), Harley convinces them to split everything. Afterward, a pissed off Joker tells Harley to take a hike. Harley runs off with Poison Ivy (as she usually does when in a fight with Mista Jay). The gals decide to rob a charity fundraiser at the new Branaco Tower in downtown Gotham. As luck would have it, Bruce and Tim are on hand and quickly switch into their fighting togs when Harl and Ivy make their presences known. Harl and Ivy not only outmaneuver the Dynamic Duo, they steal all of Branaco’s money and blow up the building! Later, the public learns that Branaco is one of the most corrupt companies in America—the girls were actually playing hero, in a sense.
–Batman: Gotham Knights #20-21 (“RETRIBUTION”)
Yoska Graesinka legally contests Bruce Wayne’s naming of Dick as his heir, claiming that Dick is his blood-grandson. Dick and Bruce meet with Yoska at Wayne Manor, and it isn’t long before they find out that Yoska has been deliberately misled into believing that he is related to Dick by Ra’s Al Ghul. Al Ghul blames Bruce for ruining his relationship with his heir (Talia). Thus, Al Ghul simply wanted to prove that he had the power to ruin Bruce’s relationship with his heir (Dick) as well. Also, Batman busts some mobsters. NOTE: There is an odd part where Dick asks where Alfred and Tim are. It’s odd because he knows full-well that they both quit. Maybe he asks the question sarcastically because Bruce has yet to apologize to either of them. ANOTHER NOTE: Issue #20 has a B&W second feature which is a flashback to Bruce as a young child shortly after his parent’s death.
July. Batman is still on a quest to find out exactly why Lew Moxon had a grudge against his dad, Thomas Wayne. Bats questions Angelo Berretti, an old mobster that has the answer. Berretti spins Batman a thirty-five-year-old-plus yarn (he says it happened over twenty-five years ago, but he’s wrong) about an incident that occurred one Halloween long ago. One of Moxon’s goons had been shot during a robbery, so Moxon asked Dr. Wayne to save his life. Dr. Wayne complied and saved the man, but refused to accept Moxon’s bribe afterward. Not only that, Dr. Wayne reported the shooting to the authorities and punched Moxon in the face. Back in the present, Batman visits his parents’ graves and Sasha gives him a ride back to Wayne Manor. NOTE: During all of this (and the last bunch of tales) Batman has been and is currently in the process of training Batgirl, Spoiler, and Sasha—yet none of the ladies are ever in training sessions together. I guess the Dark Knight likes to focus on his students one-on-one?
–FLASHBACK: Motivational speaker Holman Hunt aka “the good Two-Face” finally goes to meet his evil alter ego at Arkham (as seen through flashback in Joker’s Asylum: Two-Face #1). Hunt explains to Harvey how he has the exact facial disfiguration, but has chosen to be a good person. Hunt encourages Harvey to do the same. Of course, later that night, Harvey takes this inspiration, breaks out of jail, kidnaps Hunt and his wife, and plays horrible mind games with them both. Batman shows up and saves the day, but the psychological damage has already been done. This flashback is narrated entirely by Joker himself, so much of it may be apocryphal. However, its basic elements are most likely canonical.