2004 (January to June)
–Starman Vol. 2 #43
Starman Jack Knight asks the JLA to assist him on a quest to locate the missing former Starman Will Payton. The JLA wishes him well, but Jack departs into deep space alone.
–Batman & Spider-Man: New Age Dawning
Access has screwed up again and Earth-0 has temporarily merged with Earth-616. Similarly to when Batman last teamed-up with Spider-Man (Peter Parker), the two heroes (and everyone else) come to temporarily believe that their worlds are one and the same and always have been. This time, Spidey and the Dark Knight battle an even greater threat than Carnage and Joker. Wilson Fisk aka The Kingpin has allied himself with Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia! Nevertheless, Spidey and Batman win out in the end and save the day.
–REFERENCE: The immediate follow-up to Batman & Spider-Man: New Age Dawning, Unlimited Access #1-4, takes place here and now. Access successfully ends the Batman/Spider-Man “crossover” by returning everyone back to their correct multiverses. Access then muses about how being a “cosmic monitor of two worlds” is hard work. However, Access is bad at his job and the two multiverses are even more mixed up than they were before. In fact, Universe-0 has begun to amalgamate with Universe-616 (again)! Access is really bad at his job—so bad that in his attempts to fix everything, the “cosmic monitor of two worlds” begins screwing with time as well. Access even travels back to the early days of Batman’s career and accidentally introduces him to Daredevil. At one point Access merges different characters from different times together in order to fight the combined threat of Darkseid and Magneto. When the dust settles, everything and everyone is returned to its proper place and time and the heroes defeat the bad guys. In the end Access realizes that his very presence causes the two multiverses to merge. Realizing this, Access, as his final act, makes everyone in Universe-0 forget about the existence of Universe-616, and vice-versa. Access then flies off into the cosmic unknown never to be heard from again. The DCU will cross paths with the Marvel U again in the future, but they will have forgotten any of their previous encounters thanks to Access.
–NOTE: Superman splits into Superman Red and Superman Blue and both of his energy halves help to rid the world of the Millennium Giants. After the battle, the two halves merge and the electromagnetic energy they share is dispersed, thus returning Superman’s original body and powers! Supes goes back to wearing the classic red and blue with the big yellow S on his chest! (As seen in Superman Forever #1).
–JLA #22-23, Part 1
One of the Star Conquerors is back and controls Earth by putting the global population to sleep and then manipulating every human being’s dreams. However, the JLA and all residents of Blue Valley (where a Star Conqueror attacked before) stay awake because of an immunity developed due to the previous exposure to the monster alien race. Dream of the Endless (!) comes to the Earthly plane to assist the heroes. Superman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman (who is awake because she was on the Moon during the attack) enter the Dreaming to confront the alien parasite. Meanwhile, an invasion force of thousands of leviathan Star Conquerors prepare to enter Earth’s atmosphere. Batman and the rest of the JLA hold off the monsters on Earth and eventually both halves of the League are able to send a false message out to the invasion force warning them to turn back. Thus, the invasion is halted. Everyone wakes up and no one remembers a thing except for the JLA and the residents of Blue Valley. Back in the Dreaming, Dream adds a bunch of live Star Conquerors to his treasure chest, which contains various trophies that reference some awesome Neil Gaiman Sandman tales.
–Red Hood: Lost Days #2
Jason Todd (who has just been rejuvenated in a Lazarus Pit by Talia Al Ghul) secretly returns to Gotham. While Batman is tackling some mercenaries, Jason plants a bomb underneath the Batmobile. Batman drives off, but the troubled Jason realizes that he wants revenge against his former mentor face-to-face and decides not to detonate the device. Jason then returns to Talia’s side and begins training. Batman still has no idea that Jason is alive.
–Fruit of the Loom® Presents
Part One of this promo comic, entitled “Batman: Too Many Jokers!” features the Dynamic Duo taking down Joker during a diamond heist. Joker tries to complicate the situation by having all of his henchmen dress up as fake Jokers. Naturally, Batman spots the real deal immediately and busts him.
–FLASHBACK: While on a robbery attempt, an escaped Riddler gets his clock cleaned by Batman (as seen in the B&W second feature from Batman: Gotham Knights #47).
–FLASHBACK: Batman tells-off the aggressive and manipulative Talia Al Ghul, saying that they will never ever be together (as seen in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2). Meanwhile, unknown to Batman, his toddler son Damian trains with the League of Assassins to become a killing machine.
–Robin Vol. 2 #50
Tim is traveling abroad when he gets tangled up with King Snake and Lady Shiva in the war-torn Tbliska (somewhere in Eastern Europe). Batman checks in with him long distance to make sure he’s okay. Robin is just fine and actually winds up saving Shiva’s life by using CPR.
——————–Detective Comics #719
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #73
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #19
——————–The Batman Chronicles #16, Part 3
——————–Detective Comics #720
——————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #56
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #52
——————–Batman: Blackgate – Isle of Men #1
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #74
——————–The Batman Chronicles #12
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2, #20
——————–Batman/Huntress/Spoiler: Blunt Trauma #1
——————–Detective Comics #721
——————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #57
——————–Batman: Arkham Asylum – Tales of Madness #1
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #53
“Cataclysm” supposedly begins in late October, but the earliest it seems to fit in our chronology is January. A massive 7.6 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks completely destroy Gotham City. The only buildings left standing are Wayne properties, which have all been constructed with quake-proof engineering. Ironically, Wayne Manor and the Batcave are completely demolished. Batman, Nightwing, Huntress, Catwoman, Oracle, Leslie Thompkins, Spoiler, and the GCPD do all they can to save as many lives as they can. Harold “sees daylight for the first time” since moving into the cave (or so we are told, but this is a blatant error since Harold goes on daytime shopping errands constantly). Amidst the chaos, Azrael knocks out Bane yet again. Robin concludes his misadventures in Tbliska and returns home to give aid as well. Alfred and Harold try to salvage what they can from the Batcave. Every major villain incarcerated at Blackgate escapes. Both Two-Face and the Penguin see an ocean of criminal opportunities open up now that Gotham is a wasteland lacking order. Arkham is somehow miraculously spared destruction, but the inmates still get riled up when they hear the news and go quite madder. Several of the inmates carve their names (permanently) into the skin of a prison guard. (This is the origin of Jigsaw Man). Also, the mysterious Quakemaster shows up on the scene (through remote video telecasts) claiming responsibility for the quake. Batman and company discover that the Quakemaster is really the Ventriloquist/Scarface trying to capitalize on the situation. The quake was indeed a natural disaster.
–Batman Villains Secret Files & Origins #1
When an ordinary man is accidentally sent to Arkham, bad things happen. Meanwhile, Penguin begins making strategic moves to ensure that post-quake Gotham will belong solely to him. Also, Joker escapes and flees to NYC where he tries to kill hundreds. Green Lantern Kyle Rayner apprehends the Clown Prince of Crime and escorts him back to Arkham. At Arkham, Kyle is barely able to withstand the taunts and psychological jeers of the other inmates.
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #75
——————–Detective Comics #722
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #76
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #54
Editorial notation says these “Aftershock” stories happen in the range of a week to two weeks after the quake. But in order for things to work correctly this year, time-compression must change this arc to occurring mere days after the quake. Over ten-thousand are dead and the count is rising exponentially. Gotham is a Federal Disaster Area in ruins. Batman apprehends Mr. Freeze, the returning original Clayface/Ultimate Clayface (Basil Karlo), and the Ratcatcher, while at the same time continues his massive rescue effort across what is left of the city. Batman uses a vast array of different Batmobiles in “Aftershock.” For instance, we see the return of the giant Bat-monster truck, which hasn’t been used since The Cult! These issues deal primarily with petty crimes, looters, the impact of martial law on the populace, saving trapped survivors, and the reuniting of families amidst the aftermath of the catastrophe. While there are several heartwarming tales, there are just as many gruesome horror stories, including a “we’ve been trapped for a week and need to eat someone to survive” story. Meanwhile, Tim reunites with his long term girlfriend Ariana (whom he’s dated for over two years now), but the seeds of love are also starting to be sewn between Tim and Stephanie Brown. With all of the chaos in Gotham, the last thing Robin needs is to be stuck in the middle of a love triangle, right? Also, Alfred and Harold make the Batcave semi-operational and habitable. The first part of “Aftershock” then ends on a high note as Bruce vows to Vesper that he will do everything in his power to make Gotham right again.
–Batman: Bullock’s Law #1, Part 2
We pick up Bullock’s Law halfway into the narrative, hence the label of “Part Two” onto this item. (The first part of Bullock’s Law overlaps with the previous “Aftershock Part One” issues but does not feature Batman.) For the past week Harvey Bullock has been a super-cop of sorts, busting major criminals left and right basically single-handed, earning him the suspicion of both his superiors at the GCPD and Batman, who bugs the Major Crimes Unit to listen in on Bullock’s conversations. Batman meets with Bullock and tells him that he doesn’t trust him. Unknown to all, Bullock has reluctantly brokered a deal with Black Mask and the False Facers that has allowed him to easily take down Black Mask’s competition. A couple nights later, Bullock Meets with Batman again and asks the Dark Knight to take down the Widow-Whacker, a rogue False Face serial killer. Batman finds the Widow-Whacker and puts in an anonymous tip that leads to his arrest. The next day, Batman dresses up as Matches Malone and attends court to watch Bullock testify against False Facer Johnny “Poodles” Pudlenko. Bullock stiffs the guy, thus earning the wrath of Black Mask’s group. This leads to a brutal gunfight between Bullock and a few False Facers. Bullock wins but winds up in the hospital for his troubles. Batman visits outside Bullock’s hospital window and leaves a “good work” card, showing his approval for Bullock’s methods.
BROTHERHOOD OF THE FIST
——————–Green Arrow Vol. 3 #134
——————–Detective Comics #723
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #55
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2, #23
——————–Green Arrow Vol. 3 #135
A tip from Talia is enough for Batman to leave his city in turmoil and head to “Upstate Gotham,” which could mean Upstate New Jersey, but in this case probably means Upstate New York. After driving there in the Bat-monster truck (!), he meets up with Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) and they discover the ruins of a Kobra base. The duo is then attacked by The Brotherhood of the Monkey Fist, an underground martial-arts cult trying to become a major player in the global terror game. Back in quake-battered Gotham, Robin, Nightwing, and ex-CIA assassin Eddie Fyers battle more Monkeys. Things get even more complicated when Oracle decides to send her “Bird of Prey” Black Canary on the offensive. Canary teams-up with Bronze Tiger and heads to the jungles of Southeast Asia to take on the Monkeys head-on. However, when they get there, hired-hitman Deathstroke is ready and waiting and easily captures the duo! Eddie Fyers flies out to the Chinese-Burmese border, kicks Deathstroke’s ass, and rescues Canary and Tiger. Cut back to Gotham and we learn that different factions of the Monkey Cult are vying for power and offing each other in an insane quest to see who can kill Green Arrow first as revenge. (Connor has previously bested the Monkey Cult’s previous top man, Silver Monkey). Batman, Robin, Green Arrow, and Nightwing do battle with the spectacular new number one, Paper Monkey, who reveals herself to be Lady Shiva! Shiva is about to kill Green Arrow when Robin reminds her that he saved her life (in Robin Vol. 2 #50) and she owes him. Shiva honors this debt and leaves.
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #77
——————–Detective Comics #724
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #78-79
——————–The Batman Chronicles #16, Part 1
——————–The Batman Chronicles #14
——————–Detective Comics #725-726
Mid January. Editorial says that roughly two weeks have passed since the quake. But thanks to a ton of time-compression, only a single week could have passed by now. A lot is happening, but things aren’t improving. One-million Gothamites are dead. Batman meets a crazed science professor that is still teaching to corpses at the ruins of Gotham U. Ballistic returns to Gotham and teams-up with Batman to destroy a cache of heroin, unaware that the Batman he met before was Jean-Paul. Batman then does a little late night bulldozing to help speed up the stalled reconstruction process in the downtown sector. After dealing with the super-villain team-up of Mad Hatter and Narcosis (which results in Narcosis’ death), Bruce Wayne fails to convince the city business, financial, and industrial leaders to keep their companies in Gotham. This initial loss is one of many crippling emotional and economic blows that will serve to doom Gotham’s recovery. In Part 1 of The Batman Chronicles #16 Montoya finds her missing brother, Benny Montoya, and discovers that Two-Face has been a force for good in her neighborhood! She wins over his trust, takes his coin, and Batman allows Harvey to remain free under Montoya’s watch. In The Batman Chronicles #14 the most badass Alfred tale ever occurs. Alfie single-handedly takes down an entire troop of Wayne Manor burglars and does it in time to make Bruce his morning eggs! Across town, Huntress saves some kids. And Montoya has a heart to heart with her brother. NOTE: These three Chronicles shorts inexplicably take place in July. It is still January, so disregard the seasonal references. As the days go on, death, disease, famine, conflagrations, crime, and the body-count keep on rising. Hope is fading and a tearful Batman knows it. As hundreds of thousands leave Gotham in a mass exodus, the Gotham Bridge collapses under the unorganized throng’s weight, killing countless more. At this point Batman has taken to patrolling Gotham in the Bat-monster truck full-time. The original Dynamic Duo of Bruce and Dick have a long heartfelt chat about their lives. Dick tells Bruce that he is going to be a police officer in Blüdhaven. Last but not least, Batman meets with Joker in Arkham to get information leading to the recovery of a kidnapped child. Supposedly, this occurs on the anniversary of Jason Todd’s death, but this cannot be true, not even close, so disregard this mention.
–The Batman Chronicles #15
“Aftershock” is officially over, but the chaos in post-quake Gotham continues. Green Lantern Kyle Rayner comes to Gotham and finally earns Batman’s respect. Then, Man-Bat saves Oracle’s life from home-invaders and they celebrate by flying through the clouds together! Chronicles #15 ends gracefully with the Question meeting and passing on a valuable life-lesson to Huntress: vigilantes need not kill.
–Robin Vol. 2 #58
Robin and Shotgun Smith contend with Steeljacket. Tim breaks up with Ariana and begins dating Stephanie Brown (Spoiler). Stephanie informs him that she is two months pregnant (by her ex-boyfriend). NOTE: For Stephanie’s pregnancy to be realistic chronologically, she must be around five months pregnant at this point, not two.
–NOTE: Diana becomes mortal again, losing her godhood, but resurrecting as the Amazonian warrior Wonder Woman once again (as seen in Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #136-139).
–Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #140-141 (“TRINITY 98”)
Diana is Wonder Woman again! DC’s Holy Trinity is reunited, this time against Diana’s blood-relative, the Greco-Roman demigod Oblivion. Oblivion is able to manipulate Diana’s invisible airplane into growing into a massive blob that destroys most of Gateway City. In case you didn’t know, Diana’s invisible plane is actually a sentient shapeshifting creature known as a Lansarian morphing crystal, a member of the Lansarian Ring species. Diana was long ago psychically bonded to her plane, but now Oblivion is using that link to subdue Diana and use the crystal for his bidding. Eventually, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman defeat Oblivion. The crystal then morphs into Wonder Woman’s new sentient floating fortress, Wonderdome! Oh, and if you strive for accuracy, you could rename this story “Trinity 2004.” Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #159 contains a flashback to these events as well.
–Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #10, Part 2
Bruce, Clark, Alfred, Lois, and Jimmy Olsen attend the wedding of Savannah Summers and Harrison Grey, presumably held in Metropolis since Gotham would be quake-ruined at this point.
–Martian Manhunter Vol. 2 #0
J’onn meets with Superman and Batman at the Watchtower before departing on a brief pilgrimage to visit his homeland of Mars.
–Green Lantern Vol. 3 #103
Kyle Rayner is accidentally transported to the 31st century of Earth-247. The Legion of Superheroes (the “Reboot” Legion from Earth-247) are able to send Kyle back to his correct Earth, but they actually send him back ten years too early. Kyle winds up in Bat Year Five and meets a young Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Kyle is able to get his time device to work properly and returns to Year Sixteen, and he brings Hal with him! The JLA is shocked and happy to see a young version of their old friend, but the rejoicing doesn’t last long when Hal learns of the evil deeds he will commit as Parallax later in his life. Hal decides that no matter what his future has in store, he must live it. Using the power of the rings, Hal is returned to his correct time and everyone’s memories of this event are erased completely. The only evidence that Hal ever made this trip to the future is a single copy of his power ring, which Kyle passes on to Earth-0’s first female Lantern, Green Lantern Jade (Alan Scott’s daughter).
–NOTE: The Teen Titans, now comprised solely of heroes that are no longer teens, changes its name to The Titans (as referenced in Young Justice: The Secret #1 and JLA/Titans #1).
–Young Justice: The Secret #1
Robin, Superboy, and Impulse team-up to save the metahuman girl known as Secret from a DEO lab. Thus, the seeds are laid for a new teenage superhero team to fill the void where the Teen Titans left behind when they upgraded to become adult Titans.
–JLA: World Without Grownups #1-2
The teenage villain known as Bedlam transports all the adults on Earth to an alternate reality. Robin, Superboy, and Impulse team-up yet again to deal with the crisis. After successfully returning everyone back to the correct reality, the three teens decide to officially become the superhero team Young Justice.
–Young Justice #1
Young Justice sets up shop in the old Justice League Secret Sanctuary in Rhode Island where they accidentally re-activate a dormant Red Tornado. Red Tornado becomes the team’s elder mentor and with his guidance, new members will soon be added.
–Chase #7-8 (“SHADOWING THE BAT”)
The DEO sends their top agent to Gotham on a mission to unearth the secret identity of Batman. The charismatic and beautiful Cameron Chase meets with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, but there’s someone else in the room that stands out as a hero-type more than Bruce and Dick: Alan Scott! Alan is a hero alright, but he’s no Batman.
DC ONE MILLION
——————–JLA #23, Epilogue
——————–DC One Million #1
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1,000,000
——————–DC One Million #2
——————–Detective Comics #1,000,000
——————–DC One Million #3
——————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #1,000,000
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #1,000,000
——————–Young Heroes in Love #1,000,000
——————–DC One Million #4
Late January. DC One Million begins with the epilogue of JLA #23, which takes place a month after the Star Conqueror invasion in that same issue. Diana has been back for a couple of weeks now, but now returns to the JLA full-time, replacing her mother, Hippolyta, who retires as Wonder Woman. Just after this happens, the Justice Legion-A (the Justice League from the 853rd century) shows up in the Watchtower. JL-A member Hourman (who we met during “Rock of Ages”!) explains that Superman (i.e. our Superman/Clark Kent) is still alive in the 853rd century and remains in solitude at the center of the sun. Superman, or Superman-Prime as he is referred to in the 853rd Century, is finally returning to Earth amidst great fanfare and celebration. Therefore, the JL-A has come to invite the original Superman and friends to attend the ceremony. After the android Hourman sends the core JLA members to the 853rd century, he immediately malfunctions, simultaneously trapping our heroes in the distant future and releasing a deadly global nano-virus across the entire present day Earth. But who is responsible? Immortal Vandal Savage is alive and well in the 853rd century and has teamed-up with stellar super-computer/sentient sun Solaris to concoct a plan in which the JLA and JL-A are switched and every Superman that ever has existed will be killed off. So far, so good. Back in the 21st century, the Batman from the 853rd century meets Nightwing, Robin, and Alfred. He teams-up with Tim and Dick to apprehend Query, Echo, Slyfox, and Firefly. Future Batman then realizes that the only way to stop Solaris in the 853rd century is to construct Solaris now! The JL-A and remaining members of the JLA begin constructing the gigantic artificial intelligence, but it is revealed there is a traitor in their midst: the JL-A Starman! 853rd-C-Starman has been hired by 853rd-C-Solaris to secretly bury a Kryptonite bullet deep beneath the surface of Mars. Solaris is completed, goes online, and immediately uploads the nano-virus into its own system, saving Earth from certain doom. However, Solaris is a giant evil sun-machine and poses a completely new threat. Starman, realizing the error of his ways, expels Solaris from the galaxy, but sacrifices his own life to do so. But how do the heroes of the 21st century save the future and bring back their friends? Huntress has a plan, but we’ll get to that in a bit. In the 853rd century, each JLA member goes through his own unique ordeal. Bruce winds up on the prison (dwarf) planet of Pluto where he learns from Robin The Toy Wonder (a robot Robin) that this era’s Batman is warden over the entire prison. Bruce also learns that the 853rd century Batman knocked him out, extracted his soul, and sent it to the future. In layman’s terms, Bruce’s body is unconscious on the Watchtower, while his soul has been inserted into a cloned body in the 853rd century. Bruce is forced to battle his way past deadly obstacles and against futuristic versions of Arkham’s craziest villains. Eventually, Batman is able to reunite with his fellow teammates at the JL-A headquarters on Jupiter. Solaris digs up the Kryptonite bullet and fires it at Superman-Prime just as he emerges from his solitude within the core of the sun. But don’t worry, Huntress’ plan has worked! Back in the 21st century, she came up with the idea to bury a Green Lantern power ring on Mars instead of the Kryptonite bullet. Instead of shooting Superman to death, Solaris hands him the greatest weapon imaginable. Our heroes return home triumphant. NOTE: John Fox is the time-traveling JL-A Flash from the 853rd century. However, Fox is originally from the 27th century. Wally first met him on a time-traveling adventure of his own two years ago.
A side-story which occurs during DC One Million is that Vandal Savage nukes the city of Montevideo, Uruguay. Now, fearing a possible weakness to nuclear attack, the US government creates its own superhero team known as the Ultramarine Corps. Crazed US General Wade Eiling tricks the new team into battling the JLA in a skirmish which pretty much destroys all of Phoenix, AZ. Eiling then permanently transfers his consciousness into the body of the invulnerable, immortal sasquatch-esque body of the Shaggy Man. Eiling shaves his new body clean, calls himself The General (even though there already is a villain named the General in the DCU), and tries to eliminate Batman, Huntress, and Plastic Man. The JLA eventually teams-up with the Ultramarines and helps expel the General into deep space. The Ultramarines then create a massive floating city known as Superbia over the ruins of Montevideo. Superbia is granted status as its own independent nation comprised of superheroes. The new International Ultramarine Corps will act as a preemptive global peace-keeping force, but unlike the JLA, they are willing to kill the bad guys. The British version of Batman known as Knight is on the team. Oh, in a side-note, the New Gods learn that the greatest threat that Earth will ever face, Mageddon, is coming in two month’s time. In another side-note, J’onn takes a leave of absence from the team and his replacement is our android buddy from the 853rd century, Hourman! Hourman warns of an oncoming attack from the inhabitants of the 5th Dimension—(this attack will indeed happen a little further down the road).
–DC 2000 #1-2
T.O. Morrow travels back to 1941 in order to spread modern technology across the globe way before its time. The JLA travels back to 1941 and teams-up with the Golden Age JSA to stop Morrow. When the JLA returns after a successful mission, the JSA in 1941 will have no memories of this event. NOTE: This story is only called DC 2000 because it was written in 2000. Since we are in story-year 2004, we can think of this tale as “DC 2004.”
Clark, Bruce, and J’onn decide to incorporate the idea of having reserve JLA members available or “on-call” at all times. When Amazo attacks and begins totally thrashing the League, Superman calls in the reserves. And boy, are there are a ton of JLA reserves. The total new number of team members including all of the reserves is now 35!
–REFERENCE: The Kingdom #1, The Kingdom: Planet Krypton #1, and The Kingdom #2 occur now, in that order. Technically the entire Kingdom mini-series is one big fat Elseworlds tale, but it was written by Mark Waid as an attempt to make all Elseworlds titles canon by linking them to current canonical chronology. This story was written so that the specific events of the future tale, Kingdom Come by Mark Waid/Alex Ross, would link to current Modern Age continuity. However, the events which take place during Kingdom Come have since been retconned to have taken place on an alternate Earth (Earth-22). Likewise, several of the characters/details have been slightly retconned as well. Therefore, my summary here tells of what should most likely occur in our chronology at this point based upon those aforementioned retcons. Here we go. In the mid 2040s on Earth-22 a horrible nuclear disaster occurs in Kansas, shortly after Earth-22 Superman has retired (as seen in Kingdom Come). In The Kingdom the sole survivor of the Kansas disaster blames Superman for the tragedy because he had ceased to be the Earth’s savior anymore. This survivor becomes the godlike super-villain known as Gog and begins traveling backwards through time, murdering Superman over and over and over. Eventually Gog gets to a point in the Earth-22 timeline where Earth-22 Diana and Clark have bore a child. Gog kidnaps the child, keeps traveling backward, and crosses through the Bleed until he reaches Earth-0 (our main DCU Earth), 2004. Meanwhile, the Linear Men (led by Waverider), whose job is to keep the time continuum on one true path in an attempt to preserve one single continuity, are freaking out trying to fix everything. However, Linear Man Rip Hunter has a different idea. Hunter gathers up the old Diana, old Clark, old Earth-22 Bruce Wayne, and several other Earth-22 heroes from the 2040s (including Ibn al Xu’ffasch, the Earth-22 version of adult Damian Wayne). With his troop of heroes, Rip takes them to Earth-0, 2004. Batman first becomes aware of something weird going on when he investigates supposed supernatural occurrences at Booster Gold’s new Planet Krypton restaurant. There, characters from long erased continuities begin phasing in and out. Eventually, Rip and his Earth-22 gang explain the situation to the JLA. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman then meet their elder Earth-22 counterparts! Together, all the heroes are able to defeat Gog and everyone returns to their correct time eras and Earths. Before the story ends, however, Rip’s big reveal is the existence of Hypertime. Hypertime, in layman’s terms, is the interweaving of alternate reality timelines (i.e. Elseworlds/alternate Earth tales) in and out of the primary canonical DC timeline. In theory, Hypertime allowed for a lot of chronological inconsistencies to be explained with ease by writers and editors. However, Hypertime is a pretty lame “easy-out” for explaining said inconsistencies and also serves to annihilate the concept of having a single well-defined, clean chronology. While Hypertime may exist in some form or another, it definitely isn’t what Hunter explains to us in The Kingdom. In fact, DC editors have since fully disavowed the concept of Hypertime. So, basically, I think this story takes place canonically, but the emphasis placed upon Hypertime must be lessened—(it needn’t be completely eliminated as DC editors would have us do)—and many retcons explained above must be factored in. Another huge retcon is that the heroes, despite meeting their Earth-22 counterparts, never learn the full details of Earth-22’s history—when Superman meets the Superman of Earth-22 later on (in Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #11) this history will all be explained to him for the first time. We also learn (in Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #13) that the inter-dimensional time-travelling Gog chooses Magog—the principal villain of Kingdom Come—as his hand-picked successor, inspiring him to cause all the chaos that happens on Earth-22.
–JLA: Foreign Bodies
Kobra is able to somehow shuffle the JLAers’ minds and bodies. Batman’s mind winds up in Superman’s body, and vice-versa. Green Lantern’s mind is in J’onn’s body. Aquaman’s mind is in Wonder Woman’s body. Flash is in Steel’s body. Steel is in Green Lantern’s body. You get the picture. Everyone is able to master their new powers (or lack thereof), defeat Kobra, and make everything back to normal. There is a great part which foreshadows the “Enemies Among Us” storyline from Superman/Batman which will occur years later. When asked what it feels like to have Superman’s powers, Bruce says, “Exhilarating. Dangerous. The temptation to fall back on the powers instead of relying on skill, training, and intellect could easily lead to an erosion of judgment.” And how.
–Nightwing Vol. 2 #28
Nightwing is training to be a Blüdhaven police officer. Meanwhile, the corrupt BPD Lieutenant Dudley Soames gets his head twisted around 180 degrees by Blockbuster, survives, and becomes the gun-slinging supervillain known as Torque. Bruce, as usual, checks in on Dick.
–FLASHBACK: The flashback story from JLA/Hitman #1-2 takes place now. When a manned NASA probe returns from Pluto infested with “Bloodlines” Parasites, Batman recruits Hitman Tommy Monaghan for help due to his experience with the xenomorph-like creatures. The probe crashes into the moon, knocking out power in the Watchtower and incapacitating the League. Tommy, however, is able to kill all of the aliens all by himself. Even though Tommy saves the JLA, they turn him over to Gotham police for the various murders he has committed in the past. The GCPD kindly lets Tommy walk.
–Resurrection Man #21
Resurrection Man helps the JLA defeat Major Force, but then turns down an invitation to join the team.
–Catwoman Vol. 2 #64-65 (“HINTS AND ALLEGATIONS”)
The Joker escapes from Arkham, puts on blue lipstick for some reason, and torments Catwoman for a full week, injecting her with Joker Venom. Batman gives Catwoman the anti-venom and helps her bust Joker.
–Young Justice #5-6
Secret, Arrowette, the new Wonder Girl, and Impulse have all joined Young Justice. The JLA helps the young team defeat Despero.
After Titan member Cyborg (Vic Stone) dies, he is brought back to life by the alien race known as the Technis. However, Vic has a new Techni body, goes by the name Cyberion, and has very little of his humanity left. Vic travels to Earth from the Techni planet, kidnaps the Titans (old and new, including obscure members like Flamebird aka Bette Kane aka the former Bat-Girl), and puts them into artificial simulations, similar to what the Key did to the JLA recently. After the Titans are rescued, the JLA decides that there is nothing left of Vic within Cyberion, and thus he must be destroyed. The Titans don’t believe this and begin a fight with the JLA! Eventually, Vic’s consciousness is fully restored and his mind is downloaded into the war-suit known as the Omegadrome. NOTE: Nightwing will later reveal that he has a clone of Vic Stone and Cyborg gets his old body back! Hmmm… Nightwing has clones of his buddies, eh? Oy vey.
–REFERENCE: Ever since the quake, Oracle has been burdened with a lot more responsibility than she’s ever had before. Not only that, Oracle has been running her “Birds of Prey” operations with Black Canary for over a year now. Therefore, to keep an eye on her, Bruce bugs Oracle’s apartment headquarters with hidden cameras and audio recording devices. Batman and Alfred spy on Babs from an alternate underground “Batcave” amidst the rubble of downtown Gotham. (Batman will use a variety of these makeshift bases during NML). Batman secretly oversees Oracle’s handling of an overseas affair in Rheelasia, which involves Black Canary, Jason Bard, and Robin taking on Jackie Pamerjanian, Hellhound, and Blockbuster. This incident leaves Jason Bard permanently blind. After this, Canary deals with The Ravens and Kobra. All of this stuff takes place in Birds of Prey #2-5.
–Birds of Prey #6
Bruce believes that Oracle is doing a good job and decides to stop the surveillance on her apartment. However, Bruce is surprised to learn that Oracle knew about the spying the whole time, and has been listening in on Batman while he listens in on her! Oracle continues to orchestrate her “Birds of Prey” missions with primary operative Black Canary.
ROAD TO NO MAN’S LAND
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #47-49
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #80
——————–Detective Comics #727
——————–Detective Comics #728
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #81-82
The post-quake situation keeps getting worse. Only one Washington congressman is fighting for more relief funds for Gotham, but he is murdered by the cult leader/rock star/”sexiest man in America”/Gotham-hater Nicholas Scratch. Scratch gets away scott-free with the murder and gives an anti-Gotham speech on live television. Scratch also sends Firefly, Dynamiteer, Tumult, and a bunch of assassins to cause chaos in Gotham. After both the House and Senate vote to end all relief funding, Mr. Wayne goes to Washington to fight for the city he loves in front of Congress. Bruce gives one of the best damn speeches I’ve ever seen his character give, but alas, it isn’t enough. The city is doomed. Meanwhile, due to a mass exodus out of the city, Arkham is heavily understaffed. Even the secondary psychos who’ve never even fought Batman before are getting worked up (i.e. Wax Man, Pinhead, Vox, Jigsaw Man, Witch, Vernon Jamson, Solly Bean, and Wild). Eventually, the inmates are running the asylum and Jeremiah Arkham has no choice but to release all of them. IMPORTANT CONTINUITY ERROR NOTE: Two-Face is shown in Arkham here, which we must ignore. He’d already be out-and-about at this point.
–JLA #28-31 (“CRISIS TIMES FIVE”)
When a magickal reality-warping imp from the 5th Dimension (Lkz) attacks Earth, the JLA teams-up with the few remaining JSA members to combat the evil. However, the combined might of both teams is nothing compared to the sole power of the lightning imp until 15-year-old JJ Williams harnesses the power of another lightning imp, Yz. MEANWHILE, Captain Marvel and Green Lantern travel into the 5th Dimension for help and get the trickster Qswp to come back with them. MEANWHILE, Zauriel embarks on a quest to revive the inert Spectre. MEANWHILE, Batman and Aquaman defend the Watchtower against Triumph and the mind-possessed Ray and Gypsy. Batman and Aquaman also learn that Triumph is responsible for Lkz’s assault. Who is Triumph you ask? Well, Triumph was an original founding member and leader of the JLA, but on an early JLA mission Triumph was transported to dimensional limbo for several years. When he returned no one had any memories of his existence. Triumph was bummed that no one remembered him when he came back, but joined the JL Task Force and tried to make an impact as a hero anyway. However, his depression grew and he wound up trading his soul to Neron in exchange for the lost years in limbo. Cut to the present: Triumph is one mean asshole that hates the JLA. Batman, Aquaman, Steel, and Superman take down Triumph. The Spectre then arrives and freezes Triumph in a block of ice where he is imprisoned on the Watchtower. JJ Williams becomes JJ Thunders and joins the JSA making him the youngest team member (he’s 15, the rest are in their 70s).
Hourman (from the 853rd century) annoyingly shows up at the Watchtower because his “time-vision” is freaking out. The JLA takes him to talk with Batman, who is in the middle of apprehending the Mad Hatter. Batman is equally annoyed with Hourman and palms him off on the original JLA mascot, Snapper Carr.
–REFERENCE: Late January. As seen/referenced in the distant future tale from DC One Million 80-Page Giant #1, a spacetime anomaly occurs where JLA members from various times and universes are sucked from their home locations and times and randomly appear in the Justice Legion-A‘s HQ on Jupiter sometime in the 85,270s (853rd century). During a huge battle royale featuring amazing alternate universe characters from all over, including various Batmen from various times and alternate universes (including Batman from right now and Batman from Bat Year Eight!), the 27th and 853rd century Flash (John Fox) runs on the Cosmic Treadmill to return everyone to their correct universes and times.
ROAD TO NO MAN’S LAND Continued…
——————–Detective Comics #729
——————–Batman: No Man’s Land Secret Files and Origins #1
——————–Batman: No Man’s Land #0, Part 1
February 1-3. Not only has the infamous city of Gotham (which is viewed nationwide as a breeding ground for corruption, insanity, and social unrest) lost government relief funding, as a result of an executive-level loophole in US national security law it was recently decided that Gotham will also be shut down permanently. The city will no longer exist. According to the law, anyone not out of the city by the final tick of the shutdown clock will be cut off from society, and will no longer be considered a US citizen. It’s now the final days before the shutdown. Nicholas Scratch unleashes Gearhead on the city, causing even more chaos. Scratch’s secret reign of terror also results in the assassination of Mayor Grange. When the countdown ends, every bridge leading into the city is demolished by the army and the city is closed off from the rest of the world. Many important players such as the Jim Gordon, Sarah Essen-Gordon, Oracle, Huntress, Bullock, and Montoya elect to stay in Gotham. Nightwing makes a permanent move to Blüdhaven. Tim and his dad move to Keystone City. As of February 3, Gotham is “No Man’s Land.” Bruce (with Alfred), defeated and depressed, travels to Monaco and spends a sad night with Talia taking care of him. NOTE: For the rest of February, Bruce will remain incommunicado with Dick, Tim, Barbara, and pretty much everyone else that remains in Gotham while planning a suitable return strategy. (Bruce’s silent treatment will actually continue until May, only ending when he finally returns to Gotham in Batman: No Man’s Land #1, but we’ll get to that later).
–NOTE: With Batman outside of No Man’s Land Gotham and not communicating with any of his Bat-Family, Oracle takes it upon herself to become not only the main source of information in NML, but starts chronicling events as well. Without law and order (or supplies or food) feudalism and a barter system will emerge in Gotham over the course of this first month. Gangs/tribes will start to form and fight over territory. Likewise, the GCPD, multiple gangs, Huntress, and many of Batman’s rogues will get involved in the territorial battles as well. The Penguin, now officially the richest man in Gotham (so to speak) begins figuring out ways to fully capitalize on the dire situation. Right out of the gate, No Man’s Land features some real post-apocalyptic shit. All bridges are down, communication is primitive, and the army patrols the city borders. Nothing gets in our out. As we’ve said above, Batman won’t appear in Gotham for any of this, but he will still work with the JLA throughout the rest of February.
Young superhero Anataeus joins the JLA. Shortly after joining, he winds up quitting after the League refuses to interfere in the affairs of a small country called Kirai, where a corrupt dictator is abusing the populace. Remember when Batman quit the JLA for the exact same reason? Now the shoe is on the other foot, but this time, Batman agrees with the rest of the team. Anataeus doesn’t form a group of “outsiders” though. Instead, he busts into Kirai and executes their corrupt president. The powerful Anataeus then battles the entire JLA to a draw. (Kirai will fall into bitter civil war after the death of the president and thousands will die. Realizing the consequences of his actions, Anataeus will commit suicide a few weeks later).
——————–Superboy Vol. 3 #60
——————–Superboy Vol. 3 #65
Big Barda booms into the Watchtower with a badly beaten Superboy, who dies in front of the entire JLA (sans Batman). Everyone freaks out until Superboy walks into the room. What’s going on? The Superboy that died is from another Earth and had come to Earth-0 via a special “Hypertime-Jacket” to warn of a threat against the entire multiverse by yet another evil alt-Superboy known as Black Zero. The heroes go to Project Cadmus—(Superboy works for Cadmus)—to examine the deceased alt-Superboy and determine that only a Superboy can wear the jacket and travel through the multiverse to stop the threat. After Superboy confers with The Hairies, a group of Cadmus-engineered super hippies who have developed genius-level intelligence and transport technology beyond the understanding of humans, the young hero meets with the rest of his peers, including Batman. Batman and Superman talk about their recent adventure from The Kingdom #1-2 and convince Superboy to go on the multiverse-hopping mission. Superboy randomly blasts into the multiverse, first winding up on an Earth where Robin is dead and Superboy acts as Batman’s sidekick. (Superboy will bounce through a few different realities—gaining help from the Challengers of the Unknown and Rip Hunter—before making things right and returning back to Earth-0). When Superboy returns to Cadmus after defeating Black Zero, the Boy of Steel surprises top Cadmus officials who are in the process of hiring his new metahuman replacement since they figured he was never coming back. Superboy is then debriefed by Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman.
–Superman: The Man of Steel #86
This is the beginning of the Dominus affair. Superman seems to have gained some sort of pre-cognition and is acting like he’s amped-up on speed. Superman has also constructed a Brother-Eye-like satellite with which he can spy on the entire superhero and supervillain community, including Batman and Robin. What is going on, you ask? We’ll soon find out.
–Adventures of Superman #565-566
The villain Dominus has recently entered Superman’s mind and shown him the possible nuclear horror that could befall humanity if the Man of Steel is not more vigilant. Thus, under the secret influence of Dominus, Superman becomes extremely authoritarian. Now, using Kryptonian technology within his Antarctic Fortress of Solitude, Superman creates hundreds of Superman Robots which patrol the Earth 24-7. Superman places the entire planet under his own personal martial law. Obviously, the populace isn’t happy about this. Superman is not only branded an enemy of the people, but the UN declares war on him as well. This declaration of war finally forces the intervention of his superhero friends, including Batman.
–Action Comics #753
Lex Luthor’s own superhero team, The Supermen of America, aren’t able to contain Supes and a ton of collateral property damage occurs in Metropolis. Batman then attempts to use his Kryptonite ring on Superman, but realizes it has been switched for a fake. (Luthor has the genuine K article).
–Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #13
The JLA are officially called in by the government to apprehend the Man of Steel. Using GL’s ring, Batman and Green Lantern are able to create synthetic Kryptonite which nearly kills Superman. The team then winds up fighting an army of Superman Robots.
–Adventures of Superman #567
Superman’s Fortress of Solitude has just been leveled by Lex Luthor. Superman finally comes to his senses and realizes that Dominus has been using him. While Batman and Oracle lead a coordinated global attack against the Superman Robots, Superman saves Lois and confronts Dominus amidst the rubble of his former fortress. Dominus amps up his power and declares himself “Superman Rex.” Superman and Dominus do battle.
–Superman: King of the World #1
Late March. Supes rejoins his JLA teammates, defeats the army of Superman Robots, and then defeats Dominus for good. Superman is okay again, but will the Earth ever trust Superman again? Or for that matter, will Bruce ever trust him again?
–REFERENCE: April 1 to May 2. Batman continues to remain incommunicado with Dick, Tim, Barbara, and everyone that stayed in Gotham. (He won’t even speak to any of them until May 12! And when Batman finally reenters the beleaguered city, No Man’s Land will have been in effect for 100 days.) Batman: No Man’s Land #1 starts on the 93rd day of No Man’s Land i.e. May 5. Here is what happens in Gotham during these first 93 days of isolation from the world (as told by NML chronicler Oracle in Batman: No Man’s Land #1). Without law and order, supplies, or food, feudalism and a barter system emerge. The desperate and starving gangs (now called “tribes”) take over their own distinct territories. Each tribe is in constant warfare. Spray-paint tagging becomes the best means of marking territory. Black Mask, Scarface, Two-Face, the GCPD, and Huntress all control their own sectors. Poison Ivy (who is actually being controlled by Clayface) runs all of Robinson Park. The Street Demonz and their rivals the LoBoys also control large sectors of the city. The Penguin turns his sector into the “Casablanca” of NML—the ultimate black market. As I said previously, it doesn’t get more intensely post-apocalyptic than this. To reiterate: All bridges are down, communication is primitive, and the US army patrols the city borders. Nothing gets in our out. After a quick note about Stephanie Brown’s baby, we’ll pick up on May 5, 2004, exactly 93 days into NML.
–NOTE: In early May, Stephanie Brown gives birth to her child and gives the baby up for adoption rather than become a single teenage mother. Tim is there to support her. (Okay, now we can move on to NML).
NO MAN’S LAND Part 1
——————–Batman: No Man’s Land #1
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83
——————–Batman: No Man’s Land #0, Part 2
——————–Detective Comics #730
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #50-51
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #116
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #84
——————–Detective Comics #731
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #52
May 5 to mid May. Our tale picks up on the 93rd day of NML. The tribal wars rage in Gotham. The GCPD is making progress (by inciting a war between the Demonz and the LoBoys), although Gordon has given up all hope in Batman returning and won’t even let his cops utter the Dark Knight’s name in his presence. Meanwhile, a mysterious new Batgirl begins fighting crime and spray-painting Bat-symbols all across NML. On Day 100 (May 12) Batman (with Alfred) reenters Gotham and tells Oracle that he is back to reclaim the city. By Day 102 (May 14) the GCPD has taken over the territories of both the LoBoys and Demonz. Oracle re-unites with her dad. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Billy Pettit’s military bravado is becoming more coldly homicidal and violent as the days go on. Batman meets the new Batgirl and appropriates her spray-paint tagging idea. It is also revealed that Batman is operating out of an underground sewer-annex of the Gotham Power Company. After some old-fashioned undercover detective work, Batman brings down the Ventriloquist. But Rhino delivers a harsh lesson, “It ain’t about good guys and bad guys anymore, Batman. It’s just about survival.” The peasants that served under Scarface don’t know how to live without him as their lord and dictator. Thus, Batman becomes the new leader of Scarface’s territory (with Rhino in charge). Concurrently, Bruce sends Azrael (who dons a new Harold-designed costume) to battle Nicholas Scratch outside of the city.  Back in NML, Father Christian Sounder sets up a refugee center, but refuses GCPD protection, much to the chagrin of Gordon. Huntress also has a bone to pick with the refugee center because Father Christian has allowed the Scarecrow to live there. Everyone will have a bone to pick with Father Christian soon enough because Penguin is using the refugee center’s basement as a secret stash for a ton of guns and ammo. Simultaneously, Batman and Huntress use a former False Facer named Mikey as a mole to retrieve information about Black Mask’s gang, which results in Mikey being shot. Bruce brings Mikey to the medical tent-city and puts him under the care of Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Meanwhile, Scarecrow has begun to stir up the residents of the refugee center with his fiery oratory. Everything boils to a head as the Penguin’s men, the GCPD, and the False Facers all converge on the refugee center to retrieve the guns. Huntress is unable to contain the situation and a bloodbath ensues. Batman appears and ends the crisis. Bruce reveals to the new Batgirl that he now operates out of several mini-Batcaves, including one inside Arkham Asylum, which he constructed while Dick was Batman (during the “Prodigal” arc).
NO MAN’S LAND Part 2
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #117
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #85-86
——————–The Batman Chronicles #17, Part 1
——————–The Batman Chronicles #17, Part 3
——————–The Batman Chronicles #16, Part 2
——————–Detective Comics #732
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #53
——————–Anarky Vol. 2, #1
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #118
——————–Detective Comics #733
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #54-55
——————–Young Justice in No Man’s Land #1
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #119
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #87
May to June. Following the fall of the LoBoys and Demonz, the Wreckers and the Xhosa have quickly replaced them and the GCPD now have their hands full again. However, Gordon reluctantly makes a deal with a mystery person (later revealed to be Two-Face) and within hours the rival gangs are brutally and murderously eliminated. Concurrently, Batman enters himself into Penguin’s prize-fighting contest and beats everyone silly. At the end of the tourney, Batman has not only successfully turned the populace against the Penguin, but has strong-armed the latter into handing over his operations. (Basically, Bats now runs two territories with Rhino and Penguin under his thumb). Speaking of being in charge, Batman also controls and operates Blackgate prison, which he uses as an actual prison. The Caped Crusader appoints KGBeast and Lock-Up as his wardens! (Tally Man is the absolutely unofficial Blackgate judge). Next, after Bat-Boy Aaron Langstrom is kidnapped, Francine injects herself with the Man-Bat serum and turns into a Woman-Bat (!) to find her son. Meanwhile, Black Mask has become more sadistic than ever. His False Facers no longer wear masks. Instead, they morbidly mutilate their faces and bodies and act like a fanatically religious cult. Batman sends the new Batgirl on a mission to shut down the entire gang, which she is able to do all by herself! Oracle sees the new Batgirl in action and is furious. Simultaneously, Azrael’s quest to bring Nick Scratch to justice continues on. Batman then tangles with Anarky and forces him out of NML. Next, the JLA prevents the super-criminal organization known as Locus from taking over NML. Robin then disobeys Batman’s orders and crashes into NML with his Young Justice teammates. The teens do battle with one of Poison Ivy’s Ferak plant-women until Batman saves their asses. He scolds Robin and tells him to get outta dodge. While leaving, Young Justice prevents the Kobra organization from invading NML. On Day 129 (June 10) (which cannot possibly take place in winter) Two-Face and Penguin begin simultaneous massive attacks on Batman’s territories. At the exact same time the GCPD attacks Penguin’s territories (which unknown to them are actually Batman’s territories). So basically, Batman’s sectors are getting shit-on really badly (Batgirl is unable to defend any of them) and the Dark Knight is out of the picture because he’s been drugged and knocked unconscious by Two-Face’s hired Russian femme-fatale, Echo. By the time Bruce wakes up at the end of the day, he’s has lost everything. Two-Face now controls virtually all of NML!
NO MAN’S LAND Part 3
——————–Detective Comics #734
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #34
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #67
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #120
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #68-70
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #56-57
——————–The Batman Chronicles #17, Part 2
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #88
——————–Detective Comics #735
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #121
——————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #72-74
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #89
June. Superman comes to NML and Batman gives him 24 hours to “make a difference,” knowing full-well that Supes will be totally out of his element. Superman is able to apprehend Mad Hatter and get one power plant up and running, but when he realizes that the Gothamites cannot function democratically anymore, the Man of Steel leaves defeated. Another result of Superman’s visit to NML: Mr. Freeze takes control of the city’s only functional power plant. Batman infiltrates Freeze’s ice palace and their subsequent battle causes the power plant to explode. Freeze floats down river on a giant glacier as he curses and shakes his fist in the air, vowing revenge. This has to be the lamest moment in all of NML. Moving on as quickly as possible, the world’s premier assassin (and one of the men who trained Bruce) is in NML: David Cain. Cain (hired by Two-Face) attempts to assassinate Gordon, but is stopped by his own daughter, one of Barbara’s agents, Cassandra Cain. Batman meets Cassandra, who is mute and only knows “the language of violence” as she was trained by her father to be the ultimate martial artist since birth. While Batman apprehends David Cain, he sends the more-than-capable Cassandra on a mission to bring down Two-Face. With relative ease, Cassandra defeats Two-Face (and his ally Tally Man). Just like that, Batman regains his territories. The Dark Knight finally meets with Gordon, and the latter promptly punches the former in the face and tells him to get bent! While Bats can’t smooth things over with Jim, he makes things a hell of a lot easier in NML by calling in the troops. Oracle, Azrael, Nightwing, Robin, and Cassandra all gather together and make plans to retake Gotham as a team. Batman then fires Batgirl (who reveals herself to actually be Huntress!) for her failure to defend his territories. Cassandra is officially appointed as the new Batgirl! Batman and Robin then fight against Tommy Mangles, Ratcatcher, Gearhead, and the already returning Mr. Freeze. Azrael continues to fight Nick Scratch. Catwoman also returns to Gotham and the Dark Knight passionately kisses her! When SOTB #88 begins, we are supposedly at NML Day 189. However, it should correctly read NML Day 140 (June 21). Billy Pettit and his splinter group of sadistic followers breaks off from the GCPD. Gordon loses a bunch of his officers to Pettit’s violent militaristic faction. Huntress, feeling like a kindred spirit to Pettit since she’s been kicked out off the Bat-team, joins the madman’s group! Meanwhile, Batman and Robin sneak into Robinson Park and discover that Poison Ivy (now with her new green-skin look) has been held hostage by Clayface (Basil Karlo) for the past four months! (Ivy says “six months,” but trust me, it’s been four). Batman frees Ivy and together they are able to defeat the crazed Clayface. Batman allows Ivy to remain in control of the park as long as she continues to protect the innocent orphaned children under her care. Back on the other side of town, Two-Face has come to collect on his prior assistance deal with Gordon. What does he want? Renee Montoya. (Harvey has fallen in love with her.) When Gordon refuses, Harvey gets what he wants by kidnapping her! Batgirl Cassie Cain then busts some gang members in her first successful solo mission in costume. And last but not least, Lex Luthor has plans for NML and hires Bane to help him. PS. Mercy Graves makes her comic book debut as Luthor’s bodyguard!
–The L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons) #1-5
When the supervillain known as Avatar places the entire Watchtower (and the JLA within) into suspended animation, the President forms a temporary super-team known as The Living Assault Weapons (LAW for short). This was DC’s attempt to integrate the anti-heroes of The Watchmen into the DCU (in a sense). The LAW comprises of all the old Charlton characters. The heroes from The Watchmen were a thinly veiled conglomeration of these same Charlton characters. Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Nightshade, the Question, Sergeant Steel, Peacemaker, and Judomaster form the LAW and with their combined might, they are able to rescue the JLA and defeat Avatar, who turns out to be Judomaster’s old sidekick. Afterward, LAW disbands. I should mention that the Second Feature of DC Universe Legacies #10 contains a one-panel flashback which shows the aftermath of the LAW’s battle with Avatar. However, in this flashback Beetle is shown rejoining Giffen’s old version of the JLI. Obviously this is incorrect and must be ignored.
–NOTE: Flash (Wally West) temporarily disappears during a battle against Barry Allen’s twin brother, Cobalt Blue and the second Reverse-Flash. Thus, he will be absent from the next JLA story (JLA #33). This is a confusing Hypertime event in which Walter West aka Dark Flash (an older Wally from the future of an alternate universe) travels through the Bleed to assist Wally. Barry Allen also makes a brief return to assist Wally in the battle against his twin brother! Barry has been dead for over five years, but part of his spirit still resides within the Speed Force, and it has been exploring the time-stream for the past five-plus years. Barry’s spirit is able to manifest itself into human form to aid in this fight. So, basically we have three Flashes versus two evil-Flashes. And in the end, Wally temporarily disappears and Dark Flash (Walter West) replaces him on the DCU’s main timeline until he returns.
Batman meets with the JLA on the Watchtower and tells them he’s discovered the man responsible for NML: Bruce Wayne! Since only Superman knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, the team heads to the French Riviera to apprehend the billionaire playboy. What the hell is going on here, you ask? Bruce has discovered a phony Bruce Wayne has been gallivanting around Europe and wants the JLAers to take care of the situation while he is occupied in Gotham. GL, Plastic Man, Steel, Orion, and Barda arrive at a casino on the French Riviera and the men put on tuxedos while Barda puts on an odd-looking, but sexy skin-tight red dress. She’s wearing Plastic Man! Unsettling but hilarious stuff. Back to the case at hand. The JLAers soon discover that “Bruce Wayne” is actually one of the Hyperclan White Martians (from JLA #1-4) in disguise! They defeat the creature and save the day. NOTE: Dark Flash (Walter West) replaces the missing Wally as a JLA team member in this issue. Wally will be back before you know it.
——————–JLA Annual #3
——————–Batman Annual #23
——————–Martian Manhunter Annual #2
Gorilla City, African home to a race of highly evolved gorillas (including the villain Grodd), has long been a secret from the modern world. However, King Solovar, leader of the apes, decides to reveal his race to the world. After being accepted into the UN, Solovar is assassinated and replaced by the evil King Uglo, who wages war on humanity. Uglo and his army are able to temporarily turn the JLA into apes. After reverting back, Batman and Nightwing battle Blockbuster, Lady Vic, and some well-dressed gangster apes (including Grimm) in Blüdhaven. Uglo is dethroned and Solovar’s son becomes the new king. Sadly, Gorilla City becomes isolated from the world once again.
Jerome Cox aka The Disciple is the descendant of evil ancient god-like beings and he’s one bad dude. The Disciple attacks the JLA and devolves them. The humans become neanderthals, Aquaman becomes an amphibious creature, Zauriel becomes a cherub, and Wonder Woman becomes a free-floating pure soul. However, even in their devolved states, the team is able to defeat the Disciple.
–JLA Showcase 80-Page Giant #1, Part 1
Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern defeat a group of aliens called The Hand of Krona, who wish to forcibly “unify” the universe.
–JLA: Earth 2
If you didn’t already know, the DCU’s primary Earth is the polar opposite of the Antimatter Universe’s Earth, home to the evil version of the JLA known as the Crime Syndicate of Amerika. The CSA features the murderous dictator Ultraman, his cuckolding partner Superwoman, Volthoom-powered Power Ring, drug-addicted Johnny Quick, and Batman’s counterpart Owlman. Our story begins when the Antimatter Earth’s superhero version of Lex Luthor, the classic 70s-green-armored-suit-wearing Alexander Luthor, crosses onto Earth-0 and begs the JLA to come help him defeat the CSA. The JLA (sans J’onn J’onzz and Aquaman) then travel to the Antimatter Earth. There, Batman confronts the Antimatter version of his father, Gotham’s commissioner of police. On the Antimatter Earth, Bruce and Martha died that night in Crime Alley and older brother Thomas Wayne, Jr., forever placing blame upon his father, swore to be a thorn in the commissioner’s side, becoming the horrible Owlman in the process. Batman tells Commissioner Wayne that the JLA is here to clean up the planet. Within a day’s time, the JLA puts the CSA into a Green Lantern created prison and rids all tyranny and organized crime from the planet as promised. Batman saves Commissioner Wayne’s life from Gotham’s worst crime boss, Jim Gordon. However, according to the laws of the multiverse, lifeforms from the Matter Earth and Antimatter Earth cannot co-exist with each other. What disappears must be displaced. The CSA poofs away and materializes on Earth-0, immediately destroying Washington, DC and battling J’onn and Aquaman. At Wayne Manor Cemetery, Owlman sees the grave of Thomas and Martha Wayne and realizes that they cannot win. Back on the Antimatter Earth, the real big bag of the tale emerges, the entity that has manipulated everything to ensure of his escape, having previously been captured by Ultraman: Brainiac! With Brainiac’s plan in motion, both Earths begin to disastrously merge into each other. The CSA switches places with the JLA in order to prevent the bitter end. Ultraman seemingly kills Brainiac once and for all. (Not really—he’ll be back.) On Earth-0, the JLA rebuilds Washington, DC. The end. NOTE: The only reason this story is titled “Earth 2” is because Alexander Luthor refers to the primary DCU Earth as “Earth 2.” The Antimatter Earth is NOT Earth-2. The Antimatter Earth doesn’t have a corresponding number or letter designation. It simply is the Antimatter Earth. Remember, thanks to Infinite Crisis, there is already a pre-existing Earth-2 in the multiverse that houses the superhero team known as Justice Society Infinity and mirrors the Golden Age. Therefore, a more fitting name for this brilliantly wonderful Morrison/Quitely graphic novel would simply be JLA: The Antimatter Earth.
NO MAN’S LAND Part 4
——————–Detective Comics #736
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #58
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #122
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #90
——————–Batman: Harley Quinn
——————–Detective Comics #737
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #123
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #91
——————–Detective Comics #738
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #35-36
——————–The Batman Chronicles #18
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #37
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #124
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #92
Late June. Bane crashes his way into NML as Huntress/Pettit’s splinter GCPD group crashes its way into Leslie Thompkins’ over-crowded makeshift clinic. Doc Thompkins stands helpless as a potential powder keg is ready to explode in her midst. By harboring the evil Mr. Zsasz, she upsets just about everyone, from Huntress to Killer Croc. After Croc and Zsasz duke it out, Batman is able to defeat the latter. In Chinatown, Batman is able to defeat Lynx and her Ghost Dragons. Bane is then able to destroy all of Gotham’s recorded history by demolishing the library and hall of records with low-level nuclear weapons. But for what purpose? Clark Kent then takes a stroll through NML and chit-chats with Batman about the progress that has been made thus far.
- COLLIN COLSHER: Welcome to Bat Year Sixteen. “Cataclysm” will take us into “No Man’s Land” and Sarah Essen-Gordon will die this year. January is hella-compressed—possibly the most compressed month we’ve seen yet.↩
- ODI / COLLIN COLSHER / TIPTUP JR 94: In one of the panels of the lengthy 1999 Bullock’s Law one-shot, a banner attached to a building reads: “OPEN, post quake comfort.” Gotham is indeed depicted a post-quake mess, but the city is still functional with most businesses open and the court system still trying cases. That makes this story set somewhere between “Cataclysm” and “No Man’s Land, mostly likely where we have it, right after “Aftershock Part One.” Originally, Bullock’s Law was likely meant to occur around two weeks after the quake, just like “Aftershock Part One.” But due to time-compression, we are still less than a week removed from the quake.
Why does Bullock’s Law go after “Aftershock Part One”? Specifically, it has to go after Detective Comics #722, where Sarah Essen-Gordon leaves Tricorner and is reunited with Jim Gordon for the first time since the quake. Sarah appears early on in Bullock’s Law (before the part listed here that features Batman), referred to as a lieutenant, whereas in ‘tec #722 she identifies as a captain. Since the first part of Bullock’s Law overlaps with the previous “Aftershock Part One” arc—which, again, has been compressed down via time-retcons—this means that Sarah gets a promotion sometime during Bullock’s Law.
Furthermore, the important Widow-Whacker killings span two weeks, which means that they started before the beginning of the first part of Bullock’s Law. This also means that the Widow-Whacker is active before “Aftershock Part One.”
Bullock’s Law also mentions a “confirmed Man-Bat sighting.” The closest Man-Bat appearance is the upcoming Oracle story in Batman Chronicles #15. Therefore, the Man-Bat sighting mentioned in Bullock’s law is separate.
Sadly, nothing corroborates Harvey’s broken left arm from the end of Bullock’s Law. We must assume the magickal super-fast healing times of comic books is at work yet again. Or that Harvey’s arm wasn’t legit broken after all. Notably, Bullock’s right arm does appear in a sling in ‘tec #722, but this reflects injuries suffered during Cataclysm. Plus ‘tec #722 takes place before Bullock’s Law, as we’ve clearly established.↩
- ODI: DC 2000 is highly amusing; some lines of dialogue by the JSA members are fun as hell. The story is set after JLA #26 and before JLA #27 because Hourman is in it and it takes place post-DC One Million. In this part of the year it is kind of hard to place stories containing the JLA and Batman (JLA/Hitman for example) because of all the chaos in Gotham, not to mention in the Batverse we never see a Batplane like the one in the JLAverse.
COLLIN COLSHER: It’s tough around the post-quake-era to accurately place stories, but it does all manage to fit into a solid chronology as we have shown (even if you have to suspend your disbelief a bit). And maybe Bruce only brings out the really crazy Bat-tech to impress his fellow JLA teammates?↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Superboy Vol. 3 #60-65 places a lot of emphasis on the concept of Hypertime (see note about The Kingdom above for details). We must ignore this emphasis and think of Superboy’s alternate reality journey as having little to do with Hypertime and more to do with simple travel of the wider, previously unknown parts of the multiverse.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: There are a bunch of Batman prose novels that are all out-of-continuity. A perfect example is The Ultimate Evil by Andrew Vachss, which, along with its comic book adaptation, is distinctly out-of-continuity. Unlike The Ultimate Evil, however, most of the Batman novels are prose adaptations of the comics story-arcs (which at times give a ton more detailed information, and such is the case with No Man’s Land The Novel, finely penned by Greg Rucka). As a far as I know, the No Man’s Land prose novel links up chronologically with the “No Man’s Land” comics arc on my list. So it’s kinda-sorta in-canon.↩
- IVAN / TIPTUP JR 94: Azrael: Agent of the Bat #50, despite having continuity issues that jar with NML, goes between Detective Comics #730 (“No Law and a New Order Part 4”) and Azrael: Agent of the Bat #51. This is because in Azrael #50 Batman says to Azrael, “I’ve got my hands full here in Gotham.” So Batman has returned to Gotham already and has got things underway. Also, Oracle talks to Azrael when he has spoken to Batman and is on the way to find Nicholas Scratch and he doesn’t tell her he spoke with Batman nor does she ask him if he has seen him.
The issues shown in Azrael #50 are glaring and strange, though. First, Gotham seems to have plenty of electricity. Second, while the federal shutdown of the city is clearly in place, it’s shown and mentioned that Azrael is able to drive out of the city. Finally, Azrael #50 curiously deliberately avoids showing Batman’s belt, a sign that creators were not sure at the time of its publication where it would fit into the NML arc.↩