YEAR TWENTY-ONE (Pt. 2)

2009 (May to August)

 

–NOTE: In Superman/Batman #27. Early May. Superman and Batman aren’t in this item. Power Girl, who now has full memories of her life on the pre-original Crisis Earth-2, dreams about a past adventure she had with Helena Wayne (Bruce and Selina’s daughter from the pre-original Crisis Earth-2).

–NOTE: In Aquaman Vol. 6 #40. The Dweller in the Depths summons Arthur Joseph Curry to become the new Aquaman.  The new Aquaman will soon learn that the Dweller is actually the former Aquaman.  For anyone wondering, Arthur Joseph Curry (new Aquaman) is no relation to Arthur Curry (former Aquaman), although the former is named after the latter, and their histories are very intertwined.  But hey, this ain’t no Aquaman chronology, so let’s move on!

–NOTE: In references in Green Lantern Vol. 4 #23-25. Two years after reconstruction began, Coast City, CA is finally completely rebuilt! Why did it take two years to rebuild Coast City when it only took months to rebuild Gotham? Well, there was a lot of backlash against rebuilding Coast City because so many people died there. The location of Coast City was treated more as a memorial site than a site of future rebuilding or progress. Thus, the construction, repopulation process, and economic stimulus were halted several times, causing long delays.

ONE YEAR LATER/FACE THE FACE
——————–Detective Comics #817
——————–Batman #651
——————–Detective Comics #818
——————–Batman #652
——————–Detective Comics #819
——————–Batman #653
——————–Detective Comics #820
——————–Batman #654
Ok, so its been over one full year since Infinite Crisis.  Our story begins with the mysterious murder of KGBeast.  Batman tells Harvey Dent that his moonlighting period as a crime-fighter is over now that the Dark Knight is officially back.  After easily taking down Poison Ivy, Commissioner Gordon (with his new right-hand woman Jamie Harper) tells Batman that, in addition to KGBeast, Magpie has also been murdered.  While the Dynamic Duo takes down Mad Hatter, our mystery killer offs the Ventriloquist.  Batman then visits Jason Bard (!) in his apartment and hires the PI to be his man-on-the-street during daytime hours.  While Robin takes down the new Killer Moth, Batman’s investigation into the murders of the villains leads him to Harvey Dent.  Harvey is insulted by Batman’s accusations, but refuses to comment, instead setting off a bomb and blowing his apartment sky high before dashing away.  Batman and Robin then stumble across Killer Croc, who is feeding off the murdered remains of Orca, who has also been killed by the mystery slayer.  The heroes easily beat-down Croc and contact Bard.  Bard visits with Orca’s husband and learns that the four dead villains were all working for Penguin at the time of their deaths.  In the middle of the questioning, the new Tally Man shows up and kills Orca’s hubby and shoots Bard in the arm.  Tally Man is our mystery killer, but who is he working for?  Bard fights Tally Man and karate kicks his ass into unconsciousness without getting any answers.  Concurrently, Harvey has become completely unhinged ever since Batman questioned him about the murders.  The crazed madman breaks down and pours acid on his face and scars himself with a scalpel.  Two-Face is back just like that.  After apprehending Scarecrow, the Dynamic Duo discovers evidence which proves Harvey is innocent.  But it’s too late—Two-Face goes on a rampage at the zoo and Batman and Robin are forced to capture him and sent him back to Arkham.  At Arkham, Batman now knows that Warren White (The Great White Shark) is Gotham’s new #1 crime-lord.  Even incarcerated at Arkham, White’s reach extends into the seedy underbelly of Gotham’s organized criminal element.  However, now that Batman knows his game, Great White’s influence is greatly lessened.  He will remain Gotham’s top dog, but will be largely ineffective.  Afterward, Bruce finally adopts Tim as his legal son and heir (which would be more of a formality since Tim is 18-years-old now) and Tim moves into Wayne Manor. I should also mention that the flashback from Detective Comics #844 occurs right after the death of Arnold Wesker. Peyton Riley (who has just been shot by her husband Johnny Sabatino) stumbles upon a bullet-riddled Scarface, who speaks to her!  Peyton takes the doll and will eventually become the new Ventriloquist (but we’ll get to that when we get to it).

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #7. Bruce and Clark meet and decide that they should reform the JLA. Out of this meeting, they schedule a second meeting (to take place a few months later) during which they will vote on new JLA membership. Bruce begins funding the construction of a new Hall of Justice headquarters for the team in Washington DC. He also begins funding the construction of a new satellite Watchtower, which will sit in Earth’s orbit.

–Supergirl Vol. 5 #9[1]
Kara continues her seemingly never-ending adjustment to Earth life by hanging out with friends and going on a date with the new Captain Boomerang (son of the original). Kara also sells Batman a “sourcedoc,” a Kryptonian orb device that can essentially rewrite genetic code. (Kara says that “everyone” back home had one). She is offering it to Bruce first for research and eventual marketing, for the price of a million dollars. Bruce says that he and Wonder Woman have already set ahead money for her, and Kara replies that if he doesn’t want the device she will be going to STAR Labs next. Bruce agrees to the offer (and asks if she wants a check or an apartment building) and Kara kisses him on the cheek before leaving.

–NOTE: In references in Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #1-2. Diana has still not re-appeared following her year-off from crime-fighting. Nobody knows what happened to her. In Diana’s absence, Donna Troy assumes the mantle of Wonder Woman.

–FLASHBACK: From Joker’s Asylum II: Clayface #1 Part 2.  Batman fights and apprehends Clayface (Basil Karlo) and his cult of horror film fanboys known as “The Children of Clay.”  Parts of this story may be apocryphal since Joker narrates it.

–Firestorm The Nuclear Man Vol. 2 #25
Firestorm (who has now merged with Firehawk) takes on the sub-zero themed super-villain team-up of Mr. Freeze and Killer Frost.  Things go pretty badly until Batman shows up and takes control.

THE REPLACEMENTS
——————–Catwoman Vol. 3 #53
——————–Catwoman Vol. 3 #55
Selina Kyle gives birth to her first child, Helena Kyle! The father is the now deceased Sam Bradley Jr (son of Selina’s ex-boyfriend Slam Bradley). While Selina rests following labor, Holly Robinson becomes the new Catwoman. Batman visits Selina to see her new beautiful baby girl and brings two gifts: a teddy bear and a full-paid scholarship to the college of her choosing in 18 years. Batman then spoils the happy moment by scolding Selina for putting Holly in danger as the new Catwoman.  When Holly is attacked by Angle Man and the new Film Freak, Selina has Bruce find her a good sitter and squeezes back into her Catwoman costume. Batman isn’t in the rest of this story (which concludes with Catwoman Vol. 3 #56-57), but here’s what happens. The two Catwomen patrol the Gotham streets together, but back at the babysitter’s house, bad things are happening. Angle Man and Film Freak kidnap baby Helena! Selina goes in solo and gets her baby back and beats the tar out of the villains.

–NOTE: In Nightwing #118-122. In New York City, ladykiller Dick Grayson beds a few random girls and then faces-off against Jason Todd to reclaim sole ownership of the Nightwing title.

–NOTE: In Catwoman Vol. 3 #58-62. Holly Robinson gets arrested for the murder of Black Mask (a crime that Selina actually committed last year). Selina then breaks Holly out of jail, causing a huge GCPD backlash against the Cat-Family. There are now officially two Catwomen in Gotham as Selina and Holly function as a team.

–Superman/Batman #72-74
I’m placing this story-arc here for several reasons.  One, it takes place well after Identity Crisis. Check.  Two, it takes place while Lex Luthor is head of LexCorp. Check.  Three, it is mentioned that Luthor hasn’t been to Gotham for years. Check.  Okay, here we go.  Luthor spies on Superman using an experimental quantam satellite scope.  Using this technology, Luthor witnesses the Man of Steel accidentally destroy a bunch of buildings on an alien planet while saving its humanoid inhabitants from a meteor shower.  The collateral damage is enough to earn Superman the aliens’ wrath instead of appreciation.  Luthor immediately begins shipping advanced technology, Kryptonite weaponry (he must have had a secret stockpile), and anti-Superman propaganda to this alien planet, dubbed “Lexor,” in hopes of cultivating and nurturing an entire planetary race of Superman-hating aliens.  Meanwhile in Metropolis, Luthor secretly funds a fanatical religion that worships Superman as a god.  The cultists kidnap Lois Lane and try to kill her for rejecting Superman in favor of Clark Kent!  If only she could explain.  Batman saves Lois and, along with Superman, takes down the cult.  In order to keep Batman off of his trail, Luthor occupies the Dark Knight with hired agents posing as common street thugs in Gotham.  Concurrently, Superman returns to Lexor and is attacked by a rabid Kryptonite-wielding mob.  Flying back into outer space, Supes intercepts a LexCorp rocket entering the planet’s atmosphere via a wormhole.  At the same time, Batman finds out Luthor is behind the Gotham crime wave.  Both Batman and Superman confront Luthor together and shut down his operations, although there is no hard evidence linking Luthor to the crimes as usual.  I should mention that Superman talks about going on several JLA missions during this time period. Of course, at this point, there is no JLA and Superman is in the process of rebuilding the team.  Therefore, we must assume these JLA missions are preliminary recruitment missions.

–REFERENCE: In Superman/Batman #28. Batman suffers a minor knife wound when combating some street thugs. This item happens one week prior to Superman/Batman #28.

–Superman/Batman #75
I’m placing this tale here because it is the last place it fits where both Luthor is still in charge of LexCorp and Bruce is still Batman, concurrently.  From the 31st Century, a green-skinned Kryptonite-infused clone of Lex Luthor time-travels to present day to assassinate Superman.  The Luthor clone nearly succeeds, but Batman and the time-traveling Legion of Superheroes are able to perform life-saving surgery.  While Batman tends to Supes in the Batcave, the Legion tracks down and kills the evil clone.

–NOTE: In Superman #650-653 and Action Comics #837-840. Unsurprisingly, Lex Luthor is acquitted of all charges related to the “Everyman Project” disaster last year.  However, the trial has been particularly financially damaging.  Losses in civil suits cause Luthor to not only be ousted from LexCorp, but to file for bankruptcy as well. An angry Luthor attacks Metropolis using a stolen Kryptonian warship, but Superman defeats the villain as he has done so many times before. Superman then rebuilds his Fortress of Solitude at the North Pole. Following his attack, Luthor is able to miraculously clear himself of all charges, as usual. Luthor has still lost just about everything, but he manages to claim ownership of an old LexCorp Communications office building in Gotham, where he retreats to.  At this location, Luthor tries in vain to salvage his assets. Several henchmen and scientists remain loyal to him at his side.  I should also mention that this story originally functioned as Superman’s triumphant in-costume return following his yearlong plus absence in 52.  However, due to retcons, his return would have happened just prior to this in Superman/Batman #72-75.

–Superman/Batman #28-33 (“ENEMIES AMONG US”)
J’onn attacks Batman in the Batcave, but it isn’t really J’onn.  It’s actually the former JLA shapeshifting mascot Zook (who we haven’t seen in eleven years), who wants revenge on Batman for being so mean to him back in the day.  Zook also happens to be possessed by the supernatural alien force known as The Call.  But, Batman, Superman, and Hal Jordan aren’t privy to this info yet.  They battle Zook, who changes into various old super-villains we haven’t seen in over a decade.  (These villains were popular in Zook’s time, but not so much anymore).  The real J’onn then meets with Bruce in the Batcave, and Bruce douses him with a flamethrower, just to be sure it is actually him.  J’onn isn’t happy with this method of confirmation and storms off.  Later, the Call takes control of Hal Jordan and Kilowog by corrupting their power rings.  While Superman fights Kilowog, Batman is contacted by Lex Luthor, who claims that his former company had discovered a large alien ship containing thousands of Blackrock aliens heading toward Earth.  The Blackrocks, evil alien symbiotes, are responsible for creating the Call, and when they arrive they plan to assimilate everyone on Earth.  Luthor then offers over the assistance of Plastic Man (!) whom he has hired as a personal assistant.  Plas and Bats travel to the Arctic Fortress of Solitude to retrieve a captured Blackrock.  (Superman fought a Blackrock and imprisoned the creature around two years ago).  Once this Blackrock is released, it quickly takes control of Plas.  Meanwhile, J’onn shows up and pacifies his former pet/sidekick.  Batman is shocked to learn of Zook’s return.  In Gotham, the possessed Plastic Man returns to Luthor, and Luthor extracts the Blackrock from him.  I should mention that, at this point, Luthor is not in control of LexCorp.  While Luthor has filed for bankruptcy and lost just about everything he owns, he does still own and operate out of an old LexCorp Communications building in Gotham (his last remaining asset).  However, writer Mark Verheiden depicts Luthor attending a stockholders meeting in this tale.  I’m not sure Luthor, in his current state, would be attending any stockholders meetings (or have any stockholders left to meet with).  Anyway, when the Call takes control of both Superman and Supergirl, Batman is forced to allow the evil Blackrock to symbiotically join with him in order to fight Supes.  Superman flies off and meets with Lois, which gives him the strength to shake off the influence of the Call.  Unfortunately, Batman is totally evil now that he’s combined with a Blackrock.  Thankfully, Supes is able to beat the Blackrock out of Batman.  Concurrently, the Blackrock ship arrives and takes control of virtually every DCU superhero in minutes!  Despero steps out of the shadows and reveals that he is in league with the Blackrocks.  Luthor joins the villains, while Superman is captured by almost a hundred possessed heroes.  Meanwhile, Batman tries to plant a nuclear device inside the Blackrock ship as a failsafe, but is captured by a possessed super-powered Jimmy Olsen!  At the mercy of the aliens, Superman is able turn the tide by convincing them that Despero is not to be trusted.  The aliens turn on Despero and leave the Earth.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #822. Bruce goes on a few dates with socialite Karrie Bishop in order to keep his playboy persona running strong.

–Superman/Batman #34-36 (“METAL MEN”)
Remember all the times that Batman interacted with  Dr. Will Magnus and The Metal Men back in the day?  Well forget about that shit.  Post Infinite Crisis retcons canceled-out those fun lovin’ stories.  For anyone who doesn’t know, here is the official history of Dr. Magnus. Years ago, Magnus created the robotic superhero team known as the Metal Men.  Eventually, Magnus suffered a nervous breakdown that led to the dismantling of the Metal Men, after which Magnus created the evil Plutonium Man, then was kidnapped and employed by Egg Fu during 52, then started taking proper medication, and then finally rebuilt the Metal Men.  Now on to our current story. When Metallo (in a new but rotting body) tries to rob a WayneTech building, Lucius Fox hires the Metal Men to protect the site. The Metal Men easily break into the WayneTech compound in order to test its security, after which they meet Batman for the first time. (Superman has already met Magnus and his original Metal Men before.) Bruce and Clark then examine Metallo’s brain in the Batcave. A brain-scan concludes that Metallo is under the control of Brainiac! (NOTE: Superman incorrectly states that Oracle contracted the “Brainiac Virus” months ago.  It was nearly a year-and-a-half ago.)  Moving on, Superman and Batman trace Brainiac’s location to an orbiting satellite.  On board the satellite, Brainiac attacks and injures Batman.  Meanwhile, we find out what the Metal Men have been hired to protect at WayneTech: a fully-mechanized OMAC prototype!  Brainiac takes over both the OMAC and the Metal Men and goes on a killing spree using them as weapons.  While Bruce is laid up in the hospital, Superman fights the BrainiOMAC and the possessed Metal Men.  Batman crawls out of bed and with Magnus’ help, is able to empower the Metal Men to shake off the influence of Brainiac.  The heroes defeat the super-villain with ease.  Afterward, Clark chastises Bruce for keeping an OMAC.  Bruce responds by claiming that even though the OMACs have caused nothing but trouble in the past, they are still the best defense against a large group of rogue metahumans.  Clark then destroys the prototype and Bruce shrugs it off, claiming that he still has other anti-metahuman contingency plans. NOTE: This story-arc inexplicably carries the banner of Countdown 49 to 46 on its issues’ covers.  However, this cannot be correct since the Metal Men return before the JLA reforms, which happens before Countdown begins.

–REFERENCE: In Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #2. Diana finally returns, but only in secret to check-up on the new Wonder Woman (Donna Troy) from the shadows. She meets with Batman and Superman, revealing to them that she can no longer effectively fight for justice with the death of Max Lord following her everywhere she goes. After Wonder Woman departs, Batman and Superman set Diana up with a fake background and resume under the alias “Diana Prince.” This gets her a job as a super secret agent at the Department of Metahuman Affairs, a perfect solution to provide her with a clean slate.

–FLASHBACK: From Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #2. From a distance, Diana and Batman observe a fight pitting Wonder Woman (Donna) and Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) versus Dr. Cyber, Dr. Poison, and Osira. While they watch the battle, Diana chats with Batman, reiterating that she can no longer effectively fight crime after all that has gone down. Batman hands over Diana’s new Department of Metahuman Affairs ID and gives her the rundown on her new life as a secret agent. Wonder Woman happily accepts.

–Detective Comics #821
Bruce chats with his childhood friend Matthew Atkins at a fancy Gotham club. Batman and Robin take down the debuting Z-list super-villain known as Façade.

–NOTE: In Birds of Prey #96-99. Charlie Gage-Radcliffe debuts in Gotham as the brand new teenage Batgirl! However, a pissed-off Oracle immediately tracks Charlie down and convinces her that her chosen career path is far too dangerous. Charlie gives up her role as the new Batgirl, but begins training and will soon become the superhero known as Misfit, teaming and training with the Birds of Prey (as we will see in Birds of Prey #101).

–REFERENCE: In Action Comics #842. Superman defeats the towering alien known as The Auctioneer, who temporarily “collects” every superhero and super-villain on Earth. We don’t actually see Batman in this story, but it is quite possible that the Dark Knight was one of the hundreds kidnapped. In any case, both Superman and Batman are shocked when the Auctioneer tells them that there is a third Kryptonian living on Earth (besides Superman and Supergirl, and not counting Power Girl and Krypto). Batman and Superman immediately begin an intensive search for the mysterious “Third Kryptonian.”

WHO IS WONDER WOMAN?
——————–Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #2
——————–Wonder Woman Vol. 3 Annual #1
As we’ve recently learned, Diana is working for the US Government’s Department of Metahuman Affairs.  When Wonder Woman (Donna Troy) is kidnapped by Giganta, Cheetah, and Dr. Psycho, Diana decides its time to fight crime the old-fashioned superhero way.  However, before she can, Circe (with the aid of Hercules) usurps the Wonder Woman mantle.  Diana is able to save Donna, but has to battle a plethora of super-villains in the process.  Batman, Superman, Flash (Bart Allen), the Teen Titans, and the JSA all show up to join in the fray.  During the rumble, Diana takes out evil Wonder Woman Circe and officially becomes Wonder Woman once again! I should mention that the JSA has been inactive since WWIII. The JSA members that show up for this story-arc form an unofficial skeleton crew.

–Superman & Batman vs. Vampires & Werewolves #1-6
I’ve placed this story here based upon Wonder Woman’s appearance and the other various character cameos.  When a bunch of vampires and werewolves run ravenously wild through Gotham, the Dark Knight suspects sinister newcomer Professor Herbert Combs is responsible.  After Nightwing captures a werewolf and Batman captures a vampire, the latter’s suspicions are confirmed; Combs is indeed behind the appearances of all the vamps and werewolves.  Batman visits Combs only to learn that the mad doctor can literally spit monsters out of his mouth via a portal to a Lovecraftian undead dimension inside his body.  Superman, Batman, and good-guy vampire Marius Dimeter join forces to defeat a 30-story-tall Cthulhu creature.  In the park, our heroes are ambushed by an army of vamps and werewolves, but are rescued by Jason Blood and Green Arrow.  Green Arrow makes a comment about needing to return to Seattle, which is odd since he hasn’t lived there for many years. (Maybe he was on a mission there and got called away to help out).  Anyway, Dimeter and his werewolf pal Janko reveal that Combs stole samples of their blood and is using them to turn innocent victims into a supernatural army.  Cue another huge bloody monster mash where Jason Blood morphs into Etrigan and helps the heroes fight off even more vamps and werewolves.  Eventually Combs surrenders and winds up in Arkham.  Supes then delivers a vamp-bitten child into the care of Kirk Langstrom, which brings about a gratuitous Man-Bat versus werewolf scene.  Later on, Etrigan casts a spell which cures anyone who has been artificially transformed into a monster by Combs. While this occurs, the rest of the cast banishes the gigantic Cthulhu back to its evil place of origin.  Dimeter eventually sires his girlfriend Olivia and leaves Gotham.[2]

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #822. Batman breaks up a “clown riot” and saves the life of Pandora, a local sex club operator. You’ll have to ask Paul Dini what a “clown riot” is.  I’m guessing a bunch of Joker’s old henchmen run amok maybe?

–Aquaman, Sword of Atlantis #51
The original Aquaman (aka Orin aka Arthur Curry aka The Dweller in the Depths) dies—murdered by his own son Koryak! Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Hal Jordan, and Flash (Bart Allen) travel to Atlantis to examine Arthur’s body, confirm his passing, and mourn the loss of a friend. The new Aquaman, Arthur Joseph Curry, is present.

–Detective Comics #822
Batman takes down a debuting Roxy Rocket!  Meanwhile, Riddler wakes up from his coma (which he went into during Infinite Crisis‘ “Battle of Metropolis” well over a year ago).  Eddie Nigma has suffered considerable brain damage (which has caused him to forget Batman’s secret identity), but is otherwise healthy.  And not only that, he has reformed as a criminal and become a private investigator, although he still acts just as, if not more, eccentric than before.  When one of Bruce’s ex-girlfriends, Karrie Bishop, is murdered, the Dark Knight reluctantly teams-up with Riddler on the investigation.  The odd couple questions several people, including Pandora (the sex club owner).  Riddler incorrectly states that this is the first time he’s ever ridden in the Batmobile conscious.  This is absolutely not true, and we must chalk up Nigma’s error to the fact that he has suffered a recent serious brain injury.  Anyway, Riddler celebrates after he thinks he’s solved the case all by himself.  Actually, he’s pegged the wrong person, and Batman winds up solving the crime afterward.  Karrie was murdered by her money-hungry “best friend.”

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #212. Based on information received from a tip, Batman begins adding a specific rooftop locale to his nightly patrols, in order to get the jump on some burglars that are supposed to rob a building.

–Robin Vol. 2 #152-155
June 7-11. Tim begins lessons with his summer-school tutor Zoanne Wilkins and also finally gets around to moving his things into Wayne Manor (even though he’s been living there for five weeks now).  Bruce hangs out with Tim and they listen to The Clash! The duo then finally gets around to talking about what happened to Cassie. Tim is very upset about it, but Bruce comforts him and says that they must move on because Cassie is “disturbed.”  Harsh. Robin then meets with one of Joker’s old henchmen who claims that the Joker has rigged a dirty bomb to explode in Gotham sometime in “August 2006.” That date was chosen because it is the date right around when this story was originally published.  A proper retcon for the date for the purposes of this chronology is “June 2009.” Moving on, Robin locates and disarms the bomb with help from the new Captain Boomerang (son of the old Captain Boomerang, which is awkward since the old Boomerang murdered Tim’s dad).  Robin and Cap begin searching various former Bat-rogue hideouts for the nuke, and eventually find and disarm the deadly device at an old Ventriloquist hideout.  After several wealthy children are kidnapped, Bruce and Tim are photographed and interviewed for a cover-story in Fortune magazine regarding Tim’s new legally adopted status as Bruce’s son, and how this affects the future dividing-up of the Wayne Estate.  Bruce and Tim use this article/photo spread to lure the kidnappers into nabbing Tim, which they do.  Once amidst the kidnappers and the other children, Robin starts kicking ass and has the situation well in hand until the meddling new teenage superhero Dodge interferes.  Robin still manages to save the day, but both Dodge and another teenager are critically injured.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #207-211 (“DARKER THAN DEATH”)
June 12-15.  Bruce attends an engagement party for socialites Conrad Billingsworth and Janie Rutledge.  There, Bruce meets the wild-child skinny-dipping younger sister of the bride-to-be, Lilith Rutledge.  Bruce takes an instant liking to Lilith and winds up spending the night at her place.  Gasp!  Bruce and Lilith get it on!  However, problems arise quickly when both Janie and the Billingsworth maid, Miriam Hargrove, are both kidnapped.  Batman begins his investigation by questioning Penguin, which leads him immediately to obese metahuman Greasy Lee.  Batman beats up Lee and is able to rescue Lilith, who was kidnapped while the Dark Knight was investigating the other kidnappings.  Batman then interrogates metahuman stripper Tiki Rivera, which leads him back to the Billingsworth mansion where the narrative of the arc breaks into an episode of Jerry Springer.  Turns out Old Man Billingsworth is also sleeping with Lilith.  Plus, he’s squandered the family fortune.  And Conrad has knocked-up the missing maid Miriam.  All signs of the kidnapping now point directly at the Billingsworths, but despite their messed-up family affairs, they still claim innocence.  Batman then trails Conrad, which leads him to mobster Benny “The Lamb” Bedlam and his metahuman goon Seadoggie.  But once again, it’s just another dead end.  Back at Wayne Manor, Lilith shows up with a ransom note for one million dollars, claiming to have been attacked.  Bruce gives Lilith the money and sends her to the drop point.  Batman then swings in, but Lilith is gone, and only Miriam’s corpse remains at the site.  After some more diligent case-work Batman finds Bedlam and Janie holed up in a cabin in the woods.  The two reveal that they were in on a scam with Lilith to rob the Billingsworths blind, but when they found out the family was bankrupt, they switched their target to Bruce Wayne.  But in the end, Lilith screwed everybody (literally and figuratively) and skipped town with the cash.  Batman eventually tracks Lilith down in Malibu and travels there to apprehend her personally. The confrontation results in a fatal car crash for Lilith.

–Robin Vol. 2 #159
Tim begins dating Zoanne Wilkins and they go on their first date at a fancy restaurant.  Meanwhile, a new super-villain named Jitter tries to rob a Gotham bank.  Tim excuses himself from the dinner table and meets Batman through the bathroom window of the restaurant.  Tim tells Batman that he’d like to sit this one out since he’s on a hot date.  Batman actually says that it’s cool and goes off on his own!  However, minutes later, Batman crashes into the restaurant with Jitter in tow and they begin a destructive battle.  Tim gives Batman a little secret assistance and Batman takes down the metahuman.  Afterward, Batman meets with Robin and swears that he didn’t bring the fight to that specific restaurant on purpose.  Sure, Bruce, sure.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #212-213
A high school student has spotted Batman patrolling a certain rooftop spot every night for over a week now, so he decides to impress a girl by bringing her to watch the Dark Knight in action.  However, Batman has been patrolling this particular spot because he’s been awaiting a group of burglars to attempt a robbery.  The high schoolers get involved in the sticky situation more than they had originally planned, but Batman saves the day.  Next, during an Intergang case Batman and Commissioner Gordon stumble across a man who was murdered by a razor-sharp Batarang.  The deceased also happened to be the owner of one of Batman’s tattered old cowls, which he was selling for ten million dollars.  Batman’s investigation takes him to Tokyo where he enters the Otaku world of super-nerds who geek-out for superheroes and practice LARPing 24-7.  Batman, dressed up in a Green Lantern outfit, infiltrates a cosplay session and finds the murderer wearing his old cowl.  The killer is a Yakuza gangster who lures Otaku kids into cosplay and then turns them into human taxidermy.  Things get rough when two metahuman henchmen realize the newb (Bruce) is out of place.  Bruce quickly switches into his Batman costume and kicks ass.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #214. LOTDK #214 ends the long-running LOTDK series and could possibly take place here, but I’m not sure if it is canon. In it, Batman plays a cold game of cat and mouse with Deadshot and prevents him from assassinating a mob witness. The canonical status of this issue is questionable because Deadshot mentions that he’s in the Suicide Squad again, which, at this point, wouldn’t be true.  Of course, he could be lying in an attempt to give him some false government backing/protection/authority. But that’s not all. Deadshot also references recent troubles the JLA has had, possibly hinting at “Identity Crisis,” which happened a long two years ago. Even if Deadshot is referencing something else regarding the JLA, it wouldn’t make much sense since there currently is no League. I would place this story right after “Identity Crisis” in Bat Year 19, but Gordon is commissioner in this story, whereas Akins was commissioner in Bat Year 19. So that doesn’t work either. If this story is canon, we must ignore pretty much everything that Deadshot says. In any event, goodbye LOTDK!

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Professor Dennis O’Neil’s Laughing at You: The Joker Story, a criminal analysis of/biography about Joker, was published about two weeks ago. Batman picks up a copy of the sensational book, most of which is highly speculative, and reads it. An escaped Joker also reads it and promptly murders Professor O’Neil.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #1. Batman tells Nightwing that he is going to reform the JLA. The former invites the latter to be a member of the team. Nightwing turns down the offer.

–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0-7 (“THE TORNADO’S PATH”)
Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman meet in the Batcave to assemble a brand new Justice League of America!  Issue #0 has a ton of flashbacks to the history of the DC’s Holy Trinity and also a bunch of flash-forwards—Brad Meltzer’s way of teasing us with looks into the far future!  For example, we see the wedding of Hal Jordan, a discussion about Wonder Woman getting betrothed, the death of Lex Luthor’s unnamed son, the aftermath of the death of Pa Kent, a nod to the death of Lois Lane, the aftermath of the supposed death of Bruce, and the discovery of a new parallel Earth.  Back to our main narrative: While Bruce, Clark, and Diana vote on who will be in the new League, Red Tornado (who is dead for the 7th time) chats with Deadman in the afterlife and works out a deal in which he will return to life as usual, but this time as a mortal man who doesn’t need his android body to survive. Shortly thereafter, Red Tornado is reborn as a human man! However, Professor Ivo is watching from the shadows and has a team of super-villains (which he controls with Starros) begin a devious plan. First, Dr. Impossible steals Tornado’s old powerful android body.  Second, Electrocutioner and Plastique steal Vixen’s powerful animal totem.  Third, Dr. Impossible and Trident (actually time-displaced and brainwashed Legionnaire Karate Kid) steal Parasite’s arm by literally freezing his limb and severing it off.  Impossible escapes with the limb, but Trident is captured by Black Lightning and Hawkwoman.  Meanwhile, Black Canary, Hal Jordan, and Arsenal track Tornado’s old shell to Professor Ivo’s hideout where they wind up fighting an army of multi-colored Tornadoes.  Ivo reveals that he has created a new Amazo, which appears wearing Red Tornado’s old shell.  Ivo further explains that he has created this new Amazo to be a vessel for the returning Solomon Grundy, who has been resurrected as a genius.  Concurrently, Black Lightning and Hawkwoman take an unconscious Trident to the Batcave. (NOTE: While not explicitly mentioned, Trident must be in a serious coma and enter into longterm care in the Batcave.) We must assume this because we won’t see Trident for another three months and when we do, he will still be unconscious on a medical bed in the Batcave). In the Batcave, all the heroes learn that Ivo is controlling the villains with Starros.  All the heroes then unite and battle the rampaging Red Tornado suit-wearing Amazo, who also dons the Vixen totem and has a Parasite arm as well.  The heroes win the fight, but Grundy pummels the human Red Tornado to near-death.  In order to survive, Tornado gives up his humanity and returns to his android shell.  Afterward, the new Justice League of America is officially assembled.  Arsenal becomes Red Arrow.  The new Hall of Justice is opened in Washington, DC, complete with a “Danger Room” built by Niles Caulder (the DCU’s version of Professor X).  The new satellite Watchtower becomes fully operational outside of Earth’s orbit as well.  Finally, a group photo is taken of the new JLA, which consists of Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Hal Jordan, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Vixen, Hawkwoman, Red Arrow, and Red Tornado. NOTE: A major aspect of this tale revolves around the fact that there are 13 “true immortals” in the DCU, and never more or less than 13 at a time, due to some sort of cosmic balance.  Professor Ivo and Vandal Savage are revealed as two of these 13.  “True immortal” can be defined as one who is born immortal and can never, ever die, no matter what.  To clarify, there are hundreds of DCU characters that are immortal, meaning they continue living forever, but unlike the 13, they have either gained their immortality through some other means and/or they never age but can be killed by unnatural causes.

–Robin Vol. 2 #161-163
June 21. It’s only been a little over a week and Zoanne has already dumped Tim.  Way to go.  Robin takes on a gang of metahumans who have acquired their powers from a new drug called Pheno, which is secretly being distributed by huge chemical company, Strader Pharmaceuticals.  After meeting with Batman, Robin confronts the head of the company.  But before Robin can even begin to interrogate him, Cassie Cain (!) blows him away with a sniper rifle!  After that, Robin buys Bruce a watch for Father’s Day, but gets distracted by the 12-man homicidal vigilante team known as The Jury.  After defeating the Jurors, Robin delivers his present to Bruce.  The watch is now broken, but Bruce puts it in the trophy room.  Tim then makes scrambled eggs for his adopted dad. NOTE: These issues were originally meant to have taken place in between Countdown 49 through 45 as indicated by their covers.  However, since it is Father’s Day I’ve moved them here.

–NOTE: In a reference in Booster Gold Vol. 2 #1. Flash (Bart Allen) officially joins the JLA.

–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Superman/Batman #62. While Batman and Superman meet with the JLA aboard the Watchtower, Robin trains Supergirl on the finer points of detective work. When the madmen at Arkham are able to take over the asylum (as they have so often in the past), Robin and Supergirl are on the case. The sidekick duo is able to re-capture Joker, Two-Face, Mad Hatter, Clayface, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, and Mr. Zsasz. Yes, all of them.

–FLASHBACK: From Joker’s Asylum II: Killer Croc #1. Killer Croc escapes from Arkham by severing-off his own chained hands with his teeth. (His hands grow back. Who knew? I sure didn’t.) Batman and Commissioner Gordon examine the bloody crime scene as Joker laughs hysterically. Joker narrates this tale, so maybe the part about Croc’s hands getting severed and then re-growing like an earthworm might be untrue.

–The Brave and the Bold #27
Young Robby Reed visits Gotham for the first time—for anyone who doesn’t already know, Robby holds a fantastic device called the H-Dial, which when activated turns him into a brand new never-before-heard-of temporary superhero with a random superpower! After turning into a telepath known as Mental Man, Robby sees a premonition, which prompts him to leave the H-Dial out for a wandering ex-con hobo, Travers Milton. It is Milton’s destiny to use the H-Dial, become the Superman-like hero called Star, and sacrifice his life to save Batman. Sure enough, that night, Batman teams-up with Star to stop a citywide wave of mass chaos orchestrated by Joker and his henchmen. By morning, Star flies into the sky with a bomb in hand, which explodes, instantly killing him, but saving the lives of Batman and some hostages. The Dark Knight then returns the H-Dial to Robby.[3]

–Booster Gold Vol. 2 #1 Part 1
Late June. This story starts on “Week 60, Day 1,” which makes it the last week in June.  Booster Gold easily takes down a new version of the Royal Flush Gang.  The JLA then meets with Booster and offers him a spot on the team if he can prove himself worthy within a week’s time.  Booster (with Skeets) immediately sets out to do some extreme superhero-ing. NOTE: The Countdown 37 title on the cover should be disregarded.  There is also a flash-forward to Final Crisis in this issue that contains Batman in it.  While the date given for Final Crisis is correct, the image depicted never actually takes place, so we should probably disregard this too.

–Green Arrow Vol. 3 #69-72 (“SEEING RED”)
Mayor Ollie Queen holds a press rally in Star City with Bruce Wayne.  Wayne Enterprises has been the leading benefactor in the rebuilding process following last year’s terrorist attack upon the city.  When the sun goes down, Batman, Green Arrow, and Speedy (Mia Dearden) take to the Star City streets when they learn that Red Hood (Jason Todd) and the metahuman gangster known as The Brick are running amok.  The heroes fight valiantly against the villains and are able to defeat them.  Meanwhile, Deathstroke escapes from Alcatraz Prison and reveals publicly that Ollie has been funding the Outsiders.  This news immediately mires Ollie in political scandal.

–NOTE: In a reference in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #8. Geo-Force, secretly being manipulated by a sinister Deathstroke, becomes a full-fledged member of the JLA.

–REFERENCE: In Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1 Part 2. For the past two years, an unnamed government organization (most likely on behalf of the US Armed Forces) has been training new high-tech hand-to-hand combat equipment against the best possible test subject in the world: Batman.  Mission number three occurs now as a random soldier is tasked to fight the Dark Knight. Batman easily defeats him.

–REFERENCE: In Batman in Barcelona: Dragon’s Knight #1. Late June. Bruce brokers a lucrative contract that grants Waynetech the rights to oversee construction of any new wings to the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Spain. Bruce uses this leverage to secretly build a secret Spanish Bat-Bunker beneath the museum.

–NOTE: In the pages of Robin Vol. 2. Early July. Tim Drake turns nineteen-years-old. In regard to Tim’s age, there is something rotten that I must address.  Around 2006, DC editors decided that they wanted the character of Tim Drake to remain a “perpetual teenager” that never ages.  Basically, the editors were like, “to hell with continuity, Tim is better as a teen!”  Of course, you and I both know this is bogus.  At this point, DC editors were seemingly fine with keeping Tim 17-years-old with the intention of keeping him that way for as long as possible.  In fact, in Chris Yost’s Red Robin series (2010), according to Yost and DC editors, Tim is still supposed to be a “minor” of about 17 years of age, when in fact he should be around 20!  Essentially, what I’m saying here is that DC screws the pooch when it comes to Tim’s age, which is why we will keep seeing him in high school well past a time where he should be in high school. Contributor Chris Bronson, offered a valid explanation to the use of the word “minor” in regard to Tim, pointing out to me that “minor” can simply mean “under 21-years-old.” So, thankfully, we don’t have to ignore the use of the term “minor,” but specific incorrect age references are still no good. I will address any following problems regarding Tim’s age when they arise, but I will definitely miss a lot of them.  Don’t worry though—all that my devoted site readers need to know right now is that Tim is celebrating his 19th birthday, NO MATTER WHAT DC WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE OTHERWISE.

–Booster Gold Vol. 2 #1 Part 2
Early July—the second part of issue #1 begins on “Week 61, Day 1.” Love this series. Booster has spent the last week trying to impress the new JLA in order to gain membership on the team.  Meanwhile, Supernova has spent the past couple of months mooching off of Booster and playing Online Madden Football all day, every day.  As Booster cleans up after his juvenile roommate, Rip Hunter shows up and exclaims that all of history pre-dating Infinite Crisis/52 is in a “malleable” state due to the actions of Superboy-Prime (during IC) and Mr. Mind (during 52).  Although, Rip does mumble that “punching history” is a ridiculous concept!  Basically, the entire past of the DCU is like wet cement and is filled with temporal anomalies in the form of very accessible worm-holes.  These worm-holes are vulnerable to manipulation by evil forces and thus, Rip has recruited Booster (and Skeets) to travel throughout the timestream to seal up the holes and fix any possible errors.  Rip plans to travel through the timestream in his Timesphere, from which he can send Booster through the worm-holes and retrieve him after he has done his temporal bandaging.  In essence, Booster will operate from the “shadows of time,” thus becoming the most important hero to ever grace the DCU.  However, when Booster learns that no one else will ever realize this fact, and he will be forever stuck with his B-list “loser” reputation, he tells Rip to piss off and leaves to meet with the JLA.  At the meeting, the JLA offers Booster a spot on the team!  However, when Booster sees a premonition of Hal Jordan’s death as a result of his involvement on the team, the former realizes what his destiny is.  Batman is stunned as Booster turns down JLA membership and becomes Rip’s official secret “time-cop” instead. NOTE: This issue amazingly has a flash-forward to “Week 104, Day 1” which would put us around the end of April of our next Bat Year (2010).  In this one panel flash-forward we see a little event called Final Crisis!  Holy shit!  Wonder what that’s all about?  Also, don’t forget, the Countdown 37 title on the cover is WRONGCountdown hasn’t started yet.

–The Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 #29
Everyone’s favorite reanimated dummy hippie/trash Elemental, Brother Power the Geek, has been dormant since the 1960s (besides a very brief reemergence in Swamp Thing Vol. 2 Annual #5 way back in Bat Year Thirteen). But now he’s back in Gotham and Batman finally meets the strange character. After a night of regular patrol, Batman fails to arrive on time to save a baby from an arson fire. Luckily, Brother Power is on hand and saves the child.

–Martian Manhunter Vol. 3 #3-8 (“THE OTHERS AMONG US”) 
When J’onn discovers that several of his fellow Green Martians are alive and have been tortured in a government facility in New York, he is naturally upset and goes to aid them.  As the Martians escape, a conflict ensues that results in the bloody death of several humans.  The JLA confronts J’onn with concern about the loss of life, but J’onn tells them he is in control of the situation.  After being attacked by the US Government, J’onn and the Martian refugees fight back.  Half the JLA (excluding Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) try to bring down J’onn at the request of the Department of Homeland Security.  J’onn is able to escape, but several of his comrades suffer horrible seizures. J’onn thinks that his former lover Scorch must be responsible for the seizures, since she knows much about Martian physiology.  J’onn meets with Batman, who tells him Scorch’s current location.  But Scorch is a red herring.  The Martians aren’t Green at all.  Duh, they are evil White Martians in disguise!  Well, all except the one in charge.  Yes, we finally meet another Green survivor from Mars, Cay’an.  Cay’an hates J’onn because she mistakenly believes that he is responsible for the destruction of the Martian race.  J’onn fights Cay’an and the latter flees in defeat.  In the end, J’onn delivers Till’all (an extremely rare benevolent White Martian) into the care of the JLA.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #827. Batman improves upon his “Lefty Knox” undercover alias. “Lefty” gets an updated prosthetic claw hand that can conceal hidden items.

–Detective Comics #823-824
When Poison Ivy is attacked and nearly killed by a plant creature while in her Arkham cell, Batman takes her into his care inside the Batcave.  The Dark Knight’s investigation takes him to Ivy’s last hideout where he discovers video of Ivy feeding people to a giant mutated carnivorous plant.  Little does Batman know, all the human fodder has been absorbed into the plant and become the very angry hybrid plant monster which tried to off Ivy.  The creature, which calls itself Harvest, stows away underneath the Batmobile and enters the cave.  Batman and Robin are able to defeat Harvest and return Ivy back to Arkham.  Next, the Penguin returns to Gotham for the first time in over a year and re-opens his Iceberg Lounge.  Bruce and a ditzy date go to the grand-reopening along with several famous attendees, including Lois Lane, Riddler, and Mr. ZZZ.  Who’s Mr. ZZZ?  He’s a narcoleptic poker shark that wins super-duper big at Penguin’s casino, basically bankrupting Penguin on the night of his big return.  (Jeez, how many times can one man be bankrupted in a lifetime!?)  Penguin cries foul, and Bruce thinks some cheating is afoot as well.  After a quick call to Zatanna, Bruce learns that genius card-counter/magician Ivar Loxias has gone missing.  Batman tails Mr. ZZZ home after the night ends and the villain leads him right to mobster Anthony Marchetti, who has kidnapped Loxias and was using him along with a secret video camera implanted in Mr. ZZZ’s head to cheat at the gaming table.  Batman busts the bad guys and reluctantly returns all of Penguin’s money.  Marchetti and Mr. ZZZ go free, however, because Loxias refuses to press charges.

–NOTE: In Teen Titans Vol. 3 #44-46. The new super-villain team known as Titans East, which is led by Deathstroke and Cassie Cain (who is once again wearing her Batgirl costume), attacks the Teen Titans.  Deathstroke is primarily after his daughter, Ravager, who has betrayed him and recently joined the Teen Titans as a superhero.  During the battle, Robin realizes that Deathstroke has been drugging Cassie and manipulating her for quite some time.  Robin is able to inject a counter-serum into Cassie, who angrily turns on Deathstroke.  A confused Cassie helps Robin and the Titans defeat their villainous counterparts, but disappears afterward.  In the aftermath of Cassie’s departure, Talia al Ghul swoops in and reclaims leadership of the League of Assassins.

–Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #1
The JSA has been inactive since WWIII.  Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman meet with the three elder members of the JSA: Wildcat, Alan Scott, and Jay Garrick.  The formers suggest that the JSA should re-form, similarly to the way the new JLA has recently reformed, with membership votes from its “Big Three.”  Supes hands over several weeks worth of intel about superheroes in the DCU, primarily second and third generation heroes who have been passed on the crime-fighting legacies of their forebearers.  Shortly thereafter, the brand new Justice Society of America is unveiled. NOTE: This issue also contains a flash-forward to “The Lightning Saga,” which will happen soon.

–FLASHBACK: From Joker’s Asylum II: Killer Croc #1. Early August. Ever since escaping from Arkham 36 days ago, Killer Croc has been used and abused by a deceitful mob boss and his wife. After murdering them both, Croc waits calmly for Batman to show up to take him back to Arkham.

–Detective Comics #825-826[4]
August. Dr. Phosphorus is back in Gotham for the first time in nine years!  And the powerful super-villain wants revenge against the man who originally turned him into the flaming monster that he is: Rupert Thorne!  Thorne has been quietly incarcerated in Blackgate for the past seven years!  Paul Dini is really channeling his inner-Steve Englehart, bringing back these great characters we haven’t seen for so long.  Anyway, Phosphorus breaks into Blackgate, but Commissioner Gordon and Batman are waiting for him with a large helping of baking soda, which neutralizes Phosphorus’ powers long enough for the good guys to take him down.  Issue #826 is up next, but it is definitely August, so the Christmas-time setting of this tale must absolutely be ignored. See the footnote above for details.  In issue #826, Joker kidnaps Robin and takes the gagged-and-bound Boy Wonder on a bloody DeathRace-esque joyride around Gotham.  Robin is forced to watch from the front seat as Joker casually runs down pedestrians and shoots McDonald’s drive-thru workers.  In the end, Robin is able to loosen his binding ropes while distracting Joker with persiflage about the Marx Brothers.  Robin tosses Joker out of the moving car and, despite suffering serious injury, the Clown Prince of Crime manages to limp away.

–NOTE: In a flashback from Detective Comics #834. An injured Joker contacts magician Ivar Loxias, befriends him, and then murders him in order to steal his identity.

–Manhunter Vol. 3 #28
High-profile attorney Kate Spencer (who secretly moonlights as the superhero Manhunter when not in court) defends Wonder Woman from a grand jury indictment for Max Lord’s death. The public trial is wilder than OJ and MJ put together and when “Blue Beetle” supposedly returns from the dead, things only get weirder.  Manhunter teams-up with Batman and together they discover that “Beetle” is actually the shapeshifting super-villain Everyman.

–NOTE: In Manhunter Vol. 3 #30. Wonder Woman is acquitted of all charges relating to Max Lord’s death.

–REFERENCE: In Superman and Batman versus Aliens and Predator #1. Batman, while on patrols or cases, begins recording “field journals” using an in-suit logging technology, which basically records all tangible information and the Batman’s own thoughts into accessible text files linked to the Batcave computer system. It is unclear if Batman uses this new technology on all (or only some) future cases or patrols.

–Superman and Batman versus Aliens and Predator #1-2[5]
Batman works an investigation into corruption within the steelworker’s union. While conducting surveillance at a mill, Batman runs into three Predators, who immediately flee. Meanwhile, in Metropolis, Superman fights off three Predators as well. But before the Man of Steel can investigate further, he and Lois are whisked away by orders of the Daily Planet to cover a story about a volcano erupting in the Andes and missing scientists. In Peru, Superman meets Batman, who wears a special spelnyx-armored defibrillator costume. (Don’t ask me what spelnyx is.) Batman has tracked the Predators, responsible for killing the scientists, to the volcano. Batman explains, having done intensive detective work, that the Terrestrial Defense Initiative (TDI), a military function of the League of Prime Nations, is waging a secret war against a secret Predator invasion all over the globe. Several Predators then attack, causing Batman to fall into a ravine. Superman and Batman are then both swarmed by Xenomorphs! Three Predators chase off the Xenomorphs and take Batman into custody, bringing him deep underground to the site of an ancient hidden Predator settlement. Batman is forced to fight the Predator champion in one-on-one combat. Obligingly, Batman bests his opponent. Earning the Predators respect, Batman is able to communicate with them and learn their history. Batman is soon joined by Superman and Lois. The Caped Crusader explains that this Predator clan crashed on Earth over 14,000 years ago and then formed a self-sustaining colony, garnering heat and energy from the volcano and using Xenomorph eggs to grow adults for primary sustenance and sport-hunting. With the volcano now erupting, their colony is about to come to an end, hence the clan’s recent ventures out into the rest of the world for the first time. Superman rushes to the Arctic and compresses the entire Fortress of Solitude into a tesseract sphere. He then rushes right back to Peru, ushering all the Predators inside the sphere. Superman grabs the Predator ship (which is filled with Xenomorphs) and darts into the Fortress of Solitude right behind Batman and Lois. In the Fortress of Solitude, the Predators show their true nature and thanks with all-out mutiny, betraying and attacking the heroes and damaging Superman’s robot Kelex. While Batman and Lois fight Predators and Xenomorphs, Superman contacts the TDI, which tells him that they are going to nuke the volcano in one hour in order to guarantee containment of the aliens. Superman and Lois then follow Batman and a Xenomorph queen through another Fortress portal within the tesseract space that leads into yet another vast tesseract space outside of normal time and space. In this surreal dimension, Batman and Superman defeat the queen. With all the Predators and Xenomorphs knocked-out, Superman flies out of the range of the TDI’s launched nukes, allowing Batman to send the Predator ship (filled with all the aliens) hurtling out of the galaxy.

–Batman #659-662 (“GROTESK”)
This story begins during a blizzard that happens right on January 10. Unfortunately, we must ignore the weather and the date.[6] A new homicidal cyborg vigilante known as Grotesk has been murdering Russian and Yakuza mobsters by spewing napalm on them.  Grotesk then steals parts of their skin and sews them onto his body.  Batman quickly learns that Grotesk is Wayne Franklin, the brother of Amina Franklin (his former girlfriend).  Wayne Franklin, thought to have died a couple months ago, has returned to kill the men who once tried to steal medical technology that he invented.  After trapping his rivals Johnny Karaoke (head of the Yakuzas) and Perun (head of the Russians) inside the Gotham Opera House, Batman shows up and tries to contain the situation, which results in a large explosion and the deaths of Karaoke and Perun.  Batman realizes that Amina knows more then she’s letting on about her brother, so (as Bruce) he invites his ex to stay with him at the Wayne Enterprises penthouse.  Grotesk shows up looking for Amina, and Bruce quickly changes into Batman to fight him.  During the fight, Grotesk winds up accidentally killing his sis before fleeing to the Gotham Seaport.  As a huge blizzard rages—again, this must be retconned to summer storm—over Gotham Bay, the Caped Crusader battles Grotesk aboard a ship.  The latter falls to his death, sinking to the bottom of the water.  Afterward, a small funeral is held for Amina.

–Detective Comics #827-832
Right off the bat (no pun intended), I must address several things about issue #827.  First of all, it certainly cannot be January.[7] Secondly, Batman and company seem to be unsure of whether or not Scarface was merely a dummy or a supernatural being.  I think at this point in Batman’s career, Batman would believe that Scarface has the ability to speak and move on his own, especially since he has seen it happen with his own eyes.  My only explanation for his doubt in this issue would be the fact that Robin recently stumbled upon an old Ventriloquist hideout filled with Scarface robots (in Robin Vol. 2 #153).  Thirdly, Batman mentions the death of Matches Malone at the hands of Scarface a few years ago and how he cannot use the Malone disguise.  Batman must simply mean that he cannot use the Malone disguise on a case specifically regarding Scarface, because the villain can see right through that disguise.  Fourthly, Batman mentions that Zatanna’s father, John Zatara, trained him “twenty years ago.” This comment likely refers to a time before Bruce became Batman and should therefore be amended to “OVER twenty years ago.”[8] Okay, with that all out of the way, let’s move on.  If you haven’t guessed already, Scarface is back, but this time with a new female Ventriloquist.  Bruce first met this new Ventriloquist, Peyton Riley, nine years ago, but he doesn’t remember it yet.  Peyton found Scarface immediately following Arnold Wesker’s death several months ago, and she is now finally officially debuting as a super-villain.  In issue #828, Bruce throws a masquerade party on his yacht.  During the party, Bruce’s childhood friend, Matthew Atkins, falls overboard and drowns.  Both Batman and the Riddler suspect foul play and begin examining the clues.  Their investigations cross paths at the museum where it is revealed that Atkins’ girlfriend and a co-conspirator murdered Atkins for monetary gain.  In our next two issues, Bruce holds an anti-terrorism conference at Wayne Tower, during which a terrorist bomber named Vox tries to blow up the whole building after detonating several calculated explosions.  (This is not the female Vox incarcerated at Arkham).  Bruce can’t change into Batman in front of so many civilians, so it’s up to Robin to save the day.  Robin does an ace job, but Bruce is able to suit up and kick Vox’s ass in the end.  This narrative thread concludes when Vox suicide-plunges to his death.  In issue #831, Bruce, as a new member of the board of directors at Arkham, denies Harley Quinn parole.  However, Harley gets out anyway when she is busted out by Moose (Rhino’s sister) on the orders of the new Ventriloquist and Scarface.  But Harley is trying to go straight.  This new straight mentality combined with the fact that the Ventriloquist gives a bad first impression causes Harley to betray her benefactor and actually help Commissioner Gordon and Batman take the villainess down.  The Ventriloquist, however, is able to escape custody.  Two days later, Bruce approves Harley’s parole and she becomes a free woman! (NOTE: A news report incorrectly mentions Ivar Loxias’ abduction as occurring “late last year.”  The abduction occurred only a couple months ago.) Next, in issue #832, the original Terrible Trio returns to Gotham for the first time in over thirteen years!  After the Shark goes crazy, fakes his own death, and then tries to kill the Fox and the Vulture, Batman steps in and busts all three of them.  Locked up in Arkham, the Shark is terrorized by the Great White Shark, cause y’know, there’s only room for one big shark in jail.

 


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  1. [1]Special thanks to SAM GROOVER for synopsis and placement.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: For a long time I thought Superman & Batman vs Werewolves & Vampires and its follow-up “Superman & Batman vs The Undead” were both non-canon, especially since many people on the Internet were saying so.  For example, RA McDowell on Amazon.com states outright that these tales are out-of-continuity.  However, I came across a CBR interview with writer Kevin VanHook where he said, “Superman and Batman vs. Vampires and Werewolves DOES exist in DCU continuity, but it’s not held to a specific moment in time.  I’m writing the iconic Batman and Superman as I see them.”  Therefore, I’ve placed it here!
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Both of Robby Reed’s appearances in The Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 (by Mark Waid in issue #3 and by J.M. Straczynski in issue #27) contradict the 2003 series H.E.R.O. where Robby is a bitter old man. In the Brave and the Bold issues, Robby reflects his character from the 60s, 70s, and 80s where he is still a young boy. Even if TB&TB #27 takes place early on (say, Bat Year 2, 3, or 4) then Robby would still only be in his late thirties or early forties by the time H.E.R.O. rolls around. Since only either the young Robby from TB&TB or the old Robby from H.E.R.O. can be canon (and not both of them), here is my explanation: The entire H.E.R.O. series (published in 2003) has been wiped out thanks to Infinite Crisis/Final Crisis, meaning TB&TB (published in 2009) is likely canon.
  4. [4]TIPTUP JR 94: Detective Comics #826 is cover dated Feb 2007, #827 is March, and “Grotesk” runs from January to March that same year. Thus, Detective Comics #825-826 should closely precede “Grotesk” (Batman #659-662) and then Detective Comics #827-832. I understand the preference to ignore the dates, holidays, and weather conditions presented in the stories themselves, but the “Grotesk” storyline in Batman #659-662 must take place directly between Detective Comics #826 and 827. In ‘tec #826, it is Christmas; #827 starts on a “cold, dismal January night” and snow can be seen on the ground. Grotesk opens on January 10th and a huge snowstorm hits Gotham. It is TOO PERFECT; when read in this way they fit together so well.

    COLLIN COLSHER: Detective Comics #825-832 does indeed connect loosely with “Grotesk” (Batman #659-662), so they must be packaged closely together, hence my placement of them here. However, despite the fact that the final years of the Modern Age (post Infinite Crisis) were tightly-scripted and editorially-scrutinized so as to avoid continuity errors, things still don’t work. In the Bat-titles, two ostensible Christmases pass in-between the conclusion of 52 and the start of Final Crisis—the Christmas shown in ‘tec #826 and the Christmas shown in ‘tec #839. Both of these Christmases seem to happen in Year 21, since 52 ends in May of Year 21. However, only one Christmas seems to pass in most other titles, including Superman, JLofA, Countdown, and more (as far as I can tell). This is the cause for initial confusion and ultimate frustration. Yet both Christmases, due to all the craziness (mostly due to Countdown) cannot fall into the single year that the overall DCU timeline seems to give us between the end of 52 and Final Crisis. So to re-iterate, it seems like the DCU gives a mere year in-between 52 and Final Crisis, whereas Batman gives also a year, but inexplicably puts two separate Christmases in there. It’s hard to wrap one’s head around this as it’s a tough one. Looking at Chris Miller’s chronology also seems to bolster the idea that there can’t be two Christmases in-between. Although, Miller does push “Grotesk” back to a later spot on his timeline to keep the January 10 reference valid—a move that, despite its link to ‘tec, doesn’t cause any contradictions.

  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: For information as to why the Aliens/Predator crossovers are canon, please see Year Thirteen Part 2. Also, don’t forget that the Xenomorph aliens and Predator aliens shown in this title are alternate DCU versions with histories that differ from their film or other Dark Horse media counterparts.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: “Grotesk” is linked to Detective Comics #825-832 and therefore must go here. See the above footnote for Detective Comics #825-826 for details about why the weather and date must be ignored.
  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: Again, see the above footnote for Detective Comics #825-826 for details about why the date must be ignored.
  8. [8]COLLIN COLSHER / ERIC AGNER: Fact number one is that John Zatara taught Bruce the art of escapism and how to throw his voice. Fact number two is that Bruce has known Zatara since he was very young and has been longtime close friends with his daughter Zatanna. The problem here is that the reference to John Zatara’s training of Bruce by author Paul Dini in Detective Comics #827 is a sly reference to the Dini-produced Batman: The Animated Series episode “Read My Lips” AND the Dini-edited Batman & Robin Adventures comic series. In a flashback from “Read My Lips,” Bruce studies with John Zatara before becoming Batman. Dini’s reference makes that bit of the Animated Series canonical in the Modern Age. But, in order for Dini’s “twenty years prior to ‘tec #827” time reference to work EXACTLY, the Zatara lessons must occur in the middle of Frank Miller’s Batman #404. This is totally possible, but it seems very unlikely. Thus, we should regard the Zatara lessons as happening at least twenty-one years ago, but maybe even much further back than that.

2 Responses to YEAR TWENTY-ONE (Pt. 2)

  1. tiptupjr94 says:

    I understand you prefer to ignore the dates and weather conditions presented in the stories themselves, but I would like to posit that the Grotesk storyline in Batman #659-662 takes place directly between Detective Comics #826 and 827. In ‘Tec #826, it is Christmas; 827 starts on a “cold, dismal January night” and snow can be seen on the ground. Grotesk opens on January 10th and a huge snowstorm hits Gotham. ‘Tec #826 is cover dated Feb 2007, 827 is March, and Grotesk runs from January to March that same year. It is literally TOO PERFECT; when read in this way they fit together so well.

    I understand that you can’t always take the exact details presented in each story as fact. The thing is (to my knowledge) there aren’t supposed to BE any continuity changes after Infinite Crisis, right? In the Bat-titles it seems that two Christmases really did pass between 52 and Final Crisis. I dunno, I’m just calling it like I see it.

    • There aren’t supposed to be continuity changes, yet things still don’t work. In the Bat-titles, two Christmases pass indeed. However, only one Christmas seems to pass in most other titles, including Superman, JLofA, and more (as far as I can tell). This is the cause for the confusion and frustration.

      Even though Grotesk might fit in between ‘tec #826 and ‘tec #827 perfectly, it is because of this that ‘tec #826 and ‘tec #827 cannot take place in December/January as they appear to. If the first X-Mas that occurs after 52 (in Year 21, since 52 is primarily Year 20) is supposed to be in ‘tec 826, then the second must be in ‘tec 839, which is also expressly stated to be X-Mas. Yet both Christmases, due to all the craziness, mostly due to Countdown, cannot fall into the single year that the overall DCU timeline seems to give us between the end of 52 and Final Crisis.

      So to re-iterate, it seems like the DCU gives a mere year in between 52 and Final Crisis, whereas Batman gives also a year, but inexplicably puts two separate Christmases in there? I’m trying to wrap my head around this and it’s a tough one. Looking at Chris Miller’s chronology also seems to bolster the idea that there can’t be two Christmases in-between.

      I’ll look further into this, but in the meantime, I will move Grotesk, since I agree that it definitely is supposed to go where you say!

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