YEAR TWENTY-TWO (P. 1)

2010 (January to April)[1]

 

–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #17-19 (“SANCTUARY”)
Countdown 15 to 6—(again, another wide numerical range, but this story goes right here). Early January. Catwoman, Lex Luthor, and J’onn were the last three people to be sent to the prison planet, but the Suicide Squad keeps on busting baddies anyway in the hopes that more will be sent in the future. Batman investigates Bromwell Stikk‘s tossed apartment and ascertains that the Suicide Squad has abducted the retired super-villain. Meanwhile, the Suicide Squad attacks a large group of super-villains and apprehends Houngan and Blind Faith. At the Hall of Justice, the JLA has a satellite link-up discussion with Amanda Waller. Superman demands to know the location of the prison planet and if the detainees are being treated fairly.  Waller claims that everything she has done is within the legal limits of the law and has been authorized by President Horne, and therefore, she doesn’t have to reveal the secret location.  Several escaping villains (including the new Dr. Polaris, Black Mass, Tattooed Man, Shrike, and the Key) rush to the Hall of Justice and demand sanctuary!  While Batman and Superman lock the villains into temporary holding cells aboard the Watchtower, the Suicide Squad shows up at the Hall of Justice, demanding the JLA turn over the refugee criminals.  Just as a brawl begins to erupt, Batman breaks everyone up and announces that he has learned the secret location of the prison planet. (An undercover J’onn has finally been able to communicate with Bruce from the prison planet, Cygnus 4019.) The JLA then travels to Cygnus 4019, but when they arrive all the super-villains (including Catwoman and J’onn) have vanished. Instead, Kanjar Ro awaits the heroes and attacks them in attempt to steal DNA samples from each member. Eww. The JLA easily defeats their old foe, who explains that he has been spying on the actions of Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad for quite some time and planned to steal DNA samples from the super-villains on Cygnus 4019. However, Kanjar Ro discovered that all the super-villains had been teleported to another planet as they arrived at Cygnus, so he decided to ambush the heroes instead of the villains when they came to investigate, which he knew they surely would. Back on Earth, a very disturbed Batman, Superman, Amanda Waller, and President Horne wonder where the super-villains could possibly be. SPOILER:  I’ll tell you!  Darkseid has transported the super-villains to his own Apokoliptian prison planet which is, unknown to the villains, run by Desaad.

–DC Universe: Decisions #1-4
Although it isn’t explained in the storyline from DC Universe: Decisions #1-4, we must assume that a special off-year Primary Election and special Presidential Election are now officially mandated by Congress due to the insane events of the previous year (i.e. an evil android was running the free world, America was embroiled in “WWIII,” then the Amazonian War, then the Sinestro Corps War, and now the Prison Planet Scandal, etc). Thus, an intense Primary Election for both the Republicans and Democrats starts now to see who will be in the running against independent incumbent Jonathan Horne in the special off-year election, which will occur in several months. Furthermore, we must also ignore topical references to the year 2008 since it is currently 2010. Also, know that DCU: Decisions doesn’t actually tell us about the circumstances regarding the Congressional mandate for new special elections; I have simply inferred them. Ok, here we go! When Republican candidate Katherine McClellan is nearly assassinated in a bombing attempt orchestrated by several attackers, the JLA (with Ollie Queen, Doom Patrol leader Robotman, and Robin) go on full alert to protect the candidates.  Despite a lack of clues, Batman and Superman learn that a mystery metahuman physically controlled the bombers using telepathy. (The bombers were random people close to the presidential hopeful.) In Philadelphia, Ollie saves Democrat Davis Brewster from a similar assassination attempt and, afterward, publicly endorses him on TV. Guy Gardner, desperate to be in the media spotlight, then publicly endorses Republican Bob Ridgeway. Thus, the floodgates are opened and superheroes left and right (and Left and Right) begin publicly endorsing candidates.  This is VERY INTERESTING because we learn who the Republicans and Democrats are in the superhero community! Here’s the list. Republicans:  Guy Gardner, Vixen, Power Girl, Wildcat, Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Jay Garrick, Huntress, and Lois Lane.  Democrats: Ollie, Beast Boy, Firestorm, Blue Beetle, and Lady Blackhawk. Batman refuses to endorse any of the candidates, but Bruce Wayne publicly endorses Democrat Martin Suarez.  Flash Wally West publicly endorses the serial-bomber as a joke (!), which causes a tsunami of media backlash against him. I can’t believe all those lady heroes are Republicans! After assassination attempts against Ridgeway and Suarez are both thwarted, the JLA discovers the identity of the mystery villain responsible: Deathstroke’s son Jericho. The former Teen Titan, due to years of abusing his meta-ability to take possession of other people’s bodies, is now a schizophrenic madman. After Jericho is incarcerated, Superman goes on TV and announces that the superhero community must end its bi-partisan politics. Superman refuses to publicly endorse any of the candidates, but urges America to “Vote or die!”  Just kidding about that last part, but Supes does tell everyone to vote. NOTE: Dr. Light’s (Kimiyo Hoshi) appearance should be ignored since she would be retired and quasi-powerless at this point, and certainly would not appear in costume as depicted (unless it was some publicity stunt).

–Infinity Inc. Vol. 2 #6
Countdown 12
. A few teenagers who participated in Luthor’s Everyman Project still have their powers. These kids have all been living together, for better or worse, in Metropolis for several months now. When a series of five murders and three suicides occur in a single Metropolis suburb, all under bizarre circumstances, Batman and Superman meet to discuss the crimes. Batman won’t follow up on this case as he’s too busy in Gotham, but the “Infinity Inc” kids definitely will since the crimes are being committed by an ex-Everyman Project person.

–Nightwing #141-142 (“FREEFALL”)
Countdown 12 to 8. Dick asks Bruce to buy him half a dozen properties in New York City, with which Nightwing can use as safe-houses if need be.  Mr. Money Bags purchases the properties for Dick.  Not only that, Bruce hooks Dick up with a sweet job as museum curator for the Cloisters Museum. Spoiled much? On patrol in Gotham, Nightwing stumbles upon grave-robbers (who have also recently stolen the corpse of a 13th century knight and the corpse of Black Condor) unearthing the corpse of KGBeast.  Nightwing fights the grave-robbers, but they are able to escape with KGBeast’s severed head after a re-animated half Black Condor/half 13th century knight monster attacks.  After an autopsy of the monster creature by Dr. Mid-Nite, it is determined that the creature is a clone made-up of the DNA of various deceased metahumans and warriors of the past.  All the clues point to Talia Al Ghul, so while Batman is busy on his normal Gotham patrol, Nightwing and Robin go on a little trip to her island headquarters in the African Ocean (which I’m assuming must be near Africa).  Once Nightwing and Robin arrive, they discover that Talia is nowhere to be found, but the latter has hired the evil scientist Creighton Kendall to create a clone army for her. Kendall’s program is shut down, but the villain evades capture.

–Green Arrow and Black Canary #5 
Countdown 11.  Ollie and Dinah get married (for real, this time!) at a small, private ceremony.  Batman and Superman act as guards from a distance to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.  And everything does go off without a hitch, but when the newlyweds return to visit the brain dead Connor Hawke at the hospital, he’s been kidnapped!  Ollie will begin an extensive search for Connor, which will yield very little progress.  In-between searching for his son, Ollie will remain active within the superhero community.

–Robin Vol. 2 #171
Countdown 10.  Batman and Robin apprehend Condiment King (!) and Bruce calls it an early night since he has golf with the governor in the morning.  Robin, on the other hand, goes out searching for Violet again.

–Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 2 #4-9
Countdown 10 to 2 (wide range, goes here).  Batman and Dr. Francine Langstrom learn that the evil Mr. Jardine is working with Brother Eye!  Brother Eye plans to create monstrous creatures, but needs to send mutated alien DNA samples to the moon to do so.  Bruce recruits Green Arrow (Ollie Queen) into the Outsiders and personally joins the team on a mission to prevent the shuttle launch at a Jardine Corporation spaceport in French Guiana.  For protection, Jardine has at his disposal Militia, Camorouge, an OMAC, and Gunhawk and Gunbunny (who are back as a couple again for the first time in years and make jokes about their rocky divorce and past relationship).  The Outsiders are able to arrest Jardine (with the help of the detective ghosts of Ralph and Sue Dibny!), but the moon shuttle still launches.  Thankfully, Metamorpho is able to stowaway on board and reports his findings back to Earth: Jardine has constructed a gigantic space station on the dark side of the moon.  Batman then sends the Outsiders to steal a Chinese rocket-ship from Inner Mongolia.  But this is easier said than done as the team is captured by the Chinese Army and a few government metahumans.  While Dr. Salah Miandad (Francine Langstrom’s genius assisstant) monitors the situation in China using the Bat-computer, the Dark Knight then assembles Nightwing, Thunder, and ReMAC.  In Mongolia, Batgirl saves her fellow Outsiders from the firing squad just as Batman’s rescue team shows up and kicks ass.  (Dr. Miandad controls ReMAC from the Batcave).  On the moon, Metamorpho discovers that the space station workers, who are all brainwashed astronauts, have drilled a gigantic hole into the lunar surface and, using a particle-beam, have melted ice near the Moon’s core, creating a giant underground sea.  Metamoprho takes the station out of commission and returns to Earth, where Batman has his old vampire-friend, Looker, psychically analyze one of the brainwashed astronauts’ minds for info.  Looker learns that the underground sea on the moon was meant to be a breeding ground for alien monsters, and that one of the brainwashed astronauts’ minds has already been transferred into the brain of a fully-functional alien monster.  Looker then points Batman in the direction of a seedy Gotham club, where the monster is supposedly located.  But Batman is a busy guy and won’t actually get to investigate the club until later.  Therefore, the last three pages of issue #9 function as an epilogue, the events of which won’t take place for over a month.

–Detective Comics #842
Countdown 8.  Batman wears the “Suit of Sorrows” given to him by Talia as he tracks down the elusive new serial killer known as Gotham Jack for three days.  However, when Batman realizes the magickal chain-mail suit is making him violently aggressive to the point of being almost homicidal, he has Robin do a scientific analysis on the armor.  Robin confirms what Talia has already said: The armor comes from the 12th century.  However, Robin learns that the armor was forged by the Order of St. Dumas.  Bruce, still wearing the suit, then travels to the Swiss Alps for answers.  Through his investigation, the Dark Knight quickly learns that a splinter group of the Order of St. Dumas, known as The Order of Purity, actually created the armor.  As Batman gets closer to the modern members of the Order of Purity, they try to kill him.  But of course, the Caped Crusader deftly outmaneuvers them and gets the answers he was looking for.  In 1190, the purest, most chivalrous knight of the Order first donned the magickal armor and went completely insane, slaughtering several hundred innocent people in a remote corner of Switzerland.  Back in present day Gotham, Batman apprehends Gotham Jack and contemplates melting down the mystic armor.  In the end, Bruce chooses to display the “Suit of Sorrows” in the Batcave trophy room.

–Checkmate Vol. 2 #24-25 (“CASTLING”)
Countdown 6 to 1.  Checkmate learns that Kobra has gained access to the remnants of Lex Luthor’s old “Everyman Project” and has turned it into a WMD.  Using the “Everyman” process, the terrorist group has the ability to turn normal human beings into homicidal, insane metahumans.  Sasha Bordeaux and Mr. Terrific brief the JLA and JSA on the situation and the heroes begin a global assault on Kobra.  Batman decides to lead his Outsiders in to battle for this mission.  As heroes take down Kobra agents all over the planet, Checkmate realizes the real threat is in New York, where Kobra scientists have genetically engineered baby metahuman snake-humanoids known as Kobra Messiahs, which will become the next generation of lethal Kobra soldiers.  Checkmate sends in four of its best agents, known collectively as The Rooks.  The Rooks take an injection known as The Apocritic, which allows all of their communication to become telepathic.  Pretty cool stuff, Mr. Rucka.  Moving on, Batman meets with Sasha and demands to know what is happening in NY.  While Sasha explains about the deadly Messiahs, the Rooks have already defeated the Kobra cell in NY and secured the snake-babies.  One of the Rooks, Sebastian Faust, uses his magical powers to literally strip the evil clean out of the little Messiahs.  Back at Checkmate HQ, Sasha tells Batman that her organization will raise the little bastards to be good guys.

–Blue Beetle Vol. 7 #25
Countdown 5. Blue Beetle battles the evil alien race known as The Reach, who plan on conquering Earth. Knowing that the Reach are monitoring his every digital/electronic action, Blue Beetle sends a good old fashioned snail mail letter to Oracle via the care of his friend Danielle Garrett (daughter of the original Blue Beetle Dan Garrett). Oracle passes the news about the impending Reach invasion to Batman, who lends his aid in the form of a WayneCorp communications satellite that distributes the Reach plans to the entire superhero community. Batman, while remaining behind the scenes, also manipulates events so that other heroes are on hand at the final battle to help out Blue Beetle. Guy Gardner (who was already fighting with the Green Lantern Corps against the Reach anyway), Fire (now working for Checkmate), Ice, Booster Gold, and Traci Thirteen all help defeat the Reach.

–NOTE: In Detective Comics #843. Zatanna officially re-joins the JLA.

–Detective Comics #843-844
Countdown 4.  When crooked-businessman Johnny Sabatino’s new Gotham club suffers some serious sabotage that delays its grand-opening, Batman suspects Penguin is involved.  After questioning Penguin (who is actually innocent for once), Batman learns that Zatanna has agreed to perform her famous Vegas magic act at the grand-opening of Sabatino’s club.  A week later (which should read a day later for the purposes of this time-compressed chronology), Zatanna performs her act.  After the show, Zatanna flirts with Bruce and asks him why they have never had a romantic relationship when there is obvious attraction between them.  Before the conversation can go much further, the Ventriloquist, Scarface, and Moose show up, revealing themselves to be the villains responsible for sabotaging Sabatino’s club earlier.  Ventriloquist and Scarface take Bruce and Sabatino hostage.  In a speeding getaway car, the Ventriloquist oddly slips out of her hypnotic role as Scarface’s handler and seems disoriented.  Bruce realizes that she is an old acquaintance, Peyton Riley.  Riley also remembers Bruce, but before she can speak, Scarface comes to life again and smacks her upside the head, instantly transforming her back into the Ventriloquist.  The Ventriloquist then reveals her origin story, telling Bruce how she used to be married to Sabatino, who shot and left her for dead, after which, she discovered Scarface and the rest is history.  The Ventriloquist also explains how Sabatino screwed over Scarface (back in the Wesker days) and thus Scarface has an axe to grind with him as well.  As the Ventriloquist and Scarface take Sabatino for a long walk off a short pier wearing cement shoes, Zatanna rescues Bruce and they go after the villains together.  During the fight, which takes place on a boat, the Ventriloquist and Sabatino both go overboard, and both are seemingly killed.  Batman then puts a lifeless Scarface on display inside the Batcave trophy room.  Zatanna propositions Bruce once again, but Bruce denies her saying that romance would never work between them.

–Booster Gold #1,000,000
Booster Gold recently went back in time and saved Blue Beetle Ted Kord’s life from Max Lord.  However, this act caused a giant “time-knot” from which a reality was spawned that was much worse than Booster had planned for.  Booster undergoes a tremendous ordeal that involves, among other things, traveling all the way to the 853rd century to make everything square again.  After fixing the timestream, Booster returns to present day.  No one knows that Booster has once again saved the multiverse.  Instead, Booster is is berated and chastised, as usual, by “A-List heroes” Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan after a collateral damage-heavy battle with the Royal Flush Gang.  Batman then calls Booster and orders him into the Batcave for a private meeting.  Booster thinks he’s going to get chewed out even more, but Batman unveils a surprise which he’s been waiting to reveal for ten years now: The Polaroids of Booster from The Killing Joke!  Bruce explains that he has been waiting until Booster was the right age to match up with the photos before the big reveal.  Bruce also tells Booster that, while he isn’t quite sure what his time-traveling missions have been about, he knows they are important.  The Dark Knight shakes Booster’s hand and tells him to keep up the good work.  So, everyone thinks Booster is a loser, except for Batman (but, who else really matters, anyway?).  Oh, we also learn that Rip Hunter is Booster’s son!  His SON!

–Superman/Batman #47-49 (“K”)
Countdown 1.  Batman and Superman continue their quest to rid the Earth of Kryptonite (which has gone on for the past several months now).  Our heroes are disturbed to find an arsenal of Kryptonite in a secret US Government facility in Kansas.  Our heroes are even more disturbed when Amanda Waller sics a Kryptonite-powered metahuman attack-squad on Superman.  Waller then taunts a captured Batman and threatens to remove his mask.  After Superman defeats the government super-agents, Waller unleashes “The All-American Boy,” a US Army soldier infused with a Kryptonite exoskeleton and Doomsday’s DNA!  The Kryptonite Doomsday fights Superman in a battle that completely levels all of Smallville.  In the end, having lost control of her creation, Waller flies in the soldier’s parents, who are able to talk the beast down.  Batman then blackmails Waller with the threat of going public about her Kryptonite eugenics in exchange for her vast arsenal of Kryptonite.  But the K-trail doesn’t stop there, it leads to LexCorp and the company’s new CEO, Lana Lang!  But why would one of Superman’s closest friends be stockpiling Kryptonite?  Because it has gotten LexCorp running at near full capacity again and she is a serious businesswoman.  Feeling threatened, Lana detonates all of her K-caches across the globe, releasing deadly Kryptonite vapor all over the Earth.  Luckily, Hiro Okamura is standing by with nanite technology that instantaneously cleans up the mess.  Superman then gets rid of the rest of the Kryptonite by throwing it into the sun.  Afterward, Superman gives Batman the “final” piece of Kryptonite for safekeeping.  Back in the Batcave, we learn that Bruce still has a shit-ton of Kryptonite!  Damn.

–Superman/Batman #50
In my humble opinion, this is probably one of the worst Superman/Batman issues. In this blasphemous tale by writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson, Batman and the JLA finish re-building a destroyed Smallville and in its ruins, discover a mysterious Kryptonian device. Once Superman touches the device, a hidden robot comes alive in the Batcave and begins tearing its way through Gotham, eventually being subdued by Nightwing and the recently formed Titans (which comprises several of the now adult original Teen Titans).  Concurrently, a Kryptonian “hard-light” holographic machine activates itself in the Fortress of Solitude, forcing Batman and Superman into battle against holographic versions of their fiercest enemies.  And here’s where it gets shitty, folks. Bruce and Clark learn that, decades ago, their fathers met. You heard me right. Superman’s father, before sending his baby boy to Earth, sent out a probe to scan the cosmos looking for a inhabitable planet that sustained sentient life. Among those planets, Earth. Who should stumble upon this interstellar probe? Thomas Wayne. Daddy Wayne then is astrally-projected to Krypton after handling the high-tech probe, where the Billionaire doctor chats with Jor-El and convinces the latter that Earth is a damn fine place to send his son. I would love to say this tale is non-canon, but it is actually meant to be canon, especially since it follows up on the events of the previous S/B story. Let’s just move on.

–Tales of the Unexpected Vol. 2 #4
A series of supernatural executions of criminals has been occurring in Gotham for three weeks. Batman decides it’s high time to investigate and picks the brain of lead investigator Detective Marcus Driver, who gives a suspect identification that matches the Spectre. After a fugitive crook gets eaten alive by spiders, a result of the Spectre’s supernatural hand, Batman and Driver follow the trail of three other fugitive crooks. Shortly thereafter, the Dynamic Duo finds two others dead, again obviously killed by the Spectre’s supernatural involvement. (The second fugitive is stabbed to death with dollar bills while the third suffocates to death.) The fourth crook is captured by the GCPD and brought downtown for processing. At police HQ, a giant-sized Spectre materializes, despite the fact that the spirit of Crispus Allen (which hosts the Spectre) begs God to cease the senseless vengeance. But alas, Allen can’t hold back the Wrath of the Almighty and the Spectre attempts to kill the fourth baddie. Batman swings in and kicks the Spectre in the face, telling him to get out of Gotham. The Spectre leaves, but not before burning his victim alive.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #20. Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman meet to discuss the possibility of kicking Wally West out of the JLA, citing that lately he has been neglectful of his team obligations, ignoring emergency calls and monitor duty in favor of adventuring with his kids. Wonder Woman then talks to Wally and the latter is able to reprove his worth to the team by defeating Queen Bee.

–NOTE: In Salvation Run #7. All the surviving super-villains on Darkseid’s prison planet escape and return to Earth. However, J’onn is left stranded on the planet.

–Action Comics #851
Superman believes that only a select few Universe-0 Kryptonians still exist (including himself, Supergirl, and Kristin Wells).  However, Superman forgot about the old Kryptonian penal system of sending criminals to the Phantom Zone.  Turns out, all the worst Kryptonian criminals were ironically spared the destruction of their planet because they were safely within the Phantom Zone!  Now the three deadliest criminals have escaped: General Zod, Ursa, and Non.  Zod and Ursa happen to be the parents of Lor-Zod (Chris Kent).  The vile trio releases a small army of Kryptonian prisoners and they quickly are able to defeat the JLA and JSA and take over the entire Earth.  Zod then exiles Clark into the Phantom Zone.  In the PZ, a powerless Superman meets his old friend Mon-El, who is the only innocent person in the PZ.  Mon-El helps Supes escape back to Earth.  Back on the ravaged Earth, Superman reluctantly joins up with Lex Luthor and his team consisting of Metallo (who has his Kryptonite heart back), Parasite, and Bizzaro.  Superman and the villains are able to defeat the evil Kryptonians, although Luthor tries to trap Superman in the PZ as well.  In the end, Chris Kent helps win the war, but winds up lost in the vast vortex of the PZ.  Despite also having helped save the world, Luthor is sentenced to life in prison. (Don’t worry Lex fans, he escapes from prison right away).

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #21. Batman apprehends the returning Mr. Polka Dot.

–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #21, Part 1
Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman meet (as they so often do these days) privately in an inter-dimensional bubble that has been created specifically for the “Trinity” by Hal Jordan and John Henry Irons.  Their secret clubhouse exists within the hyperspace teleportation tunnel between the Hall of Justice and the Watchtower.  The “Big Three” discuss whether or not they need to re-shuffle the JLA lineup.  Huge changes are discussed, but in the end, everything stays the same.  Superman and Batman both note that J’onn is still missing, despite the fact that the super-villains have all returned from the prison planet a few days ago.

–Trinity #1-9
January. I’ve placed the first nine issues of Kurt Busiek’s epic Trinity here because they take place before Red Tornado gets his body back.  Also, it should be January, and definitely not Spring as is depicted in the story.  When Bruce, Clark, and Diana all share vague but similar ominous nightmares, they decide to meet in Keystone City to discuss the dreams.  After helping Wally West and his kids defeat Clayface, the Big Three go their separate ways and are surprised when reality seems to warp around them temporarily.  Meanwhile, on the other end of the planet, Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma (aka Quizmaster aka the Antimatter version of the Riddler) secretly watch the heroes in battle and plan to recruit Despero in an attempt to replace the “Good Trinity” of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman with the “Evil Trinity” of themselves.  In Massachusetts, the Good Trinity aids their fellow JLA teammates against the alien menace of Konvikt and Graak.  While the JLA battles the aliens, one of Morgaine Le Fey’s werewolf-ish Howler minions is able to burn a magickal rune on Wonder Woman’s back. (We haven’t seen Howlers since Bat Year 13!)  Concurrently, in Los Angeles magickal tarot reader Marguerita Covas keeps seeing hazy visions of the powerful “Trinity” (Bats, Supes, and WW) that explain how the trio supposedly holds the “key” to the entire multiverse.  Morgaine Le Fey knows the metahuman Covas is connected to the mystical power known as the “Worldsoul,” so she has the Howlers kidnap the tarot reader.  Covas happens to be friends with the superhero Gangbuster, who enlists Hawkman’s help to go after his friend.  Hawkman and Gangbuster meet with the JLA at the Hall of Justice where Hawkman reveals that Gotham criminals (including Nocturna, Killer Moth, Calendar Man, Mr. Freeze, Dr. No-Face, and Firebug) have recently been hired to steal a ton of Occult items for an unknown source—(of course, we know the source is Morgaine Le Fey).  Gangbuster is also able to convince the JLA of Covas’ visions and their connection to the “Big Three.”  Privately, Wonder Woman meets with Bruce and Clark and discusses openly about the differences between dating both of them (which she has done briefly), making the male heroes feel quite uncomfortable.  Galaxies away, Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma recruit Despero into their “Evil Trinity.”  (They don’t know it, but Despero is actually Kanjar Ro in disguise).  “Despero” reveals that he has stolen the Cosmic Egg (!) from the Watchtower and replaced it with a fake, so no one is the wiser.  The next day, Bruce holds a giant party at Wayne Manor where he is attacked by Howlers.  Bruce runs into the woods and changes into Batman, easily defeating the creatures.  Meanwhile, the “Evil Trinity” begins “incubating” the Cosmic Egg, which allows them to create several new metahuman super-villains to do their bidding, including Swashbuckler.  Swashbuckler begins stealing personal items needed for Morgaine Le Fey to cast a reality-altering spell, such as Jim Gordon’s pipe, Nightwing’s domino mask, Joker’s laugh, and much more.  In a side-plot, our heroes also suspect that the Crime Syndicate of Amerika has abducted hundreds of people from Earth-0.  Recap: The “Evil Trinity” is just getting started with some serious deviousness and the CSA is up to no good as well. But our fair heroes have a lot of other things to take care of before we continue this tale.  Good set-up though, and we will definitely return!

–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #22-26  (“SECOND COMING”)
While the rest of the JLA meets with Vixen and decides to kick her off the team (because she has essentially lost control of her powers), Batman is with Doc Magnus, Doc Irons, Professor Caulder, and Zatanna as they put Red Tornado into his new body.  However, this process goes terribly wrong and Red Tornado is possessed by Amazo, who downloads himself into a Black Tornado body, from which he morphs back into good ol’ fashioned Amazo.  The entire JLA, including Vixen and the newly embodied Red Tornado, defeat Amazo and teleport the evil android 600 light-years away.  Afterward, the JLA escorts Vixen to Animal Man’s house to discuss the fact that both animal-powered superheroes have recently lost control of their powers.  The heroes quickly learn that Kwaku Anansi (Anansi the Spider aka the trickster god of the West African/Caribbean pantheon) is responsible for their recent animal-powered woes.  Meanwhile, Batman, Zatanna, and Red Tornado apprehend Professor Ivo once and for all so that the maniacal doctor can no longer harm Reddy.  After re-convening with the rest of the team, Batman attacks Anansi, but the evil diety is able to temporarily alter reality, making it so that each member of the JLA has a completely different origin and history.  For example, Bruce Wayne is now the gun-toting homicidal vigilante known as Paladin.  Only Vixen retains her own memories.  Months pass (!), but Vixen is able to rally the troops and convince them they are living a lie.  Vixen then talks down Anansi and the JLA awakens with only seconds having passed on the actual timeline! No one has any recollection of what happened except for Vixen, who is given her spot back on the team. NOTES: Both the alternate universe and the new characters created by Anansi will remain in existence. Also, Mr. Mxyzptlk has always taken credit for any previous appearances of Kwaku Anansi, claiming it is one of his many alter-egos. However, this version of Anansi seems to act quite differently from our little friend from the 5th Dimension and, not to mention, at this point on our chronology, Mxy would be in a self-imposed exile from Earth (based upon events which took place in Countdown #23). Suffice to say, I think it is safe to assume this is the real deal Anansi the Spider.

–Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1
Late January. The Rann-Thanagar War has been quiet as of late, but still drudges-on late into its second year. When the Thanagarian cult that worships the evil Lady Styx gains a huge following on Rann, things are looking bad. With rumors that the conflict is going to erupt to previous wartime violence levels, veteran space patrolman Captain Comet contacts his buddy John Stewart and is granted an audience with the JLA. Comet tells the JLA about the status of the faraway conflict and meets with the Teen Titans as well.  The JLA refrains from getting involved, but Comet recruits Starfire and Animal Man to accompany him across the galaxy.

–Tangent: Superman’s Reign #3-12
This epic adventure is supposed to take place a few weeks after Justice League of America Vol. 2 #16.  However, it has been several months, not weeks.  John Stewart and Flash Wally West follow the female Tangent Green Lantern and female Tangent Flash to their homeworld, Earth-9, to help with a coup d’etat against that entire planet’s tyrannical leader, Tangent Superman!  Tangent Superman (Earth-9’s Harvey Dent) has created his own version of utopia by force.  There is no crime or poverty on Earth-9, but there is no freedom either.  When John Stewart is captured by Tangent Superman, Earth-0’s heroes respond.  Batman, Hal Jordan, Black Lightning, and Black Canary travel to Earth-9 and team-up with Wally, Tangent Flash, Tangent Spectre and Tangent Green Lantern.  Their first challenge is to fight against Tangent Superman’s girlfriend Powergirl.  Powergirl easily captures everyone except for Batman, T-Flash, and T-Spectre, who flee into hiding.  Batman then visits Tangent-Halo, who tells him the history of Earth-9.  After which, Batman meets and teams-up with his Earth-9 counterpart Tangent Batman.  Batman continues his Tangent team-ups and joins forces with the Tangent Outsiders (Tangent Manhunter, Tangent Plastic Man, T-Batman, T-Spectre, T-Green Lantern, and Pooch).  Batman and the T-Outsiders infiltrate T-Superman’s HQ and rescue their friends.  Meanwhile, T-Superman, Powergirl, and Tangent Orion invade Earth-0 in an attempt to dominate it as well.  Superman tries to stop T-Superman, but the latter attacks every nation’s capitol and kidnaps hundreds of world leaders.  Back on Earth-9, Batman and the heroes recruit T-Superman’s ex-wife, Lola Dent, onto their side.  Returning back to Earth-0, Batman, Lola, and the heroes discover that T-Superman has enlisted the aid of the supervillain community, including Lex Luthor, Joker, and many others.  However, even the villains soon realize that T-Superman is bad news, so they switch sides and help the good guys.  An angry T-Superman then unleashes a devastatingly powerful Tangent Ultra-Humanite upon the populace.  Despite the introduction of this new powerful force, T-Superman is defeated and sent back to Earth-9, where he is imprisoned with his fellow conspirators.

–Faces of Evil: Kobra #1
It’s been a few months since Checkmate started caring for the Kobra Messiahs, little humanoid snake-babies designed to be warriors when they grow up. Superman has been checking in on the little ones frequently during this time. Unfortunately for the good guys, the Kobra Cult, which has been leaderless for three years now, is ready for new management. Utilizing the power of a Lazarus Pit, the Kobra Cult revives the long-deceased twin brother of their also deceased former leader Jeffrey Franklin Burr. A reincarnated Jason Burr, who once fought against his brother, has become the crazed new leader of Kobra, known simply as Kobra. And for months now, Burr has infiltrated Checkmate and posed as a high-ranking official partly in charge of the Kobra Messiah project. Cut to now, Burr brutally reveals himself, killing every Checkmate agent in the bunker that holds the Messiahs and reclaiming his babies. Via live satellite video-feed, Burr addresses the entire planet (including the JLA) and declares that a new age of global terror will be brought forth by Kobra.

–Detective Comics #845
Batman welcomes Catwoman, whom he hasn’t seen since her ordeal on the prison planet. The two chat and Catwoman shows her jealous side, mentioning the time Bruce has spent with both Jezebel Jet and Zatanna as of late. But Batman doesn’t have time for idle conversation. There is a new serial killer in Gotham and no one knows who he is. Stumped, Batman tries out a new angle for gathering possible answers, idle instant messaging conversation!  He logs online and joins the “mystery community chatroom/message board” and swaps theories with Oracle, some GCPD cops, Detective Chimp, and Riddler.  After cracking the case, the Dark Detective then trails Riddler (who has also solved the mystery) to the killer’s house. Riddler gets there first and is caught, beaten, bound, and beaten some more.  Turns out that the serial killer’s wife was killed years ago during a Riddler robbery, and he’s been murdering just to lure the puzzle-solving Riddler into his trap.  Batman explodes onto the scene and reluctantly saves Riddler, bringing the revenge-crazed man to justice.

–Superman/Batman #51-52 (“LIL’ LEAGUERS”)
Mr. Mxyzptlk’s self-imposed exile from Earth (ever since Countdown #23) didn’t last long.  Mxy is back and he’s brought along a bunch of his vertically-challenged friends from the 5th Dimension.  Batman, Robin, Superman, and the JLA deal with silly dwarfish hero parodies of themselves, and things aren’t that bad, just kind of annoying.  Mxy turns things up a notch by tossing the Lil’ Super-villains into the mix.  These imps are not only annoying, but downright evil, enough to warrant a brief team-up between Superman and Lex Luthor.  While the heroes (and Luthor) try to contain the mini-villains, Lil’ Lex Luthor sneaks aboard the Watchtower and uses a Fatherbox from the JLA trophy room to turn Lil’ Doomsday into a full-grown Doomsday.  Superman, Lil’ Superman, Batman, and Lil’ Batman defeat Doomsday, but Lil’ Supes dies during the combat.  (We later learn in Superman/Batman #75 that Lil’ Superman isn’t dead, he’s just sleeping.  Cute!)  Then, Bat-Mite (!) shows up and reveals that all of the chaos was merely a bet between him and Mxy (as usual).  Lil’ Batman then tries to fight Bat-Mite (!), but in the end, the imps all solemnly go back to their dimension (except for Lil’ Joker who visits his idol at Arkham).

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman & The Outsiders Vol. 2 #10. Dr. Kirk Langstrom re-unites with his wife Francine. This is the first time he has seen his wife since before being abducted and taken to the prison planet.

–The Trials of Shazam! #12 
Countdown 5 (but must take place here since Red Tornado has his body back).  Freddie Freeman (the former Captain Marvel, Jr.) has finished the Trials of Shazam.  However, one final task must be done before Freddie officially becomes the new Captain Marvel.  He must stop Merlin (yes, that Merlin) and the evil Black Marvel-powered witch Sabina from not only corrupting all magick, but from allowing a million of demons to possess human hosts on Earth.  Good thing there is nothing written about seeking outside help in the Trials of Shazam rulebook.  Freddie recruits Shazam himself (Billy Batson) and the entire JLA to help him out.  The heroes then contest the villains in the most magical city on Earth, Las Vegas, and eventually score the victory with the help of Zeus (yes, that Zeus, who happens to be African-American now)!  Afterward, the JLA congratulates the newest and most powerful magical hero in the DCU, Captain Marvel Freddie Freeman.

–Superman/Batman #53-56 (“SUPER/BAT”)
Besides a few anachronistic comments by minor villains this arc seems to fit canonically right here.  Our story starts with Batman and Superman switching cities for a night, which is a practice that Bats and Supes have done every once in a while just for kicks (ever since Bat Year Thirteen).  After being attacked by Silver Banshee, who wields a magickal amulet, Superman loses all his powers and Batman gains them!  While Zatanna tries to figure out how to reverse the process, Superman begins training Batman in art of freeze-breath, heat-vision, and flight.  The power immediately goes to Bruce’s head and he bitches out Alfred and Tim and then dashes at super-speed all over Gotham, literally cleaning up all the crime in town in a matter of hours.  Hovering in the air with his arms crossed during a meeting with Gordon is pretty creepy too.  Batman then flies down to Santa Prisca and mercilessly beats a helpless Bane into bloody, broken-boned unconsciousness.  While his adrenaline is at an all-time high Bruce thinks to himself, “Why stop with Gotham and Santa Prisca?”  Super-Bats bolts fiercely from city to city, continent to continent, systematically ridding the entire Earth of crime.  Meanwhile, while trying to stop some muggers in Metropolis, a powerless Clark is shot in the stomach and rushed into intensive care aboard the Watchtower.  Batman flies up to the satellite an delivers a megalomaniacal rant to his JLA teammates before continuing his crusade.  Back in Gotham, Batman’s mind has begun to fade even more as he punches out Catwoman (!) with his super-human strength, causing Nightwing to confront him.  Nightwing doesn’t last very long against an insane metahuman Batman and winds up even worse than Bane.  Meanwhile, Clark, who has been magickally healed by Zatanna, dons one of Batman’s alternate costumes (sans the cape and cowl and with a Superman “S” chest emblem sewed on instead of the Batman symbol).  While the JLA battles crazy super-Batman on the moon, Superman and Zatanna visit the Oblivion Bar and take the magickal artifact from Silver Banshee.  Zatanna explains that the evil artifact has caused not only the power-switch, but Bruce’s insanity as well.  Batman easily defeats the JLA, but then confronts Clark, who uses the amulet against the Dark Knight to end his reign of terror.  Bruce loses his powers and regains control of his sane mind while Clark gains back his powers.

–Superman/Batman #60-63
The first two issues take place over the course of one night.  Dr. Destiny, from Arkham, is able to attack the superhero community in their dreams while they sleep at night.  Batman and Superman think they are stuck on an alternate Earth where every one is “mashed-up” into different characters.  For example, Lex Luthor and Joker are one character called “Lex Joker,” Deathstroke and Doomsday are “Doomstroke,” and the JLA and Titans are combined to form the “Justice Titans.”  Anyway, Supes and Bats find out Dr. Destiny is behind this charade and escape the “mash-up” world.  Bruce, however, winds up in a different dream where he and Zatanna are married!  Eventually, Bruce escapes this dream as well and wakes up in time for corn flakes.  Across town, Dr. Destiny has burned himself out and goes into a drooling state of mumbling catatonia.  Next, Tim and Kara (Supergirl) meet for lunch and reminisce about old times.  Meanwhile, Bruce runs some computer simulations on the Bat-computer, including a very detailed program which depicts a What If? post-apocalypse scenario where Gorilla Grodd has taken over the Earth.

–Superman/Batman #65
February. This is supposedly a Halloween issue, but there is nothing in the issue which alludes to the fact that it is Halloween (except for Scarecrow saying that it is).  Anyway, we must ignore Scarecrow’s comment since this story takes place in February.  While Superman and Batman battle Lex Luthor and an escaped Joker, Scarecrow ambushes all four and knocks them unconscious with a large dose of Fear Gas.  While the two heroes and two villains suffer their worst nightmares, Scarecrow attempts to bury them all alive in a graveyard.  Batman and Superman are able to realize they are stuck inside nightmares, free themselves, and easily take down Scarecrow.  The dazed and shell-shocked Luthor and Joker are both easily returned to their respective prisons by Superman.

–Batgirl Vol. 2 #1
Batgirl has been tracking down her arch-enemies, Deathstroke and David Cain, for the past few months.  In the Batcave, Nightwing confronts Cassie and says that she can’t be trusted because she is a former League of Assassins leader.  Dick starts fighting Cassie until Batman and Robin enter and break them up.  Bruce tells Dick to back off and show respect to Cassie since she is family again.  Dick angrily storms away in complete disagreement. PS. Dick is probably also extremely angry since last time he saw Bruce, Bruce was insane and super-powered and nearly killed him (during Superman/Batman #53-56). We must also buy into the fact that Nightwing has made a rather miraculous recovery from the assault. I wouldn’t rule out magickal healing.

–NOTE: In a reference in Supergirl Vol. 5 #44 and also referenced in several other issues. DC Universe: Decisions #4 doesn’t tell us who wins the Special Primaries that have been going on for nearly two months. However, we know the winner is the Bruce Wayne-backed Martin Suarez (Democrat). We know this because he will soon appear as the President, first in Supergirl Vol. 5 #44 and then in multiple issues that follow.

–Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 2 #9 Epilogue 
Over a month ago, Batman and the Outsiders learned that the evil Jardine corporation (in conjunction with Brother Eye) was attempting to create alien monsters on the moon.  This plan was thwarted, but one alien was proven to exist.  The Caped Crusader was given a tip from Looker that pointed him in the direction of a seedy Gotham club called Charlemagne where a parasitic Jardine alien is supposedly feasting on unlucky clubbers.  The last three pages of issue #9 show the inner workings of Club Charlemagne and the gross alien doing just exactly what Looker said.  Over a month has passed since Batman first learned about the Jardine alien, but finally, the always busy Batman is ready to investigate.

–Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 2 #10
The Jardine alien turns out to be a Bloodlines Parasite!  The two Charlemagne club-owners have gotten metahuman powers from the alien and have been charging people large sums of cash to gain meta-powers from the creature as well.  However, every single other person has simply been killed by the monster, except for one.  Grace, Thunder, and Metamorpho are on the scene and apprehend one of the new Bloodlines metahumans, but the other two escape along with the Parasite.  Batman jumps onto the xenomorphic Parasite’s back as the monster flies off into the night.  When the team fears that Batman may be dead, Batgirl reveals that the Dark Knight has set a mandate that in the event of his demise, she is to become the new leader of the Outsiders.  Meanwhile, Salah Miandad’s consciousness is permanently sent into ReMAC’s body while his real body remains in a coma. I should mention that this story is left completely unfinished. It ends with Batman missing (presumed dead) and also with the Parasite hiding in an abandoned movie theater. The next issue (number #11) will be a part of the “Batman RIP” story-arc later this year and will make no mention of a conclusion to this story whatsoever. Therefore, we must assume that Batman was incapacitated by the Bloodlines Parasite for a short while, but recovered and then returned to the team. Great job, DC editors.

–Batgirl Vol. 2 #5-6 (“REDEMPTION ROAD”)
Batgirl has finally tracked down her father, David Cain, who plans to assassinate Oracle at her new HQ in California.  Batgirl steals a Batplane and flies out west to protect her.  Unsure of what Batgirl’s plans are, Batman and Robin follow in hot pursuit.  Batgirl is able to lose the Dynamic Duo in Vegas before traveling to her final destination.  In Platinum Flats, Batgirl saves Oracle and defeats her father in hand-to-hand combat.  Batman and Robin show up just in time to witness the end of the contest.  Bruce then hugs Cassie and tells her that he’d like to legally adopt her as his daughter! (Again, the adoption he speaks of would be mere formality, for will/heir purposes, since Cassie is an adult).  While the adoption proceedings are not shown in this issue, it is assumed that they go off without a hitch.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #36. Bruce meets with Lee Cheng, the head of the Blackhawk Corporation.  They discuss business at the dog tracks and visit the Blackhawk WWII Museum on Blackhawk Island. The Blackhawk Corporation is the current incarnation of the original Blackhawks, a WWII squadron of Allied ace-fighter pilots. Cheng has morphed the modern remnants of the group into a weapons development company that focuses on military aerodynamics and privately contracted fighter-pilot training.

–Detective Comics #840
Not only is the Countdown 17 number wrong, this issue of ‘tec is way, way out of order too, but this tale definitely takes place here since Batman says it has been just under two months since Ra’s Al Ghul’s resurrection.  Batman easily defeats newcomer Hammond Carter aka The Globe who has stolen a globe that belongs to Ra’s Al Ghul.  Ra’s shows up and takes the globe, which contains a current up-to-date map of every Lazarus Pit on the planet.  Batman lets Ra’s have the map, but snaps a picture of it.  Prior to this, Batman was only aware of the specific locations of three or four functional Lazarus Pits, but now he knows not only how many there are, but also where they are thanks to the map.  (As I’ve said before, Batman had whittled the amount of Lazarus Pits on Earth down to three or four, but over the past couple of months, dozens of Lazarus Pits have been re-appearing with no real explanation given by our illustrious DC editors).  Moving on.  Hey!  Batman stole my line: “Of course. More ninjas.”  After battling ninjas, Bruce returns to the Batcave and ascertains that part of White Ghost’s personality, which is reckless and aggressive, is now merged with Ra’s Al Ghul’s personality, now that the latter’s spirit resides within the shell of his son’s body.  Just as Ra’s Al Ghul sets up a permanent HQ in Gotham, Batman breezes in and beats his arch-nemesis hard.  The Caped Crusader then sends Ra’s Al Ghul to Arkham under a fake name, with a fake history of mental illness which requires round-the-clock sedatives to be administered.  Ra’s Al Ghul is stuck at Arkham and can’t do a damn thing about it! NOTE: Bruce has always been very secretive about Lazarus Pit information and, here, decides to either destroy the map or hide it very well. Bruce doesn’t tell anyone about the existence of the Pits either, not even Dick, Tim, or Alfred. Thus, all of Bruce’s contemporaries will continue to be in the dark regarding Lazarus Pit locations.

–Batman Confidential #36-39 (“BLACKHAWK DOWN”) 
February. I’ve placed this story here since Alfred mentions Batman’s recent encounter with the Globe. Batman says that is is the first week of November, but this is just plain wrong. It’s definitely still February. Batman is unable to stop immortal ex-Blackhawk pilot Theodore Gaynor from attacking a Blackhawk military complex.  During the bloody attack, Gaynor transmits stolen data files to a small cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, which just happens to be the final resting place of Janos Prohaska, the original leader of the Blackhawks.  For anyone who has forgotten, the Blackhawks were an elite squadron of ace fighter-pilots in WWII.  Now, the aptly named Blackhawk Corporation continues to operate as the worldwide leader in military aerodynamics and privately contracted fighter-pilot training.  Moving on, Batman travels to the Warsaw cemetery and encounters a robotic Nazi squid straight out of a Hellboy comic.  After disposing of the antiquated relic, Batman meets with Lady Blackhawk (former WWII Blackhawk pilot Zinda Blake, who was shot forward in time during Zero Hour and decided to stay).  Zinda is shocked to learn that her old friend Janos’ grave is empty.  Batman and Zinda then shoot over to Blackhawk Island, where Gaynor has begun militarizing a giant air force.  Batman is able to defeat an army of mutated apes and shut down Gaynor’s war production.  However, Gaynor escapes with several dozen heavily-armed fighter jets while his associate, ex-Nazi general Bunther Haifisch (aka Killer Shark), kidnaps Zinda.  Batman then meets with an almost ninety-year-old Janos, who is still alive, having faked his death at the end of WWII.  The old vet suits up into an experimental Iron Man-esque exoskeleton and pilots a jet (along with Batman) into action against Gaynor’s floating “Sky-Skull” fortress, which hovers ominously above Gotham.  Batman and Janos crash through the base’s defenses, but are immediately assaulted by Gaynor and a brainwashed Zinda, who has murdered Killer Shark.  Batman and Janos snap Zinda out of her trance and the three heroes defeat Gaynor and save Gotham.

–Nightwing #145, Part 1
Almost two months have passed since Nightwing and Robin foiled Talia and Creighton Kendall’s evil plans to create a clone army.  But not to worry for Talia, Kendall has enacted his contingency plan, which involves abusing the kidnapped Chinese metahuman known as Mother of Champions.  See, Mother of Champions has the super-ability to give birth to litters of twenty-five metahuman babies every three days.  Kendall has been keeping Mother sedated and has been artificially inseminating her round-the-clock, which has spawned over 200 super-babies thus far.  The only problem is that the babies age ten years daily, making their development really screwed up and making their lifespan about ten days long.  Kendall brainwashes Mother’s winged-metahuman children and sends them (on days two through four of their development stage) to kill Nightwing.  Nightwing defeats his attackers, and apprehends one of them.

–FLASHBACK: From Green Arrow and Black Canary #8. Who shot and abducted Connor Hawke? Connor has been missing for almost two months now. Finally, Ollie Queen, Dinah Lance, and Mia Dearden not only have a clue as to his whereabouts, but also know who might be responsible for his shooting. Their investigation has pointed them in the direction of the League of Assassins, and hence Ra’s Al Ghul! Ollie calls up the man who knows the most about the League, Batman, but is surprised to learn that Ra’s is behind bars at Arkham. Undeterred, Ollie surmises that Ra’s could still be responsible since he’s only been incarcerated recently. Note that this flashback supposedly takes place only nine hours before GA & BC #9. This is impossible. This flashback should take place at least twenty-four to thirty-six hours before the next issue (giving us ample time for Nightwing #145, Part 2 and the note that follows).

–Nightwing #145, Part 2
Two days have passed since Nightwing’s capture of one of Mother of Champions’ winged-metahuman spawn.  In those two days, this poor child of Mother has aged twenty years and now appears to be sixty.  Nightwing brings the old man to visit Batman and Robin.  The Bat-Family interrogates him and finds out what Talia and Creighton Kendall are up to with Mother of Champions.  As our heroes plan an assault on Talia and Kendall, Alfred receives the terrible news that Ra’s Al Ghul has escaped from Arkham.  Batman and Robin rush to Arkham, but they are far too late as Ra’s Al Ghul is long gone.  Because of the severity of the situation with Ra’s Al Ghul, Nightwing has to face Talia and Kendall alone, which is no problem.  Dick winds up teaming-up with Talia when Kendall decides he has his own agenda.  The duo is able to save Mother of Champions and defeat the mad scientist.

–REFERENCE: In Green Arrow and Black Canary #11. Batman was unable to prevent Ra’s Al Ghul from busting out of Arkham, but the Dark Knight is able to contact Ra’s Al Ghul following his daring escape.  Batman demands to know if Ra’s Al Ghul was responsible for kidnapping Connor Hawke.  The latter denies having anything to do with the matter and says he will do anything in his power to help unearth a possible impostor.

–Green Arrow and Black Canary #9-12
Ollie, Dinah, and Mia (along with British sometimes-super-thief Dodger) follow the clues of their investigation to England where they think they have discovered Connor locked in a cryogenic-chamber.  An excited Ollie pops open the container revealing Plastic Man!  Plastic Man is glad to be rescued, but disturbed to learn that he’s been under ice for about two months!  Poor Plas.  Remember that one time he spent nearly 3,000 years under the ocean?  (If not, see “Obsidian Age”).  Anyway, Batman shows up to help the heroes fight a group of random metahumans who claim to serve Ra’s Al Ghul.  During a break in the action, Batman activates a live satellite video feed with Ra’s Al Ghul, who tells the super-villains that he has never met them before and they work for an impostor.  The villains are dumbfounded, and explain to Batman and company that they were originally hired by the fake Ra’s Al Ghul to assassinate Ollie.  However, sniper Palmer Cokes screwed up and accidentally shot Connor instead.  After their tremendous gaffe, the team was then ordered by fake Ra’s Al Ghul to abduct Connor and Plastic Man.  But there’s more.  Team member Spike reveals that she knew the real identity of her employer the whole time, Ollie’s ex-girlfriend and mother of his child (yes, Ollie has yet another estranged kid), Shado!  But why would Shado want Ollie dead?  Our mystery unravels when Ollie questions his ex, who explains that their son, Robert Queen, was dying of leukemia.  Desperate to save his life, Shado asked the vile Dr. Thaddeus Sivana to cure Robert.  Sivana agreed to help Robert, but only in exchange for the murder of Ollie.  Thus began the elaborate fake Ra’s Al Ghul ruse and assemblage of the fake League of Assassins team.  However, when Shado’s assassins failed in their task, an angry Sivana ordered Shado to kidnap Connor and Plastic Man.  So, it’s off to Sivana’s island HQ to rescue Connor and Robert.  Batman, Ollie, Dinah, Mia, Dodger, and Shado fight an army of cloned Plastic Men and are able to rescue the missing persons.  Back home, the brain dead Connor miraculously awakens!

–Green Arrow & Black Canary #14 
Batman and Dr. Mid-Night examine Connor Hawke following his ordeal with Dr. Sivana.  Connor has lost most of his memory, including all of his bow and arrow skills, much to the dismay of Ollie.  Once again, there is only one Green Arrow: Ollie Queen.  However, due to Dr. Sivana’s sick experimentation, Connor has been infused with Plastic Man’s DNA and, while he can’t shapeshift, he is virtually invincible, endowed with the same healing factor as Wolverine.  His new healing factor was the contributing factor in revitalizing his dead brain.  Connor decides to fight crime under his own name alongside Ollie, Dinah, and Mia.

–Robin Vol. 2 #174
Countdown 2.  Penguin may be a slave to Intergang, but he still wants Robin and Violet dead and he’s been trying to kill them for over two-and-a-half-months now with no avail.  When gangster Marcel Pincus, gun-runner Sin Fang, and half a dozen North Korean thugs have the two heroes pinned down in a warehouse, Spoiler comes to the rescue!  Spoiler helps Robin and Violet defeat the bad guys, but afterward, Robin tells who he assumes is a fake Spoiler to stop dishonoring his dead friend’s memory and to quit the charade ASAP.  Spoiler shakes her head and leaves, as does Violet, who still can’t stand Robin’s guts.  Batman and Robin then tail Spoiler back to her apartment, where Tim demands that she unmask.  Spoiler unmasks and, sure enough, it’s good ol’ Steph Brown!  Tim is unhinged with joy and kisses Steph passionately.  While seemingly in utter disbelief and totally caught off guard, Batman grumbles that he first suspected she never was truly dead nearly three years ago.  Sure you did, Batman, sure you did.  Back at the Batcave, Steph has a long chat with Bruce, Tim, and Alfred about what happened.  Steph reveals that Leslie faked her death two years ago in order to protect her from the vigilante lifestyle.  Steph and Leslie have been living in Africa ever since.  But now she’s back for good!  Steph then meets with her mom, who nearly has a heart attack upon seeing her. Spoiler spills the entire truthful beans about her life as a secret crime-fighter.

–NOTE: In Death of the New Gods #8. Countdown 1. Virtually all of the New Gods have been murdered by the mysterious God-Killer over the past several months. Finally, the God-Killer is revealed to be none other than the Source itself! The Source, merged completely with its evil half (the Anti-Life Entity) and given anthropomorphic form, had used the New God Infinity Man as his living weapon to murder all the New Gods in a quest to re-shape the entire multiverse. In the end, Superman watches from the bleachers as Darkseid, using the combined powers of all the dead New Gods, defeats the Source/Anti-Life Entity and sends it back beyond the Source Wall. This epic battle results in the merging of New Genesis and Apokolips into one single planet, half evil and half good. When the cosmic dust settles, Orion and Darkseid are the only New Gods left alive.

–NOTE: In Birds of Prey #121-124. Joker escapes (again) and plays mind-games with the Birds of Prey in California. Oracle winds up confronting Joker one-on-one and she beats the shit out of him from her wheelchair. Joker’s mouth is severely scarred, and the villain requires extensive oral surgery before being returned to Arkham.

–NOTE: In Countdown to Final Crisis #2. Countdown 2—(yes, this takes place after Death of the New Gods #8, which is labeled Countdown 1). Darkseid battles Jimmy Olsen, who learns that all of his superpowers have come from the dead New Gods. After Darkseid defeats Jimmy, Orion shows up and begins battling his father. Cue epic fight scene. The last of the New Gods pummel each other as only gods can pummel. Orion then kills Darkseid by ripping out his heart! Beaten, bloody, and badly injured, Orion staggers away, the last of his kind.

–Action Comics #864-865
Superman returns from a brief trip to the 31st century and is accompanied by friend and Legionnaire, Lightning Lad.  Batman shows up at the Fortress of Solitude to talk shop with Supes and is annoyed to see Lightning Lad there.  Batman and Lighting Lad DO NOT get along and they never have.  Lad not only makes fun of Batman for wearing a mask and being “spooky,” but also gloats over the fact that he gets to rummage through all of Bruce’s personal shit on archaeological digs in the future.  In private, Batman reminds Superman that the Legion is not to be trusted, especially since there are two other different versions of the Legion they have met in the past.[2]  The Dark Knight then tells Supes the real news, Legionnaires Karate Kid and Duo Damsel have been murdered in Gotham.  (Duo Damsel has two bodies, so technically, she still has one more healthy body alive and well in the future).  Batman, Superman, Lightning Lad, and Commissioner Gordon inspect the murder scene.  The superheroes then question former-Legionnaire and current JSA member, Starman (Thom Kallor), who currently lives in a sanitarium and gets pulled out only for missions (kind of like Murdock on the A-Team).  Thom tells them that the deaths are merely a precursor to a war that will involve all three Legions pitted against an unbelievable power. SPOILER: Although, it’s not really a spoiler unless you are following Superman since Batman won’t factor into this war. “The Legion of Three Worlds” will engage in cosmic combat against the team of Superboy-Prime and the Time Trapper (who is an adult version of Superboy-Prime).  Back to our narrative at hand, after Lightning Lad departs for his home-time, we move on to the next issue.  The original Toyman (Winlsow Schott) breaks out of Arkham, kidnaps Jimmy Olsen, and bores the poor guy with his origin story.  Schott then reveals that all the other Toymen (there have been a few) were all androids that he created.  Here’s the biggest shocker:  Hiro Okamura is one of those androids!  Schott continues, ranting that only the children truly understand him and that’s why he’s kidnapped Jimmy, who is “only sixteen-years-old,” to which Jimmy amazingly replies, “You think I’m sixteen?  I’m twenty-two, you jerk!”  Why can’t Tim Drake stand up and shout that same line to DC editors!?  Batman then crashes-in to save Jimmy and winds up fighting all the Toymen androids, including Hiro Okamura, Toyboy, Jack B. Nimball, and Grandpa Toyman.  Batman defeats the robots and apprehends Schott just as Superman arrives.  Schott begs Superman to take him back to a Metropolis prison instead of horrible, horrible Arkham.  Batman is glad to add Toyman to his rogues list and drags the simpering villain to the Gotham madhouse.  Great issue!

–Trinity #10-17
For the past two months the “Evil Trinity” (Morgaine Le Fey, Enigma, and Kanjar Ro disguised as Despero) has been collecting Occult artifacts across the globe.  The villains, using the power of the Cosmic Egg, have created a few metahuman soldiers to do their bidding.  Also two months ago, the JLA first suspected the Crime Syndicate of Amerika of kidnapping Earth-0 inhabitants (they have indeed, and not just from Earth-0, but from 13 other Earths too) and whisking them away to the Antimatter Earth to become slaves.  After finally finding definitive proof, the JLA storms into the Antimatter Universe and battles the CSA while the “Evil Trinity” watches secretly from Earth-0.  Concurrently on Earth-0, Nightwing, Robin, and rest of the DCU superhero community deal with the new Cosmic Egg-created metahumans.  Sun-Chained-in-Ink, Primat, and Trans-Volitional Man are able to steal various items related to Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (needed by Le Fey to cast a spell).  Dick hires Riddler to find out who these new metas are working for.  After a quick but extensive investigation, Riddler concludes decisively that the answer is none other than himself!  Riddler explains that, based on the facts, he is definitely the culprit, but he also assures Dick that he’s innocent.  (This bizarre logic actually makes sense because Enigma, who is responsible, is the Antimatter version of Riddler).  Jason Blood warns Dick that someone is collecting items to cast an evil magick spell.  On the Antimatter Earth, Superman defeats Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman single-handedly and banishes the trio to an interdimensional limbo.  The elimination of the tyrannical Antimatter dictators causes the entire planet to fall into bloody civil war.  The JLA can do little to help the Antimatter Earthlings and thus, leaves for home.  Shortly after arriving back in the Positive Matter Universe, a Howler brands Superman with a mystic rune, before being chased away.  The heroes then examine the clues and all signs point to Castle Branek in England, which just so happens to be the HQ of the “Evil Trinity.”  The “Good Trinity” along with the JLA, JSA, Titans, Teen Titans, Outsiders, and Birds of Prey attack the “Evil Trinity” and an army of Howlers.  Gangbuster rescues Rita Covas and says that she was kidnapped a week ago, which is untrue as it’s been over two months since her abduction.  Anyway, during the battle, “Despero” (a still disguised Kanjar Ro) brands Batman with a mystic rune, thus completing Le Fey’s spell.  A catastrophic wave of reality-altering energy sweeps across the globe.  In the chaos, Krona escapes from the Cosmic Egg and flees to deep space.  In an instant, reality is changed.  Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman never existed!

–REFERENCE: In Trinity #30, Trinity #32-35, and Trinity #37. As soon as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman disappear, they are cast thousands of years into the past on an alternate Earth that is home to purple-skinned barbarians. (This purple Earth is actually Earth-1 during its prehistoric Bronze Age!) Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (in quasi-ghost forms) introduce peace, law, order, and the concepts of modern civilization to this primitive world.  The “Big Three” become worshiped as gods and tell their detailed histories to their followers in order to teach valuable life lessons and to inspire them with hope. (These stories will be passed down from generation to generation through oral tradition and become the sacrosanct foundation of the religion of the Purple People—as referenced in Trinity #32-35.) While Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman become the watchful gods of this world, they slowly lose all recollection of their prior lives. Eventually, a disagreement about how to properly run the Purple People of Earth ensues between the trio of gods (now known as Atmahn, Kellel, and Dinanna), resulting in a bloody and brutal “God War.”  After the death of millions in their names, the Trinity finally agrees to peace, vowing to once again bring harmony to the masses.  A great citadel is erected and the three gods live together in its tallest tower, promising never again to interfere with the lives of the Purple People (as told in Trinity #37).

–Trinity #18-34
Trinity #18-34 picks up right where Trinity #17 left off. Morgaine Le Fey’s spell has caused reality to be altered so that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have been erased from Earth-0’s existence (and sent to the ancient past of an alternate Earth). However, Le Fey’s spell has worked incorrectly since one of her partners is a fake. (The spell was specifically designed for her, Enigma, and the real Despero, not Kanjar Ro.)  The populace of Earth-0 still has fleeting dream-like memories of the “Big Three” and reality keeps shifting and altering constantly due to the screwed-up magic.  In this new and ever-rippling world, huge things are different: Carter Hall (Hawkman) leads the fascist SHIELD-like Justice Society International; Ollie Queen and Mia Dearden are Gotham’s Dynamic Duo (and then due to a reality-ripple, Ragman and Tatters become Gotham’s kabbalistic primary protectors); and several deceased characters are alive again (Charlie “Bigger” Melvin, Tomorrow Woman, Triumph, the original Aquaman, and Barry Allen, just to name a few). Rita Covas and Gangbuster meet up with Alfred “Freddie” Pennyworth, who has basically turned into a James Bond/Indiana Jones-type character. Freddie slowly regains his memories of the way the world should be after talking to Rita.  Meanwhile, Le Fey and Enigma gain ultimate cosmic power and battle against the JSI. The powerful duo then gets rid of the outed Kanjar Ro, and recruits Konvikt as the new third member of the “Evil Trinity.” Concurrently, Firestorm, whose memories were unaffected by the reality-alteration because he was investigating the missing Cosmic Egg in Negative Space, is captured by the JSI.  After interrogating both Firestorm and Gangbuster (and finding definitive proof of what is happening), Carter Hall realizes that reality has been indeed altered. In deep space, the real Despero attacks a fleeing Kanjar Ro, but the latter is able to form a truce with him. The alien despots then save Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman from their interdimensional prison. On Earth, Freddie Pennyworth assembles Richie Grayson (Dick), Thomas Tresser (Nemesis), Interceptor (Supergirl), and Donna Troy and makes them remember that they are all important people in relation to the forgotten “Good Trinity.”  Elsewhere on Earth, Rita Covas and fortuneteller Charity O’Dare tap into the power of the “Worldsoul” in an attempt to fix reality. Then, the JSI teams up with other superhero teams to deal with the chaos that has erupted all over the planet. Dozens of superheroes contest with dozens of super-villains, some of which have been recruited by the “Evil Trinity” into an army that corresponds with each card in the Tarot. This “Dark Arcana” begins battling the “Justice Arcana” in a race to collect the cosmic power from the world-shifting “chaos rifts” that ravage the Earth.  Meanwhile, Freddie and his crew perform a magickal ritual which transports them to an alternate Earth where purple barbarian humanoids worship the gods Kellel, Dinanna, and Atmahn (Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, respectively). (This Earth is Earth-1, now in its Iron Age!) The Purple People explain that thousands of years ago, the three gods appeared to their ancestors and introduced peace, law, order, and the concepts of modern civilization to their primitive world. The Purple People then recite the long and storied history of their “bible” which is essentially the entire comprised DCU histories of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (although thinly veiled with pseudonyms and scenery changes to better reflect their society). Freddie and his hero comrades immediately remember everything.

–Trinity #35-52
Alfred, Dick, Nemesis, Donna, and Supergirl confront the gods of the purple Earth (Earth-1) in their holy citadel.  The heroes are able to make Batman (Atmahn), Superman (Kellel), and Wonder Woman (Dinanna) remember who they are for the first time in thousands of years. The Trinity (now an actual Holy Trinity) immediately travels back to Earth-0 where the “Justice Arcana” and the “Dark Arcana” are still in a race to see who can collect the most amount of cosmic power from the randomly-appearing chaos-rifts.  Whoever can control the most power can reshape the universe in any way they choose.  The Trinity, still in their ultimate gigantic god forms, are able to defeat the “Dark Arcana,” forcing the “Evil Trinity” to retreat.  The Trinity then defeats a cosmic-powered Cheetah and a cosmic-powered Joker.  Reality begins to correct itself and things begin returning to the way they were before Le Fey’s spell was cast.  Lex Luthor begs Superman to turn the Earth into a paradise instead of simply putting things back the way they were.  But Supes instinctively swats Luthor aside.  Maybe Luthor had a good point?  Superman asks the superhero community if they want things to stay as they are or as they were.  The heroes vote “as they were.”  Presto-change-o and the world is back to normal, except for a few new things, such as the fact that Tomorrow Woman is back for good!  (All the other revived characters return to their graves).  The entire populace of the earth is forced to deal with the traumatic events that have just occurred.  The Trinity, still in their colossal cosmic-powered inhuman state, decide to remain as gigantic gods, much to the dismay of their friends and families.  Despero, The Void Hound (a Qwardian techno-creature that has taken John Stewart’s body as a host), Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman then join forces with the “Evil Trinity” and do battle with the super-gods.  The CSA members are easily defeated and Batman-god, Superman-god, and Wonder Woman-god march onward.  Le Fey and Despero decide to ally with Krona, but Enigma and Konvikt refuse, causing a huge brawl and split.  Le Fey, Despero, and Krona form the new “Evil Trinity.”  Krona then attempts to gain control of the “Worldsoul” (revealed as the literal “soul” of Earth-0) through its human host link, Rita Covas.  War then explodes (yet again) as the “Evil Trinity” and Despero’s vast alien armada clashes with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, all of Earth-0’s heroes, the CSA (who have temporarily switched sides), Enigma, and Konvikt.  Luthor contacts Alfred in the Batcave and tells him a surefire way to defeat the “Evil Trinity.” (It is made clear that Luthor doesn’t know Batman’s secret identity or who Alfred is, only that he is able to somehow contact him in the Batcave).  Alfie passes the message onto the frontline, where Batman-god receives it loud and clear.  The Trinity uses heroes and villains alike as conduits to re-cast Le Fey’s original spell, but this time, to physically restrain Krona.  But Luthor’s plan fails and Krona not only breaks free, he literally crushes Earth with his enormous moon-sized hands, completely demolishing the planet and killing everyone.  In the vast emptiness of space, Krona fights Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Earth’s now anthropomorphized Worldsoul.  The Trinity is able to merge together and envelop Krona in a giant sphere.  The Worldsoul then teleports a powerless Krona to the Iron Age of Earth-1 and then undoes the destruction caused to Earth-0.  The planet is reborn, shaking with cataclysmic force, along with its inhabitants.  Despero is defeated once and for all by the super-gods, who then finally decide to transform back into their old selves.  Our heroes then chase the CSA back to the Antimatter Earth where Enigma has become the planet’s primary superhero.  Afterward, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman reflect on what it was like to be gods for thousands of years. The end.

–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Batman & Robin #18. Bruce, merely to maintain his playboy image, begins dating billionaire media mogul Una Nemo. He will go on six dates with her over the course of the next couple weeks (although these won’t be visible on our timeline below). Note that dating Una is really just Bruce keeping up playboy appearances. Bruce is also kinda-sorta non-monogamously seeing Jezebel Jet right now as well.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #0. Early April. Bruce re-initiates the Wayne Enterprises-funded Victims Incorporated Program. Victims Inc will function, as it once did before (in the Year One Era), as a service that provides assistance to those who have lost loved ones at the hands of Gotham crime. The program will also appoint private investigators to solve cold murder cases that the GCPD has been unable to crack.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #691. Batman, for reasons unknown, reopens the Flying Graysons murder case, but doesn’t tell Dick. Batman then hides the reopened case files, which lead nowhere, in a compartment beneath a display case in the Batcave trophy room. Dick will eventually find this datafile, but writer Judd Winick doesn’t follow up on the story. And neither will anyone else. Thus, this item literally leads nowhere. I guess Batman was being thorough. The Flying Graysons case is definitely closed. Why does he hide the datafile? Who knows.

–Wednesday Comics #1-12 (“BATMAN”)
When rich investment banker Franklin Glass is murdered, his young trophy wife, Luna, stands to gain his entire fortune, as long as Franklin’s son, Carlton, doesn’t get in the way. Luna tries to frame Carlton for murder, but when that fails, she has him killed instead.  When Luna winds up killing the assassin, her devious plot quickly unravels.  Batman chases her down and Luna tries to kill herself, eventually getting gunned down by police anyway.

–FLASHBACK: From The Brave and The Bold Vol. 3 #13. After Bruce petitions the FBI to investigate Penguin’s dirty business dealings, the latter hires a sniper to kill the former on the golf course. Of course, the assassination attempt fails. Don’t forget, Penguin now reluctantly works for Johnny Stitches’ Gotham faction of Intergang, but still has his own secret criminal ventures on the side.

–Vixen: Return of the Lion #1
Vixen hasn’t been officially cleared for JLA duties yet after her recent encounter with Anansi, but she is out and about patrolling with the team anyway and Batman and Superman don’t seem to mind.  During a raid on an Intergang warehouse, the JLA finds evidence that Vixen’s mom, who was previously thought to have died in an accident, was actually murdered by Intergang member Aku Kwesi.

–FLASHBACK: From The Brave and The Bold Vol. 3 #13. Penguin tries to assassinate Bruce Wayne again, this time by poisoning his drink at a charity ball.  Robin crashes the party and prevents Bruce from ingesting the deadly brew.

–Vixen: Return of the Lion #3-5
The JLA travels to Zambesi, Africa to help Vixen take on Aku Kwesi.  In Zambesi, Black Canary and Superman are poisoned with a chemical that makes them turn against their teammates.  Intergang lieutenant Whisper A’Daire (!) then shows up to help her fellow Intergangers, but in the end the JLA is victorious.

–The Brave and The Bold Vol. 3 #13
Batman teams-up with Jay Garrick on a murder case.  Meanwhile, Penguin, still trying to murder Bruce Wayne, hires TO Morrow to kill him.  Morrow sends a small army of Samuroids (samurai androids) to attack Wayne Manor.  Jay easily defeats the robots.  Batman and Jay then locate Morrow, who was responsible for the original murder, and defeat the villain.  Bruce never even learns that it was Penguin who was trying to kill him all week.

–NOTE: In Booster Gold Vol. 2 #11-12. Rip Hunter tells Booster Gold of a mishap in time involving the 27th century physicist/thief Wiley Dalbert, who slowly traveled backwards through time with the goal of reaching the “simpler, better era” of the 19th century. Along the way, he stole a ton of loot, eventually becoming rich upon reaching his desired era. It turns out, Rip continues, Dalbert’s time-traveling played a pivotal role in the creation of Batman.  Dalbert traveled to the 19th century and founded a hospital, which coincidentally pointed Dr. Thomas Wayne’s career in a specific direction, which in turn, led to his death on Crime Alley, which of course, led to birth of the Dark Knight.  Rip then explains the error that has affected the time-stream: In Bat Year 8, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl nabbed Dalbert and sent him to jail, thus preventing the physicist from reaching his final destination in the 19th century, thus preventing the birth of the Caped Crusader.  This, obviously is not correct, and not good.  SO, armed with this knowledge, Booster travels back in time (the first time he actually fails to fix the error, knocking out Killer Moth and playing the role of the villain). The second time, however, is a charm.  Booster and his sister Goldstar travel to Bat Year 8, fix the error, and return, ensuring that Bruce will become Batman like he was supposed to.

–NOTE: In Booster Gold Vol. 2 #14. In order to fix the timestream yet again (which has now been damaged by an army of time-traveling Starros), Booster (as usual) does a million things and goes on a frantic jaunt across time and space. Specifically, Booster time-travels back to Bat Year 10 and borrows an ice gun from Mr. Freeze, travels back to the present, fixes the timestream using the stolen weapon, then travels back to Bat Year 10 to return the ice gun.  In Bat Year 10, Batman and Robin (Jason Todd at the time) have no idea Booster was even there, and Freeze is just really confused.

–Batman Confidential #39 Epilogue
This is supposed to take place three months after Batman Confidential #39, but it takes place more like a-month-and-a-half afterward.  Bruce, Tim, and Lady Blackhawk attend a corporate party sponsored by Blackhawk Inc.  Tim meets one of his biggest heroes, WWII ace Janos Prohaska.

–Solo #1, Part 1
Tim Sale’s issue of Solo was published in 2005, but the Batman story within didn’t seem to fit anywhere at the time.  However, it seems to fit well right here.  Ever since returning from the prison planet, Catwoman has had a whole new outlook on life and has begun stealing again.  In this tale, Selina simply wants to “play” with Batman and lures him in with a phony museum heist.  After a boisterous chase, Catwoman has Batman tied-up and hanging upside-down.  After a few “Spider-Man” kisses, she bolts away.

–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Batman & Robin #18. Bruce goes on his sixth date with the beautiful and rich Una Nemo. As he has done before with other girlfriends, Bruce—quite coldly, suddenly, and without explanation—dumps Una. While he doesn’t give a reason for leaving to Una, this has a lot to do with our next item. Bruce has also been seeing Jezebel Jet and things are about to heat up between them.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #672, Catwoman Vol. 3 #81, and also mentioned repeatedly in a couple other upcoming story-arcs. While we haven’t seen Jezebel Jet in any comics lately, Bruce has indeed still been casually dating the femme-fatale, albeit non-exclusively. However, beginning now, Bruce and Jezebel will enter into what the public media refers to as a “serious relationship.”

–Catwoman Vol. 3 #81-82 (“FINAL JEOPARDY”)
As mentioned earlier, ever since returning from the prison planet, Catwoman has had a whole new outlook on life and has begun stealing again. Batman ain’t happy ’bout that. The Dark Knight catches up with Selina and tells her that she is above the thievery game and things have to change. A playful game of cat and mouse (or bat and cat) ensues as the two chase each other across the rooftops of Gotham. Once Batman corners Selina, she starts clawing and kicking the Caped Crusader and then they start making-out! (Don’t tell Jezebel Jet.) Batman then tells Selina that she didn’t have to give up Helena for adoption. There were other options, like running away and living quietly overseas. Selina gets mad at Bruce’s candor at first, but then realizes it’s true.  Selina then tells Bruce that she made her decision and stands by it, announcing, “I’m CatwomanThis is who I am.”  Catwoman then steals the Batmobile from right under Bruce’s nose, sticks her tongue out, waves goodbye, and drives off into the sunrise!

–Batman #672-674
These three issues bear the label Countdown 18 to 9—(obviously, we must completely disregard these Countdown numbers). Bruce and Jezebel Jet continue going on dates, with the paparazzi following and reporting their every move.  The TV show The Source (basically a DCU version of The View) intently covers the heated celebrity romance, although co-host Vicki Vale (!) seems jealous. Meanwhile, the third and final “replacement Batman” (Michael Lane) returns to the scene and attacks the GCPD HQ.  Several of the officers who originally tried-out for (and failed) Simon Hurt’s “Batmen program” fourteen years ago are still on the Force today. These cops, including Officer Pete Farelli, remember and recognize Lane, and even address him by name, much to the confusion of Commissioner Gordon. (Farelli’s boys are a part of a fraternity of cops that have been protecting the secret of the Substitute Batmen for years.) Batman battles Lane and the former gets shot in his bulletproof Kevlar-protected chest. The intensity of the overall fight leaves such an impact that Batman suffers a heart attack (!) and passes out.  Lane takes the Dark Knight, whose heart stops beating for four minutes, into the basement of the GCPD building where the substitute Batmen were originally trained.  Batman is strapped into a chair and tortured by Lane.  The Dark Knight drifts in and out of consciousness and views various spastic visions, which include the following: Bat-Mite (who has a scary-looking parasitic spider creature known as a Hyper-Adapter attached to his spine), the words “Zur-En-Arrh,” flashbacks involving Joe Chill, and the Thogal ritual.[3]  When Batman awakes, Lane rants and raves about Dr. Hurt’s substitute Batmen program.  Bruce finally remembers Dr. Hurt’s name, but is distressed to learn that it had been somehow been repressed from his memory for so long.  On the roof of the building, Farelli spills the beans about the Batmen program to an angry Gordon, who rallies his troops and heads down to the dungeon beneath where they stand.  In the basement, Batman breaks free of his restraints and defeats Lane in combat.  A Venom-crazed Branca smashes his way in, but is immediately shot dead by Farelli.  In the tumult, Lane escapes. NOTE: Gordon is angered to learn that the alternate Batmen emerged during Commissioner Vane’s short tenure as GCPD leader in Bat Year 16. The alternate Batmen began training eight years prior to their debut (in Bat Year 8), during a time when Gordon would have been commissioner, although Hurt’s program would have been kept a secret from Gordon.

–DC Universe #0
Countdown 0.  We’ve finally reached the end of our countdown, but don’t expect anything too exciting.  Final Crisis is on it’s way, but still isn’t quite ready for us.  Batman goes (yet again) to visit the Joker.  At Arkham, Joker is silent and sullen, even with his signature smile.  The Clown Prince of Crime deals out some playing cards (a “dead man’s hand” to be exact) while Batman speaks to him.  Joker, who has recently been secretly visited by the Black Glove, tells the Dark Knight that someone will soon hurt him in a way he will never recover from. Key word: HURT. A certain Dr. Hurt to be exact, although Joker doesn’t actually give the spoiler. Bruce also says that Joker has been acting strange ever since his “death.” This comment was originally meant to reference the Joker’s near fatality after getting shot by Josef Muller.  However, since that event took place so long ago and we’ve seen the Joker so many times after that, this must be incorrect.  Funny, though, how the dialogue still works in my chronology since Joker has recently been horribly scarred during a beating by Oracle. We also see the formation of the brand new Secret Society of Super-villains, this incarnation led by Libra (who happens to be an evil prophet for the second-coming of Darkseid). Speaking of Darkseid, he has been recently killed by Orion, but the ultimate New God of evil didn’t go bye-bye so easily. Instead of passing on to wherever-it-is-that-gods-go-when-they-die, we learn that Darkseid’s soul falls backwards through time to Bat Year 20 where it inhabits a human host body.  There, (in the past) Darkseid adopts the name of Boss Dark Side and begins re-creating his minions within human host bodies.  So, paradoxically (or amazingly (or both)), Darkseid and his vile cronies have all been killed, but they have also been planning their return for the past two years as well.  Libra is the only non-New God that knows this, and he secretly works for Boss Dark Side, hence his whole “prophet of evil” label.  It’s also interesting to note that Darkseid (as Boss Dark Side) has watched everything that has occurred in the DCU throughout Infinite Crisis, 52, Countdown, and even his own demise, all from the shadows, biding his time, without taking any interfering action (besides a few appearances in Flash, Birds of Prey, and Teen Titans).  I’m sure Boss Dark Side has a big surprise for everyone soon.

–Superman/Batman #78
Superman and Batman eavesdrop on two dweebs nerd-raging over who would win in a fight: Batman or Superman?  Afterward, Bruce tells Clark that this was a complete waste of time because everyone knows that the Dark Knight would win.

–Superman/Batman #81-84 (“SORCERER KINGS”)
I’ve placed this story here based upon Bruce’s costume, the appearance of Klarion, and Detective Chimp’s reference to ‘tec #845. Our tale begins outside of Metropolis with the Shadowpact aiding a fully-armored mystery man against demons from the future. The demons are thwarted, but the mystery man is killed and revealed to be Superman (albeit Superman from the future). As a perplexed present-day Superman meets with the Shadowpact and views his own corpse, Batman and Scream Queen (both from from the future) show up, kidnap the Man of Steel, and teleport back to the future where the world has been ravaged and filled with wild magick thanks to the combined efforts of Felix Faust, Blackbriar Thorn, a new Brother Blood, and Morgaine Le Fey.  Meanwhile, present-day Batman meets up with Detective Chimp, who tells the Dark Knight what is going on.  Along with Doctor Occult, Batman and Chimp do a little investigative work and recruit Klarion the Witch Boy into their team-up.  Amazingly, this is Batman’s first encounter with Klarion since all of Klarion’s prior adventures with him were erased from everyone’s memories (see Young Justice: Sins of Yough #2 for details).  Klarion even seems confused, believing that they haven’t met before. But at the same time Klarion retains vague memories of their previous meetings.  In the future, future Bruce tells Superman how the magickal villains combined their abilities to cast the “final spell” that destroyed the sun, thus destroying most of the planet.  The magickal heroes of the DCU were able to restore the sun with magick, but the Earth was decimated and forever altered.  In this future, dark magick permeates the planet and the four villains responsible rule the world with iron fists.  Furthermore, Batman rides a dragon named Batwing and is teamed-up with Scream Queen.  All three are members of the new Justice League, which includes Traci Thirteen, Aquaman, Jason Blood, Stanley Dover and his Monster, and an adult Klarion.  Back in the present Klarion guides Batman and company to the “final spell” ritual site where he and the Shadowpact fight against hundreds of cultists led by Faust, Thorn, Blood, and Le Fey.  Meanwhile in the dark future, Superman and the future League also battle the same four sorcerer villains, who are attempting to seal the “final spell” deal by sending a giant demon known as Gargora back through time to assist their younger selves against the present-day Batman and Shadowpact.  In the future, Superman defeats Gargora, which not only defeats the sorcerers, but prevents Gargora from going back in time, thus ensuring victory for the present-day heroes against the sorcerers as well.  Superman returns to his correct time, thus restoring the status quo and eliminating the possible dystopian future.

–Supergirl Vol. 5 #30 [4]
Kara defeats Livewire and then tracks down Batman to discuss her conflict of interest as a Kryptonian living on Earth. She mentions that life on Earth is easier for Kal-El because he never knew his parents. Bruce reminds her that unlike Clark, she had to see their faces one last time, and that is not easy. (This is before the upcoming New Krypton arc, which will bring her parents back.) Kara alerts Batman to a carjacking four blocks away and Batman responds that he already knows and will take care of it. Kara then speaks with Pa Kent before viewing holographic videos of Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude.

–Detective Comics #846-850 (“BATMAN R.I.P. – HEART OF HUSH”)
It’s taken over two years for Hush to fully recover from his near-fatal encounter with the Joker.  With rumors swirling about the mysterious Black Glove organization moving into Gotham and with literally every gossip column on the planet reporting that Bruce and Jezebel Jet are “getting serious,” Tommy decides its time to make his presence felt again.  Tommy announces his return by shooting and hospitalizing the debuting Dr. Aesop, just as Batman and Catwoman are about to apprehend the new villain.  A night later, while busting the escaped Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee, Batman discusses Hush’s return with Nightwing and Robin.  The Dark Knight then chases after Scarecrow, who has been hired by Hush to abduct a ten-year-old boy, Colin Wilkes.  After Batman saves the child, who Scarecrow has pumped full of Venom, the Caped Crusader sends Scarecrow back to Arkham, but learns that this encounter with the villain was a mere distraction. (NOTE: Scarecrow has unwittingly created a new superhero; Colin has a unique reaction to the Venom and can now “hulk up” into a monster-man at will following this incident, although we won’t see him again for a while.) Back to our story at hand, Hush has stabbed Selina Kyle and surgically removed her heart!  Batman rushes to the hospital where he further learns that Selina has been hooked up to experimental Mr. Freeze-based life support tech, which is barely keeping her alive. Batman confronts Hush at his abandoned hospital hideout where the latter displays Selina’s heart, still functional and attached to another Freeze system. Hush, before knocking out Batman, also reveals that he has undergone plastic surgery and now looks exactly like Bruce Wayne!  Hush (as Bruce) goes to Wayne Manor and tries to kill Alfred, but Batman has already escaped the hospital hideout and warned Alfie by phone. Batman delivers the heart to Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite and then rushes home to fight his lookalike in the Batcave.  During the fight, Hush crashes a Whirly-Bat and washes away in one of the underground cavern waterways.  Meanwhile, the superhero docs perform life-saving surgery on Selina and Zatanna gives her a magickal healing lotion. Bruce is shown waiting valiantly by Selina’s bedside in a flashback from Bruce Wayne: The Road Home – Catwoman #1.  When Selina wakes up, Bruce comforts her. Bruce and Selina then confess how much they both deeply and truly love each other. In a tender embrace, they share an ever-unfaithful-to-Jezebel, heartwarming, and passionate Bruce/Selina kiss.

–NOTE: In a reference in Supergirl Vol. 5 #44. Mid April. Martin Suarez, winner of the special primary election several months ago, wins a special congressional-mandated springtime Presidential Election. Suarez will be inaugurated later in the year. Horne remains President for now, which is unfortunate for him since he will have to deal with the upcoming Final Crisis.

–NOTE: In Action Comics #870. Superman’s adopted father, Jonathan Kent, is killed by Brainiac. Also, due to Brainiac’s meddling, the bottle city of Kandor is restored to full-size in Antarctica. There is now an entire city of Kryptonian Supermen on Earth.

–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 2 #31. Batman offers his condolences to Superman regarding the loss of his father.

–Batman in Barcelona: Dragon’s Knight #1
April 22 to April 23.  Scarecrow and Mad Hatter are able to convince a crazed Killer Croc that he is the dragon from the myth of Saint George.  Croc breaks out of Arkham and travels to Barcelona, Spain where he begins killing random women.  Batman travels to Barcelona where he has a secret headquarters underneath the National Art Museum of Catalonia, thanks to Waynetech overseeing construction of any new wings to the building.  The Dark Knight then dukes it out with Croc all over scenic Barcelona.  Eventually, Batman slays the dragon, literally stabbing Croc in the shoulder with a sword.  Oh, and Bruce’s Spanish friend Kris is disappointed that Bruce never amounted to anything in life more than a party-minded playboy.

–Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1, Part 4
Arkham doctor Amanda Reeve pulls a Harley Quinn and falls madly in love with Victor Zsasz.  She breaks him out of the asylum and takes him to her lair where she reveals a mutilated corpse.  Batman quickly tracks down Zsasz, thinking that he has kidnapped Reeve.  The Dark Knight quickly learns the truth when Reeve stabs him and puts him down from behind.  Reeve is about to kill Batman when Zsasz decides he doesn’t want to be one-upped by his fanatical copycat.  Zsasz murders Reeve, giving the Caped Crusader the edge he needs to take out Zsasz and send him back to jail.

–Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1, Part 6
It’s been fourteen years since a young Nick Pierce witnessed the Dynamic Duo fighting the Riddler.  Inspired to become a super-villain ever since that fateful day, Nick is finally ready to emerge as Gotham’s newest evil.  After shooting Scarecrow (drawn here to resemble the Nolan-verse version of the character) in order to make a dramatic entrance into Gotham’s crime scene, Nick dons a fancy bird-headed costume and calls himself The Falcon.  Batman easily defeats the Falcon in their first and only encounter.

–Superman: New Krypton Special #1
Bruce and Alfred attend the funeral of Jonathan Kent. Immediately following the funeral of Jonathan Kent, Diana and Bruce console the widowed Martha Kent inside Clark’s childhood Smallville home (as seen in the flash-forward from Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0). Clark breaks down in tears. Meanwhile, the world faces either the new possible threat or possible boon of having 100,000 Kryptonian Supermen living on Earth. President Horne is bizarrely drawn to resemble George W Bush in this issue. The new Kryptonians eventually use Brainiac’s technology to create a whole new planet in the Solar System, equidistant from the sun, but on the opposite side of Earth. The Kryptonians then all move to this planet, known as New Krypton.

–Batman #675
While Robin and Nightwing tackle numerous Gotham losers like the Dog Bandits and the Ray-Gun Rider, Bruce and Jezebel go on a date at an expensive high-rise sushi house. Across the globe, Talia and Damian (who is now training with Merlyn) have been reading the tabloids intently and have come up with the conclusion that Jezebel is not to be trusted. And with a name like Jezebel, who can blame them?  When the Ten-Eyed Man (!) interrupts the dinner date, Bruce goes ape-shit and beats the holy crap out of the super-villain in the kitchen. Away from the viewing public, Bruce questions Ten-Eyed Man about the Black Glove rumors that have been plaguing Gotham lately. However, Jezebel witnesses the whole beating and interrogation. Miss Jet now knows that Bruce is Batman! A+ story by Grant Morrison. It has been said by just about everyone on the Internet that this is not the original Ten-Eyed Man and is a new character called The Fiend With Nine Eyes.  My personal theory is that this is indeed the Ten-Eyed Man, minus a finger. There are also huge Jezebel spoilers that I could include here, but I won’t.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #681. Bruce begins to suspect Jezebel Jet is actually working for the Black Glove. Unfortunately, he’s right. Batman finds evidence of her horrific back-story after looting her hotel safe, thus confirming his suspicions.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Vol. 2 #176. Batman meets with Spoiler and tells her that his investigation into the Black Glove will bring about something very bad in the near future. Bruce tells Stephanie to lead Robin astray so that he doesn’t get involved.  Bruce explains that he would rather have Tim continue on without him if something terrible should occur.   Fearful of the disaster that might lay ahead, Bruce also records personalized messages for Alfred, Dick, Tim, and even Jason, to be played in the event of his possible death.

–REFERENCE: In Bruce Wayne: The Road Home – Batgirl #1. Bruce meets with Cassie and tells her that, in the event of his death, she is to hand the mantle of Batgirl to Steph and return to Asia, all while remaining in secret contact with Tim.

–FLASHBACK: From Red Robin #11. Bruce drafts a new will that transfers his shares and position as CEO in Wanye Enterprises to Tim Drake in the event that he dies or is mentally unfit to run the company.

–Batman #676-678 (“BATMAN R.I.P.”)[5]
Dr. Simon Hurt recruits the arch-enemies of the “Club of Heroes” (Le Bossu, Charlie Caligula, King Kraken, El Sombrero, Pierrot Lunaire, Scorpiana, and Swagman) into his Black Glove organization, announcing that Batman will soon be ruined forever. On the streets of Gotham, Batman and Robin apprehend a wannabe super-villain in a homemade costume known as the Green Vulture. The Dynamic Duo returns home and Batman greets and kisses an open-armed Jezebel Jet inside Wayne Manor. (Bruce plays dumb to the fact that he knows Jez is evil.) Afterward, Jez shows Bruce an invitation addressed to both of them, inviting the couple to attend a “Danse Macabre” on behalf of the Black Glove.  Two days later, Batman is stabbed while fighting one of Le Bossu’s Gargoyle henchmen.  The blade has been dosed with Librium, which will make Batman more susceptible to the trigger phrase that Hurt post-hypnotically entered into his mind fourteen years ago.  Back in the Batcave, Bruce tries to link the deceased John Mayhew with Simon Hurt and the Black Glove, but all he can find is an old movie entitled The Black Glove starring Mangrove Pierce and directed by Mayhew.  While Alfred studies the film for clues, Bruce goes on a date with Jez.  Downtown, Mayor Hady shares a secret dossier with Commissioner Gordon (which has been forged and leaked to the press by Hurt), which says outright that Thomas and Martha Wayne were maniacal drug addicts with a secret history.  The dossier includes (faked) photos of Martha Wane shooting heroin with Thomas, Alfred, and Mayhew.  The document, supposedly compiled decades ago by a now long-missing private investigator, also insinuates that Martha had an affair with Alfred. (SPOILER: The missing private investigator in question was actually an amnesiac time-traveling Bruce Wayne, but we will get to that later.)  Back to our narrative, in the Batcave, Bruce (still playing dumb to the fact that he now knows about Jez) chats with his lover.  Jez refers to Bruce (as she does several times, not just in this issue) as being in the range of thirty to forty-years-old.  Of course, Bruce should be in his late forties now, so Jez is very wrong about her boyfriend’s age.  Anyway, Bruce turns to view the Bat-computer and his post-hypnotic trigger word is sprawled across the screen: “Zur-En-Arrh.”  As Jez reads the word aloud, Bruce goes into convulsions.  Alfred returns from the movie and is immediately attacked and beaten by Le Bossu, King Kraken, and Gargoyle henchmen who take control of the Batcave.  Hurt then calmly enters, injects Bruce with heroin and crystal meth, and dumps him on the streets of Gotham.  Elsewhere, Robin successfully escapes the clutches of Pierre Lunaire and Swagman, but Nightwing isn’t so lucky.  Scorpiana and Charlie Caligula capture and beat Nightwing and then have him drugged and incarcerated at Arkham!  In one fell swoop, Hurt has eliminated both Batman and Nightwing.  The eccentric villain then dons Thomas Wayne’s old masquerade ball Bat-costume and sips champagne as he sits on his new throne inside the Batcave.  Confused, intoxicated, and suffering from almost complete memory loss, Bruce stumbles through Gotham.  Seeing a hallucination of “Honor Jackson,” a homeless man he once knew, Bruce re-gathers as much of his mind as he can. With the aid of pimp Lone-Eye Lincoln, Bruce sews together a patchwork red and purple Batman-suit.  Bruce comes alive with a burst of adrenaline and announces that he is the “Batman of Zur-En-Arrh!”

–REFERENCE: In Robin Vol. 2 #176. Bruce, dressed as the Batman of Zur-En Arrh, begins an insane trek across Gotham. The funnily clad Batman is photographed on a cell phone by some Hong Kong gang-bangers. The video goes viral and word immediately gets out in Gotham’s underworld that Batman has gone crazy.

–NOTE: In Robin Vol. 2 #175-176. Robin fears the worst as he has lost contact with Batman, Nightwing, and Alfred. The Boy Wonder can’t even get near Wayne Manor because it’s surrounded by Black Glove henchmen. Getting all the relevant details regarding Batman’s experiences with Simon Hurt from the pertinent volume of the Black Casebook, Robin meets with Spoiler and fills her in.  After escaping from Swagman, Robin finally sees the viral pic of crazy Batman (although it is only a bad quality head-shot, sparing Tim from seeing the flamboyant Zur-En-Arrh costume details).  Spoiler then comes clean about her conversation with the Dark Knight that took place prior to Batman #676 (the one about purposefully leading him out of harm’s way if the Black Glove was to strike).

–Batman #679-681 (“BATMAN R.I.P.” Continued…)
A baseball bat-wielding Batman of Zur-En-Arrh hallucinates Bat-Mite, which helps him to remember things more clearly.  Bruce is still quite insane, but now realizes that he has slipped into his self-implanted fail-safe backup identity as a preventative measure against Simon Hurt’s post-hypnotic trigger word.  As the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh beats information out of Charlie Caligula and King Kraken, Commissioner Gordon goes to pay a visit to Wayne Manor, which has been turned into a giant death trap by El Sombrero.  Gordon avoids a certain early demise when he is saved by Talia and Damian!  Meanwhile, the Black Glove has moved their base of operations from the Batcave to Arkham Asylum where the “Danse Macabre” is about to begin.  This “Dance” is the Black Glove’s annual game of life and death (which we’ve seen played before on Mayhew’s island).  Hurt promises a live duel between good and evil, pitting the broken Batman against Joker.  We finally meet the “Five Fingers” of the Black Glove, rich international diplomats of influence, who have come to bet on the evil proceedings.  The loony, but extremely violent Batman of Zur-En-Arrh shows up and starts his fight with Joker.  Joker is able to win when Jezebel Jet finally openly betrays Bruce.  Bruce is knocked unconscious, dressed up in his correct Batman colors, and buried alive.  Joker then seemingly kills General Malenkov (one of the Five Fingers) in order to take his spot at the betting table.  Malenkov will actually get killed a few months later, so he survives this incident somehow—probably thanks to Talia, since we learn in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2 that Malenkov is her mole.  Similarly, Joker seemingly kills El Sombrero as well, but Sombrero actually survives too.  At the Black Glove gaming table, Joker bets that Batman will kick the bad guys asses like he always does!  And sure enough, Joker is correct.  Both Batman and Nightwing break free from their respective prisons and start winning the battle.  Across town, Robin and the Club of Heroes (!) clean up swarms of Black Glove henchmen.  Batman then fights Hurt one-on-one, which results in a helicopter crash involving Batman, Hurt, and pilot Michael Lane.  All three then go missing and are presumed dead!  Joker is re-incarcerated, but vows to kill the remaining Fingers of the Black Glove for using him as a puppet in their game.  Speaking of revenge, Talia has her ninja Man-Bats attack a fleeing Jezebel on behalf of her baby’s daddy. Jezebel goes missing after this and is also presumed dead. (SPOILER ALERT: She is indeed dead, and Talia takes her severed head as a trophy, although the Bat-Family will go unaware of this fact.) Gordon, with info from the Bat-Family, is then able to prove that the traducement against the Wayne family was a conspiracy by evil criminals (which it most certainly was).

–NOTE: In Batman & The Outsiders Vol. 2 #11 and the flashback from Batman & The Outsiders Vol. 2 #12. This item takes place right after Batman #681. Everyone from Superman to Intergang thinks the Dark Knight has been killed. Even in defeat, Simon Hurt sends a pre-recorded message to the Outsiders featuring a digitized fake Batman. This fake Batman instructs the team to download a computer code into ReMAC that causes an explosion, killing its host Salah Miandad and nearly killing the rest of the team. This brutal attack leads to the immediate disbanding of the Outsiders. Robin mentions that a gang war has begun in Gotham as a direct response to the news of Batman’s supposed death. This gang war will have a brief hiatus when Final Crisis begins, but will continue afterward. We (the readers) also learn that the Suit of Sorrows has been stolen from the ruined Batcave.  The Suit was pilfered by the Order of Purity, who wish to give the armor to a brand new Azrael.

–Batman #701, Part 1
Batman returns to Wayne Manor less than 24 hours after the helicopter crash (having washed out into Gotham Bay from the Batcave), speaks briefly with Alfred, and returns to the scene of the crime to search in vain for Hurt’s body.  An injured Bruce then sleeps for three days and we (the reader) learn about a secret Barbatos demon-worshiping room hidden deep beneath Wayne Manor on the opposite side of the Batcave.  We also learn that Hurt has been inside the room and has scrawled the name “Thomas Wayne” all over the wall.  Bruce has kept this evil lair a secret from his compatriots for decades, in accordance with his parents’ last wishes.

–NOTE: In Batman & The Outsiders Vol. 2 #12. This item takes place two days after Salah Miandad’s death. Salah’s funeral is held.

–Batman #701, Part 2
After Bruce awakes from a three day sleep, Alfred bursts in with terrible news: The skies have turned blood red, signifying that Final Crisis has begun!  Superman contacts Bruce and tells him that Orion is dead and foul play is involved. (The scene where Batman learns of Orion’s death is also shown verbatim in a flashback from Batman #683.) Batman examines the murder scene and then leaves to meet with the JLA.

FINAL CRISIS
——————–Final Crisis #1
——————–DC Universe: Last Will and Testament #1
——————–Final Crisis: Requiem #1
——————–Final Crisis #2, Part 1
Batman meets with the JLA in the Hall of Justice to discuss Orion’s tragic mystery murder. (This scene is re-shown verbatim in Batman #702, Part 1.)  Meanwhile, Libra (secretly working for Boss Dark Side) recruits the A-listers (Lex Luthor, Vandal Savage, Dr. Sivana, and Gorilla Grodd) into his Secret Society of Super-villains, but it will take some convincing to get these guys fully on board. In order to convince the bunch, Libra unveils a captured Martian Manhunter (as seen in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #21, Part 2). In order to impress the bigwigs, Libra grants the wish of Z-list super-villain Human Flame and does something that has never been done before: He murders J’onn! As J’onn dies, he sends out a distressing psychic shock-wave to all of his allies (as seen through flashback from Final Crisis: Requiem #1). In New York City, Nightwing discovers J’onn’s mutilated corpse on display. That night, in J’onn’s final telepathic act, his spirit posthumously enters the minds of his five closest friends: Batman, Superman, Hal Jordan, Black Canary, and Gypsy.  The five sleepwalk, recite, and transcribe J’onn’s requiem, Mars: A History by J’onn J’onzz. Meanwhile, retired Metropolis cop Dan Turpin investigates the disappearance of a bunch of missing children. Turpin beats information out of a hapless Mad Hatter (as seen through flashback from Final Crisis #2), which leads him to the Dark Side Club, a seedy bar in the shell of a ruined Blüdhaven. Turpin is immediately captured by the club’s owner, Boss Dark Side (who is actually Darkseid in a human host body).  All of the other evil New Gods are present at the club as well (in human host forms).  Dark Side then reveals his big surprise that he has discovered the Anti-Life Equation!  Lightning storms erupt all over Earth.  Final Crisis is beginning!  For two days the sun refuses to rise.  Nothing has happened yet, except for an eerie and silent darkness.  Batman, Nightwing, and Robin patrol together.  Elsewhere, Geo-Force improbably defeats Deathstroke in combat, although both are left critically injured.  The next black morning, the entire superhero community gathers and travels to Mars for the funeral of J’onn Jonzz.  J’onn is buried in a pyramid on his home planet with his historical memoirs by his side.  Superman delivers a eulogy at the service, which is broadcast live on Earth (as shown in Final Crisis: Revelations #1, Part 1).  Luthor isn’t impressed with the Martian’s death and tells Libra that he will only join the new SSoSV if the latter hurts Superman.  Later, at the Hall of Justice, an autopsy of Orion reveals that the New God has both a fatal entry and exit wound from a gunshot (although, curiously, no weapon or bullet are actually found).  The JLA meets Kraken, the hardass no-bullshit leader of the Alpha Green Lanterns who have been sent to Earth to investigate Orion’s death on behalf of the Guardians themselves.  Also noteworthy, Mr. Miracle (Shilo Norman) recruits a bunch of Japanese metahuman teens onto a team designed specifically to combat against the return of Darkseid, which Miracle has become aware of. The group, which includes Shiny Happy Aquazon and Lolita Canary, goes by the name of Super Young Team.  And one more final note, the Monitor Nix Uotan is sentenced, by his peers, to life as a human on Earth-0 for failing to protect his Earth (Earth-51) during the events of Countdown #13.

–NOTE: In Final Crisis: Revelations #1, Part 2. The Spectre, angered about Martian Manhunter’s death, takes his frustrations out on random super-villains present at the scene of the crime. Spectre kills Dr. Light, turns him into a wax candle, and delivers his remains to the JLA.

–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #27-30
After three days without sunlight, there is a calm in the storm and the sun rises.  Kimiyo Hoshi (the former Dr. Light) is accosted in her apartment by the superhero team known as the Shadow Cabinet.  The SC is from the Midwestern US city of Dakota.  (The SC is formerly from the Milestone Earth aka Earth-Dakota of the alternate universe known as the Dakotaverse, which recently merged its history with that of Earth-0 when an interdimensional tear damaged the multiverse due to a release of energy when Darkseid was killed by Orion in Countdown to Final Crisis #2.  The characters from the Dakotaverse, from that point on, believe that they have always lived on Earth-0 in the city of Dakota.  Only Superman, Icon, and Dharma know the truth, but their lips are sealed.)  Now, back to our story. While half the JLA responds to Kimiyo’s old JLI emergency alert, the SC breaks into the Hall of Justice and tries to steal the deceased wax candle remains of the original Dr. Light.  Batman and his team fight Payback and Starlight in Metropolis while the rest of the JLA fights the rest of the SC.  Meanwhile, Superman and the SC leader Icon (basically an African-American Superman) hang out in space and chit chat since they are the only two that know of the existence of the now erased Dakotaverse.  Eventually, the JLA joins forces with the SC when the greater threat of Shadow Thief (who has been endowed with the power of Starbreaker) emerges.  Using the remains of Dr. Light, Hardware is able to restore Kimiyo’s full meta-abilities.  Dr. Light (the good one) is back and she kicks Shadow Thief’s ass.  After returning to their secret HQ in the Himalayas, the SC meets with their godlike mentor Dharma.  Dharma foresees the end result of the terrible crisis that currently plagues the Earth.  Very specifically, Dharma sees the Final Crisis skeletal remains of a dead Batman!

 


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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: The Bat-books really start multiplying this year. Azrael, Batgirl, Gotham City Sirens, and Red Robin will each be heavily-featured titles in Bat Year 22. However, a bulk of these series won’t factor into our timeline simply because Batman himself will not appear.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: The three Legions are the Legion of Superheroes from Earth-0, the Legion of Superheroes from Earth-247, and the Legion of Superheroes from Earth-Prime.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: More details on the Hyper-Adapter later. But for now I’ll just say this vision of Bat-Mite and the Hyper-Adapter is important. It’s important because Batman takes no notice of the Hyper-Adapter, nor would he, because he hasn’t actually come in contact with it yet. Also, because the Hyper-Adapter is a creature that exists outside of time and space (in a way), the presence/vision of it here going unnoticed makes perfect sense. But, as I said above, more on the Hyper-Adapter a bit later!
  4. [4]Special thanks to SAM GROOVER.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: The Batcave T rex was damaged by Hush in the recent “Heart of Hush” arc, but appears in-tact in “Batman R.I.P.” We must assume that it has recently been repaired.

2 Responses to YEAR TWENTY-TWO (P. 1)

  1. tiptupjr94 says:

    Alright, something has been bugging me, regarding the T-Rex in the Batcave.

    Heart of Hush: Rexy is destroyed.
    R.I.P.: Rexy is alive and well.
    Nightwing #152: Rexy appears, destroyed once again.
    Nightwing #153: Rexy is completely fine.

    Is this ever addressed? Are there multiple Rexies, or did they repair him, only to have him destroyed and repaired AGAIN? And what do they do with him when they move out of the Batcave?

    Also (completely unrelated) I’ve been meaning to ask you: in-universe, 52 originally ended in 2007, but when does the timeline bump itself up after that? I’m just wondering what is the latest canonical reference to a specific year. Thanks!

    • This is probably an example of Morrison ignoring other stories. The T rex should be messed up in RIP. It gets fixed in-between Nightwing #152 and Nightwing #153. However, I think it actually works if we look at it another way: Hush destroys the T rex and it gets fixed before RIP only to get damaged again during the time when Hurt takes over the Batcave/the craziness of Final Crisis. I will definitely make a note of it.

      In response to your second question: I’m not quite sure what you are asking? 52‘s publication date was from 2006 to 2007, but the way things pan out chronologically, 52 occurs in 2008-2009. Are you looking for a specific in-story year reference in the comics? “One Year Later” issues were published the same time 52 was coming out, continuing the stories from the end of 52 (before 52 was even over).

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