YEAR THIRTEEN (Part 2)

2001 (July to December)

 

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: DOA. Early July. Bruce Wayne meets Senator Linden’s little daughter, Clancy Linden, at a charity banquet.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins 80-Page Giant #1. Tim solves an online Riddler puzzle on the Batcave computer, thus ensuring the villain’s apprehension. Bruce is so impressed, he can’t help but grin from ear to ear.

–Detective Comics #618-621 (“RITE OF PASSAGE”)
Tim proudly foils an Anarky scheme that involves the teenage villain trying his hand at computer fraud (as the hacker “Moneyspider”). However, with this bit of good news comes unfortunate bad news. Tim’s parents, millionaire industrialists Jack Drake and Janet Drake, have been kidnapped after their private jet is hijacked by terrorists led by the Obeah Man. Batman flies down to Haiti to save them, but is unable to. Tragically, Jack is left paralyzed in a coma and Janet dies.

–Batman #455-457 (“IDENTITY CRISIS”)
Finally! Shortly after Janet Drake’s funeral is held, Tim earns the title of “Boy Wonder” by rescuing both Batman and Vicki Vale from the bloodcurdling grip of the Scarecrow. Tim officially becomes the new Robin, complete with his own modernized Robin costume, which Batman gets designed and crafted by the Tailor (as referenced in the second feature to Detective Comics #789). “Identity Crisis” is also detailed through a flashback from Secret Origins 80-Page Giant #1.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Vol. 2 #152-161 and Robin Vol. 2 #166. Batman trains new Robin Tim Drake. Each of these Robin Vol. 2 issues contains a short flashback—eleven in total—detailing Robin’s training.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Vol. 2 #182. Batman encourages his new Robin on his first night of patrol.

–Batman 80-Page Giant #2 Part 4
Nightwing gives Tim a pep-talk now that he is officially the new Boy Wonder.

–Robin #1[1]
Tim is now Robin and has his own book! Batman sends Tim abroad in this prelude to Robin #2-5. The start of Robin #1 is also shown through flashback from Secret Origins 80-Page Giant #1.

–NOTE: In Robin #2-5. The Boy Wonder meets and teams-up with Lady Shiva. They battle across the globe against Sir Edmund Dorrance aka King Snake and his femme-fatale protege Lynx. For those who don’t already know, King Snake is Bane’s father. Batman isn’t present for these issues, but they are important for future events.

–Detective Comics #622-624
Behold the brilliance of John Ostrander. It’s a shame that most of cheesy Bat Year Thirteen up to this point has been written by Wolfman and Grant. It would have been nice to have had more Milligan, Giffen, and Ostrander. In this amazing ‘tec arc a loony is inspired by a popular indie “Batman” comic book to such an extent he believes he is Batman. He dons a mask and goes on a vigilante killing spree. If you think we’ve been there done that storyline before, then think again. These three issues are rich with meta-fictional glory and examine the Dark Knight from sophisticated never-before-seen angles. Highly recommended.

–Batman: Unseen #1-5
Batman takes on Dr. Nigel Glass aka The Invisible Man. Black Mask originally hires Dr. Glass, but the invisible madman turns on him and begins his own murderous campaign through Gotham.  Black Mask wears an alternate skull mask in this tale, so we must assume he is trying something different for the time being.  As the case wears on, Batman creates special light-refracting lenses which allow him to see Dr. Glass.  Why doesn’t he just use infrared and look for heat signatures?  Who knows.  Anyway, the lenses don’t pan out, so Batman drinks the invisibility serum, goes insane, and nearly kills the doctor.  In the end, Gordon calms down the invisible Caped Crusader and all is right in the world again.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #861-863. Late July. Batman, Commissioner Gordon (incorrectly called “Captain” in this tale), and Harvey Bullock investigate the case of missing teenage heiress Vanessa Hansen-Grey.  Batman suspects house-worker Austin Phelps and his suspicion is confirmed when Phelps stabs him with a screwdriver and runs away during their interview.  The Caped Crusader tracks down Phelps and beats the stuffing out of him, only to get stabbed yet again by Vanessa Hansen-Grey, who has Stockholm Syndrome and has fallen in love with her abductor.  Phelps goes to jail and Vanessa goes into therapy.  Nine years later, Phelps will once again team-up with a crazy Vanessa, and become the super-villain known as Cutter.

–DC Retroactive: Batman – The ’90s #1
This tale serves as a quasi follow up to Detective Comics #613. The Ventriloquist (and Scarface) has just been released from prison and has a private party at the Gotham Museum of Natural History.  Batman takes down some Street Demonz and then follows one of Scarface’s ex-lieutenants to the museum, where violence quickly ensues.  Things escalate when a dead rival of Scarface’s named Big Mel shows up (having been resurrected into a zombie by the chemicals at Freshfields Landfill where his body was dumped) and begins running amok. Batman defeats the zombie, but the Ventriloquist and Scarface escape.  Batman also saves the life of a minor henchman from Batman #613 who is now a straight-shootin’ taxi driver.

–Detective Comics #625
The first appearance of homicidal killing machine Arnold Etchison, known more famously as Abbatoir.

–Batman: DOA
The vile plan concocted by Penguin, Joker, and Two-Face months ago has finally come to fruition.  While the three madmen are currently incarcerated in Arkham, no one suspects their involvement.  What is the plan, you ask? Penguin has smuggled Professor Partridge’s deadly virus out of Arkham and into the hands of petty criminal, Max the Mimic. Although petty indeed, Max is successfully able to dose Batman with the virus. Batman begins vomiting uncontrollably as death slowly flows through his system. Meanwhile, Senator Linden’s daughter, Clancy, is kidnapped by terrorists and held for ransom. Robin and Gordon search for a cure for Batman’s illness while the sickly Dark Knight goes after Clancy. Robin and Gordon eventually realize that Penguin, Joker, and Two-Face are responsible and retrieve the antidote capsule, which Penguin has had hidden up his nose for months. In the end Batman just barely saves Clancy and Robin just barely saves Batman.

–Batman #458-459
These two Alan Grant issues redeem his earlier stuff. Batman takes in the lovable Quasimodo-esque Harold and gives him a home in the Batcave in exchange for his electronics expertise. Also, a recently divorced Sarah Essen (who we haven’t seen in many years) returns to the GCPD!  Almost immediately, sparks fly between she and Jim Gordon, and just like old times, they are in love again! After watching “The Mark of Zorro” in the theater and sharing a Hollywood kiss of their own, Gordon is on cloud nine. That is, until he has a heart attack! (This isn’t entirely out-of-the-blue as Wolfman and Grant have been leading up to this for the past year or so, slowly showing Gordon get out of shape and smoke more and more cigarettes).

–The Demon Vol. 3 #7-8
Good news: Jason Blood has separated from Etrigan. Bad News: Blood is unconscious and trapped in Hell while Etrigan attempts to overthrow Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Azazel.  More bad news:  Glenda Mark and Randu Singh have been accused of Blood’s murder!  Even more bad news:  Klarion the Witch Boy is turning the trial into a disaster.  Bruce Wayne is able settle a possible court room riot and Blood escapes from Hell just in time to put an end to the charade.  Batman then has a long chat with Blood, who has (for now) successfully separated himself from the demon.

–Green Lantern Vol. 3 #9
The Guardians decide that three Green Lanterns in Sector 2814 is too many. Much to everyone’s surprise, the Guardians appoint Guy Gardner as the sole official Green Lantern of Earth, mostly due to his connection to the Justice League. John Stewart is given a gig on Oa while Hal Jordan is made an inter-galactic recruiter for the Corps. The pumped Gardner immediately goes to the JLA embassy to brag about his new position, but either no one cares or no one believes him. In fact, Batman, Blue Beetle, and Martian Manhunter are having a meeting, and when Gardner’s ruckus interrupts them J’onn exclaims, “Would you mind keeping it down? Some of us in here are trying to be real superheroes.” Gardner then tries to show his excitement to Max Lord, who is more concerned with the team’s dental plan and figuring out why their recruitment drives always fail so miserably. Gardner then makes a public declaration, reintroducing himself to the populace of Earth as the one-and-only Green Lantern. Following this, Gardner begins a campaign of hero-ing that is actually more of a reign of mischief and bad ideas. Green Lantern G’nort then arrives, much to the chagrin of Gardner, with claims that he will also be a Green Lantern in Sector 2814.

–Detective Comics #626-627
In issue #626 the new Electrocutioner debuts. Gordon is in the hospital following his cardiac arrest. Issue #627 is an anniversary issue which includes two reprints of old non-canon stories and two new stories. The new stories are two different re-imaginations of Batman’s first ever appearance from ‘tec #27 (1939): “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate.”  However, only part three of issue #627 is in-continuity. Batman solves the mystery in Wolfman’s version, which involves an over-the-top toxic waste-spewing madwoman named Pesticyde. Also, supposedly Gordon has been in the hospital for a month already. This can’t be true. Ignore it.

–Captain Atom #50
Ex-CIA super agent turned supernatural super-villain known as The Ghost (Alec Rois) has been playing the role of evil arch rival to Captain Atom and General Wade Eiling for months. Things escalate to the next level when, at a wedding of close friends of Captain Atom, the Ghost activates a number of brainwashed sleeper agents and sends some of his fanatical ninja cultist followers to homicidally ruin things. While Captain Atom, General Eiling, Plastique (Cap’s presidentially pardoned ex-con girlfriend), Red Tornado (resurrected into a new Firestorm-built body), and a few other soldiers go to attack the Ghost and his cult in Nevada, various members of the superhero community are recruited to protect Cap’s friends and family. Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Blue Beetle are stationed in Las Vegas to protect the King family (Zelda Rest, Chester King, Bonnie King, and Beth King) and Silver Shield (the gentle quantum humanoid life-form that originally endowed Cap with his powers). Cap’s team is able to defeat the Ghost, his ninjas, and a few other B-list super-villains. The Ghost dies in the battle. Afterward, Captain Atom publicly clears the air about a bunch of confidential government stuff and officially severs his ties to the US Army. Captain Atom also gets engaged to Plastique! Angered at Captain Atom’s actions, General Eiling begins his descent into the dark side.

–Batman #460-461 (“SISTERS IN ARMS”)
While Batman and Joe Potato are occupied with a human-trafficking case, Catwoman attempts to rob the museum. However, both Sarah Essen and Vicki Vale are already waiting for her at the exhibit, the former looking for an arrest and the latter looking for a scoop. In a twist, the three ladies have to team-up to stop another crook. Catwoman also reveals that she has taken Batman’s ultrasonic technology which attracts bats and applied it to cats.

–Detective Comics #628
Abbatoir has proven that he can pretty much leave Arkham whenever he wants. And his goal is to kill 2000 doves, 4000 cows, and 6000 humans. He’s craaaazy.

–Starman #34
Batman teams-up with Starman Will Payton against the Shadow Kings. A flashback from Starman Vol. 2 #36 and a flashback from Starman Vol. 2 #36 both show this story as well.

–Justice League Quarterly #3
By this point, Green Lantern Kilowog and General Glory have joined the JLA. Also, the mini-robot L-Ron has replaced Oberon as team manager. The JLA follows Mitch Wacky and Kilowog back in time to the early days of the original JLA. Wackiness (no pun intended) ensues as everyone is shrunk to miniature size. Eventually, everyone is returned to normal after the team returns to its correct era.

–Batman #462-464 (“SPIRIT OF THE BEAST”)
A murder investigation takes Batman to San Francisco, Death Valley, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon. Sounds more like a family vacation huh? Anyway, we are told the Navajo tribe has split into two factions; one that has been harboring revenge against the White man for almost 150 years, and the other that is content on the reservation.  In the end, Batman gets drugged (of course), but is able to defeat a Navajo shaman in a fistfight. Bruce returns to Gotham with a new pet dog (!), which he gets from a 140-year-old Navajo elder. The new dog’s name? Are you kidding me? What does Bruce name all his pets? Meet Ace number two. I’m surprised he didn’t name it Jason Todd.

–Justice League America #52
Batman makes what will be his final trip to the JLA’s NYC Embassy.  The Dark Knight walks-in on a boxing match between Blue Beetle and Guy Gardner. Beetle is winning until Gardner viciously attacks him from behind after the first round ends. J’onn is furious and immediately fires Guy! However, the termination doesn’t stick because the team learns about an assassination attempt on Max Lord’s life shortly thereafter. With Max Lord hospitalized, the “Breakdowns” story-arc begins, which will ultimately terminate this version of the League for good. After disgustedly witnessing the JLA in such a pathetic state, and with his own part-time hours on the team diminishing more and more each month, Batman won’t make another appearance with this version of the League again until the end of “Breakdowns.”

–Detective Comics #629-632
We are treated to four Milligan tales (as he takes over the ‘tec reigns from Wolfman for a bit)! In issue #629 ex-con Dean Fahy uses Irish “Hungry Grass” to cause chaos all over the city. The magical grass, when spread across the ground, re-activates any past horrible occurrences that have taken place at that very location. For instance, an old man beats his wife after treading over a grass-strewn street where an assault happened years ago. Issue #629 is also very important because it is the first appearance of the abandoned Blackgate Prison! Up until now Gotham State Prison has been the main correctional facility (other than Arkham of course) in the city. According to continuity, Blackgate was shut down by Amnesty International “5 years ago” (1996 according to our chronology). It won’t be too long before Blackgate is re-opened as the primary correctional facility in town, as writers will slowly phase out Gotham State in favor of the scarier Blackgate. Issue #630 is mostly a flashback to the Stiletto/Two Tone case which occurs right before Batman #452. Lots of specific dates are mentioned in relation to this story. Again, ignore specificity. Oh, and Gordon is back on the job and he’s quit smoking! Issues #631-632 feature a Rabbi who creates a Golem to fight against Neo-Nazis.

–Challengers of the Unkown Vol. 2 #4
Batman makes a guest appearance to aid the Challengers of the Unknown (formerly known simply as “The Challengers”) against Duncan Pramble aka Multi-Man after the latter blows up Challenger Mountain, killing two of the Challengers and hundreds of innocent people.  Multi-Man’s unique power is that he is immortal, but every time he dies he is immediately reborn with a new different random superpower.  A side-effect of this power is that his head grows larger and his body grows smaller.  He is also severely bi-polar.  Amazing character.

–Batman #465-466
Wow. Alan Grant really comes into his stride here. So much happens in issue #456 as Grant intelligently and playfully writes this issue with a soap opera theme. Alfred, Harold, and Ace all watch their favorite soap opera in the Batcave. Batman takes Robin out for his first official night of crime-fighting. Robin meets Gordon and Essen. Bruce (as Bruce Wayne) stops a stalker from killing an actor from the aforementioned soap opera. Gordon and Essen tell Batman and Robin (first) that they are engaged to be married! And last but not least, Tim’s dad wakes up from his coma! Whew. In issue #466 Batman and Robin chase gangsters into the Hero World theme park, which boasts a heroic Mike Tyson statue (remember this was written in 1991, people). Robin is not only able to save Batman’s life, but he is able to simultaneously stop another crime and offer brotherly advice to a troubled youth. Duh, Tim is awesome, and Batman knows he’s made the right choice with this Boy Wonder.

–Batman versus Predator #1-3[2]
Late summer. Gotham’s best and brightest—including Bruce, Commissioner Gordon, and Mayor Julius Lieberman—watch as Marcus King wins the Heavyweight Championship of Gotham City at a boxing event put on by corrupt promoters Alex Yeager and Leonard Brodin. At an after-party at Yeager’s penthouse suite, Bruce hobnobs with tuxedos and meets new faces—like real estate tycoon Raymond Squire—until he is called away by Alfred and told of the murder of the new champ, King. Batman visits the bloody crime scene and learns that King’s hands and head were chopped off and stolen by the killer. Batman then interrogates Brodin and his fighter Bull Bersaglio at their gym across town. Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred chats with Bruce about Bruce’s grandfather’s hunting trophies and famous rifle, which was once evidence in a famous criminal case. Bruce tells Alfred to remove the animal heads. Batman then visits another bloody scene after Bersaglio is killed in a similar fashion, with his head and hands taken. A laser blast kills one of Bersaglio’s bodyguards, revealing the killer as an invisible warrior that only kills prey worthy of fighting back. (This is but one of a race of alien Predators, who have hunted “dangerous prey” for sport all over the galaxy, including Earth, for centuries.) After Brodin and Yeager agree to a very public meeting, Batman secretly listens in until the invisible killer, the alien Predator, materializes in their midst. Batman (with Alfred’s guidance) chases the Predator to a junkyard. There, the Predator thrashes Batman and nearly kills him before the Dark Knight escapes by remote-controlling the Batmobile to come get him. While the Predator goes on a wanton killing spree for days, murdering both Squire and Brodin, Bruce—unconscious and suffering from multiple near fatal wounds—is stabilized and put into a full body cast by Alfred. Bruce, now conscious but still unable to move, can do nothing as the Predator assassinates Mayor Lieberman! Commissioner Gordon puts out a televised plea for help to Batman, but the injured Bruce is unable to respond. The Predator then tries to kill Gordon, but winds up killing Gordon’s new top detective instead. Bruce suits up in an experimental armored costume and makes his return to take on the Predator. Their epic battle takes them all over Gotham and even into the Batcave and up inside Wayne Manor where Alfred shoots the Predator with Bruce’s grandfather’s gun. Batman unmasks and chases the Predator into the woods adjacent to Wayne Manor where he beats the Predator with a baseball bat. Defeated, the Predator’s kin arrive via spaceship and punish him with an execution for his dishonorable defeat. The Predators, before departing, give Batman their defeated warrior’s sword, which he and Alfred keep as a trophy of their own.

–REFERENCE: In Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #3. As a wrap-up to the recent Predator case, Batman stores the anti-Predator auxiliary Bat-suit in a messy corner of the Batcave.

–Detective Comics #633-634
For my money, issue #633 is the best ‘tec story of the year (Milligan of course). Bruce comes home to the manor to discover that he isn’t Batman and he never was! There’s no cave and both Alfred and Tim don’t know what he’s talking about. Furthermore, the Dark Knight himself is live on TV dealing with a hostage situation. Naturally, Bruce freaks out because he knows he’s Batman. The big twist at the conclusion is that we haven’t been following along from Bruce’s point of view, but instead from the point of view of the psychic villain, Synaptic Kid, who has discovered that Batman is Bruce Wayne by using a telepathic probe during their battle. As a mental defense while his mind is being probed, Batman is able to trick the Kid into thinking that he (the Kid) is Bruce Wayne but not Batman. We (the readers) are explained the big reveal through a vignette of the Kid doing a tell-all on a TV talk show. In reality, he’s in a coma. Ok, it sounds confusing, but it’s damn good and you should read it. Issue #634 is a laugh-out-loud Kelley Puckett mystery that is notable for the appearance of the Biddee sisters, two gun-toting geriatric old ladies that drink tea and solve crimes. They even break the fourth wall and correct Batman’s spelling in a word balloon! Amazing.

–Batman #467-469 (“SHADOWBOX”)
King Snake has taken control of the Asian gangs in Gotham and he wants revenge against Robin (for his defeat in Robin #5). But he’ll have to go through Batman first and that ain’t no picnic. There are some topical references in these issues regarding Hong Kong that should be disregarded. Also, King Snake says his first encounter with Robin was “six months ago.” This is wrong, as it would have been much more recent.

–Detective Comics #635-637
Ugh. This is a narrative about a fourteen-year-old boy that has the power to manipulate video games into reality. An evil Arkham doctor uses him as a pawn to bring bedlam to Gotham. We also see the one-shot appearance of Arkham inmate Professor Powder. Also, Alfred, Robin, Gordon, and Essen play a lot of NES. Yes, I know how topical that is to 1991. Substitute a Playstation 2 or an X-Box or something. Whatever. This story sucks.

–Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham
When the vile Judge Death steals an inter-dimensional/alternate universe-hopping/time-traveling belt device, he leaves his post apocalyptic future alternate Earth and winds up in present-day Gotham. Batman defeats Judge Death and accidentally activates the belt sending him to early twenty-second century Mega-City One, a war torn city state located in the former US on an alternate Earth. Batman learns about the bizarre new world he has entered from the insane Mean Machine Angel before getting arrested by Mega-City One’s top law enforcement officer, Judge Joseph Dredd! After being unmasked and interrogated by Dredd and the telepathic Judge Cassandra Anderson, the Dark Knight escapes with the help of Anderson. Meanwhile, Mean Machine uses the dimensional jump belt to zap to Earth-0 to search for Judge Death, who has met and teamed-up with Scarecrow. Batman and Anderson then jump to Earth-0 from an experimental lab in Mega-City One. By the time Batman and Anderson catch up with the villains, they have already started a bloody massacre at an open-air heavy metal concert in Robinson Park. Dredd shows up just in time to help the good guys put a stop to the gruesome villainy. With Scarecrow apprehended, Dredd and Anderson return to their correct Earth and time.

WAR OF THE GODS
———————–Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #59
———————–Batman #470
———————–Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #60
———————–War of the Gods #3-4
War of the Gods is a crossover event which involved all of the superheroes, but focused on Wonder Woman. All life is threatened when immortal Greek sorceress Circe is able to manipulate the ancient gods to begin a massive battle-royale on Earth. For example, the Roman deities rumble with the Greek gods. I’m sure you must already be confused since the Roman gods and Greek gods are each one and the same, just named differently. Well, at this point on our timeline Darkseid would have split the Greco-Roman gods into separate Olympian deities. Following War of the Gods, the Roman and Greek gods will re-merge back into single gods. Back to our story: While the Greco-Roman war rages, the superheroes of Earth take on the combined force of the Norse gods, Egyptian gods, Babylonian gods, African gods, and Thanagarian gods. Not only that, Circe is also able to stir up global anti-Amazonian sentiment to the point that several countries are on the brink of declaring war against the lady warrior race. Wonder Woman turns to her old pal Batman for help when her mother goes missing during the chaos. Batman begins an investigation, but gets interrupted by Maxie Zeus, who tries to get in on the god action. However, the mere mortal never even leaves Gotham before Batman busts his ass. Eventually, the superheroes, gods, and regular citizens join together under the command of Greek Goddess of Earth Gaea, and Circe is defeated.

ARMAGEDDON 2001
———————–Batman Annual #15
———————–Detective Comics Annual #4
———————–Action Comics #670
———————–Armageddon 2001 #2
———————–Armageddon: The Alien Agenda #1
Batman beats-up some thugs that threaten a homeless man, who reveals himself to be the superhero Waverider, a time-traveller from the fifty years in the future—where Earth is a dystopian nightmare ruled by the evil Monarch. The Monarch, one of Earth’s greatest superheroes, betrayed his comrades and murdered them all to gain control of the planet. Determined to alter time and prevent the Monarch’s rise to power, Waverider aims to solve the mystery of Monarch’s identity in order to assassinate him before he turns evil. After being rescued, Waverider, in order to judge Batman’s character, psychically links with the Dark Knight—a scene also depicted via a splash page in Captain Atom #57—to show him a vision of an alternate future timeline. In the alternate future portrayed in the Batman Annual #15, Batman is on death row for the murder of Penguin, who has actually been killed by Joker. Tim is a senator in this vision. A day later, Waverider is still not quite satisfied that Batman will not become the Monarch, so the future hero psychically links with the Dark Knight again. Detective Comics Annual #4 depicts yet another alternate future vision. This one shows Batman taking on Ra’s al Ghul for the final time—a battle in which Bruce, Tim, Ra’s, and Talia all die. After viewing this second alternate future, Waverider is finally convinced that Batman will not become the Monarch. Eventually, Batman and a swarm of heroes are involved in the conclusion of Armageddon 2001 (which happens in Armageddon 2001 #2). In the ultimate issue of this arc, Hawk, of the crime-fighting team Hawk and Dove, is revealed to be the Monarch. Hawk, in the possible dark future, apparently murders his lover and partner Dove and turns into the Monarch in the process. (We will later find out, in the pages of JSA, that super-villain Mordru merely casts a magickal illusion making Hawk think he murders Dove, causing him to snap.) The Monarch from this horrific future time-travels to now in an attempt to stop Waverider’s plan. The powerful villain fights the heroes (including Batman). Eventually, Captain Atom defeats Monarch, causing both himself and Monarch to get temporarily lost in the time-stream. Batman and the rest of the heroes mourn the loss of Atom, unsure of what’s become of him. It’s very important to note that, originally, the traitor in Armageddon 2001 was meant to be Captain Atom, but the news was leaked early, so DC editors changed the big reveal at the last second, not only ruining the story, but creating plot-holes as well. Although, in Infinite Crisis, specifically in the Battle for Blüdhaven series, Captain Atom winds up becoming Monarch anyway. It’s hard to tell (and we never actually learn) if this was meant to be a retcon making Atom the Monarch after all or if Atom simply becomes another separate Monarch. Messy, innit? I should also note that Armageddon 2001 was entitled as such because Hawk turns on his fellow heroes in the year 2001. However, after the Zero Hour time-sliding, Hawk couldn’t have turned on his fellow heroes until 2012. We should really re-think of Armageddon 2001 as Armageddon 2012. Or, we should view the title snafu from the perspective that all the chaos has been brought to the present (2001), hence the name “Armageddon 2001.” In any event, the heroes win and the dystopian future is avoided.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #8 . The events of this flashback (the entirety of Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #8) take place right after Armageddon 2001, although there are some problems in relation to the placement that must be addressed before moving on. This item is said to occur in late March (on the anniversary of Dr. Harrison Grey’s death). However, we aren’t anywhere near March, so any references to that date must be ignored. Moving on the synopsis. Batman and Superman prevent Catwoman from stealing plans for an experimental jet from Lex Luthor. At the end of the issue, the news reports the death of Luthor, who, as revealed in Armageddon 2001, had been gravely ill due to cancer received from Kryptonite radiation poisoning. In actuality, though, Luthor has faked his own death and secretly implanted his mind into a 21-year-old cloned version of himself. This new Luthor appears in Metropolis claiming to be Lex Luthor II, the long lost heir to his father’s empire. Luthor’s ruse will begin to unravel, however, when his clone body begins to deteriorate, but that won’t be until a year from now. Batman isn’t present for these specific Luthor plots, but they are worth mentioning.

–Batman #471
Late September. Alan Grant shows us the human side of Killer Croc in this issue where the reptilian behemoth moves in with some homeless underground-dwellers. Batman teams up with Ace in this issue.

–Detective Comics #638
Rebecca is an 18-year-old girl with mutant-like nuclear capability. The US Army has held her in captivity for six years against her will. Batman isn’t cool with the US Army doing shit like that. Sadly, Rebecca passes away in the end, but is able to die free and happy, thanks to Batman.

–Suicide Squad #59-62 (“LEGERDEMAIN”)
It would take me a good ten pages to fully explain each of Ostrander’s unbelievably complex Suicide Squad plots. The Saddam Hussein-esque ex-dictator of Qurac is being held at the Guantanamo Bay-esque Blood Island, which is where the Suicide Squad is supposedly stationed. Both Israeli and Arab metahuman teams are trying to get to the ex-dictator Marlo first (the former trying to assassinate, the latter trying to rescue). Meanwhile, Batman, Aquaman, and Superman have converged on Blood Island because they believe that they have found evidence linking Amanda Waller to Ray Palmer’s death. The heroes clash with the Israelis and Arabs on Blood Island, but realize that the Suicide Squad isn’t there. However, the Squad arrives when Waller discovers the entire altercation on Blood Island is a CIA setup in which the US government is trying to deliver Marlo back into the hands of the Quracis—(I think?). Anyway, the new Atom dies and Ray Palmer makes his return, revealing that he had faked his death in order to go undercover in an investigation into microscopic rogue CIA agents. There is an excellent nasty confrontation between Batman and Oracle in issue #59. Unfortunately, in it Babs tells Batman that she can find out his secret identity whenever she feels like it. Ummm, she was Batgirl. She’s known Batman’s secret ID for years. Maybe she meant she can reveal his ID whenever she feels like it? Otherwise ignore.

THE IDIOT ROOT
———————–Batman #472
———————–Detective Comics #639
———————–Batman #473
———————–Detective Comics #640
Blame it on Rio! Batman chases the returning Queen of Hearts to Brazil, but stumbles upon something much worse when he gets there. Children are getting hooked on a new drug known as “The Idiot Root”. When the kids are high on the ancient jungle plant they enter a supernatural realm where a bogeyman known as The Idiot is able to drain their minds, lobotomizing them. With each brain sucked-dry, the Idiot gains more and more power. Batman eats the drug (of course), trips, and enters the nightmare realm to confront the Idiot face-to-face. Eventually, the Idiot enters the real world and is able to travel from addict to addict by making their heads explode! Turns out, the host body the Idiot occupies has a phobia of birds. Batman uses this to his advantage. Game over. PS. While Batman is galavanting around Rio, Robin is back in Gotham dealing with the Joker one-on-one for the first time! (As seen in the Robin II #1-3).

–Robin II #4
Batman returns home from Rio and helps Robin finish off the Joker.

THE DESTROYER
———————–Batman #474
———————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #27
———————–Detective Comics #641
Andre Sinclair is blowing-up buildings in order to make the Gotham skyline look more beautiful. Gotham’s first and most famous architect was Cyrus Pinkney. His bizarre Gothic towers have slowly become dwarfed by newer, “uglier” buildings, and Sinclair is upset about it. Although we’ve seen it many times before, the Pinkney designed GCPD building is featured in this story and will be the GCPD’s home for many, many years to come. We also get a little insight into the life and times of Bruce’s ancestor, Judge Solomon Wayne, who had a large hand in funding and promoting the original Pinkney style in Gotham.

PANIC IN THE SKY!
———————–Superman Vol. 2 #65
———————–Adventures of Superman #488
———————–Action Comics #675
———————–Superman: The Man of Steel #10
———————–Superman Vol. 2 #66
Brainiac takes over Warworld and attacks Earth! An army of heroes (including Batman and Nightwing) assemble to defeat him. Notably, Deathstroke fights on the good-guy side!

ARMAGEDDON: INFERNO
———————–Armageddon: Inferno #1
———————–Armageddon: Inferno #4
Before we begin, this series requires some serious retconning thanks to lots of topical references and some pre-Zero Hour contradictions. First, Batman and company travel to August 21, 1991 Russia where Gorbachev is leader of the country and a Creeper active shortly before that date makes an appearance. This is fine and dandy, except that in Modern Age canon, the Creeper doesn’t debut until 1994. We must either retcon this story so that the Creeper that helps out is from this year and goes back in time with Batman OR that Batman and company go back to August 21, 1994 instead. If we go with the latter, we must ignore the topical Gorbachev 1991 topical stuff. I recommend the latter. Second, this arc fails to recognize, since it was released before Zero Hour, that there should be one sole version of Hawkman, instead splitting him into two people. We just have to straight-up ignore that mess. So what happens in this story, anyway? Waverider learns of a threat from the interdimensional tyrant known as Abraxis. Abraxis plans on using his Daemen minions to take control of Universe-0. But in order to do so, he must erect giant magickal “simulacra” of himself on four different points on the universe’s timeline. Waverider sends heroes to each time period, specifically sending Batman, Spectre to Russia, dateline August 21, 1994 (see above for pertinent retcon info). Joining them are heroes from other times: Ultra Boy (Legionnaire from the 31st century), a rookie Firestorm (from Bat Year Ten), and a rookie Creeper (from Bat Year Six). In 1994 Russia, Batman and friends deal with Daemen (as other hero groups similarly deal with them in other time periods). Eventually, Waverider and Spectre locate the Justice Society of America, which has been missing ever since the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths (ever since the beginning of Bat Year Eleven)! Spectre sics the JSA on Abraxis, who is defeated in his own home dimension. Afterward, the JSA permanently returns to Universe-0 and reunites with Earth’s heroes. Batman and his pals wanna know where the JSA has been for the past “three years.” (They’ve been gone closer to two-and-a-half years). The answer is a tough pill to swallow. Right after the original-Crisis, the JSA time-traveled back to 1945 where they wound up stuck in a Limbo-like space outside of Asgard, merged with Norse gods, and fighting an endless Ragnarok simulation thanks to the manipulations of Odin. So while they appeared to be missing for only two-and-a-half years, they were actually gone for fifty-six years! Damn. Welcome back JSA!

BREAKDOWNS
———————–Justice League America #59
———————–Justice League Europe #35
The Justice League’s UN charter has recently been revoked and the embassies close down, forcing the JLA to move into the old Happy Harbor cave. Also, Maxwell Lord has recently been taken over by Dreamslayer, who now uses Lord (and his psychic abilities) to take over the living island of Kooey Kooey Kooey and murder all of its inhabitants. The JLE and JLA attack Lord on Kooey. However, Dreamslayer has also recently used Lord to take control of several JLE and JLA members, which he does so again, causing them to join forces with the Extremists. The Extremists, now comprised of villains and brainwashed heroes, assault Happy Harbor cave where a few Leaguers had remained behind, including Batman who happens to be checking in on the emergency situation. Batman and company are chased to Kooey by the Extremists. There, the good guys help the unaffected JLers deal with the mind-controlled ones. Just when things look ugly, JLE member Silver Sorceress enters Lord’s mind and expels Dreamslayer, an act that wins the day, but at the cost of her own life. Afterward, Batman and the heroes mournfully lay Silver Sorceress to rest on Kooey.

–NOTE: In Justice League America #60 and Justice League Europe #36. The JLA/JLE “Breakdowns” storyline concludes with the dissolution of the JLA and JLE. Batman is not present, but this is definitely worth mentioning. It’s a damn shame, but Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis’ brilliant Justice League run comes to an end.

–Justice League Spectacular #1
In the wake of the dissolution of the JLA and JLE, a new Justice League America reforms with Superman as leader. Batman is present, but does not join the team. Likewise, a new revamped Justice League Europe forms as well.

THE RETURN OF SCARFACE
———————–Batman #475
———————–Detective Comics #642
———————–Batman #476
Renee Montoya debuts with the GCPD!  We saw her briefly way back in Bat Year Two when she was just a fresh recruit in the police academy. Renee will go on to become one of the most important female characters in the entire DC Universe.  Also, in case you forgot, Bruce and Vicki Vale have been dating for the better part of a year now. While on patrol, Batman sees Vicki kissing another man! Vicki’s new beaux is fellow journalist Horton Spence. Shortly thereafter, Horton and Vicki are attacked by drug dealers and Vicki winds up in the hospital. Bruce desperately wants to tell Vicki that he is Batman, but can’t do it. Vicki breaks up with him, but they remain friends. Oh yeah, Scarface is back and Batman gets stuck in the middle of a war between the little dummy and the Street Demonz.

–Deathstroke the Terminator #6-9 (“CITY OF ASSASSINS”)
Now that Deathstroke has proven he can fight on the side of good every once and a while, Batman reluctantly teams-up with him to take down Gotham’s top mobsters.  At one point in this story Batman takes a blood sample of Deathstroke and learns that Slade has been doping with a high-octane but extremely dangerous cocktail of various performance enhancing serums and steroids. Batman taking Slade’s blood is also shown via flashback from Deathstroke the Terminator #11.

–Batman: Gotham Nights #1-4
Great Ostrander tale which intricately intertwines the lives of everyday Gotham residents to show us what the city is really is all about. Batman is barely in these issues, but this is a real opus to the city of Gotham. Good read.

–Detective Comics #643
A librarian is killing people in order according to the Dewey Decimal System. Hey, Milligan can’t be perfect all the time.

–Batman #477-478 (“A GOTHAM TALE”)
Through an elaborate ruse Batman is able to detect the true identity of, get a confession out of, and apprehend the villain known as The Gargoyle. The ending to this slow-paced Wagner tale is well worth the wait.

–Ragman Vol. 2 #5-8
What is up with Gotham City and gangs that dress up like clowns or mimes?  What is also up with Gotham City and terrified rabbis who create Nazi-hunting golems to protect themselves?  Batman has seen it all before, but apparently Ragman hasn’t and wants a piece.

–The Demon Vol. 3 #23-24 (“THE RETURN OF THE HOWLER”)
The Howlers are werewolf-ish demons that possess human host bodies and wreak havoc. Batman, Robin, Etrigan, and Glenda Mark put a stop to that shit.

–Detective Comics #644-646 (“ELECTRIC CITY”)
Batman deals with the criminal Elmo “Buzz” Galvan and the third version of the Electrocutioner. This is the second different costumed vigilante/villain to go by the name Electrocutioner this year. Ever hear of a concept called originality? Come on rogues, you can do better. Notably, Galvan kills Batman in issue #644! It’s true! Kinda. Batman flat-lines and is technically “dead” for a minute or two until Robin is able to convince Electrocutioner to use his electric shockers as defibrillators, which restarts the Dark Knight’s heart and saves his life!

–Justice League Europe #37-40
The new JLE is now headquartered in London where they do battle with Deconstructo. Batman helps them defeat the villain.  Afterward, the JLE asks Batman to be their new leader, which he turns down.

–Batman #479-480
In issue #479 the ultra-buff Pagan is out for revenge against the two men who brutally assaulted her sister. Pagan kidnaps and tortures both of them before Batman nabs her. Issue #480 is an important issue for Tim’s character development as he struggles with whether or not to tell his father that he is Robin. In the end, Tim decides to keep his secret. Alfred suggests that the Drakes move into the vacant estate adjacent to Wayne Manor.

–Aquaman Vol. 4 #8
An evil oil company (think Halliburton) hires the NKVDemon to fight against the champion of environmentalism, Aquaman. Since Batman has experience with the Demon, Aquaman gives him a call and they have themselves an old-fashioned team-up!

–Batman #481-482
Batman put Maxie Zeus behind bars during the events of War of the Gods. Maxie’s insane girlfriend Iris Phelios becomes the super-villain known as The Harpy in order to avenge him. Also, the debut of Dr. Shondra Kinsolving! Plus, the Drakes move in next-door to Wayne Manor!

–Batman: Penguin Triumphant Part 1
Late October. The Penguin gets out of jail on parole and announces that he’s cleaning up his act and going straight!  In reality, the Penguin has invented a computer program which allows him to manipulate the stock market.  Almost instantaneously, Penguin begins raking in what appears to be totally legitimate money.

–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1-4 (“THE LAST ARKHAM”)
Early November.[3] Arkham Asylum is razed and a brand new state-of-the-art facility is erected with eccentric Dr. Jeremiah Arkham in charge. Arkham has a complete control of all the famous rogues like Scarecrow, Cornelius Stirk, the Joker, Amygdala (first appearance), the Spook, Penguin, Ivy, Batman… Wait, Batman!? That’s right, Batman is committed to Arkham Asylum! Secretly, he’s undercover trying to figure out how Zsasz keeps escaping the new madhouse. At one point, Batman defeats fourteen of his deadliest rogues at once! Batman and Nightwing eventually nab Zsasz.

–REFERENCE: In Underworld Unleashed: Batman – Devil’s Asylum #1. Batman apprehends the mad poisoner known as Kryppen after the villain poisons an entire boy scout troop. This case has never been written about in detail, but I’ve placed it here because Dr. Arkham is very familiar with Kryppen when we next see him in a year’s time.

–Batman #483
Crash & Burn are the new one-shot Bonnie & Clyde.

–Batman: Penguin Triumphant Part 2
Mere weeks after announcing that his life of crime is over, the Penguin has become a rich socialite thanks to his computer manipulation of the stock market.  After schmoozing with big-wigs at a Wayne Manor party, Bruce invites Oswald to house-sit while he is away on vacation.  While Oswald throws raucous parties every night, Batman and Robin spy on him from the Batcave and try to figure out his computer scheme.  Batman and Robin solve the mystery at the same time Penguin’s bloodthirsty business rival does.  Batman winds up saving Penguin’s life, but not before the latter gets shot in the shoulder.  Penguin goes back to jail.

–Detective Comics #647-649
The Cluemaster is on the loose again. Batman and Robin meet the newest teenage superhero, Stephanie Brown aka Spoiler! Stephanie is the Cluemaster’s daughter. She will also become the first female Robin a few years later, and then one of several Batgirls. There is also a notable flashback from Bruce Wayne: The Road Home—Batgirl #1 that details this story arc.

[4]

ECLIPSO: THE DARKNESS WITHIN
———————–Detective Comics Annual #5
———————–Robin Annual #1
———————–Batman Annual #16
Dr. Bruce Gordon, the original host-body for the demonic force known as Eclipso, warns Jim Gordon (no relation) and Batman that some of the black diamonds which release Eclipso have found their way into Gotham. Commissioner Gordon comes into contact with one of the diamonds and Eclipso is indeed released. It happens to be the second anniversary of Barbara’s shooting, so Jim is feeling quite upset. His negative emotions allow the dark spirit to manifest into a giant Eclipso beast, which goes after the Joker, who has just escaped Arkham with the aid of the Ventriloquist. Meanwhile, Anarky has escaped Juvenile Hall and uses the black diamonds on himself to become a super-powered Eclipso. When the diamonds turn a young girl into a vicious Eclipso T-Rex, Robin and Anarky team-up to defeat it. When the Joker turns himself into an super-powered Eclipso, Batman does the same!  The two monster versions of each other battle it out like King Kong and Godzilla until the sun comes up, reverting them back to normal. Once in their natural states, Batman easily apprehends the Joker. Before moving on, I wanted to mention that Tim refers to Anarky as being 14-years-old. He could definitely be no older than 13 at this point.

–Detective Comics #651
Excellent Harvey Bullock one-shot story by Chuck Dixon where Harvey enlists Batman to find out who has been making threats on his life. His would-be-killer is revealed to be his landlord, who wants him to move out because he’s a fat slob.

–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #5
The previously retired Black Spider returns to kill drug dealers. Why? Because his ex-girlfriend dies of an overdose and their son dies by accidentally mistaking her heroin for sugar and putting it on his cereal. Black Spider tracks down the dealer and detonates a bomb strapped to his chest, committing suicide and getting revenge in one fell swoop. In a side note, Black Spider returns from the dead when Lucifer abdicates his throne allowing many of the eternally damned to escape Hell (from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman).

–Detective Comics #652-653
Batman and Huntress team-up against European terrorists. Batman and Huntress do not get along.

–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #6
John Kennedy Payne is your average racist post-9/11 xenophobe, who just happens to have been given metahuman powers by the CIA in exchange for a shortened prison stretch. Payne runs foreign cars off the road, stomps out puppies, and flips his lid when he discovers his daughter is married to an Asian man. The Dark Knight kicks cracked-out Captain America’s ass and scolds some CIA agents.

–Batman: Birth of the Demon
Many would place this story earlier on the timeline, but I’ve placed it here because it was released around this time (1993) and it fits here well. Batman travels to North Africa to confront Ra’s al Ghul. Upon arriving at the mystical Lazarus Pit, Talia spins him a yarn which details the ancient origins of her father. Ra’s then emerges from the Pit and kicks the shit out of Batman! After a moment’s hesitation, Ra’s impales a shovel deep into Bruce’s chest, seemingly murdering him. Luckily, Bruce topples into the Lazarus Pit. When he awakens in the desert, his wounds are healed, but Ra’s and Talia have long gone. Bruce’s revitalization in the Lazarus Pit is extremely important because this act will have long-term effects upon his physical nature. Bathing in the primordial ooze in Birth of the Demon is one of only a few reasons why Bruce’s body is able to retain its youth and resiliency as he starts to reach an age where he should be losing a step-or-two.

–Legends of the World’s Finest #1
Scottish teenager Branwyn McDougal (of the Clan McDougal) finds a thousand-year-old magickal tome while exploring a tiny island off the coast of the Outer Hebrides. The book releases the ancient demon known as Tullus the Damned. Tullus wants to summon old pal Silver Banshee to help him break free of his master, the demoness Blaze, who he refers to as the ruler of Hell. This requires a point of clarification. Blaze is actually the ruler of Purgatory, whereas the sovereignty of Hell would be a bit more complicated to define. The rulers (emphasis on the plural) of Hell consist of a triumvirate of demons, which include “The First of the Fallen,” “The Second of the Fallen,” and “The Third of the Fallen,” while the angels Remiel and Duma, given authority by Dream of the Endless, nominally rule.[5] Unfortunately for Tullus, Silver Banshee is currently trapped in Limbo. Undeterred, Tullus simply turns Branwyn into the new Silver Banshee! Tullus and the new Banshee strategize a way to defeat Blaze before using magick to spy on Superman and Batman, the latter seen chasing after Riddler. Sensing that Tullus will try to recruit Superman and Batman against her, Blaze possesses Man-Bat and has him attack Superman. The Man of Steel dispatches Man-Bat and flies to Gotham to meet Batman, who has just busted Two-Face and his number one henchman Charlie, who dies. Superman helps Batman apprehend some thugs and they chat about Man-Bat. Both heroes reveal that they have recently had terrible nightmares. Later, wouldn’t ya know it, Tullus appears to Superman in a nightmare and convinces him to help out by starting a spell that will slowly cause Superman to fall under his control over the course of the next three weeks.

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman #487. Jim Gordon and Sarah Essen get married! Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #2 depicts their marriage, but it’s out-of-continuity because it contradicts Flass’ death in Dark Victory. The first canonical mention of Jim and Sarah’s nuptials is in Batman #487.

–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #7-15
These are primarily a bunch of one-shot stories that DC editors get out of the way before Doug Moench takes over and begins sewing the seeds for “Knightfall.”  In the first three issues, which are beautifully drawn by Tim Sale, C-List rogues Killer Moth, Calendar Man, Catman, and Chancer team-up to kidnap Jim Gordon, Bruce Wayne, and recently elected Mayor Armand Krol. Robin (with Ace) teams-up with Nimrod the Hunter to rescue everyone. Issue #10 focuses on an old Scottish man’s MC Escher-inspired castle and the castle owner’s son, who is basically Sloth from The Goonies. In issues #11-12 Mortimer Kadaver learns he has a terminal brain tumor, so he breaks out of Blackgate with the intention of releasing a deadly pneumonic plague across the city as his final act. Batman teams-up with The Human Flea to stop him. In issue #13 a crime-boss finds out Batman’s secret identity and attempts to auction off the information to the highest bidder. During the chaotic auction, a riot ensues and erupting gunfire kills the auctioneer, who takes Batman’s secret to his grave. In issues #14-15 Batman busts the returning minor villain Mirage.

[6]

–Justice League America #66
Superman has some issues with Guy Gardner. Batman makes a cameo and remembers why he wants nothing to do with the JLA anymore.

–Batman #484-487
Black Mask has escaped Arkham and kidnapped Lucius Fox. Batman and Robin take down his False Face Society gang and rescue their friend, but Black Mask escapes. Batman refuses to give up the chase. The Dark Knight hunts him for a full 24 hours before calling it a day because his nose is broken and it’s been gushing blood at a steady pace. In fact, Batman has dried blood all over his face for the entirety of issue #486 when Metalhead interferes with his search for Black Mask. Very badass Doug Moench writing here as he’s slowly setting the pace for “Knightfall.”  Batman is becoming more and more obsessive, with less regard for his physical well-being. “To hell with the blood,” grumbles Batman. To hell, indeed!  Awesome. Issue #487 has a lot going on. Batman saves Jim Gordon’s life from the assassin known as Headhunter. The battered Bruce Wayne thinks about seeing Dr. Shondra Kinsolving (for professional therapy). And Sarah Essen-Gordon tells Batman to stay out of Jim’s life, going so far as to shoot the Batsignal with a gun. Batman takes a week off to nurse his injuries after his battles with Metalhead and Headhunter, but due to time compression, this little vacation just isn’t possible. No rest for the weary!

–REFERENCE: In Legends of the World’s Finest #2. The already exhausted and weary Batman, thanks to the influence of the demon Tullus the Damned, has gotten off his game even more and begins screwing up cases left and right, including an ongoing investigation into the criminals Poppa Bear Figueroa and Rags Dentine. Shaken by nightmares, Batman still patrols but stops answering the Batsignal (which has been fixed following our last batch of stories).

–FLASHBACK: From Bruce Wayne: The Road Home—Oracle #1. Oracle (Barbara Gordon) unveils her clock-tower apartment headquarters to Bruce.

–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Detective Comics #782. November 25—the anniversary of Batman’s parents’ deaths. Batman places two roses at his parents’ Crime Alley murder site.

–The Batman Chronicles #23 Part 1
When a bomb blows up Bruce Wayne’s car nearly killing Alfred, Batman goes out in search of the criminal responsible, but fails to find him.  Meanwhile, Alfred teams-up with Bullock and basically solves the entire case himself.

–Legends of the World’s Finest #2-3
Three weeks have passed since Legends of the World’s Finest #1. Batman has been having nightmares ever since then and is way off his game (thanks to the meddling of Tullus the Damned and an insane schedule as of late). Things have gotten so bad that Batman has stopped answering the Batsignal. The Dark Knight reluctantly continues the Poppa Bear Figueroa case and shakes down Rags Dentine, but the latter gets away, much to the chagrin of Commissioner Gordon. While Batman tries to figure out what is happening to him in the Batcave with Alfred, Superman fills-in, busting Killer Croc and Riddler in Gotham. Tullus, messing with Superman as well, has used his power to make him more and more increasingly out-of-control and violent. Batman and Superman, on a tip, visit Arkham where Joker tells them that Tullus was recently inquiring (via dreams) about using the services of Arkham’s inmates for an upcoming war against Blaze. While Batman does research, an out-of-control Superman joins Tullus, Silver Banshee (Branwyn McDougal), and a bunch of zombies in a direct attack against Blaze and her demon army in Purgatory. Blaze is quickly defeated. Tullus declares himself the new King of Purgatory and says that Superman will wed Silver Banshee. Superman, completely brainwashed, cannot refuse. In Gotham, Batman has a hallucination involving Catwoman, Penguin, and a giant sewer monster before realizing that Tullus is to blame. Batman travels to Scotland where he infiltrates the black wedding between Superman and Banshee, which is held by Tullus and attended by hundreds of zombies and demons. Also present are a kidnapped Man-Bat and Lois Lane, reverted into a child by Tullus. A sword-wielding Batman frees Man-Bat and they begin tearing through demons left and right. Tullus opens a Hellmouth, which hundreds of demons pour through. When things look bleak, Blaze (who was hidden inside of Man-Bat) takes over Man-Bat and grows him to the size of Godzilla. Blaze also endows her power into Batman, who turns into a demon-armored super warrior. Super demon Batman fights possessed Superman in an epic battle. Eventually, Superman snaps out of his trance and helps Batman defeat Tullus and send Blaze back to Hell (technically, back to Purgatory). Lois and Branwyn are both altered back to their normal states.

–Batman: Sword of Azrael #1-4
An unending chain of Azrael knights have served the Sacred Order of St. Dumas as their avenging warrior knights since the 15th century. Recently, Jean-Paul Valley’s father (the most recent Azrael) was murdered by the international arms dealer Carlton LeHah, who has betrayed the Sacred Order and now serves the demon Biis. Due to years of subliminal mind-programming known simply as The System, the unassuming Jean-Paul is “activated” by the Sacred Order’s dwarf servant Nomoz. Jean-Paul turns into the newest Azrael, an incredibly skilled war-machine, haunted by random hallucinatory visions of former Azrael warriors. The possessed Azrael hunts down LeHah across Europe, but Batman and Alfred get to the villain first. Batman charges into battle, but surprisingly LeHah beats him in a fight, discovers his secret identity, and holds him captive in Texas. LeHah even wears the Bat-costume and drugs and tortures Bruce! Azrael eventually saves Bruce and easily defeats LeHah with his new-found fighting abilities.

–Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1
Sword of Azrael introduced us to Jean-Paul Valley. And now, Vengeance of Bane introduces us to Bane! The wheels are ever turning us closer and closer to “Knightfall.”  This issue gives us the detailed history and origin of Bane and also shows Bane’s first confrontation with Batman. Batman doesn’t know who he is, but it won’t be long before he’ll never forget him.  If there ever was a truly great introduction to a new villain, this book is it.

–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0. Late November. Superman is killed by Doomsday (as seen in Superman Vol. 2 #75). Batman and Wonder Woman mourn as they hear the news of Superman’s death.

–Batman: Gordon’s Law #1-4
Gordon deals with rampant corruption within the GCPD (what’s new?) and rogue federal agents in this crime story.  “This is a police affair,” says Gordon, and he forces Batman to wait in the wings, a move that nearly costs Gordon his life.

–Batman #488
Late December. Robin begins training Azrael and even makes him a new superhero costume.  Bruce hopes that Jean-Paul will be able to control his twisted “System” mind-programming and use his abilities for good.  Also, Bruce, who is completely burned-out, finally gets around to scheduling his doctor’s appointment with Dr. Shondra Kinsolving.

 


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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER:  A point of clarification about the multiple Robin series.  Some argue that Robin II and Robin III should be considered official volumes (i.e. Volume 2 and Volume 3 of the series), thus making the final Robin run the fourth volume.  Others claim that the first Robin volume is merely a miniseries like Robin II and Robin III, which would make the final Robin run the first official volume of the series.  However, I’ve gone with a more traditional version:  The first official volume of Robin is the initial five issue miniseries.  It is followed by two more short miniseries, Robin II and Robin III, and the start of the Robin Annuals.  Robin Volume 2 begins shortly after that and runs for 183 issues, detailing the bulk of Tim Drake’s adventures as the Boy Wonder.  Robin II and Robin III are not official volumes of Robin because they technically are titled differently.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER / ANTONIO: The Dark Horse co-published Alien/Predator crossovers with DC are in a pretty strange boat, even strange as far as out-of-company crossovers go. In regard-to and from-the-perspective-of Dark Horse’s Alien/Predator-verse, the Batman/Superman crossovers are definitively NON-CANON. Logic would dictate that they would therefore be non-canon for Batman and Superman in the mainstream DCU as well. However, a counter argument can be made since these crossovers make obvious references to very in-canon DCU stuff, especially the death of Mayor Julius Lieberman. If official canon in the DCU, however, this would mean that the Aliens and Predators that are used in the narrative are totally separate from the primary world of the Alien/Predator films, books, and comics. To reiterate the Predators and Aliens that we will see in the DCU proper are alternate universe Predators and Aliens, different from the ones seen in cinema and other Dark Horse media.

    A similar thing happened with the Dark Horse Grendel/Batman crossover. Batman’s altercation with Grendel is totally non-canon in the DCU. However, Batman’s altercation with Grendel is canon in Dark Horse’s Grendel-verse. This means that Grendel didn’t meet and fight DC’s primary Earth Batman, but instead fought an alternate universe Batman.

    This might be a bit confusing to grasp and it is definitely a topic worthy of some difficult debate. Therefore, feel free to include the Alien/Predator material (this item and its several sequels), or disregard it (and the sequels) if you want to.

  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: It just has to be done this way. Don’t blame me. Blame DC. Starting with the new Shadow of the Bat series, things only get more compressed on our Bat Year Thirteen.  Oddly, most of the heaviest compression is limited mostly to November, which starts now.  After that, there isn’t much going on in the lonely month of December.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Detective Comics #650 is a cute issue that details both the adventures of Harold and the adventures of Alfred and Tim driving around in a van. Batman is absent from this issue, hence its absence from our list.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Now seems like a good a time as any to list all of the rulers of Hell. Naming the domini of Hell is a much more onerous task than naming the mayors or commissioners of Gotham. For one thing, the history of the Hell of the DCU was canonically chronicled in both the main Universe-0 books and in several Vertigo books. Since Vertigo operated on its own from the main DCU, but still paradoxically contained a ton of canonical material and references, the list isn’t as smooth as others. But I think I’ve come up with a pretty decent one. Here goes. The first dominus of Hell is Lucifer Morningstar (from The Sandman and Lucifer). Lucifer eventually rules within a triumverate, serving with fellow demon kings, Beelzebub (also referred to as Belial at times) and Azazel. After the fall of Beelzebub and Azazel, Lucifer abdicates the throne (in The Sandman). Dream of the Endless gives the domini title to the Heavenly angels Remiel and Duma. However, despite outward appearances, the rule of Remiel and Duma is merely nominal—an unnamed normal human being actually rules Hell (as mentioned in Lucifer). The “reign” of Remiel and Duma continues for a bit, but the human domina is soon replaced by a new triumverate that includes The First of the Fallen, The Second of the Fallen, and The Third of the Fallen (as seen in Hellblazer). For anyone wondering, Lucifer is technically The Fourth of the Fallen. The scheming of John Constantine (in Hellblazer #83) brings about the temporary downfall of the First of the Fallen, who is replaced by the succubus Chantinelle (better known as Ellie). The First of the Fallen quickly regains his throne. Following this period, things get a little hazy. We know that the inane Master Baytor rules Hell for a time (as mentioned in Hitman #17), but eventually Neron becomes sole dominus of Hell (as seen in Underworld Unleashed). Neron is king until Day of Judgement where he is stripped of his title thanks to the meddling of Etrigan. Satanus, who rules Purgatory with his sister Blaze, replaces him as the new dominus of Hell. However, within two years Neron regains his throne (as mentioned in Human Defense Corps #6). Neron then remains King of Hell for quite a while, although Superman briefly becomes the King of Hell (as seen in Superman #666), before the title returns back to Neron again. Eventually, Satanus and Blaze start a civil war against Neron (as seen in Reign in Hell). Satanus and Blaze become the co-domini of Hell, ruling as king and queen. At some point, Satanus falls out of favor with his sister and is imprisoned (as referenced in Justice League of America 80-Page Giant 2011 #1). Thus, Lady Blaze becomes the Modern Age’s final sole domina of Hell.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: The beautiful year of 1993 gave us View-Master Mini Comics: The Joker’s Wild, which was a film-comic based on the classic “Joker’s Five Way Revenge” story, specifically designed for a Fisher-Price View-Master. 1993 also brought us Justice League America vs. Amazo, a mini comic found in boxes of Kellogg’s Cinnamon Mini Buns. These items are obviously 100% non-canon in the Modern Age, but have their place, fitting neatly as a continuation of the pre-original Crisis Earth-B timeline (referred to as the “Earth-32 timeline” by DC historian/researcher John Wells).

2 Responses to YEAR THIRTEEN (Part 2)

  1. Simon Latorre says:

    In the DC Retroactive: Batman – The ’90s #1 entry, it says this story is a follow -up to Batman #613, when it is actually a follow up to Detective Comics #613.

    Keep up the good work Collin!

    Best,

    Simon L

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