Year Fifteen (Part 2)

 

(July 2017 to December 2017)

 

–Justice League of America Vol. 5 #10-11 (“CURSE OF THE KINGBUTCHER”)
When the Might Beyond the Mirror—who has already granted wishes to Lord Havok, Nikos Aegeus, and Nadine Terrill—begins granting wishes to people all over America, the Lords of Order take offense to such “meddling with the world’s narrative.” They send their cosmic assassin known as The Kingbutcher (Roland Loop) to eliminate anyone that has come into contact with the Might Beyond the Mirror. Meanwhile, Batman debriefs the JLA on their last mission involving Makson. The Ray doesn’t like Batman’s leadership and expresses this to Black Canary and Xenos. When news reports about wishes being granted and executions that follow in Vanity, Oregon, where the Ray currently lives, the JLA—sans the Atom and Frost—is on the case. The team meets with the Ray’s friend, Mayor Caden Zapote, but are interrupted by an attack by the Kingbutcher. After a short fight that ends in a stalemate, the Kingbutcher transports the JLA to the Ray’s childhood home in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Inside, the Ray is disturbed to find that the Might Beyond the Mirror has granted his mom a wish for a new family. While Batman, Black Canary, Vixen, the Ray, and Lobo defeat the Kingbutcher, the Atom and Frost visit Freedom Beast in Lamumba, Africa, who uses his metapower to “see” inside the heat sickness within Frost, but he is unable to cure her. Later, in Vanity, OR, the Ray argues with Batman. That night, Batman is visited in his dreams by the Might Beyond the Mirror, who offers him a wish. Batman turns her down. Upon waking, Batman visits Lord Havok in his prison cell in Kravia. Batman questions Havok about the Might Beyond the Mirror and says he plans to save Havok’s home planet of Angor. In the Sanctuary, Xenos calms a pissed-off Raymond and they share a tender moment. At Ivy University, Ryan finally locates the life signal of the other Atom, Ray Palmer!

–Justice League of America Vol. 5 #12 Part 1
Batman follows Lobo to his hangout spot at Heaven’s Undercarriage in Mammoth City, NJ. Meanwhile, Vixen and Black Canary rescue Vixen’s ex-boyfriend from a shark-themed army. Concurrently, in Pittsburgh, Frost fights Afterthought, who mysteriously disappears during battle. At the Sanctuary, Xenos and Ray give in to a mutual attraction and have a movie date. The entire team is then assembled by the Atom, who tells all about the other Atom (Ray Palmer) being lost in the Microverse.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Casting #1. As part of his ongoing mystery dark metal investigation, Batman investigates ruins in the Alps. At the burial ground of a death cult of smith workers, Batman finds a scroll from the year 200 CE. The scroll details the treacherous path to the Great Forge of the god Hephaestus, which supposedly exists in Methana, Greece, but can only be accessed via sacrifice. In preperation for a possible future confrontation with Hephaestus, Batman constructs a special anti-god armored suit, lance, and shield. He stores this equipment in the moon-cave.

–Wonder Woman Vol. 5 #25
The Justice League defeats Shaggy Man, during which the guys notice that Wonder Woman is on edge and is curiously not wearing her golden lasso. Wonder Woman is pissed and on edge for several reasons. First, she recently lost her lasso, using it to permanently bind the evil gods Phobos and Deimos. Second, she recently realized that her Greco-Roman god patrons have lied to her about her entire history. And third, Dr. Veronica Cale has brought the curse of the Bwundan plant god Urzkartaga back upon the Cheetah, making the fugitive super-villain more unstable than ever. In Washington DC, US Army officials Sasha Bordeaux and Etta Candy discuss their connection to Wonder Woman’s recent troubles. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman confronts Dr. Cale at her office and demands that she provide a cure for the Cheetah’s curse, to which Dr. Cale refuses. Wonder Woman then meets with Batman and Superman at their special spot in Nevada, filling them in on some of the details. Wonder Woman then visits her gods—Aphrodite, Artemis, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, and Zeus—on Mount Olympus. There, the gods give her some piece of mind and return her lasso. A satisfied Wonder Woman then meets Steve Trevor for a date at her brand new beach house in Virginia. Truly happy for the first time in a while, Diana and Steve skip dinner and head straight to the bedroom.

PANIC IN THE MICROVERSE!
———————-––Justice League of America Vol. 5 #12 Part 2
———————-––Justice League of America Vol. 5 #13-17[1]
Less than a week has passed since the Atom briefed everyone on Ray Palmer’s status. The JLA is now ready to enter the Microverse using a Shrinkship in an attempt to rescue the original Atom. Batman, the Atom, Frost, and Lobo shrink down to subatomic size and enter the bizarre landscape of the Microverse, specifically the city of New Katarth. There, they are shot at and attacked by the odd armored humanoid soldiers of the Null Army, who speak of “the decay” destroying their world, which they call “The Immensity.” They also speak of their prophet and leader, known as “The Null.” (The Null Army’s goal is to eliminate all life in the Microverse in order to end all suffering—sort of like a forced mass suicide or “humane apocalypse.”) The soldiers are defeated thanks to help from the last of the Docent Folk, a warrior named Preon, who wears one of Ray Palmer’s bio-belts. Preon, who is also Palmer’s lover, explains that she was a guide to both Palmer and his partner Dr. Aron Aut until the latter betrayed them, causing Palmer to become lost in a quantum storm. (SPOILER ALERT: Aut is The Null and he actually imprisoned Palmer after he became “lost.”) Preon further explains that “the decay” is a disturbance in the fabric of reality, which emanates from an unknown epicenter in the Microverse and has already begun to erase large portions of her world. She then teleports the heroes to the sentient subatomic realm of Moz-Ga, also known as “The Thinking Planet,” where thousands of restless refugees have fled from the wave of destruction. Aut arrives and freezes Preon with a ray gun. He lies and tells the heroes that Preon is a villain. Then, a quantum storm strikes, causing everyone to scatter. The Atom dangerously shrinks down even smaller in an attempt to speak with Moz-Ga. Meanwhile, Afterthought attacks Black Canary and the Ray in normal-sized Seattle. In Peru, Vixen continues working on the still-unresolved Might Beyond the Mirror case, visiting Extraño for help. Back in the Microverse, the heroes fight more Null Army soldiers while the Atom communicates with Moz-Ga, who gives him a giant piece of his flesh to use as a bio-ship. The heroes, along with Aut, travel in the bio-ship to the “ignition point” of the chaos where they finally locate Palmer. The original Atom freaks out at the sight of Aut, who reveals that he is the Null. The Null shrinks the JLA further down and erects a machine to expedite the destruction. Choi and Frost take action to destroy the Null and his machine, at near certain risk to their own lives. Thankfully, they save the Microverse and survive while doing it. Palmer shows the JLA the exact “ignition point,” in which appears a black hole-like breach and an afterimage of a giant blue hand. (Dr. Manhattan, anyone?) Palmer tells Batman that someone came through. Palmer smooches Preon and gives Choi his seal of approval, anointing him as his official replacement. Palmer has decided to stay in the Microverse to follow-up on the field notes of Angor’s Blue Jay, who has been trapped in the Microverse for a long time now. Batman tells Palmer about his run-in with Lord Havok and also that the “ignition point” seems to register the same energy signature as the Watchmen smiley face pin-button. Batman gives Palmer a series of tasks for him to do in the Microverse in relation to the energy signature. As revealed via reference in Justice League of America Vol. 5 #19, these tasks involve teaming-up with Blue Jay and bringing Dreamslayer from Angor to the Mircoverse. Back in normal-sized world, Vixen debriefs Batman, telling him about Afterthought’s actions and that the Might Beyond the Mirror is slowly summoning herself via her wish-granting. In the limbo space known as The Ghost Zone, the Might Beyond the Mirror’s latest grantee, Prometheus, plans an attack on the JLA.

–FLASHFORWARD: From Green Arrow Vol. 6 #25. Oliver Queen has lost his company and has been wrongfully accused of murdering Wendy Poole. This is all part of a sinister plot by the Ninth Circle and its leader, Ollie’s own mother Moira Queen. After posting bail, a penniless Ollie asks his old Justice League friends for help, but they turn him away.

–Green Arrow Vol. 6 #29
(This item, according to Teen Titans Vol. 6 #12, occurs “more than month” prior to Dark Nights: Metal #2.) Bruce hears about Oliver Queen’s pending murder trial and asks the Justice League about it. They all vouch for Ollie, saying that he is innocent. Soon after, Green Arrow’s fight with the Ninth Circle brings him to Gotham, where the Ninth Circle’s offshoot group known as The Underground Men have engaged in a human-trafficking ring and a series of murders. Ollie meets with some scummy rich elites, who invite him to a Court of Owls gathering at the Labyrinth HQ. There, the businessmen dress up as Talons and hunt innocent victims for sport. After knocking out the elderly leader of the group, Green Arrow does a little hunting of his own, taking down the would-be thrill-killers. Batman, working the Ninth Circle case and the Underground Men trafficking case, arrives to save the would-be prey. After the heroes argue with each other, a Burned soldier—one of the fire-breathing lieutenants of the Ninth Circle (known collectively as The Burned)—grabs one of the Talon victims and attacks, revealing a link between the Ninth Circle and the Court of Owls. Batman and Green Arrow save the boy and kick the Burned dude’s ass. Afterward, Batman tells Green Arrow that he will need help to defeat the Ninth Circle. The Caped Crusader gives Green Arrow a signal device that can be used to contact the Green Lantern Corps. Meanwhile, in Star City, Black Canary, Emiko Queen (Ollie’s half-sister), and Henry Fyff discover that Wendy Poole is still alive, thus finding the evidence needed to clear Ollie’s name. (Wendy is captive of the The Auctioneer, who is one of the leaders of the Underground Men.)

–Trinity Vol. 2 Annual #1
On a remote island in Greece, Circe summons Ra’s al Ghul and Lex Luthor to the mystical Pandora Pits, which supposedly can grant power to the right trio. Luthor scoffs and leaves in a huff, leading Circe and Ra’s al Ghul to ponder whether or not their third could be someone else. Enter Jason Blood, who takes a magick photo of a cave painting that depicts demons eating the entrails of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. He sends the picture to the Justice League before turning into Etrigan to take down a bunch of League of Assassins ninjas. Etrigan then confronts Circe and Ra’s al Ghul, who slice him open, spilling the demon’s blood into the Pandora Pits. This separates Jason Blood from Etrigan, who grows to massive size. This sets off a Justice League alarm that interrupts Bruce, Diana, and Clark, who are dining at Bruce’s restaurant in Gotham. The heroes fly to Greece and battle giant Etrigan and a horde of demons from Hell. Batman tells Jason that he must ensnare Etrigan back within his body, whether he wants to or not. With the help of the Trinity, Etrigan is sucked back into his human host body. Later, Jason, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman examine the caves on the island only to find that the Pandora Pits have disappeared, stolen by Circe and Ra’s al Ghul. Likewise, the photo of the cave painting has been deleted from existence.

–Bane: Conquest #2-3 (“THE SWORD”)
While surfing the deep web, Batman learns about the threat of a new terror cult led by the enigmatic Damocles. Batman shakes down Damocles’ man Chango (Lester Belloquet) before following Damocles’ trail across four continents. In Mumbai, Batman confronts Damocles and his cult, only to get captured, stripped of his Bat-costume, exposed as Bruce Wayne, sent to a Quraci stronghold, and then put behind bars in a secret Romanian prison. Bruce and the other prisoners are fed drugged-food to keep them weak. After two days trapped in Damocles’ prison, Bane—also defeated by Damocles—gets thrown in the brig as well. Bruce and Bane discuss their situation and mythology, citing that Damocles was a courtier to Dionysius, meaning he likely has a superior he answers to. The next day, both Bruce and Bane are interrogated by the doyen of torture, Damocles’ man Quan. Later that night, Bane smashes his way out of the prison wing. Bruce and Bane fight their way through dozens of guards until they recover their costumes. (Notably, Monkey Fist Cult costumes are on display, meaning that Damocles has defeated members of their group as well.) A truce is formed, but Bane vows to kill Batman last. While Bane breaks every bone in Damocles’ body, Batman takes a subtler approach when confronting Damocles’ master, “Dionysius,” a deformed little person with a mini-tank for a body. Batman walks and talks with Dionysius until Bane shows up and attacks the Dark Knight. Dionysius rockets away in an attempt to escape, but Bane tackles him down the side of a mountain slope. While Batman escapes the prison in a commandeered helicopter, Bane forms an alliance with the sweet-talking Dionysius. Bane throws Dionysius into a cat-carrier and meets up with Zombie, Bird, and Trogg.

[2]

[3]

–Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #23-25 (“KILL YOUR DARLINGS”)
Amanda Waller sics the Suicide Squad (Katana, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, El Diablo, Enchantress, and Killer Croc) on Frost in Gotham City. As revenge against Frost for having escaped her clutches, Waller uses Diablo to transfer a disease pathogen into Frost. The pathogen causes Frost to lost control of herself. A pissed-off Batman arrives to survey the situation. Using the brain-bomb frequency, Batman is able to quickly nullify the entire Suicide Squad except for Katana, who doesn’t have a brain-bomb in her skull. Katana reluctantly slashes Batman in the back, taking him out. Task Force X choppers arrive to retrieve the downed Suicide Squad and an unconscious Frost. At Belle Reve, the Suicide Squad argues with Waller, specifically over the recent deaths of teammates Rick Flag and Hack. (Hack is dead, but Rick Flag is actually just trapped in the Phantom Zone.) While Batman deals with Killer Croc and infiltrates the prison, Harley Quinn and Katana breach through the prison’s network firewall and learn that Waller has betrayed the US Government and given all of her detailed metahuman files to Russian government agent Director Karla, who unleashes multiple foreign Suicide Squads to attack multiple locations across the globe as part of his “Joseph Protocols.” Batman then takes out Enchantress before being joined by Katana—who apologizes for attacking him earlier—and Harley, who drags an unconscious Frost. Batman takes Frost and escapes in a military jet while Katana and Harley fight a bunch of Suicide Suit security robots. Meanwhile, Deadshot and Diablo discover that Waller is under the possession of Russian metahuman Gulag, who is a member of Karla’s elite Russian version of the Suicide Squad known as The Annihilation Brigade, which also includes Cosmonut, Tunguska, and Tankograd. Harley and Deadshot fight the possessed Waller and abort her missile attack against Batman. Captain Boomerang—previously thought to be dead—rejoins the Suicide Squad and helps them corner Waller. Katana then slices Waller, releasing her from Gulag while killing the latter in the process. Waller and the Suicide Squad then fight the remnants of the Annihilation Brigade, killing the rest of them at the site of their control center where a deceased Karla—having committed suicide—is found as well. Meanwhile, the Justice League fights against sixteen separate international versions of the Suicide Squad. From the control center, Harley activates their brain bombs, killing all of them in an instant. Later, Waller visits Batman and Frost at the JLA Sanctuary to explain that she had been possessed, but also to apologize. (This is an odd bit where they all act as though Waller has discovered the JLA’s secret HQ, but it isn’t really a secret. Refugees live there and the heroes have staged televised press conferences there as well. Hmmm.) Waller hands over all the files she has on Karla’s “Joseph Protocols” to Batman. Meanwhile, Rick Flag Sr (Rick Flag Jr’s grandfather) and Karin Grace—members of the original Task Force X in the 1940s—watch events unfold as they hide out in an old Argent space station in Earth’s orbit. (Argent is the defunct domestic branch of Task Force X, which hasn’t been in operation since the 1950s.)

–Trinity Vol. 2 #12-15 (“DARK DESTINY”)
Weeks have passed since the main action of Trinity Vol. 2 Annual #1. In their secret Antarctic lair, Circe and Ra’s al Ghul care for the Pandora Pits, which summon the Outlaws—Red Hood, Artemis, and Bizarro II. (The opening of this scene in Antarctica is also shown in the epilogue to Trinity Vol. 2 Annual #1.) After being subdued by Circe’s Ani-Men, the Outlaws are turned into raving monster versions of themselves thanks to the Pandora Pits. The transmogrified heroes then travel to Gotham with a swarm of demons at their side. There, they attack Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, who are able to capture Red Hood and restrain him in a JL safe-house. Batman then calls John Constantine, Zatanna, and Deadman for help. Shortly after arrival, both Zatanna and Deadman are sucked inside Red Hood’s body. Constantine ventures through Red Hood’s demonic mouth portal to attempt a rescue while the Trinity fights Artemis, Bizarro, and a horde of demons. Expelled through Red Hood’s body as if it were a portal, Zatanna and Deadman are delivered to Circe in Antarctica as her new obedient slaves. Constantine, also ported to Antarctica, is able to easily resist, but Ra’s al Ghul stabs him in the chest with a knife. In exchange for his life, Constantine tells the villains how to use Deadman to control Superman. Minutes later, an evil Deadman emerges in Gotham and controls Superman’s body. While Wonder Woman holds her own, Batman takes the possessed Red Hood to the Batcave. In Antarctica, Zatanna saves Constntine’s life, but Circe then switches demonic possession from Superman to Zatanna in order to teleport Wonder Woman and Superman to her location. Fed up with everyone, Circe betrays Ra’s al Ghul, pushing him into the Pandora Pit. In the Batcave, Batman studies a restrained Red Hood and injects him with potassium chloride, which flatlines his heart causing the demons to leave his body. Demonized Bizarro smashes into the Batcave, prompting Batman to zap him with a high-vibration sound ray gun that stops his heart, thus exorcizing his demons too. Batman then defibrillates Red Hood and Bizarro back to life. Batman and the Outlaws attack Circe head-on in Antarctica. In the mountain cave, Batman blasts the trapped and possessed heroes with the sound cannon, stopping their hearts long enough to free them from demonic possession. The heroes defeat Circe and her Ani-Men, but Ra’s al Ghul stabs Circe in the back and tosses her into the Pandora Pit. Using the Lasso of Truth, the heroes hoist Circe back to safety.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1—originally told in “THE CURSED WHEEL.” This item is said to take place only weeks prior to Dark Days: The Forge #1, hence placement here. Bruce moves Duke’s permanently Jokerized parents into Wayne Manor, where they are confined to safe padded cells and cared for by round-the-clock nurses. Batman and Alfred develop a sacred-geometrical diagram, which they call the “Cursed Wheel.” This sigil-like image, based upon concepts related to color theory, depicts an ultra-condensed version of all of Batman’s experiences combined with Alfred’s unique tenets regarding human psychology. Batman shares this occult “Cursed Wheel” with Duke. Later, Batman and Lark bust Victor Zsasz, but Lark questions his ability to be a successful superhero. Questioning himself, Duke re-evaluates everything and ditches his codename “Lark,” which never suited him very well. While Batman deals with the Riddler, who is able to strike from his Arkham Asylum cell thanks to the help of Daryl Gutierrez, Duke is accosted by Daryl and his Jokerized parents at Wayne Manor. While Batman saves the day downtown, Daryl tells Duke that he (Duke) has a sui generis physiology, possibly metahuman or even alien. Duke’s mom’s eyes glow yellow as she attacks Daryl to help her son. Duke’s eyes glow yellow as well, with his vision appearing akin to a bright version of Daredevil’s vision, as he punches-out Daryl.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1. After debriefing with Duke on recent events, Batman looks into weirdness surrounding Duke’s mom Elaine, but she’s far too gone in Joker-land to reveal anything. Unknown to Duke and Batman, Elaine has secret metahuman connections to the clandestine group of immortals known as The Immortal Men. Their leader, Immortal Man, is able to secretly watch/listen-in on Batman’s meetings with Elaine.

–New Super-Man #16-17 (“EQUILIBRIUM”)
After going into a coma following his successful defeat of the evil Super-Man Zero (aka Emperor Super-Man), Super-Man (Kenan Kong) is astrally projected to a “discarded fold of history” by the cosmically-powered All-Yang, who is the living embodiment of the Yang (from Yin-Yang) and the dark counterpart to semi-immortal martial arts master I-Ching. This “discarded fold” is none other than 1937 America, straight out of the pages of Detective Comics #1 from the long erased pre-original Crisis Earth-2. All-Yang, in the form of Yellow Peril villain Fui Onyui, shows Super-Man (and reminds the reader) of exactly how racist DC Comics were in the 1930s. After Super-Man punches out racist Slam Bradley and bears witness to All-Yang’s execution of the vile Von Holtzendorffs, All-Yang tells Super-Man that he must find the magickal artifact known as the Red Jade Dragon and unleash his “final power” to become the so-called “Emperor of China.” If he doesn’t comply, he will kill the captured I-Ching. Super-Man then awakes in present day China where he is greeted by his mom (Dr. Omen) and his teammates from the Justice League of China—Bat-Man, Wonder-Woman, Flash (Avery Ho), and Robinbot. The next day, when the JLC registers an energy signal in Metropolis that seems to represent a Superman from an alternate timeline, they are on the case. But as soon as the JLC arrives, their Bat-mech goes haywire and they find themselves fighting with the Justice League. After the Bat-mech is taken down, the two superhero teams great each other with open arms. Super-Man and Superman visit Lex Luthor to inquire about the Red Jade Dragon. At Luthor’s private suburban residence, Super-Man smashes through security Lexbots and retrieves the Red Jade Dragon from Luthor’s vault. All-Yang then appears, claiming to have murdered I-Ching. Super-Man fights All-Yang, who opens a portal to the horrible Realm of the Demi-Gods.

–Detective Comics #958-960 (“INTELLIGENCE”)
Batman has had to put his magick investigation on hold for a while since he’s been so busy with other things. But with Zatanna scheduled to perform at Penguin’s New Iceberg Lounge, Alfred suggests that he visit her in civilian attire to question her about her ties to the League of Assassins. Bruce reaches out to Penguin’s people and schedules a visit. Meanwhile, Luke Fox, Jean-Paul Valley Jr, and Kate Kane (finally back from abroad) go to an NBA game at Gotham’s Dixon Arena. When Jean-Paul’s former mentor from the Order of St. Dumas, Nomoz Smith, wanders onto mid-court covered in blood, Luke uses his tech to black out the entire building. The heroes quickly usher Nomoz toward the Belfry. There, Nomoz reveals that the Sacred Order of St. Dumas has begun a murderous purge. The Council of Leaders has used Ascalon, the first ever android Azrael, to execute all other high-ranking members of the group. At the Iceberg Lounge, Bruce—wearing computer contact lenses—is greeted by Penguin. With Zatanna’s show sold out, Bruce is ushered towards the high-stakes gambling table. There he joins Drury Walker (Killer Moth), actor Harry Day Jr, corrupt promoter Funky Flashman, hip hop producer Maximum Tyrell, and on-the-lam Order of St. Dumas member Brother Kodo. During the game, Ascalon smashes into the casino looking for Kodo. Zatanna interrupts and throws the android through the floorboards. Zatanna zaps Bruce’s costume on before the entire Bat-squad joins the fight. Ascalon is turned away, but Kodo eats a cyanide pill in fear and croaks. Afterward, Batman calls monster expert Dr. Victoria October to operate on Nomoz. Dr. October is admitted entrance to the Belfry and does her task. In Burnside, Batwing takes Batwoman to his FoxTech company labs. Luke tells Batwoman that his sister Tamara “Tam” Fox has just been appointed CEO. Luke talks about the threat of Ascalon and also shows Batwoman an assembly line of Bat-mech-robots and introduces her to Rookie, a sentient robot that is made from the Powers Industries Bat-suit that Jim Gordon wore when he was Batman. On the other side of town, Batman tells Zatanna about Tim’s death. At the Belfry, a meditating Jean-Paul hallucinates a demon, which signals the beginning of his Sacred Order brainwashing (aka “The System”) trying to re-take his mind. (Ascalon is the living embodiment of the System.) At a cathedral in the Swiss Alps, Ascalon reports back to the archbishop of the Sacred Order of St. Dumas (Jean-Paul’s dad Jean-Paul Valley). Meanwhile, Batman tells Zatanna that he remembers her dad’s mind-wipe from when they were teenagers. She shows him the magickal Gnosis Sphere (aka “The God Machine”) and it immediately begins probing the Dark Knight’s mind, finding deep nagging unanswered questions about Tim’s death, the current plans of the League of Shadows, and the long mystery surrounding the dark metal energy signature. At FoxTech, Luke attempts to decode the St. Dumas coding-language, but Ascalon teleports in and takes control of a bunch of empty Batwing suits and Bat-robots. (SPOILER: Now within Ascalon’s shell is Jean-Paul’s little brother.) Azrael, brainwashed and hidebound by the System programming in his head (which appears in a hallucinatory image of Jean-Paul’s little brother), arrives to assist Ascalaon and his new army.

–Detective Comics #961-962 (“INTELLIGENCE” Continued…)
Zatanna apologizes to Batman about her father’s mind-wipe all those years ago. At FoxTech, Batwoman and Orphan go toe-to-toe with an out-of-control Azrael. Batman and Zatanna arrive just in time to see an unscathed Orphan knock out Azrael. (This scene beautifully illustrates how Cassie is truly the doyenne of martial artistry in the DCU.) Batwoman, battered and bruised on the other hand, requires a healing spell. With Ascalon and the animated Batwing-suits about to attack the Belfry, Luke realizes that Rookie has been programmed (by Geri Powers) to have the morals of Batman. Luke is able to syphon Rookie’s AI—which can block the influence of the System—into a special Az-Bat-suit he has been working on for months. With this suit, Jean-Paul can be immune to Ascalon’s influence. The gang immediately comes to the aid of Clayface and Nomoz, destroying the rogue Batwing suits. Azrael, in his Az-Bat costume, takes the fight solo to Ascalon, who manages to fatally stab Nomoz. With his dying breath, Nomoz tells Jean-Paul that his dad is the evil leader of the Sacred Order, who has programmed the System into both he and Ascalon. Just as Ascalon is about to claim victory and take over every soul in Gotham, Zatanna overwhelms him with the Gnosis Sphere, which causes Jean-Paul’s little brother to separate from the android shell. Before the duo teleports away, Ascalon tells Batman that Tim Drake is still alive. As referenced in Detective Comics #965, Batman immediately becomes obsessed with finding Tim. (The Dark Knight won’t sleep a wink for the next five days as he tries to figure out what’s happened to Tim.) The next day, Nomoz is laid to rest. A day after that, Batman pushes an injured Jean-Paul in a wheelchair and speaks with him kindly. Jean-Paul says the Batman AI will remain in his system, but he won’t wear the Az-Bat suit. (Luke is making him a new costume.) Meanwhile, in his Swiss Alps cathedral, Jean-Paul Valley Sr is able to spy on this entire conversation. Ra’s al Ghul commends him on a job well done, inviting him into the League of Assassins fold, but speaks of a benefactor that is on an even higher level of authority than he.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #965. While Batman, having not slept at all in almost three days, continues to obsess over finding the lost Tim Drake, the Bat-squad goes into action against two fire-breathing medieval dragons.

–Detective Comics #963-964
Underneath Monstertown, the sleep-deprived Batman discovers an underground anarcho-syndicalist farming commune, complete with solar lights, green houses, and a tent city that houses Gotham’s poor and needy. The commune employs the likes of Harper Row and Dr. Leslie Thompkins and is run by Anarky! After some digging, Batman approves of the commune’s function, but does not approve of Anarky being attached, learning that Anarky helped the First Victim become a super-villain and hurt Spoiler in exchange for help starting-up the commune. Immediately thereafter, Batman and Dr. Victoria October prep for a series of test that might be able to cure Clayface of his condition. Excited but nervous, Clayface meets with Mudface in Arkham to tell her the news. The next day, Batman and Clayface visit Dr. October in Monstertown and the tests begin. Clayface stays in his old school monster form for an uncomfortable twelve hours straight, during which time he fights mutated creatures in the sewers, checks-in with Dr. October and Batman, rages out of control, and is calmed down by a hug-giving Cassie. Meanwhile, Spoiler, now teamed-up with Anarky, meets with him in Monstertown where they beat the tar out of some ARGUS soldiers. Batman, having left Clayface in Dr. October’s care, trails Spoiler and Anarky into Anarky’s underground commune. Spoiler is shocked to find Harper and Dr. Thompkins working there. She is so moved by Anarky’s good deeds that she kisses him. Batman appears and gets Anarky to reveal the dark truth about his involvement in her torture at the hands of the First Victim. She instantly turns on Anarky, allowing Batman to bust him. Batman tries to tell Spoiler that Tim is still alive, but she bails before he can get a word out. Later, at Arkham, thanks to a assistance from a crooked guard, Anarky is able to hack and clone Spoiler’s cell phone, obtaining a ton of videos of the Bat-squad for the First Victim.

–Detective Comics #967-968 (“A LONELY PLACE OF LIVING”)
While the Bat-squad busts drug dealers, a sleep-deprived Batman obsesses over how Red Robin could possibly still be alive. Meanwhile, Red Robin has just escaped from Mr. Oz’s prison with the help of an alternate Batman from the dystopian “Titans Tomorrow” timeline—a jaded gun-wielding adult Tim Drake. Older Tim, believing that his world is now merged with Earth-0’s primary timeline, thinks the only way he can stop his dark future from occurring is to execute Batwoman. Thus, he shocks Red Robin into a coma. When Red Robin’s costume distress beacon goes off, Batman finds an awake but weakened Tim at the hospital. Reunited, they embrace. At home, Tim fills in Bruce on all that he has endured and witnessed, including delivering info about the timeline’s supposed “stolen years,” taken by some unknown cosmic power. (Tim says “two decades” of stolen time, but we’ve been told previously it was only “one decade,” so I’m not sure which is correct.) In the morning, Kate Kane has breakfast with cousin Bette Kane (former Bat-Girl), who is on vacation from West Point Academy. Bette tells Kate that she wants to be on the Bat-squad as Flamebird, a moniker she briefly used after her time as Bat-Girl, years ago. Kate tells her no way then heads to the Belfry where everyone (sans Spoiler) has gathered to greet the returning Red Robin. Meanwhile, future Tim stalks Spoiler, who listens to a news report about ongoing terrorism in Metropolis and civil war in Logamba, Africa—both caused by Mr. Oz (as seen in Action Comics #987-990). At the Belfry, Red Robin talks to Batman more about the stolen time. He tells Batman that evil future Tim told him about his best friend “Conner” (Conner Kent), who doesn’t exist on our primary timeline. At Wayne Manor, future Tim greets Alfred. Why didn’t anyone tell poor Alfred that Tim was back!? Soon after, Batman, Red Robin, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin (with Titus) arrive to fight future Tim, who takes over the Bat-computer to activate Brother Eye! In an instant, future Tim is able to expedite the finalization of Brother Eye’s programming, bringing the evil AI to full operational capability for the very first time. Brother Eye takes over Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong’s drones and targets them on the Belfry. The AI also activates all Batmobiles and has them attack inside the Batcave. Despite painfully phasing in and out of reality due to Hypertime tachyons, future Tim defeats Batman using some mind game psyche-out tactics. Both Tims then ride the Bat-subway to the Belfry, which is under drone siege. Batwing is able to block Brother Eye’s controls, allowing for Batwoman and Red Robin to take down future Tim. Outside of a crumbling Old Wayne tower, the rest of the Bat-Family flies older model Batplanes to shoot down the drones. Defeated, future Tim stands down. Fully-activated Brother Eye, also defeated, retreats into future Tim’s suit. Hypertime tachyons, attempting to eliminate the spacetime anomaly, force future Tim back to his alternate chronology.[4]

–Batman Vol. 3 #24
Batman stands atop one of Gotham’s highest skyscraper spires next to a fully-recovered floating Gotham Girl. (It’s taken Gotham Girl a long time to fully-recover from Psycho-Pirate’s attack.) Gotham Girl asks Batman what she should do with her life, now that she is 100% better. This leads to a philosophical conversation about what it means to be a superhero and whether or not Batman would ever want to stop being one (or if he even could). Gotham Girl says she wants to be a hero. Batman tells her she will begin training in Europe (presumably with Henri Ducard). After Batman admits his failures and his fear, Gotham Girl tells him that it is okay to be scared and that superheroes have a duty, even if it’s not really what they want to do deep down inside. Later that night, Bruce makes the decision of a lifetime. He gets the diamond that Selina tried to steal the first time they met each other in costume. After having it attached to a ring, Bruce suits up and swings into the rainy windswept Gotham night, playfully chasing after Catwoman. Atop on of the many rooftops, Batman and Catwoman unmask together. Bruce reveals the diamond ring and, on bended knee, offers a conjugal proposal to Selina!

THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES
———————-––Batman Vol. 3 #25-26
———————-––Batman Vol. 3 #28-29
———————-––Batman Vol. 3 #31-32
Before Selina can respond to Bruce’s marriage proposal, Bruce tells Selina that she must first know the true story of “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” a tale no one has ever heard before, about how he crossed a line back in those early days. Before any storytelling can commence, Bruce and Selina knock boots in the master bedroom at Wayne Manor. Post-coitus, Bruce spins his sordid yarn, eventually revealing that he tried to murder Riddler only to be stopped by Joker. Selina tells Bruce she doesn’t care and he pops the question once more. With tears in her eyes, Selina says yes! Bruce and Selina are getting married!!!

–Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #12
This item goes shortly after Bruce’s marriage proposal to Selina—although they haven’t told anyone the news yet. The Birds of Prey decide to help super-villain The Calculator (Noah Kuttler) when his family (Judith Harris, Wendy Harris, and Marvin Harris) is kidnapped by corporate hooligans working for Benedict Dillon, owner of a shady agriculture company called Terracare. Years ago, the Calculator helped Catwoman steal a Terracare chemical for Poison Ivy. This chemical has the potential to expose the company of fraud, which is why Dillon wants it as ransom for Calculator’s family. Babs calls Bruce, who reluctantly sets up a meeting between Batgirl and Catwoman. Huntress and Black Canary infiltrate Terracare only to get wrapped up in vines as an undercover Poison Ivy makes her presence known by taking over the building. Batgirl, Catwoman, Oracle, and the Calculator rush to the rescue.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #24. Batman sends Gotham Girl to train in Europe.

–Batman Vol. 3 #33-35 (“RULES OF ENGAGEMENT”)
Bruce, now engaged to Selina, decides they must tie up any loose ends from the Dogs of War mass-murder case. This means finding Holly Robinson, so that Selina can be officially exonerated in the eyes of the law. After a quick investigation, Bruce learns that Holly is hiding with none other than Talia al Ghul at her palace hideout in deserts of Khadym. Bruce, Selina, and Alfred come up with a detailed plan to see Talia and Holly, an act that will violate numerous treaties and international law. Bruce also tells Alfred to tell the Bat-Family about his plan to see Talia, but not to say anything about his marriage proposal yet. In preparation for the desert trek, Batman designs and tailors a special costume—Zack Snyder’s “Knightmare” suit from the much maligned Batman v Superman film. With Batman and Catwoman having ridden horses for half a day into the desert half a world away, Alfred assembles Dick, Jason, Damian, and Duke (and Ace) at Wayne Manor. He tells them what’s up, but also tells them about Bruce and Selina’s engagement, to which the boys (and dog) freak out. Superman, having gotten an alert from Khadym, then calls Alfred, who lies (as per the plan) and tells the Man of Steel that Batman will be “out sick” for a few days due to Fear Gas exposure. Upon hearing that his dad is going to see his mom, Damian breaks down in tears. Meanwhile, in Khadym, Batman and Catwoman are led by the Tiger King of Kandahar to the gates of Talia’s lair. Catwoman easily takes down the Guard in the Desert. Tiger King then leads the lovers through the tunnels. After they emerge in Talia’s palace grounds, Batman and Catowan fight dozens of Talia’s Silent Soldiers of the Pit. Meanwhile, the JL decides not to take any action yet. Superman convinces Damian and Dick to wait at the entrance to the tunnels. At the other side of the mountain, Talia stabs Batman in the shoulder and then challenges Catwoman to a sword duel. The women cheekily banter while fighting. Meanwhile, outside the entrance to the tunnels, Dick gives Damian a fatherly/brotherly talk, telling him that Bruce just wants to be happy. Eventually, Selina wins the sword-fight, stabbing Talia in the back. Selina embraces Holly Robinson, who agrees to help out (although she won’t leave the protection of Talia). Talia tells a bleeding Batman that she likes his fiancée. Batman and Selina depart, meeting Dick and Damian. Together, they make the 14-hour horseback-riding trek out of the desert.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Casting #1. Batman hears rumblings on the criminal grapevine that Leviathan is moving against Talia al Ghul’s leadership. He also hears that Talia has brought the great retired assassin known as The Silencer (Honor Guest) “back into the fold.”

–Dark Days: The Forge #1
Bruce receives word of an emergency at Wayne Enterprises “Black Site #14” in the Bermuda Triangle. Knowing that the emergency is related to his top secret “dark energy” metal investigations, Batman bans all Bat-Family from entering the Batcave, ordering Duke Thomas to stand guard. Using his anti-lava mech suit, Batman is able to rescue Dr. Madison before a volcanic eruption destroys the island base. With Aquaman’s help, the entire staff is rescued. In the sky above, Lady Blackhawk watches with keen interest. In his moon-cave, Batman listens to Dr. Madison’s recordings and learns that there are highly disturbing geological anomalies related to metal in the Earth’s core. In a secret underground base in Philadelphia, Immortal Man tells one of his partners about Elaine Thomas and explains that the heroes face a crisis unlike they’ve ever dealt with. Meanwhile, on the living planet of Mogo, Guardian of the Universe Ganthet briefs Hal Jordan on a top-priority mission, saying that a universal threat is imminent thanks to a “terrible truth” coming to light inside the Batcave. Hal flies to Earth and, upon entering the cave, is karate-kicked in the face by Duke. Hal shrugs off Duke and uncovers the secret wing of the Batcave. The duo wanders through the entrance together. On the moon, Batman enters Dr. Madison’s new data into the Shadow Drive. He also sends a message to Lucius Fox, telling him to set up “Black Site #15,” another deep drilling operation. Mr. Terrific shows up, revealing that a cosmic frequency that resembles the “dark energy” frequency not only exists but is growing stronger and more unstable across both Earth-1 and Earth-2. Batman and Mr. Terrific both agree that it is time to release the captive Plastic Man. Back down on Earth, Hal and Duke wander deeper into Sub-Cave Alpha. Hal’s ring begins to short-circuit as a voice begins to communicate with them via a PA system. The voice speaks of Batman’s secret investigations into the “dark energy” frequency linked to Electrum and Dionesium. Amid Court of Owls trophies, holographic displays show magickal metal items and an image of the Outsiders. Duke and Hal are surprised to learn from the voice that Batman has had several incarnations of this covert-ops team for years now. Concurrently, Batman contacts Mr. Miracle and tells him to meet at the Fortress of Solitude. There, Superman watches as Mr. Miracle opens up the impenetrable secret room hidden beneath the Fortress. Superman and Mr. Miracle are surprised to see what Batman has been storing all these years: an interdimensional tuning tower from the original Crisis. Batman believes the tower can show him everything he needs to know about the “dark energy.” Back in the hidden wing of the Batcave, Hal and Duke open a containment cell to reveal the person attached to the voice that has been guiding them: Joker!

–Dark Days: The Casting #1
Feeling like the dark metal mystery is only just beginning to unravel, Batman dons his anti-god armor suit and goes to Hephaestus’ Great Forge in Methana, Greece. There, Hephaestus’ guardian, the griffin Amphitrion, battles with Batman until Wonder Woman arrives to calm both sides. She tells Batman that the gods have left the mortal plane because a great war is coming that will re-shape the entire cosmos. She also says that Hephaestus spoke to her in a vision and told her to give Apollo’s mystic flaming Sunblade, which was forged by Hephaestus out of the powerful but impure “Eighth Metal,” to Batman. En route back to Gotham, the Sunblade begins to vibrate and guides Batman to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. There, Batman discovers a secret Cadmus Base that is under siege by Talia al Ghul and her men. After sending an alert to the Outsiders, Batman is greeted by an injured Dubbilex, who tells him that the dark metal has prematurely activated some DNAlien monsters, notably a metahuman called Damage. Talia tells Batman that there have been secret wars to contain the dark metal for decades, but the greatest war is coming soon. She also tells Batman about the Gathering of the Immortals that occurred in the early 1900s, revealing the magick “Ninth Metal” lightning knife of Mamaragan, which Ra’s al Ghul procured from the wreckage of Challengers’ Mountain long ago. (Mamaragan is an Aboriginal Australian lightning god and the “Wizard of Shazam.” He is the “M” in “SHAZAM,” along with five other gods.) Batman trades the Sunblade for Mamaragan’s knife. Meanwhile, in Sub-Cave Alpha, Joker escapes from his cell and smashes-up Batman’s cloning machine, an action he claims is heroic because the machine could bring about the destruction of the world. Joker refers to Duke as “The Signal” and tells him that he and his mom have the dark metal running through their veins. Hal and Duke contain Joker, but Duke’s metapower goes wild and Joker disappears. Just then, Batman returns. Hal gives him guff, but Batman does his best to explain. When the Caped Crusader pulls out Mamaragan’s knife, it has a strange interaction with Duke, who has a vision of the cloning machine all fixed-up and functional. Hal gives Duke a power ring, with which Duke makes a construct of the cloning machine along with constructs of the magickal metal items that were on display in Sub-Cave Alpha. A seal is broken and Batman is irradiated with Nth Metal rays. (This sequence is also shown via flashback from Dark Nights: Metal #2.) A cosmic window opens to the Dark Multiverse, through which Batman peers only to see black emptiness. Batman collapses as the portal closes. Unknown to Batman, he saw nothing because the Strigydae high priests of Barbatos’ Judas Tribe magickally masked what should have been in plain view: a vision of the Dark Multiverse’s evil Bat-themed Injustice League known as The Dark Knights. The Dark Knights comprise of Bruce Waynes (and one Bryce Wayne) from alternate Negative Earths of the Dark Multiverse: The Red Death (of Negative Earth-52), The Murder Machine (of Negative Earth-44), The Dawnbreaker (of Negative Earth-32), The Drowned (of Negative Earth-11), The Merciless (of Negative Earth-12), The Devastator (of Negative Earth-1), and The Batman Who Laughs (of Negative Earth-22), and the self-proclaimed “True Father of Batman” (i.e. Barbatos himself). The cloaked Strigydae, having once again successfully completed part of the “Mantling” ritual via manipulating Batman into irradiating himself with Nth Metal, claim that the final seal is broken, which likely means the evil can once again come into the light. Also unknown to Batman, Hawkman, who has been trying to solve the dark metal mystery for thousands of years now, has entered and is trapped in the Dark Multiverse.

–Dark Nights: Metal #1
Batman addresses the Justice League (sans Jessica and Simon) and Hal Jordan, telling them a bit about the dark metal mystery. But before he can say more, Mongul, having escaped from Braalian prison and rebuilt WarWorld, kidnaps the JL and Hal, nullifies their powers, and forces them to fight organic-matter alien creatures and large robo-monster versions of themselves before a bloodthirsty audience. The robo-monsters have been built by an also-kidnapped Toyman (Hiro Okamura), who was forced to make them. Thankfully, Hiro has built in a secret failsafe, which Batman discovers and activates, allowing the JLers to ride in their robo-creatures and assemble a giant Voltron-esque JL-mech, which they use to kick Mongul’s ass. When they get back to Earth, they find that Challengers’ Mountain has appeared through an interdimensional portal right in the middle of Gotham. Hawkman, Red Tornado, and The Challengers of the Unknown, missing ever since disappearing into the Dark Multiverse a couple months ago, have finally returned. The JL enters the core of the mountain to find a lab with a titanium pod containing five unconscious people—probably Hawkman and the Challengers of the Unknown—and warnings written in blood on the wall. Lady Blackhawk and some Blackhawk soldiers then arrive. Lady Blackhawk unmasks, revealing herself as Kendra Saunders (former Hawkgirl). They all travel to the cloaked Blackhawk Island in the South Pacific where Kendra shows off one of the last slivers of Nth Metal before telling the origin story of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, revealing their endless search for the Dark Multiverse and ties to the Blackhawks, Starman (Will Payton/Prince Gavyn), Will Magnus, TO Morrow, the Metal Men, and the Challengers of the Unknown—all of whom have helped in the investigation. Kendra then shows the JL the Map of the Multiverse (from Multiversity!), flipping it over to show that there is a Dark Multiverse that evilly mirrors the 52 universes of the local multiverse in which they live. The Nth Metal comes from this Dark Multiverse. Kendra tells all that Hawkman, the Challengers, and Red Tornado breached through only to relay a message about unspeakable horror and a door having been mistakenly opened. The team then disappeared completely. (This happened years ago, with zero contact ever since.) Kendra tells the JL that the Dark Multiverse is ruled by the evil god Barbatos, who, according to legend, will one day crossover using a human vessel as a doorway: that vessel is “Wayne.” Barbatos has been, for thousands of years, watching and waiting for the arrival of Batman, prophesied to act as his charon into the regular multiverse. Not only that, but Barbatos has created an army completely modeled off of Batman’s nightmares. Kendra continues: After Hawkman and his team disappeared, she destroyed her wings and vowed to get rid of all Nth Metal, becoming Lady Blackhawk in the process. Just then, a dormant Red Tornado comes alive, freaking out and attacking. Batman uses the distraction to steal the Nth Metal sliver and ride a dinosaur (there are dinosaurs on Blackhawk Island) to the Hyper-Sub, which Alfred remotely pilots to his location. Elsewhere, Barbatos and his Dark Knights begin to breach through the void into the regular multiverse, an act that is sensed by Dr. Fate, Steel, and a still inert but conscious Plastic Man. In the Batcave, Batman and Alfred study the Nth Metal. A vibration noise begins emanating from the study above in Wayne Manor. Batman finds Hawkman’s hidden journal (buried by his dad) and begins reading from it, learning some of the truth about the dark matter (pun intended) at hand. Then, enter Sandman. Dream of the Endless appears! (Note that the current Dream is the former human born in the Dreaming, Daniel Hall, who happened to be the son of Lyta Hall and Hector Hall, making him Hawkman’s biological grandson!)

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1, Dark Days: The Casting #1, and Dark Nights: Metal #1-2. With Dream guiding Batman and providing further (albeit highly cryptic) context to Hawkman’s journal, the Caped Crusader reads the entire book, which contains a story that functions as a thousands-of-years-long prelude to the main Dark Days/Dark Nights narrative of present day, beginning as far back as the Big Bang.[5]

–REFERENCE: In Dark Nights: Metal #2, Teen Titans Vol. 6 #12, and Nightwing Vol. 4 #29. Having just read Hawkman’s journal, Batman now knows almost everything about the Mantling, Barbatos, and the Dark Knights of the Dark Multiverse. He formulates a complicated plan of action and calls a meeting with Bat-squad and Bat-Family. Feeling more dread than ever before, Batman fills them in on the Dark Multiverse case. Nightwing tells Batman about a recent encounter with Simon Hurt and Deathwing (as seen in the New 52’s Nightwing Vol. 4 #20), during which Deathwing cut him with an Nth Metal blade, causing him to see visions of other realities. Batman then reveals his plans and gives his troops orders accordingly, also telling them not to follow him after they part ways—no matter what. Before they all depart to initiate Batman’s plan, the Dark Knight tells Nightwing to “Keep the lights on,” but leaves out the end part of the saying, which usually goes “until I get back.”

–REFERENCE: In Green Arrow Vol. 6 #32. Batman meets with Green Arrow and tells him that something very bad is about to go down. Having found new respect for Ollie after their last encounter, Batman tasks Green Arrow with watching over Damian and keeping him safe in the days to come. Green Arrow promises to protect Robin from both the worst Gotham has to offer and the Boy Wonder’s own brash impulses.

–Dark Nights: Metal #2-3
As unnatural storms rage across the globe and giant glowing Bat-symbols that can been seen from space light up the planet (thanks to the actions of Barbatos’ ancient Judas Tribe followers), Batman initiates his grand plan of action. The Caped Crusader kidnaps baby Darkseid from Grail, affixing to him freshly made “godwave goggles” that prevent Omega blasts from going off by accident. The kidnapping of baby Darkseid, which is also referenced in Wonder Woman Vol. 5 #33, causes the hero community—including the Justice League, Zatanna, John Constantine, Blue Beetle, and Green Arrow—to freak out and chase after the Caped Crusader. The Bat-family places transmitters that send off Batman’s false signal in locations all over the globe (and in other dimensional planes as well)—including Gorilla City, the House of Mystery, and LexCorp—in order to lead their fellow heroes astray. The JL catches up with the Bat-Family in the Amazon Rainforest. There, Robin drives the Bat-Hog through the swampy river while the rest of the fam (Nightwing, Batwoman, Batgirl, Batwing, and Red Hood)—each disguised as Batman using EMP holographic masks—rides on combo jet-ski swamp-mobiles. The Bat-Family lures the JL into a trap as an angry Swamp Thing emerges from the Parliament of Trees HQ to fend of the “invaders.” Superman grabs “Batman”—actually Clayface wearing a device that replicates Bruce’s heartbeat exactly. By the time Superman and Wonder Woman see through the ruse, the real Batman is long gone, across the world in an underground tomb in Egypt with Dream of the Endless. Meanwhile, Kendra Saunders meets with the immortals at the lava pits of Finnisterre, Antarctica, where the mobile Hall of Doom is currently located. The immortals order Kendra to fire the Anti-Monitor’s astral brain into the Rock of Destiny in order to destroy the entire Dark Multiverse. In Egypt, Superman and Wonder Woman confront Batman, who pulls baby Darkseid out of a backpack! The Caped Crusader explains that he wants to use baby Darkseid to Omega Sanction himself into the past again so that he can defeat Barbatos the same way he once defeated the fake Barbatos (aka the Hyper-Adapter)! Kendra radios the heroes and tells them they’ve fallen into a trap, but it’s too late as the Strigydae and several Court of Owls members enter and incapacitate Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The Court of Owls—always in league with their Judas Tribe ancestors—had long ago accessed Hawkman’s journal inside Wayne Manor and altered the coordinates of the Tomb of Prince Khufu to the Tomb of Hath-Set. The villains drizzle the final “Mantling” metal—the ironically-named Powers Industrial-created Batmanium—onto Batman. The searing-hot metal engulfs Batman, seemingly killing him while turning his body into a literal doorway to the Dark Multiverse. A dozen chain-leashed cannibalistic Dark Robins, quasi-human pets of the Batman Who Laughs, come through and gobble up the Court of Owls folks. Soon to follow are the Dark Knights themselves, flanked by a towering Barbatos. (This final scene of Dark Nights: Metal #2 is also visually referenced in Nightwing Vol. 4 #29 and Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #26. In both issues, Nightwing has a vision of the events that occur.) Batman, nearly drained of all life to the point that his hair turns grey and his body is emaciated, is trapped in a limbo-space in the Dark Multiverse. Meanwhile, while chaos descents upon Earth-0 for seven days straight, Superman and Wonder Woman are forced to live out thousands of dream scenarios that each end in brutal defeat at the hands of Barbatos, who watches gleefully and forces Batman to watch as well. Barbatos pretends to be Batman calling out to Superman for help as the latter goes through each terrible simulation. Eventually, during a sim featuring the heroes celebrating victory in Smallville, Batman is able to deliver a musical message via Jonathan and Damian playing guitar—the Neal Hefti Batman ’66 theme song, no less! The song acts as a warning for Superman to stay away from the Dark Multiverse. However, Superman mistakes Batman’s signal for the old alphabet cipher emergency code and vows to rescue him. The Man of Steel is then himself rescued by Wonder Woman, who has broken out of her own simulation loop. In Metropolis, Superman is shocked to see towers made entirely of zombified skeleton-like humans and other normal folks turned into Doomsdays (thanks to a healthy dose of the Doomsday Virus). Superman flies to Gotham to find more skeleton people lining the walls of Challengers’ Mountain, atop which is perched Barbatos himself, flanked by dragons with Joker faces. The Dark Knights pummel Superman until he is rescued by Dr. Fate and Flash, who take him to Nightmaster’s Oblivion Bar in a secure pocket dimension. There, Superman convenes with Kendra Saunders, the rest of the JL (sans Batman and a defeated Cyborg), Dr. Fate, Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man (still in inert egg form), Nightmaster, Detective Chimp, Steel, Nightwing, Robin, Green Arrow, and Deathstroke. Superman quickly realizes that Barbatos is trying to permanently replace the regular multiverse with the Dark Multiverse. Green Arrow and Robin tell all that Nth Metal can hurt the Dark Knights and their henchmen. Plastic Man’s body begins vibrating, spitting out coordinates of several locations. After some heated argument, the heroes decide to split up and investigate the coordinates while Superman leads an expedition to rescue Batman. The Dark Knights breach into the Oblivion Bar, forcing the heroes to expedite the start of their various missions. Nightmaster stays behind and is horribly slaughtered. Wonder Woman, Kendra, and Dr. Fate go to Bialya; Hal Jordan, Mr. Terrific, and Plastic Man go to the heart of the Thanagarian Empire; and Aquaman and Deathstroke go to the Mariana Trench. At the Fortress of Solitude, Steel straps himself onto the Anti-Monitor’s antenna tower while Flash powers his Nth metal body up with Speed Force. This energy is funneled into the Phantom Zone Projector, which opens up a portal to the Dark Multiverse. Upon arriving in the Dark Multiverse, Superman and Flash are accosted by zombified evil Supermen from alternate Negative Earths. Superman is restrained and turned into a living battery that will be used to swap the regular multiverse with the Dark Multiverse. Batman watches and laments that the Man of Steel has walked right into Barbatos’ trap.

–Batman: Lost #1
A white-haired and physically drained Batman, attached to a wall of other captives that forms a towering living battery, is forced to astrally-project through various universes of the Dark Multiverse. First, he plays the role of a 78-year-old Bruce telling a tweaked version of his history to his granddaughter. This segues into Batman re-living a altered version of his first ever case. Then Batman finds himself, with a bizarre guide, bearing witness to the early days of Barbatos’ manipulation of the ancient tribes of humankind. Around what appears to be 3300 BCE, the Bat Tribe (a Eurasian offshoot of the Miagani, which an Omega-sanctioned Batman himself spawned in 38,000 BCE) fights a war against the Bird Tribe (aka Hawk Tribe). The guide explains this war to Bruce, stating that a proto-Hath-Set (influenced by Barbatos) led the Bat Tribe versus a proto-Carter Hall and a proto-Kendra Saunders, who co-led the Bird Tribe. This great war culminated with the trio’s Nth Metal immortality reincarnation cycle. From here, Batman bounces from Negative Universe to Negative Universe in quick succession, seeing various horrible Bat-dystopias. Batman also plays the role of Thomas Wayne (aka Simon Hurt) during the famous Barbatos-summoning ritual from 1765. After that, Batman plays the role of his great-great-grandfather Alan Wayne during the time of his death at the hands of the Court of Owls in the late 1880s. Batman then returns to the old man scenario and confronts Barbatos, who appears as his own reflection in a window. Barbatos claims that he’s been there since 38,000 BCE, that he was the bat that crashed through the window inspiring him to become Batman, and that he has been watching him ever since his first case and in every single reflection he’s ever looked at. Barbatos then reveals his true shrouded demonic form, showing Batman a kaleidoscope of thousands of Negative Universe timelines, each based on nightmare versions of Batman’s life. Batman sees the defeat of his fellow Justice Leaguers at the hands of the Dark Knights. He screams in terror and begs for mercy as the vision loop begins all over again.

–All-Star Batman #10-12 (“THE FIRST ALLY”)
August—this is the earliest that Major League Baseball teams could have been eliminated from playoff contention. From the Blacks and Whites (Penguin, Black Mask, and Great White Shark’s gang), Batman learns about a dangerous weapon being brought into the States via Miami. (As revealed in the second feature to All-Star Batman #14 Epilogue, Princess Vik is delivering the weapon to the Blacks and Whites from Russia.) When Hush, pretending to be Bruce Wayne, goes to Miami in hopes of trading for the weapon, Batman and Alfred chase him to Florida, busting him in front of a packed crowd at Marlins Stadium. In a newly opened Wayne-owned hotel/condo, Alfred threatens to perform reconstructive facial surgery on Tommy (without anesthesia) unless he talks. Tommy spills the beans that the smuggled weapon is the Genesis Engine, created by the same Russian scientists that tricked-out the KGBeast. Tommy (as Bruce) is scheduled to meet with Thatch, Vanta, Belle Blue, and Devel—descendants of famous pirates—to trade a priceless (actually forged) painting for the Engine. When the boors attack Bruce, mistaking him for a disguised Hush, he takes them out and runs to a back room to find Thatch dead with his chest cut open and a symbol carved into his body. Viewing via remote cam, Alfred looks in shock. The symbol is a tag he used to spray paint on walls as a teenage delinquent punk in England back in the day. Bruce high tails it out of Thatch’s pad and dives into crocodile-stocked waters. Penguin, Great White Shark, and Black Mask rescue Batman. They tell him that the Genesis Engine allows its user to create sentient weapons made out of living tissue. The villains explain that they saved Batman because they want the Genesis Engine destroyed since it’s far too dangerous to exist. (This is a lie, of course. They want it.) The villains then give Batman coordinates of the location of the Genesis Engine, which is held by Tiger Shark in a super-submarine casino. After infiltrating the sub, Batman finds the current Black Knight, a Nemesis Program assassin responsible for Thatch’s death, mercilessly carving-up Tiger Shark. Black Knight slices-up Batman too, who manages to sneakily steal the Genesis Engine from him. Next, Black Knight damages the sub, which causes it to sink, and activates a time-bomb before departing. Above, Alfred rushes via jetpack glider to assist Batman. As Alfred arrives, he spots Black Knight joining his mystery boss, William Briar, who was Alfred’s mentor in the MI6 decades ago. (Alfred once trained to become a Black Night as part of the Briar-run Nemesis Program, but left before ever donning the assassin’s costume when he discovered that Briar had plans to kill his father Jarvis. Briar still currently runs the Nemesis Program, but it has long since gone rogue and has no affiliation with MI6 anymore.) Batman rescues Tiger Shark and gets on the comms of the sinking vessel, declaring to all passengers that he is “Captain Batman.” The new cap’n radios Alfred to scream as loudly as possible to draw the attention of sound-seeking torpedoes, which he hooks to the ship’s tow cables and launches to the surface. The vessel reaches the surface safely, but Batman falls into the sea. He is thankfully rescued by casino employees dressed in functional mermaid gear. Alfred collects Batman, performs life saving surgery and stabs him back to consciousness with an adrenaline shot to the heart back at the hotel. Alfred tells Batman who their opponents are: his old mentor Briar and a highly trained Black Knight assassin, both members of the now independent Nemesis Program, which was formerly part of the British military. All of a sudden, Penguin, Black Mask, and Great White Shark blast the room with machine-gunfire from a helicopter, hitting Alfred in the arm. Hush hops up and takes down Batman, retrieving the Genesis Engine, and joining his pals. The villains’ demolition team topples the entire hotel/condo with wrecking ball cranes.

–All-Star Batman #13-14 (“THE FIRST ALLY” Continued…)
August. Batman rescues Alfred from the collapsing Wayne Hotel and Condo Tower before commandeering a motorcycle and hightailing it to the old Elliot family beach house in the Florida Keys. When he arrives, he finds Hush, Penguin, Black Mask, and Great White Shark sliced-up and out-cold. Black Knight appears and slices-up Batman as well. Briar radios Alfred and tells him he will use the Genesis Engine to transform the unconscious Batman into something new. Alfred recruits Vanta, Belle Blue, and Devel to help him rescue Batman. After Alfred and the pirates shoot down Briar’s plane, Alfred recovers the badly injured Batman on the shore of an island near Cuba. Black Knight attacks Alfred, but a slightly recovered Batman saves his life and knocks off Black Knight’s helmet, revealing a young evil clone of Alfred underneath. Briar has cloned Alfred using the Genesis Engine! Sick of being someone’s puppet, Black Knight kills Briar. Alfred tries to tell his clone that it’s not too late to turn over a new leaf and be a good guy, but he scoffs and walks off into the sunset. Back in Gotham, Batman and Alfred treat their injuries and rest. Batman secures the Genesis Engine in the Batcave and sets global trackers to search for the Black Knight and the Nemesis Program.

–Super Sons #10
August—shortly before the start of the new school year. Batman begins printing Batarangs on a 3D printer! He also begins forging them out of a magnesium alloy with reinforced WayneTech resin core, making them the strongest Batarangs ever built. Later, Bruce checks-in on the status of Damian’s ongoing studies with Alfred, to which Alfred replies that the schooling has not really occurred very much due to Robin’s constant superhero-ing. In a remote wooded location, Clark, Bruce, and Damian test Jonathan’s powers. He is now finally able to do everything his dad can do. Meanwhile, in the future (or, more likely, an alternate Hypertime future), the adult “666” Damian Wayne Batman rises up out of flames and ash to declare that “the apocalypse is back on.” Batman and Superman decide that Damian and Jonathan should both go to private school together at The West-Reeve School in Metropolis. They Caped Crusader and Man of Steel then spend the next three weeks (in secrecy) constructing a gift for their sons: a brand new headquarters just for them! The new base is at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean (specifically in Morrison Bay) and is constructed entirely of old train cars and shipping containers. The morning of the big surprise, Bruce donates a huge sum of money to West-Reeve and enrolls Damian. A few hours later, the stunned boys look on in awe as Batman and Superman unveil their HQ—a state-of-the-art facility that has a digital link to the Batcave and Watchtower computer networks, a 3D Batarang printer, teleportation tubes, and a basketball court. Superboy names it “The Fortress of Attitude,” much to the chagrin of Robin. Batman tells the boys that all “Class-4” emergencies and below will be their business to handle. Batman tells Damian that he’ll be starting at the West-Reeve School, much to his chagrin. After Batman and Superman leave, the boys go on their first mission, defeating Chemo in Metropolis.

–Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #14
October. Helena Bertinelli, who has become a high school teacher in Gotham, takes her students on an overnight camping field trip (with Dinah chaperoning) to old Native American and colonial historical sites not far outside of Gotham’s borders. Meanwhile, in the city, the Bat-squad (with a rejoined Spoiler) gets trapped in a chamber that quickly fills with water, courtesy of an escaped Riddler. Batman phones Barbara, who uses her hacking skills and a voice modulator to trick the computer system connected to the room, saving everyone inside. While the Bat-squad busts Riddler, Batgirl goes on a bunch of cases of her own, including a triple team-up with Catwoman and Poison Ivy. Concurrently, Ms. Bertinelli’s field trip continues with a guided tour of Miagani and Dutch historical sites linked to the immortal Joseph Blackfire, whom the history books have incorrectly listed as two separate people, Shaman Blackfire and Deacon Blackfire. At night, the kids go off on their own and run into Joseph Blackfire himself, who hasn’t been seen since the Colonial Era. Helena and Dinah fight off Blackfire, steal his magick staff (the source of his power), and seal him in the cavern prison from whence he came. They then convince the kids it was all a hoax. Later, Babs joins them for the night.

–REFERENCE: In Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #15. The misandry group known as The Daughters of Gotham spread an incapacitating flu-like epidemic across Gotham, but it only affects men. With Batman, Alfred, Jim Gordon, Joker, the mayor, and all the other male Gothamites dropping like flies, it’s up to the ladies to figure out who is responsible. The Birds of Prey team with Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Batwoman, Spoiler, Orphan, and Gotham Girl. Lois Lane does some solo investigating in Gotham as well. (Note that, in Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #15, Catwoman is shown robbing a jewelry store and the Birds of Prey don’t seem to be aware of her engagement to Batman yet. Not sure if this affects placement or could be a combination of errors.)

–Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #16
With all of Gotham’s men down and out thanks to a mystery virus, the women take charge. While Wonder Woman teams-up with Amanda Waller, Lois Lane, and Councilwoman Muir (interim mayor) to help out across the city, Green Arrow plays bait, leading to Harley Quinn, Black Canary, and Poison Ivy capturing someone distributing the virus: a member of the Daughters of Gotham. Meanwhile, Batwoman and Batgirl interrogate another member at GCPD HQ. Huntress cares for Dick. Cassie cares for Clayface, Azrael, and Batwing. And Catwoman cares for Bruce. Later, all the women, including Gotham Girl and Spoiler, fight against the Daughters of Gotham. Harley, Batwoman, and Batgirl are captured and taken to meet the leader of the Daughters: Patient Zero.

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Justice League of America Vol. 5 #15 gives us scenarios and entries from Ray Palmer’s “nanojournal” which, at first glance, seems to awkwardly mix with editorial notation to imply that the events of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 only took place mere weeks ago. Of course, the events of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 occurred months ago. The “weeks before” notation simply means “weeks before in terms of when the journal was written.”
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: A note about Batman/Elmer Fudd #1. Unlike all the other 2017 DC/Looney Tunes crossover comics, Batman/Elmer Fudd is definitively non-canon. Most of the other crossovers (that take place in present day) occur here and now on our timeline.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #22 occurs now. In it, Russian government agent Karla—a lovely nod to John le Carré—converses with Amanda Waller, showing her a video of the Justice League fighting in a ruined city. They go up against a bevy of villains, including Bane, an evil Thanagarian, an evil version of Superman, and a weird alternate Medieval-styled version of the Anti-Monitor. Karla’s video doesn’t clearly reference any actual event in the history of the DCU. Nor does he say that it is actual legitimate footage. We can (and should) regard the video as a “What If?” computer simulation.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Following this affair, there’s no way Batman wouldn’t try to purge or delete Brother Eye completely. But since Brother Eye has to exist in the future, here are the two main possibilities of what could occur. Option one, the fully-activated Brother Eye goes entirely with future Tim to the alternate timeline, after which Batman confirms it is gone. (If this is true, then Brother Eye would have to eventually come from the alternate timeline upon its return.) Option two, the fully-activated Brother Eye goes with future Tim to the alternate timeline, but secretly leaves a half-constructed (weakened) version of itself hidden in the world. (This would mean that Brother Eye eventually gains full power, but not until later on.) In either case, Brother Eye still partially exists within OMAC (Kevin Kho), so it will still be around in some weakened form.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Here is the long story told in Hawkman’s journal (via Dark Days: The Forge #1, Dark Days: The Casting #1, Dark Nights: Metal #1-2, Batman: Lost #1, and the early solicitation for Hawkman: Found #1). Hawkman begins his journal musing about the creation of the Multiverse (and possibly Omniverse). The story, told to him by Green Lantern Abin Sur, is that the malevolent Oan known as Krona once peered backward in time to view the Big Bang, at which point he saw a “Great Hand” shaping all the universes. Krona’s actions changed history, creating a swath of new universes and the original Monitor, neither of which existed prior to his meddling. This also led to Oans creating the Guardians of the Universe, Manhunters, and Green Lantern Corps. Hawkman’s story then jumps to a first-hand account of his own life and times. In Ancient Egypt, Carter Hall, Kendra Saunders, and Hath-Set—already Nth Metal-blooded immortal rivals for thousands of years (thanks to many reincarnations)—are come upon by an alien craft from the planet Thanagar that endows them with cosmic knowledge. The trio discovers repressed memories that they’ve seen each time they’ve died. These memories are reincarnation death-visions of the Dark Multiverse, specifically images of a hellscape littered with corpses, alien machinery, and bat-statues. Besides acting as warrior heroes (as they’ve done for thousands of years), Carter and Kendra now take it upon themselves to investigate this bizarre revelation. Eventually, Carter and Kendra are reincarnated as the Thanagarian warriors Hawkman and Hawkgirl. As their investigation continues, Hawkman realizes that both he and the Dark Multiverse are linked to the earliest human tribes on Earth, but he isn’t exactly sure how. By the year 1900, Hawkman and Hawkgirl realize that Hath-Set has also been investigating the Dark Multiverse mystery and is much closer to the truth than they are. The heroes summon fellow immortals to their museum in St. Roche, Louisiana. At least thirteen immortals (there are thirteen shrouded figures shown) attend this historic meeting. Mamaragan, Ra’s al Ghul, Mary Seward (aka the vampire Queen of Blood), Vandal Savage, Cain, Abel, Uncle Sam, Immortal Man, the Phantom Stranger, and Morgaine le Fay are in attendance for sure. The others, merely hinted at in Hawkman’s journal entry and in Dark Nights: Metal #2, likely include: Solomon Grundy, Jason Blood, a Plant Elemental representative from the Parliament of Trees, Nabu, and Shining Knight. Others that might also possibly have been in attendance (although less likely) are: Merlin, Resurrection Man, Circe, King Kull, and/or Simon Hurt. At this historic gathering, Hawkman speaks about how Hath-Set had obscured the true origins of both he and his wife, hiding something about the Nth Metal that flows through their veins. Mamaragan explains that, long ago, a “dark metal” (related to Nth Metal) changed the world, casting out an evil force, which now desperately wants to return. Mamaragan then shows-off his magick lightning knife, which is made of Nth Metal (which others know as “Ninth Metal,” part of a hierarchy of numbered supernatural metals). This knife has the power to open a portal to the Dark Multiverse. The other immortals tell Hawkman and Hawkgirl exactly what Hath-Set has stolen from their memories: the true story of humanity’s beginnings on Earth—about the Hawk Tribe (aka Bird Tribe), Bear Tribe, Wolf Tribe, and Bat Tribe—and how the appearance of the dark metal tore a hole in reality that brought about an evil demon from the Dark Multiverse. The other immortals explain further that Hawkman and Hawkgirl, in previous incarnations, fought and died to seal the demon away. (Hawkman specifically defeated the demon using his Nth Metal mace.) With the demon beaten, the dark metal was expelled, but its lingering effects remained. Hath-Set had blocked all this from their memory. Hawkman and Hawkgirl, with this new knowledge, leave the Gathering of the Immortals eager to investigate the dark metal mystery further. They spend the next hundred years investigating. In the 1940s, they help form The Blackhawks. In the late 1950s, they form The Challengers of the Unknown. In the late 1970s, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and the Challengers acquire and use Mamaragan’s knife to open a portal to the Dark Multiverse, which causes Challengers’ Mountain (their artificial mountain HQ) to explode. The heroes are able to see a giant three-eyed demon, but only for a moment before the portal seals itself back up. Ra’s al Ghul takes the knife from the wreckage of Challengers’ Mountain, which is rebuilt thereafter. Hawkman then discovers ancient texts that tell him more information. He learns that Barbatos is the evil god ruler of the Dark Multiverse. Barbatos first saw Batman when he was Omega Sanctioned by Darkseid (during Final Crisis) in 38,000 BCE! From that point onward, Barbatos—via the early human Tribes—began targeting and waiting for Batman to come back into existence in the 21st century, at which point the demon god could initiate “The Mantling” ceremony to turn Batman into a cosmic doorway to enter the regular multiverse. (The Mantling rites involve imbuing Batman with a series of mystical liquid metals—Electrum, Dionesium, Promethium, Nth Metal, and Element X.) Thanks to Batman: Lost #1, we learn about Barbatos’ manipulation of early human Tribes—the same story about the beginnings of humanity in relation to the Tribes that was told at the Gathering of the Immortals. In the tens of thousands of years following Batman’s time-displaced appearance in 38,000 BCE, the Native American Miagani tribe was formed and bat-worshipping religions spread to Eurasia and the Middle East. In roughly 3300 BCE, Europe and Asia Minor saw a great war pitting the Bird Tribe (aka Hawk Tribe) versus a unified Bat Tribe, led by the warrior that would later go by the name Hath-Set, who was secretly under the influence of Barbatos. The Bird Tribe was led by the warrior couple that would later go by the names Cater Hall and Kendra Saunders. Eventually, the proto-Hath-Set found Nth Metal (likely given to him by Barbatos) and became immortal. He struck down proto-Carter and proto-Kendra, inadvertently giving them immortality as well. Nth Metal entered their bodies in such a way that it would permanently flow through their veins forever more. This trio entered into a cycle of death and reincarnation that would last thousands of years—leading up to where our journal story began in Ancient Egypt above. (Via Barbatos’ guidance, the Bat Tribe becomes the Judas Tribe, of which the Strigydae are high priests, before eventually becoming the Parliament/Court of Owls.) Now back to where we left off in the journal. Shortly before Bruce is born, Hawkman finds a theoretical way to enter the Dark Multiverse, but doesn’t have the means to access it yet. At this point, he decides that his journal is complete and must be given to “the family that has been most loyal,” aka the Waynes. The journal will act as an alarm, which will activate should things ever go south in regard to dark metal case. Finally, Hawkman inserts one more thing into the journal: information, including coordinates, about the hidden Tomb of Prince Khufu in Egypt, the only place from which someone could potentially prevent another incursion by Dark Multiversial forces. Thus ends Hawkman’s journal information. Shortly before Bruce is born (although the time is purely conjectural), Carter Hall gives the journal to Thomas Wayne, who buries it in the Wayne Manor study. Cut to the early 21st century (likely some point in-between 2011 and 2015, but possibly even earlier), Hawkman and his team finally are prepared and have the means to enter the Dark Multiverse, which they do. Unfortunately, they come into contact with great horror and the entire Challengers’ Mountain disappears. With the team gone, Hawkgirl takes over the Blackhawks as Lady Blackhawk, making it her new mission to rid the planet of Nth Metal or any metals closely related to it. Batman will eventually first encounter Lady Blackhawk years later in All-Star Batman #6-9. Dark Days: The Forge #1 follows a few months afterward.

8 Responses to Year Fifteen (Part 2)

  1. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, is everything ok?

    Well, after reading Batman Lost (which I enjoyed), I’m wondering if The Long Halloween is in continuity in the New Age (I kinda think it is but It certainly can’t be placed in Year 2, but later in Batman’s career…). Bruce also mentions the Case of The Chemical Syndicate… ‘Tec 27… does that mean that story is in continuity either?
    Plus, Knightfall definitely happened in the New Age era… but in a very different way, right?

    Thank you, as always!

    • Hey Antonio. I’m A-OK, but is BATMAN okay? It’s rare for Batman to cry and beg for mercy. The horrific psychedelic trip that Batman goes through in Batman: Lost is just a tour of the Dark Multiverse, so—technically speaking—the images shown aren’t exactly canonical flashbacks or flash-forwards. Because there is a Grant Morrison-level of meta-storytelling going on here, there are bound to be debates aplenty.

      Here’s my take. The only legit references (and they are merely references) that I glean from Batman: Lost are the ones that Barbatos himself mentions in his taunting monologue towards the end. “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate” is canonized, although Bruce even says, this “isn’t how it happened,” a line we can pretty much apply to this whole hallucinatory experience. But back to what I was saying, Barbatos says straight up that he was orchestrating a bunch of historical moments important to the Bat-lore. These are canonized (in some form): One, Barbatos was the bat from “Year One”; two, he was Stryker from “Chemical Syndicate”; three, he was influencing a proto-Hath-Set during the early Bronze Age (human era, not comic book era) barbarian wars between the Bat Tribe and Bird/Hawk Tribe; four, he was present to complete a ritual during Simon Hurt’s 1765 origin story; five, he’s been behind every Court of Owls move since they became a thing (including the death of Alan Wayne in the 1880s; six, he was watching in 38,000 BCE when Batman was Omega-Sanctioned; and seven, that he has been watching closely ever since Bruce was born (literally in every reflection, looking right back at Bruce from beyond the mirror).

      IMO “Long Halloween” is not canonized by Batman: Lost. If you look carefully, there are other “mentions” as well. The bookshelf holds “Dark Victory,” “Public Enemies,” “The Black Mirror,” “Tower of Babel,” “No Justice” (which is supposedly Snyder’s next big arc), and a few other classic Bat-tales. Are these canonized? This is a future world of the Dark Multiverse. I’m hesitant to canonize things based from the Dark Multiverse. “Doomsday Virus” has been mentioned by the Devastator several times now, but that simply means that a version of “Doomsday Virus” happened on his Negative Earth. Nothing else has made that arc canon in the New Age/Rebirth Era (yet), so I haven’t put it on my timeline. A tweaked “Knightfall” is on my timeline since many titles have referenced it already. So are a few of the other books on grandpa Bruce’s shelf.

      Suffice to say, the books on grandpa Bruce’s shelf are BIG TIME Batman stories. I’m sure the ones that haven’t already been canonical referenced will be soon. When they do, they’ll be skeleton versions of the original texts, as per the rules of rebooted continuity superhero comics.

      Hope that makes sense! This was a tough book to comprehend for many folks, I’m sure. It’s definitely not for n00bs, but I think I’ve been able to break it down pretty decently on the site.

  2. Antonio says:

    Well of course TLH is Year 3 (my bad)… so maybe it can fit there?

  3. Austin Eaton says:

    Hey Colin, I was wondering when do you think they’ll stop adding in reference material stories with references(if ever)? One day, I hope to have a full and complete past history for Batman.

    • The practice of referencing previous continuities and throwing in Easter Eggs has become sine qua non in telling superhero comicbook stories today. It happens in nearly every title on the shelf, and it happens fast and furiously these days. That being said, whenever you are close to the start of a reboot, everything is fresh territory, so to speak. For instance, much of the tumultuous early stages of this New Age (Rebirth Era) consists of flashbacks and references, especially since the past is still being fleshed-out (yet again).

      To answer your question, probably never—at least until the next reboot. But if you are looking for a “full and complete Batman timeline” in the sense that this website compiles “full and complete Batman timelines” then look no further than to the past itself. The Golden Age, Silver Age/Bronze Age, Modern Age, and even New 52 are over-and-done with. They are meddle-proof (barring some sort of nightmarish Convergence-esque retconning).

  4. Austin Eaton says:

    Thank you for your response!

  5. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin… I’ve just finished reading Justice League 33… and well… when Victor teleports the other heroes in the Hypertime we definitely can see that The New 52 is still running in an alternate earth.

    I’m so confused… I thought the New 52 ended with the merging of the two Superman in the Reborn continuity, but now it looks like it didn’t.

    So, now what? Do we have to consider those timelines as separate again? Does that mean the New 52 Superman and Batman are superhero-ing over there as nothing changed in THAT timeline?
    And what about the Modern Age? The MA Superman merged with the New 52 counterpart and “dissolved” into the Rebirth Superman… or not???

    It looks to me as they are now trying to show ALL the continuities as separate realities, different earths… so The Modern Age Superman was right and Mr.Oz was wrong: he really was from an alternate universe and so was the New 52 Superman.
    But in the post reborn continuity THIS Superman was shown to wear the New 52 suit…

    I think I’m getting mad.

    Please, would you mind putting some sense in all of this mess, as you ever do so brilliantly?

    That’s why I hate reboots…

    • Hypertime is, as Cyborg says, “a web of time streams outside the multiverse.” Since its inception in the 90s, Hypertime has been one of the simplest and simultaneously confusing concepts ever created. But in a nutshell, Hypertime is exactly what Cyborg says it is—every timeline that exists outside of the Local 52 (and Local Dark Multiverse). Because Hypertime is basically an endless non-finite (aka “infinite” number of multiverese and universes i.e. the rest of the omniverse) theoretically, you’d see a version of everything that has ever existed, including a version of the New 52.

      To crib from my site, another way of putting it: ‘ A very important distinction should be made between alternate universes and Hypertime. DC’s primary multiverse is made up of a finite number of universes. The “Local Multiverse” consists of 52 universes. The Local Multiverse is attached to a inverse “Dark Multiverse” consisting of thousands of alternate “negative universes.” Each of these singular universes has its own Hypertime stream (aka Hypertimeline) that connects to an infinite number of alternate pasts and futures. This is the first publishing era in which DC has attempted to officially combine the Hypertime concept with a stricter Many-Worlds Interpretation of finite universes. It’s usually been one or the other because, simply put, having both at the same time is a bit redundant. After all, since the number of Hypertime realities is infinite, 52 of the myriad Hypertimelines have to look exactly like the 52 Earths in the Local Multiverse. (The Hypertime-combined-with-Many-Worlds idea technically happened previously, although merely retroactively, when DC assigned specific Earth numbers to its prior Hypertime stories via the “Compendium” section of the The Crisis on Infinite Earths: Absolute Edition in 2005.) Really, both Hypertime and a numbered-Earth system are categorization methods, ways of labeling, or, as I’ve said before, pure semantics/nomenclature. There are always going to be an infinite number of alternate realities, no matter what. You could have an infinite web of unnumbered Hypertimelines or you could have an infinite amount of specifically numbered and grouped (usually in groups of 52) multiverses. Either way, you have an infinite number of universes and possibilities! ‘

      Recently, we’ve seen the future JL kids, Troia, Titans Tomorrow Tim, and others show up in the pages of DC Comics. These characters all come from alternate futures that don’t connect to (at least not that we know of) any universe within the Local 52 (or Local Dark Multiverse.) So, right now, there’s been a huge Hypertime kick.

      Hope that explains it a little bit. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *