Year Fifteen (Part 2)

 

(July 2017 to December 2017)

 

–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 preparation 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. 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. And fourth, Wonder Woman has been unable to return to her home of Themyscira—seemingly vanished to her completely—for a frustrating long time. 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.

–All-Star Batman #10-12 (“THE FIRST ALLY”)
Early 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…)
Early August. As Batman and Alfred tumble from the top of the collapsing Wayne Hotel and Condo Tower, Alfred has a panicked daydream of what Batman’s life in the future would look like without him. (Interestingly, Alfred’s daydream—rather nightmare—features himself retired in Cuba while an older Commissioner Gordon—speaking through an electrolarynx—orders SWAT to gun down the aging Dark Knight.) Alfred snaps back to reality as Batman saves him from the collapsing building before commandeering a motorcycle and hightailing it to the old Elliot family beach house in the Florida Keys. When the Caped Crusader 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
Early to late 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 alternate “Titans Tomorrow/666” Hypertime future, the trench-coat-wearing Batman (aka an adult Damian Wayne aka “Batman-666”) rises up out of flames and ash to declare that “the apocalypse is back on.” (As referenced in Super Sons #10-11, this alternate future features a hellish world where both “Titans Tomorrow” Tim Drake and Damian are dual borderline psychotic Batmen at the same time.) Back on our primary timeline, Bruce and Clark 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. Clark enrolls Jonathan as well. 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.

–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.

[1]

–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.)

–New Super-Man #16-18 (“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 the Yin-Yang) and the dark brother to semi-immortal martial arts master I-Ching, who is the living embodiment of both the Yin and the Yang. This “discarded fold of history” 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 the DCU (aka 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, revealing that he’s already murdered I-Ching. Super-Man fights All-Yang, who opens a portal to the horrible Realm of the Demigods, releasing a swarm of gigantic demigods known collectively as The Asura. The two Justice Leagues fight against the raging Asura. Super-Man chats with I-Ching’s ghost, who passes his torch, turning Kenan into the new living embodiment of the Yin and Yang. Kenan’s S-sheild on his costume turns into a friggin’ awesome Yin-Yang S-symbol! Using his new power, he defeats the Asura and closes the portal. Super-Man is then able to save Superman’s life and suck All-Yang into the Yang part of his own essence. Back in Shanghai, Kenan tells his mom (Dr. Omen) and dad (Flying Dragon General) that the Justice League of China will now operate independently from the government. The heads of the Ministry of Self-Reliance then reveal to Dr. Omen that they have initiated the new Green Lantern-esque Ministry of Self-Reliance Corps.

–Bane: Conquest #8
Bane is at war with Kobra. Bane, Zombie, Bird, and Trogg (remotely guided by Dionysius) chase after sexy Kobra agent Valentina, who escapes them with the new Naja-Naja—an infant that has supposedly been reincarnated as the new leader of Kobra—in hand. Valentina delivers the baby safely to high-ranking Kobra member, Rampo. Over the course of the next week, Kobra soldiers systematically destroy all of Bane’s drug-running and crooked political organizations across the globe. In the Batcave, Batman studies the global crime war closely, noting certain patterns. He tells Alfred that they must take a trip. Bane, eager to recruit new blood to help him fight Kobra, recruits the Beast (aka KGBeast) in Russia.

–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.

–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.)

–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.

PANIC IN THE MICROVERSE!
———————-––Justice League of America Vol. 5 #12 Part 2
———————-––Justice League of America Vol. 5 #13-17[2]
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, begins planning an attack on the JLA. (Prometheus will evetually strike at the JLA in about a month’s time, while Batman has taken a leave of absence to deal with Metal: Dark Nights.)

–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.

–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 Batman Vol. 3 #39. While joining the Justice League on an unspecified mission, Zatanna accidentally opens up a portal to the Hell-related dimension of Gehenna. Batman and Wonder Woman enter Gehenna to find a knighted warrior called The Gentle Man, who has been fighting hordes of Gehenna, horrible beasts and monsters, for thousands of years. (He’s only been in Gehenna for about a year, but time works differently there.) Batman and Wonder Woman befriend and join the Gentle Man in battle, who explains that how years in Gehenna only add up to mere days on Earth. Not only that, but you also don’t age while in Gehenna. Before they go back home (after what seems like days but is really only minutes), Batman and Wonder Woman promise to give the Gentle Man one day off to rest where they will substitute for him in the future.

–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 timeline Batman—a jaded gun-wielding adult Tim Drake from the dystopian “Titans Tomorrow/666” Hypertime future. (As referenced in Super Sons #10-11, in this alternate future both Tim and Damian are active Batmen.) 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 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.[3]

–Action Comics #992
When Superman goes off the radar for a couple days, Batman learns the reason why: Superman’s father, Jor-El (aka Mr. Oz), has just made his presence known as a super-villain. Superman fought his pop only to see him vanish away thanks to an unknown force (i.e. Dr. Manhattan). Worried about his friend, Batman flies to the Fortress of Solitude to find the Man of Steel, distraught at the fact that his dad could be evil, smashing up the place in anger. Batman tells Superman that his experience with Jor-El is similar to his experience with his Flashpoint dad (from “The Button”), and that they are both linked to the same time anomaly. After saving some refugees and speaking with Lois, Superman joins Hal Jordan and travels to the living planet of Mogo (Green Lantern HQ) where they can view a holographic video of Krypton’s destruction to see how Jor-El could possibly have survived. On Mogo, Green Lantern Salakk shows Superman the video, but it is corrupted and fizzles-out. Superman realizes that it’s not the video that is messed up—someone has tampered with time itself. The Man of Steel hops on the Cosmic Treadmill and pops backward in time in an attempt to view Krypton in its final moments. As Superman disappears into the time-stream, Booster Gold and Skeetz appear a second too late to stop him.

–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.

–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.

–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.

–Detective Comics #969 Part 1
Mid October.[4] From their Arkham cell, the First Victim is able to leak video and photos of the Bat-squad to the press. There is an instant negative backlash in response to what the public perceives as Batman having initialized an extra-illegal Batman Inc-like secret army (with the villainous Clayface as a member, to boot). After months without a legit political leader (ever since Sebastian Hady’s assassination), former police commissioner Michael Akins is appointed as the new mayor! Hamilton Hill Jr, son of former mayor Hamilton Hill is instated as deputy mayor, functioning as Akins’ right-hand man. At Arkham, Stephanie Brown visits Anarky while Basil Karlo visits Mudface. Later, Tim discusses everything he missed while trapped with Mr. Oz with the Bat-squad and Bat-Family. He decides that he’s not going to go to college, so he can focus on crime-fighting. Tim then surprises Stephanie at her warehouse HQ. In tears, they embrace and kiss. Tim invites Spoiler to rejoin the Bat-squad. Back together at full force, the Bat-squad (mostly independent of Batman) begins cleaning-up Gotham crime in record numbers. The team will continue to do so over the course of the next three weeks (in-between the other items listed below, of course).

–Batman Vol. 3 #33-35 (“RULES OF ENGAGEMENT”)
Bruce and Selina, now engaged, decide 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.

–Batman Vol. 3 #36
Unknowingly, Batman/Catwoman and Superman/Lois Lane work the same Dr. Double X case. Superman banters with Lois Lane about how he’s hurt that Batman hasn’t told him about his engagement to Catwoman yet. Meanwhile, Batman banters (and patrols!) with Catwoman, who tells her betrothed that she is hurt that he hasn’t told Superman yet. Nearing the end of their patrol, Catwoman reveals that she already knows Superman’s secret ID. While Superman battles Dr. Double X’s powerful doppelgänger for the first time ever, Batman learns that Dr. Simon Echs was released from Arkham. Echs’ trail leads both hero couples to Gotham’s Goodwin Tower. After Lois and Catwoman officially meet, Dr. Double X (Echs and his double) arrives and gets double kayoed in an instant. Superman suggests a double date!

–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 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 Council of 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 originates 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 happens 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, Professor Pyg, 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.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 5 #18-20 and Justice League of America Vol. 5 Annual #1. With the threat of the Dark Multiverse looming, Batman decides to take a leave of absence from the JLA, but as he is preparing to depart, the Dark Knight finally receives the location of the Del-Marzopan (aka space dolphin) homeworld from Aquaman. Batman records a holographic video message containing the coordinates of the planet, which he immediately delivers to Lobo. Afterward, Batman tells the JLA to stay out of his affairs and begins his leave of absence.

–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 Eternity in order to destroy the entire Dark Multiverse. (The Rock of Eternity is the source of Shazam’s power and the cosmic center of the local 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 Thanagar Prime (a “phased presence” planet that exists in secret and at multiple coordinates all at once); and Aquaman and Deathstroke—riding the giant seahorses Storm and Imp—go to the outskirts of Atlantis. 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. (A reference in Dark Nights: Metal #4 reveals that Batman, from his perspective, will live through this nightmare loop for thirty years! Damn.)

–Dark Nights: Metal #4
As a white-haired and emaciated Batman is surrounded by evil versions of Superman, he wakes up the real Superman and calls out to Dream for help. Dream poofs them away to Lucien‘s “Library of Impossible Stories” in the Dreaming. Meanwhile, at the Rock of Eternity, Wonder Woman, Dr. Fate, and Kendra Saunders fight The Seven Sins (Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, Avarice, Pride, Lust, and Envy). Concurrently, on the outskirts of Atlantis (at the edge of the Mariana Trench), Aquaman and Deathstroke come across butchered Atlantean guards, who had been charged with protecting the sacred Tomb of Arion. Deathstroke cuts through a coffin revealing a interdimensional portal beneath. Meanwhile, on Thanagar Prime, Hal Jordan, Mr. Terrific, and Plastic Man (still in egg form), gain an audience with the supreme ruler of the Thangarian Empire, Onimar Synn. Synn reveals his is partnered with Starro the Conqueror and also that he is completely aware of the Dark Multiverse situation. In response to the situation, he currently has aimed at Earth a giant “Phoenix Cannon,” which can supposedly “raise” the planet, preventing it from succumbing to the Dark Multiversial incursion. Synn and Starro are able to easily capture Hal and Mr. Terrific. Meanwhile, in the Dreaming, Lucien’s library begins to burn. Dream tells Batman and Superman the origin story of the Multiverse and Dark Multiverse, explaining that, at the time of the Big Bang, not only were the Monitor and Anti-Monitor given life, but the Forger and a cosmic dragon (Barbatos) were given life as well. The Forger resided in the Dark Multiverse, spending eons creating new universes based upon the hopes and fears of all living things, doing so using a cosmic hammer and anvil at the World Forge aka The Forge of Worlds. The most stable worlds were allowed to ascend into the multiverse above whereas the unstable ones were to remain in the Dark Multiverse to be destroyed by Barbatos. However, Barbatos killed the Forger and allowed the unstable universes to exist under his rulership. Dream tells the heroes that they must travel to the World Forge in the center of the Dark Multiverse and make sure that it is alight, for if it goes dark, all hope is lost. Dream sends Batman and Superman through a portal. As they travel, Superman gives Batman a much-needed pep talk. Meanwhile, inside the Rock of Eternity, Kendra reveals the astral brain of the Anti-Monitor. She attempts to use it to destroy the Dark Multiverse, but fails and morphs into an evil winged Lady Blackhawk. Black Adam appears and zaps Dr. Fate away, revealing that he and Vandal Savage have made a deal with Barbatos and are now helping him. At the World Forge, Batman and Superman are shocked to find a towering (and evil) Carter Hall, who wields the Forger’s hammer. He claims that he is Barbatos’ dragon.

–Batman & The Signal #1
In the wake of Dark Nights: Metal, Bruce initiates the Wayne Industries newest public construction project—a housing development for civic employees. In direct relation to Dark Nights: Metal, a bunch of Gotham teens have recently gained metapowers thanks to something called “The Dial.” (Over two dozen teens, including Duke Thomas, have already displayed new metapowers within the past two months.) In response to the new influx of metahumans, Gotham officials begin the process of turning the downtown Solarium Rehab Hospital into Arkham Juvenile Detention Center. Meanwhile, Duke moves out of Wayne Manor and into the apartment of his cousin Jay Thomas. Batman (likely with metahuman assistance) builds a secret Bat-Bunker, known as “The Hatch,” underneath the Lucius Fox Center For Gotham Youth. Stocking it with vehicles, gadgets, weapons, and a new costume, Batman gives the Hatch to Duke for use as his new personal HQ. Batman asks a surprised Duke to be the Bat-Family’s primary daytime agent. Duke reluctantly agrees and chooses his new codename: The Signal. An hour later, the Dark Knight holds what will be the first of a weekly round table breakfast gathering of the Bat-Family in Wayne Manor, introducing the Signal’s new role on the team. Still unsure of how his Dial metapowers function (he can “see” light in a way that allows him to view the near past or near present), the Signal goes on his first patrol and soon finds himself fighting another Dial metahuman called The Null, whom he defeats in battle. Less than an hour later, Commissioner Gordon visits Detective Alex Aisi and reports that two Gotham teens developed metapowers and then dropped dead, citing a link to something called “Gnomon.” (A gnomon is part of a sundial, in case you were wondering.) After submitting the Null’s DNA samples to the Bat-Family, Duke is visited by his former We are Robin Gang pals Izzy Ortiz and Riko Sheridan. (Duke is now dating Izzy.) The DNA results show that the Null’s Dial powers reacted specifically to Duke’s presence. Not long after, the Signal goes into the new Arkham Juvie Center only to get attacked by the Null and two other teen metahumans.

FALL OF THE BATMEN
———————-––Detective Comics #969 Part 2
———————-––Detective Comics #970-971
November—three weeks have passed since Detective Comics #969 Part 1. When Batman gets wind that Killer Moth is planning to recruit a new gang, he sends the Bat-squad undercover to infiltrate their meeting. In a warehouse, Killer Moth assembles Solomon Grundy (actually Clayface in disguise), Victor Zsasz, Firefly, and Ratcatcher (who is either has lost weight and returned to crime or is a brand new version of the character—when we last saw Ratcatcher, he had gained a lot of weight, retired from crime, and was palling around with Mother Panic). Killer Moth addresses a bunch of underlings, including a representative from the Whisper Gang, Query, and Echo. (Some of the A-listers were too busy to show up, so they sent their henchies instead.) While the Bat-Squad busts all the bad guys, Batman has a private meeting with Mayor Akins. Their conversation is tense, reflecting the shaky relationship they had back when Akins was commissioner. Meanwhile, the Victim Syndicate—joined by new member Anarky—secretly take control of Arkham Asylum. While Julia Pennyworth takes a much deserved vacation to Rio, in Gotham, a sleep-deprived Red Robin excitedly tells Spoiler his utopian technocratic ideas about how to solve all of Gotham’s problems. Concurrently, Batman, Batwoman, Azrael, and Batwing fight some cyber-assassins that have been programmed to mimic the teams maneuvers based upon the leaked Spoiler phone videos. Across town, Dr. Victoria October warmly talks to Clayface about what it was like to transition from male to female. She also tells him that she should have a cure for his condition soon! At her apartment, Kate is approached by her dad Jake. He tells her that he’s fired the loose-cannon Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong. He also asks who was responsible for activating his drones a few weeks ago. Kate tells him the truth—that it was Red Robin from an alternate timeline—but lies and says that the advanced AI (Brother Eye) was built by an alternate timeline Batman. Jake warns his daughter about the dangers of the recent Bat-squad video leak, saying that government opinion of Batman has become negative as a result. He then plays a voice recording of Red Robin asking the Colony to form a working partnership. Kate is shocked that Red Robin has done so much reaching-out without the consent of either herself or Batman. Later, Orphan and Clayface destroy the cyber-assassin factory. Meanwhile, Batman sends Red Robin all the leaked video. Red Robin is able to timestamp and date the footage, confirming that it came from Spoiler’s phone. Red Robin confronts Spoiler about it and she admits to having taken the footage. They then learn that Anarky hacked her phone. An angry Spoiler tells Red Robin that she called Ivy University and discovered that he has withdrawn his enrollment. Threatening to end their relationship, Spoiler storms off. At Arkham, Clayface visits Mudface, who fully completes her heel turn. The Victim Syndicate tasers Clayface and takes him down. They announce to the world that they control the prison and will release inmates unless Batman shows up and unmasks. At the Belfry, Spoiler tells all that the Victim Syndicate has organized angry civilian protesters to match all over the city against the Bat-squad. Batwoman outs Red Robin’s potential dealings with the Colony, to which Red Robin defends his actions. The bickering stops when the hotline “red phone” goes off. However, it’s not Commissioner Gordon, but Mayor Akins, on the line. He orders Batman to deal with the Arkham situation with police assistance instead of the Bat-squad. Batman agrees and winds up entering Arkham to face the entire Victim Syndicate and hundreds of mind-controlled guards all by himself. Batman activates his ZEA electrified override of Arkham’s security system, which takes out most of his opponents right away. Then, despite still overwhelming odds, Batman kicks everyone’s asses. Just as the GCPD enters to clean-up, Clayface, having turned fully evil again, attacks the police.

–Detective Comics #972 (“FALL OF THE BATMEN” Continued)
November. Batman defeats a shell of Clayface while the real deal escapes into the sewer and heads toward the Belfry. The First Victim and Anarky escape as well. After getting chastised by Mayor Akins, Batman heads to Old Wayne Tower. Meanwhile, Dr. Victoria October tells Red Robin and Orphan that her cure for Clayface will be done in a few hours. Across town, Jake Kane gives Batwoman an experimental gun that can take down Clayface. After taking out Batwing and Azrael in the sewer, Clayface attacks the rest of the Bat-squad in the Belfry. When the Mud Room gets damaged, the rest of Clayface’s flesh (which was being used for Mud Room sims) smashes into his body, turning him into a giant-sized version of himself. Clayface tears the entire roof and spire off of the tower.

SUPER SONS OF TOMORROW[6]
———————-––Superman Vol. 4 #37
———————-––Super Sons #12
The Tim Drake Batman of the “Titans Tomorrow/666” Hypertimeline returns! Still convinced that the primary present-day DC timeline connects to his dark future, Older Tim has a new plan to prevent his dystopia by killing Jonathan Kent. First stop, however, is Wayne Manor. Older Tim fights Bruce at Wayne Manor, defeating him by shooting him with a gun. Older Tim then takes Batman’s anti-JL contingency weapons and then attacks Superman and Kelex (Superman’s robot assistant) in the Fortress of Solitude. Older Tim defeats Superman by trapping him in Batman’s Red Kryptonite-lined anti-Superman contingency cell. Eventually, the Titans of TomorrowSuperman (Conner Kent), Wonder Woman (Cassie Sandsmark), and Flash (Bart Allen)—come to the Earth-0 timeline from their own “Titans Tomorrow/666” timeline to challenge their rogue partner. After blowing up Teen Titans HQ and donning a new costume to become Savior, Older Tim finally sees the error of his ways. In order to save Superboy’s life, Savior absorbs a super-flare and gets forever expelled into the pathways of Hypertime, becoming the new permanent protector of all timelines. After a brief chat with Superman and the Teen Titans, the Titans of Tomorrow disappear back to their own timeline. Superman then speaks to Superboy and Robin, questioning but then reaffirming his belief in the boys’ partnership. Meanwhile, having been patched up by Alfred, Bruce awakens from a coma. With the Teen Titans HQ leveled, Superman gives the team permission to use the Watchtower. Aboard the satellite, the Teen Titans are greeted by Batman, who requests a formal report on everything that has just occurred. Robin then orders the Teen Titans to vote on whether or not Superboy can join the team. Unfortunately, it’s not meant to be since the lone yes vote comes only from Robin.

–REFERENCE: In Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1—originally told in BatmanBatman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1-5. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Leonardo), their human-rat mentor Splinter, and their rivals Shredder and his ninja Foot Clan all get transported to Earth-0 from their own Earth-IDW by the evil IDW-multiverse alien Krang. The Turtles and Batman join forces to defeat Shredder, his Foot Clan, and Penguin. Shredder then teams-up with Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins. Meanwhile, the Turtles’ best friend Casey Jones jumps to Earth-0 courtesy of Earth-IDW’s top science genius Harold Lillja. Things culminate at Arkham Asylum where Shredder uses Mutagen to turn all the inmates into temporary animal-mutant-hybrids. Batman, Robin, and the Turtles defeat all the villains. Casey Jones and April O’Neil then appear on Earth-0 via another interdimensional portal created by Lillja. The heroes round up the Foot Clan members and, along with Shredder, toss them through the portal. The Turtles, Splinter, April, and Casey then go back home.

–Batman Vol. 3 #37
Bruce, Selina, Clark, and Lois finally go on their double date, but getting it started is no picnic. They four meet up, but can’t agree on what exactly to do. Eventually, on Clark’s suggestion, Alfred drives them to the Gotham County Fair, but they are annoyed when they get there because it’s “Super Hero Night,” meaning they have to wear costumes to enter. After swapping costumes—Bruce goes as Superman, Clark goes as Batman, Lois goes as Catwoman, and Selina goes as Lois—they enter the park, paying ushers dressed as the Wonder Twins! The foursome goes on rides, plays games, and wins prizes. While Bruce and Clark hit some baseballs in a batting cage, Lois and Selina bond while taking shots from a flask. When a purse-snatcher dressed as the Question steals Lois’ pocketbook, Clark guides Bruce, who knocks him out with a baseball. Selina steals the thief’s wallet for fun. After riding the ferris wheel, the foursome eats ice cream cones and the girls split from the boys. Both pairs pontificate about why their two couples work even though they are so vastly different. After switching back into their correct outfits, the boys take their dates to a baseball field to compete in a special pitch-and-hit challenge. Lois and Selina watch their men with teenage admiration. Superman pitches a fastball to Batman, who shocks him by miraculously hitting it out of the park.

–Titans Vol. 3 #19
Nightwing debriefs the Justice League following the Titans’ recent defeat of Troia, Mr. Twister, The Key, and Psimon. Despite having saved the entire planet, each Titan acted brashly and some Titans were possessed by Troia during the battle. Not only that, but Flash (Wally West) was also briefly trapped in time, which has shown that his personal manifestation of the Speed Force includes a component of “time-effect,” meaning his powers are unstable and he could potentially accidentally alter time itself. Batman brutally chastises the whole team, including newest member Bumblebee. The Justice League echoes Batman’s sentiment and orders the Titans to temporarily disband while they conduct a formal investigation. After questioning Nightwing’s leadership abilities, Batman speaks with his former sidekick in private. They briefly argue, with Batman showing disappointment in Nightwing. Nightwing agrees to disband the Titans and shuts down their HQ. Donna Troy immediately moves into the JL Watchtower, basically put under house arrest and under the watch of Wonder Woman. Meanwhile, a pissed-off Arsenal takes to the Brooklyn streets and starts kicking drug-dealer ass.

–Justice League Vol. 3 #34-36 (“THE PEOPLE VS JUSTICE LEAGUE”)
November 16-21. Alfred makes an exhausted Bruce promise he will get a full night’s rest for three nights in a row. Of course, this doesn’t happen, as Batman barely sleeps at all, only copping some ZZZs here and there in the Batmobile. On day three, Alfred begs Bruce to sleep, even telling him he will push back his Wayne Enterprises duties, but Bruce refuses to listen. Batman goes into action when his JL communicator signals an alert. Cyborg gives him the rundown—a possible alien invasion fleet heading toward earth, an Islamic terrorist kidnapping in New York City, and an Earthquake in El Domingo. Barely listening to Cyborg, Batman splits the JL into groups and sends them into action. The Dark Knight himself goes with Wonder Woman and Aquaman to NYC, where the heroes disguise themselves as civilians and use new holographic tech to create a fake MTA bus with fake people riding inside of it. From their lookout spots, the heroes see the terrorists holding nuns hostage in an apartment, which is surrounded by FBI agents and cops. Things go awry thanks to the cops. The terrorists are defeated, but one of them steals Wonder Woman’s sword and uses it to murder a nun. Meanwhile, Cyborg tells Aquaman to hightail it to El Domingo because it is a seaside town. (Cyborg had mentioned this to Batman earlier, but Batman ignored him and claimed Aquaman for his group.) In deep space, Superman and the Green Lanterns realize the alien invasion threat was just a false alarm. Later, Clark visits a pooped Bruce, who has fallen asleep on the Wayne Manor staircase. Bruce apologizes for screwing-up, to which Clark tells him that it’s okay to pass the torch of leadership every once and a while. The next day, Wonder Woman retrieves her sword from the police while a disguised Batman oversees. Glenn Gammeron, an old bounty-hunting acquaintance of Martian Manhunter’s, then arrives at the JL Watchtower and explains that a deadly alien cockroach—with the ability to control other roaches—is loose and hiding in San Francisco. Flash, Kid Flash, Cyborg, the Green Lanterns, and Glenn soon find themselves fighting a towering swarm of alien cockroaches, eventually singling out the alien bug and containing it. Back at HQ, the whole JL watches a viral video of the nun’s death, which is playing on every news network. A day later, a subpoenaed Superman speaks before a US House of Representatives committee, which addresses whether or not the JL has committed civil rights violations or other illegalities. The House also asks the age old question of why the JL won’t share its teleportation tech with the public. At its conclusion, the committee determines that the JL’s new charter will be defensive only, meaning even if there is a crisis they can take no action without the consent of the nation or nations involved. Immediately afterward, a fake Batman (Joshua Christian) publicly murders the congresswoman that was leading the committee. Nightwing meets with Bruce to discuss a plan of action, but Bruce says nothing can be done before teleporting to the Watchtower to deal with an international incident. Even though a US nuclear spy-submarine has been sunk in Chinese waters, Bruce tells the team they can’t help due to their new charter. A defiant Aquaman assists the sub anyway, citing that he is acting not as a JL member but as a sovereign head of Atlantis. While Wonder Woman and Bruce argue aboard the Watchtower, US sailors aboard the sub argue with Simon Baz, and Aquaman argues with everyone else. Eventually, the US and Chinese governments broker a deal that allows the German navy to tow the downed sub to international waters. When Cyborg locates the fake Batman in East St. Louis, the real Batman realizes that the faker has been listening-in on their JL communications. Batman sends a disguised Simon Baz to confront the fake Batman, but Simon is outed, taken down, and kidnapped.

–Justice League Vol. 3 #37 (“THE PEOPLE VS JUSTICE LEAGUE” Continued)
November 22. Realizing that the fake Batman has been in the Watchtower and likely knows every JLer’s secret ID, Batman orders Cyborg and Flash to sweep the satellite and run some diagnostic tests on some of the tech design. Meanwhile, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, and Martian Manhunter defeat Shaggy Man. Afterward, Batman and Jessica Cruz investigate Simon’s disappearance in East St. Louis. Jessica narrowly avoids getting blown up. On the other side of town, Simon is able to escape and report in that the fake Batman, a deranged JL fan, is on the move now dressed as Hal Jordan. After tracing the suspect satellite designs to the worker that originally installed it aboard the Watchtower and then running some background checks, Cyborg learns the true identity of the fake Hal: Joshua Christian. Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Batman, and the Green Lanterns ambush Christian on the set of an anti-JL news talk show.

–Batman Vol. 3 #38
When Wayne Enterprises Board member Ronald Warner and his wife Victoria are brutally murdered, seemingly by Victor Zsasz, Bruce parts ways with Selina at Wayne Manor to meet with and console young orphaned Matthew Warner and his new parental guardian, his longtime butler Taylor. An investigation into the crime by Batman and Commissioner Gordon quickly reveals that Zsasz is involved somehow but hasn’t left Arkham anytime recently. Later, when Zsasz’s own parents are murdered by the same killer, Batman interrogates Zsasz but can’t figure out what’s going on. After another similar double murder, but one that contains a clearly bogus link to Two-Face, Batman deduces that Taylor is the killer. During dinner with Selina, Bruce realizes the horrible truth and soon finds Matthew at his parents’ grave with the words “Thomas” and “Martha” carved into his face. Matthew always adored the story of Bruce Wayne overcoming his parents’ tragic death, so much so he wanted to replicate it, ordering his troubled butler Taylor to commit the killings. Matthew goes into an institution while a saddened Bruce returns to Selina at home.

–REFERENCE: In Trinity Vol. 2 #16. Bruce invites all his friends and family to a New Year’s Eve party at one of his Wayne Enterprises buildings in Times Square, New York City.

–Wonder Woman Vol. 5 #37
Backstory: Grail re-retrieved her dad (baby Darkseid) after Batman lost him during Dark Nights: Metal. She has spent the last few weeks killing off all the old Greco-Roman gods and siphoning their power into Darkseid, which has caused him to rapidly grow in age. Cut to now: Wonder Woman and her brother Jason watch in shock as a now teenage Darkseid battles the returning Zeus! As the do battle, Wonder Woman and Jason fight with Grail all over the globe. Eventually, in Manila, Darkseid kills Zeus and sucks up his power, returning back to his normal form and age. Amidst the rubble of the city, the Justice League shows up to assist Wonder Woman. Seeing they are outmatched, Darkseid and Grail disappear through a Boom Tube.

–Superman Vol. 4 #39
After Superman bests The Demolition Team (Hardhat, Jackhammer, Rosie, Scoopshovel, and Steamroller), he decides to spread some “Make a Wish”-style cheer, granting some hospitalized cancer kids a visit with the Justice League aboard the Watchtower! With Hal Jordan subbing for Jessica and Simon, the kids meet the team, take a tour, and have a scavenger hunt. One of the items on the list is a photo of grumpy ol’ Batman smiling. All the children snap a pic of the grinning Dark Knight when one of the kids gets him to giggle with a joke. Superman then takes the group onto the lunar surface where they etch their names into moon rocks.

–Batman Vol. 3 #39
Wonder Woman meets with Batman atop GCPD HQ and tells him that the Gentle Man is ready for his one day break from fighting the endless hordes of Gehenna. As per a deal they made years ago, Wonder Woman and Batman (in a ridiculous-looking armored costume provided by Wonder Woman for this exact task) enter Gehenna, trading places with the Gentle Man, who meets and hangs out with Selina. In Gehenna, Batman and Wonder Woman begin slaying monsters and beasts left-and-right. Years pass for them in the nightmarish world. Meanwhile, Selina and the Gentle Man idly get dinner and fend off a mugger. Selina is shocked when she hears about the difference between Gehenna time and Earth time (and that you don’t age while there). Her hubby-to-be might be returning in 24 hours, but he will be living decades alone with only Diana at his side in Gehenna! After over ten years in Gehenna together (and only hours passing on our primary timeline), a horny Bruce and randy Diana begin to contemplate succumbing to their carnal urges.

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2. December 7—as stated before, note that, depending on how Doomsday Clock‘s timeline plays out (i.e. if it winds up being one year ahead of everything else), the majority of Doomsday Clock references from this point onward and its actual main narrative might be separated from the rest of the primary timeline by a year. Dr. Helga Jace’s “Supermen Theory” gains extra traction (and is basically validated in the global public eye) when Dr. Kirk Langstrom publicly admits that his Man-Bat experimentation has always been secretly sponsored by the Department of Metahuman Affairs. Yet another of Batman’s allies has been working for the government on the down-low. Public trust in the metahuman community instantly drops. Meanwhile, LexCorp, in an effort to upgrade its metagene research, finalizes purchases of Kord Industries, Genetech, and the Sunderland Corporation.

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2. December 11. In the wake of the latest “Supermen Theory” revelations, Russia forms a military alliance with Markovia.

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2. December 19-20. Sparked by the latest “Supermen Theory” revelations, Lex Luthor unleashes a highly-funded all-out anti-metahuman campaign. He demands that all superheroes and super-villains unmask, to which Superman publicly rebukes. Metamorpho’s longtime girlfriend Sapphire Stagg publicly turns on both Metamorpho and her father, Simon Stagg. The next day, as Bruce attends the Martha Wayne Mental Health fundraiser, Lex Luthor funds an act of industrial espionage aimed at stealing metagene research information from Wayne Enterprises. This failed thievery leads to the arrest of four Wayne Enterprises employees. Bruce speaks with the media about the situation and also reveals that Wayne Enterprises is purchasing Stagg Industries. Luthor, as he is so good at doing, denies involvement and distances himself from the crime completely. Undeterred by his inability to pilfer the metagene research, Luthor tries another means—corporate takeover. Luthor counters Bruce’s announcement by announcing his own interest in a LexCorp buyout of Wayne Enterprises, appealing directly to the Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors.

–Doomsday Clock #2
December 20-21. On Earth-Watchmen the year is 1992, and chaos reigns supreme as the world has finally discovered the truth about Ozymandias‘ “alien attack” from years prior (as seen in the pages of Watchmen). With nuclear holocaust set to destroy all life on the planet, Ozymandias gathers a new Rorschach and husband-and-wife-criminal duo Marionette and The Mime to assist him on a quest to find Dr. Manhattan and convince him to save their world. After Ozymandias shows Rorschach old security footage of Dr. Manhattan busting the couple but showing non-lethal mercy, the foursome (along with Ozymandias’ new pet lynx) travel through the Bleed via Nite Owl‘s rigged-up Owlship just as Earth-Watchmen goes kablooey. Ozymandias has traced Dr. Manhattan’s energy signature to Earth-0. On Earth-0, Bruce undergoes his annual therapy session, lying about what he sees in rorschach pictures as he does every year in order to pass. Afterward, Lucius Fox scolds him, telling him to take LexCorp’s recent industrial espionage more seriously. They also discuss the fact that Luthor wants to purchase Wayne Enterprises in order to obtain their research on the metagene. With the espionage case linked to the “Supermen Theory” revelations, along with flames of paranoia being stoked by Russia and Markovia, anti-Batman protesters march throughout Gotham. Meanwhile, the Watchmen Universe characters arrive on Earth-0. Ozymandias handcuffs Marionette and the Mime to the inside of the Owlship before departing with Rorschach. After some research at the public library, Rorscach heads toward Wayne Manor while Ozymandias goes to LexCorp. Bruce ignores Lucius and suits up as Batman to bust an escaped Mad Hatter, Tweedledee (Deever Tweed), and Tweedledum (Dumfree Tweed). Rorschach, after a nap and breakfast in Wayne Manor, discovers the Batcave and trips the alarm. Batman returns home to confront him. Meanwhile, Marionette and the Mime escape. Concurrently, Lex Luthor, who has reverted back to his sinister old ways ever since the “Superman Theory” news leaked, fires (i.e. disappears) more failed scientists from his company. Ozymandias shows up and basically tells Lex the whole story of Watchmen. Out of nowhere, the deceased Comedian—somehow alive again—appears and shoots at Ozymandias, grazing Lex by accident.

–DC Holiday Special 2017 #1 Part 10
December 22. After a night’s patrol, Bruce switches to his civvies. Bruce then meets with Diana for their yearly tradition of lighting a winter solstice pyre in the woods. Bruce finally asks Diana why this is their thing, to which she replies that, out of all the heroes they are close with, they share an intimate relationship with darkness and could use a little light in their lives every year.

–DC Holiday Special 2017 #1 Part 2
Late December. Bruce’s friends, the Brandons, are kidnapped by Fitzy, a troubled man that is haunted by the ghost of his dead granny. Alfred drives Batman across the state line into a “No Man’s Land” wooded area. There, Batman marches through a blizzard and into the Brandon’s home to rescue them.

–Trinity Vol. 2 #16 Part 1
December 31. Clark, Lois, Jon, Damian, Alfred, Diana, Steve Trevor, and pretty much everyone else you can think of attend Bruce’s New Year’s Eve party right in the heart of Times Square, New York City. With only hours until the ball drops, Kobra initiates a plan to get revenge against both Batman and Deadshot for the murder of their leader, which occurred at the hands of Deadshot earlier in the year. (Batman was present for Lord Kobra’s death, and has, as such, earned Kobra’s wrath as well. Plus, they already hated him.) Kobra kidnaps Deadshot’s daughter, Zoe, which leads to Bruce ditching the party and rushing to Belle Reve. Batman forces Amanda Waller to release Deadshot for the night, citing that he owes her from her “Kill Your Darlings” debacle (in Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #23-25) from a few months ago. Not long afterward, Superman and Wonder Woman quickly join Batman and Deadshot, helping them fend-off mutated snake soldiers. After chasing decoys all over Manhattan, the heroes (and villain) wind up fighting snake men at Bruce’s party. As the New Year’s countdown hits zero, one of the snake men activates a suicide quantum energy bomb.

  1. [1]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.
  2. [2]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.”
  3. [3]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.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: The month is taken from a sports ticker on a TV showing a best-of-seven MLB playoff series result. Unfortunately, the Gotham Knights are listed as competing, which is a continuity error. In All-Star Batman #10, the Gotham Knights are said to have had a miserable year and didn’t even make the playoffs.
  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, the early solicitation for Hawkman: Found #1, and Hawkman: Found #1. Since this is essentially the OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE DC MULTIVERSE, I’ve laid it all out chronologically below. Not all of the story is told in Hawkman’s journal (since Hawkman didn’t have all the answers), but thanks to storytelling by Barbatos (in Batman: Lost #1) and Dream of the Endless (in Dark Nights: Metal #4), we know the full tale.

    Our story begins, naturally, at the Big Bang. A strange “Great Hand” creates all matter, including the Multiverse, Monitor, Anti-Monitor, and Forger. The latter sculpts potential new universes from the World Forge, a “place of creation and beginnings.” As revealed by Dream of the Endless in Dark Nights: Metal #4, at the time of the Big Bang, the “Great Hand” also creates a cosmic dragon—aka Barbatos—to assist the Forger and a Dark Multiverse for the Forger to reside in. The Forger spends his first eons of existence creating new universes based upon the hopes and fears of all living things, doing so using a cosmic hammer and anvil at the World Forge aka the Forge of Worlds. The most stable worlds are allowed to ascend into the multiverse above whereas the unstable ones remain in the Dark Multiverse to be destroyed by Barbatos. However, Barbatos kills the Forger and allows the unstable universes to exist under his own rulership. (Hawkman learns this Big Bang story from Green Lantern Abin Sur, who is familiar with the notes of a malevolent Oan scientist called Krona, who once peered backward in time to view the Big Bang. Note that Krona’s dangerous Big Bang-spying actions are a direct precursor to the Oans forming the Guardians of the Universe, Manhunters, and Green Lantern Corps. Furthermore, Krona’s actions likely had a significant impact on the creation of the multiverse. Although the details of Krona’s impact are unknown, in essence Krona becomes a part-creator of multiple multiverses thanks to his meddling. Also note that the Anti-Monitor, at one point, takes the name Mobius and creates the fabled Mobius Chair of the New Gods.)

    For millennia, Barbatos acts as the demonic god of the Dark Multiverse, continuing to shape Dark Universes for his realm. Once life evolves into human beings on the many Earths of the Multiverse, Barbatos begins shaping Dark Universes that include Dark Earths. Eventually, in 38,000 BCE, Barbatos first sees Earth-0’s Batman during the latter’s Omega Sanction by Darkseid (which happens in Final Crisis)! From that point onward, Barbatos becomes obsessed with Batman. Can you blame him? Via manipulation of the earliest human Tribes (the Hawk Tribe aka Bird Tribe, Bear Tribe, Wolf Tribe, and later Bat Tribe), Barbatos begins targeting and waiting for Batman to come back into existence in the 21st century, at which point the demon god plans to 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. In the tens of thousands of years following Batman’s time-displaced appearance in 38,000 BCE, the Native American Miagani tribe is formed and bat-worshipping religions spread to Eurasia and the Middle East. In roughly 3300 BCE, Europe and Asia Minor see a great war pitting the Bird Tribe (aka Hawk Tribe)—led by the warrior couple that will later go by the names Cater Hall and Kendra Saunders—versus a unified Bat Tribe—led by the warrior that will later go by the name Hath-Set, who was secretly under the influence of Barbatos. Eventually, the proto-Hath-Set finds Nth Metal (likely given to him by Barbatos) and becomes immortal. He strikes down proto-Carter and proto-Kendra, inadvertently giving them immortality as well. Nth Metal enters their bodies in such a way that it will permanently flow through their veins forever more. The appearance of the dark metal tears a hole in reality that brings Barbatos through from the Dark Multiverse. Proto-Carter and proto-Kendra sacrifice their own lives (again) to seal the demon away. (Proto-Carter uses an Nth Metal mace in order to defeat Barbatos.) With the Barbatos beaten, the dark metal is expelled, but its lingering effects remain. Following this event, the trio of proto-Carter, proto-Kendra, and proto-Hath-Set enter into a cycle of carnage, death, and reincarnation that will last thousands of years. (Via Barbatos’ guidance, the Bat Tribe becomes the Judas Tribe, of which the Strigydae are high priests; and it will eventually become the Parliament/Court of Owls.)

    Carter and Kendra continue to battle against Hath-Set for thousands of years, in many different reincarnations. Eventually, in the time of Ancient Egypt, Carter, Kendra, and Hath-Set are come upon by an alien craft from the planet Thanagar that endows them with cosmic knowledge and causes them to witness hallucinatory death-visions of the Dark Multiverse, specifically images of a hellscape littered with corpses, alien machinery, and bat-statues. Carter and Kendra begin investigating these bizarre revelations/visions. (As does Hath-Set.) The appearance of the Thanagarian spaceship also leads to Carter and Kendra becoming the winged warriors Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Hath-Set is able to magickally erase Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s memories of their entire past, making them think that they’ve only just gained Nth Metal immortality from the Thanagarians. As he continues his investigation into the dark visions, 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 (due to Hath-Set’s spell).

    By the year 1900, Hawkman and Hawkgirl realize that Hath-Set has somehow obscured the true origins of both he and his wife. Thus, 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 Hath-Set’s manipulations and memory clouding. Mamaragan explains that, long ago, a Nth Metal changed the world, casting out an evil force, which now desperately wants to return. Mamaragan then shows-off his magick Nth Metal lightning knife, explaining that Nth Metal is the “Ninth Metal,” the most powerful in a hierarchy of nine numbered supernatural metals. He also details how the 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 tribal beginnings on Earth, their link to the first appearance of Nth Metal, how they fought and defeated Barbatos, and how they are actually way older then they believe themselves to be.

    Hawkman and Hawkgirl, with this new shocking knowledge, leave the Council of the Immortals eager to both investigate the dark metal mystery further and to plan a preemptive defensive strike at Barbatos. They spend the next hundred years investigating and planning. 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 (likely Barbatos, although not necessarily), 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.

    Shortly before Bruce is born, Hawkman finds a theoretical way to enter the Dark Multiverse, but doesn’t have the means to break through 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. (Carter has been a very close friend to the Wayne Family, including Bruce’s father Thomas.) 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, one of the few known places from which someone could potentially prevent another incursion by Dark Multiversial forces.

    Thus ends Hawkman’s journal information, but, of course, the story continues. 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. Bruce is born and Barbatos watches his every move, manipulating him in subtle ways over the course of this entire life. 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 via the Rock of Eternity. Thus, the Challengers of the Unknown enter the Rock of Eternity and open a portal. Unfortunately, they come into contact with Barbatos and things go very badly. Barbatos isn’t able to come through, but the Challengers, along with the entire Challengers’ Mountain, disappear into the Dark Multiverse. With the heroes lost, Hawkman enters the Dark Multiverse in search of them and gets lost as well. Hawkman, overwhelmed by real monsters and hallucinations alike, loses his memories and morphs into the new evil demigod-like Forger of the Dark Multiverse. Meanwhile, 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 after that.

  6. [6]DMT: “Super Sons of Tomorrow” occurs after Dark Nights: Metal thanks to a tie-in Teen Titans issue that makes reference to Metal.

16 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. 😉

  6. Austin Eaton says:

    Hey Collin, did you have a good Thanksgiving? What’d you think of Doomsday Clock #1?

    • Hey Austin! I had a great Thanksgiving (since Thanksgiving was also my birthday). Thanks for asking.

      From what I’ve gathered, Doomsday Clock #1 was generally praised by fans and critics thus far. I’m kind of a mark for Geoff Johns (and all things Watchmen related), so I liked it. But, my reaction was also a big “hmmmm” at the same time. Seems like Johns can’t help but write a “super-villain team-up story” no matter what. I’m interested to see how the two timelines merge through both time and space. It’s 1992 in the Watchmen universe, but 2017 in primary DC Earth for the Superman scene. The idea is that Ozymandius and crew will search for Dr. Manhattan and find him knee deep messin’ with current DCU affairs, I suppose. Also, the new Black Rorschach is a strange but intriguing concept, eh? I kinda dug Mime and Marionette, but they sure do get a lot of screen time as the issue lends a high page count to its new characters. This definitely felt like a set-up issue. If I was unable to see the thinly veiled Charlton connection to Punch and Jewelee I’m pretty sure it would have bothered me. ELEVEN more issues to go… I’m sure the pace will pick up.

      In terms of the art, can’t beat it. I’m happy that Johns and Frank have been able to etch out their own thing while still hanging in there with Moore and Gibbons (in regard to visual thematics). Johns and Frank won’t be able to match the depth of Moore and Gibbons, but it is clear that they aren’t trying to, and that they are really doing their own thing.

      This has been a risky cash grab for DC from the start. It always was. So, it’s nice to see that it has started off on the right foot. In mainstream superhero comics, there isn’t much left to mine from—not many BIG IDEAS that keep me coming back for more. Doomsday Clock was one of the HUGE ones, and, for now, I’m still on board. I’m not saying that mining is good either, but here it’s beyond compelling. Some review site—forgive me, I can’t recall which one—compared this surreal crossover to Jesus Christ joining the Justice League. Quite apropros.

  7. Austin Eaton says:

    Merry Christmas, Colin! I haven’t read Doomsday Clock #2 yet (I might’ve read it by the time you’ve read this) but I skimmed through and saw you put it in Year Fifteen and I’m pretty sure it goes in Year Sixteen. I read in an interview with Geoff Johns months ago where he said it takes place one year ahead and by the time the series finishes the rest of the DC Universe will have caught up and the effects will be seen. I can’t find the exact interview but I’ve seen lots of websites that also say so like this one http://wegotthiscovered.com/comicbooks/geoff-johns-offers-insight-doomsday-clock-san-diego-comic-con/

    • Austin Eaton says:

      Now I’ve read it and realized it does say 2017……….I’m confused.

      • Thanks for sharing that previous article—I hadn’t read anything about it happening “a year ahead” of everything else. But, yeah, DC #2 has us square in December 2017. Jace’s “Supermen Theory” first drops in June 2017, then blows up in December 2017, giving us the new status-quo: Luthor has dropped his superhero schtick completely (which he would totally do upon learning the “Supermen Theory” confirmation) and global protests against superheroes, metahumans, and the United States have begun.

        So far, no continuity contradictions with DC happening in late 2017, though. We’ll see. Ten more issues to go!

        • Been reading a lot of confusing things about the “year ahead” thing. This’ll be interesting to see how it works out… If it’s really a year ahead then everything else might have to be pushed back!

  8. Austin Eaton says:

    I was also thinking about that possibility. I tried tweeting Geoff Johns, but I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t reply. Lol, he’s a pretty busy man (and it’s New Year’s Eve).

    • Let me know if you solve this mystery! I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it and see it from other perspectives, but the back-material of issue #2 so very clearly is placing everything smack dab right in the middle of December 2017. So strange, given Johns prior comments about timeline placement.

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