Year Fifteen

According to the timeline established in the pages of Superman Vol. 4 and Action Comics, we be must Year Fifteen to account for both the ages of Jonathan Kent (who turns 10-years-old this year) and Damian Wayne (who turns 13-years-old this year). This gives Batman two years (including his Year Zero) of crimefighting prior to the birth of Damian. And it gives Superman roughly five years of crimefighting before the birth of Jonathan.




–REFERENCE: In Super Sons #5. Having switched to his new costume, Batman puts his previous one (as he always does) on display in the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #11 and Dark Days: The Casting #1. Unable to shake the vision of alternate versions of himself dying, Batman begins working on his cloning machine again with hopes of learning more about the “dark energy” metal. Batman is convinced that he is the central player in a cosmic mystery and that the cloning machine can help figure it out. Cloning is a hell of a thing though, and a bit out of the range of Batman’s normal super-science expertise. Batman will continue working on this project on-and-off for the rest of the year. Likewise, Batman initiates a related project, “The Alfred Protocol.” Batman secretly scans a data map of Alfred’s mind, connecting it to a life-size hologram of Alfred. He plans to use Alfred’s consciousness to build a sentient AI version of Alfred that will be linked to the Bat-computer. Bruce keeps both his continuation of work on the cloning machine and the Alfred Protocol programming a secret from Alfred, but Alfred finds out anyway. Batman will continue working on perfecting the Alfred Protocol for the whole year as well.

–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #12-13. Alfred, as he has always done in an effort to subconsciously convince Batman to retire from crimefighting, suggests a Wayne Enterprises real estate purchase in a sunny vacation location. With Alfred’s urging, Bruce authorizes a gentrification project in downtown Miami. Alfred, in his official role as real estate consultant, even helps the marketing team come up with a catchy slogan to help sell the project. Shortly thereafter, WayneTech construction commences, breaking ground on a series of structures, including a new “affordable” ocean-view hotel/condo tower.

–FLASHBACK: From Wonder Woman Vol. 5 #33—and also referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #21, Flash Vol. 5 #21-24, Flash Vol. 5 #33, Titans Vol. 3 Annual #1, and Dark Days: The Casting #1. Originally told in Justice League Vol. 2 #41-50 (“THE DARKSEID WAR”). Nearly nine months have passed since Forever Evil. The Anti-Monitor and Grail (Darkseid’s daughter) attack the Justice League, who get rescued by Metron. Lex Luthor is shot by his sister Lena Luthor before being saved by Superman. Inside the Rock of Eternity, Wonder Woman rips Metron out of the Mobius Chair. Batman leaps into the throne, becoming a “Bat-God” and learning a wealth of hidden information, including the fact that there are three Jokers. The heroes soon get caught in the middle of a war between Darkseid’s forces and the Anti-Monitor’s Shadow Demons. On Apokolips, Superman falls into a fire pit, which imbues him with Apokoliptian negative-energy, turing him evil. Batman and Hal travel to the Universe-3, birthplace of the Anti-Monitor to learn more about his origin. After dispatching a legion of Qwardian Thunderers, Batman and Hal learn that the Anti-Monitor is Mobius, creator of the Mobius Chair. Batman sees a vision of the creation of the positive-matter universe (Universe-0) and the creation of the anti-matter universe (Universe-3) and learns that the latter was born from the Anti-Life. Mobius discovered the Anti-Life and was endowed with the power of the sentient Anti-Life Equation. On Earth-0, before reverting back to Mobius, Anti-Monitor fuses Flash with the Black Racer, flinging him into and killing Darkseid! The deceased Darkseid’s Omega power is instantly subsumed by Lex. Batman, addicted to the Mobius Chair, then returns to Gotham. While Grail steals the Anti-Life Equation, Hal, Batman, and Wonder Woman fight evil Superman. Batman reveals that Superman is dying (of super-cancer from the Apokoliptian fire pit’s negative-energy). Meanwhile, Cyborg is taken over by The Grid and Jessica Cruz (Power Ring) is taken over by the Volthoom soul entity inside her ring. The heroes make a truce with the reformed Crime Syndicate, including a nine month pregnant Superwoman. Mobius fights the Green Lantern Corps, Lex, Parademons, and Crime Syndicate, murdering Ultraman in the process. Grail uses a mind-controlled and powered-up Steve Trevor to kill Mobius. Superman returns to his senses just as Superwoman gives birth to a baby boy. Superwoman breaks the détente by stealing both Lex’s Omega-powers and the Apokoliptian negative-energy, giving them to the baby. Grail then murders Superwoman, but continues powering-up the baby, giving it Shazam’s magick, Trevor’s power, and the Black Racer’s powers from Flash, separating the two in the process. As Flash races away from the Black Racer, a fissure opens, releasing original Kid Flash Wally West! (He’s been trapped in the Speed Force ever since being exiled there by Abra Kadabra during the Mr. Twister mind-wipe episode from years ago.) Before departing, the Black Racer kills the Volthoom soul entity, which frees Jessica. Darkseid is reincarnated in the baby, who grows to adulthood instantly. Hal helps Batman out of the Mobius Chair. Big Barda returns from Apokolips, having made a truce with the evil New Gods. As Barda and the evil New Gods attack, Grid releases Cyborg. As Owlman (in the hijacked Mobius Chair) and Grid boom away, Myrina Black (Grail’s mom) sacrifices her own life to get the Anti-Life out of Darkseid, reverting him back to a baby. Grail, baby Darkseid, and the Anti-Life Equation disappear. With her dying breath, Myrina reveals that the first male to set foot on Themyscira is her (Myrina’s) brother, Jason. Jessica becomes a new Green Lantern. Lex fashions a Superman-styled war-suit for himself. Superman finds out about his super-cancer. On the moon, Mobius-Chair Owlman meets with Metron, but Dr. Manhattan arrives and kills them both! Afterward, Batman likely goes on an investigation into the three Jokers thing, striking a bunch of dead ends.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 5 #8. Batman discovers a strange anomalous geographical region akin to Marvel’s Savage Land—a mile-deep tropical valley in Siberia, hidden from the world by magnetic cloud cover. In this deep lush valley, which will later be named Monster Valley, monsters and prehistoric creatures exist. Batman does a flyover to map the area and to take scientific readings. It is possible the creation of this unnatural valley is linked to the the 1908 Tunguska Event. Batman begins monitoring the valley and will continue to do so, in perpetuity.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1. Batman disbands the Outsiders and returns the covert-ops team to its original lineup of Geo-Force, Halo, Katana, Metamorpho, and Black Lightning. Batman poses for a picture with the Outsiders. The Dark Knight then turns the picture into a holographic 3D image and attaches it to a pedestal projector display in Sub-Cave Alpha. The Outsiders will continue going on unspecified missions and investigating the “dark energy” signature found in geological anomalies across the globe.

–NOTE: In a reference in Nightwing Vol. 4 #22—originally told in Grayson #16-20. Dick goes against Spyral and winds up fighting against a team of international super spies, after which he defeats a reincarnated Otto Netz. Dick’s secret identity is returned to him via a brainwashing satellite that mind-wipes the global populace. With his secret ID intact and Spyral purged of evil influence, Dick quits Spyral and returns to his Nightwing persona.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Nights: Metal #2—originally told in Batman Vol. 2 #51. When a citywide blackout occurs, Batman checks on all the usual suspects, including the Court of Owls. While spying on them, he hears them talk about “The Mantling” orchestrated by the “Strigydae.” If Batman only knew they were talking about him in relation to Barbatos and the Dark Multiverse, but he doesn’t have a clue. Not yet anyway. Later, Batman finds that the blackout was simply a result of natural causes.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #24—originally referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #9-10 and Batman Vol. 3 #15. A Kahndaqi terror group known as The Dogs of War bombs The Thomas and Martha Wayne Home for the Boys and Girls of Gotham, killing 171 people, mostly orphaned children. Catwoman’s friend Holly Robinson, who once stayed at the home with Selina as a child, snaps. Holly begins a clandestine campaign of bloody vengeance and retribution. Over the course of the next couple months, Holly will stalk all 237 members of the Dogs of War and murder them individually. Batman investigates the Dogs of War bombing as well, but is unaware who is responsible for the executions of the Dogs of War at this point.

–REFERENCE: In Titans Vol. 3 Annual #1—originally told in Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1. Hal Jordan leaves the Justice League, but installs rookie Green Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz on the team in his place.

–REFERENCE: In New Super-Man #10-12—originally told in “THE FINAL DAYS OF SUPERMAN.” Superman tells Batman he is dying of super-cancer. Later, a fake Superman (Denny Swan) appears in Metropolis. (Swan has been blasted by a sentient energy source that has been infused with a copy of Superman’s genome.) Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman fly to China, mistakenly tracking the fake Superman’s energy signature there. The Trinity are confronted by members of The Great Ten (August General in Iron, Accomplished Perfect Physician, Ghost Fox Killer, Jade Lion, Yeti, Celestial Archer, and Seven Deadly Brothers). The Great Ten accompany the Trinity to the lab of super-scientist Dr. Omen, head of the Ministry of Self-Reliance. Omen reveals the first ever Chinese Man of Steel, Super-Man Zero, who flies off. Soon afterward, Superman and the fake Superman do battle in California. Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Lois, Jon, Steel, and Lana Lang are present. Superman grabs the faker and flies him into Earth’s orbit. The fake Superman explodes, which kills him instantly and seemingly incinerates the real Superman as well. The blast also endows Lana with super powers. Without a body to be found, everyone assumes Superman is dead. The news of Superman’s putative death quickly hits news outlets, and soon the entire planet mourns his passing. Of course, Superman isn’t actually dead. In fact, the explosion of the fake Superman has cured him of his super-cancer! Hours later, Clark reunites with his family. For reasons unknown, however, he will continue playing dead and move his family into a motel while he recovers from injury.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #21-22 and Flash Vol. 5 #21—originally told in Flashpoint #1-5Flashpoint is moved on the New Age timeline, said to occur only “months” prior to Batman Vol. 3 #22 (“The Button”), rather than years. While “Superman Reborn” might have usurped Flashpoint‘s role as a fulcrum for the New Age timeline, it still occurs as an important catalyst for future events. Flash’s actions alter reality so that young Bruce was shot to death, causing Thomas Wayne to become Batman and Martha Wayne to become Joker. Flash interacts with a host of new characters, including the Thomas Wayne Batman, who gives him a handwritten letter to give to Bruce, should Barry be able to revert everything back to normal. Thomas Wayne Batman is seemingly killed, but Dr. Manhattan secretly keeps him alive. Flash is unable to fix things using the Speed Force, but eventually meets the godlike Pandora, who erases the “world of Flashpoint”—although Flash retains all memory of it and it remains in existence as an alternate timeline (thanks to the secret machinations of Dr. Manhattan). Pandora re-creates the primary DCU reality so that it reverts back to the status quo of the New Age timeline aka the post-“Superman Reborn” reality you currently see before you. However, unknown to Pandora, Dr. Manhattan secretly “guides” her world-sculpting hands, stealing a decade’s worth of continuity information from the timeline. In this way, Dr. Manhattan becomes a secret partial creator of DCU, with Pandora actually doing less than she is aware of. With things returned to New Age normal, Flash visits Batman and explains all that has happened, delivering Thomas’ letter to a teary-eyed Dark Knight. Batman puts his Flashpoint dad’s letter into a display case in the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #21, Batman Vol. 3 #24, Flash Vol. 5 #21, and Titans Vol. 3 Annual #1—originally told in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. The events of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 occur “a few months” prior to Titans Vol. 3 Annual #1. Kid Flash Wally West, having finally been released from the Speed Force during “Darkseid War,” attempts to make contact with the world. While trapped in the Speed Force, Wally saw the true history of the DCU—from the original Crisis through the Modern Age, Flashpoint, New 52, and New Age. He also learned that ten years that were literally pilfered by an unknown force. (SPOILER: It’s Dr. Manhattan.) When two Jokers are captured in different cities, Batman confirms that there are indeed three of them. (As originally revealed in Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #13, one of the captured Jokers is a copycat named Edwin. The other captured Joker‘s identity is unknown. The third Joker is the original Joker, who is currently cured of his insanity and is an amnesiac.) Wally breaks through the Speed Force barrier and tries to talk to Batman, but is unable. However, a bloody smiley face button-pin shoots into the Batcave.[1] Wally then visits nonagenarian Johnny Thunder at an elderly home and apprises him that he must make everyone remember the blocked/erased history the Justice Society of America. In a Metropolis, a time-displaced Saturn Girl of The Legion of Superheroes is questioned by Captain Maggie Sawyer. In Ivy Town, Ryan Choi receives a message from the Atom, who is trapped in the Microverse. Elsewhere, Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) forms a partnership with ex-Blue Beetle Ted Kord. Dr. Fate appears and tells Ted that the beetle Scarab—a sentient symbiotic being that gives Jaime his metapowers—is magickal. At Wayne Manor, Robin celebrates his thirteenth birthday. Elsewhere, Lucia Hyde talks to her teenage son Jackson Hyde, who is struggling with being a gay Black metahuman. Concurrently, Pandora is murdered by Dr. Manhattan. On a secret island, Grail comforts baby Darkseid. At a motel where the Kents are temporarily hiding out, Superman runs into “Mr. Oz”, who tells him that nothing is what it seems. (SPOILER ALERT: As revealed in Action Comics #987, Mr. Oz is Superman’s biological father Jor-El.) On yet another deserted isle, Aquaman proposes to Mera. (They’ve more or less been husband and wife for years, even referring to each other as such, but now it will be “surface dweller official.”) A serried crowd gathers at the site of Superman’s supposed murder, including Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Linda Park, who runs into Wally, manifesting out of the Speed Force yet again. Wally tries to reach out to Linda, his wife in the Modern Age, but fails to connect. In Gotham, new superhero Gotham tells his partner Gotham Girl that they aren’t quite ready to debut. In Louisiana, John Constantine kibitzes with Swamp Thing. Wally appears before Captain Boomerang, Cyborg, Nightwing, the new Kid Flash (his cousin that is also named Wally West), and Flash (Barry Allen). Wally is finally able to connect with Barry. In tears, they embrace and Wally is back! (In this moment, Abra Kadabra’s global mind-wipe ends and the world remembers the original Teen Titans again.) In the Batcave, Batman finds the smiley face button. On Mars, Dr. Manhattan watches all. Afterward, Batman ramps up his investigation into the three Jokers matter, but it leads to nothing but a dead end. Superman then publicly returns, showing the world that he didn’t actually die during the “Final Days of Superman.”

–FLASHBACK: From Flash Vol. 5 #21—originally told in The Flash: Rebirth #1. Batman and Flash begin analysis and testing on the smiley face button. They will run tests on it, learning nothing, for months to come.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1 and Dark Days: The Casting #1. Batman locates the amnesiac Joker and apprehends him. Hoping to study his condition and learn more about Dionesium, Batman extracts a sample of Dionesium from Joker’s body. Batman then 3D-scans the sample into an enlarged holographic image, which he adds to a holographic pedestal projector display in the secret Batcave wing within the Batcave. Upon close examination and molecular study, Batman learns that Dionesium is linked to the same “dark energy” as the compound comprised of Electrum and the mystery metal he has been investigating for the past couple years. Batman also runs tests on Joker and turns the docile amnesiac back into his crazed self just to question him about Dionesium. (Joker knows more about Dionesium than anyone else.) Chary of his sly arch-rival, the Dark Knight creates a special holding cell in Sub-Cave Alpha and incarcerates Joker there. To ensure top security, Batman creates the “Smile Protocol,” which is an automated defense system that will activate should Joker get out of his cell somehow. In exchange for info about Dionesium, Batman tells the revived Joker all about his “dark energy” investigation and covert use of the Ousiders and “Black Sites.” Batman even shows Joker his cloning machine and the “Meta-File” on the Bat-computer.

–REFERENCE: In Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #29—originally told in Harley Quinn Vol. 2 #25. Harley Quinn’s boyfriend, Mason Macabre, was recently unjustly jailed for the second degree murder of the son of New York City’s corrupt top politician, Mayor DePerto. After DePerto has Mason transferred to Arkham Asylum, Harley and Poison Ivy break-in and rescue him. Before leaving, Harley kicks the shit out of fake Joker Edwin. Batman, having been contacted by Harley’s Coney Island crew (Big Tony, Egg Fu, Madame Macabre, and Queenie), arrives to assist. Feeling sympathetic, Batman takes Mason to government officials, who put him into the safety of the Witness Protection Program.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #27 and Nightwing Vol. 4 #29—originally told in Nightwing: Rebirth #1 and Nightwing Vol. 4 #1-4. Dick meets with Batman, telling him he will bring down the Parliament of Owls at any cost. Dick then surprises Batman, revealing that he has returned to the Nightwing gimmick. Soon after, the Parliament assigns Nightwing to team-up with their top agent Raptor (who is actually a triple agent—working against them as an anti-hero of sorts and also per hire by Kobra). After several globetrotting missions together, Nightwing and Raptor rebel against the Parliament at their main headquarters in Turkey, shutting down their Istanbul branch with some support from Spyral (including Dick’s former Spyral partner, the Tiger King of Kandahar). An injured Raptor, who shockingly reveals that he knew Dick’s mother back in the day, is left behind. Afterward, Nightwing debriefs with Batman.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #29. Batman designs and builds a special thermal armor suit specifically for Dick, which he gives to him as a gift. Nightwing appreciates the gesture, but isn’t especially thrilled with the aesthetic of the suit, so he stores it in the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In Teen Titans Vol. 6 #8-10—originally told in Teen Titans Vol. 6 #5. Robin forms a new Teen Titans, which includes Starfire, Beast Boy, Kid Flash (the younger Wally West), and Raven. When Robin is bested and imprisoned by his cousin Mara al Ghul (the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul’s son Dusan al Ghul), the Teen Titans rescue him and soon find themselves face to face with Ra’s al Ghul’s teenage super-villain squad known as The Demon’s Fist (Blank, Plague, Stone, and Nightstorm). When the Demon’s Fist betrays Ra’s al Ghul to help their fellow teens, Ra’s al Ghul flees with Mara. Later, Batman orders Robin to submit weekly briefings to him regarding all Teen Titans activities. (Robin will comply with this for a little bit, but slack off after a while.) Not long after, Bruce funds the construction of a T-shaped Teen Titans HQ in San Francisco Bay.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #11. Now that teenage terror Damian is operating more independently, Batman figures out all of Damian’s private passwords and formulas for creating them. This way, invasive Bruce can spy on any information Damian stores on a computer network. Moving forward, dad will spy quite a bit.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #7 and Dark Days: The Forge #1—originally told in Batman: Rebirth #1. Duke Thomas finally accepts his spot in the Bat-Family. He moves into Wayne Manor and begins training with Batman, debuting as the superhero Lark.

–REFERENCE: In New Super-Man #16—originally told in New Super-Man #3. China’s newest rookie hero Super-Man (Kenan Kong) is interviewed by reporter Laney Lan on a live global web-feed, during which he boldly reveals his secret identity to the world. (Kenan is also Dr. Omen’s son.) During the interview, Super-Man introduces the Justice League of China, a trio featuring himself, Wonder-Woman (Deilan Peng), and Bat-Man (Baixi Wang). People all over the world, including Batman, watch the video with keen interest.

–REFERENCE: In Titans Vol. 3 Annual #1—originally referenced in Titans Vol. 3 #7. Now that Abra Kadabra’s mind-wipe has ended and everyone remembers the original Teen Titans, the former sidekicks decide that they might as well team up again. Bruce bankrolls the brand new Titans—Nightwing, Donna Troy, Arsenal, Omen, Tempest (former Aqualad Garth), and Flash (Wally West). (Barry Allen and Wally West are both going by Flash now.) Bruce pays for the team’s new gaudy T-shaped headquarters in the middle of the East River in New York City—which is likely constructed at super-fast speed with metahuman help. He will continue to fund the Titans from this point forward.

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #20-23 and Action Comics #978. The Kents (with their pet cat Goldie) move from California to a farm in Hamilton County, New York (300 miles north of Metropolis). The Kents’ farm is located next door to the Cobb Dairy Farm, run by Cobb Branden, who lives with his granddaughter Kathy Branden. (SPOILER ALERT: The Brandens—along with a few other of Hamilton County’s citizens that will be closest to Jon—are actually secret aliens that are a part of Manchester Black‘s Super Elite.)

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #21-24—originally told in Superman Vol. 4 #1-2 (“SON OF SUPERMAN”). At the Kent Farm in Hamilton, NY, a ten-year-old Jonathan has just recently discovered his super powers, but doesn’t know how to control them yet, inadvertently killing his pet cat Goldie with heat vision. Jonathan’s friend Kathy Branden sees him using his powers. Later that night, an angsty Jon looks out his window to see his dad, in costume, meeting with Batman and Wonder Woman. When a distress alert comes in from a US Coast Guard ship, Superman asks Wonder Woman and Batman if he can take his son on his first official mission. Wonder Woman and Batman give the green light. Superman and Jon defeat a giant pink Riftsquid together. (SPOILER ALERT: Manchester Black is responsible for the Riftsquid attack.)

–REFERENCE: In Action Comics #978-982, Superman Vol. 4 #22, and Dark Days: The Forge #1—originally told in Superman Vol. 4 #6. Batman, with metahuman help (likely from Superman and Mr. Terrific), builds a Batcave on the moon! The Dark Knight moves his most dangerous and experimental lab equipment and weaponry there, including the Hellbat-suit. Batman also connects the Earthbound Bat-computer network to the moon-cave computer systems. Shortly thereafter, The Eradicator does battle against Superman, Lois (wearing the Hellbat-suit), Jon, and Krypto inside Batman’s moon-cave. Superman and Krypto kick the Eradicator’s ass, causing him to blow up in a nuclear explosion. Superman buries the Eradicator on the moon. Batman logs all of the substantial damage done to his lunar HQ. Superman then introduces Jon to Batman and Wonder Woman as Superboy! Lois keeps a special weaponized Hellbat glove as a souvenir from this exploit. While cleaning-up and repairing the moon base, Batman records the Eradicator’s unique energy signature into his criminal database.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1. Plastic Man has become unstable (aside from his off-kilter mental state). Batman, Mr. Terrific, and a few unknown others all agree that Plastic Man is becoming dangerous. Thus, they capture and neutralize him, trapping him in a permanent egg shape. Batman extracts molecules from Plastic Man’s body and puts him in a secret containment unit in the moon-cave.

–REFERENCE: In Blue Beetle Vol. 9 #12. Ex-Blue Beetle Ted Kord sends a bunch of letters to the Justice League asking to be a member of the team. He will continue to send letters for months to come. These letters will be considered highly embarrassing by the JL, who won’t even bother responding.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 3 #21—originally told in Justice League: Rebirth #1. The giant mollusk-cockroach alien known as The Reaper invades Metropolis, taking control of hundreds of thousands of humans in parasitic Starro fashion. The JL defeats the Reaper, who claims that worse monsters will soon come to Earth before fleeing the planet.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 3 #21-29—originally told in Justice League Vol. 3 #1-5 (“THE EXTINCTION MACHINES”). An evil alien race (from which Cyborg’s tech originates) invades Earth with thousands of cocoon-like alien spaceships, unleashing voracious mini-swarm creatures across the globe and causing massive earthquakes via orbs embedded in the planet’s upper core. The aliens also begin assimilating humans. In response, the bizarre cosmic entities known as The Kindred rise up, taking the form Godzilla-tall clumps of assimilated humans. The Kindred tells Wonder Woman that metahumans only have powers because of them, and they are taking the powers back. While Superman destroys the orbs, the JL fights the aliens and the Kindred. Cyborg learns the Kindred’s plan—to stop the swarm aliens from “Purging” the Earth by initiating their own “Awakening,” which seems pretty bad too since it will animate an evil cosmic power. The JL decides that option three is the best: save the day by preventing both the Awakening and the Purge. In deep space, the Green Lanterns find hundreds of humanoid aliens that look just like Cyborg, bringing them back to Earth. Cyborg is able to stop the Purge and send the invading aliens packing. Using the Cyborg aliens as missiles, the Green Lanterns take down the Kindred, who sing a mystical song that sends a signal out into the unknown beyond. Aquaman finishes off the Kindred with power from the magickal sentient Zodiac Crystals, which are ancient artifacts from Atlantis.

–REFERENCE: In Titans Vol. 3 Annual #1. Batman upgrades his cowl tech to include state-of-the-art sensors of all varieties. His cowl tech has stronger capability and range than the smaller domino masks of Robin or Nightwing.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 3 #21 and Justice League Vol. 3 #25—originally told in Justice League Vol. 3 #6-7 (“STATE OF FEAR”). The Justice League fights the “Fear Thing,” a giant black blob that causes them to feel intense fear and to lash out violently at each other. A crazed Wonder Woman and Aquaman threaten to take over the world. Eventually, with Flash’s help, Jessica Cruz uses her ring to destroy the growing black fear monster in Seattle, ending its control over everyone.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 3 #27-29—originally told in Justice League Vol. 3 #8-11 (“OUTBREAK”). A rogue AI hacks the Batcave systems, Watchtower systems, Cyborg’s body, and banks all over the globe, causing massive chaos. After re-controlling Cyborg in San Francisco, the JL traces the hacker code to the home of Kindred victim James Palmer in Denver. There, the JL discovers the hacker is Genie, a semi-sentient AI search engine designed by James’ genius daughter Lily and accidentally activated by brother Bobby. Genie, attuned to the Kindred’s distaste for the JL, sends out their GPS location and a big money reward for the deaths of the heroes. This immediately brings a bunch of super-villains to Denver—among them Scarecrow and Amazo. After the heroes defeat the villains, Batman takes and reprograms Genie, integrating it into both his Bat-computer network and the JL Watchtower network.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #21 and Batman Vol. 3 #24—originally told in Batman Vol. 3 #1-6 (“I AM GOTHAM”). When members of Kobra attempt to shoot down a passenger plane, Gotham and Gotham Girl (brother and sister Hank and Claire Clover) make their dramatic debut and save the day. Later, Batman assists Gotham and Gotham Girl to bring down Solomon Grundy. Batman, Gotham, and Gotham Girl deal with several terrorist bombings that are linked to Professor Hugo Strange (who is secretly being manipulated by Amanda Waller). Gotham Girl winds up confronting Psycho-Pirate, who is under the control of Hugo Strange. Psycho-Pirate causes the deaths of an entire squadron of Waller’s soldiers before scrambling Gotham Girl’s mind, causing her to go into a permanent shell-shocked state. Batman confronts Waller, who lies and says she has nothing to do with Hugo Strange going rogue and controlling Psycho-Pirate. When Batman learns that there is one more soldier still alive and under Psycho-Pirate’s spell, he rushes to the Clover household in the suburbs, but it’s too late—the Clover parents are already dead. An enraged Gotham begins smashing up the city. Meanwhile, the rattled Claire tells Duke that she and her brother paid money for meta-powers that increase exponentially at the cost of a decreased lifespan. Batman and the Justice League are defeated by Gotham in battle, forcing Gotham Girl to swoop in and kill her brother to stop his carnage. A broken Gotham Girl, distraught by all the deaths in her family and still messed-up by Psycho-Pirate, then shaves her head and busts Colonel Blimp, Captain Stingaree, and Kite Man. Batman reveals his secret ID to Gotham Girl and takes her into Wayne Manor. Later, Batman meets with Waller, who tells him that Hugo Strange has handed over Psycho-Pirate to Bane in exchange for Venom. Waller agrees to help Batman invade Santa Prisca.

–FLASHBACK: From Red Hood & The Outlaws Vol. 2 Annual #1—and also referenced in Batwoman: Rebirth #1, Detective Comics #957-958, and Detective Comics #963-966. Originally told in Detective Comics #935-940 (“RISE OF THE BATMEN”). Batman initiates a new “Bat-squad” team consisting of Batwoman, Red Robin, Spoiler, a reformed Clayface, and Orphan (Cassandra Cain). Red Robin gives Batman a speech about how this new team could bring hope to Gotham. He talks about the definition of what it means to be a superhero, perorating about how superheroes must earn the public trust through collaboration and rehabilitation rather than the fear-instilling and coercion. Red Robin lays out his “Gotham Knights Protocol,” a detailed plan about rehabilitative social justice that can be adapted-to and combined-with the new Bat-squad operations. Batman and Red Robin (likely with some metahumen help) then turn a large portion of Old Wayne Tower into a brand new base of operations called The Belfry. (Old Wayne Tower, also known as the Corolla Building, is a historical landmark that hasn’t been used for Wayne Enterprises business since the days of Bruce’s parents.) The Belfry contains the “Mud Room,” a Danger Room facility that incorporates programmable holographic computer simulations and Clayface’s powers for training purposes. Shortly thereafter, the Colony, a military ops group run by Jake Kane, attacks and abducts Batman, but the Caped Crusader escapes custody and interrogates the Colony’s resident tech-nerd Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong, who reveals that the Colony has been active all over the globe for years and has been secretly surveilling Batman’s every move since his debut. Jake and his men tell Batman that only his group is capable of defending America against threats like the League of Assassins and its elite inner-group, the League of Shadows. The Bat-squad crashes the party, kicks Colony ass, and rescues Batman. Armstrong tells Jake that he’s programmed drones to immediately kill Gothamites on the League of Shadows terror watch-list—a strike that could cause around 600 innocent collateral deaths. Tim, who has recently started dating Stephanie, tells her that he has decided to quit the superhero game and go to college. Soon after, Red Robin learns that Armstrong’s drones are active, prompting the Bat-squad back into action. The team rushes to scatter the innocent people nearest to Jake’s targets, successfully bringing many to safety. Lady Shiva watches her daughter in action from a distance. Red Robin is able to re-route all of the drone programming, causing them to target him instead of the folks on the terror watch-list. While Batwoman busts her dad, Red Robin defeats an entire drone army by himself but is incinerated in the process. The Bat-squad mourns Red Robin’s death. But not so fast! Elsewhere, the mysterious Mr. Oz rematerializes Red Robin inside his secret prison fortress lair. Mr. Oz tells Red Robin that he needs to be alive, but needs to be “off the playing field” in order for things to work out in a certain way on the timeline. Confined to a cell, Red Robin vows to escape, even if his friends and family think he is dead. Jake and his top soldiers Dom and Cooper are confined to cells in the Belfry. Later, a funeral is held for Tim.

–REFERENCE: In Red Hood & The Outlaws #12—originally told in Red Hood & The Outlaws Vol. 2 #5. Batman sends Red Hood to work undercover as one of Black Mask’s henchmen in order to bring down his operations from within. Black Mask sees through Red Hood’s ruse and sics a mind-controlled Bizarro II on him. Red Hood teams with his new Amazonian acquaintance Artemis to defeat Black Mask and Bizarro. Afterward, Red Hood, Artemis, and a pacified Bizarro form a new Outlaws team.

–REFERENCE: In Batwoman: Rebirth #1—originally told in “NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN.” Hugo Strange uses a combination of Monster Serum and Venom (aptly called Monster Venom), which he recently got from Bane, to create kaiju monsters that attack Gotham. The Bat-Family defeats the monsters and brings Hugo Strange to justice. ARGUS seals off a section of the city around the corpse of the final defeated monster, turning the spot into a radioactive weapons research outpost known as Monstertown.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #963. In honor of Tim and in line with his more progressive views on superhero vigilantism, Batman orders the Bat-squad to begin a weekly raids of Penguin’s narcotics warehouses to steal EpiPens and other medications to distribute to the uninsured and poor sick folks of Gotham. The Bat-squad will do this weekly raid for many months to come.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #27 and Nightwing Vol. 4 #30—originally told in Nightwing Vol. 4 #7-8 (“RISE OF THE RAPTOR”). Nightwing confronts a returning Raptor, who is outed as a Kobra spy. Raptor reveals that he used to date Dick’s mom, has been secretly stalking Dick for decades, and knows Batman’s secret ID. Later, at a Wayne Enterprises press conference, Raptor kidnaps Bruce and puts him in a death trap in Paris. Citing anarchist political values, Raptor tells Bruce that he hates him both for foisting a bourgeois life upon Dick and for waging an anti-crime war via plutocracy. Nightwing saves Bruce and busts Raptor. Spyral then uses hypnos technology to mind-wipe Raptor’s knowledge of Batman’s secret ID.

–REFERENCE: In Teen Titans Vol. 6 #8 and Deathstroke Vol. 4 #19—originally told in Deathstroke Vol. 4 #4-5 (“THE PROFESSIONAL”). When Deathstroke’s ex-wife Adeline Kane puts a hit out on his daughter Ravager (Rose Wilson), Deathstroke returns to Batman’s city to protect her. After prepping for battle with some help from hacker Hosun and right-hand man William Randolph Wintergreen, Deathstroke and Ravager engage in a game of deadly cat-and-mouse with Batman and Robin. Deathstroke kidnaps Robin, prompting Batman to meet with and play mind-games with Ravager, talking about her dysfunctional relationship with her dad. After saving Robin, Batman comes to mistakenly believe that Deathstroke put the hit out on his own daughter. Ravager then seeks the aid of her boyfriend, hitman Luis Trayce, who has secretly simultaneously accepted conflict-of-interest hits—both Ravager’s hit on her dad and Adeline Kane’s hit on Ravager.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #24—originally told via flashback from Batman Vol. 3 #11. Catwoman decides to take the rap for her bestie Holly Robinson, who has spent the last couple months murdering all 237 members of the Dogs of War. Batman chases after and reluctantly busts Catwoman, whom he does not believe is truly responsible for the murders. Selina is quickly tried by Gotham’s fast-track courts of law and soon goes into Arkham Asylum. Batman sends Selina a letter telling her how much he cares for her and saying that he doesn’t truly believe she killed those 237 people.

–REFERENCE: In Batwoman: Rebirth #1, Detective Comics #957, and Detective Comics #964—originally told in Detective Comics #943-947 (“THE VICTIM SYNDICATE”). The Victim Syndicate (The First Victim, Mudface, The Mute, Mr. Noxious, and Madame Crow) debuts and attacks the Bat-squad, Harper Row, and Batwing, defeating them. (Unknown to the heroes, a returning Anarky is secretly assisting the villains from the shadows.) Later, Batman orders Dr. Leslie Thompkins do psych evaluations on his team. Meanwhile, the First Victim confronts Stephanie Brown, filling her head with some bad juju. During Steph’s head-shrinking session with Dr. Thompkins, the former realizes that Batman is listening-in and calls him out. Immediately afterward, the Bat-squad—with Batwing and Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley Jr.)—fight the Victim Syndicate again. Just as the Bat-squad defeats the Victim Syndicate, Spoiler arrives to challenge her teammates. She has become completely disillusioned with Batman’s war on crime. After taking down the entire Bat-Family by herself, Spoiler addresses Batman, saying that his “costumed games” have hurt too many innocent people. Spoiler speaks of another world where each Bat-Family member does something positive for the community without having to wear masks or join a paramilitary group. She tells the Bat-Family that she will forever be their rival before motorbiking away. Batman lets Spoiler operate on her own, but will keep tabs on her. (We won’t see Batman keeping tabs on our timeline below, but he will definitely be monitoring her from a distance. On the flip side, Spoiler begins a website called “Spoiler Alert,” which crowdsources photos of Gotham vigilantes—so Stephanie will be watching Batman quite a bit herself. Not only that, but Spoiler will also begin randomly vandalizing the Bat-Signal.) Later, Azrael and Batwing join the Bat-squad. Concurrently, Red Robin tries but fails to escape from his cell in Mr. Oz’s lair.

–REFERENCE: In Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #14 and Dark Nights: Metal #2. All members of the Bat-squad are given heightened security clearances. This means those who were unaware of all Bat-Family secret IDs now learn them. (Presumably only Azrael, Clayface, and maybe Batwing didn’t know everyone’s secret ID prior to now.)

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #21 and Batman Vol. 3 #24—originally told in Batman Vol. 3 #9-13 (“I AM SUICIDE”). Claire Clover is still suffering mental anguish caused by the lasting effects of using her powers and by Psycho-Pirate. In fact, only Psycho-Pirate can heal her damaged mind. To invade Santa Prisca, Batman cuts a deal with Amanda Waller and law enforcement officials to recruit a team of Arkham Asylum prisoners, including Catwoman, the Ventriloquist (Arnold Wesker), Bronze Tiger, Punch, and Jewelee. After battling against overwhelming odds, surviving death traps, and initiating a multi-layered deception, Batman faces-off against Bane. Meanwhile, Amanda Waller reveals that she knows Batman’s secret ID, entering the Batcave to confront Alfred. In Santa Prisca, as Bane menaces over a seemingly defeated Batman, Catwoman takes down Bane. Batman’s motley crew kidnaps Psycho-Pirate and makes their escape back to the States. Batman begins trying to figure out how to use Psycho-Pirate’s mask to save Claire.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #24—originally told in Batman Vol. 3 #14-15 (“ROOFTOPS”). Batman and Catwoman have one night to spend with each other before the latter must go back to jail. Together, they patrol, taking down a bevy of super-villains, including Magpie, Signalman, Amygdala, Gorilla Boss, Ten-Eyed Man, a werewolf (possibly Anthony Lupus), Copperhead, Cavalier, Zebra Man (Vortex), Film Freak, Mad Monk, Kite Man, Condiment King, King Snake, and Clock King. (Note that there are currently three Clock Kings active in the DCU.) Afterward, the Cat and the Bat visit one of the former’s safe-houses, which functions in Catwoman giving Batman a cryptic clue about Holly Robinson. Batman and Catwoman then unmask and get sexy on a Gotham rooftop. In a post-coital embrace, both Bruce and Selina say “I love you” to one another. Then Catwoman bails. Batman tracks down Holly Robinson, who immediately slashes him in the neck with a knife! When a weak and bloody Caped Crusader comes-to a while later, Alfred notifies him that Holly has booked a flight to Kahndaq. Catwoman gather the injured Batman and takes him home to Wayne Manor, where Alfred patches him up. In the morning, a sedated Bruce still hasn’t woken up and Holly is long gone. Selina leaves, telling Alfred the truth about Holly’s crimes. Later, Alfred relays Selina’s message. Catwoman is officially exonerated of all wrongdoing.

–REFERENCE: In Green Arrow Vol. 6 #29. Batman monitors some anomalous space frequencies and is able to trace them to the recent launch of a Queen Industries satellite. The Dark Knight begins constant secret monitoring of the satellite, which seems to be stealing information in an attempt to blackmail individuals, businesses, and governments across the globe. In the coming months, Batman will discover that the satellite in question was launched by a hundreds-of-years-old occult group known as The Ninth Circle, which is led by Moira Queen (Green Arrow’s own mother). The Ninth Circle has been led by a member of the Queen family for generations and has financially backed nearly every DCU super-villain at some point in their career. Not only that, the Ninth Circle is linked to the Court of Owls. Batman will spend the next few months closely monitoring the Ninth Circle’s actions.

–FLASHBACK: From Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #23—and also referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 5 #5, Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #18, and Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #21-23—originally told in Justice League vs Suicide Squad. Amanda Waller, who wants to legitimize the Suicide Squad as a fully-sanctioned team (by the superhero community), secretly manipulates Maxwell Lord into forming a team consisting of Doctor Polaris, Emerald Empress, Lobo, Johnny Sorrow, and Rustam. Amanda Waller then lures the Justice League into a fight against the Suicide Squad (Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Deadshot, Killer Frost, Enchantress, El Diablo, Captain Boomerang, Katana, and Rick Flag Jr), knowing that new member Killer Frost will be able to capture the entire superhero team. Sure enough, Killer Frost defeats them all. When Max Lord’s team attacks Belle Reve Prison, the JL is released and impelled to team-up with the Suicide Squad. Max’s team is defeated, but he uses the magickal “Heart of Darkness” to release Eclipso, who proceeds to quickly take over the entire planet in minutes. Batman leads Lobo and the Suicide Squad to defeat Eclipso and save the world. Afterward, Batman hacks and records the fluctuating mobile frequency of the brain-bombs that Waller uses to keep her Suicide Squad members in line. Then, Batman parleys for the release of Killer Frost, offering her a spot on a new hero team he is now planning. Batman tells Amanda Waller that he finally accepts the Suicide Squad as a legitimate government program. Batman asks Lobo to join his new team as well. At Belle Reve, Amanda Waller gloats in front of a captive Max Lord.

–FLASHBACK: From Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #23—originally told in Justice League of America Rebirth: Killer Frost #1. Amanda Waller tries to screw over Killer Frost by delaying her release from jail and placing her in bad situations inside Belle Reve in an attempt to get her to slip up and get stuck behind bars for good. Batman sneaks into Belle Reve and tells Amanda Waller that enough is enough. Killer Frost’s Suicide Squad brain-bomb is removed (although a hidden tracker remains). She then joins the company of Batman as a free woman.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 3 #21 and Justice League Vol. 3 #25—originally told in Justice League Vol. 3 #15-19 (“TIMELESS”). The Keeper, a cosmic “watcher” that has lived at a high enough plane of existence to be able to bear witness to the original Crisis and Flashpoint!, arrives on Earth in the form of a human named Molly. She draws the attention of the Justice League by fighting a phalanx of Borg-like Cell Soldiers of the cosmic race known as The Timeless, who want to rid the universe of all metahumans. Unknown to the heroes, both the Timeless and the Keeper want to get rid of metahumans, sharing a similar fear that metahuman existence will lead to the destruction of the entire universe. The only difference is that the Timeless want to do away with metahumans by quarantining Earth at the end of time whereas the Keeper wants to exterminate them all immediately. (If you haven’t noticed the theme in author Bryan Hitch’s run, it’s heroes saying, “To hell with the Sophie’s Choice scenario we’ve been dealt; we will find our own way.”) The Keeper, tricking the JL, sends its members (sans Batman and Superman) to different points in the past and future on missions to destroy the Timeless’ “temporal bombs.” In reality, these “bombs” are power siphons, which are needed to suck up enough energy to send Earth to the end of time. The Keeper wants to siphon that energy for herself, so she can kill all metahumans right away. Batman and Superman team with the time-traveling Infinity Corporation (Alexis Martin, Jane Jones, and Vincent), confronting the Timeless’ holographic AI leader, Tempus the Timeless Mind, who, like the Keeper, has seen the entire true history of the DCU. Alexis reveals that she is Lex Luthor’s daughter from the future, offering Batman her father’s old Superman-suit. Jane, Batman, and Superman defeat Tempus and the Cell Soldier army. At each moment in time, the heroes are tricked into funneling massive amounts of power straight to the Keeper, who reveals her true plan. While Vincent destroys Tempus, the JL defeats the Keeper in Metropolis. Earth is saved. In defeat, the Keeper warns of a greater threat’s impending arrival in the near future.

–REFERENCE: In Action Comics #979 and Trinity Vol. 2 #9-11—originally told in Trinity Vol. 2 #1-6 (“BETTER TOGETHER”). Jon Kent plants some “magic seeds” he gets from a strange man (actually Poison Ivy in disguise). Later, Lois, Clark, Bruce, Diana, and Jon have dinner at the Kent Farm. In the barn, the seeds sprout. Bruce, Clark, and Diana are snatched up by large alien Black Mercy plants (!) that put them into an unconscious dream realm, where they come face-to-face with long dead family members and younger versions of themselves. In the vivid dream, the young dream version of Bruce runs into a cave north of Smallville and carves the symbols representing the Trinity into a rock wall. Eventually, the shared hallucination takes the heroes face-to-face with Mongul and his dream daughter White Mercy. Back in the waking world, Poison Ivy tells Lois that, thanks to her connection to the Green, she had found her way into the Black Mercy dream of a trapped and unconscious Mongul. Mongul allowed Poison Ivy to befriend and care for his dream daughter only to then blackmail Poison Ivy with the threat of harming White Mercy. When Mongul enters Clark’s body in the waking world, White Mercy betrays her father, using Bruce’s body to defeat him. Diana is able to wake herself, Clark, and Bruce. Mongul remains trapped in dreams while Poison Ivy returns to Gotham. Thanks to Poison Ivy’s connection to the Green, White Mercy is given life in the real world.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #21 and Batman Vol. 3 #24—originally told in Batman Vol. 3 #16-20 (“I AM BANE”). Batman discovers how to manipulate Psycho-Pirate and his cosmic facial attire in order to save Claire. After one of Bane’s men tries and fails to assassinate Psycho-Pirate, accidentally injuring Jeremiah Arkham, Bruce meets with Jason, Dick, Damian, and Duke. Bruce tells his boys that Bane is coming and that he needs a few days with Psycho-Pirate and Claire to undo the damage to her mind. Later, the three former Robins are beaten up by Bane and strung up by their necks in the Batcave. The Dark Knight cuts down his former Robins and flies them straight to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude where they go into healing chambers. In preparation for his arrival, Bane sends his top men Trogg, Zombie, and Bird into Gotham. They kidnap Bronze Tiger and Catwoman—although the latter has allowed herself to be captured as part of a plan she and Batman have concocted to defeat Bane. After Alfred disguises himself as Jeremiah Arkham and wheels in Claire, who is disguised as Hush, to Arkham, Claire’s treatment with Psycho-Pirate begins. Meanwhile, Bane enters Gotham and kidnaps Lark and Commissioner Gordon. Bane then goes to Arkham where Batman has opened all the cells and allowed the prisoners access to their costumes and weapons. While the Bane and Batman brouhaha, Catwoman frees herself, rescues the captives, and kicks Bane’s henchmen’s asses. Catwoman then radios Bane to mock him. Now even more pissed, Bane smashes into Arkham while Batman joins Alfred, Claire, and Psycho-Pirate. Bane fights through Two-Face, Solomon Grundy, Amygdala, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Firefly, Black Spider, Eduardo Flamingo, Man-Bat, Victor Zsasz, Mad Hatter, Dr. Phosphorus, Hush, Copperhead, Calendar Man, and Riddler. As Maxie Zeus screams in the background, Bane fistfights Batman yet again. Batman knocks-out Bane and wins the day. Claire recovers and returns home. Batman brings Psycho-Pirate’s mask home to keep in the Batcave for further study.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 5 #5-8, Justice League of America Vol. 5 #10, and Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #25—originally told in Justice League of America: Rebirth #1 and Justice League of America Vol. 5 #1-4 (“THE EXTREMISTS”). Batman recruits his own Justice League of America, first locking-in Frost (formerly Killer Frost), Black Canary, and Lobo. (As specifically referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 5 #6, Batman makes a secret promise to Lobo in exchange for his loyalty.) Batman then targets the Atom (Ray Palmer) only to discover that he is missing in the Microverse. In Palmer’s place is new Atom Ryan Choi. Batman rudely dismisses Choi, but Lobo convinces Batman to let him join. Eventually, the team is finalized, consisting of Vixen, Lobo, the Atom (Ryan Choi), The Ray (Raymond Terrill), Black Canary, and Frost. They fix-up the old JL Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor, RI, turning it into their new HQ. The Atom tells the team about original Atom Ray Palmer’s damaged “TroubleAlert,” a special news trawler that always let the first Atom know where he was needed the most. Ryan and Frost fix the TroubleAlert for JLA use. Soon after, The ExtremistsLord Havok, Dreamslayer, Dr. Diehard, Gorgon, Tracer, Brute, and Death Bat (with Chiroptera)—cross through the Bleed (from their home of Universe-8), entering Earth-0 in Saratoga, New York. The JLA teleports to New York and immediately combats the Extremists, who eventually teleport to Kravia, a small Eastern European country that was home to Havok on Angor (aka the Earth of Universe-8). The Extremists remove the ruling military junta and Havok becomes the monarch of Kravia at a regal public coronation, during which he exclaims that the mysterious Might Beyond the Mirror granted him his power. The Extremists then annex several surrounding countries. The JLA, joining with a rebel group led by Bogna Budusheva, invades Kravia, dethrones the new potentate, and defeats his team. Only Dreamslayer is able to escape.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #33. When Talia al Ghul once again seeks to threaten the world via the scourge of Leviathan, Batman decides enough is enough. But this time, instead of bloody war, diplomacy (in the form of militarily-enforced secret international sanctions) will be the order of the day. In a conference attended by the JL, JLA, US Military officials, UN officials, Spyral higher-ups, and Talia, the latter agrees to confine herself (and her operations) to a hideout in the Middle Eastern country of Khadym. Talia, along with a harem of lovers and servants, immediately moves into a lavish fortress that can only be accessed via long mountain tunnels. Neither the coordinates of the decadent palace nor maps of the labyrinthian tunnels are revealed to any superheroes. Only a very select few intelligence officials are bestowed this info. The joint forces then fully seal off the country’s borders. Batman then personally drafts out further security rules, to which Talia agrees (likely in exchange for something pretty sweet). Per Batman’s rules, the JLA appoints a metahuman behemoth known as The Guard in the Desert to protect the entrance to the tunnels at all costs. His job is to prevent any outside force, even members of the JLA themselves (including Batman), from going inside. Should any incursion take place, alarms will be raised each of the joint force’s headquarters. Anyone breaking the embargo in any way will be in violation of international law and be punished to the maximum extent of the law, no matter who they are. After all is said and done, Bruce tells Damian and Alfred what has gone down.

–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #10—originally told in All-Star Batman #1-5 (“MY OWN WORST ENEMY”). Two-Face reigns chaos over Gotham. Things are so bad that Penguin, Black Mask, and Great White Shark join together (forming a new gang known as The Blacks and Whites) to help Batman bust Two-Face. A captive Two-Face reveals that he knows Batman’s secret ID, telling Batman that there is a cure for his (Two-Face’s) split personality hidden at the old Arkham Home in Innsmouth, Massachusetts where Bruce and Harvey first met each other shortly after Bruce’s parents’ deaths. En route to Innsmouth, a pre-taped message from Two-Face is released via news media outlets. The message reveals that Two-Face has dirt, thanks to years of extreme doxxing and info-phishing, on a large portion of the nation’s populace. With the threat of releasing the info, Two-Face essentially blackmails the entire United States into attacking Batman. Two-Face also threatens to remotely cause acid rain to pour over Gotham using sci-fi weather tech. This prompts dozens of regular citizens and super-villains to strike at Batman. The Dark Knight shakes-off Killer Moth, Firefly, Black Spider, Gentleman Ghost, Egghead, Orca, Killer Croc, King Shark, Amygdala, Cheshire, and a new female Copperhead. With help from Lark and Harold Allnut, Batman bests the Beast (aka KGBeast), Penguin, Black Mask, the Great White Shark, Tweedledum, and Tweedledee. At the old Arkham Home, Two-Face reveals that his cure doesn’t really exist. Batman saves the day, tricking Two-Face into ending his blackmail and acid rain threats.

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #20, Teen Titans Vol. 6 #6, Justice League Vol. 3 #22, and Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #10-11—originally told in Superman Vol. 4 #10-11. Robin—with help from his friend Maya Ducard (Morgan Ducard’s daughter) and his pet bat-dragon named Goliath—kidnaps Superboy in order to gain insight into his powers. Batman and Superman show up to stop the madness. At the Batcave, Batman learns the story of Goliath—the last creature of his kind—and runs tests on Superboy, this time with Superman’s blessing. When Robin and Superboy refuse to get along, Batman and Superman force them to go through a “boot camp” where they must work as a team to get through a series of challenges, including fights against Maya, Goliath, and a synthetically-created “Rainbow Creature” that the boys call “Mr. Squish.” The boys successfully get through the ordeal, forming a closer bond. Batman also takes notice of another close bond—the relationship between Goliath and Damian. The beast has latched onto Damian and will be loyal to him—like Chewbacca to Han Solo—for the rest of their lives.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 4 #21. Batman and Robin take down the murderous super-villain known as The Reaper (Judson Caspian).

–REFERENCE: In Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #12 and Nightwing Vol. 4 #30—originally told in Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #2. The newly reformed Birds of Prey—featuring Batgirl, Black Canary, and Helena Bertinelli (no longer working for Spyral and now going by “Huntress“)—investigates a new Oracle (Gus Yale) and crime bosses Santo Cassamento and Fenice (Huntress’ mom Maria Bertinelli). Batman visits Batgirl at her Clocktower HQ and warns her to be careful. Batgirl tells him that the gals don’t need his help, now or in the future. Batman respects her words and leaves. After successfully dealing with Fenice and her hired ruffians, the Birds of Prey recruit the new Oracle onto their team.

–REFERENCE: In Batwoman: Rebirth #1, Batwoman Vol. 2 #8, Red Hood & The Outlaws Vol. 2 Annual #1—originally told in Detective Comics #948-949 (“BATWOMAN BEGINS”). Batman is contacted by Dr. Victoria October, the ARGUS-contracted scientist that runs Monstertown. Batman and Batwoman visit Monstertown to find that sea gulls are merging with human remains to form horrific beasts. Batman and Batwoman return to the Belfry to find Colony Prime (the Colony’s top man Simon Samuels) attempting to free Jake Kane. The duo defeats Samuels after tricking him with the Mud Room simulator. Samuels then flees. Afterward, Jake reveals everything he knows about the League of Shadows. Batman, ever distrusting, remains skeptical about the League of Shadows’ existence.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Nights: Metal #1—originally told in All-Star Batman #6-9 (“ENDS OF THE EARTH”). Batman beats Mr. Freeze, deals with Poison Ivy, and fights Mad Hatter, all while being chased by an elite squadron of mystery soldiers disguised as covert-ops Blackhawk troopers. After learning that Ra’s al Ghul is behind all of it, the “Blackhawks” reveal themselves as League of Assassins ninjas, kidnapping Lark. In Washington DC, Batman, Catwoman, and Alfred (with help from the real Blackhawks, including leader Lady Blackhawk) defeat the League of Assassins and rescue Lark. (Note that Lady Blackhawk is secretly former Hawkgirl Kendra Saunders.) Ra’s al Ghul flees. After the case wraps, Batman investigates the Blackhawks, learning that they are linked to his overarching Dark Metal mystery in some way. Digging deeper, Batman learns that the Blackhawk’s hidden headquarters might contain some Nth Metal, which he’d love to get his hands on. Unfortunately, Batman is unable to locate the cloaked HQ. Moving forward, Batman will closely monitor the actions of the Blackhawks. Simultaneously, he will be very aware of the Blackhawks watching him right back.

–REFERENCE: In Batwoman: Rebirth #1 and Detective Comics #957-958—originally told in Detective Comics #950. A lonely Orphan (Cassandra Cain) visits the Gotham Metropolitan Ballet, briefly meeting (and scaring) dancer Christine Montclair. Later, Cassie listens-in as Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon and Mayor Sebastian Hady. The usually morally bankrupt political leader of Gotham has seen the light and wants to be a good guy now. Batman and the reformed Hady agree to have regular meetings in which he promises to spills the beans on every corrupt official in Gotham. (These meetings begin now and will continue invisibly moving forward on our timeline. As a direct result, crime in Gotham will drop to its lowest level in years.) In the Belfry, Jean-Paul shows Luke an AI android project he has been working on. Luke is dumbfounded to view the seemingly impossible tech specs of the Suit of Sorrows, which Jean-Paul has linked to a dormant robotic shell. After Jean-Paul and Luke depart, the android receives an energy signal that brings it to life. This fleeting spark of energy signifies that, somewhere in Europe, the Sacred Order of St. Dumas has just activated its newest Azrael, a deadly android called Ascalon.

–REFERENCE: In Batwoman: Rebirth #1 and Detective Comics #957-958—originally told in Detective Comics #951-956 (“LEAGUE OF SHADOWS”). Lady Shiva and the League of Shadows attack Gotham, assassinating Mayor Hady and dropping Joker Venom on the city. Shiva defeats Batman and Orphan in combat. The League of Shadows then infiltrate the Belfry and kidnap Batwing, Azrael, Batwoman, and Clayface. With the Belfry undefended, Jake Kane escapes and returns to the Colony. In the Batcave, Batman finds Ra’s al Ghul, who reveals that he has magickally mind-wiped Batman’s memories of the League of Shadows on three separate occasions. Ra’s al Ghul then subdues and captures Batman, delivering him to Shiva in exchange for her to halt her assault on the city and return the League of Shadows to the shadows. Orphan infiltrates the League of Shadows’ underground HQ, defeating over 200 warriors (!) and freeing the Bat-squad. Ra’s al Ghul arrives and shoots Lady Shiva dead. Ra’s al Ghul and his man-bats then depart with Shiva’s corpse. Later, Batman tells an injured Kate that the Bat-squad will need to use magick to defeat Ra’s al Ghul in the future.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #960-961. With his mind-wiped memories of the League of Shadows returned, Batman also recalls another mind-wipe done at the hands of John Zatara when he was just a teenager. Batman remembers that Zatanna once offered to teach him the magick art of resurrecting the dead and communing with the afterlife, but then her dad erased the memory. Batman won’t follow up on this magick investigation with Zatanna for a while due to important stuff coming up on our timeline that will prevent him from doing so immediately.

–NOTE: In Action Comics #976. “Superman Reborn” concludes. Mr. Mxyzptlk kidnaps Superboy, which prompts Superman and Lois Lane to go after their son. During the rescue, a cosmic clash between Superboy and Mxyzptlk causes all of reality to be rewritten. In an instant, the New 52 is erased and replaced with the official New Age timeline you see before you. Mr. Oz, watching from his prison fortress in an unknown remote location, is shocked that Superboy and Mxyzptlk could have enough combined power to change reality.[2]

–Trinity Vol. 2 #8
Superman has been suffering from horrible nightmares ever since “Superman Reborn,” which has just recently occurred. In these nightmares, Superman fights New 52 Superman and sees dozens of alternate reality versions of himself, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Panicked, Superman calls Batman and Wonder Woman to the Fortress of Solitude to tell them about his dreams. Superman tells his friends that the dreams are a final reminder of memories of a past life that is disappearing from his mind. He knows that reality has been altered. Batman tells them not to tell the rest of the Justice League until they can figure out more information. Meanwhile, Mr. Oz watches and hears all from his secret prison fortress.


–REFERENCE: In Teen Titans Vol. 6 #10. Beast Boy gives a live TV interview at Teen Titans Tower, giving a detailed tour of the premises (as seen in Teen Titans Vol. 6 #6). In Gotham, Batman watches with disgust, angry that Beast Boy would expose the team in such a manner. Batman is equally disgusted to discover Beast Boy’s vlog, which is more of the same high profile stuff.

———————-––Mother Panic #1
———————-––Mother Panic #3
Celebutante bad-girl Violet Paige (and one-time lover of Kate Kane) returns to Gotham after a long stint abroad. Violet, with plans of moonlighting as an edgy superhero, learns that the bodyguard (Dominic) of an old family acquaintance (Frederick Hemsley) is in danger. She tails Dominic, spying on him at a fancy charity event (also attended by Kate Kane). There, Violet is approached by a paparazzo that wants to know about the details of the death of her father, who died under mysterious circumstances years ago. Outside in an alley, Dominic is accosted by Hemsley’s henchmen. Violet switches into her crime-fighting costume and becomes Mother Panic. Using cybernetic implants and training received as a teenager at the “experimental school” known as Gather House, Mother Panic is more than equipped to kicks ass and rescue Dominic. Batman silently watches the rookie hero from the shadows. Dominic thanks who he mistakenly assumes is a member of the Bat-Family, to which Mother Panic replies, “Fuck the Bat.” She then takes Dominic to the safety of a mansion belonging to her Alzheimer’s-inflicted mother Rebecca Paige. Via interrogation, Mother Panic learns that Hemsley showed Dominic a piece of “artwork” that he had commissioned and purchased from the sadistic Gala, a snuff-artist that makes gory art pieces via legitimate murderous acts. Upon seeing the Gala piece, Dominic freaked out and was going to go to the cops until Hemsley’s men got to him first. Meanwhile, Batman orders Batwoman to begin monitoring all of Mother Panic’s activities. A few days later, Batwoman reports another sighting to Batman before confronting Mother Panic face-to-face. They fight, with Mother Panic getting the best of Batwoman. Acting on a tip from Hemsley, Mother Panic goes to an address in the city and meets the vile Gala, who has kidnapped children—her “commissioned snuff-art”—chained-up all around her. Gala hits a button that lights the room up in flames, allowing her to escape while Mother Panic saves the kids—including seven-year-old Rosie. Outside, Batwoman watches Mother Panic work, relaying the footage to Batman. Outside, an angry Mother Panic tells-off Batwoman yet again. Later, Mother Panic goes to confront Hemsley only to find him murdered. Afterward, Mother Panic visits with her confidant and physician, Dr. Suditi Varma, who tells her that Dominic will now be her mom’s new caretaker.

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #20, Super Sons #5, and Nightwing Vol. 4 #24—originally told in Super Sons #1-4. With Batman and Superman on unspecified business, Robin surprise visits Jonathan Kent in Hamilton County in the dead of night, telling him they need to investigate break-ins and hacking attempts at LexCorp. So it’s 300 miles to Metropolis in the dead of night to LexCorp Tower for Robin and Superboy. Once they get there, they immediately run into Lex Luthor. After ditching Luthor, Robin and Superboy travel to the woods outside of Providence, RI where they confront the hacker, fourteen-year-old Reggie Meyer aka Kid Amazo. Kid Amazo battles the young heroes, who team-up with a robot version of Kid Amazo’s little sister, Sarah Meyer. Eventually, Lex Luthor and the real Sarah Meyer join the boys to help defeat Kid Amazo and save the rest of the Meyer Family.

–REFERENCE: In Super Sons #5. Damian and Jonathan are caught by Lois and Alfred following their adventure in Rhode Island. Batman, Superman, and Lois decide that the boys should be grounded for a week. Jonathan will not be allowed to use his powers and Damian will not be allowed to go on patrol. The boys decide to keep Kid Amazo’s (and probably Lex Luthor’s) name out of the conversation as they protest, but do reveal that they saved the lives of a family. The adults won’t hear a word of it and the punishment begins.

–FLASHBACK: From Super Sons #5. Batman and Superman team-up on an unspecified mission, shaking hands with each other afterward.

–REFERENCE: In Action Comics #980. As seen in Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #18, Amanda Waller brings Zod out of the Phantom Zone in an effort to bring him into the Suicide Squad, but the evil Kryptonian’s powers are too strong. He releases spirits from the Phantom Zone and puts an impenetrable black shadow dome over Bell Reve. Batman, unsure of what is happening inside, immediately begins using WayneTech satellites to keep tabs on the situation.

–Action Comics #980
Superman visits Lois and Jon at their new empty apartment in Metropolis—(the Kents have decided to move back to the city, but have yet to actually move from the farm). Superman tells his family that the Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, Mongul, Blanque, and Metallo have formed a new “Revenge Squad” and have destroyed his backup Fortress of Solitude in the Himalayas. Superman then visits Batman at the Watchtower and fills him in as well. Superman gives Batman some positive feedback on his new JLA venture before flying to Belle Reve when satellite imagery spots the Eradicator and Cyborg Superman smashing their way into the prison. There, the Kryptonian dome causes Superman to have horrible hallucinations that all his friends and family are zombies. (In the following Batman-less Action Comics #981-984, Zod takes over leadership of the “Revenge Squad” and sends his team into battle against Superman and his friends. During the fight, Zod grows weary of Mongul and forcibly kicks him off the villain team, punching him into deep space. Eventually, the heroes defeat all the villains.)

–REFERENCE: In Dark Nights: Metal #1. In the direct aftermath of Action Comics #984, Superman fills in the Justice League on what happened. They then track down Mongul in deep space and send him to a maximum security alien prison on Braal.

–Super Sons #5
Nearly a week has passed since Robin and Superboy’s adventure in Rhode Island. Since that time, the boys have been grounded. In Hamilton County, Clark and Lois tell Jonathan to start packing some things up for their impending move back to Metropolis. Jon gets emotional and runs-off to Gotham. Superboy breaks into the Batcave and soon begins fighting with Robin. When they hear Alfred coming, they try to hide, but get caught. The wise Alfred serves the boys dinner and gives them valuable life lessons. Batman and Superman then arrive to talk to the boys as well. Superman tells his son that he can go on patrols with Robin from now on. Superman and Robin then take to the streets.

–Justice League Vol. 3 #19-21 (“ENDLESS”)
The Justice League deals with an alien attack in Brooklyn, after which Flash arrives from 24 hours in the future. He explains that he has been having a Groundhog Day experience, reliving the same bad day over-and-over. In one variation, a scientist named Jason Taylor detonates an explosion in a Bronx lab, stabs Jessica Cruz to death, and detonates another explosion in Manhattan. In a second variation, Flash rallies his teammates and they go to the lab in question to find a the scientist, Taylor, showcasing a new zero-point energy device that controls gravity and force to a room full of onlookers, including his family. Flash goes to secure the device, which causes it to explode, nuking most of the Bronx and parts of New Jersey. After hearing Flash’s Groundhog Day story, Batman leaves the alien fight in Brooklyn to help the Scarlet Speedster. At Taylor’s lab, Batman disguises himself as a security guard and gets intel from a hacking Flash and Cyborg. The heroes learn that Taylor’s conniving boss Tony Palmer, wanting to steal the energy device to sell to China, has rigged it to blow (but remain intact) using tech that ARGUS pilfered from the alien in Brooklyn. Just as the energy device is about to destroy the entire planet, the alien arrives and shuts it down by taking back what was stolen from him: the powerful cosmic artifact known as the Starheart. The alien explains that he is a sentry that guards cosmic borders, cryptically mentioning the Kindred before teleporting away to prevent an “incursion in the Outerverse.” With Palmer behind bars, the JL has a rare in-costume dinner in a restaurant.

–Trinity Vol. 2 #9-11 (“DEAD SPACE”)
Clark, still troubled by the Black Mercy hallucination he shared with Bruce and Diana a couple months ago, invites Diana and Bruce to Smallville to discuss his feelings. In the real location that appeared in the dream, the heroes find cave carvings that the dream version of Bruce made. They don’t take notice of White Mercy because an Justice League emergency booms them to the Watchtower, which is powerless with a hull breach thanks to an apparent alien attack from the parasitic insect-like “Enlightened.” The Trinity saves an injured Cyborg from Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, who have been taken over by the aliens. The bugs attack, knocking Superman and Wonder Woman into space. The heroes enter the base of the Watchtower to find an humanoid android alien called The Traveler, who says the only way to stop the parasites from spreading is to incinerate the entire contaminated satellite, which begins to plummet towards Earth. Flash whirlwinds Batman and a comatose Cyborg safely away from a turned Aquaman, but one of the bugs, having evolved into a large tentacled creature, attacks in an attempt to defend a cache of alien eggs. Tricked by the Traveler, Wonder Woman is assimilated, but thanks to her lasso, she learns that the android is actually the baddie and the Enlightened bugs are the good guys. After defeating the Traveler, Wonder Woman joins her teammates and they prevent the Watchtower from crashing into Mumbai. The Trinity then takes the hatched little creatures—actually a separate species known as The Perfect—and deposits them into a stream in Smallville. (Supposedly, the Perfect are “adaptive symbiotic organisms,” which are very good for the environment.) From the shadows, White Mercy watches in approval.

–Justice League Vol. 3 #22
When asteroids threaten to crash into Earth, the entire Justice League (sans Aquaman and Flash) gathers aboard the Watchtower. Lois Lane, writing a story about the Watchtower, and Jonathan join as well. After the Green Lanterns are prepped to destroy the asteroids, Jessica tries to ask Batman a question, but he rudely ignores her. The Green Lanterns then destroy the asteroids and return, accidentally bringing aboard microscopic aliens that spread across the entire satellite. Unable to figure out what to do about the aliens, the Watchtower is quarantined until further notice. Eventually, the alien queen bonds with Jessica, causing the entire micro-swarm to join together, forming a bug version of Jessica that attacks the Justice League. Jessica is able to mentally communicate with the queen, ending the threat. The Green Lanterns then put the entire micro-alien bug race on one of the fragments of the asteroids they pulverized.

–Superman Vol. 4 #20-22 (“BLACK DAWN”)
Jon, still unable to fly as his powers haven’t fully developed, plays with Krypto and Kathy Branden. Kathy’s grandpa, Cobb Branden, warns of a big storm coming. Later, in the storm cellar of the Kent Farm, Lois, Clark, and Jon hang out. Lois and Clark make reference to the recent “Superman Reborn” events—they still have some memories and knowledge of the Modern Age and New 52, but those memories are fading fast and will soon disappear completely. In the dead of night, Jon sees Batman’s shadow, so he suits up into his Superboy costume. (Upon seeing the shadow, Jon says “not again,” which is a reference to Damian’s showing up randomly in the dead of night during the recent Super Sons arc.) Superman and Superboy confront Batman and Robin in the barn, but Lois forces them to all sit at the dining room table for pie. Batman reveals that the test results on Jon have come back inconclusive, showing that Jon is “abnormally healthy.” In other words, something is causing Jon’s powers to be held at bay. After a short argument with Superman, Batman is told by Lois that Jon drinks milk from Cobb Branden’s prize winning cow Bessie every day. Batman goes next door to the Cobb Farm and takes a sample of Bessie’s milk, but the milk comes alive and turns into a spiderweb-like inky goo that traps the Dark Knight. When Batman hasn’t returned come morning, Superman, Superboy, and Robin go out in search of him. The trio is called to action when the giant pink Riftsquid (which Superman and Superboy defeated months ago) returns to attack Hamilton County. The Riftsquid has been sent by Manchester Black, who has been spying on the heroes. Black manifests before Superman’s eyes as an inkblot humanoid, flanked by inkblot henchmen. The heroes fight off the inkblots, but Superman refuses to kill the unwieldy squid. Seeing no other option, and being egged on by the townspeople, Superboy uses his heat vision to kill the raging beast. Later, Superboy and Robin reveal that Cobb is linked to an abandoned house in a nearby swamp. Superman goes to the house on his own. Meanwhile, Kathy reveals powers of her own and attacks Superboy and Robin, kidnapping them both. With everyone missing, Lois searches in town, discovering that nothing is what it seems. A deputation consisting several Hamilton County citizens—Mayor Dwayne Goodman, Dr. Brooks, Candice, Tony Martinez, Officer Haggart, and the Brandens—have been surveilling the Kents on behalf of Manchester Black ever since they arrived. Lois flees home to find these sinister citizens in her house. She grabs her Hellbat glove, fights off her would-be abductors, and hops in the Batmobile to make a getaway. Cobb Branden reveals his super-strength, tearing apart the car to stop her. Meanwhile, in a hidden lab deep beneath the abandoned house, Superman finds a giant spidery robotic monstrosity attached to large liquid tubes. The tubes hold an unconscious selection of prisoners, including Batman, Robin, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, some Kroogarian aliens, and Walter and his clown mask gang. (Superman busted Walter and his clown mask gang earlier.)

–Superman Vol. 4 #23-25 (“BLACK DAWN” Continued…)
When Superman hears Lois in trouble above the underground lab, he flies up to find Cobb Branden fighting his wife. Superman knocks-out Cobb and rescues Lois only to find out-of-control giant monsters attacking the town. (The underground lab is actually Manchester Black’s interdimensional-hopping ship, which is damaged and is allowing monsters to come through a breach that it has created. Cobb refers to all the monsters collectively as “Riftsquids” despite the fact that only some resemble the pink squids we’ve seen before. The other monsters resemble giant mutated bats, insects, and crustaceans.) Mayor Goodman, Dr. Brooks, Candice, Tony Martinez, and Officer Haggart all reveal themselves to be super-powered alien members of Manchester Black’s Super Elite. They execute the monsters with reckless abandon, causing Lois’s leg to get completely severed in the process! Superman cauterizes the wound. Deep underground, Manchester Black forces a terrified Jon to watch the horrific scene above. (Don’t worry, this is all a psychic misdirection courtesy of Manchester Black. Lois is fine.) After making sure Lois is okay at a hospital, Superman (with Krypto) fights Manchester Black. Cobb and Kathy realize that their leader is evil, joining Superman and Krypto in battle against Black. After Cobb is killed by Black, Superman releases Batman, Robin, Frankenstein, and the Bride. In response, Black mind-controls the rest of the Super-Elite and turns Superboy into his puppet: the evil “Superboy Black.” Kathy and the heroes fight the Super-Elite and Superboy Black, who unleashes his full potential for the first time. Meanwhile, Manchester Black creates a giant ink tree that collapses like a tidal wave over Hamilton County. The Super-Elite’s ship’s quantum reactor drive explodes, throwing out “arcs of space-time,” meaning that it expels literal lightning bolts of alternate timeline imagery. Lois then arrives and when Superboy Black sees his mom is okay, he reverts back to normal. Superboy and Kathy then join together and use telekinesis to cause psychic feedback that smashes Manchester Black’s consciousness out of his body and into Bessie the cow! The Super-Elite vows to stay in their human alter-egos and fix the town.

–Justice League Vol. 3 #24
Batman, Wonder Woman, and Jessica Cruz go to the African nation of Nomalia to combat a terrorist group. Unfortunately, The Black Shield and his group of racist alt-right militiamen are in Nomalia with the same idea. The major difference is that Black Shield wants to detonate a WMD to “bring terror to the terrorists.” While Wonder Woman and Batman capture some of the Black Shield’s men, Jessica is able to contain a chemical weapon blast, saving the town below, but she is rattled to her core. After Wonder Woman interrogates the Black Shield’s men, she learns that he is planning an attack on the capital of Bialya. With Cyborg’s remote guidance and Wonder Woman and Batman on the ground, Jessica saves the day yet again, capturing the Black Shield and stopping another WMD strike.

–Titans Vol. 3 Annual #1
The Key teleports the members of the Justice League and their former sidekick counterparts from the Titans into his Alaskan bunker lair for what will basically be a deadly game of “escape the room.” (SPOILER: The Key is working for Troia, an alternate reality version of Donna Troy.) The Titans and JL team up for the first time to defeat a fake Metallo and fake Parademons. Meanwhile, at Titans Tower in Manhattan, Cyborg, Superman, Simon Baz, Jessica Cruz, Arsenal, and Omen try to figure out what happened to their friends. Back in the Key’s lair, Batman rigs up one of the fake Parademon’s tech as a scanner. Wonder Woman reveals that Donna Troy isn’t human, she was created magickally from clay and given false memories. Donna breaks down in tears. Her rush of emotion is enough for both Omen to get a read on her location and for the Key to expose himself. The heroes in the Key’s lair smash through the wall to confront the Key just as the heroes from Titans Tower arrive via Boom Tube. The Key teleports away. At Titans Tower, Batman tells Nightwing that the Key had to have been working for someone else. Elsewhere, in a strange limbo space, the Key is brutally punished for his failure by Troia.

–Justice League Vol. 3 #24-25
Aquaman has just been overthrown from his rule by the nefarious Corum Rath, who has exiled him and cast a “Crown of Thorns” spell, walling-off Atlantis from the rest of the sea. With Aquaman away plotting to regain his throne, a pissed-off Mera creates a giant tidal wave in an attempt to crash through the “Crown of Thorns,” but it fails and causes a tsunami that threatens the entire Eastern seaboard. The Justice League intervenes and fights an out-of-control Mera, getting their butts kicked but eventually calming her down. The JL then gives Mera a “let’s be friends” pep-talk aboard the Watchtower, which is interrupted when they hear news of Qwardian Hate-Drones striking in Pakistan. Mera acts as the absent Aquaman’s substitute, going with the JL to deal with the trouble. Shortly thereafter, the Keeper, in government custody, requests an audience with Batman. She tells the Dark Knight quite a tale. First, the essence of an evil millennia-old alien tyrant called Shirak is somewhere on Earth. Second, every cosmic threat the JL has dealt with this year has been trying to prevent the multiverse’s destruction by an even greater evil—”The Great Darkness.” Third, the current timeline has been rebooted several times. The Keeper specifically mentions “The Crisis,” “Flashpoint,” and “Rebirth” (aka “Superman Reborn”) by name! Fourth, the “Great Darkness” has existed since the very beginning and lived through (and fed upon) every iteration of every timeline. This has caused Earth to become a cosmic nexus point. Fifth, whoever is responsible for all the reboots has a conscious and active mind, a deliberate hand, when it comes to re-shaping the multiverse—they act like an all powerful god. (DiDio, Johns, and Lee as gods? Very meta, but in a sense, this is what the Keeper means.) On the flip side, if the unknown god is a creator, the “Great Darkness,” soon to make its presence felt, is a destroyer. As Batman talks with the Keeper, Shirak appears in Detroit, turning 120,000 people into his Wraith Army. The Justice League (sans Batman and with Mera still subbing for the unavailable Aquaman) fights Shirak and his hordes. Simon Baz and Cyborg are able to take down the alien fiend, ending the threat. As soon as Detroit is saved, Cyborg gets an alert of another “large scale metahuman threat” involving a lot of casualties in Midway City. The “Great Darkness” has already arrived in the form of a massive quickly spreading sentient onyx blob. As the JL preps for more action, Batman tells the Keeper that he doesn’t care if everything is preordained or if higher-powers sculpt the world, he will continue to make his own choices to make the world the best place it can be. (The Keeper is not only dropping a lot of pipe-bomb level truths here, but she also refers to Batman as “Bruce”—all in front of a bunch of government handlers. We must assume that she is blocking them from hearing somehow.) Batman ends their conversation and the Keeper is rocketed to exile on the dwarf planet Ceres.

———————-––Justice League Vol. 3 #27
———————-––Justice League Vol. 3 #29-31
(“Legacy” goes here because the Kents are still living on their Hamilton County farm. Note that they will finally soon be moving back to Metropolis.) The adult children of the Justice League—Cruise (Nora Allen), Green Lantern Jenny Allen, Green Lantern Jason Allen, Cube (George Marvin Stone), Hunter Prince, and Serenity (Eldoris “Dory” Curry)—appear from the year 2039 to forewarn their parents of a terrible dystopian future, which must be prevented at all costs. (Of course, SPOILER ALERT, the good guys will prevent this evil future from happening by story’s end, thus relegating these future hero kids to alternate timeline characters.) The JL (sans Batman and still with Mera subbing for Aquaman) takes the kids aboard the Watchtower and verifies their claims. Cube shows everyone a video detailing the future history that must not come to pass. It shows a great war between superheroes and super-villains—in which the heroes have become evil thanks to the Great Darkness and also in which Joker kills Batman—that leads to the destruction of most of the planet and deaths of nearly all the heroes. The kids have been waging a losing battle against the mysterious dictator of the planet, the powerful metahuman known as The Sovereign. Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Batman interfaces with Genie, who tells him that an echo of the Kindred signal frequency is linking to a source in Midway City, where the “Great Darkness” has just attacked. All of a sudden, a grizzly future-Aquaman from 2039 (who is aligned with the Sovereign and wears the remains of a deceased Cyborg) appears and brutally kicks Batman’s ass, stealing his anti-JL countermeasure weapons. Using the weapons, old Aquaman easily defeats Superman, Flash, Jessica Cruz, and Cyborg, trapping them inside a Boom Tube wormhole. Meanwhile, a miraculously recovered but bandaged-up) Batman visits Lois Lane at the Kent Farm, where she tells him what has happened and fills him in on the arrival of the future JL kids. She also gives him hell for having anti-JL weapons. In Nova Scotia, the future JL kids (sans Serenity) attack Wonder Woman, believing that they can prevent their horrible future if Diana dies. Wonder Woman and the kids wind up getting boomed to Midway City where the “Great Darkness” blob escapes containment. In Amnesty Bay, old Aquaman confronts Mera and Serenity. With his head hung low and full of apology, old Aquaman opens a time-portal, allowing Mount Olympus and the Sovereign to come through. While Batman flies toward old Aquaman, Wonder Woman struggles to fight off the influence of the “Great Darkness” in Midway City. The Sovereign teleports herself, old Aquaman, Mera, and Serenity to Midway City and a battle royale breaks out. Old Aquaman betrays the Sovereign, but she is still able to defeat all the heroes and murder Simon Baz. With the heroes down, the Sovereign unmasks to reveal her true identity: Wonder Woman’s mom Hippolyta! The trapped heroes escape the Boom Tube wormhole only to get engulfed by the “Great Darkness” in Midway City as well. The future heroes fight against the possessed JL until Batman arrives to help out. Just as the future Green Lanterns bring Simon Baz back to life, Hunter Prince takes down the future-Hippolyta, who reveals that the Kindred’s plan all along was to use the Great Darkness to destroy the world, a fate that happened in their future world and which is being expedited now. The future Green Lanterns then suck up the Great Darkness into a ball, which future-Aquaman and future-Hippolyta Boom away, sacrificing their own lives in the process to save the day. A week later, Batman meets with the JL and their future kids. Now that the dark future has been averted, Flash tells the kids that they still exist in an alternate future that exists on a divergent timeline. The kids say their final goodbyes and Boom to their timeline where they will become their world’s new Justice League.

–Justice League of America Vol. 5 #5-6 (“HEART OF A BASTICH”)
The new JLA holds its first press conference at Mount Justice (the mountain above the Secret Sanctuary) in Happy Harbor, RI. While Batman doesn’t attend, Vixen says that he supports the team 100%. Vixen acts as press secretary, fielding questions from numerous reporters, including Lana Lang, Olivia Ortega, and Ben Rubel. After the conference, journalist Frances Rock speaks to the Ray, telling him about Penn City, PA, a town where warmongers Nikos Aegeus and a blackmailed scientist named Xenos are running a veritable sweatshop that makes “folklore-powered weapons”—weird guns that merge ancient myth with modern tech, some of which have been personally blessed by gods. The JLA booms to Penn City, which is completely controlled by Aegeus’ 300 man army of soldiers wearing Ancient Roman armor mixed with high-end tech. Lobo and the Atom Interrupt a sale between Aegeus and The Whisper Gang, while the rest of the JLA meets with the town leaders of Penn City, asking them why they willingly allowed Aegeus to start his weapons factory in their town. The citizens explain that the local mine closed decades ago and they were at a 99% poverty rate before Aegeus came to town. Aegeus’ militia—riding magickally-created chimeras—attacks the JLA, who all don their own Roman armor, made of hard light, courtesy of the Ray. With the battle spreading across town, Batman and Black Canary ride one one of the chimeras while Frost accidentally freezes one of the militia men’s arms off. After Lobo is shot with a special anti-god poison cannon, his regeneration powers get messed up. Requiring a full reboot, so to speak, he makes the Ray stab out his heart entirely. The Atom, Lobo, and the Ray then take down Aegeus. With Aegeus down, the chimeras disintegrate into piles of salt and the militia is easily defeated. Later, Frost talks to Black Canary about “heat sickness,” which is afflicting her. The Atom hangs out with Lobo and also tells Frost that there might be a way to cure her condition.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 5 #7 and Justice League of America Vol. 5 #9. Batman interrogates Nikos Aegeus, learning that the mysterious Might Beyond the Mirror granted his wish for power, allowing him the capability to create his fantastic folklore-powered weapons. Batman then takes samples of the salt left behind from Aegeus’ magick weaponry. Batman also hires Xenos as the newest member of the JLA, making him the Sanctuary’s resident tech guy. Xenos’ first task is to renovate the entire HQ—to both make it better for the team and accommodate Penn City refugees.

–Justice League of America Vol. 5 #7
Xenos shows Batman a tourist observation deck that he has constructed near Mount Justice and they argue about it. Meanwhile, Lobo and Black Canary fight a roughneck named Mr. Scarlet at a Mammoth City, NJ metahuman club called Heaven’s Undercarriage. In New York City, the Atom (Ryan Choi) takes Frost to the Museum of Unnatural History in Manhattan where they study the mummified remains of a prehistoric “glacier boy,” from which the superhero Ice supposedly got her cryokinetic powers. Terrorsmith attacks the museum, hoping to get energy from the corpse of the Bloodlines Parasite, Glonth, which is currently on-display. Terrorsmith turns some security guards into monsters, who fight the Atom. While Frost takes down Terrorsmith, the Atom uses Dr. Thaddeus Sivana’s time pills to save the security guards. In Harlem, the Ray and Vixen speak about the JLA at a highly publicized community meeting. Later, Black Canary trains Frost and tells her that the Atom has a crush on her (Frost). Terrorsmith goes behind bars at Bell Reve, where he tells Amanda Waller that an all-powerful wish-granter (The Might Beyond the Mirror) sent him to Glonth’s corpse in Manhattan.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #23. Local weapons supplier Nat the Gnat winds up on Batman’s radar.

———————-––Batman Vol. 3 #21
———————-––Flash Vol. 5 #21
———————-––Batman Vol. 3 #22
———————-––Flash Vol. 5 #22
May. Saturn Girl watches Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals on TV at Arkham and begins freaking out because she knows (being from the future) that there will be a brutal fighting death on the ice. Saturn Girl yells that Superman and the Legion will die. Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Batman re-examines the bloody smiley face pin-button. When it interacts with Psycho-Pirate’s mask, a hole in the Speed Force opens and Batman sees a vision of his father from the Flashpoint timeline (Batman Thomas Wayne). The Dark Knight calls Flash immediately. However, Reverse-Flash (Eobard Thawne aka Professor Zoom) arrives first, responding to the surge in the Speed Force. Recently, Thawne recalled all of his memories of existence in previous continuities, including the Flashpoint continuity in which he was killed by Batman Thomas Wayne.[4] Thawne proceeds to beat the shit out of Batman, pausing only to read and rip apart Batman Thomas Wayne’s Flashpoint letter to Bruce. With Batman kayoed on the floor, Thawne picks up the smiley button and is teleported away via a blue flash (presumably Dr. Manhattan). Upon being teleported back to the Batcave, Thawne, with most of his skin burned off, screams that he has seen God, before dropping dead next to the still unconscious Batman. Flash, having been delayed by fighting Samuroids and a failed attempt to save the dying hockey player, arrives to find the morbid scene. While old Johnny Thunder screams at a thunderstorm, Flash examines the murder scene in the Batcave before talking to the injured Batman about what happened. Flash tells Batman he’s seen visions of the Helmet of Mercury. Flash then goes to the Watchtower to get the Cosmic Treadmill out of the Trophy Room.[5] Batman, however, shows up demanding to go along for the time-ride. The heroes run together and wind up in the pathways of Hypertime—an interconnected web of alternate realities—where they witness visions of their past that have been stolen and are supposed to be a part of the New Age.[6][7] A cosmic storm takes Batman and Flash to Thomas Wayne’s Batcave in the “World of Flashpoint.” Father and son are reunited, but before they can talk, Atlantean and Amazonian soldiers break into the Batcave and attack. The Batmen fight off the invaders while Flash reassembles the Cosmic Treadmill. Dr. Manhattan, from afar, decides his game has gone far enough. The “World of Flashpoint” begins to crumble into non-existence. Bruce and Thomas have one final touching conversation, but Thomas decides to stay and accept the fate of his world. His final words to Bruce are a plea, telling him to stop being Batman. The “World of Flashpoint” is erased completely as Batman and Flash re-enter Hypertime. There, time gets twisted as our heroes find themselves face-to-face with Thawne, who is running with the smiley button in hand, moments before his death. The heroes try to stop Thawne, but he continues on to his death. (SPOILER ALERT: In Flash Vol. 5 #23, which takes place a few days after “The Button,” Thawne will come back to life, so he’s either not really dead here or he will be able to resurrect himself.) In Hypertime, Flash hears a strange name calling to him and Jay Garrick appears, rescuing Batman and Flash by returning them to the Batcave. Jay tries to explain that some unknown force exiled him and caused everyone to forget him. In an instant, Jay disappears in a wave of bright blue light. A flashback from Flash Vol. 5 #23 adds a scene that immediately follows Jay disappearing in which Flash consoles a dejected Batman, who is having trouble processing having seen his father. Later, in the cemetery where Bruce’s parents are buried, Bruce and Barry discuss all they have seen and heard. Later, unable to get his Flashpoint father’s words out of his head, Bruce hesitates to answer the Bat-signal. Elsewhere, Dr. Manhattan clutches the smiley face button in his hand and witnesses a “Doomsday Clock” vision of the future that involves Superman.

–Teen Titans Vol. 6 #10
Nightwing gives Batman a full report on recent Titans and Teen Titans action involving Deathstroke (as seen in “The Lazarus Contract”). Deathstroke fought both teams in order to gain access to the Speed Force so he could go back in time in an attempt to save his son Grant Wilson’s life. The heroes, including Deathstroke’s other son Jericho (Joseph Wilson), stopped Deathstroke from saving Grant, which would have had drastic consequences for the timeline. Upon his failure, the dejected assassin announced his retirement from super-villainy. However, one alteration to the timeline did unfortunately occur, Flash (Wally West) now has a pacemaker and can’t run fast or it will kill him! Angry at Kid Flash’s performance, Robin kicked him off the Teen Titans. Back to the present at hand, Robin video-calls his dad to ask for leadership advice, to which Batman reminds his son that he has been slacking in the Teen Titan reports that he is supposed to be delivering every week. Batman tells Robin that the team must no longer give TV interviews and that Beast Boy has to shut down his vlog. After ending the call, an injured Lucia Hyde enters and reveals that Black Manta (Jackson’s father) has kidnapped Jackson. Robin assembles the team, but struggles to command. Starfire takes over and begins delegating rescue efforts, effectively usurping Robin’s leadership of the team. Meanwhile, Black Manta takes Jackson deep under the Pacific Ocean in search of a treasure that is guarded by giant sea monsters.

–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.

–Batwoman: Rebirth #1
Batman learns that Monster Venom (along with various other bio-weapons, including smallpox) has arrived on the overseas Black Market. Specifically, as referenced in Batwoman Vol. 2 #1-4 and Batwoman Vol. 2 #7, the evil Kali Corporation has been selling guns and bio-weapons to an international terrorist organization called The Many Arms of Death. Batman summons Batwoman to meet him in Monstertown. There, Batman gives Batwoman a special mission to travel overseas and prevent Monster Venom from being distributed.

–REFERENCE: In Batwoman Vol. 2 #1-4 and Batwoman Vol. 2 #7. Batman preps Julia Pennyworth to assist and guide Batwoman on the upcoming anti-Monster Venom mission. Batman, unknown to Batwoman, gives Julia very specific orders on how to handle Batwoman, even creating a series of secret plans to initiate depending on how things go. Batman gives Julia and Batwoman a high-tech yacht to use as a mobile HQ. When all is ready to go, Batman sends Batwoman and Julia to Coryana, a Mediterranean island with which Batwoman is already quite familiar, having lived there years ago. On the island, Batwoman and Julia’s mission will be to expel the Kali Corporation and then shut down the Many Arms of Death wherever they may be operating internationally. While not specifically shown on our timeline below, Julia will report all details of Batwoman’s activities to Batman—although she will choose to omit certain details that might piss Batman off.

–REFERENCE: In Gotham Academy: Second Semester #9-12—originally told in “SECOND SEMESTER” (Gotham Academy: Second Semester #5-8). Gotham Academy students Colton Rivera and Pomeline Fritch break into the office of weirdo librarian Mr. Scarlet (aka Bookworm). Colton steals an antique campus map belonging to Headmaster Hammer (which Scarlet has already stolen from Hammer) only to get caught and expelled for the theft. The rest of Pomeline and Colton’s crew—Maps Mizoguchi, Kyle Mizoguchi, Katherine Karlo (a relative of Clayface’s that also has shapeshifting ability), Olive Silverlock (currently being haunted by the ghost of Amity Arkham)—immediately hires top lawyer Anaica Fritch (Pomeline’s mom) to set up a hearing to fight against Colton’s expulsion. The Gotham Academy Board of Directors, including Bruce Wayne, gathers. Meanwhile, across campus, Pomeline and Tristan Grey, having stolen the map yet again, use it in an attempt to locate the occult tome known as “The Old Book of Gotham.” Tristan and Pomeline are joined by Colton, Maps, Olive, Kyle, Katherine, and Eric Jørgensen, marching deep beneath the campus grounds into surrealist catacombs designed by Ambroos Lydecker. The spirit of Amity Arkham possesses Olive, who goes nuts and runs off. After splitting up, Colton, Pomeline, and Katherine find the “Old Book of Gotham.” Mr. Scarlet sneaks up behind them and attacks. After a scuffle, the kids flee with the tome. Back aboveground, the entire gang—along with Isla MacPherson, Isla’s dog Ham, and Batman—confront the possessed Olive, who ignites her entire body aflame, activating her latent pyro metapowers. Totally under the control of Amity, who wants to kill a bunch of Gothamites, Olive goes wild and disappears in a fiery flash, flying off toward the city.

–Batman Vol. 3 #23
Commissioner Gordon calls Batman to the murder scene of an old man named Lloyd McGinn. While investigating, Swamp Thing appears and tells Batman that McGinn is his biological father. Bruce invites Swamp Thing to chat at Wayne Manor, learning that the Plant Elemental seemingly has no human ties anymore and does not mourn the passing of his dad. Swamp Thing, does, however, want to find out who was responsible for the crime. After learning that one of Kite Man’s kites was involved, Batman and Swamp Thing find and shake down Kite Man a few days later, which leads them to a pawn shop, which leads them to Nat the Gnat, which leads them to the culprit: Headhunter. At the Gotham Museum of Art, Batman and Swamp Thing confront Headhunter, who tells them he killed McGinn only because he found out he was Swamp Thing’s dad. An enraged Swamp Thing finally shows his hidden emotion, brutally murdering Headhunter before Batman’s eyes. Pissed-off at having been used, Batman flips-out on Swamp Thing, who offers confused dialogue before simply disappearing.

–Justice League of America Vol. 5 #8-9 (“THE MAN FROM MONSTER VALLEY”)
When the TroubleAlert registers chaos in the anomalous secret tropical valley of monsters in Siberia, the JLA is on the case. Amid the lush flora of the valley, the heroes find SKULL soldiers massacring all the fauna. The JLA stops the returning SKULL (who clearly have new backers running the show), saving Makson, a feral human who has lived among the monsters since he was a toddler. Unfortunately, many monsters are massacred, including the dino-creatures that Makson called family. A few days later, a cleaned-up Makson has fully acclimated to society and learned to read, write, and speak at an accelerated rate. At Vixen’s apartment Angela Chen interviews Makson, who reveals he is Brenton Hamilton of the wealthy Hamilton Court conglomerate. At the Sanctuary, Batman tells the JLA that Hamilton is a liar and is hiding something. Batman examines the remains of a SKULL robot and tracks its origin to Infinity Island. A day later, Brenton speaks at a Gateway City gala with hundreds of his relatives and business associates in attendance. Meanwhile, Batman, Lobo, Black Canary, go to Infinity Island and infiltrate a SKULL facility there. Tapping into their computer systems, Batman learns that SKULL is being operated by Hamilton Court, specifically Brenton’s relatives Charity Hamilton and Simon Hamilton. Batman further learns that Charity used SKULL satellites to find Brenton in an effort to track and assassinate him. (Seems pretty stupid since the guy had the mind of an animal and was basically dead to the world, lost in a hidden valley that on one knew existed, but oh well.) Meanwhile, in Manhattan, the Atom breaks into Brenton’s apartment and finds a bloody shrine that tells him that Brenton is planning on killing his entire family. At the gala, Brenton rips his shirt off, reverting back to his semi-feral Makson identity. Frost, Vixen, and the Ray bust-in and begin fighting him before he can assault his family. Batman leaks Charity’s financial information, linking her to SKULL, to the press before teleporting to the Gateway City with the rest of the JLA. While the cops arrest Charity and several members of the Hamilton family, the JLA is able to talk down Makson. A few days later, Makson returns to Monster Valley. At the Sanctuary, Xenos helps usher in refugees from Penn City. Batman studies salt samples from Penn City while arguing with the Ray. Lobo gives the Atom a birds-and-bees talk (as only Lobo can). Meanwhile, Nadine Terrill (the Ray’s mom) gets transported by the Might Beyond the Mirror to a bizarre mirror version of Philadelphia.

–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.)

———————-––Mother Panic #7
———————-––Mother Panic #9
While Mother Panic beats the stuffing out of some hoodlums in her neighborhood, she suffers a strange painful spasm. After a physical, Dr. Varma determines that one of Violet’s cybernetic implants will have to be replaced. Dominic then shares bad news about Rosie, one of the kids Mother Panic saved from Gala. Rosie’s parents have just been murdered in front of her by a person wearing a Gotham City Coroner bodybag as a shroud. Despite the pain, Violet suits up and visits Rosie at the hospital. Traversing the rooftops back to her vehicle, she notices Batman—also on the case—trailing her. After a third murder by the “bagged killer,” Violet discovers that both Rosie and the third victim appeared on a TV talk show hosted by Angela Chen. Violet, hoping to use herself as bait, tells Angela Chen that she wants to reveal the truth about her dad’s death, which the paparazzi have been yearning for ever since she was a little girl. On the show, Violet tells the world that her dad was murdered by Frederick Hemsley, who was attempting to rape her at the time. (In reality, Violet killed her own dad after hearing that he was going to allow Hemsley to rape her.) Upon seeing Violet on TV, Batman realizes that she is Mother Panic. Batman also soon figures out that the “bagged killer” is a production assistant on Angela Chen’s show named Larry Tulloch. A couple nights later, outside of a club, Tulloch tries to kill Violet, but Batman swoops in and busts him. The Dark Knight tells Violet that she is doing good work before disappearing. Violet calls him a “smug asshole” and flips him the bird. She then delivers a letter to Rosie and departs for cybernetic implant surgery, leaving her mother in the care of her friend, a reformed Otis Flannegan (formerly Ratcatcher).

–Blue Beetle Vol. 9 #11-12
In El Paso, Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes), Ted Kord, Dr. Fate, Teri Magnus (Flash from the 31st century), OMAC (Kevin Kho), and Brother Eye have just defeated the evil Atlantean wizard known as Arion. Tina Sung (Batgirl from the 31st century) helped tend to some innocent bystanders in El Paso—including Alberto Reyes, Bianca Reyes, Milagro Reyes, Spike Wilson, and Sugar Plumm—who had been temporarily turned into demons.[8] Arion’s minion Mordecai Cull tries to escape, but is crushed by OMAC. The next day, as Kord Industries begins clean-up of El Paso, Jaime returns to Charlton High School as normal, joining peers Naomi (his kinda sorta girlfriend), Brenda Del Vecchio, Paco Testas, and Kevin Kho. The sentient magickal Scarab begins haunting its symbiotic partner Jamie throughout the day. Across town, local gangster La Dama (Amparo Cardenas) seeks out super-villain Ghostfire (Dr. Eliot Spaulding), who seeks out Blue Beetle. In Gotham, Batman watches TV news reports about Ted Kord and Blue Beetle fighting Arion. The Dark Knight does some research on Ted and Jaime and then decides to take a trip to see if the heroes are biting off more than they can chew in Texas. After chewing-out Ted, Batman observes Blue Beetle in action versus Ghostfire. When Ghostfire gains the upper hand, Batman steps in and kayos him. Even though Blue Beetle lost, Batman is impressed and tells him so. Later, Teri asks Jaime to help her and Tina get back to the 31st century.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #964. Spoiler watches from the shadows and, as she has done for months now, captures cellphone video of the Bat-squad in action against random bad guys.

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

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

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

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

———————-––Justice League of America Vol. 5 #12 Part 2
———————-––Justice League of America Vol. 5 #13-17[9]
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. Back in normal-sized world, Vixen debriefs Batman, telling him about Afterthought’s actions and that the Might Beyond the Mirror is slowly summoning herself via her wish-granting. In the limbo space known as The Ghost Zone, the Might Beyond the Mirror’s latest grantee, Prometheus, plans an attack on the JLA.

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

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



–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). 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.)

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

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

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

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

–Trinity Vol. 2 #12-14 (“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, whips up some chemical, and injects it into him. Demonized Bizarro smashes into the Batcave, prompting Batman to zap him with a laser gun.

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

–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!

———————-––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.

–Batman Vol. 3 #33
Bruce decides that he must meet with Talia al Ghul now that he is engaged to Selina. Bruce, Selina, and Alfred come up with a detailed plan to see Talia at her palace hideout in Khadym, 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. 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.

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

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

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

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

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1, Dark Days: The Casting #1, and Dark Nights: Metal #1-2. With Dream guiding Batman and providing further (albeit highly cryptic) context to Hawkman’s journal, the Caped Crusader reads the entire book, which contains a story that functions as a thousands-of-years-long prelude to the main Dark Days/Dark Nights narrative of present day, beginning as far back as the Big Bang.[12]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: The bloody smiley face button-pin is from Watchmen #1. It has arrived in the Batcave not only from an alternate reality, but also from a brief moment of a prior time period. In 1985 of the primary Watchmen timeline, Rorschach picks-up the stained button-pin off the ground after the Comedian’s death and gives it to Dan Dreiberg, who cleans it off. In Watchmen #2, Dan tosses the cleaned button-pin into the Comedian’s grave during his funeral. Therefore, the bloody button-pin has to come from some point after the Comedian’s death but eventually get returned (following “The Button”) so that Rorschach can find it.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: The narrative physics of the “Superman Reborn” reboot are highly complex but important to understand for the purposes of our chronology-building project. While the synopsis above is what this item looks like to those living on our New Age timeline, from our omnipotent perspective as readers, the original reboot story (as published) looks quite different and has significant ramifications. “Superman Reborn” features New 52 characters and shows their erasure and reboot into the New Age, simultaneously creating the debut of every character in the New Age. Specifically for the Superman Family, New Age Superman replaces both Modern Age Superman and the deceased New 52 Superman, New Age Lois Lane replaces Modern Age Lois and the deceased New 52 Lois, and New Age Jonathan Kent replaces Convergence-born Jonathan. “Superman Reborn” also finally fixes the literary conundrum and narrative paradox that occurred during Convergence by correcting the violation of comic book time/physics perpetrated by author Jeff King. Since the Golden, Silver, and Modern Ages existed and technically still exist as archived/defunct timelines, any characters removed from those timelines had to be returned exactly as they were when they were stolen away in order to preserve the future sections of those timelines. This is the fundamental nature of the way comic book universes operate—the “physics of comic book worlds,” in a sense. The metaphor is as such: you cannot play with a toy in the sandbox if that toy has been removed from the sandbox and does not exist anymore. So, basically a side-effect of the “Superman Reborn” reboot (possibly unintentional) is that the characters from the previous ages that continued to live on in the New 52 after Convergence ended—post-Zero Hour Hal Jordan, pre-Crisis Supergirl, pre-Crisis Barry Allen, Modern Age Lois, and Modern Age Superman—all get whisked back to the moment in time from whence they were removed from their timelines (in order to complete their actions and live out their lives as originally intended so as to secure the sanctity of their timelines). Returned, they have no memory of their time during Convergence or during the New 52. It will seem as though no time has passed at all. Jonathan, an anomaly of Convergence, with nowhere to return to, simply ceases to exist. Thus, in this strange way, the “Superman Reborn” reboot acts as a coda to Convergence, both because it ties up loose ends (albeit imperfectly but as best it can) and because it erases it from the New Age timeline.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: The Justice League/Power Rangers series would have taken place here, but it is non-canon. While this New Age-published story tries its best to fit into New Age continuity (and actually does a half-decent job of it), there are too many things that just don’t jibe, such as Hawkgirl’s appearance, the existence of JL reservists, John Stewart as a featured member of the JL, use of the Javelin ship from Justice League the Animated Series, Katana’s Soultaker blade in the JL Trophy Room, Red Hood’s old helmet in the JL Trophy Room, Azrael’s old sword in the JL Trophy Room, and Lex Luthor’s history as a former President of the United States (even getting his face on the $100 bill).
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: In the Modern Age and Flashpoint, Thawne was the original Reverse-Flash, but also went by Professor Zoom and Zoom. In the New 52 and New Age, Eobard Thawne also goes by all three names, although there was another Reverse-Flash in Daniel West. Now that he has his prior timeline memories and persona restored (and with Daniel West deceased at this point on our timeline), Thawne certainly would think of himself interchangeably as Reverse-Flash, Professor Zoom, and Zoom.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: At this point, the Watchtower Trophy Room aka Trophy Vault aka Hall of Trophies aka Hall of Lost and Found, is filled with items, many of which have nothing to do with Batman’s past or his personal history with the Justice League. As referenced in Flash Vol. 5 #21, some of these items include: Martian Manhunter’s original costume, Merlin’s Eternity Book (which contains the history of the universe up through the Middle Ages), Merlin’s magick wand, Superman’s Evil New God costume (a canon immigrant from the old DCAU Superman series), an Amazonian Purple Ray healer, the H-Dial, a Phantom Zone Projector, the Green Martian Scepter of State, a rocket ship of unknown origin, a Green Lantern power ring, Wonder Woman’s original shield, the Trident of Lucifer (which once belonged to Lucifer and Blue Devil), and Amethyst’s magickal amethyst gem.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: 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 an unknown number 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 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!
  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: This has been spoken about on the website previously, but I figure a recap of the definition and history of Hypertime is in order. Hypertime, in layman’s terms, is both a scientific theory of time (aka “narrative physics”) and a literal web of infinite alternate timelines. The theory originally stated that an infinite number of alternate realities—mostly consisting of Elseworlds, alternate universe, or alternate future tales—canonically existed in conjunction with a primary timeline. Following the original Crisis, DC was supposed to only have one single universe with one single Earth. Yet, the glaring contradiction was that a lot of Elseworlds tales, alternate universe stories, and alternate future stories were getting churned-out anyway. For some writers, such as Mark Waid and Grant Morrison, the revelation of Hypertime allowed for them to explain the contradiction with a relative hand wave: these weren’t alternate universes, they were merely a part of a Hypertime web that was connected to the “one single primary” chronology. As you can see, in actuality, Hypertime was (and still is) really more about semantics than anything else. Eventually, DC higher-ups realized this and fully did away with the concept of Hypertime by the late 1990s, delivering a final nail in its coffin in 2006 with Infinite Crisis, which returned DC to the multiversial “Many Worlds Interpretation” concept, complete with a set of numbered universes. Of course, as stated above, it’s really more about semantics and compartmentalization. There will always be an infinite number of universes; how we classify them is the key. And this is no better exemplified than in the New Age, where we have an ordered finite number of universes coexisting quite harmoniously along with Hypertime.
  8. [8]COLLIN COLSHER: Teri Magnus and Tina Sung, the respective Flash and Batgirl of the 31st century (and also members of the 31st century Justice League), are stuck in the 21st century, having been sent back through time from their era. These characters originated in the Justice League 3000 and Justice League 3001 series, which were both published during the New 52 era, but are both non-canon in the New 52 due to the fact that they took place on an alternate Earth. However, this is not quite the case in the post-“Superman Reborn” New Age. Teri and Tina’s 31st century—albeit a modified referential version—is indeed a canonical part of Earth-0’s primary timeline in the New Age. See the Future section for details.
  9. [9]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.”
  10. [10]COLLIN COLSHER: A note about Batman/Elmer Fudd #1. Unlike all the other 2017 DC/Looney Tunes crossover comics, Batman/Elmer Fudd is definitively non-canon. Most of the other crossovers (that take place in present day) occur here and now on our timeline.
  11. [11]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.
  12. [12]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, and the early solicitation for Hawkman: Found #1). Hawkman begins his journal musing about the creation of the Multiverse (and possibly Omniverse). The story, told to him by Green Lantern Abin Sur, is that the malevolent Oan known as Krona once peered backward in time to view the Big Bang, at which point he saw a “Great Hand” shaping all the universes. Krona’s actions changed history, creating a swath of new universes and the Monitors, neither of which existed prior to his meddling. This also led to Oans creating the Guardians of the Universe, Manhunters, and Green Lantern Corps. Hawkman’s story then jumps to a first-hand account of his own life and times. In Ancient Egypt, Carter Hall, his wife Kendra Saunders, and their rival Hath-Set are come upon by an alien craft from the planet Thanagar that endows them with power and immortality via the mysterious Nth Metal, which is injected into their bodies in such a way that it will permanently flow through their veins forever more. This trio enters into a cycle of death and reincarnation that lasts thousands of years. And each time they die, they bear witness to a vision of the Dark Multiverse, specifically a hellscape littered with corpses, alien machinery, and bat-statues. Besides acting as immortal heroes, Carter and Kendra take it upon themselves to investigate this bizarre ongoing vision, doing so in each incarnation over the years. Eventually, Carter and Kendra are reincarnated as the Thanagarian warriors Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Upon further investigation, Hawkman realizes that the Dark Multiverse is somehow linked to the earliest human tribes on Earth. By the year 1900, Hawkman and Hawkgirl realize that Hath-Set has also been investigating the Dark Multiverse mystery and is much closer to the truth than they are. The heroes summon fellow immortals to their museum in St. Roche, Louisiana. At least thirteen immortals (there are thirteen shrouded figures shown) attend this historic meeting. Mamaragan, Ra’s al Ghul, Mary Seward (aka the vampire Queen of Blood), Vandal Savage, Cain, Abel, Uncle Sam, Immortal Man, the Phantom Stranger, and Morgaine le Fay are in attendance for sure. The others, merely hinted at in Hawkman’s journal entry and in Dark Nights: Metal #2, likely include: Solomon Grundy, Jason Blood, a Plant Elemental representative from the Parliament of Trees, Nabu, and Shining Knight. Others that might also possibly have been in attendance (although less likely) are: Merlin, Resurrection Man, Circe, King Kull, and/or Simon Hurt. At this historic gathering, Hawkman speaks about how Hath-Set had obscured the true origins of both he and his wife, hiding something about the Nth Metal that flows through their veins. Mamaragan explains that, long ago, a “dark metal” (related to Nth Metal) changed the world, casting out an evil force, which now desperately wants to return. Mamaragan then shows-off his magick lightning knife, which is made of Nth Metal (which others know as “Ninth Metal,” part of a hierarchy of numbered supernatural metals). This knife has the power to open a portal to the Dark Multiverse. The other immortals tell Hawkman and Hawkgirl exactly what Hath-Set has stolen from their memories: the true story of humanity’s beginnings on Earth—about the Hawk Tribe, Bear Tribe, Wolf Tribe, and Bat Tribe—and how the appearance of the dark metal tore a hole in reality that brought about an evil demon from the Dark Multiverse. The other immortals explain further that Hawkman and Hawkgirl, in previous incarnations, fought and died to seal the demon away. (Hawkman specifically defeated the demon using his Nth Metal mace.) With the demon beaten, the dark metal was expelled, but its lingering effects remained. Hath-Set had blocked all this from their memory. Hawkman and Hawkgirl, with this new knowledge, leave the Gathering of the Immortals eager to investigate the dark metal mystery further. They spend the next hundred years investigating. In the 1940s, they help form The Blackhawks. In the late 1950s, they form The Challengers of the Unknown. In the late 1970s, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and the Challengers acquire and use Mamaragan’s knife to open a portal to the Dark Multiverse, which causes Challengers’ Mountain (their artificial mountain HQ) to explode. The heroes are able to see a giant three-eyed demon, but only for a moment before the portal seals itself back up. Ra’s al Ghul takes the knife from the wreckage of Challengers’ Mountain, which is rebuilt thereafter. Hawkman then discovers ancient texts that tell him more information. He learns that Barbatos is the evil god ruler of the Dark Multiverse. Barbatos first saw Batman when he was Omega Sanctioned back in time by Darkseid (during Final Crisis)! From that point onward, Barbatos—via help from the Hath-Set worshipping Strigydae high priests of the Judas Tribe, which later becomes the Parliament of Owls/Court of Owls—began targeting and waiting for Batman to come back into existence in the 21st century, at which point they would initiate “The Mantling” ceremony to turn him 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 one more unknown.) Shortly before Bruce is born, Hawkman finds a theoretical way to enter the Dark Multiverse, but doesn’t have the means to access it yet. At this point, he decides that his journal is complete and must be given to “the family that has been most loyal,” aka the Waynes. The journal will act as an alarm, which will activate should things ever go south in regard to dark metal case. Finally, Hawkman inserts one more thing into the journal: information, including coordinates, about the hidden Tomb of Prince Khufu in Egypt, the only place from which someone could potentially prevent another incursion by Dark Multiversial forces. Thus ends Hawkman’s journal information. Shortly before Bruce is born (although the time is purely conjectural), Carter Hall gives the journal to Thomas Wayne, who buries it in the Wayne Manor study. Cut to the early 21st century (likely some point in-between 2011 and 2015, but possibly even earlier), Hawkman and his team finally are prepared and have the means to enter the Dark Multiverse, which they do. Unfortunately, they come into contact with great horror and the entire Challengers’ Mountain disappears. With the team gone, Hawkgirl takes over the Blackhawks as Lady Blackhawk, making it her new mission to rid the planet of Nth Metal or any metals closely related to it. Batman will eventually first encounter Lady Blackhawk years later in All-Star Batman #6-9. Dark Days: The Forge #1 follows a few months afterward.

22 Responses to Year Fifteen

  1. Antonio says:

    Collin, I think that the BLACK DAWN arc in Superman books happens sometime later than the REVENGE arc in Action…
    In Action 980 Lois is still trying to convince Jon to leave Hamilton for Metropolis. And her leg is still there…
    If this doesn’t happen to be just an illusion by MB, I’d definitely put REVENGE before BLACK DAWN.

    Also… is Batman & The Shadow canon in the post Reborn continuity? To me, nothing indicates it isn’t…
    YEAR ZERO must be canon as well (unfortunately)

    • The Kents have definitely have picked out an apartment by Action Comics #980, but it’s clear they haven’t moved anything in yet, meaning they have to still be living on the farm. For that reason alone, I’ll move it. The whole leg being chopped off thing seems like the lowest hanging fruit that you can dangle in comic book land to garner shock and awe (yawn). I’d almost guarantee Lois’ leg is back by the end of the arc. But we’ll see.

      In regard to Batman/Shadow (a truly amazing series thus far with IMO the best illustration in mainstream comics today), while nothing indicates that it isn’t in post-“Reborn,” nothing thus far has indicated that it IS either! I’ll wait until it wraps to make a final decision on that. Right now, I’m looking at single issues and arcs that have been published within a few month span of “Superman Reborn”—prior to it, during it, and after it. These items could go either way depending on how they are read.

      And last but not least, I haven’t added “Zero Year” stuff into the New Age/post-“Reborn” timeline yet, as I’m waiting for something more concrete. But with Scott Snyder being the primary Bat-architect over the course of the last six or seven years, I’d wager big money that most of his run will be canonized somehow, and that includes “Zero Year” (for better or worse).

      • Antonio says:

        Yeah, the chopped leg thing… My sister found it very sexist… kinda like The Killing Joke she said.
        Some people say Lois’ injury will stay for a while, others say that’s just an illusion by MB… either way I think it was a really wrong decision by the Tomasi-Gleason duo.
        I thought times were finally mature for a Lois Lane solo book. Kinda investigative, kinda mystery, kinda noir, kinda best mom in the world. And there you go… they chopped her leg because in their mind Lois is still Superman’s weakest point…

        As far as Zero Year, I think there is a line in JLA 7 that pretty much confirms it is the official Batman debut against Nygma. But I’ll have to take a closer look to it…

        P.S. Given the fact that we’re in Year 15 of this New Age Timeline (and so the characters are definitely NOT in their prime)… haven’t you got a bad feeling that in 3-4 years from now we’re going to xperience ANOTHER Reboot?
        Meh… world of comics… meh…

        • Yah, the leg… it’s definitely a “throwing her in the fridge” moment. And very out-of-synch with what Tomasi and Gleason have done so far (which has been really really good). They’ve treated Lois with the respect she deserves for years now. This seems very DiDio/Lee inspired/forced. Not into it.

          I really hope that DC doesn’t go any type of Marvel way, with reboots aplenty and a never-ending-sliding scale timeline. Doomsday Clock might give us another sort of reboot/relaunch of sorts thanks to the Watchmen character interventions, but, again, we shall see. Both Marvel and DC won’t survive if they don’t do the obvious, which is to pare down and release less monthly material, do way less crossovers, promote diverse works by diverse creators, and give guaranteed minimum runs to titles so that they have a chance to grow readership. (Inflation rates over the course of the past 30 years dictate that comic books today should be in the $1 to $1.50 range MAXIMUM, so cheaper books should happen too. If comics weren’t $2.99 or $5.99 or whatever, people would BUY MORE.) The Direct Market Monopoly (Diamond Comics) obviously is a terrible obstacle in the positive path for both companies, so it will be an uphill battle against the forces of Capitalism and corporate idiocy—that is, even if both companies decide they want to go in the positive direction at all.

          I looked into JLA #7 again, but I didn’t see any references to “Zero Year”…

          • Antonio says:

            I totally agree.

            As far as JLA7 I guess I was wrong. Must be another title… I’ll look into the matter…

  2. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, how are you? I hope everything is fine…

    Well, in a recent twitter post Tom King has said that The War Of Jokes And Riddles happens “a year later the bat crushed through the window…”
    Is it possible that they’re trying to bring Year One back into continuity? Of course, I guess, a “modern” version of it?

    I’ve heard rumors that TWOJAR contraddicts a lot of Zero Year which may not be canon in the Post Reborn Timeline anymore…

    Also, the more I read The Final day Of Superman now, the more I think it can’t be in continuity anymore. It simply doesn’t make any sense knowing now that there never were two Supermen. I think that just like Convergence, Superman/Wonder Woman love story and parts of Jurgen’s Arrival, it simply must be considered out of continuity.

    P.S. Have you had the opportunity to watch WW movie? I’d love to hear from you what you think of it. Personally, I found the movie entertaining… Gal Gadot is clearly the Chris Reeve of Diana, but one thing I just can’t accept. I won’t tell you because if you haven’t watched it yet…..

    Anyway, take care!!!

    • I’ve included an amended version of “Final Days of Superman” on the new timeline. Superwoman and New Super-Man both make constant references to it, so it has to exist in some form. Plus, Clark, Lois, and Jon hide out in a hotel while the world mistakenly believes Superman is dead in DC Universe: Rebirth. Basically, “Final Days” happens as such: The one real Superman fights a fake Superman (Denny Swan) and they blow up. The world thinks Superman has been killed, but in reality he is weakened and his family is still being threatened somehow, so they hide out for a few days until Superman makes a grand re-appearance.

      Tom King has already made a number of references to Frank Miller’s “Year One” in his run so far. I think we might get sort of what we already had in the New 52: a mash-up of Snyder’s “Zero Year” with small bits of Miller’s “Year One.” But if it contradicts “Zero Year” I’m totally cool with that. It is a bit curious, though, that there hasn’t been any reference made to “Zero Year” so far, while there has been some referencing to “Year One”…

      And I have not seen Wonder Woman, so I can’t comment!

  3. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, recently I stumbled on The Darkness/Batman.

    I was wondering if it can be considered canon in the modern age timeline. Plot-wise, nothing indicates it isn’t, but Batman wears a costume which is very similar to the post-Prodigal suit… and there’s a panel where Selina appears and she’s wearing her early years suit!

    So, is this book canon to you?

    • It’s hard to say… There is an editorial note that says it even takes place before NML, which seems to imply its canonicity. However, the Top Cow Universe is definitely separate from the DCU, which makes me leery. For example, anther Top Cow crossover is JLA/Witchblade, in which Witchblade reveals that she was childhood friends with Barbara Gordon. JLA/Witchblade cannot be canon in the DCU—it just wouldn’t make sense. For this reason, I also believe The Darkness/Batman is also non-canon.

      Usually, to be canon, a crossover will mention crossing through an interdimensional portal—like in Batman/TMNT or Batman/Judge Dredd. There are other possibilities for stories that don’t mention crossing through an interdimensional portal, though, so let’s dig deeper. One, like the Batman/Punisher crossovers, you could have a thing where universes temporarily merge or characters go through the Bleed without making mention of it. Two, like Batman/Aliens and Batman/Predator, you could have it where the popular characters (the Aliens and Predators, in this case) are unique versions introduced into a different continuity (in this case, the DCU). Or three, like Batman/Grendel, you could have it only be canon in one universe and not the other.

      I’m leaning toward option three for the Top Cow crossovers. They are canon for the Top Cow Universe—I think they get mentioned in other Top Cow books—but not canon in the DCU. The depiction of the costumes of Batman and Catwoman possibly being anachronistic also lend credence to the idea that The Darkness/Batman might not be canon in the DCU. Unlike Batman/Aliens, Batman/Predator, and Batman/Punisher, the Top Cow crossovers are never mentioned in any other DC title. That’s a red flag waving to the skeptic in me.

      In any event, this def warrants a note on the site. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  4. Jason Fetterley says:

    Collin, in Note #8 you typed “Guardians of the Galaxy”. Obviously, you meant “Guardians of the Universe”.

  5. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, Antonio here.

    Just finished reading batman 32… and I think Tom King just destroyed everything Batman has ever stood for and what he’s always represented.
    Bruce trying to kill Nygma is just unacceptable.
    They can do everything but that with the character.

    As ever, I’d really like to know what you think of all this big hell of a mess…

    • Austin Eaton says:

      Really? I think it’s a lame thing to be his greatest mistake. What about when he tried to kill the Joker in “Hush” or Darkseid in “Final Crisis”?

    • I think that if Batman would have actually killed someone, it would have destroyed everything he has ever stood for. Murder is one thing, attempted murder another. I can give a pass to this since it is early in his career and it’s a slip-up. Don’t get me wrong, Antonio, Batman’s action here is truly horrendous. But egregious as this action may be, the young Dark Knight has just witnessed the worst horror he’s ever seen on his watch to date, which causes him to breaks down and snap. And afterward, for Batman, the attempted murder is traumatizing. But maybe even more-so is the fact that Joker is the one that stops him. The only reason Batman didn’t go “too far” is because Joker didn’t let him. THAT is a tough pill to swallow. Plus, Batman’s two biggest rivals will forever hold this over him, moving forward, no matter how much he repents and reaffirms his values.

      So, again, I see the egregiousness of this, but what else, really, besides an attempted murder, would shake Batman so deeply to his core? Austin correctly mentions Batman shooting Darkseid and trying to kill Joker during “Hush.” There are other instances of Batman seemingly using lethal force scattered throughout comics, especially in the 1980s and early 1990s, too. But, at his core, Batman doesn’t kill. In the rebooted “Rebirth” world, any instance of Batman attempting murder or “accidentally” using lethal tactics has been retconned away, meaning that Tom King gets to highlight the literal ONE TIME Batman went too far, how it made him feel, and how he reacted—again, it causes him to REALLY commit to the idea of non-lethal crime-fighting after fucking up so badly.

      So in that regard, I think it gets a pass from me. It’s a big deal in some ways, but also not so big in other ways. WHAT DOESN’T get a pass is how terrible “War of Jokes and Riddles” was as a whole. The villains were one-dimensional, the plot and pacing atrocious, and the whole thing felt like bad filler. Don’t get me started on Kite Man. Ugh. King’s Grayson was a delight, but I’ve not been a big fan of his Batman run so far, nor was I a fan of his critically acclaimed Vision either. (Still on the fence about Mister Miracle.) King is a very talented author, but his narratives feel like they are right out of the Grim N’Gritty “deconstruction of the genre” era, like they would have fit in perfectly with Alan Moore and Frank Miller’s works from the late 1980s. Lumping King in with those two legends could never be regarded as anything other than the highest of compliments, but King’s type of storytelling—while deft, layered, and certainly impactful—just hasn’t been what I’m looking for in contemporary Batman stories.

      I’m eager to move on from “War of Jokes and Riddles,” especially since Selina has said yes. My favorite couple in all of fiction is the Bat and the Cat. My dream Batman stories involve the adventures of a married Batman and Catwoman, raising a family. Who knows if we’ll get there, but I’m excited to see what comes of the engagement. Hopefully, it’ll stick and King will deliver some good stuff. If there’s anything that King truly appreciates and truly GETS, it has been the Bat and Cat relationship. And, hopefully, some other writers (aside from King) will get to tackle the married superhero couple as well.

      • King implied at NYCC today that he has a contract to write 100 issues of Batman, which, if true, would be quite astounding. I can’t recall anyone going uninterrupted on any title for that long in a long time.

  6. Austin Eaton says:

    Hey Collin, hope you don’t mind me asking but, which storylines aren’t on the New Age timeline yet but most likely or almost definitely happened in the New Age?

    • I don’t mind answering any questions! The only stories not listed already that might be added later are: the original formation of the Justice League (with Appelaxians, etc…), Identity Crisis (with mind-wipe flashbacks), Barry Allen’s death during the original Crisis, and Barry’s resurrection.

      There are a bunch of items that have “???” as references because they, as of this moment, don’t actually have a New Age reference YET. These “???” items are things that will likely be referenced in the near future.

      Also, it is possible we’ll have a big shake-up following Doomsday Clock. So keep your eyes peeled for that. And for anyone else reading this, the New Age is my name for what DC has referred to as its “Rebirth” Era.

  7. Antonio says:

    Collin, what kind of “re-shake” do you see happening after Doomsday Clock?
    I mean… after the Reborn Reboot I think it might be a mistake to get another one in such a short time… unless they bring back the Kents (at least Martha), Conner and possibly a Knightfall much more coherent with the original one (especially Jean Paul, who makes no sense to me without the role he had in KF).

    What changes would you like to get?
    I guess we’ll know better only when Doomsday Clock is said and done, but what do you think about REBIRTH and REBORN in general? What good things do you think they have brought to dc comics and what did you like best in the New52?

    Thanks, Collin. You’re invaluable.

    • It’s hard to speculate. The hype for Doomsday Clock is legit. I am on pins and needles thinking of the various possibilities that story itself could provide. It’s still hard for me to see how the DCU will crossover with Watchmen, especially since Doomsday Clock is now an official sequel to the original Watchmen. That ashcan preview blew me away!

      In regard to potential “shake-ups,” I’m simply referring to the “ten years” stolen from the DCU by Dr. Manhattan. In Hypertime sequence of “The Button,” we were shown Identity Crisis, the original formation of the JL, and Barry Allen’s death, and it was theorized (by Barry) that these were bits of timeline stolen from the primary chronology i.e. parts of the missing ten years.

      Now, I can’t imagine Geoff Johns straight-up adding ten years to the timeline. That would be an out-and-out reboot—and too soon after our recent “Rebirth” reboot to boot. (This is the first comment response that sounds like Dr. Seuss LOL). Anyway, we’ll, at the very least, see additions of some great classic stories—AND Identity Crisis too haha. But this is Johns we are talking about. I expect something truly face-melting. And I expect the unexpected.

      I personally don’t mind Jean-Paul’s new origin, which comes entirely from Batman and Robin Eternal, IMO Scott Snyder’s best work at DC (not including Metal, which I’m enjoying tremendously so far but am still on the fence about, depending on where it goes.) HOWEVER, “Knightfall” is one of my all-time favorite Batman stories ever, so, like you, I do miss the classic Jean-Paul origin and Az-Bats. Az-Bats was the GOAT. You asked what changes I’d like to see, though. Honestly, I’d like to see the missing ten years just go away. I wouldn’t change a thing. (It makes more work for me, anyway!) I’m quite content with the amount of backstory and old-school reference material already peppered throughout the New Age (aka “Rebirth”) timeline.

      “Rebirth”/post-“Superman Reborn” has been exactly what DC needed to right its dying brand. By the end of the New 52, things were pretty bleak. The new line has been a refreshing return to greatness, yet without abandoning New 52 narrative, which is nice. At first I was mystified by it, but now, in hindsight, I really like the rewriting of Superman’s history in “Superman Reborn.” Modern Age Superman should never have come to the New 52 in the first place IMO.

      What can I say about the New 52? 2011 was the perfect time to do a full reboot, start anew, with new writers and new stories and new origins. But instead we got mostly crappy writers, and editors that decided that some titles would carry over with them long histories that didn’t actually jibe with the new shortened timeline. So much of the core DC line was just terrible throughout the New 52. Justice League, Batgirl, Detective Comics, and Batman Eternal come to mind as bad books. Don’t get me started on Jim Gordon as Robo-Batman. Ugh. In order for the New 52 to have worked, they had to have committed to starting over completely. I truly believe that the idea to do the New 52 reboot was one of the boldest and most brilliant concepts in superhero comics in the past twenty years. The PROBLEM, however, was not in the idea, but in its implication.

      Here are some things that I liked about the New 52, off the top of my head:

      Gotham Academy!
      Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
      -The second and final half of Batman Incorporated!
      Sugar & Spike: Paranormal Investigations!
      Forever Evil
      -the Jonah Hex conclusion to All-Star Western
      Batman and Robin Eternal functioning as a solid “Batman’s Second Year” tale.
      -While I didn’t love how the Joker was used specifically, I did love the Joker getting used very sparingly and showing up as a Big Big Bad only when appropriate. Similarly, I didn’t love “Zero Year,” but I love the brass balls on Snyder for delivering a wildly original tale that still felt like it hit the marks of what makes a classic Batman origin.
      -New 52 Superman. His Grant Morrison t-shirt origin was great and his character was well-developed over the years. People didn’t like it because it didn’t “feel” like Superman, but this was a new character with new traits, which I dug.
      -And, last but not least, I love the foundation built for the “Rebirth” era we are in today. Without the New 52, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

      Thanks, Antonio. YOU are invaluable. 🙂

  8. Antonio says:

    Thanks Collin.
    I think I agree with 99% of what you think. One of the exception to be The New52 Superman. See… I grew up with the Modern Age version of the character… Lois as his companion for life… his values… his family which, in a way, always made him look much more “human” than Bruce (who’s a no sense of humour machine 🙂 ).
    That’s why I always enjoyed the World Finest: they couldn’t be more different, but, still, at the core of it, they are exactly the same.
    The New52 Superman didn’t feel like Superman. No, he didn’t at all. I understand the attempt to create a brand new character with different origins and attachments… but, heck… that’s Superman we’re talking about. Superman!
    With Trump on the throne (Luthor as President is a much much more preferable option and actually did some good Trump will never do) I’d replace the US Flag on the moon with the S shield and a Bat signal…
    They’re just not only two comics characters… they’re just like everyone of us should be and aspire to be.
    So, the importance of Superman is too big for a change like he underwent with the New52.

    I still think Jean Paul is a diminished character without him being Az-Bat. Cass Cain without her role in NML is as well in my opinion.
    As much as I love Babs back in action, there’s part of me that thinks that as Oracle she was an outstanding character, that she could show the world that a paralyzed woman can be as sexy and smart and strong as she can be.

    I love Rebirth. I would have taken the opportunity of the Reborn reboot to make other adjustments they missed though. Martha Kent, Conner (maybe he’ll be back since he seems lost in the Hypertime)… and surely I would have never compromised the myth and hystory of Krypton and Jor-El like Jurgens is currently doing and, as I already said, I wouldn’t have never compromised the NO-KILLING unavoidable rule in Batman’s life.
    I know… it was very early in his career… still I feel like a betrayal to his parents and what happened in crime alley.

    I feel the same about those ten years missing. It’s complicated as it is that we’re in year 15 now… imagine to add another 10 years to the timeline… that could compromise the integrity of the New Age Overall… but we’ll see.

    I’m really sorry I can’t help you on Patreon because I don’t have a job right now (well, actually since 2015) since the company I worked for just went bankrupt and I have been broke for a long time… but I just want to tell you once again your website is a companion I could never go on without.

    So, thanks.

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