Year Thirteen

(2015)

 

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 3 #29—originally told in “BLACKEST NIGHT.” Tons of dead superheroes and super-villains rise up from the grave as evil zombies courtesy of Nekron, Black Hand, and the dark energy of the Black Power Battery. A big war erupts on Earth involving zombie Black Lanterns, evil Yellow Lanterns (Sinestro‘s Sinestro Corps), the Green Lantern Corps, and a host of other superheroes. While the main action of “Blackest Night” doesn’t really involve any member of the Bat-Family, Batman (Dick Grayson) and Robin do encounter some zombie Black Lanterns in Gotham. “Blackest Night” is mostly important because it alerts Batman, Robin, Alfred, and all the other heroes to the fact that Bruce isn’t actually dead. This happens when the Black Power Battery summons “Bruce” out of his grave, revealing that it was actually his mindless clone that they buried, not the real Bruce. After the Black Lanterns and other villains are defeated, Dick keeps a black power ring and stores it in the Bat-Bunker.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Nights: Metal #1-2 and Nightwing Vol. 4 #29. Batman (Dick Grayson) and Robin bust the debuting Eduardo Flamingo—a flamboyant assassin representing Simon Hurt’s Mexican El Penitente drug cartel.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #21-23. Batman (Dick Grayson) busts the debuting Tiger Shark.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 5 #21, Dark Nights: Metal #2, and Nightwing Vol. 4 #29—originally told in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2-4 and Batman & Robin #10-12. Months have passed since Bruce was trapped in time due to Darkseid’s Omega Sanction. A time-displaced Bruce now leaps from 1640 to 1718 where he has a pirate adventure. Bruce then leaps from 1718 to the late 19th century where he becomes a masked cowboy vigilante on horseback, starting a full-scale war-on-crime against outlaws. From there, Bruce leaps to the time period shortly after his parents’ deaths. Meanwhile, in present day, Batman (Dick Grayson), Robin, and a disguised Joker fight Simon Hurt’s army known as The 99 Fiends. In the past, Bruce gets involved in an occult ritual being held by the Black Glove members Simon Hurt, Carter Nichols, and others. Nichols betrays Hurt, allowing Bruce to jump to Vanishing Point at the literal End of Time. From the End of Time, Bruce leaps back to the present day with the Hyper-Adapter in tow. With the help of the Justice League and Red Robin, the Hyper-Adapter is defeated and is sent spiraling backward through time.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 5 #21 and Nightwing Vol. 4 #29—originally told in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 and Batman & Robin #13-16. Simon Hurt and his army of 99 Fiends takes over Gotham, capturing Batman (Dick Grayson) and Robin. Batman (Bruce), having arrived from the past only minutes ago, helps the Bat-Family defeat Hurt. Joker buries the immortal Hurt alive.

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #21 and Justice League Vol. 3 #29—originally told in Batman Incorporated #1-8, Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #0, and Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes!. Bruce is officially back! After the Bat-Family catches-up with their beloved patriarch and learn about his ordeal, they fill-in Bruce on all he has missed while he was gone. Dick gives Bruce a black power ring, which goes into safe storage into the reopened Batcave. Bruce then returns to active duty as Batman (although Dick will stay as Batman for a short while too). After some planning, Bruce initiates Batman Incorporated, a massive enterprise that will see international Bat-agents working to fight crime all over the globe. Outside of the Bat-Family, Batman recruits Commissioner Gordon, Lucius Fox, Traktir, Spidra, Batman Japan, Batwing (David Zavimbe), a new Dark Ranger, Ravil, Nightrunner, Man-of-Bats, Red Raven (formerly “Little Raven”), Gaucho, The Hood, Knight, Squire, and a new Legionary. In addition, Batman meets with Jason Todd and they reconcile. Jason joins Batman Incorporated as the new Wingman. Batman Incorporated soon becomes aware of the threat of Leviathan, a widespread criminal organization. After fighting Leviathan all over the globe, Batman Incorporated discovers that the evil organization has infiltrated the covert ops group known as Spyral. After a huge battle against ex-Nazi Otto Netz (Doctor Dedalus) that appears as a loss for the good guys (and during which Robin kills Netz), Talia al Ghul reveals herself as the leader of Leviathan. After this episode ends, Dick returns to his Nightwing moniker.

–REFERENCE: In Batwoman: Rebirth #1 and Batwoman Vol. 2 #7-8—originally told in Detective Comics #857-860 and flashbacks from Detective Comics #948-949. Batwoman (Kate Kane)—guided by her dad Jake Kane—debuts and trails Batman, spying on him. Batman then surprises Kate at home, telling Kate that he doesn’t approve of her vigilantism but won’t stand in her way. Unknown to Batman and Batwoman, they are secretly watched via hidden camera that belongs to Jake Kane’s clandestine paramilitary group known as The Colony. (The Colony has been watching Batman since his debut.) Jake and his top man Simon Samuels (codenamed “Colony Prime”) view Batman conversing with Batwoman. A couple days later, after lunch with cousin Bruce, Kate realizes that Bruce is Batman and that he is testing her. Shortly thereafter, Batwoman fights her maniacal long lost twin sister Elizabeth “Beth” Kane, who returns to Gotham as Alice, the crazed super-villain leader of The Religion of Crime. Alice attempts to bomb Gotham Harbor, but is stopped by Batwoman, Kyle Abbot, and Jake Kane. Alice seemingly perishes during the chaos after falling into the harbor from a plane. Angry at her dad for keeping the details about Alice a secret, Kate cuts off all communication with Jake.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1. Mr. Terrific begins living part-time on Earth-2, moving freely between the Bleed from Earth-1, back and forth. Batman is made aware of this fact.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 5 #21. The Justice League obtains several items: papal vestments and mitre, the Mars rover, a hydrogen bomb, and Voyager II—all of which go into the JL Trophy Room. These are likely gifts from the Vatican, NASA, and the US Army.

–REFERENCE: In Gotham Academy: Second Semester #9-12. Batman apprehends teenager Tristan Grey, who can turn into a man-bat due to Man-Bat Virus permanently in his system. Batman has Tristan enrolled into the upcoming school year at Gotham Academy to be monitored under the watchful eye of the institution’s Headmaster Collingwood Vaughn Hammer. Shortly thereafter, Bruce personally awards the Wayne Foundation Scholarship, which will pay for room and board at Gotham Academy, to a now teenage Olive Silverlock, daughter of jailed super-villain Calamity (Sybil Silverlock). Olive immediately moves from an orphanage to the campus, where she will live in preparation for the start of school at the end of summer. Batman will quietly and secretly monitor both Tristan and Olive, moving forward. The Dark Knight gives detailed files on Olive and Tristan to both Headmaster Hammer and teacher Isla MacPherson.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1. Batman learns that something potentially very dangerous is locked underneath Atlantis. It is possible he is referring to the Trench, a race of Dagon-like mutated Atlanteans, but it could be something else, like a portal to Xebel or dark magick thing.

–REFERENCE: In Super Sons #5—originally told in Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #2. Bruce buys Damian a Great Dane, which Damian names Titus.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #23 and Batman Vol. 3 #33—originally told in Batman Vol. 3 Annual #1 Part 1. Joker siccs five vicious German Shepherds—each dressed in a playing card costume—on Batman. Joker then flees with his dogs. Batman and Commissioner Gordon later find the dogs abandoned, but only “Ace” is alive. Shortly thereafter, Alfred adopts Ace and gives him to Bruce as a present. I guess if Damian gets Titus, Bruce gets a “Bathound” as well. Alfred will spend months training Ace.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #7—originally told in Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #1-8. In Moscow, Morgan Ducard (now going by the super-villain name “Nobody”) murders Batman Incorporated agent Ravil. In Gotham, now that Batman (Bruce Wayne) is done recruiting for Batman Incorporated, the Dark Knight separates Damian from Dick to make his son his official full-time partner. Batman and Robin fight Ducard. Much to the chagrin of his father, Damian kills Ducard.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #23—originally told in Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #10 and Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #40. Bruce, Dick, Tim, Damian, and Alfred gather at Wayne Manor to pose for a family portrait. Sorry Jason! Or maybe Jason chose not to show up. In the New 52, this painting went unfinished for a full calendar year until Damian himself finished it. We can assume that, in the New Age, the painting is completed right now.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Casting #1—originally told in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #1-4. Batman busts Joker and puts him back in Arkham Asylum. Joker hires a new villain called Dollmaker (Barton Mathis), who not only helps him escape, but also complies with Joker’s request to surgically slice-off his face! The now literally faceless Joker goes into hiding. Meanwhile, Batman and Commissioner Gordon defeat Dollmaker and his Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque family, which includes Dollhouse (Matilda Mathis), Olivia Carr, Bentley, Jack-in-the-Box, Sampson, and The Gimp. Joker’s dead skin mask goes into storage at GCPD HQ.

–FLASHBACK: From Dark Nights: Metal #2—and also referenced in Dark Days: The Forge #1, Dark Nights: Metal #2, All-Star Batman #13, Nightwing Vol. 4 #29, and Batman: The Merciless #1. Originally told in “THE COURT OF OWLS” and “NIGHT OF THE OWLS.” Batman invents new EMP holographic mask technology and allows Nightwing to test it out in the field. Using the new tech, Nightwing disguises himself as Joker to help Batman quell a riot at Arkham Asylum. Later, the illuminati group known as The Court of Owls strikes at Batman via one of its undead Talon soldiers. The Dark Knight is captured and trapped in the Court of Owls’ underground labyrinth for days. Without any food or water, Batman drinks only from a fountain containing Electrum, the mystical liquid metal that the Court uses to re-animate its Talon soldiers. (Little does he know but this is the first step of a ritual known as “The Mantling,” through which Barbatos will be able to breach into the regular Multiverse from the Dark Multiverse using Batman as a conduit. The Court of Owls is in league with Barbatos’ Earthly agents, the Strigydae high priests of the Judas Tribe.) After days trapped in the labyrinth, Batman defeats the stalking Talon and just barely escapes with his life thanks to some assistance from a meddling but helpful Harper Row. Alfred collects the injured Batman and the lifeless Talon corpse, brining both back to the Batcave. After analysis of the Talon, Batman learns the true history of the Court of Owls, which dates back hundreds of years. (Technically, their history goes back 40,000 years if you link them to their Judas Tribe ancestors.) Not only does Batman learn a bit of Court history, he also learns that the Talon is Dick’s paternal great-grandfather, William Cobb. When Nightwing arrives, Batman drops the bombshell on him, further adding that the Court of Owls has long recruited its Talon agents from a pool of athletic youth, specifically from its secret training ground of Haly’s Circus. Batman punches Nightwing in the face, knocking out his tooth, which has an owl symbol on it. Dick was scheduled to have been the next Talon, but plans were changed when his parents died and he became Robin instead! Batman keeps Dick’s tooth for later examination. Shortly thereafter, the Court of Owls reanimates multiple generations of zombie Talons using Electrum. The Talons attack all over the city, but the Bat-Family stands strong and defeats them, later finding the Court of Owl leaders Maria and Joseph Powers—owners of Powers Industrial and parents of Geri Powers—poisoned to death. (Note that Powers Industrial will also be interchangeably referred to as “Powers Industry” and “Powers Industries.”) Batman soon learns that the Court of Owls has controlled Gotham for hundreds of years and that one of its other leaders is mayoral Lincoln March. March, responsible for murdering Maria and Joseph Powers, claims to be Bruce’s biological younger brother Thomas Wayne Jr! Batman defeats March and ends any more threat of the Court of Owls. Hoping to find the truth about March’s claim, Bruce does some research into his family’s history, learning that his mom was pregnant when he was three-years-old and that the Court of Owls caused a car accident that supposedly resulted in the loss of the baby in the womb. Despite this, Bruce cannot confirm whether or not March is truly his brother. While researching, Bruce learns that the Court of Owls murdered Jarvis Pennyworth (Alfred’s dad).

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1. Batman raids what is left of the Court of Owls’ hideouts across Gotham, taking owl masks, Talon masks, and paper documents connected to the Court of Owls as trophies.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1 and Dark Days: The Casting #1. Batman examines Dick’s owl-tooth, and extracts Electrum from it. Presumably, Batman procures samples of Electrum from defeated Talon corpses as well. He makes 3D scans of the tooth and enlarged Electrum slides, saving both as digital holographic images. After studying the Electrum, Batman learns that it is a compound that contains traces of another mystery metal, which has a very specific “dark energy” signature. As part of his investigation, Batman examines other magickal metallic items. First, he 3D-scans Wonder Woman’s bracelets and Aquaman’s five-pointed “trident.” He also 3D-scans the Dr. Fate helmet in the Justice League Trophy Room. After making holographic images from the scans and some analysis, Batman realizes each item has a similar “dark energy” signature to the mystery metal extracted from Electrum. Batman records all of this information onto his Shadow Drive (aka Shadow File), which he will continue to do with anything related to this mystery metal case. Shortly thereafter, Batman’s studies into the mystery metal reveal that it exists in nature and that it could potentially be very dangerous to all life on the planet. Batman (presumably with the help of Mr. Terrific and a select few other metahumans) builds a secret underground wing in Batcave, called Sub-Cave Alpha, dedicated to further study of the mystery metal. In this secret cave within a secret cave, masked by a false holographic rock wall, Batman puts several Court of Owls masks, several Talon masks, and documents connected to the Court of Owls on display. Batman also puts all scanned 3D images onto holographic pedestal projector displays. The Caped Crusader will continue to study Electrum, the mystery metal, and the “dark energy” signature for years to come. Unknown to Batman, the immortal Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders have not only been aware of the “dark energy” signature and “dark metal,” they have also been investigating all things related to the Dark Multiverse ever since the early 1900s. (See a footnote in Year 15 for details on Carter and Kendra’s lengthy connection to this case.)

–REFERENCE: In Dark Nights: Metal #1-2 and Teen Titans Vol. 6 #12. Batman continues his “dark energy” investigation, learning about a legend that tells of an omniscient being from another world. While the details are vague, Batman believes he is somehow at the center of the mystery—that an evil power has supposedly been targeting him for thousands of years. He can sense that something has been (and continues to) watch him from some far away realm, somehow subtly shaping his life. While unexplainable, Batman comes to think of himself as the key to the “dark energy” conundrum, which is linked to some unfathomable cosmic event yet to unfold. Batman will haunted by this thought for years to come. With this troubling motivator in mind, Batman’s investigation will remain fully-fueled for years to come.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1 and Green Arrow Vol. 6 #32. As part of his secret investigation into the dangerous “dark energy” signature, Batman begins a global search for the mystery metal linked to Electrum. Bruce and Lucius Fox set-up fourteen Wayne Enterprises “Black Sites,” secret science facilities whose sole purpose is to mine-for and study any geological anomalies linked to the strange metal. (We aren’t told about where the “Black Sites” are located, except for #14, which is a science drilling rig on a volcanic island in the Bermuda Triangle.) At site #14, Dr. Madison leads a team of scientists to study abnormalities in metals in the Earth’s core. Since several of the “Black Sites” involve magma and deep underground drilling, Batman builds a brand new lava-proof mech suit that he can use to travel deep under the Earth’s surface (and to use in case of emergency). Via his secret drilling operations, Batman finds some evidence that the “dark energy” could be linked to an unknown region beyond the known multiverse. Fearing that the very existence of this “dark energy” metal could be dangerous to all life on the planet, the Caped Crusader consults the smartest man he knows, Mr. Terrific, to assist on research at the “Black Sites.” Since Batman knows Mr. Terrific lives part-time on Earth-2, Batman asks him to run similar geological tests there. In doing so, Mr. Terrific finds a cosmic frequency that exists in the Bleed that is similar to the “dark energy” signature. Batman (as both Batman and Bruce Wayne) will monitor his Black Sites and sporadically consult with Mr. Terrific for years to come.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Casting #1. In conjunction with his studies into the “dark energy” signature linked to the mysterious dark metal, Batman begins tracking metahuman activity across the globe, specifically looking for hospital red flags that list any patients that have metal toxicity in their blood. Batman will find a bunch of these anomalies and mark them in the Bat-computer’s encrypted “Meta-File.” Among those with metal toxicity akin to the “dark energy” signature are teenager Duke Thomas and his mom Elaine Thomas.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Forge #1 and Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #25. In conjunction with his ongoing studies of the “dark energy” signature found in geological anomalies across the globe, Batman secretly forms a covert “black-ops” team known as The Outsiders. Batman’s team consists of Geo-Force, Black Lightning, Katana, Halo, and Metamorpho. The Outsiders primary goals are to go on unsanctioned covert missions and to uncover hidden truths about the mystery metal linked to the “dark energy” signature. The Outsiders will continue working on-and-off with Batman for years to come, disbanding and reforming with updated line-ups several times (although we won’t see most of these occurrences on our timeline, moving forward). Specifically, Batman will form a close bond with one of his best soldiers, Katana. Batman will keep all versions of the Outsiders a secret from everyone, even the Bat-Family.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Days: The Casting #1, Dark Nights: Metal #2, and Batman: The Merciless #1—originally told in “DEATH OF THE FAMILY.” Joker steals back his face, kills a bunch of cops, and—with his face literally tied-on like a mask—enters Wayne Manor and kidnaps Alfred, leaving a video message that implies he knows all about Batman’s secret ID. After Batman and Robin stop a Jokerized mob, Batman deals with Poison Ivy, Clayface, and Penguin’s top man Ignatius Ogilvy (who ditches Penguin to become his own boss. When Joker strikes at Commissioner Gordon, Batman saves him, but gets knocked unconscious (and nearly killed) by Joker. Robin, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl struggle with Joker while Batman is out-cold. Joker then takes control of Arkham Asylum and kidnaps the entire Bat-Family, forcing an awakened Batman to enter into battle against Mr. Freeze, Clayface, and Scarecrow. Using the kidnapped Bat-Family as leverage, Joker defeats Batman and lines him up next to his Jokerized Bat-Family, including Alfred, in the Batcave. Batman is able to cure his fam and defeat Joker, who falls into the catacomb rivers beneath the Batcave and is washed away. Later, Bruce explains to his fam the complicated nature of Joker’s mind when it comes to the secret ID of Batman. Bruce is still convinced that Joker knows the Bat-Family secret identities, but he is so crazy that he doesn’t (and never did) care who was beneath the masks, mentally blocking out the information. In essence, Bruce tells his fam, “Bruce Wayne isn’t important to the Clown Prince of Crime; only Batman matters.” The Bat-Family, shaken to its core, remains highly skeptical of this explanation. Meanwhile, Joker gets washed deeper and deeper into the catacombs beneath the Batcave, falling into a pool of simmering liquid green metal called Dionesium, which heals his wounds, including his face. Joker discovers an ancient cave drawing of Batman’s cape and cowl scratched onto the wall above the jade pool. (This bizarre Dionesium pit has been secretly carved into the adjacent-but-much-deeper caves next to the Batcave by the Court of Owls in conjunction with Barbatos’ Judas Tribe followers as part of their bigger “Mantling” ritual plan.) With a new lease on life and a fascinating mystery dating back to the dawn of man, Joker will begin soliciting information about immortality and the history of bats in Gotham from anyone with arcane knowledge, including the Court of Owls and Crazy Quilt. Later, the entire Bat-Family gathers to unwind and recover from the ordeal Joker has put them through. Starfire and Arsenal come to support Red Hood as the three of them are currently on a team known as The Outlaws.

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #21, Detective Comics #958, and Batman Vol. 3 #33—originally told in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #1-13. Talia al Ghul’s international terrorist organization known as Leviathan, has secretly corrupted all facets of Gotham. Batman and Robin stop a Leviathan shipment of poisoned meat from entering Gotham’s markets—and take one of the healthy bovines as a pet, which Robin dubs Bat-Cow! Batman Incorporated takes on Leviathan at Wayne Tower as Talia unleashes the monstrous Heretic—an adult clone of Damian that still has his youthful face. The Heretic kills Squire and Robin. After funerals are held, Batman mourns the loss of his son and vows revenge. Talia takes control of Gotham, making Wayne Tower her HQ and demanding the immediate and permanent legal shutdown of Batman Inc. With his operation officially kaput, Batman seeks the help of Azrael Michael Lane, who returns the mystical Suit of Sorrows back to the Caped Crusader. Lane also gives Batman the fiery Sword of Azrael. Batman then gets some Man-Bat Serum from Dr. Kirk Langstrom. After micro-dosing to pump-up and donning some Azrael gear, Batman attacks Leviathan by himself head-on. Batman fights and defeats the Heretic, who is killed by Talia for his failure. Shortly thereafter, in the Batcave, Batman duels Talia, who is shot dead by a returning Kathy Kane, secret head of the spy agency Spyral. Batman keeps the Suit of Sorrows after these events.

–REFERENCE: In Trinity Vol. 2 Annual #1 Epilogue. Having won back the trust of his old friends, Jason Todd is accepted back into the fold. Returning to his Red Hood name, Jason will still teeter on the edge of villainy, but he will now be a full-fledged Bat-Family member again.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 5 #21. Batman makes an armored exo-suit, which he stores in the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #958—originally told in Batwing #19-20. Batwing David Zavimbe retires from crime-fighting. Batman passes the mantle of Batwing onto wealthy socialite cum professional MMA fighter cum tech entrepreneur Lucas “Luke” Fox, son of Lucius Fox.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #957—originally told in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #22-24. Batman defeats a new super-villain called The Wrath (wealthy tycoon ED Caldwell) and one of his many disposable Scorn henchmen.

–REFERENCE: In Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #18 and Action Comics #980. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman fight the Kryptonian super-villain Zod, who escapes the Phantom Zone to attack Earth. The heroes defeat Zod and send him back to the Phantom Zone.

–REFERENCE: In Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #20 and Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special #1 Part 2. Batman learns that Harley Quinn has very recently ditched the abusive Joker for good and moved to Coney Island, Brooklyn. Harley, despite being a member of the Suicide Squad and constantly in-and-out of prison, is attempting to live a straight(er) life in New York. Basically, as far-fetched as this sounds, Harley will live a dual life, basically free when in Brooklyn, but still beholden to the Suicide Squad for regular missions. Harley will go months living freely and then go months incarcerated at Bell Reve Penitentiary, pretty much at random intervals. We must assume this is a special deal that she’s worked out with Amanda Waller.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Merciless #1—originally told in “SUPERMAN UNCHAINED.” Batman and Superman become aware of a secret US military organization called The Machine, which has existed since 1938 and is now led by Lois Lane’s asshole dad, Sam Lane. Considering Superman a threat because he won’t be a slave to government control, General Lane unleashes WRAITH, a powerful alien agent that has secretly worked for the Machine since the 1930s. While WRAITH pummels Batman, Sam Lane’s Machine soldiers attack Superman. After Superman defeats the soldiers, WRAITH summons his brethren—a large armada of warriors—to Earth. However, in fighting Batman and Superman, WRAITH sees the error of his ways. WRAITH sacrifices his life to destroy his entire race, saving Earth in the process.

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