Modern YEAR FOURTEEN (Part 1)

2002 (January to June)[1]
_______________________________

–Detective Comics #654-656
Early January. The General (Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong), a teenage delinquent in the vein of Anarky, begins assembling Gotham’s gangs into a giant anti-Batman army. The army eventually strikes, but it’s not enough to overcome the weary but stalwart Batman. Bane observes the Dark Knight from afar, studying his every move and tactic. (Batman’s war against the General’s army is also shown via flashback from Batman #497.)

–NOTE: In Justice League America #71 and Justice League America #76. January. Batman has nothing to do with this item, but he would be fully aware of what goes down. In the wake of Superman’s recent death and funeral, the JLA and JLI have been shaken to their cores. Wonder Woman decides to take a more prominent role on the JLA team; and new members join, including the newest version of The Ray (Ray Terrill), Black Condor (Ryan Kendall), and Agent Liberty (Benjamin Lockwood). Shortly after joining the JLA, the Ray departs to join the JLI. Basically, the Justice League lineups will be in a state of flux for the next few months to come.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Shadow of the Bat #19-20 and Batman: Shadow of the Bat #34. Batman deals with mafiosos in the Buto Mob, led by the patriarch of the Buto family: Joey Buto.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Harold draws a picture of the Batcave for Batman.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #683 Part 2. Batman terrifies a random unnamed hood in Gotham’s Chelsea neighborhood, hanging him out of a window to obtain information.

–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47. Batman protects Commissioner Gordon and Sarah Essen Gordon when Riddler invades their home.

–Robin III #1
In Robin III Tim is portrayed as a freshman in high school and depicted as being around 14-years-old. However, due to retcons, he should actually only be in junior high and only 11-years-old. Batman and Robin take down a White Power gang known as the White Wolves. Across town, Huntress spies on top mobster Tony Bressi (who we haven’t seen since Year Seven)! Later, Tim attends the birthday party of his friend Sebastian Ives in Little Odessa, Gotham’s Russian neighborhood. He overhears some of Bressi’s thugs roughing-up a local shopkeeper and helps him out. Tim meets the shopkeeper’s daughter Ariana Dzerchenko, whom he will begin dating in a year or so. After that, Tim meets with his dad, who has finally returned home from the hospital in a wheelchair. With dad home, Tim will have to start doing a lot of sneaking around to attend to his vigilante duties as Robin from now on. When Bressi’s men go after the Dzerchenkos again, Robin is on hand and winds up facing off head-to-head with the returning KGBeast! NOTE: The rest of Robin III (Robin III #2-6) happens right after Robin III #1 ends. These issues are very important continuity-wise (featuring Robin, Huntress, and King Snake’s Ghost Dragons defeating KGBeast), but I’ve left them off the timeline simply because Batman is not in them.

–Batman #489-490
March. In issue #489, Killer Croc says he last fought Batman six months ago in August. Six months ago should correctly be late September. Moving onto a synopsis. Snow falls over Gotham. An exhausted and sleepless Bruce takes sedatives as prescribed by Shondra. (This is also shown via flashback from Batman #497.) While the Caped Crusader is out-of-action, Killer Croc goes on a rampage. Robin dresses-up Jean-Paul as Batman (some foreshadowing huh?) and they go to confront Croc. But before they have a chance to do anything, Bane is already there and he absolutely destroys Croc, snapping his arm like a twig. NOTE: All the heroes around this time (including Robin and Jean-Paul) sport cool black Superman arm bands in honor of the fallen Man of Steel. These arm bands were made and given out by Oberon just after Superman’s death. In issue #490, Bane injects the Riddler with Venom (!) and the pumped-up Nigma goes berserk. (This scene is also shown via flashback from Batman #497.) Once Bruce realizes Venom is involved, he solemnly recalls the dark time he spent getting to know the drug far too well (see the Bat Year Three for details). This mention is notable because it was the first time in the Modern Age that any LOTDK stories were specifically canonically referenced by an author!

–Black Condor #12
Batman teams-up with Black Condor in the final issue of this series.

–REFERENCE: In Showcase ’93 #2 Part 1. Bruce goes on an unspecified trip abroad, leaving Gotham in Robin’s care.

–Showcase ’93 #6 Part 1
Robin takes down gangster Ramon Bracuda on a solo mission, but Bracuda goes free due to circumstantial evidence. Feeling lost without Batman by his side, Tim anxiously wants Bruce to return from his trip abroad, but Bruce tells Tim he won’t be back until next week. A nervous Tim tells Bruce his plan to use himself as bait to entrap Bracuda, a plan that Commissioner Gordon is dead set against. Sensing Tim’s nervousness, Bruce calls Jean-Paul and asks him for a favor. Jean-Paul dons the Bat-costume (!), meets with Gordon, and convinces him that the plan is a good one.  With Gordon’s blessing, Robin gains the confidence to successfully enact his plan and send Bracuda to prison for good. “Jean-Paul watches Robin in action and proudly approves of his methods. Withe the case wrapped, Jean-Paul, still pretending to be Batman, meets with Robin to congratulate him and further bolster his confidence.

–Detective Comics #657-658
Batman, Robin, and Azrael prevent Cypher from using his hypnotism to command Lucius Fox to commit suicide.

–Batman/Judge Dredd: Vendetta in Gotham
Judge Dredd (from an alternate post-apocalyptic Earth in the twenty-second century) returns to Earth-0 to pick a fight with Batman. After battling for nearly forty-five minutes straight, Dredd reveals that Batman was set to die earlier in the night from an explosion involving the Ventriloquist—citing a Gotham newspaper from the next day. Dredd was merely keeping Batman occupied to save his life. Realizing that children are in danger, Batman takes-off to the Ventriloquist’s location, where the villain (with Scarface) is attempting to blow up a stage-play of Goldilocks and the Three Bears being performed for a senator’s family and a bunch of kids. Dredd follows and helps Batman not only bring down the Ventriloquist, but save everyone’s lives too. Before departing, Dredd reveals that he only saved Batman’s life because a telepath on his Earth predicted that Batman will help save Mega-City One from a dire threat one day in the future.

[2]

–Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1-4[3][4]
Late March. This tale supposedly occurs the summer following Batman versus Predator #1-3. However, the whole Bane saga gets in the way of that logic. Therefore, we must ignore the specific summer setting. It’s late March. Onto the synopsis. Batman stalks drug pusher Johnny Panetti—representing the mobster Manny Terraro—to the waterfront where he surveils a dockside drug deal between Panetti and some Columbian thugs. When Panetti double-crosses the thugs and shoots them dead, Batman swoops down to kick ass, receiving some unwelcome assistance from Huntress. Panetti tells Batman that Terraro has put a high-paying underworld hit out on him. As Batman patrols, a returning Predator alien, having returned to Earth to hunt Batman, attacks Commissioner Gordon at Police HQ, stealing the Bat-Signal in the process. The Predator then knocks-out Huntress and decapitates some of Terraro’s men. In the forest outside of Gotham, the Predator calls Batman by shining the Bat-Signal into the air. Batman fights a losing battle against the Predator in the woods, getting tied up and hung upside down. Huntress arrives again and saves Batman. A stuttering Terraro-hired hitman, in an attempt to kill Batman, blows up the Batmobile, which actually allows the heroes to escape. The Predator kills the hitman. Back in Gotham, Huntress gives Batman a list of assassins on his tail. Batman trains with Alfred in the Batcave while Huntress makes herself bait to lure the other hitmen away from the Caped Crusader. After building a signal scrambler (designed to eliminate the Predator’s ability to turn invisible) and meeting briefly with Huntress, Batman returns home to test the scrambler on Alfred’s TV. We learn that Alfred has a cozy home theater living room setup in the Batcave, which he uses to record and watch daytime soaps! Batman and Huntress then both converge on Terraro’s penthouse where they fight a Hong Kong assassin and the Predator, who instantly kills Terraro. While Huntress defeats the assassin, Batman chases away the Predator. Meanwhile, two more Predators, sent from their home world to kill the Predator that stalks Batman (who has apparently gone rogue, striking at Batman without permission), engage with their target. However, the rogue Predator kills one of them. Batman meets the other Predator briefly before returning home. After dispatching of another hitman, Batman meets Commissioner Gordon’s new personal staffer Lieutenant Frank Stocker, two “Men in Black” CIA agents that have information about the Predators, and a pipe-smoking Commissioner Gordon. (The pipe is odd since, at this juncture, Gordon would have quit smoking. Could this be a non-nicotine puff puff? Either that or it is a continuity error.) The group lights up a brand new Bat-Signal as a lure for the rogue Predator, but both Predators show up. The CIA agents shoot at the wrong Predator and get their heads chopped off for their mistake. The rogue Predator kidnaps Lieutenant Stocker, forcing Batman and Huntress to follow back into the woods. They wind up aboard the rogue Predator’s spaceship, which rockets over Gotham. Batman and Huntress are knocked-out, but Lieutenant Stocker sacrifices his own life to kill the rogue Predator. Batman and Huntress plunge into the bay below just in time to witness the good Predator sacrifice his own life by crashing his spaceship into the rogue Predator’s spaceship (not knowing he had already been killed). Batman tells Huntress to piss off. Commissioner Gordon lights up the Bat-Signal to alert Batman to a new murder spree by an escaped Joker. It’s back to business as usual just like that. We can presume that Batman brings Joker to justice and returns him to Arkham (where we next will see the villain).

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #668. Due to his father’s disability and some serious wealthy White privilege, Tim learns that he will be able to get his driver’s license early even though he is only twelve-years-old! Thus, in preparation, Batman and Robin design and build him his very own Robin-mobile called “The Redbird.” They also construct a secret Batcave entrance for him to use.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #683 Part 2. Batman busts up an unnamed drug dealer‘s crack cocaine ring in Gotham’s Kingston Square neighborhood.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman and Superman: World’s Finest #9 Part 1. Late March. In Metropolis, Batman meets the substitute Supermen—Superboy (Kon-El, who later takes the name “Conner Kent”), Steel (John Henry Irons), Cyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw), and The Eradicator. The Dark Knight helps the substitute Supermen defeat another group of fake villainous Supermen, including crook Lonnie Riven. As soon as he returns to Gotham, Bane will unleash hell on Batman and all of Gotham.

KNIGHTFALL
———————–Batman #491-492
———————–Detective Comics #659
———————–Batman #493
———————–Detective Comics #660
———————–Batman #494
———————–Detective Comics #661
———————–Batman #495
Bane destroys Arkham unleashing every criminal Batman has ever apprehended. Bruce, Tim, and Jean-Paul (and Alfred, Ace, Harold, and Huntress) have their work cut out for them. The good guys recapture Mad Hatter (Jervis Tetch), Victor Zsasz, Amygdala, Cornelius Stirk, the Cavalier, and Poison Ivy. (Batman’s busts of all these villains are also shown via flashback from Batman #497. The Mad Hatter bust is also shown via flashback from Batman #683.) Soon after, Bane kills Film Freak. Robin gets caught in the middle of a brutal Bane vs Killer Croc rematch. Elsewhere, an alien menace has reared its ugly head, which leads us to a slight interlude featuring “Bloodlines” and Seduction of the Gun.

BLOODLINES
———————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #1
Xenomorph-like shapeshifting aliens (known as Bloodlines Parasites) are feeding off human spinal fluid. Once fed upon, the human fodder dies, except for a select few who gain metahuman powers instead. Don’t ask me how or why. It’s ludicrous. It’s “Bloodlines.” In SotB Annual #1 Batman teams-up with the returning Pagan and the debuting Joe Public to fight the Bloodlines Parasite Gemir.

–Batman: Seduction of the Gun #1
This is the extremely gory “let’s try to be responsible and talk about the real dangers of guns” issue that DC published in 1993. Tim, despite not even being 12-years-old yet, goes 21 Jump Street as a freshman at a dangerous inner-city high school in order to protect a young girl. How Tim is able to convincingly pose as a high-schooler here is beyond me, although the Dynamic Duo are masters of disguise, so I guess anything is possible. In any case, Tim fails in his mission and the poor girl dies in a pretty gruesome panel. Batman and Robin then square-off against and defeat the ultra-violent gang called the New Zealot Nation. Guns ain’t no joke, kids. Later, Bruce and Tim attend the deceased girl’s funeral.

–NOTE: In Justice League Task Force #1. The UN sanctions a new splinter version of the Justice League known as the Justice League Task Force, which is led by Martian Manhunter and will utilize a rotating roster of members. Nightwing is a founding member, but he quits after the first mission.

KNIGHTFALL Continued…
———————–Detective Comics #662
———————–Batman #496
———————–Detective Comics #663
———————–Batman #497
———————–Detective Comics #664
———————–Showcase ’93 #7 Part 1
———————–Showcase ’93 #8 Part 1

———————–Batman #498
———————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #16-18 (“GOD OF FEAR”)
Mid April. Batman and Robin recapture Firefly, as also shown via flashback from Batman #497. Batman and Robin then recapture the Riddler. Batman then rescues Mayor Krol from Scarecrow and Joker, as also shown via flashback from Batman #497. In the Showcase ’93 “2 Face” arc, the Dark Knight also apprehends Two-Face after he holds a twisted “trial” against the Caped Crusader. And, last but not least, Batman defeats Bane’s three tough henchmen—Bird, Trogg, and Zombie. After all of this, Bruce returns to Wayne Manor in a weakened, fragile state only to discover a beaten Alfred and Bane awaiting him. (This scene is also shown via flashback from Batman Villains Secret Files and Origins #1 Part 2, which also details Bane entering Wayne Manor and pummeling Alfred.) Bane has known Batman’s true identity for some time now. Bruce is barely able to contend with the powerful behemoth and is tossed around the Batcave like a rag-doll. In one of the most iconic Batman splash pages of all time, Bane raises Bruce above his head and literally breaks him in half, fracturing his spine. (This scene is also shown via flashback from Batman #0, Batman #683, Infinite Crisis #2, the second feature to 52 #6, and the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #7.) Bane then hauls Bruce’s limp body downtown and hurls him off of a two-story building in front of countless onlookers. Bane now owns Gotham, but this is just the beginning. (This downtown scene is also shown via flashback from DC Universe Legacies #7 and Batman: Bane of the Demon #2.) Robin, Azrael, and Alfred stabilize Bruce in the Batcave. Robin and Azrael obtain some Decadron (Dexamethasone), which is administered to the unconscious Bruce by Alfred. With Bruce out-of-commission, Jean-Paul Valley dons the cape and cowl and officially becomes the new Batman, answering the call of the Bat-Signal for the first time alongside a nervous Robin. Later, despite his unbridled rage (due to his programming by “The System”) and total lack of finesse, Jean-Paul is able to recapture Scarecrow and Anarky all by himself. Meanwhile, Bruce begins his rehab recovery and begins a romantic relationship with Dr. Shondra Kinsolving.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #683. Inspired by the story of Bruce Lee’s recovery from spinal injury, Bruce continues his rehab.

BLOODLINES Continued…
———————–Batman Annual #17
Batman (Jean-Paul) teams-up with the debuting Ballistic against the alien Bloodlines Parasites who just won’t go away. Batman and Ballistic fight the parasite Angon.

KNIGHTFALL Continued…
———————–Detective Comics #665
———————–Batman #499 Part 1
———————–Justice League Task Force #4 Epilogue
———————–Batman #499 Part 2

———————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #2 Epilogue[5]
———————–Justice League Task Force #5 Part 1
In ‘tec #665, Bruce’s attempted romance with Dr. Shondra Kinsolving is upended when both Shondra and Jack Drake are kidnapped and taken out of the country. Bruce tries to stop the kidnappers from his wheelchair, but he gets beaten up. Meanwhile, a merciless Jean-Paul continues patrolling as Batman. (A flashback from Batman #0 shows Bruce confined to his wheelchair as Jean-Paul plays ruthless Batman on the streets of Gotham.) Due to his “System” programming, Jean-Paul wigs-out and nearly kills a petty thug with a sledgehammer before Robin stops him. Tim can already tell the new Batman will be more trouble than Bruce bargained for. After apprehending Tony Bressi, Jean-Paul tells Robin to stay out of his way, creating a serious rift between the new Dynamic Duo. Batman #499 Part 1 picks up right where ‘tec #665 leaves off—with Jean-Paul brutalizing and torturing the captive Bressi for intel as a frustrated Robin helplessly looks on. Bruce finds evidence that Shondra and Jack are on the small island nation of Santa Prisca, so—as seen in the epilogue to Justice League Task Force #4—he reaches out to Martian Manhunter to set up some assistance from the recently formed Justice League Task Force. The second half of Batman #499 continues as Bruce, Alfred, and a stowaway Selina Kyle begin their globe-trotting search for Jack Drake and Shondra. Selina has joined because her apartment was recently bombed (in the main action of Catwoman Vol. 2 #2) and she’s realized her case is related to Bruce and Alfred’s kidnapping case.[6] In the Batcave, Jean-Paul prepares for the inevitable confrontation with Bane by designing new high-tech Bat-gloves complete with razor sharp claws. Meanwhile, Bruce, Alfred, and Selina land at the airport in Santa Prisca. Selina immediately parts ways, venturing off on her own solo mission. Bruce and Alfred are attacked as they get off the plane, but, as per Bruce’s prior request, Martian Manhunter has set him up with a JLTF team. The squad consists of Gypsy, Green Arrow, and Bronze Tiger. (Bronze Tiger no longer serves the League of Assassins and has been working with both the Suicide Squad and JLTF as of late.) Bruce and his team set up shop in a local hotel and begin investigations into the whereabouts of Shondra and Jack.[7]

BLOODLINES Continued…
———————–Robin Annual #2
———————–Detective Comics Annual #6
Robin goes head-to-head with the debuting hacker team known as The Psyba-Rats (Razorsharp, Channel, Hackrat, and Megabiter). After Razorsharp and Channel are given metapowers by alien Bloodlines Parasite Venev, the Psyba-Rats team-up with Robin to take on Venev. Eventually, the parasite is defeated, but Megabiter dies. Later, Jean-Paul field tests his new high-tech Bat-gloves as he teams-up with the debuting Geist against the dastardly parasite Pritor. NOTE: Jean-Paul says he became Azrael a year ago. Not true, more like months ago.

KNIGHTFALL Conclusion
———————–Detective Comics #666
———————–Batman #500
Great two issues to wrap-up “Knightfall.” Batman has been increasingly violent recently and Commissioner Gordon can’t understand what has happened to his Dark Knight.  Jean-Paul finally takes on Bane and it’s a pretty even match, but Bane beats him. (This battle is also shown through flashback from DC Universe Legacies #7.) Disgruntled, Jean-Paul does something never before done in the history of Batman—he creates a whole new Bat-suit, which is sleek, heavily armored, loaded to the teeth with weaponry, and looks much like his technophilic Azrael costume. Some will always say that “Az-Bats” is complete and utter blasphemy, but I always loved it. I mean, this isn’t Bruce. This is Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul would do something like this. At the end of issue #500, which has an amazing gate-fold cover, the new-and-improved Batman is able to do what Bruce wasn’t able to—he beats the shit out of Bane. “Az-Bats” is here to stay. (Bane’s defeat is also depicted in flashback from DC Universe Legacies #7 and the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #7.) After Bane’s thrashing, Robin takes his torn luchador mask, which is repaired—likely by Alfred—and later put on display in the Batcave trophy area (as referenced in Batman Versus Predator III: Blood Ties #3).

–REFERENCE: In Batman/Nightwing: Bloodborne. May 9. Bruce usually sends a flower arrangement to Dick to commemorate the anniversary of the deaths of the Flying Graysons around this time every year. It’s still possible that he does so, ordering a floral delivery from Santa Prisca, but he’s pretty busy searching for Shondra and Jack, so there’s a good chance he skips this year’s arrangement.

–Showcase ’93 #10 Part 1
Az-Bats travels to Colorado and assists the Huntress in capturing some criminals who have fled there from Gotham.

–FLASHBACK: From Primal Force #7. Az-Bats viciously (and unnecessarily) assaults some carjackers.

–Batman: Turning Points #4
Gordon is becoming distraught about the new Batman. He even visits Blackgate, where Bane assures him that there is a new person under the mask and cowl.  Dejected over the fact that he doesn’t have definitive answers, and feeling betrayed by the Bat-Family, Gordon trudges on. This is also the first chronological debut of the brash, Rambo-esque GCPD officer Billy Pettit, who will be an important player during the events of “No Man’s Land” later on.

–NOTE: In “Reign of the Supermen!” aka “The Return of Superman” arc. Superman, about five-and-a-half months after his death, is resurrected after his corpse is put into an ancient Kryptonian regeneration matrix device. With Hal Jordan, Superman—in his black Regeneration Suit costume—is able to defeat Mongul and Cyborg Superman, but not before the complete destruction of Coast City results in the deaths of over a hundred-thousand people. Coast City is the West Coast equivalent of Metropolis, so this is a pretty big deal. (Note that the Rebirth Era’s Flash #750 Part 6 contains a visual reference to this era of the Modern Age, but it’s not specific to anything canon—as it shows Superman in his black costume, posing with Az-Bats and other heroes.)

–Superman Vol. 2 #83
The world celebrates the return of Superman, while at the same time plans a memorial service in tribute to the tragedy that has befallen Coast City. Superman meets the new Batman and invites him to the Coast City memorial service with the rest of the superheroes. Jean-Paul, in a real dick-move, refuses to attend.

KNIGHTQUEST: THE CRUSADE Part One
———————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #19-20 (“TALLY MAN”)
“Knightquest” begins now and is split into two parts: “The Crusade” chronicles Jean-Paul’s adventures as the new Batman, while “The Search” chronicles the ongoing globetrotting adventures of Bruce and Alfred. Jean-Paul struggles to control and understand “The System” programming which rages inside his mind and body. He begins hallucinating visions of a ghostly St. Dumas. The Tally Man makes his debut, hired by the Buto family to kill Batman. But the Butos don’t know there is a new Batman in town. The Tally Man and Az-Bats go to war. Eventually, the Tally Man is nearly mauled to death by the out-of-control Az-Bats.

–NOTE: In The Outsiders Vol. 2 #1: Alpha and The Outsiders Vol. 2 #1: Omega. Bruce isn’t a part of these issues, but he would definitely be in the know. A new Outsiders team, which features a lineup that includes Geo-Force, Halo, Katana, Looker, Sebastian Faust (son of Felix Faust), Charles Wylde, and Technocrat. They debut against the horrible vampire known only as Roderick and his henchman Sanction. Early in the fight, Looker is killed, but don’t worry. Thanks to a bite from Roderick, she’ll eventually return—as a vampire! Yay! Presumably, Bruce will closely monitor this new Outsiders team, which will last (with various lineups) for only a couple years.

BLOODLINES Conclusion
———————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #3
———————–Bloodbath #1-2
“Bloodlines” finally ends (thankfully). Batman (Jean-Paul) fights the parasite Gemir and deals with the debuting Cardinal Sin and Samaritan, who both gain powers and lose powers in their one-shot issue. The two issues of Bloodbath detail the final attack against the alien parasites, who naturally amalgamate into a single gargantuan mega-monster (called “The Taker”). Superman leads a huge group—including Nightwing, Robin, a very anti-social Jean-Paul, the Licensed Extra-Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network aka LEGION (including Vril Dox II aka Brainiac 2.0 and Lobo), Deathstroke, Etrigan, Elongated Man, Lionheart, Gunfire, the New Titans (including new-ish members Red Star and Pantha), Team Titans (Terra II, Nightrider, Redwing, Killowat, Battalion, Dagon, and a new Mirage), the JLI (including new member Tasmanian Devil), twenty-three “New Blood” heroes (including Anima, Sparx, Loose Cannon, Edge, Prism, Joe Public, Mongrel, and Nightblade), and many more—into battle. The Taker is defeated and all of the Bloodlines Parasites are killed.

KNIGHTQUEST: THE SEARCH Part One
———————–Justice League Task Force #5 Part 2
———————–Justice League Task Force #6
———————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #21-23 (“BRUCE WAYNE”)
In Santa Prisca, Bruce and Alfred have continued diligently working with their JLTF squad, but they haven’t been able to locate Dr. Shondra Kinsolving or Jack Drake yet. Bruce and Alfred radio Batman and Robin to update them on their status. After Bruce’s hotel is blown-up, Bruce’s JLTF team retaliates by storming a compound where Jack and Shondra are being held, but the bad guys are able to escape with their hostages and the chase continues. We also learn that Shondra’s step-brother Benedict Asp is the man responsible for the kidnappings. Bruce (in disguise as British Lord Hemmingford Grey) and Alfred track Asp to London where they hire a local vigilante known as The Hood to aid them in their investigation. Shockingly, Bruce discovers that Shondra was kidnapped because she is a metahuman telekinetic with the power to heal others with her touch. The power-hungry Asp is only able to use his own deadly metahuman psychic powers when he’s in close proximity to his adopted sister. A disguised, cane-hobbling Bruce teams-up with the Hood and together they are able to rescue Jack Drake, but not before Asp escapes with Shondra yet again.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #668. Batman (Jean-Paul Valley) seals-off entryways and adds a shooting gallery to the Batave, complete with cutouts of Bat-villains. The Batcave already had a target range (mostly for Batarang practice), but this is another beast entirely.

KNIGHTQUEST: THE CRUSADE Part Two
———————–Detective Comics #667-668
———————–Robin Vol. 2 #1-5
———————–Batman #501-502 
———————–Detective Comics #669
———————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #5
———————–Detective Comics #670-673
Summer—”Knightquest” artists place Gotham under a sheet of snow and writers set the narrative near Christmastime, but—due to retcons, Sliding-Time, and compression—it should correctly be summertime at this juncture on our chronology. An excited Robin gets his driver’s license early (ridiculously at age 12) due to his father’s disability. The Boy Wonder goes to retrieve his car (known as “The Redbird”) from the Batcave only to learn that Jean-Paul has sealed-off his secret entrance with a brick wall. Harold and Ace have left as well. When Jean-Paul catches Robin in the cave, he snaps and attacks him. Robin barely escapes, and this incident pretty much severs the working relationship between the duo. (Although, Robin does sneak back into the cave once again to try and reason with Jean-Paul.) Batman uses the brand new Bat-Subway Rocket, an invention of Harold’s that he never got to show to Bruce. The Bat-Subway Rocket is a high-tech train car that utilizes vast stretches of unused and abandoned underground railway tracks that are all over Gotham. The rocket, having the ability to change directions and go up to 250 miles per hour, can even go onto regularly used tracks and subway lines. With his new mode of transportation, Batman zips all over Gotham and easily obliterates The Trigger Twins (Tod Trigger and Tad Trigger), Mekros, and Mr. Freeze in combat. Also, Renee Montoya is promoted to detective. Detective Comics #671-673 contains a great story-arc where the new Batman meets Joker for the first time! Joker is filming “The Death of Batman,” complete with a kidnapped film crew, Hollywood producer, and even Siskel and Ebert! There’s a great scene where Siskel and Ebert review Batman’s new costume (Siskel hates it, Ebert loves it), but when they offer critique about Joker’s film, they each get a bullet in return. Director Joseph Kerr eventually lures Jean-Paul onto the set, but soon dejectedly realizes that Batman is a different person! Batman promptly beats the tar out of Joker, but Joker escapes custody.

–Chain Gang War #5-6
The homicidal vigilante group known as The Chain Gang is running amok.  Jean-Paul engages with them and also meets Deathstroke the Terminator.

KNIGHTQUEST: THE CRUSADE Part Three
———————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #6[8]
———————–Batman #503-504
———————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #7
———————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #24-25
———————–Batman #505
———————–Showcase ’94 #5 Part 1 Intro[9]
———————–Batman #506-507
———————–Showcase ’94 #6 Part 1 Epilogue
———————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #26-27
———————–Showcase ’94 #7 Part 1
Catwoman’s investigation into who bombed her apartment leads her back to Gotham where she attempts to steal a deadly neuro-toxin from a warehouse owned by an animal testing lab. There, Batman (Jean-Paul) meets Catwoman for the first time (!), showing up to stop her. This is a truly great interaction, not because of their epic battle, but because Catwoman knows right away that it isn’t Bruce under the mask. (No sexual chemistry!) Any references to the 1994 World Trade Center bombing are obviously topical. Due to Sliding-Time retcons, this story takes place after 9/11, so we can easily replace the 1994 attack with the 2001 attack for the purposes of this tale. Az-Bats then breaks-up a baby smuggling ring. After that he teams-up with Joe Public and they trample the returning Corrosive Man. Next up Jean-Paul gets involved in a mob war, but carelessly leaves loose ends hanging, which leads to Huntress and Robin teaming-up to combat the priest known as DeathAngel. Jean-Paul’s war on crime continues as he teams-up with Ballistic to fight Abbattoir’s cronies. Jean-Paul then saves a busload of kids from Abattoir, who responds by kidnapping the newborn child of Lady Clay and Preston Payne, Cassius Clay aka Clayface V! Holding the baby hostage, Abattoir blackmails the Clayface parents to attack Batman. Batman easily puts them behind bars and the Clay Baby goes into government custody i.e. a government testing lab. The slippery Abattoir escapes yet again, kidnaps his cousin, and begins slowly torturing him in an abandoned warehouse. Next, the Penguin also meets Batman and realizes there is a new person under the mask! NOTE: Following this case, Lady Clay is sent to a permanent holding cell at STAR Labs.

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| >>> NEXT: YEAR 14 Part 2 >>>

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Welcome to Bat Year Fourteen. “Knightfall” and Zero Hour are the big things that happen this year. Bruce turns 39 in February. Jean-Paul Valley will don the mantle of Batman for approximately four-and-a-half months. As you can see, we have a ton of compression going on here. These stories run the duration of one storyline year (2002), but actually are made up of tales published from April 1993 through December 1995. Wow. This first part of Bat Year Fourteen spans six months.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER / AVINOAM YAGUR: Eric Lustbader and Lee Moder’s Batman: The Last Angel (1994) serves as the final Batman-related tale occurring on both the Earth-B timeline and Earth-32 timeline. In this tale, Catwoman dons a new tiger-striped costume and attempts to steal an ancient Mayan bat mask from the museum. Batman stops her, but once he touches the artifact, he becomes possessed by a Mayan god. Luckily, Catwoman stops Batman before he can do anything terrible. The secret reveal and return villain in this story? Rupert Thorne! Catwoman references the events of Detective Comics #469-476 where Thorne had ascended to the top of the mob food-chain in Gotham only to be institutionalized after being terrorized by the supposed “ghost” of Hugo Strange. With Catwoman’s assistance, Thorne is rehabilitated and wilier than ever. However, Batman takes him down and makes Thorne’s return short. This story is non-canon on our Modern Age timeline for several reasons. First, Catwoman’s suit. Second, Catwoman’s hair. Third, Catwoman’s leopard! Fourth, Selina’s dad. Fifth, Selina’s background of having grown up in a rich environment. Sixth, The Last Angel does not fit well with (and outright contradicts) earlier stories like Catwoman Year One, Her Sister’s Keeper, and more. Sixth, and maybe most importantly, Batman does not know that Selina is Catwoman, but at our current juncture on our timeline, not only does he know, she knows that he knows as well. Seventh, Armand Krol is mayor, but he wouldn’t be elected yet. Eighth, Rupert Thorne’s narrative contradicts later stories in Detective Comics. And lastly, at this current place on our timeline, which is basically the prelude to “Knightfall,” adding The Last Angel ‘s campiness between Doug Moench’s dark story of burnout and defeat just feels wrong. Moving The Last Angel earlier on our timeline doesn’t solve any of the above problems either. The Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Compendium also confirms that The Last Angel is non-canon. There are still plenty of holdouts on the internet that won’t let anyone pry The Last Angel out of their cold dead hands, though, insisting that this story should be canon. Your call, peeps.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: See the footnote attached to Batman versus Predator #1-3 in Year Thirteen Part 2 for details on why the Batman versus Predator series should be canon—and then decide for yourself if it truly belongs! Also, don’t forget that the Predators seen in the DCU are wholly separate from the Predators seen in other Dark Horse media or in movies. These are alternate versions that have a unique history within the DCU.
  4. [4]ANTONIO: The only Predator crossover that gives me “feelings of non-canonicity” is B vs P II, for several reasons. The bogus summertime setting and Gordon’s anachronistic pipe smoking are both obvious problems, but the biggest problem is that it seems to have to occur right before “Knightfall.” This feels like a little bit of a reach because around this time Bruce is supposed to be very tired due to his extra overwork—and he doesn’t look exhausted at all in B vs P II. Food for thought.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Catwoman Vol. 2 begins during “Knightfall.” It is not to be confused with the first volume of Catwoman, which is the “Year One Era” Catwoman miniseries. Other chronologies on the web sometimes list the first Catwoman series as an unofficial “non-volume” and list Volume 2 as “Volume 1” instead. I, however, find that very confusing and therefore, do not do that.
  6. [6]LANE MCD: I’ve noticed a continuity problem in Batman #499. Bruce and Alfred are boarding a plane for Santa Prisca to search for information on Bane. Selina Kyle tries to make her way on to the plane. The dialogue between Alfred, Bruce and Selina makes it sound like Alfred has no idea who Selina is and Bruce has only met her once. For example, Alfred says, “Good lord, who are you and how did you get—” and Selina cuts him off with, “My name is Selina Kyle, Mr. Wayne—we met at a charity function and I desperately need to reach Santa Prisca.” This is contained in Year 14 and, granted, there are only a dozen or so stories between Year 1 and 14 (Long Halloween included) that show they have some sort of romance thing in-costume, but even out-of-costume they surely would have had a relationship prior to this.

    COLLIN COLSHER: This is indeed an error. But originally, it wasn’t. Let me explain. When Batman #499 originally came out in 1993, Bruce and Selina really had only interacted (out-of-costume) one or two times prior to this and definitely not romantically. When The Long Halloween was published in 1996, it retconned this so that Bruce and Selina did have an intimate relationship outside of their Batman/Catwoman relationship. Thus, even after a lengthy period of non-communication—like ten years from The Long Halloween—Selina would not have responded as she does in Batman #499. We have to ignore that dialogue.

  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: Denny O’Neil writes Justice League Task Force #5 with a small ellipsis in it to accommodate everything else that’s going on in the greater DCU. However, we have to imagine a much bigger ellipsis than O’Neil was imagining when penning this issue. We can assume Bruce, Alfred, and the JLTF continue their Santa Priscan search for Shondra and Jack while the conclusions to “Bloodlines” and “Knightfall” and starts of “Reign of the Supermen!” and “Knightquest: The Crusade” all occur ahead.
  8. [8]AVINOAM YAGUR: The third part of “KnightQuest: The Crusade” begins with Catwoman Vol. 2 #6, which was incorrectly given cover dressing labeling it as part of “KnightQuest: The Search.”
  9. [9]ODI / AVINOAM YAGUR: Note that, in this third part of “KnightQuest: The Crusade,” the intro to Showcase ’94 #5 Part 1 features Az-Bats busting some mobsters. This segues into a Batman-less “Benedictions” story arc (which features a Robin/Huntress team-up and comprises the main action of Showcase ’94 #5 Part 1, Robin Vol. 2 #6, and the main action of Showcase ’94 #6 Part 1). Az-Bats makes a cameo in the final panel epilogue of Showcase ’94 #6 Part 1. Robin and Huntress’ team-up from “Benedictions” is also shown in Batman #507, placing Batman #506-507 right smack dab in the middle of it (in-between Az-Bat’s appearances in the aforementioned bookend Intro and Epilogues).

4 Responses to Modern YEAR FOURTEEN (Part 1)

  1. Marcelo Millicay says:

    A nitpicker as always, but shouldn’t the AzBat flashback from World’s Finest #9 take place nearing the end of Knightquest? Given that Jean Paul is wearing the latest model of his armor (which debuted in SOTB #25)

    • Hi Marcelo, that weird helmet look sure is drawn by different artists different ways (or so it would seem). But anyway, this issue should def def go later. Thanks! Change will be made.

      Also, I saw that you are a contributing artist on the DCAU Legacies fan-comic! So cool! Congrats on a job well done! Love it.

      • Marcelo Millicay says:

        Sorry for the late reply (just seeing this!) Thanks! As a big fan of your work it means a lot. There’s a lot of discussion about DCAU chronology when making the comic but it always seems mild compared to the ever-changing complexity of the comic Batman timeline. Keep up the good work!

  2. Matt says:

    Batman Secret Files and Origins features lost pages of Bane breaking into Wayne Manor that happens at the end of ‘Tec 663 and before Batman 497.

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