Modern YEAR SIXTEEN (Part 2)

2004 (July to December)[1]

——————–Batman #572
——————–Detective Comics #739
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #125
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #38
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #71-72
Early July to late July. According to editorial notation, it is supposedly mid-September and Renee Montoya and her brother Benny have been held captive by Two-Face for about three months now. However, this is incorrect. Montoya has been held captive for a mere three weeks, NOT months. Anyway, that makes it early July when Two-Face kidnaps Jim Gordon and puts him on trial. Acting as a mock bailiff, Renee is able to turn Two-Face’s split personalities against one another. Harvey Dent successfully defeats Two-Face in the courtroom and Two-Face is brought to justice. When Jim returns back home, he finds Batman waiting for him. They have a conversation that is long overdue, once again forming their age-old alliance. (In LOTDK #125, Gordon makes mention that Batman has been around for ten years. It was likely Greg Rucka’s intent to further compress our timeline with this comment, but this cannot be the case. We are already compressed beyond reasonable limits. With this comment, Rucka may also have been regarding Zero Hour as a hard reboot, whereas the Batman Chronology Project does not.) Batman takes off his mask, but Jim refuses to look. Meanwhile, the Joker has made his sickening presence known in NML, and he ain’t alone. Enter Harley Quinn! Yay! Joker gets involved in a short-lived electoral race against Billy Pettit to determine who will become “President of NML.” Meanwhile, Catwoman, Azrael, Robin, and Nightwing continue their own NML adventures. Specifically, Nightwing regains control of Blackgate Penitentiary from both KGBeast and Lock-Up, who have begun to enjoy their prison warden privileges a bit too much. Likewise, Robin fights Killer Croc.

–JLA #34
Late July. A huge prison riot occurs at the metahuman correctional facility in Belle Reve, Louisiana. The JLAers (minus Batman, who is with Oracle in NML) are able to contain the situation and take down a gaggle of B-list DCU villains, including The Color Queens (Dr. Light, Rainbow Raider, Multi-Man, Dr. Spectro, and Crazy Quilt)! Concurrently, a mysterious alien (a returning Queen Bee Zazzala) recruits the General in deep space and heads toward Earth. Mister Miracle arrives on the Watchtower and announces the bad news that Mageddon will arrive shortly to end all life in the universe. That is bad news. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor and Prometheus are able to disable GL’s ring. Luthor reveals that a new Injustice Gang is in league with the alien who has rescued the General. What is their plan? Stay tuned. “World War III” will soon begin (following “Day of Judgment”).

——————–Batman: Day of Judgment #1
——————–Day of Judgment #1-5
——————–JLA #35
Late July. Major shake-up in Hell! Etrigan’s scheming bonds the Spectre to fallen angel Asmodel, who uses the divine power to release hordes of demons upon the Earth. In NML, old Gotham mafia bosses from the Depression Era begin to rise up from Hell, which is bad news for the already beleaguered heroes. While Batman leaves NML to join Katana and the JLA to deal with the Asmodel crisis, Robin and Nightwing make their stand to defeat the zombie mobsters in Gotham. In Detroit, Batman and a bunch of superheroes navigate a deadly demonic situation. The Spectre—with help from the newly formed Sentinels of Magic (Sentinel Alan Scott, Phantom Stranger, Dr. Occult, Madame Xanadu, Ragman, Zatanna, Sebastian Faust, Deadman, Enchantress, and Blue Devil)—is forced to pick between three choices; keep Asmodel as host, appoint Neron as new host, or appoint the deceased Hal Jordan as new host. Hal wins (or loses depending on your perspective) and his soul becomes the new host for the Spectre! Batman is pissed, but what can he do. (This scene is recapitulated in a quasi-canonical flashback from DC Universe Legacies #9 Part 2. I say “quasi-canonical” because it is narrated by an unreliable narrator and some of the facts are indeed wrong.) As far as the long term effect in Hell? Neron has played one too many cards as of late. The evil lord of Hell is demoted to the attenuated role of rhyming-class demon. Satanus replaces him as the new King of Hell. JLA #35 ends the Day of Judgement. New Spectre Hal Jordan is an overly judgmental dick and wants to punish the JLAers for every little sin they have committed. J’onn telepathically takes everyone on a ride through the Joker’s corrupted soul and shows the sententious Hal that, even in the most damned and twisted of human beings, there is at least a tiny spark of hope and love. (Joker’s tiny spark looks a lot like the life he tried to live way back in “Going Sane”.) Satisfied, Hal goes forward as the new Spectre, one that has a more human outlook on life. NOTE: While Hal’s soul becomes the host for the Spectre, his corpse still remains buried on Earth. Shortly this tale ends, the remaining Guardians of Oa secretly take his body for safekeeping.

–JLA #36-41 (“WORLD WAR III”)
Late July. While the JLA prepares for the oncoming onslaught from the doomsday machine known as Mageddon, Lex Luthor assembles his new Injustice Gang, which comprises of Queen Bee (Zazzala), the General, and Prometheus! (NOTE: The General is told that he was trapped in deep space for only a month. He’s been out there for at least seven months.) Catching the JLA with their proverbial pants down, the Injustice Gang everts the Watchtower, destroying it from the inside out. Meanwhile, Zazzala’s gigantic interstellar fleet of humanoid space-bees begins invades Earth and builds a giant hive in downtown New York City. Lex couldn’t have picked a worse time for the attack. Mageddon has already killed everyone on Wonderworld and is nearing Earth. Mageddon’s mere presence in the Milky Way Galaxy unleashes a wave of primal anger over the Earth, which causes war to break out across the globe. After assaulting Oracle in her own home, Prometheus teleports to the Watchtower and fights Batman. Batman is able to KO Prometheus. Usually, Prometheus has the combined attributes and talents of the world’s best martial arts fighters downloaded into his brain via his helmet. Batman is able to download the physical attributes of Stephen Hawking into Prom’s brain in order to beat him! This Stephen Hawking scene is also shown via flashback from Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1. Eventually, the JLAers realize that Lex and company are being controlled by Mageddon (which is Lex’s prison-evading alibi for this case). Every former JLAer, and I mean every single one, assembles at the old North American JLA Embassy to discuss how to deal with the crisis. In the “Ghost Zone” aka Limbo, Batman stops Huntress from killing the helpless Prometheus and kicks her out of the JLA for attempting to use lethal force! Damn, Batman keeps firing Huntress from all of his teams! Anyway, Mageddon finally arrives and the gigantic skull-faced abyss of a monstrosity is so large it makes the entire planet look like a tiny little marble. The complexity of how the heroes defeat Mageddon is so overwhelmingly Morrisonian that couldn’t even begin to properly explain it here. In a nutshell, Aztek dies, Oracle is able to communicate using “digital telepathy” thanks to Mother Box technology, Batman and J’onn telepathically guide Superman who has entered into Mageddon, the angels come down from the Heavens, all the superheroes stop nukes from flying worldwide, and Animal Man helps build a gigantic “Purple Ray” gun which is powered by the last survivor of Wonderworld. The Purple Ray temporarily endows every single human being on Earth with metahuman powers, and all of humanity saves the day. Thousands die, but billions are saved. Whew. In the end, Barda and Orion leave the team and everything is back to as it was prior. The JLA is actually glad to face a typical super-villain again, and the team casually apprehends Doctor Destiny. Just another day in the life. NOTE: This major crisis isn’t literally World War III. Oracle yells “This is World War III!” at one point, thus titling the story-arc.

——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #39
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #73
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #59
——————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #75
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #93
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #60
——————–Batman #573
——————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #76-77
——————–Detective Comics #740
Early August to early September. While Oracle and Nightwing deal with Huntress and an increasingly unhinged Billy Pettit, Jack Drake learns that Tim is in NML and thinks he is trapped inside. Jack begins putting his vast wealth and influence towards ending NML and is able to “rescue” his son with an illegal helicopter airlift. (Of course Tim plays along, but immediately sneaks right back into NML to assist Batman.) Batman then returns to NML from his JLA missions. By the end of SOTB #93 there is significant lobbyist and activist pressure on the US Government to rescind the NML order. Lex Luthor and a gigantic team of contractors fly into Gotham with the announcement that Lexcorp will re-build the city as soon as it is legally able to do so! NOTE: SOTB #93 supposedly ends on the 300th day of NML. However, due to editorial compression of the entire year, the latest this issue can take place would be in early August (i.e. around NML Day 189). The following and concluding part of “No Man’s Land” (beginning with Azrael: Agent of the Bat #60 and Batman #573) supposedly begins on NML Day 311-312. However, as I’ve said, due to editorial compression of the entire year, the latest the conclusion can start would be in early August (i.e. around NML Day 189). Therefore, any text referencing the day should be disregarded. As Luthor’s team of contractors prepare to re-build Gotham, Luthor also begins an extensive egalitarian aid effort in NML. Batman doesn’t know whether to rejoice or to cry. Luthor obviously has ulterior motives for this sudden altruism. Batgirl teams-up with Azrael to battle the Joker and Harley Quinn. By the third week of August (NML Day 203), there are only five sectors that exist in NML. Batman’s, the GCPD’s, and Luthor’s sectors are secure zones. The only remaining anarchic sectors left in the city are controlled by the Joker and by Pettit and Huntress’ “Strong Men.” As Joker and Harley terrorize the safe zones, Pettit becomes crazier and crazier to the point where Huntress can barely quell his Napoleonic leadership. Batman meets with Bane privately and convinces him to leave town. We also learn that Batman destroyed Gotham’s public records (!), not Bane. Two days later (NML Day 205), after pressure from Lex Luthor, Jack Drake, and Lucius Fox, and with public opinion swaying in Gotham’s favor, the President signs an executive order ending NML! In a press conference, Fox states that the goal is for Gotham to be officially reopened on January 1. However, this date should be ignored. In our chronology Fox would more likely choose a mid-September date, which would be coming up in a few weeks. Any topical references to specific dates or to the Christmas season should be ignored.

–NOTE: In Superman Y2K #1. Early September. Brainiac-13 attacks Metropolis and takes control of the city until Superman and a host of heroes (sans Batman) are able to defeat him.

–Superman Y2K #1
In the aftermath of the Brainiac-13 crisis, the JLA (along with Robin and Nightwing) helps send Brainiac packing. Lex Luthor, who has briefly returned from Gotham, gives up his only daughter to Brainiac in exchange for alien technology. Talk about a deadbeat dad! The Bat-Family (and Luthor) will immediately return to Gotham for the final part of “No Man’s Land.”

——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #126
——————–Batman #574
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #61
——————–Detective Comics #741
——————–Batman: Shadow of the Bat #94
——————–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #62
To re-iterate: Any topical references to specific dates or to the Christmas season should be ignored. Okay, here we go. On the eve of Gotham’s reopening, Joker’s thugs attack the heart of Strong Men territory. Huntress is helpless as Billy Pettit begins gunning down his own men. With will and determination fueling her fire, Huntress charges Joker’s men and defeats all twelve (!), but not before Joker puts three slugs in her stomach. Just as Joker is about to shoot her in the head, Nightwing and Batman both swoop in and save her life. Having already kidnapped dozens of babies from all across NML, Joker runs off to initiate an even more sinister plot. As Nightwing carries Huntress off to get medical attention, Batman finally gives her the passing grade. Huntress has earned Batman’s highest encomium and it’s about time! Every cop and superhero in NML scrambles to locate the missing babies. After a wild goose chase, Batman finds out Joker is holding the babies at GCPD headquarters. Only one cop remains in the building; Sarah Essen-Gordon. The night ends and the sun rises over Gotham. On NML Day 220 (early September 2004) Sarah Essen-Gordon is murdered by the Joker. Devastated, Jim shoots Joker in the kneecap before arresting him. Sarah’s funeral and wake are held a week later. On the eve of Gotham’s reopening, Luthor is ousted from the city when Batman discovers his plans to own virtually all of Gotham’s properties through forged public deeds. Rather than face a serious fraud conviction, Luthor is forced to leave. NOTE: Originally Gotham was rebuilt in an astounding speed over the course of only a year or so. For our chronology to work, we must delve one step further into unbelievability and accept that it takes mere months to rebuild the majority of Gotham. While extremely far-fetched, we can imagine that the combined efforts of ACE Labs, STAR Labs, Wayne Enterprises, Drake Industries, the U.S. Army, various independent contractors, the entire superhero community, and applied pre-existing DCU alien technology might possibly be able to get the job done that quickly. With that in mind, Gotham will be in a constant rebuilding process over the course of the next couple months of our chronology. (It’s really not that unfeasible and there will be sporadic mention of post-NML construction up until the very end of Bat Year Seventeen.) Continuing on, “No Man’s Land” reaches its end (a particularly sad end for Jim Gordon) on its 230th day i.e. mid-September. Batman ends NML by meeting with Azrael and re-donning his original costume; the Dark Knight will now wear the grey-with-black-insignia (sans yellow oval) costume from this point on![2]

–REFERENCE: In Batman #609 and Batman #647. Now that Batman has returned to his old costume, this doesn’t mean he is literally wearing his old costume. It may look retro, but it is state-of-the art with upgraded tech. The cowl, for instance, has built-in defense mechanisms—mace spray and electro-shocker—should anyone try to remove it with force. Likewise, his cowl gets vision upgrades and anti-vertigo settings as well.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #756. Swamped with Wayne Enterprises meetings due to the post-NML situation, Bruce begins bringing Batarangs and other Bat-paraphernalia, hidden in secret compartments of his briefcase, to work with him.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #13. Batman and Commissioner Gordon meet and Gordon refers to the No Man’s Land period as “the Zero Year” for Gotham. Gordon means that the city must forge ahead and start anew, completely from scratch. This New 52 story is meant to reference the New 52 “Zero Year” Batman origin story arc, but for the purposes of the Modern Age it refers to No Man’s Land.

–Detective Comics #742
Mid September. This post-NML tale is supposed to take place ten weeks after the end of NML. However, due to editorial time-compression this cannot be possible. This story has to take place shortly after NML. I must also note that since this story was originally meant to take place ten weeks later, much of the city is depicted as already rebuilt. We should ignore this depiction of Gotham, or assume that the areas in which this issue takes place are the first reconstructed parts. A reminder: Batman has reverted back to his original costume and will now wear the grey-with-black insignia (sans yellow oval) costume again from this point on. Batman teams-up with Gordon to take down some Russian gangsters who are trying to stake a claim on the newly re-opened and up-for-grabs mob scene in post-NML Gotham. NOTE: Bullock is promoted to Lieutenant and Detective Crispus Allen joins the GCPD.

–FLASHBACK: From Batgirl #1. Batman begins training new Batgirl Cassie Cain.

–Robin Vol. 2 #74
Tim’s dad forces him to transfer from public school to the ritzy private Brentwood Academy outside of Gotham. Thus, having missed almost a year-and-a-half of classes, sixteen-year-old Tim transfers to Brentwood to play catch-up. Batman meets with Robin and they discuss how this will effect his ability to be the Boy Wonder. The Dark Knight tells him not to worry. Tim checks into Brentwood and discovers that Alfred has been posted as his personal valet. (Alfred will pull double-duty, tending to Tim at Brentwood after school hours, but tending to Wayne Manor at all other times.)

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Chronicles #20. Batman is not featured in The Batman Chronicles #20, but he is likely aware of what occurs in this issue. First, Catwoman helps the Generation-X/PowerPack-ish teenage Relative Heroes (Houston, Blindside, Temper, Omni, and Allure) escape from the DEO in NYC. Next, at Tim’s new school, Brentwood Academy, Robin teams-up with Jade to fight off some bullies from rival Cheever Prep School. And finally, back in Blüdhaven, Nightwing teams-up with Supergirl to bring some terrorists to justice. I should mention that, by this point, Supergirl (Matrix) has merged with Linda Danvers, an act that not only gives her/them a dual personality, but turns the ladies into the Earth Angel of Fire (Earth’s primary Avatar of Fire) as well. Note that The Batman Chronicles #21 features only alternate Earth stories and thus has been omitted from our timeline.

–Stars & STRIPE #8
Mid September. The new Star-Spangled Kid (Courtney Whitmore) and her sidekick STRIPE (notable because Star-Spangled Kid is a teenager and her sidekick STRIPE is an adult) take on Nebula Man. STRIPE is also notable because he is the former Seven Soldiers of Victory sidekick, Stripesy aka Pat Dugan! In this tale, STRIPE is worried and calls in the JLA, JSA (including new member Atom Smasher Albert Rothstein), and Titans for help. But by the time the heroes arrive, the Kid has already easily defeated the super-villain. NOTE: Nebula Man is a unique and awesome character. It will be revealed three years from now that Nebula Man is actually a time-traveling sentient alternate universe from the future. Let me repeat that. Nebula Man isn’t from an alternate universe from the future. Nebula Man IS a sentient alternate universe from the future.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #743. The fourth Monday of September. Batman battles the Lucky Hand chapter of the Triads in Chinatown.

——————–Superman Vol. 2 #157
——————–The Adventures of Superman #579
——————–Superman: The Man of Steel #101
——————–Action Comics #766
When Brainiac-13 attacked Metropolis two weeks ago, amidst the chaos and confusion, Lois Lane was kidnapped and replaced by the shapeshifting Parasite. Superman, who has been poisoned by Kryptonite radiation, finally realizes that his wife is missing and enlists Batman to aid in her rescue. I should note that, originally, Parasite had replaced Lois for four months! However, due to time compression, in our chronology Lois would have only been replaced for about two weeks. We should also disregard any internal dates mentioned in this story-arc as it is definitely, without a doubt, September. Moving on, Batman drags the near lifeless Superman along on the investigation. Eventually, Supes and Bats find Lois alive and well, but Superman succumbs to the radiation poisoning and dies! (Okay, he doesn’t really die, but he almost does!)

–Batman: Gotham Knights #1
When a Senator and his wife are found dead in their home, their young son Barrett is the only witness. Batman, Robin, and Nightwing investigate some Xhosa gang members who lived with the Senator during NML. But in the end, Batman is floored when he discovers the truth. Barrett killed mom and dad because “they bugged [him].” Also, Wayne Manor is rebuilt and Batman brings a prominent political candidate to justice after the politician impregnates and then murders a sex worker. If you haven’t guessed, Gotham Knights is going to be a dark book that don’t pull no punches (for better or worse).

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #743. The fourth Tuesday in September. Batman battles the Colombian Mob aka the Colombian-American drug cartel.

–Batman #575
Gotham’s new rapid transit system is still under construction, but it is already running to most parts of the city. Buildings are sprouting like flowers in spring. The new federal building is the centerpiece of the new Gotham high-rise skyline. Things are rapidly getting better, but the fanatical vigilante known as The Banner is still pissed off at the US Government for having abandoned Gotham during NML. Thus, the Banner aims to destroy the new federal building. Batman teams-up with FBI Agent Leary and prevents the terrorist act from happening.

–Batgirl #1
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Cain is Batgirl. She’s been behind-the-scenes and on-the-job training with Batman for a couple of weeks now and has been sharing an apartment with Oracle. Together Batman and Batgirl are quickly becoming the new scourge of the underworld in Gotham. But what is her true origin story? We know assassin David Cain raised and taught Cassandra to be an implacable martial artist by training her in isolation and depriving her of human speech as an infant. But is he really her father? Only David Cain knows for sure. And David Cain also knows a terrible secret and has a home movie which shows the truth. In the decade-old film, a very young Cassandra kills several men with her bare hands. What will Batman think when he finds out the details of Cassandra’s childhood?

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #579. The cheesy Larry Hama villain known as Orca debuts and steals a diamond necklace from Bruce Wayne’s evil acquaintance Camille Baden-Smyth.  Orca is an anthropomorphic female killer whale with human limbs that would be better suited battling the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Camille Baden-Smyth is like the female version of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #743. The fourth Wednesday of September. Batman battles the Odessa Mob aka the new wave of the American-Russian Mafia.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #2
The human-trafficker known as Raton kidnapped a bunch of people during NML and now is attempting to sell his enslaved captives on the Arabian black market. It’s an untraceable crime since all of his victims are presumed dead due to having been missing for so long during NML. But Batman and Batgirl are able to trace the untraceable and stop Raton. Batman and Batgirl are also able to save the missing persons from a sinking ship. In this tale’s conclusion Batman convinces Batgirl that every mission need not be a suicide mission.

–Batman #576-577
The Larry Hama one-shot era has begun—for better or worse. When international terrorist Cipher kidnaps a young Arab prince using a Blackhawk helicopter, an elite group of soldiers, and Wayne Enterprises tracking technology, Batman is on the case. Using Wayne Enterprises satellite technology of his own, Batman is able to rescue the prince. In issue #577, Alfred has the Batcave up-and-running again, but due to the tectonic shifting which occurred during “Cataclysm,” the Batcave is now opened up to the remnants of the old Gotham storm drain system, which itself connects to the city’s labyrinthian sewage system. (This isn’t all that shocking to Batman since the cave has always been connected to the old Gotham subway system.) What is shocking to Batman: Allie, a young blind girl that has a dozens of pet alligators, has been living in the drain system for an undetermined amount of time, probably since NML. While Batman chats with Allie, a trio of thieves tries to rob the newly built Wayne Manor by accessing the basement through the drain system. After breaking through, the thieves quickly realize that the basement of Wayne Manor is the Batcave and that Bruce Wayne is Batman! The leader of the thieves kills her two partners and tries to escape through the sewers with the most valuable information of all: Batman’s secret identity. Unluckily for her, she runs into Allie and becomes dinner for a hungry alligator.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham Knights #8. Bruce meets Max, an insurance agent that works for Wayne Enterprises.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #743. The fourth Thursday of September. Batman battles the Sicilian Mob.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham Knights #8. Bruce donates $2 million to the GCPD for bulletproof vest upgrades. He frames a Gotham Gazette article about it and hangs it in his office at Wayne Enterprises.

–the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #4 (Batman: Black & White)
This is another B&W short. When a petty criminal is apprehended by Batman, he writes his mom an excited fanboy postcard from his jail cell telling her that he met the famous superhero while traveling in Gotham.

–NOTE: In a flashback from Batman: Gotham Knights #8. Supposedly, this important but Batman-less tale takes place six months before the events of the “Transference” storyline. However, this isn’t possible (or necessary for that matter) since six months ago would be smack dab in the middle of the “Road to NML.” This item should more appropriately take place three weeks before “Transference.” In this flashback, Hugo Strange returns to Gotham for the first time in seven years. He captures Catwoman and interrogates her about the secret identity of Batman.

–Detective Comics #743-746 (“EVOLUTION”)
Greg Rucka’s epic ‘tec run begins!  After battling the Burnley Massive crime syndicate, Bruce attends the grand reopening of the Gotham Library and meets new Mayor Daniel Dickerson. He also meets the seductive and sultry Whisper A’Daire, who is secretly one of Ra’s al Ghul’s top agents. While on patrol Batman encounters another one of al Ghul’s top agents, Kyle Abbot, who blows up a building. What are al Ghul’s agents up to? They are trying to start a huge gang war between all of the new post-NML crime elements in Gotham. As Whisper and Abbot manipulate and murder their way to the top of the Gotham gangs, they are even able to influence the new mayor. As Batman tries to slow their efforts he learns a shocking bit of information. Whisper and Abbot are senior-citizens, but don’t show any signs of their true age due to a designer drug they both ingest. The side effects? Whisper has a forked tongue, spits venom, sheds her skin, and has the DNA of a king cobra. Abbot, on the other hand, can turn into a full-fledged werewolf. Whisper and Abbot plan to distribute the highly addictive drug all over the country using their newly gained crime connections, thus turning America into a hotbed of raving animal-creatures.  al Ghul’s plan is thwarted when the leader of the Triads, Ekin Tzu (who sprouts eagle wings after being given the drug), turns on Whisper.

–Green Lantern Vol. 3 #125
Kyle Rayner misses a JLA meeting and, as punishment, is ordered by the Big Three to use his power ring to excavate beneath the surface of the Moon and begin construction on some new basement levels for the Watchtower. After some digging Kyle discovers a secret alien tomb that becomes active with deadly protective robotic guards. After defeating the robots, Kyle defeats a giant ancient alien that had been in suspended animation for god knows how long and secures the tomb.

–Batman #578
Yet another bizarre Larry Hama one-shot where a pimple-faced, glasses-wearing nerd skulks around an office building and tries to kill a woman with a hammer. The nerd thinks Batman is chasing him (even though Batman is nowhere near the building) and jumps out of a window to his apparent death.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #3-4 (“SAMSARA”)
When an eight-year-old boy dies in a car accident, his spirit gets stuck in a Hindu reincarnation loop known as Samsara. His spirit travels from corpse to corpse in an effort to reunite with his mother. After sending Killer Croc back to Arkham, Batman encounters a dozen or so zombie corpses possessed by the aforementioned boy’s soul. When Batman figures out what is going on, he is able to convince the spirit that the latter is truly dead and must let his parents live in peace without his earthly presence. Thus, the karmic loop is broken.

–Batman #579-581 (“ORCA”)
A week after the theft of Camille Baden-Smythe’s six-million dollar diamond necklace, Batman finally begins tracking down Orca.  After going undercover as a homeless vet, Batman learns that Baden-Smythe wishes to evict the hundreds of destitute people that live in her tenement buildings near the Gotham Wharf Aquarium District (a plan which involves arson). Baden-Smythe’s main opponent, marine biologist and philanthropist Dr. Grace Balin is the only person standing in her way. In the worst and most UN-surprising reveal ever, we learn that Balin is Orca and turns into the monster by ingesting an experimental serum. Batman meets with the Tailor, who builds him a brand new high-tech underwater suit (as referenced in the second feature to Detective Comics #789). Orca tries to kill Baden-Smyth, but Batman (in his new underwater suit) is able to save her.  Orca takes a few bullets in the process and is dying, but Batman feeds her the rest of the serum, saving her life, but transforming her permanently into the killer whale monster. The various conclusions to this story take place over the course of the next few weeks and are listed in those specific spots in our chronology.

–Batman: Gotham City Secret Files & Origins #1 Part 1
After patrolling the newly reconstructed sectors of post-NML Gotham, Batman sends Batgirl to Oracle’s apartment. But en route, Batgirl meets Catwoman for the first time! Not sure what to make of her, Batgirl teams-up with Catwoman to prevent some stolen blueprints from reaching Penguin’s hands.

–Catwoman Vol. 2 #79
Commissioner Gordon finally arrests Catwoman!  Her secret identity is revealed to the entire world and she is sent to prison for the first time in her career!  Poor Selina!

–Batman: Gotham City Secret Files & Origins #1 Part 2 
Hollywood begins filming the blockbuster Catwoman movie (and Halle Berry isn’t in it, thank god) about the rise and fall of the recently arrested Selina Kyle. Bruce goes to the movies with Commissioner Gordon and they watch the teaser trailer. Also, note that in Batman: Gotham City Secret Files & Origins #1 Part 4, a powerful new super-villain called The Skeleton secretly debuts. The new villain has been close with Bruce for a long time, but actually hates his guts and wants to ruin him. Thus, the Skeleton impersonates the Dark Knight’s most famous rogues and secretly plants explosive devices on three Wayne Enterprises buildings with the end goal of detonating them and making Bruce look criminally negligent due to building code violations. This is one of the biggest mysteries in Batman lore since writer Brian Vaughan was never able to do a follow-up and then vowed never to tell who the Skeleton was! To this day, we still don’t know, although it was hinted that it was someone at Arkham due to the fact that the Skeleton had access to inmate files and old villain gear. This means, for whatever reason, the Skeleton goes to ridiculous lengths to put his plan to set up Bruce in motion, but then he simply fails or doesn’t go through with it. Then, the Skeleton disappears without ever confronting Bruce. Suffice to say, Bruce never even learns of the Skeleton’s existence.

——————–Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1
——————–Superboy Vol. 4 #74
——————–Sins of Youth: JLA Jr #1
——————–Young Justice Secret Files & Origins #1
——————–Sins of Youth: Batboy and Robin #1
——————–Young Justice: Sins of Youth #2
Contessa Erica Alexandra Del Portenza (ex-wife of Lex Luthor and current head of both the covert organization known as The Agenda and the super-villain team known as The Point Men) hires Klarion the Witch Boy to really screw up the DCU.  Klarion uses his chaos magick to age all of the teenage superheroes to adulthood and de-age the adult superheroes to adolescence. The members of the JLA and JSA all become little kids, whereas all of Young Justice—including newest member Empress—become adults! Note that the JSA currently consists of Atom Smasher (Albert Rothstein), Starman (Jack Knight), new Dr. Fate (former Silver Scarab, Hector Hall), new Dr. Mid-Nite (Pieter Cross), Hawkman, Hawkgirl (now resurrected into the body of her niece Kendra Shiera Saunders), 853rd century Hourman, Mister Terrific, Sand (former teen sidekick Sandy Hawkins), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Star-Spangled Kid (Courtney Whitmore), STRIPE (Pat Dugan), Wildcat, and Black Canary. Despite being all switched-around, the heroes immediately take the good fight to the Agenda army on several fronts. At one point, Bruce and Tim switch costumes in order to fool Commissioner Gordon. “Batboy and Robin” try to get Zatanna to switch them back, but Klarion’s magick is too strong. As “Adult Justice” tries to figure out how to reverse the spell, the former grownups continue de-aging. An adult Star-Spangled Kid (I guess Star-Spangled Woman) is forced to babysit dozens of baby JSAers.  Klarion then leads the “Junior Injustice League” and the Point Men (Gray Lady, Serpenteen, Blockade, Short Cut, Blank Slate, and Groundswell) on a global rampage. Eventually, Contessa realizes things have gotten way out of control, so she clones an adult version of Klarion (Klarion the Witch Man) to battle against her former ally. Klarion the Witch Man joins forces with JLA Junior and Adult Justice to win the day and reverse the aging spell. NOTE: When we next see Klarion the Witch Boy (it won’t be for quite some time) it will seem as if all of his prior appearances, including this one, have been completely retconned out of existence. DC editors have really given no explanation for this. We must assume that the reversing of Klarion’s chaos spell at the end of Sins of Youth must have magickally altered reality as well. This is definitely the largest spell Klarion has ever conjured up, so one can assume that reversing it would have a significant impact as well. The possible impact? Reality altering itself so that Klarion’s prior misadventures are wiped away (or at least erased from everyone’s memories).

–NOTE: In The Adventures of Superman #581. Less than a month before the election, Lex Luthor announces that he is running for President of the United States of America! Clark Kent’s childhood friend Pete Ross is announced as Lex Luthor’s Vice Presidential partner. Ross is married to another childhood friend of Clark’s, his ex-girlfriend Lana Lang.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #5
The Key (!) is back and he has completely locked-down Arkham Asylum. Batman, Azrael, and Batgirl are able to quickly apprehend the Key and take back control of the asylum, but something isn’t quite right. Batman runs off in a violent frenzy with the intent to kill any criminals he sees. Batgirl is unable to restrain him. Back at Arkham, the Key tells Robin that Batman has been injected with one of his bio-chemicals, which is causing him to behave in a homicidal manner. The Key further explains that he wants Batman to kill him, thus releasing him from the “final locked door” of life. The Dark Knight returns to Arkham and is about to murder the Key, but the former is able to fight off the powerful drugs coursing through his veins. The Bat-Family leaves the crazy (and happy) Key in the welcoming hands of Arkham orderlies. (Note that, as per reference in JLA #123, Batman now writes-off the Key as a minor—if not harmless—threat, following this encounter.)

–the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #5 (Batman: Black & White)
Batman tracks down a lost child that wanders off after a subway train derails.

–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #64-65
Batman and Huntress once again have another argument about crime-fighting protocol. An annoyed Batman orders Az, who has switched back to his old costume, to deal with her. After that, Nicholas Scratch frames Azrael for murder, which causes Az to nearly kill Scratch until Batman and Harold are able to prove his innocence. In the end, Az quits and burns his costume.

–Detective Comics #747
Mid October. It’s Renee Montoya’s birthday! Rucka tells us she is turning 28, but due to her police academy appearance in Bat Year Two, she would have to at the very least be turning 31 instead. Meanwhile, the GCPD is getting subpoenaed left and right to testify at the dozens of criminal trials stemming from incidents which occurred during NML. Not to mention, hate crime against “deezees” (Gothamites who fled the city during NML only to return later) is steadily rising. Back to Renee’s B-day—a secret admirer sends her flowers. After a little investigative work, Renee finds out the flowers came from Bruce Wayne! Bruce explains that the flowers are actually from Two-Face. (In case you’ve forgotten, Harvey was in love with Renee during NML.) Renee visits Harvey at Arkham and they share a rare tender moment.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #6
Epic reveal! Devin Grayson gives us the details on both Babs’ and Jim Gordon’s confusing past/relationship to each other. While searching for evidence in a fraud case, Batman discovers a bank vault which had sunken underground during the quake. During NML, the safety deposit boxes in the vault had been thoroughly looted. Everything was taken, including both the evidence Batman requires and also an old letter from Barbara’s mother to Jim. Batman eventually tracks down the stolen materials from the safety deposit boxes and delivers the letter back to Babs. Babs tells Bruce that Jim was in a sexual relationship with her mother Thelma, literally right before Thelma married her father (and Jim’s younger brother) Roger. Although Grayson never specifically says it, it is heavily implied (and therefore basically made fact) that Jim is the biological father of Barbara!

–the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #6 (Batman: Black & White)
Riddler is on the loose and battles against animatronic Alice in Wonderland robots as he makes his way through a crazy Lewis Carroll fanatic’s mansion.  At the end of the trek, instead of finding the answer to Lewis Carroll’s “secret riddle,” Riddler finds Batman, who is waiting to take him back to Arkham.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #7
Another epic reveal for the Bat-Family as genius writer Devin Grayson reveals that Alfred and Leslie Thompkins have been lovers for decades! While Batman stops a club-owner from setting an arson fire to collect insurance, Alfred and Leslie take a trip down memory lane and recall how they first met after Bruce’s parents died and how their love blossomed over the years.

–the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #7 (Batman: Black & White)
Batman is nearly killed in an explosion while tackling with a bunch of thugs.  The thugs celebrate their victory at a bar and brag about “killing” Batman.  An old drunk tells the crew that Batman is alive, but badly injured in a nearby warehouse.  The bad guys rush down to finish off poor Bats, but instead find the Dark Knight in good health and waiting to demolish them all.  Only one baddie is able to escape and he promptly hauls-ass back to the bar to accuse the old drunk of setting him up.  Surprise!  The old drunk is Batman in disguise.  What a twist!

–Detective Comics #748-749 (“URBAN RENEWAL”)
The heat between “deezees” aka “DZs” (NML deserters/those who left) and “original Gothamites” aka “OGs” (those who stayed in NML) has increased exponentially in the last week.  When OGs are suspected of bombing a building, Batman pays one of the OG groups a visit.  The group’s leader is falsely arrested, but Batman is able to apprehend the real terrorist bomber, who has been paid-off by an unknown party.  When the innocent OG leader is released from jail a day later, he is blown up in a second detonation.  After some investigative work, Batman and Gordon learn that the explosions were less about the war between OGs and DZs, but more a part of an insurance fraud scheme concocted by the heads of the construction companies involved. (Although, the one construction head does really hate OGs).

–Batman #581 Epilogue One
The first part of the conclusion to “Orca” occurs now. Bruce visits Camille Baden-Smythe at her office and takes a bottle with her fingerprints on it, which he will later use to frame Baden-Smythe for arson.  (Baden-Smythe had attempted to commit arson a couple weeks ago, but failed.  Therefore, this Molotov-cocktail setup isn’t as dubious as it sounds).  Batman then makes a visit with a corrupt city inspector that had been bought-off by Baden Smythe.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #582. Bruce Wayne attends a parole hearing for his old friend and former head of Wayne Enterprises Security Jeremy Samuels, who has been in jail since Bat Year Four. Bruce speaks on his behalf and Samuels is released from prison and even given his old job back at Wayne Enterprises. This flashback occurs a month before the main action of Batman #582.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Chronicles #22. Batman is not featured in The Batman Chronicles #22, but he is likely aware of what occurs in regard to Spoiler (at the very least) in part two of the issue. Spoiler hits the streets for the first time since the birth of her baby! She says it’s been a year, but it’s really only been seven months. It turns out crime runs in the family even more than we thought. Stephanie’s Uncle Dave is crook just like dad. Spoiler puts yet another relative behind bars. Concurrently, as seen in the first part of the issue, Catwoman helps Lady Shiva travel across the globe to settle a score with Chadwick Moore, Shiva’s assassin acquaintance from days of old. Meanwhile, in the third part of the issue, Talia’s helicopter is shot down over the small Middle Eastern nation of Uzickstan. An Uzickstani-American soldier fighting in the civil war comes to her aid. Together they are able to fight their way safely across the border.

–Green Lantern: Circle of Fire #1-2
Kyle Rayner, late to a JLA meeting because he was hanging with an injured John Stewart, arrives at the Watchtower to discover that a character he created for a comic book when he was a boy, has come to life and is heading toward Earth. The JLA heads out to space to tackle the cosmic-powered Oblivion (not to be confused with the demigod Oblivion). When the opposing forces clash, Oblivion proves to outmatch the JLA. Superman sends Kyle back to Earth for help. On the way, the Spectre (Hal Jordan) appears and tells Kyle he will have to step up his hero game and also to be wary of betrayal in the near future. Kyle returns to the Watchtower to learn that the JLA has completely disappeared off the radar. Panicked, Kyle calls Oracle for assistance, but all the other heroes are busy, so she can only send Power Girl. Still panicked, Kyle makes a subconscious wish with his power ring, which summons Green Lanterns from the distant past, far future, and alternate realities to his side. Eventually, Kyle leads Adam Strange, the Atom, Firestorm, Power Girl, and the time-displaced Lanterns to Oa, where Oblivion has taken control and unleashed Killer Wraiths, monsters that Kyle dreamed up as a child as well. Things look bleak until Kyle realizes the horrible truth about the whole situation. Oblivion is simply a construct of Kyle’s subconscious mind brought forth by his power ring. The worst, fearful, and darkest parts of Kyle’s mind had created Oblivion and he eventually gained sentience. Kyle quickly realizes that all of the summoned Lanterns by his side are merely ring constructs as well, albeit coming from the better parts of his mind. While the heroes struggle to keep the entire universe from collapsing due to the intense power of Oblivion, Kyle fights the villain in New York City. Kyle invites Oblivion to reenter the place of his origin: Kyle’s own mind. There, Kyle is able to defeat Oblivion once and for all. Back aboard the Watchtower, with the JLA rescued, an upset and embarrassed Kyle faces his teammates and tries to tender his resignation. But Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman won’t hear a word of it. They are proud of how he overcame his inner demons and they want him to remain a part of the team. Overjoyed, Kyle vows to be the best Green Lantern to ever be a part of the JLA.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #8-11 (“TRANSFERENCE”)
Dr. Hugo Strange torments Batman for the first time since Bat Year Two! During their confrontation, Batman and Strange both reference the latter’s prior antics from the “Prey” storyline in Bat Year One and “Terror” sequel from Bat Year Two. (Strange’s only other appearance after that was in the Modernized “Strange Apparitions” storyline in Bat Year Nine and the prelude to this arc from a few months ago, but he didn’t come face-to-face with Batman in either of those tales.) Nevertheless, in “Transference,” Strange has successfully deduced that Bruce Wayne is Batman! Strange confronts Bruce at Wayne Enterprises and they duke it out on the roof of the tower as Dick and Tim watch on. The fight ends badly for Batman as he seemingly dies in an explosion.  When Alfred, Nightwing, and Robin discover that Bruce is still alive they meet up with him only to find the latter stuck in his wimpy, pathetic playboy persona. They can’t snap him out of it.  Bruce doesn’t remember that he is Batman anymore! Meanwhile, Strange dons his own version of the Bat-costume and runs amok in Wayne Manor, threatening to reveal Batman’s secret to the press. Strange then kidnaps the hapless Bruce and takes him to an abandoned hospital outside of the city. Nightwing and Robin chase after Strange and clash with the doctor. When Bruce seems genuinely shell-shocked and distraught at the sticky situation he’s in, Strange begins to think that he may have been wrong about his initial assumption. Strange tries to get Robin and Nightwing to admit that Bruce is indeed Batman, but they refuse. Defeated and confused, Strange is locked away at Arkham, convinced that he himself is Batman. Bruce, as it turns out, had temporarily hypnotized himself to truly be completely unaware that he was Batman. NOTES: Tim and Dick stumble across Bruce’s detailed computer files on all of his associates in this tale. The files highlight Bruce’s paranoia, and how important it is to him to have information on both foes and allies alike. Also worth mentioning, at the conclusion of this story, an Arkham orderly talks about Strange’s fifteen-year-old kidnapping of “Mayor Kroll’s daughter.” This kidnapping did occur in the fifteen-year-old “Prey” storyline, but it was Mayor Klass’s daughter (and Krol is spelled with one L, not two anyway). This is either an error, or the character is remembering his history incorrectly. Also definitely worth noting: It is interesting that Bruce is able to temporarily hypnotize the concept of Batman out of his system without running across the other embedded layers of hypnotic implantation from Simon Hurt. Interesting, if nothing more—it simply means Hurt’s hypnotic implantation is deep and was done very well. Oh, and one final note: The B&W second feature to Gotham Knights #9 is a Golden Age-style story about Batman fighting in WWII. Obviously non-canon on the Modern Age chronology, it goes on the timeline of Earth-3839—a part of the Elseworlds “Generations” Universe.

–NOTE: In flashbacks from Detective Comics #864-865. Immediately following the “Transference” story-arc, Hugo Strange is put under the care of Jeremiah Arkham.  In an elaborate scheme hatched by Strange and the Joker, the latter gives Dr. Arkham a Marotte toy which the doctor saves as a keepsake. The Marotte contains a toxin which Dr. Arkham will slowly absorb into his body over the course of the next six years. The toxin will weaken his resistance so that Strange and Joker (whenever they are incarcerated as they so often are) can implant hidden suggestions into his mind. Thus Dr. Arkham, from this point forward, will began to hallucinate regularly, which will lead to some really bad news. But we’ll get to that in six years.

–Superman & Bugs Bunny #1-4
Yo, for real. First of all, in the universe where the Looney Tunes characters exist, the DCU characters are simply popular comic book characters. And in the DCU, the Looney Tunes characters are the same famous cartoon characters that we know and love. So what happens when the crazy Dodo from Looney Tunes activates a dimensional transporter and winds up in the 5th Dimension? Why, he teams with Mr. Mxyzptlk and builds a device that wreaks havoc with the multiverse. While Toyman begins a massive assault on Metropolis using an army of giant robot toys, dozens of Looney Tunes characters begin appearing on Earth-0. Mxyzptlk and the Dodo then amp things up by switching consciousnesses of characters. For example, Superman loses all his powers, which are given to Elmer Fudd! Likewise, Batman’s mind switches with Daffy Duck! Bruce beings shouting “woo hoo” over and over in the Batcave, while Daffy assumes the persona of Bat-Duck and visits Commissioner Gordon! After yuks aplenty, Mxy and the Dodo start sending DCU characters and Looney Tunes cartoons through various universes until they all wind up back on Earth-0. With Metropolis about to fall into the control of Toyman, the JLA mobilizes. The Looney Tunes cartoons want to help, but Superman writes them off immediately. That is, until Bugs mentions that his crew has saved an alternate Earth before with the help of Michael Jordan. Oh yeah, he just name dropped Space Jam. Before anyone can mention R Kelly, Superman declares that all of the Looney Tunes characters are honorary JLA members. Toyman is soon defeated, but the threat continues as Mxy and the Dodo threaten to merge the two universes permanently. Bugs tricks Mxy into saying “Kltpzyxm”—his name backwards. This poofs the devilish imp away. Despite being crazy, the Dodo is a bit more reasonable and fixes everything, even making it so that time literally reverses and erases this entire episode. So, why is this still on our timeline if it gets erased by the Dodo? Well, the Dodo allows the heroes involved to keep their memories of the event and he also accidentally leaves behind Michigan J. Frog—you know, everyone’s favorite racist singing WB mascot—with Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White.

–the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #11 (Batman: Black & White)
Bruce dreams that he’s on a campy 70s Batman adventure with his son Batman Junior! Bruce is awakened from his slumber by a dog named Julie licking his face.  Julie is an obvious nod to longtime DC editor Julius Schwartz.  For the continuity purposes of this story, we will have to assume that Bruce is dog-sitting, possibly for Lucius Fox.

–JLA 80-Page Giant #3 
Valkus the Centurion returns to fight the JLA!  Moon Maiden returns to help the JLA!  Both of these characters were wiped from existence after the events of “The Century War” in Bat Year Eleven.  The JLA learns the lost and forgotten history of both Valkus and Moon Maiden (see Bat Year Eleven for details) and then defeats Valkus in battle.  Moon Maiden, having lost everything, elects to travel the cosmos rather than stay on Earth where all her friends have no idea who she is.  Furthermore, the League just dealt with the return of another erased-from-existence hero (Triumph) less than a year ago!  If I was a JLAer, I would be thinking, “Damn, how many more of my close friends do I have absolutely no recollection of because they’ve been erased from existence!?”

–JLA: A League of One
An underground race of Swiss gnomes revives the Earth’s last dragon, Drakul Karfang, who begins a reign of terror all over Europe. Not joking. The Oracle at Delphi (Greco-Roman demigoddess/priestess Pythia) prophesies to Wonder Woman that whomever kills the dragon will die as well. Wonder Woman defeats her fellow JLAers in order to save them and then slays the dragon herself. The curse of the dragon immediately goes into effect and Wonder Woman’s heart stops beating. However, the curse is pretty damn old and never accounted for the existence of metahumans. Superman is able to revive Wonder Woman with “super” CPR.

–JLA: Heaven’s Ladder
An ancient alien race has removed not just Earth, but dozens of planets, all of which have been stolen from their orbits and preserved (with atmospheric conditions, gravity fields, and tides intact) in a complex chain of machinery inside a massive spacecraft. The alien race has learned that its own species is doomed, but their omnipotent nature allows them the opportunity to create their own afterlife in any way they choose. Therefore, they have literally collected numerous civilized planets in order to study the various concepts of “afterlife” that exist on each, before creating the best amalgamation for their future.  The JLA is able to help the alien race construct a suitable afterlife, and by doing so, all of the planets are returned to their correct places in their respective galaxies.

–JLA: Gods & Monsters
Early JLA rogue Xotar returns for the first time in six years!  Xotar is able to manipulate a cult which worships the JLA as gods.  The cult constructs a fleet of super-weapons that is used to discredit the League in the eyes of the public.  Eventually, with the help of Guy Gardner, Captain Atom, the Atom, and Captain Marvel, the JLA is not able to defeat Xotar and the cultists, but restore the public’s faith in the heroes.

–Catwoman Vol. 2 #83-84
Selina Kyle is transferred from regular prison to the Cinque Center for Rehabilitation upstate. There, she and fellow inmate Harley Quinn take hostages and escape. Batman, Commissioner Gordon, and Renee Montoya are then sent on a scavenger hunt by Harley. Harley then helps Catwoman kidnap Gordon. Catwoman plans a horrific revenge on Gordon for sending her to prison, but first, while Gordon is held captive by Quinn at the graveside of his late wife Sarah Essen, Catwoman robs a bank and declares that Gordon will be executed unless everyone at the Cinque Center is released. Catwoman’s plan fails and a bloodbath between cops and inmates ensues at the Cinque Center. Back at the cemetery, Catwoman tries to shoot Gordon, but Batman arrives just in time to stop her. Batman reveals that Harley has been manipulating Catwoman the whole time. Angered, Catwoman runs off. Gordon is saved, but Harley gets away too.

–JLA: Seven Caskets
When evil Cthulhu-esque spirits rise up from an ancient Atlantean city deep beneath the sea, the JLA is imbued with demonic power in order to repel the demonic force. Note that JLA Secret Files & Origins #3 Part 5 specifically states that this item occurs in 2000. However, that reference is merely to the publication year of Seven Caskets and therefore should be disregarded as we are in 2004.

——————–Batman Annual #24
——————–JLA Annual #4
——————–Batgirl Annual #1
“Planet DC” was the DCU Annual story-arc in 2000 (publishing year) in which a new one-shot international superhero was introduced in each issue. In the Batman Annual Bruce travels to England when Alfred winds up in a bizarre catatonic state while vacationing there. After investigating the nearby Malvern Corporation, Batman learns that the privately-owned company, in an attempt to create British superheroes, genetically enhanced fetuses (with parental consent) with the psychic power of the Id. (The Id is possibly linked to the “Idiot Zone,” a supernatural dimension that Batman entered after eating hallucinogenic drugs in Bat Year Thirteen. Or perhaps that is a stretch and the Id is simply the Freudian Id.) Each metahuman child being studied at the Malvern Corp has a partner entity that psychically manifests into tangible existence. For example, some kids have little fairies while others have monkeys. However, Alfred’s young friend Rosemary births into existence a feral Peter Pan-ish leather jacket-wearing troublemaker known as The Boggart. Batman, Rosemary, and the Boggart are able to help Alfred by defeating former Malvern security man/double agent Grayle and his psychic manifestation, a giant demon beast. After this, Batman joins his fellow JLA teammates in Turkey where a Muslim general has summoned Etrigan to do his evil bidding. The first ever burqa-wearing female Muslim superhero, The Janissary (who wields the power of Merlin’s Eternity Book), helps the JLA out in this one. Next stop: India, where Batman and Batgirl team-up with yet another international female hero, Aruna Shende, to bring down Mister Lahiri. NOTE: “Planet DC” supposedly takes about a week to wrap-up. However, this just isn’t possible due to the heavy time compression going on right now. This storyline can last, at most, a few days. Impossible, you say?  Oh well.[3]

–Batgirl #3-6
Batgirl completes her first solo mission, but Batman is upset because she is unable to save an innocent man’s life during the case. Batman shows up at Oracle’s apartment to bitch-out Batgirl, but Barbara stops him from doing so. Instead, the duo heads out to rescue a mobster’s daughter who has been kidnapped because of incriminating evidence hidden inside her teddy bear. Batgirl encounters and defeats her first metahuman opponent and saves the child. Meanwhile, Batman retrieves the evidence (a video tape). Back at the cave, Bruce is stunned when he plays the movie. The tape shows a seven-year-old Cassandra committing cold-blooded murder. While Batman and Alfred debate over what they have seen, Batgirl is out beating crime to a pulp. She manages to save a random metahuman named Jeffers, who in turn uses his psychic powers to reorganize Batgirl’s brain, giving her the ability to speak!  When super-villain Ezra attacks, Batgirl realizes that the power to speak has come with a price; she’s lost her expert fighting abilities! After the quickest trip ever to Macau to interrogate David Cain, Batman jets back to Gotham when he learns that Jeffers has a price on his head and dozens of assassins are after him. After meeting up with Batgirl, Batman takes Jeffers into the woods outside of Gotham and successfully holds off a swarm of killers. Batgirl, without her martial arts superiority, is shot three times. She survives and, under the care of Leslie Thompkins, begins what will be a miraculously speedy recovery. While Cassie rehabs, Batman begins recording a hologram video of himself teaching martial arts maneuvers specifically for Batgirl.

——————–JLA #43-46 / JLA Secret Files & Origins #3 Part 1
——————–JLA Secret Files & Origins #3 Part 2
Ra’s al Ghul has yet another foolproof eco-fascist plan to thin the Earth’s population, but he has to get the JLA out of the way, starting with the most capable members first. Batman is sent on a wild goose chase after Ra’s steals Bruce’s parents’ corpses from their graves. Talia is able expose J’onn to nanites, which cause his body to ignite in flames when in contact with oxygen. Plastic Man is turned brittle. Aquaman fears water after inhaling a mind-warping chemical. Kyle Rayner is left blind as a result of post-hypnotic suggestion. Wonder Woman is implanted with a VR chip which takes her out of the equation. The Flash is similarly implanted with a chip that gives him “light-speed epilepsy.” Once all of the JLAers are neutralized (except for Superman), al Ghul begins his nefarious plot. He activates a device which “steals” the entire world’s languages by spreading a “global dyslexia” over the planet. The device renders the neural center of the human mind incapable of comprehending any written language. Batman (in disguise) finally tracks his parents to al Ghul’s Himalayan lair, where the Demon’s Head threatens to submerge Bruce’s parents into a Lazarus Pit. Batman then realizes how al Ghul had so easily defeated the League—by using his own paranoid computer files and anti-superhero contingency plans. Ra’s al Ghul gleefully shows Batman a chunk of synthetic red-colored Kryptonite based upon Batman’s own anti-Superman design. Ra’s al Ghul and Talia had previously gained access to these anti-superhero plans, which include foolproof ways to take down every JLA member, months ago. (Talia secretly stole Batman’s files and some of the synthetic Kryptonite from the Watchtower and Batcave. And it was with these stolen protocols that the al Ghuls have been able to defeat the JLA with relative ease.) While al Ghul mocks Batman, Talia uses Batman’s very own original piece of synthetic Kryptonite (or at least part of it) to incapacitate the final active JLA member, Superman. Retreating to the lunar Watchtower, which is out of range of the aphasia-and-alexia-inducing “babble machine,” the JLA regroups and repairs itself. Batman explains what has occurred and meets the rest of the team in Antarctica, from where the “dyslexia signal” emits. The combined force of the JLA is able to defeat (and injure) Talia and shut down the machine. But they ain’t done yet. While en route to al Ghul’s Himalayan fortress, Superman scolds Batman for all that has occurred. Batman tries to put some of the blame upon Superman for having given him Kryptonite in the first place, but the Man of Steel shuts that line of reasoning down right quick. Batman and Superman then rescue the Wayne cadavers from al Ghul, but the latter is able to escape. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is able to stop Rhapastani terrorists working with al Ghul from unleashing a biochemical attack upon Turkey. Back at the Watchtower, everyone is extremely pissed at Batman for even having fail-safe plans against them in the first place, let alone allowing those plans to get in the hands of the deadliest man to ever live. The team is so mad, in fact, they vote on whether or not Batman should remain on the team! Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Plastic Man vote to kick him out! Green Lantern, Flash, and J’onn vote that he should stay. Before Superman can cast the deciding vote, Batman decides he’s heard enough. The Dark Knight leaves the Watchtower, and just like old times, Batman has once again quit the Justice League of America! (Although, in the past Batman was always leaving a group which he considered to be a bunch of losers and crybabies. This League consists of his friends and equals, so this is definitely a big big deal. Not to mention, no one trusts Batman anymore. Furthermore, no one trusts Nightwing, Robin, or Oracle either because of their affiliation to the Caped Crusader.) This is great Mark Waid stuff that really sets the tone of the DCU for the next five or six storyline years to come. NOTE: Batman tells Superman that he began collecting detailed info on his fellow heroes after the Agamemno body-swap incident in Bat Year Nine. (The Agamemno body-swap incident is the first part of the JLA “mind-wipe scandal.”)[4]

–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0. Wonder Woman and Superman get in a huge argument with Batman about his secret information collecting and distrust of the JLA, following “Tower of Babel.”

–Batman #581 Epilogue Two
The second part of the conclusion to “Orca” occurs now. Police discover the planted Molotov-cocktail with Camille Baden-Smythe’s fingerprints on it, thus linking her to arson. This evidence allows the police to discover a plethora of illegal doings attached to Baden-Smythe. With her empire in ruins, she goes to jail.  Meanwhile, Batman lays flowers on the grave of a man who died in vain during the Orca/Baden-Smythe case.

–Nightwing Vol. 2 #47
Late October. In Blüdhaven, Oracle and Nightwing team-up to take down the murderous Tad Ryderstad, now officially calling himself Nite-Wing. Meanwhile, Torque takes over the Blüdhaven underworld.  Oh, and as always, Blüdhaven police are still the most corrupt in the country.  Batman makes a cameo.

–Detective Comics #750
Batman is on a rampage looking for information leading to the secret location of Ra’s al Ghul. When Oracle brings up his recent departure from the JLA, Batman gets upset and tells her that the case has nothing to do with the League. Batman says that finding al Ghul is simply a Gotham affair, and is solely about punishing al Ghul and associates for their attempt at mass distribution of designer animal-morphing elixi a little over a month ago. Sure it is, Batman, sure it is. Notably, Batman mentions that al Ghul abandoned his Antarctica base during “Tower of Babel,” which is incorrect. While al Ghul’s “babble tower” was in Antarctica, his abandoned HQ was actually in the Himalayas. This continuity flub is simply writer Greg Rucka getting his Mark Waid story facts mixed up. Anyway, the Dark Knight ends up face-to-face with Talia in Switzerland, and after interrupting some brilliant Rucka dialogue, Whisper A’Daire and Kyle Abbot bring the fight to Batman. Abbot delivers Talia back to her father, while Batman subdues Whisper and gives her an antidote to the physical chemical addiction the elixir induces. Batman explains to Whisper that she will still be dependent on the drug and will still retain her snake mutation powers, but she now has a new lease on life. She thanks him and he goes after Talia. After locating and infiltrating al Ghul’s new secret desert encampment, Batman is quickly ambushed by al Ghul’s thugs (including Whisper, who calls the Dark Knight naive for thinking that she would ever turn on her master). Amazing stuff. Ra’s al Ghul sentences Bruce to death, but gives Talia one more night to convince her beloved to join the League of Assassins. Talia, in love with Bruce but knowing he will never join, knocks out Whisper and Abbot, freeing her man. Bruce tells Talia to meet him at the getaway plane in ten minutes after he battles his way out of the encampment. At the plane, Bruce sees a forlorn Talia ride off on horseback into the desert. This is really good stuff because it alienates Talia from her father for good (more or less anyway). In a sense, this is Talia finally becoming her own woman. NOTE: Batman mentions Whisper’s debut as happening “last spring.” Wrong. Due to über time-compression, it happened like five weeks ago.

–FLASHBACK: From Birds of Prey #58. Batman meets debuting superhero Savant during a wave of arson fires. Batman does not approve and voices his opinion harshly. Savant, taken aback, will switch sides and become a super-villain. (He will eventually switch again and join the Birds of Prey, but that’s not for a few years.) This flashback is supposed to take place four years before the time period where Azrael dies and Hush debuts. However, it more correctly takes place just over two years before instead.

–Batman: Turning Points #5
Former criminal Dr. Hale Corbett (remember him from way back in Year One?) has returned to Gotham and sends a message to Batman and Gordon saying that he “owes [them].” After Corbett activates a fake Bat-Signal, Batman and Gordon rush to the scene and prepare for the worst. However, when they get there, Corbett is with his new wife and child and simply wants to thank the two men who changed his life for the better. NOTES: New GCPD Chief Michael Akins debuts here. Also, the Gotham Zoo has reopened in this issue, which seems unbelievable considering NML ended only a month-and-a-half ago, but whatever. In the science fiction world of the DCU, as I’ve hinted at before, I’m sure Gotham is using science fictiony means and methods to rebuild its infrastructure and commercial enterprises at a super fast rate.

–Batman: 80-Page Giant #3 Chapter 4-7
Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of this story are both unfortunately non-canon. These two chapters are based around the fact that Calendar Man is enraged because he misses the Millennial New Year’s celebration due to being incarcerated in Arkham. These two chapters are so definitively and specifically topical they cannot be reconciled in any way and are therefore non-canon. So, jumping straight to Chapter 4, Calendar Man is out on parole and despite a harsh warning from Batman, the villain dons a brand new costume and is up to his old tricks. Batman and Robin are eventually able to stop Calendar Man from destroying the entire city. NOTE: Any references to specific dates in the story must be ignored, including the August date in which the story takes place and any mentions of Y2K or the new millennium. Also, Calendar Man should have a noticeable tattoo on his head during the trial scene in the final chapter. We must assume that his hair is covering it up.

–Batman/Joker: Switch #1
Late October. The Joker is on a killing spree in London.  Batman travels to England where he learns that the Joker had recently been transferred to a private clinic to undergo experimental plastic surgery to repair his face.  After spending time under the knife with the mysterious Dr. Nigel Dalingsworth, Joker woke up with memory loss and his mouth literally moved to the back of his neck.  Unsure what had happened to him, the Joker begins pretending he is Batman and attempts to solve the case.  Of course, this means three days of double-digit murders and constant mayhem as the real Batman tries to trap him.  Eventually, Joker does solve the case and confronts Dalingsworth, who reveals himself to be a hideous monster-man that does grotesque “art surgeries” on kidnapped victims.  Batman whips both their asses and the Joker has corrective surgery. In a British prison, before being extradited back to Arkham, Joker remembers that he had traveled to England to partner with Dalingsworth in the first place. NOTE: Artist John Bolton draws Batman with a unique chest emblem in this issue.  This chest emblem is meant to be taken only as Bolton’s personal stylistic choice. Batman should be wearing his old-school black-insignia costume.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #674 and Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight—originally told in Detective Comics #121 (1947). Early November. Jim Gordon is demoted (as a result of Mayor Dickinson’s involvement in corruption) and Chief Inspector Vane takes his place as commissioner. While Vane is in charge, Dr. Simon Hurt decides the time is right to unleash his three substitute Batmen, who have been in constant training for the past nine years. Dr. Hurt sics Branca, Michael Lane, and Josef Muller on Batman, but the Dark Knight is able to easily defeat them. Batman also reveals the mayor’s corruption and quickly returns Gordon back to his rightful place as commissioner. The mayor, however, is able to avoid public scandal and continue serving his post. Dr. Hurt remains hidden in the shadows, but is obviously unhappy with his substitute Batmen. He decides they, like the real Batman, must be driven by rage and sorrow in order to be effective. Thus begins a campaign of torture and brutality which will shape the three men for the next five years until their return. Due to post-hypnotic suggestion implanted into Batman’s head nine years prior (by Hurt), Batman’s memory of battling the substitute Batmen is erased entirely, although he does record the fight into the Black Casebook, listing it as a hallucination/nightmare about “three ghost Batmen.” Note that this instance of Gordon losing rank does not technically count as a police commissioner demotion and subsequent re-christening for Jim Gordon. Once his demotion is revealed to have been a result of corruption, it appears on the record books as if Gordon was never demoted at all. Think of it as an annulment. I should also mention that the eight years’ worth of training for the substitute Batmen is based upon a time-frame that fits consistently with the history of Michael Lane detailed in Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight.

–FLASHBACK: From Joker’s Asylum: Two-Face #1. Batman saves firefighter Holman Hunt from a burning building.  However, Hunt is permanently burn-scarred exactly like Two-Face.  Instead of becoming evil, the firefighter becomes the “good Two-Face,” going on motivational speaking tours and generally helping others. This flashback is narrated entirely by Joker himself, so much of it may be apocryphal.  However, its basic elements are most likely canonical.

–NOTE: In Action Comics #773 and Superman: Lex 2000. Early November. Lex Luthor makes Talia the head of his corporate empire (as seen in Action Comics #773) because he is elected President of the United States of America (as seen in Superman: Lex 2000)! Talia goes by the clever name of “Talia Head.”

–Batman Confidential #31-35 (“THE BAT AND THE BEAST”)
This story starts with a non-Batman flashback to twelve years ago, which takes place in post-Soviet Russia. Thus, this story must go somewhere after 2003 at the earliest. I’ve placed it here because Gotham looks to be at least slightly recovered from NML.[5] When a top Russian mobster known as The Tsar tries to detonate a nuclear bomb in Gotham, Batman throws a wrench in his plans. The Tsar retreats to Moscow with his bomb in tow, but Batman follows him home. In Russia, Batman terrorizes the criminal underworld and gets on the bad side of the corrupt Moscow police. The Caped Crusader then battles The Tsar’s secret weapon, a metahuman sasquatch-man known as The Bear. Afterward, Batman learns that the nuclear bomb is a fake and The Tsar has lured Batman out of his hometown in an attempt to kill the hero while he is out of his natural element. In the end, the Dark Knight is able to defeat the poor, misunderstood Bear, and send The Tsar to prison for good. The Bear then becomes Moscow’s newest superhero.

——————–Superman: Emperor Joker #1
——————–Superman Vol. 2 #161
——————–Adventures of Superman #583
——————–Superman: The Man of Steel #105
——————–Action Comics #770
November. A bored Mr. Mxyzptlk makes his usual visit from the 5th Dimension, but decides to give one percent of his power to the Joker just for kicks. The Joker is able to trick Mxyzptlk into revealing his (Mxyzptlk’s) true name, which earns the Clown Prince of Crime nearly 100% of the imp’s magickal powers. Using these powers, Joker is able to re-shape the universe into whatever he pleases, and boy, it sure ain’t pretty. No one remembers their true past. All the heroes are villains. All the villains are heroes. Everything is cartoon wacky. Joker becomes the evil ruling Emperor of the World. Millions die just for his amusement.  Even Darkseid, Lex Luthor, and Lois Lane are made into Joker’s puppets. As Joker transforms more and more of reality, the very fabric of the cosmos begins to tear asunder. Mxyzptlk is able to snap some sense into Superman, who is then able to remember the true universe and begin a counter-offensive. Meanwhile, Joker painfully sews Batman’s lips shut and begins further torturing him. In fact, every night for a week Batman is mutilated, beaten, killed, and resurrected only to be persecuted again and forced to watch as Joker plays god with the universe. Joker soon tires of his games and eventually decides to end the entire universe. With the snap of his fingers, everything is quickly destroyed. Eventually, only the Solar System remains, and a gigantic Joker fistfights with a gigantic Superman in the black abyss of space. Joker rips Superman’s heart right out of his chest (!), but Supes is able to feed off the sun’s energy to stay alive.  In his dying moments, Superman tells Joker that he (Joker) wouldn’t exist without Batman and that the Dark Knight constantly haunts his (Joker’s) subconscious. As the Joker begins to realize this is true, millions of Batmen fill the void left in the wake of the Joker’s destruction. Dumbfounded by the fact that, even as a god, Batman still controls his life, Joker’s power returns to Mxyzptlk. Superman, Mxy, and the Spectre are able to return space and time to the status-quo. However, they are the only three that have any memories of what has occurred. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, this week never happened. Also, Superman is forced to bear the burden of holding the emotional damage that went along with Batman’s multiple deaths at the hands of the Joker during this event—the price for Spectre’s assistance. In the morning, Superman insists that he and Batman check up on Joker at his new home at Slabside Metahuman Prison (The Slab) in New York. The Joker is lifeless and drooling, but keeps repeating “Emperor Joker” backwards over and over. NOTE: We must ignore the summer setting of this tale. It is November. Also, to reiterate, this story takes a week, but is erased from existence at its conclusion. Only Superman, the Spectre, and Mr. Mxyzptlk have any memories of the events of Emperor Joker.  Although, Mxyzptlk decides he likes some of the Joker’s “original characters” and decides to keep them alive-and-well in reality, most notably the fire-controlling femme fatale Scorch.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #582. Jeremy Samuels quits his job at Wayne Enterprises.

–Superman Vol. 2 #162
This is primarily a Superman and Aquaman story. Bruce Wayne makes a cameo.

–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #66-67
Issue #66 takes place a month after the last Azrael issue.  Az celebrates his birthday with Leslie Thompkins and Batman tells him the startling news that his long-lost mother may still be alive.  Meanwhile, Az’s former unrequited love Lilhy, now evil, returns to Gotham with the new Azrael of the Order of St. Dumas.  Jean-Paul dons the new-style Azrael costume yet again and boards a plane in search of his mother. The St. Dumas Azrael stows-away in the same plane and starts a huge mid-flight brawl, causing the plane to crash in the desert.  (Jean-Paul will later find a woman who may or may not be his mother, but she dies before he can find out).

–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #70-71 (“PROPHET”)
Leslie Thompkins asks Jean-Paul to go back to the desert to search for her missing missionary brother Jeremiah Thompkins.  Jean-Paul does a 180 and heads straight back to where he just came from.  Upon arriving overseas, Jean-Paul is immediately captured by mercenaries led by none other than Jeremiah Thompkins.  Jean-Paul is also disturbed to learn that the new St. Dumas Azrael works for Jeremiah Thompkins.

–Batman #582-584 
Batman confronts Jeremy Samuels and tries to give his saddened friend a positive pep-talk. Less than 24 hours later, Samuels is hired (along with the Penguin) to mastermind a bank heist for the super-villain newcomer Philo Zeiss. The heist is actually nothing more than a charade designed to lure Batman to the crime scene so that Zeiss can study the Dark Knight in action. After setting up a second heist, Samuels realizes that the crime is a ruse, but unfortunately he is shot and killed by police. Zeiss leaves Gotham considering his scouting mission a complete success, and checks in with his mysterious boss (we will find out who it is later). In issue #584, two college students interview prominent Gothamites for a documentary they are filming about Batman. Both Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon ludicrously deny the existence of Batman and condemn the film. After the students interview Penguin, he tells them to talk to Two-Face at Arkham. At Arkham, a riot breaks out and Batman saves the lives of the amateur filmmakers. Issue #584, may or may not be out-of-continuity based upon the fact that it revolves heavily around the retconned-out Zero Hour editorial mandate that Batman was considered to be an urban legend.

–Detective Comics #751-752 (“A WALK IN THE PARK”)
November. Asshole Mayor Dickerson orders the GCPD to forcibly remove Poison Ivy from Robinson Park, which she has controlled ever since NML.  Dickerson remarks that she has been in control of the park for over a year. This isn’t true. According to his information, it would be more like seven months (although much of that time Clayface was actually in control). Meanwhile, Lucius Fox hires Sasha Bordeaux (!) as Bruce Wayne’s new personal bodyguard (mainly because he is worried about Bruce’s condition following Hugo Strange’s attack two months prior). Bruce ducks out of his initial meeting with Sasha to deal with the tense situation at the park. For months, Ivy has been living peacefully in the park (also keeping it lush and green even though it is November) and taking care of the orphaned kids that live with her, but all the mayor sees is a crazy person illegally barricading off 30 square city blocks.  Batman enters the park and convinces Ivy to send the children out. With tears in their eyes, the youths leave the only person they have ever loved—but not for long, as they quickly run back into the green. Batman tails them only to witness one of the children touch Ivy. Upon the touch, the child absorbs Ivy’s poisons and begins convulsing. Ivy proves she is more human than plant and surrenders herself in order to save the dying child. Bruce then meets back up with Sasha, pretending to have run off on a romantic tryst.

–Batman #585
Ever since the death of Jeremy Samuels, Batman has had it out for Penguin, since he knows Cobblepot was involved with Zeiss. For example, Bruce Wayne had recently purchased a building that Penguin was headquartered in just so he could evict him. Penguin, feeling persecuted for no reason, takes Wayne to court. Bruce says that its been “over twenty years” since his parents’ deaths. Odd thing to say since it’s been about thirty-four years since his parents’ deaths. Anyway, Penguin loses in court and puts unsuccessful hits out on Bruce’s lawyer and the residing judge. Afterward, Batman distributes winning gambling numbers to fifty people, not only ruining Penguin’s casino racket, but bankrupting the crime-lord as well!

–REFERENCE: In Azrael: Agent of the Bat #72-75 and the second feature to Detective Comics #789. Batman hires the Tailor to design yet another new costume for Azrael. (Since Harold made a previous Azrael costume, it is technically possible that Harold makes this one as well, but we just don’t know for sure. It’s also possible that the Tailor and Harold could have combined designs.)

–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #72-75 (“LOSSES”)
Jean-Paul has been MIA for a week now (held prisoner by Jeremiah Thompkins) and Oracle is worried. (Az #72 says he’s been gone for a month, but this isn’t possible.) Jeremiah Thompkins and his evil Azrael then show up in Gotham and start killing people. Meanwhile, Jean-Paul is able to escape and rushes to meet with Oracle and Batman to brief them about Jeremiah and the bad Az. Batman is able to apprehend Jeremiah, but the bad Az escapes. Concurrently, Lilhy shoots Jean-Paul, but it’s only a flesh wound. Shortly thereafter, bad Az breaks Jeremiah out of jail. Back in the Batcave, Bruce gives Jean-Paul his brand new Tailor-designed Azrael costume and sends him after the villains. Jean-Paul, who is still in love with Lilhy even though she just shot him, saves his ex-lover’s life from bad Az. In the subsequent battle between Azraels, bad Az is killed.  Jeremiah flees to fight another day.

–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #76 
Jean-Paul moves to the small town of Ossaville to live in a castle previously owned by the Order of St. Dumas. Bruce sends Harold to help him with the old fixer-upper. When a biker gang invades Ossaville, Jean-Paul protects his little village.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #12
Someone is mugging and beating-up people with disabilities in Gotham. Barbara visits Alfred at Wayne Manor and together they scour the evidence in an effort to find a culprit. The villain is a construction boss that has held a grudge against people with disabilities ever since he was forced to pay a bunch of his employees’ medical bills when they were injured in a work-related accident. In order to lure out the bad guy, Barbara goes on live TV and claims that she is filing a lawsuit against both Wayne Tech and her father. The lawsuit involves indemnification for her injury caused by Joker years ago. Babs explains that her father’s line of work put her in danger and that Wayne Tech’s Arkham security systems were inadequate. It’s funny how both of these things are true, even though Babs doesn’t mean them. Sure enough, the villain shows up to wail on Babs and she socks him one in the gut before the police arrest him. NOTE: The B&W second feature by Dave Gibbons is non-canon. This is a 70s Silver Age-style story about the “Black and White Bandit” Roscoe Chiara who has a pet Dalmatian, rides a zebra, and sometimes dresses up like a nun when committing crimes. I really wish this were canon on the main timeline, but it isn’t. However, if you are looking to place it somewhere, it goes on the timeline of Earth-3839—a part of the Elseworlds “Generations” Universe.

–Batman #586
Penguin kills Batman!  And then he kills Bruce Wayne!  Wait, that doesn’t make any sense.  Oh, it was all a dream!  A dream story!? What was the point, Brubaker?

–Detective Comics #753
A doctor at Arkham Asylum reads a comic book that Two-Face made in art therapy. Apparently Two-Face had both the time and talent to script, pencil, ink, letter, and color his masterpiece. Thus, we are treated to the amazing Adventures of Copernicus Dent With His Best Girl and Plucky Assistant R’Nee in the Janus Double-Down! graphic novella. That’s all I’m going to say about this one.

–Batman/Scarface: A Psychodrama 
Alan Grant examines the origins of the Ventriloquist and Scarface. It’s already been hinted that Scarface may be more than just a dummy. Carved from an old gallows tree, Scarface might have evil spirits housed within his wooden body. Or maybe he’s simply a figment the Ventriloquist’s imagination? Nope. Scarface finally reveals that he is a sentient life-form of his own. He runs around and talks on his own for the first time ever! The little bastard can’t venture far from Arnold Wesker for very long as they are metaphysically linked. Over time, Scarface will break his metaphysical link to Wesker and eventually, the evil dummy will be able to roam free-range.

–Batman: The Ankh #1-2
Khatera Thal, an immortal Ancient Egyptian, teams-up with Killer Croc and commits a series of robberies and kidnappings in Gotham.  After Khatera begins turning dead people into mummies, Croc kidnaps Robin.  Before Khatera can suck the brains out out of Robin’s nasal cavity, Batman makes the save and busts Croc.  The Dark Knight is able to reason with Khatera and even goes so far as to give her a Wayne Enterprises research grant.  Khatera will eventually discover a “cure” to her immortality (which she considers a curse) and assimilate into modern society.

–Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #164-167 (“GODS OF GOTHAM”)
A few Greco-Roman gods are running wild in Gotham. Phobos, God of Fear, has taken over Scarecrow’s body. Eris, Goddess of Discord, has taken over Poison Ivy’s body. And Deimos, God of Terror, has taken over Joker’s body. Using Maxie Zeus as their pawn, they have amassed a devoted cult. Batman and Huntress charge in to battle, but are quickly outmatched. Much to chagrin of the Dark Knight, Wonder Woman and Artemis arrive to assist them. Eventually, the heroes are joined by Nightwing, Donna Troy, Wonder Girl, and Robin, who all watch in horror as the gods begin to open a dimensional rift with which to usher in their all-powerful father, Ares, God of War. After a huge melee and the near death of Maxie Zeus (who takes a sacrificial sword in the face that was intended for Harley Quinn, but somehow miraculously survives), Phobos decides Batman would make a better human host that Scarecrow and takes possession of the Dark Knight. The ultimate God of Fear, dressed in a Batman costume, descends upon Gotham and chaos reigns as Ares makes his dramatic entrance onto the mortal plane. The heroes, however, band together and defeat the three children of Ares. Ares is so disappointed in his kids, he banishes them away, releasing their human hosts. Before Ares can then take over the entire planet, Wonder Woman reasons with him and convinces him to leave. All the villains are apprehended, except Harley, who gets away clean.

——————–Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood #1-2
——————–Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood #3 Part 1
After a mobster is found dead with an arrow in his chest, Huntress is the prime suspect.  When yet another arrow murder occurs, Batman and Nightwing go after Huntress and a fight ensues.  Huntress manages to (accidentally) shoot Batman in the belly with an arrow, so Nightwing knocks her unconscious into the Gotham River.  A day later a bruised Huntress wakes up in Canada courtesy of the Question and Richard Dragon.

–the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #13 (Batman: Black & White)
This is a B&W second feature to Gotham Knights #13 by the legendary Harlan Ellison!  Some would-be counterfeiters think they have outsmarted the Dark Knight.  However, after going undercover and infiltrating their operation, the Caped Crusader has printed himself the last laugh.  If you look under a microscope at the back of the fake hundred dollar bills you will see in one of the windows of the common house a tiny waving Batman with the inscription “You are so busted.”

–Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #1
Warren White aka “The Great White Shark” has just committed the largest act of stock fraud in the history of the United States. He thinks he’s getting away with one when he pleads insanity in a Gotham courtroom. Unfortunately for White, he winds up in Arkham. White is terrorized by just about every Arkham inmate upon his arrival.  The only person that seems to be offering help to White is a young therapist, who reveals herself to be the homicidal chameleon-like Jane Doe.  After busting first time offender Doodlebug, Batman crashes into Arkham and exposes Jane Doe, who has been impersonating the murdered therapist for the past two months.[6]

–Batman: Gotham Knights #15
(This issue takes place before Gotham Knights #13-14.)  Robin is worried that his relationship with Batman isn’t secure since there are so many Bat-Family members as of late.  When Poison Ivy escapes from Arkham and threatens a group of businesspeople, including Tim’s dad and his new stepmom, the Dynamic Duo are on the case.  Batman allows Robin to handle the situation alone and the Boy Wonder saves the day.  Batman tells Robin that he has total faith in him, causing the latter to regain peace of mind regarding his spot on the team.

–the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #15 (Batman: Black & White)
Child-abductor Prave is killed after falling off a building during an altercation with the Dark Knight.  Before entering the afterlife, Prave is haunted by hundreds of Batmen.

–Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #2-6 
Warren White has is still being tormented and tortured by his fellow Arkham inmates, from the famous (Killer Croc, Joker, Two-Face, etc…) to the unknown (Lunkhead, Death Rattle, Junkyard Dog, etc…).  Things get pretty bad until Humpty Dumpty takes White under his wing and protects him.  When Doodlebug bribes a guard to let him into Magpie’s cell (remember Magpie?) for a little bit of the ol’ in-out-in-out, a few wrong doors get opened thanks to the guard, who happens to be Jane Doe in disguise yet again.  Before you know it, all of the inmates are released and a full-scale riot begins!  And the riot includes villains we haven’t seen in years! I’ve already mentioned Magpie, but we also see the Mime and Pagan as well! Meanwhile, Poison Ivy and Magpie retreat into the catacombs beneath Arkham where they find a pile of corpses and occult etchings scratched onto cave walls. NOTE: Supposedly, the corpses and occult shit down in the caves were leftover by Dr. Jeremiah Arkham’s crazy ancestor who originally ran the nuthouse long, long ago. This is an error by writer Dan Slott (or a poor retcon attempt by DC editors) because we all know that Arkham moved to its current home at Mercey Mansion and is no longer at its original location. Therefore, we must assume that the corpses and occult shit underneath Mercey Mansion have been left behind by the original Mercey family (which actually makes more sense anyway). Moving on, the corpses come to life and zombies are thrown into the mix! Concurrently, Jason Blood/Etrigan senses the uprising of undead while aiding Harvey Bullock on a murder investigation across town. Etrigan busts his way into Arkham but is subdued by the demon-possessed zombies and their master, the demon Cthugha, who has possessed the body of the now deceased Doodlebug. Turns out that Etrigan had trapped this bunch of demons underneath Mercey Mansion years ago. Meanwhile, White is locked in a freezer and his frostbitten nose, lips, and ears literally fall off of his face. The Joker flees Arkham and decides to murder anyone whose name is a palindrome. He kills Nora Baron, but Batman is able to stop him from killing Allen Evenella. Get it? Back in the catacombs beneath Arkham, Cthugha turns Ivy, Magpie, Killer Croc, and Scarecrow into mutated monster-versions of themselves. Etrigan, Jeremiah Arkham, head of security Aaron Cash, and White all help send Cthugha back to Hell. Batman arrives on the scene too late to assist. The lipless/noseless/earless White then gets his teeth sharpened. He’s finally not only worthy of being called a true Arkham super-villain, but also worthy of his nickname, “The Great White Shark.”

–the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #17 (Batman: Black & White)
Bruce, along with his fellow executives, takes a meditation class with a yoga master.  Bruce has long been able to reach an enlightened state through meditation, but pretends that he doesn’t get it (because he’s playing Bruce Wayne).  Back at the cave Bruce tests his ability to block out auditory distractions while doing complex detailed tech work.

–Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood #3 Part 2
Midway through issue #3 picks up a week after Huntress is transported to Canada. Huntress trains both her body and mind with the master sensei Richard Dragon. This training will go on for the next three months.

–Detective Comics #787
This issue of ‘tec is way out of order, but it comes with an editor’s note placing it here. Mad Hatter breaks out of Arkham and kidnaps his primary care doctor and Dr. Kirk Langstrom. After brainwashing Dr. Langstrom into creating a serum which turns his doc into a real-life Jabberwock, Batman is able to battle the monster, revert it back into a human, save Langstrom, and defeat the Hatter.

–Batgirl #7
This issue occurs “a few weeks” after Batgirl #6. Batman wallops a fully-recovered Cassie—now devoid of her fighting skills but able to speak vocally—in a training match. Batman then tells her she’s not ready to return to combat. Batman gives Cassie the training video that he’s been working on and tells her to view it. After watching for a full day, Cassie duels with Batman again and again gets her butt kicked and sent back to video room. After delivering another humbling beat-down to Cassie in the Batcave, the Dark Knight leaves for a few days on unspecified business (possibly our next listed item below) and orders Cassie to stay out of trouble while he’s gone. Of course, Cassie immediately puts on a black outfit and some face-paint and hits the streets to play vigilante. Cassie is surprised to discover that Lady Shiva is in town.

–Batman: Death Mask #1-4[7]
It’s debatable whether or not this 2008 series co-published by DC and its manga branch CMX is canon, but if it is it goes here because it definitely post NML and takes place twenty years after Bruce’s training period in Japan before becoming Batman.[8] In our story, Bruce meets Jiro Agurama (head of a large Japanese corporation)—he’s called “Jiro” in issue #1 but “Shiro” in issue #4. He also meets staffer Aya Himemaya, the mother of someone he met while training in Japan twenty years ago. Meanwhile, a serial killer has been slicing people’s faces off on the behalf of Agurama, who plans on simultaneously taking over Gotham’s underworld and selling traditional magickal Japanese masks as a new street drug. (The masks require sliced-off faces for activation.) At an Agurama-sponsored art show about traditional Japanese masks, one of the guests puts one on, flips out, and winds up with no face. Bruce meets the face-slicer, a man wearing a tengu-like oniyasha mask, which represents a vindictive Japanese demon known as an oni. Bruce is shocked because he’s met this man before during what he thought was a hallucination of an oni demon while training in Japan twenty years ago. Bruce never thought the experience was real, but now he’s not so sure. Aya joins forces with Batman, revealing herself as the superhero “Oniyuri.” Aya explains that her family was killed years ago and Agurama was involved, but she never found out the truth. Now she seeks it. Across town, Agurama is murdered by his own hired face-slicer, who reveals himself to be Batman’s former teacher Kurosaki, who was tempted by Agurama years ago and sold his soul to the oni curse by wearing the tengu mask. Kurosaki became the human host for an actual oni demon and wound up killing Aya’s family. Batman and Aya soon find themselves in a heated battle with Kurosaki. During the fight the “curse of the oniyasha” kicks-in and sends Batman, in dark spirit demon form, back twenty years to Japan where he faces the younger version of himself in combat! Hence, the weird “hallucination” is real! Kurosaki eventually surrenders to Aya, who gets ready to kill him. Batman stops her, saying that she will become the new host for the oni if she does. The oni demon is expelled from Kurosaki and disappears. The building then goes kaboom and Kurosaki dies. The next day, Bruce and Aya part ways. Batman returns to his regular patrols.

–Batgirl #9
While Batman shakes down David Cain, Batgirl challenges and begins an intense training program with the more than capable Lady Shiva, who will restore Batgirl’s lost divinatory ability to predict opponent moves. In exchange, Shiva asks to fight Batgirl in a duel to the death in roughly one year’s time.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #168
Batman has declared war on the vicious Dockside Gang, but before he can take them down he accidentally falls off a roof, hits his head, and gets pretty banged up! And for some reason he is wearing his old yellow-insignia costume. Batman can’t remember his name or what he was doing, but gets into a cab and goes downtown where he gets in a tussle with the gang known as Los Luchadores. Los Luchadores praise Batman for declaring war on their rivals, the Dockside Gang, and send the confused superhero to take them down. Batman rides in on a motorcycle and gets the crap beaten out of him. The Docksiders take off his mask and lift up his shirt. The Dark Knight has blond hair and a beer belly!  Just then the REAL Batman shows up and kicks ass. Who was the faker? Some guy who fell off a balcony while in the midst of a sexual superhero costumed role-play with his wife.[9]

–Superman/Batman #57-59 (“NANOPOLIS”)[10]
The Prankster is able to use Ray Palmer’s technology to shrink down Superman to a molecular level. Batman and Robin capture Prankster and force him to reveal what he’s done. With the help of Dr. John Henry Irons, Batman shrinks down and goes in for the teeny-tiny rescue. Bruce is shocked to discover Superman trapped in the middle of a race-war between microscopic anthropomorphic sentient organisms known as Nanobots and Nanomads. Superman is also discombobulated, thinking that he’s been trapped in “Nanopolis” for several months. Batman snaps some sense into Superman and together they end the race-war, promulgate unity to the mini-masses, and help rebuild their society. When Superman and Batman return to full-size, Superman has spent what feels like several months in the “Nanoverse” and Batman says that it took several days to fix the microscopic racial tensions. Robin, however, informs them that only minutes have passed. See, time moves differently when you shrink down to a molecular level. Ugh. Whatever.

–JLA #47-54
When a family unwittingly opens an ancient text the wicked Queen of Fables (Tsaritsa) is released from a magickal prison. The Queen transforms all of NYC into a gigantic enchanted forest filled with monsters. Meanwhile, fairytale characters from books and TV begin coming to life all over the world. While the JLA deals with the chaos, recently ousted former teammate Batman discovers the source of the chaos lies in the magickal ancient text. When he opens the book, both he and the JLA are sucked into another dimension where they learn a shocking truth: The Queen and Snow White were actual human beings that existed in medieval Europe! In order to atone for the horrors wrought upon so many innocent people due simply because of the Queen’s jealousy of Snow White, the latter was able to magickally erase both their existences from actual history and turn their lives into a fictional fairy tale. The Queen’s “army of fairy tales” rages across the country and gives the JLA a run for its money until the team is able to magickally trap the Queen in a substitute text (non-fiction this time): a US tax code manual. Afterward, the JLA members argue about whether or not the team needs Batman back in the lineup. After a struggle against Doctor Destiny, Superman then visits Batman, detailing the negative effect the latter’s betrayal and expulsion have had on the team. Batman, as before, tries to deflect some responsibility by bringing up how Superman gave him the original Kryptonite contingency, but as before, the Man of Steel shuts down that line of reasoning. Batman ultimately admits culpability, agreeing that he needs to regain the entire team’s trust. Later, Batman reveals his secret identity to the rest of the team and is accepted back into the JLA! Kinda. More like the team finds out each other’s secret identities (including Superman’s) when their separated powerless alter-egos show up out of nowhere. After some tension, the Leaguers realize that their doppelgängers aren’t malicious. Every member of the JLA can now focus on crime-fighting full time, while their secret identities are able to fulfill their civilian obligations unlike ever before. For example, “Bruce” stops ducking out of meetings and even finishes his sexy dates! Not coincidentally, the supernatural force known as Id (unrelated to other versions of Id we’ve encountered before) is granting wishes to average everyday people all over the US, which is definitely not a good thing. Metamorpho’s son wishes for his father “to be back,” which brings Metamorpho back from the dead! At the same time, the 6th Dimensional race known as the Cathexis arrive and explain that Id has escaped from their capture and is responsible for the splitting of the JLAers’ secret identities into alternate people. Turns out, Superman had made the wish. The Cathexis begin righting the wrongs done by Id and start by taking Metamorpho’s son’s words literally, thus returning Metamorpho to the grave. The JLAers begin to realize that they need their alternate personalities to balance their lives and to make their superhero personas effective. After cornering Id, the Cathexis reveal they are on the same side as Id and betray the heroes, easily defeating the stunned JLA. With the JLA decimated, only their pathetic powerless secret identities remain. The Cathexis begin toying with them by further splitting up their personalities (i.e. Aquaman becomes two people, a human mammal and an amphibian). When they split up Wonder Woman she becomes a human mammal and the godlike spirit of truth. However, Wonder Woman’s spirit form is able to reveal the “truth” in the secret identities, restoring the status quo. Back in full form, the JLA destroys Id and sends the Cathexis packing.

–JLA versus Predator[11]
When Martian Manhunter brings some wayward Dominators aboard the Watchtower, a stalking Predator follows and nearly kills J’onn. Oracle summons the rest of the team to help him. Batman declares there to be a “Class A” menace on the satellite. (As far as I know the JLA hasn’t used this categorical terminology before, so it must be brand new.) Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman rescue J’onn and learn that Predators are involved. In Italy, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, and Aquaman capture one of the fugitive Dominators and fight Predators that have managed to copy their superpowers. In the jungles of the Amazon, Green Lantern, the Atom, and Flash nab one of the Dominators and face-off against their Predator doppelgängers as well. In England, Batman tells Superman all about his love of Beatrix Potter while they easily grab a Dominator. When the Super-Predator and Bat-Predator strike, things get hairy. J’onn beams the entire JLA and their Dominator captives back aboard the Watchtower. Immediately afterward, the “MetaPredators” crash the party and a brouhaha ensues. The JLA defeats the Predator team, which commits suicide after their loss. The JLA then sends the Dominators on a one way ticket back to their home planet.

——————–Justice Leagues: JL? #1
——————–Justice Leagues: Justice League of Atlantis #1
——————–Justice Leagues: Justice League of Arkham #1
——————–Justice Leagues: JLA #1
Alien invaders use the telepathic super-villain Hector Hammond to make everyone in the world forget that the JLA ever existed. However, each JLA member instinctively winds up creating their own JLA team to fill the void. Superman and J’onn form the JL of Aliens. Wonder Woman forms the JL of Amazons. Aquaman forms the JL of Atlantis. Flash forms the JL of Adventure. Plastic Man forms the JL of Anarchy. Zauriel forms the JL of Apostles. Green Lantern forms the JL of Air. And Batman forms the JL of Arkham. Batman’s team consists of Nightwing, Catwoman, Joker, Riddler, Ventriloquist, Scarface, and Poison Ivy. Alfred is highly critical of Batman’s choice to include villains on his team. The JL of Arkham is able to stop Advance Man from poisoning all of Gotham, but afterward the villains turn on Batman and are left to their own devious devices. Eventually, the status quo is returned and the alien invasion is thwarted as the real Justice League of America re-forms and recalls their past.

–Batman: Europa #1-4[12]
While on patrol, Batman’s armor is pierced by a mysterious force. Unknown to the Dark Knight, he is infected with the deadly “Colossus Virus.” (SPOILER ALERT: The mysterious virus-giver is none other than Bane, who has purchased a designer disease from a former-Soviet scientist.) A few days later, a sick-feeling Batman busts Killer Croc. Upon returning home, Alfred shows Batman a message on the Bat-Computer that says the Dark Knight has been infected with the “Colossus Virus,” which will kill him in a week’s time. After confirming Batman’s condition with a blood test, Alfred scours the computer to find the supposed origin of the virus: Berlin. Batman immediately flies to Berlin where he stalks a low-level crook into a theater full of Jokerized murder victims. Batman kicks German underworld ass for two days straight until he finds Joker, who reveals that he too has the Colossus Virus. A brief interrogation of a local computer hacker named Nina links the origin of the Colossus Virus to a mystery person known only as “The Trojan Horse,” who may reside in Prague. Reluctantly, Batman teams-up with his evil rival and, along with Nina, they travel to Prague. There, a feverish Batman and Joker fight antique wooden robots that have been given life by a metahuman working for the Trojan Horse. Eventually, Batman and Joker defeat giant metal robot, but the Trojan Horse flees to Paris with a kidnapped Nina in tow. In France, Joker leads Batman to an underground gathering of hundreds of people wearing Joker makeup. The Dark Knight is shocked to learn that Joker has a French cult-following, comprised of washed-up former movie stars, ex-celebrities, decadent European royalty, and mobsters. Joker addresses his devotees in perfect French. Using this network, Joker is able to find the Trojan Horse’s hideout. Soon after, Batman and Joker finally face the Trojan Horse—a bizarre villain dressed up as a mix of Batman and Joker—atop Notre-Dame. The Trojan Horse brutally kills Nina and flees, leaving a clue to follow him to Rome. Batman and Joker fend off Cold War-era Soviet robots before chasing the Trojan Horse to Italy. At the Coliseum, the Trojan Horse reveals himself as Bane (!), who has put Batman through all of this just to fuck with him. Batman uses his classic bat-attracting sonic-tech to summon a swarm of bats to his side. With the bat blackout aiding him, Batman defeats Bane in a fistfight. Batman deduces that his own blood is an antidote to Joker’s Colossus Virus strain (and vice-versa). The rivals drink each other’s blood and are instantly cured. Batman immediately busts Joker.

–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Detective Comics #782. Late November—the anniversary of Bruce’s parents’ deaths. Batman places two roses at his parents’ Crime Alley murder site.

–Batman/Aliens II #1-3[13]
Late November. Bruce attends a fancy Wayne Enterprises gala to talk to corrupt real estate developer Steven DeChristo, who has allied himself with Blockbuster. When DeChristo abruptly leaves the party, Bruce does to and stalks him as Batman. The Caped Crusader soon finds himself at a construction site where Commissioner Gordon is toe-tagging the mutilated corpses of DeChristo, a foreman, and the body of a scientist that has been dead since the 1920s. Batman and Gordon venture below the crime-scene into a secret lab where they find the scientist’s journal and the remains of Xenomorphs, obviously responsible for the killings and now loose in Gotham. Batman reads the journal and learns that a scientist found a crashed spaceship in Antarctica in the late 1920s and wound up bringing a live facehugger back to Gotham, where he died alongside it in his secret sealed underground lab. Batman realizes that DeChristo opened the vault, releasing a Xenomorph into Gotham. Gordon organizes a citywide sweep for the Xenomorph, but nothing turns up. Batman, however, finds some massacred people in an abandoned subway tunnel, which leads him into a fight with the alien. Batman chases away the Xenomorph, but finds three people with facehuggers attached to their heads. The three victims are rushed to the hospital where the facehuggers are surgically removed. As government official Dr. Catherine Fortune arrives to chastise Gordon and Batman for how they’ve handled the situation, the Xenomorph crashes through the wall and snatches up its babies. Batman and the police engage with the alien, killing one of the babies, but the adult escapes with the other two little ones. Later, Batman tries to track the Xenomorphs using a WayneTech Satellite and asks Oracle to run a background check on Dr. Fortune. Oracle discovers that Dr. Fortune works for a US Government covert ops bio-weapons unit. Meanwhile, the Xenomorph and its two now full-grown brethren visit Arkham and short out the power, unlocking every cell inside! (We see the Ventriloquist with sock puppet, Joker, and Scarecrow locked up and Killer Croc in the infirmary. Batman says Mr. Freeze is locked up too.) Batman, preparing for war, commissions a brand new costume from the Tailor (as referenced in the second feature to Detective Comics #789). Wearing a fresh silver-colored “riot suit,” the Caped Crusader equips himself with one of Mr. Freeze’s old ice guns (presumably out of police evidence) and high-tails it to Arkham where he reluctantly teams-up with a shotgun-wielding Two-Face to fight the Xenomorphs. Batman and Two-Face kill all the Xenomorphs before an enraged Dr. Fortune reveals her super-strength and she swats Batman into unconsciousness. A full day later, Batman awakes to find himself in a secret US Government bio-weapons engineering factory on an ocean oilrig. The Dark Knight is shocked to see human-alien hybrid soldiers—complete with the DNA of Arkham’s worst inmates—at Dr. Fortune’s beck-and-call. After Batman defeats all of the hybrids and sets off the slow destruction of the entire rig, Dr. Fortune faces him and explains that she was on the original Antarctic expedition in the 1920s, but survived insemination thanks to leprosy in her system. Instead of birthing an alien monster, she became nearly immortal and began her long con that has all led up to control of the bio-weapons factory. A giant Killer Croc-Xenomorph hybrid is sicced upon Batman, but it immediately kills Dr. Fortune. The ensuing fight leads to multiple explosions and Batman dives into the ocean. From a safe distance, Batman watches as stealth US Navy aircraft eliminates all evidence of the Xenomorph bio-weapons program.

–REFERENCE: In Superman and Batman versus Aliens and Predator #2. Late November. Batman makes a special serum, based on the DNA of the Xenomorphs, which will immediately render a Xenomorph unconscious if injected into its bloodstream.

——————–Batman #587
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #86
——————–Birds of Prey #27
——————–Catwoman Vol. 2 #90
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #53
——————–Detective Comics #754
——————–Batman: Gotham Knights #13
November 29. The Commish celebrates his birthday at a bar with Gotham’s finest. En route to meet up with Babs, Gordon gets in a confrontation with Catwoman. Gordon is shot three times in the back and immediately rushed to the hospital. Naturally, Catwoman, who swore revenge against Gordon and kidnapped him a month ago, becomes the primary suspect. Batman sends the entire Bat-Family (Nightwing, Robin, Azrael, and Batgirl) after Catwoman.  Catwoman’s new buddy Harley Quinn leads them astray for a bit, but the Bat-Family quickly captures and interrogates Selina. She tells them it was a cop who shot Gordon.  After some investigative work, Oracle finds out that rogue cop Jordan Reynolds (aka Jordan Rich) is the culprit. Meanwhile, Batman and Alfred get in an argument about Bruce’s “childish” behavior and Alfred quits! (While Alfred quits his post at Wayne Manor, he remains loyal to Tim and continues to chaperon him at Brentwood Academy.) The GCPD get a confession out of Reynolds, a former mobster who was busted by Gordon two decades ago in Chicago. (In the confusing aftermath of NML, Reynolds was able to join the police force under a fake name.) Unfortunately, the confession is off-the-record and Reynolds walks free. Gordon then makes a miraculous comic book-speed recovery and is up and about extremely quickly. However, hobbled with a cane and severely dejected, Gotham’s top lawman has had enough. James Gordon officially retires and Michael Akins becomes the new commissioner! Writer Greg Rucka ends “Officer Down” brilliantly as Montoya breaks into Reynolds’ apartment to kill him, but Bullock follows and talks her down. After Montoya leaves, Bullock taps into his darker street resources and is able to arrange for Reynolds’ murder! Really good stuff. We can already see Rucka setting the GCPD characters up for Gotham Central‘s award-winning material (and deservedly so).

–Batman: Room Full of Strangers
In this Harvey award-nominated one-shot by Scott Morse, recently retired Jim Gordon takes a much needed vacation to a seaside resort. When two dead bodies wash ashore, Gordon’s cop instincts kick in and he solves the murder mystery. A cosplaying Batman wannabe appears to help Gordon during the case.

–Superman Vol. 2 #165
Christmas. Batman is back in the Justice League, although he hasn’t regained anyone’s trust since he didn’t purposefully reveal his secret identity to anyone. It came out by accident during the crisis with Id and the Cathexis. In this Xmas story Superman meets with each JLAer to discuss their feelings regarding President-elect Lex Luthor. Batman says that he will take down Luthor when the time is right. NOTE: Aquaman is gullible enough to support Luthor’s presidency because he believes the president’s campaign promise to offer public support to Atlantis.


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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more cramped. The majority of Bat Year Sixteen Part Two is more compressed than any other section of our chronology thus far. September, October, and November are chock-full of stories to the point where we really have to suspend our disbelief to the extreme. At one point, there are 18 items in a single week. Curiously and ironically, there are almost no stories at all in December (or in the January that follows). Go figure. The main reason for this asymmetrical calendar? A lot of material has to go prior to “Officer Down,” which unfortunately is linked to a specific late November Jim Gordon birthdate.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: No Man’s Land: Secret Files & Origins #1 contains a detailed timeline that leads all the way up to the bitter end of NML, but obviously it doesn’t reflect the compressed version that we have here. Not to mention, Batman isn’t in any of the stories in the issue, hence its absence from our list. Originally, NML ended on Day 333 (or Day 323 according to The Batman Files). But our super-compressed version only lasts for 230 days. Our 230 day version ends in mid September (instead of January 1) because Lex Luthor announces his candidacy for President of the United States soon after NML has ended, specifically after the Sins of Youth arc. Since the election is in November, Luthor’s ridiculously late entry should happen prior to that, which influences the NML timeline’s endpoint and start date. To reiterate, on our retconned compressed Modern Age timeline NML starts in early February and ends in mid September, spanning over seven months. Originally, NML spanned just under eleven months.
  3. [3]ODI: “Planet DC” takes place before “Tower of Babel” since Batman is still on good terms with the JLA.
  4. [4]ODI: With “NML” no more, Batman makes use of plenty of new gadgets, alienates himself even more (as seen in the great “Tower of Babel” story), and also begins keeping detailed files on the Bat-Family as well as the other heroes. All of these items set the tone for a ton of great stories in Year Sixteen (and the years to come).
  5. [5]IAN @ TRADE READING ORDER: There are two things to consider for the chronological placement of “The Bat and The Beast” besides the post-Soviet Russia flashback thing:
    1. Batman seems a bit too uncomfortable outside of Gotham (i.e. in Moscow), which seems to place it before Giffen’s JLI.
    2. Batman seems to be still relatively unknown, which would be ludicrous for Year Sixteen.
    Easiest would be to say it’s out-of-continuity, but assuming we have to place it, does this placing work?

    COLLIN COLSHER: “The Bat and The Beast” goes well here even with a thorough examination of both of Ian’s caveats. Chalk-up the strangeness/mis-characterization of Batman in this one to writer Peter Milligan. Or maybe Milligan’s Dark Knight is dead-on the money here. Batman having trouble adapting to the Moscow urban landscape? Not so far-fetched—after all, when was the last time Batman was in Moscow? As far as Batman seeming relatively unknown, this arc regarded Russia similarly to how most Sochi Olympics comedy Instagram feeds did—with lingering Cold War contempt. The Russians in this story seem to be completely out of touch with the modern world. So, I’m not surprised that they wouldn’t be very well-versed in Bat-history. Nevertheless, “The Bat and the Beast” obviously is a tough one to place (and very probably could be OOC), but in my (often futile) attempt to try to make everything fit I’ve kept it here. But, as we’ve said, if it suits you better, just continue to IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE.

  6. [6]IVAN / COLLIN COLSHER: Arkham Asylum: Living Hell is here because Batman is wearing his post NML black-insignia costume. The depiction and architecture of Arkham, however, is incorrect, but only because of the way Ryan Sook chose to draw it.
  7. [7]SAM GROOVER: Death Mask must take place before “Officer Down” because Commissioner Gordon and Alfred are both featured in it.
  8. [8]COLLIN COLSHER: Death Mask was never expressly intended to be a part of Batman’s official canon (especially since it was published as an experiment under the CMX brand). However, ironically, it actually doesn’t contradict canon (for the most part)—as noted by Lissa Pattillo in her review at So, it’s up to you if you want to include them on the timeline. That being said, there are a ton of great reviews and internet articles that list this series as definitively non-canon, while not stating any specific reasons other than the fact that it was published under the CMX umbrella. Again, up to you.
  9. [9]SAM GROOVER: After the faux-Batman is rescued by the genuine article, Bruce places a call to “Jim” on the police line, meaning this tale must go before “Officer Down.”
  10. [10]SAM GROOVER: In “Nanopolis,” Bruce says that “Gordon’s men can take it from here,” placing this tale prior to “Officer Down.”
  11. [11]COLLIN COLSHER: For information as to why the Predator crossovers are canon in the DCU, please see Year Thirteen Part 2. Also, don’t forget that the Predator aliens shown in this title are alternate DCU versions with histories that differ from their film or other Dark Horse media counterparts. In other words, this issue is canon in the DCU, but not canon in any Dark Horse or Predator/Aliens film universe.
  12. [12]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman: Europa was originally written in 2004, but wound up not getting published until 2016! Thus, it is nearly impossible to place on our timeline without multiple problems. Because of these problems, this arc might be non-canon. However, since it also potentially could be canon, we’ll try our best to justify placement here. First, Europa likely shouldn’t be placed past any items published after the time period when it was first plotted-out (in 2004). Next, due to Batman’s costume, we know this arc must be post-No Man’s Land (which ended earlier this year). Furthermore, due to Bane’s involvement and vengeful attitude, we know this story must be pre-“Tabula Rasa” (Year Eighteen Part 2), in which Bane stops wanting revenge against Batman. (Even when Bane will later return to evil (during Infinite Crisis) he will still act like he is over wanting revenge against the Dark Knight.) Due to Alfred’s involvement in Europa, this story cannot take place from the time spanning from “Officer Down” (right around now) all the way up until the start of “Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive” (Year Eighteen Part 1). During this lengthy period of time, Alfred has quit his post and wouldn’t be around. So, that completely cancels out Europa‘s ability to exist in Year Seventeen. Batman is also using the Batcave in Europa, which means it can’t occur at any point during “Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive” either.

    This leaves us with two very tiny windows in which to place Europa, both of which are problematic. It could either go right before “Officer Down,” which is right here in November of Year Sixteen, OR after “Bruce Wayne: Fugitive” ends in June of Year Eighteen. I’ve gone with the former for one main reason: Europa occurs definitively in with snow on the ground and freezing temperatures. In fact, part of the story occurs specifically on the last day of the Czech festival known as Masopust, which is in February. Obviously, this topical reference has to be ignored since there is absolutely no February placement that can possibly work. However, if we cling to the cold weather idea, then November works much better than June.

    I’d love to stick Europa in the empty February space in the middle of “Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive,” but in Europa, Batman is clearly not in anti-Bruce mode and is definitely not going through that ordeal in any way, shape, or form.

    One more problem to note: Killer Croc is drawn with his mutated Jim Lee “Hush” look. Since other books around this time wouldn’t be depicting Killer Croc as such, his appearance should be ignored. Since Lee is the penciller on Europa it makes sense for him to take special liberties and draw Croc in his own style, especially since he originally drew Europa not long after “Hush.”

  13. [13]COLLIN COLSHER: See a footnote attached to Batman versus Predator #1-3 in Year Thirteen Part 2 to see why the Batman versus Predator series and Batman/Aliens series are both canon. Don’t forget that the Xenomorph aliens, like the Predators, are alternate DCU versions that differ from the mainstream movie versions or other Dark Horse versions of the characters.

8 Responses to Modern YEAR SIXTEEN (Part 2)

  1. The story has been super-compressed retroactively to fit onto the timeline. I’m not sure how I had that screw-up in there, though, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. NML ends NOT on Day 247, but instead around Day 230. Mid September is correct because Lex Luthor announces his candidacy for President of the United States right after NML has ended, and also specifically after the Sins of Youth arc. Since the election is in November, Luthor’s late entry (ridiculous I know, but that’s just how it is) should happen prior to that, which influences the NML timeline’s endpoint (and start date).

    To reiterate, on my retconned compressed Modern Age timeline, NML starts in early February and ends in mid September, spanning over seven months. Originally, NML spanned just under eleven months.

  2. S.R. says:

    Hello! Awesome timeline!
    In Legends of the Dark Knight #125, Gordon states that it’s been 10 years since he began working with Batman. So tecnically No Man’s Land should be on Batman’s Year 10 or 11.

    • Hey SR, thanks a million! My Modern Age timeline differs from DC’s conception of things. (See for details.) I do mention LOTDK #125 there, but I’ll make a mention in Year 16 as well.

      It was likely Greg Rucka’s intent to further compress the timeline with this “ten year” comment, but this cannot be the case. By January 2000, we are already compressed beyond reasonable limits. With this “ten year” comment, Rucka may also have been regarding Zero Hour as a hard reboot, whereas the Real Batman Chronology Project does not. Thanks, again!

      • S.R. says:

        Thanks for the reply! Im making some timeline of my own trying to put the stories together. I would love to make a comic that tells the whole Batman Story one day.
        But its really difficult trying to respect dates and all when they keep changing stuff! Probably you already know this muuuch more than I do! hahahahaha
        Glad to contribute to this awesome project!

  3. Jack James says:

    “Dr. Hugo Strange returns to torment Batman for the first time since Bat Year Two! Batman mentions having not seen Strange since the “Prey” storyline in Bat Year One, but he must be forgetting the “Terror” sequel from Bat Year Two, which is the actual last time the Caped Crusader encountered Strange. (Strange’s only other appearance after that was in the “Strange Apparitions” storyline in Bat Year Nine and the prelude to this arc from a few months ago, but he didn’t come face-to-face with Batman in either of those tales.) ”

    Uhm… but in Strange Apparitions he DID go up against Bruce Wayne, in #471, unless that’s also retconned out in this post-Crisis version of Strange Apparitions 🙂

    • Hmm this is a tough one. I’ve always thought that “Prey” and “Terror” cancelled out/replaced the Detective Comics #471 part of “Strange Apparitions.” In “Transference,” they specifically say that Hugo last encountered Batman in “Prey.” (Of course, this cannot be the case because “Terror” is the canonical follow-up to “Prey.” SO, that has to be the last time. Thus, I think that his encounter with Strange in “Strange Apparitions” is retconned out. (Hugo’s interaction as the “strange apparition” with Rupert Thorne still stands, though.)

  4. James Mahoney IV says:

    Hey there, just a small suggestion to change The Batman Chronicles #22 to a note like #20, as Batman appears in none of those stories, but would be aware at least of the Spoiler one (I’m not sure how likely he is to learn of Talia or Shiva’s story). Also, while I’m talking about them, a footnote or something mentioning the non-canoness of The Batman Chronicles #21 wouldn’t go amiss.

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