Modern YEAR EIGHTEEN (Part 2)

2006 (July to December)
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–Supergirl Vol. 4 #74
Early July. Months ago, a demon separated the two halves inhabiting Supergirl’s body: Matrix and Linda Danvers. Both retained superhuman powers, but Matrix became the sole Earth Angel of Fire and went missing. Linda (wearing her new white belly shirt costume) and pal Mary Marvel have been searching for her ever since. In the long lost Garden of Eden, Linda finally thinks she finds Matrix, but it is actually Bizarro Supergirl disguised to look like Matrix by Lilith (mother of all demons). When the demon Hurmizah stabs Mary to death, Linda flips out and, due to the machinations of Lilith, inadvertently causes a “chaos stream” to erupt from the River Styx. The chaos stream spreads over the globe, causing mass destruction and turning people into monsters. Batman, for instance, turns into a Man-Bat-esque creature that can barely be contained by a surprised Batgirl. Eventually, Mary will be revived, Matrix will be found, the chaos stream will recede, and everyone will live happily ever after.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham Knights #38. Bruce begins routinely playing chess with Alfred, and will do so often in the months to come. However, most of their games will go unfinished since Batman-work will get in the way.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #33-36 (“TABULA RASA”)
Batman, Robin (who is still a little salty about being left out of the loop for so long), and Nightwing apprehend three old-school villains who have ditched their corny super-villain alter-egos in an attempt at straight-crime. Signalman, Kite Man, and Corrosive Man are easily caught. NOTE: This is the first time we’ve seen Corrosive Man in four years, and he now appears to have either lost his powers or gained complete control of them.  When the Bat-Family returns home to Wayne Manor, Bane (!) is waiting for them and asks Bruce to aid him in his quest to destroy all of the world’s Lazarus Pits (to piss off Ra’s al Ghul).  Bane has already destroyed quite a few.  After meeting with Jason Blood (Etrigan), Batman and Bane learn that Achilles (minus his famous heel) was one of the first documented cases of anyone bathing in a Lazarus Pit!  The former rivals then travel halfway across the globe and destroy a Lazarus Pit.  As the duo celebrate the victory, Bane tells Batman that his real father is also Thomas Wayne! Bane and Batman are half-brothers! But is it true? A week goes by and the Bat-Family eagerly awaits the results of a blood test. In the meantime, Bane joins the Bat-Family and patrols the Gotham streets as a superhero! Huntress catches wind of this and is pissed. She swoops down and knocks Batman on his ass, calling him a hypocrite for letting Bane in the club, but not her. Bane later tells Batman that he knows that Huntress and Nightwing have been lovers in the past. Batman refuses to believe that is true. Ha! When Nightwing finally chases down Huntress, she kisses him. Watch out Babs! (Don’t worry, Dick is totally in love with Babs.) While stuck in traffic, Dick and Babs play “Six Degrees of Black Lightning.” This is too amazing. Meanwhile, when a tattoo artist is gang raped, she becomes Pix (the female version of Tattooed Man) and hunts down her rapists, killing them one by one.  While Batman deals with the tragic new vigilante, Bane unsuccessfully tries to fake the DNA test results.  When things don’t go his way, a lab tech gets murdered.  Leslie Thompkins is on hand to witness the crime, but rather than condemn Bane, she opens up to him and they have a heart-to-heart.  Bane visits with Batman and tells him they are not brothers, and can never truly be friends.  Batman, however, is able to reach out to Bane before he leaves town.  Bruce sets up a trust fund for his former foe (similar to the one he set up for Jean-Paul Valley years ago) and will remain in constant contact with Bane going forward.

–JSA #37
It is revealed that, since this Bat Year began, everything in the entire DCU has been a lie. None of what we’ve read about in the chronology for Bat Year 18 has transpired. Instead, Batman and the other heroes have had completely different adventures. Huh? Let me explain. The Ultra-Humanite, months ago, had taken over the Earth using the stolen power of a Lightning Elemental djinn, putting numerous heroes under his brainwashed control, the rest experiencing a complex virtual reality i.e. The Matrix. The combined forces of the JSA (including new member Crimson Avenger Jill Carlyle), JLA, and Titans are able to see the Matrix reality for what it is, enter actual reality and defeat Ultra-Humanite. For anyone asking about the canonical status of the last couple of Matrix months, have no fear. JJ Thunder (with his own lighting djinn that is a mix of Yz and the soul of the deceased Johnny Thunder!) is able to undo everything Ultra-Humanite had done. In a very bizarre space-time anomaly (one of the oddest anomalies we’ve encountered in all 18 years of this chronology thus far) the several Matrix months are completely erased from the timeline. However, everyone retains their knowledge of what the Ultra-Humanite has done. Also, the hundreds of deaths which occur as a result of Ultra-Humanite’s evil scheme? They’re dead for real and they ain’t coming back.

–NOTE: In Green Lantern Vol. 3 #145. A benevolent alien symbiote called Ion, whose origins stem from the green portion of the Emotional Color Spectrum, merges with Green Lantern. Kyle Rayner is bestowed with cosmic powers even greater than the power within his ring. He dons a new costume and aptly calls himself Ion. In a couple months Kyle will release his powers back into the Central Power Battery on the planet Oa, re-creating the long dead Guardians of the Universe! Kyle will then go back to being plain ol’ Green Lantern again.

–Green Lantern Vol. 3 #149
The JLA frantically prepares for yet another massive invasion, this time by alien crystal people.  Just as the team is finally able to come up with a complex strategy to defend Earth, Kyle Rayner (now Ion for the past four days) shows up and tells the team that he’s already taken care of the problem thanks to his new powers.  He met the aliens head-on and teleported them thousands of light years away.  Superman then argues with Ion, telling him that he’s being reckless with his new powers. NOTE: Plastic Man incorrectly says that “Terror Incognita” took place 176 days ago (almost 6 months ago). Maybe he means 276 days ago, which would still be slightly wrong, but would be a hell of a lot closer.

–Robin Vol. 2 #116-120
July. It’s Tim’s 16th birthday! When a mysterious box arrives at Tim’s house, he takes it to Batman and they examine it together. A hologram appears out of the box depicting an image of Alfred, supposedly from the future. In his message, Alfred tells Robin that one of their closest allies will go rogue and become evil. Future Alfred is then murdered by the former friend as the message concludes, but the Dynamic Duo can’t tell who it is. Robin spends the next ten days harrowingly and painstakingly collecting evidence and tailing his allies. The message seems to be legit, and Robin is sick about the fact that someone close to him will betray his trust. Robin then discovers the message was delivered by the small time crook Yak Black, and is surprised when Black turns up inside the Batcave. Robin easily takes Black down and unmasks him, revealing none other than Alfred himself! Batman appears out of the shadows and congratulates Tim.  The whole thing was an elaborate test just to see how Robin would handle the situation. Tim is pissed and immediately quits again! (The Dynamic Duo had only been reunited for less than two weeks and here comes Batman rocking the boat with some asshole test? I can’t blame Tim for leaving this time.) Spoiler tracks down the pouting Tim and basically tells him that Batman will always be a dick, but he of all people should be able to deal with it. Spoiler’s pep-talk is enough to convince Tim to return to the cave and make amends with Bruce.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #32
Almost two months have passed since Bruce Wayne’s name was cleared in the murder of Vesper Fairchild and he is finally ready to return to heading Wayne Enterprises. We see a long 24 hour day in the life of Bruce. He spends his day doing charity work, having power lunches, going to important business meetings, attending dedications, checking up on the comatose Lucius Fox’s family, playing chess with Two-Face at Arkham, and busting criminals until 5 am. Lucius’ family consists of his wife Tanya Nancy Fox, daughter Tiffany Fox, and an unnamed son. The unnamed son cannot be Timothy Fox because he’s much too young. Plus, Tim would be estranged from his family at this juncture, having become a villain years ago. Retroactively, however, this could be Luke Fox (!)—who doesn’t technically debut until the New 52.

–the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #32 (B&W)
Bruce gets a letter from three little girls, which includes a fiction story about Batman fighting a dinosaur. The girls have sent him the letter in appreciation for Wayne Enterprises’ funding of a dinosaur-themed playground in their neighborhood.

–Power Company #15
Batman meets the vigilante known as Manhunter (actually a clone of the original Manhunter).  They kung-fu fight and Batman realizes that, despite his rookie inexperience, Manhunter is expertly trained in the martial arts.  Manhunter is a member of the superhero-for-hire team known as the Power Company, of which Carl Bork and Sapphire are prominent members.

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman: Family #1. Lucius Fox, who has been a coma for over eleven months after suffering a heart attack and stroke, finally wakes up! Bruce will visit with him in our next story.

–Batman: Family #1-2
It’s been just shy of a year since Lucius Fox has his heart attack and stroke.  He’s ready to begin rehab, but is still unable to return to work. Meanwhile, the effects of the Vesper Fairchild murder are still lingering at Wayne Enterprises. The Board of Directors wants Bruce to resign and collect his hefty pension.  Meanwhile, Batman meets the rookie vigilante known as the Tracker. The Tracker has spent the past few months serving up mobsters to the cops left and right. However, when Batman takes on a new super-villain called Suicide King, the former finds out that the Tracker is in cahoots with the villain.  The Tracker winds up getting killed and Batman is left wondering what Suicide King’s game was all about. Bruce then returns to work. Worried that he will lose his company to a heartless cutthroat arriviste, CEO Wayne turns the reins over to his mother’s old friend, elderly entrepreneur Celia Kazantzakis. Secretly, Kazantzakis has manipulated her way into this position of power with the desire to use Wayne Enterprises to control the Gotham underworld. The Tracker (her son) and Suicide King are a part of her network of super-villains, which includes Bugg, The Technician, Dr. Excess, Mr. Fun, and Freeway. The deviously covert Kazantzakis is even able to manipulate Spoiler (through a third party) into bringing down one of the Gotham crime syndicates. In a completely unrelated note, we also learn that Bruce’s fiancée from 18 years ago, Julie Madison has just had a baby! The paparazzi supposes that Bruce is the dad. Not true! NOTE: There are a bunch of flashbacks throughout the Family series to “40 years ago,” but 50 years ago sounds more like it. Also, I wanted to mention that every member of Kazantzakis’s group changes his super-villain gimmick and moniker every several years, thus greatly lessening the chances of getting identified or apprehended. Pretty clever idea. With that being said, we may or may not have seen some of these guys before as supposed “one-shot” villains. Who knows?

–Catwoman Vol. 3 #10
Selina and Bruce meet for lunch and Bruce pretends that he was shocked to learn that she was still alive. (Selina had recently faked her own death to fool the public into disbelieving she was Catwoman.) Later, Catwoman helps a friend who is wrongfully charged with murder escape from custody and flee the country. Batman isn’t happy about it and tells her so, but their potential argument ends playfully (and sexually), with the duo racing each other across the Gotham rooftops.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #177-178 (“LOST CARGO”)
Catwoman encounters Matches Malone for the first time and doesn’t realize that he’s Batman in disguise.  Together, they bust some mobsters who are involved with a human trafficking/illegal immigration operation.  In the end Selina learns that Batman and Malone are one and the same.

–Batgirl #31-32
The cult known as The Ninth Legion is searching for an ancient artifact called the Eagle of the Ninth. When Jack Drake (Tim’s dad) turns up on a list of possible targets of the cult, Batman calls in Green Arrow (Connor Hawke), Robin, Batgirl, Spoiler, and Eddie Fyers to protect him. Eddie Fyers attends a public event disguised as Jack and is immediately kidnapped by the cult. The Bat-Family is able to track Eddie, save him, and stop the cultists. Jack later reveals to Tim that he indeed owns the sacred artifact.

–Robin Vol. 2 #121-122
Batman and Robin take down some crooks that rob a STAR Labs armored truck, but half the gang escapes with some magickal artifacts. Later, Tim begins attending yet another new school—Louis E Grieve Memorial High School—where he befriends fellow students Bernard Dowd and Darla Aquista (daughter of mobster Henry Aquista). Soon after, Tim squares-off against small-time crook Johnny Warren. Realizing that the Boy Wonder needs new wheels, Batman builds and gives Robin his very own brand new motorcycle. Meanwhile, across town, an injured Warren is imbued with a demonic power after handling the final stolen artifact, becoming super-villain Johnny Warlock.

–Detective Comics #774 Part 2
August. Batman has been searching for Sasha for two months now, with no success. Finally, he runs into Checkmate Agent David Said and gets some answers that lead him to a Checkmate base outside of Gotham. Batman infiltrates the base and gathers information, but still nothing conclusive.  The Dark Knight then warns the Checkmate Agents on hand that if he discovers they have anything to do with Sasha’s disappearance, he will destroy them. And he means it.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #783. Batman examines the scene of a murder committed by Alan Tuck. This is Tuck’s first victim, but there will be three more to come over the span of the next two months.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Gotham Knights #47. Late August. Bruce sends Bane to Saint Louis to apprehend one of Mr. Freeze’s old henchmen who has run amok with one of his former boss’ old freeze-rays.

–JLA #65
Early September. Plastic Man asks Batman to help out his old friend’s son, Luke McDunnagh, who has recently joined a gang and is headed toward a life of crime.  Batman nabs the kid in Chicago, but when he exhibits the ability to shapeshift, Batman realizes that he is actually Plastic Man’s son!  Batman is able to convince Luke to quit the gang life. Plastic Man is too afraid to confront his son, but secretly watches, disguised as Batman’s utility belt.  Luke will later become the superhero known as Offspring, but that is years later.

–REFERENCE: In JLA: Welcome to the Working Week. The JLA defeats time-traveling villain Per Degaton.

–NOTE: In Green Lantern Vol. 4 #150. Ion releases his powers back into the Central Power Battery on the planet Oa, re-creating the long dead Guardians of the Universe! Kyle Rayner will soon go back to being Green Lantern again following this action.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #783. Batman examines the scene of another murder by serial killer Alan Tuck. This is victim number two.

–JLA/Spectre: Soul War #1-2
Giant monsters that resemble collective bits and pieces of Earth’s religious deities attack the planet. The Spectre (Hal Jordan) merges with hundreds of superheroes across the globe to beat back the monster threat. At the Watchtower, Hal tells the JLA that a mysterious alien race known as the Trans is responsible for the attacks. Hal then merges each member of the JLA into a single titanic combo-JLA warrior, which Batman only agrees to because he is given full control of the being’s consciousness. Cue a Power Rangers/Godzilla scene where the two thousand foot tall combo-JLA warrior fights a host of giant monsters in, of course, Japan. The battle winds up on the Moon where controller Batman gets his butt kicked. Martian Manhunter takes over the giant combo-JLA body and wins the skirmish. Hal then reveals that the monsters they’ve been fighting are merely psychic manifestations emanating from the collective unconsciousness of the entire human race that are being ripped into existence by the manipulations of the Trans. But the worst and most dangerous psychic monster manifestation is born out of a weakened Hal’s mind following the Moon battle. The JLA is able to escape from the creature temporarily by splitting back into their own bodies and severing the psychic link from the combo-body. Hal then further explains that the Trans exist to feed on the collective unconsciousnesses of entire planets. After a quick teleportation tour of a planet that has been ravaged by the Trans, our heroes are ready for action. However, the only way to defeat the Trans and their monsters is to use a machine built by Hal that will cause a near death experience that separates the JLAers spirits from their bodies. The entire JLA goes under the effect of the machine and “dies.” The now-dead JLA passes through the the Imaginal Realm (the collective consciousness of humanity) in an attempt to fight the Trans. There, they find that the Trans have taken over the Imaginal Realm, and now are the Imaginal Realm itself. Despite the dire situation, the JLA defeats the Trans. Back at the Watchtower, a Trans-controlled psychic medium unplugs the machines sustaining the JLA’s bodies, effectively killing them for real. Hal sacrifices himself to revive the JLA, and his spirit becomes stuck in a limbo dimension. The psychic medium is able to shake off the effects of the Trans and is able to focus the JLA’s psychic energy and bring Hal back. Batman also gets to briefly speak with his dead parents in Heaven! Afterward, Batman humbly thanks and shakes Hal’s hand for a job well done.

–JLA: Welcome to the Working Week
Patton Oswalt’s JLA one-shot is one of the best JLA stories I’ve ever read (right up there with Grant Morrison’s JLA stuff). It’s so self-reflexive, introspective, and “fan-boy” (I mean that in a good way) you can’t possibly not love it. It’s like The Mandalorian—fan service done right. And like Morrison, Oswalt breaks down (from a layman’s point of view) exactly why each one of DC’s big superstar heroes are worth getting into. This book is also a wonderful reminder of why Batman is and always will be the best superhero character ever written. Let’s get to the story. After an alien attack on Portland, Oregon, the JLA teleports an entire neighborhood into the Watchtower while they deal with the intruders. The situation is quickly resolved and everyone is zapped back home, except for fan-zine writing superhero geek, Marlus Randone, who stows away on the Moonbase and spies on the members of the team, including Flash and Green Lantern who spend the evening watching a made-for-TV Bruce Wayne: Fugitive movie! The story then goes through the literal working week of the JLA. I’ll focus on Batman. Monday: Batman examines Riddler-like clues at a crime scene where a GCPD officer is crucified on a cross. He then saves a baby from a burning building, quickly sends an escaped Joker to the Slab, and tests out a new armored Bat-suit. He then ends the day successfully negotiating with the Weather Wizard.  Tuesday: Batman busts some mobsters in Gotham.  Wednesday: The Dark Knight spends some time in an opened Watchtower airlock until his blood vessels burst and he nearly dies.  Batman calls this “zero-gravity training.” J’onn calls it a fetish. Thursday: Widespread calamity occurs when ordinary people are bestowed with super-strength all over the planet. There isn’t much the JLA can do, so Plastic Man throws a huge party on the Watchtower! Nearly every hero imaginable is pictured at the party. (I should mention a few continuity flubs before continuing. First, it would be strange for Jack Knight and John Henry Irons to both be in costume at the party as both would be retired at this point. Also, Poison Ivy, who has sneaked into the party, is drawn incorrectly—without her green skin. Furthermore, Batman says that Penguin has a parole hearing. Untrue. Penguin hasn’t been in jail for years. Also, probably the biggest error in the entire book is that a newscast depicts both Gordon and Bullock still on the force.) Friday: Batman bitches out Plastic Man for having thrown the party. I wonder if he bitched-out Nightwing, Robin, and Batgirl, since they were all there. Hell, Cassie even took her mask off! Batman also bitches out Wonder Woman for secretly training with Killer Croc, Lady Shiva, and Cheetah.  Saturday: Marlus makes his presence known just as the Earth is attacked by the alien super-villain Feast and his evil team known as the Murder Parade.  While the JLA battles the Murder Parade, Batman battles Feast and is able to make him call off the attack after torturing him with a ball-point pen!  And here is the best line ever. Marlus narrates, “If this was a comic book, it would have run twenty issues, and taken all summer.  But it takes minutes. The world is saved and it’s too big and fast to take in.” Nuff said!

–FLASHBACK: From Gotham Central #11. Stacy switches on the Bat-Signal, as is part of her job. Batman responds to chat with the GCPD and deal with an unspecified case. Presumably, Batman handles the case.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #775. Batman disrupts another Checkmate operation in Gotham.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #783. Batman examines the scene of another murder by serial killer Alan Tuck. This is victim number three.

–Batman: Family #3-8
Late September to mid October. The harridan Celia Kazantzakis has been CEO of Wayne Enterprises for two months now. Her secret criminal network has extended its reach exponentially in this time, thanks a great deal to the surveillance and info-gathering of the anti-Oracle known as the Technician. (NOTE: There are some pretty amazing flashbacks which show that the Technician has been responsible for designing some of the DCU’s zanier evil super-villain technologies.) Kazantzakis’ plan to take control of Gotham involves getting rid of the Bat-Family. Black Canary teams-up with Orpheus and they are first to encounter another dark facet of Kazantzakis’ criminal empire when they battle a metahuman former US senator. Dr. Excess has been injecting a mutated strain of cancer into clinic residents, which causes them to hulk up—hence the appearance of the musclebound ex-senator. Then Kazantzakis sends Suicide King to take care of Huntress. Suicide King not only blackmails Huntress by threatening to reveal her secret identity to the public, but also threatens to kill her extended family. Huntress is able to save her family, but is pissed off that Suicide King knows her secret identity. She is even more annoyed when DEO Agent Cameron Chase (who had been trailing Suicide King) shows up and learns her identity as well. While Bruce attends the opera with Kazantzakis, Robin is captured and tortured by Freeway and Dr. Excess. We learn here that Robin has either had his fingerprints surgically replaced or had the FBI database altered.  Freeway runs Tim’s prints through the FBI database and he comes up as a positive match for a deceased Blackgate inmate. Tim escapes his captors, gets evidence which proves the existence of a underground criminal cabal linked to Kazantzakis, and reports back to Batman and company. The Bat-Family now has the edge. Batman easily captures the Technician, sets him up in a safe-house with Nightwing and Batgirl as guards, and then goes to interrogate an old colleague of Kazantzakis. However, Mr. Fun is able to defeat both Batgirl and Nightwing at the same time using only a golf club as a weapon! Mr. Fun then murders the Technician in order to silence him. Kazantzakis then sets into motion a city-wide blackout, combined with a string of money-embezzling transfers designed to ruin Wayne Enterprises and ruin the city’s economy. While this goes on, the Bat-Family retaliates. Nightwing and Black Canary defeat Mr. Fun. Huntress gets revenge against Suicide King. Batgirl nabs Bugg and shuts down the computerized brain behind all of the chaos. And Batman confronts Kazantzakis at last. She gets away in the end, but the jig is up. Kazantzakis sends her letter of resignation by courier a few days later. NOTE: Where the hell was Alfred in this series?! He was barely seen.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #775. Batman disrupts another Checkmate operation in Gotham.

–Superman Vol. 2 #189
Teenage occultist Traci Thirteen (Dr. Thirteen’s daughter) is aware of some bad juju going on in Hell’s Heart, a horrible slum in Washington DC. Traci contacts Lana Lang, the wife of Vice President Pete Ross, for help. The Second Lady goes into Hell’s Heart but never comes out. After twenty-four hours, Pete sends Clark to go find out what happened to her. Before Clark departs, Batman pays him a visit and warns him not to go into Hell’s Heart since it is the most dangerous place in America, even worse than Gotham. Batman and Clark then engage in an ugly argument about each other’s different crime-fighting methodologies and whether or not either has really inspired any hope in the world. The nastiness is left unresolved and Batman takes off, leaving Clark to go after Lana.

–Detective Comics #776-783
Before we begin, ‘tec #775 is out of order. Issue #775 doesn’t happen until later in the calendar year. So don’t worry, we didn’t skip anything. Now, back to ‘tec #776. Years ago, GCPD officer James O’Dell was forced into an early retirement and witness protection after getting in too deep with a gang of drug dealing gun runners. Now those very same drug dealing gun runners are being murdered by an unknown assailant. Batman thinks it’s O’Dell, but it’s really O’Dell’s elderly father, who winds up getting shot and killed. Batman also gets shot and drags himself to the care of Leslie Thompkins, who saves his life as she has done so often in the past. Next, the six-issue “Dead Reckoning” story-arc (which takes about two-and-a-half weeks to transpire) begins when one of Killer Moth’s old henchmen gets mistaken for Moth and is murdered. The unknown killer then attempts to murder Penguin, Mad Hatter, and new Gotham U criminology professor Jim Gordon. After the Dark Knight meets with 60s supernatural detective Mark Merlin, (who died during the original Crisis but has since been resurrected), an eight-year-old cold case mystery unravels. In the flashback to eight years ago, we learn that actor Paul Sloan was hired by Joker, Riddler, Moth, Penguin, Scarecrow, and Hatter to play a pivotal role in a scheme which would have resulted in Batman’s ultimate demise. Two-Face wanted nothing to do with the other rogues, so they hired Sloan to become a fake Two-Face, a role which Sloan took way too seriously. After finding out about the existence of a fake Two-Face, the real Two-Face got a bit angry, kidnapped Sloan, mutilated him, and left him for dead. Then the Scarecrow revived Sloan, only to torture and experiment on him for weeks. Cut back to the present: Sloan is finally back for revenge. The Dark Knight travels to the Slab to interrogate Joker and quickly realizes Sloan’s plan. Batman (and Two-Face) bring him to justice. Sloan winds up in Arkham with the new super-villain name “Charlatan.” With Charlatan behind bars, Two-Face remains free and at-large at the end of issue #782. However, Two-Face is back in Arkham as soon as issue #783 begins. I guess they caught him really quickly. In issue #783, Batman apprehends serial killer Alan Tuck, who has murdered four people, including a Wayne Enterprises employee. Feeling guilty at having not known her at all, Bruce takes it upon himself to memorize the names of everyone in Wayne Tower. NOTES: At the beginning of “Dead Reckoning,” a doctor mentions that Lucius Fox recovered from his coma a month ago. Lucius recovered over two months ago. Also, the second feature to issue #782 occurs on the anniversary of Batman’s parents’ deaths, so it doesn’t go here—it goes in late November. And lastly, the second feature to issues #777-781, entitled “Spore,” is out-of-continuity.

–Gotham Central #10
Early November. Greg Rucka’s award-winning “Half a Life” (Gotham Central #6-10) is not to be missed. There’s a ton of great storytelling and build-up to Batman’s appearance here in the fifth and final issue of the arc. Let’s get caught up to speed. Renee Montoya is in a whole lotta trouble. First, she has finally been outed as a lesbian, and it isn’t easy being queer and Latina in the GCPD. Also, Two-Face has also framed her for murder! Remember NML and her birthday flowers? Harvey is still in love with Renee, and he believes that completely ruining Renee’s life will force her to turn to him for affection. After getting clued into the twisted situation, Batman shows up to kayo Two-Face and prove Renee’s innocence. Afterward, Detective Sawyer orders Renee to take a month off. (She’ll take a couple weeks off before returning.) NOTE: Immediately following this item is the Batman-less (he appears only via flashback) Gotham Central #11, an epistolary tale about the GCPD secretary Stacy, in which we learn her views and opinions about various GCPD characters and delve into her huge crush on the Dark Knight. The letter which forms the narrative is marked “October 7,” but we shouldn’t take that to mean that we are in October. It is early November at this point.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Gotham Knights #47. Early November. From Gotham, Bruce remotely monitors Bane in Paris, where the latter apprehends the metahuman super-villain known as Warp.

–Batman: Family #8 Epilogue
Early November. Three weeks after the resignation of Celia Kazantzakis, Bruce celebrates at a Wayne Enterprises benefit gala with his family: Dick, Tim, Cassandra, and Babs.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #775. Batman disrupts another Checkmate operation in Gotham.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #197-199 (“BLAZE OF GLORY”)
Smalltime crook/weapons expert Erik Webber is released from prison and wants revenge against Batman for his incarceration six years ago. Webber makes his presence known by burning a Batman symbol into a “Welcome to Gotham: Home of the Batman” billboard.  Webber then blows up the head of the famous Lady Justice Statue (Gotham’s equivalent to the Statue of Liberty). Finally, Webber murders four people just because they are wearing Batman paraphernalia (i.e. a kid with a Batman skateboard, kid with a Batman symbol T-shirt, etc). After visiting Arkham and ruling out Joker and Two-Face as suspects, Batman realizes that the culprit is Webber and confronts him on a Gotham rooftop. Webber explains that there are dozens of bombs around the city rigged to explode when his own heart stops beating. The villain then electrocutes himself in an attempt to commit suicide and blow up most of the city. Webber’s plan fails as Batman is able to medivac the villain to a hospital where he is stabilized. After the bomb squad clears out all of the explosives, Batman visits Webber in the hospital and watches him die. NOTE: We’ll next see running free in Harley Quinn #25, so we must assume he escapes from Arkham right after “Blaze of Glory.”

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #775. Batman disrupts two more Checkmate operations in Gotham. These are the fifth and sixth Checkmate missions that Batman has fouled up in the past six months.

–JLA/JSA Secret Files #1 Part 1
Mid November. Metamorpho is resurrected! Meanwhile, Captain Marvel has come up with the idea that the JSA and JLA should begin an annual tradition of sharing Turkey Day. Thus, the JSA and JLA plan for a joint Thanksgiving celebration. Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt) bonds with Batman in the Batcave. Mr. Terrific will become one of Batman’s closest friends and allies in the future.

–JLA/JSA: Virtue & Vice
Mid November. The JLA and the JSA celebrate the first annual Thanksgiving celebration on the Watchtower (actually a few days before the actual holiday). The celebration is interrupted when both teams are called into action to save President Luthor from Apokoliptian super-villain Doctor Bedlam. After regrouping at JSA headquarters, things turn ugly.  The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man (Pride, Envy, Greed, Anger, Sloth, Gluttony, and Lust) have escaped from their prison within the Rock of Eternity. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Rock of Eternity is home to the wizard Shazam and headquarters of Captain Marvel. The Seven Deadly Enemies of Man are demons that were trapped there ages ago. Anyway, these demons possess the bodies of several key players and begin running amok, resulting in the destruction of the JSA’s brownstone headquarters. Anger embodies Batman, Pride embodies Mr. Terrific, Envy embodies Green Lantern, Greed embodies Plastic Man, Sloth embodies Dr. Fate, Lust embodies Power Girl, and Gluttony embodies Captain Marvel.  Meanwhile, the other heroes are sucked into either Limbo or Dr. Fate’s twisted inter-dimensional fortress. As chaos reigns over the planet, one man stands tall, having manipulated the entire scheme: President Luthor. But wait! As Black Canary, Green Arrow (Ollie), and Dr. Mid-Nite close-in on the President, Luthor reveals that he isn’t Luthor at all. Despero is back! And he’s in league with old JSA villain Johnny Sorrow. Things are looking bleak until the combined forces of the JSA and JLA are able to free their possessed comrades and kick some serious ass. Even Luthor is thankful for the rescue and builds the JSA a new state-of-the-art headquarters in Manhattan at the location of the old headquarters. (The old JSA brownstone is also fixed up as well—it will eventually become a JSA museum.)

–NOTE: In Superman Vol. 2 #194. Clark Kent is re-hired by The Daily Planet after exposing a legit minor Lex Luthor presidential scandal (thanks to help from Talia) which involves the illegal incarceration of Luthor’s former bodyguard Hope. This minor scandal surely causes Luthor to lose a few points on his approval rating, but does little else to threaten his presidency or administration.

–JLA/JSA: Virtue & Vice Epilogue
The JSA and JLA celebrate the grand opening of the new JSA tower in Manhattan.

–Green Lantern Vol. 3 #155
One of Kyle Rayner’s best friends, Terry Berg, becomes the victim of a hate crime—beaten and nearly killed by some anti-queer bigots simply because he is gay. While Berg lies in a coma, Kyle breaks into Rikers Island and assaults his friend’s attackers (as seen in Green Lantern Vol. 3 #154). At the JLA Watchtower, a distraught Kyle begs Flash to let him use the Cosmic Treadmill to go back and prevent Berg’s tragedy. Of course, Flash doesn’t comply. Batman then chastises Kyle for his actions at Rikers, to which Kyle accuses Batman of doing stuff like that all the time. After Kyle chats with the Spectre (Hal Jordan), Berg comes out of his coma and is relatively okay. Upset at the recent events, Kyle and his girlfriend Jade decide to leave Earth for a bit and travel the cosmos together.

–Harley Quinn #24-25
Harley Quinn’s spirit escapes from Hell to haunt Martian Manhunter! (In case you didn’t know, Harley died just about one year ago in Harley Quinn #19.) Hopping from corporeal body to body Deadman-style, Harley eludes an annoyed Martian Manhunter all over Denver. J’onn nearly nabs Harley at a Jim Rook (aka Nightmaster) concert, but she gets away. Shortly thereafter, J’onn enlists the aid of Zatanna and Batman. While Batman disguises himself as Detective John Jones (which involves kissing Harley, who has inhabited Diane Meade’s body), Zatanna uses her powerful magick to fully resurrect Harley from the dead! Just like that Harley is back in the land of the living for good! Batman immediately recruits Harley to help him go after Joker, who has been loose without making so much as a peep for the past few weeks. Forcing the reluctant Harley to cooperate, Batman sets up a ruse to lure Joker into the open. First, in front of many witnesses, Batman lets Harley best him in a series of robbery attempts during which the Dark Knight declares Harley to be his new number one enemy. (We are told that Batman and Harley’s ruse goes on for a month before Joker takes the bait, but due to compression that’s just not possible. Harley Quinn #24 must go seamlessly and uninterruptedly into Harley Quinn #25.) As planned, Joker predictably contacts Harley. However, instead of playing Batman’s mole, Harley becomes Joker’s counterspy. Using Harley, Joker sends disinformation—actually non-information, just random jokes. (Joker thinks he is poking fun at his rival.) However, over the course of a few days, Batman incorrectly interprets these messages as code and tells Harley he thinks Joker is planning to murder everyone at a salesmen’s convention. Liking the idea, Joker goes ahead with Batman’s plan and gets busted.[1]

–Batman: Orphans #1-2
This is an extremely difficult story to place, but it fits here pretty nicely (Akins is commish, Montoya and Allen are partners, Dick is living in Blüdhaven, Harley Quinn has been resurrected, etc). Our tale begins when Merlyn, in an attempt to steal a package from a FedLex delivery, kills someone that he believes to be Robin. The tabloids report the death of Batman’s sidekick, prompting Dick to travel north to Gotham to make sure Tim is okay. Nightwing and the real Robin then visit the coroner to examine the body of the fake Robin. The coroner is actually Batman in disguise, thus proving that things aren’t always what they seem, or something like that. But if there is a fake Robin, there must be a fake Batman. Fake-Batman, headquartered in an underground section of Gotham never rebuilt after the quake, trains five orphaned kids to become his new “Robins.” The kids believe that “Batman” is the real Dark Knight and worship him accordingly. Teenage fighting-prodigy Lance Heart earns the right to become the new “Robin” after defeating his buddies in combat.  Lance leads his fellow teens out into the streets to complete several “crime fighting” missions, which result in the death of innocent civilians. Meanwhile, Dick and Tim study the fake-Robin costume in the Batcave only to realize that it has been soaked in Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Across town, Bruce, who has recently handled the tainted costume, attacks tabloid journalist Samantha Locke at a movie premiere. Alfred is able to contain Bruce and drive him back home. As a result, Bruce gets a nasty front-page write-up in Locke’s tabloid rag. Bruce then intensifies his investigation, which leads in the direction of several missing orphans. Bruce, Dick, and Tim interrogate an Arkham doctor, Charles Nigaff, who had personally taken care of all of the missing orphans in question. After questioning Nigaff, news breaks that FedLex trucks are being attacked all over the city due to the fact that the criminal underworld has learned that one of the deliveries contains a mysterious but important package. A violent gunfight erupts at the airport between Merlyn (working for the League of Assassins), Red Talon (working for Penguin), Riddler, the Fake-Robin and his teenage gang, Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen, and the Bat-Family.  Similarly, across town Batgirl fights the Ventriloquist and The Prankster.  Black Canary fights Lady Vic. And Spoiler, Huntress, and Catwoman fight the Body Doubles (Bonny Hoffman and Carmen Leno) and Penguin. In the bloody chaos many die, including the Fake-Robin. Bookworm, part of the “Robin” gang, is able to retrieve the package and return to “Batman.” However, Bookworm turns on “Batman” when he realizes that he is actually a villain. Angered, fellow gang member Francisco Ramirez dons the Fake-Robin costume with the intent of battling “Batman.” However, Ramirez winds up fighting the real Batman by mistake, until Tim swoops in an explains the situation. “Batman” is revealed to be played by two crazy doctors: Hugo Strange and Charles Nigaff. With that mystery solved, only the mystery of the FedLex package remains. The package winds up in the hands of Nightwing, Montoya, Allen, and Locke, who are all surrounded by a bevy of rogues, including Firefly, Two-Face, Bane, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Lady Shiva, and Nicodemus! Things look pretty bad until the package is revealed to be a fake Holy Grail. The disappointed villains disperse and the case is closed.

–Harley & Ivy: Love on the Lam[2][3]
An escaped Joker—dressed as Batman—and Harley—getting a second use out of her Babs Batgirl costume (from “Quintessence”)—surprise Two-Face in the middle of a museum heist. After a showdown (since both parties want the same loot), Harley convinces them to split everything. Afterward, a pissed off Joker tells Harley to take a hike. Harley runs off with Poison Ivy (as she usually does when in a fight with Mistah J). The gals decide to rob a charity fundraiser at the new Branaco Tower in downtown Gotham. As luck would have it, Bruce and Tim are on hand and quickly switch into their fighting togs when Harl and Ivy make their presences known. Harl and Ivy not only outmaneuver the Dynamic Duo, they steal all of Branaco’s money and blow up the building too! Later, the public learns that Branaco is one of the most corrupt companies in America—the girls were actually playing hero, in a sense.

–Catwoman Vol. 3 #13
Things are going well for Selina Kyle. She’s happily dating Slam Bradley. And crime-fighting is treating her fine too because Catwoman gets to play Robin Hood in her home neighborhood of the East End. For example, she recently stole a ton of money from Black Mask and used the money to fund construction of a new youth center in the East End. In this issue, Bruce is on hand for the dedication ceremony, during which he gives the commencement speech. After finding out Catwoman’s secret identity, a pissed off Black Mask swears revenge, sending Sylvia Sinclair‘s Alleytown Kids gang to snoop around. (Selina was friends with Sylvia and a member of the Alleytown Kids gang when she was a teenager.) Later that night, Black Mask blows up the youth center, but this is only the beginning of Catwoman’s troubles.

–NOTE: Catwoman Vol. 3 #14-16. Batman isn’t in these issues, but they feature important events that follow-up directly from our previous item. Black Mask continues his reign of terror upon Selina. First, Black Mask (with help from Sylvia Sinclair and the Alleytown Kids) kidnaps Selina’s sister Maggie, Maggie’s husband Simon Burton, and Holly Robinson. Black Mask not only tortures and murders Simon in front of Maggie, but forces her to eat parts of his flesh as well. Catwoman tracks down Black Mask in time to prevent Holly from being tortured, but Maggie has snapped. While Catwoman fights Black Mask, Holly shoots Sylvia Sinclair dead. An enraged Catwoman then throws Black Mask off of a rooftop and leaves, presuming the villain has been killed.

–Nightwing Vol. 2 #75
Batman gives Nightwing info on the corrupt Mayor Avers (the mayor of Blüdhaven) and encourages Dick to quit the BPD. Back in Blüdhaven, Nightwing meets new vigilante superhero Tarantula (Catalina Flores). Catalina has been given the Tarantula mantle from Golden Age superhero John Law, who was the original Tarantula. After an evening’s work, thanks to some help from DA Mateo Flores (Tarantula’s brother), Nightwing exposes over 125 BPD officers, costing dozens their jobs.

–Catwoman Vol. 3 #19
Things have been rough for Catwoman lately following the horrific episode with Black Mask. Selina’s relationship with Slam Bradley has soured. After a fight with Slam, they call the whole thing off. More bad news follows about Holly Robinson, who has recently killed someone and is on the verge of returning to using drugs. Upset about the break-up and about Holly, Selina hits a bar, gets wasted, and suits up as Catwoman. She breaks into the museum, but Batman responds immediately. Catwoman then drunkenly kisses him, but Batman pushes her away and calms the teary-eyed Selina. Batman smiles and tells her everything will be fine. The next day, Selina gathers herself, visits Holly, and offers her similar comforting words.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #608. Catwoman goes on an unspecified vacation outside of Gotham. This note is only here because, in the upcoming Batman #608, writer Jeph Loeb has Batman say, “Catwoman is back in Gotham.” If she’s back, then she must have gone somewhere, hence this item. Note that Loeb might’ve been trying to nod toward a trip that Selina goes on in Catwoman Vol. 3 #20-24, but unfortunately that run definitely cannot happen until after “Hush,” so it absolutely cannot be that.

–the second feature to Detective Comics #782
Late November—the anniversary of Batman’s parents’ deaths. Alfred overhears a sanitation worker commenting on how he always finds two fresh roses left in Crime Alley on the anniversary of the Wayne murders. Hoping to catch the celebrity Bruce Wayne in the act, he plans to hang out in the alley all night long. Alfred, worried that the city worker will realize that Bruce is Batman when Batman shows up instead of Bruce, has Dick, Tim, and Cassandra form a distraction for the curious man. Batman delivers his flowers as usual without any hiccups. NOTE: There is a flashback in the second feature to ‘tec #782 that refers to the Wayne murders as occurring 25 years ago instead of the correct 35 years ago.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Gotham Knights #47. Late November. Bruce sends Bane to intimidate the Ventriloquist. Bane intimidates him with a chainsaw. Bane then is able to calm the rampaging Pix.

–Detective Comics #775
This issue is a must-read. Really good stuff. The Dark Knight goes on patrol, shaking down yet another Checkmate operation. This time he shuts down a large Checkmate base in Gotham and beats up agent Jessica Midnight pretty badly, permanently disfiguring her face. It is mentioned that this is the seventh time in the last six months that Batman has interfered with Checkmate business (and that is more or less true as its been less than seven months since he started messing with Checkmate!) Sasha has been secretly training with Checkmate for the past seven months, but now she wants out. Before going on the lam, she arranges a meeting with Bruce. For the first time in just under seven months, Bruce and Sasha are face-to-face. Bruce and Sasha talk about their tragic history together and say they love each other. They finally kiss and Bruce begs her to come back. Sasha touches his face gently and says “Don’t try to find me.” Another love lost. And another sad end to another heart-breaking chapter in the life of Batman.

–NOTE: In Suicide Squad Vol. 2 #1. The newest incarnation of the Suicide Squad forms. Stephanie’s father Cluemaster is presumably killed in action, while on a mission with the team. Arthur Brown is indeed shot several times, horribly burned on his face, and left for dead. However, he survives, will secretly spend over a year in a hospital, and will go into hiding for some time after that. The world, including Stephanie, will believe he is dead.

–NOTE: In a reference in The OMAC Project #1. You knew Sasha Bordeaux couldn’t escape Checkmate for very long before they pulled her back in. It is around this time that Sasha becomes a Checkmate agent once again.

–JLA Classified #10-15 (“NEW MAPS OF HELL”)
When LexCorp scientists begin deciphering an ancient coded Sumerian text, several gigantic explosions occur. The JLA decides to go straight to the best resource regarding LexCorp info, President of the United States Lex Luthor. Luthor explains that his former company, in conjunction with the Department of Defense, is legally searching for a weapon of mass destruction which can wipe out life in entire cities without any property damage. The ancient texts supposedly have this power if they are interpreted correctly. Just then, hundreds of dark-matter soldiers and a giant monster thing with tentacles erupt from the ground in Las Vegas. The monster sucks the JLA into a black hole-like nexus. The team then stands face-to-face with the demonic creature known simply as Z, who explains that if they can defeat him in battle, he will become their ultimate weapon with which they can use in any way. If they lose, Z will extinguish all life on Earth. Z sends each JLA member to a different place to face a unique test designed just for him or her. Most of the tests are terrible and not unique at all. For example, Batman is thrust into a world where there are hundreds of Jokers constantly killing people. Anyway, Oracle (with some help from DCU’s magickal community) is able to decipher the ancient texts and help the League unite to defeat Z. NOTE: Artist Butch Guice accidentally draws the giant penny in the Batcave. This is wrong because the giant penny was lodged in a crevice deep beneath the cave after Cataclysm, which is where it remains at this point.

–REFERENCE: In JLA #107. The Justice League makes a schedule for routine maintenance to be performed on the Watchtower. The third Tuesday of every month will see a duo on this duty. While we won’t see Batman perform this action, we can assume he does his part, moving forward. The JLA also begins meeting with the leaders of several nations to set up hotline-alert drills in case of emergency. Eventually, the JLA will set up drills with over 121 countries across the globe.

–Batman: Black and White Vol. 2 TPB Part 4
Bruce awakes from a nightmare about the death of his parents to learn that Joker has escaped from Arkham Asylum. Batman quickly re-apprehends Joker, who calls the Dark Knight “insane” for repeating the same vigilante actions over and over, night after night.

–Batman: Black and White Vol. 2 TPB Part 5
Batman investigates the apparent suicide of fortune teller Madame Marie Margay, but is interrupted by Algerian private eye Batna Ashraf Batna, who is also working the case. Batman watches Batna do his thing, and the private eye solves the case, discovering a wild life insurance scam in the works. Madame Margay has switched places with and killed her twin sister to make it look like her own suicide. Having previously made her twin sister the prime insurance beneficiary, Margay planned to collect the payout and live out her life with the stolen identity. (Note that the rest of Batman: Black and White Vol. 2 TPB and all of Batman: Black and White Vol. 3 feature reprints from the second features of Batman: Gotham Knights.)

JLA/AVENGERS
——————–JLA/Avengers #1
——————–Avengers/JLA #2
——————–JLA/Avengers #3
——————–Avengers/JLA #4
Before I begin a synopsis, let me note that this series features just about every single character from both Marvel and DC, so I’m not going to list the details surrounding every single appearance. I will simply highlight the main narrative of this arc. Here we go! Famed Maltusian super-scientist Krona has been traveling the omniverse for the past month, wiping out universe after universe, including the Antimatter Universe which houses the Antimatter Earth (home of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika). Meanwhile, the gigantic alien from Universe-616 (the Marvel Multiverse’s primary universe) known as Terminus has somehow crossed through the Bleed and wound up on Earth-0 (the main DCU Earth). The Spectre (Hal Jordan) tells the JLA that Terminus doesn’t belong on their plane of existence, and vanishes the monster away.  As the day wears on, several beings from the DCU inexplicably crossover to Universe-616 and vice-versa. The U-616 cosmic entity known as The Grandmaster materializes on the Watchtower and explains the only way to save the omniverse is to collect 12 items of power, six from the DCU and six from the Marvel U. The Grandmaster gives the JLA a list and then disappears. Flash is able to use the Speed Force to send the JLA (plus the Atom) into U-616. The JLA, shielded by an invisible cloaking device, then takes a tour of Earth-616. In NYC, Bruce witnesses the ruthlessness of the Punisher, a dude he’s met in Gotham before and for whom he has nothing but contempt. Batman breaks out of his cloak and beats the tar out of the Punisher before reconvening with the rest of the team! The JLA then retrieves the first item on the list and briefly encounters The Avengers—Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Thor, Ms. Marvel, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Vision, Wasp, Yellowjacket, Quasar, Jack Hart, and Triathalon—before returning home to the DCU. (Many of the JLAers met members of the Avengers four years ago, but their memories of the event were erased after Access disappeared.)  Metron shows up on Earth-616, tells the Avengers about the 12 items needed to save the omniverse, and gives them a Mother Box which allows them to teleport to the DCU. The JLA and the Avengers throw down in Metropolis, but soon realize they are on the same side. The two super-teams then begin collecting the needed items. Meanwhile, the Atom learns that the Grandmaster and Metron have offered Krona cosmic knowledge in exchange for helping them trick the remaining heroes of the omniverse into playing the deadly game in which they are currently involved.  When the JLA is able to collect more items than the Avengers, the Grandmaster reveals that he’s placed his bet on the winning team. However, Krona is pissed and begins to fight the Grandmaster. Then Krona attacks Galactus using the 12 items of power. In an instant, history is completely re-written and everything is all wrong. The DCU and U-616 begin to merge into a single bizarre mish-mash universe (again). Eventually, the JLA and the Avengers travel into the Grandmaster’s realm and he shows them their true histories in a brilliantly illustrated scene. Batman invites Captain America and The Thing into the Batcave to strategize a plan of action. Then it’s off to fight Krona for the fate of the omniverse in what is like a forty-page battle that depicts practically every character from the DCU and Marvel U (except no X-Men, which is kinda weird). In the end, Krona is defeated and his essence is trapped in a “Cosmic Egg,” which is stored for safekeeping in the Watchtower. The JLA bids the Avengers farewell and the two teams return to their respective universes. The Bleed between their worlds re-thickens and all the destruction done by Krona is reversed by the Spectre. However, unlike in the previous encounter with heroes from Earth-616, the DCU heroes don’t lose their memory of this epic event! Thank god. The effects of this major event will be felt down the road during the JLA “Syndicate Rules” story-arc and then the mega-event “Trinity.” Oh, this story-arc also explains that Earth-0 is much larger than Marvel’s Earth-616 or the Earth that we live on. This is not only a big deal, it’s really cool and helps explain why the main DCU Earth has so many extra countries and cities. The main DCU Earth has room for them!

–Legends of the DC Universe #31-32 (“THE 18TH LETTER. A LOVE STORY”)
Wonder Woman intervenes in the civil war of a small European country and confronts the bloodthirsty General Michael Lysander aka the immortal super-villain Almacaeon. Almacaeon is already dealing with the tempestuous immortal Amazon (and WWII/All-Star Squadron vet) known as The Fury. Upon seeing Diana, Almacaeon is smitten and tells her that if she spends the night with him, he will stop the war.  Diana does spend the night with him and is able to bring some actual good out of the villain! Although they don’t sleep together, Diana and Almacaeon share a kiss and reveal that they both have feelings for each other. Diana also learns the tragedy of his immortality; Almacaeon, along with the Fury and several others, has retained his youth by remaining in constant possession of magickal “letters of prophecy.” Almacaeon, in an act of repentance and love, decides to commit suicide by destroying all the letters of prophecy, including the Fury’s.  Naturally, the Fury flips her lid and begins fighting Diana.  Eventually, Almacaeon kills himself, but allows the Fury to continue living. Wonder Woman, who is really torn up, meets with Superman, but is unable to explain how she feels to him. Turning to the usually coarse Batman, she is able to make a connection with the Dark Knight on a level which they had never had before. Hmmm, I wonder if Bruce and Diana will ever be an item? SPOILER ALERT: This story does indeed lay the groundwork for an upcoming romantic attraction between Wonder Woman and Batman.

–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #41. Batman apprehends first-time petty thief David Thompson.  Thompson begs for lenience and Batman lets him go, explaining that he will be watching his every move in the future. We learn that Batman has a policy of letting first time-offenders go free and keeping tabs on them afterward. Thompson is on a long list of small-fry crooks that Batman has been compiling for over a decade now.

–JLA #66-67 (“THE DESTROYERS”)
It’s been over three months since Kyle has parted with his cosmic Ion powers and he still hasn’t made the adjustment back to Green Lantern-level power. At night, he has nightmares. Kyle’s nightmares come true when the armored 3000-year-old Aztec war machine known as Tezumak begins kidnapping children in Orlando. The JLA is quick to respond, but it’s all a distraction. The primary threat lies in the arrival of Native American shaman-warrior Manitou Raven. The ensuing battle with Raven and Tezumak results in the destruction of a thinly-veiled Disneyworld. Raven explains to the League that he and Tezumak have traveled to the future from the past to stop a group of “destroyers” that will cause the end of humanity. Raven and Tezumak believe the JLA are those “destroyers.” The JLA beats down on their opponents, causing them to retreat to the Atlantic Trench (where Atlantis used to be before it mysteriously disappeared during the Imperiex War over a year ago). In an instant, Atlantis reappears, albeit above ground, devoid of life, and in complete ruins.

–Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #3
Both the Titans and Young Justice disband after Donna Troy is killed in action while battling an old Superman Robot (from the Dominus affair in Bat Year Sixteen) that is under the control of the super-villain Indigo (aka Brainiac 8). A large funeral is held and many of the primetime DCU players attend, including Batman. The funeral is also mirrored via flashback from Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2003.

–REFERENCE: In Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2003. In the crushing aftermath of Donna Troy’s death and the disbanding of the Titans and Young Justice, Nightwing tries to have a heart-to-heart with Batman, but the Dark Knight has very little to say.

–Formerly Known as The Justice League #5-6
Maxwell Lord (!) has assembled a few old JLIers and formed a new hero-for-hire group known as the Super Buddies. Team members include Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Fire, Captain Atom, Mary Marvel, Elongated Man, G’Nort, and L-Ron. When Manga Khan lands his space ship in Queens, the Super Buddies are on the scene and are able to prevent a major extraterrestrial incident from occurring—although, just barely, and in fact, Booster and Beetle almost cause it. Meanwhile, the JLA stands watch as irreverent Giffen hilarity ensues, although Plastic Man fails to see the humor in any of this. The Super Buddies chat with the JLA after Khan leaves. NOTE: JLA Classified #4-9 is a follow-up to Formerly Known as The Justice League entitled “I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League” which takes place right after Formerly Known as The Justice League #6. Batman isn’t in these JLA Classified issues as they only follow the continued misadventures of Max Lord’s short-lived Super Buddies.

–Gotham Central #12-15 (“SOFT TARGETS”)
December 22-23. Christmastime chaos ensues when an escaped Joker assassinates Mayor Dickerson! Joker then begins a string of terrorist bombings, which result in several police officers’ deaths, including Detective Nate Patton. Eventually, Joker is captured and sent to Arkham. David Hull becomes the new mayor of Gotham. This item is also shown via flashback from Gotham Central #19.

–Azrael: Agent of the Bat #95-100
December 24-25. We haven’t seen Azrael in a long time, but he’s still wearing his old Az-Bats costume and still slowly dying of a rare blood disease (as a result of his St. Dumas programming). A crooked US Senator has now molded Az into a prophet with hundreds of followers. In order to build Az’s cred, the senator has Az go after an escaped Two-Face. Az easily captures Two-Face on live television, but endangers the lives of many people and allows important evidence to be destroyed. Batman is fed up and vows to end the career of Azrael for good. In the meantime, the senator replaces Jean-Paul with the more charismatic and experienced Nicholas Scratch as leader of his cult. Batman confronts Scratch on Christmas Eve and tells him to get lost. On Christmas day, Az fights Batman and actually beats him in hand-to-hand combat! After bidding his friend Leslie Thompkins adieu, Az then brings down both Carlton LeHah and Nicholas Scratch, but gets pumped full of bullets in the process.  Batman shows up just after the chaos has subsided. A beaten-up and bloody Jean-Paul smiles and says goodbye before walking off to die alone. Yep, it’s been a great run, but Jean-Paul Valley, former Batman, is dead. NOTE: A brain-damaged Shondra Kinsolving, still stuck in her childlike state (in which she’s been ever since “Knightfall”), appears in issues #98-99.

–Action Comics #804
First, the backstory from Action Comics #803. Years ago when Superman first crashed into Kansas, his little spacecraft emitted a radioactive trail that caused the birth of a metahuman in the USSR. This metahuman, codenamed “Zed,” would go on to be trained in the same program as the KGBeast to both become a warrior for the Soviets and to hate Superman. His meta-power happened to be that he had all the powers of Superman, but only under a red sun. After being visited by an alternate reality version of General Zod—one of Krypton’s worst criminals in history—around the time of the Imperiex War, Zed created a suit of armor that filtered the suns rays, allowing him to harness his abilities. Adopting his mentor’s name of “General Zod” and getting plastic surgery to look just like Superman, Zed has had a secret hand in many of Superman’s darkest moments in the past, including the election of Lex Luthor as President. Now, Zed has taken over the former Soviet nation of Pokolistan, invaded the Czech Republic to start a war against a UN-backed coalition, and used a device that has de-powered all metahumans on Earth. After a brief skirmish, Zed and his army have taken control of Washington DC, captured nearly all of the DCU’s heroes, and expelled Superman into deep space. President Luthor has managed to escape, which takes us to the present action in Action #804. Luthor rescues Superman and nurses him back to health on Stryker’s Island, which has been placed on a floating asteroid in space by Zed. Superman then charges back to Earth to confront “General Zod.” Suffice to say, Superman will quickly defeat “General Zod” and restore the status quo on Earth in Action Comics #805.

–the second feature to Detective Comics #785-788 (“THE DOGCATCHER”)
A dogcatcher catches Harley Quinn’s missing dog and winds up putting the poor pup down. The Joker finds out and this is bad news. Joker goes on a mini-rampage at the pound before Batman busts him.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #608. This item occurs three nights prior to Batman #608. Batman fights Spider Hancock, breaking three of his ribs.

–REFERENCE: In Gotham Central #22. Let’s get caught up with the busy world of the GCPD (as seen in the Batman-less Gotham Central #16-22). Josie Mac and Marcus Driver work a cold case, pinning Mad Hatter for killing an entire high school basketball team in 1996. The retired alcoholic Harvey Bullock, who was lead detective on the case in 1996, is so convinced that Penguin was involved with the crime, he kidnaps the villain and beats the tar out of him. In the process of shaking down Penguin, Bullock winds up shooting two people. Meanwhile, Mac and Driver discover that the basketball team gang-raped a girl and the victim’s mother had hired Mad Hatter to commit the crime as revenge. When Bullock hears the truth, he puts a gun in his own mouth and tries to kill himself. Mac is just barely able to knock the gun out of Bullock’s hands before he can pull the trigger. Poor Harvey is hauled off to jail. Upon hearing this sordid tale, Bruce immediately sends his best lawyer downtown to assure that Bullock won’t serve any real time.

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  1. [1]SELEUCIE: Note that there is a yearlong gap that exists between Harley Quinn #25 and Harley Quinn #26, meaning there is a yearlong gap in the Harley Quinn series that starts now. While this gap isn’t made obvious via any editorial notation in the comics, we know this ellipsis occurs for several reasons. One, there is a brutal tone shift, suddenly going from a slapstick comedy to a criminal drama, with a totally different set of characters (and Harley actually taking patients as a psychiatrist). This shows that significant time has elapsed. Two, Harley Quinn #33 —which connects back to continuous narrative in issue #26—makes mention of “The Year of the Rat” and the month of February, which points toward a 2008 setting (as opposed to the late 2006 or early 2007 setting). Thus, a full year transpires between issues #25 and #26, despite no editorial notation saying such! This gap is a perfect place for other Harley tales (such as Batman: Orphans and Harley & Ivy: Love on the Lam).
  2. [2]SAM GROOVER: Harley & Ivy: Love on the Lam features Tim Drake running around society events with Bruce, fighting alongside him as Robin, and playing video games on the Batcave monitor. Thus, it must occur after Robin Vol. 2 #106 (despite the fact that Love on the Lam was published nearly a full year prior to Robin Vol. 2 #106.)
  3. [3]SELEUCIE: Given that Harley was out of the game for most of the previous calendar year (literally dead and in Hell), Harley & Ivy: Love on the Lam must take place here—in the middle of the yearlong gap that exists between Harley Quinn #25 and Harley Quinn #26. Love on the Lam must also go before “Hush” since Two-Face makes an appearance, and he’ll be back to Harvey Dent in the latter story. Love on the Lam should also go before “Hush” because “Hush” implies a brief rapprochement between Harley and Joker (despite it being a bit weird in regard to Harley’s ongoing solo storyline, where they are so on-again-off-again like a telenovela). But placing Love on the Lam here is a perfect opportunity to link Harley’s ongoing solo arc with “Hush” while avoiding an unnecessary proliferation of break-ups between Harley and Joker.

9 Responses to Modern YEAR EIGHTEEN (Part 2)

  1. Jeff Jay says:

    Hello! It’s me again! First of all, Merry Christmas to you. 🙂

    About my doubt.

    I recently read Detective Comics #783, and at the end of this issue, there is a mini chapter titled “The Death and The Maidens – Prologue” by Greg Rucka. This chapter takes place in France in 1923 and has Ras al Ghul is the protagonist.

    The question is, is this mini chapter canonical? I didn’t find anything about it in your timeline!

    • Hi Jeff, Merry Christmas to you as well! Yes, the second feature to ‘tec #783 is canonical, as it is—as it says—a prologue to Batman: Death and The Maidens, a very important arc for Talia, Nyssa, and Batman. I typically don’t list items that don’t feature Batman in them, which is the reasons for it’s absence.

  2. Jack James says:

    So I just noticed something else. There’s a bizarre gap between Batman #609 and #610. At the beginning of the Hush storyline, Selina is under Ivy’s influences which causes her to set up the trap that makes Batman fall and suffer a great injury. Batman discovers that in #610, but here it has it so Bruce met with Selina in between that on Catwoman #13 and #19. That doesn’t really track. So may I suggest moving the entire arc of Catwoman #13-19 before Batman #608? Her breakup with Slam can be seen as the justification for the trip mentioned in #608

    • Hey Jack, yeah Brubaker’s Catwoman run just doesn’t jibe with Loeb’s Hush at all does it? They are wholly separate. I think you are right here—that the entire Brubaker arc should go entirely before Hush Part 1. Maybe Catwoman #22 DOES go before Hush after all? I’m going to move a lot of stuff around. Thanks for the insights.

      • Jack James says:

        Actually I’m not so convinced that the trip from Catwoman #20-#24 is the one mentioned in Hush after all. In Catwoman #25 we see Selina just going back from her month long trip, and in Catwoman #26 Leslie and Selina mentioned how they haven’t encountered each other since she went back. That’d mean that maybe this arc is set between Hush Part One and Two, right? Well… not quite, since in Catwoman #26 Selina, in that same conversation with Leslie, already knows Bruce’s identity.

        Maybe an argument could be made that Catwoman #26 can simply just happen after Batman #613-#614, but in those stories we not only see Selina having seen Leslie at the Opera, there’s also another giant problem that erupts. Catwoman #27 happens immediately after #26, in that story Batman is about to kiss Selina and then outright rejects her and that doesn’t really make sense if we think that entire arc starting in Catwoman #25 happens after Hush.

        My suggestion is to just make all the Hush story happen in-between Catwoman #19 and #20. It’s not a perfect solution by any means, seeing how Selina would still go on a trip outside of Gotham that we didn’t see, but it just simply works best for the stories. Plus, if she went out of Gotham after her breakup with Slam, and then went out again after her breakup with Bruce, then that’s kinda consistent.

        • Jack James says:

          ” in that story Batman is about to kiss Selina and then outright rejects her and that doesn’t really make sense if we think that entire arc starting in Catwoman #25 happens after Hush.” And I should clarify I was referring to the Batman #614 part of the story!

          • So, to clarify, you are suggesting that ALL of “Hush” (Batman #608-619) should go in-between Catwoman #19 and Catwoman #20? Or just “Hush Part 2” (Batman #610-619)? Or something else? Sorry if I’m misunderstanding.

            If I think I’m picking up what you are putting down, it looks something like this…

            —Catwoman #13-19
            —Selina goes on trip outside of Gotham
            —HUSH
            —Catwoman #20-24 (Selina goes on trip again)

            • Jack James says:

              Yup, exactly like that.

              • Agreed. I think there was some communication between Brubaker and Loeb, but clearly not very much. Plus, “Hush” was such a high profile thing when it came out (maybe the biggest marketing push since “Death of Superman”), with all the hype and hoopla of Jim Lee drawing Batman for the first time, that Loeb was probably given free rein to do whatever.

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