Modern YEAR NINETEEN (Part 2)

2007 (May to August)

–Justice League Elite #4
Early May. When the totalitarian President of Changsha is assassinated during a JLElite covert op, the JLA believes one of the JLElite is responsible for the unauthorized murder. Vera Lynn Black (Sister Superior) reveals to the JLA that the real assassin was the metahuman super-agent known as Wolfwood. (This is actually disinformation as we will find out the real culprit later.) Meanwhile, Manitou Raven’s wife, Dawn, cheats on him with Ollie! The two begin having a secret affair behind Raven’s back. Also, Major Disaster reveals to his fellow teammates that he is a full-blown alcoholic. Also, Kasumi (undercover Batgirl) takes her undercover work one step further when she begins sleeping with Coldcast!

–Justice League Elite #6
There is something wicked within the JLElite, but Batman can’t put his finger on it. After Kasumi (undercover Batgirl) and Coldcast deal with the evil alien group known as The Aftermath, they wind up taking on the JSA in a bloody battle, during which Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders) is badly injured. Batman then meets privately with Batgirl. The Dark Knight tells Cassandra that she is off the case.  Before Cassandra can quit the team, the JLElite is transported to an extra-dimensional vessel owned by the leader of the Aftermath, the aptly named Aftermath, and his associate Wolfwood.

–NOTE: In Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #199-200. The Greco-Roman queen of the gods, Hera, throws a shit-fit and crashes the sky-floating Themysciran Islands back into the sea. Meanwhile, Dr. Psycho has used his secret influence to drum up a ton of anti-Amazonian propaganda across the globe. This leads to the assassination of US Ambassador Darrel Keyes on the steps of the Amazonian Embassy in New York City, which sets off a chain of events that puts Themyscira and the United States on the brink of war.

–REFERENCE: In Wonder Woman #204. Batman busts up a Gotham drug-lab similar to the one he busted up in ‘tec #790 a few months ago.

–Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #203-204 (“BITTER PILLS”)
Diana tasks Bruce with finding out who killed Ambassador Keyes. Batman studies the surveillance tapes and determines that Dr. Psycho has been causing all of the chaos related to Themyscira as of late. Wonder Woman uses this vital info to make things right again.

–Justice League Elite #9
Kasumi (undercover Batgirl) and several members of the JLElite are still trapped aboard Aftermath’s space vessel. The mad alien tyrant had traveled to the Source Wall in an attempt to steal the Worlogog! In the process, a melee broke out, severely injuring Coldcast and killing both Manitou Raven and Aftermath! Coldcast and Kasumi wound up getting sent to the Shadow Dimension. Flash was also injured when he used the Speed Force to teleport hundreds of alien civilians away from the Source Wall into the safety of the Watchtower. Also, the spirit of Vera Lynn Black’s deceased evil brother, Manchester Black, took over her body and stole the Worlogog! Cut to now: The JLA deals with the sudden influx of refugees in the Watchtower. Meanwhile, Cassandra professes her love for Coldcase and reveals that she is really Batgirl. Together, the lovers battle their way out of the demon-filled Shadow Dimension. When they get back to Earth, the JLA places Coldcast under arrest for the murder of the President of Changsha. Recent evidence has proven that Coldcast, not Wolfwood, was responsible for the assassination. (Again, this is false evidence, but Coldcast is sent to the Slab.)

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #185-189 (“RIDDLE ME THAT”)[1]
Enter the new and improved Riddler. He’s had a little facial plastic surgery to make himself look more handsome and young. (He’d already gained some youthful rejuvenation via his recent Lazarus Pit bath, but now he’s really pushing it.) Sporting a new (temporary) all-black look complete with a question mark painted on his neck, the bold Riddler sets in motion a series of puzzles clues, bomb threats, blackmail extortions, and red herring setups, each of which Batman chases like a wild goose. (Batman makes mention that Riddler has been inactive for months— but the most time that could have passed a month, maybe five weeks tops.) Batman meets Martin Buttery, an acquaintance of Edward Nigma’s from long ago that seems to blame Nigma for the murder of his father. After saving the life of a journalist writing a story on Riddler, the Dark Knight learns that Riddler is attempting to steal an ancient scroll from the museum. He brings the journalist to the museum, realizing that she is actually the journalist’s twin sister hired by the Riddler to fool him. At the museum, Batman attempts to take down both Riddler, the fake journalist, and a swarm of hired cronies. Riddler runs off with the goods, but he is stopped dead in his tracks by Buttery. Nigma cries foul play, yelling that he would have gotten away with it if not for Buttery’s meddling. After the case is closed, Batman and Akins send Nigma away in a squad car only to realize that the recovered ancient scroll is a fake. Nigma is in the car with the real scroll and his secret accomplice, Buttery. The Riddler just outsmarted Batman!

–Batman/Nightwing: Bloodborne[2]
May 8-11. Bruce, as he always does every year, gets a flower arrangement for Dick on the anniversary of Dick’s parents’ deaths. After chatting with his friend/landlady Bridget Clancy, Dick heads to Gotham. Meanwhile, Batman travels to Siberia in an effort to prevent the spread of a deadly virus by a terrorist organization. Batman brings a special homing-beacon along so Alfred can track him from the Batcave. After Batman stops the spread of the disease, he takes the remains of the virus into his own bodily system. Thinking that the only way to keep the virus in check is his own death, Batman breaks his homing-beacon and collapses in the snow. Alfred immediately calls Robin and Nightwing for help. Soon after being briefed by Robin, Nightwing travels to Siberia. After joining up with a Russian virologist that created the virus, Nightwing battles hordes of terrorists and eventually takes an experimental vaccine. Nightwing then goes through a blood transfusion with Batman to save the latter’s life. Recovered, Batman defeats the terrorists, rushes Nightwing back to the Batcave, and then saves his life in return.

–Detective Comics #784-786 (“MADE OF WOOD”)
May 13. These issues of ‘tec are out of sequence from the rest because this story begins on May 13. Batman spends the night busting low-life scum, and also runs Riddler’s car off the road just for kicks. In the morning Jim Gordon stumbles across a corpse with the words “Made of Wood” carved into his chest, dumped in front of Gotham’s “Green Lantern Tribute Statue” (a tribute honoring the Alan Scott GL). Bruce meets with Alan and they discuss an unsolved string of Gotham serial killings from 1948 that were committed in the exact manner. The former commish begins his own investigations and winds up on the doorstep of the killer who kidnaps and tortures him. Bruce does a little investigating of his own and learns that the killer is the grandson of the original killer from the 40s. Batman and Alan then track him down and rescue Jim. Afterward, Alan gives Bruce a few trophies to add to his collection: An old signed photo of a young Thomas Wayne meeting Green Lantern and a baseball bat that once belonged to 40s super-villain Sportsmaster.

–Superman/Batman #13 Epilogue
Superman officially introduces Kara Zor-El aka the new Supergirl to the entire DCU superhero community.

–the second feature to Detective Comics #789-792 (“THE TAILOR”)
When a super-villain in a high-tech suit hijacks a train, Batman believes the baddie is wearing one of the Tailor’s designs. The Tailor helps Batman bring down the villain, but only after he realizes that his daughter is one of the hostages. Afterward, the Tailor denies involvement. Batman can’t prove anything so he lets him walk. In actuality, the Tailor’s old super-villain team known as Mayhem is out to get him. The Tailor is able to deal with his former friends without Batman’s help (as seen in the second feature to ‘tec #793-794). Note that, while the Tailor definitely continues his costume-designing operation, there is no evidence that Batman continues using his services from this point forward. Also, with the Tailor now having been more exposed, Batman probably wouldn’t want to continue using his services anyway.

–Justice League Elite #10-12
Coldcast has been incarcerated in the Slab for a week now, but Cassie is able to find out that Menagerie was the real person responsible for his crime. In Seattle, Major Disaster joins AA after a failed suicide attempt.  Meanwhile, Manchester Black has returned to life (by taking over his sister’s body) and, through use of the Worlogog, has gained control over a cosmic being called Eve, whom he has freed from the Source Wall. Using Eve, Black levels all of London, killing thousands.  The JLA enters London and gets their asses whipped by Black and Eve. Things are looking bleak until Green Arrow (Ollie), Kasumi (Cassie), an escaped Coldcast, and Dawn (who now has her late husband’s powers) show up to turn the tide. The heroes are able to expel Black from his sister’s body, thus stopping the threat of Eve. Dawn, who adopts her late hubby’s first name to become Manitou Dawn, is also able to use her magick to restore most of London and return every civilian casualty back to life!

–Detective Comics #791-793 (“THE SURROGATE”)
After a pop-star L’Shea‘s pregnant daughter is shot with a bullet made of ice, Leslie Thompkins takes the injured woman into her care. L’Shea’s husband ordered the assassination attempt, and when L’Shea finds out, she’s pissed, but she’s no saint either. L’Shea wants the baby! The pop star has her bodyguards kidnap her daughter and Leslie. Oh, did I mention that Mr. Freeze is working with the all-Black “Hill Gang” now? (Mr. Freeze and the Hill Gang are all secretly working for Black Mask at the moment.) Batman tracks all the crooked people involved in this case into a warehouse, where Mr. Freeze sends in three goons wearing spare Freeze suits equipped with freeze-guns. When L’Shea’s daughter goes into labor, Batman and Leslie have to act fast. Batman has delivered a baby before, but he’s never done a C-section—until now. The baby is saved and Batman kicks Freeze’s ass with enough time for some bonding with Leslie afterward.

–Batgirl #47-50
Batman and Robin are investigating the kidnapping and murders of several models. Batman tells Cassie not to interfere in the case, but Batgirl disobeys and takes it upon herself to apprehend the ringleader behind the kidnappings, one-shot villain Doll Man—not to be confused with Doll Man of the Freedom Fighters. After returning to Oracle’s headquarters, Bruce tells Cassie that the kidnappings were a part of a much larger operation, one linked to the distribution of the designer drug “Soul” (put out on the streets by the Lost Girls months ago in Batgirl #46). Her interference has ruined a monthlong sting that Batman had been orchestrating. In fact, the Dark Knight is so mad, he fires Batgirl! Cassie turns in her uniform, but steals one of Barbara’s old Batgirl costumes and swings into the night.  Riots have broken out across the city due to a massive influx of “Soul” on the streets. While quelling rioters, Batgirl runs into the Lost Girls and discovers their leader (and the creator of “Soul”) is none other than Dr. Death!  When the Caped Crusader shows up, Dr. Death exposes both Batman and Batgirl to “Soul,” causing them to go into a rage and start pummeling each other. Robin eventually beats an antidote out of Dr. Death, but the Boy Wonder never gets the chance to use it on the heroes. Thankfully, they come-to on their own after leaping from the Gotham Bridge into the water below. Calmed, Bruce hugs Cassie, expresses his love for her, and invites her back into the family. Robin then finds the cured Batman and Cassie and all ends well.

–Justice League Elite #12 Epilogue
A week after Machester Black’s attack on London, the JLElite captures the traitorous Menagerie and delivers her to the JLA.  When Superman tells Vera Lynn Black that the JLElite is officially disbanded and was a “failed experiment,” Vera responds by telling him that the experiment isn’t over.  Superman seems confused, but lets it slide.  In Montana, Vera meets with Naif al-Sheikh to discuss the secret continuation of the JLElite.

–Robin Vol. 2 #124-125
June 1. It’s been three mopey months for Tim Drake. Tim has been down in the dumps  ever since his February 28 fight with Johnny Warlock—Tim still mistakenly believes he murdered Warlock during that fight. Tim has even been too bummed to go out as Robin, besides a few jaunts here and there. When Jack Drake visits Tim at school, he becomes suspicious of his son after learning about a myriad of lies that Tim has been telling him.  Jack rushes home, searches Tim’s room and discovers both the Boy Wonder’s journals and his Robin costume. An enraged Jack speeds over to Wayne Manor and puts a gun to Bruce’s head!  Bruce eventually talks him down, but when Tim comes into the Batcave and sees his dad waiting for him, things get even uglier. Tim has been contemplating quitting as Robin for several months now, but had changed his mind after a talk with Stephanie earlier in the day.  But now that his dad knows his secret, Jack refuses to let his son be Robin anymore. Father and son have a long talk and in the end, it is decided—Tim retires as Robin!

–NOTE: In Aquaman Vol. 6 #15. After an earthquake, San Diego sinks into the Pacific Ocean. Re-christened “Sub Diego,” the obliterated urban center is revived as an underwater city and inhabited by Atlanteans. This event doesn’t involve Batman, but it’s a pretty huge DCU event worth mentioning.

–Detective Comics #794-795 (“MONSTERS OF ROT”)
Since the events of ‘tec #793, the Hill Gang has lost leadership and L’Shea has left town for good. Batman appoints Orpheus as the Hill’s new enforcer.  Meanwhile, a deadly sentient-plague known as The Mugre enters Blüdhaven and Gotham (carried over by illegal Santa Priscan immigrants). Batman teams with Blüdhaven’s own female warrior, Tarantula, and Orpheus to battle the plague. When Kafka (the sentient mass of cockroaches) arrives to feast on the bacteria attached the Mugre, Batman allows it to do so, resulting in the destruction of the Mugre. After the threat of the Mugre is resolved, Batman decides that Orpheus isn’t strong enough to control the Hill all by himself.  The Dark Knight sends his buddy Ollie Queen halfway across the globe to recruit Ollie’s friend and former League of Assassins member Onyx into the Bat-Family. Onyx brings her superb martial arts expertise to Gotham and officially partners with Orpheus.

–the second feature to Detective Comics #796
The second feature to ‘tec #796 picks-up where the second feature to ‘tec #795 leaves-off. In order to give Orpheus and Onyx more street cred, Batman and Batgirl have a fake fight with them at Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge. Every underworlder and mobster worth knowing gets a front-row seat as the superhero battle-royale leaves Penguin’s club in shambles. Mission accomplished.  I should note that Onyx is a unique character because she is the only costumed vigilante that Batman willingly allows to operate independently in Gotham (the other being Catwoman).

–REFERENCE: In the “War Games, Act One” arc. Batman devises a top secret plan (albeit a hypothetical one) in which he could, as Matches Malone, unite all of Gotham’s underworld, therefore putting all criminal activity under the control of Orpheus, who would be a puppet for the good guys. Batman immediately realizes that this dangerous plan is not realistic and files it away. This will come back to haunt the Dark Knight once “War Games” comes around in a few months, but we’ll get to that later.

–Batgirl #51
Bruce funds a Gotham art project which turns two whole city blocks, which have been untouched since NML, into a veritable lush garden of Eden. However, the garden begins to spread past its two-block limit, and its flora begins emitting pheromones that cause people to revert to a feral state. Batgirl enters the park to confront Poison Ivy, who is obviously behind the scheme.

–REFERENCE: In Batgirl #52. Batman has an unspecified mission with the JLA.

–Batgirl #52
Batgirl takes down Poison Ivy and puts an end to her “Garden of Evil.”  Batman swoops in, having missed all the action due to having been with the JLA at the time.

–Robin Vol. 2 #126
July 1. Stephanie Brown has been training ever since getting her leg-cast removed a month ago. She’s been active as Spoiler for the past six days. Tim has been adjusting to civilian life ever since being forced into early retirement by his father a month ago. Meanwhile, Johnny Warlock has sent the female assassin known as Scarab into Gotham with a mission to kill Robin. However, Warlock and Scarab don’t know who Robin is, or let alone that he has retired, so Scarab has been murdering athletic teenage boys that match the correct profile. Stephanie then sews her own shoddy Robin costume, dons it, and breaks into the Batcave. Batman finds her and instead of punishing her, he agrees to allow her to become his new sidekick. That’s right, we have a brand new Robin, the Girl Wonder! Alfred is shocked, and scolds Bruce, telling him he is simply endangering Stephanie in order to lure Tim back. Of course, Bruce denies this. Next is the part where we have to do some MAJOR retconning. This issue has Batman train Stephanie for about four months before they go on patrol together. This issue also supposedly takes place from October through January. Like we’ve already established, it is definitely July, so ignore the snow. The four months of training must be ignored and replaced with maybe four days of training. This may seem like a huge adjustment, but it really isn’t much of stretch when you examine the situation closer. Stephanie has been a superhero for years already, and has already spent months training one-on-one with Batman prior to this. It wouldn’t be that improbable to take Stephanie out as Robin relatively right away.

–Teen Titans Vol. 3 #13
Tim retired as Robin over a month ago, but I guess he’s been too embarrassed to disappoint his fellow Teen Titans, because he still hasn’t told them!  When Tim misses yet another Titans meeting, Connor (Superboy) flies to Gotham and runs into the new female Robin.  Conner doesn’t believe Stephanie is the new Girl Wonder.  A heated argument ensues until Batman steps in and backs up his new sidekick.  Connor asks Batman for the prior Robin’s contact info, and Batman tells him to piss off.  The Dynamic Duo swings into the Gotham night, headed directly for ‘tec #796.

–Detective Comics #796
The fourth Robin is very different than her predecessors, and it’s not just because she’s a girl.  Stephanie still has a lot to learn.  Her first official mission with Batman involves the return of Victor Zsasz. This is a tall order, and Zsasz puts up a better fight than I’ve ever known him to be capable of.  But in the end, the Dark Knight and the Blonde Wonder take him down hard.

–Batgirl #53
Early August. Batgirl meets the new female Robin. While Batman is busy fighting a gang of dudes that look like they are wearing Mister Miracle face-paint, the Bat-ladies are on their own as they try to stop Penguin from selling illegal guns. Penguin’s dubious henchmen are using their young seven-year-old daughters as unknowing smugglers. Cass and Steph bust the gun-runners and send their mules to foster care. Afterward, Steph angrily punches out Penguin, knowing that the villain’s hands are clean of the whole affair as usual.

–Solo #10 Part 3
Batgirl enlists her gun-toting cowgirl friend Calamity (one of her dad’s former child soldiers) to help train Robin. Batman isn’t a part of this one, but he surely would have been aware of this training session or even set it up. (Thanks to Rebel for placement on this item!)

–REFERENCE: In Robin Vol. 2 #127. Batman takes down the gang known as The Jolly Rogers, which has been torching Gotham landmarks recently. Afterward, the Jolly Rogers then change their name to The Masked Nasties and Batman takes them down again.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #201. Bruce reads journalist Mark Prather’s book about infamous the Gotham serial killer known as The Robinson Park Ripper, who was active in the early 1970s.

–Batman: Gotham Knights #59
August.  Mr. Freeze attempts to bring about eternal winter in Gotham.  Batman apprehends the villain after a 12-hour ordeal.

–Robin Vol. 2 #127
August 16 to August 18. Stephanie has been Robin for 46 days. Batman and Robin take down the Masked Nasties, who have again changed their name, this time to Bloodbath Incorporated. The arsonists tell Batman that they’ve been hired by mob boss Henry Aquista. Aquista, who happens to be the father of Tim’s close friend Darla, has also hired the long-inactive super-villainess Tiger Moth (!), who Batman and Robin easily apprehend. While Batman investigates Aquista’s motives, Tim reads about the appearance of a new female Robin in the newspaper. It’s been a month-and-a-half and he still doesn’t know!? Tim calls Steph and demands a meeting. However, when Batman learns that Scarab has been murdering Tim Drake lookalikes, the Dark Knight calls Stephanie into action. Batgirl then meets with Tim, having been sent by Bruce to protect him.  Meanwhile, the Dynamic Duo gets their asses kicked by Scarab.

–Robin Vol. 2#128 Part 1
August 18 to August 31. Batman and Robin regroup following their total defeat at the hands of Scarab. Tim, jealous of Steph’s Robin role, chats with Batgirl about his feelings. On August 21st (Steph’s 50th day as Robin) Batman and Robin go after Scarab again. Batman, despite donning his armored super-costume, still gets his ass kicked! During the fight, Batman is left blind. Damn, Scarab is good. Stephanie disobeys orders and tries to help Batman, but the Girl Wonder winds up getting nabbed by Scarab, who tells the sightless Caped Crusader that she will kill Robin unless she is allowed a safe escape in the Batplane. Batman has no choice but to comply. After this embarrassing defeat, Bruce spends the rest of August completely blind and under the care of Alfred at Wayne Manor.


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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER / ELIAS M FREIRE: Like most LOTDK arcs, this one is very difficult to place. Based solely upon its publication date and the fact that it features the Lazarus-rejuvenated post-cancer Riddler shown in “Hush,” “Riddle Me That” seems to go somewhere near “Hush.” However, we should examine Batman’s dialogue from “Hush” for further placement clues. “Where once [Riddler’s] obsessive need to leave riddles as clues would confound me… everything about him has become routine. I half-expected him to have retired by now.” During “Hush,” Batman had yet to experience the new and improved version of Riddler. This clearly places “Riddle Me That”—which features the anything but routine version of Riddler—squarely after “Hush.” Since “Riddle Me That” is also said to occur after a period of inactivity for Riddler, it makes sense to also go some time after “Pushback,” hence placement here. And while “Riddle Me That” is a big transitionary arc that piggybacks off of Riddler’s big turn in “Hush,” we should note that, in terms of appearance, illustrators are (and have been) pretty much all over the place in terms of how Riddler looks during this era. Suffice to say, the past six months or so (in-universe) have really been about Riddler finding and feeling himself, and “Riddle Me That” stamps this home hard. Artistic liberty taken in regard to Riddler has always been broad in the Modern Age. In the publication era of 1986 through 2001, Riddler was mainly modeled after Frank Gorshin from Batman ’66 (i.e. well defined receding hairline and protruding jawline). In the past two-and-a-half years of in-universe narrative (late 2001-ish onward in terms of publication dates), we haven’t seen many old-school interpretations of Riddler in this vein. Notably, “Riddle Me That” guarantees we won’t see the Gorshin-esque Riddler in any future issues to come.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: If I had a dollar for every Batman story that featured some type of deadly virus… Anyway, Bloodborne was originally published right around the time of “Bruce Wayne: Murderer” (right around the start of Bat Year 18), and it specifically occurs on the anniversary of Dick’s parents’ deaths, which is May 9. However, this story cannot take place then. In May of BY17, Alfred and Tim are estranged from Batman, so it can’t be there. In May of BY18, “Bruce Wayne: Fugitive” hasn’t wrapped-up, so it’d be weird for this to slide into that/before that. May BY16 is smack-dab in the middle of NML, so that’s out too. While this was certainly not DC’s intention upon publication, Bloodborne actually fits in May of BY19 quite well, hence placement here.

5 Responses to Modern YEAR NINETEEN (Part 2)

  1. Phillip Dodgeson says:

    ‘tec 794-795 “Monsters of the Rot”: “The Mugre, at one point, manifests itself into a giant coagulated mass of cockroaches. This cockroach scene is so similar to a scene from Joker: Last Laugh, it borders on plagiarism.” – The Murge is not what manifests as the mass of cockroaches. The mass of cockroaches is the same “pest” Kafka as from the Jokers Last Laugh (GK22), hence the similar scenes. Tarantula mistakenly identifies Kafka as the Murge, when she finds it with the dead ship captain. However, since Kafka is a mass of cockroaches, it was feeding off the rot of the Murge. In the end this is what Batman uses to destroy the Murge.

  2. Rebel says:

    Hey Collin – As always, great work. I have a proposed addition to Year 19, Part II:

    In 2015 DC republished the ‘War Drums’ prequel collected edition that came prior to War Games. In the new edition they added a story by Damion Scott called “Second Chance,” which was Part 3 from Solo #10. The story involves a relatively green Steph-Robin stumbling onto a fight between Batgirl and Calamity. Interestingly, after Robin helps Batgirl and leaves the scene, Batgirl is then later seen thanking Calamity for staging the fight and helping to train up Steph-Robin. I would probably slot it in right after Batgirl #53 and before Robin #127.

    BTW – the Anarchy article was great! Look forward to more long form pieces like that.

  3. Martin says:

    Since I’m reading through this era right now, I’d figure I’d point out that in Detective Comics #791-793 (“THE SURROGATE”), L’Shea’s pregnant sister is actually her daughter, and that Freeze isn’t the boss of The Hill, they’re all working for Black Mask behind the scenes.

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