Modern YEAR TWENTY-TWO (Part 3)

2010 (September to December)[1]

–Azrael Vol. 2 #1
Early September. This story takes place exactly two months after Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight #1. Azrael (Michael Lane) goes after a violent serial killer that murders priests, cuts off their lips, and literally rubs salt in their wounds. Batman briefly meets with Az to question the new hero’s “eye for an eye” perspective. Michael then confronts the killer at the Gotham airport and learns that he has been killing pedophile Catholic priests. Michael lets the killer walk.

–Detective Comics #854
Batman introduces himself to Batwoman and they discuss the fact that the Religion of Crime has a new leader, Alice. Batwoman then gets briefed by her father, who also happens to be her mentor and field operations leader, ex-Army colonel Jake Kane. Ready for action, Batwoman infiltrates a high-profile Religion of Crime gathering and confronts Alice, the Steampunk mistress who only speaks using dialogue from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

–NOTE: In Detective Comics #855 . Batwoman fights her twin sister Alice and gets drugged with a poisoned razor blade.

–Detective Comics #856
Kyle Abbot saves Batwoman from Alice. Jake Kane then nurses his daughter back to health. Kate, along with her cousin Bette Kane (Flamebird), attends the GCPD Police Ball. Many characters are present here including Jim Gordon, Mayor Hady, Maggie Sawyer, and Dick Grayson. (We don’t actually see Dick, but we hear someone calling his name.) Kate immediately leaves the party when she finds out that Alice and her Crime cultists have kidnapped her dad. NOTE: Batman doesn’t appear in Detective Comics #857-860, which features the conclusion to ‘tec #856, but these issues are important. Here’s what will happen. Batwoman and Kyle Abbot save Jake Kane and stop Alice from dropping a deadly chemical payload over Gotham. Batwoman fights Alice aboard a plane and the latter reveals that they are sisters before seemingly falling to her death. Batwoman takes a blood sample of Alice (which was splattered on her costume) to a DNA testing lab to find out the truth. The results come in positive.

–NOTE: In Red Robin #1-4. Tim has been bouncing from city to city in Europe and the Middle East for the past two months now in his search for Bruce. Ra’s al Ghul, who also has a hunch that Bruce may have suffered a different fate other than death, has been guiding Tim every step of the way (as seen in Red Robin #1-3). Ra’s al Ghul directs Tim to an archeological dig in Iraq where he looks at a prehistoric cave painting that resembles a Batman symbol (as seen in Red Robin #4). For anyone wondering, this is NOT the cave painting which Bruce drew. It is revealed in a reference in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3 that nomadic tribes saw Bruce’s drawing and not only brought it across the Siberian land mass into Eurasia and the Middle East, but also formed bat-worshiping religions too. In any case, Tim uses this as his definitive evidence that Bruce is lost in time. Of course, no one believes him.

–Vigilante Vol. 2 #10 
Batman battles the assassin known as Vigilante (Dorian Chase).  Last time they encountered each other, Vigilante put a bullet into Dick.

The National Guard has Black Mask and his False Facers, who hold thousands of hostages, cornered in a part of the city known as Devil’s Square. The area is closed off and considered a demilitarized zone. Batgirl—sporting a new purple-accented costume designed by Oracle—enters the DMZ to battle methahuman newcomer Diesel. Batman and Robin show up to assist her, but Batgirl accidentally freezes Damian with Ice Batarangs. Back in the Batcave, Dick chews out Oracle while Damian argues with Steph. Later, Commissioner Gordon introduces new transfer Detective Nick Gage. They discuss a high profile kidnapping case, but Dick leaves when he hears a scuffle nearby. The scuffle is Robin and Batgirl fighting. Dick breaks them up and tells them they are off the case. Robin and Batgirl form their own investigation and learn that the kidnapping is a clever hoax set up by a man who owes money to Roulette. Now that Batman has been lured back into Devil’s Square, Roulette sics Riot, Roxy Rocket, and an escaped Dr. Phosphorus on the Dark Knight. Robin and Batgirl swing into action. Batgirl debuts Oracle’s high-tech Ricochet-bike to help Batman defeat the villains. Afterward, Babs and Steph make-up with Dick and Damian and they all live happily ever after.

–DCU Halloween Special ’09 #1
Halloween weekend. Dick goes out on patrol alone, leaving Damian confined to monitor duty in the Bunker. A bored Damian hits the town and rescues a young girl from the evil dentist known as Sweet Tooth. Back at the Bunker, Dick returns with an egg-smeared Batmobile, which was the target of trick-or-treat vandals.

–Batman: Streets of Gotham #3-6
Tommy Elliot, posing as Bruce Wayne for nearly four months now, has been giving away vast amounts of money to philanthropic, but foolish causes, telling Dick and Damian that his whole scheme is a “middle finger to the Wayne legacy” that will drain their much needed crime-fighting funds at an exponential rate. Dick finally realizes that he can take advantage of the situation. The world does need a Bruce Wayne replacement now that the real thing is gone. Dick calls up the JLA and the Outsiders, who all pay Tommy a forbidding visit.  From this point on, Tommy will continue to play the role of Bruce Wayne, but his every move will be monitored by this collection of heroes. With the JLA and Outsiders taking shifts monitoring “Bruce Wayne,” things seem to be under control at Wayne Enterprises. However, Batman is damn sick of the Broker housing, and in a sense aiding and abetting, known criminals. For instance, the Broker has just hooked up Zsasz with an old slaughterhouse for a hideout, and even looks the other way when the villain begins wheeling-in cages containing kidnapped children. Batman pays the Broker a visit and demands to know the location of Zsasz’s lair. The Broker snidely says that he never hands out client information. Two black-eyes and a broken nose later, the Broker has told Batman everything he needs to know. However, Dick doesn’t deal with Zsasz right away, and we don’t see the Broker in town after this encounter for over a month, so we must assume that the Broker gave Dick disinformation and then laid low for a while. Next, Oracle thinks Man-Bat has gone out-of-control again, so she sends Batman, Robin, and Huntress after him. Meanwhile, Black Mask has acquired an invisibility suit. He gives it to one of his random Arkham thugs, who proceeds to go on a killing spree. Turns out Man-Bat isn’t out-of-control; he’s simply trying to apprehend an invisible killer. The final showdown takes place in a church, where Batman, Huntress, Kirk Langstrom, and a long-time Gotham priest all team-up to apprehend the invisible henchman.

–REFERENCE: In Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1 Part 2. For the past three years, an unnamed government organization (most likely on behalf of the US Armed Forces) has been training new high-tech hand-to-hand combat equipment against the best possible test subject in the world: Batman.  Mission number three occurs now as a random soldier is tasked to fight the Dark Knight. Batman easily defeats him. Bruce has fought these soldiers before, but this is Dick’s first time.

–NOTE: In a reference in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #35. Plastic Man and Red Tornado return to the main roster of the JLA. Superman (still living on New Krypton) and Wonder Woman place themselves into back-up “on call” status.

–World’s Finest Vol. 2 #3-4
Supergirl meets Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) and they team-up against Toyman, Toyboy, and Mr. Freeze. The villains are getting their asses kicked until Toyman activates Hiro Okamura’s old gigantic Superman/Batman Composite spaceship, which has now been converted into a colossal robot. Dick immediately sends an emergency signal to New Krypton and Superman is on his way back to Earth in a heartbeat. Dick has his first team-up (as Batman) with Superman (who is wearing his New Kryptonian police uniform) as they battle the giant robot together. While Batman breaks into the robot’s body, Superman, Robin, and Batgirl wail on the villains outside and Toyman reveals that the robot/spaceship is programmed to fly to New Krypton and detonate a high-level megaton Kryptonite bomb. Inside the mammoth mechanism, Batman discovers that the entire machine is powered by a captive Kryptonite Man (K Russell Abernathy). (Note that this is not the one-shote Kryptonite Man from Superman/Batman #20-25. This is a new Kryptonite Man.) The heroes save Kryptonite Man, deactivate the bomb, and shut down the robot. Afterward, Superman warns Dick that Lois’ xenophobic father, General Sam Lane, has been fermenting anti-Kryptonian propaganda in Washington. Dick admits that there is much negative opinion about the Kryptonians in the media lately. Supes responds by explaining that General Zod is building an anti-human warlike fervor on New Krypton and worries that an interplanetary war could spark at any moment. The Man of Steel then returns to New Krypton to continue doing as much as possible to prevent that horrid outcome. At a secret location on Earth, it is revealed (to the reader) that Toyman is working for the tyrannical Sam Lane. NOTE: There is a flashback from World’s Finest Vol. 2 #3-4 that implies Dick became Batman nine months ago and Superman moved to New Krypton nine months ago as well, but this is totally wrong. These events occurred about four months ago, not nine. Maybe writer Sterling Gates meant nine months ago in real life publication calendar time.

–NOTE: In a reference in Titans Vol. 2 #15. Aquaman (Arthur Joseph Curry) feeling as if he will never truly be able to fill Orin’s large shoes, steps down as King of Atlantis and disappears.

–Batman #700
Late November. This one-shot takes place right here (out of order) because it occurs on the anniversary of Bruce’s parents’ deaths. Batman and Robin investigate the apparent murder of Professor Carter Nichols, who has been a reclusive hermit for the past thirteen years. Nichols is found dead in his lab with a laser bore hole in his chest and the room locked from the inside. Oddly, Dick notes, Nichols appears to be older than he should be.  After a night of fighting the Mutant Gang, meeting with Lone-Eye Lincoln, and shutting down Hatman’s crime memorabilia auction, Damian notes how the Nichols murder still hasn’t been solved. Dick tells Damian it was a suicide. We then get a flash-forward to Damian as Batman fifteen years in the future! (This, flash-forward, if canon, has to feature either a clone of Damian or the resurrected original, since he will die during Batman Inc Vol. 2.) In this “666 future” scene, after fighting Max Roboto, Damian tracks a kidnapped child to Nichol’s old lab, where he confronts the new Two-Face. After Damian defeats Two-Face and saves the Joker Venom-injected toddler, Nichols (from 2010) shows up in 2025 and kills his older self, sending his corpse back in time to 2010. Thus, the body Dick and Damian found at the beginning of our tale was actually an older Nichols from the future. In a bizarre way, it was suicide! Meanwhile, in 2025 Nichols escapes, thus becoming newly rejuvenated and free to surf the timestream! Damian then gives an antidote serum to the rescued toddler, who just happens to be Terry McGinnis (who will grow up to be Batman Beyond!), thus linking Batman Beyond to the main Earth-0 Batman canon. (Yes, there is an alternate Batman Beyond on Earth-12.) But that’s not all Grant Morrison shows us. Let’s go forward another 20 to 25 years or so. McGinnis is indeed Batman Beyond, and his mentor is Damian! (Although, it is highly possible that this might be a second Damian clone.) But that’s not all. In the year 3000, Brane Taylor is a gun-toting Batman that fights in a dystopian world. (Brane Taylor comes directly from Golden Age stories originally told in Batman #26-27.) And next, we see Batman of the 853rd Century, along with his sidekick, Robin the Toy Wonder. The faces will always change, but Batman will never die![2]

–Titans Vol. 2 #15
Late November. Tempest’s evil weirdo Necromancer fish-monster uncle, Slizzath, warns him that Blackest Night is coming and the dead shall rise, including Tempest’s own deceased wife.  Tempest does away with his gross uncle and returns to the Atlantean throne room to discover that Aquaman (Arthur Joseph Curry) has abdicated and left town.  Tempest visits his oldest friend, Dick Grayson, and they talk about what it’s like to fill their mentors’ roles after they die.  Inspired, Tempest returns to Atlantis and becomes the new King of the Seas!

——————–Blackest Night #0 Part 2
——————–Blackest Night #1
——————–Blackest Night: Batman #1-3
Late November. Black Hand unearths the cloned-Bruce’s remains from his unmarked grave and removes his skull, giving it a good, wet lick.  At the far end of the universe in Space Sector 666, the Black Power Battery emits millions of black power rings, which will raise the dead and turn them into evil Black Lanterns. A day later on Earth, the world celebrates the annual Honor Day, which pays tribute to fallen superheroes. (This day is celebrated on the date of Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday years ago, which was in late November, and here we are in late November!) There is a lot of dialogue between Hal Jordan and Barry Allen about the history of the DCU that implies that Barry, despite having been back for over six months, still doesn’t know about the world he lives in AT ALL. This is ridiculous, and we’ll just have to blame Geoff Johns for this lackluster method of back-story exposition. Moving on, Alfred goes to visit Bruce’s grave and is shocked to find it desecrated—the corpse exhumed and headless. He immediately calls Dick. Meanwhile, at the other end of the universe, various Lantern Corps based upon the Emotional Color Spectrum (aka Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum) have been warring over supremacy of the cosmos for the past several months. (The other spectrum teams, besides the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps, are: the Red Lantern Corps, the Blue Lantern Corps, the Indigo Tribe, and the Star Sapphires. Larfleeze is the sole “Agent Orange,” although he does command several Orange Lantern zombie constructs.) While the Guardians are distracted with this “War of Light,” the black rings arrive in the Solar System and create thousands of Black Lanterns, which are basically zombie-versions of our most beloved deceased heroes, such as Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Elongated Man (who kills Hawkman and Hawkgirl Kendra Saunders), and many more. As the dead begin to rise on Earth, Dick and Damian dig up the bodies of Thomas, Martha, and “Bruce” Wayne and move them to a vault in the Bat-Bunker. When Deadman’s body rises up as a Black Lantern, Deadman faces an evil zombie version of himself, which causes him to freak out and seek Batman’s assistance. Deadman is surprised to see that Dick is now the Dark Knight, but puts faith in him anyway. Not only are dead heroes being turned into evil zombie Lanterns, dead villains are too. Blockbuster, Ventriloquist, KGBeast, Deacon Blackfire, Magpie, King Snake, the Trigger Twins, Abbatoir, and Captain Boomerang are all revived and begin attacking the GCPD HQ. At the other end of Gotham, Hal and Barry fight zombie J’onn (as seen in Blackest Night #2). Dick calls Tim and tells him to get his ass back to the States. Batman and Robin, armed with flamethrowers, then assault the Black Lanterns and rescue Commissioner Gordon and Babs. Red Robin jets in from Europe just in time to help face-off against the zombie versions of his parents and Dick’s parents. With a little help from a Deadman-possessed Etrigan, the heroes freeze themselves, confusing the zombies, who then fly off in search of more dead bodies. Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice, the metahuman morgue is raided by black rings, creating a huge new horde of Black Lanterns (as seen in Blackest Night #3). Concurrently in Gotham, Frankenstein, Man-Bat, and Bizarro Number One defeat a Black Lantern Solomon Grundy (as seen in Superman/Batman #66-67).

–REFERENCE: In Red Robin #13, Blackest Night #4-8, Green Lantern Vol. 4 #51, and Blackest Night: Titans #1. Late November. We won’t see Batman, Robin, Red Robin, or Oracle for the remainder of Blackest Night, so we must assume they stay hidden or holed-up with flamethrowers in Gotham until the siege is over. In Red Robin #13, Damian says that Lynx helps them out, but that is all we know. Anyway, here’s what happens. More and more dead heroes and villains rise up from their graves, including Jean-Paul Valley! Black Hand, still toting around cloned-Bruce’s skull, turns former King of Hell Nekron into the most dangerous Black Lantern of them all. The evil Guardian Scar joins with Black Hand and teleports the Black Power Battery to Earth (as seen in Blackest Night #4). At the far end of the universe, the skirmishing Lantern armies involved in the “War of Light” receive word of the Black Lantern uprising, call a truce that ends the war, and depart for Earth to help. Black Hand then creates a body to match his “Bruce Wayne” skull. “Batman” is back as an evil Black Lantern! Nekron uses Black Lantern Batman as a conduit to turn anyone who has died and been resurrected before into Black Lanterns. In case you didn’t know, there are very few characters in the DCU that do not fall under this category. Black Lantern Batman turns Superman, Wonder Woman, Superboy, Kid Flash, and Ollie Queen into evil Black Lanterns. Black Lantern Batman’s body then deteriorates, leaving behind only his inanimate skull. Hal and Barry, who have also been resurrected before, are able to outrun the black rings that chase them (as seen in Blackest Night #5). Hal and Barry then muse about why Bruce’s Lantern Body didn’t hold up very well compared to the others. Hmmm… maybe because it’s not really Bruce’s body. Damaged clone body!  Meanwhile, millions of Black Lanterns from across the universe converge upon Earth. The leaders of the various colored Lantern armies arrive on Earth well before their Corps do, due to the fact that their “leader rings” are much more powerful. Once they arrive, they are able to duplicate their rings and pass them onto others, including Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, Ganthet, Barry Allen, Scarecrow, and Mera (as seen in Blackest Night #6). Then, The Entity—a mysterious force that helped create original life in the universe—is summoned by Nekron, who instantly tries to kill it. Damaged, the power of the Entity bounces from Sinestro and then to Hal Jordan, who becomes a White Lantern and bestows “benevolent” White Lantern rings unto the resurrected Black Lantern heroes. The particolored Lantern armies arrive and join the fray just as the Anti-Monitor emerges from the destroyed Black Power Battery. Nekron fights the Anti-Monitor, banishing him to Qward (as seen in Blackest Night #7). The combined forces of good are too much for Black Hand, Nekron, and the Black Lanterns. They are defeated, the crisis ends, and the White Lantern Power Battery restores life to twelve people: J’onn, Orin (Aquaman), Maxwell Lord, Captain Boomerang, Ronnie Raymond (formerly Firestorm), Hawk (Hank Hall), Jade, Professor Zoom (Eobard Thawne), Osiris, Deadman, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl. (Note that Hawkgirl is resurrected as Shiera Sanders-Hall, not Kendra Saunders.) In the aftermath of the chaos, Hal and Barry realize that the reason Black Lantern Batman was so pathetic and soulless is because Bruce is still alive (as seen in Blackest Night #8). Oddly enough, Hal and Barry either keep this information to themselves or Dick doesn’t believe them when they tell him. Cloned-Bruce’s skull is reunited with the rest of his body in the Bat-Bunker and Dick continues on with the firm belief that Bruce is still dead. Also worth mentioning, while several heroes are revived at the conclusion of this epic tale, many die as well, notably Tempest and Hawk (Holly Hall), both Titans members (as seen in Green Lantern Vol. 4 #51 and Blackest Night: Titans #1, respectively). We (the readers) will soon learn that the twelve people resurrected by the White Lantern-powered Entity were chosen to complete specific tasks.

–FLASHBACK: From Superman 80-Page Giant 2010 #1. Late November. Batman apprehends small-time crooks Dawson and Trick.

–Justice League Generation Lost #1-3
Superman makes a televised announcement that Maxwell Lord has been resurrected, making the super-villain public enemy number one. Batman assembles the JLA, Red Robin, the JSA, and the Titans to begin a manhunt. Lord, using telepathy, is able to send out a global mind-wipe making everyone forget that he ever existed. Only Booster Gold, Skeets, Fire, Ice, and Captain Atom are left with their memories intact.  After Booster plays a video of Wonder Woman killing Lord, Superman seems mystified and doesn’t even see Lord in the image. At the Batcave, Booster shows pictures of Lord to Dick, but Dick responds similarly. In fact, due to the global mind-wipe, Dick thinks that Bruce originally formed the old JLI, Lex Luthor was responsible for the OMAC Project, and Ted Kord committed suicide! (Continuity error alert: This scene should more appropriately take place in the Bat-Bunker, not in the Batcave.) The entire superhero community thinks that Booster and company are plain wrong, but the remembering heroes continue the manhunt anyway. Lord’s mind-wipe has also cost Fire her job at Checkmate. An angry Fire then gets in an altercation at the Checkmate castle before rejoining her friends. Checkmate contacts Batman and fills him in on the details of Fire’s assault on their HQ. Both Batman and Checkmate officials decide Fire should go unpunished, but they are confused as to why they feel this way. Lord’s mind-wipe is still obviously influencing everyone’s feeling and opinions. Part of Lord’s plan is to ruin and disgrace his old JLI teammates, thus forcing them back together.  So far, so good.  Booster, Skeets, Fire, Ice, and Captain Atom join forces with Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) and Rocket Red (Gavril Ivanovich) to reform the Justice League International!  However, ostracized from the other JLA factions, the new JLI must continue their quest to undo Lord’s mind-wipe and bring the villain to justice on their own.  SPOILER: The reason Max didn’t mind-wipe the JLIers is because he wants to manipulate them into a situation that will ultimately give him (Max) full control of Checkmate. (Which he will eventually do).

–NOTE: In Justice League: Cry for Justice #5-7. In the wake of Blackest Night, both the JLA and splinter JL teams join forces when Red Arrow Roy Harper’s arm is violently severed off by Prometheus.  Prometheus is captured, but threatens several American cities with the threat of destruction by preset bombs.  The Justice Leagues vote on whether or not to negotiate with the villain, resulting in his release. The vile Prometheus, according to the terms of his release, spares every city from destruction except for one. Prometheus (along with Electrocutioner) detonates a teleportation bomb that causes a seismic quake in Star City, killing over 80 thousand people, including Roy’s young daughter, Lian Harper. Defeated, the splinter JL disbands. The Epilogue to this tale, which is VERY important, will take place a bit later.

–Titans Vol. 2 #23
Batman meets with Wally West, Donna Troy, and the Titans to mourn the recent loss of Tempest and Hawk (Holly Hall). Statues in their images are erected at Titans Tower in San Francisco. Dick talks about how unsettling it was to see his zombie parents. Cyborg and Raven contact the Titans and tell them that Roy Harper is still unconscious after his fight with Prometheus, but is finally stabilized. Dick, Donna, and Wally fly in the Batplane to see Roy in Star City and reminisce about growing up with Tempest (formerly Aqualad) and Roy (formerly Speedy) all those Teen Titan years ago. After a discussion, the Titans disband.  It’s a tough scene at the hospital as the heroes watch over Roy and hope for the best. These were the original Teen Titans and they will always be a family. Raven and Wally leave to help hunt down Prometheus.

——————–Justice League: Rise of Arsenal #1
——————–Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1 Part 1
Roy Harper wakes up in a hospital bed with his arm missing.  His closest friends, including Dick, Donna, Ollie, Dinah, Hal, and Cyborg, are all by his side to deliver the terrible news that downtown Star City has been decimated and his daughter is dead. A pissed-off Ollie storms away vowing to achieve vengeance on Roy’s behalf. (This scene is also shown through flashback from Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1.) A groggy Roy then stumbles down to the JLA morgue and cradles his dead daughter in his arms. Then, against Doc Mid-Nite’s wishes, Roy personally surveys the damage done to his hometown. This is all too much to bear. Roy, a former heroin user, begins taking prescription painkillers in mass quantity to drown out both the physical and emotional pain. This is a bad idea. (NOTE: Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1 begins with a flash-forward to Ollie putting an arrow to Electrocutioner’s head, which will happen a bit later.) Moving on, while Green Arrow and Black Canary hunt down Prometheus and Electrocutioner in the rubble of Star City, Batman helps Flash Wally West apprehend known Prometheus associate Razer in Keystone City. NOTE: The rest of Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1 after the Batman/Flash scene takes place in the middle of Justice League of America Vol. 2 #43, which shows Hal and Barry racing to check up on a clue regarding Prometheus, which will come up a bit later.

–the second feature to Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1
Ollie Queen holds a memorial/press conference at ground zero in Star City, which nearly every DCU hero attends.

–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #41-42 (“TEAM HISTORY”)
The JLA has yet to recover from the combined events of Blackest Night and the battle with Prometheus.  Vixen is injured and Red Tornado is dead again (for the 9th time).  With the League in dire shambles, Vixen decides to disband the team.  Meanwhile, Wonder Woman meets with Donna Troy and they have a little chat about the Justice League.  Before you know it, Donna rebuilds a brand new JLA starting with Starfire and Cyborg. Donna then flies to Gotham and greets the Dynamic Duo, who have just defeated Yellow Wasp. Dick briefly mentions following the trail of the Broker’s hideouts, probably on his quest to locate Zsasz, an undertaking that he would indeed be currently in the middle of at the moment. Dick already knows why Donna is there; Batman joins the JLA! The rest of the team is quickly hired on, including Dr. Light, Mon-El, Guardian, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Ray Palmer, Hal Jordan, and a bodiless Red Tornado.  The team’s first official mission is against a rampaging mind-controlled Atlas, whom they easily defeat.  The team’s next mission follows when a team of Apokoliptian super-villains begin stealing alien artifacts.  Neon Black steals an artifact from the Smithsonian while Hunter and Doctor Impossible steal an artifact from STAR Labs. The JLA then meets to discuss how to deal with the situation. Oddly enough, Green Arrow no-shows this meeting. Where could he be? Ollie has cornered Prometheus and kills the bastard (as seen in the Justice League: Cry for Justice #7 Epilogue). Ollie will keep this execution a secret from the rest of the heroes. When Chair and Tender Mercy take out Congorilla and Starman (Mikaal Tomas) on Blackhawk Island in an attempt to steal yet another artifact, the JLA shows up to greet the villains. However, the Watchtower is left completely undefended. Hunter, Doctor Impossible, and Neon Black enter the JLA satellite freely.  Meanwhile, Ollie returns to the Watchtower from his secret dirty deed and comes face-to-face with the bad guys.

——————–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #43 Part 1
——————–Justice League: The Rise & Fall Special #1 Part 2
——————–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #43 Part 2
——————–Green Arrow & Black Canary #32 Part 1
——————–Justice League: Rise of Arsenal #2-3
Ollie Queen and the decapitated head of Red Tornado fight Hunter, Doctor Impossible, and Neon Black aboard the Watchtower, but the villains are able to steal another alien artifact from the trophy room and escape. Afterward, a nervous Ollie probes Reddy for valuable info pertaining to the whereabouts of Electrocutioner. The jumpy and secretive Ollie then leaves. On Blackhawk Island, the new JLA has absolutely no chemistry or teamwork skills and fails to prevent Chair and Tender Mercy from stealing another artifact. Barry Allen then arrives with a possible clue regarding Prometheus’ location. Hal Jordan immediately departs with Barry. The rest of the team returns to the Watchtower (along with Congorilla and Starman Mikaal Tomas) where they not only learn about the trophy room theft, but about Ollie’s strange behavior. In Opal City, Shade takes Hal and Barry to Limbo where they discover the dead body of Prometheus, who has obviously been murdered by Ollie. Meanwhile, Ollie has cornered Electrocutioner in the rubble of Star City. Black Canary shows up just in time to prevent her husband from executing yet another super-villain.  Electrocutioner takes this opportunity to escape. Hal and Barry then show up with Prometheus’ corpse and the bad news that Ollie is a murderer. Ollie panics and teleports away. When the superhero community receives word of Ollie’s heinous actions, a global manhunt in search of the fugitive hero begins.  The JLA is shaken to its core and falls apart once again. Only Donna Troy and Batman remain, along with new recruits Congorilla and Starman (Mikaal Tomas). The 4-member JLA refuses to participate in the hunt for Ollie and instead tries to go about typical League business, such as fighting super-villains like Hellgrammite, Mr. Atom, Harpi, and Plastique. Elsewhere, the Apokoliptian New God team assembles their stolen alien artifacts, which creates a personal gateway to anywhere in the multiverse. Meanwhile, Ollie evades the network of heroes that are searching for him, meets up with Speedy, and together they capture Electrocutioner. Ollie then turns himself in and goes to jail. Dinah visits Ollie in prison and leaves her wedding ring behind. Oh no! (In case you were wondering, this is the official end of Dinah and Ollie’s marriage. Basically, this functions as their separation and divorce. They won’t get back together as a couple.) Roy Harper also showers Ollie with ire and disappointment, but of a different kind. Roy is angry because Ollie “stole his revenge.” Afterward, the superhero community attends the child-funeral of Lian Harper, where a pill-popping Roy wigs out, curses at everyone, and storms off in a huff. Later, after a bittersweet reunion with Lian’s mother, Roy straps on a cyborg arm, pops some more pills, and goes out to bash some skulls. Arsenal is back! Unfortunately, Arsenal is a pain pill-swallowing, drugged-up, hallucinating mess that actually purchases drugs from the very dealers he beats on. A shaky Arsenal winds up shooting heroin in an alley while clinging to a dead cat. Batman tracks Arsenal down and they fight, Batman obviously winning the duel. Dick and Donna immediately put Roy into rehab. Sweet Jesus, what a story. NOTE: We are told that Ollie’s murder case is put on the “fast track,” meaning the trial will happen super-fast. Hence, I’ve placed the trial scene (shown in Green Arrow & Black Canary #32) on the chronology a mere week or two from now.

–NOTE: In a reference in Supergirl Vol. 5 #44. December. Martin Suarez is inaugurated (well over a month early) as the new President of the United States of America.

–NOTE: In Red Robin #6-8. In Red Robin #6, Tim says that Blackest Night has recently ended, hence placement here. On behalf of Ra’s al Ghul, Red Robin begrudgingly teams-up with Prudence to battle against the League of Assassins’ newest rivals, The Council of Spiders. Tim must bounce from city to city to fight a war that he doesn’t even want to be a part of, while simultaneously protecting his traveling companion, Tam Fox (Lucius Fox’s daughter). Not to mention, Ra’s al Ghul’s emissary, the new White Ghost (Fadir Nasser), keeps close tabs on Red Robin the whole time. To make matters even worse, Tam has learned Red Robin’s secret identity. Nevertheless, Red Robin defeats the Council of Spiders, saves Tam, and also does serious damage to the League of Assassins global network. Ra’s al Ghul vows to hunt Tim to the ends of the Earth. At the end of this tale, Tim tells Tam that they need to head back to Gotham right away. However, Tim must decide to wait until Ra’s decides to strike again because he won’t go back home for quite a while. This delay is necessary especially since the events of Red Robin #9-12 lead directly up to Tim telling Dick that Bruce is lost in time. And Dick won’t begin to investigate that idea until a bit later.

–NOTE: In Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #1. Hostilities between Earth and New Krypton continue to grow. General Sam Lane, in cahoots with both Lex Luthor and Toyman, is able to use Brainiac’s army of robots as an attack force to preemptively strike New Krypton. Brainiac’s preemptive strike is defeated and the Kryptonians quickly realize that humans were involved in the attack. War is inevitable and will soon break out.

–NOTE: In Superman: War of the Supermen #1-4. The Kryptonians retaliate to the human assault on their planet by beginning an all-out war. While the battle rages on Earth, one of Sam Lane’s agents, Reactron, sneaks onto New Krypton and self-destructs causing a massive explosion that completely destroys the entire planet, killing all of its inhabitants not fighting on Earth (roughly 20,000). Luthor then harnesses the power of the dead Kryptonian god Rao to temporarily turn the sun red, which causes another 73,000 Kryptonians to die in space. The war ends when the remaining 7,000 Kryptonians are trapped in the Phantom Zone. Both Chris Kent and Mon-El return to the Phantom Zone as well. For his contribution during the war effort, Lex Luthor is given a full Presidential pardon and regains full ownership of LexCorp.

–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #44-45 (“BRIGHTEST DAY”)
Batman and Donna Troy get to know their newest JLA teammates, Congorilla and Starman, a bit better by training with them in the Kitchen (the Danger Room of the Watchtower).  When a giant green meteor crash lands in Germany, the JLA investigates and feuds with Etrigan.  After subduing the demon back into Jason Blood form, Jade (Alan Scott’s daughter) emerges from within the meteor and reveals that the rock is actually the Starheart, a mammoth sentient crystal, created eons ago by the Guardians, which houses the chaotic emerald magick energy source of Alan Scott’s power. The appearance of the Starheart is bad news because it causes metas to begin acting out of the ordinary, including Power Girl, who begins fighting the JLA and JSA. (Much to the chagrin of Black Lightning, accompanying the JSA is one of the team’s newest members, his daughter Jennifer Pierce aka Lightning. Black Lightning now has two daughters that are superheroes.) After defeating Power Girl, the super-teams learn of other threats across the globe, including Alan Scott himself, who dons his Kingdom Come armor.

–NOTE: In Titans: Villains For Hire Special #1. Since there is no longer a Teen Titans, a new evil villains-for-hire Titans team is formed by Deathstroke to fill the void. Their first act is the brutal murder of the Atom (Ryan Choi).[3]

——————–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #46
——————–Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #41
——————–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #47
——————–Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #42
——————–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #48
Batman and Supergirl take down the Water Elemental known as Naiad in Gotham while the JLA and JSA deal with similar Starheart afflicted threats across the globe.  Meanwhile, the possessed Alan Scott forms a colossal, heavily-fortified emerald palace on the moon. Along with Obsidian (son of Alan Scott) and the new Dr. Fate (grandson of the original Fate), Alan Scott is able to capture several heroes. Batman responds by leading the team of Hourman (Rick Tyler), Jesse Quick (former Liberty Belle, Jesse Chambers), Mr. America, Mr. Miracle, and Donna Troy into the lunar citadel. The heroes, along with Kyle Rayner, battle a merged Jade and Obsidian and dozens of anthropomorphic green energy constructs. Eventually, Jade breaks free from her merged form and, endowed with the power of a White Lantern, defeats her father in battle. (This was the reason Jade was brought back to life by the White Lantern Entity at the end of Blackest Night—to save the world against the threat of her troubled daddy.) The Starheart is defeated and Alan Scott is restored, although it is revealed (to the reader) that part of the Starheart is hiding within Supergirl. Afterward, Jesse Quick is recruited into the JLA. Following this story, a languid Alan Scott will take up permanent residence in the lunar Emerald City, which becomes a refuge for wayward aliens and “creatures of myth.”

–Green Arrow & Black Canary #32 Part 2
It’s only been a week or two since Oliver Queen’s arrest and imprisonment, but his celebrity trial has been put on the “fast track” and it’s already time for a verdict. Thankfully for Ollie, the jury of his peers also hates Prometheus with a violent passion and Ollie is found not guilty. Ollie, however, is permanently banned from being a superhero in Star City. Neither Dinah nor Roy (who is still in a rehab program) decide to show up for the trial. Clark, Hal, Ray Palmer, Diana, and Dick (curiously drawn a little too much like Bruce) are all in attendance. Afterward, Ollie leaves town and begins his new life.

–NOTE: In Arkham Reborn #1. Jeremiah Arkham introduces the brand new extra-opulent and mammoth-sized Arkham Asylum to the public.

–Batman #692-694 (“LIFE AFTER DEATH”)
December 8-10. The National Guard has had Black Mask and his False Facers, who hold thousands of hostages, cornered in Devil’s Square for several weeks now.  (Although Black Mask has been able to secretly come and go as he pleases).  Meanwhile, a mysterious third party has also been attacking Black Mask’s men.  Two days later, Dick meets with Selina Kyle (which is a swimming pool scene and it’s December, so we must ignore this) and asks her for information about the “third party.”  Selina was always willing to help Bruce for free, but for Dick it costs him a cool $25 thousand.  Selina points Dick in the direction of a Slaughter Swamp mansion that has recently been purchased by rich mobsters.  Batman pays the mansion grounds a visit and learns who the “third party” is.  The Falcone mob led by Mario Falcone (who we haven’t seen since Dark Victory in Bat Year Five) is back in town in an attempt to take over Gotham’s crime rackets.  In an underground lair within Devil’s Square, Black Mask assembles his new team called the Ministry of Science, which comprises of Fright, Dr. Death, Hugo Strange, and a revived Reaper (Dr. Gruener).  At a gala ball to celebrate Arkham’s re-opening, Dick and Helena keep their watchful eyes on “Bruce Wayne” (Tommy Elliot), who tries to strong-arm Jeremiah Arkham into releasing Arkham’s security details to him.  Tommy has been under constant watch by members of the JLA and the Outsiders, and while he can no longer freely spend the Wayne family fortune, he still tries to use his influential position to scheme as often as possible. (This ball scene is also shown from another angle in Arkham Reborn #2. Arkham is supposedly set to open in one week. However, due to compression, it must be opening in a day.) Mario Falcone’s teenage sister, Kitrina Falcone, sneaks into the party and detonates a bomb, which destroys a laboratory vital to Black Mask’s cause. No one is hurt, but party-guest Riddler gets concussed and awakens with what seems to be his old puzzle-themed mind back. (Riddler may be obsessively-villainous again, but he’s not so obsessed that he turns back to crime. Riddler will remain on the straight-and-narrow, but he will just be a bit zanier. Eventually, he will succumb to his criminal ways, but not for a while.) Batman, wearing a new armored suit, then enters Devil’s Square looking for info relating to Kitrina, who he knows is responsible for the lab bombing.  Intel has told him that Kitrina had been hanging around with Devil’s Square gangs and traveling freely in an out of the warzone for the past couple weeks.  When a teenage boy tries to talk to the Caped Crusader, Black Mask snipers shoot the boy instantly.  Batman interrogates Penguin and learns that Kitrina Falcone isn’t working for her family, but did bomb the lab on behalf of Penguin, who was trying to double-cross Black Mask.  However, Kitrina is no longer working for Penguin, and has instead gone solo.  Shortly after this conversation, Penguin goes into hiding because Black Mask learns of his double-cross.  Meanwhile, Mario Falcone thinks that his sister, Kitrina, has stolen valuable maps of the Devil’s Square underground (which were actually stolen by Catwoman earlier).  Mario then tries to kill Kitrina, but Kitrina escapes since she is a “master escape artist.”

–Arkham Reborn #3 
December 9-11. The new Arkham has only been open for one week (should be one day due to compression) and a riot breaks out, thanks to help from someone on the inside.  Batman and Head of Security Aaron Cash quell the storm and corral Killer Croc, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, and Dr. Phosphorus back into their cells.  Two days later, after studying the blueprints for the new Arkham, Batman learns that a secret underground wing has been constructed.  Batman confronts Jeremiah Arkham with the news, but Jeremiah is shocked and a bit confused.  We (the readers) learn that new chief doctor, Alyce Sinner, was responsible for releasing the inmates, working under orders from Black Mask, who is also her lover.  Afterward, a morose Jeremiah wanders into the catacombs beneath new Arkham, and as various writers have been hinting at over the past few months, it is revealed (to the reader) that Jeremiah has been having constant hallucinations about non-existent inmates and blacking out for days at a time.

–the second feature to Batman: Streets of Gotham #7-8
Two-Face sends his henchmen into Gotham disguised as False Facers in an attempt to set up Black Mask.  Manhunter (Kate Spencer) stops them, captures one of the henchmen, and realizes it’s one of her friends from Los Angeles, Dylan.  While Dylan recovers in the hospital, Kate uses her position as DA to get him off the hook. But Two-Face sneaks back into town and tries to fatally silence Dylan.  Manhunter saves her friend yet again and is literally beating Two-Face to death when Batman and Robin show up to stop her.  Manhunter takes off and the Dynamic Duo hauls Two-Face to jail.  At Two-Face’s initial hearing, Jeremiah Arkham acts as a character witness and claims that Harvey Dent is competent enough to defend himself in a trial.  Kate, as chief prosecutor, prepares for a very public trial as the hungry media lines up for what promises to be a wild ride.

–Batman #695-697 (“LIFE AFTER DEATH” Conclusion)
Batman burns down Mario Falcone’s mansion and then questions Jeremiah Arkham about the possible identity of Black Mask.  Meanwhile, Kitrina Falcone tries to steal back the maps of Devil’s Square from Catwoman, but gets caught.  Kitrina explains that she drew up the maps while working for Penguin’s gang inside Devil’s Square.  Kitrina further explains that she is neither working for her family, nor as a part of Penguin’s double-cross against Black Mask.  She’s working solo and wants to collect on the government cash bounty for the capture of Black Mask.  Selina rolls her eyes and ties up Kitrina.  Across town, Mario Falcone tries to flee Gotham, but is attacked by the Reaper.  Batman and Huntress save Falcone’s life and chase off the Reaper.  Catwoman then messages Batman that she’s got Kitrina, but by the time Batman arrives, the master escape artist is long gone with the maps.  Batman tracks Kitrina to an abandoned amusement park, but the Dark Knight is captured by Mad Hatter, who now works for Penguin.  Penguin then sends Batman (mind-controlled by a combo of False Face mask chemicals and a Mad Hatter chip) as his personal one-man army to attack Black Mask.  The mind-controlled Batman attacks Mayor Hady, steals the False Face chemical antidote from his office, tails Catwoman to Kitrina’s hideout, knocks out Catwoman, and forces Kitrina to lead him into Black Mask’s lair using her maps.  Once there, Batman fights the Ministry of Science, but in his drugged-up state Dick is defeated and knocked into the bay.  The next day, Damian retrieves a washed up Dick, who has been completely blacked out since being mind-controlled and remembers nothing.  Dick passes out. Awakening hours later in the Batcave, Dick realizes that he saw Black Mask without his mask and that he now remembers everything.  Black Mask is Jeremiah Arkham!  Oracle has already called in the entire Network, including Batgirl and Red Robin, who returns briefly to Gotham.  We must assume that in the chaos, Red Robin never crosses paths with Batgirl since Tim doesn’t find out that Steph is Batgirl until later.  Anyway, the Network systematically takes out all the False Facers in Devil’s Square, while a competent and sober Batman kicks the Ministry of Science’s collective asses.  Jeremiah Arkham is incarcerated in his own prison.  Afterward, Catwoman goes on patrol with Kitrina Falcone, who debuts as Catgirl!

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #49. Batman (Dick) decides to start his own trophy room in the Bat-Bunker. He then teams-up with Supergirl to defeat “The Heinous Horns of the Murder Maestro” and claims a giant saxophone as a trophy.

–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #49
Batman and Supergirl hang out in the Bat-Bunker, organize the trophy room, and eat Alfred’s famous chicken salad.

–Azrael Vol. 2 #4
Batman and Robin bust a bunch of Crime Bible cultists and retrieve a ton of stolen artifacts and weapons. Upon examination of the weapons, some of which are many years old, Batman discovers that one of the swords in the mix was the very weapon used to slaughter Michael Lane’s family. The twist is that Jennifer Lane‘s (Michael’s former sister-in-law and current girlfriend) fingerprints are on the blade.  Azrael freaks out when he learns the news and goes to confront Jennifer in her apartment. As he begs for her to come clean about the murders, she admits that she blacked out the night of the killings. Az explains that if she plunges herself upon his dual magickal swords, she will remember the truth.  Batman then crashes into the apartment and restrains Azrael. But Jenny is freaked out and does the thingy with the magick swords and her memory is restored. She did kill the rest of her family, but she swears something evil made her do it. Jenny passes out as her young kids (MJ Lane and Tamara Lane) run upstairs crying.  Batman and Azrael are dumbfounded. Dick steps away and lets Michael handle this one. Only Azrael alone can confront the evil power that has invaded his life.

–Nemesis: The Impostors #1-4
Nemesis (Tom Tresser) was last seen in the aftermath of Final Crisis (Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape to be exact) where he was kidnapped and “reprogrammed” by the Global Peace Agency. Now the master of disguise/genius inventor/secret agent is back and has more than a few screws loose. Nemesis wants to bring down his old rivals—the international criminal syndicate known as the Council.[4] The most recent leader of the Council, Soseh Mykros (who took Tresser’s nom de plume of “Nemesis”), was killed by Eclipso a few years ago. Ever since her death, no one has known the secret identity of the new and current leader of the Council. And to this day, still, no one knows. No one except for Tom Tresser. After the Council learns that Tresser is hot on their trail, they try to fool Nemesis with a fake Joker, but Nemesis is always one step ahead of the game.  After an accident-filled high speed highway chase and the death of the fake Joker, Batman (Dick Grayson) intervenes and apprehends Tresser, who can’t tell if he is hallucinating or not. Flying him into custody, Dick activates a live video feed with Tresser’s ex-girlfriend, Wonder Woman, who tries to make sense out of Tresser’s conspiracy theories, but is unable to. Nemesis escapes from Batman’s custody and continues his spy quest to hunt down the Council’s leader, US Senator Andrew Bell. Batman breaks into Nemesis’ apartment and hacks into his CPU system, but winds up with a virus that invades Oracle’s Batcave computers.  Eventually, Oracle finds out Nemesis is after Senator Bell, and Dick is on his way, but not fast enough. Nemesis executes Bell and simultaneously fights his own doppelgänger.  Batman and federal agents arrive and arrest Nemesis. Batman questions Nemesis in prison, but all he gets is a heavy dose of paranoid prolix rambling. Meanwhile, a Tresser doppelgänger watches the whole scene on a video screen.  Or is he the real Nemesis?

–Batman 80-Page Giant Vol. 2 #1
December 16. A foot of snow followed by a severe ice storm have put Gotham under a deep freeze. Riots break out and looters raid the city. The Dynamic Duo is on patrol to stop as many crimes as possible. Meanwhile, Alfred helps a hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold he met recently, taking her to the Annual Wayne Foundation Winter Ball, buying her new clothes, and sending her off to Sioux Falls.  In the morning, Alfred says that he spent the night with a sex worker. Dick and Damian can’t tell whether or not he’s joking. This issue also includes tales involving Millicent Mayne, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy dealing with the trouble that goes along with the blizzard. Batman also helps Commissioner Gordon apprehend an escaped Mr. Freeze. NOTES: There is a short story in this issue that involves three teenage kids trying to become superheroes and one getting killed by Killer Croc. This story takes place a few weeks before the storm. Also, the single-page comic strip by Steve Niles at the end of this issue, while very cute, is non-canon.

–Batman & Robin #4-6 (“REVENGE OF THE RED HOOD”)
For the past week a new homicidal version of the Dynamic Duo has been doling out vigilante justice. Jason Todd (as the Red Hood once again) has returned with a new sidekick, Scarlet (the now unhinged Sasha), who has a Dollotron mask stuck to her face courtesy of Professor Pyg. Red Hood and Scarlet are the Dynamic Duo for the 2010s, Tweeting catchphrases, taking Internet pictures, leaving literal calling cards, scheduling press releases, and uploading iPhone-recorded viral videos online, all while violently killing criminals. At a celebrity party, Damian is introduced to the public as Bruce’s blood-son while Dick meets the masked detective/fiction writer, Oberon Sexton. (SPOILER ALERT: Sexton is actually the Jokerin disguise!) Later that night, Batman and Robin spy on an organized crime meeting, which includes several new masked mobsters and crime-bosses, including Penguin (who says that he works with Black Mask, but probably just says this to look tougher, since Black Mask is in Arkham). Gabriel Santo, the representative of the Mexican cartel known as El Penitente, says that his boss, a mystery man who aptly goes by the name “El Penitente,” is sending in the assassin Eduardo Flamingo to take care of both Red Hood and Batman. (SPOILER ALERT: “El Penitente” is Dr. Simon Hurt!)  Later, Red Hood and Scarlet bust up the crime meeting in bloody, fatal fashion before being chased off by Batman and Robin. In the gruesome aftermath, Dick finds a domino in a mobster’s pocket. Back at his mobile HQ, Jason takes off his helmet, revealing that he now has red hair and is slightly balding. Jason claims that Bruce used to make him dye his hair black to look like Dick! It’s hard to tell if this is true since Jason’s hair has always been black prior to this. (In the Silver/Bronze Age, Jason Todd originally had red hair, so this is merely a cheeky Morrison Easter Egg reference that is probably Jason telling a fib. If anything, his hair has likely become temporarily bleached-out.) In addition to his balding red hair, Jason looks like a total wreck as he’s broken out in zits due to the sweaty, uncomfortable Red Hood helmet. What is happening to Jason, you ask? Jason’s body is slowly deteriorating since he hasn’t bathed in a Lazarus Pit in a long time. Just like Ra’s al Ghul, Jason realizes that life-after-death comes with a price.  Red Hood and Scarlet are then able to capture Batman and Robin, stripping them naked, tying them up, and propping them in front of a web cam. A commercial instantly hits the TV, radio, and Internet explaining that the web cam is attached to a phone system that will activate the camera after it receives one million calls.  Who wants to see the Dynamic Duo naked? Call in! While Dick and Damian escape before baring all, Flamingo arrives and beats the holy hell out of Jason and Sasha. Dick and Damian then team-up with their evil counterparts and are able to defeat Flamingo, but not before Damian is shot and paralyzed. A League of Assassins medical team immediately shows up and takes Damian away. As cops drag Jason away, he asks Dick why he never put Batman’s corpse into a Lazarus Pit. Back at Wayne Tower, Dick opens a secret vault in the Bunker revealing Bruce’s remains. Dick stares at the dead body and contemplates what Jason has said. Meanwhile, El Penitente calls Oberon Sexton and tells him that he knows his secret identity. Oh, and Sasha’s face falls off and she leaves town with a crooked smile on her face.

–DC Holiday Special 2009 Part 1
December 19. Batman chases a crook dressed up as Santa Claus into a warehouse full of Santas.  The Dark Knight busts the correct Santa and spends the night drinking cocoa and eating cookies with all the jolly Saint Nicks.

–Batman & Robin #7-9 (“BLACKEST KNIGHT”)
December 20-22—this story starts on the day before the winter solstice. Alfred accompanies Damian for his surgery at Talia’s tropical HQ. Damian receives a brand new invulnerable spine, courtesy of mom’s super-scientists. Meanwhile, Batman teams-up with Knight and Squire in the UK where Old King Coal is in a London gang war against Smooth Eddie English over the rights to an abandoned mine. After preventing Coal from detonating dirty bombs all over the city and saving Smooth Eddie, Batman questions Eddie’s boss, The Pearly Prince, at Basement 101 (England’s equivalent to Arkham, which is run by British superhero Beefeater, who used to run the JLI Embassy in London). The Pearly Prince reveals that there is a multiple-use Lazarus Pit deep within the mine. Up to this point, Dick was astigmatic to the fact that functioning Lazarus Pits still existed. December 21. Batman ships cloned-Bruce’s corpse to Knight, who drags it down to the Lazarus Pit location. Batman and Squire meet with Knight and Batwoman, who is also in the mine investigating the supposed Religion of Crime prophecy that a monster will be resurrected on the winter solstice. And boy is she right. “Bruce” is dumped into the Lazarus Pit and revived! Dick and company quickly realize that something is wrong when the clone attacks them and can barely form coherent words. Clone-Batman battles his way out of the cavern, but the rest of the heroes are trapped when Old King Coal collapses the mineshaft. Batwoman is crushed under rocks and is enduring intense pain, so she takes an overdose of morphine, which kills her. Dick then resurrects her in the Pit! Meanwhile, instinctively, clone-Batman flies home to Gotham. December 22. Alfred and Damian (in a neck brace and wheelchair) arrive back home at Wayne Tower where they are ambushed by the monstrous clone-Batman. While clone-Batman terrorizes Alfred and Damian, Jake Kane rescues the trapped heroes from the British mine.  Batman and Batwoman use a sub-orbital rocket, which zips them from England to America in 25 minutes, just in time to defeat the clone-Batman, which has already started to deteriorate. A few hours later, Damian is already in costume and ready for action, despite having undergone radical surgery two days prior. But the big news is that there is a chance Bruce is alive somewhere! The Dynamic Duo just has to find out where. Dick delivers the clone-Batman corpse and the news about Bruce to the JLA, but for some reason doesn’t bother to tell Tim, who has been saying that Bruce is still alive since day one. This really makes no sense to me and I wish I could explain it away, but I can’t. Tim will find out when he returns to Gotham in about a-week-and-a-half, at which time, he will deliver the biggest clue to help the investigation: Bruce is lost in time. Although, even Tim will wait until after dealing with Ra’s al Ghul to deliver this information. Priorities! While it isn’t actually shown in any issues, Dick and the JLA begin investigations into determining whether or not Bruce is indeed alive.[5]

–Batman #698-699 (“RIDDLE ME THIS”)
December 22-23.[6] When a murderer begins offing old mobsters using the killing methods of Batman’s most famous rogues (i.e. a Zsasz-like stabbing, a Penguin-like Hitchcockian death, a Mr. Freeze ice fatality, and a Firefly scorching), Batman, Gordon, Kate Spencer, and Riddler are on the case. Riddler proves his eccentric genius, quickly and masterfully solving the crime by fingering magician super-villain Sebastian Blackspell.  But Riddler is playing too close to the edge. Blackspell decides to do his next theme-killing in the style of the Joker. Batman soon finds a Jokerized Riddler in his arms.  Luckily, the Dark Knight is able to rush Eddie to the hospital in time to save his life.  After some deeper investigating, Batman discovers that Riddler is playing a part in the crimes.  Firefly tells Batman that, years ago, he was a member of a secret super-villain group along with Riddler, Blackspell, and several mob bosses. They stole over $10 million, which Blackspell and the mob bosses held for years (until the mob bosses’ murders at the hands of Blackspell at the beginning of this story).  Before Batman can question Riddler, he has checked out of the hospital and received $10 million cash from Blackspell’s account.  When Batman finally tracks down Riddler, Blackspell has magickally mutated into a giant tree-like beast and is trying to kill Riddler. The Dark Knight learns that Riddler had goaded Blackspell into killing-off their old business associates. Riddler wanted Blackspell to attack him as well, but when the latter did not, Riddler faked the Joker-Venom attack. During the weird fight between Riddler and Blackspell, Riddler gets away and goes into hiding.  Batman puts Blackspell (who curiously morphs into Hugo Strange for just a moment) into Arkham, but he’s not talking. NOTES: One of the murdered men in this story, Lazlo Rankin, supposedly worked for Carmine Falcone ten years ago. This is impossible since Falcone died well before that. Also, Gordon speaks with Alyce Sinner at Arkham. Jeremiah, while not shown, is still supposedly in charge at this point. Jeremiah, of course, is not in charge anymore. And finally, Tony Daniel—love the art, but his writing on this arc doesn’t make any sense.

–DC Holiday Special 2009 Part 3
December 24.  Early in the morning, Wally and Donna help Batman apprehend Killer Croc. Afterward, Dick reminds Wally of all the present-purchasing and holiday preparation he has forgotten about. Good thing Wally is the Flash. With super-speed, Wally makes it a merry Xmas for his family, zipping across the entire globe to gather the right gifts and to attend various school pageants and such. In the evening, before patrol, Dick attends the JLA Holiday Party/Secret Santa Gift Swap.

–Batman: Streets of Gotham #7-11
December 24-26. The vigilante known as Abuse has been tracking missing children for months now. On Christmas Eve night, Batman and Robin (with Abuse watching from a distance) corner the confused Humpty Dumpty who, dressed as Santa Claus, wants only to help “fix” the children he’s been finding washed up by the riverside lately. The Dynamic Duo goes to Humpty’s hideout and discover a bunch of dead children. Who has been killing the kiddies? Zsasz, of course. And now that his boss Black Mask is in jail, Zsasz has no one to hold him down.  The serial killer forces his dozens of children to knife fight to the death for his own amusement. The heroes don’t know the details, but Dick, Damian, (and Abuse) vow to save the kids. However, the Zsasz case is temporarily postponed when another string of murders occur. Batman and Commissioner Gordon realize the dead in this new case are all linked to a sex club.  Upon further investigation and undercover work at the club, Batman thinks he’s found the killer, a sex worker and her boyfriend who have been blackmailing family men. Red herring. Then Batman thinks it’s the ex-boyfriend of the sex worker. Red herring. After Gordon goes undercover at the sex club (wonder why everyone is so eager to go undercover at a sex club?), Batman nabs the actual killer. It was the doorman at the sex worker’s apartment. Now that that little case is solved, Batman and Robin can get down to real business—Zsasz’s underground kiddie death fights. But Damian is sick of Dick’s methodical ways and goes off solo in search of Zsasz. After poking around near the river where Humpty Dumpty found dead bodies on Xmas Eve, Damian and ten-year-old Colin Wilkes (Abuse’s human form) are both kidnapped by Zsasz’s men. Once in Zsasz’s lair, Damian starts kicking ass to such an extent, Colin immediately knows that he must be Robin! Damian is then lured into an arena of bloodthirsty gamblers and forced to knife-fight against Zsasz himself. Zsasz cuts up Damian and is about to kill him until a Venom-engorged Abuse busts into the Arena a starts beating on the super-villain. Damian smears his own blood on his face creating a literal crimson mask and then helps Abuse fight off the angry crowd, which pours out of the stands. Robin and Abuse successfully chase off the raving mob. Robin then gives Zsasz a nasty, but non-lethal, sword slice in the belly. Like most Gotham villains, Zsasz falls into the river and washes into the bay. We next see him injured at Arkham, so we must assume the cops find him. Batman then shows up and is abhorred at the amount of blood that both covers the ground and is splattered all over Robin and Abuse. Damian pinky swears that no one was killed in the melee.

–Detective Comics #861-863 (“CUTTER”)
Nine years ago, Batman (Bruce) apprehended kidnapper Austin Phelps, but his victim, Vanessa Hansen-Grey, developed Stockholm Syndrome and sided with her abductor. Now, Phelps is out of jail and, with Vanessa guiding him, becomes the serial killing, body part-collecting super-villain known as Cutter.  Cutter has been brutally butchering college girls at Gotham University. When student Bette Kane is abducted by Cutter, Batwoman, who has been fighting and tracking him all week, goes in for the rescue. Batwoman defeats Cutter and Vanessa and saves her cousin, who realizes that Kate is underneath the Bat-mask. Afterward, Bette meets with Kate and reveals that she is the former superhero Flamebird and wants to partner up.

–Detective Comics #864-866
This tale begins with a reference to the “Transference” storyline in Batman: Gotham Knights #8-11 way back in Bat Year 16. It turns out, Jeremiah Arkham was given a marotte toy from the Joker following that storyline, which the doctor kept as a keepsake. The marotte contained a toxin which Jeremiah slowly absorbed into his body over the course of years, which weakened his resistance so that Hugo Strange and Joker could implant hidden suggestions into his mind. Thus Jeremiah began to deteriorate, then hallucinate, then turned into the Black Mask. Now, the schizophrenic Jeremiah is imprisoned in his own asylum. Downtown, corporate financier Conrad LeBlanc begs for help, revealing that Black Mask had surgically implanted a bomb inside his chest weeks ago during the Devil’s Square fiasco. Batman meets with Jeremiah at Arkham to get the deactivation code. As they chat, the truth comes out about the marotte and the toxins.  After flushing the toxins out of his system, Jeremiah seems stable and sane once again. He hands over the code, but LeBlanc explodes just as it is entered. Batman and Gordon believe that the bomb went off by a timer, but in reality, Jeremiah isn’t sane at all, he’s quite evilly mad and had handed over the activation code. Alyce Sinner then tells the Dark Knight that she has just been officially promoted to the new director of Arkham Asylum, despite her own checkered past, which involves a string of possible cult murders.  As Batman leaves, a scream permeates the air.  Jeremiah has assaulted Victor Zsasz (who is still wounded from his last encounter with Robin and Abuse), carving his initials into the inside of Zsasz’s eyelid. After the commotion dies down, in private, Alyce kisses Jeremiah. They are still in love and this is bad news since they run the asylum. That night, Batman visits Loomis, an old bed-ridden criminal who has just gotten out of jail. Batman questions Loomis about an encounter he (Loomis) had with the Joker a long time ago (specifically on Dick’s first ever patrol with Bruce in Bat Year 6) regarding a missing Order of St. Dumas medallion. This encounter was the reason Loomis has been in jail for the past 16 years. The Dark Knight returns to the site of the missing medallion and finds the lost jewelry, thus exonerating Loomis of the theft. Batman returns to Loomis, but the Joker has killed him by the time he gets there.

——————–the second feature to Batman: Streets of Gotham #14
——————–Batman: Streets of Gotham #15
Two-Face gathers his troops celebrate the incarceration of Jeremiah Arkham. Batman shows up and tells Two-Face to turn himself in to the GCPD. The FBI shows up right behind Batman and starts a bloody shit show. Two-Face and his cronies escape only to get into another shootout with Mario Falcone’s mob. Afterward, Two-Face escapes yet again, but only with three of his men alive—one of them an outed FBI undercover agent with a bullet in his belly. Two-Face goes on a murder spree in the subway and then drags the fed to a doctor’s house. Two-Face orders the doc to patch up the traitor so he can get information out of him, but the double-agent dies, causing the villain to go on a rampage where he threatens to kill the doctor and his wife. Two-Face’s final two henchmen, fed up with what they have seen, stab their boss multiple times, and dump his body into the river. A comatose Two-Face washes into the countryside and is later discovered by fishermen. Two-Face winds up confined to a bed and will be slowly nursed back to health for the next 26 days by a small-town preacher.

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman: Streets of Gotham #15. Late December. Despite being under the watchful eyes of various superheroes, Tommy Elliot (posing as Bruce Wayne) uses his position on the Arkham Parole Board to release dangerous criminals. Over the course of the next few weeks, Tommy will help release Tweedledee, Tweedledum, Lock-Up, and Humpty Dumpty with clean bills of health.


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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: FYI, December 2010 is one highly compressed month, one of the most compressed we’ve seen thus far on our entire chronology.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: For more detailed information regarding the future scenes depicted in this issue, please see the Welcome to the Future section of the Modern Age.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Note that, as per Convergence: The Atom #1-2, Ryan Choi is not actually killed (sort of)! When he is stabbed by Deathstroke, a part of his mind/spirit enters the “Mass-Zone,” a white dwarf star dimension where mass is displaced to when shrinking down to atomic size. Via a shared connection to the Mass-Zone, Ryan is able to secretly exist deep within the recesses of Ray Palmer’s consciousness and body. So, While Ryan’s teeny corpse is unceremoniously stuffed into a matchbox by Deathstroke, technically, Ryan lives on inside Ray.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: The Council has been the number one crime group in the entire DCU for hundreds of years. Batman (Bruce Wayne) dealt with the Council way back in Year Eight, Year Nine, and Year Ten, but then never saw or heard from them again. If you are thinking “How come you’ve never heard of the Council being regarded as numero uno before?” then you aren’t alone. But here’s your answer as to why. Unlike the myriad of other crime groups in the DCU, the Council are so good they’ve never been shut down!
  5. [5]KENT HARE: There can’t be any appearances of a hale and whole Damian between Batman & Robin #6 and Batman & Robin #7—which means that virtually no other story-arcs can go in-between them.  Thus, Batman & Robin #4-9 are quite necessarily bunched together.

    COLLIN COLSHER: Batman & Robin #4-9 is indeed a solid run without interruption (besides the quick Holiday Special insert that doesn’t feature Robin).

  6. [6]AMANDA GREEN/ ALEKSANDAR: “Riddle Me This” takes place after the Batman-less Gotham City Sirens #9-10, which was published a few months prior to Batman #698. Gotham City Sirens #9-10 occurs “a couple weeks” after Kitrina Falcone’s bombing in the first part of “Life After Death.” Thus, Gotham City Sirens #9-10 must go right around here, which means that Batman #698 must follow immediately afterward. Notably, in Gotham City Sirens #10, Eddie Nigma is still helping the Gotham City Sirens with Dr. Aesop and he is still having conversations with himself about his good/bad attitude. On a side note, “Riddle Me This” is poorly written, really confusing, and maybe even pointless—except to show the reader that Eddie is leaning over to the “villain side” again.

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