Infinite Frontier Year Twenty (Part 1)

(January 2021 to June 2021)
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–REFERENCE: In Flash #750 Part 6, the Flash Forward TPB epilogue, and Dark Nights: Death Metal #2. The Flash Forward epilogue from Flash #750 Part 6 immediately follows the main action of “Justice/Doom War,” which is then immediately followed by the epilogue to Flash Forward TPB. In these epilogues, we see Wally West attempting to use Dr. Manhattan’s powers to reboot the DCU, but he is blocked by the Batman Who Laughs, who instead wields Perpetua’s powers. However, Wally does manage to get something through. The collective memory block/erasure of the Justice Society of America and other 20th century superheroes (including Wonder Woman’s adventures from that era) is finally lifted. Everyone now remembers the JSA and Wonder Woman’s true history again! The Batman Who Laughs’ cosmic muscle-flexing leads directly into the intro to Dark Nights: Death Metal.[1]

–FLASHBACK: From Dark Nights: Death Metal #1-2 and Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 Part 1—and referenced in Dark Nights: Death Metal #1-3, Dark Nights: Death Metal #5, Dark Nights: Death Metal #7, Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 Part 1, Dark Nights: Death Metal – Trinity Crisis #1, Dark Nights: Death Metal – Legends of the Dark Knights #1 Part 6, Dark Nights: Death Metal – Multiverse’s End #1, Dark Nights: Death Metal – Robin King #1, and Dark Nights: Death Metal – Infinite Hour Exxxtreme #1. Having just bested the Legion of Doom (as seen in Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #1-4), a Perpetua-powered Batman Who Laughs sics his League of Dark Knights, dozens of evil Batmen from the Dark Multiverse, upon Earth-0. Members of this League include Bat Mage, B-Rex, Beyonder, Darkfather, Dr. Arkham, Bathomet, Batmobeast, Batom, Castle Bat, Batrocitus, Night Glider, Collector, Warbat, Batmazo, Mindhunter, Grim Knight, Chiroptor, Ark, The Pearl, Black Monday, Kull, Baby Batman, Quietus, The Batman Who Frags, and many others. Dr. Arkham kills Captain Atom, nuking the US West Coast in the process. Bat Mage defeats the Justice League Dark and subjugates the Amazons. Darkfather bests the Titans and Teen Titans. Bathomet takes over the oceans. And the sentient tower known as Castle Bat rises up over Gotham, taking over the entire city. With Earth brought to its knees, the Justice League emerges through the Quintessence’s portal (directly from the end of Justice League Vol. 4 #39) to challenge Perpetua and the Batman Who Laughs. The villains use Perpetua’s Crisis Energy against the heroes, who strike back with Dr. Manhattan’s Connective Energy (aka Anti-Crisis Energy). The clash between Perpetua and Wonder Woman is so intense that it causes the sun to nearly burn out. Ultimately, Wonder Woman hesitates, allowing Perpetua to overpower the heroes. The JL then splits up, but they are overwhelmed by dozens more Dark Knights. Sensing the end is near, Batman gets his Black Power Battery ring and heads into battle. Sure enough, against the overwhelming odds, Batman is killed! The black power ring immediately resurrects Batman, after which he goes into hiding. Batman puts a factitious black power ring on his finger, keeping the real one hidden on his person elsewhere. As specifically shown via flashback from Dark Nights: Death Metal #2, Hal Jordan replaces a fallen John Stewart and Hawkgirl, joining the JL in their struggle. Hal and the JL reach toward a strange ornate portal to face Perpetua once again, but they are electrified and reduced to skeletal forms, suffering final defeat. Having no choice, some Earth-0 folks—including Harley Quinn, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Swamp Thing— are forced into prostration before the Dark Knights. (Wonder Woman is subservient in an effort to protect her Amazon sisters. Swamp Thing is subservient in an effort to protect the Parliament of Trees. Aquaman is subservient in an effort to protect Atlantis. And Harley is just trying to survive.) The Batman Who Laughs then magickally alters the universe, turning Earth into a global funhouse of Batman-themed horror, while merging Apokolips with the dying sun. Landmasses are terraformed into a Bat-symbol-shaped quasi-Pangaea (consisting of four major island continents) with each isle containing its own unique Bat-fantasy landscape. The resurrected Batman evades capture, but most of his fellow heroes are imprisoned on New Apokolips (formerly the sun). There, Mr. Miracle is forced by Darkfather to create an Anti-Life device, which is basically an evil Kryptonite-emitting Peloton bike. The Man of Steel is strapped into the machine, which slowly begins to kill him cell by cell. Most of the super-villains of Earth-0 are also rounded up and sent to Hell (formerly Themyscira/Tartarus), a prison reluctantly wardened by Wonder Woman and an emaciated Swamp Thing. Other metahumans are mutated into new monstrous forms. The entire populace of Earth-0 is chained to a giant antenna, which serves as Perpetua’s Crisis Energy-gathering tool. Meanwhile, Perpetua herself storms the cosmos, destroying multiple universes as she goes. All the universes in the Local Multiverse are destroyed except for nine. (Earth-3’s Crime Syndicate, Earth-10’s Overman, Earth 29’s Unjustice League of Unmerica, Earth-34’s Blood League, and Earth-50’s Justice Lords all pledge allegiance to Perpetua.) In hiding on Earth-0, undead Batman dons a new Metal trench coat costume, gathers supplies, builds a wholly new arsenal, and makes a motorcycle his new primary mode of transport. He begins formulating a plan to take back the planet.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 Part 5
Batman forges a bullet made out of White Lantern energy. This bullet can supposedly destroy the Batman Who Laughs. Using the Black Power Battery ring, Batman resurrects the Dead Bats in Dead Bats Park, prepping them for future battle. Batman then resurrects a zombie Jonah Hex to be his main partner (and potential White Lantern bullet gunman). Batman and Hex take down a Joker dragon, after which Hex skins the dragon and uses its bones to decorate Batman’s motorcycle. Batman tells Hex their primary destination is the Crypt of Heroes at Valhalla Cemetery (with the goal of resurrecting all the dead superheroes there). But before they get there, they’ll need to make a quick stop at Dead Bats Park. Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 is about to begin.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal #1-3
Wonder Woman and Swamp Thing meet with Bat Mage, B-Rex, and Beyonder, who have captured and brought-in Wally West. Later, in Dead Bats Park, the Batman Who Laughs addresses his League of Dark Knights (Harley Quinn, Harley’s mutated hyena George, Aquaman, Dr. Arkham, Bathomet, Bat Mage, and Darkfather), a bunch of Groblins, Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, and a captive Mr. Miracle. The Batman Who Laughs announces that Perpetua has destroyed Earth-22, making it so there are only eight universes left. Meanwhile, Batman uses his psychic link to secretly commune with Wonder Woman, telling her that they must infiltrate Castle Bat, the sentient HQ of the villains. Batman then makes a bold appearance, confronting the villains head-on. The Batman Who Laughs sics his Dark Knights (including Bat-Etrigan, Bat-Clayface, Bat-Deathstroke, Plastic Bat, Bat-Scarecrow, Bat-Penguin, and Bat-Reaper) upon the lone hero. Batman uses his Black Power Battery ring to assemble the Dead Bats. Led by Hex, the zombie Dead Bats take the fight to the Dark Knights. Meanwhile, on the bone planet of Ossex, Lobo recovers some Death Metal (aka “Metal X” aka “Tenth Metal” aka “Element X”) for Lex Luthor, who has plans of his own to bring down the Batman Who Laughs. Batman rides away. Later, Wonder Woman chats with Wally West, who tells her how the villains defeated them using Crisis Energy. Wally explains Perpetua’s power comes from a constant supply of Crisis Energy. (In the Dark Multiverse, there are dangerous worlds where the major Crises of the DCU happen over and over. In these worlds, Crisis Energy can be harvested.) The Batman Who Laughs, having overheard their colloquy, appears and threatens Wonder Woman, who responds by killing him with an invisible chainsaw! Upon learning of the Batman Who Laughs’ demise, Bat Mage pays a visit to the Final Bruce Wayne (a Dark Multiverse version of Bruce Wayne that was endowed with the power of Dr. Manhattan). Elsewhere, Batman resurrects a zombie Sgt. Frank Rock (who had previously been time-displaced from the 1940s only to be killed upon arrival in the present chaos). Batman, Rock, and Hex rendezvous with the JSA (Alan Scott, Dr. Fate, Wildcat, and Jay Garrick) at Valhalla Cemetery (in the Hellscape aka what used to be Washington DC). Meanwhile, Wonder Woman, Wally West, and Swamp Thing commandeer Batmobeast (the living Bat-monster truck), accidentally running over and killing Batom en route to Valhalla. There, the heroes regroup as Batman Bat-stamps which deceased superheroes are worth resuscitating. (The original Liberty Belle, original Phantom Lady, Human Bomb, and Uncle Sam all make the first cut, but Batman eventually says “to hell with it, let’s resurrect them all.” We also see the graves of Black Condor, the original Dove, Sandman, and Johnny Quick.) But before Batman can take any action, Wonder Woman convinces him that they should travel into the Dark Multiverse to harness Crisis Energy. Flash joins them as well. Concurrently, in Castle Bat, Alfrood and a team of Dark Multiverse Alfreds do a brain transplant, putting the Batman Who Laughs’ brain into the Final Bruce Wayne’s body, thus spawning a Dr. Manhattan-powered Batman Who Laughs. This new force communes with Perpetua, who reports having destroyed Universe-50. Now only six universes remain. The Batman Who Laughs then kills Bat Mage, B-Rex, and Beyonder just for kicks. He appoints one of the sickest Groblins as his official sidekick, renaming him The Robin King. The Batman Who Laughs also renames himself The Darkest Knight. The heroes, joined by Harley Quinn, take down Dr. Arkham, who gets eaten alive by Harley’s pet hyena George. The heroes then hop a ride in Toymaster’s Composite-Trinity rocket to New Apokolips. After fending-off Pararobins, the heroes rescue a poisoned Superman, whose hair has grown to shoulder-length. Darkfather zaps Batman with an Omega ray gun, but Batman’s already dead, so no harm done. When questioned about his miraculous survival, Batman makes up a “Bat-Blocker” story and moves on, keeping his undead secret a secret. Superman then kayos a stunned Darkfather. The Darkest Knight and the Robin King infiltrate Valhalla Cemetery, forcing Wally, Barry, and Jay to flee. On New Apokolips, Batman and company free all the imprisoned superheroes from the super-prison. (Batgirl is wearing her old Burnside costume for some reason, so I guess it’s all she had access to during this chaos.) Missions are assigned. The Green Lantern Corps will go to the six remaining Earths to tear down Perpetua’s antennas (power receptors made out of chained humans). Martian Manhunter will lead a team to destroy Perpetua’s throne (a repurposed Mobius Chair fueled by comatose LOD members). Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman will lead the charge into the Dark Multiverse. Jarro will use his psychic powers to mask all of this from the bad guys. The end goal? To reboot the multiverse! Meanwhile, in the 5th Dimension, Lobo continues his quest, collecting more Death Metal for Luthor.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal – Trinity Crisis #1
With all the collected heroes gathered, Wonder Woman goes over the plan of entering the Dark Multiverse to collect Crisis Energy (which can be stored in cosmic Alfred Boxes). (This gathering scene is also shown via flashback from Justice League Vol. 4 #54 and Justice League Vol. 4 #57.) The GLC heads toward Perpetua’s antenna while Martian Manhunter’s team heads toward her throne. The Trinity— along with Jarro, Swamp Thing, Jonah Hex, and Harley Quinn—heads toward Castle Bat. Swamp Thing becomes one with the Green, allowing the Trinity to enter Castle Bat from underground. As they travel, Jarro shares a vision of the Flash-Family running away from the Darkest Knight (an image straight from the pages of Dark Nights: Death Metal – Speed Metal #1). Underneath Castle Bat, the heroes fend off a siege from Chiropter, Ark, the Pearl, Black Monday, and Kull. They soon find an imprisoned Barbatos. When the Robin King appears, the Trinity splits up, each booming away (via Alfred Box) to Dark Multiverse “Crisis” Earths. (The Trinity booming away is also shown via flashback from Dark Nights: Death Metal #4.) Meanwhile, Robin King destroys Hex, causing Harley, Jarro, and Swamp Thing to flee. Batman winds up on a Crisis on Infinite Earths world, while Wonder Woman winds up on an Infinite Crisis world, and Superman winds up on a Final Crisis world. Our heroes are dumbfounded when they discover that on these Dark Multiverse Earths, history is different—the good guys have lost. Waiting for the Trinity are villains recruited by the Darkest Knight: Batman faces off against the Anti-Monitor; Superman faces off against Darkseid; and Wonder Woman faces off against Superboy-Prime.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal #4
On Earth-0, the superheroes fight the mutated super-villains in the wastelands of the Metalverse. Ambush Bug hauls around the severed-but-still-talking zombie head of Sgt. Rock! On the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Dark Multiverse world, the Anti-Monitor (in child form) begins the painful process of erasing Batman from existence. On the “Final Crisis” world, an aged Darkseid and his minions capture and torture Superman. On the “Infinite Crisis” world, Superboy-Prime captures Wonder Woman, strapping her to a golden antenna designed to siphon energy straight to the Darkest Knight. While the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid are fully onboard the Darkest Knight’s team, Superboy-Prime has some doubt, which is exploited by a silver-tongued Wonder Woman. Superboy-Prime shows Wonder Woman a video of some of the “Infinite Crisis” world’s hero community before they became “dark and corrupted,” wishing for a return to those simpler times. Wonder Woman convinces Superboy-Prime that the heroes might be darker, but they still have hope! Superboy-Prime betrays the Darkest Knight by reality-punching the three Dark Multiverse worlds, thus saving the Trinity from certain death. Meanwhile, beneath Castle Bat, Robin King banishes the spirit of Jonah Hex to the lowest depths of Hell. Harley Quinn, Swamp Thing, and Jarro rejoin the Flashes, who continue to flee from the Darkest Knight. The Trinity (along with Superboy-Prime) return to Earth-0, sending the Crisis Energy from the three “Crisis” worlds into the Mobius Chair. Unfortunately, the Darkest Knight is able to steal the energy, thus gaining even more power.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal – Robin King #1
Picking up directly from Dark Nights: Death Metal #4, the Darkest Knight begins re-creating the entire multiverse in his own image. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Superboy-Prime, the Flashes, Harley Quinn, and Swamp Thing are all knocked unconscious. The Robin King appears and quickly murders Animal Man, Red Tornado, and Blue Beetle (Ted Kord). Robin King is about to vanquish Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman as well, but the Darkest Knight tells him that playtime is over, tossing the Trinity through a portal back to the center of Gotham Castle. The Darkest Knight then re-introduces Robin King to the rest of the Groblins, who now worship Robin King as their supreme leader. Meanwhile, Robin (Tim Drake), Spoiler, Orphan, and Signal defeat the Dark Knight known as Quietus, who is a Dark Multiverse mashup of Batman, Ra’s al Ghul, and Signal. (Note that Orphan and Spoiler are drawn wearing older versions of their costumes, but this is Death Metal, so it’s possible those are the only duds they could get their hands on.)

–Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 Part 1
Robin King once again toys with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and once again, the Darkest Knight tells him to stand down. Oddly, the Darkest Knight then immediately orders Castle Bat to eliminate the Trinity. After the Darkest Knight departs to challenge Perpetua, Castle Bat rises up into a giant Godzilla-sized Batman made up of fused-together skyscrapers and roadways. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Swamp Thing, and Superboy-Prime fight a losing battle against Castle Bat until they are saved by the the Legion of Doom. (The LOD, having just been rescued by the new Justice League, has come straight from Justice League Vol. 4 #57, the end of which overlaps with Dark Nights: Death Metal #5.) Outside of a smoldering Earth-49, Perpetua is confronted by the Darkest Knight. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor addresses the heroes (who are once again joined by the Flashes) and his LOD, detailing a plan to stop the Darkest Knight. Lobo arrives with the final piece of Metal X (aka Death Metal), delivering it to Luthor, who explains that he will build a Metal X machine capable of channeling Anti-Crisis Energy through everyone, thus returning memories of the entire Metaverse to all, while simultaneously cultivating the power needed to eliminate the Darkest Knight. The Trinity agrees to Luthor’s plan. Wonder Woman declaims that her original plan of wanting to reboot the multiverse was flawed, affirming Luthor’s idea of “untying the knots” in the Metaverse timeline. In concept, there won’t be a reboot, but everyone will have all memory of every prior continuity iteration of oneself. Sounds like a very bad 24/7 acid trip if you ask me, but okay, we’ll see. (Luthor’s address to the heroes is also shown via flashback from Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1 Part 1.) The heroes release all the super-villains from Hell, recruiting them into the fold.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Nights: Death Metal #6 and Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1. Batman collects the Batman Who Laughs’ corpse, which had been previously discarded after the super-villain upgraded into his new Darkest Knight body. With plans to resurrect and control the original Batman Who Laughs, Batman obtains a page from Jason Blood’s Book of Necromancy, using it to cast a magickal binding spell that will supposedly increase his Black Power Battery ring’s sway over the revived zombie. Sensing that the Batman Who Laughs’ corpse has been treated with Lazarus Pit oil, Batman takes more precautionary measures, dousing the body with a counteragent.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1 Part 6
Having recruited hundreds of heroes and villains (living and dead), to fight in the soon-to-come conflict to save Earth-0, Batman begins preparing for all-out war. Earth-0’s army erects a tent city in the wasteland that was once the former Themyscira, bedding down for one final night’s rest before combat. Under the night sky, Batman has a heartwarming pep talk with Batgirl, instructing her to gather the Bat-Family for a meeting. Batgirl grabs Robin, interrupting a poker game he’s in with Magpie, Killer Croc, and Despero. Then she collects Red Hood and Nightwing. The foursome has an uplifting discussion. When Babs and Dick begin to bicker, Batman settles their dispute and does a mock wedding, “marrying” the couple. Babs and Dick spend a romantic night sharing a tent together. Hours later, as the sun rises, Batman readies himself for the final fight.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1 Part 1 Epilogue
Dozens of former Teen Titans (and some Teen Titan rivals) gather in the Hellscape (formerly Themyscira) for a meet-and-greet. Wally West makes his return, hoping to finally apologize for his actions during Heroes in Crisis. The heroes are more than forgiving, and Donna Troy warmly embraces her old friend before delivering a rousing pre-battle speech to the whole crowd. Watching with approval from the sidelines, Batman uses his Black Power Battery ring to resurrect a zombie Arsenal (Roy Harper)! After a heartwarming reunion, the heroes mobilize for action, joining with the larger defense battalion. (The defense concourse is also shown in Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1 Part 5.)

–Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 Part 2
Picking up directly from Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1 Part 1 Epilogue, Earth-0’s defense battalion has mobilized for action. Lex Luthor gives Wonder Woman the old journal of Carter Hall, at the back of which he has drawn up designs for his Metal X machine. Flanked by an army of mini-Lobo doppelgängers, Wonder Woman dives into the Rock of Destiny, which can teleport them all to the heart of the World Forge. Meanwhile, in order to get the Darkest Knight’s attention, Superman assembles Cyborg Superman, Superboy-Prime, Bizarro #1, Sinestro, Atrocitus, Star Sapphire (Carol Ferris), Black Adam, Swamp Thing, and Abigail Arcane. They send a destructive blast of power to Earth-0’s core. Sure enough, the Darkest Knight orders reinforcements to put a stop to the shenanigans. Earth-0’s planetary battalion stands waiting in a defensive position. Among the gathered combatants are: resurrected zombies Ted Kord, Animal Man, Fate (Jared Stevens), Hawk (Holly Granger), Dove (Don Hall), Air Wave, TNT, Dan the Dyna-Mite, Blue Beetle (Dan Garrett), Red Bee, Human Bomb, Black Condor, Enemy Ace (Hans Von Hammer), Claw the Unconquered, Bat Lash, and Anthro; a resurrected Justice Society of America (original Atom aka Al Pratt, Damage aka Grant Emerson, Hourman aka Rex Tyler, Sandman aka Wesley Dodds, Red Tornado aka Ma Hunkel, Liberty Belle aka Libby Lawrence, and Johnny Quick) with a living Alan Scott; a reconstructed Red Tornado; a double-resurrected Sgt. Rock (rescued from perdition and now full-bodied again); Batgirl; Nightwing; Signal; Bluebird; the Guardian; Joker; Clayface; Penguin; Mr. Freeze; the Crime Syndicate’s Johnny Quick and Ultraman; an alt-Batman that is too far off in the distance to make out clearly; and dozens more. Kickstarting the impending conflict, the Darkest Knight sends an army of thousands—hailing from dozens of his newly created dark Earths (collectively known as the “Last 52”)—hurtling toward Earth-0.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal #6
Picking up directly from Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 Part 2, the evil forces of the Last 52 begird the final survivors of Earth-0. Batman uses his Black Power Battery ring to re-animate and control the corpse of the Batman Who Laughs. Alongside his army, Batman charges toward the frontline and the war erupts into bedlam. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman and the Lobos travel through an onyx abyss comprised of dark matter en route to the Forge of Worlds. As they travel, the blackness that surrounds them literally comes to life—an extension of the Darkest Knight himself. The Lobos hold off the darkness long enow for Wonder Woman to make it to the Forge of Worlds, although she loses Carter Hall’s journal. At the Forge of Worlds, Wonder Woman comes face-to-face with Darkseid, who holds a now infant Mobius. Across the cosmos, the Darkest Knight continues to battle Perpetua, who tells him that her equals—the other “Hands”—will come for him if she falls. Laughing, the Darkest Knight seemingly kills Perpetua, entombing her corpse in a sarcophagus made out of chunks of the Source Wall. On Earth-0, the last line of defense holds stoutly, defeating all of the Last 52 opponents. Unfazed, the planet-sized Darkest Knight arrives along with his top warriors, including the Robin King, dozens of Groblins, the original Dark Knights, Swamp King and his army of evil Swamp Things, a giant Grim Reaper, Last Sun, and many more. At the Forge of Worlds, Wonder Woman chats with Darkseid, realizing that while she’s lost the instructions on how to build Lex Luthor’s Metal X machine, she has a perfect substitute. Dipping her Lasso of Truth into the lava, Wonder Woman becomes imbued from head-to-toe with golden metal. A shockwave of energy reverberates across the multiverse, giving everyone complete knowledge and memory of the entire metaverse’s history. In an instant, everyone gains total recall of their lives from prior continuities. Golden Wonder Woman, chainsaw in hand, emerges from the depths to directly challenge the Darkest Knight.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1
Picking up directly from the Batman-less Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Secret Origin #1, the war to end all wars rages on. While hundreds of combatants scuffle in the Hellscape beneath them, a Godzilla-sized golden Wonder Woman wrestles with an equally-towering Darkest Knight. As the gods duel, the heroes group with their friends to combat their evil counterparts. The Flash-Family reunites while Wally West and Arsenal kill an evil version of Wally. Superman and his closest allies (and former rivals) take on Last Sun and the Superiors of the Ancient House of El (Shepherd, Saint, and Savior). The Bat-Family (and former Bat-rogues) take on the Dark Knights and other alt-Batmen. Despite having resurrected the Batman Who Laughs’ original corpse and bound it under his control with the Black Power Battery ring and Jason Blood’s magick, the Batman Who Laughs shows autonomy, betraying the Caped Crusader. Batman fights the Batman Who Laughs, with both zombified Batmen matching each other move for bloody bludgeoning move. Eventually, Batman tells the Batman Who Laughs he’ll forget him if the Darkest Knight wins and completes the revision of the multiverse in his image. Seeing that the only path forward is to team-up with Batman, the Batman Who Laughs does so, rejoining him to fight against swarming Joker Dragons. Concurrently, Ray Palmer defeats an evil version of Ryan Choi. At the crumbled remains of the Daily Planet building, an evil Lois Lane, surrounded by anti-superhero protestors from her alt-Earth, attacks Lois Lane, seemingly tossing her to her death. Starfire, Beast Boy, Aqualad, Damian (having returned to his Robin moniker), Raven, and Red Arrow best some Groblins before taking on evil versions of themselves. In the middle of the Hellscape, Penguin fights several alt-Penguins, getting devoured alive by one of them. Inside his belly, Penguin merges with his counterpart, morphing him into a giant carnivorous blackbird. In this grotesque form, Penguin uses his new avian skin to defeat (and eat) his rivals. Not far away, John Constantine comes face to face with an alt-version of himself as well. However, instead of fighting like all the rest, the Constantines sit down for a drink and a chat. Earth-0 Constantine poisons his rival to death. (In this Constantine bit, we see a non-golden regular-sized Wonder Woman, an emaciated half-torso Sgt. Rock, and normal Penguin—these are all continuity errors or they are merely alt-versions of the characters.) Flanked by Frankenstein, Abby Arcane, Anton Arcane, Clayface, Solomon Grundy, and Brimstone (Annie Chamberlain), Swamp Thing is able to defeat Swamp King, although all of Swamp Thing’s comrades are bested. (The battle of these heroes against the Swamp King will continue in Dark Nights: Death Metal #7, so be aware that nothing is settled here, despite how things look.) Towering high above the fray, Wonder Woman and the Darkest Knight continue their celestial duel.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal #7
As the final defenders of Earth-0 combat the iniquities of the Last 52 amid the Hellscape, golden goddess Wonder Woman battles giant Darkest Knight aka The One Who Laughs, slugging it out through time immemorial, falling to 160 million BCE and then to the beginning of time itself where they bear witness to the Great Hand of Creation—confirmed by the Darkest Knight to be Perpetua’s appendage—conducting its demiurgic task. The Darkest Knight tells Wonder Woman that Perpetua’s fellow Great Hand super-celestials are on their way to erase and reboot the multiverse, but that only he has the power to stop them. Back on the Hellscape, Earth-0’s defenses fall one-by one. Eventually, the entire Bat-Family is killed, leaving the Robin King to taunt Batman and hew off his hand. Undeterred, Batman resurrects the entire Bat-Family (including Alfred!), his former rivals (including Bane and Joker), and the downed Groblins, turning the bunch into his revamped zombie army. With Superman defeated by the Last Sun in deep space, Lex Luthor sacrifices his own life to destroy the villain. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman hulks-up and bitch-slaps the Darkest Knight with Perpetua’s hand. She then punches him forward through time all the way into a dying red sun. As the Great Hands appear, Wonder Woman must choose between a full-on cosmic reboot or living in a world created in the image of the Darkest Knight. Seeing that the latter is a bad choice, Wonder Woman smashes the Darkest Knight into the sun, killing him. Moments later, Wonder Woman awakens in a blank white void, coming face to face with one of the Great Hands, who appears in the form of a younger Diana. Inspired by Wonder Woman’s derring-do, the Great Hand explains that her kin won’t reboot the multiverse, but instead will restore everything and everyone back to perfect health while making “all history, and all stories set and remembered once and for all.” The super-celestial cites that “no reality has been constructed this way before” and that “everything will be new, with greater possibilities.” Wonder Woman then ascends into the firmament to join the rest of the Great Hands in order to protect the “fresh new reality from a lurking threat.” And just like that, multiverse is restored back to how it was before Perpetua and the Batman Who Laughs mucked everything up. All the heroes and villains are resurrected—including many of whom had died prior to the events of Death Metal. The top heroes and villains construct a top secret colossal defense satellite called The Totality, which is hidden behind the Moon. The satellite is jointly run by Batman, Superman, Flash, Lex Luthor, Talia al Ghul, Vandal Savage, Mr. Terrific, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl, who aptly label their group as The Totality. This motley crew immediately takes a survey of the new status-quo. First, everyone has “unknotted timeline” memories of their prior lives, and these memories will remain. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—this sounds like a schizophrenic 24-7 head trip, but we must assume that each individual has a grasp of who they are currently with mere knowledge of prior continuity. Otherwise, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. In his later explanation to Wally, Flash says that everyone will likely “experience flashes of new futures and alternate pasts in epic fashion while Hypertime heals,” although he seemingly contradicts himself in the same sentence by saying that their “past is finally set.” It’s quite confusing. (All of this inscrutable language speaks to the idea that Dr. Manhattan’s prior chronal theft, memory blockage, and machinations have been undone. Unfortunately, since Doomsday Clock was basically scrubbed, DC writers can’t just come out and say it plainly.) Second, Darkseid is missing. Third, the omniverse is growing—as entirely new multiverses are not only getting discovered, but continuing to appear as well. Flash later refers to the whole shebang as “our own sort of omniverse—an infinite frontier.” There’s always been an omniverse (and nods have been made to it in various other comics for years, hence the very term local multiverse)—so this is hardly novel and must merely be referencing both the growth of the omniverse and nascent hyper-awareness of its design. Don’t forget, the Source Wall doesn’t exist anymore (and hasn’t existed for a while now), essentially leaving the gateway to the omniverse wide open. Fourth, speaking of previously unexplored worlds, Earth-0 is no longer at the center of the Multiverse. Two planets share anthropocentrism—the mysterious “Earth Alpha” known as the Elseworld and its opposite, “Earth Omega.” Fifth, as referenced in Infinite Frontier #1 and Infinite Frontier Secret Files #5 (Infinite Frontier Secret Files Print Edition #1), some people randomly have their memories of Death Metal (including total annihilation and rebirth) intact, while others do not. A short time later, at a massive public celebration in front of the Hall of Justice, the heroes and villains (and regular folk) celebrate their literal deus ex machina victory. A dance party is held with a live band that includes Wally West on drums, Superman on vocals, Black Canary on lead guitar, and Batman on bass guitar! Flash then escorts Wally to the Totality satellite, where the latter meets with the heroes and reformed villains running the show. This includes Batman and Superman, who I guess zipped up to the Moon post-haste as well. Wonder why they didn’t travel with the Flashes? Anyway, Flash gives Wally a rundown of what’s new in the world, the details of which we’ve already reviewed above. We are treated to a few non-narrative-related flash-forwards to Future State (“a possible unwritten world of tomorrow,” meaning a alt-reality Hypertimeline), depicting new Wonder Woman (Yara Flor), Harley Quinn, Bruce Wayne, new Batman (Tim “Jace” Fox), and new Superman (Jon Kent). Back in 1943, Sgt. Rock writes down all he can recall about his Death Metal experience in Hawkman’s journal before rejoining the Justice Society of America in WWII combat.

[2]

–FLASHBACK: From Teen Titans Academy #5. Batman and Nightwing patrol the rooftops of Gotham, drawing oohs and aahs from pedestrians peering upward from the sidewalk below. A gawking Diego Perez runs into Nightwing, who returns the teen to the orphanage from which he’s escaped. Diego meets with his fellow orphan pals Merissa Cooper, and Lucas LaPorte, who have come to realize that the orphanage administrator is selling kids to an evil scientist that is experimenting with Man-Bat Serum. With Nightwing’s help, the teenage trio brings down the bad guys. During the adventure, Perez is permanently turned into a beastly superhero. Nightwing dubs the trio “The Bat Pack,” and invites them to join his latest venture, set to open soon—an academy for young superheroes. Perez takes the name Chupacabra; Cooper becomes Bratgirl; and LaPorte becomes Megabat.

–Infinite Frontier #0
Diana, having ascended to the realm of the gods, meets with the Quintessence, who offer her a spot on their “watcher” team. Writer Joshua Williamson follows-up on Death Metal‘s epilogue, using the same inscrutable language to describe a reboot that isn’t really a reboot (sigh). The Quintessence says, “things will never be the same,” “reality has changed forever,” “destiny is unwritten in the Book of Oa,” “the birth of a new multiverse,” “this is the beginning of everything,” and “the manipulations of your timeline have been undone, and time has been restored to its proper configuration.” Now, the latter statement makes the most sense, as all the reality-alteration, memory-blocking, and chronal-manipulation of Dr. Manhattan, Wally West, Batman Who Laughs, and Perpetua have all been undone. The Quintessence emphasizes that “Future State” is merely one of many alternate future possibilities. The Spectre then guides Diana on a tour to clandestinely check in on her friends and family. In Cairo, Superman and Flash learn that Black Adam has become a superhero, colloquially known as “Shazadam.” In Gotham, Joker attacks Arkham Asylum, gassing the entire building. Bane is first to die. Across town, Oracle and Huntress remotely monitor the “Batgirls” Orphan and Spoiler as they fight random baddies. On the other side of town, Lucius Fox hangs out with his prodigal son Tim, who is now going by the name “Jace.” Their bodyguard Grifter alerts them to the news of the Arkham gassing. At City Hall, Renee Montoya reports on the Joker attack to Mayor Nakano, who has officially outlawed the Bat-Family. On Themyscira, Hippolyta mourns the “death” of her daughter. Several Amazons fight each other for the right to take up the mantle of Wonder Woman, most notably a tenacious Nubia. Hippolyta surprises her kin by taking up the Wonder Woman mantle herself and anointing Nubia the new queen of the Amazons. Hippolyta tells Nubia that she will also investigate Yara Flor, a Brazilian teen (currently living in America) that is linked to an estranged tribe of Amazons. At Boise Airport, Yara says goodbye to her Aunt Renata and Uncle Brian as she departs on a trip to her Brazilian homeland. Unknowingly, Yara is closely followed by the aforementioned estranged Amazon tribe. (Wonder Girl Vol. 3 #1 continues Yara’s journey, detailing her plane landing in Rio de Janeiro and the start of her Brazilian adventure. In that issue we also see a double-splash showing what many of the other DCU characters are up to, including a panel of Batman on routine patrol in Gotham.) At Justice Society of America HQ, a centenarian Alan Scott finally comes out, telling his kids Obsidian and Jade that he is gay. Alan Scott also tells his kids that he has joined the Totality under the moniker Sentinel. (Don’t forget, all the hoary JSAers have been gifted magickal extended life, so despite all being over a hundred-years-old, they are still spry and combat worthy.) At Titans HQ in NYC, the Titans (Nightwing, Cyborg, Starfire, Donna Troy, Raven, and Beast Boy) open the Roy Harper Teen Titans Academy, a school for burgeoning teen superheroes. Before boarding the ferry to the first day of class, one of the students purchases a Red X mask. (Red X was an undercover persona Dick and others used many years ago.) At the Academy, the inaugural freshmen student body—including Gorilla Gregg, Totally Tubular (Marvin “Tooby” Murakami), Alinta, Matt Price, Summer Zahid, Brick Pettirosso, Dane, Billy Batson, Miguel Montez, and the Bat Pack (Bratgirl, Megabat, and Chupacabra)—meets faculty and fellow enrollees. The teachers are made up of the current Titans, while upperclassmen comprise the current Teen Titans (Kid Flash, Bunker, Red Arrow, Crush, Roundhouse, and Jakeem Thunder). Teen Titans Academy #1 shows that a party is held in celebration of Nightwing’s birthday on the night of the first day of classes. It’s unclear whether this is meant to be Dick’s legit birthday, but in an effort to protect secret IDs, it’s more than likely that it’s not. In Metropolis, the Spectre and Diana watch Superboy (Jonathan Kent) fight a cosmic monster known as an Empyreal Maw. Diana initially mistakes Superboy for his dad—(Superman Vol. 5 #29 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson makes it clear that Superboy is looking more and more like his dad every day, and a lot of people have begun to confuse the two at first glance). This is also foreshadowing, because Superboy will soon take up his dad’s mantle. Superboy is sucked into the body of the Maw, which spirals him through a kaleidoscope of alternate timelines, including one that depicts his original birth from Convergence. The Spectre speaks of Jon’s Convergence birth as if it’s still a part of his history—in a very clunky “everything matters” kind of way. But Jon’s canonical birth story is the one shown in Action Comics #978, not Convergence. It’s possible that the Spectre is referencing alternate or Metaverse history here. After all, in the same conversation, he warns Diana that Jon becomes a failed Superman in the alternate Future State future. However, I’d wager this entire scene is more likely new Superman writer Johnson wading into bad continuity territory right out of the gate (sigh). Eventually, a kindhearted Superboy travels through time, returning the lost baby Maw to its family. In Star City, Green Arrow and Black Canary share a romantic evening. Green Arrow discusses the aftermath of Death Metal, wondering aloud at the fact that “lost” (i.e. fractured) memories from prior continuities will soon be returning to their minds. The less you think about this, the better, Ollie. Trust me. Green Arrow tells Black Canary that he’s officially rejoined the main roster of the Justice League (or he’s thinking of doing so). A resurrected Arsenal tries phoning Green Arrow, but can’t get through. In Blue Valley, Nebraska, Stargirl and STRIPE (both of a recently reformed JSA) defeat King Midas. (STRIPE is Pat Dugan, Stargirl’s stepdad and former 1940s sidekick Stripesy. Like many other 20th century mystery men, STRIPE’s aging has been magically slowed down. He’s in his nineties, but looks like he’s in his fifties.) Another magickally youthful hero of yesteryear, Vigilante Greg Saunders, phones STRIPE to notify him that the Seven Soldiers, a team that hasn’t been active in decades, needs his help for a new mission. In Gotham, as the public watches the Arkham situation unfold with bated breath, Batman coordinates an evacuation. After seeing to the care of two nurses saved by badly injured security guard Sean Mahoney, Batman detects that there are only seventeen survivors inside the building, which is now burning to the ground. In a scene repeated with added detail in Suicide Squad Vol. 7 #2, Batman tells the cops to piss off before heading into the inferno to save lives. Coincidentally, the new Suicide Squad (Peacemaker, Film Freak, Shrike, Bolt, Conner Kent, Mindwarp II, Culebra, Exit, and Nocturna) are on a mission inside Arkham to break out William Cobb. (Film Freak, Bolt, Exit, Mindwarp, and Shrike are seemingly killed, but we’ll see Shrike later, so somehow he survives or gets resurrected.) Downtown, billionaire Simon Saint (of Saint Industries) speaks to Scarecrow about ushering in the “Magistrate” policing program. Across the universe, John Stewart and Simon Baz escort Teen Lantern on a trip to Oa. From the House of Heroes, President Superman phones Flash (Barry Allen), who is in the Totality satellite. They discuss how a few of the universes brought back after their destruction at the hands of the Batman Who Laughs have had their entire histories re-started. Notably, Universe-0 is not one of these, lending further credence to the fact that Death Metal acted as a soft reboot, not a hard one. On the other hand, the Crime Syndicate’s Universe-3, which has long been susceptible to resurrections and restarts (while paradoxically having little to no effect on adjacent universes even though they share a timeline), has been rebooted. President Superman also asks Barry to join Justice Incarnate, to which Barry says yes! Barry then meets with Wally West to tell him the news. Barry also appoints Wally as the primary Flash, tasking him with filling his shoes while he explores the omniverse. The Spectre and Diana continue their journey across a tapestry of images from all over the DCU, including peeks at the new Swamp Thing (Levi Kamei), a future vision of Jace Fox as Batman, and Midnighter from the Future State timeline. Diana talks about how glad she is that her friends and family are free from “years of grand experimentation and manipulation by an omnipotent force.” This is obviously a reference to both Dr. Manhattan and Perpetua, but it’s also a subtle dig by Williamson at Dan DiDio. Diana rejects the Quintessence’s offer, opting instead to travel the omniverse. The Quintessence then visits Earth Omega, where they have trapped Darkseid. However, Darkseid reveals that he has “reconstituted his lesser past aspects to become his one true form.” In on fell swoop, Darkseid murders the Quintessence, declaring his oft said mantra “Darkseid is.” Only this time, he finally adds a devastating gnomic conclusion to the dictum: “Darkseid is… the end.”

–FLASHBACK: From Joker Vol. 2 #1. Batman surveys the scene and assesses the bodycount at Arkham Asylum in the immediate wake of Joker’s deadly attack, which is being called “A-Day.” The Dark Knight takes stock of who is missing or presumed dead. Over five hundred Arkham staffers—including director Jeremiah Arkham—are confirmed dead. Somewhere between fifty to a hundred inmates are missing. Bane, of course, is confirmed dead. Notably, Scarecrow (who is very much alive and working with Simon Saint) is presumed dead. Jim Gordon meets with Mayor Christopher Nakano, who offers him a position as the city’s “Joker czar” in which he’ll work closely with the mayor himself and new acting commissioner Renee Montoya. (Renee just recently accepted the mayor’s offer to become commissioner in The Next Batman: Second Son #3 aka The Next Batman: Second Son Print Edition #1.) Gordon turns down Nakano, expressing his distaste for the mayor’s anti-Batman sentiment.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #106. In the wake of Joker’s attack on Arkham Asylum, a new super-villain group called The Unsanity Collective debuts. Led by Master Wyze, the Collective kidnaps a media mogul. Batman, the Ghost-Maker, and Oracle will spend the next week chasing the Collective as the group kidnaps more media moguls. Batman will also spend the next week working sedulously on his new Batmobile.

–FLASHBACK: From Joker Vol. 2 #1. Two days have passed since Jim Gordon rejected Mayor Christopher Nakano’s offer to join his administration. (It’s been three or four days since A-Day.) Batman meets with Gordon to discuss the details of A-Day.

–Joker Vol. 2 #2
Having accepted a ton of money from Cressida Clarke to travel to Belize to execute Joker, Jim Gordon struggles with whether or not he can go through with it. Jim meets with Batman to tell him everything (except for the execution order). He asks Batman for the following: help unearthing details about Cressida, full access to the Bat-Computer, and means to contact him in case of emergency. Batman agrees to everything and patches-in Oracle via radio to guide Jim in his journey. Jim reveals that he’s known for many years that Babs is Oracle/Batgirl, much to the surprise of Babs. Jim and Babs meet up to hash everything out. Babs takes ownership of her own many years of lying, but she expresses frustration at her father’s many years of lashing out at and treating Batgirl like shit (especially after James Jr’s death) when he knew damn well he was speaking about her. Jim tells Babs that he plans on killing Joker when he locates him. Babs says she wants nothing to do with that course of action, to which Jim promises that it’ll be her call once he captures the villain. At the Clocktower, Babs gives her dad a new red cellphone with which he can phone Batman and access the Bat-Computer. Meanwhile, as Joker lives a life of luxury in Belize, those affected by his A-Day hecatomb prep to bring him to justice. This includes the wealthy Sampson family (Sawyer Sampson, Buddy Sampson, and Vicky Sampson) in Texas, who had a relative killed in Arkham; a new female Bane created by the deceased villain’s followers in Santa Prisca; and the Court of Owls. It is revealed to us (the readers) that Cressida is the daughter of former turncoat Court of Owls Grandmaster Sebastian Clarke, who is working for the villains to earn her family’s spot back into the fold.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #106. It’s been just over one week since A-Day. When another media mogul is kidnapped by the Unsanity Collective, Batman finishes building his new Batmobile and goes into targeted action. Guided by Oracle, Batman and the Ghost-Maker take down a few Collective henchmen, who are remotely-guided by Miracle Molly. At Saint Industries, Mayor Christopher Nakano meets with Simon Saint (and his personal assistant Ricardo Huertas) to listen to Saint’s pitch for the “Magistrate Program,” a group of super-deputies designed to eliminate all metahuman crime. Saint mentions population growth in Gotham is at an all time high thanks to “the rebuild of Gotham that started last year.” This is a reference to the Wayne Rebuild Project, which actually started two years ago, but really kicked off into full gear following “City of Bane” last year. (Batman Vol. 3 #108 mentions that the Wayne Rebuild Project also came to a crashing halt last year, leaving numerous half-built skyscrapers all over town.) From a distance, Scarecrow (who is allied with Saint) watches. Nakano doesn’t say anything out loud, but decides that he wants nothing to do with Saint’s program. (Nakano will quickly change his mind and ally with Saint anyway.) The next day, Bruce chats and spars with Ghost-Maker in the Bat-Garage.

–Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #6 Part 1
On a snowy eve, some teens in the Hill make a Bat-Signal of their own to alert Batman to the fact that someone has been kidnapping people from their neighborhood for weeks. Batman quickly finds the missing folks, who have been taken and brainwashed by Mad Hatter. While Batman rescues everyone, the teens bust Mad Hatter themselves.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #79-80. The Bat-Family starts a cellphone app group chat! I’m assuming this is a heavily encrypted group chat. Soon after, Dick’s wallet is stolen by some teenage pickpockets, prompting Babs to text the group all about it. A day later, Robin (Tim Drake) preps to visit Blüdhaven to help Nigthwing work a case against new super-villain Heartless. Batman gives Tim a chain wallet to give to Nightwing as a gag gift.

–Superman: Red and Blue #1 Part 4
An unnamed imp from the 5th Dimension steals all color from the world, locking it up (along with all human understanding of color) into a tiny box. Superman finds the imp, who hands over the box. Superman then visits Batman to ask him for advice on whether or not to open he box. Batman is skeptical about releasing the mysterious “color” and worries that it could be a 5th Dimensional trick. After Batman pounces on Two-Face, Superman is left to make the decision himself. Following a chat with Lois, Superman opens the box, turning a black-and-white world back into a fully-colored one.

–Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #16-18
Batman and Superman investigate a WayneTech satellite that has become infested with living extraterrestrial movie film. Cybernetic aliens appear, accusing the heroes of trespassing upon the “Archive of Worlds.” After thrashing dozens of archivist robots, the heroes meet their strange leader, Auteur.io. After viewing the intertwined alternate reality misadventure of the Batman and Robin of the “World of Knight” timeline and Superman, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen from the “World of Tomorrow” timeline on a literal film reel, the archivist robots are able to pluck a Kryptonite ring from the story and wield it against Superman. Auteur.io explains that he and his comrades collect worlds, re-cutting and splicing them together as they see fit to create mash-ups that can be viewed (and engaged with) as living movies. While they fight, Batman radios Oracle for help. She tells him that Auteur.io is a human creativity software AI that had been activated and sold to film studios only months prior. Somehow, Auteur.io has gained full sentiency, extra powers, a body, a satellite, and an army. Just as Auteur.io sends Batman and Superman into a Phantom Zone Crystal, the aforementioned Dynamic Duo and Superman from alternate realities, along with Dr. Atom (a Lex Luthor from yet another alternate reality), enter into Universe-0 via a burn hole in their metaphysical film reel.

–Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #19-20
Picking up directly from Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #18, with Earth-0’s Finest trapped in the Phantom Zone Crystal, the alt-Batman, alt-Robin, alt-Superman, and alt-Lex Luthor (Dr. Atom) take on Auteur.io. Dr. Atom sacrifices himself in a failed attempt to kill Auteur.io, after which the villain chases the remaining heroes to an alt-Planet Rann reality where they are joined by an alt-Alanna Strange. The four heroes then battle Auteur.io in an alt-Wild West reality called “The Desert of Doom.” Joined by an alt-El Diablo, the heroes manage to destroy Auteur.io’s armor, revealing him to be the deranged and partially-amnesiac son of Alpheus (the World Forger of the 6th Dimension). This means Auteur.io is none other than Perpetua’s grandson! Angered, Autuer.io unleashes a horde of Hellspawn, led by an alt-Etrigan from the “World of the Fiery Pits Below,” upon the “World of Tomorrow.” While the heroes fight demon hordes, alt-Etrigan wears the Phantom Zone Crystal that contains the captive Batman and Superman around his neck. With bravado, alt-Etrigan breaks into the Fortress of Solitude and takes control of an army of Superman Robots.

–Nightwing Vol. 4 #82
Nightwing gets captured and unmasked by Blüdhaven’s new mayor Melinda Zucco and her tough bodyguard Audre. Panicked, Oracle and Tim Drake (and Dick’s puppy Haley)—who are listening-in via radio—call for backup, which immediately sends Batman and the Titans a-coming. But when Melinda makes the shocking reveal that she’s Dick’s half sister, Oracle calls off the rescue. Melinda introduces Dick to her mother, Meili Lin, who spins a true yarn about their family tree. Once upon a time, Tony Zucco trafficked Meili into the US, claiming her as his forced bride. Meili escaped into the safety of CC Haly’s circus where she met John Grayson. Sparks flew and she was impregnated just before Zucco kidnapped her back. Nine months later, Melinda was born and raised as a Zucco while John married his trapeze partner Mary, who would soon give birth to Dick. Thus, Zucco’s murder of the Graysons was personal. Barely has the revelation been delivered when Blockbuster—with a squadron of corrupt BPD cops—swarms the building. Mayor Zucco has run afoul of both Blockbuster and Boss Maroni. (We aren’t given Maroni’s first name, so either this is a relative of the long-deceased Sal Maroni or Sal has been resurrected by Death Metal.)

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1035, Batman: Urban Legends #3 Part 1, and Justice League Vol. 4 #65. Batman adds the following to his utility belt: an expanding hand-thrown steel-mesh net-bolo, dog whistle, remote data scanner, Oracle-linked burner cellphones, high-tech infra-red binoculars, T-Sphere-esque hovering lights, and lollipops—effective for distracting children at emergency scenes.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 4 #65. Batman upgrades his costume technology, making his suit and cowl impervious to psionic attacks by having it automatically emit disruption signals if it senses psionic waves.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 4 #61. Combined with lollipops, Batman begins using a key-phrase to calm those with extreme anxiety at crime scenes or other intense situations. The disarmingly effective key-phrase is “DuckTales.”

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Urban Legends #3 Part 2. Batman learns that Cassie, Duke, and Stephanie play mini golf at the Gotham City Fair every Sunday as part of a routine “self-care day.”

–Harley Quinn Vol. 4 #1
Batman hears that Harley Quinn has been fighting Killer Croc in the sewers, so he goes to pay her a visit, imploring her to keep a low profile. At Harley’s Little Santa Prisca apartment, Harley shows Batman her Charlie Day-esque conspiracy wall, complete with details about every Bat-rogue she’s every crossed. Harley reminds Batman that she’s still got a clean record thanks to her Suicide Squad pardon from last year. She declares herself an official Bat-Family member, inquiring whether she can get paid for her services, at first asking for cash, but ultimately requesting a novelty Batman toaster instead. Oracle radio-interrupts their conversation, sending the duo to Amusement Mile where a mob is attacking an ex-Joker henchman named Kevin. (Note that Amusement Mile, having been long abandoned, has now been refurbished and is open for business.) Batman pummels and disperses the mob before leaving Kevin in the more empathetic care of Harley. The Dark Knight then continues his routine patrol, stopping briefly to leave a Batman toaster in Harley’s apartment. Meanwhile, Hugo Strange is released from Rockwood Hospital for the Criminally Insane into the custody (and employment) of Simon Saint.

–The Swamp Thing #2
Brooklynite Levi Kamei has been blacking out nightly and manifesting as Swamp Thing in Arizona, much to the solicitude of his girlfriend Jennifer Reece. In the Sonoran Desert, Levi (as Swamp Thing) has multiple confrontations with the zombie-like malevolence known as The Pale Wanderer. During his final battle against the Pale Wanderer, Swamp Thing saves the life of Sheriff Dom and turns the Pale Wanderer into a giant banyan tree that sprouts out of the middle of the arid desert. Police (including Sherrif Dom and Officer Emmet) cordon off the area, but a media frenzy overtakes the scene. In Gotham, Batman watches as events unfold on the TV news. (The caption says “the Batcave,” which is technically a continuity error, since Batman is currently operating out of multiple Micro-Caves.) In New York, the news is also followed closely by the sinister Mr. Pilgrim, head of Prescot Industries, new parent company of the Sunderland Corporation, which was involved in Alec Holland’s original transformation into Swamp Thing many years ago.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Urban Legends #4 Part 1. Batman adds to his gloves Catwoman-esque retractable claws, which are strong enough to use to climb up walls.

CHEER
————————–Batman: Urban Legends #1
Part 1
————————–Batman: Urban Legends #2 Part 1
————————–Batman: Urban Legends #3 Part 1

Early spring—Batman mentions that heavy winter jackets are out of season. This item also takes place specifically before the flashback portions of “The Cowardly Lot” due to the fact that Scarecrow hasn’t yet made his post-A-Day return yet. When a deadly hallucinogenic called Cheerdrops hits the streets of Gotham, Red Hood shakes down dealers. He then finds a comatose Cheerdrops victim, taking her young son Tyler unto his protection. With some help from Oracle, Red Hood finds Tyler’s dad working in a drug factory. Meanwhile, Batman saves a stoned rooftop jumper and analyzes the new drug, finding it to be a modified version of Scarecrow’s Fear Gas. He phones Oracle, learning that Red Hood is also working the Cheerdrops case. Outside of the factory, the deadbeat father says he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about his family, prompting Red Hood to shoot him dead. Red Hood takes Tyler into his own care. Hoping to find out Scarecrow’s whereabouts, Batman—guided by Oracle—shakes down Scarecrow’s ex henchmen only to learn that they are now working for Mr. Freeze. After being informed that Red Hood has killed someone, Batman confronts him at his apartment. They fight until Tyler intervenes, asking Batman to stand down. Red Hood spills the beans on the whole situation, to which Batman acts surprisingly calm and offers to team up with Red Hood to finish the Cheerdrops case. They drop Tyler off with Dr. Leslie Thompkins before continuing the investigation together at the Fort Graye Bat-Garage. Batman and Red Hood then visit Dr. Olivia Romero, an old associate of Scarecrow’s that created his original Fear Gas formula. Batman leaves her some Cheerdrops for analysis and a burner phone with which to contact either himself or Oracle. When Batman wants to return to the Bat-Garage to analyze more data, an impatient Red Hood bails, citing the desire to take direct action on the street. Oracle reluctantly guides Red Hood, who soon finds himself a captive of Mr. Freeze.

CHEER Conclusion
————————–Batman: Urban Legends #4
Part 1
————————–Batman: Urban Legends #5 Part 1

Early spring—picking up directly from Batman: Urban Legends #3 Part 1. Mr. Freeze freezes and kidnaps Red Hood, prompting Batman to chase after them. Batman saves Red Hood, but winds up getting frozen and captured himself. Mr. Freeze reveals that he is in league with the super-villain creator of Cheerdrops, the garish Cheer. Jason (in his civilian persona) visits Dr. Olivia Romero, hoping to get more information about Cheerdrops. Jason discovers that Olivia’s husband is a disturbed chemist named Silvanio Romero. It doesn’t take too much deep digging to discover that Silvanio is Cheer. Red Hood visits Silvanio’s workplace to confirm. Meanwhile, at Cheer’s lair, a captive Batman learns that both Cheer and Mr. Freeze having been getting high on their own supply. Cheer doses Batman with Cheerdrops as well.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Urban Legends #5 Part 3. Tim and Stephanie break up, but remain friends.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #109. Batman (in the Batmobile) outpaces the Ghost-Maker (in his Ghost-Racer) on the “Murder Run” in Blüdhaven. I don’t know what this is, but it sounds awesome.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #107 Part 1. It’s been one month since A-Day. (Batman Vol. 3 #107 is split in half because, while Batman Vol. 3 #107-110 seems to be one continuous narrative, issue #107 specifically occurs one month after A-Day yet issue #110 specifically occurs a few months after A-Day. This means we have a dreaded hidden ellipsis in the only place it can fit. Sigh.) Guided by Oracle, Batman investigates a scarecrow that’s been placed inside the mayoral mansion. The Caped Crusader gets interrupted by a confrontational Commissioner Renee Montoya (her first encounter with Batman as new commish) before leaving. In the neighborhood known as Electric Town, Harley Quinn continues to play the role of “Batman’s unofficial sidekick,” busting a villain named Stabbo before getting into a scuffle with intervening cops. The arriving Ghost-Maker gets Harley to abscond before getting into serious trouble. The Gardner (Bella Garten) a mysterious elegant woman holding a rose and flanked by plant dogs, watches from the sidelines. Meanwhile, Batman runs an autopsy on the supposed corpse of Jonathan Crane only to find that it’s a phony double. Batman then meets with Oracle at the Clocktower to report the news. Oracle tells him that she’s setting up portable Bat-Signals because the GCPD Bat-Signal has been shut down. The portable Bat-Signals will move about the city to various rooftops. Oracle also briefs Batman about the Unsanity Collective, asking him if he’s ready to go undercover in an effort to infiltrate them. (We can assume that Batman and Oracle continue monitoring the Unsanity Collective, but Batman won’t actually go undercover for a couple more months from now.)

–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Justice League Vol. 4 #64. Batman begins tracking a strange religious cult known as the Brothers of Ambrosius, who meets and project psionic waves at seemingly random locations across Gotham. Inventing a spherical device that can read their psionic waves, Batman will stay in the shadows, but follow the cult for weeks to come.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Urban Legends #1 Part 4. Batman adds a blinding flash grenade detonator button to the outer wrist of his combat gloves.

THE LONG CON
————————–Batman: Urban Legends #1
Part 4
————————–Batman: Urban Legends #3 Part 4
————————–Batman: Urban Legends #4 Part 4
————————–Batman: Urban Legends #5 Part 4

Much to the annoyance of Lucius Fox, Grifter (remotely guided by The Void) botches his security gig, “mistaking” a Russian minister’s own bodyguards for assassins, thus ruining a potential Wayne Enterprises business deal. (Grifter has taken a job as a Leviathan spy with orders to gain access to the Bat-computer network, but he’s actually a double agent working for Jacob Marlowe’s Halo Corporation against Leviathan.) Batman trails Grifter, who meets with Penguin and Nora Fries at a bar, seemingly cooking up a secret business deal of his own. After Grifter departs, Batman jumps on him, demanding to know why he met with super-villains. Grifter is quickly outclassed but refuses to speak. Batman lets him walk. The next day, a black-and-blue Grifter steals an ID badge and sneaks into an off-limits section of Wayne Tower, hoping to score access to the Bat-computer network. On the outskirts of Gotham, Batman and Nightwing examine the murder scene of Nora Fries, who has seemingly been killed by a woman with a sword. (Spoiler: The woman with a sword is Zealot, and Nora Fries isn’t actually dead. Her corpse is a fake, all part of Grifter’s long con for Halo.) Nevertheless, Batman focuses his attention on Grifter as the top suspect. Shortly thereafter, Red Hood reports to Batman that he spotted Grifter commiserating with Toyman, who also turns up “dead.” That night, Grifter sleeps with the Global Security Head of Wayne Enterprises, Chance Adibi, which gives the Void the opportunity to get her hands on Chance’s laptop. The next day, while Lucius chats with Grifter, Bruce pays a rare visit to Wayne Enterprises under the guise of wanting to do a security check. Bruce then meets privately with Grifter, offering him the job of being his personal bodyguard, but Grifter turns him down. Bruce mentions the name John Lynch, but Grifter pretends he doesn’t know him. Hours later, Grifter is attacked by False Face Society members, but Batman chases the villains off. Grifter then teleports away. The next morning, using hacked entry codes taken from Chance’s laptop, Grifter breaks into yet another top secret wing of Wayne Enterprises. Meanwhile, Bruce tells Lucius that Grifter isn’t to be trusted. A day later, Lucius throws a black tie gala event at Wayne Tower, showing off new building security upgrades to Bruce. Meanwhile, Grifter fights Deathstroke, but they are interrupted by Superman, who chases after the former. When the fleeing Grifter gets reports of armed gunmen attacking the gala, he sends in Zealot to protect Lucius. Bruce stays in his tuxedo, but manages to fend off most of the gunmen. Meanwhile, the Void teleports Grifter away. Superman tells Batman that they should team up to deal with Grifter, but Batman says he’ll handle it solo. As per Bruce’s request, Lucius fires Grifter. Seeing no other option, Grifter reports his failure to his Leviathan handlers, but they pair him with an infiltration unit and give him a second chance. Grifter and the Leviathan stooges break into Wayne Tower, taking over the building. Batman and Nightwing, having discovered that Grifter has not actually killed anyone, meet with Grifter mid heist. Grifter tells them that his “pals” are about to try to break into the Bat-computer network and assassinate Lucius. With the Void’s help, Grifter traps Batman and Nightwing in a locked garage before going to protect Lucius on his own. But Grifter’s long con has finally paid off and he’s not just tracking Lucius to save him. At gunpoint, Grifter forces Lucius to turn over access to the Bat-computer network, after which Grifter uploads all of its data to his brother Max. Just as Leviathan goons break into the room, Halo backup arrives in the form of Grifter’s elite super-team known as the WildCATS—Zealot, Deathblow, the Void, Spartan, Ladytron, Caitlin Fairchild, and Mrs. Freeze (Nora Fries). The WildCATS easily defeat Leviathan before teleporting away. Batman, left in the dust and having had his data stolen right from under his nose, re-enters the scene too late to do a damn thing.

–Batman: Urban Legends #3 Part 2
Batman, bloody and bruised, crawls home to the Fort Graye Bat-Garage after a rough night’s patrol to find Lady Shiva waiting for him. Bruce cautiously has dinner with Shiva in his dining room. Things are calm until Shiva strikes, starting a fistfight, still angry and depressed at having lost her daughter to the Bat-Family. As per her plan, Shiva winds up will a knife in her belly, part of an “assisted” suicide attempt. Of course, Batman saves her life. The next day, Batman takes a recovered Shiva to the pavilion rooftop of Gotham City Fair Mini Golf. There, Batman shows Shiva the scene below—a happy Cassie hanging out with Duke and Stephanie. Shiva finally seems at peace knowing that her daughter’s life is good.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Urban Legends #4 Part 2. Bruce goes away temporarily on unspecified business, leaving the city’s protection in the hands of the Bat-Family. Notably, Oracle helps Batwing best Riddler and Killer Croc.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 4 #59. The Justice League reforms with the new primary lineup of Superman, Batman, Flash, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary.

–Justice League Vol. 4 #59-61 (“PRISMS”)
A powerful demonic being called Brutus draws the attention of the Justice League by attacking Black Adam in Kahndaq. The combined might of the JL causes Brutus to retreat. At the Hall of Justice, Kelex tells the heroes that Brutus hails from the same alternate Earth as Naomi McDuffie. Having also realized this, Black Adam visits Naomi and her friends in Oregon. Superman invites Black Adam to the Hall of Justice where Naomi (made an honorary JL member) addresses the JL about her metahuman history and alternate Earth homeworld. Superman then nominates Black Adam for JL membership, convincing the naysayers to accept the supposedly reformed super-villain. Meanwhile, Brutus attacks Themyscira. Hippolyta fights Brutus, who teleports them both to Central City before fleeing. The JL meets Hippolyta in Central City, but she bails, dismayed at the sight of Black Adam with the team. Back at the Hall of Justice, Flash (Barry Allen) builds a giant cosmic treadmill for the entire team, which they use to travel to Naomi’s Earth. Upon arrival in a dystopian alternate Ohio, all JL members are separated. Meanwhile, Brutus debriefs with his partner, teleportation whiz McMurph. While Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Hawkgirl fend off bad guys, Batman rescues Naomi, who has begun to phase in and out à la Back to the Future. Aquaman passes out. Superman, having lost control of his heat vision, is attacked by Brutus. Black Adam tries to help Superman, but Brutus takes out both Superman and Black Adam.

–Justice League Vol. 4 #62-63 (“PRISMS” Conclusion)
Picking up directly from Justice League Vol. 4 #61, Aquaman is aided by some locals. Commandeering a tank, he joins his teammates to help defeat Brutus. Hippolyta and Flash teleport to Naomi’s Earth, joining their comrades just in time for the Big Bad, Zumbado, to arrive as well. With Naomi leading the charge, the JL fends-off Zumbado long enough for Batman to steal McMurph’s teleportation tech. After opening a portal, the heroes escape back to Earth-0. Later, Superman officially invites Black Adam onto the JL lineup. Green Arrow reveals to Batman that he (Green Arrow) is now funding most of the Hall of Justice upkeep. The JL then officially adds Naomi to its roster as well.

BLINK OF AN EYE
————————–Flash #768
————————–Flash 2021 Annual #1

This item takes place after “Prisms.” Wally rethinks his position in the superhero game. Considering his own checkered past and still dealing withe the emotional trauma of having lost so much time with his wife and kids, Wally decides he wants to retire, meeting with the Justice League to tell them so. The Leaguers tell him to reconsider–sans Green Arrow, who says good riddance. Ultimately, the heroes accept Wally’s move, urging him to go spend time with his family. Barry says he will postpone his planned jaunt through the omniverse to remain with the JL. But Wally is dead serious about his retirement, so much so that he wants Barry to take away his powers. Barry and Wally run super-fast in an effort to sever Wally from the Speed Force. However, something goes wrong. Wally is exiled to the prehistoric era, inhabiting the body of a Cro-Magnon man, before falling further back into pre-history to come face to face with dinosaurs. (This scene makes it seem as though Cro-Magnon man lived side-by-side with dinosaurs, but unless that’s writer Jeremy Adams’ bogus belief, we should assume cave-Wally goes to multiple prehistoric eras or this is Dinosaur Island or something.) Meanwhile, in present day, Barry, Kid Flash, Max Mercury, and Jay Garrick each lose their powers. Mr. Terrific, Barry, and a guilty Green Arrow begin trying to figure out how to fix the Speed Force and find Wally. Barry is able to speak into the Speed Force, locating Wally, who fights a raptor until a large energy surge sends him hurtling into the 31st century where he inhabits Impulse’s body. Joined by Gold Beetle, Wally is attacked by a Dominator that has grown to King Kong heights due to the energy surge. After some more energy surges and jumps into other bodies in other times, Wally finally winds up back in his own body at the darkest moment of his life—the Sanctuary massacre from Heroes in Crisis. In one of the greatest and most necessary fixes/retcons in comic book history, Wally realizes that he wasn’t responsible for the deaths of all his peers. Not only has the time-traveling energy surge caused their deaths, but Savitar is also linked to the surge! After a touching moment between Wally and Roy Harper, just prior to Harper’s ineluctable death, the present day heroes are able to finally pull Wally (along with Savitar) back home. Both Flashes, Batman, Superman, Green Arrow, and Mr. Terrific face off against Savitar, but ultimately it’s Wally that defeats him and sends him into a powerless exile. Wally, with a new permanent nitro boost power upgrade, decides to remain a superhero after all. With his life back on track after so many years of gloom and doom, a smiling Wally goes home to his loving family.

–the second feature to Justice League Vol. 4 #60
Famed immortal wizard Merlin has returned with evil plans for humanity. Wise to his presence, the current Justice League Dark (Zatanna, John Constantine, Etrigan, and Detective Chimp) brief the Justice League. Batman appoints Zatanna as the new leader of the JLD. After the meeting breaks, Batman warns Etrigan to be on his best behavior. Elsewhere, at an antiquarian bookstore, Merlin picks up a large collection of Jorge Luis Borges manuscripts. Using his magick, Merlin causes nightmares from within the books to come to life. Ragman, who happens to be a patron of the shop, soon finds himself battling the creatures.

–the second feature to Justice League Vol. 4 #63-65 (“THE ETERNAL KNIGHT”)
Picking up shortly after the second feature to Justice League Vol. 4 #60, the Justice League Dark (now joined by Ragman) traverses Jorge Luis Borges’ Library of Babel, meeting the fussy Librarian of Babel. Aware that Merlin has used magick to turn fiction literature into reality, Constantine doubles down on the meta and begins to literally write the ongoing narrative onto a blank sheet of paper, thus moving the plot along. Meanwhile, at the Tower of Fate, Dr. Fate (Khalid Nassour) and Man-Bat run cosmic tests on the Helm of Nabu. (As revealed in the second feature to Detective Comics #1040, Man-Bat is possessed by a fear demon during this test session.) Meanwhile, at a cathedral in Gotham, the Merlin-worshipping Brothers of Ambrosius gather only to be confronted by Merlin’s time-displaced rival, Elnara Roshtu, a female knight of Arthur’s Round Table. Batman watches from the shadows as she kicks their asses, then jumping down to meet her. Batman is tickled by Elnara’s story, but tells her to leave the Brothers of Ambrosius to him. Elnara responds by disappearing into the shadows. Meanwhile, the JLD shows Ragman around their Hall of Justice digs. In Gotham’s Old Industrial District, Batman confronts the leaders of the Brothers of Ambrosius, but they use a psionic attack, temporarily disabling the Dark Knight until his cowl tech can cancel it out. Elnara takes down the villains and rescues and unconscious Batman, finding the source of the cult’s power—an old man named Randhir Singh, who is strapped to a bizarre machine. A recovered Batman hacks into the machine, allowing Elnara to enter Singh’s illusion simulation. She battles through illusory warriors to meet an avatar of Singh, who tells her about Merlin’s plans. Meanwhile, in the depths of Atlantis, the Justice League Dark joins Aquaman to challenge Merlin.

WARWORLD RISING
————————–Action Comics #1030
————————–Action Comics #1032-1033
On Warworld, a cloaked stranger delivers the severed heads of all of Mongul’s children to the latest Mongul, who is pleased that none of his parricidal kin will ever usurp his throne (as Monguls are wont to do). The stranger promises to deliver Superman as well. Meanwhile, Superman is concerned about his health; he has been ever since going through an interdimensional energy breach a few weeks ago. Spilling the beans to Batman and the Atom, the duo runs some combat tests upon the Man of Steel outside of the Fortress of Solitude. The heroes discover that Superman’s energy output increased but his overall powers have diminished. Notably, Superman seems to be suffering from cellular decay, which could be very bad for him. The Atom downplays the results, thinking it could be flukes, but Batman doesn’t think so. Batman also tells Superman that Superboy (Jon Kent) has become stronger than him, going so far as to suggest that his son replace him as Earth’s primary superhero. In the Middle East, Superboy (Jon) catches up with Robin (Damian), who has switched to a spiffy new black costume. Damian refuses to talk about his dad, but Jon can’t stop talking about his. Jon tells Damian that 31st century history records say that Superman dies by poisoning and is taken away by Kryptonians shortly after his conflict with the aforementioned energy breach. Soon afterward, Superman and Superboy come face-to-face with an armada from Warworld that is shooting at one of their own ships, which contains a group of Kryptonians, including Thao-La. In the Fortress of Solitude, Lois is able to calm down a terrified Thao-La, who Superman, Superboy (Jon Kent), and Supergirl discover is part of a lost colony of Kryptonians that have been enslaved by a new Mongul. In Atlantis, Vulko and Maric study a powerful stone called  the Genesis Fragment, which had fallen into the sea when the Kryptonian refugees were rescued. The artifact emits godlike energy, turning Maric into a kaiju. Later, Superman visits Gotham to talk to Batman, who is in the middle of busting random crooks. Superman asks for Batman’s approval for the Justice League to attack Warworld, but before a hesitant Batman can respond, Aquaman radios for help. Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Murk, and some Atlantean soldiers take on the transformed Maric along with several other kaiju along the Atlantic Coast of the US. Superman flies into the belly of the beast to find a strange structure with glowing runes on it. A mysterious voice speaks to him, welcoming him to the Necropolis. Superman is able to fly back out, freeze the main monster, and help defeat his minions. Steve Trevor, representing the US Government, arrives, demanding the Genesis Fragment from the Atlanteans, but they refuse to hand it over. Soon after, the US Government tries to steal it using Task Force X, but the mission is exposed in a brutal failure, sparking geopolitical tensions across the globe and a military standoff between the US and Atlantis. The JL meets to discuss the situation, but they can’t come to an agreement. Superman tells his teammates that he will liberate all the enslaved people on Warworld—with or without their help. Off the coast of Florida, Superman, Superboy, and Supergirl prevent combat between Atlantis and the US. Meanwhile, Mongul and a strange Necropolis baby remotely spy on Thao-La inside the Fortress of Solitude. Mongul teleports a bunch of Warzoon thugs into the Fortress, and they confront Thao-La, which reveals to Lois that Thao-La is a double-agent working for Mongul. Lois grabs a laser gun and begins fighting the Warzoons.

–Justice League Vol. 4 #64-65 (“UNITED ORDER”)
Superman’s newest rival, The Synmar Utopica, is put on trial by the United Planets at their HQ on Daxam. But Synmar escapes and bests the United Planets’ super-team known as United Order (Prince Zerep, Hawkslayer, Bloodstar, Dominator Qq, Divineq, and two unnamed others) before heading angrily toward Earth. At the Hall of Justice, Aquaman, Black Adam, Hawkgirl, and Hippolyta train Naomi until her parents (Jen McDuffie and Greg McDuffie) arrive for a visit. In Coast City, former ARGUS agent known as The Daemon Rose (Lois Lane’s brother) stalks Oliver Queen and Dinah Drake, but they turn the tables on him. The Daemon Rose surprises Dinah with his own secret ID, but also by revealing that Ollie has been bankrolling the new Checkmate. As they chat, someone wearing a Deathstroke costume attacks. Meanwhile, as Superman and Batman join his teammates (and the Wonder Twins) to defend DC against the arriving Synmar. Naomi ushers her parents into the care of John Constantine before joining the fray. Synmar destroys the entire Hall of Justice lobby. Back in Coast City, Ollie, Dinah, and the Daemon Rose realize that they are dealing with a fake Deathstroke. After a tense standoff, everyone shoots each other down à la Reservoir Dogs.

–Robin Vol. 3 #1
Having very recently turned fourteen-years-old, Robin (Damian) has left Gotham to compete in the League of Lazarus’ version of Mortal Kombat, a secret fighting tournament held once every hundred years. In order to do this, Damian has gone completely off the grid, which brings concern to his dad, who orders the Bat-Family to search for him. Nightwing, Robin (Tim), Spoiler, Orphan, and Oracle are unable to earth the well-hidden teen. In a qualifying match, Damian defeats King Snake, earning entry into the tourney. After a long boat ride, the competitors arrive at Lazarus Island. Gathered before tourney judge Mother Soul are: Black Swan, Raptor, Ravager, Respawn, Flatline, Brutale, Connor Hawke (representing the League of Shadows), Tigress (representing the Secret Society), an unnamed guy with one giant arm, Nite-Wing, Double Dare (Aliki Marceau and Margot Marceau), Lady Vic, Batman Japan, Shrike, Constantine Drakon, and others. The first official match is Damian versus Flatline, and the latter makes quick work of the former, ripping his heart clean out of his chest! (On Lazarus Island, it takes three deaths before death actually sticks, and you get automatically resurrected the first two times.)

–Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #6 Part 3
Batman gets involved in the bizarre ritualistic war between the Chessmen Blanc and Chessmen Noir, two chess-themed cults that are engaged in a violent underground conflict. After the Chessmen Blanc kidnap their rivals’ young “Prince,” Batman is able to rescue the boy, but his destiny is one of brainwashed murder and mayhem. He leaves Batman to join his fellow Noir in violent combat.

–Wonder Woman: Black and Gold #1 Part 5
Batman and Wonder Woman team-up to bust and interrogate money laundering investment banker. Batman bets Wonder Woman ten bucks that she’ll have to use her magick lasso in order to get the guy to confess. Wonder Woman takes Batman’s bet. After telling the crook an intimidating story about how she got the Golden Fleece in ancient times and impressing upon him that the lasso is way more intense than a polygraph, the crook folds and spills the beans. Batman pays up.

–DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration #1 Part 9
Early May. Katana, Cyborg, and Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) attend the 43rd Annual Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in New York City. The festival director tells them that a White supremacist super-villain group called the Knights of the Brotherhood are planning on causing trouble. When they show up, the trio of heroes kicks their asses with help from the crowd. Afterward, Batman, Superman, and Queen Nubia show up to partake in the festivities.

–Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1
Duke and Cassie spar in the Hatch before Duke preps with Izzy Ortiz for Signal’s daily patrol. Not only is Izzy acting as Signal’s “Oracle,” she and Duke are also currently dating. At the start of the shift, Signal comes across Riko Sheridan and Dax Chill, now acting as hyper-violent vigilantes Rook and Alt (respectively) and working directly for tech whiz kid Xander Pearl. Sadly, Riko and Dax no longer see eye-to-eye with Duke, and they begin fighting him. Meanwhile, having heard about Pearl’s foray into the vigilante “market,” Bruce meets with Pearl in an effort to talk him out of the Batman Inc-esque venture. While Pearl openly mocks Bruce and blabs on-and-on, Oracle scans his biometrics and body language and clones his mobile phone. After Signal fends-off his former friends, he infiltrates the White Market, a roving hidden flea market that offers weapons and power upgrades for super-villains. Rook, having also infiltrated the White Market, gets spotted, leading to Signal and Rook fighting through a bunch of villains—including Parasite, Count Vertigo, and more—to make a hasty escape. After Batman debriefs with Oracle, he does research on the White Market. Batman then briefs Izzy and an injured Signal, telling them that they must focus on The Order of the Stone, a sect of the Religion of Crime that is after the Crime Bible, which is for sale at the White Market. Burnt out and beaten-up, Duke crashes out at his apartment, which he still shares with his cousin Jay. The next day, mysterious explosion occurs at the rehab facility where Duke’s parents reside. Commissioner Montoya and Detective Alex Aisi (Duke’s on-again-off-again partner) investigate. Duke investigates as well, discovering that his mom caused the explosion and is now missing.

–Blue and Gold #1
The Justice League (sans Superman) is captured by robot-aliens, prompting Booster Gold and Skeets to attempt a monetized livestream rescue! With fans watching (and trolling), Booster struggles mightily with the robots. Worried, Skeets contacts Ted Kord for help. Soon after, Blue Beetle joins Booster, giving him the boost he needed to succeed. Beetle and Booster rescue the JL just as the aliens warp away. Afterward, Booster departs with Black Adam on clean-up duty. The rest of the JL invites Beetle to join the team, but he refuses to join without Booster (who is definitely not getting an invite). Light years away on a distant planet, the robot-aliens’ royal general, Princess Omnizon, reports back to her unnamed king, vowing revenge against Beetle and Booster.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD
————————–Detective Comics #1034
————————–Detective Comics #1035 Part 1
Bruce spends two-and-a-half days digging out yet another Micro-Cave, this one located in an abandoned underground tunnel just six blocks away from his Fort Graye brownstone. Bruce pauses only to attend a Mayor Christopher Nakano fundraiser gala, which is raided by the Party Crashers. With Huntress watching from a distance, Batman chases away the Party Crashers before returning to spend the rest of the evening digging out his Micro-Cave. Bruce’s buttonholing neighbor Lydia Warren then invites him to a party in the neighborhood, so Bruce makes a neighborly appearance, hobnobbing with Gotham’s gentrified elites. At City Hall, Mayor Nakano vents to his aides Hue Vile and Neil Betterman. Later, Batman tracks down and busts the Party Crashers. Upon arriving back in Fort Graye, Bruce and his neighbor Deb Donovan are drawn to a loud commotion at the home of Sam Tern and Sarah Worth. There’s been a break-in and Sarah has gone missing. Just beneath their feet, the bloodstained culprit, Neil, navigates his way through the sewers. Batman investigates for ten hours straight, soon finding Sarah’s corpse on display in the sewer. The cops arrive to find the body as well, chasing away Batman with gunfire. GCPD Chief Hubbord tells Mayor Nakano that Batman is involved with the crime somehow. A few days later, Bruce attends Sarah’s packed funeral with Deb Donovan. They sit near Penguin, whose blind eye has been restored its vision thanks to Death Metal‘s cosmic fallout. Sarah’s father, Roland Worth, who is one of the richest and most influential men in the city, delivers a fiery oratory, demanding justice. Huntress watches from the shadows, taking a break from routine patrol. Afterward, Roland Worth has dinner with Mayor Nakano, airing more grievances. Meanwhile Deb Donovan writes a scathing article about the corruption that has enveloped Gotham. (Yes, there has to be a dreaded hidden ellipsis in Detective Comics #1035 shortly after the funeral scene. James Tynion’s upcoming narrative will reference “The Neighborhood” but occur prior to Bruce’s home getting torched.)

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #107 Part 2 and Batman Vol. 3 #108-109. It’s been a few months since A-Day. (As mentioned above, Batman Vol. 3 #107 is split in half because, while Batman Vol. 3 #107-110 seems to be one continuous narrative, issue #107 specifically occurs one month after A-Day yet issue #110 specifically occurs a few months after A-Day. This means we have a hidden ellipsis in the only place it can fit.) At Saint Industries, Ricardo tells Simon Saint that Mayor Nakano has invited him to the groundbreaking of an A-Day memorial, which will honor Sean Mahoney. Scarecrow then chats with Saint. Concurrently, in an effort to infiltrate the Unsanity Collective, Batman disguises himself as Matches Malone for the 2020s, a cyberpunk named “Match.” twelve hours later, Mayor Nakano holds his A-Day memorial. Oracle watches on TV as Dr. Meridian (a reference to Chase Meridian from the film Batman Forever?) provides analysis. Using her super-enhanced TV, she is able to spot Scarecrow watching from a nearby rooftop. After the memorial, Mahoney accepts Saint’s offer to become a cyborg soldier known as “Peacekeeper-01.” At the Unsanity Collective’s HQ, “Match” has already been outed as a spy and brought before Master Wyze and his top lieutenants, Miracle Molly and Breaker. But rather than doing something villainous, Miracle Molly takes “Match” and shows him “Gotham Two,” a high tech cyber city hidden atop several unfinished skyscrapers leftover from the shuttered Wayne Rebuild Program. Molly introduces “Match” to a young cyber-enhanced girl named Squeak, explaining that Wyze erases everyone’s memories when they join the Collective, after which they can start anew with cybernetic upgrades. Molly delivers a long monologue about the Collective’s techno-utopian vision before revealing that she knew “Match” was Batman all along. Seeing that Batman has reacted amicably to the Collective lifestyle, Molly tells Batman that it was Saint that hired the Collective to kidnap the media moguls. Across town at Saint Industries, Saint turns Mahoney is into Peacekeeper-01. Back at the Fort Graye brownstone, Bruce contemplates everything that Molly has told him. When other scarecrows begin popping up all over the city, Batman tells Oracle to dig up dirt on Simon Saint and call the Ghost-Maker into action. The Ghost-Maker receives the call and takes Harley Quinn to his very own version of the Batcave known as The Haunt. (It even has a Spinosaurus.) The Ghost-Maker flirts with Harley and they sip champagne while sword dueling until the Gardner arrives with her plant hounds. Harley reveals that the Garnder is Poison Ivy’s college ex-girlfriend. The Gardner reveals that Poison Ivy (who has been going by “Queen Ivy” since Death Metal) is in hiding, and if anyone tries to find her, a secret underground jungle growing beneath everyone’s feet will swallow the city whole. In spite of this, the Gardner tells Harley that Ivy needs her more than ever. Oracle, who has been remotely-eavesdropping, reminds the Ghost-Maker that he’s on the clock. The Gardner gives Harley a shred of flora, telling her to use it to summon her when she is ready to face Ivy. At Saint Industries, Simon Saint tells Hue Vile that Mayor Nakano needs to keep Roland Worth and Deb Donovan in line, as both pose a threat to the Magistrate Program. Just after Vile leaves, Batman busts into the building, quickly taking out Ricardo before confronting Simon Saint, who unleashes Peacekeeper-01 on him. As Peacekeeper-01 pummels Batman, Saint says that Nakano has green-lit his program. In that moment, Saint detonates a bomb at City Hall, a move designed to frame the Unsanity Collective, sow chaos across Gotham, and increase public approval of his martial law. Batman kills the lights with an EMP pulse and lasers his way into a lower floor. Batman and Peacekeeper-01 slug it out.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #110. Picking up directly from the flashback from Batman Vol. 3 #109, Batman continues fighting Peacekeeper-01 as Gotham descends into chaos in the wake of the City Hall bombing. Panicked, Mayor Nakano authorizes Simon Saint’s Magistrate Program to enact martial law. Aboard Magistrate Skybase-01 high in the sky, Saint monitors his war machine. Batman struggles with Peacekeeper-01, who admits to bombing City Hall on behalf of his benefactor. On the verge of defeat, Batman signals the Ghost-Maker, who rescues him. Aboard the Ghost-Stream (the Ghost-Maker’s stealth jet), Batman licks his wounds as Saint and Nakano publicly announce that the Magistrate program has gone live with Sean Mahoney as super-soldier numero uno. Harley tells the boys that Mahoney is a sadist, who was extremely abusive as an Arkham Asylum guard. Meanwhile, Saint’s Peacekeepers infiltrate Gotham 2.0 with plans of wiping out the Unsanity Collective.

–Batman Vol. 3 #106-110 (“THE COWARDLY LOT”)
Batman is captured and tortured by Scarecrow.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD Continued…
————————–Detective Comics #1035 Part 2
————————–Detective Comics #1036-1037

Infected by Hue Vile, Sam Tern (partner to the deceased Sarah) flips-out and buys a gun, hoping to seek justice wherever he can find it. (Vile has long been in a symbiotic relationship with a bug-like parasite that lives in his throat, and together they spread a disease that causes people to commit wanton murder and mayhem.) Batman takes down the unhinged bereaved. Thinking Sam is on drugs, Batman dumps him off at a police station. Meanwhile, after a meeting with Mayor Nakano, Neil Betterman collapses in a parasitic-induced fit akin to what Sam was experiencing. The manipulative Vile takes care of Neil. Nakano makes a big public declaration that Sarah’s murder will be solved, but curiously, someone from his administration orders the site where Sarah’s body was found to be cemented over before any forensic analysis can be done. Bruce returns to Fort Graye to find a zombie Sarah wandering the streets. It’s actually a muddleheaded Lady Clayface. Lydia watches as Bruce takes “Sarah” into his home. There, she devolves into a claylike blob, which Bruce stuffs into a duffel bag just as the police—having been rung by Lydia—begin pounding on his door. The police do a quick check, but turn up nothing. For a moment, Bruce thinks “Sarah” could be Clayface, but he quickly realizes that it isn’t, citing that Clayface hasn’t been in Gotham since his stint on the Gotham Knights. Of course, Bruce must be forgetting that he specifically brought Clayface into Gotham during “City of Bane.” Later, some of Penguin’s men are attacked by a man under the parasitic influence of the same stuff Neil is hooked-on. They take the guy to Penguin. In Fort Graye, Lydia is murdered by Neil. Downtown, Huntress questions Batman’s activities, which allows for “Sarah” to reconstitute. Our heroes calm a raging Lady Clayface and take her to one of the Micr0-Caves. Lady Clayface explains that the A-Day attack affected her ability to change form. She happened to coincidentally be present at Sarah’s murder, which caused her to snap and turn into zombie Sarah. Lady Clayface tells our heroes that Neil is the culprit, so they go after him only to find him dead of an overdose. Oracle and Huntress dig deeper into the parasitic violence that seems to be spreading across the city wherever Hue Vile goes. Meanwhile, Bruce is taken in by police for questioning regarding Lydia’s murder. Downtown, Vile’s symbiotic parasite emerges from his mouth and kills a random dude in an alley. Roland Worth, beginning to succumb to Vile’s parasitic bite, chews out Mayor Nakano again before using a rocket launcher to blow up the police station where Bruce is being held. Worth chases Bruce into the sewers where the latter switches back into Batman gear to fight him.

–Detective Comics #1038-1039 (“THE NEIGHBORHOOD” Conclusion)
Picking up directly from Detective Comics #1037, Roland Worth fights Batman, continuing to blow things up with his rocket launcher, only resigning and allowing Batman to take him into custody after seeing Lady Clayface briefly take the form of his daughter again. Despite having blown up a police station (an act of terrorism if ever there was one), Worth buys his way out of jail within hours, publicly declaring that Bruce Wayne and Batman are marked for death (another definite crime here, but oh well). Worth allies himself with Penguin. At Helena’s apartment, Batman and Huntress put their heads together in an attempt to solve the mystery behind the parasitic virus. Later, the evil Hue Vile meets with Worth to concoct a plan. After nightfall, Vile and Worth kidnap Deb Donovan and use her as a distraction. While Batman and Huntress rescue Deb in the sewer, Vile and Worth start blowing more shit up aboveground. Batgirl, Orphan, and Nightwing try to save lives as pre-planted bombs explode all over the city. Penguin’s henchmen and the Party Crashers riot through the streets. Oracle reports that Vile is the man behind everything, sending Huntress to confront him. Huntress stabs Vile, but the villain manages to infect her. Meanwhile, Deb also succumbs to Vile’s parasitic bite, struggling with Batman while Worth continues to shoot at him. Batman takes down Penguin’s goon squad, Worth, and the infected Huntress. (The latter fight is also shown via flashback from Batman Secret Files: Huntress #1.) Vile escapes into the sewers along with one of Penguin’s henchmen. All the infected folks, including Deb and Huntress, are cured at the hospital. Batman radios Oracle to tell her that he will be turning himself into authorities.

–Detective Comics #1040
Picking up right from the end of Detective Comics #1039, Bruce turns himself over to authorities and returns to jail, with hopes that getting his name cleared of any wrongdoing will be beneficial. In the drunk tank, a wasted guy approaches Bruce, revealing that he knows his secret ID, having secretly spotted Batman taking off his mask years ago. After 36 hours behind bars, Bruce is cleared and released. Upon returning to Fort Graye, Bruce finds his brownstone has been burned to the ground courtesy of Penguin, who later meets with Roland Worth to reveal that he has Hue Vile captive. Together, Penguin and Worth assemble a small army of henchmen, calling their union “The Jury.” They set into motion a plan to kill both Bruce and Batman. (Batman Secret Files: Huntress #1 tells us that Batman chases after Roland Worth in a warehouse following this, but that’ll likely be shown in ‘tec #1041.)

–Catwoman Vol. 5 #33 (“DESOLATION LAND”)
Recently, Mayor Christopher Nakano initiated Simon Saint’s Magistrate Program, which has led to civil unrest over the imposed state of martial law thrust upon the populace of Gotham. With protests ramping up in Alleytown, open clashes between police and protestors erupt, prompting Nakano to shut down cellular and broadband and send in the Peacekeepers. Catwoman meets with the Alleytown Strays (including Billy, Dex, Shoes aka Cheshire Cat, Skidmark, and Joey Allen), who have teamed-up with Riddler, Clayface, Cheshire, Killer Croc, Knockout, and Firefly. (Spoiler: Shoes/Cheshire Cat is none other than a resurrected amnesiac Lian Harper!) At Alleytown’s GCPD precinct, Catwoman’s friend Detective Dean Hadley argues with his partner Detective James Rigs about Catwoman’s involvement in all the chaos. Soon after, Catwoman and her motley crew meet with Alleytown gangster Pit Rollins, setting up a plan to help civilians escape from the Magistrate’s iron fist. Before the rebels can initiate anything, Catwoman is attacked by assassin Father Valley (Karl Wasieman aka Karl Senke aka Karl Valley), the adopted son of Jean-Paul Ludovic Valley. Catwoman is stabbed, thrown into the bay, and left for dead, but Batman saves her life.

–the second feature to Detective Comics #1040
Not long ago, as seen in the second feature to Justice League Vol. 4 #64, Man-Bat was running some cosmic tests on the Helm of Nabu. During those tests, Man-Bat was exposed to a fear-mongering demon, which has been hiding within his body ever since. Now, the demon causes Man-Bat to flip-out and return to his wild ways. Batman confronts Man-Bat, who forces the demon out of his body for a moment. Sensing that there’s only one course of heroic action, Man-Bat takes the demon back into his system and sacrifices his own life in order to destroy the monster. Batman attends Kirk Langstrom’s sparsely-attended funeral the next day. Francine Langstrom attends. The world once again thinks that Man-Bat died as a raging out-of-control super-villain, but Batman knows the truth.

–Infinite Frontier #2
Director Bones, running the revamped DEO, sends Cameron Chase to chat with Superman and Batman at the Hall of Justice. Cameron questions the heroes about recent cosmic events involving Flashpoint Batman and the Batman Who Laughs, specifically addressing how the public needs to know more about multiversial incursions and the science behind them. Their conversation is cut short by an Aquaman and Hawkgirl alert about Brimstone. Their alert mentions that this is the fourth version of Brimstone that has appeared this year. Batman and Superman join their comrades to deal with the situation. Director Bones orders Cameron to recruit Captain Atom. Meanwhile, the Justice Incarnate collects strange metal fragments scattered across the multiverse. Notably, Machinehead bests Lord Havok on Earth-8, Captain Carrot bests King Cone on Earth-26, and Earth-5 Mary Marvel bests Earth-5 Sobek on Earth-5, while the others, including Earth-41’s Dino-Cop, meet no resistance while scavenging. Back at the House of Heroes, President Superman and Harbinger show a copy of The Multiversity Guidebook to Flashpoint Batman, who had been part of a botched abduction plot by the DEO’s cosmic bounty hunter X-Tract but wound up in the safe care of the Justice Incarnate. President Superman and Flashpoint Batman travel to Earth-22 to collect another metal fragment only to run into the evil Earth-22 Magog. Meanwhile, on Earth-0, Mr. Terrific, Vandal Savage, Alan Scott, and Obsidian investigate the charred ruins of the original JSA HQ, which has just been blown up. Mr. Terrific notes that several prominent superheroes have gone missing, including Jade, Power Girl, Atom Smasher, Wildcat (Yolanda Montez), Dr. Mid-Nite (Elizabeth Chapel), Hourman (Rick Tyler), and Damage (Grant Emerson). Upon hearing that their friends and family are missing, Alan Scott and Obsidian angrily depart in search of them. Meanwhile, outside of Metropolis, Roy Harper, having now become the first ever living Black Lantern, tests his powers, during which he sees a hazy vision of Darkseid, Flashpoint Batman, Psycho-Pirate, a chained Barry Allen, and his daughter Lian. At the nearby Metropolis Air Force Base, Cameron meets with Captain Atom, who is quickly revealed to be an alternate universe Captain Atom, masquerading as Earth-0’s version. Upon being outed, the alt-Captain Atom says “Darskeid is” while detonating himself with a nuclear explosion.

–Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 2 #12 (Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 2 Print Edition #6)
June—the start of Atlantic hurricane season. When a levee wall explodes, flooding the city, Batman goes on rescue duty, quickly blaming Killer Croc upon spotting him at the scene of the detonation. After a quick scuffle, cooler heads prevail as Batman realizes that Croc is not the culprit. The real villains are scuba-diving hackers that are using the flood as a distraction to rob the Gotham Stock Exchange. Batman teams-up with Croc to bust the thieves. While engaged in combat, Croc says, “Every billionaire is a crime.” Once with the baddies down and out, Croc purposefully destroys stock exchange data servers, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage. A true anti-capitalist hero!

_________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Here is the complete Dark Nights: Death Metal timeline, complete with non-Batman stories included. Stories that feature Batman are highlighted in bold.

    –Justice League Vol. 4 #39-40 (“JUSTICE/DOOM WAR”)
    –Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #1-4
    –Flash #750 Part 6 (“FLASH FORWARD” Epilogue Part 1)
    –Flash Forward TPB Epilogue
    –Death Metal Guidebook #1 / Infinite Hour Exxxtreme #1 Part 1
    –Death Metal #1-3
    –Death Metal – Legends of the Dark Knights #1 (includes FBs to Dark Knights origins)
    –Death Metal – Trinity Crisis #1 / Death Metal – Speed Metal #1
    –Death Metal – Multiverse’s End #1
    –Death Metal #4 / JL #53-54 (“DOOM METAL”)
    –Death Metal – Robin King #1 / JL #55-56 / Infinite Hour Exxxtreme #1 Part 2
    –Death Metal #5 Part 1 / JL #57 (“DOOM METAL”)
    –Death Metal – Rise of the New God #1
    –Death Metal – The Multiverse Who Laughs #1
    –Death Metal – The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1
    –Death Metal #5 Part 2
    –Death Metal #6
    –Death Metal – The Secret Origin #1
    –Death Metal – The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1
    –Death Metal #7

  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: In the wake of Death Metal, Hypertime glitches-out thanks to lingering chronal juju concomitant with the reformation of the omniverse, and we are treated to Dan Jurgens, Robert Venditti, and Andy Schmidt’s “Generations” arc, comprising of “Generations Fractured” (Detective Comics #1027 Part 11), Generations Shattered #1, and Generations Forged #1. In this arc, we meet for the first time the heroes and villains of the Linearverse, a parachronic timeline that is basically every publication era stitched together (back-to-back-to-back) into a single chronology, where every character is more-or-less immortal, thus allowing them to live out each era in perpetual youth. Linearverse Batman, for example, debuted in 1939 but is still active in 2021 and beyond. Same guy for over 80 years, with no pesky reboots. Near the outset of Generations Shattered #1, there is a splash page showing all the heroes of primary Universe-0 timeline. Dominus (the Big Bad of “Generations”) doesn’t want to mess with heroes that have already handed him his ass on previous occasion, instead turning to focus solely on bothering the Linearverse versions of his rivals. As such, Batman doesn’t technically appear in “Generations” outside of the aforesaid splash. However, this story will always remain notable for it contains the debut of the Linearverse Batman! It’s also worth noting that Jurgens, in a Newsarama interview in February 2020, emphasizes the alternate nature of this timeline, saying that “the Linearverse is its own unique playground. DC’s regular ongoing series starring Superman, Batman, the Justice League, Green Lantern, and more exist in the greater Omniverse where time theoretically passes normally for the characters.”

43 Responses to Infinite Frontier Year Twenty (Part 1)

  1. James Mahoney IV says:

    Hey, just a question, Collin: how tired are you getting of these mega-events that are cosmic/universal in origin, have hundreds of characters, and tells stories that would be incomprehensible without intimate knowledge of multiverse theory and the like? Because I must say, they really, really wear me out and make me regret caring about the current comic book industry in the first place.

    Oh, and happy new year!

    • They are definitely more-than-exhausting (Death Metal totaled 25 issues, and that’s not including the tons of issues that were kind of required reading leading into it—Doomsday Clock, Batman Who Laughs, Year of the Villain, and 40+ issues of Snyder’s Justice League). But if you look at history, I think Scott Snyder has brought us to an inevitable point.

      In the 1940s, the new superhero frontier was time-travel. In the 1950s and 1960s, the frontier revolved around exploration of an alternate Earth. With the authorial application of Many Worlds Theory, this quickly developed into exploration of multiple Earths, and by the 1980s, “infinite” universes. By the early 1990s, the focus expanded to exploring multiple (hyper)timelines combined with an “infinite” omniverse comprised of myriad multiverses. By the mid 1990s and into the 2000s, the trend kept further expanding, this time pushing boundaries with a focus on characters gaining semi-awareness of their own “fictionality.” By the 2010s, naturally, the next obvious step was to push character cognizance further via granting characters semi-awareness of reboots. And now we’ve reached what some might call the peak evolution of the superhero narrative, with a headfirst dive into the Metaverse, which has been split wide open like a melon. Or maybe a better simile is “like an onion.”

      The layers of the onion have been peeled back so much, that we’ve surely reached the core, right? The problem is that once you’ve gotten there, where can you go after that? At the core, as a next step, would likely be a broad exploration of the Metaverse, which unless handled with kid gloves (i.e. with a very light Dr. Manhattan touch á la Johns), is pure chaos. And maybe that’s exactly what Death Metal is—the purest form of unadulterated narrative chaos imaginable, ushered in by one of the most heavy-handed writers in recent memory. Now that the intimate knowledge of the Metaverse has been revealed unto the DC’s primary line, what will it be like as a reader to engage with these tales, which have previously had a rigid set of story-physics that have held things together?

      Imagine for a moment that, in your real life, the concept of “Mandela Effect” (or “Fracturing” as Lois Lane calls it) is real, and all of a sudden you have cosmic consciousness where you now recall all past lives. Do you become schizophrenic, unable to parse out which memories are associated with which past lives? The same question applies to DC’s ongoing narrative. Do we get flashbacks and references where we no longer are able to tell which are associated with which prior continuity? If everything matters, then nothing matters in the exact same sense.

      I think there’s another reason that the legends like Grant Morrison and Alan Moore have decided to step away from the business. Maybe the superhero genre has gone as far as it can go. And maybe they see that. This seems implausible, though, especially when you think of the limitless possibilities of sequential art media. I truly believe that comics have more storytelling potential than any other media, with an interminable possibility-web of labyrinthian forking paths—yet somehow, someway, it seems as though DC’s comics have maybe taken a route that has led them to a dead end.

  2. James Hunter says:

    Collin,

    I have been following this timeline for over a year (the work you put into it is very helpful, time consuming as it may be!)

    One question though, what exactly are you doing about FUTURE STATE? Will it have its own entry?

    • Hi James, thanks for following along! I’ve told others who’ve asked me the same question—when DC did Futures End a few years ago, I catalogued it in detail, and it wound up being a totally alt timeline. As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you. Fool we twice, shame on me. Having read the first batch of Future State titles, it really seems like this is a separate Hypertimeline (I’m looking at you, once-again-murderous Wally West). The fact that we know Future State is merely recycled 5G stuff doesn’t lend credence to the idea that it’s canon either.

      So, to answer your question, for now, I’m not going to do anything with Future State. I might, however, take a two month vacation from any new comics. Boy, do I need it!

  3. Austin Eaton says:

    So I finished Death Metal and I’m wondering if everyone really only remembers previous continuity and not that it all actually happened. Because if so, that’s really dumb. Also, does “The Secret Origin” tie in happen during issue 6?

    • Forgot to add Secret Origin. It takes place right after #6 (or possibly during it), right before War of the Multiverses.

      Good luck getting a straight answer out of that Death Metal #7 finale! But honestly it’s just as vague as I expected it to be. We’ve already been prepped for this with Lois’ concept of “Fracturing,” though. It’s the same idea (I think) as Power Girl gaining memories of her prior life during Infinite Crisis. And the Johns’ Metaverse concept, along with Bendis’ recent stuff, has also prepped us for this (with many characters gaining awareness of the fact that there have been reboots). Technically, everything has always happened (literally because the past did in fact happen). The big change is indeed, as you say, that everyone now has knowledge/memory of their prior histories—presumably in a convenient way that doesn’t cause everyone to become instantly schizophrenic.

      To reply more succinctly: The idea is certainly not that everything from the past is part of one unified new continuity. They really haven’t rebooted in this sense.

      • Austin Eaton says:

        Yeah, I think it really seems like a cop out since all the writers can now use whatever previous origin stories and history they want and it now won’t be a continuity error. Understandable but very frustrating.

  4. Antonio says:

    Hi Collin, Antonio here… I hope everything is ok with you.
    Well… in the pages of DM7 it is said that everyone who died before has been brought back to life… but what about Alfred?
    I think it was a huge mistake to kill him, as much as it was to reveal the Superman’s identity. All in all, Tom King and Brian Michael Bendis were a huge disappointment…

    • I guess we’ll find out about Alfred come March, haven’t heard anything about that yet. We’ve seen him as a zombie twice now, but I would assume that he’s one of the aforesaid resurrected…

  5. Frank says:

    Hi Collin! I hope your are well 🙂 to start i will wish you an happy new year and a lot of things for this new year for you and your family 😉

    I wanted to ask you a question about the future of your reading guide. With the advent of the omniverse, how do you plan to continue?

    If I understood correctly from what I read here or here on internet, in the future authors will be able to tell the stories of the time they want or the period they want (golden age,silver age, etc) that they want this will be canon. is that it?

    If so, do you plan to update this?

    what do you think of all this? Do you think the authors succeeded in doing what was not done then with Convergence and Doomsday clock conclusively?

    Does the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Modern age, the new 52, ​​Rebirth versions we have known coexist now in this universe with the next infinite frontier age or this will be the versions of this reality ? Or have they arrived in the past and are now remembered by all character?

    It’s a little bit confusing…

    To conclude,Thank you in advance for your answers and your advice

    • Thanks for the well wishes, and same to you and yours! I’m not sure where you read that authors will be able to tell the stories of the time they want or the period they want and it will be canon. From my understanding and everything that I’ve read, the Infinite Frontier/Omniverse initiative is basically a return to the use of Hypertime (or rather, a green light for authors to use it—because let’s not forget, Hypertime has been around and in-use by a few select authors for quite some time now). So, I think we’ll possibly see more alternate timeline stories, some of which might reflect prior timelines. But these will 100% be alternate Hypertimelines.

      Future State is specifically labeled as an alt-timeline future—it says so on the first page of each issue. Generations Shattered shows Dominus viewing the primary Earth-0 timeline and then decide not to mess with the heroes there, instead turning toward Hypertime alt-versions of characters from the past. There’s a weird Jurgens thing going on there with Earth-0 Batman morphing into a Golden Age version of Batman, but that has yet to be explained.

      Anyway, it is confusing. For all the opportunities to keep things simple and course-correct, DC never does. It just gets more and more needlessly complicated. But, there are some cool titles coming up in March and April, and Snyder seems to have by-hook-or-by-crook managed somehow to fix the Didio/Johns continuity nightmare via his “anti-reboot” which amazingly wasn’t a reboot. Although, we all know that sometimes in the funny world of comicdom we don’t realize we are in the midst of a rebooted timeline until we are knee deep in the narrative waters.

      • Antonio says:

        Hi Collin, Antonio here. I hope you’re doing well…

        Goodness Gracious Me, if this Future State crazy timeline really was supposed to be what DC had in store with 5G that would have meant the end of the company, I’ll tell you what.
        A bunch of crazy, unappealing, make-no-sense kinda timeline. Or timelines, maybe, because in books like House Of El we have basically some futures of Future State.
        I miss the simple days. When Bruce had Alfred, patrolling the streets of Gotham. No Tim Fox’es (who, by the way, makes no sense as Batman) or other million Batmen around.
        And now the Linearverse. Really? Seriously? Please somebody kill me.

        I don’t know what you’re thinking about all this, Collin… but, c’mon… this isn’t about creating GOOD STORIES, it’s just “vomiting” out stories. Bad ones.
        Infinite Frontier hasn’t come out yet, but I’ll tell ya, I’m scared. I don’t think that Future State will totally stay as an alternate timeline, I think we’ll see the Magistrate in the canon books very soon… and if so, how could we say that Future State is just “a” timeline?

        Sorry for the long post, Collin.
        I wish you all the best!

        • Well, A-Day will lead to the rise of the Magistrate on the main timeline, so we’ll definitely see some of it. Plus, we’ll be seeing many of the Future State characters in main canon as well. This is kind of how the Age of Apocalypse characters eventually showed up in 616. In any case, I suspect that the Future Staters will want to prevent their dystopian future and will help prevent it from happening on the main timeline—the typical dark future goes back to present day to prevent said dark future story. In this, I have at least some faith in Tynion and Tamaki.

          The original 52 (and now 7 additional) Future State books are without question recycled 5G material. This we know for sure. However, I’ve heard mixed rumors about the origins of Jurgens’ Linearverse. At first glance, it really feels like a 5G thing, in many ways the quintessential 5G thing, but Jurgens apparently swears he came up with the idea long after DiDio was fired. So, who knows? Maybe he was slightly inspired by DiDio’s ill-fated concept. I don’t mind the idea of the Linearverse as a fun alternate timeline, but as a canonical concept, no way. An immortal universe where everyone is over 100-years-old but looks and feels like they are 25? Nope. There are some folks on Reddit and the grimier reaches of the web that are claiming that Infinite Crisis #0 will reveal that the Linearverse is the new primary DCU. This can’t be true, for if it were, then Death Metal really would be a nonsensical reboot as opposed to the anti-reboot Snyder has claimed to have delivered. Also, it’s made very clear in-text that the Linearverse is an alternate universe. Jurgens has both Domnius and Waverider state that very explicitly in both issues. Plus, Jurgens has also stated emphatically in interviews that the Linvearverse is NOT main continuity.

  6. Dylan says:

    > On our Rebirth/Infinite Frontier Era timeline, Barry did indeed die during the first Crisis, but by then Wally had already been exiled into the Speed Force. So, while this boot-filling can’t be a reference to the first Crisis, it can and should be taken as a generalized statement about Wally having always been a great substitute whenever Barry was away.

    I’m not so sure this is true, post Superman-Reborn (or even pre-Superman Reborn, franky). Abra pushing Wally outside the timeline seems to have happened pre-Flashpoint, and we aren’t given a firm date for when it happened in Superman Reborn era.

    Frankly, to me, it seems a better idea to assume that this, and the fight with Mister Twister that resulted in the world forgetting the Titans (a la Titans Hunt), happened during a Titans reunion in our post-New 52, post-Superman Reborn timeline, happened during a Titans reunion immediately ‘before’ flashpoint.

    This, to me, seems a lot cleaner than assuming that every reference to his time as Flash is erroneous.

    • Hey Dylan, I’ll bite on that. The Mister Twister-Adbra Kadabra/Dr. Manhattan memory erasure and exile could definitely have occurred later, after Wally had become Flash. I do like that better, for then (as you say) we don’t have to ignore every reference ever to Wally having been Flash before. This is a HUGE fix. I’ll make it now, thanks!

      • And actually, you’ve made me re-visit my entire way of rationalizing the various mind-wipes, erasures, and memory blockages that wreaked havoc with the New 52 and Rebirth Era. In the New 52, it’s clear that there definitively is no JSA, Legion, Impulse, Conner Kent, Teen Titans, or Young Justice because we see from Year Zero through Year Ten (on the entire shortened timeline) that they are not there.

        However, when the timeline expands with Rebirth (“Superman Reborn”), we must view the timeline the way we did at the inception of the Modern Age after the original Crisis, as folding-in compressed pieces of prior continuity. The missing/blocked JSA, Legion, Impulse, Conner Kent, Teen Titans, and Young Justice stuff only becomes missing/blocked at the start of where the New 52-based stories begin, which explains why we don’t see any of that stuff during that time period, which spans a couple years on the new timeline. As such, the blocked stuff can still appear prior, mirroring prior continuities.

        Anyway, there’s probably a better way of articulating this, but I think I’m going to make some much needed changes that will strongly benefit the site, and ones that will help make sense of all the myriad references that are sure to come in the new Infinite Frontier Era.

        • Dylan says:

          Oh, dang!

          I’m honestly in awe of your willingness to make sweeping changes like this- to question your own interpretation of something on this scale. I know that when I’m working on projects this big, I have tendancy to get very protective of my interpretation of things, and it’s inspiring for you to be willing to hear somebody else’s viewpoint and re-examine so much. You rock!

  7. Dylan says:

    Hey! Me again, haha.

    I had a bit of curiosity- do you consider the current DC ‘age of heroes’ to work on a sliding timeline, in that the last 21 or so years will continue to shift forward with our present, but their in-world time will advance at its own pace, or do you consider your years set?

    • Hey Dylan, my current timeline doesn’t operate with a Sliding-Timescale. The last definitive period where Sliding Time was in-effect was in the 2000s, made clear with Guide to the DC Universe 2000 Secret Files and then again via multiple age references in the late 2000s. Since then, we haven’t seen it utilized. Although, Sliding-Time only really gets utilized when you have a long timeline (see Marvel or DC towards the end of the Modern Age). Now that we have a decently lengthy timeline again, might we see Sliding-Time return? Something to keep an eye on is ages—specifically Damian and Jon’s ages. I know at least one writer has kept Damian at age 13 for the past five years now. That’s a simply a continuity error unless a whole bunch of other writers start doing it too.

  8. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, Antonio here. How’s Covid situation in your area? Hope not everything is going to horses because in my country it is like hell at the moment.
    Anyway… I’ ve got some questions regarding the position of Batman 106-107, Joker 2 and Justice League 59-60.
    In Joker 2 Bruce tells Jim that with everything that’s going on in Gotham he can’t just leave for Belize to assist him apprehending Joker… but then he leaves for practically another world (Naomi’s warworld) with the JL? Doesn’t make any sense to me.
    Of course I think this is one of the cases of an author simply not knowing what another author is currently writing in another book.
    So, I’m wondering… wouldn’t it be simpler and fairer to put the Naomi-JL arc right before the happening of A-day in Infinite Frontier?
    Plus, with Bruce really busy with the post A-day in Batman 106-107 I think it could be the case to put Joker 2 right after these two issues, so that his statement of not being able to help Jim is true.
    It’s just my take on that, but, of course, you’re the master. So, if you stick with it I’m perfectly fine and no doubt you’re right.

    Thank you, Collin, for your work.

    • I see what you are saying, Antonio, and I think there’s a fix. Batman 106 mentions that the Unsanity Collective has been running wild for a week, kidnapping media moguls, right after A-Day. Since Joker #2 seems to come shortly after A-Day, it likely overlaps with this same busy Unsanity week. Don’t forget that Batman #107 occurs one month after A-Day, so there is a time jump there.

      I’m hesitant to move an entire arc (“Prisms”) in the middle of Infinite Frontier #0 unless it says that it occurs specifically within. Infinite Frontier #0 is, after all, meant to be a starting point for all new material, which supposedly occurs in the aftermath. I do hear what your are saying though, and I think maybe the JL stuff can be pushed back a bit.

      A lot of this stuff also has to wait until the arcs wrap up in order to see the bigger picture, so I suggest giving things time to develop—after which it’ll be easier to move things around accordingly.

      And thanks for asking about the COVID situation. I’m in Brooklyn NYC, so things are actually going pretty decently here. The US has nearly 25% of its population vaccinated (including me!) and is on track to have full distribution by July. Hang in there, though, and please be safe. Hopefully we’ll be out of the global nightmare by early 2022…

  9. Dylan says:

    I thought you might be interested that Tom Taylor noted that as of the beginning of his Superman: Son of Kal-El run, Damian Wayne is fourteen.

    • Dylan says:

      He didn’t say if he had been fourteen for awhile, though, so it’s possible that he’s nearly fifteen.

      • Robin #1 confirms that he is 14-years-old, so that’s a definite retcon for sure. Hope it’s not the legit start of Marvel-style Sliding Time. (If Damian is still 14-years-old in three years, then you know we’ve got a problem—but hey this is a thing that DC has always done with Robins.)

        In all honesty, making Damian only 14 now actually works just fine (and probably works better in a lot of ways for the overall timeline, since it doesn’t force Ra’s and Talia al Ghul’s debuts to go way early in Batman’s career.)

        • Dylan says:

          I have complicated feelings about sliding time. I actually think that the ‘four years of irl time equals one year of comic world time, with the timeline shifting forward with us’ is a totally fine way to do it, I just think that the actual way that Marvel does it is incredibly stupid, because they have it so that those four years happen in real time until the four years are over, which is silly.

          Were I in charge at DC, I would probably do a four years/one year ratio, and just tell everybody to stick with that, and to avoid making recent IRL event references in ways that date things. Also, fictional presidents- Lex and Horn were a good start.

          • Yeah, I also have complicated feels about Sliding Time too. I think the problem with Sliding Time is evident in the way Marvel does it for sure. But DC always constantly referenced real world topical and seasonal events, including holidays, which I always hated. How can you celebrate four Christmases and multiple Halloweens every single year? For Sliding Time to work effectively, everyone needs to be on the same page. Interestingly enough, decompressed storytelling is absolutely key to a succesful Sliding Time—except the writers that utilize decompression are always the ones most guilty of not playing well with others in terms of continuity. Sigh.

        • Dylan says:

          Since we don’t have anything depicting his birthday or anything, do we know that Damian is *recently* fourteen? He could be halfway through, or even nearly fifteen!

          • This is technically true. I have DCU Rebirth #1, which features a Damian bday (although it might not any longer due to retcons, especially since it’s just reference material now) early in the calendar year. And Damian is said to be thirteen in Detective Comics #1029 or #1030, which occurs in the second half of 2020. Since Robin #1 is still in the first half of 2021, I’m assuming he turned recently. Plus, judging by history, we will probably have a 14-year-old Damian for the next 4 years… in fact I’d wager money on it. So having his bday be as recent as possible is a necessary/wise strategy.

  10. Aaron says:

    Hey – Question here… In Batman: Urban Legends #1, Batman mentions that Scarecrow is presumed dead from A-Day. Doesn’t that mean it happen before Batman #106 where Scarecrow is the villain, therefore Batman has already found out he is very much alive?

    • Hey Aaron, yes, I only just read Batman #108 now, still catching up. I didn’t realize at first that each issue of “The Cowardly Lot” thus far has been a flashback (with the opening scene of Scarecrow torturing a captive Batman) as the “main” action in each issue.

  11. Dylan says:

    Between Shiva’s Urban Legends story today and the Festival of Heroes bio for Cass (also today), we’ve got two different references to Cassandra’s time as Batgirl, debuting around No Man’s Land. Good timing!

  12. Ayaan says:

    Hey its me again, this time my question is Where did you place 3 Jokers? Since it was gone from its place, did you change your mind or something. My second question is the new series The Legends of the Dark Knight Vol 2, where do those fit, Ik it’s a anthology series so yeah. Thanks again!

    • Hey Bob,

      Three Jokers is still there—in Year Seventeen (Part 2). And I have LOTDK Vol. 2 in Rebirth Year Eighteen (Part 2)—Alfred still alive, Gordon still commish, etc.

  13. Dylan says:

    Hm. This.. looks like John F. Kennedy, right? The president in this preview?

    https://www.cbr.com/superman-and-the-authority-grant-morrison-interview/

    Do you think this is weird leftover 5g elements, or do you think it’s an ersatz rolling timeline JFK?

    • That image in the preview is definitely the 1960s, but I really don’t know and cannot even begin to speculate. We’ll see how it fits in once it comes out!

      • Dylan says:

        See, I’m not sure it’s ACTUALLY in the 60s. Sure, Grant Morrison, yada yada, but DC has a tendancy to depict whatever era of the DC Universe as looking like the IRL year it is, regardless of the in-universe year it is; the Silver Age DCU will almost always look like the sixties and seventies, for example, regardless of whether or not the story itself is taking place in 2001, or 1995, or whenever it’s been slid to.

      • Dylan says:

        Ok, so news on this front:

        Though I’m still not 100% sure it’s set in our present day, there’s a very brief snippet of dialogue that implies that Superman in the 60s is the result of him briefly becoming time-displaced, and then at the time, operating in secret with Kennedy’s knowledge, rather than him operating continously in the 60s.

        • I’m v excited to read this. Morrison apparently wrote it for DiDio’s 5G, so when that was scrapped, he had to creatively make it fit into current continuity. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have time-traveling shenanigans.

  14. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, I think you missed IF2 where Supes and Bruce have a brief meeting with Agent Chase…

    • Hey Antonio, I’m only human haha. Comics come out on Tuesday, I work a full time job in addition to maintaining the site, so there’s no way I can add everything in within 24 hours (although I try!). I’ll eventually add it later this week when I have a moment. Thanks for checking in, though! 🙂

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