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 is finally lifted. Everyone now remembers the JSA 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.

–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 exclaims 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 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 murderous 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.

–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 re-donned his Robin costume), 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 heroism, 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, the heroes discover that 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.” 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 Flores), 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]

–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. 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 (aka Tooby), Bolt II (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). 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 Sanders, 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, Shrike, Exit, and Mindwarp are seemingly killed.) 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.) Gordon turns down Nakano, expressing his distaste for the mayor’s anti-Batman sentiment. Two days later, 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 massacre prep to bring him to justice. This includes the wealthy Sampson family 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.

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

–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 spends a week kidnapping media moguls. When another is kidnapped, Batman finishes building his new Batmobile and goes into action. Guided by Oracle, Batman and the Ghost-Maker take down a few Collective henchmen. At Saint Industries, Mayor Christopher Nakano meets with Simon Saint (and his personal assistant Ricardo) 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. 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. The next day, Bruce chats and spars with Ghost-Maker in the Bat-Garage.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #79. The Bat-Family starts a cellphone app group chat! I’m assuming this is a heavily encrypted group chat.

–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.

–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 #59-60 (“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 reality 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 homeworld. Upon arrival, Namoi is separated from the rest of the group.

–Flash #768
This item takes place after Justice League Vol. 4 #59-61. 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.) 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.

–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.

–Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #16
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.”

–Detective Comics #1034
Bruce spends two-and-a-half days digging out one of his final Micro-Caves, 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. 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 and Sarah Worth. There’s been a break-in and Sarah has gone missing. Just beneath their feet, the bloodstained culprit navigates his way through the sewers.

–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. 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.

–Batman Vol. 3 #107
It’s been one month since A-Day. 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, 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. 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.”

–The Swamp Thing #2
Brooklynite Levi Kamei has been blacking out nightly and manifesting as Swamp Thing in Arizona, much to the concern 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.

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

Spring—Batman mentions that heavy winter jackets are out of season. 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 unto his protection. With some help from Oracle, Red Hood finds the boy’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 the boy 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 the boy intervenes, asking Batman to stand down.

–Batman: Urban Legends #1 Part 4
Much to the annoyance of Lucius Fox, Grifter (remotely guided by an unknown mystery person) botches his security gig, mistaking a Russian minister’s own bodyguards for assassins, thus ruining a potential Wayne Enterprises business deal. Later, Batman trails Grifter, who meets with Penguin and Nora Fries at a bar, 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 if he’s supposed to be a good guy. Grifter is quickly outclassed, but refuses to speak. Batman lets him walk. The next day, a black-and-blue Grifter sneaks into an off-limits section of Wayne Tower, hoping to score intel for his mystery guide. Later that night, on the outskirts of Gotham, Batman and Nightwing examine the murder scene of Nora Fries, who has supposedly been killed by a woman with a sword. Nevertheless, Batman focuses his attention on Grifter as the top suspect.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

  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.”

21 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.

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