Rebirth Year Eighteen (Part 2)

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(July 2019 to December 2019)
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 –Superman Vol. 5 #2-3 (“THE UNITY SAGA”)[1]
Early July. Rogol Zaar, trapped inside the Phantom Zone, fights and kills Nuclear Man (from Superman IV: Quest for Peace!), which causes a rift in the interdimensional membrane. This rift, combined with experimentation at a STAR Labs site in Colorado, causes the entirety of planet Earth to get sucked into the Phantom Zone. Martian Manhunter links all the of the Justice League—and several other heroes, including Plastic Man and Hawkman—telepathically, helping direct them in providing aid to various locations around the globe. Superman and Flash (Barry Allen) meet inside the newly constructed Fortress of Solitude, now located in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle. Superman has Kelex up and running again too. The Man of Steel and Flash collect the Phantom Zone Projector, but Flash, along with Batman and a few others, collapse due to the brain-strain of maintaining sustained telepathic connection for too long. Superman then visits the STAR Labs site in Colorado, which is coincidentally being attacked by Livewire. Meanwhile, Rogol Zaar meets Jax-Ur. After fending-off a horde of villains, Rogol Zaar forms an alliance with Jax-Ur. On Earth, bridges begin collapsing and chaos sweeps across the globe. With Batman and Flash both sick and vomiting, the other JLers try their best to save lives. J’onn tells all that they’ve all been mysteriously poisoned. At the Hall of Justice, Superman meets with Mr. Terrific (remotely), Dr. Will Magnus (remotely), both Atoms, and Blue Beetle (Ted Kord). The Man of Steel departs to confront a wave of hundreds of Phantom Zone villains and monsters, led by Rogol Zaar and Jax-Ur.

–Action Comics #1003
Clark learns that Lois is back and meets with her. (Lois has left a recently-turned-twelve-year-old Jon with Jor-El and secretly returned to work on a book at a hotel in Metropolis.) Meanwhile, rookie Daily Planet reporter Robinson Goode investigates mafia deaths (including the murders of Yogurt and Moxie) that are linked to the recent arson fires in Metropolis. (Robinson is secretly the super-villain known as The Red Cloud, who is responsible for the mafia slayings and arson fires. She secretly works for top mob boss Marisol Leone! who runs the cartel known as the Invisible Mafia.) During the course of her phony investigation, Robinson purchases a chunk of black market Kryptonite, which she puts in her purse. Upon returning to the Daily Planet Building, Robinson’s Kryptonite causes Clark to collapse. Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Trish Q, and some other Daily Planet staff come to his aid. Once Robinson leaves, Clark recovers and immediately calls Batman for help, filling him in on the situation. Batman flies to Metropolis and accosts Robinson in an alley, confiscating the Kryptonite. Batman then meets with the Man of Steel and tells him he’ll hold onto the Kryptonite for safekeeping. Robinson then visits the black market seller from whom she purchased the Kryptonite. Robinson questions the woman before turning into the Red Cloud and killing her. Superman arrives just after the misty villainess disappears. Robinson feigns being upset and clings to Superman, praising him for his arrival. Meanwhile, at Lois’ hotel, Lex Luthor surprises her with a knock at the door.[2]

–REFERENCE:
In Action Comics #1009. Superman visits the Batcave, hoping to talk to Batman about a Leviathan attack that has just occurred (as seen in Brian Michael Bendis’ “Leviathan Rising” arc from Action Comics #1007-1011). However, Batman is off dealing with an escaped Riddler. (SPOILER: Leviathan has been usurped and is no longer under Talia al Ghul’s control.) Notably, in Action Comics #1007-1011, Lois Lane returns to The Daily Planet and Sam Lane is hospitalized after having a heart attack during the Leviathan attack. Superman: Leviathan Rising #1 tells us outright that there is a three month gap between Action Comics #1007 and Superman: Leviathan Rising #1, helping place the opening part of the “Leviathan Rising” arc right here.[3]

–REFERENCE: In Event Leviathan #1. Batman learns that Colonel Sam Lane (Lois’ dad and one of the current senior ranking ARGUS spymasters) has had a critical heart attack during a Leviathan attack. He will remain hospitalized and non-responsive for the next few months. Note that Sam Lane will now be referred to both as general and colonel, depending on the comic book issue. So either DC can’t decide or Sam Lane is a US Army general while simultaneously an ARGUS colonel. I guess that’s possible?

–Red Hood: Outlaw #32
Red Hood holds Penguin hostage inside the Iceberg Lounge Casino, replacing Penguin’s goons with his own gang consisting of Suzie Su, Blanc Su, Candy Su, Anastasia Su, Night Su, Bunker, and the new Wingman. (Don’t forget, Wingman is Jason’s dad, who is secretly working for Batman.) After gloating about being the new owner of the Iceberg Lounge during a live TV interview with Vicki Vale, Jason is visited by an angry Batman, who is quite displeased about Jason’s bold move. They argue as they so often do, but Batman ultimately leaves, huffing and puffing as he goes. (This item culminates in Red Hood: Outlaw #36, which sees Penguin escape, Lex Luthor make an offer to Jason, and Suzie Su take over the Iceberg Lounge. Yet, multiple series/arcs—including the upcoming Batman Who Laughs, “Tyrant Wing,” and later “Joker War”—will show Penguin in charge. This means, you guessed it, there will soon be two Iceberg Lounges in Gotham. Sigh.)

–Villains Giant #1 Part 1 (Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #6)
An escaped Joker addresses Gotham on live TV, stating he will initiate “Jokeraid,” paying off medical bills of a select individuals that post the word “Balyushka” on his social media account, provided they demean themselves and/or do dangerous stunts in public. During the first week, Bruce meets with his financial advisor, hoping to find some extra capital to support those desperate enough to apply for Jokeraid. But five people are selected, and they each wildly embarrass themselves in public, earning tens of thousands of dollars for their trouble. This causes a mass of people to make fools of themselves and cause extreme chaos across Gotham in the hopes of attracting Joker’s attention. Batman prevents as much harm as he can for a week straight, eventually busting Joker after a second payout. Joker tells Batman that he’s done nothing illegal this time—the money was coming purely from ad revenue from his social media account. He blames Batman for ignoring the real ills of society—lack of healthcare for the needy and wealth disparity—in favor of old school street crime. Joker is right, people! Enlightened and troubled, Bruce calls an emergency meeting of Gotham’s top millionaires, politicians, and industrialists, pleading with them to reinstate a health-care-for-all fund. They agree, but the assholes gut the college/education fund in order to do so. Despite being back behind bars, Joker has recorded plenty of delayed-release “Balyusha” videos. Plus, the system is automated to make payouts from his ad revenue. As such, his scheme continues with a life of its own (with those burdened by student loan debt as his next target). In this way, Joker has proven that Batman can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore the real heart of 21st century crime: a neoliberal late capitalist nightmare society run by kleptocratic billionaires. Amen, Joker.

–Batman Giant Vol. 2 #5 Part 1 (Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #7)
Killer Moth returns, luring Batman to a warehouse on the edge of town. There, Batman finds a corpse dressed up in Killer Moth’s costume. An old security guard tells Batman he shot Killer Moth dead, but Batman realizes that the guard is actually Killer Moth, who is playing him. Batman busts Killer Moth, who reveals the dead man is his mentor, the super-villain Night Moon. (Note that Batman Giant Vol. 2 #5 Part 2—re-printed as Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #9 Part 2—tells a Batman-less apocryphal Joker origin story that even includes an editor’s note that says it might not be true.)

–Shazam! Vol. 3 #12
Shazam kayos Herkimer the Crocodile Man and then hangs out with Freddy Freeman aka Shazam Jr, who makes fun of his Rogues Gallery. This inspires the foolhardy Shazam to travel to Gotham to take on an escaped Scarecrow. The veteran villain hits Shazam with a mega-dose of Fear Gas, but Batman arrives in time to save the day. Afterward, Batman gives Billy Batson a pep talk.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #85. Bruce purchases Gotham’s primary sports stadium.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1015. Batman creates a new mini electrocution weapon that can be attached to an opponent and then remotely activated.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1013. Batman creates a gaudy new Bat-flamethrower costume.

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 5 #16. With Batman out of Gotham on an unspecified case, Robin is left alone to defend the city against a horde of Leviathan troopers. After besting them, Damian is visited by Superboy, who has just recently returned from the conclusion of “Unity Saga”(Superman Vol. 5 #15) and and now appears seventeen-years-old (when he’s actually still twelve-years-old) thanks to the cosmic machinations of kooky old Jor-El. Together, they bust Riddler, Kite-Man, Killer Croc, and Catman. Jon tells Damian that he’s accepted an offer to go live in the 31st century with the Legion of Superheroes, who have just recently revealed themselves to the present day hero community.

–Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #13 Part 2
Two-Face has spent the last few years setting up eleven of his old rivals in the Gotham police and judicial systems to take falls for crimes they didn’t commit. Cut to now. “The Eleven” are sentenced to jail, making Two-Face’s master plan a success. An escaped Two-Face meets with Commissioner Gordon at a bar, not only to gloat, but to tell him that he has set him up to take a fall as “Number Twelve.” Thankfully, Batman, disguised as a bartender, attends the meeting and live video records Two-Face monologuing about his frame-ups. “The Eleven” are exonerated and Two-Face goes back to jail.

–Batman Giant Vol. 2 #3 Part 2 (Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #9 Part 1)
Batman busts a yet-again-escaped Two-Face, who falls in love with a prison guard named Anna. The smitten Anna helps Two-Face escape, but Two-Face flips his coin like he always does. It lands on the bad side, so Two-Face kills poor Anna. Batman busts Two-Face again.

–REFERENCE: In Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 8 #2. Batman gets a tip about Leviathan, so he sends Robin to investigate. The tip turns out to be bunk, but Superboy greets Robin, inviting him to go on an adventure in the 31st century. Note that in Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 8 #2, United Planets President RJ Brande references Clark having been Superboy when he was a teen. This should likely be regarded as a continuity error. Even if Doomsday Clock/Flash Forward retcons have reinstated Clark’s time with the Legion as a teen, there would be a collective memory block/erasure in effect. After all, writer Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t reference Clark as Superboy in any other Legion issue and, in fact, Bendis makes it quite clear that Jon is the first Superboy to join the Legion in other issues of Legion! (So, this is either a straight-up Bendis flub, an error related to the 2020 backstage upheaval in the DC office, or RJ Brande is so cosmic in nature that she knows something—wink wink—that no one else does about DC’s fucked up continuity.)

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1000 Part 5 and Detective Comics #1000 Part 10. Early September. Batman, as he does every year on the anniversary of his parents’ murders, visits both Crime Alley (where his parents were killed) and the cemetery where his parents are buried.

–The Batman Who Laughs #1-4 (“THE LAUGHING HOUSE”)
Commissioner Gordon, not believing that James Jr’s drug treatment is really changing him, signs paperwork to end his son’s Diaxamyne trial and work-release program. Soon after, Joker is sent back to Arkham Asylum. A few days after that, Batman’s Last Laugh emergency ventilation system reaches its final stages of construction, soon ready for testing. And shortly after that, Batman chases some crooks that are smuggling cadavers out of Gotham inside extreme-load trucks. After smashing-up their operation on the highway, Batman finds that it was all a setup for him to stumble across a dead body meant to shake him to the core. Batman finds the corpse of an alternate universe Bruce Wayne. Before Batman can take the body, the GCPD gets ahold of it and brings it to the morgue. Batman knocks-out coroner Dr. Veth, disguises himself as Veth, and does an autopsy on the body, learning that he is six or seven years older than him. Via autopsy and deduction, Batman finds that this Bruce quit after getting his back broken by Bane, married Selina, and had a child with her. Batman realizes the delivery of this corpse is the handiwork of the Batman Who Laughs. Meanwhile, the Batman Who Laughs, accompanied by another Dark Multiverse Batman (The Grim Knight), murderously breaks into Arkham Asylum. The Batman Who Laughs murders Joker, but Joker knew he was being targeted and had already escaped, leaving a disguised former henchmen as a decoy in his place. Not long after, Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon and tells him all about the Batman Who Laughs. After a brief investigation, Batman deduces that Joker will try to come visit him in the Batcave. Sure enough, just as Alfred lowers the riparian security system, Joker emerges from the waterway (somehow, inexplicably without any scuba gear or anything). Batman offers to team-up against the Batman Who Laughs just like they did once before, but Joker uses a trick gun to shoot himself in the chest. Batman rushes over to cradle the bleeding Joker, which causes Batman to become infected with the villain’s heart poison, instantly Jokerizing the Dark Knight. Batman responds by stripping shirtless and jabbing dozens of IV needles into his body, flushing his system full of every Joker Toxin antidote he’s got. Meanwhile, Alfred immediately begins open heart surgery on Joker. The next day, the Batman Who Laughs leaves yet another deceased alternate universe Bruce Wayne on the streets of Gotham. A partially-recovered Batman, disguised as Harvey Bullock, examines the corpse alongside Commissioner Gordon. Batman then realizes that the Batman Who Laughs will target the Last Laugh hub in Wayne Tower. By the time Batman gets to Wayne Tower, the Batman Who Laughs has already slaughtered a bunch of guards. Batman tries to fight his foe, but the Grim Knight snipes him in the chest, bringing him down with a sci-fi bullet. The Batman Who Laughs completely demolishes Wayne Tower. Batman barely escapes with his life. Later, in the Batcave, Joker wakes up to tell Batman that only James Gordon Jr—the “best” criminal planner in the history of Gotham—truly understands what the Batman Who Laughs is planning. After a quick call from Batman to Jim, the Commish reluctantly recruits his son—who is on a monitored Wayne Enterprises/Arkham-sponsored work release program at a supermarket—into the fold. After discovering that the Batman Who Laughs has stolen all of James Jr’s old notebooks, Batman joins Commissioner Gordon to speak to James Jr. Batman tries to bully James Jr into helping, hoping to provoke his evil side to re-emerge, but the Diaxamyne in his system has seemingly turned him into a docile warm-hearted soul with not the slightest hint of schadenfreude anymore. The Grim Knight then interrupts, shooting up the market and confronting Batman head-on. When the Grim Knight threatens to down a passenger plane, Batman has to stand down, allowing the Grim Knight to kidnap Commissioner Gordon. (As revealed in Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #1, Gordon is taken to the Batman Who Laughs’ evil Batcave underneath Crime Alley.) Meanwhile, at Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge, the Batman Who Laughs kills another alternate universe Bruce Wayne and runs homicidally amok. Across town, with James Jr proving to be no help at all, Batman begins to lose faith. He tells James Jr that his dad has cancelled his treatment program. Batman, becoming more and more unhinged due to the Dark Joker Venom coursing through his veins, takes-off. Batman tests the water at the Last Laugh reservoir, during which Joker visits him. Joker says he hopes both he (Batman) and the Batman Who Laughs defeat each other. Joker also promises to kill Batman if he fully-turns. They laugh together. Later, in the Batcave, Batman succumbs further to the poisons in his body. He creates and dons his very own Batman Who Laughs headgear made out of Nth Metal. With this headgear, Batman will be able to see into the Dark Multiverse. Alfred is so shocked at seeing Batman wearing the Batman Who Laughs’ headgear that he begins fist-fighting the Dark Knight in the Batcave. After a brief scuffle, Batman and Alfred hug it out. Batman takes-off and, by using the headgear and coordinating with James Gordon Jr, locates a Dark Metal energy spike inside Blackgate Prison. Inside the prison, Batman accidentally wanders through an interdimensional portal (presumably of the Batman Who Laughs’ design), winding-up in an alternate Dark Multiverse Earth where an elderly Bruce Wayne is warden of Blackgate. Together, both Batman and the alt-Bruce phase back to Earth-0. The Batman Who Laughs, disguised as a prison guard, immediately murders the alt-Bruce Wayne. A bunch of Blackgate guards enter and begin firing upon Batman, mistaking him for the Batman Who Laughs. Meanwhile, the Grim Knight unleashes upon Commissioner Gordon his own Dark Robins, cannibal Boy Wonders that are all alt-versions of James Junior. Commissioner Gordon flees into the sewers.

–The Batman Who Laughs #5-7 (“THE LAUGHING HOUSE” Conclusion)
James Jr kills his cannibal doppelgängers and rescues his dad. Meanwhile, in Blackgate, Batman pretends to be the Batman Who Laughs, threatening to harm the prison guards’ families unless they let him walk. Standing down, they let him go. Batman takes the interdimensional portal from Blackgate and brings it to the Batcave for safekeeping. In the Court of Owls labyrinth, the Batman Who Laughs easily rips the arms off of several Talons and confronts the Court members head-on, killing one of their new young leaders. The Batman Who Laughs then summons yet another alternate-Bruce Wayne, this one at Talon and the head of the Court of Owls on his world. The Batman Who Laughs dispatches with Talon Bruce just like all the others. Meanwhile, Batman picks-up Commissioner Gordon and James Jr in a remote-controlled hyper-submarine, bringing them to the Batcave. There, Batman and Commissioner Gordon prepare to activate the Last Laugh system in an effort to prevent the Batman Who Laughs from poisoning the entire city. But before Batman activates it, he realizes that the Batman Who Laughs has played him. The Batman Who Laughs phones-in and reveals that Last Laugh was not built in 1780, but actually in 1699. And it wasn’t built to protect Gotham—it was built as a biological WMD. Batman has accidentally built and refurbished a giant chemical weapon, designed to kill everyone in his beloved city. The Batman Who Laughs psyches-out a poisoned Batman, who starts to agree that Gotham was always evil and deserving of punishment. With tears running out from underneath his weird headgear, a confused and troubled Batman activates Last Laugh. However, Batman has a plan. Able to now view alternate Dark Universes just like the Batman Who Laughs, Batman sees various alternate versions of himself. Batman comes to believe that he is the least effective of the other Batmen, because he would never give up his never-ending vigilante war for grander, more effective crime-fighting plans or for something that might be healthier for himself. Batman reaches out to the Batman Who Laughs, challenging him to a one-on-one duel. Batman deduces that his rival needs one final ingredient to activate the citywide Dark Joker Venom toxin: some of his blood. Batman also realizes that the Batman Who Laughs’ end goal is not only to Jokerize all of Gotham, but also to pass the torch to him, leaving Batman as the new permanent Batman Who Laughs. Batman further realizes that his rival will likely use a Wayne Tech syringe to extract his blood and test him. Thus, Batman rigs a special charge in his costume that will mess with all nearby Wayne Tech syringes. In the Batcave, Commissioner Gordon and James Jr don experimental proto-Batman Beyond costumes and fight a losing battle against the Grim Knight. On the lawn of Wayne Manor, Batman fights the Batman Who Laughs. Batman tries to lure the Batman Who Laughs into a trap by summoning a child version of Bruce Wayne from an alternate universe, but the villain doesn’t fall for it. Instead, the Batman Who Laughs stabs Batman in the chest with a full syringe of Dark Joker Venom, also extracting some of Batman’s blood at the same time. The Batman Who Laughs puts a gun to his own head, convinced that he has finally turned Batman, but he realizes that Batman has tricked him and instead shoots him in the shoulder. Meanwhile, the Grim Knight tries to drown Jim Gordon in a pool of Dark Joker Venom, but James Jr saves his dad, stabbing the Grim Knight to death. Above ground, the Batman Who Laughs chases the young alt-Bruce to the cemetery where Thomas and Martha Wayne are buried (next to Wayne Manor). At the cemetery, Batman and Alfred defend young Bruce and activate their preset harpoon traps. With Alfred blasting shotgun shells into the Batman Who Laughs, and electrified harpoons tearing into the villain’s body, Batman whacks the vile doppelgänger with his mom’s toppled tombstone. Batman begins to finally fully succumb to the Dark Joker Venom in his body and is about to kill the Batman Who Laughs. Joker shows up and spares Batman from doing the deed, taking him down himself, preventing Last Laugh from activating. Alfred immediately rushes a downed Batman into an emergency blood transfusion with young alt-Bruce, saving his life and clearing out most of the Dark Joker Venom in his system. Bruce is in a coma for nearly two weeks before coming-to. Upon awakening, Bruce is notified that the Batman Who Laughs is in a secure cell in the Hall of Justice. (As referenced in Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #2, the Bat-Family has secretly imprisoned the Batman Who Laughs deep beneath Batman’s private domain within the Hall of Justice. They have kept this a secret from the JL and the other heroes. Bruce decides that keeping it a secret is an auspicious idea, taking added steps to ensure that it remains as such.) Bruce does some research and comes to think that Joker helped him fend-off succumbing to the Batman Who Laughs’ toxins via a decelerating agent. Alfred tells Bruce that he sent the young Bruce back to his correct world. While Bruce then melts down the interdimensional portal, Alfred also tells him that he did a full toxicology screening and found no traces of any decelerating agent in his system. Batman was able to fend off the Dark Joker Venom simply because he is Batman. Across town, Jim tells James Jr that he will continue doing his treatments and work-release program. Unknown to all, some of the Last Laugh toxins are within Jim’s body and mind.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1012. Due to all the horror Jim Gordon has just faced in The Batman Who Laughs arc, he decides to distance himself from his work a bit, giving a bit of his caseload to Harvey Bullock by appointing him as interim GCPD captain. Commissioner Gordon will still be leading the Force, but his weekly schedule will be much lighter, moving forward. Don’t forget, the infected Gordon is being partially mind-controlled by the Batman Who Laughs.

–Detective Comics #1012-1014 (“COLD DARK WORLD”)
An editorial note places this item prior to “City of Bane.” An snowy chill falls over Gotham, although, but the winter season does not make sense here on our timeline, so we must ignore. Batman, still lovesick over Catwoman, visits the now-ruined SS Dolphin, the ship where they first met each other in costume. Meanwhile, Mr. Freeze’s henchmen have already kidnapped three Nora Fries lookalikes upon which to test the Lex Luthor-powered rejuvenation process, but Batman’s interest isn’t piqued until he learns that a fourth would-be victim has been able to evade capture. After a brief visit with Interim Captain Harvey Bullock, Batman goes to the home of the woman that evaded capture. He waits, setting up an ambush, nabbing the returning abductor. With Alfred’s thespian assistance, Batman gets Mr. Freeze’s henchman to admit to Mr. Freeze’s involvement in the kidnappings. As referenced in Detective Comics #1014, upon hearing about Mr. Freeze’s involvement, Batman visits the WayneTech Cryogenics Lab and cleans out all compounds and chemicals that Victor Fries ever worked on there in the past. Then, donning his ridiculous Bat-flamethrower costume, Batman crashes into Mr. Freeze’s lair in the Pine Barrens. After dispatching with a bunch of zombified frozen test victims, Batman then chases after a fleeing Mr. Freeze, who escapes with Nora in tow. Batman then brings the three frozen Nora lookalikes into the Batcave, hoping to revive them. Not sure if they are conscious and aware of their surroundings, Batman tells Alfred to put on a mask. Cheekily, he wears a Flash halloween mask (likely left in the cave by Damian or one of the other boys). Back in the Pine Barrens, Mr. Freeze revives Nora! Having his same condition, she must also remain at absolute zero! Bruce meets with Lucius Fox at WayneTech Cryogenics Lab to discuss the Nora lookalikes, but they are interrupted by Mr. Freeze and Nora. Mr. Freeze steals a hidden compound, which he administers to Nora, effectively turning her into a blue-skinned Mrs. Freeze! Mr. and Mrs. Freeze debut by icing-over an entire theater full of people at the latter’s old ballet company. Soon afterward, the villains view a huge Doom Totality symbol that burns brightly in the sky. (This symbol, meant to coincide with the actions of the Legion of Doom in Justice League Vol. 4, was forcefully shoved—by editorial mandate—into the background of every DC title released in October, November, and early to mid December 2019. Continuity be damned! We should ignore this scene since it makes little to no sense happening now, nor does it make chronological sense in almost all of the titles in which it appears. The only way the appearance of the symbol makes any sense is if it sporadically appears multiple times over the course of the next few months.)

–Detective Comics #1015-1016 (“COLD DARK WORLD” Conclusion)
In the Batcave, Alfred, Lucius, and Batman struggle to find a cure for the theater-goers that the Freezes have turned into blocks of ice. Lucius synthesizes a potential cure, but wants to test it on Bat-Cow first. Batman says that he (Batman himself) will be the guinea pig instead. Thus, they freeze Batman’s arm and immediately administer the serum. It works as a de-icer, but leaves his limb totally numb. Back to the drawing board. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Freeze rob a bunch of banks with ease. Then, Mrs. Freeze dumps Mr. Freeze, icing him over and leaving him behind! Soon after, a one-armed Batman meets with an escaped Mr. Freeze, who begs him to help him deal with Mrs. Freeze in exchange for the de-icing cure. (As mentioned above, the Doom Totality symbol is still shining in the night sky, but we might have to ignore this.) Batman agrees and soon has a working arm and the cure, which he sends to Alfred. In the Batcave, Alfred (in his plastic Flash mask) and Lucius (wearing a Batman Halloween mask) revive the Nora lookalikes. At the theater, all are saved as well. Mr. Freeze then teams-up with Batman (back in his flamethrower costume) to go after the former’s wife. Batman and Mr. Freeze fight Mrs. Freeze at the art museum, but Mr. Freeze turns on Batman to help his wife. Still not wanting to be with him, Mrs. Freeze takes down her hubby and flees into the night. Batman settles for busting Mr. Freeze. (Note that the Doom Totality symbol is again shown in ‘tec #1016. A stated above, it was meant to coincide with the actions of the Legion of Doom in Justice League Vol. 4, and was forcefully shoved—by editorial mandate—into the background of every DC title released in October, November, and early to mid December 2019. We should ignore this scene since it makes little to no sense happening now, nor does it make chronological sense in almost all of the titles in which it appears. The only way the appearance of the symbol makes any sense is if it sporadically appears multiple times over the course of the next few months.)

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2 and Doomsday Clock #5-6. An investigation into Simon Stagg stirs up evidence proving Dr. Helga Jace’s “Supermen Theory.” Department of Metahuman Affairs de-classified documents confirm Metamorpho’s false provenance, showing that he has always secretly worked with his “arch-rival” Stagg and all of his other rogues, playing out a false hero-villain narrative for years in order to mask their connections to the US government. Batman is deeply troubled by this news, especially since he has worked closely with Metamorpho. Not long after, the “Supermen Theory” is ubiquitously validated when Dr. Kirk Langstrom admits that his Man-Bat experimentation has always been secretly sponsored by the Department of Metahuman Affairs. Yet another of Batman’s allies has been working for the government on the down-low. Following his admission, Langstrom goes missing. Public trust in the metahuman community instantly drops to zero, even (or especially) after asshole President Trump calls the “Supermen Theory” fake news. Meanwhile, LexCorp finalizes purchases of Kord Industries, Genetech, and the Sunderland Corporation. A week-and-a-half later, in response to the latest revelations, Russia forms a military alliance with Markovia. A few days after that, Lex Luthor unleashes a highly-funded anti-metahuman smear campaign. Metamorpho’s longtime girlfriend Sapphire Stagg publicly turns on both Metamorpho and her father, Simon Stagg. Metamorpho and Stagg immediately go off-the-radar and into hiding. The next day, as Bruce attends a Martha Wayne Mental Health fundraiser, Luthor orders an act of industrial espionage aimed at stealing metagene research information from Wayne Enterprises. This failed thievery leads to the arrest of four Wayne Enterprises employees. Bruce speaks with the media, revealing that Wayne Enterprises is purchasing Stagg Industries. Luthor denies involvement in the theft attempt and distances himself from the crime completely. Undeterred by his inability to pilfer the metagene research, Luthor tries another means—corporate takeover. Luthor counters Bruce’s announcement by announcing his own interest in a LexCorp buyout of Wayne Enterprises, appealing directly to the Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors. Shortly thereafter, the original Killer Frost (Louise Lincoln) admits to being a Department of Metahuman Affairs agent. She also publicly accuses Firestorm, Firehawk, Captain Atom, Moonbow, and Typhoon of being secret DMA agents as well. Pozhar backs Louise Lincoln’s claims. Firestorm vehemently denies the accusation. Asshole President Trump continues public denials as well. (Moonbow and Typhoon are indeed actually DMA secret agents.) Dr. Helga Jace reveals to the news media that Geo-Force secretly worked with Batman (as part of the clandestine Outsiders team). Geo-Force publicly denies having ever worked with Batman. Meanwhile, various nations—Russia, Markovia, France, Israel, the UK, India, China, Kahndaq, Iran, Australia, and Japan—assemble official government-sponsored super-teams in response to the ever-growing “Supermen Theory” conspiracy. Russia’s People’s Heroes roster features Pozhar (ex-Red Shadows and Rocket Red Brigade), Black Eagle, Firebird (Pozhar’s neice and ex-Soyuz), Lady Flash (ex-Blue Trinity), Morozko (ex-Soyuz), Negative Woman (ex-Checkmate, Agency, and Doom Patrol), Perun (ex-Soyuz), Red Star (ex-Teen Titan), Rusalka (ex-Soyuz), Snow Owl, Steel Wolf (ex-Red Shadows and Suicide Squad), Tundra (ex-Global Guardians), Vikhor (ex-Soyuz), and Vostok-X III. Markovia’s Outsiders lineup, which consists of ex-Outsiders or folks related to the Outsiders, features Geo-Force, the Eradicator (possibly merged with Dr. David Connor again), Baroness Bedlam (likely a relative of Baron Bedlam), Charlie Wylde, Terra IV, and Knightfall (someone that wears a version of Jean-Paul Valley’s old Az-Bat costume, likely related to ex-Outsiders Atomic Knight and Windfall). The UK’s Knights Inc consists of Knight (ex-Club of Heroes, Ultramarine Corps, and Batman Inc), Beaumont, Canterbury Cricket, Crusader, Godiva (ex-JLI), Golden Pharaoh, the Hood (ex-Batman Inc, Spyral, and THEY), Jack O’Lantern (ex-Global Guardians, Leymen, and Ultramarine Corps), Looking Glass (ex-Blasters), Lionheart (ex-JLI), Mrs. Hyde, Ridge (ex-Ravagers), a new Silent Knight, a new Squire, and Templar (ex-Conglomerate). The new French-run Justice League Europe features Crimson Fox (ex-JL, JLI, Université Notre Dame des Ombres, and Global Guardians), Fleur-de-Lis (ex Département Gamma, Global Guardians, and Ultramarine Corps), The Hunchback, Musketeer (ex-Club of Heroes and Global Guardians), Nightrunner (ex-Batman Inc), and Thief of Arts. Israel unveils a new Hayoth: Seraph (ex-Global Guardians), Dybbuk (ex-Hayoth), Golem (ex-Hayoth and Leymen), Judith (ex-Hayoth), Pteradon, and Ramban (ex-Hayoth). India’s The Doomed features Celsius (ex-Doom Patrol and Black Lantern Corps), Aalok of the Komeriah, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man (ex-Front Men), Aruna Shende, Beast Girl, Maya (ex-JLE and JLI), Solstice (ex-Teen Titans), and Son of Kalki (Celsius’ sister). China expands its Great Ten into the Great Twenty, consisting of Super-Man (ex-JLC and Ministry of Self-Reliance), Accomplished Perfect Physician (ex-Great Ten), Bat-Man (ex-JLC and Ministry of Self-Reliance), August General in Iron (ex-Great Ten, JLI, and Checkmate), Celestial Archer (ex-Great Ten), Dao (ex-Zhuguan), Flash Avery Ho (ex-JLC, China White Triad, and Ministry of Self-Reliance), Ghost Fox Killer (ex-Great Ten), Gloss (ex-New Guardians and Global Guardians), Guanxi (ex-Zhuguan), Immortal Man in Darkness (ex-Great Ten), Mother of Champions (ex-Great Ten), Night-Dragon, Ri (ex-Zhuguan), Seven Deadly Brothers (ex-Great Ten), Shaolin Robot (ex-Great Ten), Socialist Red Guardsman (ex-Great Ten), Striker Z (ex-Power Company), Thundermind (ex-Great Ten), and Wonder-Woman (ex-JLC and Ministry of Self-Reliance). Japan alters its Big Science Action into Big Monster Action, consisting of Rising Sun (ex-Global Guardians and Big Science Action), Goraiko (ex-Ultramarine Corps and Big Science Action), Hammersuit Zero-X (ex-Big Science Action), Judomaster (ex-Birds of Prey), Naiad (ex-Parliament of Waves), Ram (ex-New Guardians and Global Guardians), Samurai, Nazo Baluda, and several unnamed domesticated kaiju. Iran’s Elite Basu (aka Elite Basij) features Sayeh the Seer (ex-Others), The Blacksmith of Tehran (likely Amunet Black, meaning ex-Rogues), Manticore (likely Saied, meaning ex-Jihad, Injustice League, and Leviathan), The Patient One, Sirocco, and Super-Shayk. Australia’s team is called The Sleeping Soldiers, comprising Dreamer (ex-New Guardians), The Argonaut, Dark Ranger (ex-Batman Inc), Miss Midnight, the Tasmanian Devil (ex-Global Guardians, Ultramarine Corps, and JLI), and Umbaluru. Black Adam doesn’t go public with his Kahndaqi team’s lineup, which numbers in the dozens, but the DMA is aware that Syrian metahuman and former Global Guardian Sandstorm has joined him.

–Doomsday Clock #2-4[4][5]
Due to a reference in Justice League Vol. 4 #39, we know Doomsday Clock happens, but thanks to cosmic hoodoo (and real life backstage politics), we can’t be certain of the exact narrative details of the series. They likely occurred as presented below (possibly exactly as they were published in the comics), but it is possible that they’ve been altered or that they get partially erased from the collective consciousness by the end. Bear in mind also that our Rebirth timeline already includes soft reboot retcons based upon the aftermath of Doomsday Clock and Flash Forward, meaning the former really cannot be read as-is. On Earth-Watchmen the year is 1992, and chaos reigns supreme as the world has finally discovered the truth about Ozymandias‘ “alien attack” from years prior (as seen in the pages of Watchmen). With nuclear holocaust set to destroy all life on the planet, Ozymandias gathers a new Rorschach and husband-and-wife-criminal duo Marionette and The Mime to assist him on a quest to find Dr. Manhattan and convince him to save their world. (Ozymandias has traced Dr. Manhattan’s energy signature to Earth-0.) After Ozymandias shows Rorschach old security footage of Dr. Manhattan busting the couple but showing non-lethal mercy, the foursome (along with Ozymandias’ new pet lynx Bubastis II) travel through the Bleed via Nite Owl‘s rigged-up Owlship just as Earth-Watchmen goes kablooey. On Earth-0, Bruce undergoes his annual psych exam, lying about what he sees in rorschach pictures as he does every year in order to pass. Afterward, Lucius Fox scolds him, telling him to take LexCorp’s recent industrial espionage more seriously. They also discuss the fact that Lex Luthor wants to purchase Wayne Enterprises in order to obtain their research on the metagene. With the espionage case linked to the “Supermen Theory” revelations, along with flames of paranoia being stoked by Russia and Markovia, anti-Batman protesters march throughout Gotham. Meanwhile, the Watchmen Universe characters arrive on Earth-0. Ozymandias handcuffs Marionette and the Mime to the inside of the Owlship before departing with Rorschach. After some research at the public library, Rorscach heads toward Wayne Manor while Ozymandias goes to LexCorp. Meanwhile, Bruce ignores Lucius, dons his alternate raised-yellow-oval-chest-symbol costume, and takes to the streets to bust an escaped Mad Hatter, Tweedledee, and Tweedledum. (Batman will wear this yellow-oval costume for the remainder of the Doomsday Clock series, but will return to his regular costume afterward.) Rorschach, after a nap and breakfast in Wayne Manor, discovers the Batcave and trips the alarm. Batman returns home to confront him. Meanwhile, Marionette and the Mime escape (as part of Ozymandias’ plan). Concurrently, Luthor, fires (i.e. disappears) more failed scientists from his company. An unbidden Ozymandias shows up and basically tells Lex the whole story of Watchmen. Out of nowhere, The Comedian (Edward “Eddie” Blake) returns! (At the time of his death, Blake was saved by Dr. Manhattan, whose cosmic spacetime rejiggering caused Blake’s fatal fall to land him safely in Earth-0’s Metropolis Harbor instead of splat on the sidewalk. However, since the events of the original Watchmen series remain unaltered, with Blake’s death still having occurred, we already know that he will return to complete his cycle of death before our series ends.) Blake accidentally shoots Luthor while aiming for Ozymandias, who jumps through a window and crash lands, winding up unconscious and in the custody of the Metropolis PD. Meanwhile, Rorschach gives Batman the original Rorschach’s journal. While Batman reads, Alfred sets Rorschach up with dinner, a shower, and a place to sleep in Wayne Manor. Meanwhile, at an assisted living home, a troubled 102-year-old Johnny Thunder ponders his life as the other geriatrics fight over the TV, switching between a Nathaniel Dusk movie from the 50s and news—featuring stories about an explosion in Germany linked to The Wild Huntsman, anti-metahuman dissidence, the ongoing global metahuman arms race, and Luthor’s latest metagene detector invention. The Mime and Marionette brutally kill everyone inside a bar owned by Joker. (Joker has recently amassed a few properties.) Twenty four hours later, having read the old Rorschach’s journal, Batman decides the current Rorschach is dangerous. With the backing of Arkham Asylum officials, the Dark Knight tricks Rorschach into accompanying him to Arkham, where he locks the latter in a cell. The next day, Batman—in disguise as a psychiatrist—interviews the troubled Rorschach. A day later, Batman debriefs Alfred in the Batcave. Concurrently, Saturn Girl opens Rorschach’s cell in Arkham. Having telepathically scanned his mind, she’s learned all about the history of Earth-Watchmen and that Rorschach is Reggie Long, troubled son of Malcolm Long, the original Rorschach’s psychiatrist. Reggie trained under elder vigilante Mothman (Byron Lewis) in a psychiatric hospital before becoming the second Rorschach, at which point he attempted to kill Ozymandias, but wound up reluctantly joining him instead. While Saturn Girl and Reggie escape, Dr. Manhattan watches everything unfold. He zaps a mosquito, which puffs into a smoke ring that resembles his signature hydrogen atom symbol. A photograph of Jon Osterman (his former self) and Janey Slater (his ex-girlfriend) floats down the hallway. As referenced in Doomsday Clock #11, Batman finds the photo of Jon Osterman and Janey Slater in Arkham Asylum, bringing it into police evidence. This photo is collected by Lex Luthor’s science team.

–Doomsday Clock #5-7
Ozymandias easily escapes from his police-guarded hospital room and reclaims Bubastis. Meanwhile, delayed news comes in from Chechnya. Hawk and Dove have been arrested by the Rocket Red Brigade after aiding Chechen rebels against Russian armored police. The same news report says that, in direct response to Hawk and Dove’s actions, Red Star is coming out of retirement to work for the Russian Government. (TroubleAlert Magazine already reported about Red Star joining the People’s Heroes, so this is old news.) In St. Petersburg, Pozhar goes on live TV to trash Firestorm and announce that Russia’s borders are closing. Within hours, President Vladimir Putin holds a press conference with some of the People’s Heroes, citing that they will work hand-in-hand with Markovian Armed Forces and the Outsiders. At the old folks home, Johnny Thunder reads about a mysterious green flame that has been spotted in a steel mill in Pittsburgh. Knowing that it’s the the lantern-shaped Starheart (the fiery emerald—and sentient—power source for a Green Lantern that never existed on this timeline, but yet one he paradoxically has memories of), Johnny breaks out and heads toward the Iron City via bus. As Blake carves his way through Gotham, Marionette and the Mime do the same, learning that Joker and his gang are joining the anti-Bat protests at GCPD HQ. Meanwhile, Batman locates the Owlship in Joker’s old abandoned circus yard and waits patiently for Ozymandias to arrive. Just as they greet each other, a news bulletin goes out telling that the city government has caved to the pressure and put out a warrant for Batman’s arrest. As Batman and Ozymandias fly over the city and argue with each other, more news from abroad reaches the States. Black Adam violated international law, crossing into Syria to rescue Jack Ryder (aka the Creeper) from King Kobra, after which he declared Kahndaq as a refuge for any metahumans seeking asylum. (Three months ago, Jack Ryder was abducted by King Kobra. This led to world leaders, two months ago, legitimizing Black Adam’s government and granting him authority to execute oppressive Kahndaqi law, specifically to start a “war on terror” against King Kobra.) Shortly after Black Adam’s declaration of Kahndaq as a refuge nation, the US Government decides to pull all its troops out of the Middle East. With Superman listening outside the window, Lois Lane visits Lex Luthor in the hospital, accusing him of being responsible for the Supermen Theory and subsequent world turmoil. He denies being involved, but says that his sources believe the secret head of the Department of Metahuman Affairs is an ex-Justice Leaguer. (Luthor could be playing down what he knows—he might already know the full truth, being an ex-POTUS.) In Gotham, GCPD HQ is overrun, the Bat-Signal is smashed, and Commissioner Gordon is knocked unconscious. (Jim Gordon has been reinstated as Commissioner at this juncture.) Ozymandias dumps Batman out of the Owlship into the arms of the angry protestors, who swarm the Dark Knight. A battered and beaten Batman is approached by Joker, Marionette, and the Mime. Concurrently, at the All American Steel Mill in Pittsburgh, Johnny Thunder finds the emerald lantern and is rescued from some drug-addicted attackers by Rorschach and Saturn Girl, who has her Legion ring. In Gotham, Joker collects the badly beaten and unconscious Batman and straps him into a wheelchair. He, along with Marionette, Mime, and his henchmen, attend an underground meeting of Riddler’s brand new team: The League of Villainy. In attendance are: Mr. Freeze, Mr. Freeze’s henchmen, Sonar, Dr. Poison, Hector Hammond, Dr. Psycho, Giganta, The Judge of Owls, a bunch of Court of Owls members, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, The Top, Heat Wave, Captain Boomerang, Black Mask, Dr. Sivana, Moonbow, Typhoon, Black Bison, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Penguin, Professor Pyg, Prankster, Toyman, Mad Hatter, Tweedledum, Tweedledee, Nocturna, Tattooed Man, and four others that are obscured and hard to correctly identify.[6] Via the villains’ discussion, we learn that Bane has been busted by the feds, the Suicide Squad has gone MIA in Kahndaq, many of the other villains have fled into hiding, and Wonder Woman has been supposedly kidnapped back to Themyscira by her own people. The assemblage argues on whether or not to flee to Kahndaq or remain in the States. When Joker arrives, the bad guys don’t believe he’s got the real Batman strapped in the chair. Before they can investigate further, Blake blows Typhoon’s head off and starts spraying bullets into the crowd. At least one Court of Owls member drops dead and Riddler gets capped in the knee. (We must imagine some serious sci-fi healing for Riddler following this affair because this injury won’t have any lasting effect upon him.) Blake detonates a grenade and the villains all scatter. Later, Marionette and Mime regroup and have sex at a hotel only to be interrupted by Blake, who has tracked them. Joker, having followed Blake (and still wheeling around Batman), zaps him into unconsciousness and takes his smiley face button-pin. Meanwhile, Moonbow reports back to the secret head of the Department of Metahuman Affairs, asking that her partner Typhoon get the hero’s treatment he deserves as a fallen undercover government agent. The DMA director denies her request, citing that Typhoon’s manufactured history as a villain must remain intact for ongoing security reasons. In Pittsburg, Ozymandias picks up Saturn Girl, Rorschach, and Johnny Thunder. Onboard the Owl Ship, they watch the most recent TV news roundup on CNN, which includes stories about the ongoing metahuman arms race: the People’s Heroes shaking hands with the Outsiders; Big Monster Action’s kaiju (fire trolls) raging out of control in Japan; the Doomed helping children in Calcutta only for their own team member Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man to eat said children; Hayoth’s Dybbuk shutting down Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence computer network; the Sleeping Soldiers entering Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s mind while he sleeps; more paparazzi hounding Firestorm; Superman saving kids in Benghazi, which earns the Man of Steel approval from most international governments, including Libya; and security cam footage of Blake. At Joker’s lair, Mime and Marionette torture Blake, who says that Dr. Manhattan tasked him with killing Bubastis. (Bubastis has been cloned from the original pet lynx, which had fused with Dr. Manhattan’s DNA at the end of the original Watchmen series. Thus, the new Bubastis is a literal compass that leads to and can summon Dr. Manhattan.) Batman rises out of his chair—(he’s either made a quick recovery or he’s been playing possum for a bit in order to get information)—and begins kicking asses. Ozymandias, with the lantern and Bubastis in his arms, arrives to interrupt the fight. He summons Dr. Manhattan, who appears! Batman says he knows who Dr. Manhattan is—but does the Dark Knight mean he knows about him because he read Rorschach’s journal or does he mean something else? Dr. Manhattan then teleports all the Earth-Watchmen characters to a faraway jungle. Dr. Manhattan tells them he won’t help them, also revealing that he spared the life of Marionette all those years ago because of who her son would grow up to be. He also tells Marionette she is pregnant again and outs Ozymandias, revealing that he doesn’t actually have cancer. Ozymandias was merely faking illness in order to get Rorschach on his side. Dr. Manhattan then drops the biggest bombshell—that he can no longer see the future beyond one month from now. Dr. Manhattan then takes his crew to Washington DC where full scale rioting has begun. After a brief moment there, Dr. Manhattan takes the crew to a repertory theater in Hollywood, which is screening The Adjournment as part of a Nathaniel Dusk movie marathon. Dr. Manhattan says how he was present for the murder of actor Carver Colman (who played Nathaniel Dusk) in 1954.[7] Dr. Manhattan then disappears and sends everyone back to Joker’s lair where the fighting picks up where it left off. Rorshach wails on Ozymandias and bludgeons Joker before shedding his mask and fleeing the scene. While Batman collects a badly-beaten Joker (and Rorschach’s mask), Ozymandias sneaks back onto the Owl Ship and knocks-out Saturn Girl and Johnny Thunder. As live news reports show Black Adam and the Creeper invading Jerusalem, Ozymandias says to himself “I have a plan.” When Ozymandias has a plan, you can be rest assured that things are gonna get wild. Elsewhere, Lex Luthor mails a package to Lois Lane. On Mars, Dr. Manhattan looks as far ahead into the future as he can, seeing exactly one month to the day an image of what appears to be an angry Superman punching him in the face. (Superman isn’t actually punching him—he’s punching a bad guy behind Dr. Manhattan.) In any case, Dr. Manhattan wonders what will become of the universe.

–Doomsday Clock #8-9
Nearly three weeks have passed since Doomsday Clock #7. Ozymandias breaks into the Oval Office at the White House and peeps some top secret files, setting into motion a devious plan. A day later, at the Daily Planet offices, Lois complains that someone has rifled through her locked desk. The entire Daily Planet staff (including Ron Troupe, Cat Grant, and Steve Lombard) watches on live TV as an angry Firestorm confronts the People’s Heroes in front of the Kremlin. The conflict turns ugly when Firestorm accidentally goes kablooey turning a bunch of civilians (including women and children) into seemingly lifeless silverly glass statues. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev immediately denounces Firestorm’s actions as an American terrorist attack. Firestorm disappears and immediate rumors follow that he’s fled to Kahndaq. Superman flies directly to Kahndaq. There, he sees that Giganta has joined Black Adam’s forces. Superman then meets with Black Adam, who welcomes the Man of Steel to his country. Superman meets Sandstorm, learning that he’s only young boy, who escaped the horrors of war-torn Syria. After a brief but tense chat with Black Adam, Superman, satisfied that Firestorm isn’t in Kahndaq, departs for Russia. Back in Metropolis, Lois finds the package that was mailed to her by Luthor. She pops in a flash-drive from the package and watches a video of WWII newsreel footage depicting the Justice Society of America in action. How did Luthor get his hands on footage that’s been erased from history?! Lois doesn’t know what to make of it. Hours later, in Russia, Superman finds Firestorm frantically trying to fix one of the children he’s changed into a statue. With Superman’s stolid presence, Firestorm is able to fix the poor kid, who is thrilled to meet the Man of Steel. In Moscow, Vladimir Putin holds a live news conference at the scene of the Firestorm incident. With the People’s Heroes at his side, Putin declares that the United States has essentially waged war against Russia via the actions of Firestorm. Superman greets Putin and takes the stage. Speaking before the entire world, Superman defends Firestorm’s integrity and says that he can redress the damage he’s done. Superman tells the world that the Supermen Theory is a baseless conspiracy theory with no merit. He denounces the demonization of any group, whether they are metahuman or not. Batman, who had taken off for Russia in the Bat-plane the second the Firestorm incident occurred, nears Russian airspace. Via high-frequency radio, the Dark Knight contacts Superman mid-speech, telling him to shut up and not take a side. Putin interrupts Superman, telling him that he and Pozhar have proof that the Supermen Theory is true. Firestorm returns, hoping to heal his victims, but he instills fear in the gathered masses. Russian military shoots at Firestorm and chaos erupts. Several of the statue people are shattered and the People’s Heroes attack Superman and Firestorm. The world watches in stunned silence as Superman battles against Russian military tanks on live TV. As Batman flies over Moscow, he realizes something is off with Firestorm. In a panic, Batman radios to Superman that Firestorm is not in control of his own actions. But it’s too late. Firestorm explodes in a nuclear blast that seems to wipe out most of Red Square. This explosion creates a tachyon cloud that disrupts Dr. Manhattan’s ability to see through time. From a secret location, Ozymandias smiles. Superman, Batman, and Firestorm go into comas. They are rescued by Hal Jordan and Hawkman. Batman goes into Alfred’s care in the Batcave while Superman and Firestorm go into a medical bay at the Hall of Justice. (Batman will remain in a coma for the next five days.) With the two main heroes out of commission and unable to defend themselves against slander, Superman is charged with a litany of crimes. As the global court of opinion fully turns against the heroes, protestors picket all over Washington DC. Hoping to distance himself from the debacle, asshole President Trump tweets anti-Superman propaganda. Meanwhile, the Justice League determines that whoever caused Firestorm to go kaboom is currently on Mars. A large contingency of superheroes gathers into an armada of spaceships and departs for the red planet. Among the heroes are: the Justice League, Justice League Dark, the LAW, a few Green Lanterns, the Doom Patrol, the Metal Men, Black Alice (dressed up as a female Blue Devil), the Shazam Family (Shazam, Mary Bromfield aka Lady Shazam, Freddy Freeman, Darla Dudley, Pedro Peña, and Eugene Choi), Alpha Centurion, Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore), Robby Reed (having turned into “Human Starfish” via the power of an H-Dial), and just about everyone else you can imagine.[8] Interestingly, those present aboard the Bat-Family rocket are: Batgirl, Red Hood, Batwoman, Black Lightning, Metamorpho, Katana, Halo, Atomic Knight, and Atomic Knight’s giant dalmatian. (Nightwing’s appearance here is a bad continuity error. He is currently not active as a superhero.) Having been out cold for the past five days, Batman finally wakes up from his coma. Upon hearing that everyone has taken off to Mars, Batman realizes that they’ve all been played. He immediately transmits a warning message to Mars, but the message fails to send. In the Hall of Justice, Lois watches over her still-comatose husband. Lex Luthor arrives, telling Lois that he sent her the Justice Society footage. On Mars, the superhero army confronts and fights a confused Dr. Manhattan. As he battles them, Dr. Manhattan shows Ronnie Raymond (now awake from his coma) the truth behind his origin. Ronnie not only learns that Professor Martin Stein is the secret director of the DMA, but also that Stein purposefully caused the accident that merged them together to become Firestorm seven years ago. Dr. Manhattan shrugs-off every depredation, defeating all the heroes. Back on Earth, Black Adam, Giganta, and the Creeper attack the UN Building where Wonder Woman is currently giving a peace speech.

–Doomsday Clock #11-12
A few days have passed since Doomsday Clock #9-10. Alfred, on Batman’s orders, reads Rorschach’s  journal and heads out in search of Reggie. With the looming threat of Russian retaliation combined with Black Adam’s attack on the UN Building, asshole President Trump seemingly orders a nuclear strike. (This nuclear threat might be phony—actually manufactured by Ozymandias merely to set up Batman to become outlawed by the government.) Sure enough, Batman responds by breaking into a Strategic Air Command (SAC) facility to physically stop military troops from launching the warheads, an act that supposedly stymies the entire North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) nuclear grid. After doing so, Batman is ambushed by US National Guard troops, but defeats them and escapes. Sure enough, President Trump outlaws Batman, charging him with treason and officially tasking the National Guard with arresting him. General Sam Lane meets with the President and tries to reason with him to no avail. (Note that Sam Lane’s cameo here in Doomsday Clock is a major continuity error since he is currently in a coma and therefore could not be present and active. Maybe the ignorant asshole President is calling a random general “Lane” because he doesn’t know his name?) Following his conversation with the general, the President also officially outlaws Superman. At LexCorp, Lex Luthor shows Lois Lane a series of identical photographs his team has found in recent months. Each photo comes from a different time period, but is otherwise identical—the photo of Jon Osterman and Janey Slater. Doctor Manhattan has unknowingly been replicating this cherished item throughout time, leaving it as “chronal debris.” Luthor also shows a “chronal debris” photo of Flash (Barry Allen) teaming up with Flash (Jay Garrick), citing that it was discovered with the JSA film. Luthor, who has long known about the existence of the multiverse, now knows about the Metaverse, citing these images as proof that reality has been rebooted multiple times. His inner hope is to finally find a way to close the “endless loop” that is his war against the Man of Steel. In Gotham, the Mime, the Marionette, and Blake wage war against Joker and his henchmen. At Ozymandias’ secret lair, the master villain addresses Saturn Girl, telling her about his master plan to save both Earths—how he manipulated Firestorm, caused the Russian explosions using Bubastis II, and chose the Mime and Marionette to accompany him because their child was adopted by Dan Dreiberg (ex Nite Owl) and Laurie Juspeczyk (ex Silk Spectre). Ozymandias also tells Saturn Girl that she’s a chronal anomaly, existing only because of her metapower. Just like Back to the Future, she disappears into the ether, wiped from reality. (Ozymandias is correct. Dr. Manhattan prevented the original version of the Legion—one which guided and shaped a young Kal-El—from ever forming. This Saturn Girl is not the Rebirth Era Saturn Girl—instead she’s a leftover from a prior continuity and only her incredible cosmic power had been keeping her in existence.) In New York, the Amazons, worried about Wonder Woman, remove her from her battle against Black Adam’s forces, stealing her away to Themyscira. Black Adam and his crew—Giganta, the Creeper, Man-Bat (Kirk Langstrom), Sandstorm, Killer Frost (Louise Lincoln), Lady Clayface, Stingaree, Doc Dread, Moonbow, and Manhunter (possibly Leviathan leader Mark Shaw?)—crash their way onto the White House lawn. Superman wakes up fully healed only to be accosted by US Army soldiers. He ignores them and immediately flies to confront Black Adam. After a brief altercation with Black Adam, Superman soon finds himself face-to-face with Dr. Manhattan. Before they can really confront one another, the Man of Steel is attacked by the Markovian Outsiders, the People’s Heroes, the Elite Basij, and Black Adam’s crew. On the steps of the US Capitol, Knights Inc, Justice League Europe, Hayoth, the Doomed, Big Monster Action, the Great Twenty, and the Sleeping Soldiers join the fray, helping Superman. In Gotham, Reggie is attacked by a racist asshole wearing a thinly-veiled MAGA cap. Alfred saves Reggie after which they are joined by Batman, who apologizes to Reggie and encourages him to put the Rorshach mask back on as a superhero. As Superman begins to succumb to superior numbers, he begs Dr. Manhattan to take action, reminding him that he was once human. Dr. Manhattan, thinking of his long lost love Janey Slater, decides to act. He reboots the entire DCU! (Or so he thinks he does. We’ll return to the details of this reboot at the very end of our synopsis.) After the heroes mop up the villains, Dr. Manhattan sees far into the future of the metaverse, bearing witness to: a warp in the timeline in 2020, another Crisis event in July 2025, a reboot in January 2026 that brings us Earth 5-G, an event involving Bruce’s son and daughter in June 2026, a Marvel/DC Crisis Crossover in July 2030, another reboot in 2038, another reboot not long afterward, then yet another reboot in 2965 (telling us that DC will be rebooting for the next thousand years, so get used to it). Just like Grant Morrison’s ouroboros message at the end of the Modern Age, Johns is telling us here that we better get used to the rinse-repeat MO of superhero stories, for better or worse. Dr. Manhattan also sees (or possibly creates) an existing timeline that resembles a version of the old Modern Age timeline (Earth-1985) and an existing timeline that resembles a version of the old New 52 timeline (Earth-52).[9] Coming back to the present reality, remaining paradox loops are closed as Dr. Manhattan meets with all the Earth-Watchmen characters and Lex Luthor. The latter sends Blake back to his death plummet from his penthouse in the original Watchmen. Batman puts Rorschach’s journal into his Batcave Hall of Trophies. The Watchmen characters return home to a saved planet (except Mime and Marionette, who stay on Earth-0). On the saved Earth-Watchmen, in 1993, Ozymandias goes to jail and his young daughter Cleopatra Pak obsesses over him. The Mime and Marionette’s son, Clark, who has been gifted superpowers (by Dr. Manhattan in his apparent final act), goes to live with Dan Dreiberg, Laurie Juspeczyk, and their daughter Sally. Okay, but what about that dang reboot, eh? NOT SO FAST, DOC! Here’s where the messiness strikes. I’ve already mentioned details in a footnote above, but I will reiterate here. Thanks to the publication delays, internal power struggles behind the scenes at the DC home office, and other troublesome continuity shenanigans, Dr. Manhattan’s reboot doesn’t seem to take in full. In our story, Dr. Manhattan’s reboot reverses the deaths of Ma and Pa Kent, restores the primary version of the Justice Society of America to the Earth-0 timeline (including an active Wonder Woman in the 20th century), and restores the full history of the Legion (including the team’s interactions with teenage Clark aka Superboy). As referenced in Justice League Vol. 4 #39, the Flash Forward TPB Epilogue, Dark Nights: Death Metal #1-2, and Dark Nights: Death Metal – Speed Metal #1, the Batman Who Laughs uses Perpetua’s power to alter Dr. Manhattan’s reboot, making it flaccid. To quote Wally West in Dark Nights: Death Metal #1: “Dr. Manhattan tried to mend the fractures in our multiverse, to heal the scars of former crises… but his attempt did not have the intended effect.” (At the end of the Flash Forward TPB, Wally wields Dr. Manhattan’s power in an effort to push the “intended effect” through, but he too is blocked by the Batman Who Laughs.) While Ma and Pa Kent are indeed revived, as stated above, the rest of the reboot goes soft by: restoring the Justice Society of America’s 20th century history, which includes an active Wonder Woman, but blocking said history from everyone’s memories in the present day and future; restoring Kal-El’s time as Superboy with the Legion of Superheroes, but blocking said history from everyone’s memories in present day and future; re-adding Barry Allen’s death in the original Crisis and his resurrection in Final Crisis; and re-adding Stephanie Brown’s brief time as a Robin. Since our chronology already reflects these changes, we must imagine the final Doomsday Clock battle against the villains as not including the JSA or Legion. Oddly enough, because the main narrative of Doomsday Clock is so intertwined with multiple canonical stories on our timeline (Rebirth, “The Button,” “City of Bane,” Heroes in Crisis, Flash Forward, Man of Steel, “Unity Saga,” and more), this means that all of Doomsday Clock‘s myriad references are canonical, even if parts of the primary story itself are not.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #1027 Part 1—very loosely based on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #3. An escaped Joker murders hundreds of people at a TV studio using a flying robot doll that spits out Joker Venom. Batman chases Joker to a local amusement park and takes down the robot doll.

–Detective Comics #1027 Part 6
A wealthy businessman named Mr. Steele tries to purchase some property from Bruce, but Bruce rejects his offer. Later, Batman shakes down some drug pushers, learning that their boss has bought out corrupt cops and city council members. After shaking down the bad cops, Batman learns that Mr. Steele is the man behind it all. Soon after, as a means of intimidating Bruce and getting him to rethink his offer, Mr. Steele schedules a 6 AM golf meetup in the pouring rain. In conjunction with Commissioner Gordon (inexplicably drawn with a goatee), Bruce wears a wire and gets Mr. Steele to confess to his crimes.

–Detective Comics #1027 Part 10
After Batman builds and wields a special signal disruptor to best some super-villains that digitally disguise themselves as gargoyles, Batman and Commissioner Gordon light up the Bat-Signal all through the night to let Gotham’s citizenry know the city is safe and sound. Batman is then called away by the Justice League when it is discovered that four planets (including Earth) have been pushed out of the solar system by an unknown force. Creators Scott Snyder and Ivan Reis then treat us to a montage of the JL handling the situation, but there are major continuity errors that must be addressed. At one point, Gordon—the unreliable narrator of our tale—admits he is imagining parts for which he was not actually present. Thus, we should ignore the following as Gordon’s bogus imaginations: Aquaman’s presence and a JL fight against Darkseid. (Both are currently in exile.) I’m hesitant to include the JL fight against the Anti-Monitor, which is also shown, but I suppose it’s possible. The JL also combats Brainiac. In Gotham, Gordon, Renee Montoya, Harvey Bullock, and Arnold Flass help out. (Yes, Flass—a guy that once beat up Gordon with a baseball bat and was involved in various criminal activities—is somehow apparently still employed by a Gordon-run GCPD. Although, Gordon doesn’t mention his first ham, so this could be Flass’ kid.) Meanwhile, the JL consults with the JL Dark, Supergirl, Superboy (Jonathan Kent), and the Green Lantern Corps, after which the heroes come up with blueprints for a magick sci-fi device that can save the galaxy. While the machine is built an implemented, Batman rejoins Gordon. Together, they shine the Bat-Signal to let everyone know everything’s going to be okay.

–Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #20
Riddler believes he’s discovered Batman’s secret ID, so he gathers Two-Face, Penguin, Catwoman (in her new Joëlle Jones-designed costume), Carmine Falcone, and Harley Quinn to tell them. (Half the team is playing along here—as Two-Face, Penguin, and Catwoman already know Batman’s secret ID! Not to mention, it’s hard to imagine Falcone getting along with any of these people, especially Catwoman, yet here he is, eagerly waiting to hear what Eddie Nigma has to say.) But Riddler is wrong, mistakenly believing the Dark Knight to be GPCD Detective Marcus Brady—a man that looks like Bruce and that once went abroad for five years in his late teens/early twenties. (Note that Bruce actually trained overseas for just under seven years, not five—although it’s possible that the public history only shows that Bruce was abroad for five years.) Despite being broken up and not really on speaking terms, Catwoman meets with Batman to brief him. The next day, Harley Quinn attempts to assassinate Detective Brady, but Batman and Brady take her down. (Harley’s behavior here is not really in line with her MO as an anti-hero that is mostly on the side of good these days. However, she’s likely—in her own misguided way—trying to protect or alert Batman before any other villain can strike in a more devious way. Batman even notes that Harley’s attack upon Brady is oddly straightforward and “predictable,” especially for her.) Later, Batman disguises himself as Matches Malone to meet with Riddler and the remaining villains. Afterward, while briefing Alfred, Batman learns that the villains have kidnapped Brady. Tim Drake uses his computer skills to create another false ID for the Dark Knight, who rescues Brady while allowing himself to get unmasked, revealing the false face of Tim’s front persona. Thus, Riddler and Falcone are fooled, unsure of who Batman really is behind the cowl.

–Superman: Leviathan Rising #1
Early October—Superman: Leviathan Rising #1 tells us outright that three months have passed since Action Comics #1007 and Superman: Leviathan Rising #1, helping place this item here. The new mystery leader of Leviathan (disguising his face via stolen DEO tech) approaches Metropolis’ top mob boss (and new owner of The Daily Planet) Marisol Leone, asking her for advice on how to get rid of Superman. Leone tells him that whoever gets rid of Superman won’t get any glory or recognition—the reason so many super-villains fail is ego. Leone also tells the mystery man that Lois Lane is far more dangerous than Superman. She suggests targeting Lois by kidnapping Clark. Across town, Superman easily defeats Mongul and heads home to find Talia al Ghul’s assassins waiting to ambush Clark Kent. After checking-in with Lois, who has once again sequestered herself away at her secret writing haven in The Drake Hotel, Superman decides that he will fake getting kidnapped by Talia’s men in order to find out what’s going on. All goes according to plan until Talia straps Kryptonite to Clark’s chest, hoping to use him as bait to lure in Lois. When Clark doesn’t come home, Lois alerts Batman and Wonder Woman, who begin a search for him with the entire JL. Meanwhile, Supergirl returns to home to find her apartment destroyed and her foster parents—DEO agents Jeremiah Danvers and Eliza Danvers—missing. (They were attacked by a Leviathan super-soldier, who leveled their apartment. Eliza is dead.) Supergirl finds a note left behind by Leviathan. Manhunter (Kate Spencer) watches from the shadows. As referenced in Year of the Villain #1 Part 2, the JLA locates Clark’s position and are able to get drone footage or hacked security footage of him being interrogated by Talia and her men. Likewise, they are able to get footage of the villain that destroyed the Danvers’ apartment. Soon after, at Talia’s HQ, the new mystery leader of Leviathan enters and saves Clark, removing his Kryptonite chest-piece. After the new Leviathan head disappears, a rescue team consisting of Lois, Jimmy Olsen, Dex-Starr, and Firestorm shows-up (with the JL following a few minutes behind). They begin kicking Leviathan ass. Meanwhile, aboard a Leviathan aircraft, the new leader of Leviathan confronts Talia, who tells him that he stole her organization out from under her and won’t stand for it. The new leader kicks her out of the group by throwing her out of the aircraft. Superman saves Talia and jails her. Not long after, Marisol Leone promotes Red Cloud (Robinson Goode) within her secret crime cabal ranks, making her an official equal partner.

–REFERENCE: In Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen Vol. 3 #5. Batman inquires as to how and why Red Lantern Dex-Starr wound up assisting in the recent fight against Leviathan, learning that the interstellar feline got mixed up on a shameful Jimmy Olsen adventure during which the former vomited alien blood all over the latter (as seen in the risible Jimmy Olsen-centric pages of Superman: Leviathan Rising #1).

–Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen Vol. 3 #4-6
Jimmy Olsen has just faked his death and gone into hiding due to fears that Lex Luthor is out for his head due to some weird possible connection in their ancestry. In his awful alter ego of super-troll “Timmy Olsen,” Jimmy films some terrible content for his way-too-popular comedy video blog. In Gotham, Jimmy bothers Dr. Fate and then has seventeen people dress up as Joker in an effort to troll Batman too. Batman shows up and punches Jimmy in the face. Later, Jimmy heckles Mayor Michael Akins and has a revolving door delivered to Arkham Asylum. He then accosts Bruce Wayne, yelling “You’re Batman!” over and over. Next, he steals the wheel off the Batmobile, forcing Vicki Vale to report that the “Batmobile has lost its wheel.” Okay, maybe this is some good content after all. Other hijinks are more mean-spirited and offensive towards the Bat-Family. I won’t sully our highbrow website by mentioning them here LOL. Later, to keep up playboy appearances (and to bolster the launch of a new WayneTech mobile platform), Bruce goes on an awful paparazzi-swarmed dinner date with self-absorbed 22-year-old “alpha influencer” Gliminny Tamtam. The next day, Jimmy’s funeral is held. Present are Clark, Lois, Perry White, Jimmy’s brother Julian Olsen, Janie Olsen, Jimmy’s landlord/lawyer Ed Lynch, Lynch’s secretary Miss Denise, Metamorpho, the Middlefield Cemetery undertaker, and others. Dr. Anton Mantel, Jimmy’s STAR Labs scientist friend that helped fake his death with a synthetic corpse, emerges from beneath the earth (actually returning from interdimensional Ultraspace), revealing that Jimmy is still alive to the astonished mourners. A couple days later, Jimmy continues his ultimate “Timmy Olsen” trolling, dressing up a bunch of people as the Joker and having them all visit a frozen yogurt shop. The world’s best sports mascot, The Phillie Phanatic, is there too! Batman shows up and knocks-out Jimmy, leaving him a note saying he will get him back later that evening—and thus begins a ridiculous prank war between the two! But is Batman funny? Does he have a sense of humor? Bruce finds out the hard way that he doesn’t, overhearing two Wayne Enterprises employees reveal that Alfred has been paying people to laugh at his jokes for nearly two decades. A dejected Bruce picks up a classic arrow-through-the-head prop at a gag store  on his way home. After a miserable patrol, Batman confronts Alfred, telling him he knows that he’s been paying people to laugh. Batman is so mad, he even tells Alfred he’ll be docking his pay as punishment! Jimmy, still in hiding, meets with his cousin Janie at a diner. There, Batman drops off a wrapped present addressed to Jimmy. Janie opens it, revealing Dex-Starr waiting inside. Dex-Starr spews disgusting blood vomit all over the Olsens. One point for Batman. The next day, Luthor decides to stop the hit on Jimmy, but someone else still has it out for him. A new hit is put out on Jimmy. Interdimensional jewel thief Jix (Dr. Anton Mantel’s daughter, Jixelle Mantel) and assassin Nathan Guy go after him. Luthor has Jimmy arrested in an attempt to put him in a safe place (jail), but Jimmy makes bail. With the help of his assistant Miss Tessmacher, Luthor makes sure that Guy doesn’t live to see another day. All of the chicanery involved with this case doesn’t go completely unnoticed by the law. Metropolis Police Department Detective James “Trey” Corrigan III (unrelated to Detective Jim Corrigan) begins doing some deep digging. In the Fortress of Solitude, Superman and Lois are debriefed by Dr. Mantel. Jimmy then meets up with Janie (and Dex-Starr) again only to get attacked by countless assassins. Thankfully, Batman is nearby. Using his sonic bat-attractor, Batman clears out the would-be killers from Jimmy’s apartment and kicks their asses. Batman then declares victory in the prank war, revealing he’s legally changed Jimmy’s name to “Jimphony Olsen.” The Dark Knight puts Jimmy, Janie, and Dex-Starr into the care of Alfred, who drives them out of Gotham.

LESSER GODS
———————––Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #1-4
———————––Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #6

(This item seems to have been written to occur in closer proximity to the last Outsiders appearance on our timeline, but it must go here, after Lex Luthor’s resurrection and as close to “City of Bane” as possible. Editorial notation in Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #5-6 places “Lesser Gods” prior to Alfred’s death in “City of Bane.” Alfred’s appearances in both issues also place it prior to his death.) Bruce purchases Jefferson Pierce an apartment in Gotham while Katana moves into a place of her own in Gotham as well. Now equipped with new Bat-signal watches, the Outsiders (Black Lightning, Katana, Signal, and Orphan) are ready for fresh action! Batman sends them to bust a serial killer named Saint John, who has spent the last few days on a murder spree. After the Outsiders bust Saint John, Jefferson debriefs Bruce and chats with Katana. When Batman gets word that Gabriel Ramos has been killed by a League of Assassins member named Ishmael, who is now hunting a scared Sofia Ramos, he sends the Outsiders to work the case. Batman, meanwhile, departs to tackle the much-neglected Markovian Black Market case. (As we learn via reference in Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #10, he discovers a trove of information related to Martina Dimentieva. As Bruce, he also hires investigative journalist Elfa to do some extra digging for him.) In California, Sofia is taken under the protection of Kaliber, who claims to be a time-traveler an alternate future where Sofia one day saves the entire world. Kaliber is only joking, of course. Working under Batman’s employ, Kaliber has been secretly watching over and protecting Sofia for years. In the Batcave, Bruce sips on hot tea and chats with Black Lightning. At a West Coast safe house, Sofia and Kaliber are attacked by Ishmael, but the Outsiders (Black Lightning, Katana, Signal, and Orphan) intervene. The heroes are defeated and Ishmael kidnaps Sophia, taking her into Ra’s al Ghul’s custody in Khadym. Orphan meets with Batman to tell him that the Signal is still messed up over last year’s fight against Karma. Batman then meets with the Outsiders (now officially joined by Kaliber) to discuss the loss of Sofia Ramos to Ra’s al Ghul and to tell the team that he will be putting them through a test. Soon after, Batman—dressed up in Karma’s gear—attacks the Outsiders at the Gotham Waterways plant. But this test is really just for the weakest link of the team: the Signal. “Karma” strikes out at the Signal, who falters but learns a valuable lesson—that his teammates are there for him. Batman unmasks, telling the Signal he knows how he feels and fully supports him. Meanwhile, having been given an offer he couldn’t refuse from the resurrected Lex Luthor, Ra’s al Ghul puts Sofia through a straight-up rip-off of Return of the Jedi, acting in a Palpatine role and urging Sofia to strike down her tormentor Ishmael. She doesn’t kill Ishmael, but she does turn to the dark side and accept Ra’s al Ghul as her master. Sofia slaughters nearly two dozen assassins, earning the super-villain name Babylon. In Gotham, Bruce keeps up playboy appearances by hosting a sybaritic yacht party, during which he secretly meets with Jefferson. Bruce instructs Jefferson to take the Outsiders—sans Orphan and Signal—into Khadym to rescue Sofia, no matter what’s become of her. The Outsiders comply, rescuing the brainwashed Sofia. Black Lightning checks-in with Bruce, who is visiting Paris on unspecified business. Bruce tells Black Lightning to bring Sofia to Gotham. Meanwhile, Ra’s al Ghul ships a chess set to Wayne Manor to mock Bruce. Alfred receives the package and troubles over it. Concurrently, Orphan and Signal chase Ishmael to an underground lair in Gotham where they are greeted by a resurrected Lady Shiva, who displays a captured Karma. Shiva tells her daughter that they stand in one of Batman’s secret compounds and that Batman has held Karma captive there for some time. Allied with Ra’s al Ghul once again, Shiva takes down Orphan. Ishmael then takes down Signal and abducts him, departing with Shiva to rejoin Ra’s al Ghul. Since Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #1-6 takes place prior to Alfred’s death and Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #7 takes place after Alfred’s death, this creates a ridiculous weeks-long ellipsis between the issues, which were written by Bryan Hill as a non-interrupted continuous narrative. Great job, DC higher-ups and editorial department. A total continuity nightmare (or should I say “Knightmare”?) of epic proportions. In any case, since we’ll see Signal in Tom King’s upcoming Batman Vol. 3 arcs, this means that Signal must now immediately be rescued by the Bat-Family. Furthermore, this also means that Black Lightning and Katana must hold off their attempted delivery of Sofia to Gotham for yet even longer due to all that is about to occur—”Tyrant Wing,” “Knightmares,” “Fall and the Fallen,” and the opening of “City of Bane.” Since the Outsiders won’t be able to follow up with Batman for a few weeks, we must assume they keep Sofia captive for the next few weeks.

–Batman Vol. 3 #58-60 (“THE TYRANT WING”)
Lately, Penguin hasn’t been following Bane’s secret preachments to the letter, so Bane decides to send him a message from Arkham Asylum. Penguin’s recently wedded “wife” (an actual penguin named Penny) is murdered. Penguin goes old-school and attacks Batman with a trick umbrella, which gets him sent to Arkham for a few-day stint. While there, Penguin meets with Bane and Flashpoint Batman in the bowels of the building. Bane tells Penguin to fall back in line and that he has plans for Bruce Wayne, ordering Penguin to assassinate Alfred. After being released, Penguin attends a funeral for Penny. There, Penguin chats with his henchmen about the still-ongoing Mr. Freeze-copycat murder case, which Penguin is revealed to be orchestrating on behalf of Bane. Penguin then puts out the hit on Alfred. In the Batcave, Alfred cleans the T Rex and sees-off Batman, who heads out upon hearing that there’s been yet another Mr. Freeze-copycat murder (the first one since the triple murder from months ago). Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon, who tells Batman that there was a penguin feather found near the body of the latest victim. Batman immediately visits the Iceberg Lounge and punches his way to Penguin’s inner sanctum. Penguin plays his card, revealing that his men have a sniper rifle targeted on Alfred inside Wayne Manor as they speak. But Penguin tells his own men to kill themselves, which they do. In an ostensibly venturesome move, Penguin appears to be going against Bane. He sits Batman down with quite a yarn to tell. Of course, Bane has anticipated every possible outcome—even a betrayal by Penguin, who, despite great risk to his own life, goes against the grain due to anger over the loss of his “wife.” Penguin tells Batman that Bane ordered him to commit the Mr. Freeze frame-up murders. Penguin also tells Batman that Bane has been in total control of Arkham Asylum for at least a year. From Arkham, Bane has ruled over Gotham’s underworld in this time. Batman immediately visits Bane’s Arkham cell to find the villain a blubbering catatonic mess. Batman beats the shit out of Bane, accusing him of being behind KGBeast’s hit on Dick and all that Penguin has claimed. Bane keeps up his blubbering act. Commissioner Gordon rushes-in and pulls Batman off the shaking bloody Bane. Batman punches-out Gordon, to which the Commish tells Batman to get the hell out. Badly injured, but having fooled Batman, Bane smiles to himself in the infirmary. After leaving, Batman tells Alfred that he doesn’t know what to believe anymore. After building a makeshift cage inside the Batcave, Batman puts a blindfolded Penguin into his protective custody, placing him inside the cage while ordering Alfred to act as his keeper. Batman then sets out to interrogate anyone that has been released from Arkham in the past year. First, Batman mercilessly thrashes a cowering Maxie Zeus, who has been inexplicably paroled despite having been given a life sentence. Batman then terrorizes Firefly (Ted Carson), Kite-Man, Signalman, and nine more (unnamed) recently released Arkham inmates. All of them say the same thing: Bane is a blubbering mess and there’s no way he’s the leader of a secret Arkham-based criminal cabal. When Gordon hears that Batman has been mercilessly brutalizing parolees, he angrily stomps up to top of the GCPD HQ roof and smashes the Bat-signal with a baseball bat. Batman then returns to the Batcave where he is ambushed by Flashpoint Batman. As referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #70-71, Batman is knocked unconscious and imprisoned inside Arkham Asylum by Flashpoint Batman. After being strapped to a machine that pumps a continuous flow of Fear Gas into his system, Batman hallucinates. First, Batman has a dream about Flashpoint Batman attacking both he and Alfred.

–Batman Vol. 3 #61-63 (“KNIGHTMARES”)
Batman, having been taken prisoner by Flashpoint Batman and strapped to a machine that pumps a continuous flow of Fear Gas into his system, continues to hallucinate. The Dark Knight dreams about the false origin of the murderous young Matthew Warner aka Master Bruce. Then, Batman finds himself, within the nightmare, tied-up hanging upside-down in a slaughterhouse. Batman struggles to free himself and regain his equilibrium as Professor Pyg strikes out at him. Batman demands answers of the villain, who morphs into Damian. Batman then dreams that his wedding with Catwoman went as planned. Batman vacations, patrols, and lives a happy life of marital bliss. Batman’s deep subconsciousness appears in the form of John Constantine, who follows the Dark Knight and acts as a voice of reason, trying to tell him something is amiss. After witnessing Catwoman die, Batman—via Constantine—struggles to convince himself that he’s been drugged and is being held captive.

–Batman Vol. 3 #66-69 (“KNIGHTMARES” Conclusion)
Batman’s Fear Gas-induced nightmare hallucination continues with a vision of the Question (Vic Sage) in conversation with Selina. They discuss the Bat-Cat relationship, Batman’s relationship to the Trinity, Batman’s war on crime, and whether or not Batman can ever be happy. Batman then hallucinates that he is chasing an extra-agile Joker all throughout Gotham. This segues into a weird dream where Selina and Lois Lane have a drunk and debaucherous bachelorette spa date at the Fortress of Solitude (which includes Supermen Robots stripping for them). Meanwhile, the dream continues with Bruce and Clark sharing together a quiet night of formal dinner, watching football on TV, and playing chess. Realizing that he’s dreaming, Batman tries to turn his vision into a lucid one, forcing the dream to take him to a scene of himself dancing with Selina. Batman faces his greatest fear—the fear of committing fully to Selina. Dream Selina tells Batman that he doesn’t truly love her. Elsewhere, Flashpoint Thomas Wayne spars with a nude Bane.

–Batman Vol. 3 #70-72 (“THE FALL AND THE FALLEN”)
Batman comes-to and smashes out of the nightmare machine to find himself in a Bane-controlled Arkham Asylum. Shaken and believing to have been held captive for what he mistakenly believes to have been weeks, Batman traverses the halls of the asylum. After kayoing Riddler and ignoring an annoying Calendar Man, Batman easily takes down a Kobra snake man (or maybe Copperhead, but its hard to tell), Hush, Dr. Phosphorus, Mad Hatter, Victor Zsasz, a random man-bat (maybe a League of Assassins man-bat since Kirk Langstrom would currently be with the JLD and definitely not in Arkham), Eduardo Flamingo, Black Spider, Firefly, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, Amygdala, Solomon Grundy, and Two-Face. As Maxie Zeus shouts in the background, Batman orders Two-Face to tell Bane that he’ll be returning with an army in twenty-four hours. Batman then heads to police HQ where he pops a red bulb and new lens into the Bat-signal, shining it for his Bat-Family to see. Batgirl radios the troops: Robin (Tim) wraps-up fighting Samuroids (supposedly with Young Justice, but this is a bad continuity error since the latest incarnation of the team has yet to debut publicly); Robin (Damian) wraps-up dealing with Professor Pyg; Huntress wraps-up a team-up with Tiger King of Kandahar; a sleepy Spoiler ignores the call; Batwoman acknowledges but is out of country; Orphan responds affirmatively; Signal responds affirmatively; Dick (now “Ric”) says Bat-Family matters have nothing to do with him anymore; and Jason, chilling in Suzie Su’s Iceberg Lounge office, flat-out refuses to come. (Don’t forget there are two Iceberg Lounges—one owned by Penguin and the other by Suzie Su.) Atop a Gotham roof, Batman addresses his people, telling them of Bane’s machinations at Arkham. Batman tells the Bat-Family that he had been captured for weeks, which confuses them because there’s no way that could possibly be true. Despite this, they agree to listen to their mentor anyway. At Arkham, all the prisoners are safely in their cells. After a quick call to Alfred, Batgirl learns that Batman had only left yesterday. An irenic Tim (in his Robin costume) tries to calm down a quickly panicking and increasingly confused Batman, but the Dark Knight punches him. (A reference in Batman Vol. 3 #81 reveals that Batman knows that Gotham Girl is secretly listening-in on Bane’s behalf, so the Dark Knight, with this punch, actually sends a hidden message to the Bat-Family to begins communicating on more secure comm channels. He tells his fam that he will take a dive against Bane in order to figure out their plan and how to beat them. This ridiculousness puts some of his old Golden Age ruses to shame, but oh well.) At Wayne Manor, Batman comes face-to-face with Bane and Flashpoint Batman waiting for him at the dinner table. Alfred serves food, referring to Bane as “Master Bane.” An angry Batman flips the table, prompting Bane to rise up and knock his lights out. Alfred helps Batman to his feet, but tells him that Bane has finally truly broken him. Batman fights Bane all over the mansion, but Bane gets the upper hand and gives the Caped Crusader a patented backbreaker.

–Batman Vol. 3 #73-74 (“THE FALL AND THE FALLEN” Conclusion)
Batman, having been knocked unconscious by Bane, is mended by Flashpoint Batman, who performs surgery on his injured spine, saving his life. Heavily sedated, Bruce is hijacked to the deserts outside of Khadym by a horseback-riding Flashpoint Batman. After several days, Bruce awakens and adjusts to his surroundings, seeing his captor and a mysterious coffin. Another groggy day passes and Bruce erupts from sleep to find Flashpoint Batman finishing off The Death of the Desert, Ra’s al Ghul’s personal elite guard unit. Bruce chats with Flashpoint Batman and realizes that the alt-Dark Knight has dug up the corpse of Martha Wayne, which is in the coffin. The plan is to resurrect her in the Lazarus Pit of Khadym, known as the Nain Pit! The next night, while Flashpoint Batman sleeps, Batman sneaks his mother’s corpse out of the coffin, replacing the weight with rocks. He buries Martha in the sand. the next day, the two Batmen near the Nain Pit and defeat the rest of the Death of the Desert, including their fearless leader Shaddad the Unbroken. After repelling to the bottom of a deep chasm to the edge of the Nain Pit, Batman stops playing along and kicks his alt-dad’s ass. He tells Flashpoint Batman that Bane’s plan hasn’t worked. He’s not emotionally shattered and done for. Batman pummels Flashpoint Batman, seemingly implying that he defeats his faux father. However, such is not the case. As referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #84, Flashpoint Batman wins the fight and ascends out of the pit first. And here’s where things get ever more confusing.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #81. After leaving the Nain Pit, Batman realizes that Bane wants control of Gotham and will likely use Gotham Girl to help keep the Justice League out of his way. Knowing that Gotham Girl needs Super-Venom to slow down her rapid senescence, Batman decides that he must protect the last dose, which is hidden with the Memory of the Mountain in the Himalayas. Knowing that many of Gotham’s worst villains are in league with Bane, Batman orders Clayface (Basil Karlo) to infiltrate Bane’s ranks, disguised as Joker. Batman also preps his Bat-Family for clandestine action. The implication here is that this leads directly to the “City of Bane” arc, starting with Batman getting badly injured by Magpie’s thugs and Bane taking over Gotham. Batman even says he “did not return to the city” after crawling out of the pit. Thus begins “City of Bane.”

CITY OF BANE
———————––Batman Vol. 3 #75-76
———————––flashback from Batman Vol. 3 #77
With the aid of Psycho-Pirate’s brainwashing powers, Bane takes over Gotham, ejecting the Bat-Family from the city. Bane holds Alfred hostage, telling all Bat-Family members that he will kill him if they appear in the city. Flashpoint Batman and Gotham Girl replace Batman and Robin, even moving into the Batcave. The Ventriloquist replaces Alfred as butler of Wayne Manor, although Alfred remains in the mansion as a “permanent guest” under lock and key. Bane appoints Hugo Strange as the new commissioner of police and makes his top cops Riddler, Professor Pyg, Hush, Victor Zsasz, Mad Hatter, Dr. Phosphorus, Killer Croc, and Joker. (Note that Croc is not under Bane and Psycho-Pirate’s spell in Gotham City Monsters, which takes place during this time period in Gotham’s Monstertown neighborhood, which Bane has no interest in. Thus, Croc must succumb immediately after that series. Also note that Joker is actually secretly a disguised Clayface, who is working for Batman.) Firefly and Firebug are put in charge of the Gotham City Fire Department. Psycho-Pirate—with Tweedledum (Dumfree Tweed) and Tweedledee (Deever Tweed) as his cronies—control Arkham Asylum. Only Two-Face—with hired men Solomon Grundy and Amygdala—remains to fight against the new status-quo. While Bruce flees to the other side of the planet seeking to retrieve the Super-Venom from his old master, the Memory of the Mountain, Two-Face and his henchmen wage a war against Bane for days, eventually executing Bane’s agent, Dr. Double-X. Flashpoint Batman and Gotham Girl then bust Two-Face, leaving his Harvey Dent side catatonic. Two-Face, Grundy, and Amygdala are thrown into Arkham where they are reprogrammed by Psycho-Pirate. In the snow-capped mountains of Asia, Bruce arrives at the Memory of the Mountain’s home, but Bane is one step ahead of him. Having sent Magpie to intercept, the Memory of the Mountain is already dead. Magpie’s henchmen steal the Super-Venom, stab Bruce in the neck, and leaving him half-naked and comatose in the snow. Catwoman, having tracked Bruce, saves his life. Back in Gotham, Lex Luthor makes an offer to Bane, telling him he can make his control of Gotham legally-binding in the eyes of the US Government. Bane tells Luthor that the LOD can conquer the multiverse, but he wants Gotham and Gotham alone. Soon after, an executive order from asshole President Trump makes Bane’s control of Gotham legal, simultaneously banning all superheroes from entering the city. Captain Atom breaks the order and enters Gotham to challenge Bane. Upon Captain Atom’s arrival, Gotham Girl kicks his ass and puts him in the hospital. Meanwhile, Flashpoint Batman takes down Tweedledum, Tweedledee, Kite-Man, and Scarecrow when they all refuse to fall in line. Damian and Tim (in his Robin costume) meet to discuss a plan of action, but all hope seems lost. In Paris, Bruce comes out of his coma. Selina nurses him back to health. Over a lovely Parisian dinner, a bummed Bruce says that he must return to Gotham even if it kills him. Selina tells Bruce that they can defeat Bane if they work together.

CITY OF BANE (Continued…)
———————––Batman Vol. 3 #78-79
———————––reference in Batman Vol. 3 #77[10]
Catwoman finds out that Magpie is planning on selling the Super-Venom to Bane’s henchmen in Hawaii in a few days. (As referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #85, Selina also tells Bruce that she was able to retrieve Scarface from the Memory of the Mountain’s mountain home.) Selina and Bruce then immediately book a trip to Hawaii. Bruce, disguised as a vacationing Matches Malone, continues his recovery on a honeymoon-like retreat with a disguised Selina at a luxurious Hawaiian resort. They kayak, sip drinks by the beach, and listen to sports talk radio—specifically about the ongoing football season. As honeymoon-like as it all seems, Bruce is here to train and get better, which means no funny business! That’s right, Bruce and Selina will stay in two different rooms. Aside from the sexual edging, poolside tanning, and campfire heart-to-hearts about what went wrong with their engagement, Batman and Catwoman train by rock climbing, cliff diving, and Batarang toss-and-catch. While training, they give in to their true feelings, both attempting to take responsibility for what happened on their wedding day. They embrace and kiss, reunited once again. The Bat-Cat relationship is back on! (This kissing scene is also shown via flashback from Batman Vol. 3 #85.) The next day, Bruce and Selina discuss their past, exercise on the beach, and hear the latest news reports about Bane’s control of Gotham. After things heat up in their now-shared bedroom, Bruce and Selina heat up the streets of Honolulu, costuming themselves to fight crime. Batman and Catwoman spend a night busting stick-up men, gangsters, and weird super-villains. As referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #83, Alfred, not wanting to screw up Batman’s plans to defeat Bane, contacts the Dark Knight and tells him a lie that he’s safely escaped Gotham. Batman then phones Damian, telling him to go after Bane’s crew. After another night of action, Batman and Catwoman tell each other that they love one another before easily busting Magpie and getting back the Super-Venom. The next afternoon, Bruce thanks Selina for everything she’s done for him. They decide to have a new meeting place that isn’t the street or the boat—it’ll be the beach. In Gotham, the main action of Batman Vol. 3 #77 begins. With his orders from Batman, a determined Damian acquires Klarion’s magick wand, which he uses to defeat and restrain Gotham Girl. On a roll, Damian takes down Zsasz and Scarecrow (who has already been brainwashed into a Bane-cop by Psycho-Pirate). But Flashpoint Batman is too much for young Damian, who gets knocked-out and taken captive. In Wayne Manor, Damain is forced to watch as Bane murders Alfred.

–Batman Vol. 3 #80-82 (“CITY OF BANE” Continued…)
Batman and Catwoman sneak into Gotham City. Batman takes down Officers Pyg and Two-Face. When they fail to report in, Flashpoint Batman knows Batman has returned. While Catwoman takes down Officer Mad Hatter, Batman takes down a rogue Kite-Man and Officer Hush. At Wayne Manor, Flashpoint Batman tucks a very sick Gotham Girl, ill due to overuse of her powers, into bed. The Ventriloquist announces that Bane has ordered the execution of Damian. Flashpoint Batman descends into the Batcave and puts a gun to a bound Damian’s head. Meanwhile, Batman and Catwoman defeat Solomon Grundy and Amygdala to infiltrate Arkham Asylum. Clayface takes down Riddler. In the Batcave, Damian easily escapes and, as per Batman’s plan, joins the Bat-Family (Robin costume-wearing Tim, Huntress, Orphan, Batwoman, Signal, and Batgirl) to fight Flashpoint Batman. But the villain kicks their asses and stabs Tim in the chest. Bloody and battered but victorious, Flashpoint Batman sends a fake message to Batman, telling him that the Bat-Family has won. The ham-fisted final pages of Batman Vol. 3 #81 show a nude Harvey Bullock gawking at a giant Doom Totality symbol that burns brightly across the skies above Earth. (This symbol, meant to coincide with the actions of the Legion of Doom in Justice League Vol. 4, was forcefully shoved—by editorial mandate—into the background of every DC title released in October, November, and early to mid December 2019. As with prior titles, we should definitely ignore this scene since it makes little to no sense happening now, nor does it make chronological sense in almost all of the titles in which it appears. The only way the appearance of the symbol makes any sense is if it has already appeared before and will continue to sporadically appear multiple times over the course of the next couple months.) After doing some prep work, Batman and Catwoman fight Bane in the bowels of Arkham Asylum. The trio fights to a bloody stalemate until Flashpoint Batman arrives with the Ventriloquist at his side. Flashpoint Batman puts bullets into both Batman and Bane.

–Batman Vol. 3 #83-85 (“CITY OF BANE” Conclusion)
Batman wakes up what could be days later, finding himself face-to-face with the deceased Alfred in Wayne Manor. Batman cradles Alfred and flips out, smashing things in anger. Batman then finds that all the entranceways to the Batcave have been occluded with brick. After finding and listening to a heartfelt final audio-recorded message from Alfred, Batman sheds some tears before facing the task at hand. The entire Bat-Family has apparently been mind-controlled into subservience by Psycho-Pirate. However, thanks to having an ace up their sleeve—Scarface—Batman and Catwoman are one step ahead of Flashpoint Batman. Catwoman and the Bat-Family are merely pretending to be under Psycho-Pirate’s control. Using Scarface as leverage, Catwoman actually controls the Ventriloquist, who orders Psycho-Pirate to stand down. A “brainwashed” Catwoman escorts Batman into the main parlor where Flashpoint Thomas Wayne (in street clothes) awaits. Batman challenges him to one more winner-take-all fight. (Note that, in Batman Vol. 3 #83, Tom King gives us a flashback to Flashpoint that retcons significant details about Flashpoint Batman’s history.) Flashpoint Batman is stunned to learn that he’s lost control of Psycho-Pirate. Without his metahuman advantage, Flashpoint Batman is defeated. Gotham City is returned to its government, citizenry, and proper authorities. Bane and Flashpoint Batman are jailed in Arkham Asylum. Batman briefly meets with Flashpoint Batman (who is strapped into a Hannibal Lecter getup) in Arkham. Bane also meets with Flashpoint Batman, breaking his back. Soon after, Alfred is quietly buried—sans funeral. Later still, Batman meets with a healed (but now powerless) Gotham Girl to discuss her future. Gotham Girl tells Batman he should marry Catwoman. Batman gives Gotham Girl some Platinum Kryptonite, which returns her powers—this time without a catch. Bruce spends the entire next day hanging out with Tim, Jason, and Damian at Wayne Manor. As night falls, Bruce and Selina visit Alfred’s grave together before going out on patrol. Together, Batman and Catwoman bust Captain Stingaree, Phantom Pharaoh, Condiment King, and Crazy Quilt in quick succession. As the rain pours down, Bat and Cat decide to get married. They discuss wrangling Judge Wolfman to perform a ceremony, but ultimately patrol through the night and head straight home for bedtime. In bed, they agree that their union is a legitimate one with or without the need for a judge to make it official. For all intents and purposes, the Bat and the Cat are “married.” A night later, Bruce and Selina watch football at Porky’s Bar with Chuck Brown (an out-of-costume Kite-Man). QB Chris Campbell picks up a very rare victory for the Gotham Knights. Note that Batman Vol. 3 #85 contains an epilogue that overlaps with Superman Vol. 5 #18, a bit further down on our timeline. This epilogue does not feature Batman. It simply shows Joker reacting to some big Superman news.

–Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #7-8
Lots of continuity errors to address here. We mentioned this above, but it merits re-mentioning. Because DC higher-ups decided to kill off Alfred in “City of Bane” without telling any other writers beforehand, this led to a catastrophic mess—and the mess only clusters here. Despite the fact that Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #1-8 tells one continuous (non-interrupted) arc, Alfred is shown alive and well in Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #6, but by Outsiders Vol. 3 #7-8, he’s dead. This means that there is a significant weeks-long ellipsis between Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #6 and Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #7 even though writer Bryan Hill clearly does not write it that way. So, remember how Signal was kidnapped by Ishmael at the end of Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #6? Well, Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 3 #7 naturally begins with a continuation of that abduction, showing Ishmael torturing his captive. However, now that there is this large ellipsis, we have to imagine that Signal escaped (which I’ve already added in above on our timeline) and that he has now been recaptured. Stress-inducing levels of bad editorial here. Horrible continuity. Onto a synopsis. Batman sends Orphan to rescue Signal, who has just been captured by Ishmael again. Orphan winds up fighting and defeating Ishamael. Signal is saved, but Ishmael has altered his metahuman physiology, causing him to see only “darkness instead of light.” Meanwhile, the rest of the Outsiders finally take Babylon (Sofia Ramos) to Gotham aboard an airplane. En route, Sofia breaks out of her shackles and confronts Black Lightning and Katana. Kaliber reveals that he is secretly in the employ of Ra’s al Ghul, turning on his teammates by detonating a bomb that sends the plane hurtling toward the ground. Concurrently, a large Doom Totality symbol burns brightly in the sky. (As mentioned before, this symbol, meant to coincide with the actions of the Legion of Doom in Justice League Vol. 4, was forcefully shoved—by editorial mandate—into the background of every DC title released in October, November, and early to mid December 2019. We should definitely ignore this scene since it makes little to no sense happening now, nor does it make chronological sense in almost all of the titles in which it appears. The only way the appearance of the symbol makes any sense is if it sporadically appears multiple times over the course of the next couple months.) As Batman stares at the rapidly descending plane, he calls upon his deceased family (Alfred, mom, and dad) to give him strength. Black Lightning uses his powers to pushe the plane into the ocean, saving himself and Katana while throwing Ishmael and Sofia into the sea. Batman collects Sofia on the shoreline. Later, Bruce tells Jefferson that Alfred has died. In the Batcave, Katana chats with Sofia, who has seen the error of her ways and wants to be a good guy now. Elsewhere, Signal and Orphan comfort each other. They question whether or not Batman really was holding Karma captive, vowing to bring down Shiva at any cost. Did I mention the absolute shit continuity in this book? The epilogue of Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #8, which details the murder of Black Lightning’s friend and is ridiculously labeled with the words “Metropolis. Now.” actually takes place connected with the next issue (Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #9), which does not take place now. It takes place after Superman reveals his secret ID to the world, about a month from now. When will writers learn not to reference every little story detail in every other book when in their own title they haven’t left any room for those things to have occurred? It is cardinal sin numero uno and it shows an amateurish lack of ability to work in a serialized shared universe with other creators. Either that or the editors are to blame. Take your pick. In any case, now that my rant is over, we must slide this last section of Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #8 way down with Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #9.

–REFERENCE: In Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #10. Batman aids in the post-“City of Bane” cleanup of Gotham.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Joker War Zone #1 Part 1. Worried that Bane will escape Arkham Asylum (after all, he did just roam freely into Flashpoint Batman’s cell), Batman creates the ultimate inhumane holding device for him. Bane is chained and plugged into a gothic-looking machine designed to slowly drain Venom from his system. An immobile Bane will be strapped to this horrible thing for many months to come.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1018 and Detective Comics Vol. 3 Annual #3 Part 1. Bruce begins a new life without Alfred, learning to do all the things that Alfred usually would do for him on a daily basis. This includes caring for and playing with the Bat-pets. (Bruce will have trouble with the overall adjustment, especially the grocery shopping and preparing meals for himself parts.)

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #98. Bruce tries to make Alfred’s special darjeeling tea, but he botches it.

–Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1
A week ago (immediately after the conclusion of “City of Bane”), Lex Luthor visited Riddler, telling him that he (Riddler) himself has been his own worst enemy all these years, shooting himself in the foot with all his compulsive riddling attached to crimes. Luthor, delivering a pep talk, told Riddler that change was a desideratum in order to bring about success. No gifts of power, just a pep talk.[11] Cut to now. King Tut convinces Riddler to assist him in a challenge against Batman. After sending in a fake bomb threat, the villains are able to lure Batman (drawn wearing the wrong chest insignia, but oh well) into their warehouse deathtrap, an Egyptian-styled maze filled with traps and live crocodiles. Batman easily makes it through and nabs King Tut. An embarrassed Riddler decides he’s had enough. He walks out on both Tut and Batman, discarding his Riddler attire. It’s time to heed Luthor’s words and start fresh. SPOILER: Riddler won’t start fresh. He’ll just start doing meth. Not even joking.

–FLASHBACK: From Justice League Vol. 4 #51. Batman perches atop a skyscraper gargoyle and grieves over the loss of Alfred, specifically comparing it to how he felt when Jason died.

–REFERENCE: In Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular Part 10. Batman notices that Damian seems especially troubled, realizing he’s been colder and more distant (even for him) ever since Nightwing’s brain injury. Now, with Alfred gone, Damian seems even more on edge. A worrisome Batman will take notice of his son’s behavior for months to come, but won’t be able to speak to him.

–REFERENCE: In Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #9. Wayne Enterprises donates new SWAT uniforms to the GCPD.

–NOTE: In a flashback from Young Justice Vol. 3 #5. This important (although Batman-less) item supposedly occurs two weeks after Batman meets Jinny Hex in “Batman Universe.” This is a bad continuity error as “Batman Universe” occurred nearly a year ago. Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown reach out to Black Canary to ask her advice about Savior, the alternate universe version of himself (from the Titans Tomorrow/666 timeline), and about alternate realities in general. Black Canary tells them to seek-out Marvel’s Doc Sampson on Earth-616! Of course, copyright law prevents them from doing that, so they instead set up a meeting with Zatanna at the Hall of Justice. Zatanna magickally enters Tim’s mind, seeing that some force has blocked his memories (and everyone else’s) of Young Justice! In an instant, Tim recalls a large chunk of this stolen history, including lost memories of Bart Allen (who had been erased and blocked from everyone’s memories) and Conner Kent (who isn’t even from this timeline). (Conner Kent is the Modern Age Superboy—a clone containing the DNA of both Kal-El and Lex Luthor). Shocked at this bizarre discovery/recollection, Zatanna invites Tim and Stephanie inside and calls Madame Xanadu to join in the investigation. They also try to call Batman and Superman, but neither can be reached. Stephanie heads off to meet with/deal with her dad (Cluemaster) while Tim heads off to find his lost pals and to reform Young Justice! (This leads directly into the Batman-less interdimensional adventure featured in Young Justice Vol. 3 #1-11.)

–Detective Comics Vol. 3 Annual #3 Part 1
Batman saves some folks from a burning building, which had caught fire due to regressive housing deregulation policies instituted by Gotham’s brand new Mayor Dunch. After saving a family, Batman orders a new wheelchair for a boy. Back home, Bruce finds an empty fridge with a note inside it from Damian, telling him to buy groceries. In the living room, Bruce is surprised by former MI6 agent Marigold Sinclair, who used to be partners with Alfred back in the day. Marigold explains that one of Alfred’s old friends from his spy days, Kendall Pierce, had betrayed him to defect to the Soviets. She tasks Batman with accompanying her on a mission to bring Pierce to justice—out of respect to the dear departed Alfred. Note that Marigold says, “Alfred left the service not long after… before he was able to bring Kendall to justice… some family obligation about taking care of an orphan. We met a few times over the years, but I could never shake Alfred from his sense of duty.” This is an error on the part of writer Peter Tomasi, one that should have been flagged by editorial. Alfred definitely left the British Secret Service to care for Bruce before his parents were killed. Therefore, the “orphan” dialogue and arrangement of the word balloons are off. Tomasi should have said (and probably meant to say) that Alfred met up with Marigold both prior to and after Bruce became an orphan, seeing the ex-spy’s unwavering devotion to the boy. Two nights after accepting Marigold’s mission, Batman meets her in Vinnytsya, Ukraine to hunt down Pierce. Tracking Pierce to an old KGB training site, Batman is confronted by a new NKVDemon. Batman and and a sprightly Marigold bust the new KNVDemon and Pierce. A couple days late, feeling motivated, Bruce cleans up Wayne Manor. Marigold visits Bruce again and she tells him stories about Alfred’s salad days.

[12]

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #88-89. A cracked-out meth-addicted Riddler has gone into hiding, but stays connected to the outside world by secretly hacking into every camera system in Gotham so as to monitor everything and everyone. Unknown to Riddler, Batman knows exactly what he’s doing. Upon closer examination of Riddler’s downtown lair, Batman finds that it is laced to the brim with C4 explosives. The Dark Knight decides caution is the best course of action. He lets Riddler alone, but will secretly monitor the villain’s monitoring, moving forward.

–Detective Comics #1016 Epilogue
While Mrs. Freeze relaxes in her new home in Canada, Mr. Freeze rots in a special cryogenic cell in the basement of Arkham Asylum. Batman pays him a visit.

–Detective Comics #1017
Batman picks up some chatter that ex-False Face Society members are trying to acquire a bomb. But before he can tackle the case, Lucius Fox visits him in the Batcave to tell him that teenager Miguel Flores has run away from the Martha Wayne Orphanage and that two other teens have mysteriously disappeared from there this past year. The next day, Bruce visits the orphanage, delivering science and art equipment and ice cream. Bruce authorizes a new wing to be built. As snow begins to fall and temperatures plummet across Gotham, Batman calls-in Damian to work the orphanage case. Over the course of the next snowy two weeks, Batman battles ex-Black Mask followers and secures their bomb while Robin searches for Miguel, eventually finding him on death’s door. Batman and Robin rush Damian to the hospital, but the boy is DOA. In the wee hours of the morning, Batman realizes that orphanage director Mr. Morrison is responsible for the missing teens and scaring off Miguel. As the sun comes up, Bruce, Damian, and Lucius, flanked by police, visit Morrison, exposing his involvement in what appears to be human trafficking. Bruce punches his lights out. Batman and Robin then track down the missing kids and bust the traffickers. Bruce vows to be more personally involved in the affairs of the Wayne Enterprises-controlled orphanages and the lives of the orphans that live in them. We must presume that Bruce stays true to his word.

–Year of the Villain #1 Part 2
The superhero community investigates Leviathan, which is responsible for shuttering several government agencies, cloak-and-dagger spy organizations, and international criminal cartels over the past several months (as first seen in “Leviathan Rising”) and for the recent kidnapping of Clark Kent (as seen in Superman: Leviathan Rising #1). In the Batcave, Batman monitors various related video, including recent footage of Clark when he was kidnapped, recent footage of a the new super-villain that destroyed the Danvers’ apartment (as also seen in Superman: Leviathan Rising #1), and a live feed of Batgirl and Green arrow, who are following-up a Leviathan lead in Seattle. Batgirl and Green Arrow sign-off after a quick chat with Batman, then easily taking down Merlyn, who tells them that Leviathan has crushed the League of Assassins. The new mystery leader of Leviathan captures Batgirl and offers her a chance to join. In the Batcave, Robin approaches Batman and tells him that he thinks Red Hood is at the epicenter of the new Leviathan.

–Event Leviathan #1-3
Action Comics #1019 places Event Leviathan a little over one week prior to the “Metropolis Doom!” arc, hence its placement here. This placement if further reinforced by Leviathan Dawn #1, which puts Event Leviathan shortly prior to “The Truth.” ARGUS’ new Coast City mega-HQ (disguised as The Museum of Super Science) is reduced to rubble and all ARGUS agents disappear without a trace, thus completing the new Leviathan’s purge of all clandestine organizations. (The Leviathan purge started several months ago with the destruction of the DEO, but was completed in the last twenty-four hours, which has seen the obliteration of Cadmus, Spyral, Task Force X, Kobra, SHADE, the League of Assassins, and more. Event Leviathan insinuates that all of the attacks, including the one upon the DEO, have taken place within the past twenty-four hours. However, as referenced in both the “Leviathan Rising” arc and Superman: Leviathan Rising #1, the DEO attack occurred several months ago.) Batman and Lois Lane investigate the rubble of the ARGUS compound, finding a shell-shocked Steve Trevor there. Trevor tells them that the new all-powerful Leviathan villain (the same one that leveled the Danvers’ apartment) destroyed the ARGUS HQ. Untrusting of anything or anyone, Trevor starts firing a gun at Lois and Batman. Green Arrow arrives just in time to take him down and send him to prison. The heroes discuss the fact that world governments have been able to keep the Leviathan purge a secret from the greater public so far, but they won’t be able to after this. Together, they decide they must find out who the new mystery leader of Leviathan is as soon as possible. Undetected, the Question (Vic Sage) watches them from the shadows. Elsewhere, the new leader of Leviathan makes an offer to a kidnapped Dr. Strand, one of the top ARGUS scientists. Batman joins an anti-Leviathan team consisting of Lois Lane, Robin (Damian), Green Arrow, the Question, Plastic Man, and Manhunter (Kate Spencer). The Question goes to check on Sam Lane in his Columbus, Ohio hospital room. There, the Question prevents a Leviathan soldier (dressed in bizarre armor) from assassinating Sam Lane. Lane shoots and kills his attacker, a former ARGUS agent gone rogue. Plastic Man goes to examine the attacker’s body in the local morgue, but runs into the mystery leader of Leviathan, who tells him that the new Leviathan is trying to make the world a better place. The leader takes the corpse and disappears, leaving only a Batarang-like weapon behind. Going off Damian’s intel that Red Hood might be a part of Leviathan, the anti-Leviathan team stalks Red Hood, who surveys the Seattle rooftop where Batgirl went missing at the hands of Leviathan. After Batman chats with an unsuspecting Red Hood, the rest of the team jumps him and the chase is on. (This chase is also shown via flashback from Leviathan Dawn #1.) Red Hood masterfully kicks everyone’s asses before speaking with Lois directly. She realizes that he has been set up by Leviathan as a patsy. Red Hood tells her that Leviathan will be targeting Amanda Waller. Green Arrow gets in Batman and Robin’s way as all three try to nab Red Hood, bungling the attempt and allowing Red Hood to walk. Too many cooks in the kitchen here! The heroes regroup at Superman’s Fortress of Solitude in the Bermuda Triangle. There, they discuss the case and discover a listening device that Amanda Waller has secretly hidden. Waller, on the lam in a Latin American country, is confronted by the leader of Leviathan and a squadron of his top men. Superman comes to Waller’s aid.

–Event Leviathan #4-6
Leviathan uses strange tech to disorient Superman, who goes into an intense psychedelic dizzy spell. When he comes-to, Leviathan is gone, along with all his troopers and Amanda Waller. Shortly thereafter, Lois Lane’s detective team gathers in the Batcave with Superman. They regroup and go over the details of the case at hand. As they do, Lois sneaks off, steals a car from the Wayne Manor garage, and drives away. Outside of Wayne Manor, the Silencer watches, reporting back to her boss, Talia al Ghul. In the Batcave, Batgirl reports-in via live video feed, saying that she accepted Leviathan’s offer in order to infiltrate the group. She tells her friends that Leviathan is making a big play in the morning, but then gets cut off. When a giant Leviathan floating fortress appears in the sky Superman flies off with Plastic Man to check it out. Concurrently, Lois steals a car from Wayne Manor and meets with yet another team of detectives working the case: Zatanna, Elongated Man, Harvey Bullock, Deathstroke, the Question (Renee Montoya), and John Constantine. They tell Lois that they believe Sam Lane has faked his heart attack and is the secret leader of Leviathan. Batman and his team watch via bio-sensor cams hidden in the stolen car. Just as Zatanna sends (via magick portal) Lois to her dad’s hospital room in Columbus, Ohio, Leviathan troopers attack Team Zatanna. Chaos ensues, during which the terribly ill Sam tells Lois the answer to the Leviathan mystery lies in the “snowman’s ticket.” As troopers bear down upon them as well, Sam and Lois are teleported to a far off mountain range where Sam dies in his daughter’s arms! Meanwhile, Superman and Plastic Man confront the leader of Leviathan, who stands alongside his flying fortress, a gigantic army, and an entire fleet of airborne warships on Leviathan Island (off the coast of Iceland). In Gotham, Batman, Robin, the Question (Vic Sage), Green Arrow, and Manhunter (Kate Spencer) hop in the war machine hummer and rush to Superman’s location. Robin realizes that the leader of Leviathan has something to do with Manhunter, but before they can pursue the revelation further, Talia al Ghul and the Silencer attack their vehicle, toppling it upside-down. Everyone realizes that the Manhunters are involved with Leviathan, so they all turn on Kate, who attempts to fight them only to get beaten into a coma. But Kate was just a patsy. Knowing they are being watched and listened-to, Batman and Robin begin giving false plans out loud while communicating their real plans in sign-language. The two groups of detectives then finally gather together. At this point, as referenced in Leviathan Dawn #1, Batman moves the comatose Kate Spencer to the Batcave. She will remain there for the next week-plus. Batman also moves Kate’s son Ramsey into a safe house. On Leviathan Island, the leader of Leviathan unmasks to reveal himself as ex-Manhunter Mark Shaw. Now knowing Superman’s location, both detective teams, Talia, and the Silencer appear on Leviathan Island. The League of Assassins and League of Shadows members present, along with Batgirl, betray Leviathan, joining the detective teams and Talia to defeat Shaw’s army. Shaw threatens to release every single military, government, and corporate secret to the public before teleporting away. Thankfully, the device they need to do this is safely in Batgirl’s hands, having been sneaked away to her by Amanda Waller (who is now MIA). However, Shaw still has a treasure trove of info that he could potentially distribute bit by bit, potentially uprooting the global socioeconomic balance and throwing into complete turmoil. The heroes learn that Shaw’s entire plan was actually designed by Sam Lane, a theoretical plan to bring down all clandestine organizations at once, known as the “snowman’s ticket.” Unsure of what to do next, the heroes meet with Lois Lane, deciding that a simple news story is the best course of action. The next morning, Lois’ Daily Planet article exposing Shaw as the leader of Leviathan is published. (Note that the article carries a November 13, 2019 date, but that merely refers to the publication date of Event Leviathan #6, so we shouldn’t take this date as canonical.) In a remote location, Shaw regroups with his secret righthand man, the ex-superhero known as The Guardian (Jim Harper). Together, they vow to rebuild and carry out their plans in the future. (Flashbacks from Justice League Vol. 4 #39 and Leviathan Dawn #1 also shows details from the latter half of Event Leviathan.)

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 5 #26. In the wake of “Event Leviathan,” the Justice League fortifies security at several important locations, including The Daily Planet Building.

–Lois Lane Vol. 2 #9
An assassin called The Kiss of Death has just tried to kill Lois Lane. Lois sends The Question (Renee Montoya) to meet with Batman. The Question asks Batman to dig up intel on the Kiss of Death, which he does, returning within the hour with a full bio and history. Meanwhile, Lois interviews a Department of Homeland Security agent to track down her missing housekeeper Alejandra Ortiz, who has become collateral damage in the Kiss of Death’s war against her. Ortiz and her family have been detained by the vile US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a government-run concentration camp. Lois checks-in on Alejandra and then sends Renee to meet with Jessica Midnight and Sister Clarice Coeur.

–REFERENCE: In Lois Lane Vol. 2 #10. Batman tells Superman about Lois and Renee Montoya looking into the Kiss of Death. Batman jokes with Superman, telling the Man of Steel to stay out of it because there is magick involved.

–Action Comics #1015-1016
Naomi McDuffie, an Oregonian teenager that has just learned she is actually a powerful metahuman from an alternate Earth, crashes into Metropolis, seeking out Superman’s help. Upon meeting Superman, Naomi explains her backstory, also telling him about genocidal metahuman Zumbado, the man that killed all life on her birth-Earth. At the Hall of Justice, Superman introduces Naomi to the Wonder Twins. Ray Palmer tries asking her about which Earth she is from, which only confuses her. Batman tests Naomi’s powers and questions her as well. All of a sudden, Superman detects an emergency. Batman asks if it’s Lex Luthor, but Superman tells him it’s a Leviathan threat, taking off to handle it. But Superman is mistaken, for when he arrives at the site of the emergency (seedy Club Ultimate aka Ace Club), the Man of Steel finds the Red Cloud (now powered-up thanks to a Luthor offer) threatening Rose Forrest aka the schizophrenic antihero Thorn. Metropolis’ shady Mayor Hopkins and Marisol Leone’s top man Mr. Strong are also present at the club. The Red Cloud then kicks Superman’s ass in front of a gathering crowd until Naomi shows up and easily dispatches the Red Cloud. Superman and Naomi then fly to the latter’s hometown of Port Oswego, Oregon. There, joined by Batman and STAR Labs scientists, Superman meets Naomi’s adoptive mom Jen McDuffie. Batman has STAR Labs set up an observation stakeout base to monitor the interdimensional breach where Zumbado came through. The head of the operation, the secretly villainous Dr. Glory, introduces herself to Naomi. In Metropolis, Marisol Leone and Mr. Strong decide it’s soon time to come out of the shadows and make their presence felt. (Note that Action Comics #1015‘s meta splash page, which contains lots of Batman-related info, is placed, not as a frontispiece as usual, but instead at the end of the issue. Despite being in a different location, this splash is still non-canon.)

–Superman Vol. 5 #17
Lex Luthor has just gifted Lois Lane something worthy of publishing in The Daily Planet, something top secret hidden in a small lead-lined box. Superman asks her what’s in the box, but she says she cannot tell him—that he must wait until she publishes it for the world to see. While they discuss a range of topics, including the box, Sam Lane’s death, and Jon’s departure to the future, a frustrated Superman telescopically scans the country looking for any trouble. Notably, Superman sees Batman and Alfred hanging out in the Batcave. Alfred is dead, so unless Superman is looking backward in time, this is a mega-big continuity fuck-up. Later, Young Justice (Tim Drake, Conner Kent, Wonder Girl, Impulse, Amethyst, Teen Lantern, and Jinny Hex)—having very recently returned from a an interdimensional adventure in Young Justice Vol. 3 #1-11—tips off the authorities about a secret unsanctioned STAR Labs compound in Utah that has dedicated its resources to killing the Man of Steel. As infuriatingly implied in Young Justice Vol. 3 #15, Superboy is indeed supposed to be the Conner Kent from the Modern Age, who was exiled to Gemworld just prior to Flashpoint, thus preventing him from getting rebooted. It’s best not to think about it for too long, lest you have an aneurysm.[13] (Note that Tim has a new costume and now goes by the name Drake. Although, we’ll still see Tim wear his Robin costume on occasion. After all, with Tim, old habits die hard and change is gradual. Also note that Superman has yet to personally meet this new incarnation of the Young Justice. He merely goes after the STAR Labs compound based on their informant tip.) Superman’s mere appearance at the Utah compound is enough to shut it down. Exposed as a fraud, Dr. Glory teleports away. Superman and Supergirl then visit Jekuul (aka New Krypton), a planet at the other side of the universe that is ruled by a semi-reformed Zod and his wife Ursa. There, with Lor-Zod (Zod and Ursa’s son) eavesdropping, Superman tells Supergirl that he is going to reveal his secret ID to the world soon.

WHO ARE THE SECRET SIX?
———————––Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #1
———————––Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #2 Part 1
———————––Flash Vol. 5 #65 Epilogue

“Who are the Secret Six?” (specifically Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #3) shows Alfred in a single panel with a hastily attached editorial note over top of it that tells us this arc happens prior to Alfred’s death in “City of Bane.” When your publisher doesn’t tell anyone that he’s killing off a main character in another arc, this is exactly what happens. And then they think they can just slap a literal band-aid onto a comic and it’ll fix the problem. Nope. This is an alpha-level continuity error. This is Continuity FUBAR. The entire Alfred panel (along with its nonsensical editorial note) should be summarily ignored. Furthermore, “Who are the Secret Six?” supposedly takes place a few weeks after the conclusion of The Batman Who Laughs #1-7, but it can only fit several months afterward in order to make sense on our timeline. Batman begins our tale by telling Superman (who has just busted Killer Croc) that the Batman Who Laughs first came to Earth-0 “last year,” but this actually happened toward the end of Bat Year 15, so this should read “two years ago” instead. Commissioner Gordon (still secretly under the influence of the Batman Who Laughs’ mind-altering Joker Toxin) tells Batman and Superman that a teenage boy was supposedly captured by a “laughing Superman,” leading them to the Batman Who Laughs’ abandoned Batcave beneath Crime Alley. After infiltrating the cave, they find evidence that someone close to them (likely a few of their friends) have been infected with the villain’s Joker Toxin. They don’t know who, though. Our heroes are then approached by a cannibal Dark Robin, who reveals himself to be Billy Batson. Billy turns into a “Shazam Who Laughs” and attacks Superman, trying but failing to infect him with Dark Joker Venom. The magickal disturbance caused by evil Shazam is so strong that it causes Zatanna to collapse and Phantom Stranger to have a nosebleed deep in the bowels of the Hall of Justice. Batman and Superman then fight the evil Shazam, which is also shown via flashback from The Infected: King Shazam #1 and The Infected: The Commissioner #1). Batman crashes one of the Batman Who Laughs’ evil Bat-planes into Shazam, a dangerous maneuver that fails miserably. While Superman rushes an injured Batman into medical care inside the Fortress of Solitude, Shazam flies away. Once recovered, the battered Batman joins the bruised Superman, who tells him that six of their friends have either already been infected or will be shortly (i.e. Shazam and five others). In the Batcave, Batman and Superman continue their discussion of the Batman Who Laughs’s “secret six” situation. The World’s Finest discuss plans on how to handle things.[14]

WHO ARE THE SECRET SIX? (Conclusion)
———————––Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #2 Part 2
———————––Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #3-5

Batman and Superman deduce that Superman himself has been targeted to become one of the Batman Who Laughs’ “secret six.” Taking a daringly ridiculous course of action, Superman decides to go ahead and infect himself with the Batman Who Laughs’ Dark Joker Venom in order to find out the villain’s plan. With Batman monitoring and setting up various safeguards, the “Superman Who Laughs” meets with the Batman Who Laughs in his underground cell. With the aid of hard-light holograms, a barely-in-control Superman tricks the Batman Who Laughs into thinking he has left his cell. Batman quickly realizes this is a terrible plan and intervenes, sticking Superman with a syringe full of Kryptonite/Anti-Dark Joker Venom and restraining the Batman Who Laughs. Batman then locks up Superman, activating a giant sunlamp to expedite his healing. Realizing that Jim Gordon is one of the “secret six,” Batman tracks him down in Gotham. There, the “Gordon Who Laughs,” via remote-control, sics his old Batman-mech suit (aka “Rookie the Robot”) on Batman. Superman, still giggling from the remaining poison in his system, breaks free of the Hall of Justice to help Batman fight Robo-Batman. They defeat Gordon and the Bat-mech, taking the Commish and his tech to the Fortress of Solitude. There, the another infected hero, replacing Superman as number three, emerges from within the Bat-mech: Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes). (Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #3, at this juncture, shits the continuity bed in more ways than one. First, as mentioned above, it shows Alfred in a single panel with an editorial note telling us this arc happens prior to Alfred’s death in “City of Bane.” The entire panel—along with its editorial note—should be ignored. It’s just not possible. Secondly, a Doom Totality symbol burns brightly in the sky. This symbol, meant to coincide with Justice League Vol. 4, was shoved—by editorial mandate—into the background of every DC title released in October, November, and early to mid December 2019. As also mentioned above, we should ignore this scene since it makes little to no sense happening now.) Blue Beetle opens-up the Fortress of Solitude to Commissioner Gordon and the the fourth and fifth infected heroes, Donna Troy and Hawkman (who is being controlled by Earth-3’s Sky Tyrant). As Batman and Superman fight the Jokerized heroes, Gordon tells of the Batman Who Laughs’ evil plan to use Negative Earth-22’s old JL Satellite along with an Anti-Montior-style tuning fork tower to bring doom and gloom to Earth-0. Supergirl and Krypto arrive to assist Batman and Superman. However, Supergirl is already under the secret influence of Brainiac-1‘s nano-bot manipulation, so she quickly succumbs to Dark Joker Venom. (The sequence depicting Supergirl’s arrival is also shown pretty much verbatim and shot-for-shot in Supergirl Vol. 7 #36.) Shazam then arrives, thus completing the assemblage of the new Secret Six. As Batman fends them off, the Batman Who Laughs tries to psych-out Superman by showing him the emaciated corpses of the slaughtered Negative Earth-22 Justice League (Superman, Red Tornado, Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Martian Manhunter), Negative Earth-22 Lois Lane, and Negative Earth-22 Jonathan Kent. This merely angers Superman, who takes the fight to Supergirl and Shazam. Meanwhile, Batman uses his anti-Blue Beetle tech to take control of Blue Beetle’s scarab. The World’s Finest toss the Negative Earth-22 JL Satellite into the Sun, ending its threat. Commissioner Gordon is jailed inside the Hall of Justice, but the other five Secret Sixers smash into the Hall of Justice and free the Batman Who Laughs. The World’s Finest pay visits to those closest to the infected Secret Six to tell them what has occurred. Batman speaks to Hawkgirl and the Titans and checks-in on the Reyes Family. Superman hangs with Krypto and speaks with the rest of the Shazam Family. Batman and Superman then reluctantly tell the rest of the JL. Note that the culmination of this arc, which will see most of the Secret Six get cured, will happen in Hell Arisen, which bridges the gap between “Justice/Doom War” and Dark Nights: Death Metal. Yet, we will see some of the infected Secret Sixers healthy and well between now and Hell Arisen. This is probably more stinking bad continuity, but we can fanwank that the fits of evil are intermittent (and only really bad when under the direct influence of the Batman Who Laughs).

–Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #6 Part 1
Batman and Superman visit a fully Dark-Jokerized Jim Gordon in prison. They then visit Wonder Woman on Circe’s isle of Aeaea with plans to tell her about Donna Troy. Of course, an angry Wonder Woman already knows. Batman and Superman watch as she takes her frustrations out on a gorgon and Circe’s bestial Ani-Men. Batman then goes back to Gotham to patrol.

–Action Comics #1017-1021 (“METROPOLIS DOOM!”)
It’s supposedly been a little over a week since Event Leviathan. And supposedly only one day has passed since Action Comics #1016. However, Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #1 through Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #6 Part 1 has to be squeezed in-between, meaning it’s been at least a week-and-a-half since Event Leviathan and a few days since Action Comics #1016. Clark interviews Marisol Leone, but he bails to chase after a comet that rockets through downtown Metropolis. Leviathan teleports Superman to Gorilla City where new ruler King Miramar has turned his soldiers against humans. Superman fights free and heads back home only to find that the Ace Club has been blown sky high. Later, Lois and Superman presume that the Invisible Mafia and Leviathan must be warring. Meanwhile, Mayor Hopkins, disgraced, steps down as Mayor of Metropolis. He is immediately replaced by interim Mayor Glimby and an emergency election is scheduled. Clark interviews Fire Chief Melody Moore, who throws her name into the mayoral election running. In exchange for that info, Clark tells Melody that he is Superman, saying that he’ll be revealing it to the world in just forty-one hours. Out of the blue, Luthor and the Legion of Doom—allied with Leviathan (Mark Shaw)—attack Metropolis. A reference in Young Justice Vol. 3 #12 nods to this LOD/Shaw attack, telling us that Tim is trying to contact Batman, but he is unable to do so. Young Justice Vol. 3 #12 also shows Naomi, the Wonder Twins, Miguel Montez, and Summer Pickens officially joining Young Justice. (Note that writer Brian Michael Bendis specifically tells us that Young Justice Vol. 3 #12 occurs a day or so after Action Comics #1015-1016.) Superman meets the latest Young Justice incarnation—sans Miguel and Summer—at the the Hall of Justice, immediately recruiting them into battle. Despite the assemblage of Young Justice and the Justice League (including Batman wearing one of his armored mech-suits and piloting a JL super-tank), the heroes are defeated by the LOD and Shaw. Superman, Superboy (Conner Kent), Wonder Woman, and Batman make a last stand against the villains, but the Red Cloud joins the fray, helping Luthor decimate most of Lower Metropolis. Notably, the villains make mention that Supergirl is off-world at the moment, but she’d currently be an infected Secret Six member at this juncture, so it’s an odd thing for them to be worrying about her. Maybe they don’t know? Meanwhile, Shaw prepares his Leviathan troops aboard his colossal flying fortress. Luthor has merely been his pawn, and he plans on betraying him now that the work has been done. On the ground, Red Cloud, not wanting to be an accomplice to genocide, betrays the LOD and joins the heroes. Red Cloud, Superman, Superboy, Wonder Woman, and Batman then fight the LOD, but Shaw teleports the LOD clear across the universe. Shaw then confronts all the heroes, telling them he’s canceled his plans for now. He warns the heroes that Luthor is planning something much more sinister than what they’ve witnessed today. (He’s, of course, speaking of the “Justice/Doom War” that is still to come.) Shaw then disappears without a trace. The heroes then clean-up the devastated Metropolis. Red Cloud meets with Marisol Leone, who tells her that Superman will be revealing his secret ID in less than 24 hours. (Note that the final page of Action Comics #1017, a Daily Planet page containing a ton of seemingly relevant info, is actually non-canon. Dates, times, and references to other arcs should be ignored here. Likewise, the meta opening splash website pages of Action Comics #1018-1019 and Action Comics #1021 are also non-canon.)

–Young Justice Vol. 3 #17
Young Justice and the Justice League continue cleaning-up the damage done during “Metropolis Doom.” Batman and Drake chat. Impulse reunites with Flash. Superboy (Conner Kent) departs with Superman to discuss the former’s origins. Teen Yolanda Chen helps by handing out bottled water to the heroes. She will be inspired to get an internship at the Hall of Justice.

THE TRUTH
———————––Superman Vol. 5 #18
———————––Superman Vol. 5 #19 Part 1
The Man of Steel is ready to become the Man of Truth! Fresh from the Metropolis clean-up (following the LOD attack upon the city in “Metropolis Doom”), Superman reveals his secret ID to Perry White. Meanwhile, Batman returns to Gotham to bust Scarecrow. Jimmy Olsen follows Batman, hoping to get a scoop on the story. The Man of Steel then visits Jimmy in Gotham to tell him his secret ID. Of course, Lois has already told Jimmy. In the morning, at a huge Metropolis news conference, Superman reveals his secret ID to the world! (Batman is shown watching via flashback from Justice League Vol. 4 #51.) The Legion of Doom also watches with keen interest. A pensive Lex Luthor temporarily reverts himself back to human form. Later, Clark meets with the entire Daily Planet staff and they give him a standing ovation.

–REFERENCE: In Leviathan Dawn #1. Superman has just revealed his secret ID to the world less than twenty-fouras hours ago. Kate Spencer regains consciousness in the Batcave. (She’s been there ever since the end of “Event Leviathan,” which ended a week ago.) Batman leaves Kate in Damian’s care and arranges for her son Ramsey to be brought to the Batcave. Batman then departs on unspecified Justice League business. Meanwhile, Leviathan purchases the entire country of Markovia and re-brands it as the legally-recognized nation of Leviathan.

–Superman Vol. 5 #19 Part 2
Superman, having recently revealed his secret ID to the world, flies through Metropolis and goes on routine patrol, getting applause from the citizenry. As referenced in Superman: Heroes #1 Part 2 and Superman: Villains #1, Superman speaks with Batman about his decision, and Batman takes Ma and Pa Kent’s farm in Smallville “off the grid”—using the same camouflaging techniques and technology utilized on the Batcave—in order to protect it from villains and paparazzi. Superman then meets with the entire superhero community in the Hall of Justice to discuss his decision with them face-to-face. Not everyone is happy about it.

–Superman: Heroes #1 Part 2
Superman’s meeting with all the heroes at the Hall of Justice continues from Superman Vol. 5 #19 Part 2. Everyone is present, which is highly problematic. Included in the gathering are Aria Hax, Azrael, Cyborg, Blackfire, Dex-Starr, Jessica Cruz, and Orion. These folks should all be far away and cut off from Earth on their Justice League Odyssey adventure. (Have they temporarily returned for this momentous occasion, only to go straight back to deep space afterward? Or is this another Brian Michael Bendis continuity miscalculation? Probably the latter!) Everyone gets the opportunity to speak with Superman one-on-one about his decision to reveal his secret ID. Batman talks about how Ma and Pa Kent’s farm has been taken off the grid using Batcave camouflaging tech. Later, Diana visits Bruce at Wayne Manor to discuss the big status quo change. Bruce tells her he thinks it’s a terrible, selfish, and dangerous idea, one that disregards the feelings and safety of others. Diana calls Bruce out, telling Bruce that he is jealous of Superman’s happiness because he could never do what he’s done. Bruce admits to being jealous. A couple days later, Lois hires a staff to handle the thousands of letters (for both she and Clark) that have poured into the Kent apartment and their local post office overnight. Bruce vets the sorters and sets up a warehouse to store the mountains of mail. Later, Superman and Lois examine the contents of a box that Luthor recently gave to Lois. The contents reveal that Marisol Leone is the leader of the Invisible Mafia. (Note that, in the Batman-less first part of Superman: Heroes #1, writer Brian Michael Bendis tells us that Luthor gave the box to Lois just over one week before Superman revealed his secret ID to the world. This actaully tracks, as we are  a little over a week since Superman Vol. 5 #17, in which Lois got the box.)

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 5 #20. Batman fights Deathstroke. This combat is shown on a TV screen as “breaking news” at The Daily Star HQ. It is meant to be a reference to “Their Dark Designs”—writer Brian Michael Bendis’ cute but failed attempt to connect other writers’ arcs to his own. But since “Their Dark Designs” doesn’t happen for months, Bendis has just made a continuity error. The only fix, and a totally fine one, is relegating this Batman versus Deathstroke duel to one of their many generic brouhahas.

–Superman Vol. 5 #22
Superman wraps-up a fight against a new Mongul (Mongul’s son), defeating him and delivering him back to his Warzoon race in chains. (This fight began immediately following Superman: Heroes #1 Part 2, starting in the Batman-less Superman Vol. 5 #19 Part 3 and continuing through the Batman-less Superman Vol. 5 #20-21.) Meanwhile, at Lois and Clark’s apartment, FBI Agent Cameron Chase visits Lois to confront her about some bad mainstream press that Superman has recently received. (Superman was caught publicly saying that he “represented all of Earth” to the United Planets, earning him accusations of being a wannabe totalitarian dictator.) Agent Chase tells Lois that, in spite of the bad press, the UN is actually into Superman representing Earth, so long as he doesn’t ever fuck up. On the planet Daxam, Superman—flanked by Batman, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter—addresses the representatives of the United Planets. Present for this gathering are Dominators, Khunds, Tamaraneans, Thanagarians, Xudarians, and the Sardath. Later, Superman returns home. Lois has finally completed writing her book, which is literally about alternate timelines and how fucked up continuity is right now. Sigh. I remember when meta used to be fun, but now it’s just sad.

–Batman: Pennyworth RIP #1
Bruce finally reads Alfred’s last will and testament, which orders the Bat-Family to take a night off and be together as a family. Shortly thereafter, Bruce opens a new Wayne Rebuild Project medical center, naming it “The Alfred J Pennyworth Children’s Hospital.” Bruce schedules a long overdue (and publicly televised) funeral for his beloved father figure to coincide with the dedication ceremony. A few days later, in front of a bronze statue of Alfred with young version of himself, Bruce delivers a stoic eulogy. Damian, Tim, Babs, Jason, and even amnesiac Dick (aka Ric) are present. Following the belated wake, the Bat-Family honors Alfred’s last wishes and joins together at Noonan’s Sleazy Bar. Catwoman, Batwoman, Orphan, and Signal patrol Gotham in their absence. At the bar, Bruce seems distant and emotionless, which perturbs everyone. Everyone—sans Bruce and amnesiac Ric—tells a touching Alfred story, but everyone is very upset, so each person leaves after telling their individual tale. Babs is especially harsh toward Bruce, scolding him for allowing her dad to get infected by the Batman Who Laughs and imploring him to show some emotion. When only Ric and Bruce remain, the former asks the latter to tell him a story about Dick’s interaction with Alfred, since he can no longer remember. Bruce tells him a deeply moving tale, after which Ric gives Bruce some heartfelt advice. Ric then tacks a photo of the Bat-Family to the wall, which Bruce views with tears in his eyes.

–Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #6 Part 2
Batman deals with an escaped Scarecrow while Superman flies into Earth’s orbit to deal with Metallo. Later, Batman decides to update and perfect his computer database of super-villains. (As we learn via reference in Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #7, in conjunction with the database upgrade, Batman and Superman also begin designing/programming a special semi-sentient computer algorithm that can predict crime and guide them towards trouble. As referenced in Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #14, Batman and Superman plan on uploading super-villain data into the memory core of the algorithm, but they start by uploading profiles of themselves.) Bruce also authorizes a Wayne Enterprises-run clean-up of Crime Alley, fixing up the damage done there by the Batman Who Laughs. The villain’s cave is secured and occluded. Clark visits Bruce, who is personally overseeing the construction. Bruce makes a crack about Clark having shared his secret ID with the world. Bruce tells Superman about his new super-villain database sharing plan and also shares data access with the Man of Steel. Batman and Superman visit Jim Gordon in his Hall of Justice prison cell once more only to find that Gordon has regressed even further. Elsewhere, Zod challenges Ra’s al Ghul to a fight, hoping to gain control of the world’s Lazarus Pits.

–Supergirl Vol. 7 #37-38 (“I’M THE BAD GUY”)
Supergirl, although still infected with Dark Joker Venom, is able to regain enough semblance of control to know that she wants nothing to do with her new Secret Six teammates. (Don’t forget that the symptoms of the Dark Joker Venom infection are intermittent, coming and going at random.) Supergirl ditches the Secret Six and tries to play hero, but it just makes her more confused. Superman tries to snap her out of her condition, but when she won’t listen to reason, the Man of Steel is forced to fight his beloved cousin. Batman, in a Batplane, joins the combat. Supergirl gets the better of Superman and Batman before flying away. Later, Supergirl tries to calm herself by meeting with a friend, Ben Rubel, but she starts seeing visions of the Batman Who Laughs. Supergirl then travels to Smallville and erects a giant tower designed to spread the Dark Joker Venom to every person on Earth. From the Fortress of Solitude, Batman and Superman monitor her actions and argue about how to proceed, ultimately deciding to send Wonder Woman. In Smallville, Wonder Woman lassos Supergirl.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #86-89Batman Vol. 3 #92, Batman Vol. 3 #95, Batman Vol. 3 #97-98, Batman Vol. 3 #100, Detective Comics #1025, Detective Comics #1028, and Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular Part 10. With Jim Gordon jailed, Harvey Bullock is promoted to Commissioner. Batman begins drawing up blueprints for a hybrid super-vehicle called the Nightclimber. He also creates special new projectors called Shadowcasters, which can be used to confuse foes, leading them into specially designed traps. Lucius also designs the following tech: the Bat-Shot (a luge-like one-man power-sled that can be fired like a rocket out of a large rail gun); the BatSpawn (a fleet of high-tech drones); the Bat-Train (a high speed subway car); a laser glass gutter; electromagnetic climbing suction cups for gloves and boots; the Human Kinematic Program (lifted from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight film, an app that surveils the whole city with echolocation sonar-vision display); a bunch of new Bat-drones; multiple EMP devices; time-bomb Batarangs, various 3D-printed weaponry; a new Bat-Tank; the Bat-tery (a GPS device that can track every Bat-Family member in real time); special binoculars, a new holographic projection device; a blackout device that can shut down all nearby lights; hearing-enhancing parabolic earbuds, and a new electrified copper wire stun gun. Batman especially loves the Bat-Shot concept, so it immediately goes into beta production. In slightly related news, the brand new GCPD police HQ, built as part of the Wayne Rebuild Project, finally opens. (Bruce’s Wayne Rebuild Project now kicks into super-mega-overdrive as a direct way of responding to the carnage Bane has left in his wake following “City of Bane .”) In conjunction with Commissioner Bullock, Batman sets up protocols for the special prison wing—known as the Black Block—inside the new police HQ. While the GCPD runs the prison wing, only Batman and Lucius Fox know its most clandestine secrets.

–Action Comics #1022
Superman and Kelex interview Superboy (Conner Kent) in the Fortress of Solitude, trying to figure out the mystery behind his existence. No superheroes have any memories of his history except for his fellow Young Justice members. Conner believes that he might be from an alternate timeline. (It was revealed in the Rebirth Era’s Young Justice Vol. 3 #15 that Conner Kent is the Conner Kent from the Modern Age. However, since there’s been a reboot, this Conner can no longer be the Modern Age Conner. He’s simply from an alternate timeline that resembles the Modern Age.) Superboy (Jon Kent) and Brainiac 5 visit from the 31st century to help with the Conner history investigation. Meanwhile, at the Daily Planet office, Perry White addresses the news that their owner, Marisol Leone, has been outed as the leader of the Invisible Mafia. Lois brings her attorney Kate Spencer to the meeting. Elsewhere, in seclusion, Marisol Leone discusses actionable steps with her top lieutenant, the Red Cloud. At the Hall of Justice, the science bros (Batman, Mr. Terrific, both Atoms, Blue Beetle Ted Kord, and Will Magnus) meet Conner. After speaking with him, Kord and Magnus feel confident in declaring that the multiverse has been rebooted at least three times! Superman then takes Conner to Ma and Pa Kent in Smallville. Upon seeing Conner, Ma and Pa Kent instantly “regain all their memories” of Conner. (Conner has this effect on some people—and, frankly, it’s pretty terrible if you think about it. It’s literally the power to give people false memories. Yikes. There is precedent since we’ve seen this type of thing before in Infinite Crisis, DCU Rebirth, and Doomsday Clock—so, like every Geoff Johns book ever. But still, yikes. In her new book, Lois has coined the term “fracturing” to describe this very phenomenon.) Later, Lois and Jimmy visit Marisol Leone’s mansion where they are confronted by the Red Cloud. (Note that the Batman-less follow-up in Action Comics #1024 features a healthy Supergirl. She is definitely still Dark Joker Venom infected but is merely asymptomatic at the moment.)

–Detective Comics #1018-1019 (“DEAD OF WINTER”)
Late December. While on patrol, Batman busts Aaron Morton. Back home, Bruce plays with Ace and Titus, breaking down in tears when he thinks of how Alfred used to take care of the dogs. Later, Batman meets with Commissioner Harvey Bullock to discuss a bizarre multiple murder case that occurred a few days ago, in which numerous bodies were strung up on a Christmas tree at the Botanical Garden. After investigating the scene and doing some research, Batman discovers that the killings were part of a Norse pagan ritual. Later, Bruce addresses a downtown crowd and performs ceremonial duties at the Annual Wayne Foundation Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration. Out of the blue, someone dressed as an ancient 17th century viking warrior attacks. Bruce fends off the viking and knocks him out, allowing the police to haul him into custody, but not before grabbing some of the villain’s hair for analysis. Back home, Bruce reads more about Norse pagan rituals and runs the follicle sample through the Bat-computer system, getting a match of a missing person named Soren Rinsdale. Batman goes back to the Botanical Garden to find a bunch of brainwashed cultists preparing to sacrifice Rinsdale, whom they’ve kidnapped from police custody. After subduing Batman, the cultists conduct their ritual and a giant Cthulhu-esque monster emerges from out of Rinsdale’s body. Batman fights and defeats the cultists, sealing the portal and sending the creature back from whence it came. With the case neatly wrapped, Batman adds details of the adventure to his case-files. Batman mentions that he will run the case by John Constantine as a follow-up, so we can assume that he does.

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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Note that “The Unity Saga,” as per Superman Vol. 5 #7, occurs roughly three weeks after Jon left with Jor-El. Also note that the first part of “The Unity Saga” (Superman Vol. 5 #1-6) is one uninterrupted continuous narrative. However, Brian Michael Bendis, just as he did at Marvel, seems to play fast and loose with continuity. There must be a gap somewhere within Superman Vol. 5 #1-6 where the upcoming Action Comics #1003-1006 occurs.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: More super fun meta splash page references come from Brian Michael Bendis, this time in the opening of Action Comics #1006. In these references (which are unfortunately non-canon), Bruce goes on a fake date with a random woman in order to keep up his playboy mien. Later, a tabloid photographer snaps some pictures of Batman in action, sending them to Daily Planet gossip reporter Trish Q, who adds them to her ongoing web-photo-series about the hottest superhero men that wear their underwear on the outside. Batman’s butt makes the latest “Hottest Men in Trunks.” The way these splashes are built, sometimes you can glean certain bits of info that seem to lean into quasi-canon by the very fact that they don’t really contradict anything else on the timeline. Such is the case with with Trish Q’s amazing column dedicated to the world’s finest derrières. So, while this is technically non-canon, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be in your personal headcanon.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Starting with Action Comics #1011, Brian Michael Bendis’ opening splashes will get even more extra meta, spiraling into the realm of absolute non-continuity. The splash from Action Comics #1011 tells us that we are in May, which is an impossibility. (We are in July. Not to mention, the follow-up splash in Action Comics #1012 is listed as April, and all subsequent splashes will have wacky nonsensical dates.) Generally speaking, Bendis’ stuff only works continuity-wise if we ignore all other stories that aren’t his. The same can be said for Scott Snyder, Tom King, and Geoff Johns as well. Sadly, we have entered a period on our timeline where there will be less and less true cohesion, especially since Bendis, Snyder, King, and Johns are DC’s primary architects (under the passionate but improvident watch of Dan DiDio, to boot).
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: It’s Doomsday Clock time, folks. Geoff Johns’ mega arc was supposed to be a major reboot story akin to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. And, despite being written as such, DC Senior VP Dan DiDio opted not to follow through. The continuity and ultimate end-result of Doomsday Clock, which we will discuss in great detail below, stands on very odd ground due to many reasons, but mainly because the series faced horrible publication delays and because of an internal power struggle between different editorial camps in the DC office. To address the former, Doomsday Clock was originally announced to run from November 2017 through January 2019, but postponements led to the final issue being released in December 2019, eleven months after the original plan and over two years after the first issue’s release. Because Doomsday Clock was plagued with these massive delays, many of the other main line DC stories that were supposed to lead up to it seemed to pass it by. It was hard for other DC writers to keep their internal continuities intact in a way that wouldn’t violate Doomsday Clock‘s narrative. In fact, in October 2019, two months before Doomsday Clock‘s final issue was released, senior DC Comics sources told Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston that “if Doomsday Clock had begun publication now, it would most definitely have been a Black Label comic book. And, as a result, out of continuity.” To address the power struggle, Dan DiDio and Geoff Johns, both architects of the main line, had starkly different visions of where DC was heading in late 2019/early 2020. DiDio had plans for his own massive 5G (aka “Generations”) reboot, which was at odds with Johns’ Doomsday Clock reboot. Both DiDio and Johns eventually lost their jobs as chief architects (with DiDio being unceremoniously fired entirely), leaving writer Scott Snyder to handle reboot duties. Thus, Snyder’s ongoing Justice League arc began to (kinda sorta) trump Doomsday Clock‘s in terms of official canonical status, despite the fact that their apparent reboot-effects were virtually identical. What makes all this even messier is that DC released material in anticipation of each prospective reboot. Doomsday Clock was released, but then neutered. A bit of DiDio’s 5G stuff came out, but was then scrapped. And Snyder’s arc was already contradicting both! DiDio tried to snuff out Johns’ reboot in favor of his own. Then DiDio got canned, Johns lost power, and Snyder picked up the pieces and was tasked with handling the “official” reboot.

    So, is Doomsday Clock canon? Yes, it is. Snyder has re-avowed Doomsday Clock (and will honor its reboot effects come the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal). Even some 5G material has been folded-in (i.e. fanwanked-in).

    Snyder’s Dark Nights: Death Metal reboot explains that the Batman Who Laughs, wielding the power of Perpetua, blocked Dr. Manhattan’s reboot attempt. (The epilogue to the Flash Forward TPB confirms this as well, showing the Batman Who Laughs blocking Wally West from attempting Dr. Manhattan’s reboot for a second time.) Snyder’s Justice League Vol. 4 #39 further explains this, citing that the end of Doomsday Clock #12 unfolds outside of everyone’s purview, disconnected from reality. Dr. Manhattan attempts to restore the existence of both the JSA and Legion and reverse the deaths of Ma and Pa Kent. Ma and Pa Kent’s deaths are indeed undone, but, despite all appearances to the contrary, the rest of the reboot doesn’t quite happen as planned. The Batman Who Laughs softens the Doomsday Clock/Flash Forward reboot by making the following retcons: restoration of the Justice Society of America’s 20th century history, which includes an active Wonder Woman, but blocking said history from everyone’s memories in the present day and future; restoration of Kal-El’s time as Superboy with the Legion of Superheroes, but blocking said history from everyone’s memories in present day and future; re-adding Barry Allen’s death in the original Crisis and his resurrection in Final Crisis; and re-adding Stephanie Brown’s brief time as a Robin. Our chronology already reflects these changes, so parts of the Doomsday Clock narrative cannot be read as-is. We’ll address these moments as we get to them below.

  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Beyond dotty continuity resulting from publication delays and internal power struggles, Doomsday Clock further complicates itself by utilizing a deliberately screwy internal timeline of its own, one that doesn’t make much sense in the linear sense of things. And this this is true despite the fact that Doomsday Clock is a mostly continuous and uninterrupted story, meaning, while there are some ellipses, its narrative usually flows from one issue to the next, picking up where each prior issue leaves off. I will break down these time discrepancies issue by issue and try to explain them below.

    Doomsday Clock #1: Original solicitation date November 2017. Released November 22, 2017. Cover date January 2018. (Take note of the odd difference between the release date and cover date—and this is even before the title’s horrible delays that stretched things out for two full years. It’s especially ironic that the cover to issue #1 is emblazoned with “THE END IS HERE.” The end is nowhere in sight. Sigh.) On Earth-Watchmen, we are told it is November 22, 1992 or November 23, 1992 in the very first line. And in the very fist line, writer Geoff Johns begins what will seemingly be a recurring leitmotif in this series: dates are not to be trusted. Supplemental material shows newspapers from a couple weeks earlier, dated November 5, 1992. Thus, the November 22 date seems merely to correlate with the release date of this issue.

    Doomsday Clock #2: Original solicitation date December 2017. Released December 27, 2017. Cover date February 2018. The “dates can’t be trusted” theme continues with a flashback security video sequence in which Marionette says “Happy Monday” and the banker says, “It’s Wednesday.” Marionette replies, “Whatever.” Supplemental material shows internet articles dated December 7, 2017, December 10, 2017, December 11, 2017, and December 20, 2017. This seems to place the main action of Doomsday Clock in mid to late December or early January. Despite it being November in the previous issue, we can chalk this up to the fact that issue #2 brought us to a new Earth. The December 7, 2017 article in the supplemental material says that Helga Jace’s Supermen Theory first went public six months prior, which would mean June 2017. The December 2017 date seems merely to correlate with the release date of the issue.

    Doomsday Clock #3: Original solicitation date January 2018. Released January 24, 2018. Cover date March 2018. The “dates can’t be trusted” theme continues with Batman’s dialogue, “I ran a search for temporal anomalies.” Johnny Thunder says it’s the first Monday of the month. While the old feller is far from a reliable timekeeper, we can use this to place us on the calendar. As per the last issue, we have to be either in mid to late December or early January. Thus, if we take Johnny’s line as gospel, then we must be (and must have been) in January this whole time. The January date also correlates with the release date, so take that for what it’s worth.

    Doomsday Clock #4: Original solicitation date March 2018. Released March 28, 2018. Cover date May 2018. The “dates can’t be trusted” theme continues with Mothman’s dialogue: “It’s warm for December. They say the dimensional rift that opened altered our seasonal clock. It’s going to snow in June. Isn’t that funny?” March is not referenced in the issue.

    Doomsday Clock #5: Original solicitation date May. (Things switch to an every-two-month release schedule instead of monthly.) Released May 30, 2018. Cover date July 2018. Clark mentions that it’s “ten years too late” to ask someone else to be Jon’s godfather. The dialogic intent of this line is to let us know that Jon was born roughly ten years ago, placing us in 2017/2018. However, specific mention is made of Johnny Thunder being 102-years-old. Johns’ “The Button” told us specifically Johnny was born in 1917, which would put us in 2019. This seems very deliberate, as if Johns is course correcting, placing us nearer to where we need to be by story’s end (i.e. 2019, when Doomsday Clock ends it publication run). While Doomsday Clock did eke out its final release in December 2019, the lateness of its final issue seems to place our story in 2020, making Johns’ course correcting still incorrect. Supplemental material gives the date May 30, 2019. This correlates with the release date.

    Doomsday Clock #6: Original solicitation date July 2018. Released July 25, 2018. No cover date. This issue picks up immediately where issue #5 leaves off. Supplemental material places the primary action of issue #6 on Wednesday July 25, correlating exactly with the release date of the comic. No specific year is attached.

    Doomsday Clock #7: Original solicitation date September 2018. Released September 26, 2018. Cover date November 2018. This issue picks up immediately where issue #6 leaves off. We get a myriad of date references as Dr. Manhattan scans through his memories, viewing time as occurring all at once, but none of the dates are important to the continuity of present-day narrative, so there are no problems or contradictions. Likewise, the supplemental material isn’t about ongoing narrative, so it doesn’t contain any continuity problems or contradictions either. While the “dates can’t be trusted” theme seems to be formally abandoned within the narrative here (i.e. no errors), we still get a very blunt message to “not believe what you perceive to be true.” While there might not be any continuity errors in Doomsday Clock #7, the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan speaks about time extensively and talks about how he can no longer see the future. Dr. Manhattan says that his fight against Superman, of which we see brief flashes, will occur in one month’s time. Johns even ends Doomsday Clock #7 with an R Buckminster Fuller quote: “Seeing-is-believing is a blind spot in man’s vision.”

    Doomsday Clock #8: Original solicitation date November 2018. Released December 5, 2018. (Release schedule begins to slip behind and will only worsen for the rest of the series.) Cover date February 2019. This issue picks up three weeks after issue #7 leaves off. There aren’t really any time references, although the scenes in Moscow look like it is Autumn or Winter—there are no leaves on trees and everyone is wearing cold-weather gear. Before this, I’m not entirely certain there had been any true indicator of season. If it is indeed meant to be Fall or Winter, this is contradicted by the supplemental material of Doomsday Clock #8, which features several newspaper articles responding to the narrative action of this very issue. The articles place the narrative action on June 5, 2019.

    Doomsday Clock #9: Original solicitation date January 2019. Released March 6, 2019. Cover date May 2019. This issue, which occurs a mere five days after Doomsday Clock #8, shows Washington DC with leafless trees, hinting at wintertime (just as the Russia scenes implied in the previous issue)! So, maybe we are in winter? This issue also is chock-full of time references and callbacks to Dr. Manhattan’s cosmic ability to view all time at once (although his vision is blocked by tachyons, just like it was in the original Watchmen). The issue starts with Manhattan talking stochastically about future dates in quick succession. Even the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan cannot see the “truth” of this inconsistent timeline.

    Doomsday Clock #10: Original solicitation date March 2019. Released May 29, 2019. No cover date. Hooo-daisy, this one’s the kicker! Doc Manhattan recalls all the previous DC continuities and reboots in the same way we (the readers) have perceived them over the years, realizing that the multiverse is actually a “metaverse”—an über-narrative that has changed throughout history, with each change coinciding with a publication release date for a continuity-altering comic book issue. Did Manhattan have a direct hand in affecting previous continuities? Or, would current continuity have originally resembled the Golden Age, Silver Age, and several other continuities if not for Manhattan’s meddling? The only chronologies we know 100% for certain that he messed with are the New 52 and Rebirth Era timelines (which are more or less the same for the purposes of this story). While I’m not quite sure about anything that happens in this issue, I am sure that the “dates can’t be trusted” theme has exploded all over every page. Doomsday Clock #10 is about how time is constantly literally being rewritten in the DCU—and how it has been rebooted numerous times in the past eighty years. Beyond this conceit, there are a bunch of glaring chronal inconsistencies (even within the internal narrative of this issue) worth pointing out. First, while technically not an error per se, I’m personally quite miffed that Doc Manhattan’s vision of the Silver Age Superman’s debut is set in 1956, which means that it doesn’t take into account Sliding-Time. C’mon! Sliding-Time moved Superman’s debut to 1966! But I get it, I get it. Manhattan also tells us that Carver Colman left Philly on December 25, 1928 and arrived in Hollywood on December 31. However, on January 19, 1929, Manhattan tells us that Colman has been already been working at Paramount for eight months—an impossibility based upon the timeline he himself gives. There are also a few contradictions regarding the release dates of the Nathaniel Dusk films within this issue. Furthermore, we are shown Colman holding his Best Actor Oscar trophy on April 18, 1952, but Doomsday Clock #3 tells us specifically that he won the award on March 18, 1953, which is nearly a year later. There are also some Los Angeles historical inaccuracies in Doomsday Clock #10, but we can chalk those up to the DCU’s LA being different than our real world LA. Last but not least, Manhattan makes reference to the events of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 as happening “one year ago,” but they actually happened three years ago. This one seems less deliberate than the rest, so we unfortunately should likely chalk this up to the abject publication delays. Sigh.

    Doomsday Clock #11: Original solicitation date May 2019. Released September 4, 2019. Cover date November 2019. This item takes place a couple days after Doomsday Clock #10. While Doomsday Clock #10 mistakenly told us that DC Universe: Rebirth #1 happened “one year ago,” curiously, in this issue, Lex Luthor hints at DC Universe: Rebirth #1 as happening the correct two years ago! Like the last issue, we get a lot of trippy stuff about alternate realities and alternate timelines, including “chronal debris” and Back to the Future style erasures. Admittedly, this issue’s time material is much messier than in prior issues. Time is wonky, as per the theme.

    Doomsday Clock #12: Original solicitation date unknown. Released December 18, 2019. Cover date February 2020. This item continues right from where Doomsday Clock #10 leaves off. Same themes and same deal here, right up to the very end. Superman, quite meta-cheekily, utters the line “Better late than never.” What more can we say? Clearly, the dates throughout the entire series are deliberately disordered and should not be exactly relied upon to gauge actual time. Johns, in late 2017, said in interviews that the story would wind up being one year ahead of other ongoing DC stories. Since Doomsday Clock ended publication in late December 2019, we must assume that 2019 is when Doomsday Clock takes place narratively. Most of the dates, especially in supplemental material, are therefore irrelevant, merely referencing the release dates of the issues. This is obviously deliberately in Johns’ part in order to keep in step with the theme of Dr. Manhattan’s chronal-manipulation. In the end, however, with what went down with Johns, DiDio, and Snyder behind the scenes, all of Doomsday Clock‘s in-story chronal strangeness winds up amounting to a narrative hill of beans anyway.

    Doomsday Clock should have been one of the most important and game-changing stories in DC Comics history, but the publishers and creators undercut it, essentially nullifying its impact completely. Whether it was publication delays, power struggles, a funky narrative flow, or one reboot cancelling out another, Doomsday Clock was doomed from the start.

  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: Note that the second Tattooed Man, Mark Richards, is shown here, and he insinuates that the first Tattooed Man, Abel Tarrant, died during the Sanctuary massacre. This could be a big-time continuity error that happened due to a miscommunication between creators and editors. It was actually Mark that died during the Sanctuary massacre, which means the Tattooed Man in Doomsday Clock #6 should instead be Abel. And, furthermore, Abel should be saying that his counterpart (Mark) died at Sanctuary. See? They seemingly got it all twisted around. However, another fanwanky perspective is that this is Mark, having somehow come back from the dead (or having miraculously survived the Sanctuary massacre), and, since he is with the villains again, he doesn’t want anyone to know that he had been part of a hero-sponsored rehab venture. Thus, the still-alive Mark is deflecting by falsely claiming that it was the other Tattooed Man at Sanctuary instead of himself. But who really knows.
  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: Doomsday Clock #7 tells us that Dr. Manhattan caused the death of Alan Scott in 1940, which ensured that he never became a superhero, thus further ensuring that the JSA never formed. The supplemental material from Doomsday Clock #3 tells us that Carver Colman was acquaintances with Frank Farr (Rita Farr’s father), John Law, Sgt. Frank Rock, Jackie Johnson, Randy Booth, Ted Grant, Libby Lawrence, and others, all of whom were originally either members of the JSA or connected to the JSA. Also note, as per Flash Vol. 5 #21 (“The Button”), we know Dr. Manhattan prevented several other things from occurring on the Rebirth Era timeline: the original Appellaxian affair that formed the JLA; the Identity Crisis affair, which involved lots of terrible things, including the rape of Sue Dibny and mind-wiping of several heroes and villains; and Barry Allen’s death during the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. As per Action Comics #987, we also know Dr. Manhattan saved Jor-El from dying when Krypton exploded.

    Don’t forget that our Rebirth timeline already factors in the soft reboot effect of the end of the Doomsday Clock series (combined with the similar effect of Flash Forward). As such, Dr. Manhattan does not kill Alan Scott. He allows Scott to live, thus allowing for the formation of the JSA. However, due to the Flash Forward meddling of the Batman Who Laughs, the memory of the JSA’s 20th century exploits are blocked/erased in the 21st century. Another retcon is that Barry’s death and resurrection are reinstated.

  8. [8]COLLIN COLSHER: Recently, an H-Dial wound up in the ownership of a teenager named Miguel Montez—as seen in Brian Michael Bendis’ Dial H for Hero series. Robby also co-stars in this series and is the “Operator of the Heroverse” (i.e. master of the H-Dial’s mystic power). Thus, it makes sense that Robby is present here, H-Dialed-up to the max.
  9. [9]COLLIN COLSHER: Geoff Johns labels these Earths (1985 and 52) in order to distinguish that they are attached to new timelines—not the original timelines. Since Earth-52 bears the designation of number 52, we’re still operating within the confines of the Local Multiverse map of Earths 0 through 52. (There’s already a pre-existing Earth-52, created by Scott Snyder in Metal. It is home to the Primate Legion, so it would seem that Dr. Manhattan has merged the ape world’s history with a version of the defunct primary New 52 timeline). Earth-1985, on the other hand, with its designation number of 1985 (obviously a cute nod to the original Crisis), seems to be way out in the fringes of the greater omniverse. To be clear, Universe-52 and Universe-1985 cannot be the original New 52 or the original Modern Age, respectively. Those timelines are defunct, so these new ones are merely copies. And, the nice thing here (as opposed to the mess created from Convergence when that story tried something similar) is that Johns is deliberately vague as a means of implying that these are definitely not the originals. In fact, if we go by how Johns has handled similar things in his own writing before (Infinite Crisis, for example), then we can even make a further assumption that these new Earths are not the originals, but merely reflections of the originals.
  10. [10]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman Vol. 3 #79 has an editorial note that puts both Batman Vol. 3 #78-79 prior to the main action of Batman Vol. 3 #77. Batman Vol. 3 #77 only shows Bruce via flashback—showing him coming out of his coma and hanging with Selina in Paris. The main action of Batman Vol. 3 #77, which, again, doesn’t show Batman, only depicts Robin challenging Bane and Alfred’s murder, hence its listing here on our timeline as a reference. Why is this arc written in such an oddly disjointed way? Your guess is as good as mine.
  11. [11]COLLIN COLSHER: Note that writer Mark Russell, a devotee of the Silver/Bronze Age, bestows a C-list loser-type characterization unto Riddler, which is dubious in terms of current continuity. While Riddler was indeed a C-list loser in the Silver/Bronze Age (and parts of the unpredictable Modern Age), he certainly hasn’t been portrayed that way in a long time—at least not since the late 1990s/early 2000s. It’s hard to imagine New 52 or Rebirth Era Riddler palling around with the inferior King Tut, yet here it is.
  12. [12]COLLIN COLSHER: Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #67, a Thanksgiving issue, features Harley at her most meta as she flips through a comic book (within the comic book) showing an alternate reality in which she travels the metaverse with Booster Gold. Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #67 occurs shortly after Apex Lex Luthor has offered Harley powers. In the issue within the issue, which manifests as a result of Harley’s fourth-wall-breaking rage at being roped into yet another tasteless company-wide crossover, Harley and Booster visit Final Crisis, Infinite Crisis, and Crisis on Infinite Earths, ultimately erasing the latter and replacing it with a happy superhero Thanksgiving dinner, an act that causes all future comic book crossovers to become non-existent. Sadly, so very sadly, all of this is non-canon.
  13. [13]COLLIN COLSHER: We know definitively that Bendis’ Conner is from an alternate reality. But can this truly be the Modern Age Conner? Technically, this Conner could be from an alternate timeline that is merely similar to the Modern Age. If you don’t believe in the gospel of Bendis, go this route in regard to your personal headcanon. However, Bendis all but says outright that this Conner is indeed the legit Modern Age version. And it very well could be. So far as I know, Conner only appeared in the Modern Age future (i.e. post-Flashpoint) in Superman/Batman #75 Part 10, in which he was shown to be an adult Superman. Since we know that there was a clone of Conner in the Modern Age future (as per Teen Titans Vol. 3 #54), we can infer that the Conner that appears in Superman/Batman #75 Part 10 is that clone. In fact, this is the only way we can take Bendis at face value in regard to his Conner actually being the Modern Age version. (Although, it still doesn’t explain why Conner hasn’t aged more. Not to mention, a wholly different version of Dr. Glory—the Modern Age Glory, not the Rebirth Era Glory—exiled Conner, yet she claims ownership over the act and has memories of doing it. We can attribute this to the fact that some people gain false memories of the Modern Age when they come into contact with Conner. As confirmed in Greg Rucka’s Lois Lane Vol. 2 #12, this phenomenon is called “fracturing.”) In Young Justice Vol. 3, Bendis is lucky that bringing Connor to the Rebirth Era works without contradicting the Modern Age timeline (only requiring the small caveat mentioned above). However, it is extremely doubtful that other writers, should they pull a stunt like this in the future, will be able to make the same claim. Bendis has truly set a dangerous precedent. Okay, okay, Geoff Johns actually set this precedent in Infinite Crisis and Justice Society of America Vol. 3, but Bendis is really pushing it to the limit.
  14. [14]COLLIN COLSHER: In the epilogue to Flash Vol. 5 #65, Batman and Superman mention the “twelve official multiversial crises.” As referenced in other titles (Action Comics and Young Justice Vol. 3), there have been seven main multiversial crises—Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour: Crisis in TimeInfinite Crisis, Final Crisis, Flashpoint, Convergence, and Metal. The others are difficult to say. Batman and Superman have definitely been involved in saving the Earth, the universe, and even other universes, but less often have they both been involved in an adventure that involves saving the entire multiverse. Notably, Batman was involved (without Superman) in saving the multiverse in the JLA arcs “Milk Wars” and “Dawn of Time” and in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III aka “Crisis in a Half Shell.” Based upon things that are canon in current continuity, though, here’s what I think the other five major crises are: Cosmic Odyssey, Forever Evil, “Darkseid War,” No Justice, and “Legacy” (Justice League Vol. 3 #24-31) from Bryan Hitch’s JL run. Other possible (although much less likely) options might be: “Imperiex War,” JLA/Avengers, “With a Vengeance” (from Superman/Batman #20-25), “Lords of Luck,” or “Tangent Superman’s Reign.”

23 Responses to Rebirth Year Eighteen (Part 2)

  1. diego2024 says:

    I came home, very disappointed with Episode 9, and I see updates on this website. My joy has overcome and erased that sadness 😀

  2. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, Antonio here.

    In B&The Outsiders 9 Bruce tells Superman that he has just revealed his secret ID to the world. So, don’t you think that this issue comes right after Superman 18 and not before it?

    Plus, since DiDio confirmed only “partial” canonicity of Doomsday Clock, maybe we should just ignore the parts in which Alfred is present and maybe the fact that DrM resurrects the Kents. I think that the only canon consequence of DrM’s actions is the resurrection of the JSA.
    What do you think? Thank you as always!

    • I glossed right over that line of dialogue. Damn, not to knock Bryan E Hill as a writer, but he is fucking BAD at writing for a shared universe. He literally makes constant references to every tiny little thing that is going on in other titles in the DCU, but doesn’t give any room within his own narrative to allow for those things to happen. It’s amateurish. I guess the editors are partly to blame too, but I think it just plain sucks.

      And, in regard to your second comment, on my timeline, I’ve already added lines/notation in the continuity error parts of Doomsday Clock (i.e. Alfred, for the big one) that say we might have to ignore them. It’s amazing to me that they screwed up badly enough with this that DiDio had to release a statement about continuity. It’s truly a rare thing. Really unprecedented.

      I’m not sure what’ll happen with the Kents. I’ve read rumor that DC (or DiDio or whoever) already is thinking about keeping the Kents dead! I’ve seen some bad continuity back in the day, but I think this really might take the cake. In any case, I’ll keep searching for the Kents LOL. Wonder Woman #750 supposedly will be our first glimpse at the post Doomsday Clock continuity, maybe?

  3. Austin Eaton says:

    Hey Collin, how’s it going? Scott Snyder and Venditti said on Twitter that the latter’s JL run is before Scott Snyder’s, but since the full team is formed, Alfred is dead, and Superman’s identity is revealed it must take place before Doom War. That would have to mean that Truth and tangential stories like Tynion’s Batman are also before Doom War. But that’s weird because Punchline is supposed to first appear in Hell Arisen and she appears later in Tynion’s Batman, unless that part of the latter is after HA. Also, Clark’s parents are supposed to be in Superman: Heroes because of Doomsday Clock but I didn’t think the latter could happen until after HA. Help.

    • I read about Snyder’s tweet. Thing is, my chronology doesn’t go by Tweets—it goes by what’s happening in the stories themselves. I know there’s a lot to work out in the current mess o’ things, but here’s the bottom line. Snyder is wrong. That’s that.

      (And, yes, a writer or writers can get their own shit wrong, especially on Twitter.)

      If anything changes, of course, you’ll see it reflected on my timeline.

      • Something in the latest issue of Hell Arisen implies that “Justice/Doom War” takes place AFTER Metropolis/Doom, meaning that “Invasion of the Superman” could conceivably go before “Justice/Doom War” after all… So maybe Snyder was right? This is getting insane.

  4. Austin Eaton says:

    I know that the timeline is like a puzzle that you put together like the stories are puzzle pieces and the writers rarely actually think about it meticulously like we do. I just find it weird how Snyder keeps talking about connectivity(especially with upcoming Death Metal) and everything being planned, but yet they still contradict themselves. Also, do you know the exact order of all the infected issues and do you think the Year of the Villain could be an actual year in universe since in Justice League #30 Starman says “across the last year.” It seems like it’s definitely not a full year but idk.

    • JL #30 takes place about one in-story calendar year after JL #6-8 (in which Will Payton arrives), so his line actually makes quite a bit of sense. The thing that is dead wrong, however, is in “No Justice” after the Source Wall gets destroyed, everyone makes mention that the Multiverse has roughly one year left before going bye-bye. This alarmist science must’ve been off because “Justice/Doom War” doesn’t happen for well over two years later.

      As for Year of the Villain, so far it’s been about six months of in-story narrative. Who knows how long it’ll go?

      I’m not quite sure of the order of all the “Infected” issues only because I haven’t read them very closely. I do know that the order of the start of the “Infected” arc is as follows:

      –Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #1
      –Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #2 Part 1 / fb from The Infected: King
      –Shazam #1 & The Infected: The Commissioner #1
      –Flash Vol. 5 #65 Epilogue
      –Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #2 Part 2
      –Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #3-5 / Supergirl Vol. 7 #36

      I’m very interested to see if Scott Snyder’s promises ring true. He says it ALL will connect and make sense. I wrote a detailed article in the blog section of my site about the current continuity conundrum. Things are so disjointed that Snyder better have an answer for us. I’m just bummed we might have to wait until October 2020 (when the final issue of Death Metal might come out) in order to find out. May solicitations have a definitively new timeline one-shot called Generation One coming out, though, so that will be a big one.

      So far, it seems like writers are starting to reference a post-Doomsday Clock timeline, so they better sort this shit out sooner rather than later. In Superman: Heroes, Batman sort of mentions Ma and Pa Kent as if they are alive. Dan frickin’ DiDio himself shows a Golden Age Robotman and straight up mentions the JSA outright in Metal Men #4. DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 Part 2 is a Wildcat story set in the 1940s. Superman’s Pal jimmy Olsen #8 tells us that the original JSA Atom is canon. Teen Titans #39 features Jakeem Thunder and Johnny Thunder as the goddamn T-bolt, basically referencing a full JSA history as canon. And of course, Snyder has already delivered his “tease”—the Golden Age Diana origin in the final part of Wonder Woman #750.

      The above-mentioned stories cannot be a part of Rebirth canon, yet due to all that is going on, including Snyder’s bizarre inclusion of Doomsday Clock in “Justice/Doom War,” there isn’t a new canonical timeline yet. So, where do these stories go? I’m beginning to think there is an interim timeline (where our DCU’s main line currently lives), something akin to a post-Zero Hour soft reboot timeline that is a placeholder filled with continuity errors until Death Metal will come along and “clean” everything up. I don’t like it, but I think that’s where we are and where we are going.

  5. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, Antonio here.
    Have you heard the (wonderful) news about Dan Didio not being DC co-publisher anymore? What do you think about that? And do you think this will effect the projects Dc has being teasing so far… like 5G? Do you think Geoff Johns could be back at his old role in the company?
    Thaks as always…

    • Hot off the presses! This is honestly the biggest DC news in decades. I think it’s high time for DiDio to be gone. My only fear is that AT&T is flexing its muscles and will put some corporate suit in charge. However, it is a lead publishing role, so my hope is that someone creative replaces him (but not Jim Lee).

      Right now continuity is a mess. Snyder does his own thing. Bendis does his own thing. King does his own thing. And any writer that tries to connect to any of it fails miserably. There’s no cohesion. My timeline is a mess as a result, filled with caveats and asterisks and me banging my head against the wall.

      I really have no answers to your questions above. Anything could happen now.

  6. Austin Eaton says:

    You’re definitely right about creators not knowing where their own stories take place. Robert Venditti on Twitter tried to say that the reason Hawkman isn’t in HA #4 is because he’s in space in his own comic. That doesn’t make sense because it seems Hawkman #14-current is one continuous narrative and I thought must be even before Williamson’s Infected arc. Oof. On the bright side, I thought HA #4 was really good.

    • Pablo Kimy says:

      Actually Hawkman #20 has to be after Infected because Atom references Supergirl as being infected.
      My guess is that the timeline is something like this:

      -Hawkman #14-20 (Part 1)

      -Batman/Superman #1-6

      -Doom War

      -Hell Arisen #1-2

      -Hawkman #20 (Part 2)-23

      -Hell Arisen #3-4

  7. Pablo Kimy says:

    Hey Collin, I have a theory to fit The Truth before Doom War, so that a few arcs can be put before that. Action Comics#1017-1020 shows Superman telling the firefighter that he will reveal his identity in 2 days. So that means Superman #18 has to happen shortly after. Superman #19 (or at least the latter half) has to happen after JL Odyssey, Doom War, and Hell Arisen, so I suppose there is a time skip around Superman #19.

    This way, Batman and the Outsiders #6 (ending)-12 can happen continuously after Superman #18, and Justice League’s current arc can happen before JL #30. And Superman: The Truth following issues, Superman: Heroes and the main story of Superman: Villains can happen after Doom War, Hell Arisen and Death Metal.

    Oh, and by the way, isn’t Pennyworth R.I.P. supposed to happen after Infected because Barbara knows her father is infected?

    • Pablo Kimy says:

      And shouldn’t Action Comics #1015-1016 take place before Superman #17? Because the Young Justice arrives after AC #1016 and then they give Superman the location of S.T.A.R. Labs in #17

      • Bendis continuity is a total nightmare. But, again, you have a point. Superman #17 definitely has to go after Action #1016 because, in Superman #17, Dr. Glory is outed as a villain. However, Superman #17 shows a living Alfred and a normal Supergirl. The Alfred thing cannot be reconciled in any way shape or form, so it must be ignored as a continuity error. This is definitely a pre-Infected issue, though, which means, in turn, that all of the Infected story-arc (Batman/Superman #1-6) has to go after it.

        Note that when Superman meets with the reformed Young Justice in Action Comics #1020 (“Metropolis Doom”), they are definitely meeting for the first time. And this comes hot off the heels of Young Justice #12, which even references “Metropolis Doom” as occurring in tandem. This speaks to the fact that Young Justice doesn’t speak to Superman face-to-face about Dr. Glory in Superman #17. They merely send in a tip to law enforcement authorities and Superman takes it from there.

        But, in any case, things definitely need to be shuffled around. Also, Batman/Superman #6 has to be split in twain as well with another OBVIOUS (yet hidden) ellipsis.

        And because Batman/Superman #1-6 has to get sandwiched in-between Superman #17 and Action Comics #1017 (“Metropolis Doom”), this means there are some teeny errors in the latter. “Metropolis Doom” supposedly starts little over a week after Event Leviathan. And supposedly only one day after Action Comics #1016. However, in order to squeeze in Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #1-6, “Metropolis Doom” must begin at least a week-and-a-half after Event Leviathan and a few days after Action Comics #1016. Small potatoes, but worth mentioning.

        I think we have it though! Phew. It really shouldn’t be this hard to decipher.

  8. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, I hope you’re doing well. Here in Italy it’s a living hell, this virus is killing more people every day.
    Have you heard anything about the future of the comics industry now that Diamond has suspended shipping?
    I hope you’re safe home. This hell needs to go away.

    • Hi Antonio,

      I didn’t realize you were in Italy (or I forgot, so apologies). I hope you are staying safe and healthy. I’m in New York City, so it’s no fun here either. I’ve only heard the same rumors you have. New comics delayed until late May/early April. 5G comics pushed back—maybe cancelled? Who knows. A large majority of comic book retailers will go permanently out of business here in the States. The Diamond monopoly was not designed for something like this (and this is a good reason why monopolies of that nature shouldn’t have existed in the first place). We’ll see what happens. For now, focus on staying sane and virus-free. Talk to you soon, and thanks for checking in!

  9. Austin Eaton says:

    Hey Colin, I hope your doing well and staying safe! Because of the situation, I figured I’d ask a couple questions that’re more fun instead of continuity based. So, what’s your top 5 Batman stories of all time and what’re your favorite comics of all time? I figured the first one should definitely be interesting since you’ve ready every Batman story of all time.

    • Hey Austin, hope you are doing well as well! My favorite Batman stories of all time… wow tough to narrow it down! In no particular order, and off the top of my current head, I’d say Frank Miller’s “Batman Year One,” Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns,” Grant Morrison’s “Batman and Son,” “Knightfall,” and a toss up between Denny O’Neil’s Bronze Age stuff and Len Wein’s Bronze Age stuff.

      My favorite comics of all time is an even harder list to make! But here’s a quick BRAIN DUMP OF INFO…

      Alan Moore—League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen, Saga of Swamp Thing, Miracleman, Top Ten; Neil Gaiman’s Sandman; Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT; anything by Michael DeForge; anything by Jack Kirby; anything by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams; Keith Giffen’s Justice League International; Nick Sousanis’ Unflattening; Michael Kupperman’s Tales Designed to Thrizzle; Jason’s If You Steal; Grant Morrison—Invisibles, Doom Patrol, All-Star Superman, Final Crisis, Zenith, The Filth, Multiversity, New X-Men, Nameless; Walt Kelly’s Pogo; Vittorio Giardino’s Little Ego; anything by Chester Brown; Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis; anything by Jillian Tamaki; anything by Emily Carroll; Mike Baron/Steve Rude’s Nexus; anything by Jim Woodring; Mark Schulz’s Xenozoic Tales; and any comics with art by Frank Quitely, Charles Vess, P Craig Russell, Alex Ross, Mike Mignola, Brian Bolland, Bernie Wrightson, Milo Manara, or Ian Bertram

  10. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin hope you’re doing fine. Is Covid-19 slowing down in NYC?

    Ok, I’ve just finished reading JL44 and I’ve no idea where to place it… Batman says Superman has revealed his identity to the world, so I guess it must go after “the truth”, but before or after Invasion of the Supermen? I assume it doesn’t go after Justice Doom War because I think that must be the “last” story of this timeline BEFORE Death Metal… right???

    Thank you as always!

    • I just read it as well. I figured it was like Justice League Vol. 4 #40-43 (“INVASION OF THE SUPERMEN”)—how Snyder confirmed that was pre-“Justice/Doom War”—so that must be the case for this JL arc too, right? But it doesn’t fit for a glaring reason. Wonder Woman makes mention of Aquaman and Mera’s baby girl. The birth of little Andy happens definitively post-“Justice/Doom War.” (Aquaman goes away and is presumed dead in “Drowned Earth” then returns in “Justice/Doom War”—the baby arc immediately follows this.

      So, this JL arc must be new continuity i.e. post “Justice/Doom” and post-Death Metal. They really should have made “Justice/Doom” it’s own series unattached to the numbering systems of JL. Would have made a lot more sense.

  11. Frank says:

    Hello Collin! I hope you are well since the other day 😉 with our recent discussions concerning the end of the silver age and the beginning of the modern age I forgot to ask you a question or at least to have your opinion on it at Doomsday clock:

    Dr. Manhattan who interferes on the destiny of DC during this Event, when he observes all periods of DC history does it since the reality of the Rebirth era or as I suspect it is found at a point outside of space and time as the story of Convergence could unfold?

    Another question I always wanted to ask you about Dr. Manhattan regarding Convergence: does the dc universe restored at the end of it with all the Dc realities that have evolved have a relationship with the universes that the can we see at the end of Doomsday Clock?

    What may have had the impact Convergence may have had on Dr. Manhattan’s plans

    In advance Thank you for your informed opinion

    Friendly

    • Hi Frank.

      I’m a big fan of Doomsday Clock, but it’s hard to talk about it in brief. Geoff Johns’ Doomsday Clock was originally written as the story meant to reboot the Rebirth Age into 5G (or whatever they decide to eventually call it). But somewhere along the way, things changed and Scott Snyder’s “Justice/Doom War” + Hell Arisen + Death Metal became the new (replacement) reboot story. But then Snyder decided to paradoxically directly reference Doomsday Clock within his “Justice/Doom War” narrative! Then DiDio got fired. Then Coronavirus upended all publications. And, boy, oh boy, we have been left in quite a strange place. Now, it’s clear that DC has definitely begun a staggered reboot, but Death Metal hasn’t come out yet (nor have any of the hopefully-not-cancelled Generations one-shots), so it’s hard to tell where we stand.

      To get back to your question: Is Doomsday Clock canon? Or is it akin to Convergence where it happened but then didn’t really happen? Doomsday Clock had to have happened in some way since it ties to so many other DC stories. I’m hoping Death Metal will shine some light on all this (but I won’t hold my breath).

      In response to your second question—first off, and I’m certainly not shy of saying this, Convergence is one of my least favorite crossover stories in the entire history of DC Comics. Despite being one of the “big seven” Crises that have occurred within the history of the metaverse, it never really made a difference in terms of the metaverse. After all, its attempts to “undo” the original Crisis were deeply flawed and almost instantly retcon-able. Because of Convergence lacks a serious impact, I simply don’t know if there’s any connection between it and Doomsday Clock. Sadly, maybe the greatest connection between the two might be that both were meant to have had a MASSIVE impact upon the DCU, but both were capped off at the knees before they had a real chance.

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