Rebirth Year Nineteen (Part 2)

(July 2020 to December 2020)


–Nightwing Vol. 4 #75 Part 2
It’s Wednesday, and the Joker War has just ended. Nightwing returns to his alternate costume, deciding he’s “not ready” to wear the blue-and-black yet (despite having spent the last day wearing it). Nightwing teams-up with Batgirl to clean the remaining clown gang members out of multiple Gotham neighborhoods. Batgirl refers to the clowns as “remnants,” although it is misspelled “remnats.” (Yes, this fucking miserable comic even has spelling errors.) A day later, on Thursday, KGBeast returns to Gotham. On Friday, Nightwing—still in his alternate costume—teams-up with Batman to take on more leftover clowns. Having gotten one of Nightwing’s proper costumes, Batman leads his former sidekick to a location where it has been put on display. They talk about his time as “Ric” and Alfred’s death. (This scene is also shown verbatim via flashback from Nightwing Vol. 4 #76.) With hesitancy, Nightwing finally officially accepts his black-and-blue togs. On Saturday, Nightwing returns to Blüdhaven to retire the substitute Team Nightwing (Malcolm Hutch, Colleen Edwards, Zak Edwards, and Alphonse Sapienza), meet with Bea Bennett, and fight KGBeast.

–Flash #762
The “Finish Line” arc finishes as the Flash-Family (Flash, Kid Flash, Impulse, Avery Ho, Jay Garrick, Earth-2 Jay Garrick, Flash of the 853rd century, Kid Flash of the 853rd century, Earth-9 Flash, Dark Flash, Earth-22 Flash, a Dark Multiverse Jai West, a Dark Multiverse Iris “Irey” West, Jesse Quick, Max Mercury, Negative Flash, Krakkl, XS, and Fuerza) puts an end to a sinister plot by Reverse-Flash (Eobard Thawne) and a bunch of Flash’s other rivals (from Heat Wave to Golden Glider to everyone in-between).[1] Rather than punish a defeated Thawne, Barry forgives him. Barry then undoes a bunch of damage that Thawne has done to the time-stream. Afterward, Barry debriefs with the Justice League, filling them in on all that has occurred. Later, the entire Flash-Family (including Iris West, Linda Park, Joan Garrick, and Henry Allen) celebrates with a barbecue at Barry’s house. After that, Barry joins the JL for unspecified action.

–Batman Vol. 3 #100 Epilogue
A week has passed since the end of “The Joker War.” Wayne Enterprises completely re-structures in the wake of all that has occurred. Punchline begins preparing for trial by sending out a public message denouncing Joker, citing that she too was a victim of his manipulation. Bruce, Babs, Dick, Jason, Tim, Stephanie, and Duke re-bury Alfred, holding a private second funeral for him. Batman then visits Harley Quinn in the hospital and is present when Harley Quinn awakes from her coma. They have a heartwarming discussion, during which Harley tells Batman that she believes in his mission to save Gotham. Batman tells Harley that he’s glad she is okay. Elsewhere, the Ghost-Maker, who has trained with many of the people Bruce trained with long ago, begins plans to become Gotham’s new primary protector. Later, Batman discovers the secret ID of Clownhunter, seventeen-year-old Bao Pham. Batman tells Dr. Leslie Thompkins about Bao, then visits him in person. But instead of shaking down Bao, Batman talks to him. They have a productive, progressive conversation, after which Batman gives him a card for Dr. Thompkins’ clinic. After Batman departs, Pham promises to himself that he’ll go to the clinic for therapy, but not before his vigilante mission is over. Note that this Batman #100 Epilogue has it’s own second Batman-less epilogue, which occurs a few weeks down the road. In this second epilogue, Joker will return, killing a random man at a restaurant.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #101. Batman visits Lucius Fox only to learn that he’s hired Grifter (Cole Cash) as his new bodyguard. (Batman has never met Grifter before, but he knows all about him.) Batman fights Grifter before Lucius breaks them up. Batman and Lucius discuss Punchline and Clownhunter, who is still active despite Batman’s recent chat with him. Lucius tells Batman that there will be a special emergency mayoral election. Officer Christopher Nakano will be running (he already has posters made), but he won’t officially throw his hat into the ring for a couple days (not until the end of ‘tec #1028). Lucius also tells Batman that the Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors wants to remove him (Bruce) from the Board and quietly pay him an annual salary while the corporation rebrands. Lucius also says that the Wayne Rebuild Program contracts have already been sold off piecemeal to other companies. Ultimately, Batman decides that it is best for Lucius to keep Bruce’s money and control of Wayne Enterprises. Lucius will acquire FoxTech and bring in Luke, Tam, and Timothy to work closely with him. There won’t be unlimited funding for Bat-operations anymore. Batman departs, but tells Grifter that he knows who he’s really working for: the Halo Corporation.

–Detective Comics #1028
Harvey Bullock is sworn back-in as police commissioner (he had thrown down his badge during the “Joker War”). Soon after, Officer Richard Gotis is killed. Bruce attends the funeral, which is also attended by Mayor Dunch, Commissioner Bullock, Officer Christopher Nakano, and the latter’s wife Koyuki Nakano. Bruce learns that Gotis had been decapitated. While Batman conducts his investigation, a judge gets decapitated similarly across town. After a tertiary beheading, Batman follows the clues, tailing a corrupt cop to a horse stable. There, Batman listens-in as the killer confronts the bad cop. The killer reveals himself as Steven Holman, the son of a good cop that had been framed for corruption and then killed by Gotis and his crew. (Everyone he’s killed was a part of Gotis’ crew, and the man he’s confronting now is as well.) Batman chases after Holman on horseback, eventually bringing him to justice. Batman then delivers evidence that exonerates Holman’s father to journalist Cicely Dandridge at The Gotham Times. The next morning at Wayne Manor, Bruce reads the newspaper and watches TV. Christopher Nakano officially announces he is running for mayor on an anti-vigilante platform.

–Batman Vol. 3 #101
A week has passed since Lucius Fox spoke to Batman, setting up the new Bat-status-quo. Batman decides he will close up Wayne Manor and move into a downtown brownstone. He thinks long and hard about what to do about Selina, especially now that she is a target of the entire criminal underworld for her actions in aiding him during the Joker War. Batman then meets with Catwoman to tell her about his downtown move. They decide to take a one year break, giving each other space—so that he can figure out his new Bat-life and so she can get the criminal underworld off her back. Before parting ways, the lovers spend a romantic night together in the new brownstone.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1032. Drawing from his remaining personal funds, Bruce makes an anonymous contribution to ophthalmologist Dr. Leigh on behalf of Christopher Nakano, paying for a high-tech prosthetic eyeball and the accompanying medical procedure to have it implanted. Nakano will blow off a few appointments related to this procedure in the near future, keeping his eye patch.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1029. Batman creates a signal device that looks like a regular wristwatch, with which he can call certain Bat-Family members for assistance should an emergency arise while he is stuck in his civilian persona.

–Batgirl Vol. 5 #50 Part 1
James Gordon Jr died while fighting Batgirl during the Joker War (as seen in Batgirl Vol. 4 #49). Babs and Jim attend James Jr’s quiet funeral and burial service, after which they grab a meal at a diner. Jim, blaming Batgirl for James’ death, rails on Batgirl, calling her every obscenity in the book. Babs storms off in high dudgeon, soon joining an anti-gentrification protest at city hall. Babs then joins Jason Bard to chat with a homeless girl, who has been put out by rapid urban development. Later, Babs and Jason have a romantic dinner, during which Jason tells Babs that he’s fallen for her. They kiss passionately, but Babs departs upon getting a message from Batman. In the Batcave, Batman debriefs Batgirl, Nightwing, and Robin (Tim Drake) about the post-Joker War status-quo, saying that they’ll have less money to pump into their vigilantism, moving forward. Despite his financial situation, Babs asks Bruce to donate all he can toward helping those put out by predatory real estate companies in Gotham. Bruce says he’s always donated to (private) schools, police, hospitals, and museums, to which Babs responds correctly by saying that his donations are to “obvious choices from the top down,” choices that ignore the needs of the lower and middle class. Convinced, Bruce sends an instant donation of $20,000 to a homeless fund. Babs, unhappy with some things that went down during the Joker War, chastises Nightwing, telling him that their relationship should remain strictly professional. Batgirl then heads out with a new focus on progressive values and social justice. She still busts the remnants of Joker’s clown gang, but she also helps folks in car accidents and fires, talks down would-be suicides, helps old ladies carry their groceries, and supports victims of sexual assault. Out of costume, Babs teaches a self defense class for women and does philanthropic work for Congresswoman Luciana Alejo. Batgirl Vol. 5 #50 Part 2, which overlaps with the middle of Batgirl Vol. 5 #50 Part 1, starts now. In Part 2, Batgirl helps Batman take down Penguin; teams-up with Green Arrow; helps Nightwing defeat a plant monster; helps Flash best a giant robot; and responds to a Justice League alert only to have Supergirl take her place defending the Earth against an alien invasion. Batgirl then first becomes aware of the Virus, who begins causing chaos in Gotham by hacking into the city’s traffic light system, airport, and multiple construction sites. Batman radios Batgirl for assistance, but she’s too busy to respond. Instead, Batgirl teams-up with Man-Bat, then Flash, then Hal Jordan in rapid fire succession. During each team-up, Batgirl sees the symbol of the Virus, soon spotting the Virus herself at one of the hacking crime scenes. Robin asks Batgirl for assistance against Riddler, but she turns him down in order to team-up with Jason Bard to work the Virus case. Eventually, Batgirl busts the Virus in a scene that is also shown in Batgirl Vol. 5 #50 Part 1, thus bringing us back to the conclusion of the first part of the issue. Batgirl nurses her wounds before visiting Jason Bard to have a long overdue chat about their relationship. Babs then conveniently appears—right after Batgirl leaves—to have dinner with her new beau. The next day, Babs and Jason join Congresswoman Alejo and her assistant Izzy. Alejo ignores protestors that have gathered outside her office, demanding better representation. Undeterred, Alejo focuses on prepping for an expensive fundraising gala with Gotham’s elite, which has a speech by ex-commissioner Jim Gordon on the docket. Babs is able to convince Alejo to abandon her plans and march with the people instead. Even Jim Gordon ditches the gala to join the march.

–Detective Comics #1029-1031
Bruce packs up Wayne Manor, readying himself for the move to his new downtown brownstone. As the sun begins to set, Batman busts some crooks, but nearly gets taken out himself via a long range shot from newcomer The Mirror. As Batman delivers the crooks to the cops, a group of anti-vigilante protesters calls for the Dark Knight to unmask. Later, Bruce attends a fundraising gala for Christopher Nakano’s mayoral campaign aboard a yacht in one of Gotham’s harbors. When some thieves interrupt, Bruce signals for Nightwing’s assistance. Nightwing cleans house, but get no thanks from Nakano. Back in the Batcave, Bruce discovers that Damian has stolen the Black Casebook. (Note that Batman mentions in his internal monologue that Damian is thirteen-years-old. Damian is sixteen now! Ugh. Terribly shameful continuity here.) Later, Batman meets with the Bat-Family (Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood, Orphan, and Signal) to discuss the grassroots anti-vigilante movement that has sprung up in Gotham, making their lives a living hell. The Mirror, along with an angry mob, attacks the Bat-Family. Meanwhile, Damian begins investigating the decades-old cold case involving the multiple attempts on Bruce’s life back when Bruce was a teen. (The Black Casebook has notes about this.) The Mirror, having come straight from his altercation with the Bat-Family, visits candidate Nakano, offering him a flash-drive with data that will ensure his victory in the election, which is said to be weeks away. (This is a continuity error, as we’ll see the election occur mere days from now.) Nakano tells the Mirror to piss off. Meanwhile, Batman breaks up two men fighting in the street about masked vigilantism. Across town, Damian visits Detective Podolsky, who was present at every assassination attempt on Bruce’s life back during his childhood. Damian has not only exposing her as Tommy Elliot’s half-sister Catherine Elliot, but as his dad’s would-be killer from all those years ago. Damian leaves her tied up for the police. Downtown, with live TV news cameras following, the Mirror leads a flash-mob of anti-vigilante protesters into a head-to-head confrontation with a large gathering assembled for a pro-superhero march. As the confrontation quickly devolves into a violent brawl, the Bat-Family intervenes. The Mirror, exclaiming martyrdom for his movement, leaps off a bridge and seemingly kills himself with a suicide bomb. An angry Batman disperses and addresses both sides of the crowd, publicly reaffirming the need for his vigilante mission. Meanwhile, Hush takes down and captures the entire Bat-Family.

–Detective Comics #1032-1033
Picking up directly from Detective Comics #1031, Hush gloats over his immobile captives, taking blood samples from each with devilish plans to harvest their organs for sale on the black market. Meanwhile, Batman tracks Damian to the old abandoned Gotham World’s Fairgrounds. The Dark Knight grabs some infra-red goggles (I guess he can’t afford to wear his built-in cowl night vision anymore) and the R patch from Damian’s costume, and rockets to Damian’s location. Father and son immediately begin fighting, but as before, Batman refuses to strike his child, performing only defensive maneuvers. Eventually, they form a truce. Across town, Christopher Nakano finally goes to get his new prosthetic eyeball inserted into his damaged ocular cavity, but when the doc accidentally blurts out that Bruce Wayne has paid for it, Nakano flips-out, smashes the eye, and storms off. Concurrently, Batman and Damian realize that Hush has captured their fam, so they team-up, confronting the villain head-on. With the Bat-Family rescued, Batman kayos Hush. Afterward, Bruce and Damian have a much needed father-son talk. Damian tells his dad that he blames himself for Alfred’s death. Bruce tries to give Damian his Robin patch back, but Damian refuses it. Remaining ever at odds with his dad, Damian says goodbye and swings off into the night alone. Meanwhile, election night looms over Gotham, and when the votes are tallied, Nakano has won! Bruce returns to the Batcave one final time to close up shop. He puts Damian’s R patch on display before finally packing up Alfred’s belongings. After one last moment at Alfred’s grave, Bruce loads all the Bat-pets (Bat-Cow, Ace, Titus, and Alfred the cat) into a car with a trailer. Leaving Wayne Manor in the rear view mirror, Bruce and his animal friends head toward their new life.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #105. Batman begins working on designs for a new Batmobile model.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #103. Batman targets serial killer Denton Quill. Instead of busting him, Batman orders Orphan to secretly tail him in an effort to discover where the remaining bodies are hidden. Orphan will tail Quill for the next two weeks. Meanwhile, Batman begins building the foundation for a RICO case against Tiger Shark, who has several Gotham City judges under his thumb.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #103. Batman discovers that an illegal arms shipment is headed for Gotham from Santa Prisca. He replaces the shells with blanks and plans to take down the buyers, who are scheduled to receive shipment in six days.

–Batman Vol. 3 #102-105 (“GHOST STORIES”)
With Babs now acting as both Oracle and Batgirl, she guides Batman into battle as the former. Batman takes down some Grinners and enters the Smile Bar only to find that every Joker loyalist inside has been viciously slaughtered by the Ghost-Maker. The next day, Clownhunter spies on Harley Quinn, who moves into a new apartment. The Ghost-Maker tries to assault Clownhunter, but Batman appears, challenging the Ghost-Maker to a winner-take-all duel. As they fight, the Ghost-Maker tells Batman he’s already taken down a bunch of criminals in Gotham, including Denton Quill, Tiger Shark’s corrupt judges, and Santa Priscan arms traders. Meanwhile, Clownhunter tries to take down Harley, but she easily defeats him. The Ghost-Maker and Batman crash into Harley’s apartment, and the Ghost-Maker knocks-out Harley. Batman tells the Ghost-Maker that his anti-crime actions have upended long-term sting operations already in progress by the Bat-Family. The Ghost-Maker shrugs off his mistakes and tranquilizes Batman, taking him captive along with Harley and Clownhunter in Arkham Asylum. Oracle sends the self-proclaimed “Batgirls” (Spoiler and Orphan) to investigate Harley’s apartment, just as more news of the Ghost-Maker’s handiwork becomes public. Brutalized mobsters have turned themselves in, Professor Pyg (who had been running free for the past eight months—or so we are told) has been busted, gangs have left town, and Penguin has gone into hiding. En route back to Gotham from Blüdhaven, Nightwing tells Oracle all he knows about the Ghost-Maker. In Arkham Asylum, the Ghost-Maker stitches up Batman before departing. Clownhunter comes-to and immediately returns to his attempt to execute Harley. However, he hesitates, allowing Harley to talk some sense into him. Batman sword-duels the Ghost-Maker to a draw as Harley, Nightwing, Spoiler, and Orphan watch. Batman then asks the Ghost-Maker to stay in Gotham as a superhero and a friend. Surprisingly, the Ghost-Maker turns face, joining Batman’s side! They depart together to take down the Circus of Strange.

–Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #1 Part 1
Batman fights a handful of League of Assassins ninjas.

–Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #1 Part 4
The inner psyche and dark soul of Batman is viewed through writer/artist Emma Rios’ surrealistic, totemic, and mythical analysis of the Dark Knight. Yes, that’s the synopsis in full! This is a weird one.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League: Endless Winter #1. Batman designs and tailors a new cold weather costume.

–Red Hood: Outlaw #52
Jason has just returned to his childhood neighborhood (The Hill) and reconnected with his old friend Dana Harlowe, who moonlights as a superhero called Strike. When haute couture super-villain Tommy Maxx (aligned with newly gangster-styled Killer Croc, who is currently released from Arkham Asylum) blows up Demetrius Korlee Jr‘s sneaker store in the Hill, Red Hood is on the case. The next morning, Jason gets breakfast with Dana and chats with Dana’s family, including her sister, TV newscaster Denise Harlowe. As night falls, Maxx’s gang escalates their profile by capturing and executing a bunch of Black Mask’s False Facers. Maxx and Croc continue to escalate things by blowing up a tanker and then fighting Red Hood, Strike, and Strike’s crime-fighting partners Kish and Sophia. When Maxx kidnaps Denise, Red Hood and Strike rescue her and take down the rookie villain. With Maxx heading to Arkham Asylum, Croc sells the rest of Maxx’s weapons to Hill gangbangers Gudda and Tiwa. The next day, Jason decides to stay in the Hill for good, renting an apartment. Batman leaves a housewarming gift for Jason, brining a smile to both their faces.

–Aquaman Vol. 8 #65
On the day of Aquaman and Mera’s wedding (technically a wedding vow renewal ceremony), Ocean Master—backed by an army of warriors from each of the undersea kingdoms—usurps Aquaman’s throne. With the aid of confused water elemental Lernaea, Ocean Master has captured Mera and subjugated Aquaman. Utilizing the powers of the sea goddess Caille, the Aquaman calls for help. Caille brings the Justice League, Aqualad, Mecha Manta, Dolphin, Pilot, Tula, Tempest, Murk, Nereus (King of Xebel), the sea gods of the Kwakwaka’wakw and Nuxalk pantheons (Amanikable, Atabey, Chalchiuhtlicue, Kumungwe, Manannán mac Lir, Repun, Tangaroa, Tlaloc, Varuna, Master Agwé), the old sea god Mother Shark, a ton of aquatic life, and more. Defeated, Ocean Master and his troops stand down. All the kingdoms of the oceans are unified in peace. Soon afterward, Aquaman throws a surprise wedding for Mera aboard a yacht. All of their friends are present, including the Justice League, the sea gods, Captain Tristram Maurer, Dr. Thnita, Madame Giahnz, Erika Watson, Dwayne Fradon, Salty the Aquadog, and many more.

————————––Justice League: Endless Winter #1
————————––Flash #767
————————––Justice League Vol. 4 #58
Mid December. On Mathali Island in the Arabian Sea, the Justice League defeats Icicle, Multiplex, Rampage, and Catman. During the fight, Aquaman mentions his recent marriage to Mera. Meanwhile, in the Arctic Circle, Sebastian Stagg—now in charge of Stagg Industries ever since his father’s death (Simon Stagg died in The Terrifics #28)—leads an expedition to salvage the remains of Superman’s old Fortress of Solitude. Back in the States, Flash visits Jefferson Pierce and his teenage daughters Anissa Pierce and Jennifer Pierce, who are decorating their Christmas tree. When Stagg’s ship is attacked by ice creatures, the JL intervenes—including Batman, who dons his special cold weather gear. Soon, the Big Bad—the immemorial Frost King (Edwald Olafsson), accidentally revived by Stagg and powered-up by leftover Kryptonian crystals—attacks our heroes as well. The Frost King mistakes the JL for those that last defeated and imprisoned him way back in the 10th century: Black Adam, Hippolyta, Swamp Thing, and Viking Prince. Using all his might, the Frost King unleashes wintery weather across the globe before vanishing without a trace. The heroes immediately spread out across the globe to take on various ice beasts. Batman cobbles together a new sonic weapon that can shatter ice and, as referenced in Justice League: Endless Winter #2, he begins secretly monitoring Stagg Industries’ actions. Black Adam addresses the UN, stating that Kahndaq is open for refugees. Shortly thereafter, Flash goes on a diplomatic mission to Kahndaq but he gets kayoed by some ice monsters. Black Adam and a throng of super-villains—including Catman, Silver Banshee, and others—rescue Flash. Flash then returns home to Central City to save Iris from another ice monster. John Stewart helps with the storm rescue effort in Michigan before meeting with Detective chimp at the Hall of Justice. Detective Chimp reports that the ice beasts are not only attacking metahumans all over the planet, but they are targeting STAR Labs, Stagg Industries, and Dayton Industries. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Stewart then defeat a Frost King doppelgänger before debriefing in the Hall of Justice with Detective Chimp.

————————––Justice League Dark Vol. 2 #29
————————––Black Adam: Endless Winter Special #1
————————––Justice League: Endless Winter #2

Mid December. At the Oblivion Bar, Hippolyta tells the Justice League Dark and Flash the origin story of the Frost King. Meanwhile, Frost King doppelgängers appear all over the globe. Batman and John Stewart fight one in Rome. Nightwing, Cyborg, and Starfire fight one in Coast City. Hawkgirl and Lady Flash fight one in Moscow. And Black Adam fights one in Kahndaq. With Swamp Thing having recently fallen in battle (as seen in the Batman-less Justice League Dark Vol. 2 #28), the JLD decides that they must search for/revive him if they are going to be able to defeat the Frost King. Thus, they travel to Swamp Thing’s last known location—the mystical realm of New Myrra (home to the magick of the Nightmaster). Wonder Woman quickly finds Swamp Thing alive and well, although he says he is bound to New Myrra and cannot leave. However, he gives a small part of his body to Wonder Woman, who returns to the Oblivion Bar to find that her mother has summoned (via seance) the spirit of the Viking Prince. Wonder Woman adheres the piece of Swamp Thing’s body to the ghost Norseman, creating a hybrid Viking Swamp Thing. Meanwhile, at Stagg Industries, Sebastian Stagg’s team begins the arduous process of thawing out the Frost King’s miraculously-preserved 10th century family (wife Astrid Olafsson, son Magnus Olafsson, and unnamed daughter). Black Adam leads Rampage, Multiplex, Catman, Icicle, and Silver Banshee in an all out attack upon Stagg Industries, destroying super-robot Staggatron Alpha in the process. Black Adam confronts Staff, blaming him for having released the Frost King. The real Frost King enters and begins fighting everyone. While the Frost King dukes it out with Black Adam, Stagg uses a robot drone to blast the ancient warrior with Kryptonite crystal energy. The desired effect is to destroy the Frost King, but it only makes him larger and more powerful. When all hope seems lost, the Justice League shows up and chases away the Frost King, who absconds with his frozen family to Greenland. Soon after, the JL, Viking Swamp Thing, Hippolyta, and Black Adam fight the Frost King again. While the heavy-hitters slug it out atop a glacier, Batman and Hippolyta discover that the Frost King is merely just another ice avatar—the original 10th century host of the Frost King, Edwald Olafsson, has been causing all the global chaos despite being completely frozen frozen at the center of the glacier. When Black Adam attempts to assassinate Olafsson, Superman begins fighting the Kahndaqi antihero. Aquaman arrives with a brigade of fire trolls to aid in the struggle versus the Frost King. Hippolyta and Wonder Woman are able to appeal to Olafsson’s humanness, which causes all of his ice avatars to melt, ending the wintry weather everywhere. Back at the Hall of Justice, the Viking Prince is exorcised from Swamp Thing. Detective Chimp, Barry Allen, and Jefferson Pierce decorate the Hall of Justice Xmas tree. On live TV, Black Adam rails against the superheroes, calling them dangerous and claiming that their time will soon come to an end. Meanwhile, Superman rebuilds his Arctic Fortress of Solitude from scratch. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Olafsson meet at the new Fortress where the latter undergoes several physical and mental lab tests. The Trinity vows to find a way to unfreeze Olafsson’s family, but until then Olafsson volunteers to go into cryo-freeze alongside of them.

–Nightwing Vol. 4 #77
December 24-25. On Christmas Eve, Batman invites his boys to attend a family Christmas celebration at his downtown brownstone. When Dick hasn’t RSVP’d, Batman patrols with Nightwing in an effort to convince him to join. After a chat, they split up, with Nightwing working a case at Dexiturn Technology and Batman taking care of an Arkham Asylum revolt. The Arkham situation is a colossal continuity cluster fuck, featuring Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Killer Croc, and Penguin. Clayface would still be out-and-about, and still a superhero, while Penguin being there makes zero sense. At Dexiturn, Nightwing searches for a thieving hacker, but the culprit escapes, disguised as Santa Claus. Nightwing eventually catches up with the thief, exposing her as a homeless woman named Clarissa, who had been previously laid off and financially screwed over by Dexiturn. After returning Dexiturn’s stolen money, Nightwing arranges for Bruce to help out Clarissa. On Christmas morning, Bruce gives Clarissa, her daughter, and all their homeless friends rent free apartments in a building that he still owns. (Bruce says he owns it, but maybe Lucius Fox actually owns it.) Bruce also convinces Lucius to purchase Dexiturn and re-hire all the laid-off staff, including Clarissa. Later that night, Dick joins Bruce, Babs, Tim, Ace, and who appears to be Damian. While this comic is already a disaster in terms of continuity, it doesn’t really make sense for Damian to be here. It should be Jason instead. I guess we could fankwank that Damian has set aside all the drama that he and his father have shared over the past year in order to have one peaceful evening of goodwill, but it does fly in the face of Damian’s recent estrangement from the group. While unfortunately mired by negligent authorship on the part of Dan Jurgens and Ronan Cliquet, this gathering is a lovely Bat-Family moment.


<<< Rebirth Era Year 19 (Part 1) <<< ||| >>> Rebirth Era Year 20 (Part 1) >>>

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Who are the Dark Multiverse Jai and Irey West? And where did they come from? First of all, the Flash Forward series partially overlaps with “Finish Line” (Flash #759-762). In the final issue of that series (Flash Forward #6), which occurs shortly prior to Flash #762, Wally West absorbs the remaining power of Dr. Manhattan (leftover from the end of Doomsday Clock). Using this vast cosmic energy, Wally paradoxically re-introduces Jai and Iris “Irey” West (his kids from the Modern Age) onto our timeline. Jai and Iris are reunited with their mom Linda Park, who instantly gains memories of them (despite having never had any kids). We’ve seen it before, but this is yet another bizarre instance of “fracturing” i.e. a character being given false memories of an alternate reality upon meeting an alternate-reality character. This version of Jai and Iris are not the legit Modern Age originals—they are actually merely alternate Dark Multiverse versions that mirror their Modern Age counterparts.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: Note that Justice League Vol. 4 goes wildly out of numerical order starting here, with Justice League Vol. 4 #58. Justice League Vol. 4 #30-39 (“Justice/Doom War”) comes next, and then Justice League Vol. 4 #53-57 (“Doom Metal”), a part of Dark Nights: Death Metal, follows.

38 Responses to Rebirth Year Nineteen (Part 2)

  1. Austin Eaton says:

    Hey, how’s it been going? I’m curious what you think of Three Jokers so far..

    • I’m a Geoff Johns mark, so I’m liking it so far. I think I have the same criticisms as others, though—for a 3-issue book that includes the biggest mystery in the history of Batman comics, it sure does move at a glacial pace. We only have one more issue and we aren’t really any closer to solving the mystery of the 3 Jokers than we were 2-and-a-half years ago! I’ll reserve my full judgement until after the final part comes out at the end of the month. What do you think of it thus far?

      • Austin Eaton says:

        I understand and kinda agree with that one criticism but I do think it’s very well written and constructed so far. It feels like one of those stories you can just sit down and break apart piece by piece and there’s only one other series I think about as much as this. Like you said though, the last issue will either make it or break it.

        • Geoff Johns’ stories always have much greater depth than what you initially see on the surface level. I wish he got more respect from mainstream audiences because he’s really one of the best creators out there today. So I’m all with you, Austin. (Interestingly, people seem to love Scott Snyder, whose stories seem wild and complex on the surface but upon closer scrutiny are quite straightforward and at times banal.)

          What is the other series you think about so deeply? Don’t leave us hanging!

            • Austin Eaton says:

              The other series is The Immortal Hulk. Not only is the Hulk my other favorite character besides Batman, but his current series is one of the best comics out there. It’s brilliant.

              • Oh, the Al Ewing series. I’ve heard great things! (I loved Ewing’s Loki from way back when.) Haven’t read any Marvel in years now, but I’ll check it out based upon your recommendation.

            • Earthmine52 says:

              Honored to have my stuff mentioned sir! Made a final one recently!


              • Antonio says:

                Great reading, but I have to agree with Collin: since this is more of a sequel to The Killing Joke, I think the original one can be no one but the Comedian. We don’t even know for sure if this was all a set up from him (I mean, creating the other two only a couple years prior the events of the book. That would mean year 15…).
                But the question is: please, can anyone explain to me what’s the point in introducing 3 Jokers if 2 of them get eliminated/murdered anyway?
                I’ll say it again: this deminishes Batman, this deminishes Joker.

                • Hey Antonio, I’m definitely still processing Three Jokers. It has ups, it has downs. I think, like most of Johns’ stuff, it is very ambitious (maybe overly so). Does it hit its mark? I’m not quite sure. But you make some very good points.

                  My biggest complaint about Three Jokers (aside from providing some necessary clarity about the original Mobius Chair revelation) is that it must have taken A LOT of near impossible legwork (and good luck) not to be exposed as three different people. The Jokers would have to have had ludicrous rules—like “if one of us is in jail, you cannot act until the jailed one escapes,” for instance. Only in comics, lol.

                  In terms of diminishing, I’m not so sure that it does. Sure, one can make the valid point that Batman should have been able to see through this ruse long ago, which diminishes his skills as a detective. But beyond that (and I admit that’s a big one), I don’t think it does character assassination or anything. And there’s enough gray for folks that don’t want to accept all the Joker stuff, that you could read the story in a way that the Comedian was always the primary villain, always pulling the strings, right up to the finale.

                  But I hear ya. What is the point of this story if we were just going to basically return to status quo in terms of Joker? I think that it had to go there with Joker, no other real option. Anything else would have been bad. But for Batman, the Joe Chill forgiveness is so important, such a turning point. Can’t say we’ve really tread much ground that hadn’t already been well-worn when it comes to Jason and Babs, but there are some minor moments of development.

              • Honored to have you commenting here! As I said in the other thread, I’m a big fan of your analyses on Reddit, especially in regard to Geoff Johns’ works. Thanks for sharing your final post! Let’s keep in touch.

  2. Antonio says:

    Hey Collin, Antonio here. How’re you doing?
    Well, now that Three Joker is finally over… please could you help me understand it a little bit? So, If I’m not wrong… Joker was the one and only from The Killing Joke. He created the other two (who Bruce thought they played a role in the past but they didn’t, by Joker’s revelation in the van) so that they could believe they were making “the perfect Joker”, but, the real plan from the real Joker was to relieve Bruce’s pain with Joe Chill so that he could really focus on the real man of chaos: the joker himself.
    And the big twist is that Joker’s wife wasn’t really dead in the Killing Joke.

    So… am I right or I just didn’t get anything anbout this story.

    I gotta say… I think that Jonhs in the end got the job done. But now… since Joker knew about Bruce’s identity… where are you gonna locate the story? Right after Doomsday Clock? Right aftet Alfred’s death?

    What do you think of issue 3?
    Thank you Collin

    • diego2024 says:

      I am also waiting for your answer Ha ha ha, Three Jokers is a strange case: there is not a single mention of the Mobius chair, but it shows that “Endgame” is canon. Bruce acknowledges that he knows the name of the Joker, so what the hell did he ask the Mobius chair for? There is also Jason who stops being Red Hood for a while (if I understood correctly. My English is LOUD).
      You have to admit that they kept their word “T.J. can be a canon if you want. It’s your decision”
      To give a chronological location you would have to do as you did with Doomsday Clock: ignore many things. Sometimes it’s necessary to do so, because no story is 100% perfect, but in cases like this and DC… it’s unpleasant, even annoying.
      By the way, if I understood what you said, yes. It happened just as you say.

      • Hi Diego and Antonio!

        Since Alfred is in this story, it should rightly go before his death. At the end of issue #3, the Comedian (who is indeed the MAIN Joker) remains coy about whether or not he created the Criminal or the Criminal created him.

        If we looks at the publication chronology of Batman comics, the Criminal was the first Joker (the one from Batman #1 and a few early Golden Age issues), soon followed by the campier Clown (throughout the Silver Age), then the Comedian (from the Bronze Age to present day). Everything Johns has done is sort of based upon this.

        However, by making this a direct sequel to Killing Joke and cementing the Comedian as the MAIN Joker, this means that he was around from the very beginning, giving credence to the idea that he is indeed not only the MAIN Joker but the original as well.

        My interpretation is that Alan Moore’s Comedian is the first Joker. He starts off his career by creating the Criminal, then shortly thereafter, creates the Clown. In this way, the basic chronology still holds intact—the only difference being that the Comedian is around from the beginning pulling strings (and making some of the more generic early Joker appearances).

        I will attempt to assign each Joker appearance to a corresponding Joker (Comedian, Criminal, or Clown) on my website, so keep an eye out for that. It certainly won’t be an easy task!

        Also, the final scene of the series, in which Batman visits Alaska… Joker’s son is clearly a pre-teen. So, that likely has to be a flashback, unless this is a hint at placement as well. More to come!

        • And as to why Batman asked the question if he already knew the answer… Easy fanwank: he was still testing the chair. Honestly, I think Johns forgot he wrote that. But that’s our fix.

          • A plot device that has all the answers should never be the start of a big mystery. It should be the end. This is the problem with the Mobius Chair kicking off the mystery surrounding the three Jokers in the first place.

            In any case, I’m thinking that Three Jokers should maybe go earlier, like the first place possible after DCU: Rebirth, which would be shortly after the first Metal event. Jury is still out.

  3. Antonio says:

    I see no Three Jokers in the Rebirth continuity, so I guess Collin must have simply ignored it and labelled it as NON canon.

    • Austin Eaton says:

      He’s probably not sure where it goes yet. And/or it will go on the post-DM ultimate “everything happened” timeline.

      • I hope you are joking, Antonio! Three Jokers is maybe the densest and most complicated read possible. I’m compiling my notes and already have nearly three pages just for issue number one. It’s 100% canon, undeniably. And Austin, Scott Snyder and Jim Lee keep insisting that there’s no reboot anymore—that “everything happened” will exist sans reboot of any kind. They are so insistent, in fact, that I half believe them now! We’ll see.

        In any case, I’ll have more to say about Three Jokers soon.

  4. Antonio says:

    Collin of course I was kidding… I knew you were still processing it. But I,m curious about what you’re gonna say about it and where you’re gonna put it in the chronology

  5. Omn says:

    I noticed that in the Batman Anniversary Issue, one of the stories- the one about the ‘birthday’ gifts from the joker, it lists 22 years. This seems like a very specific number, and I’m curious to see if it’s the timeline they’re going with moving forward.

    • Matt Fraction’s anniversary story does not change the official timeline. (Fraction has been playing fast-and-loose with continuity for a while now, and there’s no other story that seems to point to a timeline longer than 19-20 years other than this one. In fact, most other writers, including Snyder, based upon Bruce’s age references, have pointed to a 19-20 year-long timeline.) Thus, if we take Fraction’s story at face value, it must extend out until 2024, well into Batman’s future. Of course, this requires the caveat that Alfred comes back from the dead (as he is shown in the end sequence)… So, it’s possible that Fraction’s tale is non-canon—either that or it needs a serious caveat.

      Right now, the timeline still stands as-is (at 19-20 years in length), although, if rumors are true, DC will be rebooting in April, switching to a Marvel-esque malleable continuity without any hard years, dates, or times.

      • Antonio says:

        “… if rumors are true, DC will be rebooting in April, switching to a Marvel-esque malleable continuity without any hard years, dates, or times”.

        Since I don’t know Marvel (But I’ve heard of its screwed timeline multiple times)… please, Collin, could you be more specific? What do you exactly mean with “no hard years, dates or times?
        Is that the “everything counts” thing that we’ve all heard about from DC?

        But how will this even be possible? I mean… constructing a timeline will be impossible… that means merging the golden age, the plastic age, the bronze age, the modern age, the new 52 era, the Rebirth era…
        May MotherNature help you with that, Collin…

        • Again, these are just rumors (Bleeding Cool has been reporting on them for weeks now), so take them with grain of salt. But yes, I’m partially referring to the “Everything Matters” mantra. As of Death Metal #5, Scott Snyder has revealed what he and Jim Lee mean when they say “Everything Matters, Everything Counts” will be going into effect despite the fact that there won’t be a reboot. They have revealed that all the DCU characters will become aware of the history of the Metaverse—meaning they will gain an awareness of their former continuity lives. As I said on the site, this sounds like a 24/7 bad acid trip. Lois Lane is going to be selling a lot more copies of her “Fracturing” book, it would seem.

          However, despite this Snyder/Lee explanation, the rumor mill is pointing at something in April tentatively called the “DC Omniverse,” which sure feels like a reboot to me. Not to mention, there will be two months around that time where DC effectively shuts down, only publishing the repurposed “Generations” material (as “Future State”). Combine this with the fact that DC just re-structured and had significant layoffs and firings, and with a new Chief Publisher in Marie Javins at the helm, it sure appears as though a reboot is coming. Death Metal may be DC’s way of testing the waters, so to speak.

          Details are sparse in regard to “DC Omniverse,” but rumors say that the hard continuity that DC is so famous for (and for which Marvel has traditionally snubbed its nose at) might also get thrown out with the proverbial bath water come spring 2021. Your question, though, as to what that means? It means (potentially) that the chronology game as we know it will end, falling into (or rising up, depending on your point of view) into the realm of myriad amorphous hypertime-ish headcanons, all of which would be equally weighted in terms of legitimacy. There are positive and negatives in regard to this potentiality, of course—but I won’t get into that long conversation here. If and when more information is released, I’ll be sure to clue you in! For now, all we can do is read the comics and comics news.

      • Omn says:

        We now have a second mention of a 20+ year timeline; a character in the most recent Red Hood mentions having been been humiliated by Batman 21 years ago.

        • Austin Eaton says:

          It may’ve been the third if you consider the ‘Joker’s been around for decades’ in Three Jokers. It’ll be hard to tell what’s really going on until the end of Death Metal probably.

          • Hi Omn & Austin,

            Demitrius Korlee vs Batman is specifically referencing 2000’s Batman: The Hill by Christopher Priest and Shawn Martinbrough. The twenty-one year specificity is merely because 2021’s Red Hood: Outlaw #51 is the start of a sequel to Batman: The Hill. Martinbrough, having returned to script Red Hood: Outlaw #51, is cutely referencing the twenty-one years that have passed in-between the original Hill and the follow-up. I wouldn’t put much stock in it other than that. However, it does mean we need to place the Rebirth version of The Hill very early on our timeline.

            While definitely worth addressing—the three recent instances of 20+ year timelines can all be explained away for very precise reasons (and also very specific to each instance). IMO, they aren’t indicative of anything.

  6. Genesis Ayeni says:

    If everything counts, it could make for a very confusing time line since some stories Contradict others e.g. No man’s land and Batman&Robin eternal which both show the origin story of Cassandra Cain, and are totally different stories, both can’t exist at the same time, Right?

    • There’s a recent adage—well, maybe it’s an old one, but it’s responding directly to what we are talking about here. Anyway, back to what I was saying. The adage goes, “If everything counts… then nothing matters.” Obviously, I have a lot of feelings about this—and they are, surprisingly or not, quite mixed. I don’t want to go into too much depth about those feelings yet, though, because so much of what is expected is hearsay or rumor-based. Granted, much of the rumor mill info is coming from pretty reliable sources, but things could definitely change. Once we get to early spring 2021, we’ll hopefully have all our answers. It’s possible Death Metal might answer some questions too, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Answering questions outright isn’t really Scott Snyder’s style, y’know?

      But, to answer your query. I’m hearing that DC continuity might look more akin to Marvel’s. As to how they’ll handle all the reboots (which is something Marvel hasn’t had and therefore hasn’t really had to deal with), I guess your headcanon will be as good as mine (or DC’s for that matter). That is to say, I’m not really sure! Much more to say, and much more to come on this topic. Stay tuned!

  7. Genesis Ayeni says:

    Hi again Collins, I just read Batman/catwoman right now and it seems out of place with the main continuity, considering the fact the Bruce shouldn’t even be in Wayne Manor anymore and that he dies in the future out of cancer. That basically contradicts every future storyline in the main continuity. So what’s your take on how Batman/catwoman fits in the timeline?

    • Bruce dying of cancer has always been canon in Tom King’s future, detailed in a couple Annuals and specials. And there’s nothing else that contradicts his cancer death (I have that listed on my Rebirth timeline in the future section). Literally every single source—reviewers, insiders, creators, publishers—are saying Batman/Catwoman is out-of-continuity. James Tynion and others at DC has vaguely said as much as well. However, I’m going against the grain, and my belief is that this will be in-continuity. I mean, it’s literally the final twelve issues of King’s 100+ arc. I personally did not like King’s run, but to cut off any writer at the knees without giving him the opportunity to finish what he started is just bad business all around.

      Yes, I think Batman/Catwoman will play fast and loose with continuity, but then again King already had been doing so. And it certainly won’t play faster or looser than anything Geoff Johns or Brian Bendis have put out in the past calendar year. In any case, Batman and Catwoman are on a yearlong break from each other in canon, meaning that Batman/Catwoman would have to take place well after where we currently are on our current timeline. The fact that a reboot seems to be looming might be the only reason Batman/Catwoman truly gets shoved into the realm of non-canon, although for me it might simply make it easier to tack on as the final Rebirth tale. We shall see!

  8. Austin Eaton says:

    Collin, could you give me a Death Metal reading order, including the tie ins and even issues that don’t include Batman? I’m about to get caught up on all the issues so far.

    • Pocok says:

      Interested in too!

    • diego2024 says:

      This is my list. I did it like this to “understand” the story, ignoring the publication dates.

      1°- DM GuideBook
      2°- DM Preludes
      – Death Metal #1
      – Legends of the Dark Knights
      – Death Metal #2
      – Death Metal #3
      – Trinity Crisis
      – Speed Metal
      – Multiverse’s End
      – Justice League v4 #51-56
      – Death Metal #4
      – DM Robin King
      – DM Exxxtreme
      – JL v4 #57
      – DM Rise of the New God (this is AWESOME)
      – DM Multiverse who laughs
      17°- The last stories of the DCU

      I did it well? “HA”

      • Austin Eaton says:

        Is The Multiverse Who Laughs before or after issue 5?

        • Issue #5 is split in half to accommodate. Here is my list. It’s pretty straightforward by release date honestly. Diego was pretty spot on.

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

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