Rebirth Year Nineteen (Part 2)

(July 2020 to December 2020)
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–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).[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, a new vigilante called The Ghost-Maker, who has trained with all the same people Bruce’s trained with long ago, begins plans to become Gotham’s new primary protector. Later, Batman discovers the secret ID of Clownhunter, teenager Bao Pham. Batman visits him, but instead of shaking him down, Batman talks to him. They have a productive, progressive conversation, after which Batman gives him a card for Dr. Leslie 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, Nakano’s wife. Bruce learns that Gotis had been decapitated. While Batman conducts his investigation, a judge gets decapitated similarly across town. After a third 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, Christopher Nakano officially announces he is running for mayor on an anti-vigilante platform.

–Batman Vol. 3 #101
A week has passed since Batman spoke with Lucius Fox, 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.

–Justice League Vol. 4 #30-32 (“JUSTICE/DOOM WAR”)
Starman shows his fellow Justice Leaguers what he believes to be the undeniable future—a vision of the Legion of Doom killing all the heroes in three days’ time. Wonder Woman tells all that a “Great Darkness” will soon rise. This may mean that the “Great Darkness” blob from Bryan Hitch’s Justice League Vol. 3 from two years ago was indeed linked to and a precursor to Perpetua’s rising all along. With the threat looming, the JL invites nearly every single hero they can think of for a meeting, officially deputizing them into the JL army. This gathering includes all branches of the JL, the Terrifics, the Titans, an unknown person in an Ikon suit, and many others. (The guy in the Ikon suit might be included in error—artist Jorge Jimenez  accidentally drawing Jericho in both the hero gathering and villain gathering. Although, I guess Jericho could conceivably zip on over to appear at both meetings. The presence of the Teen Titans is dubious as well, considering they’d be broken up at this juncture. We also see Supergirl, Donna Troy, and Shazam in the crowd—don’t forget they are currently infected “Secret Six” members, and the superhero community is fully aware of this fact. However, since the infected persons apparently intermittently phase between good and evil, and they are clearly good right now, I guess everyone’s cool with them being there. If we aren’t comfortable with that rationale, there are a lot of alternate universe versions of characters that will show up in this arc, so that could be our fanwank here too. Otherwise, their appearances are simply erroneous. In specific regard to Hawkman, who is also present, his “infected” situation was directly linked to Sky Tyrant controlling him, but that was seemingly dealt with in the recent Hawkman Vol. 5 #20, albeit maybe temporarily, since the actual final resolution won’t occur until Hell Arisen.) Standing before the gathering of heroes, Starman reviews the six known Dark Forces (and their oppositional Positive Forces) and displays the Cosmic Rod.[2] Starman tells all that they must travel to specific points in the past and future of Hypertime in order to collect the Positive Forces, with which they can create a Justice Totality to wield against Lex Luthor’s Doom Totality. Unknown to all, there is a mystery spy in their midst, who watches with keen interest. (Spoiler: It’s Aquaman!) At the Hall of Doom, Luthor briefs hundreds of super-villains, all powered-up thanks to his many gifts, who comprise the deputized new LOD army. Featured among these villains are Harley Quinn, Jericho, William Cobb, Heat Wave, Papa Midnite, the Oracle robot, Earth-29 aka Bizarro Earth’s The Terribles (Bizarro #1, Mr. Terrible, Disposable Man, Figment Girl, and Change-O-Shape-O), Red Hood, Ra’s al Ghul, Catwoman, and many more. (I’m not sure that Catwoman’s appearance should be canon here, but who really knows.) In the Hall of Justice, the World Forger and the Monitor open Hypertime portals. Batman preps for departure, telling Jarro to listen to Mera while he’s gone. Flash and John Stewart pass through the “past portal” while Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman pass through the “future portal.” Unfortunately, the mystery spy (Aquaman) has tampered with both portals, and he hops through, sealing the heroes off with no means of return or way to communicate. (Are these portals simple time machines that will take them to the past and future of Earth-0’s primary timeline? Or are they gateways to alternate universe timelines i.e. Hypertimelines where our heroes will meet alternate versions of characters? At first glance, it seems as though Scott Snyder has regarded the portals as straightforward time machines. However, Snyder muddies the water by tweeting, “The version of Kamandi that we’re using here [in “Justice/Doom War”] is taken directly from his classic timeline, but what you might see in Brian [Michael Bendis’ Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium] is something that could happen after the events of our story are concluded and his narrative goes a different way. […] You might see two different versions of Kamandi in existence. So, in that way, we’re looking to make everything fit, everything part of one über-story. Same thing with JSA with Geoff [Johns in Doomsday Clock].” This seems to imply that the Kamandi, Legion, and JSA in “Justice/Doom War” are alternate versions of the legit Earth-0 characters. Very confusing! In any case, Snyder’s later usage “fragments of Hypertime” seems to cement that we are dealing with alternate realities.) In some distant possible future alt-Hypertimeline (71st century), the Trinity finds a dystopia with Doom-symbols everywhere. There, they are approached by alt-versions of Kamandi, Dr. Canus, and Tuftan, who help them fight against Brainiac cyborgs. (Snyder has already shown us the Kamandi and Canus of the primary Universe-0 timeline, but despite this, these seem to be alternate versions from Hypertime.) Batman interfaces with one of the downed cyborgs, learning that Brainiac has captured fragments of Hypertime—literal chunks of possible alt-futures. The JL heroes and Kamandi then leave the alt-71st century and travel to one of Braniac’s bottled Hypertime slivers, specifically a version of the 853rd century, joining an alt-Justice Legion-A (Aquaman, Batman, Superman, Flash, Owlwoman, Hourman, Starman, and Wonder Woman). Concurrently, in some possible alt-Hypertimeline (January 7, 1941), Flash and John Stewart find themselves before an alt-Justice Society of America (Atom, Green Lantern Alan Scott, Flash Jay Garrick, Dr. Fate, Hourman, Sandman, Starman, Hawkman, and Wildcat)! After a discussion of how there is no JSA on the primary Earth-0 timeline (due to a cosmic collective memory block), introductions are made. Flash (Barry) mentions that he feels some echoes of a shared history with Jay Garrick, but it’s been erased somehow. (Since Barry recently shared an adventure with the returning Jay Garrick in Flash #759-762, this is either a continuity error or Barry’s memories have been manipulated/blocked yet again.) The present day heroes also wonder why their Hawkman in the 21st century, despite being the same guy here in the 1940s, has no recollection of his own past with the JSA. (In the recent Hawkman Vol. 5 #26-28, Hawkman and Hawkgirl time-traveled by quantum leaping into their 1940s incarnations to assist in a JSA scuffle against the Injustice Society and fight a Khufu-possessed Anton Hastor. We must assume, due to Doomsday Clock/Flash Forward retcons and revelations here in “Justice/Doom War,” that even when someone time-travels and physically engages with the JSA, their memory gets blocked as soon as they return to the present.) Arriving at Pearl Harbor, Barry and John worry whether the LOD would mess with something as sacred as WWII history. As they speak, Grodd, Cheetah, and Sinestro pilot Imperial Japanese dive-bombers along with the rest of the soon-to-attack squadron. Meanwhile, Starman, Shayne J’onzz, Hawkgirl, the Monitor, and the World Forger determine the best course of action is to seek out the Anti-Monitor on the edge of the universe where the Source Wall used to be. They depart immediately. Shayne senses that Luthor and Perpetua are also headed towards the edge of the universe. At the edge of the universe, Aquaman joins the Anti-Monitor, having pledged allegiance to him. As Luthor and Perpetua reach the Promethean Galaxy, Shayera Hol and her Thanagarian armada attack, but fail miserably. Meanawhile, the heroes fight a war on both Hypertime fronts. In the future, Brainiac upgrades himself to a towering “Brainiac One Million.” 83rd century Hourman crashes and burns, but not before handing over the Worlogog from within his body. The Worlogog, as it turns out, not only contains a part of the Source, but also embodies the Totality for which our heroes are searching. The Worlogog is given to Kamandi for safekeeping. In the past, Aquaman returns, helping his friends to both collect another chunk of Totality and deal with the Pearl Harbor situation. At the edge of the Promethean Galaxy, Luthor and Perpetua arrive to greet the Anti-Monitor, but he’s sided with the heroes against them. (Note that the sequence of Aquaman returning here written as if it is his first appearance since his “death” in “Drowned Earth.” However, “Cold War” establishes his return prior to this, creating a bad continuity error that must unfortunately be ignored.)

–Justice League Vol. 4 #33-35 (“JUSTICE/DOOM WAR” Continued…)
At the edge of the Promethean Galaxy, Starman fuses the Monitor, Anti-Monitor, and World Forger into one Ultra-Monitor. An enraged Hawkgirl goes off script, unleashing her full power upon Lex Luthor. In 1941, Aquaman guides Flash, John Stewart, and the JSA to Atlantis. There, they find the Legion of Doom allied with Vandal Savage and his Legionnaires Club, lording over a captive Poseidon. After a chat with Stewart, the Legionnaires switch sides, joining the JSA in the fight against the LOD. In the future, the JLA, JL-A, and Kamandi struggle against the might of Brainiac One Million. When all hope seems lost, Earth-12’s Justice League Unlimited (Earth-12 Batman, Aquagirl, Earth-12 Big Barda, Earth-12 Flash, Earth-12 Kai-Ro, Earth-12 Micron, Earth-12 Superman, and Earth-12 Warhawk) arrive. As do Superboy (Jon Kent) and Karate Kid from the 31st century. Not long after that, many of the collected heroes of the 53 universes show up, including a bunch of Earth-0 heroes, Earth-2 Batman, Earth-2 Hourman, Earth-6 Wonder Woman, Earth-16’s Dr. Midnite, the Earth-22 Justice League (including Fate), Earth-22’s Silent Cavalry (including Nightstar and Earth-22 Jade), Earth-23’s President Superman, Earth-30’s Soviet Superman, and more. Some heroes from alt-Hypertimelines show up too: Hunter Prince and a resurrected Old Man Aquaman (from “Legacy”), Old Lady Harley, Damian Wayne Batman and Cyborg 2.0 (from the Titans Tomorrow/666 timeline), Blue Scarab (from Justice League: Generation Lost #14), the Dark Multiverse Deathstroke (from “Deathstroke RIP”/”Deathstroke Rebirth”), Supergirl (from Injustice: Gods Among Us), Flash (from “Out of Time”), Flash (from Sins of Youth), Captain Marvel (an alt-Shazam), an alternate universe Starman (Thom Kallor), an alternate universe Martian Manhunter, and many more. The alt-universe and Hypertime heroes form a gigantic army to combat Brainiac. Powered from past by the JSA Starman, Will Payton and another alt-Starman open time portals. Stewart, Flash, Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, and Aquaman return to the present. As do Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Kamandi, and the alt-Starman. However, at the edge of the universe, Hawkgirl and the Ultra-Monitor are defeated by Luthor and Perpetua. The seventh Dark Force is unleashed and the multiverse succumbs to the power of the Doom Totality. Perpetua grows to giant size as the Doom Totality symbol burns brightly behind her. She crushes Payton like a bug. The Doom Totality symbol shines brightly above Earth, surprising civilians and heroes alike. (Again, despite the surprise at seeing the Doom Totality symbol, this cannot be the first instance of it appearing in the sky. We’ve already seen it in dozens of other comics.) In the Hall of Justice, a mass gathering of heroes—including the JL, alt-JSA, alt-JL-A, Titans, alt-Kamandi, Jarro, and more—tries to regroup. The Doom Totality symbol burns in the skies above the Ghost Sector, Thanagar, Oa, Earth-3, the bowels of the Dark Multiverse where Barbatos is held captive, the World Orrery at the center of the multiverse, and Earth-19. It is on Earth-19 (aka “Gotham By Gaslight Earth”) where Perpetua strikes first. There, Bat Man and Inspector James Gordon are helpless as Perpetua destroys the entirety of Universe-19 in an instant. With a subservient Ultra-Monitor now kneeling before his mother’s side, Perpetua tells Luthor that they will re-create the entire multiverse in any way they see fit. From the Hall of Justice, Batman long-range radios Hawkgirl and Shayne, beckoning them home. They attempt to jump into light speed aboard the Javelin, but Perpetua causes them to crash.

–Justice League Vol. 4 #36-37 (“JUSTICE/DOOM WAR” Continued…)
Perpetua gathers the primary members of the Legion of Doom aboard her ship. She transforms Brainiac into her living throne and captures the rest, except for Lex Luthor, into strange tubes. Using these devices, Perpetua drains the villains’ powers and syphons them into her chosen number one son, Luthor. Meanwhile, with the Doom Totality symbol now burning permanently in the sky, the Trinity gathers their army of heroes for one last pep talk. Notably, Damian, Tim, Spoiler, and Orphan are present. It looks like Jessica Cruz is also present, but she should be off on her Justice League Odyssey adventure in the Ghost Sector at this juncture, so this is another continuity error too. We also see Supergirl, Donna Troy, and Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes). (Don’t forget Supergirl and Donna Troy are currently infected “Secret Sixers,” meaning they are currently not in evil mode or these are alt-universe versions of the characters.) While the heroes prep for more battle, John Stewart gets ready for a ride in the Flashmobile. In deep space, Hawkgirl and Shayne J’onzz are attacked by the Ultra-Monitor. Simultaneously, an army of Perpetua’s human/Martian hybrid warriors, led by Luthor, who pilots the spidery floating LOD HQ, marches toward Washington DC. The heroes make their stand against Perpetua’s army. Batman activates the Hall of Justice’s final defense mode, turning the entire building into a gigantic flying fortress. As the war erupts into bedlam, several heroes begin psychically forming a Justice Totality. John Stewart drives the Flashmobile to the other end of the universe, crashing right into the Ultra-Monitor, splitting him up into the three separate cosmic brothers once again. Meanwhile, Perpetua destroys Earth-44, killing Dr. Will Tornado and his Metal League (Iron Batman, Mercury Flash, and Gold Superman). Using it as a weapon, she hurls the dead planet towards John Stewart, Hawkgirl, Shayne, and the brothers. The World Forger bats it away like a baseball with his hammer, simultaneously teleporting John Stewart, Shayne, and Hawkgirl back to the Hall of Justice. There, they join the heroes to create a Justice Totality, which shines a sigil that replaces the Doom Totality symbol in the sky above them.

–Justice League Vol. 4 #38-39 (“JUSTICE/DOOM WAR” Conclusion)
Luthor wields the full power of the Doom Totality against the heroes of Earth. When the Trinity teams-up to knock Luthor on his ass, Perpetua has seen enough. She finally appears on Earth-0 to confront the heroes. As Perpetua and her army thrash the heroes, Shayne enters Luthor’s mind and finds a remnant of Martian Manhunter inside (in the form of a memory). Shayne offers the ultimate sacrifice, permanently swapping places with Martian Manhunter in order to resurrect the latter and unleash him from within Luthor. Martian Manhunter telepathically speaks to everyone on Earth, imploring them to abandon their connection with Perpetua. But more humans on Earth want to be evil than good, and they reject J’onn’s supplication, further empowering Perpetua, who re-writes the timeline so that the JL are no longer Earth’s heroes. The Quintessence (Izaya, Hera, wizard Shazam, the Spectre, Phantom Stranger, and Ganthet) are able to save the JL, placing them upon the Moon. The Quintessence explains that they had already augured Perpetua’s inevitable victory, even across multiple hitherto unseen fronts. Creators Scott Snyder, Daniel Sampere, and Juan Albarran pair Ganthet’s monologue with images from Event Leviathan, The Terrifics, Young Justice Vol. 3, and Doomsday Clock! The dialogue attached to these images is extremely vague, but does speak of them in the past tense, seemingly placing them in the past. This is wild, especially since the main action of “Justice/Doom War” hinted at Doomsday Clock as not only canon but having not yet occurred. However, the dialogue overlaying the Doomsday Clock image says specifically, “events that unfolded outside your purview. Some disconnected from your reality altogether but still deeply felt and impactful.” Doomsday Clock has indeed happened but its effect has been blocked by the Batman Who Laughs. More on that later, though. The Quintessence offers one final solution to undo what Perpetua has done. They show the JL a magickal square-framed doorway, through which the heroes can travel and unleash “everything” (i.e. all the Connective Energy of history aka Dr. Manhattan’s power), which should be able to thwart Perpetua for good. The heroes open the mystic door and go through. (The heroes entering the portal is also shown via flashback from Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #4 and Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 Part 1.) This takes the JL en route straight to Dark Nights: Death Metal.

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

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

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

–Dark Nights: Death Metal #1-3
Wonder Woman and Swamp Thing meet with Bat Mage, B-Rex, and Beyonder, who have captured and brought-in Wally West. Later, in Dead Bats Park, the Batman Who Laughs addresses his League of Dark Knights (Harley Quinn, Harley’s mutated hyena George, Aquaman, Dr. Arkham, Bathomet, Bat Mage, Darkfather), a bunch of Groblins, Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, and a captive Mr. Miracle. The Batman Who Laughs announces that Perpetua has destroyed Earth-22, making it so there are only eight universes left. Meanwhile, Batman uses his psychic link to secretly commune with Wonder Woman, telling her that they must infiltrate Castle Bat, the sentient HQ of the villains. Batman then makes a bold appearance, confronting the villains head-on. The Batman Who Laughs sics his Dark Knights (including Bat-Etrigan, Bat-Clayface, Bat-Deathstroke, Plastic Bat, Bat-Scarecrow, Bat-Penguin, and Bat-Reaper) upon the lone hero. Batman uses his Black Power Battery ring to assemble the Dead Bats. Led by Hex, the zombie Dead Bats take the fight to the Dark Knights. Meanwhile, on the bone planet of Ossex, Lobo recovers some Death Metal for Lex Luthor, who has plans of his own to bring down the Batman Who Laughs. Batman rides away. Later, Wonder Woman chats with Wally West, who tells her how the villains defeated them using Crisis Energy. Wally explains Perpetua’s power comes from a constant supply of Crisis Energy. (In the Dark Multiverse, there are dangerous worlds where the major Crises of the DCU happen over and over. In these worlds, Crisis Energy can be harvested.) The Batman Who Laughs, having overheard their conversation, appears and threatens Wonder Woman, who responds by killing him with an invisible chainsaw! Upon learning of the Batman Who Laughs’ demise, Bat Mage pays a visit to the Final Bruce Wayne (a Dark Multiverse version of Bruce Wayne that was endowed with the power of Dr. Manhattan). Elsewhere, Batman resurrects a zombie Sgt. Frank Rock. Batman, Rock, and Hex rendezvous with the JSA (Alan Scott, Dr. Fate, Wildcat, and Jay Garrick) at Valhalla Cemetery (in the Hellscape aka what used to be Washington DC). Meanwhile, Wonder Woman, Wally West, and Swamp Thing commandeer Batmobeast (the living Bat-monster truck), accidentally running over and killing Batom en route to Valhalla. There, the heroes regroup as Batman Bat-stamps which deceased superheroes are worth reviving. (The original Liberty Belle, original Phantom Lady, Human Bomb, and Uncle Sam all make the first cut, but Batman eventually says “to hell with it, let’s resurrect them all.” We also see the graves of Black Condor, the original Dove, Sandman, and Johnny Quick.) But before Batman can take any action, Wonder Woman convinces him that they should travel into the Dark Multiverse to harness Crisis Energy. Flash joins them as well. Concurrently, in Castle Bat, Alfrood and a team of Dark Multiverse Alfreds do a brain transplant, putting the Batman Who Laughs’ brain into the Final Bruce Wayne’s body, thus spawning a Dr. Manhattan-powered Batman Who Laughs. This new force communes with Perpetua, who reports having destroyed Universe-50. Now only six universes remain. The Batman Who Laughs then kills Bat Mage, B-Rex, and Beyonder just for kicks. He appoints one of the sickest Groblins as his official sidekick, renaming him The Robin King. The Batman Who Laughs also renames himself The Darkest Knight. The heroes, joined by Harley Quinn, take down Dr. Arkham, who gets eaten alive by Harley’s pet hyena George. The heroes then hop a ride in Toymaster’s Composite-Trinity rocket to New Apokolips. After fending-off Pararobins, the heroes rescue a poisoned Superman, whose hair has grown to shoulder-length. Darkfather zaps Batman with an Omega ray gun, but Batman’s new Bat-Blocker provides an adequate defense. Superman kayos a stunned Darkfather. The Darkest Knight and the Robin King infiltrate Valhalla Cemetery, forcing Wally, Barry, and Jay to flee. On New Apokolips, Batman and company free all the imprisoned superheroes from the super-prison. (Batgirl is wearing her old Burnside costume for some reason, so I guess it’s all she had access to during this chaos.) Missions are assigned. The Green Lantern Corps will go to the six remaining Earths to tear down Perpetua’s antennas (power receptors made out of chained humans). Martian Manhunter will lead a team to destroy Perpetua’s throne (a repurposed Mobius Chair). Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman will lead the charge into the Dark Multiverse. Jarro will use his psychic powers to mask all of this from the bad guys. The end goal? To reboot the multiverse! Meanwhile, in the 5th Dimension, Lobo continues his quest, collecting more Death Metal for Luthor.

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

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

-Dark Nights: Death Metal – Robin King #1
Picking up directly from Dark Nights: Death Metal #4, the Darkest Knight begins re-creating the entire multiverse in his own image. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Superboy-Prime, the Flashes, Harley Quinn, and Swamp Thing are all knocked unconscious. The Robin King appears and quickly murders Animal Man, Red Tornado, and Blue Beetle (Ted Kord). Robin King is about to kill Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman as well, but the Darkest Knight tells him that playtime is over, tossing the Trinity through a portal to parts unknown. The Darkest Knight then re-introduces Robin King to the rest of the Groblins, who now worship Robin King as their supreme leader. Meanwhile, Robin (Tim Drake), Spoiler, Orphan, and Signal defeat the Dark Knight known as Quietus, who is a Dark Multiverse mashup of Batman, Ra’s al Ghul, and Signal.

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  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: Here are the Dark Forces and their oppositional Positive Forces in Scott Snyder’s overly Manichaean narrative that pits the Doom Totality against the Justice Totality. At this point in the story, the 7th Dark Force/Positive Force hasn’t yet been revealed.

    1. Still Force vs Speed Force
    2. Ultraviolet Spectrum vs Emotional Visible Light Spectrum
    3. Tear of Extinction/Death Force vs Life Force
    4. Void Wind vs Sphere of the Gods
    5. Black Apple vs Collective Unconscious
    6. Sixth Dimension vs Dimensional Superstructure

    As revealed in Flash Vol. 5 #80, the Still Force and the Speed Force are also “Cosmic Forces” (aka “energy fields”) that are linked to the other energy fields known as the Strength Force, Sage Force, and Forever Force. How (or if) these latter three energy fields fit into the Justice/Doom Totality remains to be seen.

7 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..

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