Rebirth Year Twenty (Part 1)

(January 2021 to June 2021)
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–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. 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.[1] 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. Also, Black Manta is shown in his sentient Mecha Manta suit, but I’m not sure that he’d still have it by this point.) 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 #26-29, Hawkman and Hawkwoman 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 (Hawkwoman) 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”—along with numerous other stories—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 escapade 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.[2]

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

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

–Dark Nights: Death Metal #1-3
Wonder Woman and Swamp Thing meet with Bat Mage, B-Rex, and Beyonder, who have captured and brought-in Wally West. Later, in Dead Bats Park, the Batman Who Laughs addresses his League of Dark Knights (Harley Quinn, Harley’s mutated hyena George, Aquaman, Dr. Arkham, Bathomet, Bat Mage, 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 (who had previously been time-displaced from the 1940s only to be killed upon arrival in the present chaos). Batman, Rock, and Hex rendezvous with the JSA (Alan Scott, Dr. Fate, Wildcat, and Jay Garrick) at Valhalla Cemetery (in the Hellscape aka what used to be Washington DC). Meanwhile, Wonder Woman, Wally West, and Swamp Thing commandeer Batmobeast (the living Bat-monster truck), accidentally running over and killing Batom en route to Valhalla. There, the heroes regroup as Batman Bat-stamps which deceased superheroes are worth 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 already dead, so no harm done. When questioned about his miraculous survival, Batman makes up a “Bat-Blocker” story and moves on, keeping his undead secret a secret. Superman then kayos a stunned Darkfather. The Darkest Knight and the Robin King infiltrate Valhalla Cemetery, forcing Wally, Barry, and Jay to flee. On New Apokolips, Batman and company free all the imprisoned superheroes from the super-prison. (Batgirl is wearing her old Burnside costume for some reason, so I guess it’s all she had access to during this chaos.) Missions are assigned. The Green Lantern Corps will go to the six remaining Earths to tear down Perpetua’s antennas (power receptors made out of chained humans). Martian Manhunter will lead a team to destroy Perpetua’s throne (a repurposed Mobius Chair). Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman will lead the charge into the Dark Multiverse. Jarro will use his psychic powers to mask all of this from the bad guys. The end goal? To reboot the multiverse! Meanwhile, in the 5th Dimension, Lobo continues his quest, collecting more Death Metal for Luthor.

–Dark Nights: Death Metal – Trinity Crisis #1
With all the collected heroes gathered, Wonder Woman goes over the plan of entering the Dark Multiverse to collect Crisis Energy (which can be stored in cosmic Alfred Boxes). (This gathering scene is also shown via flashback from Justice League Vol. 4 #54 and Justice League Vol. 4 #57.) The GLC heads toward Perpetua’s antenna while Martian Manhunter’s team heads toward her throne. The Trinity— along with Jarro, Swamp Thing, Jonah Hex, and Harley Quinn—heads toward Castle Bat. Swamp Thing becomes one with the Green, allowing the Trinity to enter Castle Bat from underground. As they travel, Jarro shares a vision of the Flash-Family running away from the Darkest Knight (an image straight from the pages of Dark Nights: Death Metal – Speed Metal #1). Underneath Castle Bat, the heroes fend-off 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 vanquish Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman as well, but the Darkest Knight tells him that playtime is over, tossing the Trinity through a portal back to the center of Gotham Castle. The Darkest Knight then re-introduces Robin King to the rest of the Groblins, who now worship Robin King as their supreme leader. Meanwhile, Robin (Tim Drake), Spoiler, Orphan, and Signal defeat the Dark Knight known as Quietus, who is a Dark Multiverse mashup of Batman, Ra’s al Ghul, and Signal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1027 Part 11. Note that this item, part of Dan Jurgens’ “Generations” arc, is said to specifically occur on October 1, but this is an impossibility. Since the very nature of “Generations” revolves around a damaged Hypertime in the wake of Death Metal, this actually gives us a fanwanky reason to ignore the month specificity. Onto a synopsis. Batman takes on a random costumed crook—the start of what will be a monthlong challenge perpetrated by an escaped Calendar Man. Calendar Man has set up a gauntlet wherein which Batman will face one foe on the 1st, two on the 2nd, three on the 3rd, and so on and so forth. While we won’t list these daily gauntlet runs on our timeline below, you can simply imagine them happening each day. We’ll catch up with Batman dealing with Calendar Man’s scheme on the final day of the month (with the main action of Detective Comics #1027 Part 11).

–Detective Comics #1027 Part 11
This item is said to specifically occur on Halloween night, but that is impossible and must be ignored. It’s been a full month of Batman dealing with Calendar Man’s scheming. Each night for the past thirty or so evenings, Batman has fended-off masked raiders in increasingly exponential number. After spending the night busting around thirty more henchmen at various locales, Batman takes down a few more at the Gotham Museum of Art, finally coming face-to-face with Calendar Man himself. The super-villain attempts to burn down the entire wing, but as Batman is preventing him from doing so, Hypertime glitches-out (thanks to lingering chronal juju from Death Metal), not only causing Batman to slide into October 6, 1939 of an alternate reality that vaguely mirrors the Golden Age, but to morph into an iteration of the Golden Age Batman (complete with looks and memories) as well. A version of Kamandi from an Earth-AD Hypertimeline, guided by a Hypertimeline version of Skeets, shows up to recruit Batman onto a super-team tasked with fixing the wonky time-anomaly.

–Generations Shattered #1 Part 2
Picking up directly from Detective Comics #1027 Part 11, Kamandi and Skeets take the 1939-altered Batman through the time-stream to Vanishing Point at the End of Time (at least at the end of some Hypertimeline anyway) to meet the rest of the ragtag team, which includes pre-Zero Hour-styled Steel, a Bronze Age-styled Starfire, an alt-Green Lantern Sinestro, Booster Gold (seemingly from the same Hypertimeline as Kamandi), pre-Zero Hour-styled Dr. Light (Kimiyo Hoshi), and pre-Zero Hour-styled Superboy. At Vanishing Point, the heroes learn that not only has Hypertime literally shattered like a broken window (thanks to Death Metal), but great waves of destructive energy have been erasing entire Hypertimelines as well. The Linear Men (Hypertimeline versions of Linear Man, Linear Woman, Matt Ryder, Artemis, Eradicator, Knockout, Major Force, Nemesis Kid, OMAC, and Ultra-Humanite) then appear, attacking our heroes. Unknown to all, Dominus (from the primary local multiverse’s Realm of Order) is controlling them, hoping to take advantage of the situation. Each hero is blasted to a random Hypertimeline, forced to fend for themselves. Batman, along with an alt-JSA, takes on OMAC in some 1940s Hypertimeline, but Dominus shatters the various Hypertimelines and gathers all the combatants in what is likely the Realm of Order. After a brief scuffle, Dominus casts the heroes into the “chaos of crumbling time,” which is basically a bunch of Hypertimelines violently smashing together like pieces of different puzzles trying to connect into one unified history. As before, the heroes are separated onto different worlds, with Batman arriving on a version of the dystopian Earth-AD. Convinced that he has won the day, Dominus sheds his fighting garb and rejoins his wife and two children.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. [1]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.

  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: Here is the complete Dark Nights: Death Metal timeline, complete with non-Batman stories included. Stories that feature Batman are highlighted in bold.

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

13 Responses to Rebirth Year Twenty (Part 1)

  1. James Mahoney IV says:

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

    Oh, and happy new year!

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

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

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

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

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

  2. James Hunter says:

    Collin,

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

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

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

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

  3. Austin Eaton says:

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

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

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

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

      • Austin Eaton says:

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

  4. Antonio says:

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

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

  5. Frank says:

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

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

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

    If so, do you plan to update this?

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

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

    It’s a little bit confusing…

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

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

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

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

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