Year 15

(1981)
_______________________________

[1]

–World’s Finest Comics #267 Part 1
Superman and Batman are summoned to the Pentagon to meet with half of the Challengers of the Unknown (Kyle “Ace” Morgan and Professor Walt Haley), who tell  them that a government scientist named Dr. Charles Brock has been kidnapped to the Andes Mountains by a terrorist group known as The Gravity-Masters. The terrorists have not only forced Brock to build them a bomb that can destroy the entire planet, but they’ve also captured the other two Challengers (Matthew “Red” Ryan and Leslie “Rocky” Davis). While Batman and Haley infiltrate the Gravity-Masters’ Andes base and rescue Ryan, Superman and Morgan tackle the Gravity-Masters’ floating fortress above the North Pole, rescuing Davis and Dr. Brock. Superman destroys the fortress, leaving UN Peacekeeping troops to round-up the remaining Gravity-Masters.

–New Teen Titans #4
Note that New Teen Titans #1-4 is written with a summer setting, but we must ignore that due to Sliding-Time. When Zatanna feels powerful magickal tremors of evil, she guides the JLA (Batman, Hal Jordan, Hawkman, the Atom, and Wonder Woman) to the interdimensional realm of sorcery known as Azarath, which happens to be Raven’s place of birth. There, mistaking them for bad guys, the JLA prevents Raven and some wizards from performing an anti-Trigon spell. Raven appeals to her estranged mother Arella for help, but she turns her away. Back at Titans Tower (a massive Teen Titans HQ built by Dr. Silas Stone), Raven confers with her teammates, telling them they need to meet with the JLA to explain the situation. The Teen Titans, however, have been brainwashed by telepath Psimon of the Fearsome Five (Psimon, Dr. Light, Mammoth, Shimmer, and Gizmo). The Teen Titans listen to Raven, but thanks to Psimon’s brainwashing, they decide they need to kill the JLA! The Teen Titans board the JL Satellite, introduce their new lineup, and ambush the adults. An epically awesome battle ensues, but it’s cut short when Raven puts the JLA into a time-stasis. After the Teen Titans regain their marbles, Raven whisks them away to Azarath. The JLA easily escapes the time-stasis and appears in Azarath as well, picking up where they left off, immediately fighting the wizards that are trying to prevent Trigon’s arrival. Cue round two! The JLA vs Teen Titans battle royale erupts again, only stopped by a fiery pentagram lighting up the dark sky. Trigon has returned. He vows to destroy Earth, claiming that the first of his monsters, the demon Goronn, will soon come to kill everyone. Trigon then vanishes. Robin yells at the JLA for allowing this to happen, but Zatanna tells him Raven has used them and lied to them. Raven, in tears, cannot deny the manipulation. Everyone goes back home with their heads hung low.

–The Brave and The Bold #172
After Firestorm acts erratically and talks about blackouts during a JLA meeting, Batman tails him to Professor Martin Stein’s research lab only to find that Jason Bard is tailing Stein for a case as well. Firestorm appears and, as if in a trance, dispatches with Batman. The Dark Knight chases Firestorm to a hospital, watching him steal a pair of robotic arms, and then follows him to the site of a never-completed and now-abandoned nuclear power plant that was once designed by Stein. There, Batman witnesses the cause behind Firestorm’s behavior. A sentient nuclear core has come to life and has taken control of Firestorm. Batman listens as the core speaks about Ronnie Raymond, a name he’s never heard before. Firestorm then fights Batman, but accidentally destroys the core, freeing himself from its spell. Back in New York City, Jason Bard, having found a connection between Raymond and Stein, catches both of them together, but they lie about their relationship to throw him off. Firestorm’s dual secret identity is still a secret for now.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #500 Part 7Best of DC #10, and The Brave and The Bold #173. Batman begins carrying syringes, a small mirror, and aerosol tranquilizer gas (sleeping gas) in his utility belt.

–Detective Comics #500 Part 3
Batman prevents three jewelry thieves decked out in red from head to toe from robbing a high society penthouse party.

–Detective Comics #500 Part 5
February 2-5. When rumor that a deadly Chinese gang-lord called Gray Face has come to Gotham’s Chinatown to shake-down and extort merchants that haven’t been loyal to him, Batman is on the case. The Dark Knight suggests that Commissioner Gordon reach out to Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox, who might be able to name some of Gray Face’s next targets in the Chinese import/export world. After skulking around Chinatown as Batman, the Caped Crusader puts his civvies back on and, as Bruce, meets with Gordon and a Chinese businessman to discuss Gray Face. Later, Batman pays one of Gray Face’s victims a visit in the hospital, who claims that he was attacked by Gray Face’s dragons. Bruce wanders around Chinatown for three straight nights, taking in information as he strolls. Upon spotting a possible Gray Face target, shipowner Blair Gownset, Bruce switches to Bat-mode and tails him into an old restaurant, following him through a secret passage and through a  booby-trap-laced labyrinth. Winding up in the Dragon Room, Batman realizes that Gray Face’s earlier hospital victim had been dosed with a hallucinogenic hashish that caused him to see dragons. Batman is then captured by Gray Face’s henchmen and bound with ropes, forced to enact a Houdini escape routine. Although it takes him over an hour, Batman escapes, earning the respect of Gray Face’s henchmen. Gray Face then takes off his robe and mask revealing himself as Gownset. Defeated and exposed, Gownset straps a bomb to his chest and dons an elaborate devil costume, departing into the Chinese New Year Celebration, which has just begun outside. Gownset blows himself up. Case closed.

–Detective Comics #500 Part 7
After new reports come out that show that crime rates have drastically risen in Gotham over the past few years, Bruce holds a meeting with the Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors, encouraging them to vote yes to donating a whopping $2 million to the GCPD. Discouraged by the abysmal numbers, Batman tells Alfred that he is losing faith in the mission. On patrol, Batman is attacked by a criminal mastermind named Stryker, whose poison-toothed canine bites a chunk out of Batman’s arm. Batman drops into a coma and is delivered to a hospital by some cops that find him. Despite being in a coma, Batman is somehow able to subconsciously make his EEG send off a message in morse code. Robin reads the message, which is a call for Deadman. Sure enough, Deadman shows up, claiming that Bruce has one foot in the afterlife and he could sense his plea. Cary Bates, this is sheer lunacy, pal. Batman then flatlines and his spirit enters an afterworld limbo. In the pathway to the great beyond, Deadman tries to prevent Batman’s spirit from going past the point of no return. But the appearance of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s spirits stops ghost Batman in his ghost tracks. They tell him how proud they are of his war on crime, as do a multitude of other spirits that have been touched by the Dark Knight while they were alive. In the hospital room, despite having been clinically dead for minutes, Batman’s heart starts beating again. Deadman hops into Batman’s body and takes to the streets to find the mad poisoner and his toxic mutt. With Deadman and Batman co-sharing Batman’s dying body, the heroes begin an investigation that takes them to an upstate kennel. There, they kayo the dog and take a sample of its blood. The Deadman/Batman-controlled Caped Crusader fights Stryker, who gets killed by one of his own dogs. With the blood sample, doctors are able to synthesize an antitoxin, which saves Batman’s life.

–Best of DC #10
Batman takes on an escaped Penguin, who knocks out the Dark Knight with a gas-umbrella. Batman escapes captivity and busts Penguin and his henchmen.

–World’s Finest Comics #268
Mid to late February. When some priceless zodiac coins are stolen, Bruce knows that he will be targeted as he owns one of the twelve coins. After meeting with Commissioner Gordon, Batman returns home to find Alfred kayoed and the coin stolen from the penthouse. Alfred tells Batman that the culprit was a man with a lion’s head. After Morgan Edge, owner of one of the other coins, is also robbed in a similar fashion, Superman meets with Batman in Batcave II to discuss the matter. Superman studies pictures of the coins, realizing they are Atlantean. The Man of Steel visits his mermaid ex-girlfriend Lori Lemaris and her husband Ronal in Atlantis. A merman-wizard (as amazing as it sounds) tells Superman about the history of the zodiac coins, showing him one of them. A merman with a bull’s head then swims-in and steals the coin. Meanwhile, Batman does a little detective work and all signs point to Dr. Zodiac as the thief. Batman pays Dr. Zodiac a visit, but later finds that he has a seemingly airtight alibi for each of the dates the coins were robbed. In the weeks that follow, Batman and Superman war against the strange coin thief, who can morph into zodiac-monsters at will thanks to the power of the coins. After numerous defeats, Batman tails the zodiac-monster to his undersea lair. The World’s Finest then decide a little trickery is in order. They plant a fake coin in Bruce’s penthouse, luring the zodiac-monster in for the theft. Our heroes tail the monster back to his lair. Unable to morph into a new form due to the false coin, the zodiac-monster reverts back to his true form: Dr. Zodiac. After an easy bust, Bruce and Clark return the coins to their rightful owners.

–The Brave and The Bold #173-174
Batman busts a random bad guy, who spills the beans about an upcoming shipment of stolen jewels coming into Gotham Harbor. After the Guardians of the Universe lose contact with the entire Green Lantern Corps, one of the Guardians visits Batman, telling him that an imposter has joined their ranks, causing the problems. The Guardian helps Batman deal with the jewel smugglers, after which they depart for Ferris Aircraft Company just outside of Coast City, California. There, they find Hal Jordan, who has recently started working for Carol Ferris again. Except Hal has no memories of ever being a Green Lantern. With Carol and Tom Kalmaku watching, Batman puts Hal under hypnosis, finding that Sinestro is behind his mind-wipe. The Guardian uses his emerald powers to restore Hal’s mind and memories. The trio then travels to the planet Maltus where they meet with Hal’s old pal (and former Guardian) Appa Ali Apsa. Joining the trio, Appa Ali Apsa travels with them to Oa. There, the Green Lantern Power Battery, having been corrupted by Sinestro, spews out an emerald knight that attacks the heroes. After besting the knight, Appa Ali Apsa and Batman expose Sinestro, who reverts from a fake Guardian into his normal state. Using the energy stolen from the Green Lantern Power Battery, Sinestro controls all the Guardians, forcing them to fight against the arriving Green Lantern Corps—including Chaselon, Tomar-Re, Green Man, and others. An epic battle ensues, ultimately ending with Sinestro’s defeat. The Guardians offer Appa Ali Apsa immortality and a spot back on the roster, but he turns them down.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #251. Mid March. Batman, as he now does every year, sends a birthday card to Bob Haney at the DC Offices on Earth-Prime.

–Justice League of America #189-190
Mid March. Wonder Woman hangs out with Red Tornado, Kathy Sutton, and Traya Sutton in Central Park. Kathy mentions having met Red Tornado “months ago,” but that’s a ludicrous continuity error of a statement since they first met five years ago. Starro the Conqueror makes a dramatic return, attacking the heroes, who flee to the JL Satellite to heal-up and meet with Superman, Hal Jordan, Black Canary, and Firestorm. Shortly thereafter, these heroes fight Starro in Manhattan, but Starro emits millions of mini-starfish out of his body, all of which attach to the faces of the populace of the city, putting them under the alien creature’s control. The heroes battling Starro also fall mercy to this fate (except Red Tornado, who is an android and therefore invulnerable to Starro’s mind-control). In the Upper Bay just south of Manhattan, the rest of the JLA (Batman, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Elongated Man, Aquaman, Flash, and Zatanna) gather aboard a US Navy carrier. When reports of Starro’s attack hit the airwaves, the US Government orders the military destruction of the entire city of New York via nuclear strike! Batman and the rest of the JLA, representing cooler heads, ask for an opportunity to save NYC. The Navy gives them until nightfall before the nukes start flying. As they infiltrate NYC, Batman mentions that the Proteus affair took place “weeks ago,” but it actually occurred over three months ago. Gerry Conway’s time errors are really piling up in this issue, and I’m not sure why. The JLA splits up all over NYC, fending-off mini-Starros as they go. Batman defeats Black Canary in combat, but is unable to remove her starfish. Eventually, the heroes realize that extreme cold blocks Starro’s ability to mind-control. Thus, Zatanna casts a spell that lower the temperature around the Justice Leaguers, freeing them. The JLA then puts Starro on ice inside Grand Central Station.

–Detective Comics #501-502 (“THE MAN WHO SHOT AND KILLED MLLE. MARIE”)
When Alfred and Lucius Fox both receive startling telegrams about the death of “Mademoiselle Marie” that call them away to Paris immediately, Bruce tails them to the City of Lights. There, Batman takes-down some angry elderly ex-Resistance fighters, who are also embroiled in the Marie mystery, before meeting with the Sûreté Nationale. A Parisian detective named Dupré tells the Dark Knight the tale of WWII freedom fighter Anais Guillot, better known as Mademoiselle Marie, who was killed under mysterious circumstances at the end of the war. Dupré reveals that both Alfred (while working with British Intelligence) and Lucius (while working with the OSS) fought side-by-side with Marie (although not at the same time). Furthermore, rumor has it that a Parisian named Julia Remarque is Marie’s daughter—father unknown. Soon, Batman finds himself confronting Julia, Alfred, and Lucius in a flat across town. Not wanting Batman to be involved, Alfred sucker-punches Batman on the noggin, knocking him out. Julia and her adoptive father Jacques Remarque then accuse Alfred of killing Marie at the end of the war. Batman awakens, bound and tied to a beam, to bear witness to a kangaroo court held by Julia and ex-Resistance fighters. Batman breaks free and departs, saying he will prove Alfred’s innocence within twelve hours. An investigation takes the Dark Knight to the woman that last saw Marie alive. She tells Batman that a Nazi-sympathizer named Roget betrayed Marie’s cell. Of course, when Roget turns out to be Dupré, Batman busts him and hauls his ass to the Resistance court, exonerating Alfred. In the process, Batman also realizes that Julia’s father is none other than Alfred! Batman sees off Alfred and Lucius at the airport. A teary-eyed Alfred, who has known about and sent money to his daughter for decades, tells Jacques to finally tell her the truth once the plane takes off.[2]

–The Brave and The Bold #175
A radioactive-poisoned Metallo (Roger Corben) steals from uranium from STAR Labs in Gotham, after which he fights Batman to a stalemate! The next day, Lois Lane visits Bruce, asking for an audience with Batman. She tells Bruce that Metallo needs wither uranium or Kryptonite in order to survive. She also reveals that Metallo is hunting down the man who turned him into a robotic freak, Dr. John Cranshaw, former head of the criminal organization known as SKULL. After night falls, Batman is on-hand for a meet-up between Cranshaw and Lois. Of course, Metallo strikes, leading to round two between Batman and the radioactive villain. Metallo defeats Batman and takes the Dark Knight and Cranshaw captive inside STAR Labs. Batman escapes captivity, defeats a giant killer robot, and confronts Metallo, who has been weakened by a Cranshaw tune-up. Metallo blasts Batman with radiation, but Lois saves the day, swinging down from a hook and knocking-out the weakened villain. Batman takes down Cranshaw for good measure. Both Cranshaw and Metallo go to jail.

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman: Belt ‘em For Safety, a mini-foldout comic commissioned by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and published in early 1981, is one of the rarest and most expensive-to-purchase Batman-related items that exists today. It is out-of-continuity, canon only on Earth-B.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: The adventures of Anais “Mademoiselle Marie” Guillot were originally told in the Star Spangled War Stories series. Notably, Star Spangled War Stories reveals that Anais dates Sgt. Rock before hooking up with Alfred! In fact, the Modern Age version of Anais survives the war and has a child with Sgt. Rock instead of Alfred.