"Year One Era" (YEAR SIX)
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62. Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (Continued...)
Dark Victory ends in September of this year. In May, The Flying Graysons are murdered and Dick Grayson moves into Wayne Manor (after spending less than a month in an orphanage). By September, Dick makes his first public appearance as Robin, even though he is still in the middle of his training, which will last at least six months. Also, Sophia Gigante is revealed as the mysterious Hangman serial killer. Also, the man responsible for the death of the Graysons, Tony Zucco, "dies" of a heart attack. Zucco doesn't actually die, so either Batman is lying to Robin when he says it, or he is premature in assuming Zucco is dead. In acuality, Zucco begins a long jail term in a coma. And then the rest of the year is INSANE. There is so much going on here in Bat-Year Six because many writers in the Modern Age reference events which happen to the Dynamic Duo in Robin's first full year. I'll add bullets to keep the stuff straight for ya. Good luck.
--The tragic death of The Flying Graysons is also chronicled through flashback in Batman #436. Not only is Bruce present, but so is a nearly four year-old toddler Tim Drake. The Flying Graysons death scene is also shown through flashback in Secret Origins 80-Page Giant #1, but Tim is incorrectly referred to as being seven years-old instead of going on four. Secret Origins Vol. 2 #50 also contains a Denny O'Neil prose version of the death of the Flying Graysons. After his parents' deaths Dick spends some time in an orphanage before being adopted as Bruce Wayne's ward. A one page flashback from Legends of the DCU #6 occurs next, where Batman has just teamed with Superman and Dick asks him what the Man of Steel is like. Batman #436 indicates that Dick spends at least six months training with Bruce and tutoring with Alfred before donning the Robin costume. This info can also be confirmed straight from Nightwing Secret Files #1 which has a Robin time-line. However, since DC editors have made Dark Victory the ultimate resource regarding Robin's origin, the only reliable information from Batman #436 is the chronicling of Dick's short time at the orphanage.
It would also be wise to include a caveat regarding "Robin Year One" by Chuck Dixon/Jason Armstrong from Robin Annual #4 (1995), which also shows the death of the Flying Graysons, Dick's time spent in an orphanage before adoption by Bruce, and his eventual transformation into Robin. This story actually takes over a year to complete as Batman trains Dick for almost a year before putting him in costume, which is impossible. This epic tale concludes with the arrest of criminal Tony Zucco (also shown in Dark Victory) and death of circus ringmaster Stan Rutledge. Zucco actually has a heart attack and begins his jail sentence in a coma. Based upon this information, I think it is highly likely that this tale is out-of-continuity. Or maybe only the end part of the story is in-continuity. Messy, I know. Not to mention, Robin Annual #4 is narrated by an adult Dick Grayson, which technically makes it a flashback anyway. Speaking of flashbacks, "Batman Year Three" by Marv Wolfman/Pat Broderick from Batman #436-439 (1989) contains a canonical flashback story which re-tells the origin of Dick Grayson as Robin and fills in some gaps in the Robin origin story. Of course, as we've stated before, the label "Year Three" is a loose term and exists only to give the "Year" stories a sense of chronological order. According to our time-line, this would actually be on the cusp of Bat-Year Five and Six. I should also mention that Batman: Turning Points #2 by Ed Brubaker shows Gordon meeting Robin, but is non-canon because Gordon is still a captain in it and also because it contradicts Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet. LOTDK #100 by Denny O'Neil/Dave Taylor (November 1997) is, and was always meant to be, an out-of-continuity alternate re-telling of Robin's origin story. Totally non-canon. Likewise, the Robin origin story as told in Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13 is out-of-continuity as well.
–The wonderful Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet by Bruce Canwell/Lee Weeks (1997) takes place now (immediately following the conclusion of Batman: Dark Victory in September). The basic events of The Gauntlet definitely occur, since they are referenced in multiple future issues. However, there are two main continuity errors that make me hesitant to “officially” list it on my chronology with a number. Error #1: Gordon is still a captain–he should be the commissioner. Error #2: It takes place in June, and ends on the fourth of July–it must take place later than that. In fact, according to Dark Victory, Bruce only first reveals his identity as Batman to Dick on the fourth of July. If we ignore these two items, then the story fits perfectly. In any case, the basic plot elements of The Gauntlet remain canonical. Robin is put through a “final exam” where he runs a twenty-four hour gauntlet through the city while Batman silently stalks him. During the test, Robin is able to systematically shut down Joe Minette‘s criminal organization and send the mob boss to prison. Afterward, Batman introduces Robin to Gordon.
--Robin poses in his Robin suit (as seen via a single-panel flashback in Nightwing Vol. 2 #101). Batman tells him that it would be wiser to wear long leggings instead of a speedo, but Robin really digs his digs.
--Robin goes on his first official on-patrol outing with Batman and is told to wait in the car while the Dark Knight trails the Joker into a mansion (as seen through flashback in Detective Comics #866). Inside, the Joker tries to steal a sacred medallion that belongs to the Order of St. Dumas. Joker gets away when Batman is attacked by a man wielding a flaming sword (an Order of St. Dumas member, possibly even the father of Jean-Paul Valley, therefore possibly Azrael). Outside Joker gets in a confrontation with small-time thief Loomis before Robin ambushes the Joker from behind, leaving him for the cops. Meanwhile, Loomis gets arrested for a crime he didn't commit; the theft of the medallion. I should mention that Bruce is wearing the wrong yellow-oval costume in this flashback. Ignore.
--Robin deals with a bunch of C-Listers pretty much right out of the gate, so we can probably add The Cluemaster, Firefly, Killer Moth, Spellbinder, The Calculator, and The Getaway Genius to the villains that should probably appear around this time.
--Starman #9 shows a canonical flashback which details the origins of both the original Blockbuster (Marc Desmond) and his criminal brother Roland Desmond. Batman and Robin will deal with this duo right now as well.
--The villains Tweedle-Dum, Tweedle-Dee, Signalman, Crazy Quilt, Eraser, Kite Man, Mr. Polka-Dot (aka Polka-Dot Man), Mad Hatter II (aka Hat Man), and The Cavalier also make their first appearances here. We do know for sure that after his first tangle with Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee, Batman keeps their hats and puts them on display in the trophy room of the cave. We also know that his encounter with Signalman involved the villain robbing the Gotham Trust and using smoke signals as clues (as mentioned in Robin #149). In Trinity #18 there is a flashback that illustrates the Dynamic Duo having just defeated a yellow and red clad supervillain that has moons and stars all over his cape. I didn't realize who this was at first, but duh, it's the debuting Signalman!
--Batman and Robin will also encounter the villain known as The Bowler around this time. Bruce will take giant bowling pins as trophies from this encounter and display them in the Batcave. (Original story from Detective Comics #238, but there is a canonical two page flashback spread depicting this encounter in Detective Comics #725 as well).
--Robin also passes his "ambush" training test, successfully surprising (kind of) the Dark Knight inside the Batcave (as seen through flashback in Batman #687).
--The flashback tale recounted in Ron Marz/Bernie Wrightson's "Splash" (from Batman Hidden Treasures #1) occurs now. When a serial killer begins knocking off homeless people in the sewers, Batman suspects Solomon Grundy. Batman tracks Grundy to Slaughter Swamp after the villain kidnaps a homeless man. In a twist, the Dark Knight learns that Grundy's "victim" is actually the serial killer. Thus, Grundy, who surprisingly has a bunch of hobo pals, saves the day.
63. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #1-8 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (July 2008 to December 2008)
Batman takes on Scarecrow, the Axeman, and Man-Bat before realizing that they are all acting strangely and obviously under the control of another person. Meanwhile, a mysterious serial killer has been literally stealing people's hearts. It doesn't take long for Batman to realize that the killer, known as Midnight, is controlling the villains using experimental drugs. Midnight hires Clayface to attack Batman, which results in a Godzilla-like battle with a gigantic Clayface fighting Batman in a giant robot. On Halloween night, Joker briefly teams-up with Midnight and the former kidnaps some kids. Midnight unsuccessfully tries to kill Batman when the Caped Crusader arrives to save the children. Midnight escapes, but Batman is able to find the villain's secret lair. When Batman infiltrates the lair, a drug-controlled Killer Croc is waiting to ambush him. Batman easily takes down Croc, but Midnight is long gone. Meanwhile, Batman begins a romantic affair (!) with GCPD Lieutenant April Clarkson. Midnight continues murdering dozens, and even kills Mayor Gill. This first half of Gotham After Midnight ends with Chapter 2 of issue #8. There are a few errors which must be addressed before moving on. First, Jeremiah Arkham is mentioned as the head of Arkham Asylum. However, he won't be working there until Bat-Year 13. Also, Batman and Green Arrow are shown patrolling Gotham on Halloween night, and Ollie knows that Bruce is Batman. This is wrong. Ollie doesn't know yet. And last but not least, Niles and Jones have given Batman a whole new array of mad-science gadgets and vehicles that we've never seen before and we will never see again (outside of this story-arc), so I don't even really know what to say about that. Oh well.
NOTE: Bruce Wayne is named People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" for the second year in a row (as mentioned in a flashback from Batman Confidential #52). What a heartthrob. This important announcement takes place during the overlapping portions of Gotham After Midnight and Robin: Year One.
ANOTHER NOTE: Batman and Robin crash into Two-Face's West Side hideout and rough of some of his henchmen (as mentioned in Batman #710). Robin has yet to meet Two-Face face-to-face/face. This note takes place during Gotham After Midnight and Robin: Year One.
YET ANOTHER NOTE: Batman and Robin bust some random thugs (as seen via flashback in Nightwing Vol. 2 #56). Super assassin Shrike observes from the shadows. While Batman and Robin don't meet him yet, Shrike will factor heavily into the concurrently running Robin: Year One. This note also takes place during Gotham After Midnight as well.
64. Robin: Year One by Chuck Dixon/Scott Beatty/Javier Pulido (2000)
Moving on. Robin: Year One is a great four-issue story that not only follows up on Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet, but helps further define Robin's early days superbly. In issue #1 Robin takes on The Mad Hatter one-on-one and beats him. Gordon mentions that he has adopted Barbara Gordon as his daughter. (He actually would have had custody of her for at least two years at this point). And let's not forget, Dick enters public school! Also, sadly, Chuck Dixon screws up here and makes Gordon a captain by mistake. We must ignore this–he is definitely the commish.
In issue #2 Robin takes down Killer Moth and Blockbuster, and we also learn he's faced off against Cluemaster and Firefly. Overconfident after these easy victories, Dick goes in a bit too headstrong against Two-Face and gets his ass kicked.
Issue #3 picks up where the last one leaves off. Leslie Tompkins (drawn with red hair and too young looking, but oh well) saves Dick's life and Bruce says he can't be Robin anymore. So, naturally, Dick goes on a solo-mission out-of-costume and takes down Mr. Freeze (who is still wearing his red and green costume).
By issue #4 Dick has decided to leave Wayne Manor for good when he runs into Shrike, a deadly member of The League of Assassins. He enrolls Dick into his "Vengeance Academy", a martial-arts training program for teenagers. It's not long before Dick realizes that Shrike is bad news and wants his students to steal and kill. Batman learns of Dick's situation and comes to his aid, rescuing him from the middle of a Shrike/Two-Face brawl. The Dynamic Duo is reunited and reformed.
By the time Robin: Year One is over Alfred says "the Holidays have come and passed." We can assume the date is around January. This means that the end of Robin: Year One overlaps with Batman: Gotham After Midnight.
65. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #8-9 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (December 2008 to March 2009)
As I've just said, the end of Robin: Year One overlaps with these issues of Batman: Gotham After Midnight. Our story picks up at Chapter 2 of issue #8, three days until Christmas. Robin is absent from this tale, which is appropriate because he would have been training with Shrike at the time. Batman's girlfriend April Clarkson is killed by Midnight. A saddened Dark Knight is unable to stop the murders from continuing. Midnight then captures and drugs Catwoman, turning her into his slave. For the huge SPOILER regarding the death of April Clarkson, see bullet #66 on this page.
66. "Robin & Superman: Fear of God" by Kelley Puckett/Dave Taylor/Kevin Nowlan (Legends of the DCU #6) July 1998
Robin meets the Man of Steel and they team-up to fight some gangsters in Gotham.
NOTE: Anytime you see the words "re-imagined" it's out-of-continuity. For example, the first three Superman/Batman Annuals are "re-imagined tales from yesteryear", meaning re-told Silver Age stories (originally from the 60s and 70s) just for giggles. Although, the first one is a great story worth checking out involving Deathstroke, Owlman, Ultraman, and Deadpool (yes, the one from Marvel... check it out, it's amazing).
67. "Mask" by Bryan Talbot (LOTDK #39-40) November 1992 to December 1992
"Mask" starts at about nine months into Batman's sixth year and would explain his absence in the "Robin & Superman" story. In "Mask," Batman is heading home after finishing up a routine crime-bust when he passes out unexpectedly. When he awakes, he is in a hospital, weak, malnourished, and heavily drugged. The staff tells him that he is Bruce Wayne, an alcoholic wreck who has lived a life of failure and misery. His doctor tells him that Batman isn't real and all of his adventures to date have been a construct of his demented mind. Bruce is confused, scared, and keeps having nightmares and hallucinations. Finally, with a little help, Bruce is able to escape his room and realize the horrible truth.
His "doctor" is actually Steven Gallagher, son of Raymond Gallagher, a small time money launderer who's life was ruined by Batman. In order to get revenge for his family, Gallagher has unleashed a radical scheme. First, he set up a fake break-in to attract Batman's attention. Once occupied, Gallagher shot Batman with a tranquilizer rifle and dragged him to a set made up to look like a hospital.
After nearly seven weeks (!) of post-hypnotic suggestion and heavy drugging, Gallagher revives Bruce. He then proceeds to disassemble his mind piece by piece, which is easy, especially since he knows that Batman is really the famous Bruce Wayne. After a week of psychological torture, the "nurse," who was a prostitute hired to play the part, helps Bruce to free himself. In the end, the nurse and Gallagher wind up shooting each other and Bruce escapes with his secret identity intact.
I should also mention a bit of information that was pointed out to me by blog-follower Shawn regarding this story. The 1996 TPB Batman: Dark Legends contains a bunch of collected LOTDK stories, including Bryan Talbot's "Mask." However, DC editors, in the trade, have curiously included an extra single splash page to "Mask" which was originally omitted from the original 1992 single issue. This splash page definitely shows that Bruce, in this tale, is actually NOT Batman, but simply a delusional crazy person. Obviously, the inclusion of this splash page would change the entire narrative and render this tale non-canon. For the purposes of this chronology, I will go with the more open-texted original 1992 version of "Mask." Thanks for spotting this unique occurrence, Shawn!
68. "Geometry" by Dan Jurgens/Norm Rapmund (Superman #700) August 2010
Bruce plays billionaire party-boy dummy for a night instead of patrolling. Dick is confined to quarters and must finish his homework before Bruce gets back home. No solo costumed adventuring! But when arms dealers are up to no good in Gotham, Robin sneaks out and fights them on his own. Robin nearly dies until Superman shows up, saves him, and nabs the bad guys. Supes then rushes Dick home and into bed, even doing Dick's homework for him. Bruce is fooled! That is until Clark and Dick realize they've left Robin's motorcycle at the scene of the crime. Nice try.
69. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #10-12 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (April 2009 to June 2009)
It is Valentine's Day and Midnight has continued to collect human hearts for months now. Midnight has also been able to use experimental drugs to control Catwoman, Man-Bat, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, and The Axeman for the past several months as well. Midnight sends these drug-controlled warriors to attack Batman, but the Dark Knight is able to fend them off when Catwoman shakes off her puppet strings and switches sides. Batman then slugs it out one-on-one with Midnight and the latter winds up dying in a fire. But Bruce isn't satisfied. The investigation continues, and Bruce finds out the horrible truth about Midnight's secret identity. Midnight was his girlfriend, April Clarkson, the whole time! She had faked her death at Christmas-time. Mercifully, this horrid story ends with this dumb twist and we can all move on.
70. "Teenage Sidekick" by Paul Pope (Solo #3) April 2005
Paul Pope's short from his award-winning Solo issue. Robin gets nabbed by Joker. Batman saves him. Cool stuff!
--A four-month-long investigation culminates with charges being brought against Bruce citing that he is an unfit guardian for Dick (as seen via flashback in Nightwing Vol. 2 #75). At a custody trial, an attorney cites seven bachelor parties, eighteen late night female guests, and several injuries that Dick has sustained as reasons that the boy should be remanded to state custody. The parties and late night guests have not been listed on our chronology, but are a part of Bruce's ever ongoing campaign to appear as the ultimate playboy. Bruce is constantly keeping up appearances, so we must imagine these items, along with many others, scattered randomly throughout the timeline. Of course, the state loses this case and Bruce gets to keep custody of Dick.
--Bruce and Alfred re-organize the Batcave trophy room, which is now filled with items that Batman barely recalls ever receiving (as seen through flashback in Batman #682). Bruce ponders aloud, "It seems like our entire lives these past couple of years belong in the Black Casebook."
--Batman and Robin take down Joker in a plot that involves a pair of giant dice, which the Dynamic Duo keep for the trophy room (as seen depicted in the Batcave in numerous other Batman tales). Since we will see (and have already seen) various bizarre trophies on display in the Batcave, we can assume that Batman will have other adventures this year that will result in the obtaining of other trophies, such as dozens of portraits, marble statues, and others. While not listed, we must assume that these adventures that net trophies must be scattered throughout the chronology.
--We should also mention Joe Chill right about now. As you may or may not know, Joe Chill is the gangster that gunned down Bruce's parents. The events of Zero Hour retconned him out of existence, so at that point Batman simply never knew who committed the crime. However, the events of Infinite Crisis overruled or reversed some of the effects of Zero Hour, and thus, Joe Chill, once again, had always been the Wayne murderer. Therefore, Joe Chill is in-continuity as the man who shot Thomas and Martha Wayne. It is around this point in our timeline that Batman will learn that Joe Chill was responsible for his parents' deaths and confront him. This amazing flashback sequence detailing this confrontation is shown in Batman #673 by Grant Morrison/Tony Daniel. After tracking down Chill, Bruce reveals the original gun that killed his parents and hands it over to Chill. (We learned that Bruce kept the murder weapon in Batman Confidential #1 and also in Detective Comics #575). Batman then proceeds to scare the shit out of Chill and basically tells him that his life will be a living Hell from now on courtesy of the Dark Knight. Batman's psychological terror is done. He leaves. Joe Chill shoots himself. The end.
--While we are at it, this would be the era where Bruce and Dick get a dog named Ace!
--The Batman: Black & White flashback from the end of Batman: Gotham Knights #2 takes place now. Batman and Robin stop the drug-trafficking Lyman Brothers.
--And we should keep on keepin' on and mention that the Dynamic Duo captures the nefarious Dr. No-Face around this time (as originally told in Detective Comics #319). The case was referenced in 52.
--Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman team-up with a gathering of superheroes (including Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter) to battle the vile aliens known as the Appelaxians. The Appelaxians have the power to turn people into wood, crystals, or various other organic material. The battle against the Appelaxians is oft featured in flashbacks detailing the history of the JLA, most notably in DC Universe Legacies #3 and in a flashback within a flashback from Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0.
--The famous meeting between DC's Trinity occurs. Shortly after the DCU's major heroes unite to battle the Appelaxians, the big three meet up. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman decide its time step it up a notch and unite their fellow superhero comrades into the Justice League of America (as seen through flashback in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0). The initial League lineup features Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter. After the League is created, Batman and Superman don't actually join full-time until the end of this year. In fact, while Bruce agrees to join this League, he is very hesitant and untrustworthy of working with relative strangers. While Bruce bankrolls the construction of a high-tech HQ in Rhode Island, his apprehension in regard to the new League is so great, he doesn't even attend the first team meeting. Furthermore, Batman won't even interact with the JLA for another few months.
--The Joker unveils his famous "laughing fish" gag (one of the most beloved Steve Englehart Joker tales of all time), putting his signature smile on all the fish in Gotham Bay, and killing many people in the process. Joker's toxins spread across the entire Eastern seaboard, destroying aquatic life across half the Atlantic. This tale was originally from Detective Comics #475.
71. "The Fishy Laugh / Reign of the Joker!" by Steve Englehart/Trevor Von Eeden (Legends of the DC Universe #26-27) March 2000 to April 2000
Immediately following the events of Englehart's "laughing fish" story, Joker escapes from Batman and dives into Gotham Bay. Nearly drowning, Joker is rescued and given oxygen by an invading Atlantean army which has traced the source of the devastating pollution to Gotham. Aquaman meets Joker for the first time, and despite having recently been drafted into the JLA, Aquaman doesn't have much experience interacting with humans yet, nor does he seem to have any knowledge of human culture or history. A confused Aquaman is fooled into believing that Joker is "King of the Land". When Joker promises to help formulate a cure for the poisoned fishies of the sea, the invasion is halted, and the "King" is escorted to Atlantis. In Atlantis, Joker is able to seduce high ranking scientist Felua, who uses her political pull to influence the royal council to dethrone Aquaman from his seat of power. A disgraced Aquaman travels to Gotham and meets with Batman. (NOTE: Batman should not be wearing the yellow-oval costume yet. Ignore.) The two heroes have only met once before and are weary of each other, despite the fact that they are both affiliated with the JLA. Batman gives Aquaman the Joker Venom antidote and sends him on his way. Back in Atlantis, Aquaman outs Joker as a fraud and reclaims his throne from a puppet monarch which had been appointed by Joker and Felua. Joker escapes back to Gotham unharmed with his Atlantean lover, but the GCPD and the Dark Knight find Felua's grinning corpse washed up near the docks a day later.
SO MANY NOTES IT WILL MAKE YOUR HEAD SPIN:
--Green Arrow joins the Justice League and begins secretly bankrolling all of the team's operations using his vast wealth as Oliver Queen (as referenced in Legends of the DCU #12).
--The JLA makes teenager Snapper Carr their official mascot/honorary member of the team (as referenced in Hourman #1). The Hourman series tells us Snapper was the team's mascot for several years. However, with all the time compression of these early years, this just isn't the case. Snapper will be the JLA mascot for around a year-and-a-half.
--The events of Batman/Deadman: Death and Glory by James Robinson/John Estes (1996) take place here and now. I'm not numbering this story, however, because I believe that it has been heavily retconned (or should be). In this lackluster tale, Batman gets possessed by an evil spirit known as The Clown. While under possession of this vile apparition, Batman murders a room full of innocent people. Let me repeat this. Batman stabs to death dozens of people. Eventually, with help from Deadman (and Felix Faust and an AIDS patient), Batman clears his name and exorcises The Clown. While the events which occur in this story are canon, Batman's mass murders definitely are not. If Batman killed even one person, let alone dozens, and even if he was possessed, it would have way more significance and impact on his life and upon future story-arcs. This horrible act is never mentioned again and that is simply unbelievable/unacceptable. Therefore, either we disregard this entire tale as an Elseworlds thing, or we can read Death and Glory as if Batman simply attacked some people while possessed instead of horribly butchered them.
--Secret Origins #44 by Mike W. Barr/Keith Giffen has a great in-continuity flashback to a Basil Karlo aka Clayface I origin that involves the Dynamic Duo during this time period. After Batman and Robin's skirmish with Clayface, Bruce keeps Karlo's mask and puts it on display in the trophy room of the cave.
--"Grimm" by J.M. DeMatteis/Trevor Von Eeden from LOTDK #149-153 (2002) is another in-continuity flashback story narrated by Nightwing as he peruses the old files of the Batcave computer. In the issue, we jog down memory lane and visit an old case that deals with the insane twin sister duo of Cyanide and Mother Grimm. Batman and a very green Robin battled them way back in the good ole days.
--We can also probably place the first appearance of Catman right around here too. "Heat" by Doug Moench/Russ Heath from LOTDK #46-49 (June 1993 to August 1993) is a Thomas Blake origin story, but it's a completely different version of the character entirely, so this story is totally out-of-continuity.
--The "Super Powers" storyline takes place "seven years" before the mind-wipe scandal (as seen through flashback in Batman Confidential #50-54). However, this storyline should occur four years before the mind-wipe scandal to fit correctly into the timeline. This tale details how and why Batman finally decides to begin interaction with his fellow JLA teammates, whom he has been avoiding like the plague for the past few months (ever since halfheartedly agreeing to form the team following the Appelaxian affair). After over two weeks of investigation into a string of random kidnappings, Batman follows the criminal trail to an abandoned hockey arena where he discovers the barely-alive, emaciated victims attached to a giant alien-looking machine. Batman then fights a grotesque green-skinned, bug-eyed humanoid named Fortas and winds up with three broken ribs and a concussion. The Caped Crusader heals up and then breaks into JLA HQ to search the team's records for information regarding Fortas. While scanning the files, the JLA returns and attacks the intruder! Batman defeats the entire JLA with ease! IMPORTANT RETCON INFO: Before continuing, I should mention that Marc Guggenheim writes this story as if this is the first time Batman is interacting with these other heroes. Obviously, this is completely untrue. While the JLA very well might attack Batman for breaking into the HQ, they do know Batman way more than Guggenheim elaborates. For example, Bruce would have been close friends with J'onn and Diana at this point. Moving on, J'onn has the team back down and the Dark Knight goes off to fight Fortas alone. In the end, the JLA helps Batman defeat Fortas and an army of "highly evolved" monster-people (the kidnapped victims transformed by the machine in the hockey arena). Following the victory, Bruce accepts his JLA transmitter and begins joining the team on missions from now on.
--I should also mention that Triumph is not only an original founding member, but initial leader of the JLA. However, on the JLA's first ever mission Triumph is transported to dimensional limbo where he will remain trapped for several years. When he eventually returns no one will have any memory of his existence. Triumph will be depressed because no one remembers him. Things will be okay for a while, but will turn ugly later on. But that's years away. Moving on.
--Batman meets other DCU superheroes Zatanna, The Atom, Hawkman, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, and Phantom Stranger. I should mention that Bruce has known Zatanna for a long time. They are very close friends and have been ever since they were little children.
--Everything that Batman does with the JLA is in-continuity and, therefore, is a part of his true history. The JLA will deal with all of the following over the course of this year (not necessarily in this order, except for Starro who definitely comes first): Starro, Xotar, Darkseid, Despero, The Injustice Society, The Royal Flush Gang, The Construct, Felix Faust, Dr. Destiny, Vandal Savage, Gorilla Grodd, Cheetah, Amazo, Professor Ivo, Kanjar Ro, Amos Fortune, The Lord of Time, The Key, Toyman, Brain Storm, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Libra, Simon Stagg, Goldface, and many, many more.
--The JLA would have had its first interactions with their semi-retired elder counterparts in the Justice Society of America around this time as well. The first meeting between the JLA and JSA is a team-up against the Crime Champions. Batman and Flash team with Dr. Fate to defeat Felix Faust, while the other JSA and JLA members defeat the other Crime Champions (as seen through flashback in DC Universe Legacies #4).
--After an early JLA victory over Amazo (which is shown through flashback in Blackest Night #0), Flash gets Superman's autograph for a trophy room he is building "above his garage". Green Lantern asks Flash if he wants his autograph too. Flash says, "Maybe later". Ha! (as seen through flashback in Action Comics #850).
--Another early team-up between the JLA and JSA pits the heroes against the powerful evil magician Mordru (as originally told in Justice League of America #148 and referenced in many, many other issues, including Action Comics #864). During this confrontation, the JLA and JSA meet and are assisted by the time-traveling superheroes from the 30th Century; the Legion of Superheroes. (Superman has already met the Legion and even served as an official 30th Century Legionnaire while adventuring during his youth as "Superboy").
--The JLA defeats the Shaggy Man in the Canadian Rockies (as seen through flashback in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #43). Afterward, the team discovers a hidden alien artifact of unknown origin.
--The flashback from JLA 80-Page Giant #2 occurs now. In this flashback tale, Oliver Queen suspects that Bruce is Batman, but is thrown off the correct trail.
--The laughing contest held between Robin and the Joker would have taken place now as well (as referenced in Batman #682). The flashback sequences from Batman #682 show a more light-hearted Batman, who mellows out a lot with the addition of a young sidekick who tells jokes and muses about what life would have been like in the "times of Hamlet". Speaking of Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime begins his "pop-crime" phase, scheming with extreme silliness, using wild puzzles and Joker-faced helicopters and such.
--Batman and Robin will meet and befriend Professor Carter Nichols, who has developed time-traveling technology. Nichols' "hypnosis tech" (nicknamed the "Maybe Machine") allows the user to attach himself to a high-tech device which sends an avatar of himself into the past. The process is similar to astral projection, except the avatar body is exactly the same as the user's real body and can impact and interact with the physical world normally. Nichols won't go public with his time-travel device even though he would have easily become the next Einstein and made millions. The reason for this is because decades ago, Nichols turned his back on the criminal organization known as The Black Glove led by Simon Hurt, and is thus, now forced to live in obscurity (as we learn in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5). However, Nichols will trust the Dynamic Duo with his secret and the heroes will go on several exploratory jaunts to the past, but not too many, since this a dangerous undertaking. The adventures dealing with Carter Nichols are originally from Batman #24 (1944), but made canon in Batman #700.
--The Case of Dana Drye occurs now (as seen in Batman #14). Batman and Robin attend a "Meeting of the World's Greatest Detectives" during which master sleuth Dana Drye is mysteriously murdered. Batman eventually solves the case when he finds Drye's diary. The diary becomes a mainstay in the trophy room of the cave.
--The Case of Judge Clay occurs now as well (as seen in Detective Comics #441). Batman takes down the corrupt Judge Clay after the judge accuses Batman of a crime that the former is actually responsible for. Batman keeps Judge Clay's gavel as a trophy and displays in in the cave.
--Bruce's Uncle Silas Wayne, who thinks Bruce is a hopeless layabout, falls ill. Bruce reveals his identity as Batman to Uncle Silas, minutes prior to his death (as originally told in Batman #120).
--Batman constructs a mirror-walled, hallucination-inducing "Truth Chamber" interrogation room deep within the Batcave. After an altercation with Penguin, Batman captures one of his henchmen and uses the bizarre room to simultaneously terrify and question him (as originally told in Detective Comics #134 and made canon in Batman & Robin #16).
72. "A New Dawn" by Nunzio DeFilippis/Christina Weir/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (Batman Confidential #26-28) April 2009 to June 2009
"A New Dawn" brings Victor Goodman aka King Tut into official comic-continuity! Last time (and the only time) he was ever seen was on the old Adam West TV show from the 60s! Anyway, Batman teams-up with The Riddler (!) to bring King Tut to justice. Also, on the final page of the series, Tut's partner, Ankh, makes her debut. Let's hope we never see her again.
73. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight: Jazz #1-3 by Gerard Jones/Mark Badger (April 1995 to June 1995)
This is a strange homage to jazz music that reads more like a James Baldwin novel than a Batman comic... except for the bizarre jazz-themed criminal gang called The Brothers of Bop that Batman takes on during his investigation into the life of Blue Byrd (a Charlie Parker/Louis Armstrong analogue).
74. "Engines" by Ted McKeever (LOTDK #74-75) August 1995 to September 1995
This is one of my personal favorite LOTDK stories. Do yourself a favor and read everything Ted McKeever has ever done. He's a real genius poet and wonderful artist to boot. In "Engines" we bear witness to the crazed existential hell that Eustace Marker views the world as. Marker's vision is so distressing that he becomes a serial-killing vigilante and Batman is forced to apprehend him.
NOTE: Hawkman and the Atom officially join the JLA (as referenced in Secret Origins Vol. 2 #29).
ANOTHER NOTE: Black Canary joins the JLA and goes on her first mission with Green Arrow in Las Vegas (as seen in Black Canary Vol. 3 #1). The rookies have been sent to protect the prime minister of Japan from a troupe of League of Assassins dressed as Elvis impersonators, led by Merlyn. This is Green Arrow’s first meeting with Black Canary, who he at first confuses with her mom. After the prime minister is safe, Batman, who had been overseeing, grades the duo, while the rest of the JLA checks in.
YET ANOTHER NOTE: Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) throws a charity benefit where he asks Bruce Wayne to take over his duty of financing the JLA (as seen via flashback in Legends of the DC Universe #12). At the charity event, Bruce slips into his Batman togs and helps his fellow JLAers defeat Packrat. After initially denying Ollie’s request, Bruce changes his mind and picks up the tab.
ONE MORE NOTE: Batman & Superman: World's Finest #2 is out-of-continuity, but the first annual Springtime meeting between The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel to commemorate the death of Harrison Gray still takes place now.