This is it. The final Bat-Year before the Modern Age begins. There aren't many specific stories here because they are mostly be non-continuity pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths tales. However, there is plenty of important stuff that happens during this year that is based upon the framework of those aforementioned tales and therefore, canon. I won't number them, but as usual I will use bullets. So, here we go...
NOTE: Batman defeats Packrat and stops him from activating a shrink bomb aboard Green Arrow's jet (as referenced in Legends of the DC Universe #13).
ANOTHER NOTE: Batman meets enfatuated/pesky journalist Vicki Vale, who desperately wants to find out his secret ID (as referenced in Batman #403). There aren't any specific references to her appearances until next Bat Year, but we must imagine that she trails the Dark Knight on most of his cases this year.
105. "Critical Mass" by Christopher Priest/Ken Lashley (Legends of the DC Universe #13) February 1999
Before we begin, I should mention that writer Chris Priest refers to Superman and Batman as "friends" of the Justice League. They are definitely more than friends; they are members of the JLA. Let's catch us up to speed. Green Arrow has left the JLA in an attempt to find inner peace and become a Buddhist monk. Flash, Zatanna, Hawkman, Aquaman, and Green Lantern have all grown to King Kong size and suffer from dementia thanks to the manipulations of an evil force. Black Canary, Firestorm, and Red Tornado are injured and out of action. Thus, it's up to Batman and Green Arrow (who ditches his monk attire for his fighting togs) to save the day. The duo gets a shrink bomb, previously in the possession of Packrat and joins up with Atom and Superman, who are in the middle of fighting/helping the tortured mutant monster known as Thorak. Eventually, the entire JLA is revived and restored to its prior condition thanks to the shrink bomb and a little secret assistance from former JLA mascot Snapper Carr.
--The early months of Bat-Year Ten are rough for Bruce as the messy "mind-wipe scandal" occurs (as referenced through flashback during the events of Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer/Rags Morales in 2004 and The OMAC Project by Greg Rucka in 2005). The "mind-wipe scandal" is, technically, a four-part affair. The first part begins when all the JLA members' minds and bodies are magically swapped with the minds and bodies of the Secret Society of Supervillains during a battle with Agamemno. This, of course, is bad because the evil team discovers all of the JLA secret identities. This story is not only referenced in Identity Crisis, but is also re-told in the quasi-canonical The Silver Age (2000) series. (Unrelated to the scandal, Batman begins compiling extensive detailed data on both villains and heroes alike after the original Agamemno encounter. This will lead to further scandal in the future). After reversing the body-swap spell, Zatanna, in a move believed necessary, erases all of the villains' memories regarding the encounter. In past years the League had gotten into a bad habit of erasing villains' memories after their secret identities had been outed. Brainwave, Dr. Destiny, Floronic Man, and Felix Faust had all had their memories blanked several times before.
--The second part of the "mind-wipe scandal" occurs a few months after the Agamemno affair. While the JLA is battling Hector Hammond planet-side, Dr. Light is able to infiltrate the JLA satellite and rape Elongated Man's wife, Sue Dinby (as referenced through flashback in Identity Crisis and The OMAC Project). After being caught in the vile sexual assault by the JLA (minus the big three), Light threatens to hurt the other heroes' families and even makes the reprehensible declaration that he will rape the other heroes' wives as well. The team (still minus the big three) takes a vote and agrees the best course of action is for Zatanna to not only mind-wipe the villain, but to alter his personality to ensure that he never again commits so heinous a crime. Zatanna scrambles Light's brain, turning him permanently into a goofy, harmless supervillain stereotype. However, Batman stumbles upon the team in the midst of scrambling Light's brain. Batman is outraged at the unethical procedure and as his ire grows, the rest of the League is forced to restrain him. Shockingly, they "mind-wipe" Batman (!) and he won't remember the details of this event until much, much later. When he does, you can be rest assured that he will be pissed off. And there is nothing scarier than a pissed off Batman. I should also mention that Zatanna uses her magic to repress Martian Manhunter's memories regarding these events should he ever read their minds telepathically. The scene depicting Batman's mind-wipe is also shown in the "Super Powers" storyline which I've included next on our list.
106. "Super Powers" by Marc Guggenheim/Jerry Bingham (Batman Confidential #50-54) January 2011 to May 2011
This tale overlaps with the end of the previous "mind-wipe scandal" flashback from Identity Crisis and The OMAC Project. As I've already mentioned, when Batman returns to the JLA satellite he is mind-wiped by Zatanna and company. While under mystical hypnosis, Bruce has a fevered flashback to "seven years ago" (should correctly be "four years ago") to his first official JLA mission against Fortas. While under Zatanna's trance, Bruce also has recalls his early training days in China where he was killed by a metahuman named Huairen. Yes KILLED. Apparently, when Bruce was around nineteen or twenty, he died but was immediately resurrected by a metahuman named Ri. We also learn that Bruce, at this time, drank a magical elixir that granted him temporary super-powers, donned a fancy cape-and-cowl costume, assumed the name "Dark Knight," and briefly joined the Zhuguran (the Chinese Justice League). Jeez Louise.
--The third part of the "mind-wipe scandal" occurs mere weeks after Batman's mind-wipe. The exact same group of JLA members who erased the Dark Knight's memory opts to mind-wipe the villain known as The Top (as seen in Flash Vol. 2 #215).
--The fourth and final part of the "mind-wipe scandal" occurs when these same JLA members decide to mind-wipe Catwoman (!), erasing her more villainous traits (as seen in Catwoman Vol. 3 #50).
--When the JSA and JLA meet on the satellite, tragedy strikes. The supervillain known as The Spirit King has secretly taken control of Jay Garrick's body and uses him to surprise attack both teams. The Spirit King is subdued, but not before the death of the original Mr. Terrific (Terry Sloane). All the DCU's heroes attend Mr. Terrific's funeral a few days later. This story was originally told in Justice League of America #172, and is also depicted through flashback in JSA #61.
--For the past year, government secret agent Jason Burr has been fighting against a global terrorist organization/apocalypse cult led by his twin brother Jeffrey Franklin Burr aka Kobra. Finally tracking Kobra's HQ to a Lazarus Pit location in the Himalayas, Jason contacts Batman for assistance. Batman and Jason fight Kobra and his agents, but in the end the vile cult leader orders the execution of his brother. One of Kobra's followers stabs Jason to death. Batman vows to bring Kobra to justice and solemnly returns to the States with Jason's body in tow. This story was originally told in the awesome Kobra series finale from DC Special Series #1 (1976). It is canonically referenced in Faces of Evil: Kobra #1.
--JLA member Red Tornado becomes the JLA’s first casualty. Red Tornado
dies during a triple team-up with the JSA and a time-displaced Seven Soldiers of Victory against the supervillain known as The Iron Hand (as referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0).
The Seven Soldiers of Victory each get blasted into different time
periods (from their correct time of 1948). The JSA and JLA mix line-ups
and travel to each time period to perform rescues. Batman—pictured wearing the wrong costume—teams with Hourman (Rex Mason) and Starman (Ted Knight) to rescue Stripesy (Pat Dugan) from Ancient Egypt (as seen via flashback in Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9 and referenced in Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0).
Unfortunately, after being rescued, the majority of the Seven Soldiers
cannot return back to 1948 and stay in the present. When the case wraps,
Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman mourn Red Tornado’s passing (as seen
through flashback in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0). PS. Tornado is quickly revived shortly thereafter. PS. Tornado is quickly revived shortly thereafter. Tornado then dies again during the Crisis later in the year. See, Red Tornado is technically an Air Elemental housed inside an an android body. Whenever he dies, he can be rebuilt and he comes back to life. Tornado will die several more times over the course of the next decade. No big deal. I guess I should explain what Elementals are. In a nutshell, Elementals are beings (usually metahumans) linked to the primary elements of the planet and endowed with the powers of their respective element. There are Earth Elementals, Air Elementals, Fire Elementals, Water Elementals, Plant Elementals, and Lightning Elementals. The forces of creation within the DCU often select a specific individual to represent one or more of the elements. These specific high-ranking Elementals are usually referred to as Avatars.
--Continuing the string of bad luck for the heroes, the League foolishly accepts a one billion dollar donation from the underhanded Tulane Bryce, before Green Arrow realizes this was a big P.R. mistake (as seen in JLA 80-Page Giant #1). Never accept money unless you know it's clean, heroes!
--Bruce and Dick attend a charity event held by wealthy entrepreneur Walter Lanier (as referenced in The New Titans #65).
--Batman goes under the mind-control of an unknown supervillain. Green Arrow painfully shoots Batman in the shoulders with two arrows in order to break the spell. This story is vaguely referenced in Justice League of America, Vol. 2 #4, and most likely references a specific encounter with a specific telepathic-powered villain, but I have no idea which encounter that would be.
only get worse for Batman and the League. Next up, the JLA votes not to
interfere in a tiny Eastern European country's civil war due to the
messy political nature of the situation, despite the fact that genocide
is occurring. Batman is furious and quits the team! Bear in mind that
Batman also has his own agenda as his good friend Lucius Fox is stuck in
the warring nation. Batman immediately teams-up with good friend Black
Lightning and, international-incident-be-damned, they crash into
Markovia in an attempt to take out the dictator Baron Bedlam.
This proves to be difficult. Thankfully, there are a bunch of other
superheroes already in Markovia. Batman and Black Lightning join forces
with Metamorpho, Katana, Geo-Force, and Halo
for the first time. After defeating Baron Bedlam, the Dark Knight
officially forms his own anti-JLA vigilante team with the heroes he
worked with in Markovia; The Outsiders (as seen in Batman and the Outsiders #1-2 and through flashback in Secret Origins Vol. 2 #6).
The Outsiders, with Batman as their leader, will continue on strong for
years to come. On the other hand, Batman's resignation has many
devastating repercussions for the League; the heavy-hitters all decide
its time to disband, so Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Flash
all wind up leaving as well. In the end, the JLA is stuck with a
weakened line-up featuring Vibe, Vixen, Elongated Man, Gypsy, Steel, and Firestorm,
with the big-three senior members replaced by Aquaman, Martian
Manhunter, and Zatanna. Not exactly DC's Trinity, eh? Just to further
prove how weakened the JLA is at this point, they move their
headquarters to Detroit.
--Bruce helps out his newest teenage proteges Halo and Katana by providing them free room and board in the luxurious vacant Wayne Tower penthouse (as referenced in Secret Origins Vol. 2 #6). Halo and Katana will live there for the next year or so.
--There is a great flashback in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0 by Brad Meltzer (2006) that takes place during this year where Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman meet at Challengers Mountain to discuss the ineffectiveness of this new Detroit-based JLA incarnation.
--Batman and the Outsiders engage in a very public battle against the debuting supervillain team known as The Force of July (as originally told in Batman & The Outsiders Annual #1 and canonically referenced through flashback in DC Universe Legacies #5).
--Batman and the Outsiders battle Agent Orange (as seen in Batman and The Outsiders #3).
–It is also around this time that we witness more evidence of Batman’s disdain for the JLA. In Batman & The Outsiders #22 by Mike W. Barr/Alan Davis
(1985), Bruce reveals to the Outsiders that even as a former-member, he
still has secret access to and is able to bypass the JLA security
system aboard the abandoned, but information-rich ex-satellite HQ. What
info are the Outsiders searching for? The origins of Halo’s
superpowers, which are linked to the mysterious other-dimensional beings
known as Aurakles.
–Still aboard the JLA Satellite, the Outsiders are able to save Halo
from the Aurakles, who attempt to take her away to another dimension (as
originally told in Batman & The Outsiders #23 and canonically referenced in Secret Origins Vol. 2 #6).
--Although Batman is unaware of it, several of his rogues devise a plot to kill the Dark Knight which involves using Paul Sloan aka the alternate Two-Face. This tale can be seen through flashback in Detective Comics #777-782 (2003) by Ed Brubaker.
This is how the story goes. Actor Paul Sloan is hired by Joker,
Riddler, Killer Moth, Penguin, Scarecrow, and Mad Hatter to play a
pivotal role in a scheme which will supposedly result in Batman's
ultimate demise. Two-Face wants nothing to do with the other rogues,
so they hire Sloan to become a fake Two-Face, a role which Sloan takes
way too seriously. After finding out about the existence of a fake
Two-Face, the real Two-Face gets a bit angry, kidnaps Sloan, mutilates
him, and leaves him for dead. Scarecrow then saves Sloan's life, only
to torture and experiment on him for weeks.
--The Spook makes his return and lures Batman and Robin to Gotham Prison, where he tries to kill the Caped Crusader as a live entertainment for the convicts. The Dynamic Duo easily defeat him (as seen through flashback from Batman: Gotham Knights #46). The Spook will spend four years in Arkham before he is transferred to Blackgate Penitentiary.
--Batman and Robin take down the radioactive green-skinned mad scientist Henry Ross, better known as Professor Radium (as referenced in Infinite Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven #4). This tale was originally told in Batman #8 (1941).
--Batman tangos with the wicked Queen of Hearts and her husband Jack of Clubs (as seen through flashback in Batman #472).
--Joker and Killer Croc assemble a gang of supervillains including the Getaway Genius, Captain Stingaree, Catman, Mr. Freeze, Tweedle-Dee, and Tweedle-Dum. The villains eventually squabble, thus tearing apart their short-lived union. Batman, Robin, Catwoman, and Talia easily capture several of the bad guys, who have already been beaten-up by Croc (as originally told in Detective Comics #526 and canonically referenced in Batman #703).
--Batman allows the Getaway Genius to escape, which confuses and enrages Robin. The Dark Knight then explains that lately the Getaway Genius has only been stealing chemotherapy drugs. The villain has been diagnosed with cancer and wishes only to prolong his life. Bruce then sets up a health insurance plan for the Getaway Genius, who retires from crime (as seen through flashback in Batman #703).
--Joker steals a jetpack and goes on an airborne killing spree across town. Batman and Robin stop him, but not before 13 deaths. The 14th intended victim, Winslow Heath, is bombed with a lethal dose of Joker Venom, which fails to kill him, but gives him a permanent rictus-grin and pale white skin. Heath's girlfriend was victim #13. After his miraculous survival, Heath delves into a catatonic state in which he will be confined to a hospital bed for over a decade. When he finally recovers, Heath will keep his Joker-esque facade hidden behind a mask and use a newly gained monetary fortune to slowly build a pharmaceutical company. Heath will harbor a secret goal to destroy Batman, whom he blames for both the death of his lover and the creation of so many Gotham supervillains. This tale is told through flashbacks in Detective Comics #867-870.
--The fanatical cultists known as the Hellerites return to Gotham for the first time in nearly two hundred years to reclaim the land of their ancestors. Batman and Robin team-up with Phantom Stranger against the new Hellerites and the summoned ghosts of the old Hellerites. Doctor Thirteen also makes an appearance in this tale, which was originally told in The Brave and the Bold #89 and canonically referenced in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5.
--Batman and Robin defeat the thrice resurrecting Death Man (as originally told in Batman #180 and shown through flashback in Batman Incorporated #2). Death Man will later resurface as "Lord Death Man" in Tokyo. Death Man will also inspire a copycat supervillain years later as well.
--Batman and Robin apprehend Penguin and retrieve the stolen Lapis Lazuli Horus Crown (as seen through flashback in Secret Origins 80-Page Giant #1). The event is caught on video and broadcast on live TV. A young Tim Drake, who has been studying the Dynamic Duo for years, watches the footage and determines conclusively that Robin is the former Flying Grayson he watched four years ago at the circus. This flashback incorrectly labels Tim as being nine-years old. He should be eight.
--Dick shows off his new "Nightwing" costume to Bruce (as seen through flashback in Batman #682). Dick won't officially become Nightwing until our next numbered story. In fact, Dick has merely designed a new costume and doesn't even have a name for his new persona yet.
--While Batman #408 contains a flashback which details Batman's termination of Robin after the Joker nearly kills the Boy Wonder, this issue has long since been retconned out-of-continuity. However, the incident with the Joker must have occurred in some form since it is referenced in Batman: Orphans #1 and Nightwing Vol. 2 #134. Acting alone, Robin battles Joker, who nearly kills the Boy Wonder, thus leading to the tense argument in the next bullet note.
--The argument between Batman and Robin continues (as seen via flashback from Nightwing Vol. 2 #134-135). Robin asks once again to be treated as an adult since he will be turning seventeen-years-old in a month. But Batman won't hear it and continues to chastise Robin for taking on Joker solo and nearly getting himself killed. Alfred patches up Dick while the fight heats up in the Batcave. The argument gets so ugly that Dick resigns from his post, hops on a bus, and leaves Gotham! In New York, Dick spends the beginning of summer dating Liu, whom he loses his virginity to! Writer Marv Wolfman tells us that Dick loses his virginity to Liu, but this is highly dubious. Dick definitely has had some sort of sexual relations with both Babs and Starfire by this point. Dick's newest love interest, unfortunately, is in with a bad crowd, including Metal Eddie, leader of the gang known as the Tigers. Under Liu's sexual spell, Dick joins the Tigers, but soon realizes that Liu and Eddie are simply using him to get information about Wayne Enterprises security systems to set up a big score. Broken-hearted, Dick returns home and tells Batman and Alfred about the planned Tiger robbery. Batman and Robin are ready and waiting and easily bust Liu, Eddie, and the Tigers. While the Dynamic Duo is reunited, things are incredibly tense and Bruce no longer trusts Dick (and vice-versa). Robin remains on serious thin ice with his mentor.
--Batman and Robin argue in the Batcave and Dick tells Bruce "You can't keep treating me like I'm twelve anymore!" (as seen through flashback in Batman #713).
107. "Nightwing: Year One, Ch. 1-3" by Scott Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Scott McDaniel (Nightwing #101-103) March 2005 to April 2005
The relationship between Dick and Bruce has gotten even more strained. Dick (as Robin) is fired (!) by Bruce following a lost fight with Matt Hagen aka Clayface II. (Hagen will later die during the Crisis on Infinite Earths). After a visit with Superman, Dick is inspired to become Nightwing (!!!). He uses an altered version of the Nightwing costume compared to the one which he briefly showed to Bruce before. Deadman pays Bruce a visit and tells him his former student has gone solo. Bruce doesn't care. While Nightwing takes to the streets (primarily outside of Gotham and usually with the Teen Titans), Batman catches the orphaned delinquent Jason Todd trying to steal the tires off the Batmobile. In the Batcave, Jason quickly breaks out of his binding ropes and steals Dick's old costume! So much for living without a Boy Wonder. Highly impressed, Bruce immediately adopts and begins training Jason to become the next Robin. Chapters 4-6 take place after Jason's training is complete. Batman #408-409 originally told Jason Todd's origin story, but those two issues have been retconned out of continuity by "Nightwing: Year One." Likewise, Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13 tells a lengthy Nightwing origin story, but it has been rendered non-canon.
108. "Black Orchid Ch. 2: "Going Down..." by Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean (Black Orchid #2) January 1989
Batman briefly converses with the Earth Elemental Black Orchid, who is searching for Jason Woodrue in hopes of finding out her own mysterious origins. The Dark Knight tells her to visit Poison Ivy in Arkham. At Arkham, Black Orchid chats with Two-Face, Mad Hatter, and Poison Ivy. Later, Batman instructs Black Orchid to travel south to meet Swamp Thing.
NOTES: Here's what happens next...
--Wonder Woman and Superman visit Batman in the Batcave. Bruce excitedly and happily tells them about his new protege Jason Todd (as seen through flashback in Justice League of America Vol. 2, #0). Bruce has faith that Jason will be the best Robin ever.
--Preston Payne aka Clayface III makes his first appearance. While we are at it, you can probably place the first appearances of the original Black Mask, Electrocutioner, Black Spider, Film Freak, and Firebug right around here.
--Also, genius Barbara Gordon gets her Master's Degree (and it only took her four years to do it)! Not to mention, through a special legislative loophole, Babs, at age twenty, becomes the youngest person ever elected to Congress. She will serve throughout most of the year before stepping down to become the head of the Gotham Library.
--Batman foils the Joker's robbery attempt at the Antique Society during this year (as seen through flashback in the 1990 issue of Detective Comics #617 by Alan Grant/Norm Breyfogle).
--The essential elements of Batman #64 (1951) are made canon when Alan Grant references them in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #8. In the story, which takes place now, Killer Moth kidnaps Bruce Wayne and discovers his secret identity! However, Moth is shot and receives a serious cranial injury. Subsequent surgery saves his life, but at the cost of severe brain trauma and loss of significant portions of his memory, including knowledge of Batman's secret identity.
--Batman captures the super-villain known as Mirage. This event was originally chronicled in Detective Comics #511 (1982), and is made canon when referenced through flashback by Alan Grant in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #15.
--Batman squares-off against The Ten-Eyed Man, a lone rogue member of the mystical Ten-Eyed Brotherhood. Bruce won't meet the Brotherhood until much, much later.
--Batman comes across Wilson and Fiona, a husband and wife scientist duo that has been living in a bomb shelter deep beneath the sub-basement of a Gotham apartment building for nearly twenty years (as referenced in Batman: 80-Page Giant Vol. 2 #1). Batman encourages them to come to the surface, ensuring their safety, but they choose to stay underground.
--The events of post-original Crisis Batman issues #393-394 are out-of-continuity because they were written before the Crisis had ended and failed to reflect its many changes. However, Batman's altercation with the ex-Soviet Cossack madman known as The Dark Rider would have taken place now. The Rider douses himself with liquid plutonium and attempts to swan-dive into the city reservoir before Batman can lasso him in just inches before the leap.
--Barbara Gordon gets engaged to her boyfriend Jason Bard!
--Man-Bat Kirk Langstrom discovers Batman's secret identity! There is no specific tale which tells of this event, but in future stories, Langstrom knows that Bruce is the Dark Knight. In Scott Beatty's Batman: Gotham Knights #45, for example, Langstrom and his entire family know that Bruce is Batman and they have have known for a long time.
--Batman apprehends the supervillain known as The Glass Man (as originally told in World's Finest Comics #28 (1947) and made canon through reference in Robin #153).
109. “Scars” by Kelley Puckett/Jim Balent/Rick Burchett (Batman: Batgirl–Girlfrenzy! #1) June 1998
When Victor Zsasz murders one of Batgirl’s friends, she makes it her
personal vendetta to bring the slasher to justice at all costs. Batgirl
locates Zsasz’s hideout and takes him down seconds before Batman
arrives on the scene for the same objective. The Dark Knight then tells
Batgirl that he has an important job in Nepal and wants her help.
Batgirl, however, strained from the loss of her friend says no thanks
and that she needs a break. Batman’s important job in Nepal is likely
the upcoming trip to Ra’s Al Ghul’s Himalayan fortress, which takes
place in the next item on the chronology, the quasi-canonical Batman: Son of the Demon. Thus, the end of “Scars” likely overlaps with the beginning of Son of the Demon.
NOTE: Batman knocks up Talia Al Ghul! Of course, Talia keeps the pregnancy a secret from Bruce. The details of this historic conception were originally told in Batman: Son of the Demon (1987), and while the essential elements of this story are canonical, the story itself, as Grant Morrison says, is "kind-of-out-of-continuity" for many reasons. There are flashbacks in Batman #683 detailing this baby-producing romance. I should mention that Morrison wanted to back-engineer the Son of the Demon tale into canonical modern continuity, but made several critical errors due to the fact that he was referencing a story that he hadn't read in a long time. Morrison, in an attempt to fix his mistakes, claimed that any errors in the original story were corrected by Superboy-Prime's reality altering punches in Infinite Crisis. Therefore, I could have included Batman: Son of the Demon as an actual numbered entry on this list, with a side-note explaining that major elements of the story are different due to Superboy-Prime's meddling from the future. However, I've chosen not to since I've listed other quasi-canonical stories (even those rendered so by in-story events) as bullet notes instead. For the purposes of uniformity within this timeline, I'll keep this story listed exactly how it is. So, to reiterate: Batman: Son of the Demon = "kind-of-out-of-continuity" courtesy of Superboy-Prime (with its essential plot elements remaining a part of Batman's canon).
110. "Nightwing: Year One, Ch. 4-6" by Scott Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Scott McDaniel (Nightwing #104-106) April 2005 to May 2005
Nightwing introduces himself to Commissioner Gordon and teams-up with Batgirl. NOTE: Penguin is seen in his Iceberg Lounge being accosted by Nightwing, Batgirl, and Harvey Bullock. We must ignore the location of this scene since Penguin wouldn't own the Iceberg Lounge quite yet. Moving on, Batman sends his new Robin, who has been training for nearly six months, on his final test. Jason must "run the gauntlet" across the Gotham rooftops and confront Two-Face. In this case "Two-Face" is played by Alfred in disguise, while Batman is disguised as one of Two-Face's henchmen. However, Alfred and Bruce put their costumes on too early and en route to the final destination, they are attacked by Killer Croc and his goons, who are trying to start a turf war with Two-Face. Bruce gets shot in the chest and winds up in the care of Leslie Thompkins while Alfred (still disguised as Two-Face) is kidnapped by Croc. Meanwhile, Jason meets Dick and they sure don't get along. But after a short time, the two race through Gotham together and are able to save Alfred and take down Croc. Afterward, Bruce sends Dick his real Nightwing costume (the one he showed him before with the yellow-stripes). ANOTHER NOTE: This story states outright that this is Killer Croc's debut. This is totally untrue. Croc has been around for years. Maybe Scott Beatty means this is the first time Croc has used hired muscle in an attempt to become a legit gangster.
111. "Two of a Kind"/"Second Chance" by Max Allan Collins/Dave Cockrum (Batman #410-411) August 1987 to September 1987
Jason has just finished his training. The new Robin meets Commissioner Gordon and deals with Two-Face. Batman tells Jason that he scored the giant penny during one of the original Dynamic Duo's encounters with Two-Face. This, as we know, is incorrect. He got the penny in a solo confrontation with Joe Coyne.
--December. Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman visit Superman at the Fortress of Solitude for his birthday. However, Mongul is there and he's already given Superman a gift: the alien Black Mercy plant, which causes its victim to suffer a zombie-like hallucination of his greatest subconscious desire. The heroes rescue Superman, who proceeds to angrily "burn" Mongul with heat vision. This famous tale was originally written in Superman Annual #11 by Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons. And believe it or not, besides a few uses of Black Mercy here and there, this story has never been canonically referenced or mentioned in the Modern Age except for a tiny single panel-within-a-panel from Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1. But that's all it takes to make it legit.
--Batman shows off his new Robin to Nightwing. During a streetfight with some thugs Dick says Jason is both "reckless" and "a little rough around the edges," but also comments that he makes a fine new Boy Wonder (as seen through flashback in Batman & Robin #23).
--In the Batcave, Batman gives Jason some sage words of wisdom regarding the need to stay calm and adapt to any situation while in battle (as seen through flashback in Batman & Robin #24).
--Batman and Robin (Jason) defeat Mr. Freeze (as seen in Booster Gold Vol. 2 #14). During the confrontation, although neither Batman nor Robin see it happen, Booster Gold quickly appears from twelve years into the future (Bat-Year 22) and borrows Freeze's ice gun, which he needs in order to fix damage done to the timestream by an army of Starros. After fixing the timestream in the future, Booster returns the ice gun and no one is the wiser, except for a confused Freeze, who thinks a "magic hand" temporarily stole his weapon.
--Batman meets supervillain/erotic snake-dancer Tiki Rivera (as referenced in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #209).
--Joker is on the loose again. Batman warns Jason about the dangers of Joker and not to take him lightly (as seen through flashback in Red Hood: Lost Days #6).
--Joker takes over the 70s nostalgia TV game-show "Hold 'Em or Fold 'Em" and takes an entire studio audience hostage. The Clown Prince of Crime executes numerous contestants until Batman and the GCPD end the bloody madness (as seen through flashback in Joker's Asylum: Joker #1). This flashback is narrated entirely by Joker himself, so much of it may be apocryphal. However, its basic elements are most likely canonical.
--Scarecrow has escaped Arkham and has now been posing as a legit psychiatrist for the past several months. The evil Dr. Crane trails one of his young patients to a teenage slumber party. Just like a Wes Craven movie, Scarecrow terrorizes the party-goers as terrifyingly as he can until Batman shows up and cleans his clock (as seen through flashback in Joker's Asylum: Scarecrow #1). This flashback is narrated entirely by Joker himself, so much of it may be apocryphal. However, it's basic elements are most likely canonical.
--Batman and Superman have their yearly Springtime meeting. However, the events of Batman & Superman: World's Finest #6 are out-of-continuity. Dick is not only still Robin, but he is still in college, which are both totally wrong.
--Looker joins the Outsiders (as originally told in Batman & The Outsiders #31).
--Batman and Robin are videotaped defeating Scarecrow in battle (as seen through flashback in DC Universe Legacies #5).
--Nightwing busts some joyriding car-jacking punks (as seen through flashback in Batman #713). One of them escapes, but right into the waiting arms of Batman. Bruce and Dick learn that the young punk is Kevin McNulty, son of a former Riddler henchman. Dick is concerned about the boy, but Bruce couldn't care less.
--Selina's estranged brother Karl Kyle appears as a new criminal called King of Cats (as originally told in Batman #69 and canonically referenced in Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #3).
Karl Kyle's publicity stunt will be a one time affair that will land
him in jail for the better part of a decade, following which we won't
really see or hear from him.
--Batman gets captured and blindfolded by Killer Moth, but still manages to take him and four henchmen down (as referenced in Harley Quinn #10).
--Batman ups the credibility of his Matches Malone character by running with and earning the trust of the Two-Bear Brothers, Nixon Two-Bear and Kennedy Two-Bear (as referenced in Harley Quinn #9). Matches will stay close associates with the Two-Bears for the next decade.
--The events of Tales of the Teen Titans #50 occur now. Bruce and Dick attend the wedding of Donna Troy. There is also a canonical flashback in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0 which shows more details from this wedding.
112. "The Revenge of the Reaper!" by Mike W. Barr/Jerry Bingham (DC Retroactive: Batman - The 80s #1) October 2011
The Reaper (the "Batman Year Two" version) is back, but who is wearing the costume this time? Batman fears that Rachel Caspian is avenging her father's death, but after a violent battle at McSurley's Bar (!) the Dynamic Duo learns that there are actually two Reapers now: the respective son and daughter of two rival mobsters. The Reapers had planned to embezzle all the money from their mob families and split town. We also learn that new Gotham DA Samuels is in league with the Reapers. In the end Batman figures everything out with ease, defeats all the villains, and saves the threatened life of Rachel Caspian. Rachel and Batman part ways with Rachel revealing that she knows his secret identity.
113. The Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-12 by Marv Wolfman/George Perez (1985)
"Worlds will Live. Worlds will die. And the universe will never be the same." This was the famous tag-line for the epic, time-altering, crossover "maxi" series that changed Batman's (and everyone else's) world forever. This is the shocking event that "erased" a 46 year history and replaced it with the previous 112 stories and bullet notes that comprised the entirety of the previous "Year One Era"/Silver Age entries on this blog. If you didn't read the introduction to this blog, please do so to understand the full scope of what the original Crisis is all about. Narrative-wise, here's what goes down in a nutshell. While Batman battles the Joker, he witnesses a disturbing vision of a dying Flash. But that's just the beginning. The mysterious Pariah arrives on Earth with startling news; the multiverse exists and multiple versions of Earth are being destroyed by a godlike entity known as The Anti-Monitor, who has successfully outmatched his rival, The Monitor. As many Earths die, the chaos edges closer and closer to destroying all that exists. DC Universe Legacies #5 contains a lengthy flashback which shows the heroes' initial response to the catastrophe at its outset. When the heroes of the primary DCU learn that universes are getting destroyed, Pariah sends several groups to try to defend multiple Earths (as seen in Legends of the DCU: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1, which takes place in between Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 and Crisis #5). Batman and others briefly travel to Earth-D, but are unable to stop its destruction. Eventually, the heroes all gather at the HQ of the Monitor where they are fully briefed on the dire situation by Pariah, Alexander Luthor, Jr. (of the already destroyed Earth-3), and Harbinger. There are several Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover issues that show Pariah and Harbinger's large "gathering of the superhumans," including the prominent Infinity, Inc. #22. Following a colossal multiversial war, all the superheroes of the multiverse stand together and win the day.But at what cost? Well, at the cost of their own collective history. The past is erased and everything Batman ever knew is replaced with the tales you've read about in this very blog thus far (sort of... Don't forget that many of the cosmic historical changes that take place during The Crisis on Infinite Earths are altered yet again later in Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, and to some extent Final Crisis, so the stories you've read about in this blog so far reflect those changes which occur later). To reiterate, Crisis on Infinite Earths merges an almost infinite number of Earths (and their collective histories) into one single Earth (Earth-1 at the time, but later re-christened "New Earth" and later "Earth-0" following Infinite Crisis). While one main "New Earth"/"Earth-0" universe is created, the multiverse IS NOT destroyed. There are still multiple universes that exist outside of the main DCU, such as the Marvel U, Wildstorm U, numerous Elseworlds Universes, the new Antimatter U (home of the Morrison/Quitely Crime Syndicate), and many more. These various alternate universes remain unaffected by the Crisis on Infinite Earths (and we'll see them in the years to come). Furthermore, Infinite Crisis will later spawn the creation of 52 main universes that will each have unique and complex histories. Thus, those 52 main universes also technically exist at this point and are also unaffected by Crisis on Infinite Earths, although we won't learn about them in detail until after Bat Year Twenty (i.e. after Infinite Crisis).
So there you have it. The original Crisis occurs and then life is back to normal, I suppose. The Bat Family has a brand new history and they are none the wiser. From Batman's perspective, The Crisis didn't change anything historically. In fact, Batman simply remembers it as just another evil planetary threat dealt with. Sort of. In the days following the Crisis, the history of the primary Earth in the DCU "settles" and certain specific occurrences which took place during the Crisis are slowly phased out. For instance, Supergirl dies, but in the aftermath of the cosmic spacetime anomaly, she winds up having never existed! Similarly, many of our heroes mourn the loss of of their friends, but within the short span of twenty-four hours, these friends--like Supergirl, Earth-Two Dick Grayson, or Helena Wayne--will simply cease to exist and vanish from memory. Earth-Two's Power Girl is a special case. She will retain her past history/origins from Earth-Two (although they will be blocked from her memory) despite the fact that Universe-Two's timeline is completely erased. Power Girl's "re-debut" will then anomalously appear a year prior to the Crisis.
The most important death during Crisis (and one that NO ONE forgets) is the death of the Flash, Barry Allen. Barry, who had been living in the 30th Century at this time, learns of the evil Anti-Monitor's plot and travels back to the present to face him, only to be captured, tortured, and murdered. Barry's spirit goes to Heaven, but his soul remains within the Speed Force. (The Speed Force is the extradimensional power source/realm from which Flash draws his metahuman abilities. Think "The Force" from Star Wars when Obi-Wan dies and becomes "one with the Force." It's a similar concept.) Very rarely but every once in a while Barry's soul that resides within the Speed Force will return to help Wally West during dire times.
While I'm mentioning Barry Allen and the original Supergirl, I should mention that after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, several heroes exile themselves in an Eden-like pocket universe; Superman (Kal-L) and Lois Lane of former Earth-2, Alexander Luthor, Jr. of former Earth-3, and Superboy (Superboy Prime) of former Earth-Prime. These characters will watch as the "Earth-0" DCU unfolds over the next decade and when they don't like what they see, you can better believe there will be hell to pay.
One final note: Batman meets John Constantine sometime during the Crisis on Infinite Earths (as referenced in the pages of Hellblazer and Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #1). He also meets Shade the Changing Man (as referenced via flashback in Suicide Squad #16). Constantine and Shade are both noteworthy not only because they are friggin’ awesome, but because they are two of the few characters that will retain a complete knowledge of the pre-Crisis DCU.
Ok, continuing onward. When need be, I will refer to our primary DCU Earth as "Earth-0" from this point forward, since this chronology reflects the up-to-date changes made to the multiverse following Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis. It's a bit confusing, I know, but there's no time to dwell. Let's move on!
And move on we shall! Dick is Nightwing. Jason is Robin. Barbara is still Batgirl. Jim is still the commissioner. Batman is the leader of the Outsiders. Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and Zatanna are the senior members of the JLA. The Modern Age is officially upon us! (Technically, we've been in the Modern Age this whole time, but now that the Crisis is over, we are officially Modernized story-wise as well). And the new era begins (specifically for Batman) with Batman #401 by Barbara Randall/Trevor Von Eeden. (It would/should have started with Batman #392, which was the first Batman issue to be released after the original Crisis. However, the storyline that takes place from Batman #392 through Batman #399 was written before the original Crisis had concluded, so it didn't reflect any of the changes that had occurred. Also, Batman #400 is an out-of-continuity anniversary special, so obviously that doesn't count either). We'll pick up with Batman #401
(following both the funeral of Barry Allen and the Modern Age JLA story
that precede the issue) a bit later, but first there are some nerdy
things you should know...
Stay tuned! There's always more to add and more to fix and more and more and more. I'm going to continue the chronology, but from this point on time is measured a bit differently in the DC Universe. In layman's terms, the next twenty+ years are "compacted" or "compressed" in a sense. Despite the unique nature of time in comic books in general (and I'll be sure to explain much, much more in the next post) our chronology will continue in the same detailed year-to-year format. So have no fear! The chronology will still be comprehensive... and believe me when I say COMPREHENSIVE. So, see you soon!! Same Bat Internet!! Same Bat Blog!!