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This is Part 2 of Bat-Year Thirteen. It comprises August 2001 to October 2001.
--DC Retroactive: Batman - The '90s #1
This tale serves as a quasi follow up to Detective Comics #613. The Ventriloquist (and Scarface) has just been released from prison and has a private party at the Gotham Museum of Natural History. Batman takes down some Street Demonz and then follows one of Scarface's ex-lieutenants to the museum, where violence quickly ensues. Things escalate when a dead rival of Scarface's named Big Mel shows up (having been resurrected into a zombie by the chemicals at Freshfields Landfill where his body was dumped) and begins running amok. Batman defeats the zombie, but the Ventriloquist and Scarface escape. Batman also saves the life of a minor henchman from Batman #613 who is now a straight-shootin' taxi driver.
--Detective Comics #625
The first appearance of homicidal killing machine Arnold Etchison, known more famously as Abbatoir.
The vile plan concocted by Penguin, Joker, and Two-Face months ago has finally come to fruition. While the three madmen are currently incarcerated in Arkham, no one suspects their involvement. What is the plan, you ask? Penguin has smuggled Professor Partridge's deadly virus out of Arkham and into the hands of petty criminal, Max the Mimic. Although petty indeed, Max is successfully able to dose Batman with the virus. Batman begins vomiting uncontrollably as death slowly flows through his system. Meanwhile, Senator Linden's daughter, Clancy, is kidnapped by terrorists and held for ransom. Robin and Gordon search for a cure for Batman's illness while the sickly Dark Knight goes after Clancy. Robin and Gordon eventually realize that Penguin, Joker, and Two-Face are responsible and retrieve the antidote capsule, which Penguin has had hidden up his nose for months. In the end Batman just barely saves Clancy and Robin just barely saves Batman.
These two Alan Grant issues redeem his earlier stuff. Batman takes in the lovable Quasimodo-esque Harold and gives him a home in the Batcave in exchange for his electronics expertise. Also, a recently divorced Sarah Essen (who we haven't seen in many years) returns to the GCPD! Almost immediately sparks fly between she and Jim Gordon, and just like old times, they are in love again! After watching "The Mark of Zorro" in the theater and sharing a Hollywood kiss of their own, Gordon is on cloud nine. That is, until he has a heart attack! (This isn't entirely out-of-the-blue as Wolfman and Grant have been leading up to this for the past year or so, slowly showing Gordon get out of shape and smoke more and more cigarettes).
--The Demon Vol. 3 #7-8
Good news: Jason Blood has separated from Etrigan. Bad News: Blood is unconscious and trapped in Hell while Etrigan attempts to overthrow Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Azazel. More bad news: Glenda Mark and Randu Singh have been accused of Blood's murder! Even more bad news: Klarion the Witch Boy is turning the trial into a disaster. Bruce Wayne is able settle a possible court room riot and Blood escapes from Hell just in time to put an end to the charade. Batman then has a long chat with Blood, who has (for now) successfully separated himself from the demon.
--Green Lantern Vol. 3 #9
The Guardians decide that three Green Lanterns in Sector 2814 is too many. Much to everyone's surprise, the Guardians appoint Guy Gardner as the sole official Green Lantern of Earth, mostly due to his connection to the Justice League. John Stewart is given a gig on Oa while Hal Jordan is made an inter-galactic recruiter for the Corps. The pumped Gardner immediately goes to the JLA embassy to brag about his new position, but either no one cares or no one believes him. In fact, Batman, Blue Beetle, and Martian Manhunter are having a meeting, and when Gardner's ruckus interrupts them J'onn exclaims, "Would you mind keeping it down? Some of us in here are trying to be real superheroes." Gardner then tries to show his excitement to Max Lord, who is more concerned with the team's dental plan and figuring out why their recruitment drives always fail so miserably. Gardner then makes a public declaration, reintroducing himself to the populace of Earth as the one-and-only Green Lantern. Following this, Gardner begins a campaign of hero-ing that is actually more of a reign of mischief and bad ideas. Green Lantern G'nort then arrives, much to the chagrin of Gardner, with claims that he will also be a Green Lantern in Sector 2814.
--Detective Comics #626-627
In issue #626 the new Electrocutioner debuts. Gordon is in the hospital following his cardiac arrest. Issue #627 is an anniversary issue which includes two reprints of old non-canon stories and two new stories. The new stories are two different re-imaginations of Batman's first ever appearance from 'tec #27 (1939); "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate." However, only part three of issue #627 is in-continuity. Batman solves the mystery in Wolfman's version, which involves an over-the-top toxic waste-spewing madwoman named Pesticyde. Also, supposedly Gordon has been in the hospital for a month already. This can't be true. Ignore it.
--Captain Atom #50
Ex-CIA super agent turned supernatural super-villain known as The Ghost (Alec Rois) has been playing the role of evil arch rival to Captain Atom and General Wade Eiling for months. Things escalate to the next level when, at a wedding of close friends of Captain Atom, the Ghost activates a number of brainwashed sleeper agents and sends some of his fanatical ninja cultist followers to homicidally ruin things. While Captain Atom, General Eiling, Plastique (Cap's presidentially pardoned ex-con girlfriend), Red Tornado, and a few other soldiers go to attack the Ghost and his cult in Nevada, various members of the superhero community are recruited to protect Cap's friends and family. Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Blue Beetle are stationed in Las Vegas to protect the King family (Zelda Rest, Chester King, Bonnie King, and Beth King) and Silver Shield (the gentle quantum humanoid life-form that originally endowed Cap with his powers). Cap's team is able to defeat the Ghost, his ninjas, and a few other B-list super-villains. The Ghost dies in the battle. Afterward, Captain Atom publicly clears the air about a bunch of confidential government stuff and officially severs his ties to the US Army. Captain Atom also gets engaged to Plastique! Angered at Captain Atom's actions, General Eiling begins his descent into the dark side.
--Batman #460-461 ("SISTERS IN ARMS")
While Batman and Joe Potato are occupied with a human-trafficking case, Catwoman attempts to rob the museum. However, both Sarah Essen and Vicki Vale are already waiting for her at the exhibit; the former looking for an arrest and the latter looking for a scoop. In a twist, the three ladies have to team-up to stop another crook. Catwoman also reveals that she has taken Batman's ultrasonic technology which attracts bats and applied it to cats.
--Detective Comics #628
Abbatoir has proven that he can pretty much leave Arkham whenever he wants. And his goal is to kill 2000 doves, 4000 cows, and 6000 humans. He's craaaazy.
Batman teams-up with Starman against the Shadow Kings.
--Justice League Quarterly #3
By this point, Green Lantern Kilowog and General Glory have joined the team. Also, the mini-robot L-Ron has replaced Oberon as team manager. The JLA follows Mitch Wacky and Kilowog back in time to the early days of the original JLA. Wackiness (no pun intended) ensues as everyone is shrunk to miniature size. Eventually, everyone is returned to normal after the team returns to its correct era.
--Batman #462-464 ("SPIRIT OF THE BEAST")
A murder investigation takes Batman to San Francisco, Death Valley, Las Vegas, and the Grand Caynon. Sounds more like a family vacation huh? Anyway, we are told the Navajo tribe has split into two factions; one that has been harboring revenge against the White man for almost 150 years, and the other that is content on the reservation. In the end, Batman gets drugged (of course), but is able to defeat a Navajo shaman in a fistfight. Bruce returns to Gotham with a new pet dog (!), which he gets from a 140 year-old Navajo elder. The new dog's name? Are you kidding me, what does Bruce name all his pets? Meet Ace number two. I'm surprised he didn't name it Jason Todd.
--Justice League America #52
Batman makes what will be his final trip to the JLA NYC Embassy. The Dark Knight walks-in on a boxing match between Blue Beetle and Guy Gardner. Beetle is winning until Gardner viciously attacks him from behind after the first round ends. J'onn is furious and immediately fires Guy! However, the termination doesn't stick because the team learns about an assassination attempt on Max Lord's life shortly thereafter. With Max Lord hospitalized, the "Breakdowns" story-arc begins, which will ultimately terminate this version of the League for good. After disgustedly witnessing the JLA in such a pathetic state, and with his own part-time hours on the team diminishing more and more each month, Batman won't make another appearance with this version of the League again until "Breakdowns."
--Detective Comics #629-632
We are treated to four Milligan tales (as he takes over the 'tec reigns from Wolfman for a bit)! In issue #629 ex-con Dean Fahy uses Irish "Hungry Grass" to cause chaos all over the city. The magical grass, when spread across the ground, re-activates any past horrible occurrences that have taken place at that very location. For instance, an old man beats his wife after treading over a grass-strewn street where an assault happened years ago. Issue #629 is also very important because it is the first appearance of the abandoned Blackgate Prison! Up until now Gotham State Prison has been the main correctional facility (other than Arkham of course) in the city. According to continuity, Blackgate was shut down by Amnesty International "5 years ago" (1998 according to our chronology). It won't be too long before Blackgate is re-opened as the primary correctional facility in town, as writers will slowly phase out Gotham State in favor of the scarier Blackgate. Issue #630 is mostly a flashback to the Stiletto/Two Tone case which occurs right before Batman #452. Lots of specific dates are mentioned in relation to this story. Again, ignore specificity. Oh, and Gordon is back on the job and he's quit smoking! Issues #631-632 are about a Rabbi who creates a Golem to fight against Neo-Nazis.
--Challengers of the Unkown Vol. 2 #4
Batman makes a guest appearance to aid the Challengers of the Unknown against Duncan Pramble aka Multi-Man after the latter blows up Challenger Mountain, killing two of the Challengers and hundreds of innocent people. Multi-Man's unique power is that he is immortal, but every time he dies he is immediately reborn with a new different random superpower. A side-effect of this power is that his head grows larger and his body grows smaller. He is also severely bi-polar. Amazing character.
Wow. Grant really comes into his stride here. So much happens in issue #456 as Grant intelligently and playfully writes this issue with a soap opera theme. Alfred, Harold, and Ace all watch their favorite soap opera in the Batcave. Batman takes Robin out for his first official night of crime-fighting. Robin meets Gordon and Essen. Bruce (as Bruce Wayne) stops a stalker from killing an actor from the aforementioned soap opera. Gordon and Essen tell Batman and Robin (first) that they are engaged to be married! And last but not least, Tim's dad wakes up from his coma! Whew. In issue #466 Batman and Robin chase gangsters into the Hero World theme park, which boasts a heroic Mike Tyson statue (remember this was written in 1991, people). Robin is not only able to save Batman's life, but he is able to simultaneously stop another crime and offer brotherly advice to a troubled youth. Duh, Tim is awesome, and Batman knows he's made the right choice with this Boy Wonder.
--Detective Comics #633-634
For my money, issue #633 is the best 'tec story of the year (Milligan of course). Bruce comes home to the manor to discover that he isn't Batman and he never was! There's no cave and both Alfred and Tim don't know what he's talking about. Furthermore, the Dark Knight himself is live on TV dealing with a hostage situation. Naturally, Bruce freaks out because he knows he's Batman. The big twist at the conclusion is that we haven't been following along from Bruce's point of view, but instead from the point of view of the psychic villain, Synaptic Kid, who has discovered that Batman is Bruce Wayne by using a telepathic probe during their battle. As a mental defense while his mind is being probed, Batman is able to trick the Kid into thinking that he (the Kid) is indeed Bruce Wayne, but not Batman. We (the readers) are explained the big reveal through a vignette of the Kid doing a tell-all on a TV talk show. In reality, he's in a coma. Ok, it sounds confusing, but it's damn good and you should read it. Issue #634 is a laugh-out-loud Kelley Puckett mystery that is notable for the appearance of the Biddee sisters, two gun-toting geriatric old ladies that drink tea and solve crimes. They even break the fourth wall and correct Batman's spelling in a word balloon! Amazing.
--Batman #467-469 ("SHADOWBOX")
King Snake has taken control of the Asian gangs in Gotham and he wants revenge against Robin (for his defeat in Robin #5). But he'll have to go through Batman first and that ain't no picnic. There are some topical references in these issues regarding Hong Kong that should be disregarded. Also, King Snake says his first encounter with Robin was "six months ago." This is wrong, as it would have been much more recent.
--Detective Comics #635-637
Ugh. This is a narrative about a fourteen year-old boy that has the power to manipulate video games into reality. An evil Arkham doctor uses him as a pawn to bring bedlam to Gotham. We also see the one-shot appearance of Arkham inmate Professor Powder. Also, Alfred, Robin, Gordon, and Essen play a lot of NES. Yes, I know how topical that is to 1991. Substitute a Playstation 2 or an X-Box or something. Whatever. This story sucks.
WAR OF THE GODS
--Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #59
--Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #60
--War of the Gods #3-4War of the Gods is a crossover event which involved all of the superheroes, but focused on Wonder Woman. All life is threatened when Circe is able to manipulate the ancient gods to begin a massive battle-royale on Earth. While the Roman deities rumble with the Olympian deities, the superheroes take on the combined force of the Norse, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Thanagarian gods. Not only that, Circe is also able to stir up global anti-Amazonian sentiment to the point that several countries are on the brink of declaring war against the lady warrior race. Wonder Woman turns to her old pal Batman for help when her mother goes missing during the chaos. Batman begins an investigation, but gets interrupted by Maxie Zeus, who tries to get in on the god action. However, the mere mortal never even leaves Gotham before Batman busts his ass. Eventually, the superheroes, gods, and regular citizens join together under the command of Earth goddess Gaea, and Circe is defeated.
--Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham
When the vile Judge Death steals an inter-dimensional/alternate universe-hopping/time-traveling belt device, he leaves his post apocalyptic future alternate Earth and winds up in present-day Gotham. Batman defeats Judge Death and accidentally activates the belt sending him to early twenty-second century Mega-City One, a war torn city state located in the former US on an alternate Earth. Batman learns about the bizarre new world he has entered from the insane Mean Machine Angel before getting arrested by Mega-City One's top law enforcement officer, Judge Joseph Dredd! After being unmasked and interrogated by Dredd and the telepathic Judge Cassandra Anderson, the Dark Knight escapes with the help of Anderson. Meanwhile, Mean Machine uses the dimensional jump belt to zap to Earth-0 to search for Judge Death, who has met and teamed-up with Scarecrow. Batman and Anderson then jump to Earth-0 from an experimental lab in Mega-City One. By the time Batman and Anderson catch up with the villains, they have already started a bloody massacre at an open-air heavy metal concert in Robinson Park. Dredd shows up just in time to help the good guys put a stop to the gruesome villainy. With Scarecrow apprehended, Dredd and Anderson return to their correct Earth and time.
--Batman Annual #15
--Detective Comics Annual #4
--Action Comics #670
--Armageddon: Inferno #1
--Armageddon: Inferno #4
--Armageddon: Alien Agenda #1Armageddon 2001 is a highly elaborate and complex crossover story-arc, but I'll do my best to explain the finer points. First, we learn that in fifty years-time the Earth will be a dystopian nightmare world ruled by the evil Monarch. The Monarch, we further learn, was one of Earth's greatest superheroes that betrayed his comrades and murdered them all to gain control of the planet. Determined to alter time and prevent the Monarch's rise to power, a superhero from the future known as Waverider travels back to present day to solve the mystery of who Monarch really is in order to assassinate him. In the two Batman stories, Waverider secretly enters Batman's mind—a scene also depicted in a splash page from Captain Atom #57—and we are able to witness two possible alternate futures for the Dark Knight. In the alternate future portrayed in the Batman Annual Batman is on death row for the murder of Penguin, who was actually killed by the Joker. Tim is a senator in this tale. The 'tec Annual depicts an alternate future where Batman takes on Ra's Al Ghul for the final time, a battle in which Bruce, Ra's, Tim, and Talia all die. After viewing these possible futures, Waverider is convinced that Batman is not the Monarch. Batman isn't involved in the conclusion of Armageddon 2001 (which happens in Armageddon 2001 #2), but Hawk, of the crime-fighting team Hawk and Dove, is revealed to be the Monarch. The Monarch, from the future, comes to stop Waverider's plan, and winds up fighting the heroes (again, sans Batman). Eventually, Captain Atom defeats him, causing both himself and Monarch to get temporarily lost in the time-stream. Batman and the rest of the heroes mourn the loss of Atom, unsure of what's become of him. It's very important to note that, originally, the traitor in Armageddon 2001 was meant to be Captain Atom, but the news was leaked early, so DC editors changed the big reveal at the last second, not only ruining the story, but creating plot-holes as well. Not to mention, Infinite Crisis retconned much of this story, but I'm still confused as to exactly how. Messy, innit? I should also note that Armageddon 2001 was entitled as such because in the story Hawk turns on his fellow heroes in the year 2001. However, after the Zero Hour time-sliding, Hawk wouldn't have wound turning on his fellow heroes until 2012. So we should really re-think of Armageddon 2001 as Armageddon 2012. In any event, the heroes win and the dystopian future is avoided.
ANOTHER NOTE: In a side-story to the Armageddon 2001 storyline Lex Luthor is dying of cancer received from Kryptonite radiation poisoning. The events of Batman & Superman: World's Finest #8 take place right after Armageddon 2001. In this issue, Batman and Superman prevent Catwoman from stealing an experimental jet from Luthor. At the end of the issue, the news reports Luthor's death. In actuality, Luthor fakes his own death, but secretly has his mind implanted into a 21 year-old cloned version of himself. This new Luthor appears in Metropolis claiming to be Lex Luthor II, the long lost heir to his father's empire. Luthor's ruse will begin to unravel, however, when his clone body begins to deteriorate, but that won't be until a year later. Batman isn't present for these specific Luthor plots, but they are worth mentioning.
Grant shows us the human side of Killer Croc in this issue where the reptilian behemoth moves in with some homeless underground-dwellers. Batman teams up with Ace in this issue.
--Detective Comics #638
Rebecca is an 18 year-old girl with mutant-like nuclear capability. The U.S. Army has held her in captivity for six years against her will. Batman isn't cool with the U.S. Army doing shit like that. Sadly, Rebecca passes away in the end, but is able to die happily, thanks to Batman.
--Suicide Squad #59-62 ("LEGERDEMAIN")
It would take me a good ten pages to fully explain each of Ostrander's unbelievably complex Suicide Squad plots. The Saddam Hussein-esque ex-dictator of Qurac is being held at the Guantanamo Bay-esque Blood Island, which is where the Suicide Squad is supposedly stationed. Both Israeli and Arab metahuman teams are trying to get to the ex-dictator Marlo first (the former trying to assassinate, the latter trying to rescue). Meanwhile, Batman, Aquaman, and Superman have converged on Blood Island because they believe that they have found evidence linking Amanda Waller to Ray Palmer's death. The heroes clash with the Israelis and Arabs on Blood Island, but realize that the Suicide Squad isn't there. However, the Squad arrives when Waller discovers the entire altercation on Blood Island is a CIA setup in which the U.S. government is trying to deliver Marlo back into the hands of the Quracis. (I think?) Anyway, the new Atom dies and Ray Palmer makes his return, revealing that he had faked his death in order to go undercover in an investigation into microscopic rogue CIA agents. There is an excellent confrontation between Batman and Oracle in issue #59. Unfortunately, in it Babs tells Batman that she can find out his secret identity whenever she feels like it. Umm, Oracle used to be Batgirl. She's known his secret for years. Ignore.
THE IDIOT ROOT
--Batman #472Blame it on Rio! Batman chases the returning Queen of Hearts to Brazil, but stumbles upon something much worse when he gets there. Children are getting hooked on a new drug known as "The Idiot Root". When the kids are high on the ancient jungle plant they enter a supernatural realm where a bogeyman known as The Idiot is able to drain their minds, lobotomizing them. With each brain sucked-dry, the Idiot gains more and more power. Batman eats the drug (of course), trips, and enters the nightmare realm to confront the Idiot face-to-face. Eventually, the Idiot enters the real world and is able to travel from addict to addict by making their heads explode! Turns out, the host body the Idiot occupies has a phobia of birds. Batman uses this to his advantage. Game over. PS. While Batman is galavanting around Rio, Robin is back in Gotham dealing with the Joker one-on-one for the first time! (As seen in the Robin II #1-3).
--Detective Comics #639
--Detective Comics #640
--Robin II #4
Batman returns home from Rio and helps Robin finish off the Joker.
--Batman #474Andre Sinclair is blowing-up buildings in order to make the Gotham skyline look more beautiful. Gotham's first and most famous architect was Cyrus Pinkney. His bizarre Gothic towers have slowly become dwarfed by newer, "uglier" buildings, and Sinclair is upset about it. Although we've seen it before, the Pinkney designed GCPD building is featured in this story and will be the GCPD's home for many, many years to come. We also get a little insight into the life and times of Bruce's ancestor, Judge Solomon Wayne, who had a large hand in funding and promoting the original Pinkney style in Gotham.
--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #27
--Detective Comics #641
PANIC IN THE SKY!
--Superman Vol. 2 #65Braniac takes over Warworld and attacks Earth! An army of heroes (including Batman and Nightwing) assemble to defeat him. Notably, Deathstroke fights on the good-guy side!
--Adventures of Superman #488
--Action Comics #675
--Superman: The Man of Steel #10
--Superman Vol. 2 #66
--Justice League America #59
--Justice League Europe #35
The Justice League's UN charter has recently been revoked and the embassies close down, forcing the JLA to move into the old Happy Harbor cave. Also, Maxwell Lord has recently been taken over by Dreamslayer, who now uses Lord (and his psychic abilities) to take over the living island of Kooey Kooey Kooey and murder all of its inhabitants. The Justice League Europe and Justice League America attack Lord on Kooey. However, Dreamslayer has also recently used Lord to take control of several JLE and JLA members, which he does so again, causing them to join forces with the Extremists. The Extremists, now comprised of villains and brainwashed heroes, assaults Happy Harbor cave where a few heroes had remained behind, including Batman who happens to be checking in on the emergency situation. Batman and company are chased to Kooey by the Extremists. There, the good guys help the unaffected JLers deal with the mind-controlled ones. Just when things look ugly, JLE member Silver Sorceress enters Lord's mind and expels Dreamslayer, an act that wins the day, but at the cost of her own life. Afterward, Batman and the heroes mournfully lay Silver Sorceress to rest on Kooey.
NOTE: The "Breakdowns" storyline ends with the dissolution of the JLA and JLE. Batman is not present, but this is definitely worth mentioning. It's a damn shame, but Giffen's brilliant Justice League run comes to an end.
--Justice League Spectacular #1
In the wake of the dissolution of the JLA and JLE, a new Justice League America reforms with Superman as leader. Batman is present, but does not join the team. Likewise, a new revamped Justice League Europe forms as well.
THE RETURN OF SCARFACE
--Batman #475Renee Montoya debuts with the GCPD! We saw her briefly way back in Bat-Year One when she was just a fresh recruit in the police academy. Renee will go on to become one of the most important female characters in the entire DC Universe. Also, it has been established that Bruce and Vicki Vale have been dating for the better part of the last year. While on patrol, Batman sees Vicki kissing another man! Vicki's new beaux is fellow journalist Horton Spence. Shortly thereafter, Horton and Vicki are attacked by drug-dealers and Vicki winds up in the hospital. Bruce desperately wants to tell Vicki that he is Batman, but can't do it. Vicki breaks up with him, but they remain friends. Oh yeah, Scarface is back and Batman gets stuck in the middle of a war between the little dummy and the Street Demonz.
--Detective Comics # 642
--Deathstroke the Terminator #6-9 ("CITY OF ASSASSINS")
Now that Deathstroke has proven he can fight on the side of good every once and a while, Batman reluctantly teams-up with him to take down Gotham's top mobsters. At one point in this story Batman takes a blood sample of Deathstroke and learns that Slade has been doping with a high-octane but extremely dangerous cocktail of various performance enhancing serums and steroids. Batman taking Slade's blood is also shown via flashback in Deathstroke the Terminator #11.
--Gotham Nights #1-4
Great Ostrander tale which intricately intertwines the lives of everyday Gotham residents to show us what the city is really is all about. Batman is barely in these issues, but this is a real opus to the city of Gotham. Good read.
--Detective Comics #643
A librarian is killing people in order according to the Dewey Decimal System. Hey, Milligan can't be perfect all the time.
--Batman #477-478 ("A GOTHAM TALE")
Through an elaborate ruse Batman is able to detect the true identity of, get a confession out of, and apprehend the villain known as The Gargoyle. The ending to this slow-paced Wagner tale is well worth the wait.
--Ragman Vol. 2 #5-8
What is up with Gotham City and gangs that dress up like clowns or mimes? What is also up with Gotham city and terrified rabbis who create Nazi-hunting golems to protect themselves? Batman has seen it all before, but apparently Ragman hasn't and wants a piece.
--The Demon Vol. 3 #23-24 ("THE RETURN OF THE HOWLER")
The Howlers are werewolf-ish demons that possess human host bodies and wreak havoc. Batman, Robin, Etrigan, and Glenda Mark put a stop to that shit.
--Detective Comics #644-646 ("ELECTRIC CITY")
Batman deals with the criminal Elmo "Buzz" Galvan and the third version of the Electrocutioner. This is the second different costumed vigilante/villain to go by the name Electrocutioner this year. Ever hear of a concept called originality? Come on rogues, you can do better. Notably, Galvan kills Batman in issue #644! It's true! Kinda. Batman flat-lines and is technically "dead" for a minute or two until Robin is able to convince Electrocutioner to use his electric shockers as defibrillators, which restarts the Dark Knight's heart and saves his life!
--Justice League Europe #37-40
The JLE has a brand new lineup and is now headquartered in London where they do battle with Deconstructo. Batman helps them defeat the villain. Afterward, the JLE asks Batman to be their new leader, which he turns down.
In issue #479 the ultra-buff Pagan is out for revenge against the two men who brutally assaulted her sister. Pagan kidnaps and tortures both of them before Batman nabs her. Issue #480 is an important issue for Tim's character development as he struggles with whether or not to tell his father that he is Robin. In the end, Tim decides to keep his secret. Alfred suggests that the Drakes move into the vacant estate adjacent to Wayne Manor.
--Aquaman Vol. 4 #8
An evil oil company (think Halliburton) hires the NKVDemon to fight against the champion of environmentalism, Aquaman. Since Batman has experience with the Demon, Aquaman gives him a call and they have themselves an old-fashioned team-up!
Batman put Maxie Zeus behind bars during the events of War of the Gods. Maxie's insane girlfriend Iris Phelios becomes the super-villain known as The Harpy in order to avenge him. Also, the debut of Dr. Shondra Kinsolving! Plus, the Drakes move in next-door to Wayne Manor!
--Batman: Penguin Triumphant, Part 1
The Penguin gets out of jail on parole and announces that he's cleaning up his act and going straight! In reality, the Penguin has invented a computer program which allows him to manipulate the stock market. Almost instantaneously, Penguin begins raking in what appears to be totally legitimate money.