Modern Age (YEAR NINETEEN) Part One

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April 2007 to September 2007.

--Flash Vol. 2 #209
Jay Garrick and Kid Flash meet with Wally and tell him that they never forgot he was Flash, even though just about everyone else did courtesy of the Spectre (Hal Jordan).  However, the JLA (and some of Flash's best friends) want answers.  They can all feel that parts of their memories have been erased, specifically regarding the identities of the Flashes.  Wow, Hal's Spectre spell was really, really unsuccessful.  Or was it?  Flash races Superman a dozen times around the globe and finally takes his mask off.  Everyone regains their memories of Barry and Wally as the Flashes.  Superman seems to think that Hal's spell was a success because it has taught everyone a valuable lesson.  Back at the Watchtower, Batman scoffs at a statue of Hal.  He really, really hates Hal Jordan.

--Superman/Batman #9
Superman mentions that Kara Zor-El has been locked up in the Fortress of Solitude for "nearly a month."  He must be exaggerating because it's only been a week or so.  Naturally, Batman doesn't trust Kara, so Clark encourages him to speak with her one-on-one.  Kara explains that as a little girl she was sent in a space vessel which was meant to follow baby Kal-El's ship away from the destruction of Krypton almost fifty years ago.  Kara was supposed to have been Kal-El's older caretaker.  However, when the planet exploded, her vessel was damaged and became lodged within a huge asteroid.  The asteroid floated through space for fifty or so years, slowly navigating its way toward Kal-El's homing signature.  Kara, although over fifty years-old, appears as a fifteen year-old because her aging was severely slowed due to being in suspended animation during hyperspace travel towards Earth for so long.  Clark takes Kara to Metropolis, but the latter is kidnapped by Wonder Woman, who hauls her off to Themyscira to train her in the art of Amazonian fighting.

–The Monolith #6-8 (“FRIENDLY FIRE”)
An arsonist calling himself The Incinerator begins targeting Arab-American and Muslim-American communities in New York City. One of his targets is a home for recent Arab Muslim immigrants in Bed-Stuy that was built through the efforts of NYCAT and the Wayne Foundation. This terrorist attack draws the attention of Batman, who promptly comes to Brooklyn. Both Batman and the monster golem known as The Monolith track the Incinerator to his next target. In the resulting fight Batman is injured and the Monolith brings him back to the home of his master, Alice Cohen. There Alice tells Batman the Monolith’s origin–her grandmother created him to defend Brooklyn in the 1930s. Batman’s tells Alice and the Monolith not to get in his way. Eventually, Batman reluctantly teams with the Monolith and they locate the Incinerator’s next bomb in a New York City Mosque where he has strapped the bomb to an Imam. After disarming the bomb, both the Monolith and Batman track the Incinerator to Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center. The Incinerator is planning to blow himself up but is stopped and arrested for his crimes.

--Catwoman Vol. 3 #32
Catwoman has been missing for a month now (having been abducted by the Cult of the Beti-Ma). But now she's back in Gotham and all is well. Batman greets her with a warm welcome and an air of concern, exclaiming his happiness that she is okay. Selina tells Batman, "If you're really so happy to see me again, the do something for me." Batman immediately says, "Anything." What does Selina have in mind? Why, a peaceful night for Selina and Bruce, out of costume, going on a regular fun date just like normal people! Selina and Bruce get dinner, watch a movie, and smile in each others' arms all the way back to her apartment. While not shown "on-panel," Bruce and Selina finally get a rare moment to relax and let the magic happen, so to speak, in a loving sexual encounter as themselves and not their costumed counterparts. Afterward, Bruce leaves as the Batsignal lights up the sky. But Bruce is happy and Selina is happy, even if happiness in fleeting in Gotham. One of my favorite and heartwarming issues of this amazing series.

--JLA #90-100
While Batman takes on Steel Fang in Gotham, Wonder Woman wonders whether or not she should begin dating Bruce.  Using Martian Manhunter's telepathic abilities, Diana is able to foresee several possible romantic futures with Bruce.  In the end, the pair meet and both decide that they should remain friends instead of lovers.  Then, an alien being known as Peppy visits Earth and surmises that humans are destroying their environment (which they most certainly are).  After a tour of the planet by the JLA, Peppy decides that human beings must want to be extinct.  Peppy causes a bunch of asteroids to shoot toward Earth.  The JLA is able to deflect the asteroids and a confused and distraught Peppy commits suicide.  After this alien encounter, the JLA has an encounter with the vampire known as Crucifier and his cult known as the Tenth Circle.  Crucifier is able to bite Superman and turn him (temporarily) into a vampire!  Meanwhile, Batman deals with a bad GCPD cop who is secretly a member of the Tenth Circle.  Eventually, the JLA teams up with the Doom Patrol to defeat Crucifier and a huge army of vampires.  After this case, Faith permanently leaves the JLA to work with the Doom Patrol.  Also, former Outsider, Looker, is bitten and turned permanently into a vampire.  Next, the Earth goddess Gaea, angry at humanity's lack of unity, begins to destroy the planet with a series of cataclysmic natural disasters.  Vera Lynn Black aka Sister Superior shows up and tells the JLA that she has a plan to save Earth.  In a bit of trickery, she will re-form her brother's old supervillain-team known as The Elite.  The JLA will then combine forces with the armies of the world and the UN to "defeat" the Elite.  The JLA reluctantly agrees to the ruse and, believe it or not, Gaea (who must be an idiot) is fooled!  Afterward, Sister Superior convinces Superman to allow her to lead a JLA splinter group which can take on more covert missions out of the public eye.  Justice League Elite is born.  Manitou Raven and Major Disaster quit the JLA and join-up full time with the JLElite.  Flash decides to officially work with both teams.  Other members of the JLElite include Coldcast, Managerie, and The Hat.  Green Arrow (Ollie Queen) and Naif al-Sheikh will soon join the JLElite as well.

--Superman/Batman #10-13 ("SUPERGIRL FROM KRYPTON")
Two weeks have passed since Wonder Woman stole Kara away to Themyscira for training.  Batman reveals that he orchestrated the kidnapping and training because he still doesn't trust Kara. (There is a flashback from Action Comics #850 that shows more of this dialogue).  As DC's holy trinity discuss matters further, Darkseid sends an army of mindless cloned Doomsdays to attack Themyscira.  (Darkseid will try to clone Batman with even worse results a few years from now).  Batman uses a giant battle axe during the melee.  After the Doomsday army is defeated and the smoke clears, Harbinger (!) is dead and Kara is kidnapped again, only this time she's been hauled off to Apokolips.  Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Big Barda travel to Apokolips in search of Kara.  The lady-heroes tackle Granny Goodness's Female Furies while Batman flies around using one of Scott Free's jetpacks and gets chased by some giant monster Hell-hounds.  Superman confronts Darkseid, who has brainwashed Kara into an evil warrior.  Kara begins pounding on her cousin, forcing Superman to wear the Kryptonite ring and punch her out!  Clark nearly kills himself in the process.  Meanwhile, Batman dons some vicious looking Apokoliptian Wolverine claws and starts a fist fight with Darkseid!  Darkseid thrashes the Dark Knight and gloats, "I could destroy you with a single blast of my omega beams."  Talk about foreshadowing to Final Crisis, eh?  Batman then reveals to Darkseid that he has activated the Hellspores on Apokolips, which will destroy the entire planet.  The Caped Crusader then gives Darkseid an ultimatum; release his control over Supergirl or he will detonate the Hellspores.  Darkseid is unable to call his bluff and backs down.  The rescue mission is a success and everyone is relatively healthy, except Bruce, who has stitches all over his face and a dislocated arm.  Clark then takes Kara to Smallville to meet Ma and Pa Kent, but Darkseid is ambushes them and blasts Kara into a pile of ashes using his Omega Beams!  Supes battles Darkseid into deep space and Boom Tubes him to the edge of the universe, entrapping the evil despot within the Source Wall!  In a twist, we learn that Kara is alive and well, having been teleported away to safety at the last second.  The whole affair in Smallville was a successful setup to lure and imprison Darkseid for good.  NOTE:  Keep in mind that any references to the murder of Bruce's parents as being unsolved have been completely retconned out of this tale.

NOTE:  Batman naturally distrusts the newly formed Justice League Elite.  Thus, the Dark Knight gives Batgirl a secret mission.  Cassandra infiltrates the JLElite by joining their ranks as the masked killer ninja known as Kasumi.  Bruce now has a mole within the JLElite (as seen in Justice League Elite #1).

--JLA #106
Batman has been absent from the last couple JLA adventures while he recovers from the injuries suffered at the hands of Darkseid.  While Bruce was recovering the JLA met the Abernathies, an all-American metahuman family.  The head of the Abernathy family has recently died while helping Superman rescue people from a burning building.  Mrs. Abernathy wants to get revenge on the building contractor, who constructed the premises without following proper fire regulation code.  Batman, along with his JLA teammates, is able to convince the Abernathy family that revenge isn't worth it.

NOTE: In the Batcave, Batman warns Supergirl to be resourceful if she is ever rendered powerless (as seen via flashback in Supergirl Vol. 5 #40). Special thanks to SAM GROOVER on this one!

ANOTHER NOTE:  Superman and Batman chase the time-traveling villain Chronos back to the 13th Century to apprehend him.  Meanwhile, in the 21st Century, Robin and Superboy throw a party at the Fortress of Solitude.  Batgirl apparently gets drunk and throws up (as referenced in Superman/Batman #26).

--JLA Classified #32-36 ("THE 4TH PARALLEL")
The JLA is able to enter the Dreaming and defeat Dr. Destiny, trapping him inside his newly designed Materioptikon gem.  While John Dee remains catatonic at Arkham, the mystical gem falls into the hands of Gothamite Darrin Profitt.  Profitt is taken inside the realm of the gem and learns how to alter reality using its magic. While Destiny wants to repair the gem, Profitt sees only the potential to exploit its power. He imprisons the villain's "dream-self" within the gem and sets about creating innumerable realities which will best lead him down a path of fortune, fame, and world domination.  When a newly created reality turns out to be a failure, Profitt simply destroys the universe and moves on to the next.  Eventually, only four alternate realities remain which have the highest probability of his success.  The DCU's normal "Earth-0" reality represents Profitt's 1st parallel reality, where Profitt is the JLA member known as The Red King.  In the 2nd parallel reality, Profitt dies and destroys the entire universe in the process.  Only Plastic Man survives annihilation by escaping into the Materioptikon realm.  In the 3rd parallel reality the Red King is a villain which murders everyone in the JLA.  This Red King from the 3rd parallel reality then travels to the 1st parallel reality to battle that JLA (which the hero Red King is a member of).  The evil Red King kills the good Red King and is about to defeat the League until the escaped Plastic Man from the 2nd parallel reality shows up and saves the day. In the end, Doctor Destiny imprisons the evil Red King inside the Materioptikon realm. (The 4th parallel reality was merely a "fallback" reality in case everything failed, but the Red King destroyed it in anger).  Eventually, the normal "Earth-0" reality shifts back into place.  Meanwhile, Plastic Man from Profitt's 2nd parallel reality merges with our normal DCU Plastic Man.  Plas now has not only his own memories and experiences, but he also permanently has the full memories and experiences of a Plas from an alternate reality too!

--JLA Secret Files 2004, Part 1
As the JLA rushes in to stop Felix Faust from obtaining the Spear of Destiny, the Justice League Elite find themselves squared-off against Circe, who is also gunning for the artifact.  Flash, who claims membership to both the JLA and the JLElite, finds himself running at super-speed to assist both teams at once.

NOTE:  The flashback from Superman/Batman #26 takes place now.  Hiro Okamura, the new 13 year-old Toyman, hasn't been heard from in thirty days.  Batman and Superman order Robin and Superboy to travel to Toyko and check up on him.  The teenage duo arrives at Toyman's Mt. Fuji headquarters, where they fight robot versions of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.  They also fight robot ninjas, robot bullfrogs, and meet sexy naked robot versions of the female members of the Teen Titans.  When they finally reach Hiro, the latter explains that the whole thing was just simple fun and games.

--JLA #107-114 ("SYNDICATE RULES")
It's been months since Krona was trapped in the Cosmic Egg (at the conclusion of JLA/Avengers).  Now, the Cosmic Egg, safely aboard the Watchtower, begins shifting.  A baby universe is gestating within and the JLA is worried that this is bad since Krona is in there too.  Meanwhile, in the Antimatter Universe the Crime Syndicate of Amerika realizes that their entire universe was destroyed and rebuilt (at the conclusion of JLA/Avengers) after certain "time hiccups" begin occurring due to time catching back up to the present in only a matter of months.  Power Ring is able to ascertain that the source of the anomalies began on the Positive Matter Universe (the main Earth-0 DCU).  Not knowing about Krona, the CSA naturally assumes the JLA is behind the anomalies and crosses the Bleed into the Earth-0 Universe.  The CSA manages to keep a low profile for three days, even after each of its members dresses up as his or her Positive Matter counterpart (except for Owlman, who can't stand the thought of wearing his "brother's" costume).  When Ultraman (disguised as the Man of Steel) is swarmed by a mob of adoring Superman fans, he gets annoyed and kills 219 people, leaving behind a charred pile of corpses with his heat vision.  The JLA quickly assembles and begins fighting the CSA.  Even with the help of the Teen Titans and the Power Company, the JLA is forced to retreat to the Watchtower.  Meanwhile, an alien warrior race from the planet Qward (located in the Antimatter Universe) has traveled to the Earth-0 Universe after having discovered the same time anomalies that the CSA had discovered at the outset of this tale.  The Qwardians are hellbent on causing some massive destruction.  The JLA, JLElite, and JSA all gather on the Watchtower and split into three mixed-squads.  Superman, J'onn, and several heroes from the JLA, JSA, and New Genesis meet the Qwardians just outside of Neptune and make their stand in deep space.  Batman and several other heroes travel to the Antimatter Universe to gather info.  Aquaman and several other heroes battle the CSA on Earth-0.  After easily defeating Aquaman's squad (which basically consists of the JLElite and Red Tornado), the CSA flies into deep space to finish off Superman's squad.  When they arrive, the CSA relaxes as the Qwardians kick the shit out of the heroes.  J'onn is able to communicate with the Qwardians and explain that Krona is the man they seek, but his threat has long been nullified.  Realizing the JLA took care of Krona months ago, the Qwardians turn their interests toward the CSA, chasing them back to the Antimatter Universe.  J'onn then reveals that he is actually Batman in disguise!  On the Antimatter Earth, Batman is actually a shapeshifted J'onn.  Bruce and J'onn had switched places so that any possible adversaries on the Antimatter Earth would not know there was a telepath in their midst.  Wonder Woman chastises Batman for sending the Qwardian war machine toward the Antimatter Earth, with so many innocent people there.  Bruce replies by saying that he'd rather have those innocent people attacked than the innocent people on his Earth.  We'll never really know if Bruce made the right choice to move the battlefield, but 3.4 million residents of the Antimatter Earth are immediately slaughtered by the invading Qwardians.  In a sense, Bruce saved 3.4 million lives in exchange for 3.4 million lives from an alternate Earth.  In the end, the JLA joins forces with the CSA and forces the Qwardians to retreat.  Afterward, the JLA attempts to take out the CSA, but the former is whisked back to their own universe.  But what about Krona's growing "Comic Egg" prison which holds a new universe of its own?  Was it a red herring?  Oh no, but just you wait.

--Justice League Elite #4
When the totalitarian President of Changsha is assassinated during a JLElite covert op, the JLA believes one of the JLElite is responsible for the unauthorized murder.  Vera Lynn Black (Sister Superior) reveals to the JLA that the real assassin was the metahuman super-agent known as Wolfwood.  (This is actually disinformation as we will find out the real culprit later).  Meanwhile, Manitou Raven's wife, Dawn, cheats on him with Ollie!  The two begin having a secret affair behind Raven's back.  Also, Major Disaster reveals to his fellow teammates that he is a full-blown alcoholic.  Also, Kasumi (undercover Batgirl) takes her undercover work one step further when she begins sleeping with Coldcast!

--Justice League Elite #6
There is something wicked within the JLElite, but Batman can't put his finger on it.  After Kasumi (undercover Batgirl) and Coldcast deal with the evil alien group known as The Aftermath, they wind up taking on the JSA in a bloody battle, during which Hawkgirl is badly injured.  Batman then meets privately with Batgirl.  The Dark Knight tells Cassandra that she is off the case.  Before Cassandra can quit the team, the JLElite is transported to an extra-dimensional vessel owned by the leader of the Aftermath, the aptly named Aftermath, and his associate Wolfwood.

NOTE:  The Olympian Goddess Hera throws a shit-fit and crashes the floating Themysciran Islands back into the sea.  Meanwhile, Doctor Psycho has used his secret influence to drum up a ton of anti-Amazonian propaganda across the globe.  This leads to the assassination of US Ambassador Darrel Keyes on the steps of the Amazonian Embassy in New York City, which sets off a chain of events that puts Themyscira and the United States on the brink of war (as seen in Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #199-200).

ANOTHER NOTE:  Batman busts up another Gotham drug-lab, similar to the one he busted up in 'tec #790 a few months ago (as referenced in Wonder Woman #204).

--Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #203-204 ("BITTER PILLS")
Diana tasks Bruce with finding out who killed Ambassador Keyes.  Batman studies the surveillance tapes and determines that Doctor Psycho has been causing all of the chaos related to Themyscira as of late.  Wonder Woman uses this vital info to make things right again.

--Justice League Elite #9
Kasumi (undercover Batgirl) and several members of the JLElite are still trapped aboard Aftermath's space vessel.  The mad alien tyrant had traveled to the Source Wall in an attempt to steal the Worlogog!  In the process, a melee broke out, severely injuring Coldcast and killing both Manitou Raven and Aftermath!  Coldcast and Kasumi wound up getting sent to the Shadow Dimension.  Flash was also injured when he used the Speed Force to teleport hundreds of alien civilians away from the Source Wall into the safety of the Watchtower.  Also, the spirit of Vera Lynn Black's deceased evil brother, Manchester Black, took over her body and stole the Worlogog!  Cut to now, the JLA deals with the sudden influx of refugees.  Meanwhile, Cassandra professes her love for Coldcase and reveals that she is really Batgirl.  Together, the lovers battle their way out of the demon-filled Shadow Dimension.  When they get back to Earth, the JLA places Coldcast under arrest for the murder of the President of Changsha.  Recent evidence has proven that Coldcast, not Wolfwood, was responsible for the assassination.  (Again, this is false evidence, but Coldcast is sent to the Slab).

--Detective Comics #784-786 ("MADE OF WOOD")
These issues of 'tec are out of sequence from the rest because this story begins on May 13.  Batman spends the night busting low-life scum, and also runs Riddler's car off the road just for kicks.  In the morning Jim Gordon stumbles across a corpse with the words "Made of Wood" carved into his chest, dumped in front of Gotham's "Green Lantern Tribute Statue" (a tribute honoring the Alan Scott GL).  Bruce meets with Alan and they discuss an unsolved string of Gotham serial killings from 1948 that were committed in the exact manner.  The former commish begins his own investigations and winds up on the doorstep of the killer who kidnaps and tortures him.  Bruce does a little investigating of his own and learns that the killer is the grandson of the original killer from the 40s.  Batman and Alan then track him down and rescue Jim.  Afterward, Alan gives Bruce a few trophies to add to his collection; an old signed photo of a young Thomas Wayne meeting Green Lantern and a baseball bat that once belonged to 40s supervillain Sportsmaster.

--Superman/Batman #13, Epilogue
Superman officially introduces Kara Zor-El aka the new Supergirl to the entire DCU superhero community.

--Second Feature from Detective Comics #789-792 ("THE TAILOR")
When a supervillain in a high-tech suit hijacks a train, Batman believes the baddie is wearing one of the Tailor's designs.  The Tailor helps Batman bring down the villain, but only after he realizes that his daughter is one of the hostages.  Afterward, the Tailor denies involvement, and Batman can't prove anything so he lets him walk.  In actuality, the Tailor's old supervillain team known as Mayhem is out to get him.  The Tailor is able to deal with his former friends without Batman's help.

--Justice League Elite #10-12
Coldcast has been incarcerated in the Slab for a week now, but Cassie is able to find out that Menagerie was the real person responsible for his crime.  In Seattle, Major Disaster joins AA after a failed suicide attempt.  Meanwhile, Manchester Black has returned to life (by taking over his sister's body) and, through use of the Worlogog, has gained control over a cosmic being called Eve, whom he has freed from the Source Wall.  Using Eve, Black levels all of London, killing thousands.  The JLA enters London and gets their asses whipped by Black and Eve.  Things are looking bleak until Green Arrow (Ollie), Kasumi (Cassie), an escaped Coldcast, and Dawn (who now has her late husband's powers) show up to turn the tide.  The heroes are able to expel Black from his sister's body, thus stopping the threat of Eve.  Dawn is also able to use her magic to restore most of London and return every civilian casualty back to life! 

--Detective Comics #791-793 ("THE SURROGATE")
After a pop-star L'Shea's pregnant sister is shot with a bullet made of ice, Leslie Thompkins takes her into her care.  L'Shea's husband ordered the assassination attempt, and when L'Shea finds out she's pissed, but she's no saint either.  L'Shea wants the baby!  The pop star has her bodyguards kidnap her sister and Leslie.  Oh, did I mention that Mr. Freeze is the head of the all-Black "Hill" gang now?  Batman tracks all the crooked people involved in this case into a warehouse, where Mr. Freeze sends in three goons wearing spare Freeze suits equipped with freeze-guns.  When L'Shea's sis goes into labor, Batman and Leslie have to act fast.  Batman has delivered a baby before, but he's never done a C-section.  Until now.  The baby is saved and Batman kicks Freeze's ass with enough time for some bonding with Leslie.

--Batgirl #47-50
Batman and Robin are investigating the kidnapping and murders of several models.  Batman tells Cassie not to interfere in the case, but Batgirl takes it upon herself to apprehend the ringleader behind the kidnappings anyway.  After returning to Oracle's headquarters, Bruce tells Cassie that the kidnappings were a part of a much larger operation, one linked to the distribution of the designer drug "Soul" by the Lost Girls months ago (in Batgirl #46).  Her interference has ruined a months-long sting that Batman had been orchestrating.  In fact, the Dark Knight is so mad, he fires Batgirl!  Cassie turns in her uniform, but steals one of Barbara's old Batgirl costumes and swings into the night.  Riots have broken out across the city due to a massive influx of "Soul" being distributed on the streets.  While quelling rioters, Batgirl runs into the Lost Girls and discovers their leader (and creator of "Soul") is none other than Dr. Death!  When the Caped Crusader shows up, Dr. Death exposes both Batman and Batgirl to "Soul," causing them to go into a rage and start pummeling each other.  Robin eventually beats an antidote out of Dr. Death and the Boy Wonder is able to sedate the crazed heroes.  Calmed, Bruce hugs Cassie, expresses his love for her, and invites her back into the family.

--Justice League Elite #12, Epilogue
A week after Machester Black's attack on London, the JLElite captures the traitorous Menagerie and delivers her to the JLA.  When Superman tells Vera Lynn Black that the JLElite is officially disbanded and was a "failed experiment," Vera responds by telling him that the experiment isn't over.  Superman seems confused, but lets it slide.  In Montana, Vera meets with Naif al-Sheikh to discuss the secret continuation of the JLElite.

--Robin #124-125
It's been three mopey months for Tim Drake (Feb. 28 to June 1).  Ever since his fight with Johnny Warlock (during which Tim mistakenly believes he murdered Warlock), Tim has been too depressed to go out as Robin, besides a few jaunts here and there.  When Jack Drake visits Tim's summer school, he becomes suspicious of his son after learning about a myriad of lies that Tim has been telling him.  Jack rushes home, searches Tim's room and discovers both the Boy Wonder's journals and his Robin costume.  An enraged Jack speeds over to Wayne Manor and puts a gun to Bruce's head!  Bruce talks eventually talks him down, but when Tim comes into the Batcave and sees his dad waiting for him, things get even uglier.  Tim has been contemplating quitting as Robin for several months now, but had changed his mind after a talk with Stephanie earlier in the day.  But now that his dad knows his secret, Jack refuses to let his son be Robin anymore.  Father and son have a long talk and in the end, it is decided.  Tim retires as Robin!

NOTE:  After an earthquake, San Diego sinks into the Pacific Ocean.  The city is revived as an underwater city, inhabited by Atlanteans, and is re-christened Sub Diego (as seen in Aquaman Vol. 6 #15).  This event doesn't involve Batman, but it's a pretty huge DCU event worth mentioning.

--Detective Comics #794-795 ("MONSTERS OF ROT")
Since the events of 'tec #793, the Hill gang has lost leadership and L'Shea has left town for good.  Batman appoints Orpheus as the Hill's new enforcer.  Meanwhile, a deadly sentient-plague known as The Mugre enters Blüdhaven and Gotham (carried over by illegal Santa Priscan immigrants).  The Mugre, at one point, manifests itself into a giant coagulated mass of cockroaches.  This cockroach scene is so similar to a scene from Joker: Last Laugh, it borders on plagiarism.  Anyway, Batman teams with Blüdhaven's own female warrior, Tarantula, and Orpheus to quell the plague and destroy it.  After the threat of the Mugre is resolved, Batman decides that Orpheus isn't strong enough to control the Hill all by himself.  The Dark Knight sends his buddy Ollie Queen halfway across the globe to recruit Ollie's friend and former League of Assassins member Onyx into the Bat-family.  Onyx brings her superb martial-arts expertise to Gotham and officially partners with Orpheus.

--Second Feature from Detective Comics #796
The Second Feature from 'tec #796 picks-up where the Second Feature of 'tec #795 leaves off.  In order to give Orpheus and Onyx more street cred, Batman and Batgirl have a fake fight with them at Penguin's Iceberg Lounge.  Every underworlder and mobster worth knowing gets a front-row seat as the superhero battle-royale leaves Penguin's club in shambles.  Mission accomplished.  I should note that Onyx is a unique character because she is the only costumed vigilante that Batman willingly allows to operate independently in Gotham (the other being Catwoman).

--Batgirl #51
Bruce funds a Gotham art project which turns two whole city blocks, which have been untouched since NML, into a veritable lush garden of Eden.  However, the garden begins to spread past its two-block limit, and its flora begins omitting pheromones that cause people to revert to a crazed, feral state.  Batgirl enters the park to confront Poison Ivy, who is obviously behind the scheme.

NOTE:  Batman has an unspecified mission with the JLA (as mentioned in Batgirl #52).

--Batgirl #52
Batgirl takes down Poison Ivy and puts an end to her "Garden of Evil."  Batman swoops in, having missed all the action due to having been with the JLA at the time.

--Robin #126
It's July 1 and Stephanie Brown has been training ever since getting her leg cast off a month ago.  She's been active as Spoiler for the past six days.  Tim has been adjusting to normal life ever since being forced into early retirement by his father a month ago.  Meanwhile, Johnny Warlock has sent the female assassin known as Scarab into Gotham with a mission to kill Robin.  However, Warlock and Scarab don't know who Robin is, or let alone that he has retired, so Scarab has been murdering athletic teenage boys that match the correct profile.  Stephanie then sews her own shoddy Robin costume, dons it, and breaks into the Batcave.  Batman finds her and instead of punishing her, he agrees to allow her to become his new sidekick.  That's right, we have a brand new Robin, the Girl Wonder!  Alfred is shocked, and scolds Bruce, telling him he is simply endangering Stephanie in order to lure Tim back.  Of course, Bruce denies this.  Next is the part where we have to do some MAJOR retconning.  This issue has Batman train Stephanie for about four months before they go on patrol together.  This issue also takes place from October through January.  Like we've already established, it is definitely July, so ignore the snow.  The four months of training must be ignored and replaced with maybe four days of training.  This may seem like a huge adjustment, but it really isn't much of stretch when you examine the situation closer.  Stephanie has been a superhero for years already, and has already spent months training one-on-one with Batman prior to this.  It wouldn't be that improbable to take Stephanie out as Robin relatively right away.

--Teen Titans Vol. 3 #13
Tim retired as Robin over a month ago, but I guess he's been too embarrassed to disappoint his fellow Teen Titans, because he still hasn't told them!  When Tim misses yet another Titans meeting, Connor (Superboy) flies to Gotham and runs into the new female Robin.  Conner doesn't believe Stephanie is the new Girl Wonder.  A heated argument ensues until Batman steps in and backs up his new sidekick.  Connor asks Batman for the prior Robin's contact info, and Batman tells him to piss off.  The Dynamic Duo swings into the Gotham night, headed directly for 'tec #796.

--Detective Comics #796
The fourth Robin is very different than her predecessors, and it's not just because she's a girl.  Stephanie still has a lot to learn.  Her first official mission with Batman involves the return of Victor Zsasz. This is a tall order, and Zsasz puts up a better fight than I've ever known him to be capable of.  But in the end, the Dark Knight and the Blonde Wonder take him down hard.

--Batgirl #53
Batgirl meets the new female Robin.  While Batman is busy fighting a gang of dudes that look like they are wearing Mister Miracle face-paint, the Bat-ladies are on their own as they try to stop Penguin from selling illegal guns.  Penguin's dubious henchmen are using their young seven year-old daughters as unknowing smugglers.  Cass and Steph bust the gun-runners and send their kids to foster care.  Afterward, Steph angrily punches out Penguin, knowing that the villain's hands are clean of the whole affair as usual.

NOTE:  Batman takes down the gang known as The Jolly Rogers.  The Jolly Rogers then change their name to The Masked Nasties and Batman takes them down again.  The Jolly Rogers/Masked Nasties have been torching Gotham landmarks recently (as referenced in Robin #127).

--Batman: Gotham Knights #59
Early August.  Mr. Freeze attempts to bring about eternal winter in Gotham.  Batman apprehends the villain after a 12-hour ordeal.

--Robin #127-128
Stephanie has been Robin for 46 days, which would make it about August 16.  Batman and Robin take down The Masked Nasties, who have again changed their name, this time to Bloodbath Inc.  The arsonists tell Batman that they've been hired by mob boss Henry Acquista.  Aqcuista has also hired the long-inactive supervillainess Tiger Moth (!), who Batman and Robin easily apprehend.  While Batman investigates Aqcuista's motives, Tim reads about the appearance of a new female Robin in the newspaper.  It's been a month-and-a-half and he didn't know!?  Tim calls Steph and demands a meeting.  However, when Batman learns that Scarab has been murdering Tim Drake lookalikes, the Dark Knight calls Stephanie into action.  Batgirl then meets with Tim, having been sent by Bruce to protect him.  Meanwhile, the Dynamic Duo gets their asses kicked by Scarab.  In a rematch, Batman dons his armored super-costume and still gets his ass kicked!  During the fight, Batman is left temporarily blinded.  Damn, Scarab is good.  Stephanie disobeys orders and tries to help Batman, but the Girl Wonder winds up getting nabbed by Scarab, who tells the sightless Caped Crusader that she will kill Robin unless she is allowed a safe escape in the Batplane.  Batman has no choice but to comply.  After this embarrassing defeat, Bruce is left blind for three whole weeks!  When he finally recovers on Stephanie's 71st day as Robin (September 10), Bruce is even angrier than usual.  He meets with Stephanie and fires her for disobeying him!  Stephanie Brown's 71 day tenure as the fourth Robin comes to its sad end.  Steph's termination as Robin is also shown in a single-panel flashback from Bruce Wayne: The Road Home - Batgirl #1).

--Batman: Death and the Maidens #1-9
It's late September and Bruce honors his mother and father in Crime Alley on the anniversary of their deaths.  Afterward, Bruce meets with a weakened Ra's Al Ghul, who tells Batman that the continued destruction of his Lazarus Pits (thanks primarily to the Bat-family in recent years) will result in his death, which according to the villain, is tantamount to murder.  Before I continue, Rucka tells us that Bruce's parents were killed 25 years ago.  It has now been 36 years since the death of the Waynes.  Also, Ra's Al Ghul makes it sound as if Talia is still working under President Luthor, which is impossible at this point.  Talia does still hold her position as head of the now Wayne-owned, former Lexcorp companies, so maybe that's what he's talking about.  Moving on, one of Ra's Al Ghul's other daughters, Nyssa Raatko aka Nyssa Al Ghul, makes her presence known to the world by simply knocking on the door of Wayne Manor and demanding a conversation with Batman.  Nyssa tells Bruce that they should team-up to kill Ra's once and for all.  Nyssa doesn't reveal that she is related to Ra's yet, but Bruce obviously still doesn't trust her.  While Nyssa is distracting Bruce with conversation, her associate Misha breaks into the Batcave and steals the remains of the Kryptonite bullet (from Superman/Batman #1).  After her chat with Bruce, Nyssa kidnaps Talia, drags her to a Lazarus Pit and sadistically begins murdering and subsequently reviving her over and over.  (Nyssa has created a synthetic Lazarus Pit which can be used multiple times, unlike the normal Pits, which are one-time only).  A crazed Nyssa murders Talia at least a dozen times in a row, before the latter begs for mercy and crumples into the fetal position in her sister's arms.  Broken, Nyssa has Talia under her full control.  Nyssa explains that she hates their father because he allowed her family to perish during the Holocaust. Nyssa herself was also tortured by the Nazis, while Ra's stood idly by.  Meanwhile, Bruce takes an alchemical potion concocted by Ra's Al Ghul which supposedly will allow him to speak to his dead parents in the afterworld.  Once the potion hits Bruce's bloodstream, Bruce goes into a coma and has a long hallucination of his parents.  After waking up and recovering, Batman visits a dying Ra's, and tells him the secret location of one of the few remaining Lazarus Pits in exchange for info about Nyssa.  Batman then realizes the Kryptonite bullet is missing from the cave.  The Dark Knight calls Superman and informs him that Nyssa is planning on assassinating him.  With the adequate warning, Supes is able to easily stop Misha from using the Kryptonite.  In Saudi Arabia, Nyssa and Talia arrive just in time to witness their father bathe in a Lazarus Pit and become fully healed.  Nyssa then orders her sis to kill dad.  Batman shows up just in time to witness Ra's run a sword through Talia's belly.  Ra's explains that he's put Nyssa through centuries of torture in order to make her worthy and ready of being his heir.  Talia has failed him time and time again, but now Ra's is ready to give all of his love to Nyssa and Nyssa alone.  Unfortunately for Ra's, Nyssa is less than moved by this fatherly speech and she stabs him in the chest with a knife, killing him!  Further chaos erupts as the League of Assassins attacks Batman.  Nyssa escapes to her base of operations and revives Talia once again in her own Lazarus Pit.  Batman sets Ra's Al Ghul's body ablaze upon a funeral pyre, heads back home, and discovers the location of Nyssa's headquarters.  He infiltrates her base only to find Nyssa and Talia are now co-heads of the League of Assassins.  Talia tells Bruce she is no longer in love with him and they must be enemies for life.  Damn.

--Year One: Batman - Ra's Al Ghul #1-2
Batman receives a posthumous letter from the late Ra's Al Ghul offering sage wisdom from the ages of old.  The letter (dated 2001) also congratulates Batman on finally defeating him and was to be delivered in the event of such an occurrence.  However, just as Bruce gets the letter, immortality seems to fall like rain over Gotham.  No one, even if they have been shot, stabbed, or horribly burned, has died in the past 26 hours.  Zombies walk the streets.  The dead begin to rise from their graves and the oceans begin to boil.  Alfred is able to detect an Arabic coded message hidden within Ra's Al Ghul's letter, which explains that the continued destruction of the Lazarus Pits have upset the natural balance of the Earth.  Deciphering hints scattered throughout the letter Batman travels across the globe fighting the remnants of the Ubu clan, which previously served Ra's Al Ghul.  Al Ghul's letter reminds Batman of an old encounter in the Himalayas from years ago where Batman discovered Ra's with an odd chanting Tibetan monk.  Bruce travels to the exact oasis-like spot in the Himalayas (which was made into a protected Wayne Tech research site years ago).  Bruce easily takes down an Ubu who demands that Batman help him either find or create a new Lazarus Pit.  Bruce realizes that the Tibetan monk is chanting a Buddhist mantra that phonetically converts into the chemical formula for creating a one-time-use Lazarus Pit.  In one of the lowest accessible hidden caverns of the Batcave, Bruce and Alfred create a Lazarus Pit!  The creation of this Pit seems to offer balance back to the earth.  The dead return to their graves and the world is once again at peace.  Meanwhile, Batman has sent the Ubu clan disinformation which has them scouring an unknown barren desert for a supposed hidden Lazarus Pit, which doesn't actually exist.  This story is huge because not only is there a Lazarus Pit in the Batcave, Bruce is one of the few (if not only) people on the planet that knows how to make a Lazarus Pit.  NOTE:  In the flashback to the old Ra's Al Ghul encounter in the Himalayan oasis, Batman is incorrectly wearing the wrong costume.  He should be wearing the yellow-insignia costume.  Also, I should mention that there are a few assumptions we must mention following this tale.  First, initially the Lazarus Pit in the Batcave can never be used, because it would result in the "immortality plague" to wreak havoc all over the Earth once again.  Therefore, we must assume that Batman and Alfred seal up the Pit permanently.  I say "initially" because Lazarus Pits will slowly begin to reform at various locations across the planet following this story, lessening the importance of this Pit.  It would also be a safe to assume that Batman destroys the formula needed to create Lazarus Pits, as he would see it as something way too dangerous to exist in the world.

--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #180-181 ("SECRET CITY")
When a computer hacker winds up dead, Batman and Oracle investigate his past and learn he has been embezzling from Lew Moxon.  Batman questions Moxon, but Moxon knows nothing.  Meanwhile, Oracle learns that the late hacker was a part of a secret online virtual reality network known as "Nirvana."  When more hackers start getting offed while logged into "Nirvana," Oracle creates her own "Batgirl" avatar and logs on as well.  IRL, Batman discovers that Mallory Moxon had hired the original hacker to check the Moxon computer systems for security weaknesses.  Mallory points Batman in the only possible direction left, towards her 13-year-old computer genius cousin.  Yes, yet another DCU evil boy-genius is responsible for cyber-crimes and serial murders.

--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #201-203 ("COLD CASE")
It's been five years since we've seen Preston Payne (Clayface III).  He's been locked up in Arkham for the entire time.  Payne, desperate to see his wife and child, attempts an escape, but Batman is on hand to make sure he fails.  The irony here is that Preston doesn't know that his son is also incarcerated at Arkham.  Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred tells Bruce that journalist Mark Prather has written a book which accuses Bruce's father, Thomas Wayne, of being the Robinson Park Ripper, a serial killer active forty-five years ago.  While Bruce doesn't seem that concerned, Alfred is worried that people will start digging up dirt on Thomas, specifically, his penchant for "role-playing and dress-up."  Hmmm.  Anyway,  Batman begins looking into the forty-five year old cold case and learns that a detective that worked on the case now works security for the Penguin.  Batman shakes down Penguin and the ex-detective and learns that the Ripper was actually harvesting his victims' organs.  Shortly after Bruce visits Prather, the latter is murdered by the returning Ripper, who dons a robotic armored super-suit.  Batman battles the mysterious foe until the armored villain demolishes Prather's home and escapes.  The GCPD brands Bruce as a suspect in the killing.  Selina visits Wanye Manor to act as a distraction/alibi for the police, while Batman continues his investigation.  After meeting with Leslie, Batman tracks down a bunch of possible Ripper suspects, but as he reaches each one, he finds them murdered.  Meanwhile, the armored Ripper attacks Leslie and reveals himself to be Mr. Freeze!  Victor Fries, before even becoming a supervillain oh so long ago, was killing women and stealing their organs in attempt to save his dying wife, Nora.  Nora, an accomplice to the crimes, had broken down and confessed to both Leslie and Thomas, linking the latter to the murders just enough for Prather to have believed Thomas was the Ripper.  After this startling reveal, we return to our present narrative just in time to witness Batman save Leslie and put Freeze behind bars, thus clearing his father's name.  NOTE:  This story reveals that Mr. Freeze must be around at least 75 or 80 years old at this point since he was the Ripper 45 years ago.  His condition must make him look considerably younger.   

NOTE:  US President Pete Ross resigns from office.  Jonathan Horne becomes the new president. (As seen in Superman Secret Files 2004).

ANOTHER NOTE:  Hush meets the new Clayface VIII, Johnny Williams (as seen through flashback in Batman: Gotham Knights #68).  Williams has murdered a prostitute and Hush, aware of this, begins blackmailing him.  Hush won't actually use Williams for any crimes for several months, so Batman won't meet him for about six months from now.

ONE MORE NOTE:  An unnamed government organization (most likely on behalf of the US Armed Forces) wants to evaluate new high-tech hand-to-hand combat equipment against the best possible test subject in the world: Batman.  Mission number one occurs now as a random soldier is tasked to fight the Dark Knight.  Batman easily defeats him (as referenced in Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1, Part 2).

FINAL NOTE:  Nightwing Vol. 2 #93 takes place now.  Batman isn't in this issue, but it is another important one.  Nightwing has recently begun a pretty messy quasi-romantic relationship with Tarantula and together they have been taking down Blüdhaven crime in record numbers.  When Roland Desmond (Blockbuster) finds out Dick's secret identity, he begins killing Dick's friends.  Nightwing and Tarantula then corner Blockbuster, and a vengeful Tarantula makes it very clear to Dick that she wants to execute Blockbuster.  Dick doesn't assist her in the execution, but stands idly by while Tarantula fatally shoots Blockbuster in the head!

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