Year Twenty-One Part One. April 2009 to June 2009. 52 continues.
"Week 47": Bruce emerges from the 49-day Thogal seclusion ritual and reunites with Dick and Tim in Nanda Parbat. (This is also shown through flashback in Batman #673 and Robin #176).
--"Week 47": Bruce discusses the Thogal ritual and its effect upon him with a monk (as seen through flashback in Batman #681). The monk reveals himself to be an enemy agent (working secretly for Simon Hurt, but Bruce doesn't know this) who tries unsuccessfully to poison Bruce. Bruce then reveals that he has not only fully remembered his original Zur-En-Arrh hallucination from fifteen years ago, he has found the negative trigger word "Zur-En-Arrh" deep within his mind. (He still doesn't know Simon Hurt is responsible for implanting it there, but he does know it's bad news). Fearing that one of his enemies will take over his mind (or worse) using the trigger word, Bruce creates a post-hypnotic "backup identity." In case of intense psychological attack, Bruce will become "The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh," the very character he imagined so long ago.
--"Week 48": Renee Montoya becomes the new Question and teams-up with Nightwing and former League of Assassin/Intergang member Kyle Abbot to rescue Batwoman from Intergang in Gotham. Intergang has allied itself with the Religion of Crime (a cult invented by Boss Dark Side that worships evil and follows the "Crime Bible"). These cultists stab Batwoman in the chest, nearly killing her.
--"Week 49": Black Adam escapes from Egg Fu and he is quite pissed off.
--"Week 49": Dick and Tim travel briefly to Budapest to meet with Bruce. Tim departs for Gotham abruptly when he receives a letter claiming that Cassie Cain is in trouble.
--"Week 50": Black Adam begins "World War III." Hundreds of thousands perish. Note that this isn't literally World War III. The media simply labels it that way, but this is really Black Adam versus the world. Meanwhile, Jason Todd begins operating as a fake Nightwing in New York City (as seen in World War III #1).
--Robin #148-151 ("ROBIN: ONE YEAR LATER")
This tale is labeled as "One Year Later" but actually takes place in "Week 50." Robin has been searching for Cassie Cain for a week now before getting blindsided by an unknown attacker. When he comes to, he finds Lynx (wearing a Batgirl costume) murdered. The cops show up and think Robin has killed Batgirl. Bruce returns to Gotham and dons the Bat costume for the first time in 50 weeks! He meets with Robin and discusses the situation. Meanwhile, in North Africa, Nyssa Al Ghul is assassinated! Back in Gotham, Robin breaks into police headquarters to steal and examine the fake Batgirl costume. When he gets back to Wayne Manor, Lady Shiva (who is working with Oracle's Birds of Prey now) is waiting for him. She tells him that the leaders of the League of Assassins have been assassinated and that the new leader is responsible for everything that is happening. Robin then breaks David Cain out of Blackgate Prison in order to question him. NOTE: We also learn that Tim has started attending yet another new school. This is his umpteenth transfer and he is now 18 years-old and a high school senior. Moving on, a bunch of ninjas attack Robin and David Cain. Cassandra Cain reveals herself as the new leader of the League of Assassins! She's the one who killed Lynx and ordered Nyssa's death. But why? Cassie discovered that she had a sister Annalea Cain, who was also trained to be a killer from birth. (In actuality, David Cain has several more children which have been trained to be killers since birth, which Cassie is unaware of). This news had caused Cassie to snap and realize that she had always been a puppet for her father. In a fit of rage, Cassie murdered her own sister and took over the League. Robin is shocked and upset as Cassie tells him that Batman used them like puppets, just like her father did. Cassie then invites Robin to join her League of Assassins and shoots her father. Robin and Cassie fight to a stalemate and the latter escapes with her injured father. Cassie turned evil? This story always breaks my heart. SPOILER: In case your heart was broken like mine, we do later find out that Deathstroke has begun drugging Cassie in order to manipulate both her and the League of Assassins to better serve his devious needs. I guess it makes the bitter pill a bit easier to swallow.
"Week 51": Black Adam is defeated by an army of superheroes, thus ending "WWIII." Bruce, Clark, and Diana attend a memorial service in Metropolis to mourn the devastation caused by the week-long World War. Meanwhile, Booster Gold and Rip Hunter (who have spent the last year investigating timestream anomalies linked to the fallout of Infinite Crisis) discover that Skeets is evil and is actually being controlled by the alien worm known as Mr. Mind.
--"Week 52": Penguin is forced out of Gotham by the mysterious new crime-lord of Gotham (as referenced in "One Year Later/Face the Face"). SPOILER: Gotham's new crime-lord is the Great White Shark, Warren White, who successfully operates his organized crime-ring from his cell in Arkham.
--"Week 52": Booster Gold, Rip Hunter, and Supernova continue their investigation into Mr. Mind. The clues lead them to travel back in time to one year ago (April 2008) where they witness the creation of 52 brand new parallel universes (linked to the fallout of Infinite Crisis), which each have their own lengthy and unique histories. The heroes also witness Mr. Mind attempting to literally consume these new universes. The heroes are able to stop Mr. Mind, thus altering the histories of the 52 universes once again, but successfully trapping Mr. Mind in a permanent time loop. Basically, Mr. Mind will have to relive the events of 52 over and over again forever. It's a great story, but it would get boring after the billionth time. Anyway, Booster, Rip, and Supernova travel back to April 2009 (now) after trapping Mr. Mind in the loop. The heroes decide to keep knowledge of the new multiverse consisting of 52 new parallel universes a secret. However, this huge news is a hard secret to keep and word will get out fast, at least within superhero/supervillain circles. Due to the time alteration in this tale, it is revealed that this version of the multiverse always existed i.e. these 52 parallel Earths each have unique and lengthy histories that are just as long as the history of the "New Earth"/Earth-0 Universe. However, much like at the end of the original-Crisis, we know that there are countless other parallel universes unscathed by the craziness of Infinite Crisis (such as the Antimatter Universe or the Marvel Universe).
NOTE: Superman/Batman #27 takes place now, but Superman and Batman aren't in it. In this story, Power Girl, who now has full memories of her life on the former pre-original Crisis Earth-2, dreams about a past adventure she had with Helena Wayne (Bruce and Selina's daughter from the former pre-original Crisis Earth-2).
ANOTHER NOTE: The Dweller of the Depths summons Arthur Joseph Curry to become the new Aquaman (as seen in Aquaman Vol. 6, #40). The new Aquaman will soon learn that the Dweller is actually the former Aquaman. For anyone wondering, Arthur Joseph Curry (new Aquaman) is no relation to Arthur Curry (former Aquaman), although the former is named after the latter, and their histories are very intertwined. But, hey, this ain't no Aquaman chronology, so let's move on!
YET ANOTHER NOTE: Two years after reconstruction began, Coast City, CA is finally completely rebuilt!
ONE YEAR LATER/FACE THE FACE
--Detective Comics #817
--Detective Comics #818
--Detective Comics #819
--Detective Comics #820
--Batman #654Ok, so its been one full year since Infinite Crisis. Our story begins with the mysterious murder of KGBeast. Batman tells Harvey Dent that his moonlighting period as a crime-fighter is over now that the Dark Knight is officially back. After easily taking down Poison Ivy, Commissioner Gordon (with his new right-hand woman Jamie Harper) tells Batman that, in addition to KGBeast, Magpie has also been murdered. While the Dynamic Duo takes down Mad Hatter, our mystery killer offs the Ventriloquist. Batman then visits Jason Bard (!) in his apartment and hires the PI to be his man-on-the-street during daytime hours. While Robin takes down the new Killer Moth, Batman's investigation in the murders of the villains leads him to Harvey Dent. Harvey is insulted by Batman's accusations, but refuses to comment, instead setting off a bomb and blowing his apartment sky high before dashing away. Batman and Robin then stumble across Killer Croc, who is feeding off the murdered remains of Orca, who has been killed by the mystery slayer. The heroes easily beat down Croc and contact Bard. Bard visits with Orca's husband and learns that the four dead villains were all working for Penguin at the time of their deaths. In the middle of the questioning, the new Tally Man shows up and kills Orca's hubby and shoots Bard in the arm. Tally Man is our mystery killer, but who is he working for? Bard fights Tally Man and karate kicks his ass into unconsciousness without getting any answers. Concurrently, Harvey has become completely unhinged ever since Batman questioned him about the murders. The crazed madman breaks down and pours acid on his face and scars himself with a scalpel. Two-Face is back just like that. After apprehending Scarecrow, the Dynamic Duo discovers evidence which proves Harvey is innocent. But it's too late, Two-Face goes on a rampage at the zoo and Batman and Robin are forced to capture him and sent him back to Arkham. At Arkham, Batman now knows that Warren White (The Great White Shark) is Gotham's new crime-lord. Even incarcerated at Arkham, White's reach extends into the seedy underbelly of Gotham's organized criminal element. However, now that Batman knows his game, Great White's influence is greatly lessened. He will remain Gotham's top dog, but will be largely ineffective. Afterward, Bruce finally adopts Tim as his legal son (which would be more of a formality since Tim is 18 years-old now) and Tim moves into Wayne Manor. I should also mention that the flashback from Detective Comics #844 occurs right after the death of Arnold Wesker. Peyton Riley (who has just been shot by her husband Johnny Sabatino) stumbles upon a bullet-riddled Scarface, who speaks to her! Peyton takes the doll and will eventually become the new Ventriloquist (but we'll get to that when we get to it).
NOTE: Bruce and Clark meet and decide that they should reform the JLA. Out of this meeting, they schedule a second meeting (to take place a few months later) during which they will vote on new JLA membership. Bruce begins funding the construction of a new Hall of Justice headquarters for the team in Washington DC (as mentioned in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #7). He also begins funding the construction of a new satellite Watchtower, which will sit in Earth's orbit.
--Supergirl Vol. 5 #9
Kara continues her long adjustment to Earth life by hanging out with friends and going on a date with the new Captain Boomerang (son of the original). Kara also sells Batman a "sourcedoc," a Kryptonian orb device which can essentially rewrite genetic code. (And says that "everyone" back home had one). She is offering it to Batman first for research and eventual marketing, for the price of a million dollars. Bruce says that he and Wonder Woman have already set ahead money for her, and Kara replies that if he doesn't want the device she will be going to STAR Labs next. Bruce agrees to the offer (and asks if she wants a check or an apartment building) and Kara kisses him on the cheek before leaving. Special thanks to SAM GROOVER on this one!
NOTE: When Diana fails to re-appear following her year-off from crime-fighting, Donna Troy assumes the mantle of Wonder Woman. Nobody knows what happened to Diana.
ANOTHER NOTE: The flashback from the second part of Joker's Asylum II: Clayface #1 takes place now. Batman fights and apprehends Clayface (Basil Karlo) and his cult of horror-film fan followers known as "The Children of Clay." Parts of this story may be apocryphal since Joker is narrating it.
--Firestorm, The Nuclear Man Vol. 2 #25
Firestorm (who has now merged with Firehawk) takes on the sub-zero themed supervillain team-up of Mr. Freeze and Killer Frost. Things go pretty badly until Batman shows up and takes control.
--Catwoman Vol. 3 #53-57 ("THE REPLACEMENTS")
Selina Kyle gives birth to her first child, Helena Kyle! The father is Sam Bradley, Jr. (son of Selina's ex-boyfriend Slam Bradley). While Selina rests following pregnancy, Holly Robinson becomes the new Catwoman. Batman visits Selina to see her new beautiful baby girl and brings two gifts; a teddy bear and a full-paid scholarship to the college of her choosing in 18 years. Batman then spoils the happy moment by scolding Selina for putting Holly in danger as the new Catwoman. When Holly is attacked by Angle Man and the new Film Freak, Selina has Bruce find her a good sitter and squeezes back into her Catwoman costume. The two Catwomen patrol the Gotham streets together, but back at the babysitters house, bad things are happening. Angle Man and Film Freak kidnap baby Helena! Selina goes in solo and gets her baby back and beats the tar out of the villains.
NOTE: In New York City, Dick Grayson has sex with random girls and then faces-off against Jason Todd to reclaim sole ownership of the Nightwing title (as seen in Nightwing #118-122).
ANOTHER NOTE: Holly Robinson will be arrested for the murder of Black Mask (a crime that Selina actually committed at the end of Bat-Year 19). Selina will then break Holly out of jail (as seen in Catwoman Vol. 3 #58-62) causing a huge backlash against the Cat-family from the GCPD. There are now officially two Catwomen in Gotham as Selina and Holly function as a team.
I'm placing this story-arc here for several reasons. One, it takes place well after Identity Crisis. Two, it takes place while Lex Luthor is head of LexCorp. Three, it is mentioned that Luthor hasn't been to Gotham for years. Okay, here we go. Luthor spies on Superman using an experimental quantam satellite scope. Using this technology, Luthor witnesses the Man of Steel accidentally destroy a bunch of buildings on an alien planet while saving its humanoid inhabitants from a meteor shower. The collateral damage is enough to earn Supes the aliens' wrath instead of appreciation. Luthor immediately begins shipping advanced technology, Kryptonite weaponry (he must have had a secret stockpile), and anti-Superman propaganda to this alien planet, dubbed "Lexor," in hopes of cultivating and nurturing an entire planetary race of Superman-hating aliens. Meanwhile in Metropolis, Luthor secretly funds a fanatical religion which worships Superman as a god. The cultists kidnap Lois Lane and try to kill her for rejecting Superman in favor of Clark Kent! If only she could explain. Batman saves Lois and, along with Superman, takes down the cult. In order to keep Batman off of his trail, Luthor keeps the Dark Knight occupied with hired agents posing as common street thugs in Gotham. Concurrently, Superman returns to Lexor and is attacked by a rabid Kryptonite-wielding mob. Flying back into outer space, Supes intercepts a LexCorp rocket entering the planet's atmosphere via a wormhole. At the same time, Batman finds out Luthor is behind the Gotham crime wave. Both Batman and Superman confront Luthor together and shut down his operations, although there is no hard evidence linking Luthor to the crimes as usual. I should mention that Superman talks about going on several JLA missions during this time period. Of course, at this point, there is no JLA and Superman is in the process of rebuilding the team. Therefore, we must assume these JLA missions are preliminary recruitment missions.
NOTE: Batman suffers a minor knife wound when combating some street thugs. I only mention this because it is mentioned in Superman/Batman #28, which happens in a week.
I'm placing this tale here because it is the last place it fits where both Luthor is still in charge of LexCorp and Bruce is still Batman. From the 31st Century, a green-skinned Kryptonite-infused clone of Lex Luthor time-travels to present day to assassinate Superman. The Luthor clone nearly succeeds, but Batman and the time-traveling Legion of Superheroes are able to perform life-saving surgery. While Batman tends to Supes in the Batcave, the Legion tracks down and kills the evil clone.
NOTE: Lex Luthor is acquitted of all charges related to the "Everyman Project" disaster last year. However, the trial has been particularly financially damaging. Losses in civil suits cause Luthor to not only be ousted from LexCorp, but to file for bankruptcy as well. An angry Luthor attacks Metropolis using a stolen Kryptonian warship, but Superman defeats the villain as he has done so many times before. Superman then rebuilds his Fortress of Solitude at the North Pole (as seen in Superman #650-653 and Action Comics #837-840). I should mention that after his attack Luthor, as usual, is able to miraculously clear himself of all charges. Luthor has still lost just about everything, but he manages to claim ownership of an old LexCorp Communications office building in Gotham, where he retreats to. At this location, Luthor tries in vain to salvage his assets, while several henchmen and scientists that remain loyal to him at his side. I should also mention that this story originally functioned as Superman's triumphant in-costume return following his yearlong plus absence in 52. However, due to retcons, his return would have happened just prior to this in Superman/Batman #72-75).
--Superman/Batman #28-33 ("ENEMIES AMONG US")
J'onn attacks Batman in the Batcave, but it isn't really J'onn. It's actually the former JLA shapeshifting mascot Zook (who we haven't seen in 12 years), who wants revenge on Batman for being so mean to him back in the day. Zook also happens to be possessed by the supernatural alien force known as The Call. But, Batman, Superman, and Hal Jordan aren't privy to this info yet. They battle Zook, who changes into various old supervillains we haven't seen in over a decade. (These villains were popular in Zook's time, but not so much anymore). The real J'onn then meets with Bruce in the Batcave, and Bruce douses him with a flamethrower, just to be sure it is actually him. J'onn isn't happy with this method of confirmation and storms off. Later, the Call takes control of Hal Jordan and Kilowog by corrupting their power rings. While Superman fights Kilowog, Batman is contacted by Lex Luthor, who claims that his former company had discovered a large alien ship containing thousands of Blackrock aliens is heading toward Earth. The Blackrocks, evil alien symbiotes, are responsible for creating the Call, and when they arrive they plan to assimilate everyone on Earth. Luthor then offers over the assistance of Plastic Man (!) whom he has hired as a personal assistant. Plas and Bats travel to the Arctic Fortress of Solitude to retrieve a captured Blackrock. (Superman had fought a Blackrock and imprisoned the creature almost two years ago). Once this Blackrock is released, it quickly takes control of Plas. Meanwhile, J'onn shows up and pacifies his former pet/sidekick. Batman is shocked to learn of Zook's return. Meanwhile, the possessed Plastic Man returns to Luthor, and Luthor extracts the Blackrock from him. I should mention that, at this point, Luthor is not in control of LexCorp. While Luthor has filed for bankruptcy and lost just about everything he owns, he does still operate out of an old LexCorp Communications building in Gotham (his last remaining asset). However, writer Mark Verheiden depicts Luthor attending a stockholders meeting in this tale. I'm not sure Luthor, in his current state, would be attending any stockholders meetings (or have any stockholders left to meet with). Anyway, when the Call takes control of both Superman and Supergirl, Batman is forced to allow the evil Blackrock to symbiotically join with him in order to fight Supes. Superman flies off and meets with Lois, which gives him the strength to shake off the influence of the Call. Unfortunately, Batman is totally evil now that he's combined with a Blackrock. Thankfully, Supes is able to beat the Blackrock out of Batman. Concurrently, the Blackrock ship arrives and takes control of virtually every DCU superhero in minutes! Despero steps out of the shadows and reveals that he is in league with the Blackrocks. Luthor joins the villains, while Superman is captured by almost a hundred possessed heroes. Meanwhile, Batman tries to plant a nuclear device inside the Blackrock ship as a failsafe, but is captured by a possessed super-powered Jimmy Olsen! At the mercy of the aliens, Superman is able turn the tide by convincing them that Despero is not to be trusted. The aliens turn on Despero and leave the Earth.
NOTE: Bruce goes on a few dates with socialite Karrie Bishop in order to keep his playboy persona running strong (as mentioned in Detective Comics #822).
--Superman/Batman #34-36 ("METAL MEN")
Remember all the times that Batman interacted with Dr. Will Magnus and The Metal Men back in the day? Well forget about that shit. Post Infinite Crisis retcons canceled-out those fun lovin' stories. For anyone who doesn't know, here is the official history of Dr. Magnus. Years ago, Magnus created the robotic superhero team known as the Metal Men. Eventually, Magnus suffered a nervous breakdown which led to the dismantling of the Metal Men, after which Magnus created the evil Plutonium Man, then was kidnapped and employed by Egg Fu during 52, then started taking proper medication, and then finally rebuilt the Metal Men. Now on to our current story. When Metallo (in a new, but rotting body) tries to rob a WayneTech building, Lucius Fox hires the Metal Men to protect the site. The Metal Men easily break into the WayneTech compound in order to test its security, after which they meet Batman for the first time. (Superman has already met Magnus and his original Metal Men before). Bruce and Clark then examine Metallo's brain in the Batcave. A brainscan concludes that Metallo is under the control of Braniac! NOTE: Superman incorrectly mentions that Oracle contracted the "Braniac Virus" months ago. It was a year-and-a-half ago. Moving on, Superman and Batman trace Braniac's location to an orbiting satellite. On board the satellite, Braniac attacks and injures Batman. Meanwhile, we find out what the Metal Men are protecting; a fully-mechanized OMAC prototype! Braniac takes over both the OMAC and the Metal Men and goes on a killing spree. While Bruce is laid up in the hospital, Superman fights the BraniOMAC and the possessed Metal Men. Batman crawls out of bed and with Magnus' help, is able to empower the Metal Men to shake off the influence of Braniac. The heroes defeat the supervillain with ease. Afterward, Clark chastises Bruce for keeping an OMAC. Bruce responds by claiming that even though the OMACs have caused nothing but trouble in the past, they are still the best defense against a large group of rogue metahumans. Clark then destroys the prototype and Bruce shrugs it off, claiming that he still has other anti-metahuman contingency plans. NOTE: This story-arc inexplicably carries the banner of Countdown 49 to 46 on its issue's covers. However, this cannot be correct since the Metal Men return before the JLA reforms, which happens before Countdown begins.
NOTE: Diana finally returns! She meets with Bruce and tells him that she is now working for the US Government's Department of Metahuman Affairs under the alias of Diana Prince. Batman and Diana observe from a distance while the new Wonder Woman (Donna Troy) and Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) battle against Dr. Cyber, Dr. Poison, and Osira (as seen through flashback in Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #2).
--Detective Comics #821
Batman chats with his childhood friend Matthew Atkins at a fancy Gotham club. Batman and Robin take down the one-shot supervillain known as Facade.
NOTE: Charlie Gage-Radcliffe debuts in Gotham as the brand new teenage Batgirl! However, it isn't long before Oracle tracks her down and convinces her that her chosen career path is far too dangerous. Charlie gives up her role as the new Batgirl, but begins training with the Birds of Prey as the superhero known as Misfit.
ANOTHER NOTE: Superman defeats the towering alien known as The Auctioneer, who temporarily "collects" every superhero and supervillain on Earth. We don't actually see Batman in this story, but it is quite possible that the Dark Knight was one of the hundreds of heroes and villains kidnapped. (As seen in Action Comics #842). In any case, both Superman and Batman are shocked when the Auctioneer tells them that there is a third Kryptonian living on Earth (besides Superman and Supergirl, and not counting Power Girl and Krypto). Batman and Superman immediately begin an intensive search for the mysterious "Third Kryptonian."
WHO IS WONDER WOMAN?
--Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #2
--Wonder Woman Vol. 3 Annual #1As we've just learned, Diana is now working for the US Government's Department of Metahuman Affairs. When Wonder Woman (Donna Troy) is kidnapped by Giganta, Cheetah, and Dr. Psycho, Diana decides its time to fight crime the old-fashioned superhero way. However, before she can, Circe (with the aid of Hercules) usurps the Wonder Woman mantle. Diana is able to save Donna, but has to battle a plethora of supervillains in the process. Batman, Superman, Flash (Bart Allen), the Teen Titans, and the JSA all show up to join in the fray. During the rumble, Diana takes out evil Wonder Woman Circe and officially becomes Wonder Woman once again! I should mention that the JSA has been inactive since WWIII. The JSA members that show up for this story-arc form an unofficial skeleton crew.
--Superman & Batman vs. Vampires & Werewolves #1-6
I've placed this story here based upon Wonder Woman's appearance and the other various character cameos. When a bunch of vampires and werewolves run ravenously wild through Gotham, the Dark Knight suspects sinister newcomer Professor Herbert Combs is responsible. After Nightwing captures a werewolf and Batman captures a vampire, the latter's suspicions are confirmed: Combs is indeed behind the appearances of all the vamps and werewolves. Batman visits Combs only to learn that the mad doctor can literally spit monsters out of his mouth via a portal to a Lovecraftian undead dimension inside his body. Superman, Batman, and good-guy vampire Marius Dimeter join forces to defeat a 30-story tall Cthulhu creature. In the park our heroes are ambushed by an army of vamps and werewolves, but are rescued by Jason Blood and Green Arrow. Green Arrow makes a comment about needing to return to Seattle, which is odd since he hasn't lived there for many years. Anyway, Dimeter and his werewolf pal Janko reveal that Combs stole samples of their blood and is using them to turn innocent victims into a supernatural army. Cue another huge bloody monster mash where Jason Blood morphs into Etrigan and helps the heroes fight off even more vamps and werewolves. Eventually Combs surrenders and winds up in Arkham. Supes then delivers a vamp-bitten child into the care of Kirk Langstrom, which brings about a gratuitous Man-Bat versus werewolf scene. Later on, Etrigan casts a spell which cures anyone who has been artificially transformed into a monster by Combs, while the rest of the cast banishes the gigantic Cthulhu back to its evil place of origin. Dimeter eventually sires his girlfriend Olivia and leaves Gotham.
NOTE: Batman breaks up a "clown riot" and saves the life of Pandora, a local sex club operator (as mentioned in Detective Comics #822). You'll have to ask Paul Dini what a "clown riot" is. I'm guessing a bunch of Joker's old henchmen run amok maybe?
--Aquaman, Sword of Atlantis #51
The original Aquaman (aka Orin aka Arthur Curry aka The Dweller of the Depths) dies! Batman, Superman, Hal Jordan, and Flash (Bart Allen) travel to Atlantis to examine his body, confirm his passing, and mourn the loss of a friend. The new Aquaman, Arthur Joseph Curry, is present.
--Detective Comics #822
Batman takes down a debuting Roxy Rocket! Meanwhile, Riddler wakes up from his coma (which he had been in for almost a year-and-a-half following the "Battle of Metropolis" during Infinite Crisis). Eddie Nigma has suffered considerable brain damage (which has caused him to forget Batman's secret identity), but is otherwise healthy. And not only that, he has reformed as a criminal and become a private investigator, although he still acts just as, if not more, eccentric than before. When one of Bruce's ex-girlfriends, Karrie Bishop, is murdered, the Dark Knight reluctantly teams-up with Riddler on the investigation. The odd couple questions several people, including Pandora (the sex club owner). Riddler incorrectly mentions that this is the first time he's ever ridden in the Batmobile conscious. This is absolutely not true, and we must chalk up Nigma's error to the fact that he has suffered a recent serious brain injury. Anyway, Riddler celebrates after he thinks he's solved the case all by himself. Actually, he's pegged the wrong person, and Batman winds up solving the crime afterward. Karrie was murdered by her money-hungry "best friend."
It's the end of the first week in June. Tim begins lessons with his summer-school tutor Zoanne Wilkins and also finally gets around to moving his things into Wayne Manor (even though he's been living there for five weeks now). Bruce hangs out with Tim and they listen to The Clash! The duo then finally gets around to talking about what happened to Cassie. Tim is very upset about it, but Bruce comforts him and says that they must move on because Cassie is "disturbed." Robin then meets with one of Joker's old henchmen who claims that the Joker has rigged a dirty bomb to explode in Gotham in "August 2006." That date was chosen because it is the date right around when this story was originally published. A proper retcon for the date for the purposes of this chronology is "June 2009." Moving on, Robin teams-up with the new Captain Boomerang (son of the old Captain Boomerang, which is awkward since the old Boomerang murdered Tim's dad) to locate and disarm the bomb. Robin and Cap begin searching various former Bat-rogue hideouts for the nuke, and eventually find and disarm the deadly device at an old Ventriloquist hideout. After several wealthy children are kidnapped, Bruce and Tim are photographed and interviewed for a cover-story in Fortune magazine regarding Tim's new legally adopted status as Bruce's son, and how this affects the future dividing-up of the Wayne estate. Bruce and Tim use this article/photo spread to lure the kidnappers into nabbing Tim, which they do. Once amidst the kidnappers and the other children, Robin starts kicking ass and has the situation well in hand, until the meddling new teenage superhero Dodge interferes. Robin still manages to save the day, but both Dodge and another teenager are critically injured.
--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #207-211 ("DARKER THAN DEATH")
It's June 12. Bruce attends an engagement party for socialites Conrad Billingsworth and Janie Rutledge. There, Bruce meets the wild-child skinny-dipping younger sister of the bride-to-be, Lilith Rutledge. Bruce takes an instant liking to Lilith and winds up spending the night at her place. Gasp! Bruce actually has sex with her! However, problems arise quickly when both Janie and the Billingsworth maid, Mariam Hargrove, are both kidnapped. Batman begins his investigation by questioning Penguin, which leads him immediately to obese metahuman Greasy Lee. Batman beats up Lee and is able to rescue Lilith, who was kidnapped while the Dark Knight was investigating the other kidnappings. Batman then interrogates metahuman stripper Tiki Rivera, which leads him back to the Billingsworth mansion where an episode of Jerry Springer breaks out. Turns out Old Man Billingsworth is also sleeping with Lilith. Plus, he's squandered the family fortune. And Conrad has knocked-up the missing maid Miriam. All signs of the kidnapping now point directly at the Billingsworths, but despite their messed-up family affairs, they still claim innocence. Batman then trails Conrad, which leads him to mobster Benny "The Lamb" Bedlam and his metahuman goon Seadoggie. But once again, it's just another dead end. Back at Wayne Manor, Lilith shows up with a ransom note for one million dollars, claiming to have been attacked. Bruce gives Lilith the money and sends her to the drop point. Batman then swings in, but Lilith is gone, and only Miram's body remains at the site. After some more diligent case-work Batman discovers Bedlam and Janie holed up in a cabin in the woods. The two reveal that they were in on a scam with Lilith to rob the Billingsworths blind, but when they found out the family was bankrupt, they switched their target to Bruce Wayne. But in the end, Lilith screwed over everybody and skipped town with the cash. Batman eventually tracks Lilith down in Malibu and travels there to apprehend her personally. The resulting confrontation results in a fatal car crash for Lilith.
Tim begins dating Zoanne Wilkins and they go on their first date at a fancy restaurant. Meanwhile, a new supervillain named Jitter tries to rob a Gotham bank. Tim excuses himself from the dinner table and meets Batman through the bathroom window of the restaurant. Tim tells Batman that he'd like to sit this one out since he's on a hot date. Batman actually says that it's cool and goes off on his own! However, minutes later, Batman crashes into the restaurant with Jitter in tow and they begin a destructive battle. Tim gives Batman a little secret assistance and Batman takes down the metahuman. Afterward, Batman meets with Robin and swears that he didn't bring the fight to that specific restaurant on purpose. Sure, Bruce, sure.
--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #212-213
When a high school student spots Batman patrolling a certain rooftop spot every night, he decides to impress a girl by bringing her to watch the Dark Knight in action. However, Batman has been patrolling this particular spot because he's been awaiting a group of burglars to attempt a robbery. The high schoolers get involved in the sticky situation more than they had originally planned, but Batman saves the day. Next, during an Intergang case Batman and Commissioner Gordon stumble across a man who was murdered by a razor-sharp Batarang. The deceased also happened to be the owner of one of Batman's tattered old cowls, which he was selling for ten million dollars. Batman's investigation takes him to Tokyo where he enters the Otaku world of super-nerds who geek out for superheroes. Batman infiltrates a cosplay session dressed up in a Green Lantern outfit, and finds the murderer wearing his old cowl. The killer is a Yakuza gangster who lures Otaku kids into cosplay and then turns them into human taxidermy. Things get rough when two metahuman henchmen realize the newb (Bruce) is out of place. Bruce quickly switches into his Batman costume and kicks ass.
NOTE: Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #214 ends the long-running series and could possibly take place here, but I'm not sure if it is canon. In it, Batman plays a cold game of cat and mouse with Deadshot and prevents him from assassinating a mob witness. The canonical status of this issue is questionable because Deadshot mentions that he's in the Suicide Squad again, which, at this point, wouldn't be true. Of course, he could be lying. But that's not all. Deadshot also references recent troubles the JLA has had, possibly hinting at "Identity Crisis," which happened a long two years ago. Even if Deadshot is referencing something else regarding the League, it wouldn't make much sense since there currently is no League. I would place this story right after "Identity Crisis" in Bat-Year 19, but Gordon is commissioner in this story, whereas Akins was commissioner in Bat-Year 19. So that doesn't work either. If this story is canon, we must ignore pretty much everything that Deadshot says. In any event, goodbye LOTDK!
NOTE: Batman tells Nightwing that he is going to reform the JLA. The former invites the latter to be a member of the team. Nightwing turns down the offer (as referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #1).
--Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0-7 ("THE TORNADO'S PATH")
Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman meet in the Batcave to assemble a brand new Justice League of America! Issue #0 has a ton of flashbacks to the history of the DC's holy trinity and also a bunch of flash-forwards to things that will probably never happen. Writer Brad Meltzer teases us with looks into possible futures, which is quite annoying if you think about it, because these futures are either non-canon or completely alternate possibilities. For example, we see the weddings of both Hal Jordan and Wonder Woman, the death of Lex Luthor's son, the death of Pa Kent, the death of Lois Lane, the death of Bruce, and the discovery of a new parallel Earth. For now, we must ignore these flash-forwards (until one of them actually happens, of course). Anyway, while Bruce, Clark, and Diana vote on who will be in the new League, Red Tornado (who is dead for the 7th time) chats with Deadman in the afterlife and works out a deal in which he will return to life as usual, but this time as a mortal man, who doesn't need his android body to survive. Shortly thereafter, Red Tornado is reborn as a human man! However, Professor Ivo is watching from the shadows and has a team of supervillains (which he controls with Starros) begin a devious plan. First, Dr. Impossible steals Tornado's old powerful android body. Second, Electrocutioner and Plastique steal Vixen's powerful animal totem. Third, Dr. Impossible and Trident (actually a brainwashed Karate Kid) steal Parasite's arm by literally freezing his limb and severing it off. Impossible escapes with the limb, but Trident is captured by Black Lightning and Hawkwoman. Meanwhile, Black Canary, Hal Jordan, and Arsenal track Tornado's old shell to Professor Ivo's hideout, where they wind up fighting an army of multi-colored Tornadoes. Ivo reveals that he has created a new Amazo which wears Red Tornado's old shell. Ivo further explains that he has created this new Amazo to be a vessel for the returning Solomon Grundy, who has been resurrected as a genius. Concurrently, Black Lightning and Hawkwoman take an unconscious Trident to the Batcave, where all the heroes learn that Ivo is controlling the villains with Starros. All the heroes then unite and battle the rampaging Red Tornado suit-wearing Amazo, who also dons the Vixen totem and has a Parasite arm as well. The heroes win the fight, but Grundy pummels the human Red Tornado to near-death. In order to survive, Tornado gives up his humanity and returns to his android shell. Afterward, the new JLA is officially assembled. Arsenal becomes Red Arrow. The new Hall of Justice is opened in Washington, DC, complete with a "Danger Room" built by Niles Caulder (the DCU's version of Professor X). The new satellite Watchtower becomes fully operational outside of Earth's orbit as well. Finally, a group photo is taken of the new JLA, which consists of Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Hal Jordan, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Vixen, Hawkwoman, Red Arrow, and Red Tornado. NOTE: A major aspect of this tale revolves around the fact that there are 13 "true immortals" in the DCU, and never more or less than 13 at a time, due to some sort of cosmic balance. Professor Ivo and Vandal Savage are revealed as two of these 13. "True immortal" can be defined as one who is born immortal and can never, ever die, no matter what. To clarify, there are hundreds of DCU characters that are immortal, meaning they continue living forever, but unlike the 13, they have either gained their immortality through some other means and/or they never age, but can be killed by unnatural causes.
It's been less than a week and Zoanne has already dumped Tim. Way to go. Robin takes on a gang of meta-humans who have acquired their powers from a new drug called Pheno, which is secretly being distributed by huge chemical company, Strader Pharmaceuticals. After meeting with Batman, Robin confronts the head of the company. But before Robin can even begin to interrogate him, Cassie Cain (!) blows him away with a sniper rifle! After that, Robin buys Bruce a watch for Father's Day, but gets distracted by the 12-man homicidal vigilante team known as The Jury. After defeating the Jurors, Robin delivers his present to Bruce. The watch is now broken, but Bruce puts it in the trophy room. Tim then makes scrambled eggs for his adopted dad. NOTE: These issues were originally meant to have taken place in between Countdown 49 through 45 as indicated by their covers. However, since it is Father's Day I've moved them here.
NOTE: Flash (Bart Allen) officially joins the JLA.
ANOTHER NOTE: While Batman and Superman meet with the JLA aboard the Watchtower, Robin trains Supergirl on the finer points of detective work. When the madmen at Arkham are able to take over the asylum (as they have so often in the past), Robin and Supergirl are on the case. The sidekick duo is able to re-capture Joker, Two-Face, Mad Hatter, Clayface, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, and Mr. Zsasz. Yes, all of them. (As seen through flashback in Superman/Batman #62).
YET ANOTHER NOTE: Killer Croc escapes from Arkham by severing his own chained hands off with his teeth. (His hands grow back. Who knew? I sure didn't.) Batman and Commissioner Gordon examine the bloody crime scene as Joker laughs hysterically (as seen through flashback in Joker's Asylum II: Killer Croc #1). Joker narrates this tale, so maybe the part about Croc's hands getting severed and then re-growing like an earthworm might be untrue.
–The Brave and the Bold #27
Young Robby Reed visits Gotham for the first time–for anyone who doesn’t already know, Robby holds a fantastic device called the H-Dial, which when activated turns him into a brand new never-before-heard-of temporary superhero with a random superpower! After turning into a telepath known as Mental Man, Robby sees a premonition, which prompts him to leave the H-Dial out for a wandering ex-con hobo, Travers Milton. It is Milton’s destiny to use the H-Dail, become the Superman-like hero called Star, and sacrifice his life to save Batman. Sure enough, that night, Batman teams-up with Star to stop a citywide wave of mass chaos orchestrated by the Joker and his henchmen. By morning, Star flies into the sky with a bomb in hand, which explodes, instantly killing him, but saving the lives of Batman and some hostages. The Dark Knight then returns the H-Dial to Robby. PS. Both of Robby Reed’s appearances in The Brave and the Bold Vol. 3 (by Mark Waid in issue #3 and by J.M. Straczynski in issue #27) contradict the 2003 series H.E.R.O. where Robby is a bitter old man. In the Brave and the Bold issues, Robby reflects his character from the 60s, 70s, and 80s where he is still a young boy. Even if TB&TB #27 takes place early on (say, Bat Year 2, 3, or 4) then Robby would still only be in his late thirties or early forties by the time H.E.R.O. rolls around. Since only either the young Robby from TB&TB or the old Robby from H.E.R.O. can be canon (and not both of them), here is my explanation: The entire H.E.R.O. series (published in 2003) might have been wiped out thanks to Infinite Crisis/Final Crisis, meaning TB&TB (published in 2009) is likely canon.
--Booster Gold Vol. 2 #1 Part 1
This story starts on "Week 60, Day 1," which makes it the last week in June. Booster Gold easily takes down a new version of the Royal Flush Gang. The JLA then meets with Booster and offers him a spot on the team if he can prove himself worthy within a week's time. Booster (with Skeets) immediately sets out to do some extreme superhero-ing. NOTE: The Countdown 37 title on the cover should be disregarded. There is also a flash-forward to Final Crisis in this issue which contains Batman in it. While the date given for Final Crisis is correct, the image depicted never actually takes place, so we should probably disregard this too.
--Green Arrow Vol. 3 #69-72 ("SEEING RED")
Mayor Ollie Queen holds a press rally in Star City with Bruce Wayne. Bruce has been the leading benefactor in the rebuilding process following the attack upon the city almost a year-and-a-half ago. When the sun goes down, Batman, Green Arrow, and Speedy (Mia Dearden) take to the Star City streets when they learn that Red Hood (Jason Todd) and the metahuman gangster known as The Brick are running amok. The heroes fight valiantly against the villains and are able to defeat them. Meanwhile, Deathstroke escapes from Alcatraz Prison and reveals publicly that Ollie has been funding the Outsiders. This news immediately mires Ollie in political scandal.
NOTE: Geo-Force becomes a full-fledged member of the JLA.
ANOTHER NOTE: For the past two years, an unnamed government organization (most likely on behalf of the US Armed Forces) has been training new high-tech hand-to-hand combat equipment against the best possible test subject in the world: Batman. Mission number three 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).