Modern Age (YEAR NINETEEN) Part Two

October 2007 to November 2007.

--JLA Classified #16, Part 1
When the JLA brings down the evil regime of Middle Eastern dictator General Dvory Tuzik, Tuzik reveals that his ambassador has brokered a deal with the UN which allows him protected exile in China.  The JLA reluctantly allows Tuzik to go free.  Tuzik secretly becomes the new leader of a cadre of the world's worst dictators.   

--Batman: The 12 Cent Adventure #1
--Detective Comics #797
--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #182
--Nightwing Vol. 2 #95, Epilogue
--Nightwing Vol. 2 #96
--Batman: Gotham Knights #56
--Robin #129
--Batgirl #55
--Catwoman #34
--Batman #631
Before we begin, I should mention that it is early October, so any references to hot weather must mean that it is unseasonably hot, and not summertime.  Here we go!  While Batman takes on the Kobra Cult, Spoiler and Catwoman witness the largest meeting of Gotham's criminal underworld to date.  The following are all in attendance: Pasquale Galante (current head of the Italian Mafia families) with Philo Zeiss, Orpheus with Onyx, Penguin with Deadshot, Lew Moxon with Hellhound, The Ventriloquist and Scarface with Mr. Fun, Kwan Lin (current leader of the Triads) with Silver Monkey, Victor Kosov (head of the Odessa Mob) with NKVDemon, representatives from the Latino mob, representatives from the Yakuza, representatives from the Burnley Town Massive syndicate, and representatives from the Colombian cartel.  This meeting ends in a bloody massacre which results in 14 deaths, including the deaths of Moxon, Hellhound, NKVDemon, Silver Monkey, Galante, Lin, and Kosov.  Spoiler and Catwoman are shocked and both take off running.  At one point, Oracle mentions that Two-Face is in jail and Lex Luthor is active as a criminal.  I just wanted to clarify that Two-Face is indeed still in jail, but he's been 100% rehabilitated thanks to his recent facial reconstructive surgery.  And Luthor would still be considered either dead or missing since losing the presidency.  However, it is safe for a paranoid Oracle to assume that Dent or Luthor could strike at any moment, no matter what their statuses may ostensibly be at the time.  Moving on, with the heads of the Gotham mobs all dead, a huge mob-war erupts across the city.  Batman, Batgirl, Oracle, Orpheus, and Onyx are left to contend with the chaos.  Batman orders Orpheus to attack and take control of the Yakuza.  The latter complies and becomes the leader of both the Hill Gang and the Yakuza.  Nightwing and Tarantula also come to Gotham to assist with the fight.  Tarantula quickly assumes control of the Latino gangs.  By the end of the first night of "War Games," Hush and Prometheus decide to enter into the fold as well.  (Hush is still hellbent on locating the Riddler since the events of "Pushback").  Meanwhile, Penguin holds a "supervillain auction," pimping villains to the highest mob bidders.  His auction includes Killer Croc (who still has his lightened skin and hair plugs!), Lynx, Electrocutioner, Suicide King, Firefly, Pistolera (formerly Bunnyhawk), Vicious, and Trickster.  Concurrently, Alexandra Kosov (new leader of the Odessa Mob) merges the Russians with Scarface's gang.  Their newly merged gang begins killing off family-members related to anyone in the Italian Mafia.  Tim's close friend Darla Acquista (daughter of mobster Henry Acquista) is shot and killed at Tim's high school, and without his Robin alter-ego, there is little Tim can do about it.  NOTE: Oracle makes a gaffe claiming that Stephanie was fired as Robin days ago.  It's been weeks.  Moving on, Tim and hundreds of other kids are held hostage at the school.  The Bat-family converges on the school to offer a swift rescue.  Meanwhile, Selina takes down a scary Mr. Freeze and then meets up with a teary-eyed Stephanie.  Steph confesses her responsibility for initiating the Gotham mob-war.  But how?  Steph, during her tenure as Robin, had stolen a contingency plan (on computer file) to unite all of the criminal families and gangs under Batman's control.  Desperately yearning to regain Batman's confidence, Steph followed the plan to a tee and delivered letters to all the gang leaders, getting them to show up for the big meeting.  However, the "main guy," Batman's secret insider, who was supposed to take control of the new criminal empire never showed up.  In one of Ed Brubaker's finest moments, Selina asks, "Who's this guy who never showed up?" to which Steph sobbingly replies, "Some guy I've never even heard of before . . . Matches Malone."  Selina is floored.  Amazing stuff.  Back at Tim's school, the Bat-family infiltrates the building, takes down the gangsters one-by-one, and evacuates the students.  Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl purposefully make their presence known to the media, which is a rare occurrence.  Also of some importance to future events, famous TV journalist Arturo Rodriguez, a long time supporter of Batman, turns against the Dark Knight publicly.  The first 36 hours of "War Games" come to a fulfilling, nail-biting conclusion.

--Gotham Central #23-24 ("CORRIGAN")
Corrupt Gotham cop Jim Corrigan (no relation to the former cop and Spectre host of the same name) has a reputation for stealing evidence and selling it on eBay.  This does not bode well for Crispus Allen, who has just shot and killed Black Spider aka Johnny LaMonica in self-defense.  During a firefight, a Burnley Town Massive gang member is clipped with one of Allen's bullets.  The gang member claims brutality and says that Allen shot him at point blank range, after he was already cuffed.  This outrageous lie could easily be refuted, but the exonerating bullet has already been sold online.  After Renee Montoya beats the crap out of Corrigan, she takes a trip out to the burbs with Inspector Manuel Esperanza to visit the auction winner.  And this is why Rucka rules.  The auction winner is a little old lady that just so happens to collect crime memorabilia.  She's got scaplels that Zsasz has used to murder people, old Riddler hats, old Mad Hatter hats, domino masks, Croc teeth, you name it.  She also mentions how the current gang war (i.e. "War Games") has been a great producer for her collection!  Renee and Manuel get the needed evidence back from the lady and Allen is off the hook.  NOTE: Batman does not appear in this story.  These issues overlap with "War Games Act 1."  I also wanted to mention that the original Black Spider, Eric Needham, is still operating as the Black Spider, primarily in Star City.

--Detective Comics #798
--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #183
--Nightwing Vol. 2 #97
--Batman: Gotham Knights #57
--Robin #130
--Batgirl #56
--Catwoman #35
--Batman #632
Before "Act 2" commences, writer Andersen Gabrych tells us that the Batman's appearance in front of Gotham media at the conclusion of "Act 1" was the first ever video footage of Batman.  This, obviously, is completely ludicrous and must be totally ignored.  Everyone knows there is a Batman and he's been photographed and filmed on countless occasions.  As the gang war escalates, Batman meets with Commissioner Akins and asks the commish to turn over leadership of the GCPD to him!  An angry Akins denies Batman and storms off.  Meanwhile, Tim decides to become Robin again!  Jim Gordon then has a friendly chat with Akins then has a not-so-friendly chat with Batman regarding his methods.  Concurrently, Selina tells Leslie Thompkins that Stephanie was responsible for starting the mob-war.  Behind the scenes, a mysterious supervillain has slowly begun taking control of each gang, easily taking out Alexandra Kosov, the Ventriloquist, and Mr. Fun.  He also tortures the leader of the Colombian cartel to death.  But who is the new player in town?  We'll find out soon enough.  When Penguin cuts the city's power supply, Batman has a startling epiphany.  Since the gang war began he's known everything that would happen before it happened.  Batman realizes the recent events in Gotham have all been based upon his own "War Games" design.  After a quick review of the Batcave computer system, Batman learns that Steph started the debacle.  The Caped Crusader assembles the troops and tells them that his plan, which was never actually meant to be implemented, revolves around Orpheus.  The final result of his "War Games" plan was meant to end with Orpheus as head of one giant unified Gotham crime syndicate, which was to have been secretly controlled by the Bat-family.  While Batman rushes to meet Orpheus, Spoiler is already there.  But just as Steph begins to tell him about the plan, our mystery supervillain from earlier finally steps out of the shadows and slits Orpheus' throat.  Orpheus is murdered!  Black Mask, who was presumed dead after a recent encounter with Catwoman, is back and he is hungry for blood and power.  He pummels Steph badly and then sadistically tortures her with a power drill, scalpel, and hacksaw.  A bloody and beaten Steph spills the beans about Batman's "War Games" plan.  Meanwhile, Tim tells his dad that he is Robin once again.  Batgirl defeats the entire Triad gang by herself in a successful defense of Leslie's clinic, while Leslie becomes more and more disapproving of the Bat-family's methodology.  Hush interrupts Steph's torture session and tells Black Mask the location of the Batcave. (Hush actual tells him that the location of Oracle's apartment headquarters, which he mistakenly thinks is the Batcave).  Downtown, Batman unveils a technology which not only overrides the GCPD's computer system, but Oracle's computer system as well!  Batman makes a citywide public announcement that he has taken control of the police and the Dark Knight begins positioning his new troops on the battlefield.  Gordon, Akins, and Oracle are shocked and disturbed when the majority of the force willingly accepts the Caped Crusader as their new leader.  Batman then heads towards Orpheus' location, not knowing that Orpheus is dead, and Black Mask has donned the latter's costume, pretending to be him.  Batman gets in a quick fight with Zeiss and then meets with "Orpheus."  The Dark Knight delivers detailed plans which will end the "War Games" to "Orpheus" and tells him to set the wheels in motion.  Batman doesn't realize it, but he's just handed Black Mask the keys to the castle.

--Detective Comics #799
--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #184
--Nightwing Vol. 2 #98
--Robin #131 
--Batman: Gotham Knights #58
--Batgirl #57
--Catwoman #36
--Batman #633
--flashbacks from Batman #634
--Gotham Central #25
In only a few days, over 200 people are dead in Gotham and the city has suffered millions of dollars worth of damage.  Batman has instructed Orpheus to assemble all of Gotham's criminal underworld at the Robinson Park Amphitheater, just like in the movie Warriors.  The Dark Knight plans to use Orpheus to take control of all of Gotham's organized crime and then plans to use his army of police officers to arrest the majority of them when they leave the building.  Little does Batman know that Orpheus is actually Black Mask in disguise.  As "Orpheus" begins to address the crowd of hundreds, Batman realizes something is wrong.  Onyx discovers Orpheus' corpse and frantically radios the Dark Knight.  Batman swings down from the rafters and "Orpheus" orders the violent crowd of gang members and metahuman villains to attack.  Meanwhile, a large group of villains pours out of the amphitheater and begins battling the GCPD.  As Batman shoots a signal flare into the night sky, Akins curses Batman's fouled-up plan grumbling, "Too little, too late you pompous piece of [shit]."  Great line that highlights Batman's rare screw-up here with this whole situation.  Akins is finished with Batman's leadership.  The commish regains control of the GCPD and brands the Bat-family as a bunch of outlaws.  Inside the amphitheater, Batman unmasks "Orpheus" to reveal Black Mask, who immediately flees the scene.  With the situation contained for the moment, a furious Batman declares war on Black Mask and prepares his team of Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, and Onyx for battle. NOTE:  Croc is drawn incorrectly in LOTDK #184.  He should have white skin and hair plugs.  Continuing with our narrative, Nightwing takes down Firefly, but gets shot up by the cops in the process.  Robin apprehends Pistolera, Vicious, the Trickster, and Mr. Fun in time to meet up with his dad.  Jack tells his son that he still doesn't approve of Robin, but he is proud that Tim is a superhero.  Catwoman apprehends Zeiss.  Back at Orpheus' old office, Black Mask returns to finish torturing Stephanie, but Steph begins fighting back.  Sadly, Steph takes a bullet to the chest before Black Mask flees yet another scene.  Batman arrives to find Steph barely alive.  Bruce cradles Steph in his arms as Steph mumbles, "I just wanted to help," before passing out.  Bruce then rushes her into the care of Leslie.  With public pressure for Commissioner Akins to make significant arrests and end the mob-war, the GCPD makes an example of Tarantula sends in the heavy artillery against her.  Batman, thankfully, is able to prevent her arrest.  Meanwhile, Black Mask goes on live television, declares himself the new sole crime lord of all the Gotham gangs, condemns Batman as a supervillain disguised as a hero, and leads reporters and camera-operators toward the secret location of the Batcave (actually the location of Oracle's HQ which was mistakenly told to him by Hush earlier).  Black Mask, now partnered with Scarecrow, leads the live television crew not toward Wayne Manor, but toward Oracle's apartment headquarters!  Black Mask and an army of criminals are able to break into Oracle's headquarters after Black Mask throws Scarecrow into a laser security grid.  Black Mask then holds Babs hostage on live television.  Batman assembles Robin, Tarantula, Batgirl, Onyx, and Catwoman to attempt a rescue operation.  Using the direct approach, Batman busts in and starts wailing on Black Mask.  Meanwhile, badly burned from the laser grid, Scarecrow hulks-up and turns into the Scarebeast!  The Bat-family restrains Scarebeast while Babs initiates the self-destruct sequence on her entire apartment building.  The place comes down and Black Mask is nowhere to be found amongst the rubble.  Leslie, in a panic, calls Batman into the clinic.  Batman arrives just in time to show his love to Steph before she dies.  SPOILER:  Get it? Spoiler about Spoiler?  Ugh.  Anyway, Steph doesn't really die.  This is actually an elaborate ruse played by Leslie to teach Bruce a lesson about using children in his war on crime.  However, Batman will go on believing Steph is dead for quite some time, until she makes her surprising return.  Back to our little tale, two days after the war ends, Black Mask emerges again and officially has complete control of all the organized crime in Gotham.  Almost 250 people are dead, including 28 cops.  Batman and his "gang" are officially branded as wanted criminals by Commissioner Akins, who has the Batsignal torn down.  Batman meets with Akins secretly in the parking lot of the GCPD headquarters and tells the commish he's making a big mistake.  Akins says that he will end Batman's reckless vigilantism and bring him to justice.  A powerful end to a emotionally-charged and dynamic story-arc.  "War Games" is a must read for all true Batman fans.

NOTE:  After a conversation with Batman, Barbara Gordon leaves town (but will still operate independently as Oracle from a grounded airplane headquarters at JFK International Airport in New York).  Batman also meets with Jim Gordon, who also decides to leave town (as seen through flashback in Detective Comics #800).

--Superman/Batman #14-19
Three villains from the 31st century, Lightning Lord, Cosmic King, and Saturn Queen, have traveled to the past and altered the current timeline.  Their meddling results in the creation of an alternate world where Despot-Batman and Despot-Superman are ruthless, murderous dictators.  An alternate Wonder Woman and various alternate superheroes attempt to bring down Superman and Batman, but during the battle, they literally rip a hole in the timestream causing multiple realities to begin collapsing into each other.  The real Batman realizes that both he and the real Superman are trapped in a "time bubble" when characters from both DCU's wild west, distant future, and many alternate realities begin showing up.  Not to mention Batman's memories of his own past are a jumbled nonsensical mess.  Metron, an alternate version of Darkseid, and old gray-haired Superman (seen in Superman/Batman #1) show up and tell Batman and Superman that they must travel back in time to the defining moments of their superhero origins and ensure that they occur exactly as they once did in order to fix the timestream.  Therefore, our heroes go back and witness the crash-landing of the Kryptonian spaceship and the Kents' discovery of baby Clark inside.  Our heroes then travel to Crime Alley to witness the murder of the Waynes.  But Batman can't resist intervening.  He saves his parents and blows Joe Chill's brains out!  Instantly, Batman disappears and Superman is thrust into another crazy alternate Earth where Batman never existed, the JLA are all dead, and Ra's Al Ghul rules the planet.  Clark meets with Bruce, who is nothing more than a spoiled billionaire playboy.  Clark takes Bruce to Crime Alley, and Bruce begins to remember what the real world is supposed to be like.  Bruce suits up as Batman and teams with Supes to defeat the alternate Ra's Al Ghul, Lightning Lord, Cosmic King, and Saturn Queen.  The Legion of Superheroes (adult versions of the original Legion) then transports Batman, Superman, and the three villains back to the point just before the three villains screwed with the timestream in the first place (in the 31st Century).  The Legion corrects the timestream and Bruce wakes up in the Batcave as if nothing had ever taken place.  Both he and Superman have vivid memories of their epic time/reality displaced adventure, but in actuality ONLY 2 HOURS HAVE PASSED!  Superman and Batman visit their friends, who are weirded out by their behavior, to tell them how much they love them.  Batman is so shaken by these events, he visits his parents grave every night for the next whole month. From here, Batman and Superman monitor Supergirl and note how she has made remarkable progress with her training ever since arriving on Earth.  Unbeknown to our heroes, the Calculator has also been monitoring Kara's progress and abilities on behalf of a mysterious villain.  When Kara goes on a patrolling mission in Gotham, she teams-up with the original Barbara Gordon Batgirl and defeats Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.  The original Barbara Gordon Batgirl then turns into his true form, Clayface (Basil Karlo), and then Supergirl takes him down too.  Clark tells Kara that someone set-up her fight against Quinn, Ivy, and Clayface to test her powers.  But who?  Clark and Bruce don't know it yet, but Lex Luthor has returned behind the scenes and he is interested in this new Supergirl big-time.

NOTE:  One of several flashbacks from Batman #634 takes place.  Batman meets with Onyx, who is leading the Hill Gang now.  Onyx tells him that Black Mask has been trying to take over her territory ever since the end of "War Games."  They also discuss Stephanie's death.

--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #190-191 ("COLD SNAP")
Mr. Freeze has been more vile and scary than ever recently, but he's finally crashed.  Sinking into a deep depression, Freeze goes on a two-day stealing spree, collecting all of his "favorite things."  After a few murders at the ice-hockey arena, Freeze surrounds himself with the stolen items and prepares to commit suicide.  Batman swoops in to prevent the suicide at the last moment.  Freeze dukes it out with Bats, which results in an explosion that destroys the building.  Afterward, Freeze is missing.  Bruce tells Alfred the details regarding the case.

NOTE:  Hawkman offically joins the JLA as a part-time reservist.  He's still full-time on the JSA.  Likewise, Aquaman officially rejoins the JLA as a part-time reservist.

--Birds of Prey #79 
Batman only makes a brief cameo in this issue.  Black Canary tries to convince him to apologize to Oracle and Huntress (who is now working with Oracle).  Batman acts as if he doesn't care that Oracle has left Gotham, but says he will consider it.  Meanwhile, the Birds of Prey deal with the criminal organization known as The 100 in Metropolis.

--Superman/Batman #20-25 ("WITH A VENGEANCE") 
Jeph Loeb loves playing with the multiverse.  Here, he depicts an alternate universe which parodies Marvel's Ultimate Universe.  Instead of the Avengers/Ultimates, this alternate Earth's primary super-team is known as The Maximums.  Our story begins with Batman and Superman boom-tubing onto this alternate Earth and killing one of the Maximums, claiming that he murdered Lois Lane.  Supes and Bats boom away, and the Maximums vow revenge.  Back on Earth-0 in Tokyo, Captain Atom returns from the grave(!) (in a scene that is also shown in Captain Atom: Armageddon #1).  In Gotham, Lex Luthor hires Atomic Skull to steal a case which contains a sentient Kryptonite vapor-energy being known as the Kryptonite Man.  During Skull's battle with Batman and Superman, the Maximums boom to Earth-0 ready for a fight.  The Maximums kill Atomic Skull, nab the Kryptonite Man, capture Superman and Batman, and return to their own Earth.  Concurrently, Bizarro and Batzarro travel to Earth-0 from Bizarro World to assist Superman and Batman.  The backwards-heroes attempt to follow Batman and Superman, but each wind up on different Earths.  Bizarro winds up fighting the Soviet Superman on Earth-30!  Batzarro winds up fighting Batman Beyond on Earth-12!  On the Maxiums' Earth, our heroes escape and Superman fights Viking (fake Thor).  Meanwhile, Batman is taken captive by Wolfen (fake Beast/Wolverine), Bowman (fake Hawkeye), and Hornet (fake Wasp).  We then learn that Lex Luthor has been working with the Maximums since the beginning.  Luthor orders Bowman to release the Kryptonite vapor-being on Batman.  The Dark Knight is taken over by the sentient energy.  Bowman then sicks a crazed glowing-green "Kryptonite Batman" upon Superman.  Eventually, Superman is able to separate the Kryptonite Man from Batman, but the Maximums surround them.  Just then, Bizarro booms onto the Maximums' Earth and saves the day.  However, Bizarro mistakenly booms Batman to an Earth where everyone's genders are reversed.  Batman winds up meeting Superwoman, Batwoman, Superlad, and others.  Meanwhile, Superman booms to Apokolips where Metron awaits him.  Metron explains that Darkseid played a pivotal role in helping fix the damaged timestream (in Superman/Batman #14-18).  Metron further explains that even though the Darkseid from that encounter was an alternate version of Darkseid, he was mentally linked to the actual Darkseid, who remains imprisoned within the Source Wall (courtesy of Superman).  Metron tells Superman that Darkseid should be freed for his good behavior.  Superman thinks that some greater power must be pulling the strings on this whole chaotic affair, and he's right.  Turns out Mr. Mxyzptlk is playing yet another cosmic game with his buddy the Joker, a game that has the possibility to end in reality-altering catastrophe.  Didn't Mxy learn anything after "Emperor Joker?"  Anyway, Superman flies to the Source Wall and releases Darkseid, but it's a trick!  As soon as he's free, Darkseid traps Superman in the Source Wall.  Back on the Maximums' Earth, Bowman reveals himself to really be Mxyzptlk!  Mxy and Joker address the Maximums and further reveal that they (Mxy and Joker) created the entire Maximums' Universe and all of its inhabitants as a part of their game!  The Maximums' Universe is actually Joker's Universe!  We also learn that the Superman and Batman from the beginning of the story were actually the evil dictator versions of Superman and Batman from Superman/Batman #14 (Despot-Batman and Despot-Superman).  Batman booms into the Joker Universe with his team from the gender-reversed Earth and they start a fight against the Maximums, during which Joker kills Batzarro!  Then Superman (who has been rescued from the Source Wall by Kara) booms into the Joker Universe with his team of Supergirls from alternate Earths.  Then, Luthor, Darkseid, the monstrous new independent Kryptonite Man, and evil versions of both Supergirl and Superboy boom into the Joker Universe.  Bizarro shows up with an army of alternate Superman and Batmen from different times and alternate realities.  Everyone begins a gigantic battle royale.  Bored, Joker merges Batman and Superman into a Composite Superman-Batman.  The cosmically powered villain then merges all of the Maximums into a Composite Maximum Maximum.  Things are getting even wilder, until Bat-Mite (!) takes control of Joker and together with Mxy, they restore order to all of the multiverse.  Mxy explains to the heroes that the events which have just transpired have indeed occurred, but they were merely a test.  Mxy goes on to say vaguely that a "Red Hood" will soon enter Batman's life and that a "Crisis" will strike the DCU.  Yes, Jason Todd is indeed back, Identity Crisis is up next, and Infinite Crisis just around the corner, and that's what Mxy is talkin' bout!  Mr. Loeb, you have indeed redeemed yourself with this tantalizing tale.  NOTE:  I should also mention that Darkseid's little prison stay within the Source Wall has left him impotent.  That is to say, he's lost his Omega Powers (as seen through flashback in Superman/Batman #40)!  Darkseid keeps his impotency a secret from his minions and underlings and begins traveling the cosmos on the floating dwarf planet/interstellar battleship known as Tartaros to search for a remedy.

--Identity Crisis #1-5
--Firestorm Vol. 2 #6
--Identity Crisis #6-7
Sue Dinby, wife of Elongated Man, is murdered.  Batman and many other superheroes examine the crime scene, but can find no evidence.  A funeral is held two days later.  This funeral scene is also shown through flashback in DC Universe Legacies #10.  Moving on, Zatanna, Black Canary, Hawkman, Green Arrow (Ollie), the Atom, and Elongated Man spill the beans to Kyle Rayner and Wally West about the 2nd part of the "mind-wipe scandal" which occurred years ago on the old JLA Satellite.  Kyle and Wally are shocked to learn that, way back in Bat-Year 10, Sue was raped by Dr. Light.  The evil Doctor then threatened to rape all the other heroes' wives and hurt their families.  The JLA (minus the big three of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) voted to mind-wipe him.  Zatanna used her magic to erase Light's memories and permanently scramble his brain, turning him from a vile rapist into a goofy, harmless supervillain.  After telling the sordid nine year-old tale, the heroes go to apprehend Dr. Light, who they believe is responsible for Sue's murder.  However, this isn't an easy task since Light has hired Deathstroke (!) as his protector.  Deathstroke fights solo against seven superheroes, including one current JLAer, one former JLAer, and five reservists.  These are top DCU heroes and Deathstroke kicks their asses masterfully.  For a while anyway.  Eventually, they all cheat and dog-pile him to get to Dr. Light.  But an autopsy reveals that Light couldn't have been the culprit.  After the Atom's ex-wife, Jean Loring, is attacked and Lois Lane is threatened, the DCU's heroes begin a massive beat-down of the DCU supervillain community.  During this massive beat-down, Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond) is killed by Shadow Thief, and his nuclear powers are endowed upon teenager Jason Rusch, who becomes the third and newest Firestorm!  We also learn of an abandoned cloaked satellite in Earth's orbit which is being used as a sort of clubhouse for supervillains, such as Black Spider (Eric Needham) and Dr. Moon!  NOTE:  Jack Drake says Tim is 16 years-old, but he should be 17 years-old.  Maybe he forgot since Tim's birthday was recent.  Speaking of Jack Drake, our mystery killer strikes again and sets-up a break-in at the Drake apartment which results in the death of both Captain Boomerang and Mr. Drake.  Jack is dead, and poor Tim holds his bloody father in his arms as Batman holds Tim in his.  The FBI allows Batman full reign over the crime scene, which shows that the federal government is ignoring Commissioner Akins' "shoot to kill" order set against the Bat-family.  A government agent then turns away Boomerang's son, Owen Mercer, and tells him that it is now common practice that dead supervillains' corpses become government property after their deaths, so that they can't be resurrected as they so often are!  A small funeral is held for Jack.  Batman continues his investigations.  A day later, Ollie confesses the rest of the nine year-old "mind-wipe scandal" to Wally.  Batman had walked in on Light's brain-scrambling and flipped-out.  The team had no choice but to restrain him and erase his memories as well!  Back to our story at present, Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific discover that Sue's cause of death was from a blood-clot in her brain, specifically from someone shrinking down to a tiny size and walking inside her skull.  Meanwhile, after being temoprarily duped by The Calculator, Bruce discovers the cause of death as well.  Who can shrink down to tiny size?  The Atom can.  But the Atom isn't the murderer.  The killer faked her own attack.  The killer is the Atom's ex-wife, Jean Loring, who committed the crimes in attempt to drive her former husband back into her life.  Jean quickly winds up with a permanent residency at Arkham Asylum.  The superhero community is shaken to its roots.  The Atom disappears.  Batman visits his parents' grave and life goes back to normal i.e. The Dark Knight takes down Clayface (Basil Karlo).  But after this myriad of tragedies, things will never be the same.

--Robin #132, Part 1
Tim, Bruce, and Cassie attend Stephanie's funeral.  Tim tells Bruce that he will continue on as Robin, but not in Gotham.  He's moving to Blüdhaven with his step-mom, who will be seeing a grief counselor there to deal with the death of Tim's father.  Poor Tim.  In one week, he's lost his girlfriend (Steph), a close friend (Darla), and his father (Jack).

NOTE:  After Stephanie's funeral, Bruce privately visits Steph's grave and is confronted by her mother Crystal Brown, who wants to know his connection to her daughter (as seen in a flashback from Batman #634).  Bruce tells Steph's mom that he simply wants to honor a fallen hero, who was so heavily influenced by positivity and by Batman.  Crystal responds by telling him that Batman is no hero, and it's Batman's fault that both her husband (Cluemaster) and Steph are gone.

ANOTHER NOTE:  Flash's rogues attack Keystone City as revenge for the death of Captain Boomerang (as seen in Flash Vol. 2 #220-225).  Reverse-Flash Zoom, while trying to make Flash re-live the death of his unborn children, inadvertently alters the main DCU timestream and causes Linda to not only to become pregnant again, but to give birth to the twins (Iris West and Jai West)!  Flash then defeats his rogues and decides not to fix the timestream.   Hell, he's got kids now! 

--Batman #634
Bruce has a bourbon drink and reflects on all the recent losses (the deaths of Stephanie Brown, Jack Drake, Orpheus, and Sue Dinby and Babs leaving the Bat-family).  Dick notes how he can "count on one hand" how many times he's seen Bruce partake in alcohol.  They also discuss Onyx's defense of her Hill territory against Black Mask.  Alfred asks Bruce how he is going to deal with Commissioner Akin's labeling Batman as a criminal, now that the commish has ordered his officers to "shoot to kill" members of the Bat-family.  Bruce says the family will endure.

--Catwoman Vol. 3 #37
It's been about a month since "War Games" ended. Holly Robinson, Karon (Holly's girlfriend), Leslie Thompkins, Ted Grant, and Slam Bradley all throw Selina a surprise birthday party! Batman makes a secret visit to the party to wish Selina well and to give her a gift: A donation of ten thousand dollars to a psychiatric clinic in honor of both she and her sister Maggie.

NOTE:  Bruce takes Tim on a trip to Mexico to attend the Day of the Dead festivities.  They bond and talk about the recent deaths which have affected Tim so hard (as seen through flashback in DCU Halloween Special '09 #1).

ANOTHER NOTE:  Alexander Luthor, Jr. (of former Earth-3) and Superboy-Prime (of former Earth-Prime) break out of their pocket universe/prison heaven dimension, which they have been living in ever since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.  Superboy-Prime literally punches his way out, destroying the very fabric of the timestream.  Reality is altered in countless ways, but most importantly (to Batman anyway), Jason Todd's death is reversed!  The details of this event can be witnessed in Batman Annual #25 and Infinite Crisis #4.  The villainous Alexander and Superboy-Prime begin sewing the seeds of chaos which will ultimately bring about the catastrophic event known as Infinite Crisis

YET ANOTHER NOTE:  Batman asks Batgirl to move to Blüdhaven not only to keep watch over Robin, but to become one of Blüdhaven's permanent protectors (as seen through flashback in Batgirl #58). 

--Robin #132 Part 2
--Batgirl #58
--Robin #133
--Batgirl #59
Two weeks have passed since Steph's funeral.  Alfred helps Robin set-up headquarters in Blüdhaven and reports back to Bruce in Gotham.  He tells Bruce that Tim has gotten darker and grimmer since the deaths of his loved ones.  Batgirl and Robin learn that Penguin has also moved to Blüdhaven and has become the main criminal player in town.  Blüdhaven's hot new Dynamic Duo is able to make a loud introductory statement by defeating Penguin's henchmen; the Trigger Twins (!), Brutale, and Gas Bag.  Also, Tim sharing a small apartment with Cassie in a new town = awkward sexual tension!

--Robin #134, Part 1
Bruce visits Tim in Blüdhaven and tells him that he wants to legally adopt him (much the same way he did with an adult Dick years ago).  Tim is thrilled and accepts!  Tim begins attending a new school mid-semester (it's November now), once again delaying his graduation date to god knows when.

--Robin #134, Part 2
Bruce, Tim, and Alfred meet with the Drake family lawyer for Jack Drake's will reading.  Tim learns that his only living relative is his long, lost uncle, Edward Drake.  We'll learn a bit later that "Uncle Eddie" is actually an actor hired by none other than Tim himself.

--Superman/Batman #18, Epilogue
Batman has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit his parents grave once every night for the past month (ever since the conclusion of Superman/Batman #18, Part 1).  On the final night of this month-long ritual, Superman joins Bruce at the Waynes' gravestones.

--Robin #136, Part 1
While Batman fights the usual baddies in Gotham, Robin fights Penguin's new hired Blüdhaven guns, Rising Sun Archer and the new Dark Rider (unrelated to the original Russian Dark Rider). The first part of this issue takes place at the beginning of the second week of November.

--Detective Comics #800
Batman reflects upon the aftermath of the double-whammy that was "War Games" and "Identity Crisis."  Commissioner Akins has his GCPD officers gunning after Batman big-time.  It's been a while since Batman had to run from cops and he's not used to it.  The Dark Knight then saves a young boy from Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, and Alexandra Kosov.  He then watches a video message from Black Mask, thanking him for serving up the city on a silver platter.  Afterward, Batman meets with Catwoman to discuss all that has happened recently.  Just as they are about to kiss, Batman pulls away.  Selina slaps him, sick of his robotic, distant personality.  She demands that he show some emotion for once in his life.  Bruce grabs her, says, "I feel everything" and passionately kisses her in the rain.  Great issue.  PS. Catwoman is totally dating Slam Bradley right now.

NOTE:  On November 15, the JLA, sans Batman, encounters the supervillain known as Black Death.  They wind up chasing him to a JLA remote satellite laboratory outside of Pluto, where the villain accidentally enters the "Infant Universe of Qwewq," a mysterious alternate universe housed within a tiny cube.  The cube had been stored for further study on the Plutonian satellite.  The JLA enters the alternate universe and becomes trapped there (as referenced in JLA Classified #2).

--Robin #136, Part 2-Robin #137
Eleven days have supposedly passed since the first part of Robin #136.  However, if we are being specific, eight days would probably be more appropriate.  That would put us around November 17.  Tim's long, lost Uncle Eddie (Edward Drake) flies in to meet Tim, Bruce, and Alfred.  He's rude, crude and not at all what everyone was hoping for.  Uncle Eddie becomes the 17 year-old Tim's legal guardian.  Uncle Eddie pulls Tim out of public school immediately because he "doesn't trust them."  Anything to delay his high school graduation even more.  Sigh.  Robin then interrogates and threatens Rising Sun Archer (while being coached via earphone by Batman).  Robin is intimidating enough to convince the villainess to leave Blüdhaven for good.

--JLA Classified #1-3
This story-arc begins on November 18.  Remember the floating city of Superbia, the independent nation comprised of superheroes?  Since its creation four years ago (in Bat-Year 15, Part 3), no one has dared write about it, until Grant Morrison, right now.  The global peace-keeping force known as the International Ultramarine Corps has been protecting Superbia for the past four years, without much action to speak of, besides fighting in Middle Eastern wars.  When Nebula Man, Gorilla Grodd, and an army of Ape-men attack the Congo, the IUC is ready for action.  But by the time the Ultramarines realize that they have been lured into a set-up, Superbia is destroyed and crashes into Kinshasa.  Knight's teenage sidekick Squire (Beryl Hutchison) escapes the chaos and is able to phone Batman for help.  Bruce unveils a secret garage within the Batcave which he dubs the "Sci-fi Closet."  Inside, Batman has a collection of various alien technologies he's gathered over the years!  Batman slides on a Boom-Tube Gauntlet and hops in an experimental flying saucer (!) which rockets him to Africa where he meets up with Beryl.  Outrunning the Ape-men, Batman and Beryl boom to the JLA remote satellite outside of Pluto.  Batman shows Beryl a small starlit cube (the infant universe known as Qwewq) and explains that the rest of his JLA team was trapped inside the cube three days ago.  While Beryl tries to free the League, Batman dresses up a bunch of Superman-Robots (leftover from the Dominus affair) as the missing JLA members and booms back to Africa in a giant WWII-style flying fortress.  Grodd has Superbia floating once again (now rechristened as Gorillatropolis), has killed or eaten most of the populace, and has brainwashed its superhero protectors into his slaves.  Nebula Man, partnered with Grodd, easily destroys the Robot-JLA.  Batman appears to be royally screwed until Beryl successfully releases the real JLA from Qwewq.  The JLA booms into Africa, where Nebula Man reveals that Qwewq is more than just an alternate universe.  Qwewq is Nebula Man's larval form.  The current form of Nebula Man fighting the JLA is actually from the future.  Therefore, Nebula Man is a sentient time-traveling alternate universe.  Crazy concept.  Anyway, Batman and the JLA defeat the villains and restore order.  Superbia is no more.  The International Ultramarine Corps decides to enter the infant Qwewq to become its peacekeepers, hopefully ensuring that the universe doesn't grow up to become the evil Nebula Man.

--Robin #138-140
Bruce discovers that "Uncle Eddie" is simply an actor hired to play the role of Tim's relative.  After a visit with Uncle Eddie, Bruce demands a visit with Tim.  At the Batcave, the truth comes out.  Tim was the one who hired Uncle Eddie and forged his own father's will and set-up a supposedly untraceable background for the actor!  Instead of being angry, Bruce says he's never been prouder!  Tim's elaborate ruse was ingenious and worthy of independence.  Meanwhile, Henry Acquista brings his dead daughter to Johnny Warlock in Istanbul.  Warlock uses his magic to bring Darla back from the dead (in exchange for the life of Henry).  However, Darla is revived as an evil magical supervillain.  In Blüdhaven, the army-themed superhero team led by The Veteran recruits Robin!  Batman isn't very happy that Tim has chosen to team-up with this strange bunch, and begins investigating them.  Then Darla shows up in Blüdhaven, professing her love for Tim, much to his shock.

--Nightwing Vol. 2 #99-100
Nightwing fully recovers from the gunshot leg-wound he suffered during "War Games" over a month-and-a-half ago.  Batman confronts Tarantula and tells her that her methods are unsound and he won't have her using lethal force in his city.  Dick, filled with guilt over his involvement in the death of Blockbuster, follows Tarantula back to Blüdhaven, confronts her, fights her, and brings her into custody for the crime.  Dick also turns himself in (as Dick Grayson), but a friend in his precinct falsifies paperwork which makes it appear as though Dick was on an undercover assignment during the incident.  Thus, Dick cannot be charged as an accomplice and serves no time.

--JSA #54
The 2nd Annual JLA/JSA Thanksgiving Dinner is held at the JSA Brownstone in New York City.  Kulak the Sorcerer and The Warlock of Ys attack and get their asses handed to them by the combined might of both teams.  Afterward, Batman and Mr. Terrific order pizza.

NOTE:  Black Adam and his metahuman militia oust the dictatorial leaders of the Middle Eastern nation of Kahndaq.  Adam becomes the country's new totalitarian ruler (as seen in JSA #56).

--Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #210
The evil demigod Medousa (aka Medusa) is resurrected.  The ancient Gods force Wonder Woman and Medousa to do battle.  The entire world, including Batman and Robin, watch the battle, which is globally broadcast on live television.  Wonder Woman lops off Medousa's head, killing her, but winds up blinded during the skirmish.  

--Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #212
The JLA tests Wonder Woman to see if she can still function on the team without her eyesight.  Everyone holds back, except for Batman who attacks her with his full might.  Wonder Woman thanks Bruce for taking this training session seriously.  Even blind, Wonder Woman is a formidable opponent.

--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #200
After a newspaper slights him, the Joker detonates two bombs in the city, killing dozens and injuring hundreds.  A third bomb is set to go off in an unknown location, but only Joker knows where.  When Joker is nearly killed and left unconscious in critical condition, Batman rushes him to the hospital.  Once Joker is revived, he dukes it out with Batman and the Dark Knight discovers the final bomb is in the very hospital in which they stand.  The building is evacuated, but the bomb goes off.  Joker escapes during the chaos.  NOTE:  Next time Joker is referenced (in Gotham Central #28), he will be incarcerated at Arkham.  Therefore, we must assume he is caught shortly after this LOTDK issue. 

--Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #204-206 ("THE MADMEN OF GOTHAM")
Batman encounters a new metahuman villain known as Remorse who has the ability to turn people into mindless slaves with his "healing" touch.  After bringing him to justice, Bruce discovers a secret room hidden behind a bricked up wall at Wayne Manor.  Inside the room, Bruce listens to a recording of his father, Thomas Wayne.  Thomas explains that over fifty years ago, he was a part of a secret organization known as "The Madmen of Gotham."  The Madmen were comprised of Gotham's social, political, and financial leaders and was an elite group designed to ensure the safety and prosperity of the city.  Bruce's dad describes the Madmen as "a passionate and forward thinking group of men with the desire and resources to replace Metropolis as the city of the future."  The recordings reveal that the Madmen got into a disagreement shortly before disbanding when medical researcher Ted Galvin proposed adding psychotropic drugs into Gotham's water supply as a means of pacifying the populace.  After listening to the recording, Bruce attends a fashion show where an insane woman, Vera Klopis, exhibits metahuman abilities with which she can literally turn people into putty.  Batman apprehends her and learns that both Remorse and Klopis were previously treated by the same doctor and given an experimental drug known as Neruotrol.  Batman traces the drug to New Hope Mental Hospital and discovers that Ted Galvin is still alive.  Batman also meets Erik Galvin, crazed son of Ted Galvin.  Erik, having been dosed with Neurotrol by his father since birth, inhibits strong telepathic abilities, which he uses to take over the hospital.  Batman battles a horde of mental patients, while his own mind is raided by Erik.  Erik begins to take control of every citizen in Gotham, but Batman is able to stop him using an anti-Nuerotrol agent synthesized by Alfred (based upon Thomas Wayne's design).  The Galvins tragically perish when a news helicopter crashes into them.  The biggest impact of this tale is that Bruce and Alfred learn that Ted Galvin had begun lacing the Gotham Reservoir with Neurotrol fifty years ago!  Nuerotrol laced in Gotham's water supply is an absolute factor in why there are so many crazy supervillains in Gotham today.

NOTE:  Batman apprehends Poison Ivy, but not before she murders the business owners of a large luxury home development company which has not been very kind to nature (as seen through flashback in Joker's Asylum: Poison Ivy #1).  Joker narrates this flashback entirely, so it is possible sections of this tale is apocryphal.  However, the basic elements of this tale are probably canon.

--Solo #6, Part 5
Jordi Bernet's short about Poison Ivy (who we must assume has escaped from Arkham immediately following her previous arrest).  Ivy tries to make an example out of a "murderous" gardener, but Batman makes an example of her instead.

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