Modern Age (YEAR TWENTY-ONE) Part Four

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Bat-Year Twenty-One, Part Four.  February 2010 to March 2010

--Tangent: Superman's Reign #3-12
This epic adventure is supposed to take place a few weeks after Justice League of America Vol. 2 #16.  However, it has been several months, not weeks.  John Stewart and Flash Wally West follow the female Tangent Green Lantern and female Tangent Flash to their homeworld, Earth-9, to help with a coup d'etat against that entire planet's tyrannical leader, Tangent Superman!  Tangent Superman (Earth-9's Harvey Dent) has created a utopia by force.  There is no crime or poverty on Earth-9, but there is no freedom either.  When John Stewart is captured by Tangent Superman, Earth-0's heroes respond.  Batman, Hal Jordan, Black Lightning, and Black Canary travel to Earth-9 and team-up with Wally, Tangent Flash, Tangent Spectre and Tangent Green Lantern.  Their first challenge is to fight against Tangent Superman's girlfriend Powergirl.  Powergirl easily captures everyone except for Batman, T-Flash, and T-Spectre, who flee into hiding.  Batman then visits Tangent-Halo, who tells him the history of Earth-9.  After which, Batman meets and teams-up with his Earth-9 counterpart Tangent Batman.  Batman continues his Tangent team-ups and joins forces with the Tangent Outsiders (Tangent Manhunter, Tangent Plastic Man, T-Batman, T-Spectre, T-Green Lantern, and Pooch).  Batman and the T-Outsiders infiltrate T-Superman's HQ and rescue their friends.  Meanwhile, T-Superman, Powergirl, and Tangent Orion invade Earth-0 in an attempt to dominate it as well.  Superman tries to stop T-Superman, but the latter attacks every nation's capitol and kidnaps hundreds of world leaders.  Back on Earth-9, Batman and the heroes recruit T-Superman's ex-wife, Lola Dent, onto their side.  Returning back to Earth-0, Batman, Lola, and the heroes discover that T-Superman has enlisted the aid of the supervillain community, including Lex Luthor, Joker, and many others.  However, even the villains soon realize that T-Superman is bad news, so they switch sides and help the good guys.  An angry T-Superman then unleashes a devastatingly powerful Tangent Ultra-Humanite upon the populace.  Despite the introduction of this new powerful force, T-Superman is defeated and sent back to Earth-9, where he is imprisoned with his fellow conspirators.

--Faces of Evil: Kobra #1
It's been a few months since Checkmate has been caring for the Kobra Messiahs, little humanoid snake-babies designed to be evil warriors when they grow up. Superman has been checking in on the little ones frequently during this time. Unfortunately for the good guys, the remnants of the Kobra Cult, with the power of a Lazarus Pit, have revived the long-deceased twin brother of their also deceased former leader Jeffrey Franklin Burr. A reincarnated Jason Burr, who once fought against his brother, has become the crazed new leader of Kobra, known simply as Kobra. And for months now, Burr has infiltrated Checkmate and posed as a high ranking official partly in charge of the Kobra Messiah project. Cut to now, Burr brutally reveals himself, killing every Checkmate agent in the bunker that holds the Messiahs and reclaiming his babies. Via live satellite video-feed, Burr addresses the entire planet (including the JLA) and declares that a new age of global terror will be brought forth by Kobra.

--Detective Comics #845
Batman welcomes Catwoman, whom he hasn't seen since her ordeal on the prison planet.  The two chat and Catwoman shows her jealous side, mentioning the time Bruce has spent with both Jezebel Jet and Zatanna as of late.  But Batman doesn't have time for idle conversation.  There is a new serial killer in Gotham and no one knows who he is.  Stumped, Batman tries out a new angle for gathering possible answers, idle instant messaging conversation!  He logs online and joins the "mystery community chatroom/message board" and swaps theories with Oracle, some GCPD cops, Detective Chimp, and Riddler.  The Dark Detective then trails Riddler (both theRiddler and Batman have already solved the mystery) to the killer's house, but Riddler is caught, beaten, bound, and beaten some more.  Turns out that the serial killer's wife was killed years ago during a Riddler robbery, and he's been murdering just to lure the puzzle-solving Riddler into his trap.  Batman explodes onto the scene and reluctantly saves Riddler, bringing the revenge-crazed man to justice. 

--Superman/Batman #51-52 ("LIL' LEAGUERS")
Mr. Mxyzptlk's self-imposed exile from Earth (ever since Countdown #32) didn't last long.  Mxy is back and he's brought along a bunch of his vertically-challenged friends from the 5th Dimension.  While Batman, Robin, Superman, and the JLA deal with the silly dwarfish parodies of themselves, things aren't that bad, just kind of annoying.  Mxy turns things up a notch by tossing the Lil' Supervillains into the mix.  These imps are not only annoying, but downright evil, enough to warrant a brief team-up between Superman and Lex Luthor.  While the heroes (and Luthor) try to contain the mini-villains, Lil' Lex Luthor sneaks aboard the Watchtower and uses a Fatherbox from the JLA trophy room to turn Lil' Doomsday into a full-grown Doomsday.  Superman, Lil' Superman, Batman, and Lil' Batman defeat Doomsday, but Lil' Supes dies during the combat.  (We later learn in Superman/Batman #75 that Lil' Superman isn't dead, he's just sleeping.  Cute!).  Then, Bat-Mite (!) shows up and reveals that all of the chaos was merely a bet between him and Mxy (as usual).  Lil' Batman then tries to fight Bat-Mite (!), but in the end, the imps all solemnly go back to their dimension (except for Lil' Joker who visits his idol at Arkham).

NOTE:  Dr. Kirk Langstrom re-unites with his wife Francine (as mentioned in Batman & The Outsiders Vol. 2 #10).  This is the first time he has seen his wife since before being abducted and taken to the prison planet.

--The Trials of Shazam! #12 
Countdown 5 (but must take place here since Red Tornado has his body back).  Freddie Freeman (the former Captain Marvel, Jr.) has finished the Trials of Shazam.  However, one final task must be done before Freddie officially becomes the new Captain Marvel.  He must stop Merlin (yes, that Merlin) and the evil Black Marvel-powered witch Sabina from not only corrupting all magic, but from allowing a million of demons to possess human hosts on Earth.  Good thing there is nothing written about seeking outside help in the Trials of Shazam rulebook.  Freddie recruits Shazam himself (Billy Batson) and the entire JLA to help him out.  The heroes then contest the villains in the most magical city on Earth, Las Vegas, and eventually score the victory with the help of Zeus (yes, that Zeus, who happens to be African-American now)!  Afterward, the JLA congratulates the newest and most powerful magical hero in the DCU, Captain Marvel Freddie Freeman.

--Superman/Batman #53-56 ("SUPER/BAT")
Besides a few anachronistic comments by minor villains this story seems to fit canonically right here.  Our story starts with Batman and Superman switching cities for a night, which is a practice that Bats and Supes do every once in a while just for kicks (ever since Bat-Year Seven).  After being attacked by Silver Banshee, who wields a magical amulet, Superman loses all his powers and Batman gains them!  While Zatanna tries to figure out how to reverse the process, Superman begins training Batman in art of freeze-breath, heat-vision, and flight.  The power immediately goes to Bruce's head and he bitches out Alfred and Tim and then dashes at super-speed all over Gotham, literally cleaning up all the crime in town in a matter of hours.  Hovering in the air with his arms crossed during a meeting with Gordon is pretty creepy too.  Batman then flies down to Santa Prisca and mercilessly beats a helpless Bane into bloody, broken-boned unconsciousness.  While his adrenaline is at an all-time high Bruce thinks to himself "why stop with Gotham and Santa Prisca?"  Super-Bats bolts fiercely from city to city, continent to continent, systematically ridding the entire Earth of crime.  Meanwhile, while trying to stop some muggers in Metropolis, a powerless Clark is shot in the stomach and rushed into intensive care aboard the Watchtower.  Batman flies up to the satellite an delivers a megalomaniacal rant to his JLA teammates before continuing his crusade.  Back in Gotham, Batman's mind has begun to fade even more as he punches out Catwoman (!) with his super-human strength, causing Nightwing to confront him.  Nightwing doesn't last very long against an insane metahuman Batman and winds up even worse than Bane.  Meanwhile, Clark, who has been magically healed by Zatanna, dons one of Batman's alternate costumes (sans the cape and cowl and with a Superman "S" chest emblem sewed on instead of the Bat symbol).  While the JLA battles crazy super-Batman on the Moon, Superman and Zatanna visit the Oblivion Bar and take the magical artifact from Silver Banshee.  Zatanna explains that the evil artifact has caused not only the power-switch, but Bruce's insanity as well.  Batman easily defeats the JLA, but then confronts Clark, who uses the amulet against the Dark Knight ending his reign of terror.  Bruce loses his powers and regains control of his sane mind while Clark gains back his powers.

--Superman/Batman #60-63
The first two issues take place over the course of one night.  Dr. Destiny, from Arkham, is able to attack the superhero community in their dreams while they sleep at night.  Batman and Superman think they are stuck on an alternate Earth where every one is "mashed-up" into different characters.  For example, Lex Luthor and Joker are one character called Lex Joker, Deathstroke and Doomsday are Doomstroke, and the JLA and Titans are combined to form the Justice Titans.  Anyway, Supes and Bats find out Destiny is behind this charade and escape the "mash-up" world.  Bruce, however, winds up in a different dream where he and Zatanna are married!  Eventually, Bruce escapes this dream as well and wakes up in time for corn flakes.  Across town, Dr. Destiny has burned himself out and goes into a drooling state of mumbling catatonia.  Next, Tim and Kara (Supergirl) meet for lunch and reminisce about old times.  Meanwhile, Bruce runs some computer simulations on the Bat-computer, including a very detailed program which depicts a What If? post-apocalypse where Gorilla Grodd has taken over the Earth.

--Superman/Batman #65
This is supposedly a Halloween issue, but there is nothing in the issue which alludes to the fact that it is Halloween (except for Scarecrow saying that it is).  Anyway, we must ignore Scarecrow's comment since this story takes place in February.  While Superman and Batman battle Lex Luthor and an escaped Joker, Scarecrow ambushes all four and knocks them unconscious with a large does of fear gas.  While the two heroes and two villains suffer their worst nightmares, Scarecrow attempts to bury them all alive in a graveyard.  Batman and Superman are able to realize they are stuck inside nightmares, free themselves, and easily take down Scarecrow.  The dazed and shell-shocked Luthor and Joker are both easily returned to their respective prisons by Superman.

--Batgirl Vol. 2 #1
Batgirl has been tracking down her arch-enemies, Deathstroke and David Cain, for the past few months.  In the Batcave, Nightwing confronts Cassie and says that she can't be trusted because she is a former League of Assassins leader.  Dick starts fighting Cassie until Batman and Robin enter and break them up.  Bruce tells Dick to back off and show respect to Cassie since she is family again.  Dick angrily storms away, in complete disagreement.  PS.  Dick is probably also angry since last time he saw Bruce, Bruce was insane and super-powered and nearly killed him (during Superman/Batman #53-56).  We must also buy into the fact that Nightwing has made a miraculous recovery from the assault.

--DC Universe: Decisions #1-4
NOTE:  Although it isn't explained in the DCU: Decisions storyline, we must assume that a special off-year Primary Election is mandated by Congress due to the insane events of the previous year (i.e. an evil android was running the free-world, America was embroiled in "WWIII," then the Amazonian War, then the Sinestro Corps War, then the Prison Planet Scandal, etc...).  Thus an intense Primary Election for both the Republicans and Democrats takes place now (during the normal US Primary Election time of mid-February) to see who will be in the running against independent incumbent Jonathan Horne in mere months.  (We must also assume Congress has mandated a rushed special off-year Presidential Election which follows in a month or two).   Furthermore, we must also ignore topical references to the year 2008 since it is currently 2010.  When Republican candidate Katherine McClellan is nearly assassinated in a bombing attempt orchestrated by several attackers, the JLA (with Ollie Queen, Doom Patrol leader Robotman, and Robin) go on full alert to protect the candidates.  Despite a lack of clues, Batman and Superman learn that a mystery metahuman physically controlled the bombers using telepathy.  (The bombers were random people close to the presidential hopeful).  In Philadelphia, Ollie saves Democrat Davis Brewster from a similar assassination attempt and afterward, publicly endorses him on TV.  Guy Gardner, desperate to be in the media spotlight, then publicly endorses Republican Bob Ridgeway.  Thus, the floodgates are opened and superheroes left and right (and Left and Right) begin publicly endorsing candidates.  This is VERY INTERESTING because we learn who the Republicans and Democrats are in the superhero community!  Here's the list.  Republicans:  Guy Gardner, Vixen, Power Girl, Wildcat, Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Jay Garrick, Huntress, and Lois Lane.  Democrats:  Ollie, Beast Boy, Firestorm, Blue Beetle, and Lady Blackhawk.  Batman refuses to endorse any of the candidates, but Bruce Wayne publicly endorses Democrat Martin Suarez.  Flash Wally West publicly endorses the serial-bomber as a joke (!), which causes a tsunami of media backlash against him.  After assassination attempts against Ridgeway and Suarez are both thwarted, the JLA discovers the identity of the mystery villain responsible: Deathstroke's son Jericho.  The former Teen Titan, due to years of abusing his meta-ability to take possession of other people's bodies, is now a schizophrenic madman.  After Jericho is incarcerated, Superman goes on TV and announces that the superhero community must end its bi-partisan politics.  Superman refuses to publicly endorse any of the candidates, but urges America to "vote or die!"  Just kidding about that last part, but Supes does tell everyone to vote.  In the end, the issue doesn't tell us who wins the primaries, but we know it is the Wayne-backed Martin Suarez.  We know this because he will soon defeat incumbent Jonathan Horne to win the presidential election.  NOTE:  Plastic Man's appearance in this series should be ignored, not only because he is written in as a Republican, but also because he would be currently locked in a cryo-chamber in England.  Likewise, Dr. Light's (Kimiyo Hoshi) appearance should also be ignored since she would be retired and quasi-powerless at this point, and certainly would not appear in costume as depicted.

--Batman and The Outsiders #9, Epilogue 
Over a month ago, Batman and the Outsiders learned that the evil Jardine corporation (in conjunction with Brother Eye) was attempting to create alien monsters on the Moon.  This plan was thwarted, but one alien was indeed out there.  The Caped Crusader was given a tip from Looker that pointed him in the direction of a seedy Gotham club called Charlemagne, where a parasitic Jardine alien is supposedly feasting on unlucky clubbers.  The last three pages of issue #9 show the inner workings of Club Charlemagne and the gross alien doing just exactly what Looker said.  Over a month has passed, but finally, the always busy Batman is ready to investigate.

--Batman and The Outsiders #10
The Jardine alien turns out to be a Bloodlines Parasite!  The two Charlemagne club-owners have gotten metahuman powers from the alien and have been charging people large sums of cash to gain meta-powers from the creature as well.  However, every single other person has simply been killed by the monster, except for one.  Grace, Thunder, and Metamorpho are on the scene and apprehend one of the new Bloodlines metahumans, but the other two escape along with the Parasite.  Batman jumps onto the xenomorphic Parasite's back as the monster flies off into the night.  When the team fears that Batman may be dead, Batgirl reveals that the Dark Knight has put her in second-in-command, and in the event of his demise, she is to become the new leader of the Outsiders.  Meanwhile, Salah Miandad's consciousness is permanently sent into ReMAC's body, while his real body remains in a coma.  I should mention that this story is left completely unfinished.  It ends with Batman missing and presumed dead, and also with the Parasite hiding in an abandoned movie theater.  The next issue (number #11) will be a part of next Bat-Year's "Batman RIP" story-arc and will make no mention of a conclusion to this story whatsoever.  Therefore, we must assume that Batman was incapacitated by the Bloodlines Parasite for a short while, but recovered and then returned to the team.  Great job, DC editors.

--Batgirl Vol. 2 #5-6 ("REDEMPTION ROAD")
Batgirl has finally tracked down her father, David Cain, who plans to assassinate Oracle at her new HQ in California.  Batgirl steals a Batplane and flies out west to protect her.  Unsure of what Batgirl's plans are, Batman and Robin follow in hot pursuit.  Batgirl is able to lose the Dynamic Duo in Vegas before traveling to her final destination.  In Platinum Flats, Batigirl saves Oracle and defeats her father in hand-to-hand combat.  Batman and Robin show up just in time to witness the end of the contest.  Bruce then hugs Cassie and tells her that he'd like to legally adopt her as his daughter! (Again, the adoption he speaks of would be mere formality, since Cassie is an adult).  While the adoption proceedings are not shown in this issue, it is assumed that they go off without a hitch.

NOTE:  Bruce meets with the head of the Blackhawk Corporation, Lee Cheng (as mentioned in Batman Confidential #36).  They discuss business at the dog tracks and visit the Blackhawk WWII Museum on Blackhawk Island. 

--Detective Comics #840
Countdown 17 (not only is the countdown number wrong, this issue of 'tec is way, way out of order too, but this tale definitely takes place here since Batman says it has been just under two months since Ra's Al Ghul's resurrection).  Batman easily defeats newcomer Hammond Carter aka The Globe who has stolen a globe which belongs to Ra's Al Ghul.  Ra's shows up and takes the globe, which is a current up-to-date map of every Lazarus Pit on the planet.  Batman lets Ra's have the map, but snaps a picture of it.  Prior to this, Batman was only aware of the specific locations of three or four functional Lazarus Pits, but now he knows not only how many there are, but where they are thanks to the map.  (As I've said before, Batman had whittled the amount of Lazarus Pits on Earth down to three or four, but over the past couple of months, dozens of Lazarus Pits have been re-appearing with no real explanation given by our illustrious DC editors).  Moving on.  Hey!  Batman stole my line: "Of course.  More ninjas."  After battling ninjas, Bruce returns to the Batcave and ascertains that part of White Ghost's personality, which is reckless and aggressive, is now merged with Ra's Al Ghul's personality, now that the latter's spirit resides within the shell of his son's body.  Just as Ra's Al Ghul set up a permanent HQ in Gotham, Batman breezes in and beats his arch-nemesis hard.  The Caped Crusader then sends Ra's Al Ghul to Arkham under a fake name, with a fake history of mental illness which requires round-the-clock sedatives to be administered.  Ra's Al Ghul is stuck at Arkham!  NOTE:  I should mention that Bruce has always been very secretive about Lazarus Pit information and here, decides to either destroy the map or hide it very well.  Bruce doesn't tell anyone about the existence of the Pits either, not even Dick, Tim, or Alfred.  Thus, all of Bruce's contemporaries will continue to be in the dark regarding Lazarus Pit locations.

--Batman Confidential #36-39 ("BLACKHAWK DOWN") 
I've placed this story here since Alfred mentions Batman's recent encounter with the Globe.  Batman says that is is the first week of November, but this is just plain wrong.  It's definitely February.  Batman is unable to stop immortal ex-Blackhawk pilot Theodore Gaynor from attacking a Blackhawk military complex.  During the bloody attack, Gaynor transmits stolen data files to a small cemetery in Warsaw, Poland, which just happens to be the final resting place of Janos Prohaska, the original leader of the Blackhawks.  For anyone wondering, the Blackhawks were an elite squadron of ace fighter pilots in WWII.  Now, the aptly named Blackhawk Corporation continues to operate as the worldwide leader in military aerodynamics and privately contracted fighter-pilot training.  Moving on, Batman travels to the Warsaw cemetery and encounters a robotic Nazi squid straight out of a Hellboy comic.  After disposing of the antiquated relic, Batman meets with Lady Blackhawk (former WWII Blackhawk pilot Zinda Blake, who was shot forward in time during Zero Hour and decided to stay).  Zinda is shocked to learn that her old friend Janos' grave is empty.  Batman and Zinda then shoot over to Blackhawk Island, where Gaynor has begun militarizing a giant air force.  Batman is able to defeat an army of mutated apes and shut down Gaynor's war production.  However, Gaynor escapes with several dozen heavily-armed fighter jets, while his associate, ex-Nazi general Bunther Haifisch (Killer Shark), kidnaps Zinda.  Batman then meets with an almost ninety-year old Janos, who is still alive, having faked his death at the end of WWII.  The old vet suits up into an experimental Iron Man-esque exoskeleton and pilots a jet (along with Batman) into action against Gaynor's floating "Sky-Skull" fortress, which hovers ominously above Gotham.  Batman and Janos crash through the base's defenses, but are immediately assaulted by Gaynor and a brainwashed Zinda, who has murdered Killer Shark.  Batman and Janos snap Zinda out of her trance and the three heroes defeat Gaynor and save Gotham.

--Nightwing #145, Part 1
Almost two months have passed since Nightwing and Robin foiled Talia and Creighton Kendall's evil plans to create a clone army.  But not to worry for Talia, Kendall has enacted his contingency plan, which involves abusing the kidnapped Chinese metahuman known as Mother of Champions.  See, Mother of Champions has the super-ability to give birth to litters of twenty-five metahuman babies every three days.  Kendall has been keeping Mother sedated and has been artificially inseminating her round-the-clock, which has spawned over 200 super-babies thus far.  The only problem is that the babies age ten years daily, making their development really screwed up and making their lifespan about ten days long.  Kendall brainwashes Mother's winged-metahuman children and sends them (on days two through four of their development stage) to kill Nightwing.  Nightwing defeats his attackers, and apprehends one of them.

NOTE:  Who shot and abducted Connor Hawke?   Connor has been has been missing for almost two months now.  Finally, Ollie Queen, Dinah Lance, and Mia Dearden not only have a clue as to his whereabouts, but also know who might be responsible for his shooting.  Their investigation has pointed them in the direction of the League of Assassins, and hence Ra's Al Ghul!  Ollie calls up the man who knows the most about the League, Batman, but is surprised to learn that Ra's is behind bars at Arkham.  Undeterred, Ollie surmises that Ra's could still be responsible since he's only been incarcerated recently.  (As seen through flashback in Green Arrow and Black Canary #8).  I should mention that this flashback supposedly takes place only nine hours before GA & BC #9.  This is impossible.  This flashback should take place at least twenty-four to thirty-six hours before the next issue (giving us ample time for Nightwing #145, Part 2 and the note which follows).

--Nightwing #145, Part 2
Two days have passed since Nightwing's capture of one of Mother of Champions' winged-metahuman spawn.  In those two days, this poor child of Mother has aged twenty years and now appears to be sixty.  Nightwing brings the old man to visit Batman and Robin.  The Bat-family interrogates him and finds out what Talia and Creighton Kendall are up to with Mother of Champions.  As our heroes plan an assault on Talia and Kendall, Alfred receives the terrible news that Ra's Al Ghul has escaped from Arkham.  Batman and Robin rush to Arkham, but they are far too late as Ra's Al Ghul is long gone.  Because of the severity of the situation with Ra's Al Ghul, Nightwing has to face Talia and Kendall alone, which is no problem.  Dick winds up teaming-up with Talia when Kendall decides he has his own agenda.  The duo is able to save Mother of Champions and defeat the mad scientist.

NOTE:  Batman was unable to prevent Ra's Al Ghul from busting out of Arkham, but the Dark Knight is able to contact Ra's Al Ghul following his daring escape.  Batman demands to know if Ra's Al Ghul was responsible for kidnapping Connor Hawke.  The latter denies having anything to do with the matter and says he will do anything in his power to help unearth a possible impostor (as referenced in Green Arrow and Black Canary #11).

--Green Arrow and Black Canary #9-12
Ollie, Dinah, and Mia (along with British sometimes-super-thief Dodger) follow the clues of their investigation to England where they think they have discovered Connor locked in a cryogenic-chamber.  An excited Ollie pops open the container revealing Plastic Man!  Plastic Man is glad to be rescued, but disturbed to learn that he's been under ice for about two months!  Poor Plas.  Remember that one time he spent nearly 3,000 years under the ocean?  (If not, see "Obsidian Age").  Anyway, Batman shows up to help the heroes fight the "League of Assassins," a group of random metahumans who claim to serve Ra's Al Ghul.  During a break in the action, Batman activates a live satellite video feed with Ra's Al Ghul, who tells the supervillains that he has never met them before and they work for an impostor.  The villains are dumbfounded, and explain to Batman and company that they were originally hired by the fake Ra's Al Ghul to assassinate Ollie.  However, sniper Palmer Cokes screwed up and accidentally shot Connor instead.  After their tremendous gaffe, the team was the ordered by fake Ra's Al Ghul to abduct Connor and Plastic Man.  But there's more.  Team member Spike reveals that she knew the real identity of her employer the whole time, Ollie's ex-girlfriend and mother of his child (yes, Ollie has yet another estranged kid), Shado!  But why would Shado want Ollie dead?  Our mystery unravels when Ollie questions his ex, who explains that their son, Robert Queen, was dying of leukemia.  Desperate to save his life, Shado asked the vile Dr. Thaddeus Sivana to cure Robert.  Sivana agreed to help Robert, but only in exchange for the murder of Ollie.  Thus began the elaborate fake Ra's Al Ghul ruse and assemblage of the fake League of Assassins.  However, when Shado's assassins failed in their task, an angry Sivana ordered Shado to kidnap Connor and Plastic Man.  So, its off to Sivana's island HQ to rescue Connor and Robert.  Batman, Ollie, Dinah, Mia, Dodger, and Shado fight an army of cloned Plastic Men and are able to rescue the missing persons.  Back home, the brain dead Connor miraculously awakens!

--Green Arrow & Black Canary #14 
Batman and Dr. Mid-Night examine Connor Hawke following his ordeal with Dr. Sivana.  Connor has lost most of his memory, including all of his bow and arrow skills, much to the dismay of Ollie.  Once again, there is only one Green Arrow; Ollie Queen.  However, due to Dr. Sivana's sick experimentation, Connor has been infused with Plastic Man's DNA and, while he can't shapeshift, he is virtually invincible, endowed with the same healing factor as Wolverine.  His new healing factor was the contributing factor in revitalizing his dead brain.  Connor decides to fight crime under his own name alongside Ollie, Dinah, and Mia.

--Robin #174
Countdown 2.  Penguin may be a slave to Intergang, but he still wants Robin and Violet dead and he's been trying to kill them for over two-and-a-half-months now with no avail.  When gangster Marcel Pincus, gun-runner Sin Fang, and half a dozen North Korean thugs have the two heroes pinned down in a warehouse, Spoiler comes to the rescue!  Spoiler helps Robin and Violet defeat the bad guys, but afterward, Robin tells the "fake Spoiler" to stop dishonoring his dead friend's memory and to quit the charade ASAP.  Spoiler shakes her head and leaves, as does Violet, who still can't stand Robin's guts.  Batman and Robin then tail Spoiler back to her apartment, where Tim demands that she unmask.  Spoiler unmasks and, sure enough, it's good ol' Steph Brown!  Tim is unhinged with joy and kisses Steph passionately.  While he can't believe she is back, Batman grumbles that he first suspected she never was truly dead over two years ago.  Sure you did, Batman, sure you did.  Back at the cave, Steph has a long chat with Bruce, Tim, and Alfred about what happened.  Steph reveals that Leslie faked her death two years ago in order to protect her from the vigilante lifestyle.  Steph and Leslie have been living in Africa ever since.  But now she's back for good!  Steph then meets with her mom, who nearly has a heart attack upon seeing her, and the former spills the entire truthful beans about her life as a secret crime-fighter. 

NOTE:  Countdown 1. Virtually all of the New Gods have been murdered by the mysterious God-Killer over the past several months.  Finally, the God-Killer is revealed to be none other than the Source itself!  The Source, merged completely with its evil half (the Anti-Life Entity) and given anthropomorphic form, had used the New God Infinity Man as his weapon to murder all the Gods in a quest to re-shape the entire multiverse.  In the end, Superman watches on as Darkseid, using the combined powers of all the dead Gods, defeats the Source/Anti-Life Entity and sends it back beyond the Source Wall.  This epic battle results in the merging of New Genesis and Apokolips into one single planet, half evil and half good (as seen in Death of the New Gods #8).  When the cosmic dust settles, Orion and Darkseid are the only New Gods left alive.

NOTE:  Joker escapes (again) and plays mind-games with the Birds of Prey in California.  Oracle winds up confronting Joker one-on-one and she beats the shit out of him from her wheelchair.  Joker's mouth is severely scarred, and the villain requires extensive oral surgery before being returned to Arkham (as seen in Birds of Prey #121-124).

ANOTHER NOTE: Countdown 2 (yes, this takes place after Death of the New Gods #8).  Darkseid battles Jimmy Olsen, who learns that all of his superpowers have come from the dead Gods.  After Darkseid defeats Jimmy, Orion shows up and begins battling his father.  Cue epic fight scene.  The last of the New Gods pummel each other as only Gods can pummel.  Orion then kills Darkseid by ripping out his heart!  Beaten, bloody, and badly injured, Orion staggers away, the last of the New Gods (as seen in Countdown to Final Crisis #2).

--Action Comics #864-865
Superman has just returned from a trip to the 31st Century and is accompanied by friend and Legionnaire, Lightning Lad.  Batman shows up at the Fortress of Solitude to talk shop with Supes and is annoyed to see Lightning Lad there.  Batman and Lighting Lad DO NOT get along.  Lad not only makes fun of Batman for wearing a mask and being "spooky," but also gloats over the fact that he gets to rummage through all of Bruce's personal shit on archaeological digs in the future.  In private, Batman reminds Superman that the Legion is not to be trusted, especially since there are two other alternate versions of the Legion. (The three Legions are: the Legion of Superheroes from Earth-0, the Legion of Superheroes from Earth-247, and the Legion of Superheroes from Earth-Prime).  The Dark Knight then tells Supes the real news, Legionnaires Karate Kid and Duo Damsel have been murdered in Gotham.  (Duo Damsel has two bodies, so technically, she still has one more healthy body alive and well in the future).  Batman, Superman, Lightning Lad, and Commissioner Gordon inspect the murder scene.  The superheroes then question former-Legionnaire and current JSA member, Starman (Thom Kallor), who lives in a sanitarium and gets pulled out only for missions (kind of like Murdock on the A-Team).  Thom tells them that the deaths are merely a precursor to a war which will involve all three Legions pitted against an unbelievable power.  SPOILER:  Although, Batman won't factor into this war, so it's not really a spoiler unless you are following Superman.  "The Legion of Three Worlds" will engage in cosmic combat against the team of Superboy-Prime and the Time Trapper (who is an adult version of Superboy-Prime).  Back to our narrative at hand, after Lightning Lad departs for his home-time, we move on to the next issue.  The original Toyman (Winlsow Schott) breaks out of Arkham, kidnaps Jimmy Olsen, and bores the poor guy with his origin story.  Schott then reveals that all the other Toymen (there have been a few) were all androids which he has created.  Here's the biggest shocker:  Hiro Okamura is one of those androids!  Schott continues, ranting that only the children truly understand him and that's why he's kidnapped Jimmy, who is "only sixteen years-old," to which Jimmy amazingly replies, "You think I'm sixteen?  I'm twenty-two, you jerk!"  Why can't Tim Drake stand up and shout that to DC editors!?  Batman then crashes in to save Jimmy and winds up fighting all the Toymen androids including Hiro Okamura, Toyboy, Jack B. Nimball, and Grandpa Toyman.  Batman defeats the robots and apprehends Schott just as Superman arrives.  Schott begs Superman to take him back to a Metropolis prison instead of horrible, horrible Arkham.  Batman is glad to add Toyman to his rogues list and drags the simpering villain to the Gotham madhouse.  Great issue!

--Trinity #10-17
For the past two months the "evil trinity" (Morgaine Le Fey, Enigma, and Kanjar Ro disguised as Despero) has been collecting Occult artifacts across the globe.  The villains, using the power of the Cosmic Egg, have created a few metahuman soldiers to do their bidding.  Also two months ago, the JLA first suspected the Crime Syndicate of Amerika to be kidnapping Earth-0 inhabitants (along with inhabitants from 13 other Earths) and whisking them away to the Antimatter Earth to become slaves.  After finally finding definitive proof the JLA storms into the Antimatter Universe and battles the CSA while the "Evil Trinity" watches secretly from Earth-0.  Concurrently on Earth-0 Nightwing, Robin, and rest of the DCU superhero community deal with the new Cosmic Egg-created metahumans.  Sun-Chained-in-Ink, Primat, and Trans-Volitional Man are able to steal various items related to Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (needed by Le Fey to cast a spell).  Dick hires Riddler to find out who these new metas are working for.  After a quick but extensive investigation, Riddler concludes decisively that the answer is none other than himself!  Riddler explains that, based on the facts, he is definitely the culprit, but he also assures Dick that he's innocent.  (This bizarre logic actually makes sense because Enigma, who is responsible, is the Antimatter version of Riddler).  Jason Blood warns Dick that someone is collecting items to cast an evil magic spell.  On the Antimatter Earth, Superman defeats Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman single-handedly and banishes the trio to an interdimensional limbo.  The elimination of the tyrannical Antimatter dictators causes the entire planet to fall into bloody civil war.  The JLA can do little to help the Antimatter Earthlings and thus, leaves for home.  Shortly after arriving back in the Positive Matter Universe, a Howler brands Superman with a mystic rune, before being chased away.  The heroes then examine the clues and all signs point to Castle Branek in England, which just so happens to be the HQ of the "evil trinity."  The "good trinity" along with the JLA, JSA, Titans, Teen Titans, Outsiders, and Birds of Prey attack the "evil trinity" and an army of Howlers.  Gangbuster rescues Rita Covas and says that she was kidnapped a week ago, which is untrue as it's been over two months since her abduction.  Anyway, during the battle, "Despero" (a still disguised Kanjar Ro) brands Batman with a mystic rune, thus completing Le Fey's spell.  A catastrophic wave of reality-altering energy sweeps across the globe.  In the chaos, Krona escapes from the Cosmic Egg and flees to deep space.  In an instant, reality is changed.  Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman never existed!

NOTE:  As soon as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman disappear, they are cast thousands of years into the past on an alternate Earth which is home to purple-skinned barbarians (as referenced in Trinity #30).  (This purple Earth is actually Earth-1 during its prehistoric Bronze Age)!  Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (in quasi-ghost forms) introduce peace, law, order, and the concepts of modern civilization to this primitive world.  The "big three" become worshiped as gods and tell their detailed histories to their followers in order to teach valuable life lessons and to inspire them with hope.  (These stories will be passed down over generation to generation through oral tradition and become the sacred foundation of the religion of the purple people (as referenced in Trinity #32-35)).  While Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman become the watchful gods of this world, they slowly lose all recollection of their prior lives.  Eventually, a disagreement about how to properly run the purple people of Earth ensues between the trio of gods (now known as Atmahn, Kellel, and Dinanna), resulting in a bloody and brutal "God War."  After the death of millions in their names, the trinity finally agrees to peace, vowing to once again bring harmony to the masses.  A great citadel is erected and the three gods live together in its tallest tower, promising never again to interfere with the lives of the purple people (as told in Trinity #37).  

ANOTHER NOTE:  Trinity #18-34 picks up right where Trinity #17 left off.  Morgaine Le Fey's spell has caused reality to be altered so that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have been erased from Earth-0's existence (and sent to the ancient past of an alternate Earth).  However, Le Fey's spell has worked incorrectly since one of her partners is a fake.  (The spell was specifically designed for her, Enigma, and the real Despero, not Kanjar Ro.)  The populace of Earth-0 still has fleeting dream-like memories of the "big three" and reality keeps shifting and altering constantly due to the screwed-up magic.  In this new and ever-rippling world, Carter Hall (Hawkman) leads the fascist SHIELD-like Justice Society International, Ollie Queen and Mia Dearden are Gotham's Dynamic Duo (and then due to a reality-ripple, Ragman and Tatters become Gotham's protectors), and several deceased characters are alive again (Charlie "Bigger" Melvin, Tomorrow Woman, Triumph, the original Aquaman, and Barry Allen, just to name a few).  Rita Covas and Gangbuster meet up with Alfred "Freddie" Pennyworth, who has basically turned into a James Bond/Indiana Jones character.  Freddie slowly regains his memories of the way the world should be after talking to Rita.  Meanwhile, Le Fey and Enigma gain ultimate cosmic power and battle against the JSI.  The powerful duo then gets rid of the outed Kanjar Ro, and recruits Konvikt as the new third member of the "evil trinity."  Concurrently, Firestorm, whose memories were unaffected by the reality-alteration because he was investigating the missing Cosmic Egg in Negative Space, is captured by the JSI.  After interrogating both Firestorm and Gangbuster (and finding definitive proof of what is happening), Carter Hall realizes that reality has been indeed altered.  In deep-space the real Despero attacks a fleeing Kanjar Ro, but the latter is able to form a truce with him.  The alien despots then save Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman from their interdimensional prison.  On Earth, Freddie Pennyworth assembles Richie Grayson (Dick), Thomas Tresser (Nemesis), Interceptor (Supergirl), and Donna Troy and makes them remember that they are all important people in relation to the forgotten "good trinity."  Elsewhere on Earth, Rita Covas and fortuneteller Charity O'Dare tap into the power of the "Worldsoul" in an attempt to fix reality.  Then, the JSI teams up with other superhero teams to deal with the chaos which has erupted all over the planet.  Dozens of superheroes contest with dozens of supervillains, some of which have been recruited by the "evil trinity" into an army which corresponds with each card in the Tarot.  This "Dark Arcana" begins battling the "Justice Arcana" in a race to collect the cosmic power from the world-shifting "chaos rifts" which ravage the Earth.  Meanwhile, Alfred and his crew perform a magical ritual which transports them to an alternate Earth where purple barbarian humanoids worship the gods Kellel, Dinanna, and Atmahn (Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, respectively).  (This Earth is Earth-1, now in its Iron Age)!  The purple people explain that thousands of years ago, the three gods appeared to their ancestors and introduced peace, law, order, and the concepts of modern civilization to their primitive world.  The purple people then recite the long and storied history of their "bible" which is essentially the entire comprised DCU histories of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (although thinly veiled with pseudonyms and scenery changes to better reflect their society).  Alfred and his hero comrades immediately remember everything.

--Trinity #35-52
Alfred, Dick, Nemesis, Donna, and Supergirl confront the gods of the purple Earth (Earth-1) in their holy citadel.  The heroes are able to make Batman (Atmahn), Superman (Kellel), and Wonder Woman (Dinanna) remember who they are for the first time in thousands of years. The Trinity (now an actual Holy Trinity) immediately travels back to Earth-0, where the "Justice Arcana" and the "Dark Arcana" are still in a race to see who can collect the most amount of cosmic power from the randomly-appearing chaos-rifts.  Who ever can control the most power can reshape the universe in any way they choose.  The Trinity, still in their ultimate gigantic god forms, are able to defeat the "Dark Arcana," forcing the "evil trinity" to retreat.  The Trinity then defeats a cosmic-powered Cheetah and a cosmic-powered Joker.  Reality begins to correct itself and things begin returning to the way they were before Le Fey's spell was cast.  Lex Luthor begs Superman to turn the Earth into a paradise instead of simply putting things back the way they were.  But Supes instinctively swats Luthor aside.  Maybe Luthor had a good point?  Superman asks the superhero community if they want things to stay as they are or as they were.  The heroes vote "as they were."  Presto-change-o and the world is back to normal, except for a few new things, such as the fact that Tomorrow Woman is back for good!  (All the other revived characters return to their graves).  The entire populace of the earth is forced to deal with the traumatic events which have just occurred.  The Trinity, still in their colossal cosmic-powered inhuman state, decide to remain as gigantic gods, much to the dismay of their friends and families.  Despero, the Void Hound (a Qwardian techno-creature that has taken John Stewart's body as a host), Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman then join forces with the "evil trinity" and do battle with the super-gods.  The CSA members are easily defeated and Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman march onward.  Le Fey and Despero decide to ally with Krona, but Enigma and Konvikt refuse, causing a huge brawl and split.  Le Fey, Despero, and Krona form the new "evil trinity."  Krona then attempts to gain control of the "Worldsoul" (the literal "soul" of Earth-0) through its human host link, Rita Covas.  War then explodes as the "evil trinity" and Despero's vast alien armada clashes with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, all of Earth-0's heroes, the CSA (who have temporarily switched sides), Enigma, and Konvikt.  Luthor contacts Alfred in the cave and tells him a surefire way to defeat the "evil trinity."  (It is made clear that Luthor doesn't know Batman's secret identity or who Alfred is, only that he is able to somehow contact him in the Batcave).  Alfie passes the message onto the frontline, where Bat-god receives it loud and clear.  The Trinity uses heroes and villains alike as conduits to re-cast Le Fey's original spell, but this time, to physically restrain Krona.  But Luthor's plan fails and Krona not only breaks free, he literally crushes the Earth with his enormous Moon-sized hands, completely demolishing the planet and killing everyone.  In the vast emptiness of space, Krona fights Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Earth's anthropomorphic Worldsoul.  The Trinity is able to merge together and envelop Krona in a giant sphere.  The Worldsoul then teleports a powerless Krona to the Iron Age of Earth-1 and then undoes the destruction caused to Earth-0.  The planet is reborn, shaking with cataclysmic force, along with its inhabitants.  Despero is defeated once and for all by the super-gods, who then finally decide to transform back into their old selves.  Our heroes then chase the CSA back to the Antimatter Earth, where Enigma has become the planet's primary superhero.  Afterward, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman reflect on what it was like to be gods for thousands of years.  The end.

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