Modern Age (YEAR TWENTY-TWO) Part Two

Modern Age (BAT YEAR 22) Part 2
June 2010 to November 2010

--Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1
--Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2, Part 1
In the year 38,000 BCE Bruce has been living out of a cave for an undetermined, but short, amount of time before finally exiting into the light of day.  His memory vanished, Bruce confusedly examines the rocketship time capsule, the contents of which have been mostly destroyed.  Bruce then immediately gets involved in a tribal war between the Deer People and Vandal Savage's Blood Mob.  (Savage has presumably killed the Hyper-Adapter in giant Barbatos bat form, thus gaining immortality.  The Hyper-Adapter in giant Barbatos bat form appears in 38,000 BCE having been defeated and then retreated backward through time from the year 2010, BUT we will get to that later)!  After being captured by the Blood Mob, Bruce is freed by one of his Deer People allies.  Bruce, referred to as "Man of Bats" by his companions, then dons the flesh of the giant bat god as a makeshift cape and cowl and defeats Savage in combat.  The Deer People change their tribal name to Miagani, meaning "Bat People," and vow to protect the Gotham caves and their most treasured relic: the cape, cowl, and utility belt of Batman.  The Miagani will do so for hundreds of years to come.  Rip Hunter, Superman, and others time-travel to 38,000 BCE from the future shortly after this in a failed attempt to locate Bruce, BUT we'll get to that later, when everyone finally realizes that Bruce ain't really dead.  Meanwhile, a solar eclipse, in accordance with the rules of the Omega Effect, sends Bruce hurtling thousands of years into the future where he winds up in the Puritanical Gotham of 1640.  Naturally, the Hyper-Adapter has followed him (this is the Hyper-Adapter which Darkseid attached to Bruce via the Ancestor Box, the being which will conceivably destroy the universe if Bruce ever makes it back to his correct time AS OPPOSED TO the Hyper-Adapter which retreats backward through time in giant bat form, BUT LIKE I SAID, we'll get to that later).  The Hyper-Adapter traveling with Bruce in 1640 appears in its true form: a vile tentacled Lovecraftian monster.  Bruce, still amnesiac, temporarily defeats the monster with a sword, sending the creature to hide deep in the forest.  Bruce is then taken in by a witch named Annie, who becomes his lover.  Bruce will take the name Mordecai and quickly become a prominent member of the community.

--Superman/Batman #76, Part 1
Superman and Wonder Woman deliver the terrible news of Bruce's death to Alfred, Tim, and Dick at the Batcave.  In this scene Superman holds Batman's tattered cape and cowl, but he won't actually hand them over to the Bat-family until after the autopsy.  NOTE:  Alfred should be in an arm-sling since he was injured during Final Crisis.


--Wonder Woman, Superman, Nightwing, and Robin return from Bruce's autopsy, which has confirmed the identity of the body.  Superman gives the remains of Batman's costume to Alfred, Dick, and Tim now (as seen through flashback in Batman #687).  Very awesome emotional Judd Winnick stuff here.  Supes makes a strange comment about Batman's cape and cowl getting lost temporarily, which is odd since he had it right before Bruce's autopsy.  The heroes decide to forgo a public memorial service.  A small private funeral is held and "Bruce" is buried beside his parents in the family plot adjacent to Wayne Manor.  Afterward, Dick addresses Wonder Woman, Superman, Ollie Queen, Black Canary, and Tim, saying that he and Alfred have decided to keep Batman's death a secret from the masses.  Dick explains that Batman is too important and must never die.  This funeral scene is also shown in Superman/Batman #76.  NOTE:  Alfred should be in an arm-sling since he was injured during Final Crisis.
--The Epilogue from Detective Comics #850 takes place now (mid June).  Selina gets her revenge against Hush by siphoning/embezzling all of the money out of his bank accounts.  Tommy Elliot is now flat broke and goes into hiding.

--Hal Jordan and Barry Allen pay their respects at Bruce's unmarked grave in the Wayne family plot.  Black Hand watches from the shadows in anticipation for Blackest Night (as seen in Blackest Night #0, Part 1).  This scene clearly takes place soon after Bruce is buried, but the actual events which begin Blackest Night won't occur for another five months yet.  Thus the final page of this issue, where Black Hand clutches clone-Bruce's skull won't actually take place until one day before Blackest Night #1.

--Robin #177-182 takes place now and overlaps with Batman & The Outsiders Vol. 2 #13-14 then Nightwing Vol. 2 #151 and then 'tec #651 and Batman #684.  The gang war that began before Final Crisis continues, now fueled even more with Batman's absence.  Robin, Spoiler, Ragman, and Jason Todd will have to deal with it.  These issues also show the return of Lonnie Machin (the former Anarky) who is shot and paralyzed by the returning Ulysses Armstrong (who becomes the new Anarky).  Robin and Spoiler will get in a huge argument, alienating the two.  Officer Jamie Harper will be promoted to detective.  We see Alfred in an arm-sling (due to injuries suffered off-panel during Final Crisis) and he is cleaning up the wrecked Batcave.

--Batgirl and Nightwing assemble the Network of Superheroes, designed to fill the void left with the death of Batman (as seen in Batman & The Outsiders Vol. 2 #13-14).  Issue #13 is incorrectly labeled as a "Batman RIP" crossover.

--All the metahuman bodies from Valhalla Cemetery are moved to a secure location beneath the Hall of Justice since evil resurrections are all the rage lately.  Dick chats with Two-Face at Arkham, continues his sky-diving hobby, and then watches a movie with Alfred and Tim (as seen in Nightwing Vol. 2 #151).  Bruce's movie chair is empty and this emotional scene brings a tear to my eye.  Moving on, Detective Comics #851 and Batman #684 (#684 is out of order because it is the follow-up to 'tec #851) also take place next.  Nightwing meets Millicent Mayne and deals with Two-Face impersonator Gracchus and the real escaped Two-Face.  Gotham's gang war is still raging, but Robin (with help from Jason Todd) is close to ending it (as he does in Robin #182), thus placing these issues right here.

--Detective Comics #852
--Batman #685
Obviously Bruce isn't in these issues since he's "dead" (trapped in time), but everyone's favorite surgically altered Bruce Wayne impersonator, Tommy Elliot, is present.  Tommy has lost all his money thanks to Selina Kyle and he is bummed out.  So bummed, in fact, that he tries to commit suicide by jumping off the Gotham Bridge.  Luckily for Tommy, he is saved by some stevedores and takes this new lease on life to delve into his "Bruce Wayne" persona tenfold.  Posing as Bruce, Tommy begins a three day affair with fifty year-old socialite Connie Winters.  "Bruce" seduces her, sleeps with her, kills her, steals her yacht, and then sails to Jamaica where he purchases forged IDs and passports for himself.  "Bruce" then travels to a Wayne-owned telecommunications company in Australia and writes himself a check for $2 million.  In Vietnam, "Bruce" attempts to steal more cash from Wayne Enterprises using the same scam, but this time it doesn't work thanks to Catwoman, who tricks some poachers into apprehending the Bruce doppelganger.  Catwoman then busts the poachers and delivers Tommy to Nightwing and Robin.  They then incarcerate Tommy in a special holding cell in the penthouse atop Wayne Tower!

--Batman & The Outsiders Special
A grieving Alfred mourns the loss of his only son.  But even in "death," Bruce has some tricks up his sleeve.  A secret room opens up inside the Batcave, triggered in the event that Bruce doesn't enter in a computer code for a certain length of time (basically, in the event of his death).  In a pre-recorded message, Bruce welcomes Alfred and tells him that he has a special assignment for him.  Before continuing, Bruce tells Alfred that he was always appreciative of everything he's ever done, saying, "You're not like a father, you are my father. Goodbye, dad."  Makes me cry every time.  Well done, Peter Tomasi.  Alfred's special mission: to re-assemble the new Outsiders!  Alfred immediately departs and travels across the globe.  He will eventually recruit all the new members of the team, which will include Geo-Force, Owlman (Roy Raymond, Jr. wearing a costume specially designed by Bruce based on the Antimatter Owlman's suit), the Creeper, Katana, Metamorpho, Black Lightning, and Halo.     

--Robin #183
Alfred is still off recruiting the new Outsiders.  Bruce has posthumous pre-recorded messages not only for all members of the Bat-family, but for Jason Todd as well.  After Tim views his own message, he invites Jason (who has recently helped end Gotham's gang war) into the Batcave!  After viewing his message, Jason looks solemnly at his old tattered Robin costume on display, and then leaves with a "guess I'll see you when I see you."  (We'll find out what Bruce had to say to Jason later).  Robin then faces off against Lady Shiva in an open challenge and easily defeats her in combat.  Nightwing shows up and tells Robin that, even with Bruce gone, they will be okay.

--Nightwing Vol. 2 #152
Alfred is in Japan recruiting Katana into the new Outsiders.  Nightwing visits the Batcave and mourns the loss of his father figure when dozens of ninjas attack him.  Nightwing then pays Ra's Al Ghul a visit at a used-up Lazarus Pit location in the Pakistani desert.  Nightwing confirms Bruce's "death" to Ra's Al Ghul and they sword fight.  Nightwing defeats Ra's Al Ghul and returns to the States.

NOTE:  Joker poisons the air in Arkham Asylum with a deadly neurotoxin.  All the inmates are moved to Blackgate (as referenced in Batman: Battle for the Cowl - Arkham Asylum #1).

ANOTHER NOTE:  The Order of Purity has finished training the new Azrael, Abraham Arlington.  Unfortunately, the new Azrael wears the Suit of Sorrows and can't hack it, which makes him insane and he decapitates an undercover cop (as seen in Part 1 of Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #1).  Panicked, the Order of Purity begins searching for an immediate replacement and decides that Michael Lane (!) is the perfect candidate.  Lane has already trained for years (in Simon Hurt's substitute Batman program) and wants to atone for his involvement with the Black Glove.  Meanwhile, Talia Al Ghul sends her top assassins to Gotham to retrieve the Suit of Sorrows, which she wants back.    

--Battle for the Cowl - Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead?
--Nightwing Vol. 2 #153
--Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1, Part 1
--Batman: Battle for the Cowl - Arkham Asylum #1
--Batman: Battle for the Cowl - Man-Bat #1
--Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #1, Part 2
--Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #2-3
--Batman: Battle for the Cowl - Commissioner Gordon
--Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1, Part 2
--Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2
--Batman: Battle for the Cowl - The Underground #1
--Batman: Battle for the Cowl - The Network #1
--Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3
Vicki Vale breaks the news story that Batman may in fact be dead, especially since no one has seen the Dark Knight in almost four months. (Ignore the date on the newspaper article.  It should be July).  No one seems to be concerned with the fact that Bruce Wayne is missing since his Tommy Elliot lookalike has been spotted globe-trotting recently.  Leslie Thompkins also finally moves back to Gotham.  Detective Jaime Harper is Bullock's new partner.  Harper's dialogue implies that its been three weeks since her promotion.  However, it's been maybe a week-and-a-half tops.  Dick then moves back into Wayne Manor and has a melancholy chat with Alfred and Tim about the good ol' days.  Tim, as a coping mechanism, seems to be in denial about Bruce's "death."  The three finish cleaning up the Batcave which has been a bit messy due to the insanity of the past several months.  In Batman's absence, the current gang war and adjoining multiple riots have caused over a thousand casualties already and Penguin and Two-Face are now battling to claim the title of Gotham's top crime-lord (which is currently held by Johnny Stitches).  Nightwing calls in Batgirl's Network of Superheroes, which includes Oracle, Knight, Squire, Black Canary, Wildcat, Man-Bat, the new Lynx, Batwoman, Huntress, Catwoman, Lady Blackhawk, Ragman, Manhunter, Misfit, all of the Outsiders, and Damian Wayne (who has now moved into Wayne Manor).  A mysterious new Black Mask then blows up Arkham and frees all the inmates from a Blackgate prison transfer bus.  Using radio-activated chemical implants, Black Mask controls all of Arkham's crazies with the threat of instant death with the flip of a switch.  Eager to fill the Batman void, Tim dons the old yellow-oval costume and takes to the streets!  Even more eager is Jason Todd, who wears his own unique Batman costume and deals out his own brand of homicidal justice.  Meanwhile, Michael Lane becomes the new Azrael, fighting both Nightwing and Talia Al Ghul, before making truces with both and gaining Dick's blessing to keep the Suit of Sorrows to fight crime.  Nightwing and Damian then confront Batman-Jason, who shoots Damian in the chest (just a fleshwound) before escaping to his own makeshift Batcave.  Batman-Tim and Catwoman locate Jason's cave, but Jason ambushes them and winds up stabbing Tim in the chest.  As the gang war escalates, both the Network and the GCPD deal with numerous threats including Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Dr. Phosphorus, Penguin, Two-Face, Zsasz, Firefly, Jane Doe, Catman, and Hugo Strange.  Eventually martial law is declared when Black Mask begins detonating bombs all over the city.  Nightwing goes after the critically injured Tim, who is held captive by Jason.  As Nightwing fights Jason, the latter declares that he is the new permanent Batman.  We now learn what Bruce told Jason in his posthumous Batcave recording, which is the reason why Jason is acting so insane again.  Everyone in the Bat-family received a message of love, but Jason received a message of tough love.  Bruce called Jason his "biggest failure and offered the advice that he should seek therapy."  Nice message, Bruce.  And just when Jason was starting to play hero again.  Back to our narrative, while Damian and Squire rescue the bloody and beaten Tim, Nightwing defeats Jason and claims sole rights to the mantle of the Bat.  Dick, however, is very hesitant to assume the role of Batman, and doesn't step into Bruce's old shoes just yet.

NOTE:  Kate Spencer (Manhunter) becomes Gotham's new District Attorney (as seen through flashback in the Second Feature of Batman: Streets of Gotham #1).  The previous DA was assassinated by Jane Doe during Battle for the Cowl.

--Batman #687, Part 1
We are told it's been a month since Bruce's funeral, which puts us at mid July.  (This is some serious editorial compression, but oh well).  Nightwing stops a robbery while driving the Batmobile, but doesn't actually get out of the car to do so.  Meanwhile, Damian skips out on an Alfred tutoring session and tries to apprehend Dr. Phosphorus.  Nightwing gives Damian an assist and returns the boy back home.  Dick, with Alfred's nudging, realizes its time to stop fighting crime from the shadows.  Dick tells Alfred that he will indeed become Batman, but they must move their base of operations from the Batcave to the bunker beneath Wayne Tower.  The planning begins.

NOTE:  A global law is declared banning all Kryptonians from Earth.  All the Kryptonians (who aren't already there) decide to move to New Krypton.  Superman, Power Girl, and Supergirl are among those that decide to leave (as seen in Superman #685).  Superman chooses Mon-El, John Henry Irons, and Guardian to serve as his replacements.  Mon-El joins the newly formed Science Police and uses the secret identity of Clark's cousin, "Jonathan Kent."  Mon-El also begins dating Detecrive Jamie Harper, who has just transferred to the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit.  Superman, Superboy, and Mon-El are the only Kryptonians that have a pass to travel freely between Earth and New Krypton.  Supergirl will illegally return to Earth shortly after moving and go by the secret identity of Linda Lang.

ANOTHER NOTE:  Superman, Wonder Woman, Red Arrow, Red Tornado, and Black Lightning all quit the JLA.  Superman has moved to New Krypton.  Wonder Woman has decided to live with her mom on Themyscira.  Without the "big three" on the roster, Red, Red, and Black don't want to be a part of the team.  Feeling defeated by the wave of resignation, Black Canary leaves as well (as seen in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #31).   Hal Jordan and Ollie Queen then form a more violent, revenge-themed splinter Justice League (as seen in Justice League: Cry for Justice #1) with Starman (Mikaal Tomas), Congorilla, Shazam (actually a scheming Prometheus in disguise), Batwoman, the Atom (Ray Palmer), and Supergirl.  This team's primary concern is avenging the deaths of J'onn and Bruce.  On the other side of the spectrum, John Stewart, eager to keep the old team going strong, leads the main JLA which consists of only four other members; Zatanna, Vixen, Firestorm, and Dr. Light.

YET ANOTHER NOTE:  While fighting gangsters, Batgirl and Spoiler talk about the death of Batman.  Batgirl says that without Bruce Wayne as the Dark Knight, her mission is meaningless.  Cassie Cain disrobes and gives her costume to Stephanie (as seen through flashback in Batgirl Vol. 4 #1).  Cassie is actually following specific orders from Bruce.  In the event of his death she is to hand the mantle of Batgirl to Steph and return to Asia, staying in secret contact with Tim.  (This revelation about Cassie's orders is from Bruce Wayne: The Road Home - Batgirl #1).

--Nightwing Vol. 2 #153, Part 2
Dick and Barbara celebrate the latter's birthday by having a romantic get-together and then skydiving together.

--Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3, Epilogue
Dick didn't want the mantle of the Bat, but he's got it and he'll wear it with pride and honor.  Dick suits up in the gray and black colors of the Dark Knight.  We have a brand new Dynamic Duo!  Damian Wayne is the newest and 5th Robin!  And Dick Grayson is the new Batman!

NOTE:  The flashback from Red Robin #1 occurs now.  Tim, still recovering from being stabbed by Jason Todd, angrily storms out of the Batcave after getting in a confrontation with Dick and Damian upon learning that the latter has replaced him as the new Robin.  After breaking down and crying in his Wayne Manor bedroom, Tim declares that he doesn't believe Bruce could have possibly died.

--Batman: Battle for the Cowl - Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive?
Dick and a battle-scarred Tim meet up with Leslie Thompkins (whose new bodyguard is Mortimer Drake aka the Cavalier) to attend a charity event.  Tim tells Spoiler that he's planning on leaving Gotham.  Vicki Vale also attends the event and finally realizes something she should have a decade ago: the secret identities of everyone in the Bat-family!  She's not 100% sure, though, and starts a fact-finding mission which will become her obsessive quest for the truth over the course of the next several months.

NOTE:  After coming back home from the charity event, Tim packs up his things and says goodbye to Stephanie Brown (as seen through flashback in Red Robin #2).  Tim then chats with Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) and tells her that he thinks Bruce is still alive out there somewhere.  Cassie calls Dick in tears and tells him that Tim "needs help" (as seen through flashback in Red Robin #3).  No longer Robin, a grown-up Tim becomes the new superhero Red Robin.  Batman confronts Red Robin and tells him that he has to accept the truth that Bruce is actually dead and even suggests that he seek therapy.  Tim fights Dick (!) to a draw and takes off.  Before departing, Tim makes one last stop, visiting his parents' graves (as seen through flashback in DCU Halloween Special '09 #1).  Tim then leaves Gotham to begin a globetrotting quest to find Bruce (as seen through flashback in Red Robin #4). 

ANOTHER NOTE:  Booster Gold Vol. 2 #21-24 takes place now.  Booster Gold (with Skeets) breaks into the Batcave to steal back the Polaroid photos of his attempts to save Barbara Gordon from Joker (during The Killing Joke).  Batman catches him red-handed and Booster immediately realizes that Dick Grayson is the new Caped Crusader.  Booster explains how he tried to save Babs and shows Dick the pictures.  All of a sudden, the time-traveling supervillain Black Beetle appears and attacks the heroes.  In an instant, Batman vanishes along with the villain.  Skeets informs Booster that Black Beetle has traveled back in time (to Bat-Year 9) and killed the Teen Titans, including Dick, thus altering the timeline so that things are very very bad.  Queue the music!  Rip orders Booster to fix this mess.  Booster travels back in time and prevents Black Beetle from killing the Teen Titans and it only takes him two tries to get it right.  (See Bat-Year 9 for details).  Having fixed the timestream, Booster returns to the present.  His previous entry into the Batcave and meeting with Dick have now been erased from the timestream.

--Booster Gold Vol. 2 #25 
Booster tries to pilfer his Killing Joke photos from the Batcave again (his previous attempt having been erased from the timeline due to Black Beetle's attack).  And just like before, Booster is caught red-handed, this time by Dick and Damian.  Booster re-explains for the first time how he tried to save Babs and shows Dick the pictures.  Dick is surprised that Booster knows his secret identity, but is very interested to learn about Booster's job as protector of the timestream.  Dick is still unsure if he should trust Booster until Booster reminds him of what "Deathstroke" said to him about Damian thirteen years ago, before Damian was even born.  Dick is flabbergasted to learn that Booster had played the role of Deathstroke in the final battle against Ravager all those years ago.  Before Booster departs, Dick asks him for one favor.  They go on a time-traveling jaunt to the past (17 years ago, NOT 15) where Dick is able to secretly watch the final Christmas he was able to spend with his parents before their untimely deaths.

--Batman & Robin #1-3 ("BATMAN REBORN")
The new Dynamic Duo takes the new flying Batmobile out into action against newcomer Mr. Toad and some Russian drug-dealers.  They easily apprehend Toad, but the Russians get away with the drugs and attempt to skip town.  However, the drugs belong to the very insane Professor Pyg, who kills the Russians, takes his goods back, and adheres one of his horrific "Dollotron" masks on Sasha, the poor daughter of one of the Russians.  Dick and Alfred close up both Wayne Manor and the Batcave and make the permanent move to Wayne Tower.  Batman and Robin then have a meeting with Commissioner Gordon at GCPD HQ when Toad's contemporaries, the Circus of the Strange (Big Top, Siam, and Phosphorus Rex), show up to try to break him out of jail.  The new Dynamic Duo battles the Circus, but have very little chemistry, and the end-result is a disaster.  Several cops are injured and in the chaos Toad is mysteriously killed and left with a domino in his hand.  After their debacle at police HQ, an upset Damian takes off after Pyg (leader of the Circus) by himself.  Pyg's Dollotron henchwomen kidnap Robin right away.  Back at the Bat Bunker beneath Wayne Tower, Dick sulks and complains to Alfred,  "It's not even Damian.  It's Gordon... Those cops...  Nobody believes I'm Batman!  I spent years building up respect as Nightwing and now they're looking at me like I'm one more psycho Batman impersonator!"  After a quick Alfred pep-talk, Dick mans up, saves Damian, stops the Dollotrons from releasing a narcotic flu virus across the city, and apprehends Pyg.  At the crime scene, Dick finds a domino.  Someone is sending an ominous message with the dominoes.  Meanwhile, Sasha, now with a grotesque mask permanently attached to her face, stumbles away, distraught over the fact that Batman and Robin failed to help her.  Later, Batman and Robin go after Le Bossu, which leads us directly to our very next note. 

NOTE:  The framing scenes of "Batman RIP"  from Batman #676 and Batman #681 which depict Batman and Robin capturing Le Bossu take place now.  These scenes also reference the fact that Cardinal Maggi, one of the "fingers" of the Black Glove organization, has been murdered.  Over the course of the next six months, three other "fingers" will be assassinated: Al-Khidr, Sir Anthony, and General Malenkov (as referenced in Batman and Robin #10).  The murders will be brutal in nature, but all contain the theme of the domino.  SPOILER: The Domino Killer is the Joker.  As promised, he is offing the "fingers."

--Batman #687, Part 2
It's now August.  Scarecrow has taken control of the Gotham Bay Bridge and holds hundreds of citizens hostage as Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD look on helplessly.  Dick lets the public know that the Dark Knight is back, triumphantly nabbing Scarecrow and saving everyone on live TV.

--Superman/Batman #76, Part 2
Superman hears about the Batman/Scarecrow battle on the news and angrily confronts Dick, nearly physically forcing him to remove the costume, claiming that Dick as Batman is "grotesque."  Supes zooms off to consult with Wonder Woman, who is able to calm him down.

--Batman #688
Dick makes two more televised smiling Batman appearances before returning home to complain about how annoying the Bat-costume's cape is.  Dick has a completely different fighting style than Bruce did.  Alfred laughs out loud at the idea of a "neurotic Batman."  Dick then trains Damian in hand-to-hand combat.  Across town, Two-Face watches the news on TiVo over and over again and realizes that there's a new man wearing the cape and cowl.

--Batgirl Vol. 4 #1
Dick and Damian watch Batgirl in action and realize that there is new person under the mask, someone "not as good" as the old Batgirl.  It's new Batgirl, Stephanie Brown!  Oracle also finds out that Steph is the new Batgirl and isn't happy about it, but decides to mentor her anyway.  Oracle will monitor and dispatch Batgirl from inside the Batcave, making the cave her new headquarters.

--Batman: Streets of Gotham #1-2 ("BATMAN: REBORN")
Batman and Robin remind Harley Quinn that the Dynamic Duo is back in town and she should stay straight if she wants to remain in their good graces.  The new Dynamic Duo also meets the new Gotham superhero Abuse, who claims to be someone from Batman's (Bruce's) past.  (SPOILER:  Abuse is ten-year old Colin Wilkes, who Bruce saved from Scarecrow earlier in the year.  Colin now has the ability to "hulk up" into a Venom-pumped monster-man at will).  When Firefly breaks away from Black Mask's group to burn down half of Gotham, a pissed off Black Mask tries to bring him down, nearly getting killed in the process.  Batman and Robin show up to apprehend Firefly, but Black Mask is rescued by his new number one man, Victor Zsasz.  At Wayne Tower, Tommy Elliot escapes from his cell and immediately calls a televised press conference (still posing as Bruce), declaring that Wayne Enterprises will donate $1 billion to the city every month.  At the Hall of Justice, the current 5-person incarnation of the JLA watches on TV and knows immediately that "Bruce" is an impostor.

--Batman #689-691 ("LONG SHADOWS")
This story concludes three weeks after Batman #687.  The gang war between Two-Face and Penguin rages on and Black Mask offers the services of some Arkham escapees to the latter.  Batman defeats Clayface and the debuting Lyle Blanco.  Black Mask then detonates several firebombs across the city which are meant to look like insurance fraud explosions linked to no beneficiary.  This ruse is meant to sent Batman on a wild goose chase, thus keeping him off Penguin's back for weeks to come.  Penguin thanks Black Mask for the assistance, but learns that the price is much more costly then he had expected.  Black Mask's Arkham goons kill Penguin's men and Black Mask tells Penguin he now has a new boss.  Meanwhile, Two-Face hires a random metahuman teleporter named Nola to help him infiltrate the Bat-family HQ.  Nola, using a Batarang as a mental-link, is able to teleport Two-Face to its place of origin: the Batcave!  Upon appearing inside the cave, the alarms go off and Dick immediately rushes there only to be ambushed and drugged by Two-Face.  Dick hallucinates that Harvey Dent is wearing a bizarre Two-Face Bat-costume as the latter proceeds to beat the shit out of him.  Alfred shows up wearing a Bat-costume and, hidden in the shadows, he is enough to confuse Two-Face for an instant, allowing Dick to take advantage and KO the villain.  On his way to Blackgate, Two-Face is freed from his prison van by Black Mask's goon squad.  Black Mask then offers Two-Face an ultimatum: work for him or leave town.  Two-Face gets the hell outta dodge.  A day later Dick and Alfred clean everything out of the Batcave.  Dick finds a secret case file regarding the death of his parents.  That case was solved ages ago, wasn't it?  Curious.  NOTE:  Oracle will continue using the Batcave.  The cave will be completely empty except for the larger trophies (playing card, penny, t-rex, etc...) and Babs' massive computer system.

--Superman/Batman #76, Part 3
Superman visits the Bat Bunker for the first time and apologizes to Dick about their ugly encounter when the Man of Steel first learned that he was the new Batman.  The two shake hands as Superman gives his full support and acceptance to Dick.

NOTE:  It's mid-August.  Poison Ivy, for the past several weeks, has held a catatonic Riddler captive and drugged in his own apartment, in which she has been living rent-free (as seen in Gotham City Sirens #1-2).  Catwoman speaks with Ivy and Harley Quinn at the apartment when newbie loser Boneblaster tries to make a name for himself by attacking the ladies.  Riddler wakes up, and the four easily take down Boneblaster.  Batman is present for this encounter and watches from the shadows (as seen through flashback in Gotham City Sirens #26).  Dick has struck up a deal with Selina where she will form a union with Ivy and Harley in order to keep the ladies in line.  Catwoman, Ivy, and Harley all move into an abandoned animal shelter courtesy of The Broker (Sherman Fine).  For years, the Broker has specialized in leasing or selling "eclectic living spaces for eccentric clients" i.e. sales of hideouts to supervillains!  Great concept, very cool.  We also learn that Talia met with Catwoman three years ago and taught her a hypnosis technique which acts as a wall preventing her from ever revealing information about Batman's secrets, even when drugged, tortured, or telepathically probed.

--Gotham City Sirens #3
"Bruce Wayne" (Tommy Elliot) begins dating Harley Quinn in an attempt to get closer to Catwoman so that he can get his revenge against her for stealing all of his money.  Meanwhile, Riddler meets and teams-up with the new Batman to stop the serial killing Conundrum, a femme-fatale who is eager to fill the riddle-themed criminal void now that Eddie Nigma has cleaned up his act.  Batman and Riddler apprehend Conundrum with ease.  Dick shows Riddler a lot of respect, which is something Bruce never, ever did. 

NOTE:  Catwoman and Poison Ivy are worried about Harley, who doesn't realize she's dating Tommy Elliot and not Bruce Wayne.  They go after her, but a jealous Joker is also going after her!  After escaping from Joker's thugs, Selina explains the complicated mess involving Tommy Elliot playing the role of a fake Bruce Wayne.  Joker then tries to blow up the gals' house using old zany gags which he hasn't used since the early days.  When the girls finally track down Joker, they realize it's not actually Joker, it's Gaggy in disguise!  Gaggy, Joker's original midget sidekick, has been jealous of Harley for 15 long years and has come back to kill her.  The sirens defeat Gaggy, who vows he'll be back for revenge again someday (as seen in Gotham City Sirens #4-6).

--Batman Annual #27
--Detective Comics Annual #11
Harvey Bullock and his new partner Josie MacDonald (his prior partner, Detective Harper, moved to Metropolis) investigate the murder of a priest and a related grave robbery.  Batman and Robin investigate the same crime and after questioning the Order of Purity, they realize the culprit is a metahuman known as Amon, who is a member of a cult known as La Saligia.  La Saligia wishes to perform a ritual sacrifice on eight children, so a wig-wearing Damian goes undercover as the blonde eight year-old target.  However, the trap is a failure when Damian actually gets kidnapped.  Batman visits Azrael (Michael Lane) and later meets up with the Question (Renee Montoya), who immediately knows that Batman is the former Nightwing.  Likewise, Bullock meets the Question for the first time but instantly spots that it's his old partner Renee underneath the faceless mask.  While Batman and the Question deal with various Seven-Deadly-Sins-themed metahuman cultists, Azrael and Robin save the kids.  Eventually, all four heroes take down Amon and La Saligia for good. 

--Azrael Vol. 2 #1
This story takes place exactly two months after Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #1, which puts us in early-September.  Azrael (Michael Lane) goes after a violent serial killer that murders priests, cuts off their lips, and literally rubs salt in their wounds.  Batman briefly meets with Az to question the new hero's "eye for an eye" mentality.  Michael then confronts the killer at the Gotham airport and learns that he has been killing pedophile Catholic priests.  Michael lets the killer walk.

--Detective Comics #854
Batman introduces himself to Batwoman and they discuss the fact that the Religion of Crime has a new leader, Alice.  Batwoman then gets debriefed by her father, who also happens to be her mentor and field operations leader, ex-Army colonel Jake Kane.  Ready for action, Batwoman infiltrates a high-profile Religion of Crime gathering and confronts Alice, the Steampunk mistress who only speaks using dialogue from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

NOTE:  Detective Comics #855 takes place now.  Batwoman fights Alice and gets drugged with a poisoned razor blade. 

--Detective Comics #856
Kyle Abbot saves Batwoman from Alice and Jake Kane nurses his daughter back to health.  Kate, along with her cousin Bette Kane (Flamebird), attends the GCPD Police Ball.  Many characters are present here including Jim Gordon, Mayor Hady, Maggie Sawyer, and Dick Grayson.  (We don't actually see Dick, but we hear someone calling his name).  Kate immediately leaves the party when she finds out that Alice and her Crime cultists have kidnapped her dad.

NOTE:  Detective Comics #857-860 take place now and overlap with the next bunch of stories.  Batwoman and Kyle Abbot save Jake Kane and stop Alice from dropping a deadly chemical payload over Gotham.  Batwoman fights Alice aboard a plane and the latter reveals that they are sisters before seemingly falling to her death.  Batwoman takes a blood sample of Alice (which was splattered on her costume) to a DNA testing lab to find out the truth.  A day later, the results come in positive.

ANOTHER NOTE:  Tim has been bouncing from city to city in Europe and the Middle East for the past two months now in his search for Bruce.  Ra's Al Ghul, who also has a hunch that Bruce may have suffered a different fate other than death, has been guiding Tim every step of the way (as seen in Red Robin #1-3).  Ra's Al Ghul directs Tim to an archeological dig in Iraq where he looks at an prehistoric cave painting which resembles a Bat symbol (as seen in Red Robin #4).  For anyone wondering, this is NOT the cave painting which Bruce drew.  It is revealed in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3 that nomadic tribes first saw Bruce's drawing and not only brought it across the Siberian land mass into Eurasia and the Middle East, but also formed Bat-worshiping religions.  In any case, Tim uses this as his definitive evidence that Bruce is lost in time.  Of course, no one believes him.

--Batman #700
This one-shot takes place right here (out of order) because it occurs on the anniversary of Bruce's parents' deaths. Batman and Robin investigate the apparent murder of Professor Carter Nichols, who has been a reclusive hermit for the past fourteen years.  Nichols is found dead in his lab, with a laser bore hole in his chest, and the room locked from the inside.  Oddly, Dick notes, Nichols appears to be older than he should be.  After a night of busting heads, saving lives, and shutting down Hatman's crime memorabilia auction, Damian notes how the Nichols murder still hasn't been solved.  Dick tells Damian it was a suicide.  We then get a flash-forward to Damian as Batman 15 years in the future!  After fighting Max Roboto, Damian tracks a kidnapped child to Nichol's old lab, where he confronts the new Two-Face.  After defeating Two-Face and saving the Joker Venom-injected toddler, Nichols (from 2010) shows up and kills his older self, sending his corpse back in time to 2010.  Thus, the body Dick and Damian found in the beginning of our tale was actually an older Nichols from the future.  In a bizarre way, it was suicide!  Meanwhile, in 2025 Nichols escapes, thus becoming newly rejuvenated and free to surf the timestream!  Damian then gives an antidote serum to the rescued toddler, who just happens to be Terry McGinnis (who will grow up to be Batman Beyond!), thus linking Batman Beyond to the main Earth-0 Batman canon.  (Yes, there is an alternate Batman Beyond on Earth-12).  But that's not all Grant Morrison shows us.  Let's go forward another 25 years or so.  McGinnis is indeed Batman Beyond, and his mentor is Damian!  But that's not all. In the year 3000 Brane Taylor is a gun-toting Batman that fights in a dystopian world (from stories originally told in Batman #26 and Batman #27).  And next, we see Batman of the 853rd Century, along with his sidekick, Robin the Toy Wonder.  The faces will always change, but Batman will never die!

--Vigilante Vol. 2 #10 
Batman battles the crazed assassin known as Vigilante (Dorian Chase).  Last time they encountered each other, Vigilante put a bullet into Dick.

The National Guard has Black Mask and his False Facers, who hold thousands of hostages, cornered in a part of the city known as Devil's Square.  The area is closed off and considered a demilitarized zone.  Batgirl enters the DMZ to battle methahuman newcomer Diesel.  Batman and Robin show up to assist her, but Batgirl accidentally freezes Damian with Ice Batarangs.  Back in the Batcave, Dick chews out Oracle while Damian argues with Steph.  Later, Commissioner Gordon introduces new transfer Detective Nick Gage.  They discuss a high profile kidnapping case, but Dick leaves when he hears a scuffle nearby.  The scuffle is Robin and Batgirl fighting.  Dick breaks them up and tells them they are off the case.  Robin and Batgirl form their own investigation and learn that the kidnapping is a clever hoax set up by a man who owes money to Roulette.  Now that Batman has been lured back into Devil's Square, Roulette sicks Riot, Roxy Rocket, and an escaped Dr. Phosphorus on the Dark Knight.  Robin and Batgirl swing into action and help Batman defeat the villains.  Afterward, Babs and Steph make up with Dick and Damian and they all live happily ever after.

--DCU Halloween Special '09 #1
It's Halloween weekend and Dick goes out on patrol alone, leaving Damian confined to monitor duty in the Bunker.  A bored Damian hits the town and rescues a young girl from the evil dentist known as Sweet Tooth.  Back at the Bunker, Dick returns with an egg-smeared Batmoblie, which was the target of trick-or-treat vandals.

--Batman: Streets of Gotham #3-6
Tommy Elliot, posing as Bruce Wayne for nearly four months now, has been giving away vast amounts of money to philanthropic, but foolish causes, telling Dick and Damian that his whole scheme is a "middle finger to the Wayne legacy" which will drain their much needed crime-fighting funds at an exponential rate.  Dick finally realizes that he can take advantage of the situation.  The world does need a Bruce Wayne replacement now that the real thing is gone.  Dick calls up the JLA and the Outsiders, who all pay Tommy an unfriendly visit.  From this point on, Tommy will continue to play the role of Bruce Wayne, but his every move will be monitored by this collection of heroes.  With the JLA and Outsiders taking shifts monitoring "Bruce Wayne," things seem to be under control at Wayne Enterprises.  However, Batman is damn sick of the Broker housing, and in a sense aiding and abetting, known criminals.  For instance, the Broker has just hooked Zsasz up with an old slaughterhouse for a hideout, and even turns a blind eye when the villain begins wheeling in cages containing kidnapped children.  Batman pays the Broker a visit and demands to know the location of Zsasz's lair.  The Broker snidely says that he never hands out client information.  Two black-eyes and a broken nose later, the Broker has told Batman everything he needs to know.  However, Dick doesn't deal with Zsasz right away, and we don't see the Broker in town after this encounter for over a month, so we must assume that the Broker gave Dick disinformation and then laid low for a while.  Next, Oracle thinks Man-Bat has gone crazy again she sends Batman, Robin, and Huntress after him.  Meanwhile, Black Mask has acquired an invisibility suit.  He gives it to one of his random Arkham thugs who proceeds to go on an insane killing spree.  Turns out Man-Bat isn't crazy, he's simply trying to apprehend an invisible killer.  The final showdown takes place in a church, where Batman, Huntress, Kirk Langstrom, and a long-time Gotham priest all team-up to apprehend the invisible henchman.

NOTE: For the past three years, an unnamed government organization (most likely on behalf of the US Armed Forces) has been training new high-tech hand-to-hand combat equipment against the best possible test subject in the world: Batman.  Mission number three occurs now as a random soldier is tasked to fight the Dark Knight.  Batman easily defeats him (as referenced in Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1, Part 2).   Bruce has fought these soldiers before, but this is Dick's first time.

ANOTHER NOTE:  Plastic Man and Red Tornado return to the main roster of the JLA.  Superman (still living on New Krypton) and Wonder Woman place themselves on back-up "on call" status (as of Justice League of America Vol. 2 #35).

--World's Finest Vol. 2 #3-4
Supergirl meets Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) and they team-up against Toyman, Toyboy, and Mr. Freeze.  The villains are getting their asses kicked until Toyman activates Hiro Okamura's old gigantic Superman/Batman Composite spaceship which has now been converted into a colossal robot.  Dick immediately sends an emergency signal to New Krypton and Superman is on his way back to Earth in a heartbeat.  Dick has his first team-up as Batman with Superman (who is wearing his New Kryptonian police uniform) as they battle the giant robot together.  While Batman breaks into the robot's body, Superman, Robin, and Batgirl wail on the villains outside and Toyman reveals that the robot/spaceship is programmed to fly to New Krypton and detonate a high-level megaton Kryptonite bomb.  Inside the mammoth mechanism, Batman discovers that the entire machine is powered by a captive Kryptonite Man.  The heroes save K-Man, deactivate the bomb, and shut down the robot.  Afterward, Superman warns Dick that Lois' xenophobic father, General Sam Lane, has been stirring up anti-Kryptonian propaganda in Washington.  Dick admits that there is much negative opinion about the Kryptonians in the media lately.  Supes responds by explaining that General Zod is building an anti-human war-like fervor on New Krypton and worries that an interplanetary war could spark at any moment.  The Man of Steel then returns to New Krypton to continue doing as much as possible to prevent that horrid outcome.  At a secret location on Earth, it is revealed (to the reader) that Toyman is working for the maniacal Sam Lane.  NOTE:  There is a flashback which implies that Dick became Batman nine months ago and Superman moved to New Krypton nine months ago as well.  This is totally wrong.  These events occurred about four months ago, not nine.  Maybe writer Sterling Gates meant nine months ago in real life.

NOTE:  Aquaman (Arthur Joseph Curry) feeling as if he will never truly be able to fill Orin's large shoes, steps down as King of Atlantis and disappears (as referenced in Titans Vol. 2 #15).

--Titans Vol. 2 #15
Tempest's evil weirdo Necromancer fish-monster uncle, Slizzath, warns him that Blackest Night is coming and the dead shall rise, including Tempest's own deceased wife.  Tempest does away with his gross uncle and returns to the Atlantean throne room to discover that Aquaman has abdicated and left town.  Tempest visits his oldest friend, Dick Grayson, and they talk about what it's like to fill their mentor's roles after they die.  Inspired, Tempest returns to Atlantis and becomes the new King of the Seas!

--Blackest Night #0, Part 2
--Blackest Night #1
--Blackest Night: Batman #1-3
Black Hand unearths the cloned-Bruce's remains from his unmarked grave and removes his skull, giving it a good, wet lick.  At the far end of the universe in Space Sector 666, the Black Power Battery emits millions of black power rings, which will raise the dead and turn them into evil Black Lanterns.  A day later on Earth, the world celebrates the annual Honor Day, which pays tribute to fallen superheroes.  (This day is celebrated on the date of Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday years ago, which was in late-November, and here we are in late-November)!  There is a lot of dialogue between Hal Jordan and Barry Allen about the history of the DCU that implies that Barry, despite having been back for over six months, still doesn't know about the world he lives in AT ALL.  This is ridiculous, and we'll just have to blame Geoff Johns for this lame method of back-story exposition.  Moving on, Alfred goes to visit Bruce's grave and is shocked to find it desecrated and his corpse exhumed and headless.  He immediately calls Dick.  Meanwhile, at the other end of the universe, the War of Light has been raging on for months now.  Various Lantern Corps based upon the Emotional Spectrum have been warring over supremacy of the cosmos.  While the Guardians are distracted with this war, the black rings arrive on Earth and create thousands of Black Lanterns, which are basically zombie-versions of our most beloved deceased heroes, such as Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Elongated Man (who kills Hawkman and Hawkgirl), and many, many more.  As the dead begin to rise, Dick and Damian unearth the bodies of Thomas, Martha, and "Bruce" Wayne and move them to a vault in the Bat Bunker.  When Deadman's body rises up as a Black Lantern, Deadman faces an evil zombie version of himself, which causes him to freak out and seek Batman's assistance.  Deadman is surprised to see that Dick is now the Dark Knight, but puts faith in him anyway.  Not only are dead heroes being turned into evil zombie Lanterns, dead villains are too.  Blockbuster, Ventriloquist, KGBeast, Deacon Blackfire, Magpie, King Snake, the Trigger Twins, Abbatoir, and Captain Boomerang are all revived and begin attacking the GCPD HQ.  At the other end of Gotham, Hal and Barry fight zombie J'onn (as seen in Blackest Night #2).  Dick calls Tim and tells him to get his ass back to the States.  Batman and Robin, armed with flamethrowers, then assault the Black Lanterns and rescue Commissioner Gordon and Babs.  Red Robin jets in from Europe just in time to help face-off against the zombie versions of his parents and Dick's parents.  With a little help from a Deadman-possessed Etrigan, the heroes freeze themselves, confusing the zombies, who then fly off in search of more dead bodies.  Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice, the metahuman morgue is raided by black rings, creating a huge new horde of Black Lanterns (as seen in Blackest Night #3).  Concurrently in Gotham, Frankenstein, Man-Bat, and Bizarro defeat a Black Lantern Solomon Grundy (as seen in Superman/Batman #66-67).

NOTE:  We won't see Batman, Robin, Red Robin, or Oracle for the remainder of Blackest Night, so we must assume they stay hidden or holed-up with flamethrowers in Gotham until the siege is over.  Damian does mention that Lynx helps them out (in Red Robin #13), but that is all we know.  But anyway, here's what happens.  More and more dead heroes and villains rise up from their graves, including Jean-Paul Valley!  Black Hand, still toting around cloned-Bruce's skull, turns former king of Hell Nekron into the most dangerous Black Lantern of them all.  The evil Guardian Scar joins with Black Hand and teleports the Black Power Battery to Earth (as seen in Blackest Night #4).  At the far end of the universe, the skirmishing Lantern armies receive word of the Black Lantern uprising, call a truce which ends the War of Light, and depart for Earth to help.  Black Hand then creates a body to match his "Bruce Wayne" skull.  "Batman" is back as an evil Black Lantern!  Nekron uses Black Lantern Batman as a conduit to turn anyone who has died and been resurrected before into Black Lanterns.  In case you didn't know, there are very few characters in the DCU which do not fall under this category.  Black Lantern Batman turns Superman, Wonder Woman, Superboy, Kid Flash, and Ollie Queen into evil Black Lanterns.  Black Lantern Batman's body then deteriorates, leaving behind only his inanimate skull.  Hal and Barry, who have also been resurrected before, are able to outrun the black rings which chase them (as seen in Blackest Night #5).  Hal and Barry then muse about why Bruce's Lantern Body didn't hold up very well compared to the others.  Hmmm... maybe because it's not really Bruce's body.  Clone body!  Meanwhile, millions of Black Lanterns from across the universe converge upon Earth.  The leaders of the various colored Lantern armies arrive on Earth well before their Corps do, due to the fact that their "leader rings" are much more powerful.  Once they arrive, they are able to duplicate their rings and pass them onto others, including Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, Ganthet, Barry Allen, Scarecrow, and Mera (as seen in Blackest Night #6).  Then, the Entity, the mysterious force that created original life in the universe, is summoned by Nekron, who kills it instantly.  The power of the Entity bounces from Sinestro and then to Hal Jordan, who becomes a White Lantern and bestows "benevolent" White Lantern rings unto the resurrected Black Lantern heroes.  The multi-colored Lantern armies arrive and join the fray, just as the Anti-Monitor emerges from the destroyed Black Power Battery.  Nekron fights the Anti-Monitor, banishing him to Qward (as seen in Blackest Night #7).  The combined forces of good are too much for Black Hand, Nekron, and the Black Lanterns.  They are defeated, the crisis ends, and the White Lantern Power Battery restores life to twelve people, including J'onn, Orin (Aquaman), Maxwell Lord, Captain Boomerang, Ronnie Raymond (Firestorm), Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Hawk (Hank Hall), Jade, Professor Zoom, Osiris, and Deadman.  In the aftermath of the chaos, Hal and Barry realize that the reason Black Lantern Batman was so pathetic and soulless is because Bruce is still alive (as seen in Blackest Night #8).  Oddly enough, Hal and Barry either keep this information to themselves or Dick doesn't believe them when they tell him.  Cloned-Bruce's skull is reunited with the rest of his body in the Bat Bunker and Dick continues on with the firm belief that Bruce is still dead.  Also worth mentioning, while several heroes are revived at the conclusion of this epic tale, many die as well, notably Tempest and Hawk (Holly Hall), both Titans members (as seen in Green Lantern Vol. 4 #51 and Blackest Night: Titans #1, respectively).  We (the readers) will find out soon that the twelve deceased that were chosen to return to life by the White Lantern-powered Entity, were chosen to complete specific tasks.

--Justice League Generation Lost #1-3
Superman makes a televised announcement that Maxwell Lord has been resurrected, making the supervillain public enemy number one.  Batman assembles the JLA and other heroes (including Red Robin, the JSA, and the Titans) to begin a manhunt.  Lord, using his mental powers, is able to send out a global mind-wipe making everyone forget that he ever existed.  Only Booster Gold, Skeets, Fire, Ice, and Captain Atom are left with their memories intact.  After Booster plays a video of Wonder Woman killing Lord, Superman seems mystified and doesn't even see Lord in the image.  At the Batcave, Booster shows pictures of Lord to Dick, but Dick responds similarly.  In fact, due to the global mind-wipe, Dick thinks that Bruce originally formed the old JLI, Lex Luthor was responsible for the OMAC Project, and Ted Kord committed suicide!  (I should mention that this scene should more appropriately take place in the Bat Bunker, and not in the Batcave).  The entire superhero community thinks that Booster and company are insane, but the remembering heroes continue the manhunt anyway.  Lord's mind-wipe has also cost Fire her job at Checkmate.  An angry Fire then gets in an altercation at the Checkmate castle before rejoining her friends.  Checkmate contacts Batman and fills him in on the details of Fire's assault on their HQ.  Both Batman and Checkmate officials decide Fire should go unpunished, but they are confused as to why they feel this way.  Lord's mind-wipe is still obviously influencing everyone's minds.  Part of Lord's plan is to ruin and disgrace his old teammates, thus forcing them back together.  So far, so good.  Booster, Skeets, Fire, Ice, and Captain Atom join forces with Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) and Rocket Red (Gavril Ivanovich) to reform the Justice League International!  However, ostracized from the other JLA factions, the new JLI must continue their quest to undo Lord's mind-wipe and bring the villain to justice on their own.  SPOILER:  The reason Max didn't mindwipe the JLIers is because he will manipulate them into a situation which will ultimately give him (Max) full control of Checkmate.

NOTE:  In the wake of Blackest Night, both the JLA and splinter JL teams join forces when Red Arrow Roy Harper's arm is violently severed off by Prometheus.  Prometheus is captured, but threatens several American cities with the threat of destruction by preset bombs.  The Justice Leagues vote on whether or not to negotiate with the villain, resulting in his release.  The vile Prometheus, according to the terms of his release, spares every city from destruction except for one.  Prometheus (along with Electrocutioner) then detonates a teleportation bomb which causes a seismic quake in Star City, killing over 80 thousand people, including Roy's young daughter, Lian Harper.  Defeated, the splinter JL disbands (as seen in Justice League: Cry for Justice #5-7).  The Epilogue to this tale, which is VERY important, will take place a bit later.

--Titans Vol. 2 #23
Batman meets with Wally West, Donna Troy, and the Titans to mourn the recent loss of Tempest and Hawk (Holly Hall).  Statues in their images are erected at Titans Tower in San Francisco.  Dick talks about how unsettling it was to see his zombie parents.  Cyborg and Raven contact the Titans and tell them that Roy Harper is still unconscious after his fight with Prometheus, but is finally stabilized.  Dick, Donna, and Wally fly in the Batplane to see Roy in Star City and reminisce about growing up with Tempest (then Aqualad) and Roy (then Speedy) all those Teen Titan years ago.  After a discussion, the Titans disband.  It's a tough scene at the hospital as the heroes watch over Roy and hope for the best.  These were the original Teen Titans and they will always be a family.  Raven and Wally leave to help hunt down Prometheus.

NOTE:  In the wake of the dissolution of the Titans, a new evil villains-for-hire Titans team is formed by Deathstroke (as see in Titans: Villains For Hire #1).  Their first act is the brutal murder the Atom (Ryan Choi). 

--Justice League: Rise of Arsenal #1
--Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1, Part 1
Roy Harper wakes up in a hospital bed with his arm missing.  His closest friends, including Dick, Donna, Ollie, Dinah, Hal, and Cyborg, are all by his side to deliver the terrible news that downtown Star City has been decimated and his daughter is dead.  A pissed-off Ollie storms away vowing to achieve vengeance on Roy's behalf.  This scene is also shown through flashback in Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1).  A groggy Roy then stumbles down to the JLA morgue and cradles his dead daughter in his arms.  Then, against Doc Mid-Nite's wishes, Roy personally surveys the damage done to his hometown.  This is all too much to bear.  Roy, a former heroin addict, begins taking prescription pain-killers in mass quantity to drown out both the physical and emotional pain.  This is a bad idea.  NOTE:  Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1 begins with a flashforward to Ollie putting an arrow to Electrocutioner's head, which will happen a bit later.  Moving on, while Green Arrow and Black Canary hunt down Prometheus and Electrocutioner in the rubble of Star City, Batman helps Flash Wally West apprehend known Prometheus associate Razer in Keystone City.  NOTE:  The rest of Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1 after the Batman/Flash scene takes place in the middle of Justice League of America Vol. 2 #43, which shows Hal and Barry racing to check up on a clue regarding Prometheus, which will come up a bit later.

--Second Feature from Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1
Ollie Queen holds a memorial/press conference at ground zero in Star City which nearly every DCU hero attends.

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