I just read the mind-blowing Batman and Robin #16, and I really want to write about it. But first I thought I should catch my thousands of readers up on Morrison’s saga, and I will do so via a cut-n-pasted blast from the past. A little over a year ago, when I was first getting back into comic books, I downloaded a torrent that contained the entirety of Grant Morrison’s Batman saga up to that point. As I read it, I documented my thoughts on a message board I frequent. Bear in mind that this was all written over a year ago, and I knew even less about the current state of the DCU than I do now. Looking back at these old writings, I was also a lot more cynical and sarcastic about comic books in general, as opposed to the easily excited manchild I’ve since become. Everything after the break will be the shit I wrote on the message board, with individual posts separated by lines like this: ————–. Enjoy!
… in which I track my progress reading the huge torrent of comics I downloaded that tie into the current Batman storyline. Included in the torrent are:
1 – The Black Casebook (a compilation of old stories from the past, that apparently tie into this)
2 – Batman & Son (4 comics)
3 – Joker prose story (1 comic)
4 – The Three Ghosts of Batman (3 comics)
5 – The Club of Heroes (3 comics)
6 – The Black Glove (4 comics)
7 – Batman RIP (21 comics)
8 – Final Crisis / Batman Last Rite (combined 11 comics)
9 – Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader (2 comics)
10 – Battle for the Cowl (17 comics)
11 – Batman Reborn (3 issues of Batman & Robin)
I wonder how this nonsense is going to tie into a modern story. I only imagine that the Knight and Squire come back in some new, gritty form.
While Batman and Robin are nabbing some criminals on a ship, Robin takes a fall.
The rest of the story is Robin crying and whining to himself, getting increasingly more freaked out, worried that the Wingman will permanently replace him. It’s awesome.
Then at the end, it turns out Batman was just training this guy, so he could go back to Europe and fight crime there.
I am beginning to see a pattern in these stories. A very dumb, boring pattern.
Anyway, the story itself is about Batman inviting all these guys to Gotham for some reason, seemingly just to have a parade in their honor. Some gangster decides to take advantage of the situation by leading all of them to a booby trap intended to kill the Batman. It turns out that one of the heroes (the Legionary, if you must know) was really the gangster in disguise. It’s all very boring.
All the heroes feel as if one of the other heroes deserves the honor more than themselves, so they keep their heroic deeds on the down low. Meanwhile, Superman begins experiencing amnesia blackouts, due to a kryptonite satellite circling the earth or something like that. During these blackouts, for some reason, Clark Kent dresses up as a DIFFERENT superhero, called Lightning Man, and does heroic things. Anyway, long story short, Batman discovers that Lightning Man is really Superman (by secretly video-taping him changing), and Superman is deemed the Chairman of the Club of Heroes.
This is all so ridiculous and corny, and it’s insane to imagine that these retarded Batmen of All Nations/Club of Heroes characters are going to play a major role in a big current Batman story.
It’s also from the 50’s, and it’s called “The First Batman”
Bruce discovers that his father, Thomas Wayne, had been a Batman before him! Thomas wore a Batman-like costume to a masquerade ball once, and then happened to take out a couple of criminals during it. One of those criminals vowed revenge, and later hired Joe Chill to kill Thomas Wayne and his wife!
Dick Grayson, while not in disguise as Robin, saves a girl’s life before she’s run over by a thief fleeing after stealing a camera. In the process, he injures his arm.
Figuring that the thief is going to use that camera to pose as a news cameraman, Batman and Robin decide to patrol any major news happenings in the near future. However, Batman starts wearing different colored costumes to these events. A red costume, a blue costume, a golden costume, etc… all culminating in him finally wearing the awesome costume seen below.
They eventually nab the thieves, and it turns out that the only reason Batman was wearing those costumes was to take attention away from Robin, so nobody would notice Robin’s arm was hurt, and put two and two together that he is Dick Grayson.
Batman wakes up in a padded cell and everyone thinks he’s an imposter Batman. He breaks out of the asylum and goes to Wayne Manor, where he’s shocked to see Dick Grayson and BRUCE WAYNE! They say that Bruce Wayne has never been Batman. What is going on here??
Here’s what’s going on: Batman had been sprayed by some gas by Professor Milo, which causes its victims to lose the will to live unless they are given some purpose to keep going. So Alfred and Robin decide to create this confusing mystery for Bruce so he will keep his will to live. Apparently they had him institutionalized and Alfred disguised himself as Bruce, just to give Bruce this crazy mystery to keep him alive. Anyway, 24 hours go by and the gas has worn off, so they reveal themselves to him, and all is well.
Batman is suddenly teleported to another planet. On that planet, there is another Batman who, like the Batmen of All Nations, patterned himself after Batman (after observing Batman’s exploits on earth through a “super powered telescope”).
For those of you who don’t know, Bat-Mite is yet another character who idolizes and attempts to emulate Batman, which seems to be a theme running through all these stories.
Bat-Mite is a little cartoon imp from another dimension, who suddenly shows up one day and causes all sorts of mischief for Batman and Robin. The story is pretty much Bat-Mite causing silly mischief and being scolded by Batman, and then finally going away.
Batman and Robin are in South America, where a rainbow-colored monster, summoned by a local outlaw, is wrecking havoc. Each color of this beast’s body causes a different kind of mayhem, but once it uses a color, that color disappears and it has to absorb that color from somewhere to gain it back. I swear I didn’t make that up. Anyway, Batman and Robin trick the beast into using all its colors up at once, and then when it’s colorless and powerless, they destroy it. Jesus Christ.
Batman, Robin, Bat Woman, and Batgirl (this is a pre-Barbera Gordon Batgirl from the 60’s, who is Bat Woman’s daughter or niece or something) are fighting an alien who steals silver because it is a precious resource on his world. He teleports Robin and Batgirl to another planet. He tries to do the same to Batman and Bat Woman, but something gets screwed up, and their bodies remain on earth, while their “auras” or “souls” or whatever go to the other planet. Everyone fights a shitload of alien monsters, then eventually go back to earth, where they stop the alien robber. Dumb.
It turns out this is all just a virtual reality-type simulation that Batman has volunteered to undergo for the US space program to help them gauge the effects of outer space on humans and blablabla.
I don’t really understand this story, having no context for it. Apparently Bruce Wayne has gone off somewhere, and Robin and Nightwing are travelling the world looking for him. I guess Bruce hired some cult to “destroy his demons” and they did, so he says Batman is dead and no more. I guess he was holed up in a cave for a really long time, as part of the process? I don’t understand it, really. Oh well.
Black Casebook – completed. I can’t wait to see how Grant Morrison makes use of all this goofy crap. Next up is a four-issue arc called “Batman & Son”
What is going on?
-The Batmen of All Nations, a group of lame Batman wannabes from across the globe
-one specific Batman wannabe called The Wingman
-Professor Milo’s gas that makes its victims depressed
-Bat-Mite, the mischievous inter-dimensional imp
-Batman’s rainbow colored Batsuits
-a South American rainbow monster
-a Batman from another planet and/or a device called the Bat Radia
-Batman undergoing virtual reality space simulations for NASA
-whatever happened to Batman in 52
The third issues starts with Batman and Damian Wayne (his son) in the Batcave. Batman is going to train him to be a crimefighter, because Talia asked him to. The kid is a total, total prick to Batman, Robin and Alfred.
We cut back to the Batcave, where Damian Wayne reveals the Spooks head to Robin! Robin is all like “WE DON’T KILL!” and then they get into a fight, basically about who Bruce Wayne loves more. Damian Wayne kicks Robin’s ass, and then puts on the suit and is all like “I’M Robin now” WHAT WILL BATMAN DO???
This story is great. It is steeped in Joker history, and is basically a huge love letter to the character. This maybe my favorite Joker story aside from The Killing Joke (one of the freaks from that story is even in this!)
I’m not even gonna get into the story because it’s just too great, scary and unsettling and sad. Just awesome. Grant Morrison is an awesome writer!
It happens in the aftermath of Joker being shot in the face by that fake Batman. Everyone should read this!
My favorite part is the Joker’s lists of things that make him laugh:
It begins with Bruce and his new lady friend flirting it up on a ski trip. He proclaims that he’s cooler than James Bond, and god damn it, he’s fucking right.
Next thing you know, Batman is following a trail of beat-up hookers to a monster who is dressed like Bane in a batsuit, who beats the living fuck out of him nearly breaking his back.
As Alfred nurses his near-broken body, Bruce has a dream that Damian Wayne tells him that the two Batman impersonators he’s encountered so far are just the first two of three ghosts, and the third one is the worst one of all. Batman wakes up and is ranting and raving about all of this. He thinks the Bane monster was somehow designed to exploit his worst fears, or something like that. He keeps ranting to Alfred about the Black Casebook. He talks about an incident in the Black Casebook where he encountered three Batmans – BUT WAIT – I just read the fucking Black Casebook and nothing like that was in it! It was all dumb stories about International Batmen and aliens and shit!!
The next story arc is called “The Club of Heroes”. I can’t wait to see what our old pals the Knight and the Squire are up to!
We then switch to Batman and Robin in the Batplane, and Robin serves as Mr. Exposition by commenting that they are travelling to a “private island in the Caribbean to hang out with a bunch of c-list crimefighters”. He then says that he’s sad about this turn of events. Sad.
They meet up with the KNIGHT, who I guess is the guy who used to be the Squire. He takes over as Mr. Exposition, and babbles about the Club of Heroes.
We meet the Club of Heroes, and they are all lovably deconstructed, as you would expect. The French guy wrote a book about his heroic deeds and got rich off of it. The Roman guy is all old and fat now. The Australian guy now seems to be trying to be a bad-ass anti-hero type called the Dark Ranger. And oh man, a new addition to the club is – I’m not shitting you- a drunken Indian called Man-of-Bats who has a kid sidekick called Red Raven. Oh and the new Squire is a girl.
Anyway, after these guys bicker and provide backstory for a while, Batman shows up. They’ve all been called together to watch a video supposedly made by John Mayhew (that same old philanthropist billionaire from their old story)… but lo and behold, it’s not actually him on the video! It’s that Black Glove guy, wearing his skin!
“Can the world’s greatest crimebusters solve John Mayhew’s savage murder? Or will they all die here, one by one, begging for mercy? Place your bets. The Black Glove points at YOU. By tomorrow, you will all be dead” blablabla. Then the boat off the island blows up. This is pretty cool! Like “And Then There Were None” or something! Although I can’t help but question why the Black Glove would do this with Batman and this group of nobodies instead of, say, the Justice League.
Anyway Batman instructs them not to eat any food on the island, and of course the next panel is the fat Roman guy eating a bunch of food. He’s watching the video, and determines which room it was filmed in, but he is murdered before he can tell anyone!
ADVANTAGE: EVIL. PLACE YOUR BETS WITH THE BLACK GLOVE. TO BE CONTINUED
We cut to Batman inspecting the fat corpse of the Legionary, discovering he was stabbed 23 times, just like Julius Caesar. Then everyone goes to search for the Knight, who is apparently missing or something.
Tensions are running high among the club members, due to suspicion that one of them is the killer. A lot of people seem to suspect the Knight, mostly due to “what happened that day”.
After a few more pages of nonsense (including an attack by a blue robot scorpion), they find the Wingman dead. Part 2 ends.
We go back to the flashback. The Squire (now the current Knight) breaks up the fight between his dad and the Legionary. So the Knight attacks John Mayhew, screaming “YOU KILLED HER”. I don’t know what’s going on.
Back in the present, as Man-of-Bats cuts the bomb out of the Knight’s body, Batman talks about how the way Wingman was killed is in the style of one of Wingman’s enemies. I forgot to mention in the last issue that the blue scorpion was also the MO of one of the South American hero’s villains. There is discussion about whether Mayhew organized a “Club of Villains” to battle the Club of Heroes.
We cut to El Sombrero (another one of El Gaucho’s villains), who has the Squire and Robin in an elaborate death trap with a member of the Club of Heroes (I’m ashamed to admit that I’m not sure which guy that is, hehe)
Anyway, his hallucinations/flashbacks include his parents’ murder (of course), other stuff from his childhood, Bat-Mite a bunch for some reason, and weird scenes where Batman antagonizes Joe Chill into committing suicide. Finally, he wakes up and is being held captive by the evil Batman cop who shot him.
Anyway, Batman kicks this guys ass, as well as the Bane Batman cop’s ass (who shows up out of nowhere for some reason), and escapes. As he’s running, he is freaking out about the idea of there being some shadowy villain who has been manipulating his career in and preparing to take him down. Would he be able to counter something like that? Batman is worried! Worried as shit!!!!!!!!
Bruce Wayne and his girlfriend Jezebel Jet are on a date, when all of a sudden they are attacked by a guy wearing a blindfold with creepy eyes tattooed on his fingers. Basically Bruce kicks his ass, and then his girlfriend knows he’s Batman. That’s pretty much it.
The first five comics in there are an arc from Detective Comics called “Heart of Hush”. The only connection this story has to the main storyline is that Hush has heard rumors about the Black Glove, and is determined to kill Batman before the Black Glove does. Besides that, it’s just an unrelated Hush story, so I don’t really know why it was included. However, it’s a pretty good story.
For those of you who don’t know, Hush is a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne named Tommy, who is now a villain. There are a lot of awesome flashbacks to Bruce and Tommy’s youth, and Hush’s mother is portrayed as an instantly hateable Carrie-esque mother. And there’s an awesome scene where Jonathan Crane is young Tommy’s psychologist.
The story is about Hush surgically removing Catwoman’s heart and, with the help of Mr. Freeze, cryogenically freezing it, in an effort to lure Batman in. Meanwhile, he distracts Batman by sending the Scarecrow after him. The Scarecrow kidnaps an orphan boy and injects him with the Venom formula, causing him to become a Bane-like monstrosity who Batman fights. Eventually – SPOILER ALERT – he defeats Hush before he can be killed by him.
The first issue of the proper Batman RIP arc begins with a meeting of the Black Glove . A new arrival, M’sieur Le Bossu, is greeted by Dr. Hurt. Also in the room are the following people:
1 – El Sombrero… not sure if it’s still John Mayhew or not
2 – a huge guy in a scary My Bloody Valentine-esque gas mask
3 – a mime
4 – a creepy white guy with red hair, wearing one of those leaf-crown things
5 – a weird girl in some kind of sexy metal outfit, with a Mr. Freeze-like helmet
6 – a guy in a trenchcoat with a bucket on his head
We cut to Batman and Robin in a car chase with a shitty villain who is dressed like a green vulture. Batman and Robin are talking about the new modifications made to the Batmobile. After thwarting the vulture guy, we see Batman, Robin and Alfred back at Wayne Manor, complaining about the fact that all the cool villains have been driven out of Gotham, and the only ones left are shitty small-time guys who the cops could easily handle.
Bruce goes upstairs to have sex with Jezebel Jet, and then Robin whines to Alfred for a while about how he’s concerned about Bruce’s mental state, and also about Damian Wayne.
Next, we cut to Jezebel accompanying Bruce on a visit to his parents’ grave. She tells him that they’ve been invited to a big party thrown by an orginization called – wait for it – the Black Glove! Bruce is all like whoa.
Batman figures out that the movie had been made by none other than John Mayhew. It is “the story of two innocent lovers corrupted and destroyed by a group of super-rich gamblers”. And wouldn’t ya know it, it’s playing tonight at the Gotham Village Cinedrome! Batman sends Alfred to see the movie and then report back.
We cut back to the Black Glove meeting. Dr. Hurt is describing his MO to destroy Batman, which will result in “nothing less than the complete and utter ruination of a noble human spirit”. He makes reference to a trigger phrase he implanted in Batman’s mind years ago. Now all they have to do is “push, and the Batman will self-destruct”.
So apparently, Batman just sent Alfred to the movies so he could do some Batsexxing in the Batcave, because in the next page, he is giving Jezebel Jet a tour of the cave. She talks at great length about her concerns that Batman is not well, and that this is all crazy, and what if HE HIMSELF is the Black Mask??? Bruce is pretty concerned by this possibility and decides to see what the BATCOMPUTER has to say about it!
The Bat Computer broadcasts a single word to Bruce – Zur-En-Arrh! Bruce is like “No… not now… I’m not ready” and tells Jezebel to get the fuck out of there!! Bruce passes out, and Alfred returns just in time for a full-scale invasion of the Batcave by those creepy Black Glove villains! They proceed to beat the living shit out of Alfred, and the issue ends.
Meanwhile, Robin and Nightwing kick the asses of some of the Black Glove’s Club of Villains. Back at the Batcave, Dr. Hurt is prancing around in Bruce Wayne’s father’s old Bat-Man outfit.
The issue ends with Batman wondering if he’s in a dream, but it can’t be because “I hold in my hand… the Bat-Radia… and I am… THE BATMAN OF ZUR-EN-ARRH!!”
Robin is reflecting on the time he, Bruce and Dick spent away from Gotham City, retracing the steps Bruce took to become Batman… specifically during the time Bruce was alone in a cave for 49 days, undergoing the Thogal Ritual which would lead to a spiritual death and rebirth.
Back in the present, Robin is hanging out with the Spoiler, who had apparently been in Africa for a year and had only recently returned. The Spoiler, who is clueless about everything that’s been happening, acts as a catalyst for Robin to provide the backstory of what’s happened so far.
Intermingling with mostly pointless flashbacks of what Tim and Dick did while Batman was in the cave, Robin sets out to locate Bruce and to figure out whether or not he’s lost his mind. He gives the Black Casebook files to a GCPD cop and asks her to compare it to Gordon’s files of the cases. He also gives Penguin a bunch of money to help him find Batman. Then the issue ends.
Basically, Robin has become convinced Batman’s losing his mind, due to the files not being corroborated by Gordon’s files, and a photo of Batman acting crazy that the Penguin sent him. When that photo was first sent to Spoiler’s cellphone, however, she deleted it, and Robin had to go straight to the Penguin to see it.
When questioned about this, Spoiler admits that Batman asked her to sabotage any effort Tim might make to find him. He says that if he dies or is otherwise unable to be Batman, Tim has to take over, and she has to help him keep his mind on that. Also, Robin fights and beats up that Buckethead guy.
Basically, this is all just fluffing to allow Tim to have internal dialogues where he questions his own role in a Gotham City where Batman no longer exists. Ultimately, he decides that with or without Batman, he will always be there for Gotham.
Bruce now seems to be all kinds of crazy, and is operating as the Batman of Zur-en-Arrh. He’s talking to gargoyles and shit, and Bat Mite is constantly hanging around, making him rip out his own teeth to find tracking devices and shit. Bat Mite sums up that when Batman went to that Zur-en-Arrh planet, it was just another hallucination brought on by Professor Milo’s gas.
This actually makes a shocking amount of sense, despite how ridiculous it might seem.
Meanwhile, Robin contacts the Knight and Squire and informs them about the Club of Villains. Oh I see. Those weird bad guys with the Black Glove are all former villains of the Club of Heroes guys. Okay, that makes sense. I’m stupid for not realizing that earlier, I guess. Maybe I DO zip through these comics too quickly.
So Batman kicks a couple of these Club of Villains guys asses, and meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon has come to a booby-trapped Wayne Manor. I forgot to mention that in the last issue, Gordon discovered a bunch of weird, secret information about Batman’s parents, including the fact that Mrs. Wayne was a junkie, and they were involved in shady shit, and that Alfred might possibly be Bruce’s real father. Gordon didn’t believe this stuff, but I’m guessing that’s why he’s at Wayne Manor. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of these revelation.
Anyway,, Dr. Hurt (still wearing Thomas Wayne’s Bat-Man costume) is apparently under the impression that he himself IS Thomas Wayne…?? He’s beating up Alfred for sleeping with his wife. This is wacky. He then tells the buckethead and the mime to go capture Robin, because they promised him to the Joker.
Meanwhile, Batman has one of the villains (the Roman guy with the crown thingie) tied up and is interrogating him, really just kind of making fun of him and saying he’s a shitty villain. He’s all like “Don’t fuck with me, because I have the Bat-Radia” but both the villain and the reader see that the Bat-Radia is just a shitty old radio like the one my dad used to keep in the glove compartment of his car when the car’s radio broke.
Next thing you know, the Black Glove is taking over Arkham Asylum, bringing along a kidnapped Jezebel Jet. The Joker is informed that “all is prepared for the dance of death” and that Batman is on his way. Oh boy!!
So the Batman of ZEA is getting ready to storm Arkham, where Jezebel Jet and Nightwing are being held by the Club of Villains. Apparently, Nightwing’s going to be lobotomized. As B-ZEA goes to enter Arkham, Bat Mite says he must take his leave, for his is the last remnant of Bruce’s voice of reason, and “there is no reason in this place”. Before he leaves, Batman asks him if he really is an imp from the 5th dimension, or is he just a figment of Bruce’s imagination. Bat-Mite is all like “Hey stupid, imagination IS the fifth dimension” and Chadd Derkins is eating this ridiculous shit up.
Meanwhile, the Joker crashes Dr. Hurt’s little gambling party. Also, Gordon is still trapped in a booby-trapped Wayne Manor where he is joined by Talia al Ghul, Damian Wayne, and their league of assassin goons, who offer to join together with him on the search for Batman’s whereabouts.
The Joker reveals to Batman, via video monitors in Arkham, that they have Jezebel. Batman responds to this revelation with this speech:
Anyway, Batman finally realizes what most people reading have suspected for a while, that Jezebel is actually a part of the Black Glove. The issue ends.
Meanwhile, Batman has been knocked out by Joker poison, and Dr. Hurt has buried him alive. His plan is to wait until the lack of oxygen has permanently destroyed his brain and then unearth him as a drooling invalid.
The Joker decides to join in on the betting. He bets double or nothing, that Batman will live and fuck all of them up. He presents the Bat Radia as exhibit A. Upon further inspection, it appears that the Bat Radia is rigged to send a signal to override Arkham’s security and trap the Black Glove inside!
The Joker is, of course, correct, and Batman (along with Nightwing) kicks everyone’s ass, and then goes to chase after Hurt.
Meanwhile, both Robin and Damian Wayne are on their way to Arkham. Damian is in the Batmobile with Alfred, and he plows it into an ambulance the Joker is using to escape, knocking it off a bridge.
Batman is confronting Hurt, who once again claims to be Thomas Wayne, saying that he paid Chill to kill his wife and then faked his own death. Batman is all like “bullshit” and theorizes that Hurt is Mangrove Pierce, star of “The Black Glove”.
Hurt reveals that he’s the one who released all those horrible stories about Bruce’s parents to the Gotham media, and that their names will be forever tarnished unless Batman agrees to serve the Black Glove, “willingly devoting his life to the corruption of virtue”. Batman’s like “NOT NOW! NOT EVER!”
Hurt attempts to escape via helicopter, but Batman thwarts it, and the helicopter blows up, so now I guess everyone’s gonna think they’re all dead. Talia al Ghul vows vengeance and the next scene is Jezebel Jet’s private jet being attacked by Man-Bats.
Six months later, we see one of the Club of Villains guys about to kill someone and he’s all like “Who’s gonna stop me, now that Batman is dead” and then the Batsignal shines through the window. MAYBE BATMAN ISN’T REALLY DEAD AFTER ALL!
And that’s the end of Batman RIP.
But it’s really impressive how Grant Morrison wanted a story about Batman’s mind being manipulated and he delved into the character’s history to find a bunch of things to tie together to form a story that pretty much spans Batman’s entire career. It boggles my god damned mind.
Anyway, this story is called “Outsiders No More”. It begins with Superman going to Wayne Manor to look for Bruce, and finding only a drunken Oliver Queen. Oliver is sad because Bruce is dead. Superman is skeptical of this fact, but not so much so that he can stop himself from crying, “Great Scott!” when Oliver shows him the devastated state of the Batcave.
Next, Batgirl (Note: I have no idea who Batgirl is at this point) roughs up the Penguin for information about Batman’s whereabouts, to no avail. However, a guy named “Johnny Stitches” who is apparently the leader of something called Intergang, tells her that his gang will do whatever they can do to help her find Batman. She thanks him by beating him up.
Next, we have a funny scene where all the inmates of Arkham Asylum are singing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”. Two people named Metamorpho and Grace (are these Outsiders? If so, “Grace” is a really shitty superhero name) are asking Jeremiah Arkham about Batman. Arkham shows them a flyer that the Joker has been distributing amongst the inmates, with a gravestone that says “BATMAN RIP” on it.
At this point I assume this entire run is just gonna be characters asking each other where Batman is. Next, two stupid looking characters called Geo-Force and Katana are having such a chat with a distraught Commissioner Gordon, who points them in the direction of a visibly enraged Nightwing.
A few more scenes like this, and we finally get to a meeting of the Outsiders (which seems to include Green Arrow and Batgirl, in addition to the other retarded heroes). They are trying to figure out if the Outsiders should go on without Batman. Seriously, who the fuck are the Outsiders?? Another Outsider runs in with a video tape, on which Batman tells them: “There’s a reason I had to do things this way” and “I need your help”
Anyway, Batman says he’s going to transmit his coordinates to the Outsider REMAC (a robot I guess) and for them to meet him. And oh, all my questions before were premature, because here is Ollie North trying to block the transmissions because he has a hunch that “that ain’t Batman”. But Batgirl convinces the Outsiders to accept the code and travel to those coordinates anyway, to see what’s up. Green Arrow storms out in a huff. REMAC accepts the transmission and then he explodes, killing an Outsider called Rex, and putting another one (Black Lightning’s daughter?) in a coma. I can’t believe they killed off Rex!! America mourns a legend. Anyway, one of them yells at Batgirl a bunch, and then the Outsiders break up. In the next scene, Man-Bat comforts Batgirl. Jesus christ, what the hell
Later, Robin and Batgirl find a video encoded inside the code that blew up REMAC. It is Dr. Hurt, still wearing his precious Bat-Man outfit, explaining that killing Batman was just phase one of their plan to destroy his legacy. They are also gonna go after everyone dear to him. EVEN THE OUTSIDERS! Because as we all know, no one is more dear to Batman’s heart than his trusty companions the Outsiders, who are famous and we have all heard of. Anyway, then Batgirl’s all like “There WILL be an Outsiders! Even if I have to put it together myself” while clenching a fist. Issue end.
Now Man Bat is in da club, beating up some Intergang guys (of the human variety). He tells Penguin to pass a message on to Johnny Stitches that Intergang should leave Gotham. Then Batgirl shows up and tells Man Bat that she needs his help.
Then we have a guy named Vigilante busting into an Intergang meeting and trying to kill Johnny Stiches, but the Spoiler stops him, because yknow, Batman doesn’t kill, so no one else should either. Vigilante has the nerve to call Batman an idiot!!
Alfred points out that Dick Grayson is missing from her list. She’s all like, “He wouldn’t understand” but Alfred points out that if she’s going to be a part of the Bat family, she and Dick will have to talk out their differences. Then Dick Grayson shows up and is like “Oh we’ll talk all right” and it says NEXT: BATGIRL VS NIGHTWING
I hate comic books.
Harvey is asking for Nightwing’s help in rescuing a New York district attorney, Carol Bermingham. Apparently, Carol and Harvey were in love with each other back in the day, but since Harvey was married, she left Gotham for NYC. She witnessed some kind of crime, and is going to testify tomorrow, and Harvey’s worried for her safety. Nightwing agrees to look after her.
So to make a long story short, Nightwing rescues her from assassins a few times in the issue, and then gets hurt and passes out in an alley.
After like seven pages of Alfred nursing Nightwing, Dick and Carol finally travel to NYC for the trial. They go to yet another safehouse, and then there’s a really boring telephone conversation with Two Face where he tells Carol how much he loves her and blablabla. Nightwing goes to fly on a hang glider for a while, for no apparent reason, when Alfred contacts him to tell him that the bullets he extracted were laced with the Scarecrow’s fear agent. But Nightwing doesn’t have time for fear! He heads back to the safehouse, and instead of Carol being there, guess who is??
If you guessed the Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze, you’re right!
Nightwing waxes poetic about how these guys are jerks:
A pretty cool and trippy (even though it’s not really happening) battle in a pool of blood follows. This lasts most of the issue. At the end, we see that Two-Face set the whole thing up, and he kills Carol. But then, they “Harvey” personality is all sad and pissed… it turns out he had recruited Dick to protect Carol from himself. Oh, Two-Face!!
We switch to a detective, on the trail of some missing kids, who finds a dying superhero in a dumpster. With his dying words, the superhero tells the detective, “They did not die! He is in all of you!”
So John Stewart and Hal Jordan (who apparently is late because he overslept) identify the dead superhero as Orion, the soldier god of New Genesis! They alert both the Guardians and the Justice League.
The Guardians, apparently, are like an intergalactic CSI team:
Okay, the next few pages, I have to admit, I have no clue what’s going on. I think some bad guys find Metron’s throne, maybe? I dunno. There is also some kind of argument going on during a meeting of the league of supervillains. Someone named Libra is claiming that he (or she?) balances the scale in the struggle between good and evil. In return for the villains’ participation in Libra’s grand experiment, Libra will grant them all their “heart’s desire.” Lex Luthor is all like “Fuck you, what’s in it for you” and Libra says that this will bring on an end to the age of superheroes, a motherfucking TWILIGHT OF THE GODS.
I am in way over my head here.
We cut to the detective (whose name is Turpin) going to the Club Dark Side. He meets a guy who I guess is Darkseid in disguise. He tells Turpin that he handed the missing children over to Granny Goodness and “taught them how to say the equation, how to be stunted malformed slaves.” Then he pulls back a curtain to reveal the children and sure enough, they all have red eyes, which means they’re evil now.
We cut, thank Christ, to a meeting of the Justice League, where they’re discussing the New Gods, and the “evil gods” they might have to face. The Batman, hilariously, has “prepared a detailed dossier” for the Leaguers who haven’t dealt with these gods before….
Meanwhile, the Alpha Lanterns (Green Man, Boodikka, and Larix, obviously) are scoping out the crime scene, and say that New Earth (the foundation stone of all existence) is secure. Some people are talking about how Earth 51 got fucked up or something, and I am confused. They are blaming it on Multiversal Monitor Nix Uotan, who is exiled for his lapse.
You know what? Fuck, I have no clue what’s going on. No god damned clue.
The issue ends with the revelation that the Martian Manhunter was murdered. ughhhh, this might be too much for me, you guys
We open in a nightclub in Japan, where a robot named Megayakuza is trying to goad a guy named Sonny Sumo into a fight. Sonny Sumo kicks his ass as a bunch of young starstruck wannabe superheroes watch. Then, Mister Miracle approaches Sonny Sumo in the bathroom and tells him he wants his help putting a team together.
We then cut to a kid working at a fast food joint, who is guess is supposed to be the exiled soul of that guy from the last issue, stuck in this body. He is systematically reading the dictionary, hoping to find the magic word that’ll send him back home.
Next we have Turpin beating the holy living fuck out of the Mad Hatter to find out the location of the missing children. But wait, didn’t he encounter the children in the last issue? ughhhh… anyway, the Hatter says they are in Bludhaven.
Next, we have all the heroes at the Martian Manhunter’s funeral on Mars. Superman gives a touching speech, which ends with him calling for everyone to “pray for a resurrection.” I love that resurrections are so common in this universe that they’ve become part of funeral speeches.
Next we have Libra back at the Hall of Supervillainy, and he (She???) is all like, “The Martian is dead, how awesome am I???” Luthor doesn’t think it’s such a big deal to kill the Martian Manhunter (Clayface disagrees!), and that if Libra takes down Superman, THAT would be impressive.
Meanwhile, the JLA and the Green Lanterns (via Hal Jordan’s RIDICULOUS looking superior officer) are having a power struggle over who is in charge of the investigation over Orion’s death.
John Stewart, meanwhile, is investigating the crime scene, when he is attacked by some other Green Lantern guy. We cut to Hal Jordan being awoken in his sleep by a bunch of Alpha Lanterns, who accuse him of the attempted murder of John and place him under arrest
Turpin meets up with Al Sharpton in Bludhaven. Al is also an evil God, by the way. He explains that the god of Apokolips are manifesting all their bleak energy to bring about the final crisis of man. In other words, they’re brainwashing people and turning them into slaves… or something. They have Batman trapped in their “evil factory” and also, of course, a tiger.
Then Clayface disguises as Jimmy Olsen, blowing up the Daily Planet office and trapping Lois Lane under a pile of rubble. These villains ARE NOT FUCKING AROUND.
The Flash and another Flash, meanwhile, figure out that some kind of god-bullet was sent backwards in time where it killed Orion, then continued back in time, finally burying itself in the cement 50 years prior. They’re fucking around with what I think is Metron’s chair, when all of a sudden there’s a bright light, and then everyone is scared, and then the issue ends.
You read that right.
So some other weird shit happens, and then Jay Garrick is explaining that a hole ripped open in time or something and I guess Barry Allen came back to life (which is doubly shocking to me because I didn’t know he was dead)
Libra is hanging out with the Human Flame, who is really grateful that his arch-enemy Martian Manhunter is dead. Libra sticks a helmet on him that fucks him up with the Anti-Life Equation, and is confronted by Lex Luthor who says that Libra is a threat he intends to neutralize. Libra tells Luthor that mankind is juuuust about to be totally brainwashed and enslaved and that if Lex doesn’t want to share this fate, he should join them.
Clark Kent is in the hospital, by Lois’ bedside. She is really fucked up, and probably dying. Some lady in some kind of Egyptian-looking headdress comes in and says that Lois can be saved, but “WE MUST LEAVE THIS WORLD NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”
Wonder Woman and the JSA Green Lantern are talking about assembling an army of superheroes to encounter the evil gods, by way of ARTICLE X, which is some kind of superhero draft. The next few pages are a montage of all the superheroes receiving their draft notice. With them all together, WHO CAN STOP THEM???
Meanwhile, Sonny Sumo and Mister Miracle are in some kind of danger and they’re recused by the SUPER YOUNG TEAM, and meanwhile Wonder Woman is going into the ruined Bludhaven along with the AROMIC KNIGHTS (guys in suits of armor who ride dalmatians) and jesus christ, who gives a shit about any of this?
In Bludhaven, Wonder Woman is attacked by a Darkseid-brainwashed Mary Marvel. They have a sexy catfight, and then Mary Marvel infects Wonder Woman with some kind of disease or something, and I guess Wonder Woman is evil now.