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The Bat-Catch Up

Get caught up with the Bat-Family before Infinite Frontier.

With an Infinite Frontier on the horizon, you may want to jump into the action going on in Gotham City. I have gathered our own Bat-Family of sorts in order to help you catch up on what’s been going down in Gotham City so you can start reading when the titles return. This article will help you catch up with all of your favorite members of the Bat-Family (and what’s been going on with one Harley Quinn). 

Batman

Written by Ethan Chamberlain

Following the events of the City of Bane, Bruce Wayne is a changed man. Looking for a way forward after the death of Alfred, he’s no longer living for the darkness of tonight and has instead begun dreaming of the sunrise of tomorrow. 

With a plan to shape the future of Gotham into a city that no longer needs the Bat, Bruce sets out to enact his grand design for his home. However, a plot, a long time in the making, is coming to fruition. The Designer has returned to the city, putting in motion his own grand design to bring Gotham to its knees. This plot was formed long ago, between The Designer, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman. With everything now in motion from years past, Catwoman confessed the truth to Batman, and with the help of Harley Quinn, tries to stop it. While successful in defeating The Designer, the design itself is successful. Bruce loses his billions, as they were stolen by Joker’s new accomplice, Punchline. It turns out that everything was orchestrated from behind the scenes by the Clown Prince of Crime. A war is coming to the streets of Gotham. A Joker War.

The war is brutal. Lucius Fox, who has been helping Bruce out with his nighttime activities in lieu of Alfred, is brutally attacked with laughing gas. Commissioner Harvey Bullock and the GCPD are outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, outplanned. Batman is gassed with a very potent blend of Scarecrow’s fear toxin only to be saved from it by Harley. Finally getting the upper hand, the Bat-Family regroup and take to the streets, to bring peace back to Gotham. Coordinated by Barbara Gordon, retaking the mantle of Oracle, they start winning the fight. This leaves a final confrontation to be had. Bat vs. Clown, with one added element, a harlequin. This added wildcard means Bruce has to make a choice, save Harley, who has tied a bomb to herself, or save Joker, who Harley has tied a bomb to. Bruce saves Harley, leaving Joker to fend for himself. A week later, the city is returning to some normalcy. While Joker survived he has decided to leave Gotham for a while. Why? We’ll find out.

During the Joker War, a new vigilante took to the streets, Clownhunter, who has taken it upon himself to kill those who allied themselves with Joker. Batman attempts to bring him into the light, to stop the killing, and help the kid. However, this coincides with the arrival of Ghost-Maker, an old… acquaintance of Bruce’s from his year’s training. Ghost-Maker has always found Bruce’s method of vigilantism to be left wanting, having found killing a more permanent solution. To show Bruce the error of his ways, he kidnaps Clownhunter and Harley to stage a confrontation between the two, as Harls was the one who set Clownhunter down this path. Batman finds them, and not only convinces Clownhunter to let Harley live but also for Ghost-Maker to stick around and help out, with no killing of course.

The future looks bright for once. But trouble is always around the corner for Batman and his allies. Fear itself is coming for Gotham…

To find out what happens next, check out Infinite Frontier #0, and Batman #106 by James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez, releasing 03/02/2021. Then for more adventures of the Bat-Family check out Detective Comics #1034 by Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora, releasing 03/23/2021. And finally find out where Joker went, and why Jim Gordon is hunting him down in The Joker #1 by James Tynion IV and Guillem March, releasing 03/09/2021.

Nightwing

Written by Colby E.

Dick Grayson was shot in the head. He died. And – by chance – Ric Grayson was born.

The most important thing to know about Ric Grayson – at least according to Nightwing #50-76 – is that he’s absolutely not Dick Grayson. Ric Grayson is cool! He’s got a buzzcut! A leather jacket! He breaks into people’s houses while they’re away and sleeps in them! He’s got an all-new supporting cast! He’s even got a new girlfriend – a Bludhaven bartender named Bea Bennett, in the proud tradition of alliterative superhero partners. But more than anything, Ric Grayson has a chip on his shoulder. No matter who shows up in Bludhaven to convince him to come home to Gotham, to Bruce Wayne’s mansions, millions of dollars, and top-of-the-line medical treatment, Ric just wants to hang out in Bludhaven, drink bad beer, and drive around in a cab. And yet – because of his buried memories, instinctive combat abilities, or just because this is a superhero comic and we’ve gotta have some action – Ric just can’t help but find himself caught up again and again in superhero action.

If there’s a throughline to the superheroic side of the Ric Grayson era, it’s best found in Team Nightwing. Team Nightwing – consisting of three cops and an ex-cop firefighter – are a group of lawmakers that decide that they’re too penned in by the rules of the badge and decide to become part-time vigilantes, a plotline with absolutely no troubling real-world implications. Dressed in a collection of old Nightwing uniforms (found by lead Nightwing Detective Saperstein in the ashes of a burnt-down Nightwing base) they’re an exciting crew with personalities such as The Main Guy, The Girl, The Good-One, and The Nice Rookie Who Keeps Getting Put In The Hospital. Sometimes they have guns. The Good-One has a fire ax.

Team Nightwing takes their best shot at crime-fighting, and things go as well as it ever does when civilians try to become superheroes – at least until they meet a mysterious cabbie, with a talent for ass-kicking and axle grease smeared across his face in what may be the least effective superhero disguise in history. This is of course Ric, and despite his absolute insistence that he’s not a superhero and doesn’t want to be one, he keeps leaping into battle armed with nothing but a tank top and a rope with an unlit road flare tied to the end. Ric and Team Nightwing take on a few of Gotham’s B-List criminals – Scarecrow, Joker’s Daughter – and a single new enemy – Backburn, a fire creature animated by the mind of a comatose cop.

Eventually, Ric Grayson runs his course, as it’s revealed that the specialist that was attempting to fix Grayson’s amnesia was, in reality, a member of the Court of Owls, in yet another attempt to turn him into their latest Talon. Working with current Talon and Grayson’s great-grandpa William Cobb, this specialist brainwashes Ric with a combination of special goggles and a very shiny crystal into believing he was raised by Cobb rather than Bruce Wayne after his parents died, eventually killing Wayne during the events of the original Court of Owls story. This deception lasts about an issue and a half – just long enough to put another Team Nightwing member in the hospital – before Ric shakes it off, only to get brainwashed once again less than an issue later by the Joker in the title’s tie-in to Joker War. Ric spends about three issues brainwashed into believing he grew up as the Joker’s Robin – complete with the truly unfortunate codename of Dickyboy – and battling it out with various Gotham heroes before finally breaking free of his brainwashing to become Dick Grayson once again. A quick wrap-up fight with KGBeast who shot him in the noggin originally, a very cruel breakup with Bea “for her protection” in the worst super heroic tradition, and Dick Grayson is right back where he started – protecting the city of Bludhaven, awaiting whatever adventures happen next.

Check out Nightwing #78 by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo, releasing 03/16/2021.

Catwoman

Written by Ethan Chamberlain

Having engaged in a rather large heist during the Joker War with Penguin and Riddler (and subsequently betraying them, of course), Catwoman set up shop in her old neighborhood, Alleytown. Selina wasted no time in setting up shop at The Nest, giving the disenfranchised kids of the area a place to stay.

Unhappy with being betrayed, Penguin hired an assassin by the name of Father Valley to take out The Cat. He’s rather different from most assassins, biding his time for the perfect kill, even having helped out Selina a few times.

Unaware of this threat, Selina set to work cleaning up Alleytown of the gangs causing the most hurt to its people. With help from the kids she’s taken in and Leo, an old friend from her days in Alleytown, Catwoman took down Vilos Nahigian’s drug gang and in turn, got the gang of Pit Rollins working for her.

With retaliation held off by Nahigian’s gang, Catwoman left enough evidence with a “colleague” of hers, Detective Hadley, to follow the trail of the plant-based drugs, seemingly being created from a captured Poison Ivy.

To find out what happens next check out Catwoman #29 by Ram V and Fernando Blanco, releasing 03/16/2021.

Damian Wayne

Written by Alex Smith-Petersen

No more half-measures. Damian Wayne has had a tumultuous, at best, past couple of years. He lost his old mentor and friend, Dick Grayson when he was shot in the head by the KGBeast and turned into Ric Grayson. He attempted to keep villains locked in a prison of his own making, where they wouldn’t be able to escape, unlike Arkham, but his team knew it was wrong and turned their backs on his ways. But worst of all, due to his own brash actions, as well as the machinations of Bane and the Flashpoint Batman, Damian was forced to watch in abject terror as Alfred, ever-loyal-servant to the Wayne family, was murdered in front of him. Damian’s entire life has been ruthlessly upended, and he spirals.

After killing Brother Blood himself, and making a play at getting revenge on the KGBeast for what he did to Dick, Damian is finally tracked down by his father. While Batman tries to reach his son, he ultimately comes up short. It’s too late, Damian is lost to his rage and grief over Alfred, and attacks Batman, lashing out. Despite Bruce’s best efforts, Damian is not swayed and throws away his Robin symbol from his costume. Robin no more?! Say it ain’t so!

Ah, but it is so. Damian leaves the Teen Titans, Batman, and his entire life as Robin behind. Damian is next seen stealing Bruce’s Black Casebook, in an effort to do what his father could not and prove himself, as well as get out of the shadow of Batman. Bruce manages to track Damian down and Damian lashes out once more, knowing that Bruce won’t hit him back, but he still does his best to restrain him and get him to listen. Damian begrudgingly agreed to team up with Bruce to save the rest of the Bat-family from Hush, who had kidnapped them all during a riot in Gotham.

Unfortunately, that truce didn’t last long, and once the rescue was over, Damian briefly opened up to his father. He told him what the death of Alfred did to him, and how he would always blame himself for the rest of his life. He doesn’t know what path is right for him, but he knows he needs a change. Damian will forge his own future in the Infinite Frontier, divorced from all that he’s known for years.

Damian’s story continues in Robin #1 from Joshua Williamson and Gleb Melnikov, releasing 04/27/2021. But first, he’ll appear in backup stories in Batman #106 and Detective Comics #1034 from Williamson and Melnikov as a prequel for his series, both arriving in March.

Red Hood

Written by Alex Smith-Petersen

Ex-Robin and now Ex-Outlaw, Jason Todd has been on the move for years now, never staying still for too long. He ran with Starfire and Arsenal for a time, and then Artemis and Bizarro after that, but now, with the Joker War ended, Gotham’s second-favorite son (or third, depending on who you’re asking) returns to his stomping grounds. 

In the Hill-area of Gotham City, Jason Todd reconnects with an old friend named Dana, who has been watching a property of his for quite some time. While he didn’t plan on staying for long, like the aloof Bat-family-adjacent guy he is, he found a reason to hang around for a few days.

A new villain, Tommy Maxx, with one hell of a chip on his shoulder and a penchant for fashion, set out to make Gotham his, with the aid of slick-as-hell-in-his-new-suit Killer Croc. Tommy was not messing around, and struck his competition down swiftly and with style, becoming a problem for Dana and her neighborhood. Dana and her friends took up arms to defend their neighborhood during the Joker War, and do so again to protect themselves against Tommy and his thugs.

Jason ultimately teamed up with Dana to bring Tommy down, restoring peace to their neighborhood, and reinvigorating Jason’s desire for justice. He’s a hero at heart, for the most part, and wants to protect those that can’t protect themselves. The last we see of Jason, for now, is him receiving a mysterious gift from Bruce Wayne, looking on as Batman, as a housewarming present. Things seem to be going well between the two, and we will see them teamed up once more in the upcoming Batman Urban Legends book. 

Jason’s story continues in Batman Urban Legends #1 from Chip Zdarsky and Eddy Barrows, arriving on 03/16/2021.

Harley Quinn

Written by Violet

Harley moved to L.A. for a spell, feeling that a break from Coney Island will suppress any memories of her mother who died from cancer. Unfortunately for Harley, this isn’t the case as the friend she’s staying with is murdered and she sets off to solve the case of who did it.  We see her work through the stages of grief and despair, pushing through to the final end…

Tying us in with Joker War, Gotham City falls into chaos when Joker discovers Batman is Bruce Wayne, forcing him into horrible predicaments. Joker’s new girlfriend, Punchline, also crosses paths with Harley quite a bit, making life all the more difficult and giving her a new scar from cutting her throat. Harley follows Batman to the final battle because she doesn’t believe he has what it takes to kill Joker if need be. During the climax of their confrontation, Harley shows up. She shoots Joker through the eye and doesn’t give her the little catharsis she hopped for. She then proceeded to tie one bomb to herself and another onto Joker, making Batman choose, as he only had time to save one. Batman does chose to save her and leaves Joker in the blast.

A few weeks pass before we find Harley getting a new apartment and things seem to be settling down. That is until she and Batman are kidnapped and brought to Arkham by Clownhunter, a young teen whose parents were killed by the Joker and Harley. She apologizes for her wrongdoings, explaining how Joker’s manipulation got the better of her and she states she wishes to do better in the future. Clownhunter leaves, choosing to spare her life. Batman tells Harley to leave Arkham as he faces Ghost-Maker alone. 

Harley’s story continues in Harley Quinn #1 by Stephanie Phillips and Riley Rossmo releasing on 03/23/2021.

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