Across the DC Universe #41 - Part 1

Lowdown - Article

Share this lowdown

  • Button Delicious
  • Bttn Digg
  • Bttn Facebook
  • Bttn Ff
  • Bttn Myspace
  • Bttn Stumble
  • Bttn Twitter
  • Bttn Reddit

Welcome back to Broken Frontier’s weekly issue by issue roundup of events from every corner of the DC Universe! This is where to come to catch up on what’s been happening with your favorite DC characters and how events in their books affect the DCU’s recent "Bigger Picture". We also point out any interesting continuity tidbits, link to suggested background reading and examine any pertinent questions raised by events in the week’s releases.

Spoiler Warning: Read no further if you’ve not had your DC fix this week and don’t want to hear about key story elements.

Red Robin #1

Tim Wayne (formerly Drake), convinced his adopted father Batman still lives, searches Europe for proof that the Dark Knight is not dead, adopting the tarnished persona of Red Robin as a cover. Little does Tim realise that an old, and deadly, enemy is following his progress...

Crossovers: Batman: Reborn

The Bigger Picture: Tim takes on the identity of Red Robin for a couple of reasons. Firstly he is angered at Dick Grayson allowing Damian Wayne to become the new Robin (see Batman and Robin #1 for more on that development). Secondly, he needs a costumed alter ego that cannot backfire on the Batman Family, as his quest may well cross moral lines. "Red Robin" is certainly a brand name with some negative connotations after Jason Todd briefly used that codename in Countdown to Final Crisis and Robin bad guy The General usurped it in Robin #s 177-180.

Ra’s Al Ghul , revealed to be tailing Tim's quest this issue, met Dick Grayson in Nightwing #152 and expressed his anger over Batman’s death, claiming that if anyone was destined to kill the detective it was him. It stands to reason then that he would have a vested interest in following anybody who was seeking to disprove Bruce Wayne’s alleged demise.

Notes: Prague is actually in the Czech Republic and not Czechoslovakia as mentioned in this issue. Unless history on New Earth has diverted substantially from ours there has been no country named Czechoslovakia in Europe since 1992.

Questions: How intense will Tim’s rivalry with Damian get? Why is he so convinced Bruce still lives and what is his methodology in travelling Europe to find him? Does Ra’s Al Ghul also now suspect that not everything about Batman’s death in Final Crisis #6 was exactly how it seemed? What is the nature of the strange insectoid (?) creature stalking Prague that Tim seems destined to meet?

Batman #687

Batman’s "sons" and his father figure Alfred grieve for their loss as the surviving members of the Trinity come to Wayne Manor to pay their respects. The larger super-hero community is denied its chance to say goodbye as Dick decides no further attention must be drawn to Batman’s demise. And more Arkham escapees run riot as both Dr. Phosphorus and the Scarecrow plague Gotham...

Crossovers: Batman: Reborn

The Bigger Picture: Dr.Phosphorus was one of the villains to escape Arkham in Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1 when the Asylum was destroyed and was last seen in Batman: Battle for the Cowl: Man-Bat #1.

The origin (of sorts) and rationale behind the "new" penthouse Batcave, seen in last week’s Batman and Robin #1, is shown in this issue.

Continuity Corner: Nuclear-powered super-villain Dr. Phosphorus was created by Steve Englehart in Detective Comics #469 (May 1977). Fans of James Robinson’s Starman may remember his vendetta against Ted Knight, the original Starman, and the dire consequences that would eventually have for Ted. His attack on a subsidiary of Cadmus is hardly surprising given he was incarcerated by Cadmus back in Detective Comics #825 (Jan 2007).


Questions: How did Dr. Phosphorus survive his seeming death in Batman: Battle for the Cowl: Man-Bat #1? Has he abandoned his plans for the Langstrom family? Is Scarecrow still working for the Black Mask or just following his own insane agenda?

Booster Gold #21

Booster visits the Batcave in order to destroy the evidence Bruce Wayne possessed proving the true nature of his mission to guard the timestream. While there he encounters Dick Grayson, the new Batman. His explanations to Dick are cut short when the Black Beetle appears unexpectedly and announces his desire for a world without a Dark Knight. In a heartbeat the dark Beetle travels back in time and causes the death of Dick Grayson when he was still Robin...

The Bigger Picture: Rip Hunter’s chalkboard has another teaser that may, or may not, hint at future DCU storylines in the line "Superman 2965 is it possible?".

Booster meets the Dick Grayson version of Batman following the events of Batman: Battle for the Cowl.

The Black Beetle is a member of the Time Stealers and has been popping in and out of this book since Booster Gold #5. Blue Beetle #36 implied that Jaime Reyes’s former ally Hector could eventually become this villain. Both Hector and the Black Beetle blame Jaime for the death of a loved one and Hector has now also bonded with a Reach scarab. Whether this is pertinent or merely misdirection remains to be seen.

Continuity Corner: The Superman of 2965 first appeared in Superman #181 (Nov 1965) as a future counterpart to our Man of Steel in those heady Silver Age days. "Man of Tomorrow" Klar Ken T5477 worked for the Daily Interplanetary News and considered the interdimensional alien Muto as his archenemy. He made a handful of 1960s appearances including Action Comics #s 338-339 (June-July 1966) and even teamed up with a future Batman in World’s Finest #166 (May 1967) against the Muto-Joker team of the 30th Century.


Questions: What is Dick Grayson doing in the Wayne Manor Batcave when, by the time this story takes place, he has moved his base of operations to the Wayne Tower Batcave? What is the true origin of the Black Beetle? What has Black Beetle done in New Earth's past to cause Dick Grayson's premature death? 

Blue Beetle co-feature

Jaime Reyes, the current Blue Beetle, faces an army of giant, marauding robots known as THINKO! who first appeared in the late 1940s. His investigations into the mechanoids’ origins lead to an army of UNIMATE robots – a second generation of mechanical killers designed by the son of THINKO!’s creator.

Questions: Why is Jaime’s scarab becoming so aggressive? Who is behind the reactivated THINKO! robots and why?

Action Comics #878

Nightwing and Flamebird face up against the "Bonnie and Clyde"-style Kryptonian sleeper agents Az-Rel and Nadira while General Lane plots against the pair back at the anti-Krypton Project 7734. As the Kryptonians’ battle rages Lane’s lackey Codename: Assassin enters the fray with his own "army"...

Crossovers: World Without Superman

The Bigger Picture: Lois questions Thara Ak-Var/Flamebird about everything that has happened to Chris Kent/Nightwing since he disappeared into the Phantom Zone. Look to Action Comics Annual #12 later this month for the full answers.

Continuity Corner: Pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths Az-Rel was actually a female Phantom Zone criminal who first appeared in The Phantom Zone #1 (Jan 1982). For more on Nadira pre-COIE you should also check out that miniseries written by the much-missed Steve Gerber.

Questions: Is General Lane really all he seems? Just how many Kryptonian agents are there on Earth? What is the full story of Chris Kent’s recent exile in the Phantom Zone?

Rounding up... staying on the Batman theme Batman Confidential #30 is the conclusion to Andrew Kreisberg’s follow-up to his previous Joker arc in Batman Confidential #s 22-25.

Join us in a couple of days when we catch up with the cosmic side of the DCU in R.E.B.E.L.S. and Green Lantern Corps, witness the third chapter in Barry Allen’s Rebirth and there’s more Spy vs. Spy in Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape...

Related content

Related Headlines

Related Lowdowns

Related Reviews

Related Columns


  • BriGuy

    BriGuy Jun 14, 2009 at 11:12am

    Dr. Phosphorus also had a cameo in BftC: The Network #1 battling Wildcat, I believe. Whether this is before or after the Man-Bat one-shot, I don't know.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jun 14, 2009 at 11:47am

    Yeah - I'm finding some of this Bat-stuff difficult to place in a linear fashion. Last week's BATMAN AND ROBIN clearly takes place after this week's BATMAN for example. I think you're prob right though and THE NETWORK's Phosphorus appearance is placed after MAN-BAT. Good spot!

  • Tonya Crawford

    Tonya Crawford Jun 14, 2009 at 9:18pm

    Simple explanation for why Dick was at the Batcave could be that he merely forgot something and came back for it. Or else this story takes place just as Dick was finishing up mothballing the Batcave. After all, we see when Booster arrives that all of the Batmobiles have been covered in tarps And Booster comments that the place looks like a tomb.

  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Jun 16, 2009 at 3:49am

    hey, anyone want to share any thoughts on the Red Robin comic? I'm thinking about picking it up but I'm not sure if it's any good ...

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jun 16, 2009 at 6:16am

    I'm going to need a coupla issues to get into it I think Bart before I can say for sure. Characterisation of Tim as angry and on the edge is very interesting - and logical given Tim's lost three parents in a handful of years and been betrayed by his girlfriend too many times to count. Still, not convinced yet by his conviction Bruce is alive or why he would think that.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jun 16, 2009 at 6:16am

    Oh and I should add that Czechoslovakia mistake is *awful*. How did that get past both editorial and proofreaders...?

In order to post a comment you have to be logged in. Don't have a profile yet? Register now!

Latest headlines


Latest comments
Comics Discussion
Broken Frontier on Facebook