In 1998, the "Batman" titles (and Gotham City itself) were rocked by a giant earthquake in the crossover, "Cataclysm." In the aftermath of the devastation, Batman left Gotham City in his Bruce Wayne identity to lobby the United States government to provide aid to Gotham to help it rebuild. Instead, the government decided to just cut Gotham City off from the rest of the country, period. They gave people a few weeks to get out and then blew up all tunnels and bridges out of Gotham City and left whoever was still in Gotham to fend for themselves.
After the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics retconned the histories of some major characters in an attempt at updating them for contemporary audiences. Frank Miller retold Batman's origin in the storyline "Year One" from Batman #404–407, which emphasizes a grittier tone in the character. Though the Earth-Two Batman is erased from history, many stories of Batman's silver-age/Earth-One career (along with an amount of golden-age ones) remain canonical in the post-Crisis universe, with his origins remaining the same in essence, despite alteration. For example, Gotham's police are mostly corrupt, setting up further need for Batman's existence. The guardian Phillip Wayne is removed leaving young Bruce to be raised by Alfred Pennyworth. Additionally, Batman is no longer a founding member of the Justice League of America, although he becomes leader for a short time of a new incarnation of the team launched in 1987. To help fill in the revised backstory for Batman following Crisis, DC launched a new Batman title called Legends of the Dark Knight in 1989 and has published various miniseries and one-shot stories since then that largely take place during the "Year One" period.
At the remains of the fallen Watchtower, Batman informs Superman and Wonder Woman that a new superhuman has entered Kahndaq. Assembling the Justice League with the help of Zatanna, Batman goes to Kahndaq and finds Superman fighting the new metahuman, Shazam. The Justice League of America also arrives at Kahndaq, causing animosity between the two groups. Doctor Light tries to stop the hostilities, but ends up absorbing Superman's solar energy and unintentionally attacks Wonder Woman. Overcome with rage, Superman vaporizes Doctor Light's head with his heat vision. This leads to the two Justice Leagues to begin fighting.
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On the shore of Bristol Bay, the dreaded pirate Edward "Blackbeard" Thatch has just sunk the ship of the vigilante known as the Black Pirate. Two men came out of the drink - a young man who won't speak, and a defiant black-haired fellow. Blackbeard rounds on the black-haired man, accuss him of being the Black Pirat, and demands that he take him to the fabled treasure of the Miagani, in the caves above Gotham Town. When the black-haired man says he is not the Black Pirate, Blackbeard pulls out the accouterments of the Black Pirate, which were also pulled off the ship. At the appeal of the young man, Blackbear,d and the black-haired man agrese to go to the caves.
Investigating the Talon, Batman discovers a mysterious room hidden at the Old Wayne Tower, which once served as the Owls' "nest". However, the building explodes with Batman inside. Escaping the explosion, Batman tracks the Talon down to a mysterious labyrinth that contains portraits of Gotham in the Wild West that also details Gotham's history. There, he is greeted by the Court of Owls.
One of Men of the tribe finds a necklace in the hand of Anthro's possession, which belonged to a woman of their family, which he vows will not leave their family's possession. The young Boy of the tribe takes the Man of Bats belt to prevent him from running off, because he thinks the Man of Bats is their savior. Suddenly the Deer people are attacked by The blood Mob! led by Vandal Savage, who kills everyone in the tribe except the boy who Bruce saves by getting himself captured instead. Both Bruce and the rocket ship referred to as 'The Sky Cart' is dragged back to the Blood Tribe encampment, where Chief Savage vows to eat Bruce alive in the morning in the belief that he is a member of the 'Sky People', based on him having arrived at the same time as the rocket ship. While tied down in the center of the encampment, next to the corpse of a giant bat. Bruce begins to remember fragments of a mantra - superstition and criminals, symbols used against the cowardly, surrender to an ideal. A dark and terrible bat, to fight injustice.
Later, Batman investigates the office of Thomas Elliot and discovers one of his patients was someone called Arthur Wynne who sought an operation for an inoperable brain tumor. Nightwing and Catwoman investigate a graveyard break-in and are attacked by the Scarecrow. Nightwing is overpowered by the fear toxin, but Catwoman defeats Scarecrow and gets Nightwing to safety. However, she is captured by Hush after Nightwing escapes.
In an interview with IGN, Morrison detailed that having Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin represented a "reverse" of the normal dynamic between Batman and Robin, with, "a more light-hearted and spontaneous Batman and a scowling, badass Robin". Morrison explained his intentions for the new characterization of Batman: "Dick Grayson is kind of this consummate superhero. The guy has been Batman's partner since he was a kid, he's led the Teen Titans, and he's trained with everybody in the DC Universe. So he's a very different kind of Batman. He's a lot easier; He's a lot looser and more relaxed."
Robin, Batman's vigilante partner, has been a widely recognized supporting character for many years. Bill Finger stated that he wanted to include Robin because "Batman didn't have anyone to talk to, and it got a little tiresome always having him thinking." The first Robin, Dick Grayson, was introduced in 1940. In the 1970s he finally grew up, went off to college and became the hero Nightwing. A second Robin, Jason Todd, appeared in the 1980s. In the stories he was eventually badly beaten and then killed in an explosion set by the Joker, but was later revived. He used the Joker's old persona, the Red Hood, and became an antihero vigilante with no qualms about using firearms or deadly force. Carrie Kelley, the first female Robin to appear in Batman stories, was the final Robin in the continuity of Frank Miller's graphic novels The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again, fighting alongside an aging Batman in stories set out of the mainstream continuity.
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Expert Inquisitor: Batman is adept in the use of interrogation techniques, employing anything from law enforcement methods to outright torture. Several techniques have been seen, include hanging a person over the edge of a building by one leg or chaining a person upside down and beating them. He usually just plain uses his frightening appearance to get answers. "Fear is an excellent motivator" he once said."
Batman has trained extensively in various martial arts, mastering many different types, making him one of the best hand-to-hand fighters in the DC Universe. Superman describes Batman as "the most dangerous man on Earth", able to defeat an entire team of superpowered extraterrestrials by himself in order to rescue his imprisoned teammates in Grant Morrison's first storyline in JLA.
While most of Batman's romantic relationships tend to be short in duration, Catwoman has been his most enduring romance throughout the years. The attraction between Batman and Catwoman, whose real name is Selina Kyle, is present in nearly every version and medium in which the characters appear. Although Catwoman is typically portrayed as a villain, Batman and Catwoman have worked together in achieving common goals and are usually depicted as having a romantic connection.
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