Everyone knows Batman is always thinking several steps in advance. In the new Dark Days: The Forge comic we see just how deep and wide Batman’s strategy planning goes.
The story opens with one of Batman’s black ops rigs in the ocean being torn apart by tremors and covered in lava. They were drilling the ocean floor to get data for Batman. They did find something is wrong with the Earth’s core. Aquaman shows up to help evacuate the rig. He confronts Batman about keeping the operation a secret. Batman tells him with what is locked under Atlantis does he really want to ask that question.
All the while a cloaked aircraft is observing. A masked figure in the aircraft reports to that Batman can look all he wants but won’t find what he is looking for. That figure identifies herself as Lady Blackhawk. The Blackhawks have been making a resurgence in the DC Universe lately as a covert black-ops team who are keeping tabs on Batman. They’ve even disguised themselves as members of the Bat family to interfere with his missions.
The Green Lanterns detect a strange frequency vibration on Earth and send Hal Jordan to investigate. He recognizes the source of the vibrations as the Batcave. He meets Duke Thomas (Gotham) in the Batcave and they delve deeper into the Batcave to find the vibration source. Hal notices his ring isn’t working as it should as they go deeper. You also notice some powerful relics in cases along the way. not only are there Court of the Owl masks, but you see Dr. Fates helmet, Aquaman’s trident, and Wonder Woman’s bracers. The biggest surprise is a containment device that has Plastic Man’s symbol on it.
A voice explains to Hal and Duke that Batman has been looking for Nth metal relics since the 80’s with his own black ops team (aka Batman and the Outsiders). The team was comprised of Metamorpho, Black Lighting, Katana, Halo and Geo-Force.
Batman also has something hidden under Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. He placed a relic there and had Superman swear not to look inside. He locked it with an impossible lock and destroyed the key. He had Mister Miracle open the lock. When Mister Miracle saw what was inside he told Bruce he should leave it alone. When Batman walks inside you see a large monolithic structure. Old DC Comics fans will recognize it as a cosmic tuning fork from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS and INFINITE CRISIS.
They also introduce the Immortal Men. They are monitoring Elaine Thomas (Mother of Duke Thomas). She was a victim of the Joker Venom from ENDGAME and is a medical facility. Apparently she was chosen to join the Immortal Men but refused. They are keeping an eye on her to ensure she doesn’t divulge any of their secrets in her compromised mental state.
Next the focus falls on Carter Hall (Hawkman). He has been studying Nth metal since the beginning of time. He has recently discovered it all hearkens back to four tribes. They’re represented by pictographs of animals: a wolf, a bear, a bird, and a bat.
The comic ends with Hal and Duke back at the Batcave. They discover the voice that has been explaining Batman’s investigation of Nth metal belongs to the Joker. The Joker is being held in a cell in the Batcave. He explains that just like him, they are all pieces in Batman’s puzzle.
Dark Days: The Forge has set up what could be a huge DC Universe altering event. Keep in mind all of this is happening concurrently with other Rebirth events. How all this finally comes together to explain everything will be interesting to see if done properly.