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Cataclysm 001

Gotham crumbles down

Gotham City is overdue for an earthquake, and seismologist Jolene Relazzo detects that a huge one is coming. The city is unexpectedly hit with a massive earthquake, and nobody is prepared. Wayne Manor co

Quote1 It is a foe Batman can see and hear... but cannot touch. It will strike only once... yet will his change his life forever. Already weakened by a debilitating plague, Gotham City is struck by a devastating force of nature -- an Earthquake that registers over 7.5 on the Richter scale. In a single instant... the Batcave and Wayne Manor are left in ruins... thousands are dead... and the Batman is among the missing. Quote2

Cataclysm is a Batman crossover storyline that ran through every Batman Family series in 1998. It was written by Chuck Dixon, Alan Grant, Doug Moench, Dennis O'Neil, Devin Grayson, Chris Renaud, Rick Burchett, Klaus Janson, and Kelley Puckett, with illustrations by Jim Aparo, Flint Henry, Mark Buckingham, Scott McDaniel, Janson, Roger Robinson, Graham Nolan, Jim Balent, Staz Johnson, Marcos Martin, Renaud, Alex Maleev, Burchett, Eduardo Barreto, and Dave Taylor. The story deals with an earthquake hitting Gotham City reaching 7.6 on the Richter scale. This is one of several storylines including Contagion and Legacy that leads into the No Man's Land event.


Cataclysm 001

Gotham crumbles down

Gotham City is overdue for an earthquake, and seismologist Jolene Relazzo detects that a huge one is coming.[1] The city is unexpectedly hit with a massive earthquake, and nobody is prepared. Wayne Manor collapses with Alfred inside. Batman is stuck in the Batcave which crumbles down on top of him, leaving him trapped underground. Oracle survives because all Wayne-owned buildings are fortified to withstand earthquakes. Harvey Bullock and Anarky put aside their differences to save lives.[2] Nightwing hears about the earthquake in Bludhaven, and dashes across the river to help survivors.[3] The city self-destructs as skyscrapers collapse and gas mains rupture, setting the wreckage on fire. Barbara Gordon arrives at GCPD Headquarters and begins directing relief efforts from the wreckage. Bullock drags Jim Gordon out of the debris. Batman rescues Alfred, and is forced to use scuba gear to swim into Gotham.[4] Azrael is handing Bane over to Hardback Bock and Sarah Essen when the earthquake hits. Bane escapes custody in the chaos, but Azrael tracks him down and drags him back.[5] Huntress leads people out of the subway, and lets a small-time gangster die. Renee Montoya is caught on her day off, and handles looters in midtown. Alfred and Harold begin digging their way out of the cave using construction equipment. Batman swims his way through miles of underground currents until he resurfaces in Gotham Harbor. He's horrified to see his city broken and burning.[6]

Catwoman is hit by the quake while she's robbing a department store. Despite her selfish inclinations, she stays behind to help others, and gets everyone on her floor out safely.[7] Robin returns from Krasna-Volny on his tour of Europe, and sees Gotham in flames as his plane is rerouted to Bludhaven.[8] There's a breakout at Blackgate when the cells are destroyed, and KGBeast leads the inmates in a riot. They begin slaughtering the guards, but Batman stops them with the help of a death row inmate named Jared Manx.[9]

Batman tears people out of the wreckage, and convinces the Penguin's thugs to help him. Tim steals a motorcycle to make into Gotham. Jolene Relazzo is kidnapped by a villain named Quakemaster. Quakemaster goes on TV claiming responsibility for the disaster, and holds Gotham hostage for one hundred million dollars.[10] Wayne Enterprises begins hiring thugs as mercenaries to rescue trapped civilians. Ra's al Ghul observes that Gotham has fallen, and enjoys its demise. Robin begins helping the relief efforts, while trying to make it home. Two-Face recovers, and Penguin digs out survivors he can make useful. Leslie Thompkins takes care of orphaned children.[11] Nightwing reunites with Oracle, and Robin meets Barbara Gordon for the first time. Nightwing and Robin drive up to Wayne Manor, where Tim finds his father safe while Dick rescues Alfred and Harold. Batman uses the false identity of "Detective Hawke" to help GCPD relief efforts during daylight hours.[12]

Batman receives the Quakemaster's tape, and begins investigating his threat. He investigates Relazzo's disappearance, and captures the henchmen who kidnapped her. Nightwing and Robin wonder how Batman will keep his secret with the Batcave now exposed. Batman realizes that Quakemaster is using Relazzo to sound knowledgeable, but had no involvement with the disaster.[13] Spoiler gets hit by the earthquake while she's at the mall, and teams up with Huntress. They take down a team of escaped inmates led by her father Cluemaster including Baffler, Dragoncat, Ernie Chubb, Firefly, Monsoon and Ratcatcher.[14] Commissioner Gordon and Mayor Grange are held hostage by Quakemaster's henchmen, although they insist there's no way for them to get that much money. Huntress gets angry that Batman won't let her kill, and swears that she's done with the Batman Family. Robin converges on Quakemaster's hideout, and finds he's also captured Hardback Bock.[15]

Wayne Manor Cataclysm

Gotham, Wayne Manor and the batcave are destroyed

Catwoman continues her anti-looter patrols, and stumbles across Poison Ivy. Ivy tries to use the chaos and overrun Gotham with plants, but Catwoman stops her.[16] The inmates at Arkham Asylum are released from their cells, although they're confined to the building. They take advantage of this playtime to torture and murder the security guards. Joker leads a group including Charaxes, Killer Croc, Riddler, Scarecrow, Vox and Samantha Voz.[17]

Batman continues saving lives with the help of a small dog. Nightwing rescues Gordon and Grange from the thugs sent to execute them. Robin saves Bock, and reveals that "Quakemaster" was the Ventriloquist all along. Bock shoots Scarface in the head when Ventriloquist tries to escape. In the aftermath, Gotham tries to get back on its feet. The skyline is devastated, and there's an estimated bodycount of over 100,000. Batman looks over the city with Robin and Nightwing, then remarks that at least the danger is over for now.[18]





  • All the issue's covers are tagged in the left side with the Cataclysm title and a piece of art that shows how a structure starts crumbling and collapsing as a result of an earthquake. The progression is developed throughout the storyline covers and the art was done by Dave Taylor.
  • All issues of the Aftershock storyline were later collected in Batman: Road to No Man's Land, Volume 1 (2015).


  • This storyline establishes that all Wayne Enterprises buildings are fortified to withstand earthquakes up to 8.5 on the Richter scale. Lucius Fox mentions that many board members argued against the cost, and they were all fired.[4] The earthquake that hits Gotham is estimated at a 7.6 on the Richter scale.[3]
  • Millicent Mayne is mentioned to have been present for the quake, as it stopped Gracchus from shooting her. The charity drives she led in its wake gave her the nickname The Face of Gotham.[19]

Recommended Reading

Links and References

Batman Blind Justice TP
Batman Family Storyline
DC Rebirth Logo

This event or storyline is specifically related to Batman, or to members of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Batman Storylines category.

Batman Shadow of the Bat Vol 1 73
Batman: Cataclysm Crossover
DC Rebirth Logo

This issue is a part of the Cataclysm crossover that swept through all Batman Family Titles during 1998. Gotham City was almost completely destroyed by a massive earthquake. This story led into the events that would eventually create No Man's Land.