SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Young Justice #7 by Brian Michael Bendis, John Timms, Dan Hipp, David Lafuente, Gabe Eltaeb and Wes Abbott, on sale now.
The newly reformed Young Justice has escaped from Gemworld, and now find themselves bouncing around the multiverse. One of their more notable stops brings them to a familiar world in Brian Michael Bendis and John Timms' Young Justice #7, but there young heroes find a new not-so familiar team there, wearing the mask of one of that world's absent heroes.
That world is Earth-22, which is better known as the world of Mark Waid and Alex Ross' Kingdom Come. Waid and Ross' story saw the return of DC's current generation of heroes after a brutal new generation rose in their absence. Now, those heroes – Superman, Power Woman, Red Robin, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern – return this issue. While Batman is missing from that line-up, the newly- revealed Sons and Daughters of the Bat are apparently carrying on his mantle.
Who Are the Sons and Daughters of the Bat?
These seeming disciples of Batman suddenly arrive demanding that Superman "surrender his authority" and are dispatched just as quickly by the two teams of heroes. In Kingdom Come, Superman had taken on a proactive, almost totalitarian stance in response to the world's abundance of younger and more reckless superheroes. The Sons and Daughters of the Bat have apparently taken exception to Superman's self-professed role.
The group isn't able to do much about it, though. Armed only with some big guns and the means to fly, Batman's acolytes don't last long again the likes of Wonder Woman, Superboy and Power Woman. Their appearance, in fact, amounts to little more than comic relief, before Young Justice appeals to the world's heroes to help send them home.
Is the team actually affiliated with Batman, though? It's not made clear in the story, but in all likelihood the answer is no. Batman wasn't a direct ally of Superman throughout Kingdom Come, but he did infiltrate Lex Luthor's organization and thwart his plans. And he openly joined the other heroes' efforts at the series' conclusion. So Batman likely wouldn't have sanctioned such a group to oppose Superman – despite referencing "the sons and daughters of many of the Leaguers" in Kingdom Come #3.
And Where's Batman?
While Batman's apparent disciples make themselves known, it's not clear where the Dark Knight of Earth-22 is.The character was revealed to have eventually passed in the epiloge of 2008's Justice Society of America arc "One World Under Gog" by Geoff Johns, Ross and Dale Eaglesham. The storyline followed up on the events of Kingdom Come, and Bruce Wayne of that world was shown to have died 20 years after that crossover. It's possible that Batman therefore might be dead during this issue's events, but its unlikely, since it doesn't seem like two decades have passed for the world's other characters.
There is one troubling scene that might indicate an alteration to the world's history, though. Bart Allen uncovers a disturbing image of Earth-22's Superman, sinisterly standing over the unmoving body of Captain Marvel/Shazam. While Superman fought Captain Marvel in Kingdom Come, Billy Batson ultimately gave his life to stop Luthor's plans – he was not killed by Superman, as the image here appears to show.
The image might indicate that some continuity-altering event impacted the events of Kingdom Come as they're known. Young Justice might not even be on Earth-22, but an eerily similar world instead. They could even be in the Dark Multiverse, which could've taken Batman off the table much sooner than he was in Kingdom Come continuity.
Either way, the Sons and Daughters of Batman don't seem to have much of an impact on it. And even if they do, Young Justice won't be around to see it, as Doctor Fate has already transported them elsewhere.