WELCOME to the timeline for “The New 52,” which comprises the beginning of the NEW AGE of superhero comics for DC. Before delving into what the New 52 is exactly, let’s look at a little history. Following the Modern Age, a new era for superhero comics was ushered-in by both Marvel and DC right around 2011. In keeping with the linguistic tradition of properly naming superhero comic book epochs, I have dubbed this overarching part of history—since it follows the Golden, Silver (and Bronze), and Modern Ages—the NEW AGE. Others have called this nascent era of comicdom by many different monikers. For example, Douglas Wolk called it the “New Golden Age”; Paul Levitz called it the “Second Golden Age”; Andrew Kunka, Grant Morrison, and the Mindless Ones blog called it the “Prismatic Age”; Ken Quattro called it the “Botique Age”; and Charles Hatfield aptly called it the “Mega-Corporate Age.” Whichever of these fabulous poisons you choose is really up to you. Hell, you could even go invent your own! For brevity’s sake, I’m going with the “New Age.” However, the “New Age” is a blanket term that encapsulates anything post-Modern Age. For DC specifically, their line-wide 2011 reboot created what they called “The New 52″—52 ongoing titles taking place in a revamped primary DC Multiverse fit with a finite 52 alternate universes. Therefore, The New 52 Batman chronology highlights the history of Batman of the POST-FLASHPOINT / PRE-“SUPERMAN REBORN” EARTH-ZERO timeline. “Superman Reborn” is another major reboot that occurred in 2017, but we will address that later.
2011 brought about a major shift in the DC Universe/Multiverse. With the salient crossover event Flashpoint, the world of Batman was restructured yet again. This relaunch/reboot gave unto us a brand new history for Batman. The palimpsest that is the life and times of Batman’s curriculum vitae is etched by the comic book Ages of yesteryear. And as the pages underneath begin to fade and thin away, the skeletal framework that forms the current era becomes less and less defined. Continuity is always tricky, but I’m always up to the task.
The New 52 timeline utilizes a six-year-by-2012 model. Damian is actually younger than everyone says he is—he simply appears as a ten-year-old going on eleven in 2012 due to his rapid aging at the outset of his life after being born via artificial gestation bubble womb. Also, if the timeline were longer, Bruce would have had sex with Talia when she was like sixteen or seventeen, so there’s another reason for a six-year-by-2012 model. A shorter timeline allows for Batman to have had a shorter “urban myth period” as well, which makes more sense. There is also a Year Zero which precedes the main New 52 timeline, which details some of Bruce’s pre-Batman preparations and his first five months in costume. I’ve also included a Salad Days section that highlights everything Bruce does from high school graduation up until Year Zero.
- COLLIN COLSHER: A quick note about the construction of the New 52 timeline: Many stories from the Modern Age will be referenced in the New 52. However, the stories of the Modern Age were meant to take place solely in the Modern Age. The only things that I will place in the New 52 era will be both stories from the New 52 era and any references to past tales from previous epochs–but bear in mind, even those references will be notated simply as references, and not the actual complete issues from before.↩