This section of the Real Batman Chronology Project highlights each time New 52 Batman has time-traveled to the past (the era before his becoming the Dark Knight and, often, before he was even born).
–38,000 BCE, site of future Gotham City
Flashback from Robin Rises: Omega #1–originally told in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1-2. From 2011, Bruce Wayne has been sent to the year 38,000 BCE thanks to Darkseid’s Omega Sanction. There, after some time spent recovering in a cave, Bruce gets involved in a tribal war. Bruce dons the skin of a giant bat as a makeshift costume—this giant bat is the corpse of the defeated Hyper-Adapter in giant bat form, having retreated backward through time to 38,000 BCE from the year 2011. Bruce’s assistance and appearance in the scary bat costume is enough to influence pre-Gotham’s dominant tribe to change their name to Miagani, meaning “Bat People.” Eventually, a solar eclipse, in accordance with the rules of the Omega Sanction, sends Bruce hurtling thousands of years into the future where he winds up in the Puritanical Gotham of 1640.
Reference in Robin Rises: Omega #1 and the questionably canon 666 Future dream sequence in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #5—originally a flashback from Batman #700. This item’s inclusion here must be a slightly altered version of the original Batman #700 flashback in order for it to better fit into the New 52 chronology. Batman and Robin are summoned by Professor Carter Nichols to try out his time machine in 2009. However, before Batman and Robin can properly use the device, Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, and Hatman intervene, forcing the Dynamic Duo to undergo the painful temporary time-leap to Ancient Egypt. In Ancient Egypt, Batman and Robin fight winged Falcon-men outside of the Pyramids of Giza before returning to 2009 to bust the baddies.
–1640 CE, Gotham City
Flashback from Robin Rises: Omega #1—originally told in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1-2. 2011 era Bruce Wayne has just rode a solar eclipse from 38,000 BCE to 1640. Naturally, the Hyper-Adapter has followed him—(this is the Hyper-Adapter which Darkseid attached to Bruce as a doomsday device when sending him back into time AS OPPOSED TO the deceased Hyper-Adapter that retreats backward through time in giant bat form after being defeated). In 1640, Bruce, still amnesiac thanks to the effect of Darkseid’s Omega Sanction, fights the Hyper-Adapter and then assimilates into society by taking the name “Mordecai.” Bruce, as “Mordecai,” lives in Puritanical Gotham for over two months, having various interactions with Wayne ancestors and other townsfolk. He records everything in a detailed journal. Eventually, Bruce rides a solar eclipse that hurtles both he and the deadly Hyper-Adapter roughly 75 years into the future to 1718.
–1718 CE, Gotham City
Flashback from Robin Rises: Omega #1—originally told in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3. 2011 era Bruce Wayne, as per the rules of the Omega Sanction, travels via solar eclipse, from 1640 to 1718. Bruce, with his memory of the 1640s fading fast (luckily he has with him a detailed journal which he kept during his time as “Mordecai”), washes up on the shores of Gotham Bay where he is mistaken for a famed pirate. Thus, a pirate adventure ensues. (Vandal Savage featured heavily in the rest of the Modern Age version of The Return of Bruce Wayne, but it is most likely that he doesn’t in the New 52 version.) From 1718, another solar eclipse Omega-leaps Bruce to the late 19th century.
–1880s CE, Gotham City
Flashback from Robin Rises: Omega #1—originally told in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4. Having just arrived in the 1880s from 1718, 2011 era Bruce Wayne quickly settles-in and becomes a masked cowboy vigilante on horseback, starting an overnight full-scale war-on-crime against various outlaws. (While All Star Western #22-24 makes reference to Batman’s time jaunt, it implies that Batman never met Jonah Hex before, even though in the Modern Age he did meet him during the 1880s portion of the Omega trip. Like Vandal Savage, who was also featured in the Modern Age version of The Return of Bruce Wayne, Hex cannot have been in the New 52 version.)
–1990 CE, Gotham City
Flashback from Robin Rises: Omega #1—originally told in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5. Another solar eclipse sends cowboy Bruce Wayne (a displaced 2011 era Bruce) from the 1880s to roughly late 1990, the time period shortly after the murders of his parents. In 1990, an amnesiac Bruce gets involved in some film noir-esque intrigue involving his family and Simon Hurt. A fedora-wearing Bruce reads his Mordecai-diary and realizes that it is written in his own handwriting, which brings back some of his lost memories. The Black Glove, including Hurt, John Mayhew, and Carter Nichols, assemble to perform an Occult ritual that will summon the powerful demon Barbatos using black magick and an early Nichols time-portal prototype. They also need a sacrificial lamb, so they choose Bruce, who they think is just some amnesiac bum. However, Nichols turns his back on the Black Glove and refuses to open the time-portal. In the chaos, Bruce saves his own life by activating the machine and teleporting into the distant future. Hurt doesn’t kill Nichols for his disobedience, but instead dooms him to a life of obscurity and failure, which is why Nichols, despite being one of the smartest scientists in the entire DCU, goes largely unheralded and largely unseen. Bruce emerges at the furthest point Nichols’ time machine can take him: Vanishing Point, a mere hour before the total destruction of the universe and the literal “End of Time.”
- COLLIN COLSHER: Originally, Vandal Savage was a big part of this tribal war, but there is no indicator that he was in the New 52, and, in fact, it is more likely that he wasn’t. Further proof that Vandal Savage was not involved can be taken from Action Comics Vol. 2 #50, which tells us that Vandal Savage received his immortality from a comet around 38,000 BCE. In the Modern Age, Vandal Savage received his immortality from a defeated backward-time traveling Barbatos bat-god.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: In the Modern Age, Batman and Robin had a more intimate relationship with Professor Carter Nichols and went on a few time traveling adventures with him. However, in the New 52, it would appear that the Dynamic Duo only goes on this one Nichols trip here and now.↩