–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Batman Vol. 2 #0. Early January. Batman quietly quells a sticky situation within the walls of the GCPD HQ. Batman’s actions are witnessed firsthand by both Commissioner James Gordon and his daughter Barbara Gordon. A sloppy editorial note lists this event as happening “five years ago,” which technically is a continuity error, but is deliberately used to place this event in the same year as the JL debut.
–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Vol. 2 #19. Officer Henry Wallace of the GCPD pursues a criminal into a factory and runs into Batman, who has already captured the bad guy. Wallace shoots at Batman. This flashback is said to take place “five years earlier” (presumably before the in-story date/publishing date of 2013) near “the time when [Batman] first showed up in Gotham.”
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #951. Bruce becomes a patron of the Gotham Ballet, purchasing a box at the Gotham Repertory Theater. We won’t see him visit the ballet on our timeline, but he will go there every once and a while and keep up to date about the performances.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Eternal #12 and Batman Vol. 2 #44. A huge gang war erupts between Carmine Falcone and Penguin. Penguin begins making deals with smaller local gangs, specifically to snub the Falcone Family and their associates from the Maroni Family (which includes patriarch Sal Maroni). The eccentric Penguin gives exotic birds to each gang he works with and terminates his affiliation with them should they allow the bird to die. Penguin also begins using a small fleet of blimps as a part of his operation. Despite this bizarre way of wheeling and dealing, many gangs begin to side with the fowl-themed villain. To make matters even messier, several political advocacy groups begin taking bribes from all the different warring mobs, which puts corrupt city officials in Gotham office. When things really heat up, Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent page Batman using his secret phone number. Atop the Beacon Tower, Batman, Gordon, and Dent plan, much like they did with the McKillen Mob, on how to bring down both the Falcone Mob and Penguin’s network.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Eternal #11. (Batman Eternal #51 places this item prior to Joker’s upcoming blimp attack.) Along with Rick Pimento and London Leganza, Bruce is a celebrity guest on the TV quiz show Quiz Bowl, hosted by Arthur Brown. During the show, Brown loses his cool and snaps at Leganza when she fails to answer any of the questions correctly. Shortly thereafter, Brown debuts as The Cluemaster, running circles around police. Batman, however, isn’t so easily fooled, and takes down Cluemaster. The villain, despite being defeated, escapes. Cluemaster will face Batman a few more times over the course of the next few months only to be defeated each time. He will, however, escape each time with his secret ID intact. (These fights will exist but remain invisible on our timeline below—except for the “Sprang Bridge acrostic case” from Grayson: Futures End #1.) As referenced in Grayson #13, Luka Netz (aka Kathy Kane) secretly spies on Batman during the “Clumaster’s Campaign.”
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 2 #15. An escaped Joker tries to gas the entire city using a blimp. Batman stops him, but Joker goes missing. Batman then returns to the Batcave via Batboat. A few hours later, Bruce discovers a playing card floating in the water near where the Batboat is parked. Bruce ponders whether or not Joker has gained entry to the cave (and therefore found out his secret identity), but dismisses the idea as preposterous. Still a bit shaken, Bruce seals-off the waterway entrances to the Batcave and beefs up security. (A reference in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #1 mentions that Batman adds a plethora of high-tech Batcave defenses/camouflages, including a series of hologram displays that mask back-roads leading into the cave. This is likely done here and now, in addition to the other beefings-up of security, such as the ones referenced in Batman Vol. 2 Annual #4—adding motion sensors, installing a falling trick-chandelier, and building over one hundred underground security tunnels, the latter of which will be under construction for the next few years.) Bruce also makes an enlarged replica of the mysterious playing card and hangs it in the Batcave.
–NOTE: In the second feature to Batman Vol. 2 #0. Mid January. This event, which occurs “five years ago” (aka five years before the 2011 publication of Batman Vol. 2 #1), tells a short yarn that takes place now. While this tale doesn’t feature Batman, it highlights several other key characters. The narrative is as follows: It’s been about two weeks since Babs saw Batman in action at the GCPD HQ. And Babs still doesn’t quite accept Batman’s vigilantism as a viable method of justice. Not yet anyway. Gordon chats with his daughter atop the GCPD HQ about how some people still think Batman is a myth. Gordon then unveils the Bat Signal (also sometimes spelled “Bat-Signal” or “Batsignal”). Across town, a young genius named Tim outwits his corrupt school headmaster, a young delinquent Jason Todd violently beats up a co-conspirator in a robbery after things turn ugly, and a teenage Dick Grayson nabs a purse snatcher while promoting his upcoming family trapeze act at Haly’s Circus (set to occur in a few days’ time). All three of these young men (and Babs too) are awestruck as a giant Bat-Symbol fills the Gotham sky for the first time.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 3 #0. Mid to late January—a few days after our previous note. Bruce is on-hand at Haly’s Circus when the Flying Graysons are murdered by Tony Zucco, leaving their teenage son Dick Grayson orphaned. (Nightwing #0 tells us that Zucco is one of Carmine Falcone’s top men, but Secret Origins Vol. 3 #8 tells us Zucco is an enforcer for mobster Sal Maroni of the notorious Maroni Family. Thus, Maroni must be working for Falcone, meaning also that the entire Maroni clan is allied with the Falcones or they are subservient to them—likely the latter.) Bruce then chats with Commissioner Gordon and offers to house Dick at Wayne Care Center, a home for wayward boys. Note that Gordon is incorrectly referred to as “Lieutenant” by writers Tom DeFalco and Kyle Higgins. (Bruce and Gordon are also shown interacting with Dick in a single panel from Secret Origins Vol. 3 #1.) After several days pass, Bruce and Alfred check up on Dick at the Wayne Care Center. There, as seen in a single page from Secret Origins Vol. 3 #1, Bruce chats with Dick, who says that all he wants is revenge. That night, Dick begins sneaking out in search of Zucco, a practice he does for the next handful of nights. A week after his parents’ deaths Dick witnesses Batman beating the stuffing out of some lowlife hoods and helps him out. (A reference in Grayson #15 adds a bit onto the end of this first meeting between Batman and Dick, including a sequence where Batman asks Dick about “guts and glory” and Dick makes him smile.) Bruce and Alfred then privately talk about the boy’s potential. After this episode, Batman shadows Dick and helps him kick ass for a two weeks straight. Empathizing with Dick’s loss and seeing promise in the boy, Batman takes Dick into the Batcave.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 3 #1. Late January. Having just taken Dick into the Batcave for the first time, Batman unmasks and tells Dick that he will help him get revenge against Zucco.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #12—originally told in Batman: Dark Victory. Late January. Batman tells Dick that they will go after Zucco, but he can’t go out untrained.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 3 #0 and Secret Origins Vol. 3 #1. Late January. Dick is given a “part-time job” at the Wayne Manor and begins a combat and detective training session that will last six months. There are multiple flashbacks from and references in Nightwing Vol. 3 detailing Dick Grayson/Robin’s origin. An additional reference in the second feature to Batman Vol. 2 #0 also details this Dick Grayson/Robin origin story. Dick is never adopted by Bruce, but is made his legal ward instead (as referenced in Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #13). Like it or not, in New 52 continuity, being Robin is a part of a crime-fighting “internship.” Dick will be Robin for about fourteen months (including his training time) before stopping to become Nightwing, followed by Jason Todd and Tim Drake. Some of Dick’s first training exercises with Bruce, as shown in Secret Origins Vol. 3 #1, are hand-to-hand combat, acrobatics, and blindfolded obstacle course running.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Eternal #3. Batman, likely trying to ease and comfort his young new sidekick during this intense time in his life, keeps a stash of familiar foods—including circus peanuts—for Dick in the Batcave. This snack stash will be restocked (probably by Alfred) until at least through Tim Drake’s tenure as (Red) Robin.
–REFERENCE: Early February. In Batman Vol. 2 #1, Detective Comics #944, Detective Comics #946, and Superman Vol. 4 #11. Last time Batman encountered Joker, it was during the latter’s blimp attack. Now, Batman takes down Joker in a plot that involves a pair of giant dice and Joker’s special laughing gas known as Joker Venom. During the fight, joke store owner Virgil Myers and his wife both get gassed as well. Myers’ wife dies while Myers himself, due to a bizarre allergic reaction, winds up mute but with the metahuman ability to make others temporarily speechless. (Myers will return in eight years as the super-villain known as The Mute.) As Batman defeats and apprehends Joker, he takes a sample of his DNA for study. After the case wraps, Batman keeps the giant dice as trophies. (The oversized dice can first be seen in the Batcave in Batman Vol. 2 #1. Like the T rex, the dice are a staple of the Batcave and have been featured in every comic book epoch since the Golden Age.) Joker then goes to Arkham Asylum. (Arkham Asylum is a prison for the criminally insane, created by the same Lovecraftian Arkham Family that had their original Arkham Home in Innsmouth, Massachusetts. Coincidentally, a young Bruce Wayne and young Harvey Dent first met at the original Arkham Home in Innsmouth when they were just boys.) Note that the next time we see Joker will be when Bruce visits him at Arkham. Also worth noting: In addition to this battle, Batman will be drugged with hallucinatory Joker Venom during several more upcoming fights with Joker. But bear in mind, we simply have to imagine the other Joker-induced hallucinatory occurrences on this chronology from this point forward, or possibly attach them to the other listed Joker cases on the timeline moving ahead. We know these hallucinatory-inducing drug-strikes occur thanks to a reference in the “Leviathan web display” in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #3, which shows Simon Hurt. If Hurt is part of New 52 canon, then anything importantly linked to his story, including Joker gassing Batman a few times, must also be canon.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 2 #17. Early February. Bruce visits Arkham Asylum under the auspices of a Wayne Enterprises business checkup (the company is investing in a new wing). Bruce sneaks off, visits with Joker, and shows the playing card he left in the Batcave following his blimp attack from earlier in the month. Joker looks at Bruce, but makes no response or recognition. Even though the connection between Bruce and Batman has to be quite evident, Joker’s twisted mind works in mysterious ways. For the Joker, it isn’t about knowing Batman’s secret ID. To quote from Bruce from Batman Vol. 2 #17, “[Joker] didn’t care who I was beneath the mask, and never would. [I] knew that he was incapable of even broaching the subject of Bruce Wayne. It would ruin his fun.” This Joker altercation, according to Bruce Wayne, occurs “right after taking in Dick,” hence its placement here.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Eternal #18. Batman encounters a baddie that takes a cyanide pill to commit suicide upon being captured. From this point forward, Batman will keep a syringe of antidote (sodium thiosulfate, sodium nitrate, and amyl nitrate) in his utility belt just in case it should happen again.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Annual Vol. 2 #1 and All-Star Batman #6. Bruce finds out about Victor Fries’ dementia in regard to his frozen test subject Nora Fields. Dr. Fries not only believes that Nora is his loving and devoted wife, but also has detailed false fantasies about a shared life together, one that never actually happened. When Bruce gets word of this, he terminates the cryo-project immediately. Of course, Fries will continue his work in secret for the next couple months.
–REFERENCE: In Batgirl Vol. 4 #45. Bruce introduces his new ward Dick to Lucius Fox at Wayne Enterprises. A playful Dick jumps around and trapeze-hangs from ceiling lamps. Unseen on our timeline, Bruce will often bring Dick around to Wayne Enterprises this year.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #16. Dick is shocked to witness the stuffy Bruce eat a burger with a knife and fork. All of the future Robins will have a similar experience and have the same chuckling reaction, thinking Bruce the ultimate product of being raised by a prim-and-proper butler. (These mealtime interactions will have to be imagined on our timeline ahead.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Eternal #1. Batman begins using customized encrypted Bat-flash drives to store secret case information.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #12—originally told in the “Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul.” This reference, thanks to writers Tim Seeley an Tom King having a bit too much fun playing continuity games, requires a serious amount of alteration from its original source material. Since Dick Grayson is involved—Batman rescues him from Ra’s Al Ghul and delivers his famous Denny O’Neil-penned “I’m tired of talking!” line—we know this must occur after Dick has become Robin. However, Dick is not in college, nor is even Robin yet, nor does this occurrence signal Batman’s first meeting with Ra’s Al Ghul as it did in previous publication ages. For the purposes of the New 52, here is what goes down. Ra’s Al Ghul learns of Bruce’s new ward and kidnaps him, prompting Batman to go through a scavenger hunt-esque series of varied ordeals in order to rescue him. This organized hunt has only been set up by Ra’s Al Ghul as a test to make sure the Dark Knight is truly worthy of his daughter Talia. A peeved Batman rescues Dick and they return home.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #1. Batman obtains a giant question mark as a collector’s item after another altercation with an escaped Riddler. The question mark can first be seen in the Batcave in Batman Vol. 2 #1.
–REFERENCE: In Batgirl Vol. 4 #0. Batman has a noteworthy public “eyewitness” sighting that, although uncorroborated, takes place in the Cherry Hill section of Gotham. Since Batman has been spotted many times prior to this, we must assume that this “eyewitness sighting” means something more significant—maybe a major sighting by a large number of people or a sighting that lasts up-close for a continuous period of time.
–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Vol. 2 #23.1 aka Poison Ivy #1. Genius botanist Pamela Isley has been working as an intern/lab assistant at the Wayne Enterprises R&D Center (housed in the former Kane Pharmaceuticals Building) for a few months. Pam meets with Bruce Wayne and pitches use of a chemical that she has invented. The chemical, in effect, uses pheromones to essentially brainwash people. Pam tells Bruce that it could be used for advertising or to influence targets in the government, private tech sector, or military. Bruce is so put off by the idea that he immediately fires Pam. While being forcibly ejected from her lab, Pam gets sprayed with her chemical compound, which will soon give her amazing plant powers, deadly skin, and sexually alluring pheromones that are nearly impossible to be denied. (This entire sequence is mirrored exactly in Secret Origins Vol. 3 #10.)
–REFERENCE: In Batgirl Vol. 4 #0. Batman has another noteworthy public “eyewitness” sighting that, although unconfirmed, takes place during a flood. Again, since Batman has been spotted many times prior to this, we must assume that this “eyewitness sighting” means something more significant—maybe a major sighting by a large number of people or a sighting that lasts up-close for a continuous period of time.
–REFERENCE: In Batgirl Vol. 4 #0. Batman has another noteworthy public “eyewitness” sighting that, although unconfirmed, takes place in Crime Alley. Remember, since Batman has been spotted many times prior to this, we have to assume that this “eyewitness sighting” means something more significant—maybe a major sighting by a large number of people or a sighting that lasts up close for a continuous period of time.
–FLASHBACK: From Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine’s Day Special #1. February 14. Valentine’s Day. Batman meets the leather-clad cat-burglar known as Catwoman (Selina Kyle) and prevents her from robbing the Sunnyside Projects. Batman, seeing that Catwoman is beautiful, skilled, decently-trained, and smart, decides to cut her some slack and lets her walk, encouraging her to use her abilities for the side of good. While Catwoman remains a definitive villain, she does decide to tiptoe the line between good and evil. The Dark Knight figures out Catwoman’s secret identity pretty much right away, but Catwoman does not learn who Batman is (as referenced in Catwoman Vol. 4 #1). Note that in this Young Romance origin flashback, Catwoman reacts to Batman as if she has never encountered him before. This slightly contradicts an origin flashback from Batman Vol. 3 #15, in which a thieving pre-Cat costume Selina gets busted by the Caped Crusader. Of course, it is possible that, here in Young Romance, Selina is playing dumb since it is the first time she is in-costume while meeting him. For that sake of not violating continuity, I’m going with that answer—even if it is a bit of a stretch.
Bruce wears an army vet disguise and goes slumming in the worst neighborhoods of Gotham, fighting ruffians and watching bullies beat up a poor kid named Zack. Clark Kent (aka Superman), on assignment for the Daily Star, sees right through the disguise and immediately recognizes him as the famous playboy Bruce Wayne. Clark tells Bruce that three of his Wayne Enterprises employees have been murdered in Metropolis, to which Bruce tells him to buzz off. Bruce has already relocated the rest of his Metropolis team to safety, but one man, Ralph Mangubat, holds out. A day later, Batman travels to Metropolis to check up on him. At the Mangubat’s home, a mind-possessed Catwoman attacks. Mangubat activates stolen experimental WayneTech cyborgs to act in his defense. Batman struggles against Catwoman and the cyborgs until Superman (in his jeans-outfit) shows up! Batman and Superman have their first fight ever! During the conflict, the force that controls Catwoman leaps into Superman and takes over his body. In an instant, Superman is teleported to Smallville on Earth-2 where he comes face-to-face with the Earth-2 Batman (Bruce Wayne)! Startled, Superman winds up pounding on Batman-2 until he is stopped and calmed by the older and wiser Earth-2 Superman (Kal El) and Superman-2’s parents, Earth-2 Jonathan Kent and Earth-2 Martha Kent. (On DC’s primary Earth, Superman’s folks are dead). Likewise, Batman finds himself teleported to Gotham on Earth-2 and meets Earth-2 Catwoman (Selina Kyle). When Earth-2 Batman is teleported to Gotham, both Batmen realize they are being manipulated by a mysterious force. Batman is surprised to learn that his counterpart is married to Catwoman and also that his counterpart has known Earth-2 Superman since they were little kids. After awkward dinner, Earth-2 Batman gives Batman a tour of the alternate Gotham, which is like a utopia compared to his version. Crime is low, Arkham is a cryo-prison/amusement park, and Ralph Mangubat’s robots are not evil but instead have helped ease the strain on the environment by placing solar panels all over the Eastern Seaboard. In Metropolis, Earth-2 Superman introduces Superman to his wife Earth-2 Lois Lane. Earth-2 Wonder Woman shows up and stabs Lois-2 with a spear, revealing that the mystery force behind the universe-hopping teleportations—disguised Apokoliptian trickster goddess Kaiyo—is inhabiting Lois-2’s body. Wonder Woman-2 wraps up Kaiyo while Superman-2 uses his heat vision to heal Lois-2. The heroes then witness a vision of Kaiyo’s master: Darkseid! Superman, Superman-2, and Wonder Woman-2 then go to talk to Batman-2 to figure out what’s going on. In Smallville, Batman and Batman-2 shoot Superman-2 with non-lethal low-dosage Kryptonite missiles, but Superman trashes the Batplane. The Batmen, by blasting Superman-2, ironically, were trying to prevent Superman-2 from going near a US military-created Kryptonite-amplifier (powered by a giant crystal called the Chaos Shard and operated by Earth 2’s Slade Wilson). Superman then skirmishes with Batman. Eventually, the older heroes decide to destroy the Chaos Shard, but the young heroes disagree. The foursome fights amongst themselves and then the young heroes both touch the Shard, causing Earth 1 and Earth 2 to briefly merge and also causing warped versions of their deepest desires to come true for a moment. For young Clark, his parents are alive again. For young Bruce, he turns into a bat monster. After things settle, the older heroes destroy the Shard. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Lois haul-in a captured Kaiyo, who explains that this was all a test constructed by Darkseid to see which Earth’s heroes were more powerful. Kaiyo says that the heroes of the DCU’s primary Earth are the winners because they ruthlessly wanted the power of the Shard, which he brought to Earth 2. Kaiyo then sends everybody hurtling back to their correct universes, but erases all memory of what has occurred from everyone involved. Batman winds up back in the Batcave, his last memory having been the battle at Mangubat’s home that happened the early morning prior. The next day, Bruce checks up on the bullied Zack and teaches him to stand up for himself with fisticuffs. Clark also shows up to check up on Zack and to chat with Bruce. They watch as Zack punches out his tormentors. Unknown to both Bruce and Clark, Kaiyo has taken over Zack’s body and is using it as his new temporary host.
–NOTE: In Batman and… #32 (“Batman & Ra’s Al Ghul”). Talia finds what she believes to be a magickal crystal—actually small piece of the shattered Apokoliptian Chaos Shard—on her new island headquarters. Using the crystal, Talia and her scientists add significant magick power to their already technologically powerful weird baby tech. With Damian set to come out of the incubator in less than a month, the power of the Shard will allow Talia to continue speeding-up the newborn’s development after he pops out.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #1-2
February 19-20. The super-humans have just begun to appear publicly. Despite the boom of superheroism in America, the super-humans are still feared and misunderstood. Batman, at this point is still thought of an urban legend and has rarely been seen by the public outside of Gotham. (Technically, Batman has been active as a costumed vigilante since August of last year and has a working relationship with several Gotham police officers, but despite these facts, people still refuse to believe and most cops still regard him as an illegal vigilante.) Our epic begins with Batman in Gotham as he chases one of the monstrous Parademons across the city’s rooftops, while simultaneously being chased by GCPD choppers. Batman meets and is assisted by Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Hal is an intergalactic peace officer under the employ of the Green Lantern Corps, the squadron of soldiers that work for the Guardians of the Universe. Despite constantly bickering, Batman and Hal fight off the Parademon and retrieve a mysterious Mother Box. (The Mother Boxes are sentient organic computers that, among other things, can open up interdimensional wormholes known as Boom Tubes). After a trip to Metropolis, Batman and Green Lantern find themselves in a fight against Superman! (This fight pitting Batman and Hal versus Superman is also shown via flashback from Trinity Vol. 2 #1.) Green Lantern quickly calls his friend Flash (Barry Allen), who immediately hotfoots it to Metropolis to help out. Meanwhile, in a STAR Labs facility in Detroit, several scientists—including Silas Stone, Anthony Ivo, Sarah Charles, T.O. Morrow, and William Magnus—examine another Mother Box planted by a Parademon. Instantaneously, all the Mother Boxes on Earth activate, opening Boom Tubes, from which armies of Parademons emerge and begin kidnapping people to harvest their “organic material.” Dr. Stone’s sixteen-year-old son Vic Stone is badly injured by a Parademon.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #3, Part 1
February 20. Dr. Silas Stone is forced to take drastic measures to save his son—starting multiple radical surgeries on him at STAR Labs in Detroit. Meanwhile, Parademons swarm all over the city. In Washington, DC, Wonder Woman (Diana, princess of the Amazons, a race of warrior women relative to the Greco-Roman gods) and her US government-appointed liaison Steve Trevor battle Parademons of their own. Wonder Woman soon joins the other heroes in Metropolis.
–FLASHBACK: From Superman/Wonder Woman #13 and Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1. February 20. The Superman/Wonder Woman #13 flashback picks up exactly when Wonder Woman shows up to assist the other heroes against the Parademons in Metropolis. Wonder Woman and Superman have their first conversation ever while wailing on Parademons and saving lives. The Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 flashback is a generic single image of this item, sans dialogue.
–FLASHBACK: From Superman/Wonder Woman #16. February 20. This flashback also overlaps exactly with the previous two entries where Wonder Woman shows up to assist the other heroes against the Parademons in Metropolis. However, it adds a line of dialogue from Batman where he says that they need to take out every single Parademon and it shows the abduction and murder of the Reid family at the hands of the Parademons. Young David Reid survives, but will blame the heroes for his loss and later return as the super-villain Magog.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #3, Part 2
February 20. All of Vic Stone’s surgical procedures have failed. With no other option to save his son’s life, Dr. Silas Stone infuses Vic with an experimental alloy/nanite material of extraterrestrial origin called Promethium. In the blink of an eye, Vic becomes Cyborg! (Be aware that part of Cyborg’s mainframe is simultaneously infected with an evil sentient computer virus known as The Grid that will lie dormant and slowly grow in power over the coming years—as we learn in Justice League Vol. 2 #23). Meanwhile, Aquaman (Orin/Aurthur Curry) joins the five other heroes. As seen via flashback from Justice League Vol. 3 #12, away from the main battle, Maxwell Lord‘s UN-sanctioned “peacekeeping” Checkmate agency takes full control of the US military on scene, much to the chagrin of Steve Trevor and Amanda Waller. Max Lord orders the military to fire on both the Parademons and superheroes.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #4-6
February 20-23. The heroes chat with Aquaman and fight more Parademons before being joined by Cyborg. (The battle versus the Parademons is also shown via splash page flashback from Justice League Vol. 2 #40, a flashback from Cyborg: Rebirth #1, and a splash page flashback from Justice League Vol. 3 #12. Note that the accompanying Max Lord-Amanda Waller-Steve Trevor scene in Justice League Vol. 3 #12 occurs just prior to Justice League Vol. 2 #4.) As Checkmate and US Army helicopters shower the ground with bullets from above, all seven heroes break from the Parademons to confront their leader, Darkseid! The mere appearance of Darkseid sends an energy wave that causes the heroes to fall backward—a scene also shown via flashback from Superman Vol. 4 #19, which shows Modern Age Superman watching from a distance. (More on Modern Age Superman below.) Darkseid easily handles the heroes and zaps Superman with an Omega Beam, allowing a Parademon to haul him away. Batman unmasks and reveals his secret identity to Green Lantern then allows himself to get taken by a Parademon in order to attempt a rescue of Superman. The Dark Knight is shocked to soon find himself on the vile extra-dimensional planet Apokolips, the hellish home to Darkseid and his minions. While Batman successfully frees Superman from the torture chamber of Desaad and Steppenwolf, our heroes on Earth learn that Darkseid is searching for his daughter. The part of the team that remains on Earth saves a bunch of people, including David Graves and his family. Cyborg uses his new technological super powers to bring Batman and Superman back to Metropolis. The heroes team up to pound on Darkseid. Cyborg then sends Darkseid and his Parademons back to Apokolips for good. This entire final fight against Darkseid is also shown via flashback from Justice League Vol. 2 #51 and via flashback from Superman: Lois & Clark #1. The latter includes the added revelation that Modern Age Superman watches the heroes defeat Darkseid from a distance, choosing not to intervene. Later, US President George W Bush holds a televised tribute to the band of heroes—Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg—and unofficially deputizes them as a superhero team called The Super Seven.
–REFERENCE: In Forever Evil #4 and Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #34. During the clean-up of the massive destruction caused by Darkseid and his invasion, Batman sneaks-off with a Parademon’s mauled corpse and a Mother Box, both of which he stores in the Batcave.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 3 #0. Now over a month into Dick’s training, shortly before Batman returns from one of his nightly patrols, Dick has a heartfelt chat with Alfred about the loss of his parents, comparing it to the loss of Bruce’s parents.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 3 #1. Early March—snow covers the ground. Bruce continues to train Dick by having him run shirtless barefoot sprints in the snow. Bruce also teaches Dick to karate chop through wood blocks.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 2 #18. Batman finds special rope-burning acid in Tony Zucco’s office, thus finally linking him directly to the Flying Grayson murders. Tony Zucco goes down hard, but dies before he can serve any time. (SPOILER: Bruce and Dick will learn, years later, that Zucco has actually faked his own death. Yep, Zucco is alive and well, hiding out in Chicago.)
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 3 #1. Early March—still no leaves on the trees. Bruce and Dick talk about a possible costume ideas for him and Bruce scopes out some sketches that Dick has been drawing. Dick decides that he will call himself “Robin.” Thus, the Boy Wonder, Robin, is officially born.
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 3 #2. Catwoman proposes starting a sexual relationship with Batman, but the Dark Knight walks, saying “It would never work.” Of course, the idea will always be on Batman’s mind, and in a few years it will finally happen. Bear in mind that, at this point on our timeline, Batman is still sorta involved with Talia Al Ghul. The beginning of this scene (or what could presumably be this scene) is also shown in the second feature to Justice League of America Vol. 3 #3.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2. March. After a tumultuous hot-and-cold on-and-off-again relationship that has lasted for a few months, Batman finally tells-off the aggressive and manipulative Talia Al Ghul once and for all. Meanwhile, unknown to Batman, Damian Wayne is born (technically re-birthed) from his artificial gestation bubble womb. Damian has only been in his techno-womb for half the time of a normal human gestation period. Like the less-than-half-time speedy process of pre-birth, the speedy development process continues after he is born too. Baby Damian is immediately rapidly aged thanks to freakish genetic engineering. The infant Damian becomes a toddler overnight and begins training in the deadly arts. Talia keeps Damian’s birth a secret from Bruce.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #3. Batman saves three members of the Clover Family (young Hank Clover and his parents) from a mugger.
–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #5. Batman defeats The Monk (better known as The Mad Monk), a deadly vampire and evil cult leader.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League: Rebirth #1. Batman gives Superman a sound piece of investigative advice: “Always question everything” as it is “the only way to find the truth.”
–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 2 #8, Part 3. The Super Seven welcomes its newest member, Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz). I guess they are the Super Eight now?
–FLASHBACK: In Justice League Vol. 2 #23—originally told in 1960’s The Brave & The Bold #28. The Super Eight (the future Justice League) defeats the giant alien menace known as Starro the Conqueror. (This first major JL battle, post Darkseid, is also specifically referenced in Justice League Vol. 2 #6.) Justice League of America Vol. 3 #1 tells us that Steve Trevor gets possessed by Starro during this adventure. In the Justice League Vol. 2 #23 flashback, we can see that Flash gets possessed as well. NOTE: Martian Manhunter isn’t shown on the cover of Gods Among Men, from which the reference to the Starro fight comes, nor is he shown in the Starro flashback from Justice League Vol. 2 #23, but suffice to say, he is indeed there.
–NOTE: In the first epilogue to Justice League Vol. 2 #6. Late March. Just over a month after the defeat of Darkseid, author David Graves publishes the book Justice League: Gods Among Men, which signals either the renaming of the Super Eight to the “Justice League” by the seven heroes themselves or Graves coining the “Justice League” moniker himself. Either way, the Justice League now has its proper name!
–REFERENCE: In Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #2. Checkmate leader Maxwell Lord becomes involved, at least temporarily, in the bureaucratic affairs of the Justice League. This reference in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #2, where Max Lord says that he is “old friends” with the Justice League, is a cute nod to the Modern Age JLI series. However, since that version of the JLI ceases to exist in the New 52, this “old friendship” must be reimagined to Max obtaining some sort of directorial relationship with the Justice League here and now, only to lose that level of authority shortly thereafter.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #12. Thanks to Tim Seeley and Tom King’s inclusion of the journal/thought box dialogue from Frank Miller’s “Year One” as an Easter Egg in Grayson #12, we know that Batman now either tells Dick all about his adventures up until this point or reads Dick passages from his journal, including the “I can’t do it alone” part.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 3 #30. Bruce and Dick pose for a picture that gets framed and put on a Wayne Manor shelf.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #44. In a face-to-face confrontation, Penguin bests Batman by shocking him with an electric-umbrella. This prompts Batman to put an anti-shock grounder in his suit.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Eternal #2-3. This item is said to occur “five years” prior to Batman Eternal #2-3. This is a continuity error. We are six years prior. Commissioner Gordon, Batman, DA Harvey Dent, and Catwoman shut down Carmine Falcone’s criminal organization, giving victory to Penguin, who has been warring with Falcone for months. Catwoman’s involvement in Falcone’s downfall is purely monetary—she steals from him and scratches his face in the process, giving him permanent scars. The direct presence/involvement of both Bruce Wayne plays an integral role in the crumbling of Falcone’s crime empire as well. After getting defeated and losing the majority of his mob’s allegiance to Penguin, Falcone flees the country (to Hong Kong) with one of the few men that remain loyal to him, Derek Grady. Exiled, Falcone swears revenge against Bruce, Penguin, Gordon, and Catwoman.
–REFERENCE: In Batman/Superman Annual #1. Batman invents special communication devices that allow the Justice Leaguers to contact each other privately, securely, and instantaneously.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 2 #31. Rumors abound that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one and the same person. In order to dispel these rumors, Bruce orchestrates a ruse similar to the one he used during his fight against the Red Hood at ACE Chemicals, showing the public that there is no possible way he could be the Dark Knight. Bruce will fool the public into thinking that he’s not Batman several more times (which we will simply have to imagine as appearing randomly and invisibly throughout our timeline moving forward).
–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #6 and Detective Comics Vol. 2 #23.1 (aka Poison Ivy #1). Batman defeats Pam Isley, who debuts as the eco-terrorist known as Poison Ivy. Poison Ivy will be one of Batman’s primary rivals over the course of the next few years, focusing on environmental remediation by any means necessary. They will have multiple encounters, many of which we just have to imagine occurring randomly on this timeline. A reference in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #14, which occurs in 2012, tells us that, in a previous encounter with Ivy, Batman was been able to fend off her ability to “brainwash via kiss” through sheer willpower alone. This type of defense against Ivy’s metahuman charms might have been used now or will be used during one of the aforementioned invisible Ivy notes to come. Furthermore, a reference in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #27, Part 6 tells us that from this point through 2013, Batman and Alfred will analyze the properties of Ivy-controlled plants “at least a dozen times.” These minimum twelve instances must overlap with other Ivy appearances or exist as more imaginary notes on our chronology. Eventually, Poison Ivy will become a sort of anti-hero sometimes fighting on the side of good. Note, very importantly, that Poison Ivy, despite fighting Batman and one act of kidnapping, won’t even really be considered a full-fledged dangerous criminal until after April 2010 (two years from now), the last time she gives a public botanical studies lecture—at a Wayne Enterprises facility no less. This lecture is referenced in All-Star Batman #7.
–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #7. Bruce sets up a Wayne Enterprises fund in Pamela Isley’s name, specifically for botanical projects for kids. Many young science students apply and join, including the bright young Lilith Seguro. Bruce meets Lilly along with several other of the new accepted applicants.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Annual Vol. 2 #1 and Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #23.2 aka Mr. Freeze #1. Bruce learns that Victor Fries has still been secretly toiling away on his unhealthy Nora Fields project for the past few months in the bowels of the WayneTech building. Bruce shows up to personally stop Fries from re-animating someone who has no relation to him whatsoever. Naturally, an altercation occurs. Fries reacts violently, causing an accident that sprays him with a strange brew of cryogenic chemicals. Later, in the hospital, Fries awakes with twenty-three degree Fahrenheit body temp, a new-found icy touch, and a thirst for vengeance against Bruce Wayne. Thus, Mr. Freeze is born!
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #23.2 aka Mr. Freeze #1. Batman straps on some heated brass knuckles and fights the debuting Mr. Freeze, who attempts to take back his beloved Nora. During the scuffle, Batman takes a sample of Mr. Freeze’s DNA for study (as referenced in Superman Vol. 4 #11). Mr. Freeze technically makes his first ever New 52 appearance via a reference in Batman Vol. 2 #1 where he can be seen as a prisoner of Arkham Asylum. A reference in Red Hood & The Outlaws #9 mentions that Mr. Freeze is run over by the Batmobile in a donnybrook with the Dark Knight. The flashback panel from Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #23.2 could very well be attached to this instance.
–Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #1-5
Batman deals with longtime Gotham mob boss/socialite Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, more commonly known as Penguin. Cobblepot has been a prominent underworld leader for years, but has always been virtually untouchable by the law and has yet to serve jail time. This arc is most notable because it shifts Penguin from an untouchable gang lord to, for the first time ever, a criminal worthy of jail time. This shift makes sense, especially since Penguin has recently taken over all of Carmine Falcone’s operations. Our story begins by highlighting the ruthless and evil Penguin, a horrible, monocled, fat, little ogre of a man that uses his vast independent wealth to destroy people’s lives. (The New 52 version of Penguin is by far the most vile we’ve ever witnessed. This version of Cobblepot ruins people’s lives for very little reason, and when I say ruin, I mean ruin. Entire families are wiped out overnight, along with reputations permanently scarred—one victim’s girlfriend is even mugged and dosed with HIV on Penguin’s orders. Yikes.) While Penguin is notorious and has been the preeminent mobster in Gotham for many years, the waddling villain has orchestrated the most atrocious and violent crimes possible, but kept his hands clean. Until now. After a brutal murder during a jewelry heist, Batman suspects Penguin’s involvement and confronts Penguin at his Iceberg Lounge club/hotel. With no evidence, Batman then meets with Commissioner Gordon to discuss a plan of action. Meanwhile, Penguin begins dating a lovely blind gal named Cassandra. A few weeks pass (during a gap that occurs in the middle of issue #3) and Penguin orders another murderous jewelry heist in order to obtain a ring for his girlfriend. Batman examines the crime scene, which leads him to Penguin’s goons, which finally ties Penguin to a crime. Penguin is arrested amidst an embarrassing media frenzy, but his lawyers have him free in less than a day. At the opera, Batman warns Cassandra that Penguin is wicked, but she is blind in more ways than one and doesn’t believe it. An irate Penguin then tests a mechanical penguin—which acts as a signal beacon that attracts birds—by sending it into a Gotham schoolyard. Within minutes a swarm of birds attacks the school (Hitchcock style), but Batman arrives in the Batplane and saves the day. Penguin retaliates by launching thousands of the bird beacons all over the city. As the Hitchcockian nightmare unfolds across the city, Batman goes straight to the source at the Iceberg Lounge. A panicked Penguin accidentally stabs Cassandra to death before Batman hauls his ass to prison. I should also mention that, throughout this story, an escaped Joker can be seen hiding out in a room at the Iceberg Lounge Hotel, doing Joker things like dressing in drag while tickling a goat, throwing circus knives at a midget, or wearing a panda costume. It is unknown how long Penguin stays in prison, but it can’t be for very long. Penguin has the best team of attorneys and a huge pile of money to throw at any situation.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #1, Detective Comics #944-945, and Batman Vol. 2 #44, the latter of which tells us that Clayface debuts mere months after the end of “Zero Year.” Batman apprehends famous movie star/stage actor Basil Karlo, who debuts as the monstrous Clayface, attempting to harm the actors on the set of his final film. During the attack, production assistant Glory Griffin gets doused with chemicals becoming a mud person like Clayface, only without the ability to change shape. (Glory will return in eight years as a super-villain named Mudface.) Also during the attack, Batman takes a sample of Clayface’s DNA for study (as referenced in Batman Vol. 2 #19 and Superman Vol. 4 #11). In the New 52, Karlo is the only Clayface—there aren’t multiple Clayfaces like there were in the Modern Age and Silver Age (although a Japanese version will debut in a few years and a villain named Jeffrey Bode will make several short-lived clones of Clayface in the pages of Deathstroke as well). Clayface will become one of Batman’s primary arch-nemeses pretty quickly. They will have multiple encounters, many of which we just have to imagine occurring randomly on this timeline over the course of the next few years. During each future encounter, Batman will continue taking samples of Clayface’s DNA (as referenced in Batman Vol. 2 #19). While the mostly non-canon flashbacks from Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #24 don’t offer us much in the way of fact, we do learn definitively that, sometime during the events of the recent Penguin: Pain and Prejudice series, Karlo turned into Clayface thanks to an accident involving an ancient Native American artifact that had been given to him by Penguin. Clayface’s powers allow him to replicate and store others’ DNA, but each time he does, he loses a bit of his own. Also note that Clayface will secretly be in the employ of Penguin for the next five years.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 2 #44. Bruce publicly announces the rebuilding of several poor neighborhoods that were affected the hardest during Riddler’s “Year Zero” attack, especially the Corner section of The Narrows, in which he plans to fund the construction of brand new upscale apartments for lower-middle class families. Troubled Corner teen Peter Duggio attends the announcement with plans to ask Bruce for personal help in dealing the rough gang situation in the neighborhood, but his cries for assistance are drowned out by the audience.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman/Superman Annual #2. Batman meets and defeats the debuting Killer Croc (Waylon Jones). While fighting him, Batman takes a sample of his DNA for study (as referenced in Superman Vol. 4 #11). Killer Croc goes straight to Arkham Asylum. (Croc’s first New 52 appearance is via a reference in Batman Vol. 2 #1, where he appears as a prisoner at Arkham Asylum. His debut is also referenced in Secret Origins Vol. 3 #4 and Batman Vol. 2 #44, the latter of which tells us that Killer Croc debuts mere months after the end of “Zero Year.”) Note that, from this point forward, Batman will collect the DNA of many other metahuman villains that he faces. These DNA collections, however, won’t be specifically listed on our timeline, so we must simply imagine them randomly attached to future encounters with super-powered baddies.
–Batman Vol. 2 #44
Batman upgrades his tech to have a live visual link to Alfred in the Batcave. Soon after, the Dark Knight finds the bullet-riddled corpse of a teenager named Peter Duggio in a swamp just outside of Gotham. Batman tells Commissioner Gordon that the boy has not only been shot, but he has been dropped from a plane. Upon learning of Peter’s connection to the troubled Corners section of the Gotham neighborhood known as The Narrows, Batman does research and learns even more about its dark and bloody gang history. Suspecting Penguin of the teen’s murder, Batman shakes down the villain and gets him to squawk. Penguin tells of how young Peter came to him offering up his family’s Narrows-Corner bodega as a contraband-front as part of a revenge scheme against the local Four Fives Gang, who had recently caused the death of his brother and also happened to be Penguin’s rivals. But when it turns out Penguin has nothing to do with his death, Batman moves on, confronting the leader of the Four Fives at the Duggio’s burnt out store. But this is a dead end as well, which takes Batman face-to-face with a racist cop named Ned Howler. Batman gets Howler to confess to shooting Peter in cold blood. After reviewing some security footage, Batman finds that the bullet-wounded Peter crawled away into the night. Batman then visits the hospital, where Peter’s dad is sick. There, Peter’s cousin, Daryl Gutierrez (who happens to be a close family friend of the Thomases), tells Batman that Peter went to Bruce Wayne’s recent rebuilding speech to ask for help, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. After that, Daryl continues, Peter went to Blossom Row, an alley that has remained untouched ever since Riddler’s plant attack from “Zero Year.” In this alley, Peter met with the mysterious Mr. Bloom, who gave him a serum that endowed him with metahuman powers. (As we learn in Batman Vol. 2 #50, Mr. Bloom is actually Daryl Gutierrez, who has invented metahuman-endowing serum seeds and wants to be superhero with Peter as his sidekick.) After hearing this story, Batman gets word that Peter’s autopsy has revealed a cocktail of different chemicals—including an early version of Dr. Kirk Langstrom’s Man-Bat Serum, a proto-Venom, and more—in his body at the time of death. Batman goes to Blossom Row and kills all the plant-life there. The mysterious Mr. Bloom is nowhere to be found. With all the connections made, Batman realizes that Peter tried to play vigilante, got shot, sprouted bat wings, flew off, and dropped to his death in the swamp. With a new perspective, Batman returns to Four Fives territory, only this time, instead of punching, he decides to talk to the young black men of the neighborhood with open arms. (As we learn in Batman Vol. 2 #50, Daryl Gutierrez’s seed serum will be stolen by a villain who will later become the second Mr. Bloom. Gutierrez will take what is left of his research and use it to become a Crowne Genius Grant nominee in three years’ time.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #0—originally told in Batman #217. Bruce initiates the charitable end of the Wayne Enterprises corporate structure, known as the Wayne Foundation. He also initiates the Wayne Enterprises-funded Victims Incorporated Program. Victims Inc will function as a service that provides assistance to those who have lost loved ones at the hands of Gotham crime. The program will also appoint private investigators to solve cold murder cases that the GCPD has been unable to crack. Victims Inc, in the Silver Age, was short-lived due to the dangerous exposure it placed upon Wayne Enterprises employees. However, in the New 52, Victims Inc is an ongoing program that successfully continues.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #9. Batman fights a Talon, one of many killer assassins that represents the Illuminati group known as The Court of Owls. The fight only lasts a few seconds before the Talon flees the scene, thus preventing Batman from getting any info on the Talon or the Court of Owls. Batman won’t discover the centuries-spanning secrets of the Court of Owls (or even become aware of the organization’s existence) until 2012. Be aware, however, that Bruce investigated the Court of Owls when he was a little boy (as revealed in Batman Vol. 2 #3) and later as a teen (as revealed in Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #0) in conjunction with the death of his parents. Of course, in his teens, Bruce stopped believing in the Court of Owls when he realized that a drunkard named Joe Chill randomly killed his folks.
–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #8. Batman apprehends the debuting Tweed cousins, Dumpson and Deever, better known as the Lewis Carroll-inspired super-villains Tweedle-Dum (Dumson Tweed) and Tweedle-Dee (Deever Tweed).
–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #6. Batman begins recording every detail of every case, especially the more bizarre cases, into his Black Casebook. We know this is canon in the New 52 because of the reference to the “third Batman” nightmare from Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #6. This reference canonizes Simon Hurt’s substitute “ghost” Batmen that we will eventually meet—(Batman will eventually record and remember them via an entry into the Black Casebook).
–NOTE: In the second epilogue to Justice League Vol. 2 #6. Batman isn’t a part of this occurrence, but this is an important note to include. Several months have passed following the publishing of David Graves’ Justice League: Gods Among Men. We are told that in addition to the Justice Leaguers, Green Arrow, Zatanna, and Hawkman are already famous household names at this point as well. Two mysterious men meet in London and declare themselves the world’s first official “super-villains.” As referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 3 #1, this meeting happens “five years ago,” meaning five years prior to its publishing date of 2013, correctly placing us here. It also reveals one of the mystery men as Professor Anthony Ivo. The other is Earth-3 Alfred Pennyworth aka “The Outsider” (as definitively revealed and referenced in Justice League Vol. 2 #23). Alfred and Atomica will spend the next six years secretly plotting to get the Crime Syndicate to DC’s primary Earth. Earth-3 Alfred is setting in motion a plan that will eventually unite most of the DCU’s super-villain community as “The Secret Society,” but that’s not for a few years yet.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 2 #51. The Justice League has its first interaction with hero magick-manipulators Zatanna Zatara and John Constantine.
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League Vol. 2 #23—originally told in 1960’s The Brave & The Bold #29. The Justice League encounters and defeats Xotar AKA The Weapons Master. (This second major JL battle, not including Darkseid, is also specifically referenced in Justice League Vol. 2 #9.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman and… #27 (aka “Batman & Two-Face”) and Secret Origins Vol. 3 #3. Bruce begins pumping-up his playboy persona in order to further confuse anyone that might think he is Batman. Bruce begins dating supermodels and Hollywood starlets galore. He also cements his reputation as a globetrotting philanthropist that can’t be bothered by the Wayne Enterprises board of directors to run his own empire.
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League Vol. 2 #23 and Super Sons #3—originally told in 1960’s The Brave & The Bold #30. The Justice League defeats Professor Anthony Ivo’s deadly and powerful android war machine known as Amazo, who is endowed with all the powers of each JL member. (This third major JL battle, not including Darkseid, is also specifically referenced in Justice League Vol. 2 #8, Part 1.) As referenced in The Justice League Goes Inside the NBA: All Star Edition 2014, the JL puts Professor Ivo in jail here as well. According to the same NBA-themed issue, Ivo will face and be defeated by the JL a few more times between here and early 2014. These battles must take place invisibly and randomly on our timeline.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 3 #8. Batman hands over a freshly designed Robin costume to Dick.
–FLASHBACK: From Grayson: Futures End #1. Batman has Dick try on the Robin costume for the first time. Dick is unsure about the threads and even comments on how they are too bright. But Batman loves the outfit and says that it is perfect.
–Action Comics Vol. 2 #10-12
Superman dons his “everyman T-shirt costume,” which he wears in Metropolis only, and busts criminal David Marigold. But who will care for Marigold’s pet hamsters? Superman suits up in his actual costume and meets with the Justice League to discuss hamsters, the idea of world peace, and how the JL should function. Of course, since the JL doesn’t have an official HQ yet, they meet in a dingy warehouse. Superman reveals he knows Batman’s secret ID and Batman reveals that he knows Superman’s secret ID. Later, terrorists bomb the Daily Star building where Clark Kent works. Following the blast, the public believes Clark has been killed. Shortly thereafter, Superman, back in his more comfortable T-shirt duds, easily defeats Nimrod the Hunter. Superman decides it is best to let the world go on believing that Clark Kent is dead. He switches to the new moniker “Johnny Clark,” a tough-guy bad-ass firefighter (as opposed to mild-mannered reporter). A few weeks pass following Action Comics Vol. 2 #10 (before Action Comics Vol. 2 #11 begins). Superman meet-ups with Batman to ask him if he thinks it was good idea to ditch Clark Kent for Johnny Clark. Batman says to “leave the problem” with him as the discussion is cut short due to a random Gotham crime popping-up. Back on his personal orbiting satellite “Fortress of Solitude”—Brainiac‘s former floating alien museum complete with Brainiac AI—Superman pontificates further on his recent identity change. Later, back down on Earth, Superman is confronted by the all-powerful newcomer, Captain Comet (Adam Blake). Superman defeats Captain Comet and saves Lois Lane‘s life, although during the chaos Johnny Clark is presumed dead (vaporized). Afterward, Batman meets with Superman and tells him that the Clark Kent identity is worth returning to, so Superman does return to it. Our tale ends with the reveal of a serious threat from the 5th Dimension: Vyndyktvx! But that’s a problem for Supes, not Bats.
–REFERENCE: In Batman/Superman #6. Batman meets Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen. The Dark Knight presumably meets Lois Lane now as well.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League International Vol. 2 #1. The Justice League makes its official headquarters at a new state-of-the-art compound known as the Hall of Justice in Washington, DC. Free of charge, the Hall comes along with a super-maintenance man known as Technician, who will act as custodian and caretaker of the new HQ (as referenced in Craftsman Bolt-On™ System Saves the Justice League #1).
–REFERENCE: In Aquaman Vol. 8 #15. The Justice League issues official team ID cards to its members. Not sure if these get you discounts at department stores. Hoo boy.
–REFERENCE: In Trinity Vol. 2 #5. The Justice League begins gathering an intelligence database that will file information on the statuses and last known whereabouts of major super-villains. Each Justice Leaguer will contribute to this file as they see fit or as they encounter new threats, both as a team and individually. Batman will constantly study these intel files as they are updated in order to remain up-to-date in regard to super-villainy. We won’t often see Batman studying on our timeline, but you can bet your bottom dollar that he will do so often.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 3 #0. June. This event is also referenced in Batman & Robin Vol. 2 Annual #2. Around five months into his six month-long training, Dick dons the recently designed Robin costume early for a one-night-only affair. The Boy Wonder, despite having not yet finished his training (he still has a little less than a month left), assists an injured Batman against the threat of super-assassin Lady Shiva (Sandra Woosan), who has literally just handed the Dark Knight his ass. Lady Shiva, maybe the most talented fighter in the entire DCU, toys with Robin before departing. Robin then helps Batman back to the Batcave.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #17. June. Bruce sends Dick to Camp White Fawn, a summer camp he’d attended as a boy, for a couple weeks.
–FLASHBACK: From All-Star Batman #2. Following an anti-crime conference between Batman and Harvey Dent, the latter accidentally leaves behind his lucky coin. Later, Harvey invites Bruce to meet him at the place they first met years ago, the now-abandoned original Arkham Home in Innsmouth, Massachusetts. Every since they became close friends in high school, Bruce and Harvey have wanted to re-open the Arkham Home and restore it to its former glory. Bruce shows up in Innsmouth, cheekily returning Harvey’s lost lucky coin to him. Does Harvey now know Batman’s secret ID? Maybe? Reunited at the old house, Bruce and Harvey take a trip down memory lane and make concrete plans to co-purchase and restore the building. Of course, sadly, this plan will never come to fruition. Harvey has a much darker path ahead of him, one that will cancel out any positive plans he has with Bruce.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson Annual #2. Chemist Mark Desmond accidentally morphs himself into the mindless hulk known as Blockbuster. Mark’s criminal brother, Roland Desmond, manipulates Blockbuster into committing several crimes before Batman brings both men to justice.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #12. Jervis Tetch makes his return, debuting as the super-villain Mad Hatter. The Alice in Wonderland themed baddie is jailed by Batman. Mad Hatter’s first fight with Batman is also referenced in Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #5. (Mad Hatter’s debut goes here because a reference in Batman & Robin Eternal #2 tells us that Mad Hatter debuts prior to Scarecrow’s debut. Likewise, references in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #37 and Detective Comics Vol. 2 #40 tell us that Tetch was killing children shortly before becoming the Mad Hatter. These pre-costume murders are said to have taken place about six years before Christmas of 2014, which puts us here in 2008.)
–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #1. Batman crashes through a window to prevent a robbery at a fancy black-and-white high-society party. Debonair playboy (and secret master assassin) Floyd Lawton is in attendance and is inspired to don a costume of his own, albeit for wrongdoing instead of heroism. He becomes Deadshot.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Eternal #1-2 and Batman & Robin Eternal #14. July. When outbreaks of uncontrollable fear wash across Gotham, Gotham State University psychology professor Jonathan Crane helps the GCPD and the Dynamic Duo figure out what is going on. Bruce and Dick learn that Crane is actually involved in the crimes when they discover that his class has been abducted. Crane then debuts as Scarecrow, revealing his patented Fear Gas as the chemical behind the fear outbreaks. Batman and Robin don’t meet Scarecrow yet, but they do disarm a bomb that is set to release Fear Gas across the whole city. (Scarecrow debuts before Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face, as we are told in a reference in Batman and… #23.1 aka Two-Face #1. We also know, thanks to a reference in Batman & Robin Vol. 2 Annual #2, that Batman deals with Scarecrow right before Robin debuts, hence placement of his debut here.)
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Robin Vol. 2 Annual #2. July. Before a synopsis, note that Peter Tomasi incorrectly has Batman refer to Commissioner Gordon as “Lieutenant Gordon.” Onto the précis. Dick is sixteen-years-old. His six month training period now officially ends. At sunset, he reports for his first ever official Batman and Robin patrol wearing a new gaudy proto-Nightwing costume. Batman hates it and orders him to change into the original costume design he wore against Lady Shiva. On Robin’s first night he is to simply observe and take no action. Robin mentions the ongoing Scarecrow case. When Batman fights a new gang led by giant mutant warthog man Tusk, Robin breaks the rules and helps Batman take down a stray gangster that reveals to him the gang’s plan to distract Batman at one location while robbing another. Back at the Batcave, a pissed off Batman fires Robin! The next night, Robin begs Batman to change his mind, but the rhadamanthine Batman won’t budge. Robin then directs Batman toward the gang’s distraction locale and heads out to the real heist spot to fight them on his own. At the primary heist site, Robin goes one-on-one with Tusk until Batman shows up to assist. Tusk knocks-out Batman and restrains Robin, taking them both captive aboard a helicopter. Robin manages to free himself and kick Tusk’s ass, ripping one of his tusks out of his face. Batman wakes up just in time to take control of the situation. Robin gets his job back. Tusk will become obsessed with Robin following this meeting and will become Robin’s arch-nemesis. They will fight many times over the course of Dick’s tenure as Robin and also when Dick becomes Nightwing. Be aware that Batman won’t be involved in these fights. Tusk really is Dick’s arch enemy.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Robin Eternal #1. Batman and Robin patrol by swinging across the rooftops of Gotham. Robin notes how excited they both are whenever they descend from great heights.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics Vol. 2 #47 and We are Robin #7. Batman introduces Robin to Commissioner Gordon atop the GCPD headquarters. Gordon is totally disgusted with the fact that Batman is using a child soldier, so much so that he can’t even look at the Boy Wonder directly. Despite his anger, Gordon holds his tongue. Any following interactions between Gordon and Robin, while existing invisibly on our timeline below, will be similarly tense. Gordon will never fully get on board with Batman’s idea of using kids to fight crime, but the Commish will eventually adapt to work with Batman and his young partners.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Robin Eternal #1-3—and also referenced in Batman & Robin Vol. 2 Annual #2, Detective Comics #944, and Detective Comics #946. July. In front of a scarecrow-face painted in blood on the wall of a Gotham State University building, Batman and Robin confront Scarecrow for the first time. This is Robin’s first encounter with a real super-villain—(Tusk may be a warthog man but he’s no real super-villain). Scarecrow doses Batman and Robin with Fear Gas, causing horrible hallucinations for both. After recovering hours later, Batman cooks up a quick anti-Fear Gas vaccine. Batman and Robin then fight Scarecrow’s entire brainwashed graduate class, including experimental guinea pig Abigail O’Shay. The grad class, broken from having been tortured by Scarecrow for months, don Scarecrow masks and charge at the heroes. After besting the horde, Batman and Robin chase the real Scarecrow into the farmlands outside of Gotham. There, Scarecrow sprays the Dynamic Duo with Fear Gas. Robin takes the majority of the dose and, despite having taken the anti-Fear Gas vaccine, has a terrible nightmare that he isn’t good enough to be the Boy Wonder. Scarecrow escapes again while Batman takes the shaken Robin home to the Batcave. There, Robin describes his hallucination and asks Batman what he saw, to which Batman replies, “Nothing.”
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Robin Eternal #5-7. July. Batman and Robin track Scarecrow to the Church of St. Elijah the Thunderer, right around the corner from the villain’s apartment. Inside the church, Scarecrow is threatened by nearly-mute child soldier Cassandra Cain and her assassin father David Cain aka “The Orphan.” (Cassandra’s mother is Lady Shiva.) David Cain works for the mysterious super-villain known only as Mother, who has recently employed Scarecrow as well and doesn’t like his current high profile criminal antics drawing unwanted attention to her operations. Despite listening in from the outside, Batman doesn’t learn that Scarecrow is connected to Mother, but he does hear that Scarecrow has business in Prague. The Dynamic Duo crashes through the window, but the baddies flee the scene. Batman and Robin soon find themselves chasing after multiple planes departing from a private airfield just outside of Gotham. Robin chases after the wrong plane, a trap filled with explosives, which allows Scarecrow to flee the country. Back in the Batcave, Robin beats himself up, but Batman tells him to chill. They put on suits and ascend into Wayne Manor, where a police fundraiser gala is being held. While Dick hangs with Babs, Bruce meets his friend Maxwell Dossey’s new bride Alicia, who Dossey reveals is actually a $40 million custom-made designer-human (former homeless teenage orphan) created by Mother in Prague. During their conversation, a brutish fellow at the party shoots Dossey a dagger-stare. Dossey immediately tells Bruce it was all a big joke and darts away. After the party ends, Bruce goes down into the Batcave and does a computer search on “Mother.” When nothing comes up, Batman accesses the security camera at Dossey’s home, which shows the David Cain take out the feed. He immediately rushes there only to find both Maxwell and Alicia murdered. Back home, Batman’s research ties the decade-old double-murder of an eight-year-old girl’s parents (supposedly by a man in a white hood just like the David Cain’s) to Alicia. Starting up “case-file 141287,” Batman begins recording his thoughts on the matter at hand. (He will continue recording his thoughts as the Mother case goes on, quickly referring to 141287 as the “Shadow File.”) From her headquarters in Prague, Mother has seemingly been orchestrating the orphaning of children and then turning them into brainwashed playthings for the rich and powerful all over the globe. Batman briefly questions his own use of a child in the war on crime, but puts the thought aside and orders Dick to prepare for a trip to Prague. A day later, Batman and Robin are in Prague, searching for Scarecrow. While Robin hunts down Scarecrow henchmen, Batman sets up a Batcave in an underground skeleton-lined catacomb. After chasing down one of Scarecrow’s henchmen, Batman and Robin regroup at the Euro-Batcave. After making some inquiries about Mother to the Prague socialite scene, Bruce is instructed to attend a black-and-white gala. At the party, Bruce is approached by his friend Hamilton, who sends an invitation from Mother to attend the ballet. In twin tuxedos, Bruce and Dick go to the ballet.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Robin Eternal #8-10. July. Bruce takes Dick to the ballet under the false pretense that they are scouting for Scarecrow. In reality, Bruce is meeting Mother. Bruce secretly meets with Mother and pretends to be seeking a wife from her services. After agreeing to stay in touch, Bruce slips a tracker onto Mother’s coat before heading back to the performance. Mother immediately discovers the tracker and feeds Batman dirt about Scarecrow’s operation as bait to see if the Caped Crusader will bite. Sure enough, he does. A day later, while Robin takes on Scarecrow’s henchmen solo, Bruce has his meeting with Mother, who outs him as the Dark Knight right away, having looked up information about his past. Mother mocks him for having done the same thing with Dick as she does with her designer humans, before siccing David Cain on him and then slashing him with a spear. Mother offers to create Bruce a better Robin if he is subservient to her, but Bruce scoffs and makes his escape. An injured Bruce hides his bloody wound from Robin back in the Batcave. He gets in a shouting match with Robin over his solo adventuring and nearly fires the Boy Wonder for his recklessness. Bruce then suits up as Batman and pays Mother a second visit. Mother makes him an offer of a replacement Robin.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Robin Eternal #11-12. July. Batman meets with Mother yet again, this time in her Prague underground training/brainwashing facility called “The Nursery.” There, Batman accepts Mother’s offer of a new programmed Robin to replace Dick. Batman tours the Nursery and learns more about Mother’s horrific process of causing trauma to create child soldiers. Mother tells the Dark Knight that she has already selected the perfect heir for him, having selected from an elite twenty-five of her child soldiers. Mother then shows Batman video of Robin in action and tells Batman that he really needs a better, more worthy sidekick. Batman agrees. Mother is prepared to introduce Batman’s new heir, but he stops her, stating that if he is getting a Mother-programmed warrior, he wants to be a part of the hands-on creative process—Batman wants to replicate the murder of his parents. Despite this going against her current programming methodology, Mother agrees to let Batman earn her loyalty by murdering the parents of a child before the child’s very eyes. (This is the start of a long con that Batman is playing against Mother.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Eternal #14. July. Batman discovers Scarecrow’s secret factory lair in the outskirts of Prague. (Or Mother tells him where it is.) With Scarecrow laying low, Batman decides not to take action and instead wait until Scarecrow can be of value to shutting down Mother’s organization. The Dark Knight also keeps all of this information from Robin, who continues searching for the Scarecrow.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Robin Eternal #14-15. Late July. After weeks of laying low, Mother orders Scarecrow to move forward with a big operation to lure Batman into a situation where he can be psychologically analyzed. Mother wants to know for sure that Batman isn’t playing her in regard to their deal. Scarecrow allows Batman to catch wind of plans to detonate a Fear Gas bomb in a local factory. Before striking the factory with Robin, Batman secretly breaks into the facility and defuses the bomb. That night, the Dynamic Duo crashes into the factory and begins systematically taking down Scarecrow’s Mother-hired goons. Batman sends Robin to defuse the already defused bomb in an effort to get him out of the way. Batman then meets privately with Scarecrow, who tells him that he’s done with the dangerous Mother and wants to be extradited into the safety of US custody. Batman says no way and orders Scarecrow to become his mole to give false reports to Mother on his behalf. Soon after, Scarecrow delivers his first fake report, giving Mother a false sense of satisfaction in regard to Batman. David Cain mentions to Mother that they won’t need Scarecrow once the Order of St. Dumas completes the “Ichthys formula” for them. (Ichthys will be the brainwashing program used to create modern Azrael soldiers, which Mother wants to use for her organization as well.) Mother orders the preparation of Batman’s new heir (i.e. the murder setup, which will spawn Batman’s new heir) in Cairo. Scarecrow immediately departs for Cairo to join Mother’s group there. Mother invites Batman to Cairo to go through with his murderous end of the bargain, giving him specific details of the sordid act he is to commit. Batman tells Robin that Scarecrow has been spotted in Cairo. (This is all a long con being played by Batman. However, even with the bogus psych report from Scarecrow, Mother still doesn’t fully trust Batman.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Eternal #7. Late July. Batman and Robin display their tuxedos and spare costumes prominently in the Prague Batcave as they prepare to depart for Egypt.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Robin Eternal #16-18 and Batman & Robin Eternal #1. Early August. Batman and Robin close up the Prague Batcave and travel to Cairo where they immediately bust Scarecrow. Robin then departs for Gotham in the Batwing to deliver Scarecrow to Arkham Asylum. (Note that DA Harvey Dent plays an integral role in incarcerating Scarecrow at Arkham, as we are told in Batman and… #23.1 aka Two-Face #1.) Batman then visits the site of his murderous appointment and lines it with explosives—a failsafe should things go south. That evening, with Robin out of the picture, Batman picks up a handgun left for him by Mother and stalks a specific mom, dad, and son as they enter a movie theater. As they exit, Batman seemingly executes the parents, allowing the boy to witness the horrible tragedy just as he had when he was a child. But, of course, Batman is trying to fool Mother, having used paralytic rubber squib bullets to make it seem like he’s really murdered the poor folks. Naturally, Mother hasn’t trusted Batman either. The boy is a child soldier plant named Ahmed, who immediately checks the pulses of his “parents” and rats out Batman as a cheater. The Orphan (David Cain) grabs Batman, but Batman detonates the explosives and throws handcuffs on Mother. Cain continues fighting Batman while revealing that Batman’s true selected heir is in Gotham and this heir’s parent (or parents) are to be executed shortly. Ahmed gets Mother out of the cuffs and volunteers to be her hostage. With a knife to Ahmed’s throat, Mother tells Batman to stand down, allowing Cain to knock down the Dark Knight. Batman fights free and throws incendiary grenades around the room, causing rubble to fall and pin down both Mother and Cain. Mother, seemingly paralyzed from the neck down, tells Batman to switch on a television screen live-linked to Gotham. Batman watches in horror as Cassandra Cain attacks 11-year-old Harper Row’s small-time crook parents, Miranda Row and Marcus Row. (Harper is Mother’s young “chosen heir” for Batman.) Miranda is brutally murdered and a terrified Marcus runs away. Mother then tries to crunch and munch on a cyanide pill, so Batman immediately pulls out his antidote syringe. But before the Caped Crusader can stick Mother, Ahmed returns with the local law enforcement, who immediately begin shooting. Batman takes a bullet in the arm and flees the scene, leaving Mother for dead.
–Batman & Robin Eternal #21, Part 1
Early August to mid August. Batman learns that Mother’s corpse is in a Cairo morgue so he sneaks in and confirms that she is dead. Batman, noticeably shaken from what has secretly occurred with Mother, returns home to Robin in Gotham. The Dark Knight builds a file on Harper Row, filled with details about her life. The Dynamic Duo then goes about their normal routine, patrolling regularly. Over the course of a couple weeks, the Dynamic Duo fights debuting master assassin Deadshot (Floyd Lawton), takes out random gun-toting thugs at the waterfront, destroys some Ultron-esque robots, chases Penguin on motorcycles, and then rescues a small boy from a collapsing building.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman and… #25-26 aka “Batman & Two-Face.” Mid August. Jailed crime-boss Shannon McKillen commits suicide in prison so that her twin sister and fellow inmate Erin McKillen, with the help of a bribed guard, can get put into a vulnerable morgue transport. The ambulance is then attacked by her cousin Kieron McKillen‘s gangster squad, allowing Erin’s easy escape. Batman chases after Erin, but the latter completes the getaway after shooting Batman with a shotgun. Erin blames Shannon’s imprisonment and death on DA Harvey Dent, who put the McKillens behind bars originally. Shortly thereafter, Erin gets horrific revenge against Harvey. She murders Harvey’s wife Gilda and pours acid across half his face, transforming him into the deranged super-villain Two-Face. NOTE: Erin McKillen’s break-out and disfigurement of Harvey Dent is said to occur three years into the McKillen Sisters’ prison term. This is a straight-up continuity error because we know Marcus Row works with Two-Face before Row’s appearance in Batman & Robin Eternal #21. This places Two-Face’s debut, at the latest, right here. The earliest the McKillen Sisters could have gone to prison is last December (where I have placed that occurrence). Do the math. That puts the start of the McKillens’ prison sentence a mere eight months ago. There’s no way in hell the McKillens could have been in jail for three years. As much as I love Peter Tomasi, he clearly never bothered to have a collaborative conversation with other editors and writers—but then again, it’s only continuity right?
–REFERENCE: In Batman and… #24 aka “Batman & Two-Face.” Mid August. Immediately after Erin McKillen transforms Harvey Dent into Two-Face, the Caped Crusader chases McKillen out of Gotham where she exiles herself overseas for safety. Batman then deals with Two-Face, who will be one of Batman’s primary arch-enemies over the course of the next few years. They will have multiple unheralded encounters, many of which we just have to imagine occurring randomly on this timeline. References in All-Star Batman #1 give us the general nature of these unlisted encounters: Two-Face will, of course, be obsessed with double-themed capers, but he will primarily be an agent that causes crime-waves to occur around him, whether he is hands-on-involved or not. Two-Face will constantly collect massive amounts of information on criminals and non-criminals alike. By gathering metadata, acquiring dirty secrets, and unearthing salacious stuff hidden in the closets of the aforementioned folks, Two-Face will become Gotham’s number one blackmailer and crime-broker.
–REFERENCE: In Forever Evil #4. Catwoman meets Robin for the first time. While fighting the Dynamic Duo, Catwoman notices that the Caped Crusader seems to really “enjoy being Batman.” Sadly, the happy silly days of the original Dynamic Duo won’t last for long.
–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #5. Bruce and Alfred draw up blueprints to connect the Batcave-Wayne Manor elevators and stairways to secret passageways hidden behind multiple grandfather clocks in different areas of the mansion above. Shortly after drawing up the plans, Alfred secretly dips into the bank account fund allocated for ongoing upgrade construction work on the Batcave. Using this embezzled cash, Alfred hires a hitman to assassinate Joker, thinking this will be beneficial to Batman. Having second thoughts and knowing that Batman would not approve, Alfred calls off the hit at the last second. Unfortunately, expert information collector Two-Face is able to somehow gain access to Alfred’s Batcave blueprints during his embezzlement. Thus, Two-Face learns Batman’s secret identity! Two-Face won’t do anything with this information now, but will add it to his ever-growing blackmail files. Bruce and Alfred build all the new Batcave connections to multiple grandfather clocks in Wayne Manor.
—Craftsman Bolt-On™ System Saves the Justice League #1
It’s always hard to tell if advertisement promo comics are canon or not. Most often they aren’t, but considering that this Justice League special was one of the best reviewed issues of the series in 2012—yeah, JL was pretty weak in its debut year—and that it fits here contradictory free, I’ve decided to include it. Designed as a way to promote the new Craftsman Bolt-On drill, we are given all the details we ever wanted to know about Technician, the maintenance man that fixes everything at the Hall of Justice. While the Royal Flush Gang battles the heroes, The Key breaks into the Hall of Justice in an attempt to rifle through the team’s records. Thankfully, Technician is able to hold the Key at bay until the Justice League returns to finish him off.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 2 #7 and Justice League Vol. 2 #51. The Justice League abandons the Hall of Justice (and all of the political, security, and media bugbears attached to the Washington, DC headquarters) and moves into a satellite in Earth’s orbit. (The JL has already moved into the satellite six months after Darkseid’s attack, hence placement here.) Completely constructed and launched by the Justice League themselves, this new high-tech HQ, known as The Watchtower, will be totally private for the JL. In fact, only the seven JL members will be allowed aboard the station. Batman secretly installs a manual security override into the satellite’s defense systems as part of a contingency plan should he ever have to fight against his friends (as referenced in Forever Evil #6). This is a slight hint of Batman’s uneasiness when it comes to metahumans, but his real paranoia in regard to his friends won’t fully surface for a couple years.
–REFERENCE: In Legends of Tomorrow #6, Part 3. All of the members of the Justice League agree to perform monitor duty aboard the Watchtower, even making a tentative schedule. Monitor duty will be a thing that goes on randomly for each hero, including Batman, intermittently (albeit mostly invisibly) on our timeline moving forward.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #51
Batman decides its high time that Robin met the Justice League, so he takes the Boy Wonder aboard the Watchtower satellite and introduces him. Flash makes fun of Batman for having a sidekick, which is ironic because he will adopt a sidekick shortly after this. Cyborg runs down incidences of bizarre Fortean phenomena happening all over America, to which Flash replies that the JL shouldn’t bother and instead should pass the case onto Zatanna or John Constantine. But when deadly techno-organic Schrodinger Hounds attack Metropolis, the JL is on it. The JL and Robin beat back the Hounds until an alternate-Earth version of super-villain Mammoth, teleported to the location from a random time, appears and joins the fray. Robin spots a green-skinned humanoid from Yod-Colu (Brainiac’s original home-world) and strikes at him with Cyborg and Green Lantern. Robin suggests that their combatants are all linked somehow, which prompts Cyborg to scan them, revealing that they have all crossed through the Bleed (from alternate universes) to appear in Metropolis. Cyborg also defines the term “Bleed” for Batman, who is unfamiliar with it! Cyborg further explains that when they defeated Darkseid six months ago, space-time was fractured, thus allowing for things to slip through from other dimensions. The man from Yod-Colu introduces himself as scientist Bron Wox, who is only on Earth to investigate the breaches. With a power boost from Green Lantern, Cyborg blasts away the Hounds, alt-Mammoth, and Bron Wox and seals off the Bleed fracture. Afterward, the entire JL thanks Robin. From an unknown place on the “threshold” of the Bleed surrounding Universe-0, an unknown villain, having watched the battle remotely from his lair, monologues about how he will destroy the JL by going through Robin to get to them.
–the third feature to Catwoman Vol. 4 #50
This item is highly debatable whether or not it is canon, not only because the second feature to the same issue—written by the same author (Frank Tieri)—is non-canon, but also because Catwoman anachronistically mentions the Crime Syndicate, which would not have debuted yet. If you choose to include this on your timeline (by ignoring the Crime Syndicate line of dialogue), here’s what happens. Batman invites Catwoman to the Justice League satellite Watchtower to test its security. Sure enough, Batman isn’t surprised at all when Catwoman is able to break through all of its barriers, impressing Superman, Flash, and Wonder Woman. Robin, also viewing the display, is less than enthused.
–Batman & Robin Eternal #21, Part 2
Mid August to Early September. On a particularly edgy night for Batman, who can’t seem to get Mother off his mind, the Dark Knight tells Robin that he must return to Eastern Europe to tie up loose ends. Arranging for Superman to fly over Gotham every fifteen minutes while Robin is the city’s sole protector, Batman departs. Overseas, Batman does some ass-kicking investigative work for a week, eventually linking Mother to a woman named Miss Marchenko, who runs a mountainside chateau in Eastern Europe. After renting the mansion, Bruce meets Marchenko and demands to know Mother’s origin. Marchenko reveals that, in the late 1950s, a teenage girl lived in the Eastern Bloc state of Gardevia. When the Soviets took over, they slaughtered many Gardevians in a brutal act of genocide. The girl watched her parents brutally murdered and then wound up herself in a pile of dead bodies, mistaken for the deceased. Despite being bayoneted several times, the girl, seemingly with activated immortality powers, rose up and killed her oppressors. Unhinged and detached from the world, the girl then was taken in by Miss Marchenko. But Marchenko’s hospitality was received poorly as the girl proceeded to murder her parents and deem herself the new “Mother” of all orphans “freed” from their parental control. Bruce thanks Marchenko for her tale and departs. After Bruce leaves, Mother—alive and well—emerges from the shadows and murders Marchenko. Back in Gotham, Batman has a room set up in Wayne Manor for Harper and Cullen Row, but ultimately decides that it is not in their best interest to live with him. After doing some research on the Row patriarch, Marcus Row, Batman abducts him and holds him upside-down at the site of Miranda Row’s murder. He orders Marcus to stop being a deadbeat criminal and to take care of his children. Batman tells him to apply for a job at the electric company in the morning and says that he’ll be watching his every move from now on. (Although not visibly listed below, we must imagine that Batman keeps tabs on Marcus, moving forward on our timeline.) The next day, Bruce uses his pull to get Marcus hired. A week or so later, a bloody and battered Batman returns from an unspecified mission to the Batcave. He pops the Bat-flash drive containing “Shadow File 141287” into the computer. A video plays showing images of numerous missing children, followed by a mosaic-censored image of the nefarious Mother. Her dialogue—previously recorded during his encounter with her over the summer—plays over the video, telling Batman directly that Robin will soon learn a horrible truth that will unravel everything Batman has worked so hard to achieve. Batman deletes the file and erases the flash drive just as Robin pops in to say hello. (Note that Batman does archive and save one cryptic part of the file, a list of the names of children associated with Mother.) Robin mentions that Batman has seemed a bit off and distracted ever since returning from the Scarecrow case. Batman shrugs it off. Note that the flashback from the second feature to Batman Day – Batman: Endgame Special Edition #1 shows this exact final scene of Batman & Robin Eternal #21, but with added detail. The Endgame Special also uses the “five years ago” tag, which, in this case, simply means Year One.
–REFERENCE: In Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. Early September. Batman tries to distract himself from the upcoming anniversary of his parents’ deaths by starting an unspecified pet project in the Batcave. Alfred doesn’t like Batman’s moody behavior and they argue with each other. This will begin a trend, for a few years to come, where Batman will work on a pet project when his parents’ death anniversary creeps up, much to the chagrin of Alfred. Note that Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 implies that Batman’s pet project distraction method happens every year. However, since there is no specific indicator that it happens dating all the way back to Year Zero, I’ve started this habit here in Year One instead.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #1. Early September. Batman visits Crime Alley, as he does every September, to honor his fallen parents at the location of their grisly deaths.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Eternal #13 and Grayson #19. With the Mother case seemingly wrapped up, Batman scours the globe searching for Cassandra Cain, but can find no trace of her. While searching, Batman sets up at least one more European Batcave, complete with Bat-vehicles and armory, in Antwerp, Belgium.
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to All-Star Batman #6. September. Despite being in jail, the Riddler celebrates the one year anniversary of his Zero Year attack on Gotham by initiating a new puzzle-related attack on the city. Riddler tells Batman that he has pre-planned Zero Year anniversary attacks that are constructed so perfectly that they will be initiated every September whether he is in or out of prison, no matter what. Since the reference to the anniversary attacks in the second feature to All-Star Batman #6 is vague and does not give specifics, we don’t know what this attack entails. We also are told that Batman stops “most of” Riddler’s deadly anniversary schemes. This means we don’t know whether Batman succeeded or failed this time.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #16. On an unspecified case, Batman (with Robin riding shotgun) drives the Batmobile off of a bridge. Batman and Robin will drive off countless bridges, piers, and buildings for years to come—even after Dick has become Nightwing. These instances will happen on random patrols and, thus, will not appear on our timeline. We’ll simply have to imagine them sprinkled invisibly throughout, moving forward.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #944. Batman battles an escaped Poison Ivy. During the fight, Poison Ivy takes a hostage, stockbroker Guy Mandrake, managing to escape with him in tow. Guy will remain under Poison Ivy’s control for the next three months, while she remains under the radar.
–Batgirl Vol. 4 #0, Part 1
September. This zero issue contains an editorial stamp of “four years ago,” meaning four years before the publishing date of 2012. Barbara Gordon and James Gordon, Jr., the daughter and son of Commissioner Gordon, visit their pop at GCPD HQ. Babs watches curiously as some officers discuss Batman and display a makeshift Batman costume cobbled together based upon supposed eye-witness accounts delivered to a sketch artist. The officers only list Batman’s three “official” sightings in Gotham as references, which is a tad ludicrous since Batman has been very public ever since his Justice League debut. But whatever. This group of cops is not trying to figure out whether Batman actually exists. They are fully aware Batman is real and it is quite clear they know this fact. Instead, they are simply trying to debunk the “myth of Batman,” meaning the notion that he might be supernatural or metahuman. Back to our story at hand: When Canadian cult leader Harry X and his followers take control of the entire police HQ, Babs takes it upon herself to put her years of combat training to the test. She dons the fake Batman costume and beats the tar out of Harry X! The Dark Knight arrives just in time to watch Babs KO the big lug—a scene mirrored exactly in Secret Origins Vol. 3 #10. Impressed, the Caped Crusader congratulates Babs. In the chaos, little James Junior executes Harry X.
–REFERENCE: In Batgirl Vol. 4 #1 and Grayson #12. Several Easter Egg quotes in Grayson #12 combine to form a cute reference to Batgirl’s original debut story versus Killer Moth from previous continuities—her 1967 debut in “The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl” (Detective Comics #359) and 2003’s Batgirl: Year One. In the Modern Age, Batgirl’s debut was a sort of mash-up of both Detective Comics #359 and Batgirl: Year One. For the purposes of our timeline, this mash-up still occurs, but it’s completely re-contextualized and functions as a direct follow-up to Batgirl Vol. 4 #0. Here’s what goes down. Having just recently brought down Harry X, Barbara Gordon decides to become Batgirl for real. On her first night out, Batman and Robin watch Batgirl in solo action from afar as she knocks-down Killer Moth (formerly known as The Moth) and his henchmen. She delivers the classic cheese-ball line, “I bet that’s not the first time you’ve fallen for a woman.” Robin then meets Batgirl and gives her a hard time, but Batgirl stands her ground and playfully makes a fool out of the Boy Wonder. Batman then orders Robin to keep tabs on Batgirl. An eager Robin teams-up with a reluctant Batgirl to take down the debuting Condiment King, after which Robin steals a kiss! Batman then joins Batgirl and Robin to help them bust Killer Moth. Afterward, Batman and Robin ordain Batgirl as the Dark Knight’s newest pupil and official member of the Bat Family.
–FLASHBACK: From Batgirl Vol. 4 #6. As detailed in this single-panel scene, Batman and Batgirl, following the latter’s debut, quickly begin a routine of taking down crooks together. Note that Batgirl is colored here in her more recent all black ensemble. However, at this point in her career, she would have been wearing her grey outfit. Batgirl also becomes romantically involved with Robin (as referenced in Nightwing Vol. 3, Batgirl Vol. 4, and Grayson #12).
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #7. Someone snaps an close-up picture of Batman and Robin on patrol. They they upload it onto the website MaskFans.com.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 4 #11. When Gotham’s most famous statues are tagged with graffiti and removed from their locations, Batman and Robin investigate the “Case of the Stolen Statuary.” Eventually, the Dynamic Duo busts newcomer “art terrorists” The Pigeon and her teenage sidekick Defacer. Commissioner Gordon—wrongly called “Lieutenant” by Batman—visits Batman and Robin to oversee the detainment of the villains and to help secure the statues.
–FLASHBACK: From Batgirl & The Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1. Batman, Batgirl, and Robin punch-out some baddies.
–Batgirl Vol. 4 #0, Part 2
This single splash page shows Batman, Robin, and Batgirl swinging into random action. Note that this image has two important things attached to it that each require points of clarification. One, a bunch of Babs thought dialogue boxes regarding her retirement as a crime-fighter (dialogue which continues onto the next page). And two, a “one year later” tag. Note further that the “one year later” tag is attached not to the image, but to the retirement dialogue, meaning Babs will stop being Batgirl one year from now.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #13. Now that Batgirl has debuted, Batman will begin referring to his most trusted inner circle of crime-fighting comrades as his “family.” In the future, this Bat Family will often change in both size and personnel (and often depending on Batman’s mood), but it will usually consist of Alfred, a Robin, a Batgirl, etc… The term “Bat Family” will be used throughout our timeline from this point forward, much as it is used in the actual comics as well. It is also very important to note a few things. First, during his in-costume tenure as Robin, Dick will constantly disobey Batman’s orders—often receiving help or encouragement from Alfred when doing so (as referenced in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #7). Furthermore, whenever Bruce leaves town on business, Robin will go out on patrol on his own—also acting against express orders not to (as referenced in Batman & Robin Vol. 2 Annual #1). And lastly, a reference in Secret Origins Vol. 3 #8 tells us that Robin will often stop to make sure victims of crimes are okay, whereas Batman will be totally focused on the criminals themselves. These incidences are not specifically shown and, thus, are not specifically listed on this chronology. Therefore, we must imagine them scattered amongst the vacant spaces on the timeline during the period where Dick is Robin.
–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #2 and Detective Comics Vol. 2 #8. Dr. Hugo Strange, former scientist pal with Dr. Karl Helfern (Dr. Death) at Wayne Enterprises and GCPD psychiatric consultant, makes his dastardly debut as a villain and encounters Batman–at least from a distance and likely using some sort of minions to do his bidding. Strange is apprehended and implicated in a series of wrongdoings, causing him to be labeled with an official “extensive criminal record.” However, Strange, as a rich famous scientist, likely makes some sort of plea bargain by which he serves no jail time. Afterward, Strange high-tails it out of Gotham as fast as he can with no plans of returning. (Of course, Dr. Strange will eventually return a few years on down the road to take a teaching position at Gotham Academy.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #38. Dr. Paul Dekker, another former colleague of Karl Helfern and Hugo Strange at Wayne Enterprises back in the day, debuts as the mad Crazy Quilt. Batman puts him behind Arkham bars.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #15. Batman speaks to Dick and sums up being Robin with one word: “Family.”
–REFERENCE: In Grayson Annual #3. Batman tells Dick that being a superhero means protecting the entire planet. But in order to properly do so, continues Batman, superheroes must think local and protect individual cities first and foremost. This is Batman’s dictum as he defends Gotham.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #15. Bruce learns that the Gotham Statue of Justice—graffiti-tagged and damaged by Pigeon and Defacer weeks ago—is now finally cleaned and fully-restored. This goes to show that, without metahuman assistance, collateral damage from superhero scuffles doesn’t get cleaned-up very quickly.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson Annual #2. Batman introduces Robin to Superman. Superman tells Robin the Kryptonian legend of two gods called “Nightwing” and “Flamebird.”
–FLASHBACK: From Grayson Annual #2. The brutish Blockbuster (Mark Desmond) and his brother Roland both escape Bell Reve Prison. Blockbuster fights Superman in Metropolis before tearing down the Hudson Highway in chase of his brother. With Blockbuster nearing Gotham, Batman builds a hypothalamus inhibitor device to use against him. Upon coming face-to-face with Batman and Robin, the Dynamic Duo shocks giant villain with the machine, significantly weakening him. Superman, Batman, and Robin then bust Blockbuster. As the Dynamic Duo departs, STAR Labs does clean-up duty and Superman gleefully chats with Commissioner Gordon, who is inexplicably referred to as “Sergeant Gordon,” which is so ludicrous I cringe even mentioning it.
–REFERENCE: In Arkham Manor #2. Batman forces Robin to close his eyes when fighting muggers—practice for the off chance that one may become blinded in battle and still need to be combat effective.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #12—originally told in Batman #7, Part 4. Bruce sets up a meeting with a crooked businessman in order to investigate him. During the meeting, the businessman is murdered by Weasel Venner, a hitman hired by the businessman’s rival, mobster Freddie Hill. Bruce is arrested and wrongly jailed for the crime! Hill, hoping to tie up loose ends, orders Venner’s execution, sending a fake Batman to kill him, which causes both Bruce and Batman to be charged with separate crimes! Fed up, Robin helps Bruce bust out of prison. The Dynamic Duo (with Commissioner Gordon’s support) outs the real criminals, thus exonerating both Batman and Bruce.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #12. Writers Tim Seeley and Tom King cheekily make canon an outrageous scene from the Frank Miller-verse’s All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #9, which highlights the bitter rivalry between Batman and Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Batman deduces Green Lantern’s secret ID and learns of his ring’s “yellow impurity,” which makes a Green Lantern’s power useless against anything yellow in color. The Dynamic Duo wears yellow costumes and paints the entirety of the inside of an apartment completely yellow. After luring Hal to the apartment, Batman mocks him and offers him lemonade. I’m not sure of the history of the power ring’s yellow impurity in the New 52, but it likely did exist at this point on our timeline, however soon to be quickly undone by the Guardians in the very near future (as it was undone early on in Hal’s career in the Modern Age as well).
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #12—originally told in Detective Comics #235. Note that, in the Golden and Silver Age, the story of Lew Moxon was radically different and linked Moxon to Joe Chill, making Bruce’s parents’ murders a calculated double-assassination. No such conspiracy exists in either the Modern Age or the New 52. Instead, here is what happens according to the parameters of our current timeline. Batman tells Robin about his father’s bat-costume on display in the Batcave, which was worn at a Wayne Manor masquerade ball that bullet-riddled gangster Lew Moxon crashed long ago. Bruce’s father expertly saved Moxon’s life, but immediately sold him out to the cops. Cut to now. Batman learns that Moxon, who has just been paroled, is responsible for some high profile murders that he got away with scot-free. Batman and Robin go after Moxon and his henchmen, who attempt to escape via a blimp moored to the roof of a tall building. Eventually, Batman dons his father’s old costume to frighten Moxon, which accidentally causes Moxon to run into traffic and get fatally hit by a car.
–FLASHBACK: From We are Robin #9. Joker takes over a toy factory and begins producing poisoned dolls for mass distribution. Batman fights Joker and the factory burns to the ground.
–FLASHBACK: From Grayson: Futures End #1. Robin cracks the “Cluemaster’s Code,” which is just a simple acrostic. Batman and Robin then take on Cluemaster at the Sprang Bridge. Cluemaster is defeated, but evades capture.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #16. Joker unveils his famous “laughing fish” gag (one of the most beloved Steve Englehart Joker tales of all time, originally from Detective Comics #475), putting his signature smile on all the fish in Gotham Bay, and killing many people in the process. Batman manages to apprehend Joker.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Eternal #11. Batman finds out Cluemaster’s secret ID and confronts him at his suburban home. While choking-out Arthur Brown, a young Stephanie Brown (his daughter) walks into the room. Arthur explains that every crime he has committed was for his family. Batman is so moved by the situation that he lets Arthur go free, but presumably will keep tabs on him moving forward. Stephanie blocks out the whole scene as a bad dream.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 3 #1 and Justice League Vol. 2 #22. The Justice League defeats alien tyrant Despero, who enslaves the team with mental powers and forces Flash to play a life-or-death game of chess complete with an oversized board and JL-shaped pawns. A reference in Justice League Vol. 2 #20 tells us that Martian Manhunter is a JL team member when Despero strikes. It also tells us that Despero is “one of the first aliens” that the team fights. Martian Manhunter defeats Despero and imprisons him on Mars. Afterward, the JL decides to keep Despero’s giant chess board and JL-pawns as trophies (as referenced in Justice League Vol. 2 #22). Thus, the JL Trophy Room is officially started. While not specifically listed, we can imagine the Justice League collecting various other trinkets all throughout our chronology.
–FLASHBACK: In Justice League Vol. 2 #8, Part 3. The details are sketchy, but Martian Manhunter winds up fighting the Justice League and quits the team. This item is also specifically referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 3 #7.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 3 #12. The Justice League assembles for action, soaring across the open sea towards unknown battle. (This image is shown via holographic recording, meaning someone—likely government agents working for Amanda Waller—filmed this video.)
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #12—originally told in Detective Comics #363. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl take down some random crooks. Batman and Robin put a bug on one of the baddies and allow him to escape, prompting a little bit of teasing towards the Boy Wonder from Batgirl, who isn’t in on the plan. Later, the trio of heroes busts the last crook and his boss.
–REFERENCE: In Grayson #12—originally told in Robin: Year One. Bruce and Dick bail early on a fancy high-society gala to go on patrol as Batman and Robin.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #5-6 and Detective Comics #941-942. With Darkseid’s attack from earlier in the year still weighing heavily on his mind, Batman—likely with metahuman assistance—constructs a big-time hush-hush contingency plan designed to defend against a Darkseid-level emergency. Thus, the “Wayne Watchtowers” are born. Four Wayne Enterprises-owned skyscrapers are secretly outfitted so that they can become electrified when activated. They are also reconstructed internally to function as massive impenetrable shelters upon activation. Each tower has a retractable laser cannon and suspension wire grappling turret at its peak as well. Furthermore, each tower is specifically tailored to a member of the Bat Family, complete with a gaudy outer neon light symbol. The gaudy flair-tailoring of each tower will change as the Bat Family changes over time, although these updates won’t be listed on our timeline ahead. Batman shows the blueprints of the Wayne Watchtowers to Robin and explains how the system functions. (Be aware that Batman won’t actually use the Wayne Watchtowers until Year Nine.)
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #944. Batman rescues Guy Mandrake, who has been under the spell of Poison Ivy for the past three months. Mandrake is finally free, but he now has a permanent condition that makes him toxic to anyone in his immediate vicinity. (Mandrake will return in eight years as the super-villain Mr. Noxious.)
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #945. A year ago, on Batman’s second night out in costume ever, a couple was accidentally shot at by Red Hoods. Ever since then, Bruce has been paying for their extensive medical bills. Sadly, one of the struggling pair succumbs to injury and dies. Bruce learns of his passing.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #5. Batman hooks up a Batphone that is a direct link to the Justice League. However, the Dark Knight makes a vow never to call the Justice League in for Gotham affairs unless the situation is absolutely dire. Batman shares this vow with the Bat Family. Presumably, Batman also tells his fellow Justice Leaguers to try not to meddle with Gotham affairs unless asked.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #11 and All-Star Batman #5. Batman and Robin bust the debuting Catman (Thomas Blake), who drives a pathetic and cheesy Catmobile.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 Annual #1, Part 3—originally told in the second feature to Batman #219. December 24. Batman is summoned to police HQ where Commissioner Gordon and some other officers surprise Batman by inviting him to join them for an X-mas Eve party. Despite his usual instincts, Batman stays to party and winds up singing holiday carols for hours with the cops. Thankfully, it is a slow crime night in Gotham. Word of Batman’s ridiculous singalong quickly spreads through the Gotham underworld.
- COLLIN COLSHER: A point of clarification about Year One as 2008: it is the latest date that can accommodate the tenures of each Robin (provided that Dick Grayson becomes Robin this year). Batman & Robin Eternal #1 places Robin’s debut in or shortly before summertime, which means his training must start quite early in the year i.e. January.
To expound on the Robins in regard to chronological time: Scott Lobdell’s Red Hood & The Outlaws tells us that Jason Todd was Robin for “years” (emphasis on the plural), as opposed to “one year” or “a year.” However, we cannot take this at face value. Based upon observations taken from the back-story and details of Scott Snyder’s “Court of Owls” arc and flashbacks from Kyle Higgins’ Nightwing Vol. 3, it is a highly probable assumption that Dick, Jason, and Tim Drake will be Robins for only one year each (give or take a couple months). Bear in mind, the “one year each” I speak of refers to the “New 52 Robin internship,” which means that you gain the title of “Robin” immediately after swearing an oath to Batman, but you might not actually wear a costume or street-patrol for months after that. So, yeah, I’m sorry guys and gals. Roughly yearlong Robin tenures INCLUDE training time. Poor Stephanie Brown never even was a Robin in the New 52. (Don’t forget that Dick doesn’t come up with the “Robin” name until about a little over a month after starting his training, meaning he doesn’t actually have the “Robin” name until then.)↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: One more thing. Since Batman and Superman debuted in August/September of 2007, this means that the JLA should debut sometime in 2008 (about six months later). The JLA debut happens definitively “FIVE YEARS AGO,” meaning “five years before 2013,” meaning sometime in 2008.
Again, the basis for associating “FIVE YEARS AGO” with “five years before 2013” comes primarily from Forever Evil: ARGUS #1, in which a recently inaugurated Barack Obama creates the ARGUS group. A recently inaugurated Obama means the scene takes place in 2009. In the same scene, Obama says specifically that the Justice League debuted one year prior. That places the Justice League debut squarely in 2008. The white president shown during the JL debut even seems like a stand-in for George W Bush. Forever Evil: ARGUS #1 also has an editorial tag that puts the ARGUS formation scene at “five years ago,” meaning that Forever Evil occurs in 2014. So, this all means that “the five years ago” tag attached to the Justice League debut equals 2008. You simply cannot argue with that logic. And don’t forget, ye naysayers, Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1—which specifically takes place in 2013 and functions as a lead-in to “Trinity War,” which is itself the direct precursor to Forever Evil—must occur a few months before “Trinity War”/Forever Evil. I’ll be the first to admit that Pandora #1 was likely originally written to help place “Trinity War”/Forever Evil in 2013, but if we read it as taking place months before, it can actually help us rationalize the idea of Year One as 2008.
Trust me on this “five years ago” crap. Even in stories published as late as October 2015 (like the second feature to Batman Day – Batman: Endgame Special Edition #1), the “five years later” tag still got used to simply mean “the JL debut year/Dick’s first year as Robin,” despite the fact that five years prior to 2015 would have been 2010 instead of the correct 2008. Get used to it.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Regarding the onomastics of boy-genius Tim, who will go on to become the third Robin: his real last name is never revealed. Tim’s middle name “Drake” will become his last name when he enters the witness protection program and becomes Bruce’s legal ward (as seen in Teen Titans Vol. 4 #0).↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: This version of events is totally different than the original origin from Nightwing #0. In Nightwing #0, Dick is led into the Batcave for the first time and drops a bombshell, revealing that he has correctly deduced Batman’s secret identity. In Secret Origins #1, Dick has no idea and Batman reveals the information to him. Why DC decided to change the origin a mere two years later is beyond me. But I’m going with the 2014 Secret Origins version because it is newer. Also, the newer Secret Origins version doesn’t incorrectly refer to Gordon as a “Lieutenant” either.↩
- SÉBASTIEN OULLETTE: The New 52 timeline, while different from the timelines of old, must still take into account the training periods of the Robins. Those periods have a significant impact on their time/tenure as Robin. Because of the fact that Dick must have debuted as the first Robin at some point less than five years prior to the New 52 reboot, we aren’t left with much space. In spite of this, it does seem like each Robin has about a five or six month training period. Batman & Robin Vol. 2 Annual #2 tells us Dick’s training period lasts six months, although he dons the Robin costume early (only once) to aid Batman against Lady Shiva (as seen in Nightwing Vol. 3 #0). Red Hood & The Outlaws #0 tells us that Jason also completed a full six months of intensive hellish training before hitting the streets. We can assume Tim had similar training, although maybe only five months.
HALLAM RICKETT: Only Damian, trained since birth, requires no Batcave Robin training period.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The flashback from this issue occurs here since it takes place on a Valentine’s Day prior to Catwoman’s appearance in Batman/Superman #1 later this year. This flashback makes it seem like Batman has already become a household name in Gotham. In some circles he might very well be, and he’s definitely been unofficially spotted by many people at this point, but overall the Dark Knight will still be mostly regarded as an urban myth at this juncture, especially outside of Gotham.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: As we learn in Justice League Vol. 2 #23.1 (aka Darkseid #1), Kaiyo is the trickster of the Apokoliptian New Gods and is quite annoying to Darkseid. It is only because of Kaiyo that Darkseid has even become aware of the greater multiverse. Darkseid invented Mother Box technology primarily to chase after the universe-hopping Kaiyo. Along the way, Darkseid became become preoccupied and obsessed with the various Superman analogues on each Earth, ultimately waging war and starting an addictive hobby of murdering them as he hopped from universe to universe. Darkseid has recently realized that his daughter is on DC’s primary Earth, which will fuel his interdimensional onslaught there as well. Darkseid’s attack on DC’s primary Earth will happen in a mere day or so after Batman/Superman #4.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Note that, as per The Multiversity Guidebook, Darkseid is merely an emanation of the the legitimate über version of the true divine Darkseid (aka the pre-Flashpoint Darkseid who is actually deceased and entombed on Earth-51). In fact, all of the über New Gods live in the Earth-51 universe, in a state of hibernation. Consider Darkseid’s history in the following terms. The higher-level über Darkseid was killed and entombed on Earth-51 during Final Crisis—an event that does not even exist on the Earth-0 New 52 timeline, but does exist elsewhere in DC’s true cosmic historical narrative—including on Earth-51. This is akin to what happened in the Modern Age with Kal-L, Superman-Prime, and Alex Luthor. Their timelines were completely obliterated with the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, but they continued on in a pocket world, watching and spying on their Earth-0 replacements until their eventual return in Infinite Crisis. Basically, the same thing occurs with Flashpoint in regard to Darkseid and the New Gods, except Darkseid and the New Gods aren’t watching and spying. Instead, Darkseid is a lifeless corpse and the New Gods are in hibernation (as a result of Final Crisis). But unlike Kal-L and company, Darkseid and the New Gods aren’t in a pocket universe; they are on Earth-51, which was largely unaffected by Flashpoint. The other big difference is that Kal-L and Kal-El were different characters whereas New 52 Darkseid/New Gods are EMANATIONS of pre-Flashpoint Darkseid/New Gods. In other words, the New 52 Darkseid is merely a part of the pre-Flashpoint Darkseid. Whether or not New 52 Darkseid knows this remains to be seen. Thus, to reiterate, we have the current emanation of New 52 Darkseid that is born into the multiverse after Flashpoint AND multiple emanations of the New 52 New Gods born into the multiverse after Flashpoint as well. All the while, the pre-Flashpoint originals secretly exist on Earth-51 (and we won’t see them until a few years from now in The Multiversity, when Darkseid will resurrect and the New Gods will awaken from their slumber).↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: “FIVE YEARS AGO”—the editorial standard-bearer by which the Justice League’s debut (and by proxy the entire New 52 timeline) was set. This simply means that the origin of the Justice League takes place five years before 2013. Thus, the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee re-formulation of the JL takes place right here and now in 2008. The proximate reason that the JL debut goes here in 2008 is due to information gleaned from Forever Evil: ARGUS #1. Basically, Forever Evil: ARGUS #1 tells us that ARGUS forms “a couple months” into the presidency of Barack Obama, meaning undeniably sometime early in 2009. Obama’s dialogue in the same issue tells us that the Darkseid attack from JL #1-6 happened “last year” (meaning sometime in 2008). See the opening two footnotes for more details.
I should note that Justice League Vol. 2 #23 (publishing date October 2013, in-story date sometime in 2014) contains a flashback to the Justice League’s fight against Darkseid from this arc. Narration by Earth-3 Alfred lists Darkseid’s attack as happening “five years ago.” This is the sloppy time referencing that I hate. The “five years ago” narration is used in JL #23 simply to correlate with the JL debut year. However, since JL #23 happens in 2014, it should say “six years ago” instead. This type of flub forms a direct contradiction and has to be a continuity error.↩
- PAPA SPANK!: Justice League #3 has supplemental material at the end that shows an excerpt from a book by David Graves. In this excerpt, the publisher, Historical Publishing, has added a note that says Graves’ book about the debut of the JL, called Gods Among Us, is released in 2006. This would lead one to believe that the Justice League debuts in 2006. It is also worth mentioning, however, that the name of Graves’ finalized book about the debuting superheroes is definitely called Gods Among Men (as shown in Justice League #6 and Justice League #7), NOT Gods Among Us as Historic Publishing says (in Justice League #3).
COLLIN COLSHER: I once had the debut of the Super Seven aka the Justice League in 2006 because that was “five years prior to” Justice League #1 (2011). The supplemental material about the works of author David Graves, as you say, does imply that the Justice League debuted in 2006. But as pointed out above, there is some confusion regarding that information. The fact that the name of Graves’ book is different in Justice League #3 versus Justice League #6-7 is highly dubious. Since Historic Publishing obviously got the name of Graves’ book wrong, it is a safe assumption that Historic Publishing also got the year wrong. We must also, therefore, ignore that the Secret History of Atlantis book (in JL #3) has been checked out of the library in November 2011, which implies that the events of JL #1-6 take place five years before 2011 as well.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / TIPTUP JR 94: How do we know the February 19-23 dates? Here’s how. In Justice League of America’s Vibe #1, on a scene that takes place on Wednesday, it is a news broadcast tells us that it is the exact five-year anniversary of Darkseid’s invasion in Detroit. In the background, there is a Presidents’ Day sale banner. Presidents’ Day is on the third Monday of February, which in 2008 would be February 18. While most Presidents’ Day sales start before Presidents’ Day and end on Presidents’ Day proper, one could assume that this Wednesday scene is actually taking place on February 13 which would then seemingly place Darkseid’s invasion on February 13, 2008. However, this would stand in the way of both Catwoman’s Valentine’s day meeting with Batman and Batman/Superman #1-4 (which is a follow-up to that meeting and a prelude to Justice League #1). HOWEVER, we should correctly assume that this Wednesday in question is the Wednesday after the actual holiday i.e. Wednesday, February 20, 2008. Sears, one of the oldest major chain retailers to run Presidents’ Day sales, used to run (and possibly still does run) its Presidents’ Day sales from Friday until the Wednesday after the actual holiday. Therefore, February 20 works for the Detroit invasion. Since the Detroit invasion takes place near the end of Justice League #2, a full day after Batman meets Green Lantern for the first time in Justice League #1, that means the first ever Justice League arc starts on February 19. The whole affair with Darkseid lasts four or five days total.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Cyborg: Rebirth #1 gives us Vic Stone’s age (16-years-old) at the time of his transformation into Cyborg. Cyborg: Rebirth #1 paradoxically also tells us that Cyborg is 21-years-old towards the end of Year Eight. Obviously, seven years pass between Year One and Year Eight, so Cyborg should be 23 in Year Eight, not 21. This is an error that means one of two things: Cyborg is indeed 16 right now (and therefore 23 at the end of Year Eight) OR Cyborg is a beefcake 14-year-old high school freshman right now (meaning that he is 21 at the end of Year Eight). Take your pick. These two years of age difference don’t really make a difference narratively.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: During the Parademon invasion of Detroit, teenager Cisco Ramon is endowed with superhuman vibrational powers (as seen/referenced in Justice League of America’s Vibe #1). Ramone will later become the superhero Vibe.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: We first learn that Checkmate is run by Maxwell Lord in OMAC Vol. 4 #2. Using his metahuman powers of mental persuasion to eliminate his competition, Max Lord has only just very recently become sole leader (aka “Black King”) of Checkmate, having used his abilities to usurp control from his rivals. This information is taken directly from Justice League Vol. 3 #12, which tells us that Max Lord becomes Checkmate leader shortly before Darkseid’s attack.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Darkseid isn’t just warring against DC’s primary Earth; he is waging war on multiple fronts in the multiverse, including Earth 2. As we learn in Justice League Vol. 2 #23.1 (aka Darkseid #1), Darkseid has already killed analogues of Superman on a dozen other Earths.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Justice League of America’s Vibe #1 reveals that Amanda Waller has somehow managed to abduct Darkseid’s half-Amazonian daughter Grail. Waller and company hold Grail in a containment cell in a secret government facility, which will quickly become a sort of Guantanamo Bay prison for super-humans.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: As seen via flashback from Superman: Lois & Clark #1, the Modern Age Superman watches the heroes defeat Darkseid from a distance, choosing not to intervene. This alternate version of Superman has only recently arrived on the New 52 timeline thanks to the actions of Brainiac in 2015. He lives in secret with his wife Lois Lane-Kent (a copy of the Modern Age version) and their two to three-year-old son Jonathan Samuel Kent. For the past couple years, they have used the false last name “White” instead of Kent and lived a rustic farm life off the grid, to avoid being detected. This Superman will continue to monitor the Earth for years to come, but in total secrecy. He will spend a decent amount of time spying on the members of the Justice League, moving forward, but never revealing his existence to them. Likewise, this version of Lois will become a famous muckraking journalist under the pseudonym “Author X.” For more info regarding how the Modern Age versions of Lois and Clark wound up here AND info on whether or not they are originals or mere post-Convergence copies, see the listing for Convergence in New 52 Year Eight.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Note that, in this flashback, Batman is shown wearing a costume that looks akin to the one he wears following his “Superheavy” return (i.e. his “Rebirth” costume). Writer Tom King stubbornly tried to defend this look rather than just admit that it was a continuity error by saying that Batman constantly wears different costumes throughout his career, even this early on. This is simply just not the case and is not backed up by any evidence in any other title or by any other writer. It’s a continuity error. But, like, it’s a tiny error—and one that has been made several times before—so who cares?↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Geoff Johns, in a 2013 Comic Book Resources interview, states that Martian Manhunter is with the JL for “a time” and “he battled Starro and all these other guys, and then there was a huge falling out.” I’m hesitant to add anything that writers or artists say in interviews, especially since these things often don’t come to fruition. However, based upon this, we can assume that the JL team that includes Martian Manhunter has a battle against Starro and some other villains a bit later.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: If Gods Among Men does indeed come out a month after Darkseid’s strike on Earth, then author David Graves must have been writing at breakneck Harlan Ellison/Stephen King-speed to get it done so super-quickly. I would have imagined the book to have taken a bit longer to draft, but in this special case, and with the urgent prodding of his publishers, it’s not unlikely that he could have put the book out so fast.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Justice League Vol. 3 #12 tells us that Max Lord is not only leader of Checkmate, but he is also the brand new co-head (along with Apokaliptian New God Mokkari) of Project Cadmus. Via Project Cadmus, Max Lord now initiates the OMAC Initiative, an attempt to harness the power of a Mother Box to create a super soldier known as an OMAC. The OMAC Initiative will fail time and time again, which may or may not contribute to Max Lord’s upcoming ousting/departure from Project Cadmus. Lord will continue to keep a close eye on Cadmus using both Checkmate and planted spies within the organization, including Mokkari, who remains secretly loyal (and who is also secretly loyal to Darkseid as well). Despite repeated attempts over the next handful of years, Cadmus will ultimately fail to create a successful OMAC. However, in Year Six, Brother Eye will succeed where all others have failed, as seen in DC Universe Presents #0, Part 1.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: This is the first canonical instance of Nora not actually being Victor Fries’ true wife in Batman history. And it takes Mr. Freeze from being the deeply sympathetic character that he has been in previous continuities and relegates him to just another lunatic super-villain. In a way, though, it makes sense, especially if Scott Snyder wanted Bruce Wayne to be directly physically involved in the creation of Mr. Freeze. If Bruce is directly involved in creating Mr. Freeze then Mr. Freeze actually works much better as an unsympathetic crazy one-dimensional character. If Victor Fries isn’t totally evilly nuts then Bruce looks like an asshole for stopping a fairly stable non-criminal scientist from trying to save his wife’s life. Bruce Wayne seems rational and responsible and looks more like a hero for stopping a crazy dude from screwing with the body of a random innocent person. Some fans probably lament the loss of the sympathetic Mr. Freeze—the one modeled from Batman the Animated Series. However, that version only worked because it didn’t ruin Bruce Wayne’s character in the process. In Batman the Animated Series, it was a heartless asshole WayneCorp higher-up named Ferris Boyle that shut down Victor Fries’ cryo-operations, not Bruce Wayne. In this clever way, Mr. Freeze could hate and blame Bruce, who would still remain neither culpable nor directly involved in an act of cruelty.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Spoiler Alert! Here’s how Alfred-3 got to DC’s primary Earth. The Anti-Monitor has ruined the entire Earth-3. The Crime Syndicate wanted to escape the Anti-Monitor’s decimation by attempting to flee to DC’s primary Earth. However, only Atomica and Alfred Pennyworth made it through (as shown in Justice League Vol. 2 #23 and referenced in Forever Evil #7).↩
- DCJOKERZ17: There is a plot hole in DC’s timeline. In Action Comics Vol. 2 #7 (which takes place a few months before Action Comics Vol. 2 #10) Jimmy Olsen remarks that their situation is like “Under the Dome by Stephen King.” Action Comics Vol. 2 #1-16 is a run that’s set entirely five to six years ago (meaning around 2007-2008). Under the Dome wasn’t released until 2009, so that means if we take the reference at face value then Year One for Batman must be around 2009 as well and the DC Universe is about four or five years into the future! Otherwise, we simply have to imagine a world where Under the Dome was released in the 70s like Stephen King originally wanted it to be.
COLLIN COLSHER: I don’t know how relevant this plot hole really is, but it does seem to be a legit peccadillo. I place Action Comics Vol. 2 #7 around time of the debut of the Justice League in 2008, which would make the Simpsons reference and the Under the Dome reference both incorrect. Of course, this is the fictional DCU and not our reality that we live in. Therefore, like you mentioned already, it is possible that Under the Dome was released earlier in the DCU. I’d lean toward that reasoning (as unfortunate as that may be) rather than sliding the entire timeline to five years in the future. But my actual response is the following: Grant Morrison doesn’t play by the rules. It’s frustrating, but a decent amount of shaky continuity in the New 52 is endemic to the contradictory pen of Mr. Morrison. I’d chalk this one up to Morrison simply using references he shouldn’t have been using. Any way you spin it, this reference does form an error.↩