This section of the Real Batman Chronology Project highlights each time Modern Age Batman has time-traveled to the past (the era before his becoming the Dark Knight and, often, before he was even born). On occasion, Batman travels to the past during a spacetime anomaly, further causing a change in the timeline or in an attempt to fix a change in the timeline. If such an instance occurs, where the time-traveling trip is invalidated due to the reconstruction or return to status quo—Superman/Batman #14-18 comes to mind—then obviously it won’t be included on this timeline. Also, this section does not detail the life of Bruce Wayne from the time of his birth up to the time he becomes Batman—I have not added a section like that to the website, and at this time, have no plans to do so.
–Circa 38,000 BCE
Final Crisis #6-7 and Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1. In 2010, Darkseid strikes Batman with his Omega Sanction beams, blasting him—and a time capsule—into the epoch of European Early Modern Humans, circa 38,000 BCE. Darkseid also activates an Ancestor Box, which unleashes the primordial Hyperfauna creature known as the Hyper-Adapter that attaches itself to Batman. Thus, Batman is effectively mired in a “time trap” that he is able to move forward through—the Dark Knight’s very actions causing a threat to modern existence, should he return to the 21st century. The combined effects of the Omega Sanction and Hyper-Adapter begin to take their toll on Batman, whose memory begins to fade when he reaches 38,000 BCE. In his final moments of clarity, Bruce audio records the final entry into the Black Casebook and then paints a Bat-symbol, Superman-symbol, and Wonder Woman-symbol onto a cave wall. In 2010, everyone thinks Batman is dead thanks to a charred skeleton corpse—actually a clone planted by Darkseid to fool everyone. Back in 38,000 BCE, an amnesiac Batman lives out of his cave for an undetermined but short amount of time before finally exiting into the light of day. His memory vanished, Bruce confusedly examines the time capsule, the contents of which have mostly been destroyed. Bruce then immediately gets involved in a tribal war between the Deer People and Vandal Savage’s Blood Mob. After being captured by the Blood Mob, Bruce is freed by one of his Deer People allies. Bruce, referred to as “Man of Bats” by his companions, then dons the flesh of the giant bat god Barbatos as a makeshift cape and cowl and defeats Savage in combat. (Barbatos is the bat form of the Hyper-Adapter that has retreated backward to 38,000 BCE from Vanishing Point aka the End of Time—see The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 for details. Savage has killed the Hyper-Adapter/Barbatos.) The Deer People change their tribal name to Miagani, meaning “Bat People,” and vow to protect the caves—above, which will become the future site of Gotham City—and their most treasured relic: The cape, cowl, and utility belt of Batman. The Miagani will do so for thousands of years to come. Nomadic tribes will see Bruce’s drawings and not only re-draw them in Eurasia and the Middle East, but will also form bat-worshiping religions as a result (as referenced in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3). After Savage’s defeat, the Omega Effect sends Bruce hurtling eons into the future where he winds up in the Puritanical Gotham of 1640.
–Circa 3150 BCE
Flashback from Batman #700. From 1997, Batman’s avatar is projected to Ancient Egypt by Joker, Catwoman, Hatman, and Riddler, who have teamed and taken over Professor Carter Nichols “Maybe Machine.” Nichols’ invention enables one to send an avatar of himself into the past, similar to astral projection. In Egypt, Batman narrowly avoids being killed by winged warrior bird-men. This is the final instance that Batman uses Nichols’ device. It is implied that Batman and Robin have undergone several other time-projections throughout 1995 to 1997, including their jaunt in Batman #600, but these have not been specifically referenced, and thus we must simply imagine their occurrences on this timeline. However, we can assume that there aren’t many of these trips due to the relative danger of the procedure.
–Circa 2580 BCE
Flashback from Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9 and reference in Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0. In 1998, the JSA and JLA mix lineups and time-travel to rescue the individual members of the 1948 superhero team known as the Seven Soldiers of Victory, who have each been blasted from their correct time to random eras throughout history and the future. Batman teams with Hourman (Rex Mason) and Starman (Ted Knight) to rescue Stripesy (Pat Dugan) from Ancient Egypt—during the reign of Khufu.
JLA #68-76, Aquaman Vol. 6 #1, and “The Obsidian Age.” Zatanna, in 2007, discovers that when Atlantis was attacked during the Imperiex War (2005), Tempest cast a spell of protection that was supposed to have saved the underwater kingdom by sending Aquaman and his people to a safe alternate dimension. However, something went horribly wrong: Tempest’s spell accidentally sent the entire population of Atlantis 3000 years into the past. Zatanna explains that after being sent back in time, someone must have cast a second spell, a containment spell, which made Atlantis completely invisible and undetectable for the next 3000 years (until 2007). Using Tempest’s magick, the JLA goes back in time to rescue Aquaman and his people. However, Tempest’s magick fails again and sends them to 978 BCE instead of 993 BCE where the sorceress Gamemnae rules Atlantis and has enslaved the modern Atlanteans with the aid of a metahuman super-team, which includes Manitou Raven. Gamemnae and her minions quickly outmatch the JLA and murder the entire team! Raven realizes he’s fighting on the wrong side and concocts a magickal plan to right the wrongs. As Kyle chokes out his final breath, Raven tears out Kyle’s heart and uses his powers to prevent the spirits of the fallen JLAers from passing on to the afterlife—instead, re-routing their spirits into the extracted heart. Raven then traps Gamemnae and, together, they become linked in a spell that puts them to sleep for the next 2985 years (until Gamemnae breaks free). In 2007, Nightwing and company find Raven, still in possession of Kyle’s heart, which still contains the spirits of the dead JLA. Raven releases their spirits and a zombie JLA begins to battle a reawakened Gamemnae. Gamemnae, angry because she can’t kill the JLA since they are already dead, uses her magick to bring the zombie Leaguers back to life! Gamamnae is eventually defeated.
Reference in Superman/Batman #26. Superman and Batman travel from 2007 to the 1200s CE to apprehend time-villain extraordinaire Chronos.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1-2. The Omega Effect sends 2010 Bruce hurtling from circa 38,000 BCE to the Puritanical Gotham of 1640. The Hyper-Adapter has followed him (this is the Hyper-Adapter that Darkseid attached to Bruce via the Ancestor Box, the being that will conceivably destroy the universe if Bruce ever makes it back to the 21st century AS OPPOSED TO the Hyper-Adapter that retreats backward through time in giant bat form after being defeated at the End of Time—see The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 for details). The Hyper-Adapter traveling with Bruce in 1640 appears in its true form: A vile tentacled Lovecraftian monster. Bruce, still amnesiac, temporarily defeats the monster with a sword, sending it to hide deep in the forest. Bruce is then taken in by a witch named Annie, who becomes his lover. Bruce will take the name “Mordecai” and quickly become a prominent member of the community. Bruce, as “Mordecai,” makes a new life in olde Gotham for several months and begins reluctantly working with his distant ancestor Nathaniel Wayne, the bigoted and spiteful witch-hunter extraordinaire. (Nathaniel is the earliest known patriarch of the Wayne Family tree). Bruce, as “Mordecai,” poses for sketches by artist Martin Van Derm, whose future ancestor Catherine will later marry into the Wayne Family. Bruce gives Van Derm explicit instructions that will ensure that a portrait based upon these sketches winds up as a hint as to his whereabouts for his friends in the future. And, indeed, Dick does discover this clue in 2011 (in Batman & Robin #10-12). When the Hyper-Adapter rears its ugly tentacled face once again, Bruce charges into the woods to combat it. Meanwhile, Nathaniel takes this opportunity to arrest and execute a defenseless Annie. Before being burned at the stake as a witch, Annie places a black magick curse on Nathaniel and his kin for all time, unaware that her lover is secretly a Wayne as well. While fighting the Hyper-Adapter, a solar eclipse occurs, hurtling both Bruce and the Hyper-Adapter roughly 75 years into the future to 1718.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2-3. 2010 Bruce, with his memory of 1640 fading fast—luckily he has with him a detailed journal that he kept during his time as “Mordecai”—washes up on the shores of the Gotham Bay along with Jack Valor aka the Black Pirate. The year is 1718. Valor has been run aground by his rival: Commodore Thatch aka Blackbeard aka Vandal Savage! Blackbeard and his men assume the stronger, tougher Bruce must be the Black Pirate and treat him as such. The villains force Bruce and Valor into the Miagani caves, where it is rumored there is buried treasure. The Miagani have laced the caves with numerous deadly booby traps, which Bruce, Valor, Blackbeard, and his men all struggle to avoid. Eventually, Bruce and Valor fight off Blackbeard’s pirates and are taken in by the Miagani, who show them the ancient relic: Batman’s tattered cape, cowl, and belt. Bruce gives Valor the Mordecai journal, tells him everything else he can vaguely remember, and makes him promise to complete several tasks: First, Valor must train-with and learn the secrets of the Miagani, and with the help of the tribe, construct a tiny sealed casket with a Bat-symbol on it, which can only be opened with a secret whistle code. Second, Valor must add everything Bruce has verbally said as text into the Mordecai diary and then deliver the book to the Van Derms in the casket after several decades have passed. Bruce’s final instruction is for Valor to write the “gotcha” note and place it inside the casket as well. In 1750, after a 30-year career as a superhero inspired by Bruce and the Miagani, Valor will deliver the casket to the Van Derms. (The details regarding the origins of the bat-casket come from flashbacks in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6). From 1718, a solar eclipse Omega-leaps Bruce to the late 19th century.
Batman #600, Part 2. Bruce and Dick, in 1995, learn about a supposed Civil War hero known as “The Black Bat” whose adventures are vaguely referenced in a 19th Century dime novel. Hoping to learn more about this mystery man, the Dynamic Duo visit their good friend Professor Carter Nichols to make use of his “Maybe Machine.” Using Nichols’ invention, the Dynamic Duo travels back to the 1860s (from 1995) and saves an African-American soldier from Confederates. After getting caught by Confederate soldiers themselves, the Black Bat shows up and saves them. Afterward, the Black Bat unmasks, revealing himself to be the soldier who was saved by our heroes earlier. Bruce and Dick return to 1995, but wonder if, by some paradox, there was no Black Bat until they went back in time and inspired the rescued soldier themselves. This trip, taken thanks to the use of Nichols’ time-travel method, is one of several taken by Batman and Robin between 1995 and 1997—Nichols’ dismantles his machine in 1997.
–Circa late 1800s
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3-4. From 1718, a solar eclipse Omega-leaps 2010 Bruce to the late 19th century where he immediately becomes a masked cowboy vigilante on horseback, becoming embroiled in a full-scale war-on-crime against Vandal Savage and his band of outlaws. In response, Savage hires Jonah Hex (!) to take out Batman. Savage also allies himself with Thomas Wayne aka Simon Hurt! Both Savage and Hurt want the secret power that supposedly lies within the bat symbol casket, which is in the possession of the Van Derm family. (The Return of Bruce Wayne #4 also tells us that at some point in the 17th Century a Van Derm coupled with a Miagani, thus creating an ancestral link to the Miagani for Catherine and, more importantly, for Bruce)! The Van Derms are all slaughtered by Savage, except for Catherine Van Derm, who is kidnapped and tortured by Hurt in an attempt to obtain the secret method of opening the box without destroying the supposed contents within. Meanwhile, Batman, in his dark-rider cowboy garb, battles Savage’s henchmen. Eventually, Savage and Hurt take Catherine and the casket and flee in a covered wagon with Batman chasing them. Hex follows as well and a huge rumble takes place that results in a wagon crash that startles a suicidal Alan Wayne. In the chaos, Alan is able to shelter Catherine as Bruce watches over them. This scene is, in many ways, a Back to the Future moment where Bruce essentially introduces his great-great-grandparents! Catherine uses the secret Miagani whistle code to open the casket. Bruce takes Mordecai/Jack Valor’s diary, but is immediately shot by Hex and falls into the river just as a solar eclipse sends him to roughly 1971, the time period shortly after the murder of his parents. Shortly after the disappearance of the masked “bat-rider,” Alan will build Wayne Manor in a grand macabre style to honor the dark hero that helped him. This fantastic architectural blueprint will include bat symbol-shaped layouts and hidden catacombs that will house and protect the casket for decades to come. Thus, Bruce literally alters the architecture of Wayne Manor from the past!
DC 2000 #1-2. From 2004, T.O. Morrow travels back to 1941 in order to spread modern technology across the globe way before its time. The JLA travels back to 1941 and teams-up with the Golden Age JSA to stop Morrow. When the JLA returns back to 2004 after a successful mission, the JSA in 1941 will have no memories of this event. NOTE: This story is only called DC 2000 because it was published in 2000—it does correctly emanate from 2004.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4-5. 2010 Bruce, still a “living weapon” accumulating Omega energy (thanks to the Hyper-Adapter) as he time-travels, jumps from the late 1800s to approximately 1971 aka shortly after the death of Bruce’s parents (although writer Grant Morrison reveals that Gotham was undergoing a serious 20s/30s/40s retro phase at the time). An amnesiac Bruce awakens in the hospital where Marsha Lamarr, who claims to be Martha Wayne’s “best friend,” recruits Bruce, thinking him to simply be an amnesiac John Doe, to play the role of the deceased Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s father) in a ruse that will supposedly flush out the Wayne killer. Bruce is told that he will don Thomas’ old masquerade bat-costume and is to appear at an underworld meeting at Wayne Cemetery, and all will fall into place. A confused Bruce has no choice but to participate. A nurse gives him a 30s style suit and returns his only possession: the Mordecai/Jack Valor diary. Bruce reads the diary and realizes that the Mordecai parts are in his own handwriting. Marsha and Bruce then visit Elizabeth “Betsy” Kane and Roderick Kane (Bruce’s grandmother and grandfather), with Bruce posing as a private-eye. Betsy, who has no love for the Waynes, makes wild claims that Thomas is still alive and is responsible for the execution of her daughter. Betsy also says accuses Thomas of drug-abuse, rape, and devil-worship. Roderick tries to moan out Simon Hurt’s name, but is physically incapable of doing so, since he’s been permanently injured by Hurt and confined to an iron lung. At Wayne Manor—young Bruce and Alfred are away on a trip—Bruce thinks something is fishy as he puts on the bat-costume, but Marsha distracts him with a kiss. Black Glove members assemble to perform an occult ritual. Simon Hurt, John Mayhew, Carter Nichols, Commissioner Loeb (!), and Mayor Jessup are all in attendance. Bruce emerges from the shadows only to be clubbed by Marsha, who reveals herself as a Black Glove member. Hurt plans to use an invention of Nichols to open a hole in time in order to summon Barbatos. The Black Glove selected the amnesic Bruce as the perfect sacrifice for the ritual since his identity was unknown and nobody would miss him. The ritual also serves a double purpose as Mayhew films the proceedings with Marsha dressed-up and wearing a wig to look like Martha Wayne and Bruce playing the role of his masked father, in what will be used as false documentary evidence to smear the Waynes. After dousing Bruce with gasoline, the villains set him ablaze! However, before things get even more out-of-hand, Nichols turns his back on the Black Glove and refuses to open the time portal. A burning Bruce uses this momentary delay to snatch the device from Nichols’ hands. Bruce activates the machine and teleports to the Vanishing Point, a mere hour before the total destruction of the universe and the literal “End of Time” (somewhere around the year 100 billion).