Modern Salad Days

by Martin Lel

Special thanks to Chris J. Miller, ratcreature, Axerockstar (on the ComicVine forums), and Collin Colsher.[1]



Bruce Wayne is born to Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne. (See Collin Colsher’s article “How Old is Bruce Wayne?” for details as to why Bruce’s birth year is 1963.)



–FLASHBACK: From Batman #0, Christmas with the Super-Heroes #2, and Secret Origins of the World’s Greatest Heroes—originally told via flashback from The Dark Knight Returns #1, which is technically only canon in the Frank Miller-verse. Four-year-old Bruce falls through the earth in his garden, finding himself within a gigantic cave. This is the first time he sees what will become the Batcave.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #0. Butler Alfred Pennyworth joins the Wayne family.

–The Batman Chronicles #5
Alfred has only been working as the Waynes’ butler for a few weeks, but he decides to resign, feeling he’s only working because he made a promise to his father on his deathbed. Bruce returns home with a black eye, but won’t say how he got it. His father sends him to his room without supper. Then Alfred sneaks in to bring him some food anyway, and also gives him a pulp magazine featuring Zorro. At school Bruce steps in again when another kid is bullied, but this time he lures the bully into a trap he prepared, so that a bucket of molasses falls on him, and the bully is humiliated. At home Bruce tells Alfred about it, and also asks Alfred to stay, and Alfred changes his mind. When Martha Wayne discovers the Zorro magazine (something they forbade Bruce to have, thinking it “corrupts the growing mind”) Alfred takes the blame.

–REFERENCE: In Superman/Batman #50. Suffering due to not embracing the corruption of Gotham, the Wayne family business, Wayne Enterprises, almost goes bankrupt until Thomas Wayne finds a Kryptonian probe sent to Earth by Jor-El (Kal-El’s father). After chatting with Jor-El via astral projection and then scavenging the probe’s technology, the company flourishes. Thomas buries the alien probe deep in the Batcave so that no one will ever find it in the future.

–REFERENCE: In Superman #701. Reading a Crimson Avenger comic, Bruce first hears about the mystical Himalayan city of Nanda Parbat.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #673. Five-year-old Bruce plays with the family’s well, attracting the attention of several bats that make him aware of his own mortality for the first time.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Gotham Knights #7. Family doctor Leslie Thompkins visits the Waynes to look after Bruce, who has pneumonia. At Wayne Manor, Leslie meets Alfred.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #3. Halloween. Bruce laments not being able to go trick-or-treating with his father because the latter has to work late.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #609 and Batman #615. Being the only kid not intimidated by the Wayne fortune, Tommy Elliot approaches Bruce in school and befriends him. They bond over their shared interest of chess and play hide-and-seek around a graveyard.



–FLASHBACK: From Batman: The Dark Knight #1. Bruce meets friends of the family, the Goldens: Aleister Golden and young daughter Dawn Golden. Dawn acts quite coldly at first, not giving Bruce any attention. During the summer, Bruce’s parents fly abroad, a separation that leaves Bruce heartbroken but also makes him more prepared for their upcoming deaths. When they come back, they gift him a kite, but Dawn loses it. Fighting over this, the kids manage to bond.



–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #79. Bruce receives the last gift he will get from his parents, a wooden train.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #595—originally told in Detective Comics #235. A few months before the death of the Waynes, Thomas attends a costume party dressed like Zorro. Thomas briefly leaves the party to help save the life of Lew Moxon‘s nephew, who has a bullet wound from an attempted robbery. Thomas saves the man’s life but refuses to take any hush money, angering Lew Moxon. Back at the party, Bruce, impressed by the Zorro costume, asks his dad to take him to see a Zorro movie next time it plays.[2]

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #611. On a visit to Metropolis, Bruce Wayne and Tommy are entranced by a glimpse of Green Lantern (Alan Scott) battling The Icicle.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #610 and Batman #619—and referenced in Detective Comics #846. Hating his parents, Roger Elliot and Marla Elliot, Tommy severs the brake line of their car, causing a car accident that kills his father and injures his mother. Detective Comics #846 reveals Tommy is ten when he does this, making him two years older than Bruce.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #846 and Batman #613. Tommy shows Bruce a jade pendant his mother gifted him. When Bruce steals it, Tommy loses control and punches Bruce until he can get the pendant back, as shown in Batman #613. This item must take place after the car accident, because Tommy’s mother gives the pendant to him when she is recovering from the crash, in Detective Comics #846.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective comics #847. Summer. While at a summer camp with Bruce, Tommy attacks a boy and ends up in a psychiatric ward. Tommy blames Bruce and his mother for his outburst. He is soon released by an intern named Jonathan Crane.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #591-592—and referenced in Batman #591-592. Summer. While staying at the Du Lac Resort in France, eight-year-old Bruce meets Mallory Moxon, befriending her. She gives him his first kiss. Mallory’s father Lew Moxon argues with Thomas Wayne about their previous encounter.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of The Dark Knight #7-9. September to late November. Bruce is sent to an upstate private school, a breeding ground for scandals involving perverted teachers and bully prefects. He makes a friend, Robert, until he promptly disappears, presumably having been killed by the school’s headmaster, Manfred Winchester (aka “Mr. Whisper”). Scared, Bruce asks to leave the school the 24th of November, and his father arrives the following day. After talking to the headmaster, Thomas figures out that Mr. Winchester has killed several children and plans to expose him, but a tragedy happening the following day prevents him from doing so.

–FLASHBACK: From “The Batman: Who He is, and How He Came to Be” (Batman #608 Prologue)—and also referenced in Batman: Death and the Maidens #1, Nightwing #153, Batman #591, and Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One.” Autumn—November 25. After watching The Mark of Zorro, Bruce Wayne witnesses the death of his parents at the hands of Joe Chill. The date and Bruce’s age are stated in the Silver Age Superboy #182 (1972) and Silver/Bronze Age Detective Comics #500 (1981). The season (and, therefore, the date) is confirmed for the Modern Age in Death and the Maidens #1 and Nightwing #153.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #13. Officer James Gordon of the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) arrives to the murder scene, where he takes care of Bruce. Leslie Thompkins is there too. Note that Jim Gordon will move to Chicago shortly after this.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #0, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #0, and Detective Comics #791. Bruce attends and assists his parents’ funeral. Despite having met on a couple occasions before, Leslie Thompkins reintroduces herself. She, along with Alfred, will take care of Bruce. After the funeral, Bruce makes a solemn vow that he will devote himself to fighting crime. When he learns from Leslie that the state intends to assume custody of him, Bruce forges several documents that allow him to stay in at Wayne Manor in the custody of Alfred and Leslie. A reference in Detective Comics #793 also mentions that Leslie will be a caregiver to Bruce now that his parents are gone—although, Leslie won’t stay at Wayne Manor and will briefly move to Africa in a few years, making Alfred the primary caregiver. As referenced in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5, Bruce’s grandparents on the Kane side of the family (Elizabeth “Betsy” Kane and Roderick Kane) are alive and at the funeral, but they have been estranged from the Wayne side of the family for some time, hence their lack of involvement in rearing the orphaned child.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #591. Traumatized by his parent’s deaths, Bruce has constant nightmares. Alfred calms him by telling him there are no criminals out when it’s raining because nobody likes the rain. The date is not shown, but this placement seems appropriate. Alfred will often use this rain story to calm young Bruce, moving forward.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #791. Leslie and Alfred discuss the recent Wayne family tragedy. Leslie admits that Bruce’s cold stare frightens her, while Bruce overhears.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5 and Superman/Batman Secret Files. Alfred takes Bruce on a several-month-long trip to California shortly after his parents’ deaths. (An acquaintance of Bruce’s mother, Marsha Lamarr, says they’ve gone “to Hawaii or something,” but Superman/Batman Secret Files confirms the destination.)

–Superman/Batman Secret Files
While Clark Kent and Pete Ross play baseball, Bruce and Alfred visit Smallville in the middle of their California road trip. Surprised at seeing such an expensive car, Clark and Pete consider asking Bruce to join their game, but they decide against it.

–Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4-5
An amnesiac adult Bruce from 2010, trapped in time and now a “living weapon” (thanks to a Hyper-Adapter trap set by Darkseid), time-jumps from the late 1800s to approximately 1971 aka shortly after the death of Bruce’s parents (although writer Grant Morrison reveals that Gotham is undergoing a serious 20s/30s/40s retro phase right now). Bruce awakens in the hospital where Marsha Lamarr recruits Bruce, mistaking him for a 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 nurse gives him a 30s style suit and returns his only possession: a diary. Marsha and Bruce then visit 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 their California 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. Dr. Simon Hurt, John Mayhew, Professor Carter Nichols, Commissioner Gillian 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 the evil god 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; 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).



–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #833. On Bruce Wayne’s first birthday after his parents’ deaths, Zatara the Magician (Giovanni “John” Zatara) performs at the party. He worked with the Waynes on many children’s charities, so when he became a father himself he was more than willing to help children in need like Bruce. Bruce meets and befriends his young daughter Zatanna Zatara. Zatanna and Bruce will hang out from time to time and become very close.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #1 (Batman: Black & White). Bruce takes apart a calculator in order to learn how it works.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #592. Summer. The summer following the Wayne deaths, Bruce is forced to attend the Du Lac Resort again, where he sees Mallory Moxon again. She tries to cheer him up throughout the rest of the summer, to no avail.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Gotham Knights #7. Leslie visits Bruce and checks him for a fever.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #792. Leslie leaves for Africa to dedicate herself to her clinic full-time. Bruce attempts to change her mind, but she knows Gotham will be taken care of as long as Bruce is there.



–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #792. Bruce picks up several fighting styles, teaching himself self-defense, boxing, martial arts.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #792. Summer. The summer before his 12th birthday, Bruce travels to Africa to visit Leslie. Her clinic is attacked by the military, and Bruce attempts to stop them, but he’s too inexperienced. In the end, Alfred saves the day, and Leslie returns to Gotham within a year.



–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins of the World’s Greatest Heroes, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #0, Batman: Gotham Knights #7, the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #1 (Batman: Black & White), and Batman #433-435. At age 14, Bruce forges documents allowing him to leave the country and begin his global quest to become Batman. He goes through several colleges, like Cambridge University, the Sorbonne in Paris, the Berlin School of Science, and a dozen other places. Meanwhile, he seeks private tutoring from the continent’s greatest experts in such subjects as gymnastics (with Peter Allison), toxicology (with Aurelius Boch), chemistry (with Kingsley and Webber), and electronics (with Campbell). (Bruce’s education can be seen in Secret Origins of the World’s Greatest Heroes, Shadow of the Bat #0, and Batman: Gotham Knights #7, while his alternative teachers can be seen in Batman #433-435. The second feature to Gotham Knights #1 also shows Bruce training in trapeze as part of his gymnastics course.)

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Dark Knight #1. While in college, Bruce dates and gets his heart broken by Dawn Golden.

–REFERENCE: In Two-Face: Year One #1-2. Bruce befriends Harvey Dent.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #734 and Batman #605. It is likely also during this period that Bruce trains in combat under David Cain—whom he leaves after discovering that Cain wants him to become a killer.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #734, Detective Comics #827, Justice League: Black Baptism #2. Bruce is trained in ventriloquism and escape artistry under Zatara the Magician. Zatara also teaches Bruce about the occult.



–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #5. At age 18, Bruce earns a pilot’s license.



–REFERENCE: Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #5 A year after obtaining his pilot’s license, Bruce gets qualified on jets.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #1 (Batman: Black & White). Bruce studies in the morgue and learns how to perform autopsies and coroner analysis related to different types of wounds.

–FLASHBACK: From“The Batman: Who He is, and How He Came to Be” (Batman #608 Prologue). Bruce, being quite autodidactic, begins studying chemistry on his own. He also hits the gym as often as possible.



–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins of the World’s Greatest Heroes and Batman: Shadow of the Bat #0. At age 20, Bruce visits New York City and tries to join the FBI. He scores perfectly on every test except gun holding, so he gets a desk job. Unsatisfied, Bruce quits after six weeks and heads East.

–FLASHBACK: From Two-Face: Year One #1-2. Bruce appears briefly in Gotham to see Harvey Dent as he’s finishing law school.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #589. Bruce learns under FBI agent Arthur McKee about the importance of maintaining a criminal alias.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins of the World’s Greatest Heroes and Batman #431. After heading East, Bruce first stops in Korea where he visits the Paektu-San Mountains to train with master Kirigi for nearly a year, learning karate. Bruce doesn’t know Kirigi is also a trainer for Ra’s Al Ghul‘s League of Assassins.



–REFERENCE: In Batman: Shadow of the Bat #0. Bruce’s training continues as he learns the following: Savate from a convicted killer living as a beach bum on an island off Borneo; Judo and Ju-Jitsu after spending six months in a Japanese hermitage; hunting and tracking in Africa with unnamed bushmen; how to employ psychology and how to use the shadows by ninjas in an unknown Asian locale; and knife-handling with an unknown teacher. (Scott Beatty’s quasi-canonical Batman: The Ultimate Guide also lists Bruce learning healing arts from monks, how to use bolas from cattlemen, and how to use blowpipes from Yanomami Hunters.)

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #599 and Detective Comics Annual #3. Bruce trains with martial arts expert Chu Chin Li and with yakuza Tsunetomo.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #600 and Secret Origins of the World’s Greatest Heroes. Batman is trained in tracking by Henri Ducard, in France, but he leaves him when he decides Ducard is too amoral.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #3. Bruce meets Lucius Fox in France, saving him from some muggers and then having dinner with him.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #435. Bruce Wayne begins a roundabout journey back to the Far East, along the way learning esoteric arts in India from Shastri, a snake handler.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Confidential #50-54. Bruce trains in China, where he follows the trail of a serial killer named Huairen. Huairen actually manages to kill Bruce, but he’s resurrected by a metahuman named Ri. Bruce joins Ri’s movement to take down Huairen, a team called The Zhuguan (the Chinese version of the Justice League, which pre-dates the existence of the JLA), and drinks from a magickal elixir which grants him temporary super-powers. Calling himself “Hei An Wushuh” (aka “The Dark Knight”), having gained the power to become invisible in the dark, Bruce and the Zhuguan take down Huairen. Bruce learns the usefulness of fighting in a team and of using throwing weapons similar to the Batarangs he will use later. However, when he learns metapower elixir is made out of opium and creates an addiction, Bruce decides to quit and continue his path alone.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #663. Bruce learns with the Lamas of Nanda Parbat

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #52-53. Bruce learns Taoism under the Chinese monk Shao-La, in the Tangula Shan Mountains, near the border of China and Tibet.

–FLASHBACK: From Richard Dragon #7—and also referenced in Richard Dragon #3. Batman trains with kung fu master Richard Dragon.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Annual #2. Bruce, back in the States, has a brief apprenticeship under detective Harvey Harris, an old acquaintance of Chu Chin Li. Bruce’s training with Harris is cut short when Harris is killed by the KKK.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #435. Bruce seeks out and trains with additional tutors in a wide range of disciplines. He studies with experts in fields as diverse as car racing (with Mark Jenner), explosives (with Frederick Stone), archery (with Raphael DiGiorda) and bodybuilding (with LaSalle).

–REFERENCE: In All-Star Comics 80-Page Giant and Robin Vol. 2 #31. Bruce learns boxing from Wildcat (Ted Grant).

–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #29 (Batman: Black & White). Bruce learns escapism from Max Dodge.

–FLASHBACK: From The Batman Chronicles #6, Part 2. Bruce learns detective work from Dan Mallory.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #1 (Batman: Black & White). Bruce learns secret fighting techniques, specifically how to kick through tree trunks, from an unknown master martial artist.

–REFERENCE: In 52 #30, Batman #673, and Superman #710. Bruce trains in North Africa with The Ten-Eyed Tribes of the Empty Quarter (aka “The Ghost Tribes of The Ten-Eyed Brotherhood”). He learns how to defeat his inner demons, but it almost costs him his life. Superman #710. tells us this training takes three months, whereas Batman #673 tells us this training takes six months. Split the difference and say four-and-a-half months?

–REFERENCE: In Superman #710. In Bruce learns with the Rhana Bhutra of Bhutran. When the Bhutra dies, his daughter asks help to Bruce and to reporter Clark Kent to help her face the army of Vandal Savage. In this adventure, Bruce first uses bats as a psychological weapon. He also sees the advantages of working with a partner.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins of the World’s Greatest Heroes and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1. Bruce realizes that he has trained with every great master but one: bounty hunter Willy Doggett. He finds him in North Alaska, where he learns manhunting and survival techniques. While tracking the killer Thomas Woodley, Willy is murdered and Bruce gets lost in the mountains. He is saved by an Alaskan Native tribe, remaining with them in recovery through the final days of December 1988. Bruce decides that, when he is healthy enough to travel, he will finally go back to Gotham to put his training to practice.




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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Some very important rules before we get going on the amazing and detailed Modern Age Salad Days section compiled by Martin Lel. Flashbacks are included in a specific way. If a flashback is first revealed—let’s say in Bat Year 15, hypothetically—the flashback may or may not be mentioned in Bat Year 15, but the actual events that occur in said flashback will be placed one the timeline exactly when they originally occurred through bullets listed as “flashback.”  Similarly, story references will be listed as unnumbered bullet “references.” Therefore, any “references” or “flashbacks” occur chronologically at the spot where they are situated on the timeline. Any character names (or group names) highlighted in red denote the first appearance of a reoccurring character (or group). Some of these red items may appear only once in the Bat-verse, but appear elsewhere throughout the DCU, which is why they have been highlighted as well.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: In the Golden Age and Silver Age, when Bruce is a little boy, Thomas Wayne wears a bat-costume to a masquerade that bullet-riddled gangster Lew Moxon crashes. Bruce’s father expertly saves Moxon’s life, but immediately sells him out to the cops, an act that leads to the hiring of Joe Chill. You know the rest of that story. However, the Modern Age is a bit more complicated. In the Modern Age, Thomas wears the bat-costume at a masquerade prior to Bruce’s birth. At this masquerade, Thomas punches-out a jerky Colonel Brass. It is not until a later masquerade—which young Bruce is present for—where Thomas deals with Lew Moxon. At the second masquerade, Thomas wears a Zorro costume and saves the life of Lew Moxon’s nephew. After refusing to accept hush money, Moxon makes a threat to hire a hitman, but it never winds up happening. In the New 52, continuity returns to Bruce being present at the party where Thomas wears the bat-costume and saves Moxon’s life. However, New 52 canon gets rid of the Joe Chill hiring.

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