–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 2 #29. The JLA defeats Starbreaker and stops him from plunging the Earth into the sun. This is one of the earliest times we see Ollie with what will become his signature goatee.
–FLASHBACK: From Unlimited Access #2. Access (the temporary “cosmic monitor” of both Universe-0 and Universe-616 aka the Marvel Multiverse’s primary universe) accidentally time-travels from Bat Year 15 to right now while attempting to correct an omniversial spacetime anomaly. Access and his companion Daredevil (!) briefly meet Batman before vanishing back into the timestream. The Dark Knight’s memory of this event quickly fades away.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated #3—originally told in Batman #56 (1949). Batman and Robin save the President of Mantegua from an assassination attempt, while he is on a tour of Gotham. The grateful Prez of the tiny Latin American republic tells them of the horrible crime problems in his nation and begs the heroes to help out. Batman and Robin not only visit, but offer to train Mantegua’s first ever hometown superhero, the “Bat-Hombre.” Unfortunately, the Bat-Hombre is a double-agent working for criminal mastermind El Papagayo (translated as “The Parrot”). Eventually, the Dynamic Duo outs the Bat-Hombre and brings Papagayo to justice.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682 and Batman Incorporated #4. Batman and Bat-Woman have their penultimate “extraplanetary adventure” which includes a drug-induced hallucination of an evil alien named Karn and an alternate dimension complete with dragon-monsters and winged bird-people. This psychotropic gassing is orchestrated by the criminal organization Spyral (for whom Bat-Woman is secretly employed). In an intense panic induced by the drugs, Batman and Bat-Woman kiss passionately. Afterward, Kathy meets with the head of her intelligence organization, who not only chastises her for failing to learn Batman’s secret ID, but gives her shit for sleeping with and getting engaged to a man who she doesn’t even know. The head of Spyral reveals his own true identity: the Nazi war criminal Doctor Dedalus. Dedalus also shockingly reveals that he is Kathy’s biological father!
–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated #4—originally told in Batman #162. Batman is transformed into a rampaging King Kong-like “Bat-creature” by some crooks using a bizarre transmogrifying laser. Robin reluctantly teams-up with Bat-Woman to stop the bad guys and revert Bruce back to normal.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4. Shortly after the adventure of the “Bat-creature,” Kathy Kane, ashamed of her secret ties to Spyral and Doctor Dedalus, breaks-up with Bruce. She teaches him the “tango del muerte” and they part ways for good. Bruce is devastated.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682 and Batman Incorporated #4. Bruce, after having his heart broken by Kathy, goes into a deep depression.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #673-674—and also referenced in The Outsiders #22. Originally told in Batman #134. Batman deals with the case of the “Rainbow Creature” around this time, a monster made entirely out of light. Part of this adventure is merely hallucinated, directly linked to drugs running rampant in his system courtesy of the Spyral organization and Dr. Achilles Milo. However, the Rainbow Creature definitely is a real being that gets documented in news reports and scientific journals (as specifically referenced in The Outsiders #22).
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #673-674. Dr. Simon Hurt implants post-hypnotic suggestions into Batman’s psyche while he’s undergoing ten days’ worth of sensory deprivation tests on behalf of a joint venture between the US military and the GCPD. (SPOILER ALERT: Dr. Hurt is actually Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s great great great great great uncle born in the 1700s, endowed with quasi-immortality due to an encounter with a Hyper-Adapter. If you are totally confused by this, don’t worry. This is a complicated story that we really won’t have to deal with until much later.) Moving on, during these sensory deprivation tests, Hurt is able to psychoanalyze Batman and literally hear in detail about all of the Dark Knight’s drugged-out hallucinations, new and old. Using dialogue specific to one of Batman’s recent hallucinations, Dr. Hurt implants the trigger word “Zur-En-Arrh” into Batman’s brain. Once this word is uttered, Bruce will “shutdown” and lose all memory of having ever been a crime-fighter. (In any case, we won’t hear the word “Zur-En-Arrh” for fifteen years, but when we do… Oh, boy). Anyway, after ten days of sleep-deprivation in an isolation chamber, Batman temporarily believes Robin has died as a result of an alien encounter on Mars (another vivid hallucination). Afterward, Batman has sporadic blackouts for two weeks and even considers retiring. During this two week period, Dr. Hurt begins training his three replacement Batmen; Josef Muller, Michael Lane, and Branca. (Several GCPD officers are selected as candidates for Hurt’s Batmen Program group, including Officer Pete Farelli, but only Muller, Lane, and Branca are chosen by Hurt in the end. The rest of the Batmen Program group—i.e. Farelli and the other few cops that failed to make the cut—will form a small fraternity tasked with protecting the secrets of Dr. Hurt’s replacement Batman program, a job they will successfully do in secret for years to come.) Dr. Hurt will spend the next eight years secretly studying the psychology of Batman, while training his own trio of Batmen. Meanwhile, Batman forgets ever meeting Hurt thanks to hypnosis. Through Grant Morrison’s masterful back-engineering, we can view many of the “hallucinogenic” experiences Batman goes through during this time period by reading old issues of Golden Age Batman, like Batman #113 and Batman #156. Morrison, writing in the vein of historicism, also reveals that many of Batman’s adventures around this time were clouded by a drug-induced haze due to the after-affects of toxic gas poisoning from villains like the Joker, Scarecrow, the Spyral organization, Dr. Milo, and others.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1, Part 6—and also referenced in the same Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1, Part 6 story. A very young Nick Pierce watches Batman and Robin get captured at the hands of the Riddler at the Gotham Museum. Batman and Robin eventually escape and apprehend Riddler across town later in the day. Inspired by the dashing confidence and style of the Riddler, Nick will become the super-villain known as The Falcon when he grows up.
–REFERENCE: In DC One Million 80-Page Giant #1. A spacetime anomaly occurs where JLA members from various times and universes are sucked from their home locations and times and randomly appear in the Justice Legion-A‘s HQ on Jupiter sometime in the 85,270s (853rd century). Batman, along with many others, gets sucked into the future. During a huge battle royale featuring amazing alternate universe characters from all over, including various Batmen from various times and alternate universes, the 27th and 853rd century Flash (John Fox) runs on the Cosmic Treadmill to return everyone to their correct universes and times. The parties involved in this brief event won’t even be able to comprehend what has just occurred.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #37. March. Batman’s training of Mercy Stone has continued for over five months now. While Batman has been routinely beating on bad guys, Mercy has been fighting in illegal pit fighting matches and has quickly become an underground sensation. Unfortunately, Mercy winds up killing an opponent in the ring. Ashamed and upset, Mercy goes off the radar. It is also around this time that Batman begins an investigation into the criminal empire of gangster Jimmy Gluck.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #75. While on patrol, Robin exclaims his undying love and devotion for crime-fighting and tells Batman that they will be a team “forever.”
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #37. Batman busts Jimmy Gluck and sees Mercy Stone fighting against the Cossack in a closed-circuit pit fight broadcast. Batman rushes to the fight to witness the Cossack pummeling Mercy. Interjecting himself into the bout, Batman gets beaten as well. Mocking the Dark Knight, the Cossack murders Mercy. Angered, Batman hulks-up and defeats his opponent.
–REFERENCE: In Teen Titans Year One #1 and many other issues. This is a very important note! Batman tailors and adopts his yellow-oval costume—you know, the one with the yellow oval around the bat symbol on his chest. The yellow contrasts with the rest of his dark costume making it a perfect target for gunmen to aim at. Therefore, the yellow target lessens the chance that Batman will take gunfire to the face or arms and that is fine with him since he is wearing several inches worth of bulletproof Kevlar and armored-plating under that target.
–FLASHBACK: From Aquaman Vol. 2 #4—originally told in Aquaman #18. Aquaman marries Mera. The Justice League of America, Robin, and Aqualad attend the ceremony in Atlantis.
–REFERENCE: In Saga of the Swamp Thing #44—originally told in Doom Patrol #104. Wedding season continues as the Justice League of America are guests of honor at the Doom Patrol-hosted wedding of Elasti-Girl and Mento.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. Batman punches out some thugs while Robin saves a pretty lady.
–REFERENCE: In Teen Titans Spotlight #14. Batman and Robin pose for an action photograph (presumably snapped by Alfred).
88A. Teen Titans Year One #1-3 by Amy Wolfram/Karl Kerschl (March 2008 to May 2008)
A 14-year-old Robin has already met and befriended Kid Flash (Wally West), Aqualad, and Speedy (the other JLA sidekicks). When a cosmic entity known as The Antithesis takes over the minds of the JLA, the youngsters, along with debuting Wonder Girl (Donna Troy), take charge and save them! Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #2 contains a flashback that shows the Titans fighting their Antithesis-possessed mentors, although Batman is depicted wearing the wrong costume. They band together and form the Teen Titans, with Robin as their leader. Batman, however, doesn’t approve, which causes Dick to move out (and into a crummy cave hideout with the other sidekicks). Teen Titans Year One is a re-working of the Titans’ origin battle versus the Antithesis as seen via flashback in Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3. Obviously, the new version replaces the old. It’s also worth noting that the first half of Teen Titans Year One makes reference to the JLA’s Happy Harbor HQ as no longer being used, however, the Happy Harbor cave won’t be abandoned until summer.
–FLASHBACK: From Flash Vol. 2 #210. Wally’s first nervous meeting with Batman happens when Dick gets caught sneaking him into the Batcave. Batman should be wearing his yellow-insignia costume in this flashback, but he isn’t. Note that Wally met Batman once before, but the Dark Knight had been possessed by the Antithesis at the time.
–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Birds of Prey #127. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl take down some random Gotham hoods.
–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #600. Batman takes down some random gun-toting gangsters in this single-panel image.
–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. Late March. Robin learns that Haly’s Circus ringmaster Stan Rutledge also had a hand in the murder of his parents along with Tony Zucco, Edward Skeevers, et al. Robin confronts Rutledge at the circus. Panicked, Rutledge tries to run but gets mauled to death by tigers. Robin returns to the Batcave to report what has happened to Batman, expecting his wrath. However, Batman simply makes sure his Boy Wonder is okay.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #5. Late March. This issue, the entirety of which is a flashback, states incorrectly that it is “six years” prior to B&S:WF #10, Part 1, which takes place in Year 15. The editorial note should say “seven years ago” instead. Here’s the synopsis. Batman and Superman team-up with Batgirl and the new Thorn (Rhosyn Forrest) against the criminal organization known as The 100. Batgirl meets Superman for the first time. Jim Gordon also meets Superman for the first time as acting commissioner. Afterward, Superman gives his approval of Batgirl to the Dark Knight.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Annual #2. Dick and Babs go on a secret diner date for burgers and shakes while Batman is away on unspecified JLA business in outer space. Their date has to be kept on the down-low because Robin and Batgirl are supposed to be diligently patrolling the city while Batman is away. This flashback incorrectly says that both Dick and Babs are 16-years-old. However, Babs is nearly four years older than Dick—he’s 14 (turning 15 this summer) and she’s 18 (going on 19 this summer). Their date is interrupted by a police call involving Crazy Quilt. Batgirl and Robin go after Crazy Quilt, but the villain traps them in a safe. Batman returns from space, apprehends Crazy Quilt, and saves the teenage heroes. Oh, and Robin gets a boner. Seriously.
88B. Teen Titans Year One #4-6 by Amy Wolfram/Karl Kerschl (June 2008 to August 2008)
The Teen Titans have their first ever live televised interview, but a bummed-out Robin can’t attend because Batman orders him not to. A few days later, Batman discovers the Teen Titans’ rundown hideout and pays it a visit to criticize. A few days after that, the Antithesis rears its ugly head again and tries to control the Titans, but they fight off his influence. Later, Batman contacts Robin and tells him to move back home, finally supporting his sidekick’s new team.
–FLASHBACK: From Deadshot #1—originally told in Batman #59. Deadshot (Floyd Lawton) makes his debut as a tuxedo-wearing, domino-masked crime-fighter, but he is eventually exposed as the criminal fraud he really is by Batman.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #832—originally told in Detective Comics #253 (1958). Batman and Robin apprehend the thrill-seeking Terrible Trio, which consists of The Shark (Sherman Shackley), The Vulture (Gunther Volper), and The Fox (Warren Fisk). Note that the Terrible Trio is also referenced in the Brian Bolland story entitled “An Innocent Guy,” which was originally printed as a Batman: Black & White second feature.
–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47. Batman and Robin fight Riddler at the Gotham Museum. Riddler employs an army of henchmen for this heist, all dressed up in Riddler costumes.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Shadow of the Bat #34. Batman and Robin foil a robbery attempt by a yet-again-escaped Joker and his henchmen.
89. Catwoman: Defiant by Peter Milligan/Tom Grindberg (1992)
This is a weird one. The crime-boss known as Mr. Handsome is madly in love with Catwoman, so much so that he sends his goons to kidnap her. Even with Batman’s protection, Selina is nabbed, chained, and thrown in an abandoned mineshaft which contains a sci-fi cannibalistic ogre creature. Mr. Handsome’s botched plastic-surgery-faced wife, Mary, shows up out of nowhere and saves Selina, but Mary seemingly falls to her death in the mine. Selina rushes into Mr. Handsome’s chamber to kick some ass, but what a twist (!); Mr. Handsome is Mary! Batman shows up on the scene and helps Catwoman, who nonchalantly points him into the mineshaft (without informing him about the ogre). Our story ends with Batman in an arm-sling, smiling, and shaking his head. Oh, Catwoman. Oh, you.
–FLASHBACK: From Birds of Prey #100, the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47, and Detective Comics #600. In a single-panel of Birds of Prey #100, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl swing into action. Since we don’t see where they are headed, we can assume that they are going to battle an escaped Riddler, who terrorizes Gotham with a blimp (as seen in the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47). And since we are lumping flashbacks together, why not include the defeated Riddler, all tied-up and strung-up by Batman, as seen in a single-panel in Detective Comics #600.
90. “No Escape” by Paul Kupperberg/John Watkiss (Batman: Gotham Knights #29/Batman: Black & White) July 2002
The Riddler forces escape artist extraordinaire Max Dodge (who coincidentally trained Bruce in the art of escapism) to ensnare Batman into an inescapable death trap. Batman is able to escape, but Max dies after getting shot by one of Riddler’s henchmen.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #58—originally told in The Brave & The Bold #115. This is a wild one, but it’s canon. Batman tracks down a kidnapped girl to the secret HQ of criminal Buggsy Cathcart. But Buggsy is prepared and has the place wired, so when the Dark Knight tries to break into the building he gets a lethal jolt of electricity. Batman drops like a leaf and Buggsy and his thugs quickly dump his body. Minutes later, Batman is discovered by Gordon’s men (thankfully) and rushed to the hospital where they learn he is brain dead! Enter the Atom, who shrinks down, enters Bruce’s brain and is able to re-animate him enough to control his lifeless body. Like a puppeteer living inside Bruce’s brain, the Atom marches the zombie Batman back to Buggsy’s hideout, saves the girl, and returns him to the hospital. The Atom is then able to work his mojo inside Bruce’s brain and actually revives him! That’s right; Bruce was clinically brain dead for at least half an hour, but somehow Atom zombifies him and then revives him! Awesome.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #713. Batman and Robin foil the robbery plans of the Riddler yet again. The Dynamic Duo meets Henry McNulty, one of Riddler’s henchmen whose son will follow in his criminal footsteps years down the road.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #62. Batman and Robin defeat an escaped Joker at a soup factory.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League International #11. The JLA defeats The Construct.
–REFERENCE: In Action Comics #864 and several other issues—originally told in Justice League of America #148. A team-up between the JLA and JSA pits the heroes against the powerful evil wizard Mordru. During this confrontation, the JLA and JSA form a triple-team with the time-traveling superheroes from the 30th century; the Legion of Superheroes. (Superman has already met the Legion and even served as an official 30th century Legionnaire while adventuring during his youth as “Superboy”.)
–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #16. Early June. The Joker, posing as the head of an anti-metahuman advocacy group, tricks JLA mascot Snapper Carr to turn on the team and join his ranks. Snapper not only reveals the location of the JLA’s secret sanctuary in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island to Joker but also gives him the keys! Joker steals a bunch of weapons from the sanctuary trophy room and uses them against the JLA during a battle outside of Arkham Asylum. Joker is defeated and incarcerated by the JLA.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #33. Batman teaches Robin how to use guns, citing the need to respect and have expert knowledge of the weapon they hate the most.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #36. Batman and Robin detain a feisty Poison Ivy, who manages to make-out with the Dark Knight! Most of this great Neil Gaiman issue is bullshit canon-wise since it is narrated entirely by an exaggerating Poison Ivy, who is spinning a wild yarn for a reporter. However, we can assume the single-panel Batman kissing encounter is canon and went down relatively as such.
–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #8. Late June. Snapper Carr, having betrayed the JLA after being tricked by Joker a few weeks ago, sits dejectedly in the no-longer secret sanctuary in Happy Harbor. The JLA tells him it was an honest mistake, but Snapper decides to permanently leave his post as honorary member/mascot.
–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #16. Late June. With Snapper Carr gone, the JLA sits around and sulks. They miss the little guy!
–REFERENCE: In JLA Incarnations #3. Early July. High school student Ronnie Raymond and Nobel prize-winner Dr. Martin Stein, thanks to a freak nuclear accident, can fuse together to become the superhero Firestorm. Both Firestorm and Zatanna now join the JLA. NOTE: The seven issue JLA Incarnations series is canon except for the first two issues, which are both filled with a bevy of continuity errors.
91. “Like a Tombstone in the Sky” by John Ostrander/Val Semeiks (JLA Incarnations #3) September 2001
Early July. Since the JLA’s HQ in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island was compromised (thanks to Snapper Carr getting fooled by the Joker) a few weeks ago, the team moves its headquarters to an orbiting satellite in the Earth’s atmosphere. Shortly after the launch of the satellite, the JLA defeats the debuting global terrorist organization/apocalypse cult known as the Kobra Cult. The Kobra Cult is led by Jeffrey Franklin Burr, who goes by “Lord Naga-Naga,” but more commonly is known simply as “Kobra.” The JLA defeats a large group of cultists, but Burr escapes. Later, Green arrow does a TV interview and espouses some left wing rhetoric on behalf of the JLA, which puts the team in hot water with the UN. During a meeting aboard the new satellite (sans the Big Three), Hawkman and Green Arrow argue about politics and have to be separated before they come to blows. Enraged, Green Arrow quits the team! Lex Luthor then hires the Kobra Cult to attack the JLA satellite. Dozens of mini LexCorp spaceships strike at once and Kobra takes over the HQ, kidnapping Black Canary in the process. Green Arrow immediately rejoins the team to confront Lex. Batman and his JLA teammates visit Lex, who lies and says that Kobra stole his tech. The JLA mounts-up and then goes to war against Kobra in orbit, eventually defeating them and retaking their floating home-base. Green Arrow is badly injured and rushed to a hospital where he claims that he has once again quit the JLA. Of course, this isn’t true, since we’ll see him again soon fighting side-by-side with his pals.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #22. Batman helps Manhunter (Paul Kirk) defeat an army of Paul Kirk clones to seemingly shut down the vast criminal enterprise known as The Council, an organization that has existed clandestinely for hundreds of years. Of course, the Council isn’t shut down and will continue its dastardly ways, as we will see next year when Batman teams with Tom Tresser. Note that there is absolutely nothing in the comics that connects the Council from Secret Origins Vol. 2 #22 to the Council we will see in the following years. However, there is nothing to the contrary either. We can assume that there are multiple cells of the Council that operate all over the world. Even if the Council that Batman faces next year seems entirely different from this version of the Council, we can be rest assured that they are both a part of the same parent organization.
–FLASHBACK: From Blackest Night #0. In one of their rare calm moments of interaction aboard the JLA satellite HQ, Hal Jordan chats with Batman about how they both witnessed the deaths of their fathers. “No wonder we’re both screwed up,” says Hal, trying to start a friendly conversation with his rival. “Speak for yourself,” mutters a disdainful Bruce. Bruce and Hal have never gotten along, but this is the beginning of an even rockier relationship that the two will have for rest of their lives. Pure hate on the part of Bruce. Good stuff.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #683—originally told in Batman #255. The mad Dr. Achilles Milo turns famous Olympic athlete Anthony Lupus into a werewolf. Batman bests both Milo and his werewolf.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #477-478. Batman deals with the case of The Gargoyle now.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #683, Trinity #18—originally told in Batman #251. Batman deals with the Joker’s “five-way revenge” scheme. Joker kills off five of his former henchmen, including Charlie “Bigger” Melvin. Batman, during this ordeal, also tries to save a wheelchair-bound hostage (one of Joker’s other former henchmen) from a shark tank death trap.
–FLASHBACK: From Booster Gold Vol. 2 #5. Jim Gordon watches his daughter in action as she apprehends Scarecrow. Afterward, Batman chats with Jim.
–REFERENCE: In Robin Vol. 2 #13—originally told in Batman #12. Batman and Robin defeat the murderous Rafferty Brothers. Afterward, Bruce keeps one of their bullet-proof vests as a trophy and displays it in the cave.
92. “Snitch” by Robert Loren Fleming/David G. Klein (LOTDK #51) September 1993
Batman travels to New Orleans and teams-up (!) with the mysterious supernatural Ragman against hitman/vigilante Victor Singleton. This is the first time Batman works with Ragman, but it won’t be the last.
93. “Sanctum” by Dan Raspler/Mike Mignola (LOTDK # 54) November 1993
Beautiful Mignola art for this dark occult story. Batman chases a serial killer named Novice Lowther into a cemetery and they duke it out on top of a mausoleum. Lowther winds up stabbing Batman pretty badly in the chest. In the process the madman gets kicked off the roof, and is impaled on the spiked gate below. Batman passes out and meets the hundred-year-old ghost of a murderer who attempts to feed on his soul. The ghost also accuses Batman of murdering Lowther. Eventually, Batman is able to fend off the ghoul and wakes up covered in blood. Was it all just a fever-dream? We may never know. The story ends with Bruce feeling guilty about Lowther’s death, but re-affirming himself that the death was accidental.
94. “All the Deadly Days: Chapter One” by Dale Eaglesham (Batman 80-Page Giant #3, Part 1) July 2000
This is the opening chapter of the 80-Page Giant. The Calendar Man is loose and Batman and Robin take him and his cronies down with relative ease.
95. “Last Call at McSurley’s” by Mike W. Barr/Alan Davis (Batman: Gotham Knights #25/ Batman: Black & White) March 2002
Batman (in disguise) frequents a local dive bar called McSurley’s (run by the scummy McSurley) every night for a week and is able to gather valuable information that both stops crime and saves lives. When the bar is threatened with foreclosure, Bruce anonymously donates ten thousand dollars to its owner to keep it afloat.
–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Detective Comics #782. November 25. Batman places two fresh roses on Crime Alley on the anniversary of his parents’ deaths.
–FLASHBACK: From Blackest Night #0. Batman and Hal Jordan argue during a random JLA mission. Bruce and Hal have always HATED each other and continue to HATE each other. As we’ve said before, things are only gonna get worse between these two as the years dwindle on.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #700—originally told in Batman #113. Batman and Robin encounter the super-villain known as Falseface.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #700. Batman and Robin deal with the pop-crime antics of the super-villain team-up of Two-Face, Clayface II, Dr. No-Face, and Falseface.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #13—as originally told in Batman Special #1 (1984). Batman deals with the one-shot villain known as Wrath around this time.
–REFERENCE: Originally told in Detective Comics #437, I cannot recall which Modern Age issue contains the canonical reference to “The Case of Matuchima.” In this episode, several criminals don the Mask of Matuchima, the death god of the Xochipecs. The mask injects them with a drug giving them super-human fighting ability until their hearts burst. After the case is closed, Batman displays a giant replica of the mask in the trophy room of the cave.
–FLASHBACK: From JLA Classified #51 and JLA Classified #53-54. Batman and the JLA battle the evil “god” known as Titus. Titus transports the JLA to the Moon and proceeds to beats the team pretty savagely. Things are gong badly until the Greco-Roman gods intervene. Selene, Goddess of the Moon, interferes and helps the JLA achieve victory. Afterward, the team buries the corpse of Titus on the moon. In case there is any confusion surrounding the events and placement of this Titus battle, let me set the record straight. JLA Classified #50-54 takes place late in Bat Year 18. The flashback story that includes Batman (the one right here on our list) is told in JLA Classified #51, #53, and #54.
–REFERENCE: In Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2. Batman and Robin go on unspecified cases that net them two prizes for the Batcave trophy room: a giant stuffed gorilla and a small rocket.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #692—originally told in Batman #237 (1971). Dr. Gruener aka The Reaper, a crazed Jewish concentration camp survivor, dresses as the grim reaper and goes on a killing spree. After duking it out with Batman, the Reaper falls off a cliff, supposedly to his death. In actuality, he survives the fall and is cryogenically frozen, so we’ll see him return many years later in Batman #692. Bear in mind, this Reaper is NOT the Reaper from the “Batman: Year Two” story detailed in Detective Comics #575.
–FLASHBACK: From Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2. Christmas. Batman and Robin respond to an alert on their “crime computer,” solve the case, and return home in time to celebrate the holiday with Alfred.
–FLASHBACK: From Booster Gold Vol. 2 #11-12. Booster Gold and his sister Goldstar (Michelle Carter) time-travel from the year 2010 (Bat Year 22) to right now (1996) in order to fix an error on the time-stream. What is the error, you ask? Well, the 27th Century physicist/thief Wiley Dalbert has been slowly traveling backwards through time with the goal of reaching the “simpler, better times” of the 19th Century. Along the way, he has been stealing a ton of loot, so that he will be rich once he reaches his desired era. Cue now: Wiley hires Killer Moth to steal some museum artifacts for him, which Moth does, but Batman, Robin, and Batgirl intervene, resulting in the jailing of Dalbert. This is actually bad news as it turns out because Dalbert’s time-traveling plays a pivotal role in the creation of Batman. Dalbert is supposed to travel to the 19th Century and found a hospital, which coincidentally points Dr. Thomas Wayne’s career in a specific direction, which in turn, leads to his death in Crime Alley, which of course, leads to birth of the Dark Knight. SO, armed with this knowledge, Booster travels back in time (the first time he actually fails to fix the error, knocking out Moth and playing the role of the villain). The second time, however, is a charm. SO, with the confusing back story out of the way, HERE IS WHAT HAPPENS. Booster and Goldstar (from the year 2010) time-travel to now (Bat Year 8), break into the Batcave and steal the Batmobile. They then steal a Batgirl costume from Barbara Gordon. Booster (dressed as Elvis Presley) and Goldstar (as Batgirl) wind up fighting Killer Moth at the museum, but they make sure that Wiley Dalbert steals the goods and gets away scott-free. This time, Wiley never even crosses paths with Batman. (Thus, Batman won’t actually meet Wiley until a moment in Bat Year 15, as Wiley makes his way backward through time.) The Carters then travel back to their correct time, thus, re-ensuring that Bruce will become Batman like he was supposed to. Afterward, Alfred tries to explain to the Dynamic Duo that a weird super-villain named “Booster” stole the Batmobile.
–FLASHBACK: From Power Company: Bork #1—originally told in The Brave & The Bold #81. Flash and Batman team-up to face Carl Bork.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44, Part 2. Clayface II (Matt Hagen) tries to rob the payroll from a warehouse full of pianos. Batman drops a piano on him to defeat him.
- COLLIN COLSHER: This is an important note that gives us a bit more info on the chronology of Batman’s different costumes and also details how I make my decisions regarding placement when the incorrect costumes are illustrated. I usually advise the reader to ignore the incorrect costume if it is drawn in a flashback sequence because it most often means the error was simply made by the artist or writer (as opposed to a non-flashback story deliberately written in “current time” narrative style that gets it definitively wrong)—if that makes any sense. It is a bit confusing, I know. Let me try to explain it in another way. Here is a specific random example: Gotham Knights #43 occurs in Year 18—it absolutely has to for various reasons including publication date, in-story factors, numbering, etc… In this issue there is a flashback, which must be canon since it affects a canon issue and is shown in a canon issue. This flashback shows a retired Batgirl take a new Jason Todd Robin out on patrol at the behest of Batman to psychoanalyze him and test his physical capabilities. It also tells us that Joker breaks out of Arkham and foreshadows that he will soon do terrible things to both Babs and Jason. Therefore, this flashback has to take place in Year Eleven, relatively close to the events of The Killing Joke and “Death in the Family.” However, by this point, Batman is wearing his yellow-oval costume, and yet in this flashback he has his black bat insignia! Thus, this becomes a prime instance of a canonical flashback where we must ignore the incorrect costume.
As far as how the significance of Batman’s costume can make an otherwise “fine” story into a non-canonical story, it all depends. Usually, there is something more going on than simply the costume to make it non-canon.
For the Modern Age there is definitely a set-in-stone chronology/canonicity for the Dark Knight’s suit designs. The suit design is not simply “artistic choice” and is evidence as to something that helps us place our stories correctly. Batman’s costume definitively goes through many changes, in the following order: The black insignia costume with gray tights, the yellow-oval with gray tights, the yellow-oval with black tights, back to the black insignia with gray tights, then the raised-yellow oval with gray tights. Of course, the switch from the original costume to the yellow insignia has had many different time placements and been retconned a bunch, but it always signaled the transition from the Golden Age to the Silver Age. So for the Modern Age, the yellow-oval is kinda-sorta linked to the inception of the Teen Titans (and the marriage of Aquaman and Mera). For the intents and purposes of my chronology, everything before the Aqua-marriage and the Titans era is original costume. Following that (the rest of Year Eight and onward) is the yellow-oval period. After “Knight’s End” and returning from the Bane affair, Batman dons an all black with yellow-oval ensemble (at the end of the “Prodigal” story-arc in Year Fourteen). He will rock this look until the end of “No Man’s Land,” at which point he returns to his original costume design (in Year Sixteen). When Batman returns from his jaunt through time and starts Batman Inc (in Year Twenty-Two), he will switch to a raised yellow-oval symbol on gray set of togs.
Oh, I guess I should also mention that Batman, in the Golden and Silver Ages, had a bunch of different quite wild specialty costumes that all factored into specific cases and missions. Batman still has these costumes in the Modern Age (stored in the Batcave), but they are more for novelty’s sake than anything else—although, some have a practical purpose and will be used on occasion. It wasn’t until 2016 that Batman’s wearing of the rainbow costume was canonized, so don’t ever rule out the Dark Knight donning his most bizarre duds in the Modern Age.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Originally, Babs was always about three years older than Dick (in the Silver/Bronze Age and throughout most of the Modern Age). This was the case for decades until Nightwing Annual #2 (2007) retconned Babs and Dick’s ages to be exactly the same. However, I have disregarded this rather late and unnecessary retcon because it really muddles things up and contradicts decades worth of continuity for no real narrative reason. “Folie à deux” by Kelley Puckett/Terry Dodson (from 1998′s Legends of the DC Universe #10-11) overlaps with Batgirl: Year One, which I have in Bat Year Seven. “Folie à deux” also tells us that Babs has recently turned 18-years-old, mere months after debuting as Batgirl. This means that Babs and Dick are not three years apart. This means that they are actually roughly just-under-four-years apart. The only way that Dick and Babs can remain the classic “three years apart” is to have Dick start as Robin three years later, but that doesn’t seem like a good move for the narrative of the chronology. It’s not a perfect science, and there are multiple answers that could be correct, but “just under four years apart” is my story and I’m sticking to it.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The JLA team listed on the title page features only the characters that appear in the issue. Also, Batman and Superman are NOT reserve members. They are full-time. The current 13-person JLA lineup features Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Aquaman, Hal Jordan, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman, the Atom, Elongated Man, Firestorm, and Zatanna.↩