–FLASHBACK: From Teen Titans Spotlight #16. Batman takes down an escaped Joker (as shown in a random single-panel image).
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682—and also referenced in Nightwing Annual #2 and Batman #683. Originally told in Detective Comics #328 and a few other Silver Age issues. While attempting to assist Batman and Robin, Alfred is “killed” by the Tri-State Gang. Bruce and Dick mourn their father figure’s passing. However, Alfred isn’t really dead. Thanks to bizarre circumstances and the meddling of a mad scientist, Alfred has become the metapowered super-villain known as The Outsider, who plagues Batman and Robin. Eventually, Robin, Batgirl, and Man-Bat team-up to defeat the Outsider and return Alfred back to safety—as referenced in Nightwing Annual #2. Alfred then bathes in the mad scientist’s “regeneration machine” and is restored to his old self, alive and well, although he has no memories of his time spent as the Outsider. The Bat-Family votes not to reveal what has happened to Alfred, feeling that he couldn’t handle the horrible truth—as referenced in Batman #683. (Modern Age canon recognizes the Outsider affair as primarily consisting of: Bruce and Dick mourning Alfred’s death; Batman and Robin dealing with the Outsider; Robin, Batgirl, and Man-Bat eventually defeating the Outsider; and Alfred being restored. Originally, in the Silver Age, Alfred was dead from 1964 to 1966, warring Batman for two full publishing years as the Outsider before it was revealed that he was the Outsider. Contrastingly, in Modern Age canon, the whole Outsider affair lasts only a couple days. Plus, Batgirl and Man-Bat hadn’t even debuted by the time the Outsider arc ended in the Silver Age, so originally they had nothing to do with the original Outsider case.)
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Annual #2. Following the Alfred/Outsider affair, Dick tells Babs that he loves her, but she pretends that she is sleeping. Meanwhile, Dick’s relationship with Bruce begins to sour.
–FLASHBACK: From the quasi-canonical Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3. From Bruce and Dick’s relationship will further sour when the Teen Titans botch an investigation related to the murder of prominent doctor Arthur Swenson. Batman chews out Robin and influences the JLA to temporarily suspend the Titans, banning them from wearing their costumes! The Titans don drab grey outfits and become a citizen’s patrol, eventually solving the case and re-gaining the right to wear their true uniforms.
–FLASHBACK: From Teen Titans Spotlight #14. February 7. Batman and Robin work the “Green Dragon Case” in Chinatown during the wild Chinese New Year celebration. Batman and Robin get chained up in a basement, but free themselves by burning their manacles with acid.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Batman stops Joker’s scheme to rob the Sea Plane Display in Gotham Bay. Joker has enlisted the aid of Gaggy, Eraser, Penguin, Catwoman, and a myriad of silly clown thugs to help him.
–FLASHBACK: From Shadowpact #6—originally told in Detective Comics #410. Batman tracks down a murderer and finds himself at a circus, where he meets several “freaks” including Eddie “Flippy” Deacon, a boy with flippers instead of hands and feet. Batman brings the murderer to justice and saves Flippy’s life.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #700. The team of Joker, Riddler, Mad Hatter II (Hatman), Scarecrow, and Catwoman discover Professor Nichols’ “Maybe Machine.” The villainous team has plans to force Batman and Robin to go back in time to do their bidding in the past. First up is Catwoman, who makes Batman travel to ancient Egypt, where he battles winged warriors to retrieve the secret combination to a locked stolen museum piece that Catwoman already has possession of. Before anyone else gets a turn, Batman and Robin break out of their restraints and take out the bad guys. Commissioner Gordon and Officer O’Hara (related-to but not Chief O’Hara, who is already dead) enter and make the proper arrests. A despondent Professor Nichols looks over his destroyed lab and tells Batman that he will clean up himself. Nichols takes apart his “Maybe Machine” and will become a reclusive hermit after this. As I’ve mentioned before, Nichols ran afoul of Simon Hurt in 1971, which was the reason Nichols has lived in relative obscurity for decades despite his genius. Now the gifted physicist will delves into even more obscurity and go completely off the radar.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #62. From Joker captures Robin and holds a knife to his throat. Batman crashes through a window to rescue the Boy Wonder.
–REFERENCE: In Legends #1. The JLA defeats Darkseid. Darkseid is the ruler of the alternate dimensional planet of Apokolips. Apokolips is home to the evil New Gods, of which Darkseid is the oppressive king. Not all New Gods, however, are evil. The rival good New Gods live on the alternate dimensional planet known as New Genesis. Both Apokolips and New Genesis can be reached via interdimensional wormholes known as Boom Tubes. Boom Tubes are generally activated by sentient organic-computers known as Mother Boxes (also spelled “Motherbox” and alternately “Motherboxx” or “Motherboxxx” during Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers series).
96. Batman: Batgirl by Kelley Puckett/Matt Haley (1997)
Batman goes missing, forcing Batgirl to go head-to-head with Joker for the first time! Joker captures Batgirl and begins offing his own henchmen. Batman returns and saves the day, but not before taking a bullet to the scalp and slipping into unconsciousness. Batgirl takes down Joker and Batman goes into the care of Leslie Thompkins. This story is also shown via flashback in DC First: Batgirl/The Joker #1, which gives us the relative timeframe for when this story takes place.
97. “Joker Tips His Hat!” by Ed Brubaker/Stefano Guadiano (Batman #600, Part 3) April 2002
With Batman out of town on unspecified JLA business, Robin and Batgirl are left alone to protect Gotham against an escaped Joker who has stolen Mad Hatter’s mind-control technology. Robin and Batgirl are not only able to sneak in a quick kiss, but they put Joker behind bars as well!
–REFERENCE: In Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9, Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0, and Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0. Red Tornado joins the JLA.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Annual #3 and Justice League of America Vol. 2 #1. Red Tornado introduces his girlfriend Kathy Sutton to his new JLA teammates.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #600–originally told in Batman #217. Late March. Dick (who is 15-years-old now and will turn 16 this coming summer) leaves Gotham and moves to upstate New York. The reason for the move is because; one, he hasn’t been getting along with Bruce very well, and two, he has been accepted into an early entry program at Hudson University in upstate New York that will begin in the summer. Dick, like Babs, has a genius-level intellect and will start college at a very young age. While Dick is living in New York, he will sporadically commute to Gotham to work cases with Batman.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682—originally told in Batman #217. Late March. Bruce and Alfred move into a penthouse atop the Wayne Enterprises building and its underground bunker becomes Batman’s new main base of operations. As they close down the Batcave in preparation for the big move, Alfred shares a fiction story he has written about what the world would be like if Bruce never became Batman. (As the “Penthouse Year” starts, so signals the end of the Silver Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age. For the purposes of this chronology, this Bronze Age, or “Modern Bronze Age,” will comprise the rest of the “Year One Era.”)
–REFERENCE: In Batman #402 and Batman Incorporated #6—originally told in Batman #217. Late March. Bruce initiates the Wayne Enterprises-funded “Victims Incorporated Program.” Victims Inc functions as a service which provides assistance to those who have lost loved ones at the hands of Gotham crime. The program also solves cold murder cases that the GCPD has been unable to crack. Victims Inc, however, is short-lived due to the dangerous exposure it places upon Wayne Enterprises, on both Bruce and his employees.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #6. Late March. This issue, the entirety of which is a flashback, states incorrectly that it is “five years” prior to B&S:WF #10, Part 1, which takes place in Year 15. The editorial note should say “six years ago” instead. Here’s the synopsis. Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite appear in Metropolis, much to the chagrin of a recently-released-from-Arkham Bob Overdog, who witnesses their meeting and freaks-out. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite challenge each other to prove who is better, Superman or Batman. And just like that, the games begin. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite ambush Bruce and Clark, who are meeting to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Harrison Grey. The 5th dimensional imps force Batman, Superman, and Robin (zapped away from his Hudson University dorm) in a series of magickally-created ordeals. First, they race to save Lois Lane atop a skyscraper. Then, they are forced to escape a deadly fun house. Then, Batman, Robin, and Lois are granted superhuman powers. Eventually, Mxyzptlk banishes Bat-Mite back to the 5th dimension and accidentally says his own name, banishing himself as well. The status-quo is restored and only Batman, Superman, and Robin (and Bob Overdog) retain memories of the craziness. Afterward, Bruce, despite having met Bat-Mite once before, discusses the idea that Bat-Mite might merely be a come-to-life extension of Mxyzptlk’s own demented mind. Clark isn’t too sure about that. I agree with Clark. In my personal opinion, Bat-Mite is and always was his own man—er… imp, rather.
–NOTE: In the quasi-canonical Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3. With Dick moving to New York and several of the Teen Titans now no longer teens (notably Speedy and Aqualad who are both around twenty/twenty-one-years-old now), the Teen Titans disband.
–FLASHBACK: From DC Universe Legacies #5. While quite bi-polar when it comes to mood swings and criminal habits in general, Joker begins his descent into the dark side. Pop-crime is dead. When the Clown Prince of Crime robs the Gotham National Bank, he decides to kill dozens of hostages, including his own henchmen, out of sheer boredom. Batman arrives seconds too late to save even a single soul.
–REFERENCE: In JSA #59. Batman and Robin will soon meet ultra crime-boss Rupert Thorne, but before they do they deal with his brother Matthew Thorne aka The Crime Doctor, an underground surgeon for injured mobsters.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #600 and Deadshot #1—and also referenced in Legends of the Dark Knight #132-136, Batman #600, Detective Comics #825, Batman: The Last Angel, and Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44. Originally told in Steve Englehart’s brilliant “Dark Detective” storyline from Detective Comics #469-479. The Modern Age version of “Dark Detective”—renamed “Strange Apparitions” for its Modern Age TPB release—occurs during the onset of the “Penthouse Year” just like the original, hence placement here. In “Strange Apparitions” several important things happen: Batman fights the debuting Dr. Phosphorus for the first time; Robin deals with Penguin; Deadshot dons his new outfit and takes on Batman in an epic battle; a new mob led by Rupert Thorne rises and falls (after the supposed “ghost” of Hugo Strange drives Thorne insane); Preston Payne aka Clayface III makes his first appearance versus Batman; and, perhaps the most important part of all, Silver St. Cloud debuts and begins dating Bruce. Silver is arguably, besides Julie Madison, Bruce’s first real-deal serious love-affair in comics. Englehart details their relationship with inspiration and it builds to a point where Silver finds out Bruce is Batman. Like Miss Madison, Miss St. Cloud decides she has to leave. Note that Joker’s “laughing fish” story was originally part of this arc as well, but it actually takes place in Year Six. Also note that the canonical sequel to “Strange Apparitions,” entitled “Siege” (from LOTDK #132-136), will happen near the end of this year. Another sequel to “Strange Apparitions,” a six-issue miniseries simply titled Batman: Dark Detective, was published in 2005. Unfortunately, it is non-canon. Englehart, in interviews, refused to specifically place the story, saying that it should have pleased fans of any era by being able to fit into any era. Oddly enough, the story includes Commissioner Akins and takes place when the GCPD are hunting the Bat Family, which specifically places it right after “War Games” in Bat Year Nineteen. However, Two-Face is featured heavily in Batman: Dark Detective during a time where Harvey should be surgically repaired and semi-rehabilitated. Thus, Dark Detective is not canon, which is shame because it’s quite great.
–FLASHBACK: From the quasi-canonical Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3—originally told in New Teen Titans #1. The New Teen Titans form from the recent ashes of the old Teen Titans. The New Teen Titans are bankrolled by Dr. Silas Stone (Cyborg’s dad) and feature a lineup of Robin, Beast Boy (Changeling), Raven, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl. Raven visits the JLA to ask for support from the new team, but she is mistaken for a villain due to her dark aura and gets no help at all. Afterward, the Titans recruit Cyborg and Starfire to their team.
–FLASHBACK: From the quasi-canonical Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3, Booster Gold Vol. 2 #21-24, and a couple other comics. One of the New Teen Titans’ first fights is against Deathstroke the Terminator (Slade Wilson) and his son Ravager (Grant Wilson). Ravager dies in battle, further fueling what will become Deathstroke’s lifelong ire for the Titans. Meanwhile, as seen in Booster Gold Vol. 2 #21-24, Booster Gold time-travels from 2010 (Bat Year 22) back to this point on the timeline (1997) in order to prevent future super-villain Black Beetle from altering history by killing the Titans. Booster, as he so often does, plays dress-up, knocking out Deathstroke and wearing his costume during the skirmish, ensuring that the Titans win. Booster (as Deathstroke), before fleeing, whispers to a confused Dick, “Embrace your heritage. Guide Damian.” Very cool. Later, Booster lets Raven in on the secret and she helps implant memories of the battle, including his son’s death, into Deathstroke’s head so it will seem to him as if he was always there, thus ensuring the future timeline is corrected entirely. Booster then returns back to 2010 when all is fixed.
98. “Night of the Bat” by Len Wein/Bernie Wrightson (Swamp Thing #7/Batman Hidden Treasures #1) December 1973
I know this story was written in 1973, but it was re-printed in December 2010, and there is no reason why this shouldn’t be canon. Alec Holland has just been turned into Swamp Thing (!) recently and makes his first trip to Gotham in an attempt to track down the man responsible for his horrific transformation. Not only that, the same villain has kidnapped his friends, Abigail Arcane and Matthew Cable. (Abby will later marry Matthew and then marry Swamp Thing. Matthew will later die and become Morpheus’ raven in the Dreaming). Batman, who co-incidentally is tracking the same criminal, has his first clash with Swamp Thing, who has not yet re-mastered the powers of speech. Wayne Foundation executive Nate Ellery is revealed as the baddie that both Swamp Thing and Batman are after. Ellery, after being outed as leader of the criminal organization known as The Conclave, falls off a penthouse balcony to his grisly death. A new Chief O’Hara also makes an appearance here albeit drawn very small and from a great distance away. This must be the original O’Hara’s younger relative (also seen in Batman #700 as “Officer O’Hara”) who has now been promoted.
99. “The Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul” by Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams (1987)
“The Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul” was originally from Detective Comics #411, Batman #232, Batman #235, Batman #240, and Batman #242-245, which were all erased from history after the events of The Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986. However, every single panel of every page of this classic story is in-continuity (except for Batman #242) and the tale is referenced constantly in modern continuity, so its major elements are definitely canon. And if you are having problems with me including a pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline on the list instead of just mentioning in in a note, have no fear. You see, we can include this storyline because it was collected and re-released in 1987, therefore making it officially a part of Batman’s modern continuity. Ok, so maybe the DC editors didn’t release the collected edition to make it official, but it totally works for me. And really, who’s to say they didn’t? Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2 also includes a lengthy flashback that details the “Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul” in greater clarity. (Batman is depicted wearing his correct yellow-oval costume in the Batman Incorporated Absolute Edition, which officially made Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 canon in both the Modern Age and New Age.) In “The Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul” the treacherous League of Assassins has reared its mysterious head. Batman’s investigations into the secret criminal empire take him to the Far East where he battles with one of the League’s top operatives, Dr. Ebeneezer Darrk. It is during this confrontation that Bruce first meets the woman who will mother his child, Talia Al Ghul. After returning to the States, Batman learns that Robin has been kidnapped from Hudson University. He frantically swings over to the Batcave, only to find that Talia’s father and leader of the League of Assassins, Ra’s Al Ghul, is already there waiting for him and knows his secret identity. (Ra’s is accompanied by a member of the Ubu tribe, a cult of warriors loyal to the death to the League of Assassins). Ra’s then informs Bruce that Talia has also been kidnapped. Reluctantly, Bruce teams-up with Ra’s and they head out across the globe in search of the missing persons. Batman deals with numerous deadly situations and eventually rescues Robin. Turns out Ra’s and Talia set-up Batman, but he knew the whole time and played along anyway. But why did they set him up? Because Ra’s wanted to make sure that Batman was a worthy successor to lead the League and to wed his smitten daughter, of course. Not long after their first encounter, Batman meets Talia yet again after she attempts to execute a traitor to the League of Assassins in Louisiana. The third meeting between Talia and Batman comes, again, shortly thereafter when a prominent US Army scientist is murdered and his brain is removed from his skull. Ra’s has a vested interest in the case, so he sends his daughter to team-up with Batman on the investigation. Together, they catch the murderer, but Batman learns that Ra’s had cut out the man’s brain in order to learn the government secrets hidden within. There’s a lot of weird sci-fi stuff going on here with a re-animated talking brain, sodium pentathol, reverse-sodium pentathol, and more. Maybe Bruce was having a Joker Toxin/Scarecrow Gas related freak-out while this escapade was going on. Although, we do meet the head scientist of the League of Assassins, Dr. Moon, and whenever he makes future appearances, strange things always occur. The final arc of “The Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul” is the most famous. However, issue #242 includes some totally incorrect Matches Malone stuff. Malone’s anachronistic re-appearance and death are both totally wrong and couldn’t have happened. For these reasons this single issue is definitively non-canon, so if you read this storyline either skip issue #242 or disregard the Malone parts. Anyway, our classic tale continues in issue #243 with Batman assembling a team of civilians (yeah, weird, I know) and hunting down Ra’s. In order to free up some time on his schedule, Bruce fakes his own death (plane crash in South America). After finally tracking Ra’s Al Ghul down, Batman learns the secret of the Demon’s Head; the Lazarus Pits have been keeping him alive for hundreds of years! Batman duels Ra’s in the desert as Talia looks on. Epic. The “Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul” ends with a wrap-up issue (#245) where Batman solves a case involving two gangsters that are backing rival corrupt mayoral candidates. After closing the investigation, Batman jets down to South America where he is “miraculously discovered” wandering in the South American jungle—thus “reviving” Bruce Wayne from his faked plane crash death.
100. “Duel” by Denny O’Neil/Jim Aparo/Keith Giffen/Joe Quesada/Tom Lyle/Dan Speigle/James Blackburn/Michael Golden (LOTDK Annual #1) 1991
Batman is extraditing the Joker back to the US when their plane crashes in the snow-capped Korean mountains. Batman hallucinates for three days due to a concussion, but still manages to successfully drag a tied-up Joker back to civilization through a thick blizzard.
101. “Dark Messenger of Mercy!” by Len Wein/John Calnan/Dick Giordano (Batman #307 / Second Feature from DC Retroactive: Batman – The 70s #1) January 1979
This 1979 Batman issue was canonized after being republished in 2011. Batman solves the Agatha Christie-esque whodunit mystery of the “Gold Coin Killer,” a serial murderer called Limehouse Jack, who blacks out every night and kills homeless people by giving them poisoned gold coins. Meanwhile, crooked billionaire tycoon Gregorian Falstaff moves to Gotham with plans on ruining Bruce Wayne’s image and taking over Wayne Enterprises.
102. “TreasureQuest” by Dan Jurgens/Mike Norton (Metamorpho: Year One #6) February 2008
The JLA tests Metamorpho‘s abilities and finds out if the newcomer is a bad guy or a good guy. For the test, each member of the JLA dresses up as Goldface and attacks Metamorpho, who handles himself with grace and effectively demonstrates his prowess as a superhero. Afterward, the JLA offers Metamorpho membership on the team, but Metamorpho declines!
–FLASHBACK: From Sandman Vol. 2 #2. The JLA defeats Dr. Destiny and sends him to Arkham Asylum.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Absolution. It’s taken Batman nearly two years to track down terrorist bomber Jennifer Blake. He tries to apprehend her in Missouri, but she escapes. Blake will then go off the radar for the next eight years. I should mention that Batman is wearing the wrong costume in this flashback! He should be wearing the yellow-oval costume. Even though this is a pretty bad error, this flashback definitely takes place here and now.
–NOTE: In Nightwing Annual #2. Barbara Gordon, now madly in love with Dick, goes to visit him at Hudson University, only to discover that he’s already in a relationship with Teen Titan teammate Starfire. Dick and Starfire will date on-and-off for a few years and even get engaged at some point in the future.
–NOTE: In Birds of Prey #1 and Batgirl: Year One #9. Barbara Gordon begins dating former GCPD cop (now private investigator) Jason Bard.
–FLASHBACK: From the quasi-canonical Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3. When the JLA learns that Teen Titan member Raven, whom they already don’t trust due to her dark magickal aura, is the biological daughter of the evil demon Trigon, they go after her. This prompts the Teen Titans to battle with the JLA! Eventually, the Titans are able to convince the JLA that Raven is a hero at heart.
–FLASHBACK: From Superman/Batman #79-80. Epoch (The Lord of Time) escapes from prison in the 853rd century and travels to the present where he encounters Batman, Superman, and Robin. Using advanced technology, Epoch is able to trap the heroes in an Omega Barrier. With the big guns out of the way, Epoch is also able to defeat the Outsiders, Teen Titans, and the JLA. Things look bleak until Supes, Bats, and Robin escape their obsidian cube jail and kick Epoch’s ass. Superman/Batman #80 also contains a cool two-page splash showing Epoch fleeing into the future and getting his ass kicked by several future versions of the “World’s Finest”: Damian Wayne and Connor Kent in the late 2010s; Brane Taylor (Batman), Elna Kent (Superwoman), Kent Shakespeare (Superman), and Thomas Wayne (Robin 3000) in the 3000s; Unknown Superman and Batsman in the 46th century; and finally Superman and Batman of Justice Legion-A in the 853rd century. Pretty damn cool! For more info about these Batmen of the future, including the confusing future of Damian Wayne, see the Welcome to the Future section of the Modern Age.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #22—originally told in Justice League of America #140-141 and Justice League of America #149-150. Eons ago, before the institution of the Green Lantern Corps, the Guardians of the Universe built their first peacekeeping soldiers, the android Manhunters. Now, the Manhunters finally return, but they’ve gone jealously loco in regard to their Green Lantern replacements. The Manhunters endow superpowers onto vengeful attorney Mark Shaw, who leads the other Manhunters on a quest to capture Hal Jordon, whom they have framed for the destruction of a distant planet. After Batman ends their charade, Shaw realizes he’s fighting on the wrong team and switches sides to help the JLA defeat the Manhunters. Shortly thereafter, a new villain known as Star-Tsar shows up to strike against the JLA. Not so coincidentally, Shaw immediately returns as the superhero The Privateer to help wage war against Star-Tsar’s henchmen. The JLA quickly realizes that Shaw, having been deranged and corrupted by the cosmic power of the Manhunters, is playing both the role of Star-Tsar and the Privateer. Exposed, Shaw is defeated and imprisoned by the JLA, Hawkwoman, and former mascot Snapper Carr.
–FLASHBACK: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. Much to the disappointment of Bruce, Dick drops out of college and moves to New York City. Robin begins splitting time between leading the Teen Titans in the Big Apple and backing-up Batman in Gotham. At their first face-to-face interaction following Dick’s departure from college, Bruce screams angrily at him.
–REFERENCE: In DC Retroactive: Batman – The 70s #1. “The Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul” continues with a follow-up, which was originally from Batman #330-331, a prelude to an arc called “Lazarus Affair.” This prelude, for the purposes of our Modern Age timeline, exists as a prelude to “Terror Time Three” from DC Retroactive: Batman – The 70s #1 and then “Lazarus Affair.” Onto the synopsis. Batman and Robin are on shaky terms because the latter has very recently dropped out of college. Despite this, they team-up to track down Lucius Fox’s delinquent son (from a previous marriage), Timothy Fox, who is mixed up with criminals. With some surprise help from Talia Al Ghul, the Dynamic Duo wrestles a confused and troubled Timothy away from the vile Watkins Gang, which is secretly subservient to crooked billionaire tycoon Gregorian Falstaff. Falstaff currently has an illegal operation/smear campaign in motion to ruin his biggest business rival, Bruce Wayne. After quickly defeating the debuting Electrocutioner, Batman goes after Falstaff, but is distracted by Talia, who shows up and seductively asks the Dark Knight to let her move into the Wayne Foundation penthouse. Batman decides to consider the idea, further alienating and pissing-off Robin.
103. “Terror Times Three!” by Len Wein/Tom Mandrake (DC Retroactive: Batman – The 70s #1) September 2011
With Bruce preoccupied with evil billionaire Gregorian Falstaff’s attempts to ruin Wayne Enterprises and now attempt at a hostile takeover of his company, trouble only increases when a brand new high-tech Terrible Trio arrives in Gotham hellbent on chaos and robbery. The new Shark, Vulture, and Fox claim they have bought the franchise from the original villains. After tangoing with the new badguys, Batman supposedly learns two of the originals are still in jail, while a third is dead. The Bat-computer seldom delivers incorrect info, but the third original member is definitely still alive because we will see him later on down the road. Back to our story at hand, after the new Terrible Trio successfully robs the Marine Society Charity Ball, Bruce baits the team by holding a charity event high atop the Wayne Enterprises Building in his own penthouse suite. Alfred, Lucius Fox, and Batman easily apprehend the villains. Lucius is saddened to learn that the new Vulture is none other than his own son Timothy Fox, who goes to jail. We also learn that Talia Al Ghul was secretly behind the new Terrible Trio.
–REFERENCE: In DC Retroactive: Batman – The 70s #1—originally told in Batman #332-335. The “Lazarus Affair” arc continues the “Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul” and follows-up on the previous “Lazarus Affair” prelude reference note and “Terror Times Three” from DC Retroactive: Batman – The 70s #1. Talia briefly moves into Bruce’s penthouse. Batman and Talia Al Ghul then confront the crooked Gregorian Falstaff, learning that he works for a higher mystery power. During the confrontation, Talia kills Falstaff. Batman and Talia then globe-trot in an attempt to find out who Falstaff was working for, following the deceased tycoon’s criminal trail to Switzerland, Nepal, and China. In Hong Kong, Batman is captured by mysterious forces, prompting Robin to recruit Catwoman to help go after him. After the successful rescue, involving King Faraday‘s assistance, the heroes watch as Ra’s Al Ghul emerges from the shadows. Talia joins her father, who reveals that he is behind not only their Hong Kong battle royale but also the troubles with Falstaff back in Gotham. Eventually, Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul square-off one-on-one with Batman gaining victory once again. Batman and Talia then part ways.
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Detective Comics #782. November 25—the anniversary of Batman’s parents’ deaths. Batman, as he always does on this date, places two roses at the Crime Alley murder site.
104. “Siege” by Archie Goodwin/James Robinson/Marshall Rogers (LOTDK #132-136) August 2000 to December 2000
I really wish there were more stories from the penthouse year. This is a good one. Bruce has been in living in the Wayne Enterprises Tower aka Wayne Foundation Building for about nine months, and, for anyone who is interested, writer Archie Goodwin gives us some really profound aperçus into Bruce’s psychology behind wanting to leave Wayne Manor in the first place. We also see some wonderful flashbacks to Gotham in the 1920s with Bruce’s grandfather, Jack Wayne, and his ousted young rival, the future mercenary, Colonel Brass. I should mention that there is NO Jack Wayne in Bruce’s official family tree. Jack would have to be either Bruce’s grandfather Patrick, grandfather Benjamin, or great-grandfather Kenneth. It is highly possible, however, that one of these men went by the common nickname “Jack.” In “Siege” we also witness the return of Silver St. Cloud (!) as the famous publicist comes back to Gotham to organize a gun convention for the aforementioned Brass. However, it turns out Brass is using the gun convention as a front to start an all out war on Gotham. This all out war functions as a distraction so Brass can achieve his real goal; revenge against the Wayne family by destroying Wayne Manor. Of course, Batman stops the seventy-five-year-old madman, but not before the love of his life, Silver St. Cloud, leaves yet again. At the conclusion of “Siege,” Bruce decides it’s time to move back into Wayne Manor and does so. There is also a notable flashback sequence in “Seige” to the infamous masquerade scene where Thomas Wayne wears the original Bat-costume.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. A tuxedo-wearing Dick tries to fit in at a fancy society ball, hobnobbing with Bruce and other playboy-types, but it just ain’t his style nor his scene.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #470. Batman fights Maxie Zeus for the first time.
–REFERENCE: In New Teen Titans Vol. 2 #38. The JLA battles the Ultra-Humanite.
–FLASHBACK: From Power Company: Bork #1. Flash and Batman team-up to face an escaped Carl Bork for the second time. Batman eventually convinces Bork to stand down when Bork’s elderly mother has a heart attack. Batman funds the treatment for her recovery on the condition that Bork serves his prison sentence quietly.
–REFERENCE: In Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1. Batman encounters violent serial killer Victor Zsasz for the first time. In Alan Grant’s Shadow of the Bat #1, which gives us the first appearance of Zsasz and occurs in Bat Year Thirteen, Jeremiah Arkham says that Zsasz has killed 47 people. However, if we are to truly believe the tally marks drawn on Zsasz’s body, he’s killed hundreds, which would make it seem like he’s been around for at least a couple years. Therefore, I’ve placed his debut here.
–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Annual #1 and The Question #2. The rookie superhero known as The Question gives some unwanted assistance to Batman on a stolen radium case. Afterward, Batman deduces his secret ID as reporter Vic Sage.
–REFERENCE: In Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #2—originally told in The Brave & The Bold #170. US secret-agent-in-training cum master of disguise cum genius inventor Tom Tresser aka Nemesis is sent to Gotham to take on the criminal organization known as the Council. Previously, Tom’s secret agent brother, Craig Tresser, had gone undercover and infiltrated the Council, only to get brainwashed into a mindless killing machine, which resulted in his own death. In Gotham, Nemesis teams with Batman to bring justice to his brother’s killer. As mentioned before, the Council that appears in this item feels like a different beast than the Council Batman dealt with last year. However, it is definitely the same Council.
–NOTE: In Batman Incorporated #4 and Deadman Vol. 2 #1. Ra’s Al Ghul’s second-in-command and biological father Han-Son (better known as The Sensei) seizes control of the League of Assassins. Ra’s Al Ghul is ousted as leader, but a large group of his followers remain loyal to him, thus splitting the League of Assassins into two separate factions.
–REFERENCE: In Deadman Vol. 2 #1 and Batman/Deadman: Death and Glory—originally told in The Brave & The Bold #79. Batman meets the ghost superhero Deadman. Deadman is Boston Brand, deceased circus aerialist and friend of the late Flying Graysons. Brand was recently murdered and then turned into an undead hero by the goddess Rama Kushna. (Batman’s first meeting with Deadman is canonically referenced in Deadman Vol. 2 #1 and Batman/Deadman: Death and Glory, a quasi-canonical “Year One Era” tale—coming up next—that establishes that Batman and Deadman are already acquainted with one another. Boston Brand’s death happens “months” before Deadman Vol. 2 #1, hence the Batman/Deadman meeting’s placement here.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman/Deadman: Death and Glory. This 1996 James Robinson/John Estes story isn’t numbered because it cannot be completely taken at face value. In other words, it has been heavily retconned (or it should be). In this tale, Batman gets possessed by an evil spirit known as The Clown. While under possession of this vile apparition, Batman murders a room full of innocent people. Let me repeat this. Batman stabs to death dozens of people. Eventually, with help from Deadman (and Felix Faust and a random AIDS patient), Batman clears his name and exorcises The Clown. While the events that occur in this story are canon, Batman’s mass murders definitely are not. If Batman killed even one person, let alone dozens, and even if he was possessed, it would have had way more significance and impact on his life and upon future story-arcs. This horrible act is never mentioned again and that is simply unbelievable/unacceptable. Therefore, either we disregard this entire tale as an Elseworlds thing, or we can read Death and Glory as if Batman simply attacked some people while possessed instead of horribly butchered them.
- COLLIN COLSHER: This scene from Batman #700 has a part where Joker flips through his joke book and reads some of his “schemes, routines, and grandest ploys” aloud. Joker, says, as he’s quickly flipping the pages, “…Joker fish… heh… might look into that… Jokerworld death parks for all the family… wooh.” Ostensibly, this could make it seem like this takes place before “the laughing fish gag.” However, on our timeline “the laughing fish gag” already occurred a couple years ago. “The laughing fish gag” must take place a couple years ago for two main reasons. First, Batman and Robin, by this point, have been interacting with Nichols for a couple years. And second, the Laughing Fish gag is linked to Steve Englehart’s “Fishy Laugh/Reign of Joker,” which, in spite of its few continuity errors, is canon and definitely takes place during a time where Aquaman has only recently joined a newly formed JLA. THUS, logic would follow that the scene from Batman #700 with Nichols occurs right here where it does. The Joker line in Batman #700 is a bit confusing and misleading. While it can be read several ways, here’s how I read it for the purposes of our chronology. Joker reads “Joker fish” as one page, recalling one of his most famous gags. Then he reads something else that makes him go “heh.” Then he reads something else that makes him say “might look into that,” etc… That might be a very unique reading of the sequence, but there’s no way to prove that it’s an incorrect reading of the sequence. My unique reading actually makes it work much more nicely on the Modern Age timeline.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: If I were to play devils’ advocate in an attempt to canonize Dark Detective, I would lead with the fact that Englehart never actually refers to Commissioner Akins by name. His officers merely refer to him as “sir.” And Akins only appears in a single panel in issue #2. When first building my timeline, I simply ignored Commissioner Akins’ presence and placed Dark Detective in the “Year One Era” (occurring shortly after “Strange Apparitions”). My argument was that this might not be Akins or that even if this is Akins he might not be Commish yet. However, upon multiple reads and rereads I’ve come to realize that the high-ranking Black GCPD official is definitely meant to be Commissioner Akins. This reason—combined with the 2005 publishing date, post “War Games” explanation for the GCPD’s hostility toward Batman, and Two-Face appearance—definitively marks Dark Detective as non-canon.
DRAKUL: Other timelines place Dark Detective between “Robin: a Hero Reborn” and “Last Arkham” (between Robin #1-5 and Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1, placing it in Bat Year 13). However, that doesn’t seem to make sense either.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batman #242 is non-canon because it contradicts Brian K. Vaughan’s Batman #589, in which we learn that Batman encountered Matches Malone very early in his career (before Robin and while Harvey Dent was still ADA). We also learn that Matches fakes his death around this time and skips town, not returning to Gotham for over a decade (actually seventeen years by my calculations). Of course, all of this contradicts Malone’s appearance and death in Batman #242. Not to mention, Batman uses the Matches Malone disguise in storylines from Batman Confidential #22-25 and Superman/Batman #85-87 (both also taking place before “The Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul”).↩
- Credit for the placement information and details of Batman #245 to RENAUD BATTAIL.↩
- Special thanks to JEFF G for the order and placement of “Lazarus Affair”/DC Retroactive: Batman – The 70s #1.↩
- JEFF G: Len Wein’s 1980 Batman run abruptly ended with Batman #327, leaving dangling plot points like Gregorian Falstaff and Timothy Fox. “Terror Times Three” (written by Wein) seems to be an obvious attempt by Wein to add more closure to his run and bridge it with Wolfman’s 1980-1981 run, which began with Batman #328. However, “Terror Times Three” is retcon-ish when it comes to Timothy Fox, but seems otherwise faithful to Wolfman’s wrap up of Wein’s plot points in Batman #332-335 AKA “The Lazarus Affair”.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Note that “Lazarus Affair,” like “The Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul,” pretty much happens exactly like it did in the Bronze Age, except for two big retcon differences. The first notable change is the erasure of Timothy Fox’s happy reconciliation with his pop Lucius and redemption for any criminal wrongdoing (as originally shown in Batman #333). Obviously, “Terror Times Three” from DC Retroactive: Batman – The 70s #1 went much grimmer and changed things so that Timothy became a part of the Terrible Trio and went to jail in the Modern Age. And the second notable difference between the Bronze Age version of “Lazarus Affair” versus the Modern Age version is the erasure of a sequence in Batman #334 where it is revealed that Talia Al Ghul is actually an old lady, only kept young-looking thanks to the Lazarus Pits. In the Modern Age, Talia is definitely NOT super old.↩