–FLASHBACK: From Batman Confidential #50-54. The “Super Powers” storyline supposedly takes place “seven years” before the Year Ten mind-wipe scandal. However, this item should occur three years before the mind-wipe scandal to fit correctly into the timeline. This tale details how and why Batman finally decides to interact more closely with his fellow JLA teammates, whom he has been avoiding ever since forming the team following the Appelaxian affair a few weeks ago. After over two weeks of investigation into a string of random kidnappings, Batman follows the criminal trail to an abandoned hockey arena where he discovers the barely-alive, emaciated victims attached to a giant alien-looking machine. Batman then fights a grotesque green-skinned, bug-eyed humanoid named Fortas and winds up with three broken ribs and a concussion. The Caped Crusader heals up and then breaks into JLA HQ to search the team’s records for information regarding Fortas. While scanning the files, the JLA returns and attacks the intruder! Batman then defeats the entire JLA with ease! IMPORTANT RETCON INFO: Before continuing, I should mention that author Marc Guggenheim writes this story as if this is the first time Batman is interacting with these other heroes. Obviously, this is completely untrue. While the JLA very well might attack Batman for breaking into the HQ, they do know Batman way more than Guggenheim elaborates. For example, Bruce would have been close friends with J’onn and Diana at this point. Moving on, J’onn has the team back down and the Dark Knight goes off to fight Fortas alone. In the end, the JLA helps Batman defeat Fortas and an army of “highly evolved” monster-people (the kidnapped victims transformed by the machine in the hockey arena). Following the victory, Bruce accepts his JLA transmitter and will begin regularly joining the team on missions from now on.
–REFERENCE: In Batman versus Predator III: Blood Ties #4 and Batman #657. Batman takes down Joker in a plot that involves a pair of giant dice, which he keeps for the trophy room. Since we will see (and have already seen) various bizarre trophies on display in the Batcave, we can assume that Batman will have other adventures this year that will result in the obtaining of other trophies, such as portraits, statues, and more oversized items. While not listed, we must assume that these adventures that net trophies must be invisibly scattered throughout the chronology.
–REFERENCE: In Hourman #1, Hourman #16, and the quasi-canonical JLA: Year One #4. The JLA completes its first major mission, defeating the giant starfish-shaped mind-controlling alien known as Starro the Conqueror. Teenager Lucas “Snapper” Carr (nephew of Simon Carr) helps the heroes defeat Starro, earning a spot as the team’s official mascot/honorary member/handyman. The Hourman series tells us Snapper Carr was the team’s mascot for several years. To be precise, Snapper will be the JLA mascot for exactly two years. The heroes of Earth will also eventually learn that Starro the Conqueror is merely one of a race of unnamed monsters colloquially known as Star Conquerors (or Starros for short). The original Starro that the JLA faces now is actually controlled by yet another extraterrestrial from the planet Hatorei (as referenced in Infinite Crisis).
66C. Robin: Year One #4 by Chuck Dixon/Scott Beatty/Javier Pulido (2000)
Mid January. Joe Minette, from prison, hires Shrike to kill Two-Face. Meanwhile, a mopey Alfred muses how the holidays have come and gone and still no word from Dick. Batman chats with the Joker at Arkham. Meanwhile, Dick continues his training with the Vengeance Academy, even committing museum robberies with the group. Shrike then orders the hit on Two-Face to be completed by his boys. The Vengeance Academy team assaults Two-Face head-on, but Dick can’t pull the trigger when it comes to executing the super-villain. Shaken, Dick returns to the Batcave for the first time in weeks, chats with Alfred, and leaves a note for Bruce about Shrike’s operation. In Blackgate Prison, Minette gets shivved to death, a message from Two-Face on the outside. At the Vengeance Academy hideout, Dick fights his former team until Batman comes and helps him take down Shrike. The reunited Dynamic Duo then hugs it out—Robin Annual #4 shows the reunited Batman and Robin posing in a single-panel flashback—before taking down Two-Face. Batman #710 specifically references this Robin: Year One scene where Batman and Robin bust Two-Face.
–FLASHBACK: From Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2 Mid January. Alfred and Bruce lead Dick down into the Batcave where a Christmas tree and decorations have been set up. Robin opens a present and receives a fresh Robin costume. Batman and Robin then suit up and ceremonially shake hands before heading out on patrol. Obviously, this is mid January and Christmastime is over and I would regard this flashback as non-canon, but it actually works since Dick missed the holidays (as seen in Robin: Year One). We can imagine this as a surprise belated X-Mas the morning after the conclusion of Robin: Year One #4. The Robin costume gift and handshake can be seen as Batman officially “swearing Robin back in.”
–REFERENCE: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #30 and Identity Crisis—originally told in Detective Comics #331. Batman and Robin meet Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny) and his wife Sue Dibny. Like the Hawkman meeting, there is no specific Modern Age reference for Batman’s first meeting with the Dibnys. In the Silver Age, Batman and Robin met Elongated Man (in ‘tec #331) way before the latter joined the JLA (in JLA #105)—nearly ten years prior. Of course, this can’t be the case in the more compressed Modern Age.
–NOTE: In Robin Annual #4. Robin learns that Tony Zucco is still alive when the criminal escapes from jail and goes back into hiding. This note is inferred from the fact that Batman and Robin will recapture Zucco this coming spring.
–FLASHBACK: From New Teen Titans Vol. 2 #47. Batman and Robin fight the team-up of Joker and Penguin.
–FLASHBACK: From Trinity #18—and also referenced in Robin #149. Signalman debuts by robbing the Gotham Trust and using smoke signals as clues. Trinity #18 contains a flashback that illustrates the Dynamic Duo having just defeated the flamboyant Signalman, who wears his signature the yellow-and-red clad costume with moons and stars all over his cape.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Absolution. The anti-corporate activist group known the Children of Maya blow up a Wayne Enterprises building, killing hundreds. The primary perpetrator of the bombing, Jennifer Blake, goes into hiding. The Dark Knight shakes down some of Blake’s accomplices, but Blake eludes Batman’s capture. The Caped Crusader vows to apprehend her some day.
–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #725. Batman and Robin encounter the one-shot villain known as The Bowler. Bruce takes giant bowling pins as trophies from this encounter and displays them in the Batcave. Interesting note about the Bowler: Originally, in the Golden Age, the Bowler was never actually shown. He was merely a one-time retcon reference in 1952’s ‘tec #238 where Batman recalls defeating him and collecting his giant pin(s) for the trophy room. Cut to 1998! Chuck Dixon and William Rosado have a bit of fun and, after almost 35 years, finally create/show the “Batman & Robin vs Bowler battle” for the very first time in a ‘tec #725 flashback.
–REFERENCE: In Titans Vol. 2 #17 and Young Justice #50—originally told in Detective Comics #261. Dr. X (Simon Ecks) and his symbiotic partner Double X—together known simply as Dr. Double X—fight the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder. Ecks winds up behind bars.
–REFERENCE: In The Outsiders #22–originally told in Detective Comics #275. Batman defeats Zebra-Man.
–REFERENCE: In The Outsiders #22–originally told in Detective Comics #294. Batman defeats Elemental Man.
–REFERENCE: In The Outsiders #22–originally told in Detective Comics #296. Batman defeats Planet Master.
67. “Geometry” by Dan Jurgens/Norm Rapmund (Superman #700) August 2010
Bruce plays billionaire party-boy dummy for a night instead of patrolling. Dick is confined to quarters and must finish his homework before Bruce gets back home. No solo costumed adventuring! But when arms dealers are up to no good in Gotham, Robin sneaks out and fights them on his own. Robin nearly dies until Superman shows up, saves him, and nabs the bad guys. Supes then rushes Dick home and into bed, even doing Dick’s homework for him. Bruce is fooled! That is until Clark and Dick realize they’ve left Robin’s motorcycle at the scene of the crime. Nice try.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #75. A four-month-long investigation culminates with charges being brought against Bruce citing that he is an unfit guardian for Dick. At a custody trial, an attorney cites seven bachelor parties, eighteen late night female guests, and several injuries that Dick has sustained as reasons that the boy should be remanded to state custody. The parties and late night guests have not been listed on our chronology, but are a part of Bruce’s ever ongoing campaign to appear as the ultimate playboy. Bruce is constantly keeping up appearances, so we must imagine these items, along with many others, scattered randomly throughout the timeline. Of course, the state loses this case and Bruce gets to keep custody of Dick.
68. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #10-12 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (April 2009 to June 2009)
February 14-19. Enough time has elapsed since the previous Gotham After Midnight issues that I’ve chosen to give the concluding issues a fresh number on our timeline. Midnight has continued to collect human hearts for months now. Midnight has also been able to use experimental drugs to control Catwoman, Man-Bat, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, and the Axeman for the past several months as well. Midnight sends these drug-controlled warriors to attack Batman, but the Dark Knight is able to fend them off when Catwoman shakes off her puppet strings and switches sides. Batman then slugs it out one-on-one with Midnight and the latter winds up dying in a fire. But Bruce isn’t satisfied. The investigation continues, and Bruce finds out the horrible truth about Midnight’s secret identity. Midnight was his former girlfriend, April Clarkson, the whole time! She had faked her death at Christmas-time. Mercifully, this rather lame story ends with this dumb twist and we can all move on.
69. “Teenage Sidekick” by Paul Pope (Solo #3) April 2005
Paul Pope’s short from his award-winning Solo issue. Robin gets nabbed by Joker. Batman saves him. Cool stuff!
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #673. We should address Joe Chill, the gangster that gunned down Bruce’s parents. The events of Zero Hour retconned him out of existence, so at that point Batman simply never knew who committed the crime. However, the events of Infinite Crisis overruled or reversed some of the effects of Zero Hour, and thus, Joe Chill, once again, had always been the Wayne murderer. Therefore, Joe Chill is in-continuity as the man who shot Thomas and Martha Wayne. It is at this point on our timeline that Batman learns Chill was responsible for his parents’ deaths and confronts him. After tracking down Chill, Bruce unveils the original gun that killed his parents and hands it over to Chill. (We previously learned that Bruce kept the murder weapon in Batman Confidential #1 and also in Detective Comics #575.) Batman then proceeds to scare the shit out of Chill and basically tells him that his life will be a living Hell from now on courtesy of the Dark Knight. Batman’s psychological terror is done. He leaves. Joe Chill shoots himself in the head. The end. Very powerful Grant Morrison/Tony Daniel flashback story here.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #416, DC Universe Legacies #4, and JLA Year One #1. Batman meets Hawkman (Carter Hall). Hawkman is a Thanagarian winged warrior (from the planet Thanagar). The first ever Hawkman/Batman meeting does not have a specific reference in the Modern Age, but the upcoming Gentleman Ghost reference in Batman #416 hints at a meeting that should occur before Gentleman Ghost’s debut and Hawkman’s appearances in both DC Universe Legacies #4 and JLA Year One #1. (In the Golden Age, Batman and Hawkman first met to fight Nazis as a part of the Justice Society. In the Silver Age, Hawkman first met Batman when he was officially inducted into the JLA. Because the Modern Age is a weird fusion of Golden and Silver Age stuff, that version doesn’t hold up—Batman has to meet a JSA Hawkman before the JLA teams up with the JSA and before Hawkman eventually joins the JLA later this year.)
–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—originally told in Justice League of America #66. There is also no specific Modern Age story detailing Batman’s first meeting with Red Tornado. We can, however, assume that he meets Red Tornado right now since, in the Silver Age, Red Tornado and Batman first crossed paths in Justice League of America #66, well before Red Tornado goes on to join the JLA in Justice League of America #106, years later (in Year Nine). Originally, the Silver Age Red Tornado was a Justice Society member that was feared dead (after a fight against The Iron Hand) only to return shortly thereafter to join the JLA. We’ll see in Year Ten that Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #9, Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0, and Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0 each retcon the Iron Hand storyline for the Modern Age, making it so that Red Tornado is already a JLA member at the time of the fight and also so that Red Tornado actually dies for real. Note that Red Tornado is a combination of a vengeful Air Elemental and its host, an android with human emotion built by Dr. T.O. Morrow. I guess I should explain what Elementals are. In a nutshell, Elementals are beings (usually metahumans) linked to the primary elements of the planet and endowed with the powers of their respective element. There are Earth Elementals, Air Elementals, Fire Elementals, Water Elementals, Plant Elementals, and Lightning Elementals. The forces of creation within the DCU often select a specific individual to represent one or more of the elements. These specific high-ranking Elementals are usually referred to as Avatars.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #416. Batman and Robin take down Gentleman Ghost (the evil spirit of James Craddock). Batman #416 contains a lot of non-canon material. Despite this, the canonical reference to the debut of Gentleman Ghost comes from a super-villain mini-mural in a flashback from Batman #416. Among the more obvious characters shown is Gentleman Ghost. While the containing flashback must still be ignored as non-canon, this reference within is probably safe to stay. I’ve also placed this item here because Gentleman Ghost was primarily a foe of Hawkman, so it should occur after Batman has met him. It is also possible that Hawkman is involved with this case.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Batman has become more mellow, relaxed, and light-hearted with young Robin at his side. Not to mention, finally accepting the trust of his JLA teammates and the recent death of Joe Chill have both probably made him feel a bit relieved as well. While hunting down an escaped Joker—who now enters his “pop-crime” phase, scheming with extreme silliness, using wild puzzles, gags, and Joker-faced helicopters and such—Robin tells jokes of his own and muses about what life would have been like in the “time of Hamlet.” Eventually catching up with the Clown Prince of Crime, Robin challenges him to a laughing contest. Joker accepts and is soundly defeated and sent back to Arkham. This series of flashback images from Batman #682 also shows the transition from different Batmobile style to newer version of Batmobile style and even includes an image of Batman and Robin riding in the Golden Age “red roadster.” Remember folks, in the Modern Age, Batman uses different Batmobiles pretty interchangeably at this point in his career.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #679—originally told in Batman #113. Batman’s encounters Dr. Achilles Milo, an evil scientist in league with Dr. Simon Hurt. In an attempt to gain insight into the mind of Batman, Milo sprays the Dark Knight with a gas weapon that causes a vivid hallucination. Batman lucidly dreams that he is on a distant planet known as Zur-En-Arrh, where he is endowed with super-powers and gets to meet his perfect alien double, who wears a garish purple-and-red bat costume. Batman #682 shows us that Batman collects the Bat-Radia, the alien communication device from his hallucination, as a trophy. Upon waking up from his Zur-En-Arrh dream, Batman finds the Bat-Radia, an alien communication device straight out of his hallucination. Clearly, Simon Hurt’s machinations go beyond just an internal examination of Batman’s mind. To mess with Batman even further, the physical Bat-Radia—actually just a non-functional prop—had to have been fashioned and left beside Batman upon his awakening. While the Bat-Radia is just a piece of junk, Batman, unsure of what it really is, keeps it as a trophy.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Batman gains a giant golden crown as a trophy on an unspecified mission. Afterward, Batman and Alfred re-organize the Batcave trophy room, which is now filled with items that Batman barely recalls ever receiving. Batman, with the Bat-Radia in hand, ponders aloud, “It seems like our entire lives these past couple of years belong in the Black Casebook.” Batman also mentions that “the old Arkham Asylum” is set to reopen, which merely means that Arkham had been temporarily closed with its inmates moved, but is now reopening with its inmates returning to the original location.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #682 and Batman and Robin #1. Bruce and Dick get a dog named Ace! Someone photographs a picture of Bruce, Dick, and Alfred posing with Ace. The picture is framed and goes into the Batcave. We’ll see “Ace the Bathound” in various items below.
–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #2. Batman and Robin stop the drug-trafficking Lyman Brothers. Note that the entirety of this B&W second feature is a flashback, so it does not appear anywhere else on our chronology. Also note that Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Compendium and The Crisis on Infinite Earths: Absolute Edition state outright that this item occurs on Earth-3839—part of the “Generations” Elseworlds Universe. However, it just as easily fits on the main chronology error-free, so I suggest that it actually occurs on both timelines.
–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Batman Confidential #52. Bruce Wayne is named People Magazine‘s “Sexiest Man Alive” for the second year in a row. What a heartthrob.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #700 and Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5. Batman and Robin meet and befriend Professor Carter Nichols, who has developed time-traveling technology. Nichols’ “hypnosis tech” (combined with a device known as the “Maybe Machine”) allows the user to attach himself to a high-tech device which sends an avatar of himself into the past. The process is similar to astral projection, except the avatar body is exactly the same as the user’s real body and can impact and interact with the physical world normally. Nichols won’t go public with his time-travel device even though he would have easily become the next Einstein and made millions. The reason for this is because decades ago, Nichols turned his back on the criminal organization known as The Black Glove led by Simon Hurt, and is thus, now forced to live in obscurity (as we learn in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5). However, Nichols will trust the Dynamic Duo with his secret and the heroes will go on several exploratory jaunts to the past, but not too many, since this a dangerous undertaking. The adventures dealing with Carter Nichols are originally from various Golden Age Batman stories. We don’t know which time-jaunting adventures the Dynamic Duo goes on specifically, but we must imagine several trips occurring here in Year Seven and into Year Eight as well.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4. Late March. Some caveats before a synopsis begins: First, this issue states incorrectly that it is “seven years” prior to B&S:WF #10, Part 1, which takes place in Year 15. The editorial note should say “eight years ago” instead. And second, Batman is drawn wearing his yellow-oval costume. Wrong. Also, the label “Year Four” in the title of this issue merely implies that this is the third anniversary of this meeting. Don’t forget, the first three issues of this series are non-canon since issue #1 clearly takes place in Bat Year One, and issues #2 and 3 are full of anachronisms no matter where you place them. OK. Here’s the synopsis. Batman travels to Metropolis a few days before the anniversary of the death of Dr. Harrison Grey. Batman moves the commemoration meeting a few days early because he’s become aware that a government agency has been spying on Superman. In Metropolis, Batman and Superman saves some lives from a burning building and then meet the threat of Intergang, a criminal organization—run by Bruno Mannheim—that has been gifted with New God weaponry courtesy of Desaad, who is an evil Apokoliptian New God. Batman and Superman defeat Intergang, but Mannheim and Desaad escape. Before booming away, Desaad shows Superman a sickening image of Apokolips, which Superman mistakes for Hell. Despite this nice foreshadowing, Batman and Superman won’t come to know about the true horror of Apokolips for two more years. After defeating Intergang, Batman slinks-off an infiltrates the underground HQ of Project Cadmus, the government-funded agency that has been spying on Superman. At Cadmus HQ, Batman discovers a litany of cloning labs and metahuman creation projects, including early prototypes of the D.N.Aliens (created by Dabney Donovan) and a developing Guardian soldier (a clone of Jim Harper, who was the Golden Age superhero known as The Guardian). The Caped Crusader also learns about a new project to create an atomic warrior known as Captain Atom. Batman angrily confronts Cadmus’ leader, Paul Westfield, and threatens him (as only Batman can) to cease spying on Superman. Afterward, Bruce watches Dick perform in a school play.
–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. Late March. Batman and Robin apprehend Tony Zucco. Zucco, who suffers from heart problems due to his obesity, has yet another heart attack and slips into a coma shortly after getting nabbed (as referenced in Batman #436-439). Zucco will eventually recover and serve a long jail sentence.
–REFERENCE: In Hourman #16. The JLA defeats Xotar aka The Weapons Master.
–FLASHBACK: From Blackest Night #0 and Action Comics #850. After a JLA victory over the vile Professor Anthony Ivo and his super-android Amazo, Flash gets Superman’s autograph for a trophy room he is building “above his garage.” Green Lantern asks Flash if he wants his autograph too. Flash says, “Maybe later.” Ha! The diss on Jordan is seen specifically in Action Comics #850. As we learn in Hourman #1, Snapper Carr sneaks a piece of Amazo out of the JLA trophy room as a keepsake.
–REFERENCE: In Hourman #1. The JLA’s next official challenge is completed; the defeat of the alien tyrant known as Despero.
–REFERENCE: In JLA #78. The JLA defeats Kanjar Ro.
–REFERENCE: In Legends of the DCU #12 and Hourman #16—originally told in Justice League of America #4. Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) joins the Justice League. On his first mission, Ollie rescues the entire JLA team from an exiled Dryannan humanoid alien called Carthan, who is actually a hero, but needs to act like a villain in order to manipulate the JLA into helping free him of the bonds placed upon him by the vile dictator of his home planet.
–FLASHBACK: From Black Canary Vol. 3 #1. Black Canary meets the newest JLA member Green Arrow as they go on their first mission together in Las Vegas. The rookies have been sent to protect the prime minister of Japan from a troupe of League of Assassins dressed as Elvis impersonators, led by Merlyn. This is Green Arrow’s first legit meeting with Black Canary, who he at first confuses with her mom. (Technically, Green Arrow met Black Canary once prior to this—for literally five seconds when he stopped to make a vulgar pass at her after the JLA’s public debut conference.) After the prime minister is safe, Batman, who had been overseeing, grades the duo, while the rest of the JLA checks in. NOTE: Batman is shown wearing his yellow-oval costume here. This is the wrong costume.
–REFERENCE: In Sandman Vol. 2 #5—originally told in Justice League of America #5. The JLA defeats the master of dreams, Dr. Destiny (John Dee).
–REFERENCE: In Hourman #16—originally told in Justice League of America #7. Evil aliens from the planet Angellax lure all the JLA members to a fun house where they capture them and send out doppelgängers in their place. The doppelgängers get Batman and Superman out of the way by sending them on a wild goose chase to 10,000 years in the future to make sure Xotar is still safely in jail. While Batman and Superman are gone, the rest of the JLA holds its own and defeats the Angellaxians.
–FLASHBACK: From Green Arrow and Black Canary #5. Green Arrow meets with Batman and asks him to locate his son, Connor Hawke. Ollie was has been a deadbeat dad for years now and has no idea where Connor and his baby momma currently live. Batman reluctantly agrees to help, but doesn’t make it a top priority. (Connor won’t be located until next year.) Green Arrow has already been searching for Connor for a while now, but without any luck, he will soon abandon his quest. Arrow appoints Roy Harper as his young sidekick Speedy.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #37. Dr. Light debuts and is defeated by the JLA. Hawkman is also shown in this flashback. It is entirely possible that he helped out, but he is not yet a member of the Justice League yet.
–REFERENCE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #29, DC Universe Legacies #4, and Identity Crisis—originally told in Justice League of America #16. The Atom (Ray Palmer) officially joins the JLA. The JLA, only distantly familiar with Palmer, finally meets him up-close-and-personal and also gets to know his fiancée, the lovely Jean Loring.
–FLASHBACK: From DC Universe Legacies #4. The JLA has its first interactions with their semi-retired elder counterparts in the Justice Society of America. The JSA is the original superhero team that banded together during World War II. Thanks to magick that masks the ravages of age, these geriatric heroes are still in fit fighting shape. The team features: The Atom (Al Pratt), Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson), Dr. Mid-Nite (Charles McNider), Johnny Thunder, Yz, Flash (Jay Garrick), Hawkman, Hawkgirl (Sheira Sanders), Green Lantern Alan Scott, Hourman (Rex Tyler), Sandman (Wes Dodds), Sandy Hawkins, Starman (Ted Knight), Black Canary (the JLA Black Canary’s mom Dinah Drake Lance), and Wildcat. The first team-up between the JLA and JSA is against the Crime Champions, a super-villain team that includes several members, notably Felix Faust and Dr. Alchemy. Batman and Flash (Wally West) team with Dr. Fate to defeat Felix Faust, while the other JSA and JLA members defeat the other Crime Champions. NOTE: The unreliable narrator of DC Universe Legacies #4 infers that the first ever JSA-JLA team-up occurs after the Teen Titans have already formed. This cannot be the case. The Teen Titans won’t form until next year. ALSO NOTE: Dr. Fate’s power comes from his helmet, which houses the occult being known as Nabu, an agent of the cosmic Lords of Order in their tireless war against their opposites, the Lords of Chaos.
–REFERENCE: In the quasi-canonical JLA: Year One #11. Seven thousand Appelaxians invade Earth. Using stolen files about superhero secret IDs and weaknesses that Martian Manhunter had complied, the Appelaxians are able to quickly ambush and kidnap a ton of Earth’s heroes, imprisoning them in a gulag on Blackhawk Island. Among the first to be captured are JLA members Superman, Batman, the Atom, and Green Arrow. Also captured are Hawkman, the semi-retired Blue Beetle (Dan Garrett), the original Doom Patrol, Uncle Sam & The Freedom Fighters, The Blackhawks, Sargon the Sorcerer, the entire JSA, the retired Crimson Avenger, Speedy, and Plastic Man. Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Black Canary, and Martian Manhunter are the last heroes uncaptured. These five fight the Appelaxians with all they’ve got in Metropolis. Snapper Carr reveals that his uncle Simon was used as a host body by the eighth Appelaxian (back when Locus took it after the original invasion attempt last year). Using Simon’s influence, the eighth Appelaxian used Locus to set up the current invasion. Eventually, the remaining JLAers trick the Appelaxian invaders into thinking they have been captured, but it’s all just a ruse to get to Blackhawk Island. There, our fighting five free everyone else. The tide is turned and the Appelaxians are defeated once and for all.
70. “A New Dawn” by Nunzio DeFilippis/Christina Weir/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (Batman Confidential #26-28) April 2009 to June 2009
“A New Dawn” brings Victor Goodman aka King Tut into official comic-continuity! Last time (and the only time) he was ever seen was on the old Adam West TV show from the 60s! Anyway, Batman teams-up with The Riddler (!) to bring King Tut to justice. Also, on the final page of the series, Tut’s partner, Ankh, makes her debut. Let’s hope we never see her again.
71. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight: Jazz #1-3 by Gerard Jones/Mark Badger (April 1995 to June 1995)
This is a strange homage to jazz music that reads more like a James Baldwin novel than a Batman comic… except for the bizarre jazz-themed criminal gang called The Brothers of Bop that Batman takes on during his investigation into the life of Blue Byrd (a Charlie Parker/Louis Armstrong analogue).
–REFERENCE: In The Final Night #2. The JLA defeats Vandal Savage.
72. “Engines” by Ted McKeever (LOTDK #74-75) August 1995 to September 1995
This is one of my personal favorite LOTDK stories. Do yourself a favor and read everything Ted McKeever has ever done. He’s a real genius poet and wonderful artist to boot. In “Engines” we bear witness to the crazed existential hell that Eustace Marker views the world as. Marker’s vision is so distressing that he becomes a serial-killing vigilante and Batman is forced to apprehend him.
–REFERENCE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #23. The JLA defeats Gorilla Grodd.
–REFERENCE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #30. The JLA defeats Zazzala aka Queen Bee.
–REFERENCE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #29 and DC Universe Legacies #4. Hawkman joins the JLA. He will pull double-duty, remaining part-time with the JSA as well.
–REFERENCE: In Hourman #16 and Superman/Batman #79—originally told in Justice League of America #10. The JLA faces off against the debuting Epoch, The Lord of Time. During this battle, the evil Felix Faust returns in an attempt to manipulate the heroes into obtaining a few magickal artifacts—the Jar of Calythos, the Wheel of Nyorlath, and the Bell of Uthool—for him. Once gathered, Faust uses these items to summon powerful demons. Eventually, the JLA defeats Faust, Epoch, and the demons, keeping the artifacts as trophies. The Epoch debut tale in Justice League of America #10 also featured the debut of Faust. Of course, in the Modern Age, Faust would have already debuted by this point.
–REFERENCE: In JLA Incarnations #6, Part 1. The JLA defeats The Cheetah.
–FLASHBACK: From Legends of the DC Universe #12. Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) throws a charity benefit where he asks Bruce Wayne to take over his duty of financing the JLA. Ollie, disgusted with the world of mega-corporate business, has decided that he will get rid of his vast fortune in the near future (and thus, will not be able to fund the JLA anymore). At the charity event, Bruce slips into his Batman togs and helps his fellow JLAers defeat Packrat. After initially denying Ollie’s request, Bruce changes his mind and picks up the tab. NOTE: This charity benefit supposedly takes place two years into the JLA’s existence. However, due to editorial time compression, the JLA can only have come into existence last year.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League #4. The JLA defeats Amos Fortune and his Royal Flush Gang.
–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47. Batman confronts and busts Riddler as the villain attempts to exit a bank vault with a large cash haul.
–REFERENCE: In a flashback from the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #41. Batman begins a policy of letting first time-offenders go free and keeping tabs on them afterward. Batman will compile a long list of smalltime crooks to keep an eye on, starting now. While we won’t see these check-ups and check-ins with any of these small-fries on our timeline (except for one), we can imagine them as happening sporadically for the next sixteen-and-a-half-years.
–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 2 #210. With Batman away on unspecified business, Robin defeats The Clock (William Tockman). The Clock will later change his name to Clock King.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4. Enter Katherine Kane, the thrill-seeking secret agent femme-fatale. Kathy also happens to be the recent widow of Nathan Kane (Bruce’s uncle). Shortly after Nathan Kane’s death, Kathy is recruited into the UN secret intelligence organization known as Spyral by one of their top agents, Santiago Vargas (who will later become the superhero known as El Gaucho). After witnessing Batman and Robin battle the criminal Lew Moxon on live TV, Kathy decides she not only has a huge crush on Batman, but wants a piece of the daredevil action. Kathy also happens to be under orders to infiltrate the Dark Knight’s organization in order to discover his secret identity. (Note that Batman and Robin easily bust Lew Moxon, with the Dark Knight barely registering who Moxon. A year before his parents died, Bruce met the Moxons, although he doesn’t remember it at this time. Also note that Moxon won’t serve any time and will resurface as a legit-looking businessman a decade down the road.)
–REFERENCE: In The Judas Coin. Bruce begins the practice of collecting a copy of the Gotham Gazette from a newsie named Gene, who works in a stand outside of Wayne Tower.
–FLASHBACK: From Bruce Wayne: The Road Home – Catwoman #1. Catwoman steals the valuable cat statue known as the Pink Mynx from the Gotham Museum. Batman retrieves the stolen item, but Selina playfully gets away.
73. “The Mystery of the Black Bat” by Ed Brubaker/James Tucker (Batman #600, Part 2) April 2002
Bruce and Dick learn about a supposed Civil War hero known as “The Black Bat” whose adventures are vaguely referenced in a 19th Century dime novel. Hoping to learn more about this mystery man, the Dynamic Duo visit their good friend Professor Carter Nichols to make use of his “maybe machine.” Using Nichols’ invention (where one is able to send an avatar of himself into the past, similar to astral projection), the Dynamic Duo travels back to the 1860s and saves an African-American soldier from Confederates. After getting caught by Confederate soldiers themselves, the Black Bat shows up and saves them. Afterward, the Black Bat unmasks, revealing himself to be the soldier who was saved by our heroes earlier. Bruce and Dick return to the present, but wonder if, by some paradox, there was no Black Bat until they went back in time and inspired the rescued soldier themselves. For anyone doubting the canonicity of this tale, I know this is an anniversary issue homage story, but since Carter Nichols is a canonical Batman character, there is no reason why this story can’t be canon. Also, we should recall that Batman and Robin go on several unspecified time-traveling adventures courtesy of Nichols at the beginning of this year, although we must imagine them on our list.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #6. The JLA defeats Mr. Mxyzptlk.
74. “Legend of the Dark Mite” by Alan Grant/Kevin O’Neill (LOTDK #38) October 1992
Batman busts and later interrogates Bob Overdog, who claims he was abducted by the dwarf-like Bat-Mite and taken to the 5th dimension, a place where magical imps dress up like their favorite superheroes from Earth and act out ultimate cosplay fantasies. This is Bat-Mite’s first post-Crisis on Infinite Earths appearance (!), but did it really happen? Only Bob Overdog knows for sure, and he was tripping on an entheogenic cocktail of mescaline, heroin, coke, opium, and hashish at the time.
–FLASHBACK: From Gotham City Sirens #6. The Joker begins using his first sidekick, the circus midget known as Gaggy, around this time. He will use Gaggy on and off for the next several years.
–REFERENCE: In JLA Incarnations #5. The JLA fights the time-traveling talking dinosaur called Fire-Eye. This item occurs in the definitively non-canon JLA Incarnations #2, but the Fire-Eye battle is legitimate because it is referenced in the definitively canon JLA Incarnations #5
–REFERENCE: In Daily Planet: Special Invasion Edition—originally told in Justice League of America #78. The JLA prevents a dying alien race called The Monsan from terraforming Earth to make it inhabitable for themselves.
–REFERENCE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #30—originally told in a flashback from Justice League of America #105. The Elongated Man joins the JLA.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #30—originally told in Justice League of America #105. On Elongated Man’s first case with the JLA, the team defeats the Putty Men (villains linked to Queen Bee Zazzala). The original story from Justice League of America #105 does not feature Batman. However, the Modern Age retcon flashback inserts the Dark Knight, hence the inclusion of the Case of the Putty Men on our timeline.
–REFERENCE: In Identity Crisis—originally told in Justice League of America #111. The JLA defeats The Injustice Gang, a team led by Libra and consisting of Mirror Master (Sam Scudder), Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Chronos, Shadow Thief, and Tattooed Man (Abel Tarrant).
–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #16. Early June. The JLA throws their mascot Snapper Carr a party for passing his high school final exams. This flashback gives us a caption that says it takes place a few years before Snapper quits his position with the JLA. This can’t be true. Snapper will resign about one year from now.
–NOTE: In Flash Vol. 2 #210. A naughty Robin tries to drive the Batmobile and winds up backing into and demolishing a giant nickel in the Batcave. The nickel, like half of the weird trophies Batman owns, was a prize received from an unspecified case.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated #3. Batman meets Argentinian superhero El Gaucho. Gaucho has been heavily inspired by the Dark Knight and has nothing but respect for him. However, Gaucho also meets Bruce Wayne and can’t stand the wimp. As referenced in The Flash Annual #13, Gaucho himself is a national hero in Argentina and will serve as the personal inspiration for the superhero team known as Súper Malón, basically an Argentinian version of the Justice League.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #667-669. Billionaire John Mayhew attempts to recruit Batman and Robin into a new team of international heroes dubbed The Club of Heroes. One of the main members of this team is the original Knight, essentially the British version of Batman. Knight’s son Cyril Sheldrake (who is also his sidekick known as Squire) will later become the second Knight and one of Batman’s trusted allies in the future. Wingman, El Gaucho, Man-of-Bats, and Little Raven are also members of the team along with several other international heroes that have been directly inspired by Batman. These heroes are affectionately (and jokingly) referred to as “The Batmen of All Nations” by the press. Anyway, once assembled, this “Club of Heroes” venture will fail immediately. The team doesn’t get along and disbands in less than a half hour.
–REFERENCE: In JLA Classified #1. While the Club of Heroes venture fails miserably, Batman befriends Knight and Squire and gives them a special phone number with which they can reach him on a special “hotline” in case of emergency. (In Silver Age comics and on the Batman 66 TV show, the hotline phone was a big deal, getting used all the time. It is very much not a big deal in the Modern Age.)
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4, Batman #655, and 52. Kathy Kane, in dramatic fashion, publicly debuts as Bat-Woman, not only helping apprehend the homicidal jewel thief, Jimmy the Jackdaw, but also saving Batman’s life. Robin doesn’t like it, but Batman is very impressed. Later that night, Kathy meets Bruce for the first time (out of costume) at a socialite ball. (Bruce had long been estranged from the Kane side of his family, so it is not surprising he is now only meeting his deceased uncle’s former wife).
–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Birds of Prey #127. Babs spies on Batman while he meets with her dad on top of the GCPD HQ rooftop. It’s all preparation for her upcoming huge debut as a superhero.
–NOTE: In a flashback from Arkham Asylum: Living Hell . Summer. It’s Batgirl time! Finally, Barbara Gordon debuts as Batgirl (probably inspired by the recent debut of Bat-Woman). In this awesome 2003 tale by Dan Slott and Ryan Sook, Batgirl encounters the strange Humpty Dumpty. Batman isn’t involved in this case and won’t meet Batgirl until her public debut, which comes immediately afterward.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 and Birds of Prey #127—and also referenced in Batman: Batgirl and DC First: Batgirl/Joker #1. Summer. Batgirl’s first public appearance is a well-documented fight against Killer Moth. Batgirl “saves” Bruce from Killer Moth and meets Batman for the first time. While all of these references make it pointedly clear that Batgirl’s first public arrest is of Killer Moth, each varies a little. Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 shows a flashback depicting Batgirl saving Bruce from Killer Moth while on his way to the policemen’s ball. Birds of Prey #127 confirms the Secret Origins version of events. Batman: Batgirl includes a newspaper clipping that claims Batgirl saves Bruce from Killer Moth at the fancy gala dinner, after which Batman meets her face to face. DC First: Batgirl/Joker #1 merely makes reference to the fact that she takes down Killer Moth. Thus, we must simply choose one of them, or leave it at just the fact that she busts Killer Moth. Or, as I’d like to imagine, Batgirl saves Bruce on his way to the gala, then busts Killer Moth at said gala.
75. “Photo Finish” by Devin Grayson/Duncan Fegredo (The Batman Chronicles #9, Part 1) Summer 1997
This one is for the ‘shippers! One of my favorite Batman stories of all time. Devin Grayson is a master at writing about the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. Her depiction of the pair goes beyond innuendo, and borderlines on pure sex/erotica. In “Photo Finish” Batman and Robin are chasing down Catwoman. Batman tackles the runaway thief, putting her in a very compromising position. He then orders Robin to leave, so that he can um… er… “interrogate” her one-on-one. The bummed Robin cartwheels away into the night and runs into Batgirl for the very first time. They team-up (!), stop some burglars, and get pictures taken in a photo booth! The end. Great stuff. Note that Batman is drawn wearing his yellow-oval costume here. This is incorrect and must be ignored.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Bruce, while training, tells Alfred to tell Dick to take the night off—he wants some one-on-one time with Bat-Woman.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682 and Batman Incorporated #4—originally told in Batman #105. Batman chases down the criminal Curt Briggs while Bat-Woman tries and fails to keep pace. Batman winds up injuring his ankle and is forced to retreat. However, Briggs is knocked unconscious in the process and temporarily loses his memory. Bat-Woman catches up to Briggs and somehow mistakes the amnesiac villain for Batman, gives him the Dark Knight’s cape and cowl, and begins fighting crime with him! When Briggs regains his memory, Bat-Woman realizes the error of her ways and takes down the poser-Batman. Afterward, Batman accuses Bat-Woman of nearly exposing his secret, to which Bat-Woman responds by kissing him. Bat-Woman not only begins assisting Batman regularly on patrols starting now, but the she and Batman enter into a serious sexual relationship as well!
76A. Batgirl: Year One #4 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)
Batgirl tries her first ever rope dive off of a tall skyscraper and botches it. Luckily Batman and Robin are watching and save her. They then proceed to knock her out and take her to Batcave where they test her abilities and learn her secret ID. Satisfied, the Dynamic Duo knocks her out again and returns her home. Later, Robin sends her Bat-equipment in the mail and gives her a letter of approval. Batman, on the other hand, is still not impressed.
76B. Batgirl: Year One #6 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)
Batman and Robin give Batgirl a motorcycle (to test her skills). Meanwhile, mobster Tony Bressi, eager to get rid of Commissioner Gordon, but weary of being linked to the crime, orders his henchmen dress up as Killer Moth and Firefly and kidnap Gordon. The goons abduct Gordon with ease and set off an explosion that injures GCPD Officer Jason Bard. Batgirl teams with Black Canary and they chase the bad guys to Bressi’s mansion. There, the real Killer Moth (escaped again) and Firefly show up to fight their copycats and clear their names. The issue ends here, but we know that Gordon is rescued, Killer Moth and Firefly get away, and Bressi walks with no evidence to link him to any wrongdoing.
–REFERENCE: In Batgirl: Year One #9—originally told in The Brave & The Bold #78. The snake-themed villain known as Copperhead debuts and is defeated by Batman and Batgirl.
77. “Folie à deux” by Kelley Puckett/Terry Dodson (Legends of the DC Universe #10-11) November 1998 to December 1998
August. Our story opens with Barbara Gordon, who has just turned 18-years-old, continuing with a new semester at Gotham State University, but for the first time moving on campus. (According to canon, Babs graduated high school way early at age sixteen and immediately began an early-entry college program.) Now it’s time for dorm life! Commissioner Gordon knows that his daughter is Batgirl, but is scared to approach her about it, so he never does. Batman, on the other hand, having now worked side-by-side with Batgirl and seen her in action several times, does approach the young woman and warns her to quit the superhero game, saying that without proper training she will get killed. Babs agrees and they strike up a deal; Batman will begin training Batgirl as long as she puts the costume away until he deems her ready. Sounds like a good deal, except Commissioner Gordon is put into a terrifying hostage situation almost immediately and Batgirl feels she has no choice other than to break her vow. Batgirl saves her dad, but Batman promptly ends her training.
–REFERENCE: In Batgirl: Year One #8. August. Batman doesn’t visually appear in Batgirl: Year One #8, but it is canon and the implication is that, from behind the scenes, he orders Robin to keep tabs on Batgirl. An eager Robin teams-up with a reluctant Batgirl. They ride motorcycles together and then take down the debuting Condiment King, after which Robin steals a kiss. Later, they take down Blockbuster, during which Batgirl acts with reckless abandon. Afterward, Vicki Vale (!) interviews Commissioner Gordon, who later figures out Babs’ secret. An angry Gordon confronts his daughter at home, but Babs runs away before they can talk. Meanwhile, Firefly and Killer Moth set the police station on fire.
76C. Batgirl: Year One #9 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)
August. The police station is saved and Firefly and Killer Moth are brought to justice by Batgirl (although Batman and Robin get the credit). Afterward, Batman and Robin finally have respect for Batgirl. The Dynamic Duo share their secret IDs with Batgirl and invite her into the Bat-Family. Batman and Robin then trick Commissioner Gordon into disbelieving his daughter is Batgirl—Robin dresses in drag to fool him! Later, Babs hangs out with Jason Bard, who has decided to becoming a private eye. Babs muses about running for Congress in the future, a nice bit of foreshadowing. Likewise, we see a poster promoting corrupt Congressman Rupert Thorne, who will eventually bring his crooked political styling to Gotham later on. Later that night, Batgirl teams with Batman and Robin to apprehend an escaped Scarecrow. We should note that, despite the trickery on the part of the Bat-Family, Gordon still has more than an inkling that his daughter is Batgirl. Gordon doesn’t approach Babs about being Batgirl, as we learn in the upcoming Legends of the DC Universe #10, because he is scared to approach the subject and doesn’t know how.
–REFERENCE: In JLA #7. The JLA defeats The Key.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #10, Part 1. The JLA defeats Toyman.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League America #43 and Showcase ’94 #7. The JLA defeats Brain Storm (aka Brainstorm).
–REFERENCE: In The Outsiders #21 and Metamorpho: Year One #6. The JLA defeats Simon Stagg.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #17 and Batman Confidential #19. As mentioned before, all of Batman’s interactions with Catwoman prior to this moment are coy enough that we never know for 100% sure if Batman really knows her secret identity. While there are some hints that Batman knows as early as Year One, we just can’t be certain—that is, until now. Whether or not you decide to place Batman’s learning of Catwoman’s secret identity here or earlier is entirely up to you. However, note that Batman, at this point, knows definitively and reveals Selina’s secret identity to the Bat-Family, including Batgirl, who has a lot of questions for the Dark Knight regarding Selina. The Caped Crusader positively calls Selina the “Robin Hood of Alleytown.”
78. “The Cat and The Bat” by Fabian Nicieza/Kevin Maguire (Batman Confidential #17-21) July 2008 to November 2008
September—roughly three weeks after the end of Batgirl: Year One #9. First, Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire play it fast and loose with continuity a bit on this sequel to Batgirl: Year One. There’s absolutely no way Batman should be wearing his yellow-oval costume yet. Also, a reference to something that occurred to Babs during her junior year of college is a bit sketchy too, especially since Babs should only be about to enter her sophomore year. But besides those problematic things, everything else in this arc flies. Also, note that Batman isn’t featured in the first two issues of this arc because he is away on top secret Justice League business—business that we never learn about. The synopsis begins now. Babs takes her dad’s notebook diary (which contains his entire case-file history written in secret code) and tries to decipher it while on a boring shift at her job at the Gotham Library. Catwoman breaks in and takes the notebook from Babs, who dons her fighting togs and goes into chase mode. Batgirl finally meets Catwoman and they sure don’t get along. After a nude brawl at the Gotham Hedonist Society (!), the sirens are forced to team-up after the notebook is stolen by the Russian Mob. (This is the Russo-American mafia that will eventually become known as the “Odessa Mob” later on.) Catwoman explains that she needs needs info from Commissioner Gordon’s diary to expose the Russians, who have enslaved a young girl. When a warehouse burns down during the chaotic fight against the Russians, Batman returns to scold the ladies in his life. Later, the Russians get Riddler to decode Gordon’s notebook, but Batman, Batgirl, and Catwoman intervene. While Batman chases after the Russians and saves the enslaved girl, Batgirl chases Riddler and the notebook to Arkham. At Arkham, Riddler takes control of the entire building and releases all the prisoners from their cells. We see some great Maguire renditions of a lot of the inmates as Batgirl successfully defeats Catman, Cavalier, Signalman, Blockbuster, Two-Face, Clayface II, and Scarecrow! Batgirl also runs by a creepy Joker, avoiding a direct confrontation with him. Finally making it into Arkham’s control room, Batgirl is crestfallen to find Catwoman, notebook in hand, standing next to a knocked-out Riddler. As the sun rises, Batgirl listens in as Batman talks with Catwoman about his newest protégé, getting her to admit that Batgirl has got mad chops.
–FLASHBACK: From Joker’s Asylum II: Riddler #1. Batman battles an escaped Riddler and his henchmen as they try to rob the Gotham Art Museum. Riddler flees the museum successfully, falls in love with an art student, and “goes straight” for the next couple of months following the heist. This flashback is narrated entirely by Joker himself, so much of it may be apocryphal. However, its basic elements are most likely canonical.
–REFERENCE: In Metamorpho: Year One #6. The JLA defeats Goldface.
–FLASHBACK: From Legends of the Dark Knight #37. September. Batman meets and is impressed by tough rookie cop Mercedes “Mercy” Stone. Mercy, while on a case, is badly beaten by a pit-fighter called The Cossack. She’ll be in the hospital for the next month and Batman will send her flowers every day.
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 2 #43. The JLA defeats the Shaggy Man in the Canadian Rockies. Afterward, the team discovers a hidden alien artifact of unknown origin.
–FLASHBACK: From JLA 80-Page Giant #2. Oliver Queen suspects that Bruce is Batman, but is thrown off the correct trail.
–REFERENCE: In Superman/Batman #70—originally told in Detective Comics #355. Batman defeats Telman Davies aka The Hooded Hangman!
79. Batman: Night Cries by Archie Goodwin/Scott Hampton
Mid October. Night Cries is a dark and beautifully illustrated graphic novel that realistically shows the painful crumbling of Jim and Barbara Gordon’s marriage (this time for good) and how it affects their son James. I definitely suggest reading this, as it shows essential character development for both James Senior and the creepy recently turned six-year-old James Junior. Note, however, that Batman is shown already wearing his yellow-oval costume, which is definitely incorrect and must be ignored. Here’s the lowdown. While investigating a drug cartel, Batman and Commissioner Gordon notice a common thread in a series of murders involving child abuse and the death of the abusive parents. The two hunt for the serial killer, but Batman gets accused of being the serial killer. Concurrently, Gordon comes to terms with the abuse of his past and watches as his marriage and connection to his son, which have been rocky for the past year, both fizzle completely. Eventually, Batman clears his name and exposes Dr. Bryan McLean as the killer. McLean winds up committing suicide. In the end, Barbara files for divorce and takes James Junior to Chicago.
–NOTE: In flashbacks from Detective Comics #875. Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are unsuccessful in tracking down Roy Blount aka The Peter Pan Killer. These flashbacks contain several key errors which must be noted. First, Gordon has red hair and is referred to as a lieutenant. Second, Gordon is partnered with Commissioner McKeever. Who the hell is Commissioner McKeever? We must assume he is an assistant commissioner or a commissioner from another police force helping out on the case. And third, Gordon is portrayed as being married to Sarah Essen! But if we must include her presence, we must ignore any references to their marriage and instead retcon the story so that Sarah and Jim have simply reconnected and are trying to date again.
–NOTE: In flashbacks from Detective Comics #875. October. Jim Gordon’s six-year-old son, James Junior, has been living with his ex-wife Barbara in Chicago, following their recent divorce a week ago. James Junior takes a trip back to Gotham, joining Jim, Babs, Sarah Essen, and Babs’ friend Bess on a mini-vacation at a cabin in the woods just outside the city. Unfortunately, James Junior is a psycho with various pathological issues. James Junior winds up supposedly murdering Bess, although her body is never found. From this point on James Junior will enter into various mental institutions, psych wards, and boarding schools before leaving town in his teenage years. I should mention the egregious continuity errors within the flashbacks before moving on. First, Gordon is shown with red hair. It should be gray. Second, Babs looks a bit too young—she would be recently turned 18 and attending college. Third, Gordon is married to Sarah Essen. They don’t get married for another six years! In fact Sarah shouldn’t even be in this story. But if we must include her presence, we must ignore any references to their marriage and instead retcon the story so that Sarah and Jim have reconnected and are trying to date again. If this is the case, this relationship must end quickly since we won’t see Sarah again until Bat Year 13.
–FLASHBACK: From Legends of the Dark Knight #37. October. Batman visits Mercy Stone in the hospital shortly before her release. Shortly thereafter, the Dark Knight begins combat-training Mercy in an abandoned gym.
80. “Halloween Past: Trick and Defeat” by Art Baltazar/Franco Aureliani/Sergio Carrera (DCU Halloween Special 2009) December 2009
Halloween. Bruce and Alfred throw the Halloween Charity Ball at Wayne Manor. An escaped Killer Moth shows up and tries to rob the party. Moth is busted when he answers the door for two trick-or-treaters dressed up as Superman and Batman. After making fun of their costumes, the trick-or-treaters (actually Robin and Batgirl) knock out Moth and save the day.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4. Bat-Woman debuts her sidekick Bat-Girl (Bette Kane) around this time. Yes, it’s true. There are two Batgirls out there at once! The Dynamic Duo begins going on routine vigilante patrols with Bat-Woman and Bat-Girl.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Robin tells Batman that he doesn’t trust Bat-Woman or Bat-Girl. Batman hints that wedding bells might be in his future in regard to Bat-Woman. He’s really serious and wants to put a ring on Kathy Kane!
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4. After another outing with Bat-Woman and Bat-Girl, an angry Robin returns to the Batcave complaining of Batman’s love affair with Kathy. Robin also complains that the new “Bogus Batgirl” keeps forcing herself upon him. Superboy Vol. 3 #65 makes reference to Bat-Girl acting like a “superhero groupie” during this time period. The Boy Wonder then discovers Batman and Bat-Woman “in flagrante delicto” inside the Batmobile! Bruce informs Dick that he and Bat-Woman are engaged and even uses the term “Bat-family!” I should note that Batman and Bat-Woman are legitimately very much in love with one another, although despite the marriage proposal and all the hot sex Bruce still hasn’t revealed his secret identity to her!
–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Killing Joke. Following a Dynamic Duo team-up with Bat-Woman and Bat-Girl, a famous photograph is taken that includes Batman, Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Bat-Woman, Bat-Girl, Alfred, Ace, and Bat-Mite. This suggests that on this wild adventure, Batman finally meets Bat-Mite, thus proving that Bob Overdog wasn’t as crazy as we thought after all. Not sure how Alfred’s presence doesn’t immediately out Batman as Bruce Wayne to Gordon, but oh well. Maybe Bat-Mite mind-wipes the Commish?
81. Batman: War on Crime by Alex Ross/Paul Dini (1999)
Batman cleans-up crime in the notorious Bayside District of Gotham, makes a positive influence on a young juvenile delinquent, and outs one of his corrupt Wayne Industries executives to the police.
82. “Never Say Die” by Dwayne McDuffie/Denys Cowan (Batman: Gotham Knights #27 / Batman: Black & White) May 2002
Former Penguin henchman Do-Boy kidnaps a youngster and holds him hostage. Batman crashes in through a window and saves the kid.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #656. Thanksgiving. Bruce and Dick celebrate Turkey Day with Bruce’s Aunt Agatha. This is Agatha’s only Modern Age mention, so I’m assuming she dies shortly after this since she is quite old in age and we never see or hear from her again.
–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 site of their murder.
83. “Batman A-Go-Go” by Mike Allred/Lee Allred (Solo #7) December 2005
Riddler and his “Aquarian Liberation Army” try to burglarize a Gotham party. Batman and Robin easily stop the villains, but not before Batman gets konked on the noggin and has a bizarre Adam West/Burt Ward Batman ’66-style campy dream in which Dick commits murder and suicide.
84. “Work That’s Never Done” by James Patrick/Steve Scott (Batman Confidential #49) December 2010
An inside look at the master detective at work. Like Sherlock Holmes meets CSI meets Law & Order. The Dark Detective solves a double homicide in this police procedural story and rescues a kidnapped orphan from a psycho. All in a days work.
85. “Broken Nose” by Paul Pope (the second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #3 / Batman: Black & White) May 2003
Short B&W Paul Pope story where Batman gets his nose broken for the first time (!) by robotic armored supervillain Mabuse. Batman gets patched up by Alfred, who notes that it is astonishing that in over six years as Batman Bruce has never had his nose broken before. Batman then defeats Mabuse, drags him out of the robo-suit and breaks his nose! Even Stevens.
86. Huntress: Year One #4-6 by Ivory Madison/Cliff Richards (August 2008 to September 2008)
Helena Bertinelli, now twenty-one-years-old, becomes the costumed vigilante known as Huntress. Huntress travels to Gotham to avenge the murder of her entire family by the criminal known as Omerta, who works for Nino Angelo’s mob. Huntress tracks Nino Angelo to a huge party being held at Wayne Manor. The party is a setup where Bruce can get more info about Angelo’s operations while Batgirl and Alfred listen in on wire taps. But of course, Huntress doesn’t know about the sting and crashes the soiree, much to the chagrin of Bruce. Batgirl tries to take down Huntress, but gets her ass kicked, also to the chagrin of Bruce, who is so angry he temporarily fires her. (Batgirl’s “firing” only lasts about a day). Batman later confronts Huntress and tries to apprehend her, but Catwoman shows up and saves Huntress. Later still, after unearthing a plot by Gotham’s newest corrupt politico Mayor Hamilton Hill and the Angelo family (a plot that ultimately never gets linked to the mayor in the end), Huntress assaults Nino Angelo, her former lover Tony Angelo, Omerta, and the Italian crime lord known as The Pope. Just when things look bleak for Huntress, she gets assistance from Batman, Batgirl, and Catwoman and takes her revenge on Omerta by cutting out his tongue. Afterward, Huntress tells Batman that she will stay in Gotham permanently whether he likes it or not—although technically Huntress will move to New York City for a bit and then return to Gotham after that.
87. The Judas Coin by Walt Simonson (2012)
This graphic novel wasn’t released until 2012, but it was started by Simonson well over a decade before that, placing it solidly in the Modern Age. Based upon what narratively occurs, this seems like a safe place to put it. Bruce picks up a copy of the Gotham Gazette from his regular newsie Gene. They chat about how the cutthroat criminal businesswoman Morgana “The Shiv” D’Orē has come to Gotham and wants all of Wayne Enterprises’ business. Later that night, Bruce intervenes in a showdown between an escaped Two-Face and some of the Shiv’s henchmen, who are both trying to steal a famous shekel from the museum: one of the silver coins that Judas was paid to betray Jesus Christ! During the scuffle, Batman and the Shiv’s crooks get trapped under a fallen skylight. Two-Face flips his coin and murders the Shiv’s remaining henchman. Sensing that the Judas Coin is bad luck, he mails it to the Shiv and turns himself in. Two days later, the magick of the Judas Coin does its thing and the Shiv falls off a balcony to her death.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 80-Page Giant #1—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #59. Batman teams-up with Green Lantern to defeat Time Commander (John Starr). Afterward, Green Lantern puts Time Commander’s time-controlling hourglass device into the Justice League of America’s trophy collection.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Bruce ponders about how all of Gotham’s super-crime has turned into “pop-crime.” Bruce mentions how he is tired of playing games with quizmasters, clowns, and circus people. He trained to be a soldier, goddamnit!
- COLLIN COLSHER: Welcome to Bat Year Seven. This is the most compressed part of our timeline yet. Things are packed in like sardines here. It’s just how it is.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Every single issue of Batman & Superman: World’s Finest is a complete flashback issue, so none of them will appear later on the timeline outside of flashback notations. Only part 1 of issue #10 takes place “in the present” (Year 15) with Two-Face’s “villain war.” Thus, each flashback B&S: World’s Finest issue is a certain number of years prior to the “villain war.” Although, we should be aware that the number of years prior given in each issue, thanks to retcons, is usually off by a year.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: JLA: Year One #11 is said to occur “months” after the original Appelaxian invasion. It has correctly been about four months since then. However, there are some caveats that go along with this issue. Will Magnus, his Metal Men, the Seven Soldiers of Victory, and Metamorpho all appear in this issue, but thanks to retcons, all of these characters should be ignored. Much of this issue is simple “let’s stick as many characters in there as we can bullshit” so ignoring the anachronistic appearances of a few shouldn’t matter. Also, the actual conclusion to JLA: Year One occurs in issue #12. However, that issue is out-of-continuity definitively for a myriad of reasons. Thus, the actual defeat of the Appelaxians is inferred in issue #11.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: I wanted to state that the critically panned Batman: Fortunate Son by Gerard Jones/Gene Ha (1999) is definitely out-of-continuity for several reasons. First of all, the story references at least three 60s record producers that have since gone insane and are committed to Arkham (Phil Spector not included). Also, in Fortunate Son there is an inmate named Jack Napier that is housed in a cell directly across from the Joker. Jack Napier, as you may or may not be aware of, was the Joker’s real name in Tim Burton’s first Batman movie and in the original animated series. Talk about strange. Here’s another one for ya; Fortunate Son tells us that Batman hates punk rock. He loathes it. C’mon, my Batman is punk rock. But seriously, this story depicts a strangely out-of-character version of Robin (who is incredibly naive) and an oddball Batman who acts like an alien that has never even heard of rock-and-roll. Many people have lobbied to make Batman: Fortunate Son canon. However, I feel as though I should stick with my guns on this one and keep it off the list for the reasons above. However, if you still aren’t convinced, check this out: Atop the Fourth Wall’s VIDEO REVIEW of Batman: Fortunate Son. That being said, there is a really funny panel in Fortunate Son where Robin is trying to convince Batman that rock-and-roll is good, and he mentions that Speedy is in a band, to which Batman replies sarcastically, “There’s a fine role model.” This is funny because Speedy, in his early Teen Titan days, becomes addicted to heroin for a while. Speedy will also later relapse as an adult and hang out with dead cats in alleys. Okay, I guess it’s not so funny.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Kathy Kane is not, I repeat NOT the second Batwoman, Greg Rucka and JH Williams’ Kate Rebecca Kane, who we will meet later on down the road. Their names are similar due to the fact that they are distantly related.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Daily Planet: Special Invasion Edition makes reference to a few other alien encounters, but I have no idea what they are in reference to (or if they are original references to new material). The first reference makes mention of benevolent aliens trying to help Earth by spreading invasive plant growth across the planet, forcing the JLA into action. The second mention is about lizard creatures trying to eat all humans, forcing underground human forces to defeat them. And the third reference tells us that aliens capture Superman, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, and Starfire before being easily defeated. This one obviously goes later, after Starfire’s debut. Even if I was able to figure out these vague references, there would be no guarantee of Batman being involved. So, unless I ever figure them out (and Batman is definitely involved), these are staying off the timeline.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: I made a conscious decision not to include the flip book-style Batman: Two-Face Strikes Twice! graphic novels. If canon, Book One of this narrative would have taken place here and now on our timeline. Regarding Two-Face Strikes Twice, it contains two episodes (i.e. “books”) that comprise the whole tale. Each “book” has two “parts” (giving us the cute flip-book style format). Book One is a Batman & Dick Grayson Robin tale that, as stated above, seems to take place here in Year Seven. But here is why it is non-canon.
In Book One, a seemingly well-adjusted Gilda Dent (as opposed to the not-very-well-adjusted version of the character from The Long Halloween) gets remarried to a prominent doctor named Paul Janus. Book Two, featuring Tim Drake as Robin, is a sequel to Book One that takes place roughly seven years later (around Year Fourteen), in which Gilda is shown to be still happily married to Janus. In Book Two we learn that Gilda, a year-and-a-half prior, had undergone an artificial insemination procedure with Harvey’s sperm that ultimately resulted in the birth of a set of twins, which she falsely claimed were biologically Janus’ kids. Ok, ok, so this does seem like the behavior of a crazy Long Halloween Gilda now that I think about it. BUT STILL, the kids are never mentioned again in any other comic? Seems a bit odd. But the big thing that eliminates Two-Face Strikes Twice (both Book One and Book Two) from continuity is the fact that, no matter what, it contradicts Tony Daniel’s “Pieces” arc (‘tec #707, #710-712). “Pieces” tells us that Gilda was with Mario Falcone immediately after The Long Halloween, not this cheesy Paul Janus character. Not only that, “Pieces” tells us that Gilda stayed with Mario permanently after that. If this is indeed the case, it renders Two-Face Strikes Twice! non-canon mainly because Gilda would have never given birth to the twins. It’s pretty obvious to me that Daniel ignored Two-Face Strikes Twice! when scripting “Pieces.” The Gilda in “Pieces” is definitively tethered to the Gilda from The Long Halloween. Also, Daniel leaving the Dent children out of “Pieces” seems to mean that the Dents don’t have children i.e. that both parts of Two-Face Strikes Twice! have been rendered non-canon.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batgirl: Year One by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003) has some really interesting Batgirl information and background in it, but to place it contradictory-free in its entirety into this chronology would be impossible. The first three issues of the nine-issue series (Batgirl: Year One #1-3) also detail Batgirl’s debut encounter with Killer Moth, which happens at Bristol Country Club, the host of the policeman’s ball masquerade. Not necessarily wrong, but yet another version of her public debut to muddle things. Batgirl: Year One #1-3 is definitely non-canon, though, for a few reasons, which I will detail below.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Devin Grayson is one of the few females that get a chance to make their mark in a male-dominated industry. Grayson is one of the best writers in the biz today!↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: I already said above that Batgirl: Year One #1-3 is non-canon, hence why we are beginning with issue #4. Besides the fishy debut scene against Killer Moth, there are a few reasons why the first three issues are bunk. First, Babs has already graduated from college. Wrong. Second, Gordon is still a captain. Wrong. Third, the Teen Titans already exist. Wrong. Fourth, right after her debut encounter with Killer Moth, not only does Moth escape, but both Batman and Robin meet Batgirl. Double wrong. All of that being said, some of the rest of the issues in this series actually do canonically reference or feature Batman and therefore will appear below, including issue #6, #8, and #9. Issues #5 and #7 don’t feature Batman, but they are non-canon anyway. I will explain below the reasons why issues #5 and #7 are non-canon.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batman doesn’t appear in issue #5, hence why we’ve skipped that issue and gone straight to #6. Not that it matters much since issue #5 is non-canon anyway—Gordon is still a captain in it and it includes an incorrect version of Garfield Lynn’s debut as Firefly. Batman also fails to appear in the non-canon issue #7 as well. I will give detailed information regarding issue #7 below.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batgirl: Year One #7, the issue prior to this, not only doesn’t feature Batman, but is non-canon because it shows the JLA using the satellite HQ.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: This is the last time Bullock will be referred to as either simply “Officer” or “Sergeant.” From this point forward, Bullock will get promoted to “Sergeant Detective.”↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: A quick review on the very interesting dream sequence from the Allreds’ “Batman A-Go-Go”: The whole dream has less to do with a cohesive plot and more to do, at least in regard to narrative, a spoof of the mystery/crime/thriller genre. But even more importantly, the dream sequence is meant to detail what Batman ’66 would be like if it happened in the real world. A clownish, aging, and out-of-touch Adam West as Bruce Wayne, engaged in Venture Bros-style LARP fights with the weirdest losers in costume that one can imagine—all while his protege Burt Ward grows up into the typical late 60s hippie rebel, angry at the older generation (which includes Adam) for its conservatism, racism, and sexism. The thing all boils to a point where Burt is essentially duped into becoming the darkest manifestation of the flower child culture—a Manson Family member. And in this case, his girlfriend Sunshine is Charlie himself. And at the end of the nightmare, Robin has killed Sunshine. Her plot was to ransom a ton of cash from Adam/Bruce (in exchange for the safe return of a kidnapped Aunt Harriet and Burt/Dick). Of course, teenage Dick, brainwashed by Sunshine’s schtick (and sexuality), was in on the whole thing, having broken his code of superheroism, becoming evil to such an extent that he wound up killing a bunch of people and then ultimately killing himself. But in the end it was all a dream. So if this experiment wasn’t your thing, just leave it at that! But at the very least, enjoy the Allreds’ art!↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: In Huntress: Year One #5, Catwoman tells Huntress that she and Batman have been playing “cat and mouse” games for three years. If we assume that by this she means that they first developed a sexual tension/playfulness in their relationship three years ago then maybe it makes sense. Bear in mind that Catwoman and Batman have known each other for over almost a full seven years at this point.↩