55I. Batman: Dark Victory #4, Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
January 1. The conclusion to Dark Victory #4 is a continuation of bullet #55H. On New Year’s Day, Bruce heads over to an angry Selina’s apartment and apologizes to her for having missed their New Year’s Eve date the night prior. Meanwhile, Gordon forms a professional partnership with Janice Porter.
–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3 and Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44. Movie actor turned psycho killer Basil Karlo debuts as the villain known as Clayface. Batman defeats him and puts him behind bars. Part 1 of Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44 by Mike W. Barr/Keith Giffen has a great flashback that shows the debut of Clayface. Unfortunately, the flashback is told completely by the deranged Karlo himself and reflects the Golden Age too much, involving both Robin and Julie Madison. In the Modern Age, Julie wouldn’t be around anymore and Robin wouldn’t be around yet. For these crucial reasons, the flashback from Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44, Part 1 has to be non-canon. However, the Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44 issue itself can still function as our canonical reference. The ultimate reference for the first Clayface’s debut and incarceration must be from Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3, where we will first see Clayface II. Logic follows that Clayface I must debut before Clayface II, hence placement here and now. After Batman’s skirmish with Clayface, Bruce keeps Karlo’s mask and puts it on display in the trophy room of the cave. We know this because it will be seen in a later issue. If anyone can help out and remind me which issue, that would be great!
–REFERENCE: In Robin Vol. 2 #13—originally told in Batman #14. The Case of Dana Drye occurs. Robin was originally a part of this tale, but he obviously isn’t in the Modern Age version. Batman attends a “Meeting of the World’s Greatest Detectives” during which master sleuth Dana Drye is mysteriously murdered. Batman eventually solves the case when he finds Drye’s diary. The diary becomes a mainstay in the trophy room of the Batcave.
–REFERENCE: Originally told in Detective Comics #441, the Case of Judge Clay occurs. Batman takes down the corrupt Judge Clay after the judge accuses Batman of a crime that the former is actually responsible for. Batman keeps Judge Clay’s gavel as a trophy and displays in in the Batcave. I cannot recall which issue Judge Clay’s gavel appears in, so y’all need to help me out on this one, pretty please!
–REFERENCE: In Batman #680 and Batman & Robin #10—originally told in Batman #120. Bruce’s Uncle Silas Wayne, who thinks Bruce is a hopeless layabout, falls ill. Bruce reveals his identity as Batman to Uncle Silas, minutes prior to his death.
55J. Batman: Dark Victory #5 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
February 14-15. Batman, fearing that former police sergeant Frank Pratt may be the next target of the Hangman, seeks him out, but gets shot at by Pratt for his trouble. Pratt ultimately winds up hanged like all the other dead cops. Catwoman then starts poking around trying to find Carmine Falcone’s corpse, but gets knocked-out, tied-up, and put into a death trap (by persons unknown) for her trouble. Batman locates her (thanks to Riddler) and saves her at the last second. Batman and Catwoman then have a chat about their relationship, which doesn’t go very well. Elsewhere, Barbara Gordon returns to Gotham with James Junior and she gets back together with Jim! The next day, Bruce, having stood-up Selina the night before, tries to make amends, but Selina has packed up her things, moved out of her apartment, and left a Dear John letter for Bruce. It’s over between them.
61. The Creeper Vol. 2 #1-6 by Steve Niles/Justiniano (October 2006 to March 2007)
The origin of The Creeper! Gotham talk show host Jack Ryder is turned into The Creeper by the evil Dr. Vincent Yatz, who injects him with a nano-cell technology serum. The Creeper meets Batman when the former apprehends the murderous super-villain known as The Axeman. Meanwhile, Yatz, in league with the Joker, hijacks a bus full of inmates and steals them away to an abandoned island prison ten miles outside of Gotham. The evil scientist turns the inmates into monsters. The Creeper teams-up with Batman and the latter is able to apprehend Joker. Yatz is outed as a criminal and his experiments are stopped, but he escapes from the Creeper. We must assume Joker never makes it back to Arkham following his arrest, since we know he remains free for his appearances in Dark Victory later this year.
62. “Ghosts” by Sam Kieth (Batman Confidential #40-43) March 2010 to June 2010
Late winter. When several homeless people are slaughtered by a creature, a recently appointed Commissioner Gordon arranges for Batman to meet Callie Dean, a blind social worker who knows the victims well. Batman and Callie soon learn that they are dealing with a supernatural force that manifests itself in the form of a sulfurous monster with razor-sharp teeth. Batman confronts the monster, which temporarily blinds him and then delivers a premonition that Batman will grow to love Callie, but then the latter will die. In the end, the creature vanishes, and Batman does form a platonic love for Callie, only to watch her slip in the snow, hit her head, and die. Weird story.
–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #42. Batman rescues the kidnapped heir to the Ashmore family fortune.
55K. Batman: Dark Victory #6 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
March 17. A bloody gang war has erupted between Penguin and the Falcone mob. Batman captures Penguin and delivers him to Gordon, who has just formed an elite squad of cops to deal with the recent escalation of mob violence. Officer Julia Lopez is an integral part of this team. Mario Falcone, bending the situation to his advantage, executes a coup. Using his clean legal reputation to distance himself from his sister Sophia, Mario takes complete control of the Falcone organization and all of its assets, much to the chagrin of Sophia. Later, Watch Commander Stan Merkel is found hanged by the Hangman outside of the former Dent home.
55L. Batman: Dark Victory #7, Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
March 17. Batman examines Stan Merkel’s body, but is confronted by Commissioner Gordon’s new elite crime-fighting squad. Not knowing any better, they shoot at the Dark Knight until an angry Gordon orders them to cease fire.
–REFERENCE: In JLA Incarnations #3. Zatanna Zatara, daughter of John Zatara, debuts as a superhero. Bruce has known Zatanna for a long time. They are very close friends and have been ever since they were little children.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin #16—originally told in Detective Comics #134. Batman constructs a mirror-walled, hallucination-inducing “Truth Chamber” interrogation room deep within the Batcave. After an altercation with Penguin, Batman captures one of his henchmen and uses the bizarre room to simultaneously terrify and question him.
–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Batman Confidential #52. Bruce Wayne is named People Magazine‘s “Sexiest Man Alive.” Amazing!
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4-9 and Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #10, Part 1. Late March. Even though Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #3 is out-of-continuity, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel still commemorate the death of Harrison Grey (the second annual Springtime meeting between Batman and Superman), as referenced in Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4-10. As mentioned specifically in Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #10, Part 1, Two-Face appears during this meeting and threatens our heroes. (Originally, in Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #3, Two-Face was busted and jailed, but thanks to Dark Victory, that can no longer be the case. Instead, we must assume that Two-Face makes a brief appearance here just to taunt Batman and Superman before running off.)
55M. Batman: Dark Victory #7, Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
April 1. Two-Face holds a mock trial in order to determine who the Hangman is. Calendar Man, Joker, Scarecrow, Mr. Zero, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, and Riddler are in attendance. Solomon Grundy plays the bailiff role. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce trains and begins to doubt his abilities to catch the Hangman. Alfred pries a bit and discovers that Master Bruce has been running with traces amounts of Fear Gas in his system for exactly three months now! After a quick session with Dr. Pennyworth, all’s well again. Later, the Hangman strikes again and tries to kill Commissioner Gordon, but both Batman and Two-Face are there to protect him—(Two-Face doesn’t want to get blamed for crimes he isn’t committing). Elsewhere, Tony Zucco and Edward Skeevers plot a sinister money-making scheme against Haly’s Circus. Uh oh.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #21. The first appearance of Catman (Thomas Blake) happens. There’s no specific Catman origin story in the Modern Age, but we’ll be seeing a lot of him from now on. “Heat” by Doug Moench/Russ Heath from LOTDK #46-49 (1993) is a Thomas Blake origin story, but it’s a completely different version of the character entirely, so this story is totally out-of-continuity.
–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One #2. Killer Moth debuts. Killer Moth’s first appearance is a mash-up of his original few appearances in the Golden Age.
–REFERENCE: In 52—originally told in Detective Comics #319. Batman captures the nefarious Dr. No-Face.
55N. Batman: Dark Victory #8 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
May 8. Mother’s Day. Joker kills a bunch of Sal Maroni’s top men then kills a bunch of Mario Falcone’s business associates. Later, the Hangman murders Commissioner Gordon’s appointed bodyguard. Later still, Joker attacks Sofia Gigante Falcone in her home, but gets warded off by a gun-wielding Alberto Falcone and Batman. Batman thrashes Joker and puts back in Arkham. Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred sets out tickets (given to Bruce for a donation his company made a while ago) to Haly’s Circus.
55O. Batman: Dark Victory #9, Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
May 9. Bruce attends C.C. “Pop” Haly‘s “Greatest Show on Earth” at Haly’s Circus only to watch a tragedy unfold. Zucco, who was refused by the circus after offering a bogus protection/insurance racket, gets his revenge by sabotaging the act of the famous trapeze artist family, the Flying Graysons. The Grayson parents fall to their deaths as Bruce watches from the audience. Twelve-year-old Dick Grayson is left orphaned. The terrible death of the Flying Graysons is also chronicled through canonical flashbacks in Batman #436, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #34, and Nightwing Vol. 2 #101. Not only is Bruce present (making appearances as both Batman and Bruce Wayne), but so is a three-year-old Tim Drake as well. (Tim will be turning four in less than a month.) Accompanying the child are his parents Jack Drake and Janet Drake. The Flying Graysons death scene is also shown through flashback in Secret Origins 80-Page Giant #1, although Tim is incorrectly referred to as being seven-years-old instead of going on four. Secret Origins Vol. 2 #50 also contains a Denny O’Neil prose version of the death of the Flying Graysons.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #436. May 9. Immediately following Dick’s parents’ deaths, Batman swoops down to speak with Dick and examine the scene. Dick mentions Tony Zucco as a suspect, but no one really listens.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. May 9. Dick’s parents have just died. Dick overhears Tony Zucco talking to Pop Haly about the Flying Grayson deaths. Before he can recklessly act, Dick is stopped by Batman, who tells him to have patience for justice. (Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13 continues directly onward from this scene, having Batman take Dick into the Batcave to swear an oath of allegiance. Obviously, this part of Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13 cannot have possibly occurred and must be summarily ignored.)
–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. May 9. From the shadows, Batman watches over Dick as he says his sad goodbyes to Pop Haly and his friends before going with a state agent to be placed into the rough-and-tumble Gotham Youth Center (as seen in the 55-page flashback “Robin Year One” issue of Robin Annual #4). We see Dick leave with the shrewish state agent, but a flashback from Batman #436 shows that Commissioner Gordon is the one who actually escorts him to the Youth Center. Therefore, we must surmise that the shrewish agent delivers him over to Gordon first. Batman #436 also introduces us to the loving, caring headmistress Sister Mary Elizabeth. We should note that while Sister Mary Elizabeth may be loving and caring, the Youth Center is a bad bad place (as detailed in Robin Annual #4) where Dick gets beaten up almost every day by other kids.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #439 and Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. Mid June. A custody hearing is held and Dick is adopted by Bruce Wayne as his ward. “Batman Year Three” tells us that Dick is in the orphanage for two months—while close, it’s actually a little less than a month-and-a-half. Similarly, Robin Annual #4 tells us that Dick is in the orphanage for a month—again, close but no cigar.
–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. Mid June. Alfred accompanies Dick to Wayne Manor for the first time. There, Bruce (along with supermodel Brittany St. James) settles him in and shows him the lay of the mansion. An alternate version of this scene is shown via flashback from Batman #437—however, it is totally non-canon. In Batman #437, Bruce immediately reveals his secret to Dick, gives him his Robin costume, and starts training him. Obviously, this is not how things went down.
55P. Batman: Dark Victory #9, Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
Mid June. Father’s Day. A depressed Dick chats with Alfred at Wayne Manor. The Falcones are brought in for police questioning and Batman listens in. Concurrently, Gordon’s driver becomes the next victim of the Hangman. Later, Batman talks to Dick and let’s him know that his parents’ murderer will be brought to justice. Later still, Bruce muses in front of his parents’ graves and lays down a single rose.
–REFERENCE: In Robin Annual #4, Nightwing Secret Files #1, and Robin: Year One. Mid June. Robin’s five-and-a-half month training program begins. Nightwing Secret Files #1 has a Robin timeline that specifically says that Robin’s training period is six months long, but for things to jibe neatly with Robin: Year One later this year, Dick’s training should begin now and actually last about five-and-a-half months. How does this work since Batman hasn’t yet revealed his secret to Dick, you ask? Not to worry. I have a perfectly good explanation. Since Batman has just made contact with Dick (in the second part of Dark Victory #9), we can assume that Batman tells Dick to start training on his own right away, in order to prepare for Zucco’s arrest. Thus, if he starts now, in mid June, he will finish in December, right in time for Robin: Year One, which begins around then.
–NOTE: In Batman: Dark Victory #10. Mr. Zero changes his name to Mr. Freeze.
55Q. Batman: Dark Victory #10 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
July 4. While Dick lounges at Wayne Manor, bored to tears, Batman, Gordon, and his elite squad go hunting in the sewers. The heroes fight Two-Face, Joker, Mad Hatter, and Mr. Freeze. They realize that the Hangman is down there too, finding one of Gordon’s squad hanged. The villains scatter, but Gordon arrests and jails Two-Face. Later, Dick sneaks out to Haly’s Circus to witness Edward Skeevers and another hood roughing up Pop Haly. Dick tries to intervene but gets knocked-out. Batman shows up, sends the bad guys packing, and takes Dick to the Batcave to recover. Dick wakes up, surprised at his surroundings. Batman unmasks and reveals his secret. Robin Annual #4 details this night as well, although significant additions have been made. First, we get a scene showing Bruce and Dick talking about how he won’t go to school—Alfred will tutor him instead. Bruce mentions that its too late in the year to sign him up for a real school, which doesn’t make sense and should probably be ignored. Second, Skeevers and a few other hoods (not just one) are roughing up Pop Haly and they wind up shooting him dead! I’m not sure Pop Haly’s death is meant to be canon or not—we do see Haly alive again, but only in three issues. The first is New Titans #60, published well before Robin Annual #4, meaning Haly’s appearance there is retconned away. The second and third are Nightwing Vol. 2 #102-103, which already has some shaky continuity to begin with. Since we don’t see or hear from Pop in any other issues ever again (besides those three), I’m leaning toward canonizing the death of Pop Haly. Makes sense. Third, Bruce takes Dick upstairs into Wayne Manor from the Batcave before unmasking. It’s really up to you which version—the Dark Victory #10 version or the Robin Annual #4 version—you want to go with. They essentially tell the same story, with a few differences.
–FLASHBACK: July 6. Dick attends Pop Haly’s funeral along with several of his friends, including ringmaster Stan Rutledge (as seen in Robin Annual #4). Afterward, Batman asks him about the funeral and updates him on the search for Tony Zucco, who is still in hiding.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. Dick’s solo training ends and he officially begins training with Batman. First on the agenda are mixed martial arts, boxing, chemistry, and sleuthing.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Shadow of the Bat #34. Bruce and Dick continue training. They do gymnastics as Alfred watches.
–FLASHBACK: From Legends of the DCU #6. July. This single-panel from Legends of the DCU #6 shows Batman return to the Batcave after teaming-up with Superman on an unspecified case. Dick, awed, asks Bruce what the Man of Steel is like.
55R. Batman: Dark Victory #11-12 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
August 1-September 5. Batman continues searching for Tony Zucco, roughing up some of Sal Maroni’s men in the process. In the Batcave, Dick complains to Alfred that he’s been training for nearly a month and is ready to hit the streets. Batman arrives and tells Dick that he’s got Zucco’s location. The Dark Knight and Dick then hunt down Zucco, who runs, revealing that Mario and Alberto Falcone are twins, before having a heart attack and passing out as ambulances arrive. Batman checks Zucco’s pulse and tells Dick that he’s dead. This is either a huge continuity error or Batman is blatantly lying, since we’ll see Zucco alive again down the road. I’d lean towards the latter—Batman wouldn’t want Dick still hellbent on revenge whilst in the middle of his training period. It’s a nasty lie, I’ll admit, but that’s just how it is. (Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13 shows Zucco’s downfall as well, but it differs from Dark Victory‘s version and therefore must be ignored.) On August 2, Two-Face is put on trial. Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Solomon Grundy interrupt the proceedings on behalf of Two-Face and the latter escapes with their help. At midnight, another of Gordon’s elite crime-fighting squad is murdered by the Hangman. On August 4, Scarecrow and an escaped Joker kidnap DA Janice Porter on behalf of Two-Face, who kills his lover without a bat of an eye. Two days later, Batman learns that Porter and Two-Face have been in cahoots the whole time. On August 20, Alberto Falcone learns that the “voice” he’s been hearing for months now belong to none other than the Calendar Man, messing with him because he’s been jealous of the attention Falcone got during the Holiday murders. Later, Batman and Gordon find Calendar Man, badly beaten and with Alberto’s electronic surveillance bracelet on him. Alberto and Sophia Falcone are both missing. On Labor Day, Dick solves the Hangman puzzle. Batman goes to the downtown Falcone penthouse and discovers the Hangman’s secret lair. The Hangman attacks, getting the better of the Dark Knight by slipping a noose around his neck from behind and hanging him off the balcony. Catwoman shows up to rescue Batman.
–FLASHBACK: From Armageddon: Inferno #1 and Armageddon: Inferno #4. This is a strange one. Batman, from the year 2001, temporarily time-travels to August, 21 1994, on behalf of Waverider, to battle Abraxis’ Daemen in Russia. Thus, while Batman is dealing with the events of Dark Victory during this period (as written about above), his future self from seven years forward travels to the former Soviet Union and fights alongside Spectre and some other time-displaced heroes. (Therefore, this note completely overlaps with the previous 55R note because it creates a situation where there are two primary Batmen active at once thanks to time-traveling.) For this note, however, we must make some important retcons. Any references to the real life coup against Gorbachev from August 21, 1991 must be ignored. I’ve kept the August 21 date, but this event has to take place in 1994 at the earliest since a rookie Creeper appears.
55S. Batman: Dark Victory #13, Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
September 5. Labor Day. Catwoman saves Batman from the noose of the Hangman and then they chat for a bit (the usual mean-spirited conversation with undertones of sexual tension). Batman returns to the Batcave and meets with Alfred and Dick. Dick has now been training for two months.
–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One #2. Bruce tells Dick a Joker story that gives the boy nightmares for a week.
55T. Batman: Dark Victory #13, Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
October 10-11. On Columbus Day, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Joker each murder the heads of four of the five major Gotham mobs. The Falcones are next. Elsewhere, Sophia and Alberto Falcone, the latter still suffering from injuries dealt to him by the Calendar Man a month-and-a-half ago, hide out for their own safety. Sophia puts her brother out of his own misery, smothering him to death. Mario Falcone, meanwhile, goes to Gordon for protection. Mario tells Gordon and Batman that he had been secretly working for the late Janice Porter. Batman deduces that Sophia Gigante is the Hangman. She’s been faking her paraplegic injuries! Batman goes after Sophia who is hiding in the sewers, but gets distracted by Scarecrow, allowing Two-Face to get to her first. Batman eventually saves Two-Face and fights Sophia before Two-Face shoots her dead. During the chaos, Solomon Grundy gets electrocuted to death. Don’t worry, he is already a zombie and will get reincarnated again soon. Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Joker, and Mr. Freeze then escape blindly through the sewers and wind up, of all places, inside the Batcave! Dick, ever vigilant, dons his self-made Robin costume for the first time (!) and takes the fight to the super-villains! Batman soon arrives and helps him kick ass. Joker shoots Two-Face, who survives but falls into the waterways deep below the Batcave and is washed away. The Dynamic Duo the busts the other villains. Batman later meets with Gordon to discuss Two-Face. Gordon mentions that he’s “heard about” the Dark Knight’s new young partner—obviously from the Joker and company. (NOTE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13, Batman not only designs the Robin costume, but comes up with the Robin name as well. This contradicts Dark Victory and must be ignored.)
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44, Part 2—and referenced in Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3. Batman meets the shapeshifting monster Clayface II (Matt Hagen), who has been running circles around the GCPD for the past couple weeks. Clayface is defeated when he gets stuck in a large kiln. However, due to circumstantial evidence, Clayface walks free. It’s not long before Clayface tries a robbery attempt again, and Batman is there to stop him, this time by forcing the slippery blob in front of a bus. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3 tells us that, during one of their earliest altercations, Clayface sucks Batman into his body, but Batman viciously bursts-out to defeat him. We can assume this is that very altercation. We can also assume that, despite getting flattened and handed over to the cops, Clayface must again avoid jail time because we will see him in the upcoming Gotham After Midnight.
63A. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #1-6 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (July 2008 to December 2008)
October. Batman takes on an escaped Scarecrow, the Axeman, and Man-Bat before realizing that they are all acting strangely and obviously under the control of another person. Meanwhile, a mysterious serial killer has been literally stealing people’s hearts. It doesn’t take long for Batman to discover that the killer, known as Midnight, is controlling the villains using experimental drugs. Soon after, Bruce, in and out of costume, meets the beautiful GCPD Lieutenant April Clarkson. Midnight then hires the recently debuted Clayface II to attack Batman, which results in a Godzilla-like battle with a gigantic Clayface fighting Batman in a giant robot. On Halloween weekend, Joker briefly teams-up with Midnight and the former kidnaps some kids. Midnight unsuccessfully tries to kill Batman when the Caped Crusader arrives to save the children. Midnight then abducts GCPD cop Barry Lucas and makes his escape.
63B. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #7, Part 1 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (January 2009)
Late October. Part 1 of Gotham After Midnight is listed as “Chapter 1” in the issue. Batman, Gordon, and GCPD Lieutenant April Clarkson discuss the disappearance of her partner, Barry Lucas. They fear he is dead at the hands of Midnight. (He is). Batman vows to locate Midnight’s secret lair.
55U. Batman: Dark Victory #13, Part 3 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
Halloween. Dick swears an oath to Batman by ceremonial candlelight and officially becomes the first member of the Bat-Family. Now that Batman and Alfred have a Boy Wonder in the Batcave, Batman will begin referring to his most trusted inner circle of crime-fighting comrades as his “family.” In the future, the Bat-Family will often change in both size and personel (and often depending on Batman’s mood), but it will usually consist of Alfred, a Robin, a Batgirl, and others. Dick’s training, now more than halfway over, will continue for two more months. Commissioner Gordon celebrates Halloween with wife Barbara and Julia Lopez, who he appoints as new Lieutenant.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #101. Dick, still in his training period, poses in his Robin costume. Batman tells him that it would be wiser to wear long leggings instead of a speedo, but Dick really digs his digs.
–REFERENCE: In Underworld Unleashed #1. November. Spellbinder debuts.
–REFERENCE: In Hero Hotline #6 and Superman/Batman #19 (aka Supergirl Vol. 5 #0). November. The Calculator debuts.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #703. November. The Getaway Genius debuts.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #682. November. Eraser debuts.
–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham Knights #33. November. Kite Man debuts.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #21. November. Mr. Polka-Dot (aka Polka-Dot Man aka Mr. Polka Dot) debuts.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League America #43 and Batman Confidential #21. November. The Cavalier (Mortimer Drake) debuts. Drake is a copycat of the original Cavalier from Year Two, Hudson Pyle.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #573 and Batman #700. November. Mad Hatter II (aka Hat Man aka Hatman) debuts. To avoid confusion in the future, be aware that Mad Hatter II is a red-headed mustachioed copycat of the original. We never learn Mad Hatter II’s real name, but he is so crazed in regard to his copying that he even goes by the name “Jervis Tetch” (which is the real name of the first Mad Hatter). The non-canon Batman: Dark Detective #2 reveals the second Mad Hatter’s real name as “Jarvis Trent,” but even if it was canon, this also seems like a deliberately bogus copycat play on “Jervis Tetch.”
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #101. Dick continues his training. No matter what he does, Batman tells him to “do it better.”
–FLASHBACK: From Batman #687. November. Dick, wearing his Robin costume, passes his “ambush training test,” successfully surprising (kinda) the Dark Knight inside the Batcave. Dick’s six month training will end in a couple weeks.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Hidden Treasures #1. November. The tale recounted in Ron Marz and Bernie Wrightson’s “Splash” occurs now. When a serial killer begins knocking off homeless people in the sewers, Batman suspects a reincarnated Solomon Grundy. Batman tracks Grundy to Slaughter Swamp after the villain kidnaps a homeless man. In a twist, the Dark Knight learns that Grundy’s “victim” is actually the serial killer. Thus, Grundy, who surprisingly (or not surprisingly) has a bunch of hobo pals, saves the day.
–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 on Crime Alley.
–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham After Midnight #7, Part 2. Killer Croc (Waylon Jones) debuts and battles Batman. There are flashbacks in a couple non-canonical issues detailing the origin of Killer Croc, but for the purposes of the Modern Age, there really isn’t an official origin story.
–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One. Early December. The basic elements of the wonderful Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet by Bruce Canwell and Lee Weeks (1997) occur now, since they are referenced in multiple future issues (most notably in Robin: Year One). However, there are two main continuity errors in Robin: Year One that make me hesitant to “officially” list it on my chronology with a legitimate number. Error #1: Gordon is still a captain—he should be the commissioner. Error #2: It takes place in June and ends on the fourth of July—it must take place later than that. In fact, according to Dark Victory, Bruce only first reveals his identity as Batman to Dick on the fourth of July. If we ignore these two items, then the story fits perfectly. In any case, the basic plot elements of The Gauntlet remain canonical. Batman officially ends Dick’s training, making him officially his sidekick, the Boy Wonder, Robin. The new soldier is put through a “final exam” where he runs a twenty-four hour gauntlet through the city while Batman silently stalks him. During the final test, Robin is able to systematically shut down Joe Minette‘s criminal organization and send the mob boss to prison. Afterward, Batman introduces Robin to Gordon.
–FLASHBACK: From New Teen Titans Vol. 2 #47. Batman and Robin are shown posed in the Batcave, ready for action (presumably for Robin’s first official patrol).
–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #866. Robin goes on his first official on-patrol outing with Batman and is told to wait in the car while the Dark Knight trails the Joker into a mansion. Inside, the Joker tries to steal a holy medallion that belongs to the ancient Sacred Order of St. Dumas. Joker gets away when Batman gets attacked by a half-dressed member of the Order that wields a flaming sword. Although unconfirmed, this crazed man is JP Ludovic Valley—the current Order of St. Dumas Azrael and father to Jean-Paul Valley. (Since the 15th century, Azrael knights have served the Sacred Order of St. Dumas as their mind-programmed warrior soldiers.) Outside of the building, Joker gets in a confrontation with small-time thief Loomis before Robin ambushes the Joker from behind, leaving him for the cops. Meanwhile, Loomis gets arrested for a crime he didn’t commit; the theft of the medallion. Batman is wearing the wrong yellow-oval costume in this flashback. Ignore. Also ignore the fact that Harvey Dent is shown as the DA that puts Loomis away. Dent is already Two-Face at this point.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. The costumed super-villains keep on debuting. Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee debut and are bested by Batman and Robin. After his first tangle with Dum and Dee, Batman keeps their hats and puts them on display in the trophy room of the cave (although, for the life of me, I cannot recall in which issue the hats are shown on display). Later, Bruce and Dick attend a swanky society soiree.
64. “Robin & Superman: Fear of God” by Kelley Puckett/Dave Taylor/Kevin Nowlan (Legends of the DCU #6) July 1998
Batman goes out of town on unspecified business, leaving Robin to patrol Gotham on his own. Robin meets the Man of Steel for the first time and they team-up to fight some gangsters in Gotham.
–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0. Batman, Robin, and Superman have their first ever triple-team-up on an unspecified case.
–FLASHBACK: From DC Universe Legacies #3, Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0, the second feature to 52 #51, and Hourman #16. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman team-up with a gathering of superheroes (including Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Flash, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary) to battle seven vile aliens known as the Appelaxians (also spelled “Appellaxians” depending on the author). The Appelaxians have the power to turn people into wood, crystals, or various other organic material. Wonder Woman is the princess of the Amazons, a race of demigod warrior women relative to the Greco-Roman gods. Hal Jordan is a power-ring-wielding intergalactic peace officer for the organization known as the Green Lantern Corps. Note that some of the flashbacks include Black Canary, while others do not. There is no perfect answer that tells us whether or not Black Canary was one of the original JLA members, especially since JLA: Year One is virtually non-canon.
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0—and referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0 and the quasi-canonical JLA: Year One #1. (This item must go here because it takes place after Robin and Superman have already met and teamed-up.) The famous conference between DC’s Trinity occurs. Immediately after the DCU’s major heroes unite to battle the Appelaxians, the Big Three meet up. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman decide its time step it up a notch and unite their fellow superhero comrades into a “League” of heroes. The Big Three then pitch the idea of the “League” to Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary. As referenced in JLA: Year One #1, the day after Appelaxian attack, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary accompany US Army General Wade Eiling in an effort to collect another discovered Appelaxian—this one in an inert state—in a cave in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. There, the heroes chase away agents of Locus, who are defeated but successfully steal away the sleeping Appelaxian. Immediately after the Locus fight, these heroes agree that being on the Big Three’s team is a good idea. Thus, “The League” (still not officially called the “Justice League of America”) is formed! Note that this scene can be read as these heroes deciding for the first time to form the team (as was the original intention of JLA: Year One‘s narrative when originally published). However, since it can also easily be read as these heroes agreeing to join the Big Three’s proposed team, it works for the most part.
–NOTE: In Justice League America #92. I should also mention something a bit confusing, but very very important. Triumph is not only an original founding member of the League, but the initial leader of the united heroes versus the Appelaxians as well. However, immediately after the battle and formation of the new superhero team by the Big Four, Triumph is transported to a dimensional limbo where he will remain trapped for years. Not only that, his entire existence is completely erased from the timeline. Therefore, when he eventually returns years down the road, no one will have any memory of his existence—only he will remember that he was once one of the founders of the League. Triumph will be depressed because no one remembers any of this or knows who he is. Things will be okay for a while, but will turn ugly later on. But that’s years away and we’ll address it when we get there. Of note, Marvel will try its own version of original-but-forgotten hero a few years later with The Sentry.
–NOTE: In Legends of the DC Universe #12. While Green Arrow won’t join the League until next year, his alter ego, multimillionaire businessman Oliver Queen, begins secretly bankrolling all of the team’s operations.
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to 52 #51 and JLA: Year One #2. While the Big Three have formed the League, they still haven’t been active with the team. The trio continues to not participate. Don’t worry, though—Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman will become “full-timers” in a few weeks. The quasi-canonical JLA: Year One #2 tells us exactly why Batman decides to initially distance himself from the team, despite having only just formed it. A week after the Appelaxian attack, the League publicly debuts with a Q&A session at the Gotham Hotel. Of course, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman each fail to show up. (Despite having started the team, Batman is actually quite untrustworthy of working with relative strangers. Likewise, Superman and Wonder Woman each have their own reasons for being distant at this juncture as well.) The huge televised media event is attended by hundreds, including Lois Lane, Vicki Vale, Jack Ryder, Green Arrow, Simon Carr, and Dr. Ray Palmer (who has just debuted as The Atom less than a week ago). During the conference, Black Canary coins the term “Justice League of America“—(before this, the heroes on the team had only referred to themselves as “The League”). Locus, allied with Vandal Savage, sends Solomon Grundy, Clayface II, Thorn (Rose Canton), and Eclipso (an evil force inhabiting the body of Dr. Bruce Gordon) to attack the JLA. The JLA—sans the Big Three—defeat the villains, but the entire hotel is leveled and many people are put in serious danger. While elder heroes The Challengers and The Blackhawks watch on TV and are quite impressed, Batman isn’t. The scowling Caped Crusader watches angrily and vows to keep the Justice League out of his city of Gotham, noting that within the span of one hour, they brought needless destruction and chaos to his town with a very unnecessary public debut/appearance. Despite having founded the team less than a week ago, Batman vows to “use every resource he has to keep them out of Gotham.” (Despite Batman’s recent eagerness to start the team, this opening blunder sours Batman on the idea, especially when it comes to all things Gotham-related!) Afterward, Green Arrow makes a quick vulgar pass at Black Canary (presumably mistaking her for her mother, the original Black Canary, as he will again later do in Black Canary Vol. 3 #1 when they officially meet for the first time).
–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #50-54, the second feature to 52 #51, and the quasi-canonical JLA: Year One #1-2. Despite being soured on the idea of working with his JLA teammates following their Gotham Hotel debut fiasco, Batman still thinks the team can be a good idea if organized properly. With this in mind, Batman puts some serious money into the immediate construction of a high-tech HQ in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island (in the cavern where the eighth Appelaxian was found and stolen by Locus). But Batman’s apprehension in regard to the JLA is still high enough that he skips the first official team meeting, distancing himself from the other heroes and missing out on getting his League communicator.
–REFERENCE: In Batman #403. Batman meets infatuated/pesky photojournalist Vicki Vale, who works for a pro-Batman magazine. She is fascinated with Batman and desperately wants to find out his secret ID. Likewise, Bruce (out of costume) also meets Vicki and forms a friendship with her. There aren’t many specific Vicki Vale appearances or references on our timeline until Bat Year Eleven, but we must imagine that she will distantly trail the Dark Knight on a lot of his cases for the next four or five years.
–REFERENCE: In Robin Vol. 2 #70 and Green Arrow Vol. 2 #134. Batman fills one of the few remaining gaps in his combat skills, starting a training course in how to use the bow and arrow with Green Arrow. The course will occur for at least a few weeks (invisibly on our timeline), moving forward.
–FLASHBACK: From Trinity Vol. 2 #1—originally from Detective Comics #241. Modern Age Superman will eventually wind up on the New 52 timeline, and the sentimental guy won’t help but think of detailed memories of his old Modern Age pals Batman and Robin. Thus, the New 52 contains some canonical references to the Modern Age. One of these first New 52 references to the Modern Age is actually a nod to a Golden Age story, meaning that the New 52 canonizes a Golden Age occurrence for the Modern Age. Continuity everybody! In this flashback, Robin’s arm is injured, causing a situation where his secret ID is at stake. Batman tailors and wears a gaudy rainbow-striped costume to distract gangsters from looking at the Boy Wonder. The costume has the desired effect. Robin’s secret is safe and rainbow-Batman punches out thugs with ease.
–REFERENCE: In Legends of the DC Universe #26-27—originally told in Detective Comics #475. Joker unveils his famous “laughing fish” gag (one of the most beloved Steve Englehart Joker tales of all time), putting his signature smile on all the fish in Gotham Bay, and killing many people in the process. Joker’s toxins spread across the entire Eastern seaboard, destroying aquatic life across half the Atlantic. The “laughing fish” event originally took place later, as part of Englehart’s “Dark Detective” arc (which we will see in Bat Year Nine). However, the upcoming “The Fishy Laugh / Reign of the Joker!” places the “laughing fish” gag shortly after Aquaman’s debut on our chronology and shortly after the initial formation of the JL—hence the reasoning for why it goes here and now on our timeline.
65. “The Fishy Laugh / Reign of the Joker!” by Steve Englehart/Trevor Von Eeden (Legends of the DC Universe #26-27) March 2000 to April 2000
Immediately following the events of Englehart’s “laughing fish” story, Joker escapes from Batman and dives into Gotham Bay. Nearly drowning, Joker is rescued and given oxygen by an invading Atlantean army which has traced the source of the devastating pollution to Gotham. Aquaman meets Joker for the first time, and despite having been recently drafted into the JLA, Aquaman doesn’t have much experience interacting with humans yet, nor does he seem to have any knowledge of human culture or history. A confused Aquaman is fooled into believing that Joker is “King of the Land.” When Joker promises to help formulate a cure for the poisoned fishies of the sea, the invasion is halted, and the “King” is escorted to Atlantis. In Atlantis, Joker is able to seduce high ranking scientist Felua, who uses her political pull to influence the royal council to dethrone Aquaman from his seat of power. A disgraced Aquaman travels to Gotham and meets with Batman. (NOTE: Batman should not be wearing the yellow-oval costume yet. Ignore.) The two heroes have only recently met and are weary of each other, despite the fact that they are both now affiliated with the JLA. Batman gives Aquaman the Joker Venom antidote and sends him on his way. Back in Atlantis, Aquaman outs Joker as a fraud and reclaims his throne from a puppet monarch that had been appointed by Joker and Felua. Joker escapes back to Gotham unharmed with his Atlantean lover, but the GCPD and the Dark Knight find Felua’s grinning corpse washed up near the docks a day later.
–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 2 #210—originally told in Star Spangled Comics #123. Batman and Robin bring down the debuting Crazy Quilt, with emphasis on Robin being the one who brings him down. The Boy Wonder now starts his own measly Hall of Trophies, adding Crazy Quilt’s helmet as his first prize.
66A. Robin: Year One #1 by Chuck Dixon/Scott Beatty/Javier Pulido (2000)
Mid December. Robin: Year One is a great four-issue story that not only follows up on the canonical bits of Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet, but helps further define Robin’s early days superbly. Dixon originally wrote this story so that it spanned the course of many, many months. However, a legitimate alternate interpretation of the narrative gives a story that spans a mere month or two. To make everything jibe smoothly, I’ve leaned toward the latter reading. Now, onto the synopsis. Batman and Robin take down some gun runners on the docks. Back home, Alfred asks Dick if he’s happy going down the tough path ahead. Dick responds by saying that with Zucco dead there isn’t much reason for him to continue, but he wants to anyway. We see a single-panel flashback to Dark Victory where Dick captures Zucco and he “dies” of a heart attack. Of course, Zucco isn’t really dead; Bruce and Alfred have been maintaining the lie for a while now. The next day, Bruce drops Dick off at Bristol Middle School for his first day of public education! At night, after a Wayne Manor party, our heroes learn of a sinister series of child abductions from Commissioner Gordon (incorrectly referred to as “captain”). The next night, with Alfred’s help, Robin follows up a lead, fights a hired thug at a warehouse, and tracks the missing girls to a yacht that coincidentally happens to be hosting a gala in Gotham Harbor, a gala being attended by Bruce. Aboard the ship, Robin defeats the abductor, Mad Hatter, and exposes his accomplice, the corrupt president of a small Asian country called Rheelasia.
–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One #2. Mid December. The Cluemaster and Firefly debut. Both are busted by the Dynamic Duo.
–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #56. Mid December. Batman and Robin bust some random thugs. Martial-arts expert and League of Assassins member Shrike observes from the shadows. While Batman and Robin don’t meet him yet, Shrike will factor heavily into the next part of Robin: Year One.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #50. Mid December. Batman begins investigating a series of high profile kidnappings. This investigation will overlap with the next bunch of stories and continue for the next two weeks-plus.
–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4—and referenced in Robin: Year One #4. Batman and Robin deal with the Riddler and send him to Blackgate Prison.
–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. Gotham is in the grip of an uninterrupted super-villain crime wave. Batman and Robin, having just taken down the Riddler (from our previous note), bring Poison Ivy to justice and then later bust Joker in the sewer.
–FLASHBACK: From Starman #9. Blockbuster (Marc Desmond) and his criminal brother Roland Desmond debut. Batman and Robin deal with this duo right now.
–FLASHBACK: From from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #149-153. “Grimm” by J.M. DeMatteis and Trevor Von Eeden is a issue-length flashback story narrated by Nightwing as he peruses the old files of the Batcave computer in 2002. In the issue, Batman and a very green Robin defeat the insane twin sister duo of Cyanide and Mother Grimm.
66B. Robin: Year One #2-3 by Chuck Dixon/Scott Beatty/Javier Pulido (2000)
Batman and Robin bust Killer Moth. A day later, they bust Blockbuster (for the second time). A day after that, Two-Face kidnaps the judge who was present when he was maimed by Sal Maroni—(we see a flashback to Harvey Dent getting his face burned by Maroni, but the flashback itself and text associated with the flashback are all kinds of incorrect, so we have to ignore it completely). Commissioner Gordon, worried about Robin’s age, questions Batman whether or not the Boy Wonder is a permanent fixture. Gordon mentions that Robin has been around for months. While Robin has only debuted about ten days ago, Gordon has known about him since October, so this comment makes sense. Batman goes to hunt down Two-Face, telling Robin to sit this one out. When Batman confronts Two-Face, Robin disobeys and shows up anyway. Batman and Robin wind up getting captured and put into a twisted scenario involving the corpse of Sal Maroni and a double gallows. Two-Face executes the judge and then violently beats Robin with a baseball bat until Batman saves him and takes down the villain. (The start of Robin’s beating is also shown in a single-panel flashback from Robin Annual #4, while the entire scene is shown via flashback from Robin #0, from which Robin: Year One drew inspiration.) Batman then rushes Robin into the care of Leslie Thompkins (drawn with red hair and too young looking, but oh well). Later, Gordon chastises the Dark Knight for endangering a child. Batman tells Gordon that Robin is officially retired. The next day, Bruce fires Robin, who is bandaged, bruised, and has an arm cast—(we must assume it isn’t actually a fracture since his arm will seem healed in a few days). A few days later, a determined Dick begins his rehab exercising with zeal. A few days after that, Dick checks in with Dr. Thompkins, but Mr. Freeze (back to wearing his Mr. Zero duds) interrupts and robs the clinic. The next night, Dick, wearing his street clothes and a domino mask, takes down Freeze, who had attempted to obtain a large sum of cash from Mayor Gill. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred read a letter left behind by Dick; he’s leaving and not coming back home. That same night, Two-Face escapes from jail and Dick runs into Shrike, who recruits Dick into his “Vengeance Academy,” a martial-arts training program for teenagers.
63C. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #7, Part 2 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (January 2009)
December 19-20. Part 2 of Gotham After Midnight #7 is listed as Chapter 2 through Chapter 6 in the issue. Batman is finally able to find Midnight’s secret lair. When Batman infiltrates the lair, a drug-controlled Killer Croc is waiting to ambush him. Batman easily takes down Croc and recovers the corpse of Barry Lucas, but Midnight is long gone, continuing to murder dozens, even assassinating Mayor Gill! In spite of all the chaos, Batman begins a romantic affair with Lieutenant April Clarkson!
63D. Batman: Gotham After Midnight #8-9 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (February 2009)
December 21-December 31. Batman attends the funeral of Barry Lucas and then continues the hunt for Midnight. On X-mas Eve, Batman’s girlfriend April Clarkson is killed by Midnight. SPOILER ALERT: Clarkson has faked her death. She is Midnight. Catwoman is then kidnapped by Midnight and drugged into the villain’s complete control. A depressed Dark Knight continues the hunt for Midnight, but the latter keeps on killing and killing. (Remember, Batman is doubly depressed right now not only because of the supposed death of his girlfriend, but also because Dick has left home.)
- COLLIN COLSHER: Welcome to Bat Year Six. This year features several long-running arcs that overlap each other, including Dark Victory, Gotham After Midnight, Robin: Year One, and a ton of character debuts. Let’s do it!↩
- RIPPLEDFINGERS: Catwoman: When in Rome occurs between Dark Victory #5 (when Selina Kyle leaves town) and Dark Victory #13 (when she returns).
COLLIN COLSHER: While on the subject of When in Rome, I haven’t included it because Batman isn’t in it (unless you count Selina’s constant dreams about him). Selina goes to Rome to find her roots. We finally find out why she’s been so obsessed with the Falcones for the past five-plus years—Carmine may have been her biological father! All signs point to yes, but she’ll never get 100% confirmation.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batman #436-439 by Marv Wolfman/Pat Broderick (1989), entitled “Batman Year Three,” contain a bunch of legit flashbacks that re-tell the origin of Dick Grayson as Robin and that fill in some gaps in the Robin origin story—(although, the flashbacks from Batman #437 are not canon, but we’ll address that specifically below). Of course, the label “Year Three” is a loose term and exists only to give the “Year” stories a sense of chronological order. According to our timeline, we are definitely in May of Bat Year Six. Originally, before the publication of both The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, Bat Year Three was the official debut year for the Boy Wonder. Some folks (including most DC publishers and editors) still stick to that version of the timeline, despite the fact that both The Long Halloween and Dark Victory clearly point to a Bat Year Six debut for the Boy Wonder. Because the original Robin start date was Bat Year Three, many comics of the late 1980s and early 1990s contain completely incorrect (retconned) specific time references that must be ignored. I will try my best to address them all as they pop up, moving forward.
Due to the clash between the two schools of thought—DC’s idea that Dick becomes Robin in Bat Year Three versus the concept that Dick becomes Robin in Bat Year Six—we naturally have two separate possible years for Dick’s birth-year: 1979 or 1982. The three year difference reflects the difference between the two schools of thought: Bat Year Three versus Bat Year Six.
Likewise, DC always intended Dick to become Nightwing at age 18, but I have him turning Nightwing at age 17. A minor quibble. But, like I always say, this isn’t an exact science. If you peruse the issues and decide which stories are in-canon and which directly affect the passage of time, then you are faced with the two MAIN options explored above: Dick born in 1979; becomes Nightwing at 18. OR Dick born in 1982; becomes Nightwing at 17. Pick your poison.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: There are a few Robin origin tales that have been published over the years. Most, however, including the following, are non-canon. Legends of the Dark Knight #100 by Denny O’Neil/Dave Taylor (November 1997) is, and was always meant to be, an out-of-continuity alternate re-telling of Robin’s origin story. Totally non-canon. Another alternate non-canon Robin debut tale worth addressing is Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman & Robin. The entire All-Star line takes place on a different Earth. That being said, the exact events of Frank Miller’s “Year One” begin Batman’s career on the “All-Star Earth” too. In fact, Batman’s entire timeline on “All-Star Earth” comprises Miller stories (including Dark Knight Returns and Dark Knight Strikes Back)! DC’s press release regarding the “All-Star” imprint in 2005 was as follows: “The creative teams were not beholden to any previous and present continuities.” I think that answers any question regarding the canonical-status of the “All-Star” line pretty succinctly.
CHIP: Regarding All-Star Batman & Robin: It’s already on record that it’s part of a “Frank Miller Dark Knight Universe” that is actually designated as Earth-31 (according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_(Dark_Knight_Universe). It includes “Year One,” all “All-Star” titles, all Spawn/Batman books, Dark Knight Returns, and Dark Knight Strikes Again. Only “Year One” takes place in the regular Earth-0 continuity as well.
COLLIN COLSHER: Earth-31 is fantastic! Despite his disgusting political views, it’s really awesome that Frank Miller, being one the primary original architects of the entire Batman line, has his own Batman Earth. Too bad that the despicable Holy Terror isn’t a part of it as well… Or maybe that’s a good thing, haha.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: There are a few errors in regard to Gotham After Midnight. First, Jeremiah Arkham is mentioned as the head of Arkham Asylum. However, he won’t be working there until 2001. Also, Batman and Green Arrow are shown patrolling Gotham on Halloween night, and Ollie addresses Batman as “Bruce.” This is dead wrong. Ollie doesn’t know yet. And last but not least, Niles and Jones have given Batman a whole new array of mad-science gadgets and vehicles that we’ve never seen before and we will never see again (outside of this story-arc), so I don’t even really know what to say about that. Oh well. The authors not only add a crapload of weird, campy Bat-gadgetry in Gotham After Midnight, they include the first canonical use of the Batpole. Sigh.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Now that Batman: Dark Victory is over and the mobs have all been destroyed, this opens the floodgates for crazed costumed super-villainy in Gotham. The conclusion of Dark Victory directly implies that a swell of costumed villains will debut to fill the void left behind by the dissolution of organized mob activity in Gotham. Therefore, a bunch of C-Listers will eagerly debut in quick succession in November of YEAR SIX. They are listed below. We’ll be seeing a lot of them in the months and years to come.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / HEAR THE SNAP: 1992’s “Faces” by Matt Wagner (from Batman: Legend of the Dark Knight #28-30) starts off with a flashback to Two-Face escaping Arkham not long after having been jailed for the first time. After lamming, Two-Face flees to France for two years before returning to act in the main narrative of this LOTDK arc. Two-Face’s long-term hiding overseas included extensive recruiting of soldiers and plans to illegally purchase an island off the coast of French Guiana so he can start his own “Deformity Nation,” a sovereign state comprised only of hideously deformed freaks. Two years without a peep from Two-Face, the villain reappears with an army of circus folk and disfigured people who all serve his bidding. Batman, however, puts a stop to Two-Face’s plans and re-jails him.
Originally, the main action of “Faces” took place here, around November of Year Six. But this was well before the publication of The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, which replaced a ton of old Two-Face stuff, including this story. In order for this story to be canon, we’d need to find a spot where Two-Face is absent for TWO FULL YEARS. This unfortunately, NEVER HAPPENS in Batman’s early years (or really ever, for that matter). Two-Face shows up in just about every single year, and usually multiple times at that.
Now we could just simply ignore Two-Face’s two year absence and keep this story on the timeline. However, it is such an essential plot point of Wagner’s narrative that we really shouldn’t. “Faces” just doesn’t fit.
Or does it? “Faces” is one of those stories that can work, but only with a modified narrative. The Real Batman Chronology Project has dealt in such actions in the past, but I’m hesitant to do it with this story for the reasons listed above. However, our resident Batman scholar/historian Tiptup Jr 94 has a decent summarization of how it could work, should you choose to go in a different direction. The information of how it could work is listed below (lifted directly from Bat Year Four).
TIPTUP JR 94: Here is how “Faces” is canon, requiring only a few tweaks. Almost immediately after the conclusion of Long Halloween and the “Steps” storyline (LOTDK #98-99, which features Two-Face) Harvey Dent escapes, as depicted in “Faces” Part 1 (aka the opening flashback from “Faces”).
In Robin #0 in the mid-90s, it’s said that the DA who immediately succeeded Harvey was Alrdich Meany, who was later killed in the double-gallows incident. But from Dark Victory, we know Janice Porter followed Harvey. However, The Essential Batman Encyclopedia treats Meany as semi-canonical (while acknowledging the discrepancy with Robin: Year One) and suggests that Porter followed both Dent AND Meany in rapid succession. So here’s my theory:
Harvey escapes and begins planning his Isle D’urberville scheme. At some point prior to the beginning of Dark Victory, Harvey kills Aldrich Meany and is returned to Arkham. Throughout the events of Dark Victory, Harvey is planning his Isle D’urberville scheme behind the scenes in addition to all the other stuff he’s doing. Then, right after Dark Victory’s conclusion, the rest of the “Faces” storyline happens mostly as told. However, Harvey would have to escape Arkham rather quickly for his appearance in Robin: Year One.
And if you don’t like the Aldrich Meany angle, we can just imagine that Harvey was returned to Arkham for any other reason. Still, this is how I’m looking at things.
It’s pretty astounding that this story has the gall to have Two-Face off the map for two entire years, and while that’s certainly the intent and implication, I don’t think there’s a point where Batman explicitly says he hasn’t seen Two-Face AT ALL during this time, although at one point he asks a thug about “his movements of the last two years”; perhaps Batman just figured that Harvey started planning something around that time, and is still carrying it out since he hasn’t resurfaced since the end of Dark Victory?
At any rate, the post-Zero Hour/Infinite Crisis time waves have made these early Legends stories malleable enough to make such inferences.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batman: Turning Points #2 by Ed Brubaker shows Gordon meeting Robin, but is non-canon because Gordon is still a captain in it and also because it contradicts the general plot elements of the quasi-canonical Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet. Not to mention, Gordon reacts very negatively to the idea of a kid crime-fighter in Turning Points, whereas he doesn’t really react that way in other texts. Gordon would have already known about Batman’s sidekick for some months now (as we learned in Dark Victory).↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / LUKASZ: Joe Kelly’s Superman/Batman Annual #2 details the first meeting between Robin and Superman as well. However, this version is non-canon for a couple reasons. First, it shows that Batman has received a JLA membership invitation card. Second, Batman and Superman join the JLA as reserve members. These things might have been acceptable when JLA: Year One and JLA: Incarnations were the only games in town, but those have long since been altered so that Batman and Superman were always original members. Third, Superman loses his powers for over a full month and there’s no place for that long of an absence on our timeline. Even if we were to ignore the continuity errors, S/B Annual #2 is still a re-imagining of the extremely campy World’s Finest Comics #178 (1968) & World’s Finest Comics #180 (1968) as opposed to the definitively Modern-styled Legends of the DCU #6. The latter fits better on our timeline. Not to mention, Joe Kelly seems to have authored the first two S/B Annuals using a more silly tone with less emphasis upon adhering to the strict confines of line-wide continuity. The style of S/B Annual #2 mirrors the style of S/B Annual #1, so it stands to reason that if the first is out-of-continuity, the second probably is too.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The twelve-issue JLA: Year One is mostly non-canon (retconned out of existence by Brad Meltzer’s Justice League of America Vol. 2 series and later confirmed to be non-canon by Len Wein in DC Universe Legacies #3). Why makes JLA: Year One non-canon? Batman and Superman, while not involved in many of the original JLA missions, would have been the first leaders of the team (along with Wonder Woman). JLA Year One depicts a world where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman were not original members. Nearly all of its plot points revolve around stressing the lack of the Big Three’s involvement with the team. There are other more minor quibbles as well. HOWEVER, I used the term mostly non-canon above for a reason. While the entire story taken as a whole can never be canon, if it is broken into individual issues, parts can be. Of the twelve issues, only #1, #2, #4, and #11 can possibly be canon. The rest of the issues each contain fairly egregious continuity errors no matter how you read them. Of these possible canonical issues, Batman only appears in issue #2 and issue #11. Thus, I will, for the sake of completeness, include issue #2 and issue #11 on our timeline, but only as reference notes since the entire series, taken as a whole cohesive story, is non-canon. The first issue of JLA: Year One (which, again, does not feature Batman) occurs one day after the Appelaxian attack.↩
- DANIEL LIEVANO: Cosmic Teams is a wonderful resource worth checking out in regard to JLA chronology.
COLLIN COLSHER: Who knows where I’d be without the aid of Cosmic Teams. Thanks Cosmic Teams!↩
- IVAN: Matt Wagner’s Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity (which depicts a first meeting between Batman and Wonder Woman) is non-canon as it doesn’t seem to fit anywhere very well for a ton of different reasons. Also, Batman wears bizarre armor in it which gives him flight capability and massive strength. He’s never used this before, so it seems odd that he would now.
COLLIN COLSHER: The Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity series (indeed an alternate version of when Batman first meets Wonder Woman) is non-canon for several more reasons, including the fact that the primary villain, Ra’s Al Ghul, wouldn’t have made his presence this early. Furthermore, a cursory internet search of the story will show that Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity contradicts a few other post Infinite Crisis/Final Crisis continuity changes, including the fact that the Big Three first meet when fighting the Appelaxians right before forming the JLA. So, for these reasons and more, Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity is impossible to place and therefore, 100% non-canon.↩