YEAR THREE

1991[1]

 

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #106. Batman exposes a French-speaking terrorist cell (of French or possibly North African origin). Batman’s investigation leads to army intervention, which leads to the deaths of several members of the cell. Their leader, later this year, will later try to get revenge by breaking Joker out of Arkham and attempting to blow up an oil tanker in Gotham.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Long Halloween. The undead Solomon Grundy and date-themed super-villain Calendar Man (Julian Gregory Day) each make their first appearances. Grundy has been a longtime resident of Gotham, having fought Green Lantern Alan Scott decades ago. Thus, even though Batman only meets Grundy for the first time now, he would be very aware of him. There were a bunch of pre-original Crisis Batman versus Grundy stories, any one of which that could possibly fit (albeit modified) as some version of the Dark Knight’s first Modern Age encounter with Grundy. Likewise, Calendar Man doesn’t have an actual Modern Age debut story either, but it probably reflects some version of his debut from ‘tec #259.

37. “Rules of Engagement” by Andy Diggle/Whilce Portacio (Batman Confidential #1-6) Feb. 2007 to Aug. 2007
This is the first official meeting between Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne and it’s filled with over-the-top robots, cyborgs, and explosions. This is like I, Robot meets Batman (not great). Also present is Lucius Fox, who will later become Bruce’s most trusted business partner. And there is also a good scene where Batman shows Alfred that he has the gun that killed his folks. Bruce took the gun out of police evidence and has had it for some time now, although he still hasn’t learned that is belongs to Joe Chill. Bruce, seeing that he must be a wholly different type of millionaire than his vile business counterpart Lex Luthor, officially switches the Wayne Foundation’s focus from business ventures to charitable aid for the poor and destitute. Prior to this, Wayne Enterprises had been split into subdivisions, the main three having been: WayneTech, Wayne Industries, and the Wayne Foundation. (WayneTech will still deal in R&D, Wayne Industries will still deal in the industrial sector, but the Wayne Foundation will now switch from a focus on real estate, acquisitions, and finance to a focus on philanthropy.) Also noteworthy: Luthor introduces an army of GI Robots, retooled US Army tech that hasn’t been used since Vietnam. Bruce will co-opt these GI Robots many years later for his Batman Incorporated organization.[2]

–REFERENCE: In Batman #403. Bruce, mostly through the Wayne Foundation, starts contributing vast sums of money to charity and other philanthropic ventures, in an attempt to make Gotham a better place with both his fists and his checkbook. Bruce will donate to just and needy causes for the rest of his life, although the majority of these kind acts will remain invisible on our timeline.

–REFERENCE: In Superman/Batman #85. It is around this time that Bruce becomes majority owner of his company and no longer has to answer to shareholders. This also means that Bruce no longer has to defraud anyone at a felony level when he steals tech to use for his war on crime. From now on he will truly be stealing from only himself.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #105-106. Batman visits the Middle East to shut down a terrorist organization called El-Kar’isha. While the Dark Knight is away, Captain Gordon and Sergeant Harvey Bullock prevent an escaped Joker—allied with a French (possibly North African) terrorist—from blowing up an oil tanker in Gotham.

38A. “Going Sane” by J.M. DeMatteis/Joe Staton (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #65) November 1994[3]
February. Is this really in-continuity!? What a question! Who the hell knows? Certainly not I. Some consider this story to be one of the highlights of the entire LOTDK series. Some even refer to it as a classic. Well, if it is a part of continuity, here’s how and where and why. First of all, the text mentions that since Batman’s initial encounter with the Joker (in “The Man Who Laughs”/”Do You Understand These Rights?”), Batman has tangoed with the Clown Prince of Crime on two more occasions prior to now (both of which can be seen above). Joker has recently escaped again and is currently still at large, as seen in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #105-106. “Going Sane” is Batman’s fourth official dealing with the Joker, running from February through late June. In this controversial storyline, Batman tracks the Joker 200 miles north of Gotham to a small town after he kidnaps Councilwoman Elizabeth Kenner. During their fight, Batman is injured to such an extent that the Joker believes he is dead.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #67. February-March. LOTDK #67 fills in what happens following Batman’s apparent death at the end of the first chapter of “Going Sane” in LOTDK #66. After the Dark Knight is left for dead, Dr. Lynn Eagles stumbles upon the injured Batman and takes him into her care. Luckily for Batman, Dr. Eagles was an attempted rape victim that he had saved randomly in the past. Thus, feeling indebted to him, she decides not to inform any authorities, to treat him personally from her home, and also to keep his identity a secret. Bruce realizes that this may be his way out of the hard life he’s chosen. He’s injured enough that he may never be able to function as a crime-fighter effectively again and he’s in a calm little town where no one knows who he is. In fact, Bruce is so set on this idea that he won’t even contact Alfred for months! (Poor Alfie!) By the time Bruce has recovered and in the process of rehabbing his injuries, two full months have passed. Using the name “Lazarus,” Bruce has settled into a quiet life, dating Dr. Eagles and living comfortably in the small scenic village. Wait a minute… where’s Joker, you say? Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #66 tells us what happens to the Harlequin of Hate while Bruce is living the easy life upstate. Batman’s “death” is such a shock to Joker’s system that the Clown Prince of Crime regains some semblance of sanity, as there is no antagonizing force to torment his evil nature. After some plastic surgery, hair dye, and a steady diet of pills for his skin condition, the Joker (as Joseph Kerr) starts his new straight life. Joe Kerr gets a nice apartment, a job, and even a loving girlfriend, Rebecca Brown!

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: The Legends of the Dark Knight #67. April-Early May. Bruce, having already been away from Gotham for over two months, continues his content retirement from crime-fighting in the small town of Accord, living happily with his girlfriend, Lynn Eagles. After another five weeks of bliss, the honeymoon period begins to fade. Lynn, sensing Bruce’s growing restlessness, reveals that she knows all about his prior life as the Dark Knight, reminding him of a time during Bat Year One when he saved her life. This talk prompts Bruce to return to his roots. He realizes that his destiny lies with the mantle of the Bat (and also that he’s been a dick to Alfred by not communicating with him for nearly four months) and decides to head back to good ol’ Gotham. Meanwhile, as we learn in Batman: The Legends of the Dark Knight #66, Joker (as a cleaned up and sane “Joseph Kerr”) has spent the last four months working a steady job, living a normal life, and now has even gotten engaged to be married to his girlfriend, Rebecca Brown!

38B. “Going Sane” by J.M. DeMatteis/Joe Staton (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #66) November 1994
Early May. Batman ends his Accord retirement and returns to Gotham.

38C. “Going Sane” by J.M. DeMatteis/Joe Staton (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #67, Part 1) January 1995
Early May. Batman chats with Commissioner Gordon and follows up a few Joker leads, but cannot get any closer to locating the villain. Batman will continue the search in vain, while at the same time moving on to the start of “Venom.”

39A. “Venom” by Denny O’Neil/Trevor Von Eeden/Russell Braun (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #16)
Early May.[4] “Venom,” a really really awesome story, begins now and will take about six months to wrap-up. It starts about a month before The Long Halloween begins. Batman is unable to save a drowning girl from kidnappers. Feeling inadequate as a hero after the child’s death Batman drops into an even deeper depression after getting walloped by the kidnappers. (Not to mention, Bruce has been off his game since taking four months off recently (in “Going Sane”). To break out of his funk, Batman takes some Venom pills (the very same drug that Bane will pump into his own veins years later giving him the strength to snap Batman’s spine in half). After taking the Venom, which is given to him by the crooked scientist Randolph Porter, the Dark Knight quickly becomes a raging, jacked-up hulk and easily takes down the kidnappers, laughing all the way. Bruce will start taking Venom pills regularly at this point, forming a serious addiction over the course of the next three months.

–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47. Batman takes down an escaped Riddler, who attempts to set off a bomb that is rigged to a hot air balloon.

40A. Batman: The Long Halloween #1, Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)[5][6]
Early June. Harvey Dent has just been promoted from ADA to DA. Bruce attends the wedding reception of Johnny Viti (Carmine “The Roman” Falcone’s nephew) and flirts and dances with Selina Kyle. Also in attendance are Sal Maroni, Carmine’s sister Carla Viti, and Carmine’s son Alberto Falcone. Towards the end of the celebration Bruce and Selina peel off and get into their respective costumes. Batman chases off Catwoman and still manages to steal a ledger from Falcone’s mansion, which he delivers to Dent and Captain Gordon later.

38D. “Going Sane” by J.M. DeMatteis/Joe Staton (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #67, Part 2) January 1995
Mid June. Batman finally learns the whereabouts of the elusive missing Joker. “Joe Kerr” has gone on extended vacation with his fiancée, Rebecca, in Pennsylvania. The Caped Crusader now knows all about his “going sane.”

38E. “Going Sane” by J.M. DeMatteis/Joe Staton (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #68) February 1995
Mid June. While on vacation in Pennsylvania, Joe Kerr reads a newspaper highlighting the return of Batman. Upon learning that Batman is back on the scene, Joe Kerr politely excuses himself from his fiancée, Rebecca, and travels back to Gotham. There, he slips right back into being the old super-psycho Joker (much to the dismay of his unsuspecting fiancée). Joker picks up immediately where he was five-plus months ago before he “went sane”—by kidnapping Councilwoman Kenner again and trying to kill Batman. Batman saves Kenner and puts Joker back in Arkham.

40B. Batman: The Long Halloween #1, Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
July. Bruce attends a board meeting for the Gotham City Bank and demands that they not do business with the Falcone family. Bruce is out-voted. Later that night, Batman visits corrupt bank president Richard Daniel and scares him into resigning. The next day, Bruce is elected new president of the bank and nixes any business relationship with the Falcones.

23C. “Wings” by Chuck Dixon/Quique Alcatena (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #5) 1995
Mid July. Man-Bat has been hiding for eight-and-a-half months. Batman fights the Ridgerunners again and gets beaten as usual, but this time Man-Bat is on the scene and takes down the whole gang. Two weeks later, Man-Bat surprises the Dark Knight by flying into the Batcave! Batman takes Man-Bat down, fingerprints him, learns his identity, and then takes him to Francine. At Francine’s apartment, Man-Bat freaks out, but Francine shoots him with anti-serum, turning him back in regular Kirk Langstrom. In case you were wondering, Kirk has indeed learned Batman’s secret identity, but it’s okay. Bruce has gained an ally (albeit a highly unstable and monstrous one).

39B. “Venom” by Denny O’Neil/Trevor Von Eeden/Russell Braun (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #17-20)
August-September. Batman has been regularly taking Venom pills for the past three months and has built up a serious addiction. Batman’s addiction finally peaks and he hits his lowest point, roughing-up dudes in bars just for the thrill of it. Back in the Batcave, Alfred chastises Bruce for being a raging, maniacal drug-fiend and quits! Batman hits the streets and botches a simple case before meeting with Captain Gordon.[7] Later, the Dark Knight goes to get his pills from Dr. Randolph Porter and meets his partner, retired US Army General Timothy Ashton Slaycroft. A week later, Batman returns for more Venom but Porter and Slaycroft won’t give him his fix unless he agrees to assassinate Gordon! Batman, instead of offing Gordon, warns him and then returns to bring the criminal duo to justice. However, Batman is so dependent upon and off his game without Venom, the bad guys easily get away. Realizing that he has a serious problem, Batman calls Alfred and begs him to come home. Alfred returns and Bruce has a breakdown, deciding to quit cold-turkey by locking himself in the cave for a full month. There’s an amazing panel that depicts Bruce finally emerging from his rehab in a tattered costume and gigantic Grizzly Adams beard. Okay, okay, I know he’s sporting what appears to be like at least six-months worth of facial hair and locks down to his shoulders when he was only in there for four weeks, but it still looks cool.[8] Batman then meets with Gordon to get the whereabouts of Porter and Slaycroft[9] and flies to the tiny Caribbean island nation of Santa Prisca with Alfred. On Santa Prisca (Bane’s birth nation, near Haiti and Puerto Rico), a drug-free Batman kicks ass and defeats the villains.

40C. Batman: The Long Halloween #1, Part 3 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
Late September-October 31. Carmine Falcone orders a hit on former Gotham Bank president Richard Daniel, who gets whacked by Johnny Viti. A few days later, Johnny Viti is murdered in his home. The mystery killer leaves a jack-o-lantern and a .22 caliber gun at the scene. Thus begins the “Holiday” serial killings that will specifically target mob families for the next year. Batman meets with Gordon and Dent to discuss the murder, and then meets with Catwoman, who tells him how to “follow” Falcone’s money trail.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #527. October. Dent, Gordon, and Batman meet as usual, but this time Dent asks Batman to illegally obtain evidence to help put away criminals who have evaded justice through legal loopholes. Dent goes so far as to imply that Batman should create evidence even if it doesn’t exist to ensure that known criminals serve time. Batman refuses, of course. The relationship between the trio continues on, but this is an early sign that Dent is becoming more and more obsessed and unraveled.

40D. Batman: The Long Halloween #1, Part 4 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
Halloween. Batman and Harvey Dent, thanks to Catwoman, find Falcone’s warehouse full of millions of dollars in cash. In the blink of an eye, Batman and Dent burn the warehouse (and all of its money) to ash. Later that night, Dent returns home to his wife Gilda Dent, but a bomb—set by Falcone’s hired Irish thug Mickey—explodes in their home.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Long Halloween #2. October 31-November 1. Harvey and Gilda miraculously survive their home explosion and are relatively unharmed. However, Harvey, as part of a plan contrived by Commissioner Gordon and Batman, lets the media believe he has died in order to help the investigation.

–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Detective Comics #782. November 25—the anniversary of Batman’s parents’ deaths. Batman continues his annual tradition of placing two roses at the site of his folks’ double murder.

40E. Batman: The Long Halloween #2-4 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
November 25-December 31. After a short altercation with Solomon Grundy, Batman captures Mickey and immediately connects the Irish hired-gun to the Falcones. However, evidence is circumstantial at best. Mickey and his pals refuse to implicate Falcone, even refusing to mention his name in front of an Irish-disguised Dent, who reveals to the public he’s alive and well. On Thanksgiving, Batman leaves a turkey dinner in the sewer for Solomon Grundy, while across town, the Holiday Killer (“Holiday” for short) strikes again, murdering a group of Falcone’s top men and leaving behind a cornucopia and the signature twenty-two. Joker escapes from Arkham shortly before Christmas, obsessed with finding out who Holiday is. Batman and Captain Gordon visit Calendar Man in Arkham to gain some possible insight on the motives of Holiday, but get a bunch of hooey instead. As Joker terrorizes Gotham, Holiday acts on Christmas Day, executing Falcone’s bodyguard. On New Year’s Eve, while Batman recaptures Joker as the ball literally drops, Alberto Falcone winds up dead in Gotham Harbor, a snow globe and twenty-two left on the deck of his father’s ship.

 


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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Welcome to Bat Year Three. Several stories overlap with each other this year, including “Going Sane,” “Venom,” the start of The Long Halloween, and the conclusion of “Wings.”
  2. [2]FRANK: Regarding the placement of “Rules of Engagement.” It seems odd to see this story so soon on the timeline, when subsequent books on the timeline don’t show the Batplane or Batbike. In “Venom,” for example, Bruce is still chartering planes. Some possible reasons for placing the story here anyway: First, now is a good time for the christening of the Wayne Foundation. Second, Batman and Gordon don’t show a close working relationship yet, which is not more evident until The Long Halloween. Furthermore, one could argue that the batplane and batbike were so badly destroyed in “Rules of Engagement” that he had to charter planes and use simpler transport for a while afterward. Even so, it still feels weird to see so much tech so early in Batman’s career. However, it is a decent fit right before “Venom” and The Long Halloween; that fits with Luthor’s mention of super freaks in “Rules of Engagement.”

    COLLIN COLSHER: The placement was indeed because of the Wayne Foundation stuff and the Batman-Gordon relationship. And I like and will use your theory regarding the damaged Batplane and Batbike to further defend my placement. A lot of the tech in “Rules of Engagement” felt a little too-over-the-top and advanced for the time, but I think this was DC’s way of launching a new series (Confidential) with a current/modern feel and explosive high octane vibe (even though it was supposed to depict a Batman early on in his career).

  3. [3]ISIAH: I personally would place “Going Sane” later. It’s hard to imagine that the following things happen in only two years: Batman helps form Joker, Batman has reoccurring battles with Joker, Joker breaks out of Arkham multiple times, Batman fights him enough that Joker becomes obsessed with him, Gordon is promoted, and Batman gets used to all the tricks that Joker uses. I mean, hell, it could take months just for him to go to trial for the events taking place after he tried to poison Gotham. Let alone continuously break-out of the place.

    COLLIN COLSHER: Hard to imagine, maybe. But as we’ve demonstrated in the chronology, it DOES all seem to go down the way it goes down, whether or not we have to suspend our disbelief a little or a lot. And like I said, there is even some debate about the canon-status of “Going Sane,” which makes it very difficult to place. Overall, it is one of the hardest stories to fit into continuity properly. DeMatteis’ story-arcs usually take months or even years to wrap up, which doesn’t help either. I originally had “Going Sane” much later when I started the Real Batman Chronology Project, but it contradicted too many things in too many places. However, despite everything, I think it fits well right where it is now. Plus, Joker has only fought Batman four times at this point, as the text tells us. And I think those four instances would build up an unhealthy obsession between both characters. Also, we know that Joker’s trial lasts a few days before it is halted.

  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Placing “Venom” was very problematic for me. The story is obviously written to have occurred shortly after Miller’s “Year One” in Bat Year Two (Harvey Dent is still ADA), but placing it there would compromise many of the LOTDK and Confidential tales that are already there (and which clearly go there). Therefore, I have placed “Venom” in the earliest chronological spot it could possibly go without contradicting the rest of our timeline.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: The Long Halloween is the big one, the story that changes everything. And it is, arguably, the most important story during the “Year One Era” besides Miller’s “Year One.” This is the story of how the organized mobs of Gotham fade away and become completely dwarfed by the costumed supervillains. It’s second half forms the definitive Two-Face origin story, with the rise and fall of the Batman/Gordon/Dent union. It also begins to more fully develop the Catwoman/Batman love affair that will last for years. When The Long Halloween was released, it was billed as a direct follow-up to Miller’s “Year One” and it most certainly is. This billing led many people (and possibly even DC marketers) to label it as “Batman’s official second year.” However, as we’ve seen, we are clearly in at least Bat Year Three. Basically, this excellent story does follow-up Miller’s “Year One,” but not right away. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are just plain wrong! Ok, they aren’t wrong. In fact, I’m sure Loeb was writing this as a Year Two direct follow-up to Miller’s “Year One,” but even so, it totally fits and works perfectly a year after that! The vast voluminousness of Batman’s “early year stories” spewed forth by DC in the 1990s and 2000s requires the alteration, retconning, or shuffling-around of several tales (including The Long Halloween) in order to fit with verisimilitude and make the Modern Age chronology capacious enough to withstand it all without continuity errors. You’ll undoubtedly find many comic books on my version of Batman’s Modern Age that are supposed to take place at a very certain juncture, but I have fitted them into different spots to synthesize a more legitimate and accurate menology. Hopefully, this is reflected in what you read on my site.
  6. [6]CHIP:The Long Halloween and its sequel Dark Victory are fine stories, and I like them, but they do prevent a lot of other stories from fitting in, or cause some awkward placement. (Look at the Unauthorized Chronology of the DCU site—creator Chris J. Miller has both stories compressed down to a couple of months and has moved scenes all around.)

    COLLIN COLSHER: While it is true that The Long Halloween and Dark Victory prevent a lot of other tales from fitting in neatly, I have treated their narratives as pure gospel and have painstakingly tried to avoid compressing or editing either of them.

  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: During his August meeting with Batman, Gordon says they haven’t communicated in almost three months. This is almost correct. It’s been about two months since they’ve spoken—not since early June.
  8. [8]COLLIN COLSHER: The time Batman spends in seclusion, rehabbing from the drug (from August to September) meshes nicely with a period of inactivity in The Long Halloween around that same time.
  9. [9]COLLIN COLSHER: After quitting Venom cold-turkey, Batman meets with Gordon yet again and the captain is surprised to see the Dark Knight, exclaiming “It’s been six months since—”, but before he can finish, Batman cuts him off. I have troubled over the meaning of this “six months” line and I am perplexed by it. A more appropriate line would seemingly have been for Gordon to question where Batman had disappeared to during his four-week seclusion. In any event we must simply disregard the line.

2 Responses to YEAR THREE

  1. Dylan Jenkins says:

    When you list “Going Sane” in year two, it is issues 66-68 however, these issues are listed in all of the entries of Going Sane, when that doesn’t seem to be the case. Can you clarify?

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