A Hypercriticism: Continuity Errors of the New Age (Part 1)

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It may seem like I quibble too much about silly things such as plot or continuity, especially when there are so many other things to chat about when it comes to comics. I do! It’s true. And it may also seem as though I don’t often enough review/criticize storytelling or art either, instead preferring to carp about minor continuity muffs. But I figure there is so much damn plain old comic book criticism on the WWW that I might as well leave the complaining to the complainers. That being said, this “hypercriticism” is not about calling-out bad storytelling or bad editing (although narrative flaws might be exposed via the following hypercritical list)—it is more about simply showing the hiccups that have caused me great vexation while assembling my timeline of the New 52 thus far. If the list seems like I am caviling too much, it is only because this list is comprehensive and compendious.

Without further adieu I present to you a list of every continuity error that I have discovered in the New 52 that directly relates to Batman (the character as opposed to the specific title). Explanations will follow each listed item. When I began compiling notes for this list a few weeks ago, I thought there would be way more problems than there actually were. Although, that’s still not a great pull-quote for the New 52 is it? I do wonder, though, which reboot had more flubs in its first three years—the Modern Age or the New Age? I wonder which editorial team cared more?

1. Secret Origins Vol. 3 #2 (Writer Ray Fawkes, Editors Bobbie Chase, Darren Shan, Mark Doyle) erroneously lists the Wayne murders as taking place eleven years prior to Year Zero. This contradicts Batman #24, which tells us that the murders took place “fifteen years” prior to Year Zero when Bruce was ten-years-old. Secret Origins‘ time-frame would make Bruce fourteen-years-old at the time of his parents deaths, which is just plain wrong.

2. Detective Comics Vol. 2 #21 (Writer John Layman, Editors Bobbie Chase, Katie Kubert, Mike Marts) has a flashback showing Mio returning to Ra’s Al Ghul after her fight with Bruce in the Himalayas. This flashback takes place immediately after ‘tec #0, Part 4, which happens roughly in April 2004. However, in March 2013’s ‘tec #21, Bruce thinks back and says it happened “ten years ago.” More precisely, the event happened closer to eleven years ago. I’m niggling here and could probably let it slide, but it is worth noting anyway.

3. The second feature of Detective Comics Vol. 2 #0 (Writer James Tynion, Editors Bobbie Chase, Katie Kubert, Harvey Richards, Mike Marts) details Bruce’s return to Gotham after training. This second feature has an editorial note that incorrectly says “SEVEN YEARS AGO.” “Seven years ago” would place Bruce’s return somewhere in the tail end of 2006, but it actually takes place in late March of 2007. HERE IS THE LONG REASON WHY! A flashback from Batman #21 takes place “six weeks” after Bruce’s return (according to Alfred). Batman #21, which has an editorial tag of FIVE MONTHS later, also shows the Caped Crusader on his steam-bike returning from a coma to fight Riddler. We know that Batman defeats the Red Hood on the anniversary of his parents’ deaths, which, according to Peter Tomasi, is in September. Scott Snyder tells us in Batman #30 that Bruce goes into his coma after warring against Riddler in the summertime. This all means that the anniversary of the Wayne deaths must happen in September and summertime. This means the Waynes died definitively in EARLY SEPTEMBER. Early September also jibes well because of the following chain of uninterrupted events that occur: Bruce defeats Red Hood (Wayne death anniversary in early September), a week passes and Riddler blacks out the city, the super-storm ravages Gotham for another week, the Riddler takes over and puts Batman into a coma (still SUMMERTIME at this point i.e. mid September), Bruce wakes up a little less than a month later (presumably no longer summertime at this point i.e. mid October), Batman returns (FIVE MONTHS after the flashback from Batman #21 at which time Bruce had only been back in Gotham for a mere SIX WEEKS). Therefore, the flashback from Batman #21 is FIVE MONTHS before Batman’s mid October post-coma steam-bike return, meaning mid May. Furthermore, the second feature of Detective Comics #0, which details Bruce’s return to Gotham after training abroad, takes place FIVE MONTHS + SIX WEEKS before Batman’s mid October post-coma steam-bike return, which equals Late March of 2007—NOT the end of 2006. Phew.

4. Batwing #25 (Writers Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Artists Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Paul Mounts, Editors Bobbie Chase, Darren Shan, Rachel Gluckstern, Mike Marts) has a “Zero Year” editorial note that says “Riddler has shut off Gotham’s electric power days before a giant super-storm strikes Gotham,” yet the electricity is clearly flowing, so this has to take place shortly before Riddler’s strike.

5. In Batwing #25 (Writers Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Editors Bobbie Chase, Darren Shan, Rachel Gluckstern, Mike Marts), which takes place in 2007 during “Zero Year,” the term 99%ers is bandied about. Unfortunately, the term “1%er” and the inverse “99%er” were not invented terms until around 2011, hence the 99%er’s anachronistic quality in this flashback. One could, of course, argue that the Occupy Movement started earlier in the fictional DCU, but I don’t think that was the intention of Gray and Palmiotti.

6. Flash Vol. 4 #25 (Writers Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato, Artists Francis Manpul, Chris Sprouse, Editors Bobbie Chase, Brian Cunningham, Harvey Richards, Wil Moss) shows a “Zero Year” Harvey Bullock, but this version of Bullock is incorrectly quite svelte as compared to the hefty Snyder/Capullo version from Batman Vol. 2.

7. Detective Comics Vol. 2 #25 (Writer John Layman, Artist Jason Fabok, Editors Bobbie Chase, Katie Kubert, Mike Marts) shows a “Zero Year” Harvey Bullock that is heavier than the one shown in Flash #25, but still not bulky enough to match the “official” Snyder/Capullo version.

8. Batman Eternal #2-3 and continued issues (Writer Scott Snyder, James Tynion, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, Tim Seeley, Editors Bobbie Chase, Katie Kubert, Mark Doyle) state specifically that Jim Gordon became Gotham’s police commissioner “five years ago.” Batman Eternal occurs in 2013, which would mean “five years ago” would be 2008, yet in order to jibe with everything else, Jim must have become commish in 2007—(he is promoted at the end of “Zero Year”). Therefore, “Six years ago” would have been correct.

9. Batman Vol. 2 Annual #1 (Writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion, Editors Eddie Berganza, Katie Kubert, Mike Marts) takes place in 2012. In it there is a flashback showing the “Zero Year” debut of Victor Fries, which has a “six years ago” editorial tagline. This tagline incorrectly places the debut in 2006 instead of 2007. Therefore, as dumb as it sounds, this item must occur “six years ago” in the same sense as the “Zero Year” version of “six years ago” despite that fact that it is flashing-back from 2012.

10. Justice League Vol. 2 #3 (Writer Geoff Johns, Editors Eddie Berganza, Darren Shan, Brian Cunningham) has supplemental material at the end that shows an excerpt from a book by David Graves. In this excerpt, the publisher, Historical Publishing, has added a note that says Graves’ book about the debut of the JL, called Gods Among Us, is released in 2006. This would lead one to believe that the Justice League debuts in 2006. This is WRONG. The JL debuts in 2008.

11. Justice League Vol. 2 #3‘s (Writer Geoff Johns, Editors Eddie Berganza, Darren Shan, Brian Cunningham) supplemental material also shows that the Secret History of Atlantis book was checked out of the library in November 2011, which incorrectly implies that the debut of the JL takes place in 2006 as well.

12. Secret Origins Vol. 3 #1 (Writer Kyle Higgins, Editors Bobbie Chase, Darren Shan, Rachel Gluckstern, Mark Doyle) retcons/alters the time Dick goes into the Batcave for the first time, which was originally detailed in Nightwing Vol. 3 #0. In Nightwing #0, Dick is led into the Batcave and drops a bombshell, revealing that he has already correctly deduced Batman’s secret identity. However, in the later-published Secret Origins #1, Dick has no idea and Batman dramatically reveals the information TO HIM. So, Secret Origins #1, despite functioning as a valid retcon while trumping Nightwing #0, technically qualifies as a continuity contradiction/error as well.

13. Secret Origins Vol. 3 #1 (Writer Kyle Higgins, Editors Bobbie Chase, Darren Shan, Rachel Gluckstern, Mark Doyle) also violates the whole “not enough time for all these Robins in five years conundrum” by showing a training montage for Dick that occurs, at one point, during a snow storm. Yet, in order for the Robins to have enough room on the shortened New 52 timeline, the latest Dick’s mid-training can be is September.

14. Batman & Robin Vol. 2 Annual #2 (Writer Peter Tomasi, Editors Bobbie Chase, Darren Shan, Rachel Gluckstern, Mike Marts) incorrectly has Batman refer to Commissioner Gordon as “Lieutenant Gordon.” Of course, he should be commish.

15. In a flashback from Batgirl Vol. 4 #6 (Artists Ardian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes, Ulises Arreola, Editors Eddie Berganza, Katie Kubert, Bobbie Chase), Batgirl is colored in her all black ensemble. However, at the point in her career the flashback depicts, she would have been wearing her original grey outfit.

16. In Action Comics Vol. 2 #7 (Writer Grant Morrison, Editors Eddie Berganza, Wil Moss, Matt Idelson) Jimmy Olsen anachronistically remarks that their situation is like “Under the Dome by Stephen King.” Action Comics Vol. 2 #1-16 is a run that’s set entirely around 2007-2008. Under the Dome wasn’t released until 2009. This is a small and inconsequential continuity gaffe, but worth noting. Otherwise, we simply have to imagine a world where Under the Dome was released in the 70s like Stephen King originally wanted it to be.

17. In a flashback from Batwoman #0 (Artists J.H. Williams, W. Haden Blackman, Dave Stewart, Editors Bobbie Chase, Rickey Purdin, Harvey Richards, Mike Marts) Batman is drawn with his yellow-oval costume, which is incorrect since Batman never wore a yellow-oval in the New 52.

18. Forever Evil: ARGUS #1 (Writer Sterling Gates, Editors Bobbie Chase, Kate Stewart, Brian Cunningham) has a flashback to Barack Obama creating ARGUS with Steve Trevor a couple months into his presidency, which places said flashback in 2009. However, the “five years ago” note attached to this Obama/ARGUS creation scene supposedly means “five years before Forever Evil,” which would mean 2008 and therefore doesn’t make sense.

19. Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #3‘s (Writer Grant Morrison, Artist Chris Burnham, Editors Eddie Berganza, Rickey Purdin, Brian Smith, Mike Marts) splashy “Leviathan web display” shows images scanned right off the pages of Morrison’s run from the Modern Age. Most of them are okay for the New 52, but Dick’s Robin costume is an obsolete one and should have been changed.

20. In a flashback from Batman and… #25-26 aka “Batman & Two-Face” (Writer Peter Tomasi, Editors Bobbie Chase, Darren Shan, Rachel Gluckstern, Mike Marts) Erin McKillen’s break-out and disfigurement of Harvey Dent is said to occur three years into the McKillen Sisters’ prison term. This is a straight-up continuity error. We know Two-Face encountered Robin Dick Grayson, which places his debut, at the latest, 2009. Even if we ignored Dick’s fight with Two-Face, Robin Jason Todd also fights Two-Face, which means the continuity error would still exist a year later in 2010. The earliest the McKillen Sisters could have gone to prison is in December of 2007 (where I have placed that occurrence). There’s no way in hell the McKillens could serve a three year jail term. Only seventeen months at the most.

21. In Red Hood & The Outlaws #2 (Writer Scott Lobdell, Editors Eddie Berganza, Katie Kubert, Bobbie Chase), Jason Todd says he was Robin for “years.” There isn’t enough room on this timeline for him to have been Robin for multiple years (or even two years). The longest amount of time he could have been Robin is around one year—and even that includes six months of training.

22. Secret Origins Vol. 3 #3 (Writer Scott Lobdell, Editors Bobbie Chase, Anthony Marquez, Mike Cotton, Eddie Berganza) retells the origin story of Tim Drake, which was first fleshed-out in Teen Titans Vol. 4 #0. The two stories are very similar, but there are notable dialogue and scenery changes for really no damn reason. The newer Secret Origins issue canonically trumps the older Teen Titans issue as an official retcon, but for the purposes of our list, the former retcon-issue bears the burden of error for having made the change.

23. Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2 (Writer Grant Morrison, Editors Eddie Berganza, Rickey Purdin, Brian Smith, Mike Marts) has a flashback that shows Talia Al Ghul forming a team consisting of the DCU’s top villains, including Lex Luthor, Dr. Psycho, The Calculator, and Deathstroke. The panel that shows this team formation also INCORRECTLY includes Black Adam, who wouldn’t have debuted yet at that point.

24. Batwoman #2 (Artist/Writer J.H. Williams, Writer W. Haden Blackman, Artist Dave Stewart, Editors Eddie Berganza, Katie Kubert, Janelle Asselin, Mike Marts) has a background mural that shows the members of Batman Incorporated. It INCORRECTLY includes Renee Montoya, Black Canary, Huntress, Catwoman, Katana, Black Lightning, Batman Japan, and Gaucho. Montoya is pictured in the Batwoman mural dressed in her Modern Age Question garb. Renee was not a superhero in the New Age. Batman Japan’s debut, in the New Age, happens after Batwoman #2. Plus, he never wears the “Mr. Unknown” costume as a Batman Inc member anyway. Gaucho’s activation as a Batman Inc agent, like Batman Japan’s, comes later. The others simply are never Batman Inc members in the New Age. For example, Huntress would not have even met Batman at this point. Also, Black Canary would know absolutely nothing about Batman’s operations at this point (as made clear in Batgirl Vol. 4 #7). Similarly, despite being former Outsiders, Black Lightning and Katana would be in the same boat as Black Canary—totally out of the loop.

25. Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #0 (Writers Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham, Editors Bobbie Chase, Rickey Purdin, Brian Smith, Mike Marts) features Batman telling Ravil that Damian is eleven-years-old. WRONG! He’s ten!

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More to come in PART TWO…

About Collin Colsher

Collin Colsher, the creator of The Real Batman Chronology Project and disCONTINUITY, is a writer, filmmaker, teacher, and comic book historian that currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He has lectured at various universities, libraries, and book fairs. Collin has also served on the jury for the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, which is sponsored by the US Library of Congress.
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1 Response to A Hypercriticism: Continuity Errors of the New Age (Part 1)

  1. James says:

    Jason Statham should play the next Batman. He has a strong martial arts background which would make for great movie action/viewing especially if they incorporate some of the same special effects as they have in his previous movies. He’s British and as you know when most talent scouts look for actors in today’s movies the majority of them are from Britten or Australia. As for Jason’s appearance as Bruce Wayne lacking hair. Special effects and makeup could fix that. He could wear a wig or go to the hair club for men. Then after making the movie he could be one of their spokes persons. Seriously though I truly think he would make a good Batman. Before you make your opinion, set aside the hair loss and look at Jason Statham for what he could bring to the character as Batman. In the areas of acting ability, physical fitness, martial arts background and the ability to completely embrace the character. With that being said I think Jason Statham should seriously be considered/looked at, for that part. At least have a casting call and let him as well as other potential candidate try out for the part. Rather than say hey, were going to go with Ben Affleck because he looks good as Bruce Wayne. What does Ben Affect bring to the character as Batman? People pay to see Batman not Bruce Wayne. Make a movie call Bruce Wayne and have a guy in a nice suite drive around in a Lamborghini all day picking up chicks and see how well that movie does at the box office. If I wanted to see that I would just go to YouTube and watch guys rent exotic cars to pick up chicks the tell them to get out the car. (I DON”T THINK SO!) People don’t want to see Batman because he’s nice looking. Real fans like Batman to see him kick ass.

    Well, that’s my opinion, hopes it strikes serious debate over who should be the next Batman.
    Thanks for letting me express it.
    James

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