Continuity Errors of the New Age Revisited and Rethought

It’s not often that I address previous blog posts by posting anew, but this, I feel, warrants such a response. My previous posts cataloging all the supposed errors of the New 52 were filled with lots of vitriol aimed at writers using topical references (X-mas, New Year’s, etc…) that seemed to contradict specific time references (“last year,” “last month,” etc…). Since the reboot, I’ve often been perplexed by these contradictions and have been forced to “pick a side” so to speak, leaning toward accepting the latter (specific time references) as canon and relegating the former (topical references) as bunk. This not only dramatically influenced my list of errors, but made me think that DC’s entire narrative line was still stuck in 2013. However, with the recent publication of Detective Comics #37 DC seems to be saying that we are operating—at least for the moment—in relative real time. Detective Comics #37 celebrates the end of 2014. Harvey Bullock and Maggie Yip celebrate Christmas 2014 and welcome 2015—just like us here on Earth Prime!

tec 37

‘tec v.2 #37: It’s been one hell of a year.

Of course, if this is true (and it sure seems like it is), then my previous two posts have a lot of fixing required. Most of the topical references (not all of them) actually are okay now. My apologies to the holly jolly holidays! Plus, the timeline of the New 52 shouldn’t be as compressed as I’ve made it out to be.* Therefore, I will be redoing the list of errors soon. I will also be redoing a large section of the chronology as well. This is a big task, but such is my life. The good news is that I think there will be less errors. The bad news is that the errors that do remain (or pop up) will probably be more glaring than before. For example, Batman Eternal has a ton of specific references to “five years ago” and “a few months ago” that definitely will no longer work. Batman Eternal is a mess no matter how you spin it. Not only has it been poorly constructed and the worst weekly since Countdown, it will now also become an even worse continuity nightmare, pin-pricked to death with post-it-note caveats. Keep on the look out for an update. Until then, see you next time!

dorkin dorkin

Dark Horse Presents #4 by Evan Dorkin. This is how I feel lately.

 

 

 

*There are a few variations of the New 52 timeline, most of which are totally incorrect. The main two, however, are more workable. The first is a tightly compressed timeline that squeezes “Death of the Family,” Batman Inc, Forever Evil, “Hunt for Robin”/”Robin Rises,” Superman: Doomed, and Batman Eternal #1-40 ALL in Year Six. Seriously, if you read all of these issues they basically all refer to “Death of the Family” as happening months ago, essentially starting off the crazy year. The second is a timeline that goes in relative real time, thus linking us up to December 2014 and giving us more room to breathe. This second timeline is clearly better, no? The problem is that the second timeline is necessary to get us where we are now, yet most editors and writers at DC have tried their best to make it seem like mere months have passed when a year or more have passed. An easy solution would be to just slide years back and keep everything nice and tight, right? The problem with doing that is that Batman’s entire history has to be believably sandwiched-in. This includes four Robins and a Batgirl, among many other things. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

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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5 Responses to Continuity Errors of the New Age Revisited and Rethought

  1. Singh says:

    Thank God, somebody else who doesn’t like Eternal. I’m somebody who didn’t really like the whole Court of Owls, loved Death of the Family and Secret City and don’t care for the rest of Zero Year. Everywhere I go people love the stories I don’t like, especially Eternal but I mean, it doesn’t have a sense of relevance to it. People don’t like Futures End because it’s set five years from now, praise Eternal, mention World’s End (say, how’re you finding that, by the way?), praise Eternal and completely forget that Endgame has completely nullified the ramifications of Endgame. I mean, it’s basically told us that all of the major reveals that WILL change Batman’s world have happened and all that’s left is the reveal of the final villain, to whom they are now stalling to get by shoehorning in the Riddler right after ruining Hush’s story/butchering Hush’s character and finding a what the fuck villain in Jason Bard! But yeah, the only honest to god good things to come out of Eternal are the spin-off comics. What I guess is worst, is that Eternal doesn’t seem to have a sense of direction. Falcone comes back because of an invitation and admits to not knowing anything. Hush comes back because of an invitation yet knows everything? Who set Gordon up, Falcone or Hush. Maybe an issue will sort this out, but it’ll be probably vague, inconsistent and chances are it’ll focus on who the villain is (it’s either Lincoln March, or Frank Miller or Neron or even goddamn Garfield, because for all I know, Batman accidentally ran over Odie one patrol and Jon was cousin to Graves and also died of a horrible alien virus because I personally find the Batman/Garfield fanfiction I’m coming up in my mind but never actually going to think of again, as better than Eternal). Sorry, but, I agree with you, Eternal is just as bad as that other weekly you mentioned which I haven’t ever heard of but will go with your opinion on.

    • Haha, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if Garfield appeared and wanted revenge for those very reasons. RRRREEEEEVENGE! Yeah, for being the marquee Batman title, Eternal has not only been lackluster, it has been outright crappy IMO. It reminds me a little of a weaker Bat-line ongoing title in the 90s akin to Shadow of the Bat at its worst—or the big crossover type tale that crams in as many Arkham escapees as possible for no reason whatsoever. I’ve complained from the beginning about Eternal‘s pacing and seeming lack of cohesion, seeming lack of collaboration/communication on the part of its writers, and confusing storytelling, but the hackneyed big-bad bait-and-switches and convoluted motivations of nearly all the characters have turned me off as well.

      Don’t get me started on Jason Bard either. Bard has to be one of the most forced, all-over-the-place, villains of all time. And his thrown together bullshit origin was truly headache-inducing. He hates Batman because he blames him for a copycat Batman distracting the love of his life, which resulted in her shooting death. He doesn’t blame the GUY WHO SHOT HER, but a guy who was motivated to attempt to HELP HER via his admiration for a crime-fighter in another city. And then Bard decides to ruthlessly hate Gordon too, just because he’s FRIENDS WITH BATMAN. None of this makes any sense. The chain of events that leads from THIS to where we are currently in Eternal is so amazingly contrived it makes every terrible screenplay I ever read in my undergrad film-writing 101 class seem like Citizen Kane in comparison.

      It probably seems like I’m being to harsh when it comes to Eternal. But like I said, this is the marquee Batman title right now, probably even more so than Batman or Detective Comics. Eternal is the main book in the Bat-verse. It demands attention and sets the tone (and continuity) for the rest of the line. For these reasons and more, you could even argue that it is DC’s premier comic book at the moment. And this is why I am so critical. This is why I get so disappointed. Believe me, I could run down other books that are just as bad (if not worse), some of which feature the Dark Knight, but those books don’t warrant the same level of prestige and therefore aren’t as ripe for criticism.

      I hate to be so negative, though. I really do. Obviously, I will have much, much more to say about Eternal in a few months. I’m still crossing my fingers that it will end nicely. It’ll be tough, though. The damage has been done and its a tough road upon which to regain traction.

      On a slightly related note, I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about Snyder’s technophilia/technomania obsession. He can’t help but cram expository-filled descriptions of overly complicated quasi-futuristic weapons and tech devices. He damn near ruined the end of Zero Year with it (remember the electrode heart system re-starter thing?) and has already filled “Endgame” with it. BAT-MECH with MICRO RED SUN FISTS, POWDERED MAGNESIUM CARBONATE FOAM SPRAY, ELECTROMAGNETIC NERVE TREE, CITRINE NEUROLIZER… And what about Nano-mesh Ultra Wire Whatever? Sure these things sound cool and who doesn’t love a cool comicbooky sci-fi doohickey, but beyond that, why so much more focus on the toys rather than on the characters? Sometimes I think we’ll look back in fifty years and chuckle the same way we look back and laugh at Bat-Shark Repellent, Whirly-Bats, or the human-sized Batarang X.

      • Singh says:

        At least we have Futures End, right? Eternal still has what, thirteen issues left? I think that if the main villain is either Garfield with the reasons that I gave or a villain with legitimate reasons (calling Bard’s redemption right here) and they don’t stall the reveal too much, it could be satisfactory.

        The thing that I was worrying about Futures End for, though, has a small chance at coming true, five years later being wiped out. Solicits all the way to issue 44 make it seem like it’ll stay, but that issue says ripples across the Multiverse. They’re setting up Convergence, so that makes sense. Then 46, it refers to the wiping of 35 years from now or something, it’s obviously Plastique saying it but I can’t figure it out. 47 refers to a tie-in with World’s End 26 that changes the fate of two worlds. It’s a moment in space and time that I’m worried about because the two worlds are obviously Earth 0 and 2 and that brings me back to Eternal. That’s the problem with it, like I’ve said, Endgame has neutralized any effect that Eternal would have. Here I am wondering how Futures End will turn out and to a lesser degree, World’s End, but don’t really care about Eternal. It’s happening, but, who the hell cares?

  2. Jamison says:

    Hey Collin,

    Are you going to be opening the modern age continuity back up again for Convergence next year?

    Jamison

    • Hey Jamison,

      At this point (and I won’t speculate), I really see no reason to. After all, I’m still unsure of how Convergence will function narratively. If the Multiversity map is the multiverse of the New 52, then even an Earth that resembles what once was the Modern Age will just be “an Earth that resembles what once was the Modern Age” but now assigned to one of the New 52 multiversial Earth spots. Right? But if I read something that convinces me otherwise, I will consider reopening old timelines. For instance, if we are told rather explicitly (or even if it is merely heavily insinuated) that the Modern Age has gone on in the background since 2011, but as an Earth with a new number designation, then I might be inclined to reopen old timelines. We’ll see.

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