Modern YEAR EIGHT

1996

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–REFERENCE: In Justice League: Cry for Justice #5—originally told in Justice League of America #61. The JLA defeats a massive super-villain team-up consisting of Dr. Destiny, Lex Luthor, Penguin, Dr. Light, Tattooed Man (Abel Tarrant), Cutlass Charlie, Captain Boomerang, IQ (Ira Quimby), and Floronic Man (Jason Woodrue).

–REFERENCE: In Stars & STRIPE #9, Stars & STRIPE #0, Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0, and the second feature to 52 #38—originally told in Justice League of America #64-66. Evil scientist Dr. TO Morrow (Dr. Tomek Ovadya Morah) creates the android Red Tornado, sending him to infiltrate the JLA and JSA to destroy both from within. Note that Red Tornado is a combination of the Air/Wind Elemental known as Ulthoon (aka Tornado Tyrant aka Tornado Champion) and the android host body built by Morrow. As the second feature to 52 #38 tells us, Morrow gave Red Tornado sentience, but Ulthoon gave him morality. Red Tornado realizes he is being controlled and helps the JLA and JSA defeat Morrow.

–FLASHBACK: From Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #34. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman defeat the scheming Dr. TO Morrow. But rather than humiliate and pummel the defenseless super-scientist, they treat him with relative kindness, trying to understand his perspective. Morrow will still go to prison, but Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman will always have a semblance of respect for Morrow that they usually won’t have for other villains.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated #4, Deadman Vol. 2 #1, and Batgirl: Year One #8—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #79 and Strange Adventures #214-216. Ra’s al Ghul’s second-in-command and biological father Han-Son (better known as The Sensei) creates an elite splinter faction of the League of Assassins. The Sensei and Ra’s al Ghul begin butting heads, leading to a cold war between the two. Not long afterward, Batman meets the ghost superhero Deadman. Deadman is the spirit of Boston Brand, deceased circus aerialist and friend of the late Flying Graysons. Boston was recently murdered by League of Assassins member Hook and then turned into an undead hero by the goddess Rama Kushna. After Boston’s assassination, the Sensei’s men follow-up to find Boston’s identical twin brother, Cleveland Brand, masquerading as Boston at the circus. Sensei, believing that Hook has botched the hit, executes Hook for his supposed failure. (Note that Boston’s death happens “months” before Deadman Vol. 2 #1, hence the placement of Batman and Deadman’s first meeting here.)

–REFERENCE: In JLA #18 and The Batman Files—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #80 and 1st Issue Special #7. Batman teams-up with the Creeper to defeat the debuting Hellgrammite. From this point forward, Batman will closely monitor Creeper’s actions, including a Creeper solo fight against Firefly.

–FLASHBACK: From Power Company: Bork #1—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #81. Flash and Batman team-up to face Carl Bork.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Quarterly #8—originally told in Justice League of America #70. Debuting teenage superhero Mind-Grabber Kid (Lucian Crawley) gets jealous when the veteran superheroes steal his headlines, which leads to him convincing some alien warriors that the JLA are a bunch of villains. While on a mission to check-up on the Creeper (remotely-guided by Batman), the JLA is ambushed and defeated by the aliens. Thanks to the Creeper’s help, Superman is able to rectify the ugly situation. Seeing the error of his ways, Mind-Grabber Kid admits his wrongdoing and all’s well that ends well.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #36. Batman and Robin detain a feisty Poison Ivy, who manages to make-out with the Dark Knight! Most of this great Neil Gaiman story is bullshit canon-wise since it is narrated entirely by an exaggerating Poison Ivy, who is spinning a wild yarn for a reporter. However, we can assume the single-panel kissing encounter is canon and went down relatively as such.

–FLASHBACK: From Teen Titans Spotlight #14. February 7. Batman and Robin work the “Green Dragon Case” in Chinatown during the wild Chinese New Year celebration. Batman and Robin get chained up in a basement, but they free themselves by burning their manacles with acid.

–FLASHBACK: From Superman/Batman #75 Part 8. Batman poses with Ace the Bat-Hound. Note that this flashback, which basically serves to compare Ace to Krypto, also shows Superman with Krypto the Superdog. However, Krypto won’t debut for nearly a decade from now, so we should ignore his presence in the image. (Sadly, Ace will die long before Krypto debuts.) This flashback also contains text that says Ace is capable of singling-out Joker’s scent, even in the sewers beneath the Super Bowl. Not sure if this is mere hyperbole or if this means Batman and Ace actually combat Joker beneath the Super Bowl here and now. You decide!

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #477-478. Batman battles The Gargoyle.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files and Batman #462-464. Bruce feeds Ace scraps of food under the table, to which Alfred gives Bruce the nastiest look of disapproval possible. Bruce can’t help but sneak treats to Ace. Sadly, we won’t see Ace again after this. There’s no story in the Modern Age that shows the final fate of Ace, but we must assume that the poor pup passes away.

–“Snitch” by Robert Loren Fleming/David G. Klein (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #51) September 1993
Batman travels to New Orleans and teams-up with the mysterious supernatural Ragman against hitman Victor Singleton. Ragman is Rory Regan, owner of a Gotham junk shop, who is able to become Ragman, the most recent in a long line of Jewish mystic guardians that date all the way back to 1500s Europe. Ragman’s “Suit of Souls” is powered by thousands of souls of evil men that have faced the wrath of the vigilante over the centuries.

–“Sanctum” by Dan Raspler/Mike Mignola (LOTDK # 54) November 1993
Beautiful Mignola art for this dark occult story. Batman chases a serial killer named Novice Lowther into a cemetery and they duke it out on top of a mausoleum. Lowther winds up stabbing Batman pretty badly in the chest. In the process, Lowther is kicked off the roof, getting skewered on the spiked paling of the gate below. Batman passes out and meets the hundred-year-old ghost of a murderer, who attempts to feed on his soul. The ghost also accuses Batman of murdering Lowther. Eventually, Batman is able to fend off the ghoul and wakes up covered in blood. Lowther is dead on the paling. Was his supernatural experience all just a fever-dream? We may never know. The story ends with Bruce feeling guilty about Lowther’s death, but reassuring himself that it was accidental.

–“All the Deadly Days: Chapter One” by Dale Eaglesham (Batman 80-Page Giant #3 Part 1) July 2000
This is the opening chapter of 80-Page Giant #3. Calendar Man is loose, but Batman and Robin take him and his cronies down with relative ease.

–“Last Call at McSurley’s” by Mike W. Barr/Alan Davis (Batman: Gotham Knights #25/ Batman: Black & White) March 2002
Batman (in disguise) frequents a local dive bar called McSurley’s (run by the scummy McSurley) every night for a week and is able to gather valuable information that stops crime and saves lives. When the bar is threatened with foreclosure, Bruce anonymously donates ten thousand dollars to its owner to keep it afloat.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #700. Batman and Robin deal with the pop-crime antics of the super-villain team-up of Two-Face, Clayface II, Dr. No-Face, and Falseface.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44 Part 2. Clayface II (Matt Hagen) tries to rob the payroll from a warehouse full of pianos. Batman drops a piano on him to defeat him.

–FLASHBACK: From Teen Titans Spotlight #16. Batman takes down an escaped Joker (as shown in a random single-panel image).

–REFERENCE: In Batman #440. Bruce and Dick pose for solo photos that get developed, framed, and hung on Bruce’s bedroom wall.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #569. Catwoman enlists a team of kitty-costumed wearing henchmen, which she dubs her Cat Burglars. Led by number one henchman Crandall, the Cat Burglars assist Catwoman on a series of heists until Batman puts a stop to their criminal activity.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #700. The team of Joker, Riddler, Mad Hatter II (Hatman), Scarecrow, and Catwoman (in her new caped-costume look) discover Professor Carter Nichols’ “Maybe Machine.” The villains have plans to force Batman and Robin to go back in time to do their bidding in the past. First up is Catwoman, who makes Batman travel to ancient Egypt, where he battles winged warriors to retrieve the secret combination to a locked stolen museum piece of which Catwoman already has possession. Before anyone else gets a turn, Batman and Robin break out of their restraints and take out the bad guys. Commissioner Gordon and Officer O’Hara (related-to but not Chief O’Hara, who is already dead) make the proper arrests. A despondent Professor Nichols looks over his destroyed lab and tells Batman that he will clean up himself. Nichols takes apart his “Maybe Machine” and will become a reclusive hermit after this. As I’ve mentioned before, Nichols ran afoul of Simon Hurt in 1971, which was the reason Nichols has lived in relative obscurity for decades despite his genius. Now the gifted physicist will delve into even more obscurity and go completely off the radar.[1]

–REFERENCE: In Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4-10. Late March. Batman and Superman, as they do every year, meet to commemorate the death of Dr. Harrison Grey.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #62. Joker captures Robin and holds a knife to his throat. Batman crashes through a window to rescue the Boy Wonder.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Birds of Prey #127. Babs spies on Batman while he meets with her dad on top of the GCPD HQ rooftop. It’s all preparation for her upcoming huge debut as a superhero.

–REFERENCE: In Batgirl: Year One #2. Batman saves a random person from a random robber.

–NOTE: In a flashback from Arkham Asylum: Living Hell. It’s Batgirl time! Finally, Barbara Gordon debuts as Batgirl. In this awesome 2003 tale by Dan Slott and Ryan Sook, Batgirl encounters the strange Humpty Dumpty (Humphry Dumpler), who has the innocent mind of a child. When Humpty Dumpty unwittingly destroys most of Gotham’s gaudy oversized advertisement statues and signs and then kills his grandmother, Batgirl brings him in to Arkham Asylum. Batman isn’t involved in this case and won’t meet Batgirl until her public debut, which comes immediately afterward.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 and the second feature to Birds of Prey #127. Originally told in Detective Comics #359. While en route to Bristol Country Club, the host location of a GCPD masquerade ball, Bruce is ambushed by Killer Moth and his hired Mothmen goons. Batgirl saves Bruce from Killer Moth.

–Batgirl: Year One #1-2 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)[2][3]
Picking up directly from our previous item, the GCPD’s masquerade ball at Bristol Country Club begins. Many Gotham celebs are present, including the obnoxious socialite J Devlin Davenport. Bruce is dressed up as a Pierrot clown. Killer Moth strikes yet again, this time directly at the partygoers. As before, Batgirl protects Bruce and takes on Killer Moth, fighting the bug-themed villain into the woods adjacent to the club property. Batgirl manages to best Killer Moth, but the villain escapes thanks to help from his henchmen. Immediately afterward, Batgirl is confronted by Batman and Robin. This item is also shown via flashback from Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 and referenced in Batman: Batgirl, The Batman Files, and DC First: Batgirl/Joker #1. However, note that Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 doesn’t show Robin with Batman, which is an error due to retcon by Batgirl: Year One. The major errors in Batgirl: Year One #1-2 include Jim Gordon as captain and Batman wearing the wrong costume.

–Batgirl: Year One #3 Part 1 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)
Picking up directly from Batgirl: Year One #2, in the forest outside of Bristol Country Club, Batman and Robin greet Batgirl, not sure quite what to make of her. When a defeated but still lurking Killer Moth begins shooting at the trio from a helicopter, Batgirl flees the scene and returns home. After a brief encounter with GCPD Officer Jason Bard, an exhausted Babs crashes for the night. The next day, Batgirl is the talk of the town. While Killer Moth meets with gangster Tony Bressi, Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon. They discuss Killer Moth and Batgirl. Note that there is a hidden ellipsis in Batgirl: Year One #3 that occurs in order to fit in a few other stories before Batgirl: Year One continues. Also note that the continuity error of Jim Gordon being referred to as “captain” and Batman wearing the wrong costume both persist. This item is also shown via flashback from Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20, but as mentioned above, it only shows Batman (omitting Robin)—plus the scene plays out a bit differently too. The canon version of Batgirl’s first ever meeting with the Dynamic Duo is the one depicted in Batgirl: Year One.

–“Photo Finish” by Devin Grayson/Duncan Fegredo (The Batman Chronicles #9 Part 1) Summer 1997
This one is for the ‘shippers! And one of my favorite Batman stories of all time. Devin Grayson, one of the few females that got a chance to make a mark in a male-dominated industry, is a master at writing the Batman/Catwoman relationship. Her erotic depiction of their relationship goes well beyond innuendo, and it’s fun and amazing. Grayson, for my money, is one of the best Bat-writers in the history of the biz. In “Photo Finish,” Batman and Robin chase Catwoman. Batman tackles the runaway thief, putting her in a very compromising position. He then orders Robin to leave, so that he can um… er… “interrogate” her one-on-one. The bummed Robin cartwheels away into the night and runs into Batgirl. (This story originally depicted their very first meeting, but Batgirl: Year One retconned things. As such, we must ignore any dialogue referring to this being their first encounter. Technically, this is their second encounter.) Batgirl and Robin officially team-up (!), stop some burglars, and get pictures taken in a photo booth! The end. Great stuff.

–Batgirl: Year One #3 Part 2 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)
Batgirl prepares to conduct her first ever rope dive off of a tall skyscraper. Lurking in the shadows, Batman and Robin watch her with keen interest.

–Batgirl: Year One #4 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)
Picking up directly from Batgirl: Year One #3 Part 2, Batgirl tries her first ever rope dive off of a tall skyscraper and botches it. Luckily, Batman and Robin are watching and save her. They then proceed to knock her out and take her to Batcave where they test her abilities and learn her secret ID.[4] Satisfied, the Dynamic Duo knocks her out again and returns her home. Later, Robin sends her Bat-equipment in the mail and gives her a letter of approval. Batman, on the other hand, is still not impressed. It’s funny how the shitty version of Batgirl (Bette Kane) got automatic acceptance into the Bat-Family simply because of her connection to Bat-Woman, with whom Batman was gaga over; while on the other hand, the legit Batgirl (Babs) can’t get no damn respect from the Dark Knight! Robin, meanwhile, couldn’t stand Bette but has a crush on Babs. (This issue is also shown via flashback from Nightwing Vol. 2 #75 and Superman/Batman #75 Part 4.)

–“Folie à deux” by Kelley Puckett/Terry Dodson (Legends of the DC Universe #10-11) November 1998 to December 1998
May. Our story opens with Barbara Gordon, who has just turned 18-years-old, about to continue a new semester at Gotham State University. (This has to be an upcoming summer semester.) The big news is that Babs is now moving on campus, leaving her dad’s place for the first time ever. Welcome to dorm life! (According to canon, Babs graduated high school early at age fifteen and immediately began an early-entry college program just after turning sixteen. Now eighteen, having already completed undergraduate degrees in computer science and pre-law, Babs is starting her advanced law and ALA-accredited library science Master’s programs.) Commissioner Gordon is unsure if his daughter is Batgirl. He has a feeling but is scared to approach her about it, so he never does. Batman, on the other hand, having now worked side-by-side with Batgirl and seen her in action several times, does approach the young woman and warns her to quit the superhero game, saying that she will get killed without proper training. Babs agrees and they strike up a deal. Batman will begin training Batgirl as long as she puts the costume away until he deems her ready. Batgirl goes through Batman’s initial training course, but only a day later, Gordon is put into a terrifying hostage situation and Batgirl feels she has no choice other than to break her vow. Batgirl saves her dad, causing Batman to promptly end her training.

–Batgirl: Year One #6 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)[5]
Batman and Robin give Batgirl a motorcycle (to test her skills). Meanwhile, mobster Tony Bressi, eager to get rid of Commissioner Gordon but scared of being linked to the crime, orders his henchmen to dress up as Killer Moth and Firefly and kidnap Gordon. The goons abduct Gordon with ease and set off an explosion at the office of private eye Larry Lance (father to Black Canary II and husband to Black Canary I). The bombing permanently injures GCPD Officer Jason Bard. Batgirl teams with Black Canary and they chase the bad guys to Bressi’s mansion. There, the real Killer Moth (escaped again) and Firefly show up to fight their copycats and clear their names. The issue ends here, but we know that Gordon is rescued, Killer Moth and Firefly get away, and Bressi walks with no evidence to link him to any wrongdoing.

–REFERENCE: In Batgirl: Year One #9—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #78. The snake-themed villain known as Copperhead debuts and is defeated by Batman, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman. Note that Batgirl: Year One #9 references Copperhead’s debut versus Batman, but it implies that Batgirl isn’t involved. However, Copperhead’s original debut (The Brave and The Bold #78) involved Batgirl and Wonder Woman. The 2008 DC Comics Encyclopedia, although hardly a true canonical source, says outright that Copperhead’s debut in the Modern Age reflects his Silver Age origin, which includes Batgirl’s presence. Pick your poison here, but I’ve chosen to reflect The Brave and The Bold #78.

–REFERENCE: In Deadman Vol. 2 #1 and Batgirl: Year One #8—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #86. The Sensei, possessed by the demonic spirit Jonah, orders League of Assassins agents Willie Smith and Lotus to inject a magickal poison into Deadman that causes the ghost hero to act strangely and attack Batman. Eventually, Deadman regains some control and takes over the body of his twin brother Cleveland Brand. Batman and Deadman (in Cleveland’s body) travel to the mystical Tibetan city of Nanda Parbat. In the golden walled city, Deadman’s master, the goddess Rama Kushna, not only cures him but also puts him back into his old body, healthy as new! Boston Brand is alive, but the catch is that he can’t leave Nanda Parbat or he will return to his deceased state and become Deadman again. Not only that, but the poison in his system is now killing him too. On the slope of a Himalayan peak, Batman and Cleveland fight and defeat the Sensei’s men, getting an antidote from Willie Smith. Batman and Cleveland then order Boston to bed-rest recovery.

–“Return… to Forever!” by Andrew Helfer/José Luis Garcia Lopez (Deadman Vol. 2 #1) March 1986
Three days have passed since our previous entry. Boston Brand, sick of recovering in Nanda Parbat, decides he’d rather be a ghost and protect the people he cares about back in the States than stay alive but trapped forever within the walls of Rama Kushna’s mystical city. Batman and Cleveland Brand try to stop Deadman from leaving, but he won’t hear any of it. Boston exits the city and becomes a ghost once again. Batman, Deadman, and Cleveland return to America. There, Deadman possesses his brother’s body to help him do a trapeze stunt at the circus. During the act, the Jonah-possessed Sensei’s machinations lead to the tragic murder of Cleveland, who is shot and killed by League of Assassins agent Lotus. (After Cleveland’s death, Rama Kushna and Deadman eventually exorcise Jonah and defeat the Sensei, as seen in the Batman-less Deadman Vol. 2 #4).

–REFERENCE: In Batgirl: Year One #8. Batman doesn’t visually appear in Batgirl: Year One #8, but it is canon and the implication is that, from behind the scenes, he orders Robin to keep tabs on Batgirl. An eager Robin teams-up with a reluctant Batgirl. They ride motorcycles together and then take down the debuting Condiment King, after which Robin steals a kiss. Later, they take down Blockbuster, during which Batgirl acts with reckless abandon. Afterward, Vicki Vale interviews Commissioner Gordon, who later confirms Babs’ secret. (Gordon already basically knew, but had some doubt. Not any more.) An angry Gordon confronts his daughter at home, but Babs runs away before they can talk. Meanwhile, Firefly and Killer Moth set the police station on fire. Robin tells Commissioner Gordon that Batman has not yet returned from adventuring with Deadman in Tibet (as noted in our previous item).

–Batgirl: Year One #9 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)
The burning police station is saved and Firefly and Killer Moth are brought to justice by Batgirl (although Batman and Robin get the credit). Afterward, Batman and Robin finally have respect for Batgirl. The Dynamic Duo share their secret IDs with Batgirl and invite her into the Bat-Family. Batman and Robin then trick Commissioner Gordon into disbelieving his daughter is Batgirl—Robin dresses in drag to fool him! (Don’t forget, this series contains the bad error of referring to Gordon as “captain.” This particular issue is even worse, referring to him as both “captain” and “lieutenant”!) Later, Babs hangs out with Jason Bard, who has decided to become a private eye. Babs muses about running for Congress in the future, a nice bit of foreshadowing. Likewise, we see a poster promoting corrupt Congressman Rupert Thorne, who will eventually bring his crooked political styling to Gotham in the near future. Later that night, Batgirl teams with Batman and Robin to apprehend an escaped Scarecrow. (Despite having been previously been shown in his black-insignia costume, Batman is now shown wearing his yellow-oval costume—an eye-rolling Easter egg by writer Scott Beatty, his attempt to connect the yellow-oval switch to his story. Batman should have had his yellow oval for the entirety of this arc.) We should note that, despite the trickery on the part of the Bat-Family, Jim Gordon still has an inkling that his daughter is Batgirl, although he won’t confirm it.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #17 and Batman Confidential #19. Batman reveals Catwoman’s secret identity to the Bat-Family, including Batgirl, who has a lot of questions for the Dark Knight regarding Selina. The Caped Crusader positively calls Selina the “Robin Hood of Alleytown.”As mentioned before, all of Batman’s interactions with Catwoman prior to this moment are coy enough that we never knew for 100% sure if Batman really knew her secret identity. Okay, we we’ve been like 95% sure for a while now—there are many hints that Batman knew as early as Year One. In any case, this item confirms that Batman now knows for certain. Whether or not you decide to place Batman’s learning of Catwoman’s secret identity here or earlier is entirely up to you.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Author Matthew Manning, with this item, adorably canonizes a version of his own children’s book, Batman: Two-Face’s Double Take (2010). An escaped Two-Face kidnaps Bruce Wayne, prompting Batgirl and Robin to come to his rescue. Eventually, Batman, Batgirl, and Robin bust Two-Face and his twin henchmen, the Roscetti Brothers.

–FLASHBACK: From Booster Gold Vol. 2 #5. Jim Gordon watches Batgirl in action as she apprehends Scarecrow. Afterward, Batman chats with Jim.

–“The Cat and The Bat” by Fabian Nicieza/Kevin Maguire (Batman Confidential #17-21) July 2008 to November 2008
June—roughly three weeks after the end of Batgirl: Year One #9. First, writer Fabian Nicieza makes a reference about something that occurred to Babs during her junior year of college. This is sketchy since Babs’ genius-track schooling doesn’t lend itself to easy categorization. Also, note that Batman isn’t featured in the first two issues of this arc because he is away on top secret Justice League business—business that we never learn about. The synopsis begins now. Babs takes her dad’s notebook diary (which contains his entire case-file history written in secret code) and tries to decipher it while on a boring shift at her job at the Gotham Library. Catwoman breaks in and takes the notebook from Babs, who dons her fighting togs and goes into chase mode. Batgirl finally meets Catwoman and they sure don’t get along. After a nude brawl at the Gotham Hedonist Society (!), the sirens are forced to team-up after the notebook is stolen by the Russian Mob. (This is the Russo-American mafia that will eventually become known as the “Odessa Mob” later on.) Catwoman explains that she needs info from Commissioner Gordon’s diary to expose the Russians, who have enslaved a young girl. When a warehouse burns down during the chaotic fight against the Russians, Batman returns to scold the ladies in his life. Later, the Russians get Riddler to decode Gordon’s notebook, but Batman, Batgirl, and Catwoman intervene. While Batman chases after the Russians and saves the enslaved girl, Batgirl chases Riddler and the notebook to Arkham Asylum. At Arkham, Riddler takes control of the entire building and releases all the prisoners from their cells. We see some great Maguire renditions of a lot of the inmates as Batgirl successfully defeats Catman, Cavalier, Signalman, Blockbuster, Two-Face, Clayface II, and Scarecrow! Batgirl also runs past a creepy Joker, avoiding a direct confrontation with him. Finally making it into Arkham’s control room, Batgirl is crestfallen to find Catwoman, notebook in hand, standing next to a knocked-out Riddler. As the sun rises, Batgirl listens in as Batman talks with Catwoman about his newest protégé, getting her to admit that Batgirl has got mad chops.

–REFERENCE: In Blackest Night #1. The JLA defeats elderly 1940s science villain Brainwave (aka Brain Wave).

–REFERENCE: In Silver Age: Teen Titans #1. Batman and Robin complete the case known as the “Incident of the Two Stilettos.” No details are given.

–“Silver Age” by Mark Waid, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, John Kalizs, et al (Silver Age: Secret Files & Origins #1, Silver Age #1, Silver Age: Justice League of America #1, Silver Age: Teen Titans #1, Silver Age: Flash #1, Silver Age: Green Lantern #1, Silver Age: Showcase #1, and Silver Age 80-Page Giant #1 Part 1) July 2000
The four-part “mind-wipe scandal” begins. Once exposed, it will eventually rock the superhero community to its core. The concluding parts of the “mind-wipe scandal” will be told next year, primarily via flashbacks from Identity Crisis and The OMAC Project, but before we get there, the opening part of the scandal begins now—first in the pages of the Silver Age series. (Silver Age was done mainly as a fun tribute to the Silver Age era of comics. Therefore, it contains many continuity errors. However, its basic narrative is canon thanks to a reference in the “Tower of Babel” story, specifically in JLA #46.)[6] Onto a synopsis. With Kanjar Ro’s help, powerful cosmic super-villain Agamemno spies on Batman fighting Penguin and then the JLA fighting Despero. Having gathered his intel, Agamemno forms the Injustice League—not to be confused with the Injustice Society, which is an entirely separate team. Agamemno’s IJL team consists of Lex Luthor, Black Manta, Chronos, Dr. Light, Felix Faust, Mr. Element, Penguin, Sinestro, and Catwoman. The IJL magickally swaps minds and bodies with the JLA. An aloof Snapper Carr meets with the body-swapped villains in the Secret Sanctuary, but he can’t tell the difference, even going so far as to send out an alert to the superhero community to go after the “villains.” Eventually, after quite a bit of toiling (including Batman being stuck in Penguin’s body), the JLA is able to switch back to their correct minds and bodies thanks to a Thanagarian device known as the Absorbascon. Inspired by the 1940s superhero team known as The Seven Soldiers of Victory (aka Law’s Legionnaires), Batgirl and Deadman form a new (one-shot) Seven Soldiers of Victory—comprising of themselves, Metamorpho, Blackhawk (Janos Prohaska), Mento, Shining Knight (Gardner Grayle), and Adam Strange. The new Seven Soldiers, the JLA, the Challengers, the Green Lantern Corps (Chaselon, Medphyll, Tomar-Re, Katma Tui, Penelops, NautKeLoi, and Galius Zed), a platoon of Thanagarians, and a host of other heroes band together to defeat Agamemno’s IJL. (Despite the appearance of dozens of Thanagarians, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are curiously never specifically highlighted or named in this story. However, we can and probably should imagine that JLA members Hawkman and Hawkgirl are one of the pictured Thanagarians.) Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman are told that the Absorbascon caused a natural erasure of the villains’ knowledge of their secret IDs, but this is a carefully crafted lie. In reality, the villains are mind-wiped by JLA member Zatanna. Identity Crisis reveals that Zatanna has mind-wiped villains before, erasing their memories of certain delicate cases, especially ones like this, where secret identities are exposed. In recent months, the League had gotten into a bad habit of erasing villains’ memories after their secret identities had been outed. For example, Floronic Man, Matter Master, Felix Faust, Brainwave, and Dr. Destiny have all been mind-wiped before, although Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman don’t know, nor do they know about the wipes that occur now. (They would definitely not approve of scrambling brains.) As referenced in Identity Crisis and JLA #46, this Agamemno mind/body swap affair is the direct catalyst that causes Batman to begin collecting detailed info on his superhero pals and formulating contingency plans in case something like this should happen again. Batman’s distrust of his friends is a mere twinkle in his eye at this point, but it will grow as the years roll on.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #50 Part 5—originally told in Justice League of America #73-74. The JLA and JSA team-up to defeat the radioactive cosmic monster known as Aquarius. Larry Lance dies during the fight. Note that the timeline from Secret Origins Vol. 2 #50 is a bit wonky as it has the JLA moving into their satellite HQ, then Speedy’s heroin addiction, then the death of Larry Lance. This is incorrect. Larry’s death comes first. Oddly, JLA: Year One implies that Larry’s death occurs much earlier, paradoxically prior to the formation of the JLA. That obviously must be ignored as well.

–FLASHBACK: From JLA Classified #51 and JLA Classified #53-54. The JLA battles the evil “god” known as Titus, who transports the team to the Moon and proceeds to savagely beat them. Eventually though, the JLA regroups and achieves victory. Afterward, the team buries the corpse of Titus on the Moon. Notably, this item features Green Arrow sporting what will become his signature goatee.[7]

–REFERENCE: In Hourman #16. The JLA figures out how to operate Kanjar Ro’s energy scepter, which is currently a trophy in the Secret Sanctuary. The team records the scientific details in a journal in the Happy Harbor library. (JLA Classified #50-54 specifically says the team doesn’t know how the energy rod works, while Hourman #16 says they’ve figured it out—hence placement of this item here, between these two items.)

–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #16—originally told in Justice League of America #77. Early July. Joker, posing as the head of an anti-metahuman advocacy group, tricks JLA mascot Snapper Carr to turn on the team and join his ranks. Snapper not only reveals the location of the JLA’s secret sanctuary in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island to Joker but also gives him the keys! Joker steals a bunch of weapons from the sanctuary trophy room and uses them against the JLA during a battle outside of Arkham Asylum. Joker is defeated and incarcerated by the JLA.

–REFERENCE: In JLA Incarnations #3JSA #54, and the second feature to 52 #34—originally told in Justice League of America #161. Zatanna helps the JLA defeat The Warlock of Ys, earning a proper spot on the JLA lineup. In the Silver Age, this item occurred much later on the timeline, but it goes here on the Modern Age timeline thanks to JLA Incarnations #3.

–REFERENCE: In JLA Incarnations #3. Thanks to a freak nuclear accident, high school student Ronnie Raymond and Nobel prize-winner Dr. Martin Stein become able to fuse together to become the superhero Firestorm. Firestorm joins the JLA.

–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #8. Snapper Carr, having betrayed the JLA after being tricked by Joker a couple weeks ago, sits dejectedly in the no-longer secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor. The JLA tells him it was an honest mistake, but Snapper decides to permanently leave his post as honorary member/mascot.

–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #16. With Snapper Carr gone, the JLA sits around and sulks. They miss the little guy!

–“Like a Tombstone in the Sky” by John Ostrander/Val Semeiks (JLA Incarnations #3) September 2001
Late July. Since the JLA’s HQ in Happy Harbor was compromised (thanks to Snapper Carr getting fooled by Joker) a little less than a month ago, the team obtains international approval to create a very special new HQ.[8] Now officially sanctioned by the US Government, the JLA builds and launches a new satellite headquarters into Earth’s orbit. Shortly after the launch of the satellite, the JLA defeats the debuting global terrorist organization/apocalypse cult known as the Kobra Cult. The Kobra Cult is led by Jeffrey Franklin Burr, who goes by “Lord Naga-Naga,” but more commonly is known simply as “Kobra.” The JLA defeats a large group of cultists, but Burr escapes. Later, Green Arrow does a TV interview and espouses some left wing rhetoric on behalf of the JLA, which puts the team in hot water with the UN. During a meeting aboard the new satellite (sans the Trinity), Hawkman and Green Arrow argue about politics and have to be separated before they come to blows. Enraged, Green Arrow quits the team! Lex Luthor then hires the Kobra Cult to attack the JLA satellite. Dozens of mini LexCorp spaceships strike at once and Kobra takes over the HQ, kidnapping Black Canary in the process. Green Arrow immediately rejoins the team to confront Lex. Batman and his JLA teammates visit Lex, who lies and says that Kobra stole his tech, thus avoiding any legal connection to wrongdoing. The JLA mounts-up and then goes to war against Kobra in orbit, eventually defeating them and retaking their floating home-base. Green Arrow is badly injured and rushed to a hospital where he claims that he has once again quit the JLA. Of course, this isn’t true, since we’ll see him again soon fighting side-by-side with his pals.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Some of the JLAers, notably Green Arrow (as we’ve just seen in JLA Incarnations #3), are bothered by the political red tape involved with now being officially sanctioned by the US government. Batman is also very bothered by this red tape. Over time, his frustration will only grow in regard to this matter.

–“The Green Bullet” by John Ostrander/Ken Lashley/Ron Boyd/John Kalisz (JLA 80-Page Giant #1 Part 1) July 1998
Extortionist and blackmailer Andrew “Ferret” Fulton is murdered and left with a fake Kryptonite bullet in his pocket in an attempt to falsely connect Superman to the crime. When an eye-witness fingers Superman as the culprit, Batman and Commissioner Gordon investigate. Batman then meets with Superman to question him, confirming what he already knew. The heroes then bust the real murderer, an Intergang crook dressed-up as Superman and wearing a LexCorp jetpack to fly. As before, the JLA can’t prove that Lex Luthor was linked to the crime, but they threaten Luthor at his Metropolis office, saying he better never pull any stunts in the future.

–FLASHBACK: From Blackest Night #0. In one of their rare calm moments of interaction aboard the JLA satellite HQ, Hal Jordan chats with Batman about how they both witnessed the deaths of their fathers. “No wonder we’re both screwed up,” says Hal, trying to start a friendly conversation with his rival. “Speak for yourself,” mutters a disdainful Bruce. Bruce and Hal have never gotten along, but this is the beginning of an even rockier relationship that the two will have for rest of their lives. Pure hate on the part of Bruce. Good stuff.

–REFERENCE: In Daily Planet: Special Invasion Edition aka Daily Planet Invasion Special #1—originally told in Justice League of America #78. The JLA teams-up with elder cowboy-themed superhero Vigilante (Greg Sanders) to prevent the Doomsters, members of a dying alien race called The Monsan (aka The Monsanians), from terraforming Earth to make it inhabitable for themselves.[9]

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #89. The fanatical cultists known as the Hellerites, led by criminal Karl Loftus, return to Gotham for the first time in nearly two hundred years to reclaim the land of their ancestors. Batman teams-up with Phantom Stranger against Loftus and the arisen ghosts of the old Hellerites. Dr. Terence Thirteen also shows up, trying to debunk any validity to the paranormal happenings surrounding Phantom Stranger and the Hellerites. (The anti-occult Dr. Thirteen is like the Scully to Phantom Stranger’s Mulder.)

–REFERENCE: In Identity Crisis. Those JLA members that still haven’t revealed their secret IDs to their comrades finally do so, making it a general rule that the JLA will no longer retain ID secrecy amongst themselves moving forward.

–FLASHBACK: From Blackest Night #0. Batman and Hal Jordan argue during a random JLA mission. Bruce and Hal have always HATED each other and continue to DESPISE each other. As we’ve said before, things are only gonna get worse between these two as the years dwindle onward.

–REFERENCE: In 52 #30—originally told in Batman #226. Batman has an altercation with security guard Phil Reardon, who suffers a bizarre injury and winds up being able to see only through his fingertips. Reardon becomes the super-villain known as The Ten-Eyed Man and seeks immediate revenge against Batman, who he blames for his condition. Batman defeats the Ten-Eyed Man, putting him behind bars. If you will recall, over a decade ago, before Bruce became a superhero, he trained in the North African desert with the mystical Ten-Eyed Brotherhood (aka “The Ten-Eyed Tribes of the Empty Quarter” aka “The Ghost Tribes of the Ten-Eyed Brotherhood”). As mentioned in Batman #673, Bruce spent six months training with the Ten-Eyed Brotherhood. Superman #710 references Bruce’s training with the Ten-Eyed Brotherhood as well, although it gives a contradictory three month length instead of six. In any case, the question arises: how exactly is Phil Reardon connected to the Brotherhood? Short answer: we are never told. Suffice to say, Reardon must have some connection to the magickical “Ghost Tribes”—maybe he was once in the Brotherhood but lost his memory, and now cosmic fate has returned him to what he once was? Who knows? It’s a mystery for the ages.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3—loosely based on Teen Titans #19 and Teen Titans #25-33. Rough times trouble the Teen Titans as Aqualad quits the team in order to tend to family affairs in Atlantis. Shortly thereafter, Bruce and Dick’s relationship sours when the Teen Titans botch an investigation related to the murder of prominent doctor Arthur Swenson. Batman chews out Robin and influences the JLA to temporarily suspend the Titans, banning them from wearing their costumes! Undeterred, the Titans forge ahead, donning drab grey outfits and becoming a citizen’s patrol under the mentorship of Loren Jupiter. Robin, however, has none of it and quits the team. The Teen Titans—with new members Lilith Clay, Hawk (Hank Hall), Dove (Don Hall), and Herald (Mal Duncan)—eventually solve the case and re-gain the right to wear their true uniforms. Robin then rejoins the team.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Chronicles #1 Part 1, Batman Chronicles #1 Part 1, Legends of the DC Universe #10-11, Batgirl: Year One #8, and Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey series. Batman and Commissioner Gordon discuss Batgirl. While Jim doesn’t say it outright, he acknowledges with a wink and a nod that he knows his daughter is Batgirl. It’s never made explicitly clear in the Modern Age whether Jim knows—whereas Jim knew for certain in the Silver/Bronze Age. However, it is heavily implied (in all the referenced comics above) to the point where we really can’t deny the fact that Jim knows his daughter’s secret. The implication is that Jim will always treat Babs’ superhero career with a “knowing but not knowing” attitude, purposely pretending not to know. This is very similar to how Jim will engage with Batman’s secret ID, especially based upon implications in “No Man’s Land” for the latter. Don’t ask, don’t tell, y’know?

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl bust an escaped Firefly.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 Annual #2. Dick and Babs go on a secret diner date for burgers and shakes while Batman is away on unspecified JLA business in outer space. Their date has to be kept on the down-low because Robin and Batgirl are supposed to be diligently patrolling the city while Batman is away. This flashback incorrectly says that both Dick and Babs are 16-years-old. In actuality, Babs is three years older than Dick—he’s 15 and she’s 18.[10] Their date is interrupted by a police call involving Crazy Quilt. Batgirl and Robin go after Crazy Quilt, but the villain traps them in a safe. Batman returns from space, apprehends Crazy Quilt, and saves the teenage heroes. Oh, and Robin gets a boner. Seriously.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Birds of Prey #127. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl take down some random Gotham hoods.

–FLASHBACK: From Booster Gold Vol. 2 #11-12. Booster Gold and his sister Goldstar (Michelle Carter) time-travel from the year 2010 (Bat Year 22) to right now (1996) in order to fix an error on the timestream. What is the error, you ask? Well, the 27th century physicist/thief Wiley Dalbert has been slowly traveling backwards through time with the goal of reaching the “simpler, better times” of the 19th century. Along the way, he has been stealing a ton of loot, so that he will be rich once he reaches his desired era. Cue now: Wiley hires Killer Moth to steal some museum artifacts for him, which Moth does, but Batman, Robin, and Batgirl intervene, resulting in the jailing of Dalbert. This is actually bad news as it turns out because Dalbert’s time-traveling plays a pivotal role in the creation of Batman. Dalbert is supposed to travel to the 19th century and found a hospital, which coincidentally points Dr. Thomas Wayne’s career in a specific direction, which in turn, leads to his death in Crime Alley, which of course, leads to birth of the Dark Knight. Armed with this knowledge, Booster travels back in time (the first time he actually fails to fix the error, knocking out Moth and playing the role of the villain). The second time, however, is a charm. With the confusing backstory out of the way, HERE IS WHAT HAPPENS. Booster and Goldstar (from the year 2010) time-travel to now (Bat Year 8), break into the Batcave, and steal the Batmobile. They then steal a Batgirl costume from Barbara Gordon. Booster (dressed as Elvis Presley) and Goldstar (as Batgirl) wind up fighting Killer Moth at the museum, but they make sure that Wiley Dalbert steals the goods and gets away scot-free. This time, Wiley never even crosses paths with Batman. (Thus, Batman won’t actually meet Wiley until Bat Year 15 as Wiley makes his way backward through time.) The Carters then travel back to their correct time, thus re-ensuring that Bruce will become Batman like he was supposed to. Afterward, Alfred tries to explain to the Dynamic Duo that a weird super-villain named “Booster” stole the Batmobile.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Batman becomes aware of some new developments in the life of Man-Bat (Kirk Langstrom), who has recently begun partnered detective work with private eye Jason Bard. Batman, while keeping tabs on the duo, gets one of Bard’s business cards. The Caped Crusader also learns that Kirk’s wife Francine has begun taking man-bat serum, becoming She-Bat every once in a while. Note that these developments were only canonized in 2011 via The Batman Files. Prior to that, they were solely Silver Age material.

–FLASHBACK: From Birds of Prey #100, the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47, and Detective Comics #600. In a single-panel of Birds of Prey #100, Batman, Robin, and Batgirl swing into action. Since we don’t see where they are headed, we can assume that they are going to battle an escaped Riddler, who terrorizes Gotham with a blimp (as seen in the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47). And since we are lumping flashbacks together, why not include the defeated Riddler, tied-up and strung-up by Batman, as seen in a single-panel in Detective Comics #600.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #561. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl take-out three gun-toting masked criminals on a rooftop.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Batman stops Joker’s scheme to rob the Sea Plane Display in Gotham Bay. Joker has enlisted the aid of Gaggy, Eraser, Penguin, Catwoman (in her new green skintight costume), and a myriad of silly clown thugs to help him.

–Batman: Batgirl by Kelley Puckett/Matt Haley (1997)
Batman goes missing, forcing Batgirl to go head-to-head with Joker for the first time! Joker captures Batgirl and begins offing his own henchmen. Batman returns and saves the day, but not before taking a bullet to the scalp and slipping into unconsciousness. Batgirl takes down Joker and Batman goes into the care of Dr. Leslie Thompkins. This story is also shown via flashback in DC First: Batgirl/The Joker #1, which gives us the relative timeframe for when this story takes place.

–“Joker Tips His Hat!” by Ed Brubaker/Stefano Guadiano (Batman #600 Part 3) April 2002
With Batman out of town on unspecified JLA business, Robin and Batgirl are left alone to protect Gotham against an escaped Joker who has stolen Mad Hatter’s mind-control technology. Robin and Batgirl are not only able to sneak in a quick kiss, but they put Joker behind bars as well!

–REFERENCE: In Justice League #2, Justice League Europe #16, and Justice League Quarterly #3—originally told in Justice League of America #87. The JLA meets the Champions of Angor (aka Justifiers of Angor aka Assemblers of Angor)—Silver Sorceress, Blue Jay, Wandjina the Thunderer, and Jack B Quick.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League: Rise of Arsenal #1 and Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1 Part 1—originally told in Green Lantern Vol. 2 #85-86 and Teen Titans #44. Batman isn’t a part of this one, but its reverberations are certainly felt across the greater DCU. The Dark Knight is definitely aware of the situation. Due to the recent turbulence, the Teen Titans decide to call it quits. Shortly after the Teen Titans disband, Green Arrow discovers that his fifteen-year-old sidekick Speedy is a heroin user. (Speedy has been doing heroin for a while now, but the loss of the Teen Titans, combined with the fact that Green Arrow has been spending more time with Hal Jordan than him lately, has caused him to spiral out of control.) Speedy goes into rehab and begins a successful recovery, but he will have issues with addiction for the rest of his life.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682—and referenced in Nightwing Vol. 2 Annual #2 and Batman #683. Originally told in Detective Comics #328 and a few other Silver Age issues, culminating with Batman Family #13-14. While attempting to assist Batman and Robin, Alfred is “killed” by the Tri-State Gang. Bruce and Dick mourn their father figure’s passing at a small funeral. However, Alfred isn’t really dead. Thanks to bizarre circumstances and the meddling of a scientist, Alfred has become the metapowered super-villain known as The Outsider, who plagues Batman and Robin. The Outsider eventually bathes in the scientist’s “regeneration machine” and is restored to his old self, alive and well, although he has no memories of his time spent as the Outsider. The Bat-Family votes not to reveal what has happened to Alfred, feeling that he couldn’t handle the horrible truth—as referenced in Batman #683. When Alfred briefly relapses into the Outsider again, Robin, Batgirl, and Man-Bat team-up to defeat the villain and return Alfred back to safety once again—as referenced in Nightwing Vol. 2 Annual #2. Again, the Bat-Family decides to never tell Alfred about his Outsider alter-ego. (Modern Age canon recognizes the Outsider affair as primarily consisting of: Bruce and Dick mourning Alfred’s death; Batman and Robin defeating the Outsider and restoring Alfred; Robin, Batgirl, and Man-Bat defeating the returning Outsider; and Alfred being restored again. In the Silver Age, Alfred was dead from 1964 to 1966, warring Batman for two full publishing years before it was revealed that he was the Outsider. His brief return as the Outsider against Robin, Batgirl, and Man-Bat occurred in 1977. Contrastingly, in the Modern Age, the whole Outsider affair lasts only a couple days.)

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 Annual #2. Following the Alfred/Outsider affair, Dick tells Babs that he loves her, but she pretends that she is sleeping. Meanwhile, Dick’s relationship with Bruce sours even further.

–REFERENCE: In Peacemaker Vol. 2 #1—originally told in Detective Comics #354 and Detective Comics #408. Batman and Robin best Dr. Tzin-Tzin, a deadly agent of the League of Assassins.

–“Halloween Past: Trick and Defeat” by Art Baltazar/Franco Aureliani/Sergio Carrera (DCU Halloween Special 2009) December 2009
Halloween weekend. Bruce and Alfred throw the Halloween Charity Ball at Wayne Manor. An escaped Killer Moth shows up and tries to rob the party. Moth is busted when he answers the door for two trick-or-treaters dressed up as Superman and Batman. After making fun of their costumes, the trick-or-treaters (actually Robin and Batgirl) knock out Moth and save the day.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #6—and referenced in JLA/Avengers #3 and JLA Secret Files and Origins #2 Part 2. Originally told in Justice League of America #103. Halloween weekend. Phantom Stranger tells the heroes that Felix Faust will summon evil spirits, demons, and zombies at a Halloween celebration in Rutland, Vermont. Thus, the team travels to Rutland and, with Phantom Stranger’s assistance, busts Faust and his minions. With the case wrapped, the JLA invites the Phantom Stranger to join the team (!), but he disappears without giving a reply. The JLA records this adventure into its case-files under the name “A Stranger Walks Among Us,” which was the original title of Justice League of America #103, upon which this entry onto our timeline was based. Note that the canonical flashback to this story from the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #6, which seemingly must be referencing “A Stranger Walks Among Us,” shows a fairly generic Jesus Saiz-illustrated image that doesn’t actually correspond with any panels from the original Justice League of America #103.

–REFERENCE: In Underworld Unleashed #1 and The Batman Files—originally told in Detective Comics #358 Part 1 Intro. November. Batman encounters Spellbinder (Delbert Billings), a garishly clad op-art-themed super-villain that has been on a recent robbery spree. Spellbinder evades capture twice by causing Batman to go into a vivid hallucination where the Dark Knight believes he is elsewhere, working another case.

–FLASHBACK: From Shadowpact #6—originally told in Detective Comics #410. Batman tracks down a murderer and finds himself at a circus, where he meets several “freaks” including Eddie “Flippy” Deacon, a boy with flippers instead of hands and feet. Batman brings the murderer to justice and saves Flippy’s life.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #692—originally told in Batman #237. Dr. Benjamin Gruener aka The Reaper, a Jewish concentration camp survivor, dresses as the grim reaper and goes on a killing spree. After duking it out with Batman, the Reaper falls off a cliff, supposedly to his death. In actuality, he survives the fall and is cryogenically frozen, so we’ll see him return many years later in Batman #692. Bear in mind, this Reaper is not the Reaper from the “Batman: Year Two” story arc.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #600. Bruce begins dating famous publicist Silver St. Cloud. They fall very much in love, but right from the get-go, Bruce and Silver get into a bad fight (likely due to Bruce’s secret Bat-life getting in the way of his commitment to her). Despite this argument, Bruce and Silver stay together. Silver is arguably, besides Julie Madison or Selina Kyle, Bruce’s first real-deal serious love-affair. Note that Ed Brubaker likely meant for this Batman #600 flashback to signify Silver and Bruce breaking-up at the conclusion of “Strange Apparitions” (which is still to come). However, Brubaker’s Silver flashback occurs specifically in Wayne Manor whereas the Silver/Bruce breakup in “Strange Apparitions” occurs specifically in the Wayne Tower penthouse. Thus, due to this ostensible error, canon is forced to shift this sequence here, making it a scene of Bruce and Silver arguing in Wayne Manor shortly after beginning to date one another.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #600—and also referenced in The Batman Files. Originally told in Batman #217. Dick (who is 15-years-old now and will turn 16 this coming summer) decides to leave Gotham and move to upstate New York. The reason for the move is because: one, he hasn’t been getting along with Bruce very well; and two, he has been accepted into an early entry program at Hudson University in upstate New York that will begin with the start of the new semester in January. Dick, like Babs, has a genius-level intellect and will start college at a very young age. Dick gives his Hudson University acceptance letter to Bruce. Someone (presumably Babs) snaps a picture of Dick wearing a Hudson University cardigan with Bruce and Alfred in the background. Bruce keeps the picture once it is developed. Shortly thereafter, Dick officially moves to New Carthage, NY. While Dick is living in New York, he will sporadically commute to Gotham to work cases with Batman.

–REFERENCE: In Underworld Unleashed #1 and The Batman Files—originally told in Detective Comics #358 Part 1 Conclusion. Late November. When Spellbinder tries his hallucination tricks on Batman for a third time, the Dark Knight is in total control and easily takes him down.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #561. Late November. As he does every year, Batman visits Crime Alley to honor his mother and father on the anniversary of their deaths.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Detective Comics #782. Late November. Continuing from the previous flashback, Batman places two fresh roses on Crime Alley to commemorate the anniversary of his parents’ deaths.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682—and referenced in Batman #683. Originally told in Batman #217. Bruce puts Robin’s original costume on display in the Batcave. Afterward, Bruce and Alfred decide to move into a penthouse atop the Wayne Enterprises Tower (aka Wayne Foundation Building). With metahuman assistance, Batman and Alfred build an underground bunker with multiple secret exits, entrances, and elevators deep beneath the building. This “Bat-Bunker” will become Batman’s new main base of operations. As they close down the Batcave in preparation for the big move, Alfred shares a fiction story he has written about what the world would be like if Bruce never became Batman. Shortly thereafter, Batman and Alfred officially set up shop in the penthouse and Bat-Bunker. (As the “penthouse era” starts, so signals the end of the Silver Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age. For the purposes of this chronology, this Bronze Age, or “Modern Bronze Age,” will comprise the rest of the “Early Period.”)

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Batman installs a JLA teleporter in the Bat-Bunker.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #402 and Batman Incorporated #6—originally told in Batman #217. Bruce initiates the Wayne Enterprises-funded “Victims Incorporated Program.” Victims Inc functions as a service which provides assistance to those who have lost loved ones at the hands of Gotham crime. The program also solves cold murder cases that the GCPD has been unable to crack. Victims Inc, however, is short-lived due to the dangerous exposure it places upon Wayne Enterprises, on both Bruce and his employees.

–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 2 #29—and referenced in Justice League America #62-65. Originally told in Justice League of America #96-98. The JLA fights the cosmic vampire known as Starbreaker, an evil super-villain and member of the alien Sun-Eater species. They defeat Starbreaker and his robotic hench-insects (called Mechanix), stopping them from plunging the Earth into the sun.

–REFERENCE: In Daily Planet: Special Invasion Edition aka Daily Planet Invasion Special #1—originally told in Justice League of America #99. The benevolent aliens Bür Sëd and Kēr Sēd try to help Earth by planting eco-friendly seeds across the planet. However, when invasive plant growth spreads across the globe, the JLA is forced to intervene, fighting the adamant Bür Sëd and Kēr Sēd. Eventually, the aliens realize the error of their ways, clean up the invasive growth, and return to their home planet.

–FLASHBACK: From Stars & STRIPE #9 and Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0—and also referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0, Stars & STRIPE #0, and Seven Soldiers of Victory #1. Originally told in Justice League of America #100-102. When The Iron Hand threatens all life on the planet, the JLA and JSA are on the case. Meanwhile, following a fight against Nebula Man, the original Seven Soldiers of Victory (aka Law’s Legionnaires)—Crimson Avenger, Shining Knight (Sir Justin Arthur) and his flying horse Victory, Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton), Vigilante (Greg Sanders), Stuff (aka The Chinatown Kid), Stripesy (Pat Dugan), and Wing How—each get blasted into different time periods (from their correct time of 1948). After summoning and consulting with the cosmic being known as Aurakles (aka Oracle), the JSA and JLA mix lineups and travel to each time period to perform rescues. Batman—pictured wearing the wrong costume—teams with Hourman (Rex Tyler) and Starman (Ted Knight) to rescue Stripesy from Ancient Egypt (as seen via flashback from Stars & STRIPE #9 and referenced in Stars & STRIPE #0). Unfortunately, after being rescued, the majority of the Seven Soldiers cannot return back to 1948 and stay in the present. The JLA, JSA, and Seven Soldiers of Victory then conduct a triple-group-team-up to defeat the Iron Hand, whose power merges with Nebula Man’s. The villains are defeated, but Red Tornado becomes the first major member of the superhero community to die, sacrificing himself to save the Earth. With the mission wrapped, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman mourn Red Tornado’s passing (as seen through flashback in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0). PS. Red Tornado is quickly resurrected shortly thereafter. Don’t forget, Red Tornado is technically an Air Elemental (aka Wind Elemental) housed inside an android body. Whenever he dies, he can be rebuilt and return to life when the Elemental returns. Tornado will die several more times over the course of the next decade, including during The Crisis on Infinite Earths. No big deal.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #0, Batman: Bane of the Demon #2, Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2, the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #4, Batman #561, and Batman #683—originally told in “The Saga of Ra’s al Ghul” by Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams (Detective Comics #411, Batman #232, Batman #235, Batman #240, and Batman #242-245), first published in 1971-1972, and first collected/re-released in 1987. Every single panel of every page of this Bronze Age classic can be read as-is and considered in-continuity for the Modern Age (except for Batman #242). The tale is also referenced constantly in Modern Age continuity, so its major elements are definitively canon. Plus, Batman is depicted wearing his correct yellow-oval costume in the Batman Incorporated Absolute Edition, officially making Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 canon in both the Modern Age and New 52. In “The Saga of Ra’s al Ghul,” the treacherous League of Assassins has reared its mysterious head. Batman’s investigations into the secret criminal empire take him to the Far East where he battles with one of the League’s top operatives, Dr. Ebeneezer Darrk. It is during this confrontation that Bruce first meets the woman who will mother his child, Talia al Ghul.[11][12] After returning to the States, Batman learns that Robin has been kidnapped from Hudson University. When a Batcave alarm is tripped, the Caped Crusader frantically swings over to the Batcave only to find that Talia’s father and leader of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul, is already there waiting for him and knows his secret identity. (Ra’s is accompanied by a very disrespectful member of the Ubu tribe, a cult of warriors loyal to the death to the League of Assassins.) Ra’s then informs Bruce that Talia has also been kidnapped. Reluctantly, Bruce teams-up with Ra’s and they head out across the globe—to India and the Himalayas—in search of the missing persons. Batman deals with numerous deadly situations and eventually finds Robin. (A flashback from the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #4 adds a scene to Batman #232 that was not in the original issue. It shows Batman and Ra’s al Ghul sword-fighting in the League of Assassins’ Himalayan compound as Talia, Ubu, and a bound Robin watch with excited interest.) Turns out Ra’s and Talia set up Batman, but he knew the whole time and played along anyway. But why did they set him up? Because Ra’s wanted to make sure that Batman was a worthy successor to lead the League and to wed his smitten daughter, of course. Not long after their first encounter, Batman meets Talia yet again after she attempts to execute a traitor to the League of Assassins in Louisiana. The third meeting between Talia and Batman comes, again, shortly thereafter when a prominent US Army scientist is murdered and his brain is removed from his skull. Ra’s has a vested interest in the case, so he sends his daughter to team-up with Batman on the investigation. Together, they catch the murderer, but Batman learns that Ra’s had cut out the man’s brain in order to learn the government secrets hidden within. There’s a lot of weird sci-fi stuff going on here with a re-animated talking brain, sodium pentathol, reverse-sodium pentathol, and more. Maybe Bruce was having a Joker Toxin/Scarecrow Gas related freak-out while this escapade was going on. Although, we do meet the head scientist of the League of Assassins, Dr. Moon, and whenever he makes future appearances, strange things always occur. The final arc of “The Saga of Ra’s al Ghul” is the most famous. However, issue #242 includes some totally incorrect Matches Malone stuff. Malone’s anachronistic re-appearance and death are both totally wrong and couldn’t have happened. For these reasons the events of this single issue are definitively non-canon, so if you read this storyline either skip issue #242 or disregard the Malone parts.[13] Anyway, our classic tale continues in issue #243 with Batman assembling a team of civilians (yeah, weird, I know) and hunting down Ra’s. In order to free up some time on his schedule, Bruce fakes his own death (plane crash in South America). After finally tracking Ra’s al Ghul down, Batman learns the secret of the Demon’s Head: the Lazarus Pits have been keeping him alive for hundreds of years! A shirtless Batman and Ra’s al Ghul epically sword-duel each other in the desert as Talia looks on. (This sword fight is also shown via flashback from Batman #561 and Batman #683.) The “Saga of Ra’s al Ghul” ends with a wrap-up issue (#245) where Batman solves a case involving two gangsters that are backing rival corrupt mayoral candidates. After closing the investigation, Batman jets down to South America where he is “miraculously discovered” wandering in the South American jungle—thus “reviving” Bruce Wayne from his faked plane crash death.

–FLASHBACK: From Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2. Christmas. Batman and Robin respond to an alert on their “crime computer,” solve the case, and return home in time to celebrate the holiday with Alfred.

–REFERENCE: In Robin Vol. 2 #1—originally told in Detective Comics #428. Batman teams up with GCPD Detective Steven “Shotgun” Smith to bring down some drug dealers.

–FLASHBACK: From JLA Incarnations #5 Part 2. The JLA hangs out and then mobilizes for unspecified action. Note that Green Arrow is pictured without his goatee, but he should have it by this point.

 

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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: This scene from Batman #700 has a part where Joker flips through his joke book and reads some of his “schemes, routines, and grandest ploys” aloud. Joker, says, as he’s quickly flipping the pages, “…Joker fish… heh… might look into that… Jokerworld death parks for all the family… wooh.” Ostensibly, this could make it seem like this takes place before the “Laughing Fish” gag. However, on our timeline the “Laughing Fish” gag already occurred a couple years ago. The “Laughing Fish” gag must take place a couple years ago for two main reasons. First, Batman and Robin, by this point, have been interacting with Nichols for a couple years. And second, the “Laughing Fish” gag is linked to Steve Englehart’s “Fishy Laugh / Reign of Joker,” which in spite of its few continuity errors, is canon and definitely takes place during a time where Aquaman has only recently joined a newly formed JLA. THUS, logic follows that the scene from Batman #700 with Nichols occurs right here. The Joker line in Batman #700 is a bit confusing and delusory. While it can be read several ways, here’s how I read it for the purposes of our chronology. Joker reads “Joker fish” as one page, recalling one of his most famous gags. Then he reads something else that makes him go “heh.” Then he reads something else that makes him say “might look into that,” etc… That might be a very unique reading of the sequence, but there’s no way to prove that it’s incorrect. My reading actually makes it work much more nicely on the Modern Age timeline.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: Batgirl’s public debut is upon us. The overall canonicity of Batgirl: Year One (2003) is in doubt, with most of the issues containing continuity errors. It’s up to you whether or not you include it in your personal headcanon, as the series can definitely go either way, especially depending on the individual issue. In any case, several comics flashback-to and/or reference Batgirl’s debut, some of them nodding toward Batgirl: Year One while others hint at her original origin from the Silver Age’s Detective Comics #359, which has already been partly listed on our chronology above. In the former instances (Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 and Birds of Prey #127), Batgirl fights Killer Moth and saves Bruce, who is en route to a masquerade ball. In the latter instances (Batgirl: Year One, Batman: Batgirl, and The Batman Files), Batgirl fights Killer Moth and saves Bruce at the masquerade ball. And yet another set of instances (Batgirl: Year One, Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20, and DC First: Batgirl/Joker #1) shows a continuation featuring Batgirl fighting and finally defeating Killer Moth in the woods outside the masquerade ball. What this tells us is that Batgirl completes these three actions in the above-listed sequence. This does require some creative reader interpretation as things don’t exactly jibe and there are some (as mentioned above) continuity errors that must be addressed. The path of least resistance is to simply disregard the first three issues of Batgirl: Year One, which solves almost all problems. However, Batgirl: Year One is the only Modern Age Batgirl debut story that isn’t coming from a flashback or reference, so it holds significant weight. Because of this, I’ve chosen to include it in-full with all necessary caveats.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Writers Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon wrote 2003’s Batgirl: Year One with two “official” DC timelines—from the Zero Hour #0 (1994) and Secret Files & Origins Guide to the DCU 2000 (2000)—in mind. Both of these timelines diverge from the Silver Age version of Batgirl’s origin, pushing her debut later, in line with a satellite-based JLA and Batman’s dealings with Deadman and the Sensei. (Essentially, this pushed Batgirl’s debut from being linked to 1967-related stories to being linked to 1970-related stories.) Beatty and Dixon’s narrative makes references to the Teen Titans, JL Satellite, Rupert Thorne, Deadman, the League of Assassins, and more. But curiously, it tries to stamp a contradictory earlier setting onto its narrative as well. Jim Gordon isn’t yet commissioner and Batman wears an older costume (through most of it). No matter the case, we should ignore the references to the JL Satellite. (Batgirl originally debuted in 1967, three years before the JL Satellite debut, and any Modern Age timeline that tries to force the satellite prior to Batgirl’s debut just doesn’t work.) Originally, I tried to keep Batgirl: Year One earlier, while marking the first few issues (containing Year Seven-ish stuff) as canon, and relegating the final few issues (containing Year Eight-ish stuff) as non-canon. Other chronologists, such as Chris J Miller, tried to solve the problems attached to Batgirl: Year One by fanwanking a two-year-long ellipsis in the middle of the series, thus effectively keeping the first few issues appropriately separated from the last few issues. Having parts of a series canon, while other parts are not, is not ideal. Nor is creating long ellipses when the narrative very clearly doesn’t warrant any gaps. The better route is to include the whole series here, but with caveats and error notations where necessary. To place Batgirl: Year One any farther down the timeline (beyond Year Eight) would require a fundamental and frankly impossible overhaul of the entire chronology, and then you’d still have a ton of errors and caveats to boot. It just wouldn’t make sense. Hence, our placement here.

    MILO NOUSIAINEN: Batgirl: Year One does have a lot of misplaced fanservice, but it’s a fine exploration of Barbara Gordon’s early days, and the art is great. Things like the JL satellite and Batman dealing with the League of Assassins and Deadman seem to be deliberate choices by Scott Beatty and Chuck Dixon, not mistakes, but they wind up coming off more like Easter eggs (especially the inclusion of the satellite, which serves no purpose in the story). Beatty and Dixon may have written Batgirl: Year One to occur later on the timeline—Year Eight or Year Nine. Evidence of this can be found with Barbara noting that Robin has grown a few inches since they last met at the end of Robin: Year One. They both also look taller and older in the main story of Batgirl: Year One than they do in the flashback to Robin: Year One. This speaks to a gap between the tales, which pushes Batgirl: Year One into at least Year Eight. Since Wayne Manor and the Batcave are central to Batgirl: Year One‘s narrative, it must go prior to Bruce’s move into the penthouse, but after the debut of the Teen Titans, and after/overlapping with the Deadman adventure in Nanda Parbat. Also, Barbara ripping up an “Elect Rupert Thorne” poster makes sense since the events of “Strange Apparitions” are looming. This also leaves room for Bat-Woman, Bat-Girl, and Ace the Bat-Hound to debut before Batgirl: Year One (mirroring the Silver Age), by which time they could be retired and somewhat forgotten. In Batgirl: Year One, there are many references to Batgirl being the third member of the Bat-Family (fourth if you include Alfred). There is also a funny series of lines where Jim Gordon asks if Batman is “expanding the franchise,” to which Robin replies, “And have to worry about a Batwoman or Bathound bogarting the trademark?” In Batgirl: Year One, Alfred also says, “We’re going to need a bigger cave.” Killer Moth delivers “Now there’s three of them!” commentary. And upon her own debut, Batgirl laments having not decided to call herself Batwoman. All of this implies that Bat-Woman has already retired. Robin’s “bogarting the trademark” line functions as a callback—not a weird meta reference to their impending debuts. However, even with the correct placement of Batgirl: Year One here, errors still persist—such as the wrong Bat-costume and Gordon not yet being commissioner.

    PURPLEGLOVEZ (TIPTUP JR 94): A few observations regarding Batgirl’s origin in the Modern Age. First, Batgirl: Year One is the definitive Batgirl origin story, and it definitely does go here in Year Eight. As such, like the Batman Chronology Project, I disagree with Chris J Miller’s placement of a huge ellipsis within Batgirl: Year One. Realistically, there is no place for any significant continuity gap. Second, touching Kathy Kane and Bette Kane, keep in mind that Batgirl: Year One was written at a time when they were not canon. (Their only reference would have been a photo in The Killing Joke—hardly official, especially back then.) Batman #682 and Batman Incorporated #4 have Robin mentioning he doesn’t trust that “bogus Batgirl” or something to that effect, but it would be very strange if he was talking about Barbara there. You could take this to mean Betty and Babs were around at the same time, but the overwhelming implication from Grant Morrison is that Bette as Bat-Girl precedes Babs as Batgirl. Third, while writing Batgirl: Year One, creators Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty clearly used the Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 model where Babs gets her masters before starting at the library, Two-Face was around when she was 13-years-old, and she starts college at 16-years-old. In my opinion, the idea of her getting a master’s degree in two years, even with her advanced schooling, is ludicrous. Plus, there are post-Batgirl: Year One stories that plainly place her in college after debuting as Batgirl, and intimate that she was around 18-years-old (or just turning 18) the year of her debut. (There are workarounds for these things, which the Batman Chronology Project has taken, but they are messy.) Fourth, any references to the JLA Satellite within Batgirl: Year One should be ignored (as the JLA’s switch from the Happy Harbor Sanctuary to the satellite should follow Mark Waid’s canonical Silver Age series, which occurs after Batgirl: Year One and other early Batgirl tales. Dixon and Beatty (as mentioned by Collin above) screwed up by using the flimsy timeline from Secret Files & Origins Guide to the DCU 2000 as a guide, which has the satellite erroneously coming before Batgirl.

  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: In this scene, the Bat-Computer shows several super-villains on its screen, including the Mad Monk, Clayface I (although he looks more like Clayface II), Blockbuster, and an unnamed hooded villain that has only the last part of his last name showing: “…llbancz”. I have no clue who that is supposed to be.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman doesn’t appear in Batgirl: Year One #5, hence why we’ve skipped that issue and gone straight to issue #6. Though, note importantly that issue #5 contains some big continuity errors. First, Jim Gordon is still a captain. Second, it includes a totally incorrect version of Garfield Lynn’s debut as Firefly. Third, Batman is wearing the wrong costume. Fourth, the JL Satellite is mentioned, but it wouldn’t exist yet. Fifth, Larry Lance is bombed by Tony Bressi’s men and apparently killed. Larry can’t die, because we’ll see him again (although when we see him again, he will unfortunately die).
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: The editorial idea behind Silver Age at its time of publication was that it would play fast-and-loose with continuity, giving creators room to throw in Easter Eggs and coltish anachronisms aplenty. Here are some of these “fun” anachronisms (more commonly known as continuity errors): First, Chief Miles Clancy O’Hara is shown, but he’s dead by now. This should be his younger relative instead. Second, young Robby Reed gives the H-Dial to the JLA, which causes them to turn into new superheroes so they can defeat the Injustice League. In Modern Age canon, Robby doesn’t debut until much later. Third, there is a hyper-anachronistic Metal Men appearance that contradicts their Modern Age history and violates the fact that Batman doesn’t really interact with them until much later. And fourth, we are told that Flash only debuted a year ago, but he debuted at least two years ago.
  7. [7]PURPLEGLOVEZ (TIPTUP JR 94): A few quick continuity error notes about JLA Classified #50-54. First, Batman makes an odd comment that Robin has “recently set out on his own.” This is problematic because the JLA is still in Happy Harbor, meaning it should be way too early for the many retconned schisms between Bruce and Dick to take place. Second, the story notes that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (“not an active member”) had been shirking League duty prior to this. At story’s end, the Trinity resolve to start attending regular meetings. This is an error because, at this point, the Trinity would already have been involved quite a bit with the team. Third, the Atom merely reads the files on Titus after the fact; his absence is unexplained, but he certainly would have been a JLA member at this point.
  8. [8]COLLIN COLSHER: The JLA team listed on the title page of JLA Incarnations #3 features only the characters that appear in the issue. Also, Batman and Superman are NOT reserve members. They are full-time. The current thirteen-person JLA lineup features Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Aquaman, Hal Jordan, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman, the Atom, Firestorm, and Zatanna. Bear in mind, originally in the Silver Age, Zatanna and Firestorm join the JLA long after the team has started using the satellite. This is obviously not the case in the very different Modern Age, and JLA Incarnations #3 stamps that in hard.
  9. [9]COLLIN COLSHER: Daily Planet: Special Invasion Edition makes reference to a couple other alien encounters, but I have no idea what they are in reference to (or if they are original references to new material). The first reference makes mention of lizard creatures trying to eat all humans, forcing underground human militias to defeat them. And the second reference tells us that aliens capture Superman, Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, and Starfire before being easily defeated. The latter obviously goes later, after Starfire’s debut. Even if I was able to figure out these two vague references, there would be no guarantee of Batman being involved. So unless I ever figure them out (and Batman is definitely involved), these are staying off the timeline.
  10. [10]COLLIN COLSHER: Originally, Babs was always about three years older than Dick (in the Silver/Bronze Age and throughout most of the Modern Age). This was the case for decades until Nightwing Vol. 2 Annual #2 (2007) retconned Babs and Dick’s ages to be exactly the same. However, I have disregarded this rather late and unnecessary retcon because it really muddles things up and contradicts decades worth of continuity for no real narrative reason. “Folie à deux” by Kelley Puckett/Terry Dodson (from 1998′s Legends of the DC Universe #10-11), which overlaps with Batgirl: Year One, also tells us that Babs turns 18-years-old shortly after debuting as Batgirl.
  11. [11]COLLIN COLSHER: Talia is the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, leader of the League of Assassins. According to her Arabic familial history (and creator Denny O’Neil’s intention), Talia does not have a last name. However, the Westernized version of her full name, while incorrect in Arabic, is “Talia al Ghul.” Since cultural lexicon basically trumps O’Neil’s original intention, especially in the Modern Age, the use of “Talia al Ghūl” (with surname) is basically acceptable grammar even though it’s technically wrong. Some might fight you on that, but I certainly don’t have the energy to engage in that debate.
  12. [12]COLLIN COLSHER: How old is Talia when she meets Batman? As per the original comics and Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2, she clearly looks to be in her late teenage years and is old enough to attend university. However, Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2 tells us that Ra’s al Ghul meets Talia’s mom (and impregnates her) either at or shortly after the Live Aid concert in 1985. This works just fine for the New 52 timeline, under which Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2 was published. But for the Modern Age, which Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #2 is supposed to be canon in as well, it makes things a bit more complicated. Talia would only be around 11 or 12-years old right now. So either the Live Aid reference is bogus or we must assume that the League of Assassins has done to Talia what will be done for Damian and Damian’s clones: rapid sci-fi aging. No matter the situation or how many years Talia has existed in the world, she’s in the range of 18 to 21-years-old when she meets the Dark Knight in the Modern Age—likely closer to the former.
  13. [13]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman #242 is non-canon because it contradicts Brian K Vaughan’s Batman #589, in which we learn that Batman encountered Matches Malone very early in his career (before Robin and while Harvey Dent was still ADA). We also learn that Matches fakes his death around this time and skips town, not returning to Gotham for over a decade (actually seventeen years by my calculations). Of course, all of this contradicts Malone’s appearance and death in Batman #242. Not to mention, Batman uses the Matches Malone disguise in storylines from Batman Confidential #22-25 and Superman/Batman #85-87 (both also taking place before “The Saga of Ra’s al Ghul”).

14 Responses to Modern YEAR EIGHT

  1. Jack James says:

    I have a question: Why can’t we all take the stories in which he ocasionally wore the yellow-oval costume as him just trying it out before deciding to use it more permanently? Is there any reference that would make this impossible?

    • Hi Jack,

      This is literally what we have to do with the Silver Age. The Silver Age’s version of “Year One” (Untold Legend of the Batman) wasn’t written until the 1980 and, in it, a debuting Batman is shown wearing his yellow-oval costume—despite the fact that he didn’t debut wearing that costume.

      Thus, there certainly is precedent for what you are suggesting. The simple reason that I haven’t taken that route is because the costume changes in the Modern Age are supposed to mean something. They are markers of significant shifts in Batman’s personality or momentous events in his life. The first costume is meant to represent not only his darker early years but reflects a Modernized version of the Golden Age Batman. Likewise, the yellow-oval costume signifies Batman’s shift toward a more laid-back and relaxed Dark Knight, reflecting the Batman of the Silver Age. As stories move past the original Crisis, Batman sees important costume alterations again and again, and they all reflect important things that happen to him. Simultaneously, all these costume alterations are meant to valid markers of time on the Modern Chronology. Of course, as you’ve clearly seen and are concerned about, it wasn’t exactly a perfect science in determining which costume to use when doing “Year One Era” stories or flashbacks. There’s a malleable border between the shift period from original costume to yellow-oval costume, and a debatable order of most of the “Year One Stories” as well. Because things get much more set-in-stone after the “Year One Era,” you don’t really run into this problem.

      But like I said, there is certainly precedent—as can be seen in the early days of the Silver Age. Thanks for a great question, Jack. I’ll def add a foot notation about this conundrum, fleshing out our discussion here. Sorry there’s no concrete answer beyond what I’ve stated above.

  2. Jack James says:

    Another suggestion haha I honestly think that Darwyn Cooke’s story Ego can fit right well here.

    It does reference Hugo Strange at the beginning, but it’s in an unspecified flashback form, something Bruce was just merely remembering while driving the Batmobile. Aside from that, there is pretty much nothing that contradicts the chronology.
    My suggestion? Place it right after Bruce’s breakup with Kathy. It works on several ways:
    1. Bruce would be extra depressed at that point which is what’d lead him to being extra-melancholic about his war on crime and his identity at that point.
    2. That story begins by recounting an atrocity committed by the Joker and by the influence that both Joker and Batman have here. So that, along with the fact that Batman went through a weird hallucinatory or dreamlike experience in Ego, would be enough to convince him to go over to Simon Hurt, to better understand both Joker (If I remember correctly he went on that retreat to understand his mind better) AND be more prepared to deal with experiences of that sort.

    • Yeah, I was discussing this with another site contributor and we both are in agreement with you. I’ll add it in (and its myriad flashbacks) today!

      • Josh says:

        This is because you are ignoring the year three reference batman makes in Ego correct? Which would make sense given that Robin’s Debut has been made to year 6 in your timeline and he also makes an appearance in Ego.

        • Hi Josh, what do you mean by “year three reference Batman makes in Ego“?

          • Josh says:

            On page 6 the very bottom middle panel contains the narration by Bruce: ” –in three years I’ve come to realize I can’t change this city–

            • Oh, thanks, Josh. I’ve read this so many times and never noticed that line. TBH It’s very hard for me to make out that cursive font.

              About the “three years” thing, yeah it’s definitely meant to signify that this is after Robin’s has debuted. (Prior to the full publication and conclusion of Dark Victory in late 2000, there was an almost total consensus that Robin debuted in Year Three.) So, we need that caveat as well, which I will add to the site.

              Honestly, if I was going with my original gut, I’d have labeled Ego out-of-continuity, but there were just way too many people telling me it had to fit, so I caved. And I think it does fit upon further reflection—again, with caveats.

  3. James IV says:

    So, I have a concern about Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #37 (“Mercy”). You have her first flashback in Year Seven, the bulk of the story here in Year Eight, and the non-flashback portion is in Year Twelve, right after the murder of Jason Todd. I may be mistaken, but my reading of the issue was that the Cossack fight and the death of Mercy was the ‘current’ event, not a flashback to multiple years past.

    1) After Mercy accidently kills a man in the ring and Batman has a chat with her, Batman thinks ‘That was the last I saw of her. Until tonight.’, which seems a bit dramatic if that Cossack fight is happening just two items later (though yes, that’s not always indicative of how much time has passed).

    2) Batman thinks that Jimmy Gluck was an account long overdue, so ditto my reasoning in regards to my first point.

    3) When the issue seems to go ‘live’ (e.g. no longer a flashback), it is Batman fighting the Cossack, “He’s been keeping it that way every moment since” (which implies to me this is present).

    I’m truly not sure what the implied part of this comic that takes place in Year Twelve would even be. You say ‘Batman goes down memory lane and narrates a tale of yesteryear’ to start that point off, but it seems to me that narration is ‘thought’ during the fight with the Cossack, not at some later point in his timeline, again, due to my understanding of the line in point 3.

    Sorry if I’m being overly pedantic, but I don’t understand the division of the placement of the events from this year and Year Twelve.

    • Hi James, yes the “main action” of LOTDK #37 is the final fight against the Cossack (five years later). Not sure why I added that the reminiscing was the main action. I’ll move some things around.

      I also think maybe the entire five year narrative might occur in the year three to year eight range, but we’ll see.

  4. Milo says:

    This is just a minor suggestion, but I think Batman: Ego should go after the flashback from DC Universe Legacies #5/”Joker’s Five-Way Revenge,” just because Ego features a homicidal Joker. Batman #682-#683 gives a timeline where Joker isn’t murderous during this time. He doesn’t start killing again until his original persona returns in the aforementioned items.

    • That makes sense, but it does contradict with site-contributor Jack James’ idea that it leads into Simon Hurt stuff.

      It still works post-break up with Kathy Kane, which contributed to Batman’s mentality in Ego. Post-“Five Way Revenge” is still within a year after Kathy Kane’s breakup so it still works there. Plus, we know that Batman isn’t the kind of guy that tends to let things go or move on very quickly.

      I think your idea seems to link to something more concrete than speculative though, so I’ll make this move for now.

  5. tiptupjr94 says:

    A few quick notes about the JLA’s fight against Titus in JLA Classified #50-54. First, the gods were not involved in either conflict, and the appearance of Selene in the latter fight was a ruse. Also, Batman makes an odd comment that Robin has “recently set out on his own”… this is problematic because if the JLA is still in Happy Harbor, it should be way too early for the many retconned schisms between Bruce and Dick to take place.

    It’s also noted that Batman has been shirking the league prior to this, yet he seems to be involved quite a bit with the team throughout Batgirl Year One, Silver Age, The Bat and the Cat, etc. Bats and Supes resolve to start attending regular meetings. Diana was “not an active member” at the time. The Atom merely read the files on Titus after the fact; his absence is unexplained, but he certainly would have been a member at this point.

    Another interesting thing. Flash laments that the JLA never figured out how Kanjar Ro’s energi-rod works. Yet in Hourman #16, Joker notes that the JLA has recorded the scepter works by transferring knowledge through Aranna Rays. This could suggest they unlocked the secret of the rod *after* the Titus fight, and *then* Snapper’s betrayal took place? Just thinking out loud. At least they got the yellow oval right.

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