Modern YEAR EIGHT

1996

Modern Age Year Eight Batman Robin Simon Hurt
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–FLASHBACK: From Batman #527. An escaped Two-Face dramatically tears his law degree in half while challenging Batman. The villain attempts to drown Batman in a well, but Batman escapes and busts his rival.

–REFERENCE: In JLA 80-Page Giant #1 Part 1. Batman becomes aware of the criminal activity of blackmailer and extortionist Andrew “Ferret” Fulton.

–FLASHBACK: From Unlimited Access #2. Access (the temporary “cosmic monitor” of both Universe-0 and Universe-616 aka the Marvel Multiverse’s primary universe) accidentally time-travels from Bat Year 15 to right now while attempting to correct an omniversial spacetime anomaly. Access and his companion Daredevil (!) briefly meet Batman before vanishing back into the timestream. The Dark Knight’s memory of this event quickly fades away.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated #3—originally told in Batman #56 (1949). Batman and Robin save the President of Mantegua from an assassination attempt, while he is on a tour of Gotham. The grateful Prez of the tiny Latin American republic tells them of the horrible crime problems in his nation and begs the heroes to help out. Batman and Robin not only visit, but offer to train Mantegua’s first ever hometown superhero, the “Bat-Hombre.” Unfortunately, the Bat-Hombre is a double-agent working for criminal mastermind El Papagayo (translated as “The Parrot”). Eventually, the Dynamic Duo outs the Bat-Hombre and brings Papagayo to justice.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682 and Batman Incorporated #4. Batman and Bat-Woman, who have been dating for about six months, have their penultimate “extraplanetary adventure,” which includes a drug-induced hallucination of an evil alien named Karn and an alternate dimension complete with dragon-monsters and winged bird-people. This psychotropic gassing is orchestrated by the criminal organization Spyral (for whom Bat-Woman is secretly employed). In an intense panic induced by the drugs, Batman and Bat-Woman kiss passionately. Afterward, Kathy meets with the head of her intelligence organization, who not only chastises her for failing to learn Batman’s secret ID, but gives her shit for sleeping with and getting engaged to a man who she doesn’t even know. The head of Spyral reveals his own true identity: the Nazi war criminal Doctor Dedalus. Dedalus also shockingly reveals that he is Kathy’s biological father!

–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!

–REFERENCE: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #37. Batman begins an investigation into the criminal empire of gangster Jimmy Gluck.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated #4—originally told in Batman #162. Batman is transformed into a rampaging King Kong-like “Bat-creature” by some crooks using a bizarre transmogrifying laser. Robin reluctantly teams-up with Bat-Woman to stop the bad guys and revert Bruce back to human form.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4—and also referenced in The Batman Files. Shortly after the adventure of the “Bat-creature,” Kathy Kane, ashamed of her secret ties to Spyral and Doctor Dedalus, breaks-up with Bruce. She teaches him the “Tango de la Muerte” and they part ways for good. Bruce is devastated. Moving forward, Bruce will think of Kathy, one of the true great loves of his life, quite often. Note that Grant Morrison writes “Tango del Muerte” in the pages of Batman Incorporated, which is wrong. The correct Spanish grammar is “Tango de la Muerte,” hence the corrected version above. Maybe Kathy’s Español isn’t quite up to snuff.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682 and Batman Incorporated #4. Bruce, after having his heart broken by Kathy, goes into a dark emotional state.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #673-674—and also referenced in The Outsiders #22. Originally told in Batman #134. Batman fights the nacreous Rainbow Creature,” a razor-toothed monster made entirely out of light. Part of this adventure is merely hallucinated, directly linked to drugs running rampant in his system courtesy of the Spyral organization and Dr. Achilles Milo. However, the Rainbow Creature definitely is a real being that gets documented in news reports and scientific journals (as specifically referenced in The Outsiders #22).

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #673-674 and Batman #682. Dr. Simon Hurt implants post-hypnotic suggestions into Batman’s psyche while he’s undergoing ten days’ worth of sensory deprivation tests on behalf of a joint venture between the US military and the GCPD. (SPOILER ALERT: Dr. Hurt is actually Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s great great great great great uncle born in the 1700s, endowed with quasi-immortality due to an encounter with a Hyper-Adapter. If you are totally confused by this, don’t worry. This is a complicated story that we really won’t have to deal with until much later.) Moving on, during these sensory deprivation tests, Hurt is able to psychoanalyze Batman and literally hear in detail about all of the Dark Knight’s drugged-out hallucinations, new and old. Using dialogue specific to one of Batman’s recent hallucinations, Dr. Hurt implants the trigger word “Zur-En-Arrh” into Batman’s brain. Once this word is uttered, Bruce will “shutdown” and lose all memory of having ever been a crime-fighter. (In any case, we won’t hear the word “Zur-En-Arrh” for fifteen years, but when we do… Oh, boy). Anyway, after ten days of sleep-deprivation in an isolation chamber, Batman temporarily believes Robin has died as a result of an alien encounter on Mars (another vivid hallucination). Afterward, Batman has sporadic blackouts for two weeks and even considers retiring. During this two week period, Dr. Hurt begins training his three replacement Batmen; Josef Muller, Michael Lane, and Branca. (Several GCPD officers are selected as candidates for Hurt’s Batmen Program group, including Officer Pete Farelli, but only Muller, Lane, and Branca are chosen by Hurt in the end. The rest of the Batmen Program group—i.e. Farelli and the other few cops that failed to make the cut—will form a small fraternity tasked with protecting the secrets of Dr. Hurt’s replacement Batman program, a job they will successfully do in secret for years to come.) Dr. Hurt will spend the next eight years secretly studying the psychology of Batman, while training his own trio of Batmen. Meanwhile, Batman forgets ever meeting Hurt thanks to hypnosis. Through Grant Morrison’s masterful back-engineering, we can view many of the “hallucinogenic” experiences Batman goes through during this time period by reading old issues of Golden Age Batman, like Batman #113 and Batman #156. Morrison, writing in the vein of historicism, also reveals that many of Batman’s adventures around this time were clouded by a drug-induced haze due to the after-affects of toxic gas poisoning from villains like Joker, Scarecrow, the Spyral organization, Professor Milo, and others.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1 Part 6—and also referenced in Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1 Part 6. A very young Nick Pierce watches Batman and Robin get captured at the hands of the Riddler at the Gotham Museum. Batman and Robin eventually escape and apprehend Riddler across town later in the day. Inspired by the dashing confidence and style of the Riddler, Nick will become the super-villain known as The Falcon when he grows up.

–REFERENCE: In DC One Million 80-Page Giant #1. A spacetime anomaly occurs where JLA members from various times and universes are sucked from their home locations and times and randomly appear in the Justice Legion-A‘s HQ on Jupiter sometime in the 85,270s (853rd century). Batman, along with many others, gets sucked into the future. During a huge battle royale featuring amazing alternate universe characters from all over, including various Batmen from various times and alternate universes, the 27th and 853rd century Flash (John Fox) runs on the Cosmic Treadmill to return everyone to their correct universes and times. The parties involved in this brief event won’t even be able to comprehend what has just occurred.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #75. While on patrol, Robin exclaims his perdurable love and devotion for crime-fighting and tells Batman that they will be a team “forever.”

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #561. Batman takes-out three bad dudes that hold a woman at knifepoint in an alley.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 2 #104 and The Batman Files. The Roscetti Brothers, former twin henchmen of Two-Face, open up a seedy Gotham strip club called “My Alibi.” Sure enough, after the “Morrison Street Massacre” (use your imagination), Batman and Robin trace the perps straight to My Alibi only to find that they have an alibi that is backed by everyone in the joint. For the next two years or so, Batman and Robin will be forced to visit this club from time to time (although none of these visits will be physically listed on our timeline below).

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Countdown #27. Batman busts an escaped Two-Face after he commits a series of his usual double-themed crimes.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #19. Batman fights an escaped scythe-wielding Scarecrow, who sprays him with a heavy dose of Fear Gas. Batman shakes it off and busts Scarecrow.

–“Mercy” by Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning/Colin MacNeil (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #37) September 1992
Batman busts Jimmy Gluck and sees Mercy Stone fighting against the Cossack in a pit fight being broadcast on closed-circuit TV. Batman rushes to the fight to witness the Cossack pummeling Mercy. Interjecting himself into the bout, Batman gets beaten as well. Mocking the Dark Knight, the Cossack murders Mercy. Angered, Batman hulks-up and defeats his opponent.

–REFERENCE: In Teen Titans Year One #1, The Batman Files, and many other issues. This is a very important note! Batman tailors and adopts his yellow-oval costume—you know, the one with the yellow oval around the bat symbol on his chest. As originally stated in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (and canonically confirmed by The Batman Files), the yellow insignia contrasts with the rest of his dark costume making it a perfect target for gunmen to aim at. Therefore, the yellow target lessens the chance that Batman will take gunfire to the face or arms and that is fine with him since he is wearing several inches worth of bulletproof Kevlar and armored-plating under that target.[1]

–FLASHBACK: From Aquaman Vol. 2 #4—originally told in Aquaman #18. Aquaman marries Mera. The Justice League of America, Robin, and Aqualad attend the ceremony in Atlantis.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #683. Batman quells a raging Man-Bat (Kirk Langstrom).

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to 52 #23. Batman spars with Wildcat in the boxing ring in an effort to brush up on his combat skills.

–REFERENCE: In Saga of the Swamp Thing #44—originally told in Doom Patrol #104. (Note that Saga of the Swamp Thing is also known as Swamp Thing Vol. 2.) Wedding season continues as the Justice League of America are guests of honor at the Doom Patrol-hosted wedding of Elasti-Girl (Rita Farr) and Mento (Steve Dayton).

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. Batman punches out some thugs while Robin saves a pretty lady.

–REFERENCE: In Teen Titans Spotlight #14. Batman and Robin pose for an action photograph (presumably snapped by Alfred).

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #17 and The Batman Files. Disobeying orders, a fourteen-year-old Robin joins his buddies Kid Flash (Wally West) and Aqualad—other JLA sidekicks—to fight weather-controlling super-villain Mr. Twister (Bromwell Stikk) in the small town of Hatton Corners. After defeating Mr. Twister, the teens decide it might just be a good idea to form a team.

–Teen Titans Year One #1-3 by Amy Wolfram/Karl Kerschl (March 2008 to May 2008)
When a cosmic entity known as The Antithesis takes over the minds of the JLA, their teenage sidekicks—Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Speedy, and the debuting Wonder Girl (Donna Troy)—take charge and save them! A canonical flashback from Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #2 shows the youngsters fighting their Antithesis-possessed mentors, although Batman is depicted wearing the wrong costume. With Robin as their leader, the victorious teens form the Teen Titans. Note, as referenced in The Batman Files, that Speedy won’t officially join the Teen Titans for a few weeks. Batman doesn’t approve of the Teen Titans venture, which causes Dick to move out of Wayne Manor (and into a crummy cave hideout with the other sidekicks). Teen Titans Year One is a re-working of the Titans’ origin battle versus the Antithesis as seen via flashback in Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3. Obviously, the new version replaces the old. It’s also worth noting that the first half of Teen Titans Year One makes reference to the JLA’s Happy Harbor HQ as no longer being used, however, the Happy Harbor cave won’t be abandoned until summer.

–FLASHBACK: From Flash Vol. 2 #210. Wally’s first nervous meeting with Batman happens when Dick gets caught sneaking him into the Batcave. Batman should be wearing his yellow-insignia costume in this flashback, but he isn’t. Note that Wally met Batman once before, but the Dark Knight had been possessed by the Antithesis at the time.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #600. Batman takes down some random gun-toting gangsters in this single-panel image.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. Late March. Robin learns that Haly’s Circus ringmaster Stan Rutledge also had a hand in the murder of his parents along with Tony Zucco, Edward Skeevers, et al. Robin confronts Rutledge at the circus. Panicked, Rutledge tries to run but gets mauled to death by tigers. Robin returns to the Batcave to report what has happened to Batman, expecting his wrath. However, Batman simply makes sure his Boy Wonder is okay.

–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.

–Teen Titans Year One #4-6 by Amy Wolfram/Karl Kerschl (June 2008 to August 2008)
The Teen Titans have their first ever live televised interview, but a bummed-out Robin can’t attend because Batman orders him not to. A few days later, Batman discovers the Teen Titans’ rundown hideout and pays it a visit to criticize. A few days after that, the Antithesis rears its ugly head again and tries to control the Titans, but they fight off his influence. Later, Batman contacts Robin and tells him to move back home, finally supporting his sidekick’s new team.

–FLASHBACK: From Deadshot #1 and the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #22—originally told in Batman #59. High society Gothamite Floyd Lawton becomes Deadshot, a tuxedo-wearing, domino-masked crime-fighter. However, Batman exposes Deadshot as a criminal fraud, putting him behind bars.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Black and White #4 Part 1 and Detective Comics #832—originally told in Detective Comics #253 (1958). Batman and Robin apprehend the thrill-seeking Terrible Trio, which consists of The Shark (Sherman Shackley), The Vulture (Gunther Volper), and The Fox (Warren Fisk).

–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47. Batman and Robin fight Riddler at the Gotham Museum. Riddler employs an army of henchmen for this heist, all dressed up in Riddler costumes.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Shadow of the Bat #34. Batman and Robin foil a robbery attempt by a yet-again-escaped Joker and his henchmen.

–Catwoman: Defiant by Peter Milligan/Tom Grindberg (1992)
This is a weird one. The crime-boss known as Mr. Handsome is in love with Catwoman, so much so that he sends his goons to kidnap her. Even with Batman’s protection, Selina is nabbed, chained, and thrown in an abandoned mineshaft which contains a sci-fi cannibalistic ogre creature. Mr. Handsome’s botched plastic-surgery-faced wife, Mary, shows up out of nowhere and saves Selina, but Mary seemingly falls to her death in the mine. Selina rushes into Mr. Handsome’s chamber to kick some ass, but what a twist (!); Mr. Handsome is Mary! Batman shows up on the scene and helps Catwoman, who nonchalantly points him into the mineshaft (without informing him about the ogre). Our story ends with Batman in an arm-sling, smiling, and shaking his head. Oh, Catwoman. Oh, you.

–“No Escape” by Paul Kupperberg/John Watkiss (Batman: Gotham Knights #29/Batman: Black & White) July 2002
The Riddler forces escape artist extraordinaire Max Dodge (who coincidentally trained Bruce in the art of escapology) to ensnare Batman into an inescapable death trap. Batman is able to escape, but Max dies after getting shot by one of Riddler’s henchmen.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #58—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #115. This is a wild one, but it’s canon. Batman tracks down a kidnapped girl to the secret HQ of criminal Buggsy Cathcart. But Buggsy is prepared and has the place wired, so when the Dark Knight tries to break into the building he gets a lethal jolt of electricity. Batman drops like a leaf and Buggsy and his thugs quickly dump his body. Minutes later, Batman is discovered by Gordon’s men (thankfully) and rushed to the hospital where they learn he is brain dead! Enter the Atom, who shrinks down, enters Bruce’s brain and is able to re-animate him enough to control his lifeless body. Like a puppeteer living inside Bruce’s brain, the Atom marches the zombie Batman back to Buggsy’s hideout, saves the girl, and returns him to the hospital. The Atom is then able to work his mojo inside Bruce’s brain and actually revives him! That’s right; Bruce was clinically brain dead for at least half an hour, but somehow Atom zombifies him and then revives him! Awesome.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #713. Batman and Robin foil the robbery plans of the Riddler yet again. The Dynamic Duo meets Henry McNulty, one of Riddler’s henchmen whose son will follow in his criminal footsteps years down the road.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #62. Batman and Robin defeat an escaped Joker at a soup factory.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League International #11 and JLA #107. The JLA defeats the evil robot known as The Construct.

–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #16. Early June. 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.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #33. Batman teaches Robin how to use guns, citing the need to respect and have expert knowledge of the weapon they hate the most.

–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 issue 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 Batman kissing encounter is canon and went down relatively as such.

–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #8. Late June. Snapper Carr, having betrayed the JLA after being tricked by Joker a few 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. Late June. With Snapper Carr gone, the JLA sits around and sulks. They miss the little guy!

–REFERENCE: In JLA Incarnations #3JSA #54, and the second feature to 52 #34—originally told in Justice League of America #161. Early July. Zatanna helps the JLA defeat The Warlock of Ys, earning a proper spot on the JLA lineup.

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

–“Like a Tombstone in the Sky” by John Ostrander/Val Semeiks (JLA Incarnations #3) September 2001
Early July. Since the JLA’s headquarters in Happy Harbor was compromised (thanks to Snapper Carr getting fooled by Joker) a few weeks ago, the team obtains international approval to create a very special new HQ.[2] 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 Big Three), 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.

–“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. As before, the JLA can’t prove that Lex Luthor was linked to the crime, but they visit him at his Metropolis office and threaten him to never pull any stunts in the future.

–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.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #22—originally told in Detective Comics #443. Batman joins forces with Manhunter (Paul Kirk), Asano Nitobe, Interpol agent Christine St. Clair, and Kolu Mbeya to crush an army of Paul Kirk clones linked to The Council, a vast criminal enterprise that has existed clandestinely for hundreds of years. Manhunter sacrifices his life to defeat the Council, leading the surviving heroes to believe that the Council has been shut down. Of course, the Council isn’t really shut down and will continue its dastardly ways, as we will see next year when Batman teams with Tom Tresser. Note that there is absolutely nothing in the comics that connects the Council from Secret Origins Vol. 2 #22 to the Council we will see in the following years. However, there is nothing to the contrary either. We can assume that there are multiple cells of the Council that operate all over the world. Even if the Council that Batman faces next year seems entirely different from this version of the Council, we can be rest assured that they are both a part of the same parent organization.

–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.

–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.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated #4, Deadman Vol. 2 #1, and Batgirl: Year One #8—originally told in Strange Adventures #214-216 and The Brave and The Bold #79. 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 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.)

–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. Late summer. 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. Late summer. 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)[3][4]
Late summer. 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)
Late summer—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 down 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.[5] 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) gets automatic acceptance into the Bat-Family simply because of her connection to Bat-Woman, with whom Batman is gaga over; while on the other hand, the legit Batgirl (Babs) can’t get no damn respect from the Dark Knight! Robin, meanwhile, can’t stand Bette and 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
Late summer. Our story opens with Barbara Gordon, who has just turned 18-years-old, continuing with a new semester at Gotham State University, but now moving on campus, leaving her dad’s place for the first time ever. It’s time for 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, she’s already completed undergraduate degrees in computer science and pre-law, and is starting her advanced law and library science Master’s programs.) Commissioner Gordon knows that his daughter is Batgirl, 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 without proper training she will get killed. 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. Sounds like a good deal, except Commissioner Gordon is put into a terrifying hostage situation almost immediately and Batgirl feels she has no choice other than to break her vow. Batgirl saves her dad, but Batman promptly ends her training.

–Batgirl: Year One #6 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)[6]
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 dress up as Killer Moth and Firefly and kidnap Gordon. The goons abduct Gordon with ease and set off an explosion that 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.

–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. 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 to recover.

–“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. Late summer. 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 figures out Babs’ secret. 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 is off adventuring with Deadman in Tibet (as noted in our previous item).

–Batgirl: Year One #9 by Scotty Beatty/Chuck Dixon/Marcos Martin (2003)
Late summer. The 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 later on. 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. This should be summarily ignored.) We should note that, despite the trickery on the part of the Bat-Family, Jim Gordon still has more than an inkling that his daughter is Batgirl. Gordon doesn’t approach Babs about being Batgirl, as we learn in the upcoming Legends of the DC Universe #10, because he is scared to broach the subject and doesn’t know how.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #17 and Batman Confidential #19. As mentioned before, all of Batman’s interactions with Catwoman prior to this moment are coy enough that we never know for 100% sure if Batman really knows her secret identity. While there are some hints that Batman knows as early as Year One, we just can’t be certain—that is, until now. Whether or not you decide to place Batman’s learning of Catwoman’s secret identity here or earlier is entirely up to you. However, note that Batman, at this point, knows definitively and reveals Selina’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.”

–“The Cat and The Bat” by Fabian Nicieza/Kevin Maguire (Batman Confidential #17-21) July 2008 to November 2008
Late September—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. 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 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.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #676—originally told in Batman #12. Batman and Robin defeat the murderous Rafferty Brothers. Afterward, Bruce keeps one of their bullet-proof vests as a trophy and displays it in the cave.

–“Snitch” by Robert Loren Fleming/David G. Klein (LOTDK #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. Was it 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 the 80-Page Giant. The Calendar Man is loose and 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 both 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 The Batman Files—originally told in Detective Comics #184. Firefly decides to ditch fire for a night, instead using an array of trick lights that ostensibly remove colors from the visible spectrum. Despite some success by Firefly at first, Batman gains the upper hand by turning the villain’s own light rays against him. While not actually shown on our timeline, note that Firefly will make sporadic appearances over the course of the next few years, sometimes using light-based weaponry instead of pyrotechnics.

–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 HATE each other. As we’ve said before, things are only gonna get worse between these two as the years dwindle on.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #700—originally told in Batman #113. Batman and Robin encounter the super-villain known as Falseface (also spelled out as two words i.e. “False Face”).

–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.

–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.)

–“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 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 he doesn’t say it outright, Jim 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 Batgirl Special #1—originally told in Detective Comics #492 Part 1. Batgirl is nearly killed by master assassin Cormorant, who is working for a mobster named General Scarr. Batman and an injured Batgirl team-up to bust Cormorant and General Scarr.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #253—originally told in Justice League of America #133-134. Despero takes over Sirkus, a planet that is home to superhero cosplaying aliens, including Ergon and Kwim. Alien warriors Albon and Nordon (a duo known as The Krill) then defeat Despero, taking over Sirkus for themselves. The JLA intervenes only to get captured by the Krill as well. Eventually, the JLA defeat both the Krill and Despero.

–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.[7] 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 JLA Classified #51 and JLA Classified #53-54. Batman and the JLA battle the evil “god” known as Titus. Titus transports the JLA to the Moon and proceeds to beats the team pretty savagely. Things are going badly until the Greco-Roman gods intervene. Selene, Goddess of the Moon, interferes and helps the JLA achieve victory. Afterward, the team buries the corpse of Titus on the moon. In case there is any confusion surrounding the events and placement of this Titus battle, let me set the record straight. JLA Classified #50-54 takes place late in Bat Year 18. The flashback story that includes Batman (the one right here on our list) is told in JLA Classified #51, #53, and #54.

–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.

–REFERENCE: In Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2. Batman and Robin go on unspecified cases that net them two prizes for the Batcave trophy room: a giant stuffed gorilla and a small rocket.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Secret Files and Origins #1 Part 3—originally told in Detective Comics #437. Batman involves himself in “The Case of Matuchima,” in which several men don the Mask of Matuchima, the death god of the Xochipecs. The mask injects them with a drug giving them super-human fighting ability. This leads to a chain of death and mayhem that ends with the person that started it all fatally jumping off a loge and crashing through the giant replica of the mask, destroying both it and the real mask. Afterward, Batman repairs the giant replica of the Mask of Matuchima to keep as a trophy in the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #692—originally told in Batman #237 (1971). 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 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.

–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. SO, 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. SO, with the confusing back story 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 a moment in 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 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 & The Bold #81. Flash and Batman team-up to face Carl Bork.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files—originally told in World’s Finest Comics #276. The Caped Crusader has a few back-to-back encounters with the returning Dr. Double X, including a showdown that pits Batman and Superman versus Dr. Ecks and his powerful symbiotic doppelgänger.

–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.

–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.

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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: This is an important note that gives us a bit more info on the chronology of Batman’s different costumes and also details how I make my decisions regarding placement when the incorrect costumes are illustrated. I usually advise the reader to ignore the incorrect costume if it is drawn in a flashback sequence because it most often means the error was simply made by the artist or writer (as opposed to a non-flashback story deliberately written in “current time” narrative style that gets it definitively wrong)—if that makes any sense. It is a bit confusing, I know. Let me try to explain it in another way. Here is a specific random example: Gotham Knights #43 occurs in Year 18—it absolutely has to for various reasons including publication date, in-story factors, numbering, etc… In this issue there is a flashback, which must be canon since it affects a canon issue and is shown in a canon issue. This flashback shows a retired Batgirl take a new Jason Todd Robin out on patrol at the behest of Batman to psychoanalyze him and test his physical capabilities. It also tells us that Joker breaks out of Arkham and foreshadows that he will soon do terrible things to both Babs and Jason. Therefore, this flashback has to take place in Year Eleven, relatively close to the events of The Killing Joke and “Death in the Family.” However, by this point, Batman is wearing his yellow-oval costume—yet, in this flashback, he has his black bat insignia! Thus, this becomes a prime instance of a canonical flashback where we must ignore the incorrect costume.

    As far as how the significance of Batman’s costume can make an otherwise “fine” story into a non-canonical story, it all depends. Usually, there’s something more going on other than simply the costume to make it non-canon.

    For the Modern Age, there is definitely a set-in-stone chronology/canonicity for the Dark Knight’s suit designs. The suit design is not simply “artistic choice” but is evidence as to something that helps us place our stories correctly. Batman’s costume definitively goes through many changes, in the following order: The black insignia costume with gray tights, the yellow-oval with gray tights, the yellow-oval with black tights, back to the black insignia with gray tights, then the raised yellow-oval with gray tights. Of course, the switch from the original costume to the yellow insignia has had many different time placements and been retconned a bunch, but it always signaled the transition from the Golden Age to the Silver Age. For the Modern Age, the yellow-oval costume is kinda-sorta linked to the inception of the Teen Titans (and the marriage of Aquaman and Mera). For the intents and purposes of my chronology, everything before the Aqua-marriage and the Titans era is original costume. Following that (the rest of Year Eight and onward) is the yellow-oval period. After “Knight’s End” and returning from the Bane affair, Batman dons an all black with yellow-oval ensemble (at the end of the “Prodigal” story-arc in Year Fourteen). He will rock this look until the end of “No Man’s Land,” at which point he returns to his original costume design (in Year Sixteen). When Batman returns from his jaunt through time and starts Batman Inc (in Year Twenty-Two), he will switch to a raised yellow-oval symbol on gray set of togs.

    I should also mention that Batman, in the Golden and Silver Ages, had a bunch of different quite wild specialty costumes that all factored into specific cases and missions. Batman still has these costumes in the Modern Age (stored in the Batcave), but they are more for novelty’s sake than anything else—although, some have a practical purpose and will be used on occasion. It wasn’t until 2016 that Batman’s wearing of the rainbow costume was canonized, so don’t ever rule out the Dark Knight donning his most bizarre duds in the Modern Age.

    In further regard to the Silver Age, that era’s version of “Year One” (Untold Legend of the Batman) wasn’t written until the 1980. In Untold Legend, the debuting Batman is shown wearing his yellow-oval costume—despite the fact that he didn’t debut wearing that costume. What essentially happens as a result is the canonization of Batman randomly and interchangeably wearing both the black-insignia costume and the yellow-oval costume in his early days. This obviously sets a distinct precedent where we could assume that Batman randomly tries out both costumes in the “Early Period” of the Modern Age too.

    However, a major reason that I haven’t taken that route, beyond the reasons already listed above, is because Matthew Manning’s The Batman Files (2011) definitively tells us that Batman goes from old-school look to yellow-oval look with no instances of wearing the yellow-oval look prior to its debut. Another major reason for not going the Silver Age route is because, unlike in the Silver Age, 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 black-and-grey costume is meant to represent not only his darker early years, but also reflect 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 chronologically past the original Crisis, Batman sees important costume alterations again and again (as detailed above), and they are each connected to important things that happen to him. Simultaneously, all these costume alterations are meant to act as valid markers of time within Modern Age chronology. Of course, as shown above, determining which costume to use when doing “Early Period” stories or flashbacks wasn’t exactly a perfect science for creators and editors. Combine this with an overall debatable order for most of the “Year One Stories” and you get a malleable border between the shift period from old-school costume to yellow-oval costume. Because things get much more chronologically set-in-stone after the “Early Period,” we (thankfully) rarely run into this problem of costume-look malleability in stories occurring later on the timeline.

  2. [2]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 13-person JLA lineup features Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Aquaman, Hal Jordan, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman, the Atom, Elongated Man, Firestorm, and Zatanna.
  3. [3]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 does those 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.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Writer Scott Beatty 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 1961-related stories to being linked to 1968-related stories.) Beatty’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 early setting onto its narrative as well. Jim Gordon isn’t yet commissioner and Batman wars an older costume (through most of it). 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 JLA satellite and Batman dealing with the League of Assassins and Deadman are clearly deliberate choices by Scott Beatty, not mistakes or mere Easter eggs. He definitely was writing Batgirl: Year One to occur later on the timeline—Year Eight or Year Nine. Further 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 JLA’s move into the satellite, the debut of the Teen Titans, and after/overlapping with Deadman’s debut. Also, Barbara ripping up an “Elect Rupert Thorne” poster makes sense since the events of “Strange Apparitions” are looming. This would also leave 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.

  5. [5]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.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman doesn’t appear in Batgirl: Year One #5, hence why we’ve skipped that issue and gone straight to issue #6. Note importantly, though, 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.
  7. [7]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.

12 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.

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