TRBCP Modern Age Year Five Sneaky Babs

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Child of Dreams. A young Japanese girl named Yuko Yagi and her family are attacked by muggers while on vacation in Gotham. Batman saves them.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Gotham Knights #7. Bruce walks-in on Alfred making-out with Leslie Thompkins! (This is no surprise to Bruce since he’s already known about Alfie and Leslie for quite some time. Obviously, he’s Batman.) Alfred and Leslie have been on-again-off-again lovers for many years.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #582-583. One of Bruce’s best friends, Jeremy Samuels, also happens to be head of Wayne Enterprises Security and one of Batman’s best information gatherers. In private conversation, Samuels makes mention, in regard to the loss of Bruce’s parents, that he wouldn’t be able to handle losing his own family. Wouldn’t you know, tragedy strikes when Samuels’ wife and child are killed in an accident. Distraught and alone, Samuels turns to reckless crime and winds up getting shot and incarcerated. (Samuels will serve time for twelve years until getting out on parole.) I should note that the flashback from issue #583, which takes place in Bat Year Sixteen says that it occurs “over ten years ago.” This is correct, but misleading. It does indeed occur over ten years ago, twelve years ago to be exact.

–REFERENCE: In Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4. Late March. While large chunks of Batman & Superman: World’s Finest are out-of-continuity, the first annual Springtime meeting between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel to commemorate the death of Harrison Grey still takes place now.


–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 2 #210. Batman starts displaying many versions of his Bat-Vehicles and costumes worn by his most famous rogues in the Batcave, and will continue to do so from this point forward. Batman also puts a giant 8-ball and giant busts of Two-Face and Joker in the cave. Most artists’ renditions of the cave that we shall see in the future will, for simplicity’s sake, usually only include the iconic T-Rex and the giant penny trophies. However, pencillers like Brian Bolland, Graham Nolan, and a select few others—in the spirit of Marshall Rogers—love drawing the cave with as many trophies as possible, so they will fill their cave images with wacky stuff.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #850—originally told in Batman #9. Batman defeats some gangsters that terrorize the coastline in a submarine disguised as a white whale. Batman keeps the whale sub as a trophy that sits docked in the watery bowels of the Batcave.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20. A fifteen-year-old Barbara Gordon spies on her dad Jim at home when Batman pays him a special visit to report on the details of corruption within the GCPD. Batman spots Babs and even leaves her a little note telling her to stay out of trouble. This event will inspire Babs to become a superhero. PS. The quasi-canonical Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 says Babs is thirteen-years-old when she witnesses this Batman/Gordon meeting whereas she should be fifteen.

–“Mask” by Bryan Talbot (LOTDK #39-40) November 1992 to December 1992
Mid April-Early June.”Mask” takes a whopping SEVEN WEEKS to wrap, during most of which Batman will be detained. Luckily it fits well right here. In “Mask,” Batman is heading home after finishing up a routine crime-bust when he passes out unexpectedly. When he awakes, he is in a hospital, weak and malnourished, pumped full of a pharmacopeia of debilitating drugs. The staff tells him that he is Bruce Wayne, an alcoholic wreck that has lived a life of failure and misery. His doctor tells him that Batman isn’t real and all of his adventures to date have been a construct of his own mind. Bruce is confused, scared, and keeps having nightmares and hallucinations. Finally, with a little help, Bruce is able to escape his room and realize the horrible truth. His “doctor” is actually Steven Gallagher, son of Raymond Gallagher, a small time money launderer who’s life was ruined by Batman less than a year ago. In order to get revenge, Gallagher has unleashed a radical scheme. First, he set up a fake break-in to attract Batman’s attention. Once occupied, Gallagher then shot Batman with a tranquilizer rifle and dragged him to a set made up to look like a hospital. Bruce was then put into a controlled coma for six weeks (!), during which Gallagher inserted a ton of post-hypnotic suggestion and heavily drugged him. After the six week period, Gallagher revived Bruce. Now, Bruce, doubting whether or not he ever really was Batman, falls to pieces. Gallagher starts disassembling Bruce’s fragile mind bit by bit, which is easy, especially since he knows that Batman is really the famous Bruce Wayne and has access to a wealth of information regarding the well-documented case of his parents’ murders. After a week of psychological torture, the hospital’s “nurse,” a sex worker hired to play the part, helps Bruce to free himself. In the end, the “nurse” and Gallagher wind up shooting each other dead and Bruce escapes with his secret identity intact. I should also note a very important snippet of information that was pointed out to me by reader/contributor SHAWN regarding this story. The 1996 TPB Batman: Dark Legends contains a bunch of collected LOTDK stories, including Bryan Talbot’s “Mask.” However, DC editors, in the trade, have curiously included an extra single splash page to “Mask” which was originally omitted from the original 1992 single issue. This splash page definitely shows that Bruce, in this tale, is actually NOT Batman, but simply a person having delusions. Obviously, the inclusion of this splash page would change the entire narrative and render this tale non-canon. For the purposes of this chronology, I will go with the more open-texted original 1992 version of “Mask.” Thanks for spotting this unique occurrence, Shawn![2]

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Since there is no official/specific Catman origin story in the Modern Age, enter author Matthew Manning, who never misses an opportunity to play fast-and-loose with continuity gaps. This might be one of his stretchiest stretches of all. In his 2011 The Batman Files, Manning attempts to canonize 1993’s “Heat” by Doug Moench/Russ Heath (LOTDK #46-49), a definitively out-of-continuity Thomas “Catman” Blake origin story that features an entirely different version of the character. There’s really no way that “Heat” can function on our timeline as it was originally published. It was always meant to be a non-canon tale. However, here is a synopsis of Manning’s altered canonical version, for better or worse. A violent serial killer named Thomas Blake becomes the one-shot super-villain called Catman. Batman begins a very public war with Catman. Meanwhile, a wealthy big game hunter, also named Thomas Blake, becomes obsessed with the case because the serial killer has the exact same name as him. Eventually, Batman busts Catman Blake. The other Blake will be inspired to copycat (no pun intended) the man with whom he shares a name, about a year from now.

–“Colossus” by Mike Baron/Bill Reinhold (LOTDK #154-155) June 2002 to July 2002
Baron gives us a little history behind the strange architecture in Gotham. We also learn that Rubio Dolor has a bone to pick with a famous Gotham architect (who is responsible for his father’s death). Naturally, Rubio dresses up in a bondage outfit and kills him. If these one-shot revenge tales are beginning to get tiresome, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.

–“Storm” by Andrew Donkin/Graham Brand (LOTDK #58) March 1994
A CIA setup has failed miserably and a bunch of terrorists have taken hostages in Gotham General Hospital. Batman saves everyone’s ass. [3]

–REFERENCE: In Batman #669. June. Batman meets the Swedish superhero Wingman. Batman likes him so much, he will trains him sporadically for the entire summer. That training begins now and will continue to the end of August—we’ll have to imagine the sessions occurring randomly on our timeline for the next three months. Wingman will, many years later, dubiously claim that he invented the whole “Dark Knight” vigilante concept before Batman, which is totally untrue.

–“Criminals” by Steven Grant/Mike Zeck (LOTDK #69-70) March 1995 to April 1995
Death Row criminals at Gotham State Prison aren’t being executed. Instead they are being released and given new aliases thanks to a corrupt warden. With Gordon’s approval, Batman goes undercover as an officer in the GCPD ranks, and then… goes undercover as a prisoner in the jail to put a stop to the shenanigans. Ummm… yeah, so why does he need to go undercover twice? Blechhhh. In the slammer, Batman’s pal from ten months ago, Crown, helps him defeat baddie Vince for the second time.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #5—and referenced in Batman: Dark Victory #7 and The Batman Files. Dr. Victor Fries makes his dramatic debut as the super-villain Mr. Zero when his corrupt boss at GothCorp, Ferris Boyle, decides to cut funding to his cryogenic research projects, which threatens to end the life of his wife Nora Fries, who has been under deep freeze for over twenty years. Mr. Zero attacks his GothCorp lab in a fit of frenzy, causing Batman to intervene. During the chaotic battle, Nora is killed. A jailed Mr. Zero blames Batman for her death. Note that there are some nasty continuity errors in the flashback from the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #5, notably Batman wearing the wrong costume, Mr. Zero wearing the wrong costume, and Mr. Zero already being referred to as Mr. Freeze. Also note that Mr. Zero’s Modern Age origin is loosely based on Paul Dini’s non-canon Batman: Mr. Freeze, which itself is based on Dini’s own Mr. Freeze origin from the Batman the Animated Series TV show.[4] More of Mr. Freeze’s canonical backstory can be gleaned via references within flashbacks from 2006’s “Cold Case” (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #201-203). “Cold Case” tells us that Victor and Nora are considerably older than Bruce and were contemporaries of Martha and Thomas Wayne. In “Cold Case,” we learn that Victor knew about Nora’s condition for decades before this time period and had even committed several murders in her name. (Note that “Cold Case” also paints a world where Jonathan Crane is much older as well, but his is an error that must be ignored.) Another Victor Fries origin story, 2005’s “Snow” by JH Williams III/Dan Curtis Johnson/Seth Fisher (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #192-196), is a better story than “Cold Case,” but it is unfortunately out-of-continuity not only because Batman is wearing the yellow-oval costume, but also because flashbacks from “Cold Case” render it so. “Snow” shows a much younger Victor and Nora, and the former only just learns about his wife’s fatal condition now. Why DC would publish two contradicting Mr. Freeze origin tales so close to one another is beyond me. Which one is correct? I don’t know for sure, but I’m sticking with “Cold Case” since it’s specifically linked to a later story in 2008 that features Clayface Preston Payne and his son Cassius Clay.

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman: Dark Victory. Gordon’s wife (Barbara) and child (James Junior) leave him and move to Chicago. Poor Jimbo. At least he’s still got Babs. Barbara will become the primary caretaker of young James Junior, who has various anti-social disorders and dark pathological issues (as seen through flashback in the continuity error-filled pages of Detective Comics #875). James Junior will spend most of his time with his mother, but will occasionally stay with Jim and Babs in Gotham. Dick will even babysit James Junior at times.

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman: Turning Points #5. Captain Gordon is able to talk down Dr. Hale Corbett, who is about to murder a random bride and groom because his own wife and child have just died. This story is told in the OUT-OF-CONTINUITY Batman: Turning Points #1, but referenced in the canonical Batman: Turning Points #5. Batman: Turning Points #1 is definitively out-of-continuity because it is written as if it takes place immediately following Frank Miller’s “Year One.” This just isn’t possible. However, Corbett is a canonical character that will appear later, so we must at the very least include it here.[5]

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman: Dark Victory. Following the Corbett incident and his separation from his wife, Jim Gordon is promoted to commissioner. Note that The Batman Files‘ narrative in regard to Gordon’s ascent through the ranks of the GCPD jibes almost 100% perfectly with our timeline. The only minor discrepancy is that it says it takes Gordon three-and-a-half years to become commish when it actually takes him four-and-a-half years.

–Batman: Dark Victory #0 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1999)[6]
Late July. Gotham DA Janice Porter tells newly appointed Commissioner Jim Gordon that she will try to press brutality charges against Batman and that she plans on re-opening the Holiday case. She also threatens Gordon, saying that he will eventually have to pay a price for working hand-in-hand with a notorious illegal vigilante.

–“The Secret” by Joshua Hale Fialkov/Adriana Melo (Superman/Batman #85-87) August 2011 to October 2011
Gotham Gazette reporter Garrett Remington is murdered after it is rumored that he has discovered Batman’s secret ID. Batman searches Remington’s apartment and upon learning that Remington had indeed discovered his identity, torches the place. Batman then meets with Superman and explains that Remington had linked Batman to WayneTech through a mechanical part patent that Bruce had overlooked in his first year when he was secretly patenting thousands of parts to later use as Bat-gadgetry. Remington’s notes also proved that Bruce stole tech from his own company and shareholders (before Bruce became majority stockholder). While Batman interrogates Gotham Gazette chief Martin Mayne, Clark (on assignment for the Daily Planet) interviews Lucius Fox, who explains that it is public knowledge that Batman’s toys are all from WayneTech. Fox further explains that whenever there is stolen tech, Bruce reimburses the company with his own personal money. Bruce, as Matches Malone, then rustles up some info at Remington’s former local dive bar hangout and finds out that Martin Mayne had been receiving big payoffs from a secret party in exchange for information associated with big stories. Who is the secret party? An escaped Joker, of course. And now Mayne has sold Clark out the same way he sold out Remington. Joker travels to Metropolis and tries to kill Clark, but the Dark Knight is close behind and “saves” Clark, who can’t become Superman in front of an onlooking crowd. Batman also saves the entire Daily Planet staff and apprehends Joker.

–Batman: Dark Victory #1 Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1999)
August 2-3. Batman and Catwoman both scope out the remnants of the Falcone and Maroni mobs as the crooks attend a birthday tribute to the late Carmine Falcone at the cemetery. Gangsters Anthony “Tony” Zucco, Lucia Viti, and Edward Skeevers (brother of Jefferson Skeevers) are present as well. After a shootout, Batman and Catwoman flee the scene. The next day, Selina introduces Bruce to Carmine’s other son, Mario Falcone.

–“Batman Year Two: Fear the Reaper” by Mike W. Barr/Alan Davis/Paul Neary (Detective Comics #575) June 1987
“Batman Year Two” (originally told in Detective Comics #575-578) is supposed to be out-of-continuity, but references in DC Retroactive: Batman – The 80s #1 (2011) and The Batman Files (2011) function as DC’s attempt to try to canonize this story in some way, shape, or form. As such, here is my take on “Batman Year Two.” If you agree, then accept it with open arms into the chronology; if you don’t, then feel free to ignore. Secondly, disregard the moniker “Year Two” as we are clearly in Bat Year Five. DC editors originally wrote things so that ‘tec #575-578 would immediately follow up Frank Miller’s “Year One.” Obviously, this is not the case anymore. However, the first issue of this arc (‘tec #575) is indeed canon since it is not only referenced but republished in 2011’s DC Retroactive: Batman – The 80s #1. Since the final three issues of the arc (‘tec #576-578) revolve heavily around Joe Chill, they are still definitively non-canon. (Batman has yet to discover that Chill is the man who killed his folks, so he cannot be a part of this tale at all.) Thus, the conclusion to “Batman Year Two” requires a little bit of imagination on the part of the reader. Don’t worry, I’ll help. Oh, we also must ignore the yellow-bat insignia. Our story begins with Bruce and Leslie Thompkins overseeing the construction of the brand new Wayne Foundation Building (which will become the famous Wayne Enterprises Tower and future location of the penthouse residence and Bat-Bunker). Bruce meets and becomes enamored with Leslie’s friend Rachel Caspian, who, unfortunately for Bruce, is set to become a nun. Batman then fights Rachel’s father, the decades-old vigilante known as The Reaper, for the first time and gets his ass handed to him. A distraught and battered Bruce takes the gun that was used to murder his parents and contemplates breaking his vow to never use firearms in battle. From this point, as mentioned above, the story continues for three more issues, but they are totally non-canon. But here’s what we can assume happens next based upon the references in DC Retroactive: Batman – The 80s #1 and The Batman Files. First, Bruce falls in love with Rachel when he learns that she lost her mother in a similar fashion to how he lost his. (Creepy, I know). Despite her pending Catholic sisterhood, Bruce charms and woos Rachel, starting a whirlwind affair. Bruce is so head-over-heels, he proposes to Rachel, who accepts! Second, the Reaper falls to his death from high atop the Wayne Foundation Building construction site after a tango with Batman. Third, a frazzled Rachel breaks off her engagement to Bruce and becomes a nun. Fourth, Rachel returns the custom fortune cookie engagement note (and presumably engagement ring) back to a heartbroken Bruce.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #669. September 1. Batman’s three month-long training program with Wingman ends now.

–Batman: Dark Victory #1 Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1999)
September. Batman, in disguise as an Arkham guard, keeps close tabs on Alberto Falcone as he meets with Mario Falone and DA Porter. Commissioner Gordon later talks about the good old days with Chief Miles Clancy O’Hara—the comic book debut of the Batman ’66 character!

–REFERENCE: In Batman #603. Gotham mayoral candidate Baldwin Berkins is assassinated. Batman tracks down the killer and gets him to confess and turn himself in after dangling the man in front of an oncoming train.

–“Shipwreck” by Dan Vado/Norman Felchle (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #112-113) November 1998 to December 1998
Halloween weekend. The big problem with most later LOTDK stories is that they are so generic, you can’t tell whether or not they take place in the “Year One Era” or post-“No Man’s Land” (where Batman gets rid of the yellow-oval). Such is the case of the largely forgettable “Shipwreck” where Batman stops the terrorist known as Demise from hijacking a Halloween party cruise ship.

–Batman: Dark Victory #1 Part 3 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1999)
Halloween. Batman has conversations with Gordon, Catwoman, and Two-Face—this is Batman’s second visit ever to Two-Face in Arkham, although Two-Face seems to have no recollection of the prior visit, probably since he was in electric shock therapy at the time. During the visit, gangsters attack Arkham. Batman assumes that Sophia Gigante Falcone has ordered the attack, but Two-Face is the one actually behind it. Sophia’s brothers (Umberto Maroni and Pino Maroni) and Tony Zucco strike at the prison with explosive force, springing Joker, Scarecrow, Calendar Man, and Two-Face.

–“Citadel” by James Robinson/Tony Salmons (LOTDK #85) August 1996
November. Another pointless one-shot. Batman battles his way up 81 deathtrap-set, ax-wielding mercenary-filled, crocodile-stocked, booby-trap laid floors to apprehend a mob boss who winds up getting decapitated by his own getaway helicopter.

–Batman: Dark Victory #1 Part 4 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1999)
November. DA Porter successfully procures Alberto Falcone’s release, due to reasons of legal insanity, into Mario Falcone’s custody, much to the chagrin of Gordon and Batman. Across town, Chief O’Hara is found murdered, hanged to death. On his body is attached a hangman letter game scrawled in blood written on a newspaper clipping about Alberto’s release. Looks like Gotham has a brand new serial killer on its hands.

–Batman: Dark Victory #2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
November. Batman questions Riddler about the O’Hara murder and gives him the Hang Man puzzle to solve. Later, Batman chats with Alfred.[7] Batman then again meets up with Riddler, who tells the Dark Knight “You can’t play Hang Man by yourself” and “this is a game being played by two people,” implying that there may be two killers. Meanwhile, a mystery person has declared war on the Falcone family, starting things off with a bang by stealing Carmine Falcone’s corpse. The police offer help, but the Falcones turn down any offer of assistance. At a mansion not far from Wayne Manor, Alberto Falcone broods while under house arrest, complete with electronic ankle bracelet. Bruce and Selina celebrate a sexy Thanksgiving together, while DA Porter shares a sexy Thanksgiving with none other than Two-Face! On the outskirts of town, the “Hangman” (or “men” or “women”) strikes again, murdering former police commissioner Gillian Loeb (!) and leaving behind another puzzle.

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

–“Spook” by James Robinson/Paul Johnson (LOTDK #102-104) January 1998 to March 1998
Enter The Spook! For this arc, writer James Robinson totally rips-off a hokey Mike Baron-scripted Batman Annual whodunnit from 1988. There’s even a red herring character named “Baron” in Robinson’s version. Okay, here’s a synopsis. Bruce attends a weekend business retreat held specially for heads of major corporations at a secluded ski resort mansion. After everyone gathers for the night, the power goes out and one of the guests winds up dead, prompting Bruce to switch into Batman detective mode. The Dark Knight fights the debuting Spook and his henchman Darwin. After more Clue-ing, CEO deaths, and Darwin’s death, the Spook blows up the house, sending the few survivors fleeing on a private jet. When the Spook shows-up aboard the plane, Batman fights him again, but the new villain disappears. Batman then exposes one of the survivors, Ben Yates, as the Spook’s accomplice.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood #4. December. Batman crashes the X-mas holiday party of mob boss Junior Galante (Pasquale Galante Jr), roughing up Galante and his men. A sixteen-year-old Helena Bertinelli, whose entire family (the Bertinelli mob family) was killed in a mob hit years ago, attends the party and is awed and inspired by the Caped Crusader. Helena will one day become the crime-fighter known as Huntress.

–Batman: Dark Victory #3 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
December. Former GCPD cop Arnold John Flass is the next victim of the Hangman, strung up outside of Tony Zucco’s club. Batman interrogates Zucco, who leads him to Scarecrow, who fights-off Batman and escapes. Batman takes a new form of Fear Gas during this confrontation with Scarecrow (as we learn in the second part of Dark Victory #7), one that will lie hidden within his system, causing him to grow an intense fear in regard to forming relationships. This is bad news for Selina. On Chrismas Eve, Batman questions Alberto Falcone about the Hangman murders before returning to Wayne Manor to spend the holiday with Selina. Gordon and Porter meet with Mario Falcone, who tells them that Alberto has been “hearing voices.”

–NOTE: In Booster Gold Vol. 2 #25. Christmas. Time-traveling superhero Booster Gold takes an adult Dick Grayson (from the year 2010) and lets him secretly watch the final Christmas he was able to spend with his parents before their untimely deaths.

–Batman: Dark Victory #4 Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
December 31. Batman visits Solomon Grundy in the sewers. Grundy leads Batman to Two-Face’s underground hideout, but it’s rigged with explosives, which detonate nearly killing the Dark Knight. Batman unsuccessfully chases after Two-Face, blowing-off a date with Selina in the process. Above ground, Lieutenant Branden is found murdered in Sal Maroni’s restaurant, the latest victim of the Hangman.


| >>> NEXT: YEAR SIX >>>

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: There are three LOTDK tales that could be placed right here (April of Bat Year Five), but their continuity status is up in the air. “Conspiracy” by Doug Moench/J.H. Williams III (LOTDK #86-88) and “The Primal Riddle” by Steve Englehart (LOTDK #109-111) could both very well take place here, but they are (arguably) narratively odd stories that involve wild conspiracy theories that never come up again or bizarre supernatural events that make no sense plot-wise. “Auteurism” by John Arcudi/Roger Landridge (LOTDK #162-163) is an engaging and fun story, but it is very experimental and cartoonish, so I’m not going to add it to the chronology either. If anyone really loves these stories and wants them in, I’ll gladly do it. However, it’s my opinion that they just ain’t canon! Remember, any LOTDK stories that have been omitted from the timeline have been left out because they are definitively out-of-continuity (unless anyone can convince the Real Batman Chronology Project otherwise, of course).
  2. [2]SHAWN: Here are the details about the last page of “Mask” in the reprinted Batman: Dark Legends TPB. We see Bruce in a hospital bed surrounded by his psychiatrist, nurse, and doctor. The doctor says something to the effect of “He’s too far gone, I can’t do anything for him.” The psychiatrist, disheartened, mumbles, “Damn, there goes my research paper.” This page is right after Gallagher and the nurse are killed, and now we see them alive and well, alluding their deaths were in Bruce’s mind. Also, it was previously established the doctor was Gallagher in disguise but in this scene we see the two individuals in the same room, making it seem everything before was a delusion of Bruce’s. This scene (in the Dark Legends version) means that Bruce really did imagine Batman, and further imagined the plot of the doctors trying to gaslight him. It was a double twist issue, an Elseworlds tale where Bruce was sick in the head and imagined all his adventures as Batman and imagined Gallagher’s plot to justify his situation at the hospital.

    COLLIN COLSHER: Ah, what can I say about the OOP Dark Legends TPB in regard to “Mask.” I am shocked that there isn’t trace of any information regarding this change elsewhere on the Internet! They absolutely added the splash page you are talking about into the 1996 trade. This page is not included in the original 1992 issue. Interestingly enough, with this Talbot splash page included, the “Mask” story is definitively CLOSED-TEXTED, meaning this would qualify as an out-of-continuity Elseworlds type story. However, with the omission of the single page you mention, the story can be read completely different. It seems to me (and this is mere speculation on my part) that DC scrapped the splash page because they wanted to make the story a bit more ambiguous and viable for the realm of in-continuity status. Pretty amazing how one single page makes such a drastic change in the narrative. The beauty of “Mask” (in its original floppy LOTDK version) is that it can absolutely be interpreted both ways! I’m not the ultimate authority on the interpretation of this tale. (We’d have to ask Bryan Talbot about that, and boy, do I wish I could)!

    SHAWN: It is a bit disconcerting that DC didn’t say anything about the additional page in the TPB. Countless folks who read this story will probably never know there are two versions. It makes the completist in me hope this is an isolated incident and there are no more secret “Writer’s Cut” issues hidden about. It actually also makes me wonder if while they were putting together the TPB they forgot to remove the page like they did with the floppy issue and it got published by mistake. It just seems odd they wouldn’t advertise something like this. Well, cheers to discovery.

  3. [3] COLLIN COLSHER: “Storm” is basically a LOTDK gap-filler for the early months of this year. There is honestly really no good reason for its placement here (or bad reason for that matter) other than the fact that it seems to jibe nicely with everything else that is going on at the time.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: A note on Paul Dini’s Batman: Mr. Freeze (1997), loosely based upon Mr. Freeze’s origin from Batman the Animated Series. I absolutely love this wonderful Dini book and highly recommend it. However, it must be out-of-continuity for a couple reasons. Not only does it disregard the fact that Freeze debuts as Mr. Zero with a completely different costume (admittedly a minor niggle since the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #5 also commits this very same error), but Dini’s story also mainly contradicts the aforementioned flashback history from LOTDK‘s “Cold Case.” Furthermore, Dini’s Freeze was also originally commissioned as a special story to hype-up/coincide with 1997’s Joel Schumacher Batman and Robin film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Freeze—(although, unlike in the flick, which features Dick Grayson as Robin, Dini’s Freeze features Tim Drake as Robin, which would place it a little further down the timeline were it canon.) Note, however, that The Batman Files, via reference, makes a version of Dini’s Batman: Mr. Freeze (mashed-up with Mr. Freeze’s origin story from Batman the Animated Series) canon. In the pared-down canonized version from The Batman Files, we get Mr. Zero and it doesn’t ignore “Cold Case.” In this way, we kind of get to keep Dini’s Mr. Freeze origin anyway. Isn’t that nice?
  5. [5]JOE C.: “‘Til Death Do Us Part” seems to be set in Year One: It features Branden’s SWAT team, a member of which comments on Gordon being made captain; Batman comments that he’s “new at this”; and the title graphic reads “A Story of Year One.” However, it paradoxically clearly fits better in Year Five. Could this story ever truly make sense for Year One, where it was obviously intended, or is it one of those that won’t fit right no matter where you place it?

    COLLIN COLSHER: The entire Turning Points series is subject for debate. Much of it has been retconned out-of-continuity, but the framework still fits in a sort of DC Universe Legacies kind of way, which is why I’ve decided to keep it instead of chuck it. Basically, Turning Points #1, if canon, must take place sometime after The Long Halloween but before Dark Victory. What I’ve done is placed the story into continuity in a way that it fits even with the addition of these canonical tales. Originally, “Til Death Do Us Part” functioned as the final entry of Batman’s Frank Miller-ized Year One. But, like I always say, due to the addition of so many other stories, we must think of “Year One” as a generalized term which describes Batman’s first ten years (i.e. a “Year One Era” or what DC would refer to currently as a combined “Modern Silver Age” and “Modern Bronze Age”). Having said that, I’ve put the start of Dark Victory in Year Five, originally following Turning Points #1 (based upon my own unique calculations), whereas many would rather place it in the classic original Robin-debut year; Year Three. (Robin’s official debut was retconned in 2000, via Dark Victory, to take place later). So, if you happen to be one of those Year Three people, then you could conceivably still place “Til Death Do Us Part” (if you deem it canonical) at the beginning of Year Three, but I wouldn’t if I were you.

    CHIP: Regarding Turning Points #1, oddly enough, it actually came out after The Long Halloween and Dark Victory. The entire Turning Points series was released in November 2000. The Long Halloween ran from 1996-1997, while Dark Victory ran 1999-2000. I know that Turning Points #1 is a real pain to insert at any place for many reasons—mostly Gordon’s family life. But what if someone was building a chronology without The Long Halloween and Dark Victory? Is the issue still too far out of sync to fit?

    COLLIN COLSHER: Turning Points #1 was published after Long Halloween and Dark Victory yet blatantly disregards both stories for no apparent reason. If our chronology were devoid of The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, as Chip imagines, then Turning Points #1 would probably fit A-okay. Unfortunately, that simply is not the case.

    CHIP: After looking through Turning Points #1 again, I think I’ve come to the same conclusion that it just doesn’t fit with any Batman chronology. Assuming that you don’t use The Long Halloween in your chronology, and you use Batman Annual #14 as the origin of Two-Face, Turning Points #1 still has problems. Based on story clues, Batman Annual #14 would take place around May through June of Year Two. Some problematic issues within Turning Points #1 that seem to make it definitively non-canon:

    1.) Gordon says he should get a house like Harvey and Gilda.
    —–I doubt he’d be thinking that after Dent becomes Two-Face.
    2.) Gordon’s wife and son leave him.
    —–They are both present in Batman Annual #14, with no signs of any separation having happened yet.
    3.) People are grumbling about Gordon’s promotion to Captain.
    —–Makes sense if this happens immediately after Year One. But if this gets pushed into Year Two or Three, it just seems odd that people would still be griping so much.
    4.) Gordon yells at Batman that they are not friends.
    —–Perhaps this goes before LOTDK #161 where they agree to be friends? Unless Gordon is angry and lashing out, so it could go after.
    5.) Batman keeps going on about how he’s new and wants Gordon’s blessing.
    —–Doesn’t seem like Batman would still be in that mindset after Two-Face.

    So, if there are any stories where Gordon’s family leaves him immediately after Year One, and thus are not present for major continuity events like the origin of Two-Face, then maybe the issue can fit with them.

    COLLIN COLSHER: There are no in-continuity tales that have Gordon’s family leaving him immediately after Miller’s “Year One.” In fact, The Batman Files says specifically that Gordon’s family returns to Chicago less than a week before his promotion. Thus, thanks to The Batman Files, and in agreement with your sound reasoning, we have even more damning evidence to throw Turning Points #1 into the non-canon pile. In regard to Gordon’s promotion to commissioner, there is no actual written story that depicts Gordon’s promotion (aside from a reference in the form of a newspaper article in The Batman Files). The first canonical mention of it is in Dark Victory. Gordon’s promotion to commissioner is up next on our chronology.

  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: For anyone wondering: Dark Victory, like its predecessor Long Halloween, prevents a myriad of other tales from fitting in neatly and causes some awkward placement. However, for the purposes of remaining as true to the original text as possible I have treated Dark Victory‘s narrative as pure gospel and have tried not to compress or edit the story. Therefore, Dark Victory, which starts here, is included fully, amidst various other overlapping tales. For an alternate condensed timeline check out the Internet Archive of “The Unauthorized Chronology of the DCU” by Chris J Miller, which has Dark Victory compressed down to a mere couple of months and has moved scenes all around. But what is Dark Victory and why do I hold it in such high regard? It’s the official follow-up to The Long Halloween. It’s an epic and lengthy tale which begins in August and runs a full year. It will include appearances by a newly appointed Commissioner Gordon, a newly appointed DA Janice Porter, an escaped Two-Face, and a host of rogues. When I originally constructed my timeline, I questioned Dark Victory‘s canonical status, but if there was any doubt, it was erased by Tony Daniel’s Batman #692 which clearly references the events of Dark Victory.
  7. [7]RENAUD BATTAIL: In Dark Victory #2, Bruce says to Alfred he wanted to reveal his secret ID to Harvey Dent, and that Alfred and Harvey would have been the only two to know his secret. However, this is incorrect as Leslie Thompkins would have already known Bruce’s secret as well.

2 Responses to Modern YEAR FIVE

  1. Angus Livingstone says:

    So what exactly happened during the Spook story arc? It’s said that the story ripped off another Batman Annual story, but what exactly happened? I’m finding it difficult to find any mention of the Spook anywhere. Even the Legends of the Dark Knight Wikipedia page doesn’t give a brief synopsis of the events. Can you shed some light on this?

    • I’ve added a short synopsis. (Maybe I’ll add it on wikipedia!) The Mike Baron story is from Batman Annual #12. Maybe it’s a bit harsh calling it a “rip-off” since both stories are pretty standard whodunnit tales. However, the Spook arc seems to mirror it pretty damn closely.

      ALSO, it is worthy to note that some internet sources (wikipedia included) list the possibility of there having been two separate Spooks. There’s really nothing in the Modern Age that suggests this. The Spook is rarely shown in the Modern Age—like around five times, including the LOTDK debut. The Spook was much more of a solid Bronze Ager, making a bunch of appearances back then.

      The LOTDK origin arc IMO was meant to reboot his character for the Modern Age. Simple as that. None of his Bronze Age stuff transferred over to the Modern Age. Thus, there’s really only one Spook character. Although, he has distinct Bronze Age history that is different from his Modern Age verion. This is true of a ton of characters, including Batman himself.

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