TRBCP Modern Age Year Four Villains

–Batman: The Long Halloween #4 Conclusion by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1997)
January 1. This scene, from the final page of The Long Halloween #4, spans the literal first few seconds of the new year and shows Batman standing triumphant over a knocked-out Joker, whom he has just recaptured. It’s 12:01 AM and the new year is officially upon us.

–“Don’t Blink” by Dwayne McDuffie/Val Semeiks (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #164-167) April 2003 to July 2003
January. In McDuffie’s follow-up story arc to “Blink,” Batman teams up with Blink (Lee Hyland) yet again to take on human traffickers. This tale takes place in winter during a blizzard, thus goes here—in the Long Halloween gap between issue #4 (which ends on New Year’s Day) and issue #5 (which takes place on Valentine’s Day).[1]

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham Knights #7. Batman becomes aware that Alfred and Leslie Thompkins are romantically involved. They have been seeing each other on-and-off for years. The Dark Knight will hold his tongue, choosing not to speak about it at this juncture.

–Batman: The Long Halloween #5-6 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
February 14-March 17. While Captain Gordon and Harvey Dent visit Wayne Manor to question Alfred about a bogus link between Carmine Falcone and the late Thomas Wayne, Batman confronts Falcone at Gotham Cemetery. Catwoman shows up and interrupts their conversation. Later, Bruce meets Selina for a Valentine’s Day date. During the date, Poison Ivy, disguised as an old beggar woman and under Falcone’s payroll, is able to get close enough to inject Bruce with a poisoned rose, causing him to fall under her spell. Across town, Holiday shoots up Sal Maroni’s restaurant, killing many patrons and all of his top men, leaving behind his signature and a box of chocolates. By March, Bruce, still under Poison Ivy’s spell, rescinds his decree as bank president and allows Falcone to launder his money at Gotham City Bank. Falcone, embroiled in a brutal gang war against Maroni, recruits his recently paroled daughter Sophia Falcone Gigante as added muscle. Later that day, Selina, worried about Bruce, spots him in the clutches of Poison Ivy and follows him home. At Wayne Manor, Catwoman kicks Ivy’s ass and frees Bruce. (Because Bruce was under Ivy’s spell for a full month, Batman has been noticeably absent from the streets for a full month)! A little after midnight on St. Patrick’s Day, Holiday kills a bunch of Maroni’s family, leaving behind the twenty-two and a leprechaun statuette. That night, Batman thanks Catwoman for helping “his friend Bruce.”

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #600. Bruce and Selina share another intimate moment, but Bruce, being who he is, turns down her offer to make their relationship something more serious.

–REFERENCE: In Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4. Late March. Batman and Superman try to protect Dr. Harrison Grey and his fiancée Savannah Summers from a violent criminal. Ultimately, Dr. Grey dies. Superman and Batman vow to meet every Spring to commemorate the loss and to reflect on each other’s careers as superheroes. (SPOILER: Dr. Grey is secretly still alive, but missing and stricken with amnesia.) This event was originally told in Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #1, but that story is totally out-of-continuity because it is written as if it takes place in Bat Year One. In order for the subsequent World’s Finest issues to correspond correctly with what occurs chronologically, the “death” of Dr. Grey must occur here and now. (Likewise, Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #2 is written as if takes place in Bat Year Two, which makes that story totally out-of-continuity as well. And the same goes for Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #3. Not to mention, both issues #2 and 3 are full of anachronisms no matter where you place them. Thus, after the dust settles, Dr. Grey’s debut becomes merely a reference from Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4. Admittedly, most of the Batman & Superman: World’s Finest series, even after the first three issues, contains numerous continuity errors. However, every issue from #4 onward can still be placed effectively with only a few caveats, and, therefore, they have been added into the chronology (as you will see in the late Marches of each upcoming year).

–Batman: The Long Halloween #7-9 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
April 1-June 21. Chapter Seven of The Long Halloween begins on April Fool’s Day. In the Batcave, Batman and Alfred ponder who Holiday might be. Meanwhile, Gordon and Dent ponder the same thing at GCPD HQ. Elsewhere, Carmine Falcone and Sophia Gigante press Riddler for answers, but the nervous super-villain has little to offer. Upon exiting Falcone’s office, Riddler is shot at by Holiday, but left alive, prompting the utterance of, “When does a killer…not kill?” On Mother’s Day, Batman visits with Calendar Man at Arkham, but is too late to prevent the escape of Scarecrow. Bruce then visits Crime Alley to pay tribute to his mother, but Gordon shows up with a warrant for his arrest—the police think he’s linked to Carmine Falcone because his father saved Falcone’s father’s life long ago. Bruce runs, but is eventually nabbed, charged, and jailed. At the other side of the city, Sophia Gigante finds a connection between Holiday’s twenty-two caliber pistols and a shop in Chinatown. Sophia visits the shop, but Holiday has already been there. The owner is dead next to a .22 and some flowers. Bruce sits in jail for over a month before his trial begins in mid-June. The trial ends on Father’s Day—the jury acquits Bruce in minutes. On the same day, Holiday murders Sal Maroni’s father. Shaken to the bone, Maroni turns himself into police and is jailed.

–“Family” by James D. Hudnall/Brent Anderson (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #31) June 1992
Late June. Bruce notes how Alfred hasn’t had an official vacation in over three years, so he sends him off to Corto Maltese for a week in the Caribbean. Big mistake. Alfred is kidnapped and tortured by terrorists. Bats flies down, rescues Alfie, and kicks some major ass. End of story. This is the first canonical comic book reference to the island of Corto Maltese, Frank Miller’s invention featured in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Dark Victory #2. Batman considers revealing his secret ID to Harvey Dent, but ultimately decides not to.

–Batman: The Long Halloween #10 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
July 4. While Bruce and Selina share a sexy moment at Wayne Manor, Holiday murders the city coroner. Dent apologizes to Batman for going after Bruce and they examine the crime scene with Gordon. Batman then recaptures Scarecrow and an escaped Mad Hatter, both of whom, he learns, have been unleashed upon the city by Carmine Falcone.

–“Faith” Part 1 by Mike W. Barr/Bart Sears (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #21) August 1991 to October 1991
July 5-July 28. “Faith” is an important story that takes up about a month (early July until early August) of Batman’s career and overlaps with The Long Halloween. It is definitely canon, but contains two continuity errors. First, Leslie is working in a hospital full-time and doesn’t yet have her private clinic—she had her private clinic before Bruce even became Batman. And second, Gordon uses the cloth cutout Batman symbol to shine the Bat-Signal into the night sky—he stopped using this method two years ago. Moving on to the synopsis. Recovering drug user John Ackers winds up in the care of Leslie Thompkins, who helps him rehab. While Ackers rehabs, Batman takes to the streets as he always does, stopping a terrorist bomber on July 9. Ackers checks himself out of the hospital on the 10th and, by the 20th, has formed a vigilante militia known as The Bat-Men, directly inspired by his favorite hero. On the night of July 28th Batman is in a tough spot against some drug dealers (led by the vile Costas) until the Bat-Men assist him.

–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Countdown #27. DA Harvey Dent poses with and publicly endorses Batman, who makes a rare media appearance. Harvey and Batman shake hands for the cameras, getting their picture in the newspapers.

–Batman: The Long Halloween #11 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
August 2. Carmine Falcone’s birthday. Batman questions Riddler about the night he was shot at by Holiday. Carla Viti accuses Carmine Falcone of being Holiday. Gilda Dent accuses her husband of being Holiday. Meanwhile, the Sal Maroni trial has gone on for weeks (with presiding Judge Lawrence Watkins overseeing the court) and the Boss himself is finally called into the witness stand. The unthinkable horror then occurs. ADA Vernon Fields, who is actually in the mob’s pocket, gives Maroni a vial of acid. Maroni throws the acid at Harvey Dent, permanently scarring half his face, and simultaneously releasing a plethora of inner demons that Dent had been keeping suppressed for years. (This acid-throwing scene is also shown via flashback from Teen Titans Spotlight #13 and the second feature to Countdown #27. A flashback from Robin: Year One #2 also shows this scene, but it contains visual continuity errors and text dialogue errors that are enough to warrant its non-canonical status.) At the hospital, Dent freaks-out, kills his surgeon, and runs away, completely shattered.

–Batman: The Long Halloween #12 Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
August 3. Harvey Dent has just been horribly facially scarred, killed a man, and gone into hiding. Batman then meets with Gordon, who tells him they have enough evidence to prove Dent is Holiday. Batman refuses to believe and questions Falcone, then Catwoman, and then Gilda Dent in a failed attempt to locate his scarred friend.

–“Faith” (conclusion) by Mike W. Barr/Bart Sears (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #22-23) August 1991 to October 1991
August 8-10. The Bat-Men have become increasingly violent in recent weeks, starting near riots in the streets, as they fight wars against drug cartels. Gordon finally brands them outlaws even though Batman still supports them. Batman goes after Costas, who gets shot in the shoulder by cops and winds up handcuffed to a hospital bed a day later. At the hospital, John Ackers and the Bat-Men try to execute Costas, but Batman intervenes, stopping them. For his trouble, Batman gets shot three times by Ackers as Leslie Thompkins looks on in horror. The Bat-Men kidnap Costas and take off. Meanwhile, Leslie unmasks Batman and learns that he’s Bruce! Leslie, upon discovering Bruce’s dark secret, cannot believe that he has been “hiding it all these years.” “All these years” implies that he’s been Batman for some time… maybe like almost four years or so? The timing of this story works superbly. Leslie saves Bruce’s life and pulls the bullets out of him. The bloody Dark Knight rushes to the Bat-Men HQ and fights his way in, but seconds late to save Costas, who gets bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat courtesy of Ackers. Batman then intimidates the entire militia and brings Ackers to justice. Afterward, Leslie talks about her disapproval of the Batman, but says she will always support Bruce. In future stories, Leslie will become not only one of Batman’s most trusted and allies, but act as a moral compass for him time and time again. As loving as she will become, Dr. Thompkins will often criticize his methods, especially his endangerment of children.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Batman gets shot in the shoulder during routine patrol. He returns home to Wayne Manor to find Leslie Thompkins and Alfred hanging out. Leslie follows-up on their recent conversation, scolding him in regard to his costumed vigilantism. Alfred and Leslie patch-up the injured Bruce. Note that this item incorrectly purports to occur immediately after the conclusion of “Venom.” However, this cannot be the case as “Venom” occurred almost exactly one year ago.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #69. August. This flashback occurs ten months prior to the main action of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #69-70. Batman fights a gang of thieves led by a man named Vince. One of Vince’s men, Crown, turns on Vince and saves Batman’s life, allowing the Dark Knight to defeat Vince. Vince, Crown, and the rest of the crew go to jail.

–“The Darkness” by Darren Vincenzo/Luke McDonnell (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #115) February 1999
August. Someone has been killing boaters on the Gotham River and it turns out that someone is a Gollum-like, feral river-man who has a penchant for precious shiny gold lockets. That’s all I’m going to say about this one.

–“Dirty Tricks” by Dan Abnett/Danny Lanning/Anthony Williams (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #95-97) June 1997 to August 1997
August. This tale spans about a week-and-a-half. Bruce is stunned when the Magician, a super-villain that he first met during a training session in Romania years ago, resurfaces in Gotham, killing a bunch of members of the Galliano mob family. Batman has several encounters with the Magician, Galliano’s men, a bunch of stage magicians, and Ludo Zlata. Eventually, Batman discovers that the Magician is actually several men working as a team, with each wearing his own Magician costume. In a final confrontation with Batman, all the Magicians are accidentally killed by their own weaponry except for one. Batman and Jim Gordon interrogate the remaining villain to learn that the Magicians have been scattered all over Eastern Europe by the CIA, carrying out illegal covert missions for decades, most of which included atrocities and assassinations tantamount to war crimes. Having been recently retired from duty, the Magician task force decided to apply their brand of covert war and espionage toward personal financial gain in Gotham. The CIA, of course, denies all knowledge of the Magician program, and the last Magician winds up mysteriously dead inside his tightly guarded prison cell.

–Batman: The Long Halloween #12 Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
September 1. Harvey Dent has been hiding in the sewers with Solomon Grundy for a month now. Batman questions Calendar Man about Dent and the Holiday killings. Later, Holiday breaks into the courthouse holding cell area and murders Sal Maroni, revealing himself as Alberto Falcone in the process! Alberto faked his own Holiday murder on New Year’s Eve. Alberto is Holiday!

–Batman: The Long Halloween #13 Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
September 1-5. Alberto Falcone, who faked his death nine months ago, has just revealed himself as Holiday, murdering Sal Maroni in the process. Batman, who is present, disguised as a prison guard, immediately beats the tar out of Holiday and apprehends him. A few days later, Batman and Gordon look on as an unhinged Alberto chats with his dumbfounded dad.

–“Pulp Heroes” by James Robinson/Steve Yeowell/Russ Heath (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #7) 1997
While Bruce meets with some new business associates, a murder victim literally falls from the sky into Wayne Tower. Batman’s investigations into the murder lead him to the countryside where he learns about the WWII pulp adventures of Steve Savage aka Balloon Buster. After disguising himself as a flight mechanic and taking up shop with some air-show performers, Batman solves the case.

–“Freakout” by Garth Ennis/Will Simpson (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #91-93) Feb. 1997 to Apr. 1997
This story is wild. There is a strain of highly-concentrated LSD being distributed through fake medical clinics by evil-hippie weirdo Doctor Freak, who dresses up like Sgt. Pepper. The people given the LSD2000, as he calls it, either die or are killed by his henchmen. Then the bodies are collected and their blood is drained into a large pool in which Doctor Freak bathes. See, the LSD is still active in the drained blood so he gets a super-high acid rush from swimming in it. Batman winds up tracking him down, but accidentally falls into the pool and starts tripping balls. In fact, he trips on acid for an entire issue and is somehow still able to capture Freak while hallucinating. In the end, Freak is lobotomized in Arkham. Highly entertaining stuff, although I will say that Ennis shamelessly rips-off the whole blood-bathing thing from Batman: The Cult. It’s also worth mentioning that there is a side plot where two New York City private investigators are looking to get revenge on Freak for some shit that went down wrong in Vietnam. Not only do these PIs come off like something out of a bad buddy-cop movie, they are ultra-violent and do things like crush people’s legs with their pink Cadillac. Oh, I almost forgot. Alfred talks about this one time he did shrooms when he was young. Amazing.

–Batman: The Long Halloween #13 Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996-1997)
October 31. Alberto Falcone is sentenced to death, but is eventually sent to Arkham Asylum for life instead. Harvey Dent makes his dramatic debut as Two-Face, breaking out a group of super-villains from Arkham and swarming Carmine Falcone’s mansion. Two-Face, alongside Joker, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Solomon Grundy, Poison Ivy, Penguin, and Catwoman, confronts Falcone and tells him his time as the kingpin of Gotham has come to an end. The era of super-villainy has officially begun! Just as Two-Face unveils his lucky/unlucky silver dollar, Batman crashes in and beats down on his rogues gallery, opting to let Catwoman flee. Two-Face says hello to the Dark Knight and shoots Falcone dead. During the melee, Sophia Gigante falls off a balcony, putting her in a permanent wheelchair. Two-Face then knocks out Batman and traverses to the other side of the city where he murders ADA Vernon Fields, the man who gave Maroni the acid that burned half his face off. The ultimate trio of Gotham lawmen then meets on final sad time on the roof of the GCPD building. Two-Face turns himself in and goes to Arkham, but not before cryptically saying that there were two Holiday killers. Batman explains his strange comment by recalling that Two-Face killed people with a Holiday-style gun on Halloween. The X-mas epilogue to The Long Halloween #13, which doesn’t feature Batman, insinuates that either Alberto committed none of the murders OR that Alberto, Gilda, and Harvey were each responsible for some of the murders. If you read every bit of the Long Halloween text and systematically pull apart the mystery narrative bit by bit, the only truly logical answer is that Alberto was the sole Holiday killer. Despite Gilda muttering to herself that she herself did some of the murders, Gilda is nuts and couldn’t possibly have pulled them off. Also, while this isn’t specified in The Long Halloween, we know that Bruce keeps Harvey’s original silver dollar coin and displays it in the trophy room of the Batcave thanks to a reference in Batman #577.


–REFERENCE: In Legends of the DC Universe #12 and Infinite Crisis #6. The Long Halloween is finally over. Batman teams up with Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow. There is a first encounter with Green Arrow shown in LOTDK #127-131 by Denny O’Neil/Sergio Cariello (2000). However, the story is out-of-continuity because it supposedly occurs at the beginning of Batman’s third year in costume and pre-dates the formation of the JLA, Ollie has already given up his vast fortune. The problem is that Ollie doesn’t give up his fortune until after the JLA has formed. We know this because Ollie originally bankrolls the JLA. We also know this because Ollie doesn’t switch to his goatee look until after he gets rid of his big bucks. Further reasoning, although admittedly fairly weak reasoning, for the non-canon status of “The Arrow & The Bat” is that, in it, the Caped Crusader is anachronistically wearing his yellow-oval costume. Suffice to say, Batman and Green Arrow do now team-up for the first time and their unspecified adventure together will be big enough and public enough to warrant the press and fellow superhero community labeling the duo as “The Brave and The Bold.”

–“Steps” by Paul Jenkins/Sean Phillips (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #98-99) Sept. 1997 to Oct. 1997
A sex worker snaps and starts killing other sex workers. An autistic boy is the only witness. Batman visits Two-Face at Arkham for the first time.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #44 Part 2. Clayface II (Matt Hagen) attempts a robbery, but Batman is there to stop him, forcing the slippery blob in front of a bus. Clayface II is flattened and handed over to the cops.

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

–“Bad” by Doug Moench/Barry Kitson (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #146-148) Oct. 2001 to Dec. 2001
Bad Jordy is a metahuman with super-strength and a dissociative identity disorder. This combo leads to him killing a lot of people. The story is about eighty pages long and I’d say about forty pages are dedicated to Batman’s long conversation with a shrink, containing dialogue that reads as if it’s been taken straight from a college psychology text book. The other forty are dedicated to Batman getting the shit kicked out of him, but then eventually defeating Jordy.[4]


–“Loyalties” by John Ostrander/David Lopez (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #159-161) Nov. 2002 to Jan. 2003
After Jim Gordon and Batman bring down one-shot villain Atilla, Jim’s Chicago past comes back to haunt him. A bunch of crooked cops kidnap Jim and his family (wife Barbara and son James Junior) and drag them to Chi-town where Jim is tortured in front of their very eyes. Batman travels to the Windy City and is able to rescue the captain. Appearing in this story is Jim Gordon’s niece and future Batgirl, Barbara “Babs” Gordon. Babs is currently living with her mom Thelma Jennifer Gordon in Chicago. Her dad, Roger Gordon (Jim’s younger brother), is currently separated from Thelma. Babs is fourteen-years-old, although she is incorrectly drawn as if she is older (maybe she’s an early bloomer). Of course, we’ll find out later that Jim had an affair with Thelma or possibly dated her right before his bro did (it’s complicated), so Babs is likely Jim’s actual daughter anyway—but that isn’t for a very long time, so we’ll cross that Maury Povich-esque bridge once we come to it. While Batman saves Jim Gordon and his family, a panicked Thelma winds up in a fatal car accident. A few continuity error notes: Thelma is incorrectly referred to as Jennifer in this story—let’s assume, as I have done above, that she is going by her middle name. Also, at the conclusion of this tale, Jim tells Batman that he has separated from his wife. This may be true, but it is misleading since this certainly isn’t their final separation. Furthermore, this story is written as if Roger (Babs’ dad) has been dead for a while. This cannot be the case. Roger should still be alive. However, he is likely absent due to a problem with alcoholism (as shown in Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20).[6]

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #40. Batman interrogates and threatens money laundering mob bookkeeper Raymond Gallagher. A distraught Raymond kills his wife and commits suicide. Raymond’s son, Steven Gallagher, begins plotting revenge.

–NOTE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 and Batman Confidential #30. Barbara Gordon is officially adopted by Jim Gordon after her dad Roger (Jim’s younger brother) dies from complications during an operation related to alcoholism. Barbara’s mom Thelma was killed in an automobile accident only weeks earlier (in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #159). Prior to his death, Roger had long suggested that Babs live with Jim in Gotham (as referenced in Batman: Gotham Knights #6), and now it’s finally happening. Note that much of Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 is non-canon and only “canonically referential,” meaning it doesn’t fit into a true chronology but retains a general historical framework from which we can glean information. There are a few reasons why Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 is only quasi-canonical. First, in the issue, Roger dies several years after Thelma. In order for our chronology to work smoothly Roger and Thelma must die mere weeks apart. Second, Babs’ age is wrong. Third, the car accident death of Thelma depicted in Secret Origins is quite different than how it went down in LOTDK—the LOTDK version is the correct one.[7]

–“Good Cop… Bad Cop” by Andrew Kriesberg/Scott McDaniel (Batman Confidential #29-30) July 2009 to August 2009
This is the sequel to “Do You Understand These Rights?” and features Geoff Shancoe aka “Bad Cop,” a Gotham policeman who’s life was ruined by the Joker in the aforementioned story-arc. (If you don’t consider “Do You Understand These Rights?” as canon, then you should skip this one too.) Shancoe escapes from Arkham Asylum and murders a recruit at the Gotham Police Academy. There, Batman chases his away, and we see the debut of Renee Montoya, who is a police trainee. Later, Shancoe stirs-up a messy scene with Jim Gordon (incorrectly referred to as “Lieutenant”) and a fourteen-year-old Barbara Gordon, who are trying to have a fun outing at an arcade. Babs has just recently moved to Gotham to live with her dad and they are already referring to each other as father and daughter. Batman saves Jim and Babs, meeting the latter for the first time. We also learn that The Ventriloquist (and his living dummy Scarface) have been apprehended by the GCPD. Batman won’t actually meet the Ventriloquist and Scarface for another seven years! At the end of this tale, Joker escapes from Arkham.


| >>> NEXT: YEAR FIVE >>>

  1. [1]HEARTHESNAP / COLLIN COLSHER: “Don’t Blink,” according to the script, says that Lee Hyland has been missing for four months prior to the start of the tale. So, if “Blink” originally takes place in winter of Year Two, the earliest “Don’t Blink” could possibly occur would be in May of Year Two, but that doesn’t fit into the timeline correctly, especially since “Don’t Blink” occurs during winter time as well. Thus, “Don’t Blink” must take place here and now.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: Two-Face: Year One by Mark Sable/Jesus Saiz (September 2008 to October 2008) is a Year One tale that shows the later events of The Long Halloween from Harvey’s perspective. These issues contain some really good stuff that can be read in addition to The Long Halloween, especially the first issue, which includes the Modern Age debut of Judge Harkness (who is now an African-American woman). However, this story is unfortunately OUT OF continuity since we see the incorrect “first appearances” of Detectives Harvey Bullock and Maggie Sawyer, which are both very premature. (Bullock might be around already, but not as a detective yet). Not to mention, the second and final issue of Two-Face: Year One gets even wackier. In the issue, we see Crispus Allen, Man-Bat, and other characters that are totally out of place, including Mayor Jack Grogan. (Grogan is Commissioner, not Mayor. Although, there might’ve been some communication issues between writer and artist here as Grogan is shown clean-shaven with brown hair at the beginning of the issue #2, then with grey hair and a mustache later on in the very same issue. One was likely meant to be the Commish while the other was meant to be Mayor. In any case, Two-Face: Year One is a continuity nightmare even within the confines of its own narrative.) There is also a scene where Batman deals with both Two-Face and Joe Coyne at the same time, which also doubles as an origin story for the giant Batcave penny. This is obviously wrong, especially since Batman already had the penny on display as a trophy before the events of The Long Halloween. With all of these strange occurrences and mega-errors, let me reiterate that this entire story, which was released in-part to promote the film The Dark Knight, is totally non-canon.

    Notably, Teen Titans Spotlight #13 also shows a flashback to the origin of Two-Face, which is completely wrong.

  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: 1992’s “Faces” by Matt Wagner (from Batman: Legend of the Dark Knight #28-30) starts off with a flashback to Two-Face escaping Arkham, seemingly for the first time after having become Two-Face. We’ve already established that The Long Halloween and Dark Victory replace a ton of old Two-Face stuff, and this three-issue Wagner story is no exception. The main reason that “Faces” is non-canon is because it requires a spot where Two-Face is absent for TWO FULL YEARS following his first escape from Arkham. This unfortunately, NEVER HAPPENS in Batman’s early years (or really ever, for that matter). Two-Face shows up in just about every single year, and usually multiple times at that. We could just simply ignore Two-Face’s two year absence and keep this story on the timeline. However, it is such an essential plot point of Wagner’s narrative that we really shouldn’t. “Faces” just doesn’t fit.

    Or does it? “Faces” is one of those stories that can work, but only with a modified narrative. The Batman Chronology Project has dealt in such actions in the past, but I’m hesitant to do it with this story for the reasons listed above. However, our resident Batman scholar/historian PurpleGlovez (Tiptup Jr 94) has a decent summarization (see the footnotes in Bat Year Six) of how it could work, should you choose to go in a different direction.

  4. [4]LUKASZ / COLLIN COLSHER: “Bad” goes here because it takes place while Gordon is still a captain. Other things of note in the story: Gordon uses the Bat-Signal but “can’t even sanction [Batman’s] existence.” Gordon even ignores one of the SWAT guys that mentions Batman’s presence. (That same SWAT guy also doesn’t believe Batman is real.) Also, the shrink, Dr. Sabra Temple, is shocked when meeting Batman face-to-face, previously having thought the “Bat-Man” was a myth. Even at this early point in his career, most folks know that Batman is a real thing. The editorial treatment of Batman as a myth is primarily due to post-Zero Hour retcons that were later undone. HOWEVER, the idea that “Bad” goes as early as possible still remains. I’d love to put “Bad” even earlier than this, but Batman and Dr. Temple discuss Two-Face, so this arc definitely takes place after Two-Face has debuted.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: An important postscript that goes here. Catwoman #38-40, which would have taken place here, is unfortunately non-canon. The story’s name, entitled “Catwoman Year Two,” is a misnomer. It was originally named as such because it was meant to be a follow-up to Frank Miller’s Year One. This story, post retcons, should really be called “Catwoman Year Four.” But aside from that, why is it out? Issue #38 has a ton of wrong information in it, including references to Batman and Catwoman’s relationship as being brand new, the cops referring to Joker as a brand new criminal, the Batcave complete with a full array of anachronistic trophies, and the post-Zero Hour mandate of Batman as an “urban myth” in full-effect. Interestingly enough, these problems are not mentioned or referenced in issue #39 or #40. However, since the story is a complete whole, we cannot/should not just ignore the first issue and read the second two as canon.

    ACE FACE: Further reasoning on why “Catwoman: Year Two” doesn’t fit. For one thing, Gordon is commissioner. But my main continuity concern is actually with the silliness of the story, including when Catwomen frees the Joker. Catwoman is portrayed as being pretty gullible and easy-to-manipulate. And not only that, but I would have thought the security around such an evil killer would be a bit better if he went to court on appeal. Furthermore, “Her Sister’s Keeper” (Catwoman #1-4) is a good canonical intro to Catwoman that exposes another big inconsistency within “CW: Year Two.” In “Her Sister’s Keeper,” Selina has a sister but in “CW: Year Two” she says she is an only child. So generally, I don’t think Catwoman #38-40 fits.

  6. [6]HEARTHESNAP: If one assumes that Roger does die before “Loyalties” (since in “Loyalties” Babs yells at Thelma Jennifer Gordon regarding her husband’s death, which surmounts the reader to expect Roger has passed for at least a long length of time, like maybe even a few years) it follows that during the flashback period in Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 Barbara is in probate waiting to be adopted. In regard to Jim’s statement about separation at the end of “Loyalties,” it is true that this specific separation will not be the last one, but considering the familial impact of “Loyalties” (which includes Thelma Jennifer getting stuck and killed in a car crash) it would make loads of sense to take a little bit of a marital break.

    COLLIN COLSHER: Both “Loyalties” and Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 contradict each other. My advice to readers is to follow my chronology, which attempts to mesh the two together: Roger Gordon is virtually absent from “Loyalties” due to his problem with alcoholism and Thelma Jennifer Gordon dies of a car crash during that same story. Afterward, Babs continues to live under the care of Roger until his death in Secret Origins, at which time, Jim finally officially adopts her. But if that doesn’t seem kosher to you then you can always view it this alternative way: Roger died a while ago (either earlier in this year or possibly even before that), then “Loyalties” occurs as is (minus the continuity problems, of course), followed by a Secret Origins where we must retcon the narrative to erase any references to Roger caring for Babs after the death of Thelma (since he’s already kicked the bucket). Then, Babs is in probate until Jim adopts her. Basically, one story has Roger die first and then Thelma, and the other story has Thelma die first and then Roger. Why has DC decided to muck this up? Who knows. Anyway, pick your poison.

  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: It seems apropos to repeat the footnote from “Loyalties” here. Both “Loyalties” and Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 contradict each other. My advice to readers is to follow my chronology, which attempts to mesh the two together: Roger Gordon is virtually absent from “Loyalties” due to his problem with alcoholism and Thelma Jennifer Gordon dies of a car crash during that same story. Afterward, Babs continues to live under the care of Roger until his death in Secret Origins, at which time, Jim finally officially adopts her. But if that doesn’t seem kosher to you then you can always view it this alternative way: Roger died a while ago (either last year or possibly even before that), then “Loyalties” occurs as is (minus the continuity problems, of course), followed by a Secret Origins where we must retcon the narrative to erase any references to Roger caring for Babs after the death of Thelma (since he’s already kicked the bucket). Then, Babs is in probate until Jim adopts her. Basically, one story has Roger die first and then Thelma, and the other story has Thelma die first and then Roger.

    HEARTHESNAP: I also meld both “Loyalties” and Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 together, but DC is just confusing when they do stuff like this. I’m reminded of the Mr. Freeze continuity fiasco in regard to his origins as presented by DC. Though sometimes each contradicting version features a very good narrative, the multiple stories form a messy jumble continuity-wise. When reading/building the Batman Chronology Project’s timeline, though, it can become a tad bit confusing the way “Loyalties” and Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 are presented, but DC sure did not help matters. In any case, I take “Loyalties” as canon. In my opinion, the Secret Origins series not only functioned similarly to Elseworlds stories, but also wrecked a lot of DC comic continuity. For the most part I believe we should ignore the majority of the Secret Origins series unless it is something directly referenced by other canonical stories.

6 Responses to Modern YEAR FOUR

  1. Fabio says:

    Great TRBCP’s staff, 🙂
    I am an Italian guy (for this reason, please forgive my lame english) who is following you from almost a year! Leaving out the obvious and deserved congratulations for the glorious work done on these pages, I’ve some questions about the continuity… more specifically about a character, Harvey Bullock.

    Looking at your list, you’ve suggested to “delete” from the telling of some stories (“Catwoman: Year One” and “Two-Face: Year One”, this latest is considered by you out-of-continuity) elements relating this character; details such as the appearance or the assignment of the degree of detective, who had not yet happened.
    In this regard, I would ask you: where would you place the appearance of Bullock in the chronology of events? And his “promotion” as a Detective? Exist some contemporary tales that tell (or re-tell) these two facts? And if not, why shouldn’t you considered in continuity the two notes that I mentioned? They contradict some statement read in other stories (if yes, what stories)?

    I apologize for the length of the message and the number of these very-nerdy-requests… I hope to be answered. 😛

    Greetings from the land of Pizza, Pasta, Tomatoes… and Carmine Falcone, of course!

    • Collin Colsher says:

      Hi Fabio! Thanks for the high praise. I’d pat my “staff” on the back, but this project only has a staff of one; me!

      I’m glad you reminded me about Harvey Bullock in the Modern Age. His first appearance is in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #105, which occurs in Modern Age Year Two. I had neglected to include this issue since Batman does not appear in it. However, it is super important and does make mention of what Batman is doing at the time, so I have now included it. When Bullock debuts, he is already a sergeant, but not yet a detective. Thus, his appearances in Catwoman: Year One and Two Face: Year One where he is a full-fledged detective cannot be canon. Later, in Year Seven, I have placed the troublesome Scott Snyder flashback from Detective Comics #875, which despite its own flawed continuity, contains a canonical reference to “Officer Bullock.” Obviously, Bullock is still a sergeant at this point (Year Seven), but since we next see Bullock as a Detective in Nightwing: Year One (Modern Age Year Ten), we can assume that Bullock is promoted sometime in Year Seven (or possibly Eight or Nine or Ten, if you prefer).

      Hope this answers your questions! My Italian isn’t so hot, but grazie mille!


      Collin C

  2. Thanks for giving me reason to re-read the long unfinished All-Star B&R. Here’s my better response: There’s no way this is canon for the mainstream DCU timeline, nor could it ever be. If you’d like to know why, I’ll give you the long long very long list. 🙂

    Although, now that I’m reading your comment again I’m not sure if that is what you were suggesting in the first place. Was it?

  3. Jack James says:

    Sorry for bothering you again with this Collin, but checking this out again I honestly feel that the new placement of Batman: Year Two is even messier.

    While it is true that Selina and Bruce’s relationship is probably more than likely extremely sexual in nature, it is also true that it definitely reads like they’re genuinely dating one another with some sentimental value attached to it. I mean, in July 4th of this very same year, you had that moment where Bruce and Selina are at Wayne Manor and she discusses with him the idea of getting out of Gotham together as they both embrace in a kiss, that definitely doesn’t read to me like merely a casual relationship, so to think that later on in the middle of that same narrative Bruce would get a fiancee still doesn’t seem to quite fit to me, especially since it’s kinda insane to think that Batman would be dealing with the Reaper and with a fiancee right in the middle of the whole Holiday and Harvey Dent business, certainly crazier things have happened to him, but it still feels off.

    This leaves us with several options:

    1. Putting it back to where you had it originally in Year Five, but with a caveat: put the Batman #600 flashback where Selina is yelling at him right before it and make a note that they later on somehow reconcile before Dark Victory.

    2. Putting it in Year 2 and 3 and ignore Leslie Thompkin’s participation in regards to knowing Batman’s identity in the story. It’s true she was a big part of it, but so was Joe Chill, so the story has already been chopped up into being mostly references so it actually doesn’t feel that off.

    3. Put it in Year 2 or 3 and move the “Faith” storyline earlier somehow.

    • Jack James says:

      Also I’d personally lean more towards option 2.
      The most fleshed-out account we have of what “Year Two” would actually look like canon wise was on The Batman Files, in which only Bruce’s proposal to Rachel, and the whole deal with the Reaper is mentioned, so on this chronology’s version of Year Two, Leslie doesn’t /have/ to know Bruce is Batman anymore than Joe Chill making an appearance, so it’d be one of those stories where only the most basic elements remain.

      • Thanks for the notes, Jack. I’ve always fought hard to keep the canonicity of the first issue intact, but I think you are right. The story was made non-canon and then later referenced, so it really should just be reference material based on yes Batman Files, but more primarily DC Retroactive. Leslie makes her presence felt in the latter, so you know she was a part of the original, but it doesn’t have to be before she knew Bruce’s secret. I’ll go ahead and make this move—I think Year Three works best, since part of “Batman Year Two” is about the brand new Wayne Foundation, which is why Leslie is even involved in the first place.

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