Modern YEAR FOUR

1992

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–REFERENCE: In Batman: Shadow of the Bat #31—originally told in Detective Comics #83. Dr. Andy Goodwin and Biff Bannon drug prominent businessmen with a mind-control “hypno-serum,” thus gaining free access to vast wealth. Batman busts Goodwin and Bannon.

–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 Robin Vol. 2 #153—originally told in World’s Finest Comics #28. Batman apprehends the super-villain known as The Glass Man.

–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin #16—originally told in Detective Comics #134. Batman constructs a mirror-walled, hallucination-inducing “Truth Chamber” interrogation room deep within the Batcave. After an altercation with Penguin, Batman captures one of his henchmen and uses the bizarre room to simultaneously terrify and question him.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files—originally told in Batman #47 Part 1. Selina Kyle disguises herself as “Madame Moderne,” owner of a high-end fashion line, as part of a new scheme to steal furs, clothes, and jewelry from runway shows and fashion expos. Despite the usual smoochy playfulness between the Bat and the Cat, the former exposes the latter’s criminal activity, ending her heist plans. Of course, Batman lets Selina go free in the end.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated #3—originally told in Batman #56. Batman saves 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 the Caped Crusader of the horrible crime problems in his nation and begs him to help out. Batman not only visits, 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, Batman outs the Bat-Hombre and brings Papagayo to justice.

–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 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. Note that Deadshot #1 bears the bad error of depicting Batman wearing his yellow oval costume. This must be ignored.

–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 he’s 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 late March of each upcoming year).

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

–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 Year Sixteen says that it occurs “over ten years ago.” This is correct but delusive. It does indeed occur over ten years ago, twelve years ago to be exact.

–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 against Batman.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Shadow of the Bat #7-8 and Robin: Year One #2—originally told in Batman #63-64. Killer Moth (Drury Walker) debuts. Killer Moth’s first appearance is a mash-up of his original few appearances in the Golden Age. The new gaudy super-villain runs a bogus protection racket, going by several aliases, including “Cameron Van Cleer” and “Laszlo Furlenbach.” Batman easily busts Killer Moth and his gang. Killer Moth quickly escapes custody, kidnapping Bruce Wayne to discover that he is Batman! However, Killer Moth is shot and receives a serious cranial injury. Subsequent surgery saves his life, but at the cost of severe brain trauma and loss of significant portions of his memory, including knowledge of Batman’s secret ID.

–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #42. Batman rescues the kidnapped heir to the Ashmore family fortune.

–REFERENCE: In Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #3—originally told in Batman #69. Selina’s estranged brother Karl Kyle appears as a new criminal called King of Cats. Karl Kyle’s publicity stunt will be a one time affair that will land him in jail for the better part of a decade, following which we won’t really see or hear from him much.

–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One #2 and The Batman Files—originally told in Detective Comics #184. Pyromaniac super-villain Firefly (Garfield Lynns) debuts against Batman. The new foe wields both flame and 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 all 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.

–REFERENCE: In Swamp Thing Vol. 2 Annual #3—originally told in Batman #75. George “Boss” Dyke is executed by the state, after which a scientist in his employ revives his brain and transplants it into the body of a giant gorilla. Dyke, now going by “Gorilla Boss,” terrorizes Gotham, but is eventually defeated by Batman. Gorilla Boss gets a special “cell” at the zoo.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Incorporated #3-4—originally told in Detective Comics #215. Batman meets Argentinian superhero El Gaucho (Santiago Vargas). Gaucho has been heavily inspired by the Dark Knight and has nothing but respect for him. However, Gaucho also meets Bruce Wayne and can’t stand the wimp. Unknown to Batman, Gaucho is a top secret agent of the UN secret intelligence organization known as Spyral. As referenced in Flash Annual #13, Gaucho himself is a national hero in Argentina and will serve as the personal inspiration for the superhero team known as Súper Malón.

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

–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.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #669—originally told in Batman #65. June. Batman meets the Swedish superhero Wingman. Batman likes him so much, he will train him sporadically for the entire summer. That training begins now and will continue until September—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.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #700—originally told in Batman #113 Part 1. Batman encounters the super-villain known as Falseface (also spelled out as two words i.e. “False Face”).

–REFERENCE: In Batman #679 and Batman #682—originally told in Batman #113 Part 3. Batman encounters Dr. Achilles Milo, an evil scientist in league with Dr. Simon Hurt. In an attempt to gain insight into the mind of Batman, Milo sprays the Dark Knight with a gas weapon that causes a vivid hallucination. Batman lucidly dreams that he is on a distant planet known as Zur-En-Arrh, where he is endowed with super-powers and gets to meet his perfect alien double Tlano, who wears a garish purple-and-red bat costume. Batman #682 shows us that Batman collects the Bat-Radia, the alien communication device from his hallucination, as a trophy. Upon waking up from his Zur-En-Arrh dream, Batman finds the Bat-Radia. Clearly, Simon Hurt’s machinations go beyond just an internal examination of Batman’s mind. To mess with Batman even further, the physical Bat-Radia—actually just a non-functional prop—had to have been fashioned and left beside Batman upon his awakening. While the Bat-Radia is just a piece of junk, Batman, unsure of what it really is, keeps it as a trophy.

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

–“Loyalties” by John Ostrander/David Lopez (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #159-161) November 2002 to January 2003
After Captain 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 has recently turned 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).[1]

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman: Dark Victory and Batman: Night Cries. 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 perfectly with our timeline.

–Batman: Night Cries by Archie Goodwin/Scott Hampton (1992)
Night Cries is a dark and beautifully illustrated graphic novel that realistically shows the painful final crumbling of Jim and Barbara Gordon’s marriage and how it affects their son James. (Following the recent “Loyalties” arc, Jim and Barbara briefly separated, but are now trying to work things out.) I definitely suggest reading this, as it shows essential character development for both James Senior and the creepy soon-to-be-three-year-old James Junior. Note, however, some errors: Batman is shown already wearing his yellow-oval costume, which is definitely incorrect and must be ignored. And James Junior is referred to as six-years-old, but that’s impossible.[2] Here’s the lowdown. While investigating a drug cartel, Batman and Commissioner Gordon notice a common thread in a series of murders involving child abuse and the death of the abusive parents. The two hunt for the serial killer, but Batman gets accused of being the serial killer. Concurrently, Gordon comes to terms with abuse in his own past and watches as his marriage and connection to his son, which have been rocky for the past year, both fizzle completely. Eventually, Batman clears his name and exposes Dr. Bryan McLean as the killer. McLean commits suicide. In the end, Barbara files for divorce and takes James Junior to Chicago. Next year, Barbara and Jim will try to reconcile their differences, with Barbara and James Junior temporarily returning to Gotham, but we’ll get to that when we get to it.

–Batman: Dark Victory #0 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1999)[3]
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.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to 52 #28—and referenced in Batman Confidential #21 and The Batman Files. Originally told in Detective Comics #311. Big game hunter Thomas Blake, still obsessed with the Catman serial killer that shares his exact same name, decides to become the new Catman, dressing in a gaudy cat costume and going on a robbery spree. With help from Commissioner Gordon, the Dark Knight busts Catman. We’ll be seeing plenty of this Jellicle villain down the line as he will become a permanent fixture in Batman’s rogues gallery. In case there’s any confusion in regard to Catman’s origin, author Matthew Manning, via The Batman Files, fills in a continuity gap here since there isn’t an “official” Modern Age Catman origin that isn’t merely a flashback or reference. Manning fills this gap, a bit messily, by mashing up Catman’s Silver Age debut (Detective Comics #311) with the non-canon “Heat” by Doug Moench/Russ Heath (LOTDK #46-49), creating the copycat thing we have on our timeline here. Note that Manning says Catman II debuts one year after Catman I, but that cannot be the case. It’s been two years since the original Catman killer.

–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.

–The Creeper Vol. 2 #1-6 by Steve Niles/Justiniano (October 2006 to March 2007)
Beware The Creeper! Gotham talk show host Jack Ryder is turned into the Creeper by the evil Dr. Vincent Yatz, who injects him with a mix of Joker Venom and nano-cell technology serum. The Creeper meets Batman when the former apprehends the murderous super-villain known as The Axeman. Meanwhile, Yatz, in league with the Joker, hijacks a bus full of inmates and steals them away to an abandoned island prison ten miles outside of Gotham. The evil scientist turns the inmates into monsters. The Creeper teams-up with Batman and the latter is able to apprehend Joker. Yatz is outed as a criminal and his experiments are stopped, but he escapes from the Creeper.

–Armageddon: Inferno #1-4 by John Ostrander (April to July 1992)
August 21. This is a strange one. Batman, from the year 2001, temporarily time-travels to August, 21 1992, on behalf of Waverider (Matthew Ryder), to battle Abraxis’ Daemen in Russia. Batman’s future self from seven years forward travels to the former Soviet Union and fights alongside some other time-displaced heroes from 2001, including the Spectre. For this note, however, we must make some important retcons. Any references to the real life coup against Gorbachev from August 21, 1991 must be ignored. I’ve kept the August 21 date, but this event has to take place in 1992 at the earliest since a rookie Creeper is present. Note that Batman only actually appears in issue #1 and #4.

–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 a few months 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 months 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.[4]

–Batman: Dark Victory #1 Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1999)
September. Batman, in disguise as an Arkham Asylum guard, keeps close tabs on Alberto Falcone as he meets with Mario Falcone 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 #669. September. Batman’s three month-long training program with Wingman ends now.

–REFERENCE: In Titans Vol. 2 #17 and Young Justice #50—originally told in Detective Comics #261. Dr. X (Simon Ecks) and his symbiotic partner Double X—together known simply as Dr. Double X—fight the Dark Knight. Ecks winds up behind bars.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #680 and Batman & Robin #10—originally told in Batman #120. Bruce’s Uncle Silas Wayne, who thinks Bruce is a hopeless layabout, falls ill. Bruce reveals his identity as Batman to Uncle Silas, minutes prior to his death.

–“Spook” by James Robinson/Paul Johnson (LOTDK #102-104) January 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 Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20. A fourteen-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 fourteen.

–REFERENCE: In The Outsiders #22—originally told in Detective Comics #275. Batman defeats Zebra-Man.

–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 Asylum, 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.

–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 Commissioner 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.[5] 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 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” strikes again, murdering former police commissioner Gillian Loeb (!) and leaving behind another puzzle.

–“Colossus” by Mike Baron/Bill Reinhold (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #154-155) June to July 2002
Writer Mike 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. Batman investigates and then brings Rubio to justice. If these one-shot revenge tales are beginning to get tiresome, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.

–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.

–“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 whose life was ruined by the Joker in the aforementioned 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 him away, and we see the debut of police trainee Renee Montoya. 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 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.

–Batman: Dark Victory #3 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
December. Former GCPD cop Arnold Flass is the next victim of the Hangman, killed and left strung up outside of Tony Zucco’s club. Batman interrogates Zucco, who leads him to Scarecrow, who fights-off Batman and escapes. Batman inhales 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 Christmas 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.”

–“The Secret” by Joshua Hale Fialkov/Adriana Melo (Superman/Batman #85-87) August 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 secret, 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 out Clark 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.

–REFERENCE: In a flashback from the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #41. Batman begins a policy of letting first time-offenders go free and keeping tabs on them afterward. Batman will compile a long list of smalltime crooks to keep an eye on, starting now. While we won’t see these check-ups and check-ins with any of these small-fries on our timeline (except for one), we can imagine them as happening sporadically for decades to come.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood #4. December. Batman crashes the Xmas 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 wonderstruck by the Caped Crusader. Inspired by this moment, Helena will one day become the crime-fighter known as Huntress.

–Booster Gold Vol. 2 #25 by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund (December 2009)
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.

–REFERENCE: In The Judas Coin. Bruce begins the practice of collecting a copy of the Gotham Gazette from a newsie named Gene, who works in a stand outside of Wayne Tower.

–REFERENCE: In JLA Incarnations #3. Zatanna Zatara, daughter of John Zatara, debuts as a superhero. Bruce has known Zatanna for a long time. They are very close friends and have been ever since they were little children.

–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 and nearly kill 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. He is the latest victim of the Hangman.

 

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  1. [1]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, even a short one.

    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.

  2. [2]ELIAS M FRIERE: Night Cries goes between The Long Halloween and Dark Victory because Jim Gordon has just become commissioner and is still getting used to his new responsibilities (“Haven’t gotten the hang yet of mixing police hours with political banquets.” [. . .] “Delegate the work. You’re an executive now, not a street cop, Commissioner” [. . .] His wife Barbara saying, “You’re police commissioner. Off the streets at last. That should be making our life better now.”). Plus, Merkel is still alive. (He is killed in Dark Victory.) As you’ve stated, the only errors are Batman’s costume (wrong yellow-oval costume) and James Junior’s age (said to be six-years-old). James Junior’s age is actually just under three-years-old—and at this age, he can still walk and pick up a gun as detailed in the story, so that retcon doesn’t affect narrative at all.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Dark Victory, like its predecessor Long Halloween, prevents a myriad of other tales from fitting in neatly and causes some awkward placements. 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.
  4. [4]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, “Loyalties” is canon. The Secret Origins series not only functioned similarly to Elseworlds stories, but it also wrecked a lot of DC comic continuity. For the most part, we should ignore the majority of the Secret Origins series unless it is something directly referenced by other canonical stories.

  5. [5]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.

13 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!

      Best,

      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.

  4. Milo says:

    Should the flashback from Batman #673 go after Dark Victory #11, in which Batman says he hasn’t found his parents’ killer?

  5. I know this topic has long been debated by now, but I really think Turning Points #1 would work much better late in Year 1, likely a few weeks after Batman saves Gordon’s kid. So much is in favor of this, Batman and Gordon’s fresh alliance, Gordon’s recent promotion to Captain, Harvey before being Two-Face, and the clear inspiration both in art and dialogue from Year One.

    So, if the only trouble continuity-wise is Barbara’s petition for divorce, can’t that be overlooked a bit? Not sure on the legality of this, but could the petition be annulled shortly afterwards by Barbara? And if not, Can’t we just pretend Barbara only left a letter asking Jim for a divorce? Further to this point, this petition seems to come as a consequence of Jim’s affair with Sarah, which would make little sense in Year 4.

    IMO, this explanation seems to jump through fewer hoops than placing it around Dark Victory.

    • Whoops, forgot to mention. And as for Barbara’s later appearances with Jim, one could just assume they reconciled shortly after, wouldn’t be the first time.

    • Hey Marcelo, to be clear, I don’t place it at all, as I’ve long regarded it as non-canon. I merely have the debut of Corbett here. And yes, the main reason I’ve always regarded it as canon is because I’ve always read it as a Gordon divorce story (but one set way too early). So your fanwank of it being a temporary thing—she files for divorce and goes to Chicago, but then they reconcile… it definitely works, but I’m just not sure that was the intention of the writer. But as I said, your fanwank works if we add that bit of narrative. I’ll take another look at this one and get back to you. Might add it in, who knows! Thanks!

  6. Hello again, Collin! Regarding the flashback in Joker’s Asylum II: Riddler #1, don’t know if there’s something that could contradict this but the Batman in that story seems to be Dick Grayson, wearing his post Final Crisis Batman costume. Also, although as you said Joker’s the definition of an unreliable narrator, Ra’s, Deadshot, Harley and Bane appear in the flashback, further indicating that if this happened it was waaay further in the timeline.

    Also, saw the change to Turning Points #1, thanks!

    • Yeah, this definitely takes place later, as this is Dick as Batman. Some likely errors arise, but all can be chalked up to Joker as unreliable narrator. Will definitely move!

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