Modern YEAR SEVEN

1995

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–REFERENCE: In JLA 80-Page Giant #2 Part 1. Bruce begins “dating” a socialite named Kelli, but their dates won’t exactly go as planned. Due to Batman stuff, Bruce will stand-up Kelli five times in the coming couple weeks.

[1]

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 2 #210. With Batman away on unspecified business, Robin defeats The Clock (William Tockman). The Clock will later change his name to Clock King.

–FLASHBACK: From Legends of the DC Universe #12. Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) throws a charity benefit where he asks Bruce Wayne to take over his duty of financing the JLA. Ollie, disgusted with the world of mega-corporate business, has decided that he will get rid of his vast fortune in the near future (and thus, will not be able to fund the JLA anymore). At the charity event, Bruce slips into his Batman togs and helps his fellow JLAers defeat Packrat. After initially denying Ollie’s request, Bruce changes his mind and picks up the tab. NOTE: This charity benefit supposedly takes place two years into the JLA’s existence. However, due to editorial time compression, the JLA can only have come into existence last year.

–FLASHBACK: From JLA 80-Page Giant #2 Part 1. In Star City, Bruce ditches a party to patrol in a relatively unfamiliar snow-swept city. In the process of ditching the party, Bruce stands-up Kelli for the sixth and final time, resulting in her dumping him. Oh well. Oliver Queen ditches the same party and, as Green Arrow, gets involved in Batman’s bust of a bomber shortly thereafter. Both men are seriously injured in an explosion. That night, Ollie tells Roy Harper that he suspects Bruce is Batman. Ollie then tries to trap Bruce by inviting him to play racquetball in the morning. Despite being critically wounded, Bruce shows up and puts on a good enough show to throw Ollie off the correct trail. While driving back to meet Alfred, an exhausted Bruce crashes his car and deliriously laughs. He barely made it, but his mission is accomplished. Note that Alfred makes a strange line about Batman having been “briefly allied with Green Arrow” in the JLA. The past tense is what’s strange about it, since they are both currently allied in the JLA. Best to ignore (or reword) this one sentence.

[2]

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4—originally told in Detective Comics #233. Enter Katherine Kane, the thrill-seeking secret agent femme fatale.[3] Kathy happens to be the recent widow of Nathan Kane (Bruce’s uncle). Shortly after Nathan’s death, Kathy is recruited into the UN secret intelligence organization known as Spyral by one of their top agents, Santiago Vargas (aka el Gaucho). After witnessing Batman and Robin battle the criminal Lew Moxon on live TV, Kathy decides she not only has a huge crush on Batman, but wants a piece of the daredevil action too. Kathy also happens to be under orders to infiltrate the Dark Knight’s organization in order to discover his secret identity. (Note that Batman and Robin easily bust Lew Moxon, with the Dark Knight barely registering who Moxon is. A year before his parents died, Bruce met the Moxons, although he doesn’t remember it at this moment. Also note that Moxon won’t serve any time and will resurface as a legit-looking businessman a decade down the road.)

–FLASHBACK: From Bruce Wayne: The Road Home – Catwoman #1. Catwoman steals the valuable cat statue known as the Pink Mynx from the Gotham Museum. Batman retrieves the stolen item, but Selina playfully gets away.

–“The Mystery of the Black Bat” by Ed Brubaker/James Tucker (Batman #600 Part 2) April 2002
Bruce and Dick learn about a Civil War hero known as “The Black Bat,” whose adventures are vaguely referenced in a 19th Century dime novel. Hoping to learn more about this mystery man, the Dynamic Duo visit their good friend Professor Carter Nichols to make use of his “maybe machine.” Using Nichols’ invention (where one is able to send an avatar of himself into the past, similar to astral projection), the Dynamic Duo travels back to the 1860s and saves an African-American soldier from Confederates. After getting caught by Confederate soldiers themselves, the Black Bat shows up and saves them. Afterward, the Black Bat unmasks, revealing himself to be the soldier that was saved by our heroes earlier. Bruce and Dick return to the present, but wonder if, by some paradox, there was no Black Bat until they went back in time and inspired the rescued soldier themselves. For anyone doubting the canonicity of this tale, I know this is an anniversary issue homage story, but since Carter Nichols is a canonical Batman character, there is no reason why this story can’t be canon. Also, we should recall that Batman and Robin have been going on unspecified time-traveling adventures courtesy of Nichols all throughout this year, although they are unlisted and we must imagine them on our list.

–REFERENCE: In Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #6. The JLA defeats Mr. Mxyzptlk, a magickal imp from the 5th Dimension. (Mxyzptlk resides in the same world as Bat-Mite and Yz.)

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #250. Superman and Batman travel to the distant Malakon Toris System after learning that the sun there is about to go supernova. On the planet Toris-III, with a JLA drone capturing video footage for team record keeping purposes, Superman and Batman help evacuate an entire sentient species. While Superman surveys the other planets in the system, a microscopic spore from Toris-II secretly attaches itself to the Man of Steel’s cape. Thus, the heroes inadvertently bring a dangerous creature home with them. It will lay dormant inside the Secret Sanctuary for years.

–NOTE: In a flashback from Flash Vol. 2 #210. A naughty Robin tries to drive the Batmobile and winds up backing into and demolishing the giant nickel trophy in the Batcave.

[4]

–Batman: Gotham After Midnight #10-12 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (April to June 2009)
February 14-19. Midnight has continued to collect human hearts for months now. Midnight has also been able to use experimental drugs to control Catwoman, Man-Bat, Scarecrow, and the Axeman for the past several months as well. Midnight sends these drug-controlled warriors to attack Batman, but the Dark Knight is able to fend them off when Catwoman sheds her puppet strings and switches sides. Batman then slugs it out one-on-one with Midnight and the latter winds up dying in a fire. But Bruce isn’t satisfied. The investigation continues, and Bruce finds out the horrible truth about Midnight’s secret identity. Midnight was his former girlfriend, April Clarkson, the whole time! She had faked her death at Christmastime. Mercifully, this rather lackluster story ends with this ludicrous twist and we can all move on. Note, as mentioned before, that Killer Croc appears in this arc, but he shouldn’t. This is a continuity error as Croc won’t debut until Bat Year Ten!

–REFERENCE: In Batman #682 and Batman and Robin #1. Bruce and Dick get a dog named Ace! Someone photographs a picture of Bruce, Dick, and Alfred posing with Ace. The picture is framed and goes into the Batcave. While we’ll see “Ace the Bat-Hound” in some items below, note that Ace will also accompany Batman and Robin on a variety of other missions too, although these items won’t be physically listed on our timeline.

–NOTE: In flashbacks from Detective Comics #875. Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are unsuccessful in tracking down Roy Blount aka The Peter Pan Killer. These flashbacks contain several key errors which must be noted. First, Gordon is referred to as a lieutenant. Second, Gordon is partnered with Commissioner McKeever. Who the hell is Commissioner McKeever? We must assume he is an assistant commissioner or a commissioner from another police force helping out on the case. And third, Gordon is portrayed as being married to Sarah Essen! But if we must include her presence, we must ignore any references to their marriage and instead retcon the story so that Sarah and Jim have simply reconnected and are trying to date again. (Note that this is the last time Bullock will be referred to as either simply “Officer” or “Sergeant.” He will now be promoted. From this point forward, Bullock will have the rank of “Sergeant Detective.”)

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4—and also referenced in 52 and Batman #655. Kathy Kane, in dramatic fashion, publicly debuts as Bat-Woman (alternately spelled without a hyphen, simply as “Batwoman”). Bat-Woman not only helps apprehend the homicidal jewel thief, Jimmy the Jackdaw, but she also saves Batman’s life. Robin doesn’t like it, but Batman is very impressed. Later that night, Kathy meets Bruce for the first time (out of costume) at a socialite ball. (Bruce has long been estranged from the Kane side of his family, so it is not surprising he is only now meeting his deceased uncle’s former wife.)

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. The seductive Bat-Woman personally introduces herself to Batman, impressing the Dark Knight with her beauty and acrobatic ability, which rivals (and might be better than) his own.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Bruce, while training, tells Alfred to tell Dick to take the night off—he wants some one-on-one time with Bat-Woman.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682 and Batman Incorporated #4—originally told in Batman #105. Batman chases down the criminal Curt Briggs while Bat-Woman tries and fails to keep pace. Batman winds up injuring his ankle and is forced to retreat. However, Briggs is knocked unconscious and temporarily loses his memory. Bat-Woman catches up to Briggs and somehow mistakes the amnesiac villain for Batman, gives him the Dark Knight’s cape and cowl, and begins fighting crime with him! When Briggs regains his memory, Bat-Woman realizes the error of her ways and takes down the poser-Batman. Afterward, Batman accuses Bat-Woman of nearly exposing his secret, to which Bat-Woman responds by kissing him. Bat-Woman not only begins assisting Batman regularly on patrols starting now, but the she and Batman enter into a serious sexual relationship as well!

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4. Bat-Woman debuts her sidekick Bat-Girl (Bette Kane aka Betty Kane). The Dynamic Duo begins going on routine vigilante patrols with Bat-Woman and Bat-Girl. In case you were wondering, Bat-Girl is Bat-Woman’s niece.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Robin tells Batman that he doesn’t trust Bat-Woman or Bat-Girl. Batman, who is completely smitten, hints that wedding bells might be ringing in his future. He’s really serious and wants to put a ring on Kathy Kane!

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

–FLASHBACK: From Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4.[5] Late March. Some caveats before a synopsis begins: First, this issue states incorrectly that it is “seven years” prior to B&S: WF #10 Part 1, which takes place in Year 15. The editorial note should say “eight years ago” instead. And second, Batman is drawn wearing his yellow-oval costume, which is wrong. Also, the label “Year Four” in the title of this issue merely implies that this is the third anniversary of this meeting. Don’t forget, the first three issues of this series are non-canon since issue #1 clearly takes place in Bat Year One, and issues #2 and 3 are full of anachronisms no matter where you place them. Here’s the synopsis. Batman travels to Metropolis a few days before the anniversary of the death of Dr. Harrison Grey. The Caped Crusader moves the commemoration meeting a few days early because he’s become aware that a government agency has been spying on Superman. In Metropolis, Batman and Superman save some lives from a burning building and then meet the threat of Bruno Mannheim‘s Intergang criminal organization, which has been gifted with alien weaponry courtesy of Desaad, an evil New God from the interdimensional planet Apokolips. Batman and Superman defeat Intergang, but Mannheim and the Apokoliptian menace escape. Before booming away (i.e. teleporting away using Boom Tube technology), Desaad shows Superman a sickening image of Apokolips, which Superman mistakes for Hell. Despite this nice foreshadowing, Batman and Superman won’t come to know about the true horror of Apokolips for two more years. After defeating Intergang, Batman slinks-off and infiltrates the underground HQ of Project Cadmus, a privately owned (but government funded) science agency that has been spying on Superman. At Cadmus HQ, Batman discovers a litany of metahuman cloning labs, early prototypes of the DNAliens (created by Dabney Donovan), and a developing Guardian soldier (a clone of Jim Harper, who was the Golden Age superhero known as The Guardian). The Caped Crusader also learns about a new plan to create an atomic warrior known as Captain Atom. Batman angrily confronts Cadmus leader Paul Westfield, threatening him (as only Batman can) to cease spying on Superman. Afterward, Bruce watches Dick perform in a school play.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #4. After another outing with Bat-Woman and Bat-Girl, an angry Robin returns to the Batcave complaining of Batman’s whirlwind love affair with Kathy. Robin also complains that the Bat-Girl keeps forcing herself upon him. A reference in Superboy Vol. 4 #65 tells us that Bat-Girl acts like a “superhero groupie” during this time period. The Boy Wonder then discovers Batman and Bat-Woman “in flagrante delicto” inside the Batmobile! Bruce informs Dick that he and Bat-Woman are engaged, even speaking of forming a more traditional “Bat-Family.” Batman and Bat-Woman have only known each other for a short time, but the passion between the lovers is clearly steamrolling ahead at breakneck speed. Batman and Bat-Woman are legitimately very much in love with one another—as evidenced by the shotgun marriage proposal, undeniable connection, steamy romance, and hot sex. Despite this, Bruce still hasn’t revealed his secret identity to her! The costumes come off, but the masks stay on.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Killing Joke. Following an unspecified Dynamic Duo team-up with Bat-Woman and Bat-Girl, a photograph is taken that includes Batman, Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Bat-Woman, Bat-Girl, Alfred, Ace, and Bat-Mite. This suggests that, on this wild adventure, Batman meets Bat-Mite again, but actually engages with him and has a (relatively) positive experience. Not sure how Alfred’s presence doesn’t immediately out Batman’s secret identity to Gordon, but oh well. Maybe Bat-Mite mind-wipes the Commish? In any case, Batman develops the Bat-Family picture, frames it, and keeps it in the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In The Outsiders #21 and Metamorpho: Year One #6. The JLA defeats evil industrial tycoon Simon Stagg and his literal thawed-out Neanderthal henchman Java.

–REFERENCE: In Metamorpho: Year One #6. The JLA defeats Goldface.

–“Never Say Die” by Dwayne McDuffie/Denys Cowan (Batman: Gotham Knights #27 / Batman: Black & White) May 2002
Former Penguin henchman Do-Boy kidnaps a youngster and holds him hostage. Batman crashes through a window and saves the kid.

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

–“Batman A-Go-Go” by Mike Allred/Lee Allred (Solo #7) December 2005
Riddler and his “Aquarian Liberation Army” try to burglarize a party. Batman and Robin easily stop the villains, but not before Batman gets conked on the noggin and has a bizarre Adam West/Burt Ward Batman ’66-style campy dream in which Dick commits murder and suicide.[6]

–“Work That’s Never Done” by James Patrick/Steve Scott (Batman Confidential #49) December 2010
An inside look at the master detective at work. Like Sherlock Holmes meets CSI meets Law & Order. The Dark Detective solves a double homicide in this police procedural story and rescues a kidnapped orphan from a villain. All in a day’s work.

–The Judas Coin by Walt Simonson (2012)
This graphic novel wasn’t released until 2012, but it was started by Simonson well over a decade before that, placing it solidly in the Modern Age. Based upon what narratively occurs, this seems like a safe place to put it. Bruce picks up a copy of the Gotham Gazette from his regular newsie Gene. They chat about how the cutthroat criminal businesswoman Morgana “The Shiv” D’Orē has come to Gotham and wants all of Wayne Enterprises’ business. Later that night, Bruce intervenes in a showdown between an escaped Two-Face and some of the Shiv’s henchmen. Both camps are trying to rob a museum of a very famous shekel: one of the silver coins that Judas was paid to betray Jesus Christ! During the scuffle, Batman and the Shiv’s crooks get trapped under a fallen skylight. Two-Face flips his coin and murders the Shiv’s remaining henchman. Sensing that the Judas Coin is bad luck, he mails it to the Shiv and turns himself in. Two days later, the cursed magick of the Judas Coin does its thing and the Shiv falls off a balcony to her death.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682. Bruce ponders about how all of Gotham’s super-crime has turned into “pop-crime.” Bruce mentions how he is tired of playing games with quizmasters, clowns, and circus people. He trained to be a soldier, goddamnit!

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

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

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

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

–FLASHBACK: From Hourman #16. Early June. The JLA throws their mascot Snapper Carr a party for passing his high school final exams. This flashback gives us a caption that says it takes place a few years before Snapper quits his position with the JLA. This can’t be true. Snapper will resign next year.

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

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #253 and JLA #1—originally told in Justice League of America #26. Despero returns and ages half the JLA into senior citizens. The other half of the team—which includes Batman—gets transformed into sand and then imprisoned in giant hourglasses, which are hurtled through the cosmos to various alternate Earths. A nonagenarian Wonder Woman kicks Despero’s ass, forcing him to revert everyone back to their correct ages and bring everyone home. Following this case, the JLA keeps one of Despero’s giant hourglasses as a trophy.

–“Crisis One Million” by Grant Morrison, Dusty Abell, Jim Royal, & Lee Loughridge (DC One Million 80-Page Giant #1 Part 7) August 1999
A spacetime anomaly occurs where JLA members from various times and universes are sucked from their home locations and times and randomly appear in the Justice Legion-A‘s HQ on Jupiter sometime in the 85,270s (853rd century). Batman, along with many others, gets thrust into the future. During a huge battle royale featuring amazing alternate universe characters from all over, including various Batmen from various times and alternate universes, John Fox (the Flash active in both the 27th and 853rd century) runs on the Cosmic Treadmill to return everyone to their correct universes and times. The parties involved in this brief event won’t even be able to comprehend what has just occurred.

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

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

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

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Absolution. The anti-corporate activist group known the Children of Maya blow up a Wayne Enterprises building, killing hundreds. The primary perpetrator of the bombing, Jennifer Blake, goes into hiding. The Dark Knight shakes down some of Blake’s accomplices, but Blake eludes Batman’s capture. The Caped Crusader vows to apprehend her some day.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #682 and Batman Incorporated #4—originally told in Batman #153. Batman and Bat-Woman, who have been dating for months, have their penultimate “extraplanetary adventure,” which includes a drug-induced hallucination of an evil alien named Karn and an alternate dimension complete with dragon-monsters and winged bird-people. This psychotropic gassing is orchestrated by the Spyral organization (which secretly employs Bat-Woman). Feeling an intense panic induced by the drugs, Batman and Bat-Woman kiss passionately. Afterward, Kathy meets with the head of her intelligence agency, who not only chastises her for failing to learn Batman’s secret ID, but gives her shit for sleeping with and getting engaged to a man she doesn’t even know. The head of Spyral reveals his own true identity: the Nazi war criminal Doctor Dedalus. Dedalus also shockingly reveals that he is Kathy’s biological father!

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

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

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

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

–REFERENCE: In Teen Titans Year One #1 and The Batman Files. This is a very important note! Batman tailors and adopts his yellow-oval costume—you know, the one with the yellow oval around the bat symbol on his chest. As originally stated in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (and canonically confirmed by The Batman Files), the yellow insignia contrasts with the rest of his dark costume making it a perfect target for gunmen to aim at. Therefore, the yellow target lessens the chance that Batman will take gunfire to the face or arms, and that’s fine with the Caped Crusader since he’s wearing several inches worth of bulletproof Kevlar and armored-plating under the target.[7]

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

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

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

–FLASHBACK: From Superman/Batman #31—and referenced in Superman/Batman #31. The ultra-powerful but goofy alien named Zook appears on Earth (stranded from an alternate universe). He’s really annoying and everyone hates him except for J’onn, who decides to keep him as a pet/sidekick. The diminutive Zook becomes a JLA team mascot but is always in the way. Batman constantly berates the little guy. Shortly thereafter, when the JLA prepares for a fight with Weapons Master (Xotar), Batman holds an official team meeting to discuss strategy against the super-villain. Zook keeps interrupting and saying goofy things like, “Zook help too!” Batman angrily tells J’onn, “For God’s sake, keep that thing quiet!” Batman also surely says many other obscenities that aren’t fit for little Zook. Tired of Batman’s insults, Zook leaves the universe. (SPOILER: Zook will return for revenge in fourteen years!) Afterward, the JLA—sans Zook—defeats Weapons Master.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #17 and The Batman Files—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #54. Disobeying orders, a fourteen-year-old Robin joins his buddies Kid Flash (Wally West) and Aqualad—other JLA sidekicks—to fight weather-controlling super-villain Mr. Twister (Bromwell Stikk) in the small town of Hatton Corners. After defeating Mr. Twister, the teens decide it might be a good idea to form a team.

–Teen Titans Year One #1-3 by Amy Wolfram/Karl Kerschl (March to May 2008)
When a cosmic entity known as The Antithesis takes over the minds of the JLA, their teenage sidekicks—Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Speedy, and the debuting Wonder Girl (Donna Troy)—take charge and save them! A canonical flashback from Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #2 shows the youngsters fighting their Antithesis-possessed mentors, although Batman is depicted wearing the wrong costume. With Robin as their leader, the victorious teens form the Teen Titans. Note, as referenced in The Batman Files, that Speedy won’t officially join the Teen Titans for a few weeks. Batman doesn’t approve of the Teen Titans venture, which causes Dick to move out of Wayne Manor (and into a crummy cave hideout with the other sidekicks). Teen Titans Year One is a re-working of the Titans’ origin battle versus the Antithesis as seen in Teen Titans #53 and via flashback from Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3. Obviously, the new replaces the old. It’s also worth noting that the first half of Teen Titans Year One makes reference to the JLA’s Happy Harbor HQ as no longer being used, however, the Happy Harbor cave won’t be abandoned until next year. Also, Green Arrow is drawn as if he is just starting to grow out his goatee, but he won’t actually switch to that look until next year either, so this must also be ignored. Artist Karl Kerschl was likely trying to be cute and draw transition facial hair to mark the relative era of the story, but it’s a little too cute (and we’ll see Ollie clean shaven again soon).

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

–REFERENCE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #30 and Identity Crisis—originally told in Detective Comics #331. Batman and Robin meet Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny) and his wife Sue Dibny. There is no specific Modern Age reference for Batman’s first meeting with the Dibnys. In the Silver Age, Batman and Robin met Elongated Man (in ‘tec #331) way before the latter joined the JLA (in JLA #105)—nearly ten years prior. Of course, this can’t be the case in the more compressed Modern Age.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League America #43 and Showcase ’94 #7 Part 2—originally told in Justice League of America #32 and Justice League of America #36. The JLA defeats Brain Storm (aka Brainstorm).

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 80-Page Giant #1—originally told in The Brave and The Bold #59. Batman teams-up with Green Lantern Hal Jordan to defeat Time Commander (John Starr). Afterward, Green Lantern puts Time Commander’s time-controlling hourglass device into the Justice League of America’s trophy collection.

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

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

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

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

–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47. Batman and Robin fight Riddler at the Gotham Museum. Riddler employs an army of henchmen for this heist, all dressed up in Riddler costumes. This is the second fight between the Dyanmic Duo and Riddler to take place at the Gotham Museum this year. And it’s the third adventure they’ve had at the Gotham Museum this year.

–NOTE: In flashbacks from Detective Comics #875. October. Jim Gordon’s six-year-old son, James Junior, has been living with his ex-wife Barbara in Chicago for the past year. During this time, James Junior hasn’t had much contact with either Jim or Babs. James Junior takes a trip back to Gotham, joining Jim, Babs, Sarah Essen, and Babs’ friend Bess on a mini-vacation at a cabin in the woods just outside the city. Unfortunately, James Junior has various pathological issues. James Junior seemingly murders Bess, although her body is never found. From this point on James Junior will enter into various institutions, psych wards, and boarding schools before leaving town in his teenage years. I should mention the egregious continuity errors within the flashbacks before moving on. First, Babs looks a bit too young. Second, Gordon is married to Sarah Essen. They don’t get married for another six years! In fact Sarah shouldn’t even be in this story. But if we must include her presence, we must ignore any references to their marriage and instead retcon the story so that Sarah and Jim have reconnected and are trying to date again. If this is the case, this relationship must end quickly since we won’t see Sarah again until Bat Year 13.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–REFERENCE: In Avengers/JLA #2—originally told in Teen Titans #1. While not directly involved, Batman follows along remotely as the Teen Titans go on a public mission to the South American nation of Xochatan. There, the Teen Titans best gangster Don Matanzas’ giant conquistador robot and some evil spirits.

–“TreasureQuest” by Dan Jurgens/Mike Norton (Metamorpho: Year One #6) February 2008
Strange element-altering metahuman Metamorpho (Rex Mason) debuts. The JLA becomes highly suspicious of him when they learn that his lover is Sapphire Stagg, daughter of the evil Simon Stagg. Thus, the JLA tests Metamorpho’s abilities in an attempt to find out if the newcomer is a bad guy or a good guy. For the test, each member of the JLA dresses up as Goldface and attacks Metamorpho, who handles himself with grace and effectively demonstrates his prowess as a superhero. Afterward, the satisfied JLA offers Metamorpho membership on the team, but Metamorpho declines! (Note that Batman is wearing the wrong costume in this issue.)

–REFERENCE: In Valor #6—originally told in Justice League of America #42 and Justice League of America #44. The JLA defeats the cosmic energy being known only as The Unimaginable.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #656. Thanksgiving. Bruce and Dick celebrate Turkey Day with Bruce’s Aunt Agatha. This is Agatha’s only Modern Age appearance, so I’m assuming she dies shortly after this since she is quite old in age and we never see or hear from her again.

–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Detective Comics #782. Late November—the anniversary of Batman’s parents’ deaths. Batman, as he always does on this date, places two roses at the site of his folks’ murder.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Confidential #13—as originally told in Batman Special #1. Late November. With a thirteen-year-old Dick away on a short vacation, Batman deals solo with the one-shot villain known as Wrath. When Wrath discovers Batman’s secret ID, he attacks Alfred, Leslie Thompkins, and Commissioner Gordon. Alfred and Gordon wind up with serious injuries in the hospital. Eventually, the war between Batman and Wrath ends with the untimely death of the latter, whose own secret ID is never discovered. Not even Wrath’s lover, Grayle Hudson, knows who he really was.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League #4 and JLA #1—originally told in Justice League of America #43. The JLA takes-on and defeats a returning Amos Fortune, who masquerades as Ace of Clubs, leader of the garish playing card-themed Royal Flush Gang. His team consists of Queen of Clubs, King of Clubs, Jack of Clubs, and Ten of Clubs. After besting the Royal Flush Gang, the JLA keeps some of their deadly playing card weapons as trophies.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Incorporated #2—originally told in Batman #180. Batman and Robin defeat the thrice resurrecting Death Man. Death Man will also inspire a copycat super-villain years later. Following that, Death Man will later resurface as “Lord Death Man” as well.

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

–REFERENCE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 Annual #3—originally told in Detective Comics #352. Batman defeats the debuting Mr. ESPer.

–REFERENCE: In JSA Vol. 3 #25—originally told in Justice League of America #46-47. The JLA and JSA team-up to defeat the Anti-Matter Man.

–REFERENCE: In Superman/Batman #70—originally told in Detective Comics #355. Batman defeats Telman Davies aka The Hooded Hangman.

–FLASHBACK: From Gotham City Sirens #6—originally told in Batman #186. Joker begins using his first sidekick, the circus midget known as Gaggy. He will use Gaggy on-and-off until the end of next year.

–REFERENCE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #27 Part 3—originally told in Justice League of America #51. The JLA helps Zatanna defeat the Elemental sorceress Allura.

 

 

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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman: Joker’s Apprentice #1 (published May 1999) is a yearlong story that concludes on the 5th anniversary of Joker and Batman’s first meeting (i.e. the 5th anniversary of The Man Who Laughs). However, it not only features Batman wearing the wrong costume (a minor flub), but also commits the cardinal sin of having a wheelchair-using Oracle anachronistically appear to assist the Dark Knight on a case. As such, Batman: Joker’s Apprentice #1 is definitively non-canon. I suppose one could alter the “5th anniversary” to the “15th anniversary” in order to make this story fit later on the timeline, but that’s a personal headcanon decision that I’ll leave to the reader.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: The critically panned Batman: Fortunate Son by Gerard Jones/Gene Ha (1999) is definitely out-of-continuity for several reasons. First of all, the story references at least three 60s record producers that have been committed to Arkham Asylum (Phil Spector not included). Also, in Fortunate Son, there is an inmate named Jack Napier that is housed in a cell directly across from the Joker. Jack Napier is the Joker’s real name in Tim Burton’s first Batman movie and in the original animated series. Talk about strange. Here’s another one for ya: Fortunate Son tells us that Batman hates punk rock. He loathes it. C’mon, my Batman is punk rock. But seriously, this story depicts a strangely out-of-character version of Robin (who is incredibly callow) and an oddball Batman, who acts like an alien that has never even heard of rock-and-roll. Many people have lobbied to make Batman: Fortunate Son canon. However, I feel as though I should stick with my guns on this one and keep it off the list for the reasons above. However, if you still aren’t convinced, check this out: Atop the Fourth Wall’s VIDEO REVIEW of Batman: Fortunate Son. That being said, there is a really funny panel in Fortunate Son where Robin is trying to convince Batman that rock-and-roll is good, and he mentions that Speedy is in a band, to which Batman replies sarcastically, “There’s a fine role model.” This is funny because Speedy, in his early Teen Titan days, becomes addicted to heroin for a while. Speedy will also later relapse as an adult and hang out with dead cats in alleys. Okay, I guess it’s not so funny.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Kathy Kane is not, I repeat NOT, second Batwoman Kate Rebecca Kane (created by Greg Rucka and JH Williams), who we will meet later on down the road. Their names are similar due only to the fact that they share the Kane surname—Kathy by marriage into the family, Kate by blood.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: I made a conscious decision not to include the flip book-style Batman: Two-Face Strikes Twice! graphic novels. If canon, Book One of this narrative would have taken place here on our timeline. Two-Face Strikes Twice contains two episodes (i.e. “books”) that comprise the whole tale. Each “book” has two “parts” (giving us the cute flip-book style format). In Book One, featuring Batman and Robin (Dick), a seemingly well-adjusted Gilda Dent (as opposed to the not-very-well-adjusted version of the character from The Long Halloween) gets remarried to a prominent doctor named Paul Janus. Book Two, featuring Tim Drake as Robin, is a sequel to Book One that takes place roughly seven years later (around Year Fourteen), in which Gilda is shown to be still happily married to Janus. In Book Two, we learn that Gilda, a year-and-a-half prior, had undergone an artificial insemination procedure with Harvey’s sperm that ultimately resulted in the birth of a set of twins, which she falsely claimed were biologically Janus’ kids. Okay, so this does seem like the classic unstable behavior of Gilda, doesn’t it? STILL, the kids are never mentioned again in any other comic. Seems a bit odd. But the big thing that eliminates Two-Face Strikes Twice (both Book One and Book Two) from continuity is the fact that, no matter what, it contradicts Tony Daniel’s “Pieces” arc (‘tec #707, #710-712). “Pieces” tells us that Gilda was with Mario Falcone immediately after The Long Halloween, not this cheesy Paul Janus character. Not only that, “Pieces” tells us that Gilda stayed with Mario permanently after that. If this is indeed the case, it renders Two-Face Strikes Twice non-canon mainly because Gilda would have never given birth to the twins. It’s pretty obvious to me that Daniel ignored Two-Face Strikes Twice when scripting “Pieces.” The Gilda in “Pieces” is definitively tethered to the Gilda from The Long Halloween. Also, Daniel leaving the Dent children out of “Pieces” implies that the Dents don’t have children i.e. that both parts of Two-Face Strikes Twice are non-canon.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Every single issue of Batman & Superman: World’s Finest is a complete flashback issue, so none of them will appear later on the timeline outside of flashback notations. Only part 1 of issue #10 takes place “in the present” (Year 15) with Two-Face’s “villain war.” Thus, each flashback B&S: World’s Finest issue is a certain number of years prior to the “villain war.” Although, we should be aware that the amount of years prior given in each issue, thanks to retcons, is usually off by a year.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: A quick review on the very interesting dream sequence from the Allreds’ “Batman A-Go-Go”: The whole dream narrative has less to do with a cohesive plot and more to do with a spoof of the mystery/crime/thriller genre. But even more importantly, the dream sequence is meant to detail what Batman ’66 would be like if it happened in the real world. A clownish, aging, and out-of-touch Adam West as Bruce Wayne, engaged in Venture Bros-style LARP fights with the weirdest losers in costume that one can imagine—all while his protégé Burt Ward grows up into the typical late 60s counterculture rebel, angry at the older generation (which includes Adam) for its conservatism, racism, and sexism. The thing all boils to a point where Burt is essentially duped into becoming the darkest manifestation of the flower child movement—a Manson Family member. And in this case, his girlfriend Sunshine is Charlie himself. And at the end of the One Punch Man-esque nightmare, Robin kills his contemporary Sunshine, whose plot was to ransom a ton of cash from Adam/Bruce (in exchange for the safe return of a kidnapped Aunt Harriet and Burt/Dick). Of course, teenage Dick, brainwashed by Sunshine’s schtick (and sexuality), was in on the whole thing, having broken his code of superheroism, becoming evil to such an extent that he wound up slaughtering a bunch of people and then ultimately offing himself. But in the end, it was all a dream. So if this experiment wasn’t your thing, just leave it at that! But at the very least, enjoy the Allreds’ art!
  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: This is an important note that gives us a bit more info on the chronology of Batman’s different costumes and also details how I make my decisions regarding placement when the incorrect costume is illustrated. I usually advise the reader to ignore the incorrect costume if it is drawn in a flashback sequence because it most often means the error was simply made by the artist or writer (as opposed to a non-flashback story deliberately written in “present time” that gets it definitively wrong). It is a bit confusing, I know. Here is a specific example: Gotham Knights #43 occurs in Year 18—it absolutely has to for various reasons including publication date, in-story factors, numbering, etc… In this issue there is a flashback, which must be canon since it affects a canon issue and is shown in a canon issue. This flashback shows a retired Batgirl take a new Jason Todd Robin out on patrol at the behest of Batman to psychoanalyze him and test his physical capabilities. It also tells us that Joker breaks out of Arkham and foreshadows that he will soon do terrible things to both Babs and Jason. Therefore, this flashback has to take place in Year Eleven, relatively close to the events of The Killing Joke and “Death in the Family.” By this point, Batman has long worn his yellow-oval costume—yet, in this flashback, he has his black bat insignia costume! Thus, this becomes a prime instance of a canonical flashback where we must ignore the incorrect costume.

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

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

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

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

    However, a major reason that I haven’t taken that route, beyond the reasons already listed above, is because Matthew Manning’s The Batman Files (2011) definitively tells us that Batman goes from old-school look to yellow-oval look with no instances of wearing the yellow-oval look prior to its debut. Another major reason for not going the Silver Age route is because, unlike in the Silver Age, the costume changes in the Modern Age are supposed to mean something. They are markers of significant shifts in Batman’s personality or momentous events in his life. The black-and-grey costume is meant to represent not only his darker early years, but also reflect a Modernized version of the Golden Age Batman. Likewise, the yellow-oval costume signifies Batman’s shift toward a more laid-back and relaxed Dark Knight, reflecting the Batman of the Silver Age. (It can also be taken as Batman wanting a fresh start after Kathy Kane dumps him.) As stories move chronologically past the original Crisis, Batman sees important costume alterations again and again (as detailed above), and they are each connected to important things that happen to him. Simultaneously, all these costume alterations are meant to act as valid markers of time within Modern Age chronology. Of course, as shown above, determining which costume to use when doing “Early Period” stories or flashbacks wasn’t exactly a perfect science for creators and editors. Combine this with an overall debatable order for most of the “Early Period” tales and you get a malleable border between the shift period from old-school costume to yellow-oval costume. Because things get much more chronologically set-in-stone after the “Early Period,” we (thankfully) rarely run into this problem of costume-look malleability in stories occurring later on the timeline.

53 Responses to Modern YEAR SEVEN

  1. Andrew says:

    Me again…I know, I never stop. Anywaaays. I’ve been reading through The Unauthorized Chronology of the DC Universe, and I’m really wanting to know how you compare your list with his. As in, are there reasons for why the two chronologies (yours and his) differ? He seems to have events (such as Long Halloween, the appearance of Robin, the formation of the JLA) a few years before when they appear on your list. Do you consider your chronology more “correct”? Obviously you focus solely on Batman, while his is the entire DC Universe. Is that part of the reason to why your chronologies are different?

    • Chris Miller (brilliant author of the Unauthorized Chronology) puts the formation of the JLA and the first appearance of Robin earlier because it is clearly what DC intended (and even hints at toward the end of the Modern Age).

      To quote Miller: “Superficial differences (in dialogue, etc.) notwithstanding, a close look at the details reveals that The Long Halloween story is clearly meant to expand upon the [shorter] Batman Annual #14, not supersede it. However, note that the internal timeline of Long Halloween cannot be fully reconciled with other known events, as it would delay Two-Face’s debut until late Year Three—while its sequel, Batman: Dark Victory <12.99-12.00>, would push Robin’s debut all the way to Year Five. However, if most of the tale’s specific holiday references are disregarded, and the crimes depicted are read as merely holiday-themed, the timeframe can be compressed [as below] while the rest of the story remains intact.”

      This is a HUGE differing point of view between Miller’s timeline and mine and one of the main reasons our timelines look so different. I have read both Batman Annual #14 and The Long Halloween very closely. While Miller (and a lot of other folks I’ve talked to online) believe that both stories co-exist, I don’t think it’s possible at all. I think Long Halloween IS meant to supersede the Annual, which means, as Miller fears, Two-Face’s debut is indeed pushed back. Although, because I’ve included way more Legends of the Dark Knight stories than he has, my timeline pushes Two-Face’s debut back not to Year Three, but to Year Four. Likewise, Miller laments the fact that if Long Halloween is to be taken as unaltered canon (which is how I have taken it) then Robin’s debut gets pushed back to Year Five. Again, with my added year’s worth of LOTDK tales inserted, Robin’s debut gets pushed back to Year Six.

      Miller goes even further in disregarding Dark Victory. To quote his caveat: “If most of the [Dark Victory]’s specific holiday references are disregarded, and the crimes depicted are read as merely holiday-themed, the timeframe can be compressed.” So, Miller retcons Dark Victory from a FULL YEAR down to LESS THAN A MONTH, making it so that the Hangman (Sofia Gigante) doesn’t kill on holidays, but merely is a holiday themed killer. This is a HUGE liberty that Miller takes to make his timeline work—one which I am unwilling to do.

      Could I be wrong? Like I always say, there is no real answer. I could very easily erase a year by compressing things heavily in Year Two and Year Three, putting Two-Face’s debut into Year Three and Robin’s debut into Year Five, but that would be the closest my timeline would ever get to matching Miller’s.

      In regard to Miller’s placement of the JLA much earlier than mine, Miller regards JLA: Year One as canon primarily (as far as I can tell) because of the “origin” piece in 52 #51, which shows Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Flash, and BLACK CANARY fight the Appellaxians (sic). This “origin” piece also says that the founding trio doesn’t join full-time until later. This all does sorta seemingly refer to the events of JLA: Year One, while keeping the flashback scene from Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0 canon as well. Here is Miller’s notation that I take issue with though: “[The JLofA v.2 #0 flashback scene depicting the Big Three forming the JLA” is a notable change to ‘New Earth’ history as compared to post-Crisis canon. The relevant flashback scene seemingly implies that it takes place in the immediate aftermath of the founding battle with the Appellaxians, but a reference to Robin precludes a date earlier than this. The origin recap in 52 #51 confirms the delay as well.”

      While a delay it does indeed confirm, we are not specifically told that the delay is the full JLA: Year One delay. And I’m not so sure that it is? Also, I DO read the flashback from JLofA Vol. 2 as occurring very shortly after the Appelaxian affair, which means the reference to Robin, in my evaluation, solidifies the idea that the Appelaxian affair has to happen after Robin’s official debut (and after he has met Superman). This fact is NOT reflected in Miller’s chronology, which has Robin debuting AFTER the Appelaxians attack.

      So to re-iterate, Miller’s chronology, as he states openly in his caveats, excludes many Legends of the Dark Knight stories and alters both The Long Halloween and Dark Victory by mega-compressing both series into extremely shortened versions. And he regards the formation of the JLA differently, reading flashbacks and textual references differently than I do and factoring in JLA: Year One, whereas I do not.

      It’s frustrating, I know. How can they both be so damn good (tooting my own horn here, sorry) and yet so damn different? It’s just how it is. Luckily, my Real Batman Chronology links up pretty squarely with Miller’s Unauthorized Chronology of the DCU once you get to 1998/1999. Keep your eyes peeled for changes and updates, though. I’m always looking to make my chronology better. I think there might be a few compromises I can make to link our timelines up (which, in the long run, would be a very good thing).

  2. Ah yes, THE BOWLER. A bit confusing. I will clarify and update on the site. The first (and only, so far as I know) reference to the Bowler is the reference to defeating him and collecting his giant pin(s) for the trophy room in 1952’s ‘tec #238. There never was a Bowler before that, so the reference was a retcon addition into Batman’s history. (There were probably a hundred “flashbacks and references to things that never happened” in the Golden Age. The Bowler is but one of many, many.) Cut to 1998! Chuck Dixon and William Rosado have a bit of fun and, finally, after nearly 35 years, create/show the “Batman & Robin vs Bowler battle” in a ‘tec #725 flashback.

  3. Andrew says:

    Are there specific stories for when Batman meets/is trained by John Zatara (other than the reference), when Batman teams up with Doctor Fate for the first time, and when he meets Hawkman, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, and Phantom Stranger?

    • Batman’s training with John Zatara is only from a reference in Detective Comics #827. But I was a bit lazy lumping all the rest together with no explanation, eh? In fact, I’ve uncovered some errors. Here are the updates.

      Hawkman meeting Batman has no specific reference in the Modern Age, but the Gentleman Ghost reference in Batman #416 hints at a meeting, which should occur before Hawkman’s appearances in DCU Legacies #4 and JLA Year One #1.

      Elongated Man also has no specific reference in the Modern Age, but in the Silver Age, Batman met him well before he joined the JLA. We can assume the same happens in the Modern Age.

      Red Tornado originally met Batman in Justice League of America #66, well before the battle against Iron Hand in JLA #102 and his subsequent joining of the JLA in JLA #106. Of course, Stars & STRIPE retconned JLA #102‘s Iron Hand battle to occur after Red Tornado had already joined the team and also retconned it so that Tornado’s death (which was false in the original) was legit in the Modern Age. Based upon all of this, we can assume that Batman meets Tornado well before Tornado joins the JLA.

      Phantom Stranger actually first met Batman in The Brave & The Bold #89 during the Hellerite affair, which is listed later in the Year One Era! I will alter the timeline to reflect this.

      And Dr. Fate first meets Batman during one of the original JSA/JLA team-ups, which, in the case of the Modern Age, would be the one from DCU Legacies #4. I will make this change as well.

  4. Andrew says:

    So there are no Golden Age/Silver Age first meeting stories for Batman/Hawkman and Batman/Elongated Man?

    • In the Golden Age, Batman and Hawkman first met to fight Nazis as a part of the Justice Society. In the Silver Age, Hawkman first met Batman when he was officially inducted into the JLA. Because the Modern Age is a weird fusion of Golden and Silver Age stuff, that version doesn’t hold up—Batman has to meet a JSA Hawkman before the JLA teams up with the JSA and before Hawkman eventually joins the JLA later in Year Seven.

      Like the Hawkman meeting, there is no specific Modern Age reference for Batman’s first meeting with the Dinbys. In the Silver Age, Batman met Elongated Man (in ‘tec #331) way before the latter joined the JLA (in JLA #105)—nearly ten years prior. Of course, this can’t be the case in the more compressed Modern Age. Therefore, the only real reference to Batman meeting the Dinbys comes from flashbacks in Identity Crisis.

      I’m actually going to move Batman’s meeting with the Elongated man a bit earlier to accommodate this. I’d love to move it way earlier, but Robin should be a part of it, so it has to stay in Year Seven. And I’m also going to add these notes of clarification above.

  5. Lukasz says:

    Hi again Colin,
    could you by any chance elaborate why those Superman /Batman Annual ‘re-imagined’ stories could not be placed in the chronology? There are quire a few retold golden and silver ages stories already on the list 😉

    • Yes, of course.

      Annual #1 is a re-telling of the SS Varanian cruise case, where Batman and Superman discover each other’s secret IDs. I’d say this issue is non-canon because Batman tells Superman that he already has a partner. This is obviously meant to a reference to Robin, who would have been around in previous continuities, but who would NOT have debuted by this point on the Modern Age timeline. I suppose there is a way around this if we assume that Batman is not referencing Robin, but Alfred instead. But this is a big stretch. The other big thing is the appearance of Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman (the Antimatter Earth’s Crime Syndicate). In the classic JLA Earth 2, our heroes make zero reference to having met them before. I would LOVE if this title was canon, especially since Deadpool is in it, but there are just a few too many issues for me to feel comfortable including it. However, if you’d like to (with small caveats), then it simple goes in Year One where the Varania episode already is.

      Annual #2 is non-canon simply because Superman loses powers for over a full month and there’s no place for that long of an absence on our timeline. Also, this issue shows Robin’s first meeting with Superman, which totally contradicts 1998’s Legends of the DCU #6. Normally, I’d say the newer story trumps the old, but since this is a re-imagining of the extremely campy WFC #178 (1968) & WFC #180 (1968) as opposed to the definitively Modern-styled Legend of the DCU #6, I think the other story fits the timeline better. Not to mention, if the first annual seems out-of-continuity, it stands to reason that the second might follow suit.

      Joe Kelly did both of these first two annuals. I’d say that he definitely was less concerned with continuity and more concerned with re-telling old Silver Age tales in the most fun way possible. These annuals are great! And I actually think they function better as stand-alones that exist outside of the main line.

      Interestingly enough, I’ve just re-read Annual #3 and I think it might actually be canon. Unlike Joe Kelly’s playing it fast-and-loose narratively, Len Wein seems to re-imagine an old tale for the Modern Age by making sure that it fits into continuity. Keep an eye out for this one getting added.

      And while we’re on topic, S/B Annual #4 is non-canon because it takes place on the Batman Beyond world of Earth 12. S/B Annual #5 is, of course, canon since it is a part of the “Reign of Doomsday” arc.

      • Lukasz says:

        Thanks for the reply! Yes, Joe Kelly annuals are a fun read and establish Bats/Supes (love/hate?) relationship in an interesting manner. But I must concur 1st annual seems to be totally non-canon. The 2nd though (a more serious one) might be worked as alternative to LODCU #6 as the 1st meeting between Superman and Robin as you suggested, or if we tweak Clark(man)-Dick(Richard!) dialogue – the second one. Still.. there’s the manner of this JLA invitation card. What was that about? Is that a reference to Waid’s JLA Year One? Or the original silver age JLofA stories?

        • Oh, I missed the part about the JLA invitation card. There definitely wasn’t an invitation card in the Silver Age. And as far as I know JLA Year One doesn’t either. And even if it does, the idea of inviting one of the initiators of the team (post-retcons) doesn’t make sense. The card must simply be Kelly’s own way of time-stamping his story—putting it shortly before Batman joins the JLA. If anything, I’d say that the JLA invitation is another reason to label Annual #2 as non-canon.

          • Lukasz says:

            Yeah, I think it can be canon only in the pre-Infinite Crisis version of JLA history. At the end of it seems World’s finest decided on accepting JLA membership as reservists, like in JLA Year One and Incarnations.

  6. Kordarus Wood says:

    Hello again Collin,

    To be honest i had very little to no knowledge of the DC universe a few months back. Batman always been a super hero i wanted to read about, i tought it was a good thing to get introduced in the DC universe with this Character. And looking for a chronological reading order i found your web site.

    I managed to bought most of the main story so far included in your real chronology project and now that the JLA is officially active, i wonder about your reference about the JLA. Are those only reference because batman does not appear on those or there is no modern age issues about these story and they only talk about it in the issues you mentioned?

    I’m just not sure if i should buy those issues if they don’t actually tell the story you are referencing. My understanding about the JLA so far from other chronological reading order project i found on the web, is that most story are made canon by reference for the early years but those story are actually printed in the pre crisis era if i understand correctly.

    Also i wanted to thank you for your time and effort on this project, i really enjoy following the career of the Dark Knight from early years and go forward. I know this is probablly really time consuming project and to see you keep working on it after all those years is quite impressive.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Kordarus. They are much appreciated.

      Any reference notes (marked in all CAPS as “REFERENCE”) are mere mentions or hints or insinuations of previous encounters or stories, some of which are actual tales from the Golden or Silver Ages. As far as reading through the Modern Age chronologically, I’d suggest taking these references into consideration note by note, meaning I’d see if they are interesting to you and if you’d find value in reading those issues then read them. The flashbacks and numbered bullet points are the notes of most importance, narratively. A lot of references are minor notes and don’t bear much relevance on later stories on the timeline. Hope that makes sense. If you need any specific suggestions, don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail and I’d be glad to guide you.

      • Kordarus Wood says:

        Thank you Collin for the fast reply. This is more or less what i understood. I think i’ll stick to the new age for a budget reason, maybe i’ll try to get some of those Silver/Golden ages issues later from some of the major story.

  7. Jack James says:

    Hey Collin! I was looking through this today and, don’t you think War on Crime might be better placed earlier in Bruce’s career? There’s something about how grounded that story is that just seems better placed for those times. It can technically be set anywhere, since there are really no real indications of when it takes place, doesn’t even show Gordon, so it could even be as early as Year One, although I think it might be better suited between Year Two to Five, just because of some of Bruce’s internal monologue that kinda makes me think he’s been on this Batman business for a bit.

  8. Jack James says:

    Could Bette Kane’s debut as Batgirl be placed a bit earlier than August to account for Barbara Gordon being missing from the Bat-Family group pic seen in The Killing Joke as she hasn’t been invited to the Bat-Family yet?

    • Hey Jack! At first, I was gonna say nahhhh. BUT, then I got to thinkin. It does make sense for it to go earlier—as it also helps tell our over-arching story. Babs debuts as Batgirl and is pretty freakin awesome. Robin sees it, but Batman isn’t convinced. (Admittedly, Robin has a crush on Babs from the start, which does influence his perspective.) THEN, along comes Bat-Woman, and Batman falls head over heels, so much so that when Bat-Woman introduces a phony version of Batgirl that isn’t as good as the real deal, Batman eagerly invites the bogus Bat-Girl into the Bat-Family, no questions asked!

  9. Jack James says:

    Something about the “Broken Nose” story being placed on this year seems off to me. I mean, I get it’s the world of superheroics… but did it really take him this long to get a broken nose, especially when he’s already been in all sorts of weird and tough fights by this point?
    Not to mention, Batman #682 flashback to the Grayson deaths shows Bruce with a broken nose, having a bandage over it.

    My suggestion? Broken Nose should be a Year One story, in fact I’d place it just the week after Bruce’s breakup with Viveca Beausoleil, in that story we already see several criminals try to escalate the types of weapons they use to commit crimes and go up against Batman, one of them using a jetpack and the other a bazooka, so it proves to reason one would immediately after try to use a robot exoskeleton, heh.

    • Yeah, this def feels like it should go much earlier. Year One is getting cramped, but I’ll see about making this move.

      I’m hesitant to place it prior to Dr. Death. “Broken Nose” may very well be Year One, but I don’t think listing Mabuse as one of the first super-villains that takes on Batman makes 100% sense. Maybe a bit later in the year? I’ve placed it in October. However, part of me wants to push it to year two because Batman really doesn’t deal with robots of any kind until his robot dinosaur adventure.

  10. Marcelo Millicay says:

    Hey Collin!
    Just a heads-up, Clayface II as “John Royce” occurs only in Det #304, not 305.

  11. Jack James says:

    Okay, in this part I think we should reconsider the canoncity of Batgirl: Year One #1-3 and Folie à deux, but it’s still gonna be messy.

    The main things that work against Batgirl Year One #1-#3 being canon are:
    “First, Babs has already graduated from college.”
    -The main reference that tells us she hasn’t graduated from college yet I think comes from Folie à deux. However, I’d make the argument that Batgirl: Year One, having been presented as the definitive Batgirl origin story for the modern age, overrides Folie à deux in a similar way that “Long Halloween”, “Dark Victory”, “Nightwing Year One” and “Robin Year One” overwrote a bunch of stuff from before, especially considering that Batgirl: Year One explores the development between Batman and Batgirl’s working relationship that Folie à deux already attempted to showcase.

    “Wrong. Second, Gordon is still a captain.”

    That’s a pretty common mistake for Batman stories to make, I’d just ignore it.

    “Wrong. Third, the Teen Titans already exist.”
    – Another bit I’d just ignore.

    “Wrong. Fourth, right after her debut encounter with Killer Moth, not only does Moth escape, but both Batman and Robin meet Batgirl as well. ”
    – Again, the main reference towards this comes from “Photo Finish”, and I’d say that Batgirl: Year One overwrites it. Photo Finish can still exist but it could just not be the first meeting between Batgirl and Robin but just their first team-up maybe it can come sometime between #4-#5, before their adventure on motorcycles .

    The trickier part comes from later issues, with the JL satellite HQ and such. I’m tempted to say these could just be indications that the JL satellite headquarters move should just move forwards, but admittedly idk how feasible that is.

    Overall it just seems weird that such a gigantic and character-defining story such as Batgirl Year One would have to be chopped up that much, especially since you could argue it’s pretty much the ultimate Pre-Flashpoint Barbara as Batgirl story, it’s the longest one and it’s the most character-defining one.

    • Hooboy, this is a big one! But one definitely long overdue for a re-read and re-look into its continuity. It’s been a busy busy few weeks for me, but I’ll def put this on my to-do list!

      • Hey Jack! Made some changes, added ALL of Batgirl: Year One into the mix (with caveats). I’m still keeping Babs’ college stuff as is (it’s part of the caveats), because otherwise you have this ridiculous thing where Babs has multiple advanced degrees BEFORE the age of 18, and it’s just not realistic (even for comics). However, i’m happy that Batgirl: Year One has been “reinstated” as I agree with you that it is important.

  12. Alvaro Foncea says:

    hi, i think there is a big miscalculation with the years, or it is very weird on the side of batgirl’s ages. Barbara Gordon was born in 1987, so according to this list in batgirl year one she is 7 years old, in batman confidential the bat and the cat she goes to a nudist club at 7 years old and in killing joke she is 12 years old, but still in these 3 she looks at least 15 years old in batgirl year one and confidential, and in killing joke at least 18 years old. it’s all very cloudy and weird with the years they have her on.
    i suggest that maybe they should put in a few more years of batman solo prior to Dick Grayson, and also a few more years of batman and robin working together prior to batgirl.

    DC have reaaally big problems with the ages jajaja
    Greetings 🙂

    • Alvaro Foncea says:

      According to my calculations the first years of batman would be a tremendous chronological disaster, full of empty years and never told stories. it seems funny to me that in year one it is said that batman in his first months made 60 attacks and none of these are counted, i hate you dc hahahahaha
      anyway, batman and his weird time jumps.

      There would really be 9 years missing between batman year one (1987) and batgirl year one (it really happens in 2003, I proceed to explain it with calculations).

      one taking as a reference for barbara the ages of dick, along with other data, like according to dick grayson’s driver’s license seen during Forever Evil, he was born in 1991. and according to dark victory, dick was 12 years old when his parents died (the batman fandom page also said that in batgirl year one, barbara had 13 years ( his fathers died in the 2000) and take the batgirl role in 2003 with 16 years.)

      So it should happen in 2003 as well, so barbara would be inspired by robin to take the mantle of batgirl.

      i reiterate that for robin year one and batgirl year one to fit together they should take place in 2003, that is year 16 for bruce wayne being batman (barbara gordon is the same age as batman’s alter ego), not year 7.
      as for bruce wayne, since at 8 he loses his parents (1979), and trains for 18 years, it is said in batman year one (1987) and returns to Gotham with 26, so by 2003 he would be 42 years old, and would take his pupils with 16 years being batman.

      i had a second theory where 3 years are subtracted from all the calculations, but dick would be the same age as barbara, something that in several occasions, including batgirl year one, is discarded because it is assumed that barbara is older than Dick, which would be a margin of 3 years old.

      i reiterate my suggestion to add years between year one (1987) and dark victory, the end of the batman solo era.

      so i regret to suggest that all year indications should be reviewed and changed, except 1987.
      and on the basis that 1995 would actually be 2003, so everything after what they have put as year seven (which would actually be batman sixteen year) should be moved forward 8 years.

      Putting, for example (1) the killing joke should be in 2006 taking into account a 19 years old Barbara. But as the age of batgirl in the killing joke is not confirmed, we could just move the facts 8 years, i.e. from year 12 (2000) to year 20 (2008) thus having a 20 years old barbara.
      and for example (2) we would have Knightfall in 2010 (2002+8) with a broken back Bruce Wayne of 49 years old.

      that would be all, I hope it is well understood, and anything you can ask me and I can try to explain it a little better hahahahaha

      and sorry for my english jajaja im chilean

      Greetings, friends!!! <3

      • Alvaro Foncea says:

        I hope that my suggestion is not offensive to all the work and years that have been dedicated to this project, since it would only be to edit some of the annotations of some arcs and change the year that appears at the beginning of each article.
        in any case, i have my help if you want to take my suggestion to add those 9 empty years distributed between the span of batman year one (1987) to batgirl year one (2003) we would have to consider how to distribute them hahahaha.
        that and add 8 years to each year from batgirl year one (2003) onwards.
        🙂

      • Alvaro Foncea says:

        *** I correct that the margin of years between Barbara’s and Dick’s age is 4 years difference.

      • Jack James says:

        Hey man, I’m not Collin so I can’t speak for him, but, citing “Forever Evil” doesn’t quite fit into this continuity since this is the Pre-Flashpoint continuity, not the New 52 one, which is were Forever Evil takes place. Also, as far as I know there’s no real indication of Barbara being born in 1987 in Pre-Flashpoint, quite the opposite, as Batgirl Year One tells us she already graduated college and at most other stories explicitly tell us she became Batgirl at 18. I’m kinda confused by the dates you’re mentioning.

        • I am Collin and I can speak for myself LOL! 😉 You crack me up, James! But yeah, Alvaro, I appreciate the amount of thought you’ve put into your own headcanon, but I think you are mashing up continuities. There’s no way Babs and Dick were born in 1987 and 1991 respectively in the Modern Age… I think you are referencing a more contemporary timeline, maybe even a version of the Rebirth Era/Infinite Frontier timeline. This section of the website is the Modern Age, which features stories and references from material published from roughly 1986 through 2011.

          And as Jack says, you even make reference to Forever Evil, which is a specifically New 52 era tale, yet even another continuity unto itself!

    • Jack James says:

      Why do you think Barbara was born in 1987?

  13. Milo says:

    In Batgirl: Year One, there are many references to Batgirl being the third member of the Bat-family. There is also this funny line from Robin when Gordon asks if Batman is “expanding the franchise”: “And have to worry about a Batwoman or Bathound Bogarting the trademark?” So it would seem that in the Modern Age, Bat-Woman, Bat-Girl, and Ace the Bat-Hound all debut after Batgirl: Year One.

    All of my comments are just suggestions based on my own headcanon.

    • Batgirl: Year One is a continuity nightmare and a grand exercise on how NOT to write with Easter Eggs. (It’s honestly one of my least favorite series of the entire Modern Age, and if I never have to speak about it again I’ll be very happy.) BUT having said that, I think you are onto something here. Alfred also makes comments like, “We’re going to need a bigger cave.” And Killer Moth delivers “Now there’s three of them!” commentary. Upon her own debut, Batgirl even laments having not decided to call herself Batwoman, implying that there isn’t yet a Batwoman or Ace. I’ll move things around accordingly!

      • Milo says:

        Batgirl: Year One does have a lot of misplaced fanservice. The story is not as good as Robin: Year One, but I do think it’s a fine exploration of Barbara’s early days. And the art is great.

        I see you’ve addressed the other continuity problems, such as the JLA satellite and Batman dealing with the League of Assassins and Deadman. To me these seem like retcons to the Modern Age timeline, not just simple continuity mistakes. Couldn’t Batgirl: Year One take place after the JLA have established the satellite, in Year Eight? And couldn’t “The Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul” take place before Batgirl: Year One, while Batman’s initial encounter with Deadman would happen during his absence in issue #7?

        • Milo says:

          What am I thinking, of course not. Bruce is living in the penthouse in “The Saga of Ra’s Al Ghul”, while he lives in the manor in Batgirl: Year One.

          You could push Batgirl: Year One as far as Year Nine, after the “Siege” story when Bruce returns to the manor. Then all the references to the JLA satellite, League of Assassins, Deadman and Teen Titans would jibe. Then also Barbara ripping an old “Elect Rupert Thorne” poster would make sense, if the events of “Strange Apparitions” happened not too long ago. But that is if one wants to slavishly respect the odd, anachronistic continuity of Batgirl: Year One.

          • Milo says:

            And now I realize, then Batman would have the wrong symbol. He only adopts the yellow oval in the epilogue to Batgirl: Year One. You’re right, it’s a continuity nightmare. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

            • Milo says:

              But I think there’s a case to be made for placing Batgirl: Year One in Year Nine. According to the original Silver Age tale, Batman should already have the yellow oval symbol. And since Batman suddenly gets the yellow oval in the last panel, the rest of the story where he doesn’t have it could just be considered a coloring error, à la Bolland’s recolored Killing Joke.

              This would also leave room for Bat-Woman, Bat-Girl and Ace the Bat-Hound to debut before Batgirl: Year One, by which time they could be retired and mostly forgotten. The line “And have to worry about a Batwoman or Bathound Bogarting the trademark?” would become a callback.

              • Yeah, now that I’ve read this story a few times more recently, it’s clearly written to go in Year Nine. Looking at Chris J Miller’s Unauthorized DCU timeline, the usually reliable Miller clearly didn’t know what to do with the mess of Batgirl: Year One. He uncharacteristically makes an ungraceful move and inserts a two year gap into the narrative, which allows for the first part of Batgirl’s story to occur earlier AND for the end sequences to occur in Year Nine where they belong.

                I don’t think that’s the best course of action. It either stays with caveats, it moves to Year Nine, or it gets split up. Honestly, there’s no easy answer.

                There is a kind of smoking gun though… Zero Hour timeline (1994), Secret Files & Origins Guide to the DCU 2000 timeline (2000), and Batgirl Year One (2003) ALL place Batgirl’s debut post-Ra’s al Ghul! The timelines from these particular comics should be taken with a grain of salt, but they do show that DC had something very specific in mind for Batgirl… which is likely why Beatty writes her in Year Nine the way he does. Add Chris Miller’s indecision leading to split placement of her debut in Year Seven AND Year Nine, and I think we are starting to lean YEAR NINE.

                Anyway, gonna really tackle this. I’m starting to think that attempts to mirror the Silver Age with regard to Batgirl are not only futile but incorrect. In the Modern Age, DC wants Batgirl to debut later. A later debut also makes a lot of her college stuff make more sense too. I think a move is in order, and I think it’ll be a great fix (and one that I don’t think anyone else online has really figured out in it’s entirety).

                Thanks, Milo!

                • Ok, so I tried to map out a timeline with Batgirl Year One in Year Nine, and it fucks up so many other things, ranging from Deadman to Ra’s al Ghul to Dick’s time in college… It would take a fundamental overhaul of the entire chronology to make it work, and then you’d STILL have a ton of errors and caveats. It just doesn’t make sense to make this move. I’m going to leave as-is, but I will add all of our new notes about Batgirl Year One. Honestly, in my personal headcanon, I don’t include Batgirl Year One. I don’t think anyone else should either. But if you do, we’ll have the notes allllll about it!

                • Milo says:

                  Right, and I think the narrative implies that there is a longer gap between Robin: Year One and Batgirl: Year One, because Barbara notes that Robin has grown a few inches since they last met at the end of Robin: Year One. They both also looks taller and older in the main story of Batgirl: Year One than they do in the flashback to Robin: Year One. So a two year gap would make sense. The only problem is Batman’s symbol, but that can be chalked up to a mistake, like Gordon being referred to as a captain when he should be a commissioner.

                  • I’m still examining this lol. I THINK MAYBE Batgirl: Year One could go just before the penthouse move, so early Year Nine or mid to late Year Eight. Realizing a few things. It doesn’t have to go after Ra’s al Ghul. It just has to sync with Deadman/Sensei, which is actually before Ra’s al Ghul. This also solves a big problem, which was revolving around Babs falling in love with Dick while he is attending Hudson (which is during the penthouse time). It also solves the Titans reference, and the JLA Satellite reference as well…

  14. tiptupjr94 says:

    I recently blazed through a ton of “Year One” stories (Batgirl, JLA, etc.) and I have a lot of thoughts on Batgirl. I’m at work right now so I won’t post my full detailed thoughts. But I have a few observations. First, touching Kathy and Betty, keep in mind that BG Y1 was written at a time when they WERE NOT canon, period. Batman 682 and Incorporated 4 have Robin mentioning he doesn’t trust that “bogus Batgirl” or something to that effect, but it would be very strange if he was talking about Barbara there. You could take this to mean Betty and Babs were around at the same time, BUT, I think the overwhelming implication from Morrison is that the Kathy and Betty era took place squarely before Babs made her debut. In my opinion this is the cleanest way to do it. Still, it’s highly up for debate.

    I think it’s pretty clear Batgirl Year One is supposed to function as Babs’ canon origin. But there are some problems. They were clearly using the Secret Origins 20 model where Babs gets her masters before starting at the library, and Two-Face was around when she was 13 and she starts college at 16. The idea of her getting a masters in two years, even with her advanced schooling, is ludicrous. But there are post-BG Y1 stories that plainly place her in college AFTER debuting as Batgirl, and intimate that she was around 18 (or just turning 18) the year of her debut. I’ll touch on her age more in-depth with a later comment, but one other thing I noticed…

    I think the reference to the JLA satellite is an out-and-out error. The official Secret Files 2000 timeline places the satellite pre-Batgirl and I think this is what Dixon and Beatty were referencing. Notably Teen Titans Year One also implies the JLA has moved on from Happy Harbor. HOWEVER, we have to take the Silver Age event into account. Despite appearances, Silver Age actually was intended to be canon. The involvement of Snapper Carr and the Happy Harbor HQ is too intrinsic to the story to ignore. Plus, Batgirl and Black Canary go on a mission together (they first meet in BG Y1, contradicting a reference in Birds of Prey that they met in a case involving Dinah’s dad, who we know died before the JL formed, per JLA Y1, and he is dead in BG Y1). Batgirl fights Catwoman in Silver Age, and they first meet in that Batman Confidential story which references her subway fight with Blockbuster. In Silver Age, Deadman has met Batman. BG Y1 claims this meeting takes place within its time frame. Silver Age has Batgirl on a rooftop meeting with Commissioner Gordon, which is illogical prior to the ending of BG Y1. Green Arrow has his old suit in Silver Age, and his new one in BG Y1.

    Noticing a pattern? EVERY continuity reference in Silver Age indicates a placement after the ENTIRETY of Batgirl Year One; EXCEPT the JLA satellite and Ollie’s costume. My conclusion? Despite appearances, BG Y1 should be considered more “Silver Agey” than the story makes obvious, and the appearance of the satellite HQ must unavoidably, in my opinion, be replaced with Happy Harbor. Note that Babs mentions the HQ in a scene BEFORE she becomes Batgirl. Thus, I must disagree with Chris Miller on this. I believe realistically there is no significant continuity gap within Batgirl Year One, and that it is canon, with minor exceptions – including perhaps Jim’s police rank, and the oddness of Firefly’s “debut” despite his Robin Year One showing. Plus, Babs has not been fully “put through college”.

    The 2008 DC Encyclopedia claims Babs was involved in Copperhead’s debut, but the end of Batgirl Year One makes it clear she has ONLY faced Firefly and Killer Moth at this point, and also shows Copperhead in Batman’s training room – meaning Bats must have faced him alone (or with Robin) prior to this.

    As far as what Year I would put it on YOUR timeline, Collin, I’m not sure… but the original Teen Titans are active, so Dick must be 15 or younger, per Secret Origins Annual 3 (ho boy, I have a lot to say about the Teen Titans timeline from some of the notes I’ve been taking lately.) Anyway, that’s my take on Batgirl. Cheers! 🙂

    • Can’t wait to see your FULL thoughts, Tip, haha. Yeah, the Batgirl timeline is tricky, and always up for much serious debate. I always love your insights, and I’ll definitely include them on the site. In any case, I think we have the general order of things correct. As highlighted via footnote already, moving Silver Age is tricky too because the debut of the original Seven Soldiers occurs post satellite, which means that the second Seven Soldiers kinda sorta needs to be post-satellite as well. Which means that Snapper and Happy Harbor don’t really make much sense for Silver Age… I’ve ignored all the errors in Silver Age since it already plays fast and loose with continuity to begin with.

      BUT BUT BUT I think I see what you are saying, though! Silver Age (the series) really takes place (if we put it in actual Silver Age terms) somewhere between 1967 (Batgirl’s debut) and 1970 (the JL Satellite debut). We ignore the satellite references in Batgirl’s debut, and this can work. The new Seven Soldiers are clearly influenced by the OG team, but the OG team won’t team up with present day heroes until later. So in that sense, we meet the copycat team before we meet the OG team, which is totally fine. In any case, I’ll take a deeper look and make changes if/where appropriate.

      • tiptupjr94 says:

        Yes, you basically get what I’m saying. Silver Age has to “spiritually” take place a bit later than obvious, and Batgirl Year One has to spiritually take place a bit *earlier* than obvious, but not too much, due to the particulars of Barbara’s aging and school career. So basically, Teen Titans, then Batgirl Y1, Batman Confidential 17-21, then Silver Age, then satellite shortly after. JLA Classified #51 confirms the JLA was still in Happy Harbor when Ollie debuts his new look. He has his old look in Teen Titans Year One when the cave HQ is supposedly vacant. So, I would say that’s in error. Titans, Batgirl, and GA’s new look = pre-satellite.

        I believe the implication is that an ad hoc Seven Soldiers needed to be created precisely BECAUSE the originals were gone. So really, it makes perfect sense for it to be before their return. The only loose end is Hawkman and the JSA. We’re definitely post-JLA Incarnations 2, since Dinah refers to GA as Ollie, and Bruce and Clark are firmly counted as JL members (granted that would be a moot point post-Infinite Crisis) so the JSA’s Hawkman *should* be on the team by now. But clearly the focus was on the Silver Age DCU so they didn’t want to showcase the JSA. We could easily say they were simply indisposed or busy with something else. I like to think the Thanagarian at the end is Katar Hol himself, though. (Who actually does appear with the satellite-era league in JLA 80-Page Giant #2…)

        The other interesting thing is that Batman is shown to be involved in *both* the League’s original fights with Kanjar Ro. Kind of funny, since these supposedly take place before the epilogue of JLA Year One #12, with no mention of Bats there.

        I wish DC would have codified the JL’s early history in the post-IC world a little better. I hate their half-hearted attempts to remove Dinah from the founding membership. I read JLA Year One, Incarnations, and all that kind of stuff recently and they’re actually so fricking good, I wish I could preserve them at all costs from lame retcons, lol. Of course some would say that about the removal of Wonder Woman in the first place. I don’t mind the League being post-Robin now, though. (And in fact, doesn’t the entirety of Batman’s early canon up through and after Robin Year One make NO MENTION WHATSOEVER of the JLA? Very interesting, since DC always considered it pre-Robin before IC…)

  15. tiptupjr94 says:

    To clarify, I think you have Batgirl in the right place actually. I also put her in Year 8 in my personal timeline, so if God told Moses every matter is established by two or three witnesses, I guess that’s that!

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