Modern Age Year Six by Pulido

–Batman: Dark Victory #4 Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
January 1. On New Year’s Day, Bruce heads over to an angry Selina’s apartment and apologizes for having missed their New Year’s Eve date the night prior. Meanwhile, Gordon forms a professional partnership with Janice Porter.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Secret Files and Origins #1 Part 3. Batman and Robin go on an unspecified case and keep a fedora and matching coat-cape as trophies for the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #676—originally told in Batman #14. The Case of Dana Drye occurs. Robin was originally a part of this tale, but he obviously isn’t in the Modern Age version. Batman attends a “Meeting of the World’s Greatest Detectives” during which master sleuth Dana Drye is mysteriously murdered. Batman eventually solves the case when he finds Drye’s diary. The diary becomes a mainstay in the trophy room of the Batcave.

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

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #676—originally told in Detective Comics #441. The “Case of Judge Clay” occurs. Batman takes down the corrupt Judge Clay after the judge accuses Batman of a crime that the former is actually responsible for. Batman keeps Judge Clay’s gavel as a trophy and displays in in the Batcave.

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

–Batman: Dark Victory #5 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
February 14-15. Batman, fearing that former police sergeant Frank Pratt may be the next target of the Hangman, seeks him out, but gets shot at by Pratt for his trouble. Pratt ultimately winds up hanged like all the other dead cops. Catwoman then starts poking around trying to find Carmine Falcone’s corpse, but gets knocked-out, tied-up, and put into a death trap (by persons unknown) for her trouble. Batman locates her (thanks to Riddler) and saves her at the last second. Batman and Catwoman then have a chat about their relationship, which doesn’t go very well. Elsewhere, Barbara Gordon (Senior) returns to Gotham with James Junior and she gets back together with Jim! (They are still divorced but attempting to reconcile their differences.) The next day, Bruce, having stood-up Selina the night before, tries to make amends, but Selina has packed up her things, moved out of her apartment, and left a Dear John letter for Bruce. It’s over between them.[2]

–The Creeper Vol. 2 #1-6 by Steve Niles/Justiniano (October 2006 to March 2007)
Beware The Creeper! Gotham talk show host Jack Ryder is turned into the Creeper by the evil Dr. Vincent Yatz, who injects him with a mix of Joker Venom and nano-cell technology serum. The Creeper meets Batman when the former apprehends the murderous super-villain known as The Axeman. Meanwhile, Yatz, in league with the Joker, hijacks a bus full of inmates and steals them away to an abandoned island prison ten miles outside of Gotham. The evil scientist turns the inmates into monsters. The Creeper teams-up with Batman and the latter is able to apprehend Joker. Yatz is outed as a criminal and his experiments are stopped, but he escapes from the Creeper. We must assume Joker never makes it back to Arkham following his arrest, since we know he remains free for his appearances in Dark Victory later this year.

–“Ghosts” by Sam Kieth (Batman Confidential #40-43) March 2010 to June 2010
Late winter. When several homeless people are slaughtered by a creature, a recently appointed Commissioner Gordon arranges for Batman to meet Callie Dean, a blind social worker that knows the victims well. Batman and Callie soon learn that they are dealing with a supernatural force that manifests itself in the form of a sulfurous monster with razor-sharp teeth. Batman confronts the monster, which temporarily blinds him and then delivers a premonition that Batman will grow to love Callie, but then the latter will die. In the end, the creature vanishes, and Batman does form a platonic love for Callie, only to watch her slip in the snow, hit her head, and die. Weird story.

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

–Batman: Dark Victory #6 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
March 17. A bloody gang war has erupted between Penguin and the Falcone mob. Batman captures Penguin and delivers him to Gordon, who has just formed an elite squad of cops to deal with the recent escalation of mob violence. Officer Julia Lopez is an integral part of this team. Mario Falcone, bending the situation to his advantage, executes a coup. Using his clean legal reputation to distance himself from his sister Sophia, Mario takes complete control of the Falcone organization and all of its assets, much to the chagrin of Sophia. Later, Watch Commander Stan Merkel is found hanged by the Hangman outside of the former Dent home.

–Batman: Dark Victory #7 Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
March 17. Batman examines Stan Merkel’s body, but is confronted by Commissioner Gordon’s new elite crime-fighting squad. Not knowing any better, they shoot at the Dark Knight until an angry Gordon orders them to cease fire.

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

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

–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Batman Confidential #52. Bruce Wayne is named People Magazine‘s “Sexiest Man Alive.” Amazing!

–REFERENCE: In Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4-9 and Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #10 Part 1. Late March. Even though Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #3 is out-of-continuity, the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel still commemorate the death of Harrison Grey (the second annual Springtime meeting between Batman and Superman), as referenced in Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #4-10. As mentioned specifically in Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #10 Part 1, Two-Face appears during this meeting and threatens our heroes. (Originally, in Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #3, Two-Face was busted and jailed, but thanks to Dark Victory, that can no longer be the case. Instead, we must assume that Two-Face makes a brief appearance here just to taunt Batman and Superman before running off.)

–Batman: Dark Victory #7 Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
April 1. Two-Face holds a mock trial in order to determine the identity of the Hangman. Calendar Man, Joker, Scarecrow, Mr. Zero, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, and Riddler are in attendance. Solomon Grundy plays the bailiff role. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce trains and begins to doubt his abilities to catch the Hangman. Alfred pries a bit and discovers that Master Bruce has been running with traces amounts of Fear Gas in his system for exactly three months now! After a quick session with Dr. Pennyworth, all’s well again. Later, the Hangman strikes again and tries to kill Commissioner Gordon, but both Batman and Two-Face are there to protect him—(Two-Face doesn’t want to get blamed for crimes he isn’t committing). Elsewhere, Tony Zucco and Edward Skeevers plot a sinister money-making scheme against Haly’s Circus. Uh oh.

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

–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One #2. Killer Moth (Drury Walker) debuts. Killer Moth’s first appearance is a mash-up of his original few appearances in the Golden Age. The new gaudy super-villain runs a bogus protection racket, going by several aliases, including “Cameron Van Cleer” and “Laszlo Furlenbach.” Batman easily busts Killer Moth and his gang.

–REFERENCE: In 52—originally told in Detective Comics #319. Batman captures the nefarious Dr. No-Face.

–“A Matter of Trust” (Batman: Black and White Vol. 2 TPB Part 3) by Chris Claremont/Steve Rude/Mark Buckingham (October 2003)
Bruce’s friend Dr. Robbin Carnahan asks him to babysit her twin boys for a night. Being godfather to the twins, Bruce obliges but is quickly in way over his head as the unruly boys run circles around him. Bruce resists the urge to call Alfred for help, buckles down, and tries to play nanny, getting peed-on for his troubles. Eventually, Bruce falls asleep with the boys in his arms. (Note that Batman: Black and White Vol. 2 TPB Part 1 and Batman: Black and White Vol. 2 TPB Part 2 are non-canon. Part 1 features a Modern Age present that seems to harken pack to a Golden Age past in regard to Joker’s origins. Part 2 is a comedy story featuring a joke Batman called Batsman.)

–Batman: Dark Victory #8 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
May 8. Mother’s Day. Joker kills a bunch of Sal Maroni’s top men then kills a bunch of Mario Falcone’s business associates. Later, the Hangman murders Commissioner Gordon’s appointed bodyguard. Later still, Joker attacks Sofia Gigante Falcone in her home, but gets warded off by a gun-wielding Alberto Falcone and Batman. Batman thrashes Joker and puts him back in Arkham. Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred sets out tickets (given to Bruce for a donation his company made a while ago) to Haly’s Circus.

–Batman: Dark Victory #9 Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
May 9.[3] Bruce and Alfred attend CC “Pop” Haly‘s “Greatest Show on Earth” at Haly’s Circus only to watch a tragedy unfold. Zucco, who was refused by the circus after offering a bogus protection/insurance racket, gets his revenge by sabotaging the act of the famous trapeze artist family, the Flying Graysons. The Grayson parents fall to their deaths as the distraught audience watches. Twelve-year-old Dick Grayson is left orphaned. (While Mark Waid’s JLA Secret Files & Origins #3 Part 2 says Dick is eight-years-old at the time of his parents’ homicide, multiple sources place his age at twelve-going-on thirteen.) The terrible death of the Flying Graysons is also chronicled through flashbacks from Batman #436, Batman #682, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #34, Nightwing Vol. 2 #101, and the second feature to 52 #25.[4] Not only is Bruce present (making appearances as both Batman and Bruce Wayne), but so is a three-year-old Tim Drake as well. (Tim will be turning four in less than a month.) Accompanying the child are his parents Jack Drake and Janet Drake. The Flying Graysons death scene is also shown through flashback from Secret Origins 80-Page Giant #1, although Tim is incorrectly referred to as being seven-years-old instead of going on four. Secret Origins Vol. 2 #50 also contains a Denny O’Neil prose version of the death of the Flying Graysons.


–FLASHBACK: From Batman #436 and the second feature to 52 #25. May 9. Immediately following Dick’s parents’ deaths, Batman swoops down to speak with Dick and examine the scene. Dick mentions Tony Zucco as a suspect, but no one really listens.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. May 9. Dick’s parents have just died. Dick overhears Tony Zucco talking to Pop Haly about the Flying Grayson deaths. Before he can recklessly act, Dick is stopped by Batman, who tells him to have patience for justice. (Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13 continues directly onward from this scene, having Batman take Dick into the Batcave to swear an oath of allegiance. Obviously, this part of Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13 cannot have possibly occurred and must be summarily ignored.)

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. May 9. From the shadows, Batman watches over Dick as he says his sad goodbyes to Pop Haly and his friends before going with a state agent to be placed into the rough-and-tumble Gotham Youth Center (as seen in the 55-page flashback “Robin: Year One” issue of Robin Annual #4). We see Dick leave with the shrewish state agent, but a flashback from Batman #436 shows that Commissioner Gordon is the one who actually escorts him to the Youth Center. Therefore, we must surmise that the shrewish agent delivers him over to Gordon first. Batman #436 also introduces us to the loving, caring headmistress Sister Mary Elizabeth. We should note that while Sister Mary Elizabeth may be loving and caring, the Youth Center is a bad bad place (as detailed in Robin Annual #4) where Dick gets beaten up almost every day by other kids.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Vol. 2 #0. Bruce (as Bruce) visits Dick for the first time to tell him he will be filing to legally adopt him. This flashback from Robin Vol. 2 #0 shows Bruce chatting with a teary-eyed Dick at Haly’s Circus, which means that Bruce likely spent a day with Dick, returning with him to the circus one last time.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #439 and Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13—and referenced in Batman #682. Mid June. A custody hearing is held and Dick is adopted by Bruce Wayne as his ward. “Batman Year Three” tells us that Dick is in the orphanage for two months—while close, it’s actually a little less than a month-and-a-half. Similarly, Robin Annual #4 tells us that Dick is in the orphanage for a month—again, close but no cigar.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. Mid June. Alfred accompanies Dick to Wayne Manor for the first time. There, Bruce (along with supermodel Brittany St. James) settles him in and shows him the lay of the mansion. (An alternate version of this scene is shown via flashback from both Batman #437—however, it is totally non-canon. In Batman #437, Bruce immediately reveals his secret to Dick, gives him his Robin costume, and starts training him. Obviously, this is not how things went down.)

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham Knights #8. Mid June. Bruce frames a newspaper article about his adoption of Dick and hangs it on the wall of his office at Wayne Enterprises.

–Batman: Dark Victory #9 Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
Mid June. Father’s Day. A gloomy Dick chats with Alfred at Wayne Manor. The Falcones are brought in for police questioning and Batman listens in. Concurrently, Gordon’s driver becomes the next victim of the Hangman. Later, Batman talks to Dick and lets him know that his parents’ murderer will be brought to justice. Later still, Bruce muses in front of his parents’ graves and lays down a single rose.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #512. Bruce hosts a dinner party, which Dick spies on from the stairwell. Alfred catches Dick and makes him go back to bed.

–REFERENCE: In Robin Annual #4, Nightwing Secret Files #1, and Robin: Year One. Mid June. Robin’s five-and-a-half month training program begins. Nightwing Secret Files #1 has a Robin timeline that specifically says that Robin’s training period is six months long, but for things to jibe neatly with Robin: Year One later this year, Dick’s training should begin now and actually last about five-and-a-half months. How does this work since Batman hasn’t yet revealed his secret to Dick, you ask? Not to worry. I have a perfectly good explanation. Since Batman has just made contact with Dick (in the second part of Dark Victory #9), we can assume that Batman tells Dick to start training on his own right away, in order to prepare for Zucco’s arrest. Thus, if he starts now, in mid June, he will finish in December, right in time for Robin: Year One, which begins around then.

–NOTE: In a reference in Batman: Dark Victory #10. Mr. Zero changes his name to Mr. Freeze.

–Batman: Dark Victory #10 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
July 4. While Dick lounges at Wayne Manor, bored to tears, Batman, Gordon, and his elite squad go hunting in the sewers. The heroes fight Two-Face, Joker, Mad Hatter, and Mr. Freeze. They realize that the Hangman is down there too, finding one of Gordon’s squad hanged. The villains scatter, but Gordon arrests and jails Two-Face. Later, Dick sneaks out to Haly’s Circus to witness Edward Skeevers and another hood roughing up Pop Haly. Dick tries to intervene but gets knocked-out. Batman shows up, sends the bad guys packing, and takes Dick to the Batcave to recover. Dick wakes up, surprised at his surroundings. Batman unmasks and reveals his secret. Robin Annual #4 details this night as well, although significant additions have been made. First, we get a scene showing Bruce and Dick talking about how he won’t go to school—Alfred will tutor him instead. Bruce mentions that it’s too late in the year to sign him up for a real school, which doesn’t make sense and should probably be ignored. Second, Bruce takes Dick upstairs into Wayne Manor from the Batcave before unmasking. Third, Skeevers and a few other hoods (not just one) are roughing up Pop Haly and they wind up shooting him dead! I’m not sure Pop Haly’s death is meant to be canon or not—we do see Haly alive again, but only in three issues. The first issue is New Titans #60, published well before Robin Annual #4, meaning Haly’s appearance there is retconned away. The second and third issues are Nightwing Vol. 2 #102-103, which already has some shaky continuity to begin with. Since we don’t see or hear from Pop in any other issues ever again (besides those three), I’m leaning toward canonizing the death of Pop Haly. Makes sense. It’s really up to you which version—the Dark Victory #10 version or the Robin Annual #4 version—you want to go with. They essentially tell the same story, with a few differences. A flashback from Robin Vol. 2 #0 also shows a version of Batman revealing his secret ID to Dick for the the first time, but it doesn’t jibe with any other version, so it must be non-canon. In this version, Bruce and Alfred simply bring Dick down into the Batcave. Likewise, in a flashback from Batman #682, Batman simply brings Dick down into the Batcave. And in this version, we are told that months pass in-between Dick’s adoption and Bruce’s big reveal. Only a few weeks pass.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. July 6. Dick attends Pop Haly’s funeral along with several of his friends, including ringmaster Stan Rutledge. Afterward, Batman asks him about the funeral and updates him on the search for Tony Zucco, who is still in hiding.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. Dick’s solo training ends and he officially begins training with Batman. First on the agenda are mixed martial arts, boxing, chemistry, and sleuthing.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Shadow of the Bat #34. Bruce and Dick continue training. They do gymnastics as Alfred watches.

–FLASHBACK: From Legends of the DCU #6. July. This single-panel from Legends of the DCU #6 shows Batman return to the Batcave after teaming-up with Superman on an unspecified case. Dick, awed, asks Bruce what the Man of Steel is like.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Europe #8. Batman gets acquainted with The Spectre, who is the physical embodiment of the wrath and vengeance of the single Judeo-Christian/Islamic god named God. While there exists a near infinite pantheon in the DCU, God being merely one of this never-ending theophany, only the brash and egocentric deity of the Abrahamic Faiths has the audacity to call himself “God”—although, depending on one’s religion, he has various names, including “The Presence,” “The Voice,” “The Lord,” “Allah” in Arabic, or “YHWH,” “Jehovah,” or “Elohim” in Hebrew. Despite acting as God’s wrathful hand of justice, the Spectre must be held within a human host vessel or he cannot complete his divine work on Earth. “God’s wrath and vengeance” functions as a sentient entity unto itself: a former angel named Aztar, now simply called Wrath. Only when Aztar/Wrath combines with a human host, in this case Jim Corrigan, does the Spectre take shape.

–Batman: Dark Victory #11-12 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
August 1-September 5. Batman continues searching for Tony Zucco, roughing up some of Sal Maroni’s men in the process. In the Batcave, Dick complains to Alfred that he’s been training for nearly a month and is ready to hit the streets. Batman arrives and tells Dick that he’s got Zucco’s location. The Dark Knight and Dick then hunt down Zucco, who runs, revealing that Mario and Alberto Falcone are twins, before having a heart attack and passing out as ambulances arrive. Batman checks Zucco’s pulse and tells Dick that he’s dead. This is either a huge continuity error or Batman is blatantly lying, since we’ll see Zucco alive again down the road. I’d lean towards the latter—Batman wouldn’t want Dick still hellbent on revenge whilst in the middle of his training period. It’s a nasty lie, I’ll admit, but that’s just how it is. (Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13 shows Zucco’s downfall as well, but it differs from Dark Victory‘s version and therefore must be ignored.) On August 2, Two-Face is put on trial. Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Solomon Grundy interrupt the proceedings on behalf of Two-Face and the latter escapes with their help. At midnight, another of Gordon’s elite crime-fighting squad is murdered by the Hangman. On August 4, Scarecrow and an escaped Joker kidnap DA Janice Porter on behalf of Two-Face, who kills his lover without a bat of an eye. Two days later, Batman learns that Porter and Two-Face have been in cahoots the whole time. On August 20, Alberto Falcone learns that the “voice” he’s been hearing for months now belong to none other than the Calendar Man, messing with him because he’s been jealous of the attention Falcone got during the Holiday murders. Later, Batman and Gordon find Calendar Man, badly beaten and with Alberto’s electronic surveillance bracelet on him. Alberto and Sophia Falcone are both missing. On Labor Day, Dick solves the Hangman puzzle. Batman goes to the downtown Falcone penthouse and discovers the Hangman’s secret lair. The Hangman attacks, getting the better of the Dark Knight by slipping a noose around his neck from behind and hanging him off the balcony. Catwoman shows up to rescue Batman.

–Armageddon: Inferno #1-4 by John Ostrander (April to July 1992)
August 21. This is a strange one. Batman, from the year 2001, temporarily time-travels to August, 21 1994, on behalf of Waverider (Matthew Ryder), to battle Abraxis’ Daemen in Russia. Thus, while Batman is dealing with the events of Dark Victory during this period (as written about above), his future self from seven years forward travels to the former Soviet Union and fights alongside some other time-displaced heroes from 2001, including the Spectre. (Therefore, this note completely overlaps with the previous note because it creates a situation where there are two primary Batmen active at once thanks to time-traveling.) For this note, however, we must make some important retcons. Any references to the real life coup against Gorbachev from August 21, 1991 must be ignored. I’ve kept the August 21 date, but this event has to take place in 1994 at the earliest since a rookie Creeper appears. Note that Batman only actually appears in issue #1 and #4.

–Batman: Dark Victory #13 Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
September 5. Labor Day. Catwoman saves Batman from the noose of the Hangman and then they chat for a bit (the usual mean-spirited conversation with undertones of sexual tension). Batman returns to the Batcave and meets with Alfred and Dick. Dick has now been training for two months.

–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One #2. Bruce tells Dick a Joker story that gives the boy nightmares for a week.

–NOTE: In a reference in The Batman Files. A mischievous Bat-Mite—Batman’s biggest magickal imp fan/cosplayer from the 5th Dimension—makes his debut, appearing briefly before young Dick![6] Bat-Mite has been watching his favorite superhero for years, but never physically crossed over before. It is likely that Bat-Mite has finally decided to personally check things out due to curiosity about Batman’s new ward. Batman won’t meet the Bat-Mite until until next year.

–Batman: Dark Victory #13 Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
October 10-11. On Columbus Day, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Joker each murder the heads of four of the five major Gotham mobs. The Falcones are next. Elsewhere, Sophia and Alberto Falcone, the latter still living with injuries dealt to him by the Calendar Man a month-and-a-half ago, hide out for their own safety. Sophia puts her brother out of his own misery, smothering him to death. Mario Falcone, meanwhile, goes to Gordon for protection. Mario tells Gordon and Batman that he had been secretly working for the late Janice Porter. Batman deduces that Sophia Gigante is the Hangman. She’s been faking her paraplegia! Batman goes after Sophia who is hiding in the sewers, but gets distracted by Scarecrow, allowing Two-Face to get to her first. Batman eventually saves Two-Face and fights Sophia before Two-Face shoots her dead. During the chaos, Solomon Grundy gets electrocuted to death. Don’t worry, he is already a zombie and will get reincarnated again soon. Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Joker, and Mr. Freeze then escape through the sewers and wind up, of all places, inside the Batcave! Dick, ever vigilant, dons a self-made proto-Robin costume (!) and takes the fight to the super-villains! Batman soon arrives and helps him kick ass. Joker shoots Two-Face, who survives but falls into the waterways deep below the Batcave and is washed away. The Dynamic Duo then busts the other villains. (A reference in The Batman Files adds a post-battle clean-up scene to this sequence, during which Batman talks to Dick about training and alterations to his costume. In this added scene, Dick tells Batman that he wants his eventual superhero codename to be “Robin,” which was a nickname that his mom used to call him.) Later, Batman meets with Gordon to discuss Two-Face. Gordon mentions that he’s “heard about” the Dark Knight’s new young partner—obviously from the Joker and company. (NOTE: In Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13, Batman not only designs the Robin costume, but comes up with the Robin name as well. This is wrong since it contradicts both Dark Victory and The Batman Files. Dick will come up with a finalized design for the Robin costume all by himself—although Batman will make suggestions and alterations to it, both during the ongoing design phase and after it is tailored.)

–Batman: Gotham After Midnight #1-6 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (July 2008 to December 2008)[7]
October. Batman takes on an escaped Scarecrow, the Axeman, and Man-Bat before realizing that they are all acting strangely and obviously under the control of another person. Meanwhile, a mysterious serial killer has been literally stealing people’s hearts. It doesn’t take long for Batman to discover that the killer, known as Midnight, is controlling the villains using experimental drugs. Soon after, Bruce, in and out of costume, meets the beautiful GCPD Lieutenant April Clarkson. Midnight then hires Clayface II (Matt Hagen) to attack Batman, which results in a Godzilla-like battle with a gigantic Clayface fighting Batman in a giant robot. On Halloween weekend, Joker briefly teams-up with Midnight and the former kidnaps some kids. Midnight unsuccessfully tries to kill Batman when the Caped Crusader arrives to save the children. Midnight then abducts GCPD cop Barry Lucas and makes his escape.

–Batman: Gotham After Midnight #7 Part 1 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (January 2009)
Late October. Part 1 of Gotham After Midnight is listed as “Chapter 1” in the issue. Batman, Gordon, and GCPD Lieutenant April Clarkson discuss the disappearance of her partner, Barry Lucas. They fear he is dead at the hands of Midnight. (He is). Batman vows to locate Midnight’s secret lair.

–Batman: Dark Victory #13 Part 3 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (2000)
Halloween. Dick swears an oath to Batman by ceremonial candlelight and officially becomes the first member of the Batman Family aka Bat-Family. Now that Batman and Alfred have a Boy Wonder in the Batcave, Batman will begin referring to his most trusted inner circle of crime-fighting comrades as his “family.” In the future, the Bat-Family will often change in both size and personnel (and often depending on Batman’s mood), but it will usually consist of Alfred, a Robin, a Batgirl, and others. Dick tells Batman that, once his training is over, he still wants his codename to be “Robin.” Dick’s training, now more than halfway over, will continue for two more months. Commissioner Gordon celebrates Halloween with Barbara Sr and Julia Lopez, who he promotes to lieutenant.[8]

–NOTE: In a reference in Detective Comics #875. Despite having been living together amicably for over eight months, Jim and Barbara Gordon call it quits again (for good this time). Barbara and James Junior return to Chicago. Babs stays in Gotham with Jim. Under his mom’s guardianship, young James Junior’s various anti-social disorders and dark pathological issues will steadily worsen (as seen through flashback in the continuity error-filled pages of Detective Comics #875). Moving forward, James Junior will spend almost all of his time with his mom, but will occasionally stay with Jim and Babs in Gotham. Dick will even babysit James Junior sometimes.


–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #101. Dick, still in his training period, poses in his Robin costume. Batman tells him that it would be wiser to wear long leggings instead of a speedo, but Dick really digs his digs.

–REFERENCE: In Underworld Unleashed #1 and The Batman Files—originally told in Detective Comics #358 Part 1 Intro. November. Batman encounters Spellbinder (Delbert Billings), a garishly clad op-art-themed super-villain that has been on a recent robbery spree. Spellbinder evades capture twice by causing Batman to go into a vivid hallucination where the Dark Knight believes he is elsewhere, working another case.

–REFERENCE: In Hero Hotline #6 and Superman/Batman #19 (aka Supergirl Vol. 5 #0). November. The Calculator debuts.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #703. November. The Getaway Genius debuts.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #682. November. Eraser debuts.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 2 #21. November. Mr. Polka-Dot (aka Polka-Dot Man aka Mr. Polka Dot) debuts.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League America #43 and Batman Confidential #21. November. The Cavalier (Mortimer Drake) debuts. Drake is a copycat of the original Cavalier from Year Two, Hudson Pyle.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #573 and Batman #700. November. Mad Hatter II (aka Hat Man aka Hatman) debuts. To avoid confusion in the future, be aware that Mad Hatter II is a red-headed mustachioed copycat of the original. We never learn Mad Hatter II’s real name, but he is so obsessed in regard to his copying that he even goes by the name “Jervis Tetch” (which is the real name of the first Mad Hatter). The non-canon Batman: Dark Detective #2 reveals the second Mad Hatter’s real name as “Jarvis Trent,” but even if it were canon, this also seems like a deliberately bogus copycat play on “Jervis Tetch.”

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #101. Dick continues his training. No matter what he does, Batman tells him to “do it better.”

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #687. November. Dick, wearing his Robin costume, passes his “ambush training test,” successfully surprising (kinda) the Dark Knight inside the Batcave. Dick’s six month training will end in a couple weeks.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Hidden Treasures #1. November. The tale recounted in Ron Marz and Bernie Wrightson’s “Splash” occurs now. When a serial killer begins knocking off homeless people in the sewers, Batman suspects a reincarnated Solomon Grundy. Batman tracks Grundy to Slaughter Swamp after the villain kidnaps a homeless man. In a twist, the Dark Knight learns that Grundy’s “victim” is actually the serial killer. Thus, Grundy, who surprisingly (or not surprisingly) has a bunch of hobo pals, saves the day.

–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 on Crime Alley.

–REFERENCE: In Underworld Unleashed #1 and The Batman Files—originally told in Detective Comics #358 Part 1 Conclusion. Late November. When Spellbinder tries his hallucination tricks on Batman for a third time, the Dark Knight is in total control and easily takes him down.

–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One. Early December. The basic elements of the wonderful Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet by Bruce Canwell and Lee Weeks (1997) occur now, since they are referenced in multiple future issues (most notably in Robin: Year One). However, there are two main continuity errors in Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet that make me hesitant to “officially” list it on my chronology. Error #1: Gordon is still a captain—he should be the commissioner. Error #2: It takes place in June and ends on the fourth of July—it must take place later than that. In fact, according to Dark Victory, Bruce only first reveals his identity as Batman to Dick on the fourth of July. If we ignore these two items, then the story fits perfectly. In any case, the basic plot elements of The Gauntlet remain canonical. Batman officially ends Dick’s training, making him officially his sidekick, the Boy Wonder, Robin. The new soldier is put through a “final exam” where he runs a twenty-four hour gauntlet through the city while Batman silently stalks him. During the final test, Robin is able to systematically shut down Joe Minette‘s criminal organization and send the mob boss to prison. Afterward, Batman introduces Robin to Gordon.


–FLASHBACK: From New Teen Titans Vol. 2 #47 and the second feature to 52 #25. The “Dynamic Duo” era is upon us. Batman and Robin are shown posed in the Batcave, ready for action (presumably for Robin’s first official patrol).

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #866. Robin goes on his first official on-patrol outing with Batman and is told to wait in the car while the Dark Knight trails the Joker into a mansion. Inside, the Joker tries to steal a holy medallion that belongs to the ancient Sacred Order of St. Dumas. Joker gets away when Batman gets attacked by a half-dressed member of the Order that wields a flaming sword. Although unconfirmed, this man is Jean-Paul Ludovic Valley—the current Azrael of the Order of St. Dumas and father to Jean-Paul Valley. (Since the 15th century, Azrael knights have served the Sacred Order of St. Dumas as their mind-programmed warrior soldiers.) Outside of the building, Joker gets in a confrontation with small-time thief Loomis before Robin ambushes the Joker from behind, leaving him for the cops. Meanwhile, Loomis gets arrested for a crime he didn’t commit; the theft of the medallion. NOTES: Batman is incorrectly wearing his yellow-oval costume in this flashback. Ignore. Also ignore the fact that Harvey Dent is shown as the DA that puts Loomis away. Dent is already Two-Face at this point.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Vol. 2 #0, the second feature to 52 #6, and the second feature to 52 #25. Batman and his new Robin patrol together.

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

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Robin suggests adding an open canopy top to one of the Batmobiles. Despite having reservations, Batman does so. The boys will use the Batman ’66-style convertible every once and a while, moving forward.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham Knights #33 and The Batman Files—originally told in Batman #133 Part 1. Kite Man (Chuck Brown) debuts, busting crook Big Bill Collins out of prison. The Dynamic Duo chase after Kite Man and Collins. Batman eventually uses Kite Man’s various trick kites against him, easily busting both men. Note that “Kite Man” is sometimes spelled with a hyphen i.e. “Kite-Man.”

–REFERENCE: In Batman #683, Batman Incorporated #1, and The Batman Files—originally told in Batman #15. When Selina Kyle, under the pseudonym “Elva Barr,” opens up a high-end salon for wealthy clientele in order to case them for later robberies, Batman investigates. The air is ripe with sexual tension as the Bat and the Cat do their usual flirting. In the end, Batman and Robin shut down the sultry villainess’ operation.

–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 2 #13. The costumed super-villains keep on coming. Cousins Tweedledum (Dumfree Tweed) and Tweedledee (Deever Tweed) debut and are bested by Batman and Robin. After his first tangle with Dum and Dee, Batman keeps their hats and puts them on display in the trophy room of the cave (although, for the life of me, I cannot recall in which issue the hats are shown on display). Scott Beatty’s Batman: The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight places a generic hat display in the Batcave, but I’d hardly rank this as a canonical source. Later, Bruce and Dick attend a swanky society soiree.

–“Robin & Superman: Fear of God” by Kelley Puckett/Dave Taylor/Kevin Nowlan (Legends of the DCU #6) July 1998
Batman goes out of town on unspecified business, leaving Robin to patrol Gotham on his own. Robin meets the Man of Steel for the first time and they team-up to fight some gangsters in Gotham.[11]

–FLASHBACK: From DC Universe Legacies #3Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0, the second feature to 52 #51, and Hourman #16—and referenced in JLA: Year One #1. Originally told in Justice League of America #9. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman team-up with a gathering of superheroes (including Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Flash, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary) to battle seven vile aliens known as the Appelaxians (also spelled “Appellaxians” depending on the author). The Appelaxians have the power to turn people into wood, crystals, or various other organic material. Wonder Woman is the princess of the Amazons, a race of demigod warrior women relative to the Greco-Roman gods. Hal Jordan is a power-ring-wielding intergalactic peace officer for the organization known as the Green Lantern Corps. Note that Black Canary is Dinah Laurel Lance (aka “Siu Jerk Jai” aka “Little Canary” aka daughter of original Black Canary Dinah Drake Lance). Some of the flashbacks connected to this item include Black Canary, while others do not. There is no perfect answer that tells us whether or not Black Canary was one of the original JLA members, but it’s safe to say that she was. Note that the foundation of JLA: Year One stems from the non-canon Secret Origins Vol. 2 #32 (1988), which retells the Appelaxian affair (including Black Canary in the story), but omits the direct involvement of Superman and omits Batman entirely. 52 #51 combines the two versions of the Appelaxian battle (the original and the one from JLA: Year One) and places Black Canary at the Appelaxian battle. DC Universe Legacies #3, one of the latest entries into Modern Age canon (and therefore holding considerable weight), specifically omits Black Canary from the Appelaxian affair. (It’s safe to say Black Canary took part in the battle, but for whatever reason didn’t join the meeting afterwards.) Significantly, the narrative shown in DC Universe Legacies #3 also implies that the heroes swear an oath and form the Justice League then and there, immediately following the defeat of their alien adversaries. Again, the JLA definitely doesn’t form immediately afterward, they simply agree to form a team. The follow-up items on our chronology (including a flashback from Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0, along with other references and flashbacks), will demonstrate that the Trinity will confirm the formation of the JLA after which the other members will then commit to the team.[12]


–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0—and referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0 and JLA: Year One #1. (This item—the famous conference between DC’s Big Three—must go here because it takes place after Robin and Superman have already met and teamed-up.) Immediately following the DCU’s major heroes’ unification to battle the Appelaxians, the Trinity meets up. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman decide its time step it up a notch and unite their fellow superhero comrades into a “League” of heroes. The Big Three then pitch the idea of the “League” to Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary. As referenced in JLA: Year One #1, the day after Appelaxian attack, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary accompany US Army General Wade Eiling in an effort to collect another discovered Appelaxian—this one in an inert state—in a cave in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. There, the heroes chase away agents of Locus, who are defeated but successfully steal away the sleeping Appelaxian. Immediately after the Locus fight, these heroes agree that being on the Big Three’s team is a good idea. Thus, “The League” (still not officially called the “Justice League of America”) is formed! Note that this scene can be read as these heroes deciding for the first time to form the team (as was the original intention of JLA: Year One‘s narrative when originally published). However, since it can also easily be read as these heroes agreeing to join the Big Three’s proposed team, it works for the most part.

–NOTE: In a flashback from Justice League America #92. This item is a bit confusing but very important. Triumph is not only an original founding member of the League, but the initial leader of the united heroes versus the Appelaxians as well. However, immediately after the battle and formation of the new superhero team by the Big Four, Triumph is transported to a dimensional limbo where he will remain trapped for years. Not only that, his entire existence is completely erased from the timeline. Therefore, when he eventually returns years down the road, no one will have any memory of his existence—only he will remember that he was once one of the founders of the League. Triumph will be bummed because no one remembers any of this or knows who he is. Things will be okay for a while, but will turn ugly later on. But that’s years away and we’ll address it when we get there. Of note, Marvel will try its own version of original-but-forgotten hero a few years later with The Sentry.

–NOTE: In a reference in Legends of the DC Universe #12. While Green Arrow won’t join the League until next year, his alter ego—multimillionaire businessman Oliver Queen—begins secretly bankrolling all of the team’s operations.

–FLASHBACK: From DC Universe Legacies #3—and referenced in Hourman #1, Hourman #16, and JLA: Year One #4. It’s only been a couple days since the Appelaxian attack. The League completes its first major mission with the Big Three present, defeating the giant mind-controlling starfish alien known as Starro the Conqueror. Teenager Lucas “Snapper” Carr helps the heroes defeat Starro, earning a spot as the team’s official mascot/honorary member/handyman. The Hourman series tells us Snapper Carr was the team’s mascot for several years. To be precise, Snapper will be the JLA mascot for just over two years. The heroes of Earth will also eventually learn that Starro the Conqueror is merely one of a race of unnamed monsters colloquially known as Star Conquerors (or Starros for short). The original Starro that the League faces now is actually controlled by yet another extraterrestrial from the planet Hatorei.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Superman meets with Batman in the Batcave and they discuss their new League. Superman is mostly onboard, but Batman still needs convincing. The Man of Steel tells the Caped Crusader the new official name of the team: The Justice League of America (or JLA for short). Prior to this, the ogdoad had only been going by “The League,” sans any mention of America in their name. Shortly after meeting with Batman, as referenced in JLA: Year One #2, Superman tells Black Canary about the new JLA moniker.

–JLA: Year One #2 by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, Barry Kitson, & Pat Garrahy (February 1998)
This item is also referenced in the second feature to 52 #51. It has been one week since the Appelaxian attack. Despite the fact that the Big Three formed the League, they’ve only been active with the team versus Starro, a threat so large they couldn’t ignore it. Even with the Big Three’s non-participation, the League continues to go on random missions. (Despite having started the team, Batman is actually quite untrustworthy of relative strangers. Likewise, Superman and Wonder Woman each have their own reasons for being distant at this juncture as well. The synopsis below—specifically detailing JLA: Year One #2‘s Gotham Hotel incident—will show us exactly why Batman decides to distance himself from the team at this point, so soon after forming it. Don’t worry, though—Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman will become “full-timers” just a few weeks afterward.) When the League publicly debuts with a Q&A session at the Gotham Hotel, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman—of course—each fail to show up. The huge televised media event is attended by hundreds, including Lois Lane, Vicki Vale, Jack Ryder, Green Arrow, Simon Carr (Snapper’s uncle, who is currently possessed by an Appelaxian), and Dr. Ray Palmer (who has just debuted as The Atom less than a week ago). During the conference, Black Canary tells the public the official name of the team: The Justice League of America. Locus, allied with Vandal Savage, sends Solomon Grundy, Clayface II, Thorn (Rose Canton), and Eclipso (an evil force inhabiting the body of Dr. Bruce Gordon) to attack the JLA. The JLA—sans the Big Three—defeat the villains, but the entire hotel is leveled and many people are put in serious danger. While elder heroes The Challengers (Kyle “Ace” Morgan, Lester “Rocky” Davis, Matthew “Red” Ryan, and Professor Walter Haley) and The Blackhawks (Janos “Blackhawk” Prohaska, Andre Blanc-DumontCarlo “Chuck” Sirianni, Ritter Hendrickson, Olaf Friedriksen, Stanislaus Drozdowski, and Weng Chan) watch on TV and are quite impressed, Batman isn’t.[14] The glowering Caped Crusader watches angrily and vows to keep the Justice League out of his city of Gotham, noting that within the span of one hour, they brought needless destruction and chaos to his town with a very unnecessary public debut/appearance. Despite having founded the team less than a week ago, Batman vows to “use every resource he has to keep them out of Gotham.” (Despite Batman’s recent eagerness to start the team, this opening blunder sours Batman on the idea, especially when it comes to all things Gotham-related!) Afterward, Green Arrow makes a quick vulgar pass at Black Canary (presumably mistaking her for her mother, the original Black Canary, as he will again later do in Black Canary Vol. 3 #1 when they officially meet for the first time).

–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #50-54, the second feature to 52 #51, and JLA: Year One #1-2. Despite being soured on the idea of working with his JLA teammates following their Gotham Hotel debut fiasco, Batman still thinks the team can be a good idea if organized properly. With this in mind, Batman puts some serious money into the immediate construction of a high-tech HQ in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island (in the cavern where the eighth Appelaxian was found and stolen by Locus). But Batman’s apprehension in regard to the JLA is still high enough that he skips the first official team meeting, distancing himself from the other heroes and missing out on getting his League communicator.

–REFERENCE: In Legends of the DC Universe #26-27—originally told in Detective Comics #475-476. Joker unveils his infamous “Laughing Fish” gag (one of the most beloved Steve Englehart Joker tales of all time), putting his signature smile on all the fish in Gotham Bay, and killing many people in the process. Joker’s toxins spread across the entire Eastern seaboard, destroying aquatic life across half the Atlantic. The “Laughing Fish” event originally took place later, as part of Englehart’s “Dark Detective” arc (which we will see in Bat Year Nine). However, the upcoming “The Fishy Laugh / Reign of the Joker!” places the “Laughing Fish” gag shortly after Aquaman’s debut on our chronology and shortly after the initial formation of the JL—hence the reasoning for why it goes here and now on our timeline.

–“The Fishy Laugh / Reign of the Joker!” by Steve Englehart/Trevor Von Eeden (Legends of the DC Universe #26-27) March 2000 to April 2000
Immediately following the events of Englehart’s “Laughing Fish” story, Joker escapes from Batman and dives into Gotham Bay. Nearly drowning, Joker is rescued and given oxygen by an invading Atlantean army which has traced the source of the devastating pollution to Gotham. Aquaman meets Joker for the first time, and despite having been recently drafted into the JLA, Aquaman doesn’t have much experience interacting with humans yet, nor does he seem to have any knowledge of human culture or history. A confused Aquaman is fooled into believing that Joker is “King of the Land.” When Joker promises to help formulate a cure for the poisoned fishies of the sea, the invasion is halted, and the “King” is escorted to Atlantis. In Atlantis, Joker is able to seduce high ranking scientist Felua, who uses her political pull to influence the royal council to dethrone Aquaman from his seat of power. A disgraced Aquaman travels to Gotham and meets with Batman. (NOTE: Batman should not be wearing the yellow-oval costume yet. Ignore.) The two heroes have only recently met and are wary of each other, despite the fact that they are both now affiliated with the JLA. Batman gives Aquaman the Joker Venom antidote and sends him on his way. Back in Atlantis, Aquaman outs Joker as a fraud and reclaims his throne from a puppet monarch that had been appointed by Joker and Felua. Joker escapes back to Gotham unharmed with his Atlantean lover, but the GCPD and the Dark Knight find Felua’s grinning corpse washed up near the docks a day later.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 2 #210 and The Batman Files—originally told in Star Spangled Comics #123. Batman and Robin bring down the debuting Crazy Quilt, with emphasis on Robin being the one who brings him down. Because of this, Crazy Quilt will have a vendetta against Dick Grayson for the rest of his life. The Boy Wonder now starts his own measly Hall of Trophies, adding Crazy Quilt’s helmet as his first prize.

–Robin: Year One #1 by Chuck Dixon/Scott Beatty/Javier Pulido (2000)
Mid December. Robin: Year One is a great four-issue story that not only follows up on the canonical bits of Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet, but helps further define Robin’s early days superbly. Chuck Dixon originally wrote this story so that it spanned the course of many months, starting in September. However, due to Sliding-Time and compression, this cannot be the case. If we ignore certain unimportant topical items in Robin: Year One, a legitimate alternate interpretation of the narrative delivers a story that spans a mere month or two, starting in mid December instead of September. To make everything jibe smoothly on our chronology, I’ve leaned toward the alternate version. Now, onto a synopsis. Batman and Robin take down some gun runners on the docks. Back home, Alfred asks Dick if he’s happy going down the tough path ahead. Dick responds by saying that, with Zucco dead, there isn’t much reason for him to continue, but he wants to anyway. (We see a single-panel flashback from Legends of the Dark Knight #100 that depicts Dick capturing Zucco, who dies of a heart attack. Of course, LOTDK #100, which highlights Zucco’s death, is non-canon. In canon, Zucco isn’t actually dead; Bruce and Alfred have been maintaining that lie for a while now.) The next day, Bruce drops Dick off at Bristol Middle School for his first day of public education! (Again, Dixon’s original narrative intention was to have this arc begin in September, but due to compression and Sliding-Time, we are definitely in mid December. This means not only is Dick starting school midyear, but he’s also starting mere days before holiday vacation. I guess, Bruce wants him to meet his new classmates before the break?) At night, after a Wayne Manor party, our heroes learn of a sinister series of child abductions from Commissioner Gordon (incorrectly referred to as “captain”). The next night, with Alfred’s help, Robin follows up a lead, fights a hired thug at a warehouse, and tracks the missing girls to a Gotham Harbor yacht that coincidentally happens to be hosting a gala that Bruce is attending. Aboard the ship, Robin defeats the abductor, Mad Hatter, and exposes his accomplice, the corrupt president of a small Asian country called Rheelasia.

–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One #2 and The Batman Files—originally told in Detective Comics #351. Mid December. While on patrol, Robin tells Batman about an upcoming live action Batman TV show, about which he speaks with great disdain. The Cluemaster (Arthur Brown) debuts, attacking the Dynamic Duo with gas capsules and leaving a riddle clue to an upcoming heist. Batman and Robin soon fight Cluemaster again, who uses a series of heists (and clues) as part of an elaborate scheme to try and find out Batman and Robin’s secret IDs. The Dynamic Duo uses an equally elaborate scheme of their own to stop the Cluemaster, putting him behind bars in the process.

–REFERENCE: In Robin: Year One #2. Mid December. Pyromaniac super-villain Firefly (Garfield Lynns) debuts and is busted by the Dynamic Duo.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 2 #56. Mid December. Batman and Robin bust some random thugs. Martial arts expert and League of Assassins member Shrike observes from the shadows. While Batman and Robin don’t meet him yet, Shrike will factor heavily into the next part of Robin: Year One.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Confidential #50. Mid December. Batman begins investigating a series of high profile kidnappings. This investigation will overlap with the next bunch of stories and continue for the next two weeks-plus.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4—and referenced in Robin: Year One #4. Batman and Robin deal with the Riddler and send him to Blackgate Prison.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin Annual #4. Gotham is in the grip of an uninterrupted super-villain crime wave. Batman and Robin, having just taken down the Riddler (from our previous note), bring Poison Ivy to justice and then later bust Joker in the sewer.

–FLASHBACK: From Starman #9. The metahuman hulk Blockbuster (Marc Desmond) and his manipulative criminal brother Roland Desmond debut. Both are sent to prison by Batman and Robin.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #149-153. Batman and a very green Robin defeat the twin sister duo of Cyanide and Mother Grimm. (LOTDK #149-153 is a five-issue flashback story entitled “Grimm” by JM DeMatteis and Trevor Von Eeden. It is narrated by Nightwing as he peruses archived files on the Bat-computer in 2002.)

–Robin: Year One #2-3 by Chuck Dixon/Scott Beatty/Javier Pulido (2000)
December. Batman and Robin bust Killer Moth on the Sprang Bridge. (A reference in The Batman Files adds an extra scene following Killer Moth’s defeat, in which Batman and Robin deliver Killer Moth to Commissioner Gordon. In this added scene, Gordon chastises Batman yet again for using a child soldier in his war on crime. Gordon talks about Babs as well. A separate reference in The Batman Files, places Robin: Year One #2 in October, which is incorrect. We are in December.) A day after Killer Moth’s arrest, the Dynamic Duo busts Blockbuster (for the second time). A day after that, Two-Face kidnaps the judge who was present when he was maimed by Sal Maroni, Judge Lawrence Watkins. (We see a flashback to Harvey Dent getting his face burned by Maroni, but the flashback itself and text associated with the flashback are all kinds of incorrect, so we have to ignore it completely). Commissioner Gordon, worried about Robin’s age, questions Batman whether or not the Boy Wonder is a permanent fixture. Gordon mentions that Robin has been around for months. While Robin has only debuted about ten days ago, Gordon has known about him since October, so this comment makes sense. Batman goes to hunt down Two-Face, telling Robin to sit this one out. When Batman confronts Two-Face, Robin disobeys and shows up anyway. Batman and Robin wind up getting captured and put into a twisted scenario involving the corpse of Sal Maroni and a double-gallows. Two-Face executes Judge Watkins and then violently beats Robin with a baseball bat until Batman saves him and takes down the villain. (The start of Robin’s beating is also shown in a single-panel flashback from Robin Annual #4 while the entire scene is shown via flashback from Robin Vol. 2 #0, from which Robin: Year One drew inspiration. The only difference is that the original sequence from Robin Vol. 2 #0 features DA Aldrich Meany, but Robin: Year One #2 does a retcon, replacing Meany with Judge Watkins. Flashbacks from Batman #512-513 also show this double-gallows scene.) Batman then rushes the badly injured Robin into the care of Leslie Thompkins (drawn with red hair and too young looking, but oh well). Later, Gordon chastises the Dark Knight for endangering a child. Batman tells Gordon that Robin is officially retired. The next day, Bruce fires Robin, who is bandaged, bruised, and has an arm cast—(we must assume it isn’t actually a fracture since his arm will seem healed in a few days). A few days later, a determined Dick begins his rehab exercising with zeal. A few days after that, Dick checks in with Dr. Thompkins, but Mr. Freeze (back to wearing his Mr. Zero duds) interrupts and robs the clinic. The next night, Dick, wearing his street clothes and a domino mask, takes down Freeze, who had attempted to obtain a large sum of cash from Mayor Gill. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred read a letter left behind by Dick—he’s leaving and not coming back home. That same night, Two-Face escapes from jail and Dick runs into Shrike, who recruits Dick into his “Vengeance Academy,” a martial arts training program for teenagers.

–Batman: Gotham After Midnight #7 Part 2 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (January 2009)
December 19-20. Part 2 of Gotham After Midnight #7 is listed as Chapter 2 through Chapter 6 in the issue. Batman is finally able to find Midnight’s secret lair. Batman infiltrates the lair and recovers the corpse of Barry Lucas, but Midnight is long gone and continues to murder dozens, even assassinating Mayor Gill![15] In spite of all the chaos, Batman begins a romantic affair with Lieutenant April Clarkson! Note that Killer Croc appears in this issue as a mind-controlled antagonist inside Midnight’s lair. This must be 100% ignored! Croc hasn’t debuted yet and won’t until Bat Year Ten! Also note, as referenced in Huntress: Year One #4-6, Hamilton Hill is sworn in as the new Mayor of Gotham. (Note that the mayor shown in Huntress: Year One is not specifically named. My labeling him as Hill is speculative. This is a highly debatable point.)

–Batman: Gotham After Midnight #8-9 by Steve Niles/Kelley Jones (February 2009)
December 21-December 31. Batman attends the funeral of Barry Lucas and then continues the hunt for Midnight. On X-mas Eve, Batman’s girlfriend April Clarkson is killed by Midnight. SPOILER ALERT: Clarkson has faked her death. She is Midnight. Catwoman is then kidnapped by Midnight and drugged into the villain’s complete control. A saddened Dark Knight continues the hunt for Midnight, but the latter keeps on killing and killing. (Remember, Batman is doubly bummed-out right now not only because of the supposed death of his girlfriend, but also because Dick has left home.)


| >>> NEXT: YEAR SEVEN >>>

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Welcome to Bat Year Six. This year features several long-running arcs that overlap each other, including Dark Victory, Gotham After Midnight, Robin: Year One, and a ton of character debuts. Let’s do it!
  2. [2]RIPPLEDFINGERS: Catwoman: When in Rome occurs between Dark Victory #5 (when Selina Kyle leaves town) and Dark Victory #13 (when she returns).

    COLLIN COLSHER: While on the subject of When in Rome, I haven’t included it because Batman isn’t in it (unless you count Selina’s constant dreams about him). Selina goes to Rome to find her roots. We finally find out why she’s been so obsessed with the Falcones for the past five-plus years—Carmine may have been her biological father! All signs point to yes, but she’ll never get 100% confirmation.

  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: The Batman Files shows a Haly’s Circus poster that gives a Flying Grayson performance date of May 2. Our date here is definitely May 9, 1994, one day after Mother’s Day. This simply means that the Flying Graysons performed either all week or on both May 2 and May 9 in Gotham.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman #436-439 by Marv Wolfman/Pat Broderick (1989), entitled “Batman Year Three,” contain a bunch of legit flashbacks that re-tell the origin of Dick Grayson as Robin and that fill in some gaps in the Robin origin story—(although, the flashbacks from Batman #437 are not canon, but we’ll address that specifically below). Of course, the label “Year Three” is a loose term and exists only to give the “Year” stories a sense of chronological order. According to our timeline, we are definitely in May of Bat Year Six. Originally, before the publication of both The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, Bat Year Three was the official debut year for the Boy Wonder. Some folks (including most DC publishers and editors) still stick to that version of the timeline, despite the fact that both The Long Halloween and Dark Victory clearly point to a Bat Year Six debut for the Boy Wonder. Because the original Robin start date was Bat Year Three, many comics of the late 1980s and early 1990s contain completely incorrect (retconned) specific time references that must be ignored. I will try my best to address them all as they pop up, moving forward.

    Due to the clash between the two schools of thought—DC’s idea that Dick becomes Robin in Bat Year Three versus the concept that Dick becomes Robin in Bat Year Six—we naturally have two separate possible years for Dick’s birth-year: 1979 or 1981. The three year difference reflects the difference between the two schools of thought: Bat Year Three versus Bat Year Six.

    Likewise, DC always intended Dick to become Nightwing at age 18, but I have him turning Nightwing at age 17. A minor quibble. But, like I always say, this isn’t an exact science. If you peruse the issues and decide which stories are in-canon and which directly affect the passage of time, then you are faced with the two MAIN options explored above: Dick born in 1979; becomes Nightwing at 18. OR Dick born in 1981; becomes Nightwing at 17. Pick your poison.

  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: There are a few Robin origin tales that have been published over the years. Most, however, including the following, are non-canon. Legends of the Dark Knight #100 by Denny O’Neil/Dave Taylor (November 1997) is, and was always meant to be, an out-of-continuity alternate re-telling of Robin’s origin story. Totally non-canon. Another alternate non-canon Robin debut tale worth addressing is Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman & Robin. The entire All-Star line takes place on a different Earth. That being said, the exact events of Frank Miller’s “Year One” begin Batman’s career on the “All-Star Earth” too. In fact, Batman’s entire timeline on “All-Star Earth” comprises Miller stories (including Dark Knight Returns and all  Dark Knight Returns sequels)! DC’s press release regarding the “All-Star” imprint in 2005 was as follows: “The creative teams were not beholden to any previous and present continuities.” I think that answers any question regarding the canonical-status of the “All-Star” line pretty succinctly.

    CHIP: Regarding All-Star Batman & Robin: It’s already on record that it’s part of a “Frank Miller Dark Knight Universe” that is actually designated as Earth-31 (according to the Batman Fandom wiki site). It includes “Year One,” all “All-Star” titles, all Spawn/Batman books, Dark Knight Returns, and all Dark Knight Returns sequels. Only “Year One” takes place in the regular Earth-0 continuity as well.

    COLLIN COLSHER: Earth-31 is fantastic! Despite his troubling sociopolitical views, it’s really awesome that Frank Miller, being one of the primary original architects of the entire Modern Age Batman line, has his own Batman Earth. Too bad that the despicable Holy Terror isn’t a part of it as well… Or maybe that’s a good thing, haha.

  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: The 5th Dimension is a magickal plane that is home to powerful djinns, Elementals, and imps. Notable residents are Bat-Mite, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Yz. According to superstring theory, the 5th Dimension—being the next dimensional layer beyond the 4th Dimension of time—is basically an expression for derived physical quantity in terms of alternate reality. It is, in essence, a fundamental underlying concept of multiverse theory. Superstring theory, multiverse theory, and M theory state that the macroscopic world has three spatial dimensions, a 4th Dimension of time, and six other imperceptible (possibly microscopic) quantum dimensions, plus an 11th Dimension at the definitively microscopic scale. (There are likely even more unknown dimensions.) The fictive world of the DCU plays with superstring theory, treating the insensible quantum dimensions (those beyond time) as the most out-there magickal sci-fi alternate realities possible.
  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: There are a few big errors in regard to Gotham After Midnight. First, Jeremiah Arkham is mentioned as the head of Arkham Asylum. However, he won’t be working there until 2001. Second, Batman and Green Arrow are shown patrolling Gotham on Halloween night, and Ollie addresses Batman as “Bruce.” This is dead wrong. Ollie doesn’t know yet. Third, Jim Gordon’s characterization is a tad off. Fourth, Killer Croc appears in the latter half, but he won’t actually debut until Bat Year Ten. And, last but not least, Niles and Jones have given Batman a whole new array of science gadgets and vehicles that we’ve never seen before and we will never see again (outside of this story-arc), so I don’t even really know what to say about that. Oh well. The authors not only add a crap-load of weird, campy Bat-gadgetry in Gotham After Midnight, they include the first canonical use of the Bat-poles. Sigh.
  8. [8]COLLIN COLSHER: Now that Batman: Dark Victory is over and the mobs have all been destroyed, this opens the floodgates for costumed super-villainy in Gotham. The conclusion of Dark Victory directly implies that a swell of costumed villains will debut to fill the void left behind by the dissolution of organized mob activity in Gotham. Therefore, a bunch of C-Listers will eagerly debut in quick succession in November of YEAR SIX. They are listed below. We’ll be seeing a lot of them in the months and years to come.
  9. [9]COLLIN COLSHER / HEAR THE SNAP: 1992’s “Faces” by Matt Wagner (from Batman: Legend of the Dark Knight #28-30) starts off with a flashback to Two-Face escaping Arkham not long after having been jailed for the first time. After lamming, Two-Face flees to France for two years before returning to act in the main narrative of this LOTDK arc. Two-Face’s long-term hiding overseas included extensive recruiting of soldiers and plans to illegally purchase an island off the coast of French Guiana so he can start his own “Deformity Nation,” a sovereign state comprised only of people with absent limbs, extra limbs, atypical facial or bodily appearances, amputations, burn scars, or other stigmatized changes to their physical appearance. Two years without a peep from Two-Face, the villain reappears with an army of circus folk and those meeting the criteria mentioned above. This army serves Two-Face’s bidding. Batman, however, puts a stop to Two-Face’s plans and re-jails him.

    Originally, the main action of “Faces” took place here, around November of Year Six. But this was well before the publication of The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, which replaced a ton of old Two-Face stuff, including this story. In order for this story to be canon, we’d need to find a spot where Two-Face is absent for TWO FULL YEARS. This unfortunately, NEVER HAPPENS in Batman’s early years (or really ever, for that matter). Two-Face shows up in just about every single year, and usually multiple times at that. Now, we could just simply ignore Two-Face’s two year absence and keep this story on the timeline. However, it is such an essential plot point of Wagner’s narrative that we really shouldn’t. “Faces” just doesn’t fit.

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

    PURPLEGLOVEZ (TIPTUP JR 94): Here is how “Faces” is canon, requiring only a few tweaks. Almost immediately after the conclusion of Long Halloween and the “Steps” storyline (LOTDK #98-99, which features Two-Face) Harvey Dent escapes, as depicted in “Faces” Part 1 (aka the opening flashback from “Faces”).

    In 1993’s Robin Vol. 2 #0, it is said that the DA who immediately succeeded Harvey Dent was Aldrich Meany, who was later killed in the double-gallows incident (as seen in Robin Vol. 2 #0). (Robin: Year One #2 retcons the double-gallows victim from Meany to Judge Lawrence Watkins, while Dark Victory seems to place Janice Porter as the DA who first follows Dent.) However, The Essential Batman Encyclopedia treats Meany as semi-canonical (while acknowledging the discrepancy with Robin: Year One) and suggests that Porter followed both Dent AND Meany in rapid succession. So here’s my theory:

    Harvey escapes and begins planning his Isle D’urberville scheme. At some point prior to the beginning of Dark Victory, Harvey kills Aldrich Meany and is returned to Arkham. Throughout the events of Dark Victory, Harvey is planning his Isle D’urberville scheme behind the scenes in addition to all the other stuff he’s doing. Then, right after Dark Victory’s conclusion, the rest of the “Faces” storyline happens mostly as told. However, Harvey would have to escape Arkham rather quickly for his double-gallows revenge against Judge Watkins in Robin: Year One. And if you don’t like the Aldrich Meany angle, we can just imagine that Harvey was returned to Arkham for any other reason. Still, this is how I’m looking at things.

    It’s pretty astounding that this story has the gall to have Two-Face off the map for two entire years, and while that’s certainly the intent and implication, I don’t think there’s a point where Batman explicitly says he hasn’t seen Two-Face AT ALL during this time, although at one point he asks a thug about “his movements of the last two years”; perhaps Batman just figured that Harvey started planning something around that time, and is still carrying it out since he hasn’t resurfaced since the end of Dark Victory? At any rate, the post-Zero Hour/Infinite Crisis time waves have made these early Legends stories malleable enough to make such inferences.

  10. [10]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman: Turning Points #2 by Ed Brubaker shows Gordon meeting Robin, but is non-canon because Gordon is still a captain in it and also because it contradicts the general plot elements of the quasi-canonical Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet. Not to mention, Gordon reacts very negatively to the idea of a kid crime-fighter in Turning Points, whereas he doesn’t really react that way in other texts. Gordon would have already known about Batman’s sidekick for some months now (as we learned in Dark Victory).
  11. [11]COLLIN COLSHER / LUKASZ: Joe Kelly’s Superman/Batman Annual #2 details the first meeting between Robin and Superman as well. However, this version is non-canon for a couple reasons. First, it shows that Batman has received a JLA membership invitation card. Second, Batman and Superman are shown joining the JLA as reserve members. Batman and Superman were always founding members, despite not becoming full-time active right away. Third, Superman loses his powers for over a full month and there’s no place for that long of an absence on our timeline. Even if we were to ignore the continuity errors, S/B Annual #2 is still a re-imagining of the extremely campy World’s Finest Comics #178 (1968) & World’s Finest Comics #180 (1968) as opposed to the definitively Modern-styled Legends of the DCU #6. The latter fits better on our timeline. Not to mention, Joe Kelly seems to have authored the first two S/B Annuals using a more silly tone with less emphasis upon adhering to the strict confines of line-wide continuity. The style of S/B Annual #2 mirrors the style of S/B Annual #1, so it stands to reason that if the first is out-of-continuity, the second probably is too.
  12. [12]COLLIN COLSHER / MILO NOUSIAINEN: The twelve-issue JLA: Year One is canon, although certain bits have been retconned by Brad Meltzer’s Justice League of America Vol. 2 series and Len Wein’s DC Universe Legacies #3). Some of JLA: Year One‘s issues—notably #1, #2, #4, and #11-12—can be read more or less intact, though. What’s the full deal with JLA: Year One, you say? Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, while not involved in many of the early JLA missions, are the first leaders (founders) of the team. JLA: Year One depicts a world where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are original members—at least that was the title’s intention at the time of its publication. Much of its plot stresses the lack of the Big Three’s involvement with the team. As such, JLA: Year One must be read with the idea that the Trinity did indeed form the JLA but remained as reserve members at first. 52 #51 nods to this by combining the narrative of JLA: Year One with the original Silver Age origin of the team. While the Trinity are legitimate co-founders, they don’t assume full membership until later, but the other five form the core of the group, preserving the general idea of JLA: Year One. So things like Flash trying to persuade Superman to join the League can be thought of as him trying to get Superman to take up full membership. Notably, there are other more minor quibbles with JLA: Year One, with some of the issues containing fairly egregious continuity errors no matter how you spin them. In any case, Batman only appears in issue #2 and issues #11-12, so we will only include issue #2 and issues #11-12 on our timeline. The first issue of JLA: Year One (which, again, does not feature Batman) occurs one day after the Appelaxian attack.
  13. [13]IVAN: Matt Wagner’s Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity (which depicts a first meeting between Batman and Wonder Woman) is non-canon as it doesn’t seem to fit anywhere very well for a ton of different reasons. Also, Batman wears bizarre armor in it which gives him flight capability and massive strength. He’s never used this before, so it seems odd that he would now.

    COLLIN COLSHER: The Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity series (indeed an alternate version of when Batman first meets Wonder Woman) is non-canon for several more reasons, including the fact that the primary villain, Ra’s al Ghul, wouldn’t have made his presence known this early. Furthermore, a cursory internet search of the story will show that Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity contradicts a few other post Infinite Crisis/Final Crisis continuity changes, including the fact that the Big Three first meet when fighting the Appelaxians right before forming the JLA. So, for these reasons and more, Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity is impossible to place and therefore, 100% non-canon.

  14. [14]COLLIN COLSHER: A note about the veteran WWII aces known as the Blackhawks. Howard Chaykin’s 1988 Blackhawk Vol. 2 series retconned some of the names of the original Golden Age/Silver Age Blackhawk members for the Modern Age. Notably, Bart Hawk became Janos Prohaska, Chuck Wilson became Chuck Sirianni, Hans Hendrickson became Ritter Hendrickson, and Olaf Bjornson became Olaf Friedriksen. JLA: Year One seems to reflect these changes. However, Batman Confidential #38 implies that the old names are canon. This likely (and simply) means that these guys were using multiple code names.
  15. [15]COLLIN COLSHER: Steve Niles and Kelly Jones do not refer to the mayor by name, and they also have the mayor look as generic as possible (heavyset White bald man) so as to make Gotham After Midnight easier to fit anywhere on the timeline. So, while we aren’t told this is Gill, it very well could be and makes a lot of sense if it is. Of course, we saw Mayor Gill only a couple weeks ago (again unnamed) and, while he looked like he packed on a few pounds and had noticeably thinner hair than before, he wasn’t bald. I guess we can assume that Mayor Gill just said “the hell with it” and went the Bic Lex Luthor route.

32 Responses to Modern YEAR SIX

  1. Andrew says:

    Me again (sorry for all the comments.) Anyways…I’m having some trouble with Batman and the Justice League. From what I understand, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman decide to form the JLA after battling the Appellaxians. They decide who will join and what not. I understand the Batman and Superman (and Wonder Woman?) don’t fully join until later on (even though Batman seems so excited to join in the beginning of JLA v.2 #0.) Ultimately, I’m trying to figure out if there is actually a specific comic where Batman says he isn’t joining full-time, or is it just inferred because he doesn’t interact with the JLA until the next year?

    Now, a question about pre-JLA v.2. Batman is originally not a part of the JLA. In Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #2, Superman asks Batman why he wouldn’t join the JLA (he infers that Batman didn’t want to be seen as part of a group because it would undermine all the work he put into having his enemies fear him.) Batman answers by saying “I wouldn’t become a member of the JLA even if they did ask.” I assume this is following the original origins of the JLA, where Batman has no part of their origins. I guess Batman could have just asked to join if he wanted to because he was a prominent hero? Is this answered in JLA: Year One (I’ve only read the first issue so far)?

    I’m sorry that this is so long-winded. The relationship between Batman and the JLA just seems so convoluted. I understand the history, but I always like to have a specific comic to read to get the information from, instead of just reading about it.

    • The Modern Age JLA. Where do I start. It IS convoluted thanks to many, many retcons. First of all, Batman is definitely one of the founding members of the JLA. He starts the team (as per JLofA v.2 #0). Most of the “hesitance to join” information is taken from Batman Confidential #50-54, which tells the story of how Batman winds up accepting his JLA communicator and actually chooses to begin playing-well with the others.

      My timeline has a rather large gap between Batman starting the JLA and him joining FULL-TIME, as you noticed. But why? This was done with regard to the JLA: Year One series, to allow some version of JLA: Year One to fit contradictory-free. I also had Batman’s “refusal to join at first” attributed to the dialogue in Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #2, hence another reason for the long gap between starting the team and gaining the willingness to fight alongside them. However, since JLA: Year One and Batman & Superman: World’s Finest #2 are non-canon, there really is no reason to have the gap.

      My chronology looks a bit convoluted because it was, at one point, trying to accommodate way too many stories that were contradicting each other—and the aforementioned non-canon arcs as well. Upon re-examination, I think that Batman’s initial hesitance still clearly exists (and would be natural, given his nature, even after starting the team himself). HOWEVER, I think that I will be making some subtle changes that will make his acceptance of the team happen much closer to the Appelaxian affair. So keep your eyes peeled.

      OH, PS. I noticed that the JLofA #0 flashback that starts the JLA has to take place AFTER Robin has met Superman (i.e. after Robin has debuted). Therefore, I’ve moved the JLA debut to after Robin’s debut.

      • Matten says:

        Hey there! First comment here, so sorry if I seem a bit uninformed.

        I’m currently working on a reading order based on your wonderful project (congrats, it’s breathtaking). I’m mainly interested in Modern Age material, but I put Golden/Silver/Bronze age stuff too if it is referenced in your work. I mainly look for the keyword “originally told”. I too have a problem with Modern Age JLA.

        My main question is: Is there really no ACTUAL Modern Age counterpart of the original Appelaxian Incident??
        I did some digging and I found Secret Origins Vol. 2 #32 from November, 1988. But that story has no Batman and Wonder Woman in it, and Superman only makes a brief cameo in it. It actually lines up with the non-canon “Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity” and “JLA: Year One” stories, which were (as you mention many times) retconned by Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis showing the Trinity founding the team. So does that actually mean that the original Justice League of America #9 (1962) is the canonical JLA origin to the Modern Age?

        What should I put in the reading order to actually experience the Appelaxian Incident? Is there really no canon version for the Modern Age?

        Thanks for everything.

        • Hi Matten, DC Universe Legacies #3, Justice League of America Vol. 2 #0, the second feature to 52 #51, and Hourman #16 all show flashbacks to the Appelaxian affair. I’ve added “originally told” in wherever I can to help folks such as yourself, but it’s possible that I’ve simply missed it here-and-there. I can and will add now! Thanks.

  2. Hi again, Andrew.

    Regarding Two-Face Strikes Twice, it contains two “books” that comprise the whole tale. Each “book” has two “parts” (giving us the cute flip-book style format). Book One is a Batman & Dick Grayson Robin tale that seems to take place in Year Seven or later—(you are right about it not fitting very well in Year Six). But despite being right about that, both Book One and Book Two have to be non-canon.

    In Book One, a seemingly well-adjusted Gilda Dent remarries Dr. Paul Janus. Book Two is a sequel to Book One that takes place roughly seven years later (around Year Fourteen), in which Gilda is shown still happily married to Janus. It is in Book Two that we learn that Gilda, a year-and-a-half prior had undergone an artificial insemination procedure with Harvey’s sperm, producing her twins, which she falsely claimed were biologically Janus’ kids. Ok, ok, so this does seem like the behavior of a crazy Long Halloween Gilda. BUT STILL, the kids are never mentioned again? Seems a bit odd. Also, the big thing that eliminated Book One from continuity is the fact that, no matter what, it contradicts Tony Daniel’s “Pieces” arc that tells us that Gilda was with Mario Falcone after Long Halloween, not this cheesy Paul Janus character.

  3. Lukasz says:

    Shouldn’t “Bad” (LOTDK #146-148) be place at least before Batman: Dark Victory, or maybe ? In the 2nd part Bats titles Gordon “captain” so it must have occured before his nomination. Gordon uses the Batsignal but “can’t even sanction [Bats] existence”. He even ignores one of the SWAT guys mentioning his presence (that guy also didn’t believe Bats was real). Same thing with one of the main characters – shrink named Sabra Temple – she’s shocked when meeting Bats face to face as she didn’t believe the ‘Bat-Man’, as she calls him, was real. That doesn’t gel well with other stories placed around it, like”The Spook”, were characters recognize Batman an active vigilante right away.

    • Most of the “ubran myth” stuff should actually be ignored. That was all post-Zero Hour nonsense that lasted for way too long (from 1994 until Infinite Crisis). However, the implication that the story happens earlier can still remain. Plus, as you have pointed out, Gordon is definitely captain, so this should go definitely go before he has become commish. I’ve moved it to late Year Four. Thanks!

  4. hearthesnap says:

    Hey Colin, long time no comment. Either way, my concern in the listing comes from you placement of “Faces”. Namely that you say the story dictates that Harvey has been Two Face for approximately 2 years. I only mention as that may not be the case. After Harvey escapes Arkham he disappears for 2 years according to the text and then resurfaces after spending time away from Gotham abroad, namely France. So the placement of the story here would seemingly be out of place. 2ndly he needed time in it of itself to gather his new brethren IE his “Deformity Nation”.

    • Hey, welcome back into the fold. You are definitely correct in addressing this “Faces” sitch. The story actually, upon a second glance, does NOT dictate that Harvey has been Two-Face for two years. It starts with a flashback showing us that Two-Face has escaped from Arkham. We are told that Batman chases him for two-and-a-half months before losing track of him. Cut to the main narrative of “Faces,” which begins exactly two years after this escape sequence. We are also told that no one has seen nor heard from Two-Face in these two years, during which time he has been building his “Deformity Nation.”

      So, what does this mean in terms of continuity? It means that we need to find a spot where Two-Face is absent for TWO FULL YEARS. This unfortunately, NEVER HAPPENS in Batman’s early years (or really ever). Two-Face shows up in just about every single year, and usually multiple times. Should faces be non-canon? Likely so—especially thanks to additions like Long Halloween and Dark Victory. The 1992 story just doesn’t fit. Now, we can argue that Two-Face is secretly traveling to France whenever he can to build his army up, then returning to Gotham and committing other crimes and serving time and escaping here and there to go back to France, but this seems improbable. Based upon this re-reading of “Faces,” I’ve simply determined that it is non-canon.

      Either that OR we ignore the two years on the lam, but this is a major part of the story, so I’m hesitant to do so.

      • tiptupjr94 says:

        Hey guys, it’s funny I just read these comments, because a few days ago I ALSO grappled with the Faces storyline but eventually did place it into my timeline. Here’s what I did:

        (First of all, in my timeline, Long Halloween starts in Year 2 and Dark Victory ends in Year 5.) Now, almost immediately after the conclusion of Long Halloween and the Steps storyline (LOTDK 98-99, which features Two-Face) Harvey escapes, as depicted in Faces part 1.

        Now, in Robin 0 in the mid-90s, it’s said that the DA who immediately succeeded Harvey was Alrdich Meany, who was later killed in the double-gallows incident. But from Dark Victory, we know Janice Porter followed Harvey. However, the Essential Batman Encyclopedia treats Meany as semi-canonical (while acknowledging the discrepancy with Robin Year One) and suggests that Porter followed Dent *and* Meany in rapid succession. So here’s muh theory:

        Harvey escapes and begins planning his Isle D’urberville scheme. At some point prior to the beginning of Dark Victory, Harvey kills Aldrich Meany and is returned to Arkham. Throughout the events of Dark Victory, Harvey is planning his Isle D’urberville scheme behind the scenes in addition to all the other stuff he’s doing. Then, right after Dark Victory’s conclusion, the rest of the Faces storyline happens mostly as told. However, Harvey would have to escape Arkham rather quickly for his appearance in Robin: Year One.

        And if you don’t like the Aldrich Meany angle, we can just imagine that Harvey was returned to Arkham for any other reason. Still, this is how I’m looking at things now.

        It’s pretty astounding that this story has the gall to have Two-Face off the map for two entire years, and while that’s certainly the intent and implication, I don’t think there’s a point where Batman explicitly says he hasn’t seen Two-Face AT ALL during this time, although at one point he asks a thug about “his movements of the last two years”; perhaps Batman just figured that Harvey started planning something around that time, and is still carrying it out since he hasn’t resurfaced since the end of Dark Victory? (If I’m remembering things correctly.)

        At any rate, in my opinion the post-Zero Hour/IC time waves have made these early Legends stories malleable enough to make such inferences.

        • Nice ideas. Wasn’t aware of the Encyclopedia‘s take on Aldrich Meany. Very interesting. Not sure if I’ll add it back in (after painstakingly removing it), but I will definitely make mention of your write-up here. I think this is one of those things where it definitely can fit, but only as a modified version—which, of course, has been done to death on this timeline already.

  5. petermcpollen says:

    Hello! One quick question. I put it here because this is the year when “Ghosts” by Sam Kieth takes place. There’s another story by Kieth called “Secrets” in which the same flashback about Bruce unwillingly killing a bird is shown. Is that story non-canon? Because I can’t find it anywhere in the timeline.

    • An oversight! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. The flashback to the bird scene has been added. About a decade ago I read Batman: Secrets and Batman/Lobo and determined them both to be non-canonical books. Most Sam Kieth stuff is pretty hard to rationalize on any timeline. I don’t have my notes anymore, but maybe I’ll do a re-read to see what the continuity issues were. In any case, Kieth, as a master caliber creator, seems to have been given cart blanche in regard to his Batman stories, seemingly placing them in a unique Kieth-verse. The reason I chose to include “Ghosts” is because, while it may certainly link to Kieth’s other Bat-works (in his Kieth-verse), it didn’t have anything in its narrative that made it hard to place on the primary timeline. However, like I said, I’ll re-visit his oeuvre and see if I can’t make more sense of it now ten-years removed.

  6. Maximilian Schræder says:

    Thank you for your wonderful work on this timeline. I just had a question about Jim Gordon’s hair color, in these early stories it seems that Jim Gordon’s hair color changes every other week. Is there any explanation for this or should it be ignored like the yellow oval on Bruce’s chest.

    • There’s discussion about Gordon’s ever-changing hair color in Year One, but yes, we simply have to ignore Gordon’s hair. Sometimes it’s red, sometimes it’s gray in these first ten years. It all depends on the artist. Gordon’s hair, since it is literally seemingly an artistic choice—akin to whether or not Alfred if fully bald or has a mustache, is not an error if it is red in Year Six. Nor is it an error if it is gray in Year Two. It’s just an artistic choice, something to be ignored. However, I wouldn’t ignore it in the way you’d ignore the chest insignia on the Bat-costume. Direct comparison of Gordon’s hair to the yellow-oval is a bit of a false analogy. In the Modern Age, the chest insignia on the Bat costume is really supposed to be an indicator of placement/time/era. Of course, this gets screwed up sometimes and becomes a continuity error. So, while Gordon’s hair is truly an indicator of nothing, the chest insignia (while sometimes unfortunately wrong) is meant to be an indicator of something.

  7. Slade says:

    Hello! First and foremost, I wanted to commend you for this remarkable project! It is truly impressive!

    My question pertains to logistics of the time-line, specifically the month of December. It seems as though you have condensed A LOT into the month.

    In attempt to locate if Robin’s debut is feasibly able to be condensed into one month with the formation of the Justice League and the debut of various villains, I attempted to work backwards. This is what I came up with:

    Day 1: Robin debuts and takes down Joe Minnette’s crime organization

    In the span of six days, we see
    – Batman and Robin take down Joker, Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Penguin, Kite-Man / Big Bill Collins
    – Batman gets shot
    – Bruce, Dick, and Alfred go fishing (in December?)
    – Batman and Robin take down Crime-Doctor, Elva Barr (Selina Kyle), Tweedledee and Tweedledum
    – Bruce and Dick attend a fancy soiree
    – Robin teams up with Superman
    – Batman and Robin team up with Superman again
    – The Appelaxians attack and the (Justice) League forms (over several days)
    – The League fights Starro
    – The Justice League hold a press conference and fight several attacking villains
    – Joker causes a stir with Aquaman
    – Batman and Robin take down Crazy Quilt and some gun runners
    – Dick begins schooling (in December?)
    – Robin takes down the Mad Hatter
    – Batman and Robin take down Cluemaster, Firefly, thugs (while being watched by Shrike), Riddler (again), Blockbuster and Roland Desmond, Mr. Freeze (again), Cyanide & Mother Grimm

    Day 7: Dynamic Duo takes down Killer Moth
    Day 8: Dynamic Duo takes down Blockbuster (again)
    Day 9: Batman takes down Two Face, who kills Judge Lawrence and beats Robin
    Day 10: Batman fires Robin
    – Dick Grayson’s rehab
    December 17: Dick visits Leslie, Freeze robs the clinic
    December 18: Dick takes down Freeze / joins Shrike / leaves Bruce, Two Face escapes
    December 19 – 20: Midnight murders, Batman begins dating April Clarkson
    December 21: Batman attends Barry Lucas’ funeral
    December 24: April Clarkson is “executed” by Midnight
    December 24 – 31: Catwoman is kidnapped, Batman continues pursuing Midnight

    I wanted to hear your thoughts behind how that six-day window makes sense with SO MUCH going on. Thanks!

    • Well, when you lay it all out like that… haha. It would appear as though we should move some things out of there. And it looks like there is some room to trim the fat.

      Having taken another stab at it (and slid some things into Year Seven), I think it feels much better. In any case, due to retcons, compression, Sliding Time and the like, some stuff just has to be SQUEEZED. No way around it. However, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I think it’s better now. Let me know what you think.

      • Slade says:

        Thank you so much for the response and rapid adjustments. I really appreciate it!

        In terms of the modified timeline, I think you nailed it. It certainly is very compressed (as you said, it has to be), but everything seems to fall in place well. I actually think you can definitively place a day-by-day organization of things to make it effectively function. It requires some villains to be taken-down on the same day, but that doesn’t seem out of the question for a hero like Batman.

  8. Milo says:

    Just a small correction. The single panel in Robin: Year One #1 showing the death of Zucco is a reference to Legends of the Dark Knight #100, not Dark Victory. Dick is wearing the clothes he wore in LotDK #100 and he’s brandishing a board, not a stick like in Dark Victory. Robin: Year One’s publication overlapped with that of Dark Victory, so it couldn’t have accommodated that story.

  9. Milo says:

    DC Universe Legacies #3 features a flashback to Justice League of America #9, where the heroes decide to form the League immediately after dealing with the Appellaxians. And according to the issue, Black Canary was not part of this meeting, even though she could have been fighting the Appellaxians. This would of course go before the Trinity meet up flashback from Justice League of America #0, where Batman airs his misgivings about the idea. DC Universe Legacies #3 also features a flashback to the Starro fight.

    • Right, that’s good information to add concerning the ever-changing attitudes toward Black Canary being present for the Appellaxian affair. I will definitely make this crystal clear. And good catch about the missing flashback reference to Starro from DCU Legacies #3 as well. Not sure how I missed the entire end splash page! Clearly I majorly (too quickly) skimmed the DCU Legacies series when it came out. Thanks, again!

  10. Milo says:

    52 #51 combines the two versions of the Appellaxian battle (the original and the one from JLA: Year One) and places Black Canary at the Appellaxian battle, so it’s safe to say she took part in the battle, but for whatever reason didn’t join the meeting afterwards. The chronology of the JLA’s formation could be interpreted as them first agreeing to form a team in DC Universe Legacies #3, then the Trinity (in Justice League of America #0) and the five other members (in JLA: Year One #1) confirming that they’ll indeed join up.

  11. Milo says:

    I think JLA: Year One can be canon if you take into account that, while founders of the League, according to 52 #51, the Trinity remained as reserve members at first. 52 #51 combines the narrative of JLA: Year One with the original origin of the League. While the Trinity were co-founders, they didn’t assume full membership until later, and the other five formed the core of the group, preserving JLA: Year One. So things like Flash trying to persuade Superman to join the League can be thought of as him trying to get Superman to take up full membership.

    • Milo says:

      JLA Incarnations #1 and #2 can be canon for the same reasons. Batman doesn’t become a full time member of the League until issue #2.

      • I’m not so certain that JLA Incarnations #1-2 should remain canon. Maybe #1 (I’ll re-read), but not #2, which seems to contradict 2011’s flashback from Batman Confidential #50-54, the most current and seemingly canonical Modern Age story of Batman joining the JLA full-time. I suppose it’s possible that Incarnations #2 could go immediately after the fb from Confidential #50-54. (In the latter, Batman accepts hi JLA communicator, but in the former, Batman officially accepts being on the team.)

        • Milo says:

          Yeah, I think JLA Incarnations #2 could go after the flashback in Batman Confidential #54. In JLA Incarnations #2, Batman seems to be in some kind of contact with the League, perhaps with the communicator he accepted in Batman Confidential #54, but not yet fully a part of the team. This important moment of Batman assuming full membership is a milestone and thus (I think) a story worth having. Of course, Batman has the wrong costume, which should be ignored.

    • Yeah, this is basically how I have it set up on my timeline, but I can make it more explicit. And I can likely switch the JLA: Year One #2 and #11 from references to actual as-is stories on the timeline. I’ll take a peek at the Incarnations issues to see if it’s worth doing that for them as well. Thanks, again Milo!

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