–Batman and The Mad Monk #6 Epilogue by Matt Wagner
January 1. Bruce receives another mailed letter from Julie, who is starting her service with the Peace Corps in Africa. Although, as per reference in Batman #682, Bruce doesn’t actually read this letter. Meanwhile, Batman has the realization that his war on crime will likely last a very long time, meaning he shouldn’t allow anyone to get too close to him. In Bruce’s mind, short-term physical relationships, especially ones to keep up Playboy appearances, are okay, but getting too attached is dangerous and distracting to his mission. (Batman has said this kind of thing before, but he always has trouble adhering to this self-edict.) While patrolling, Batman is alerted by police scanner about corpses in a Gotham warehouse that have rictus grins on their faces.

–Batman: The Man Who Laughs by Ed Brubaker/Doug Manhke
January 1-5—it’s been three months since the Red Hood incident at Ace Chemical. Picking up directly from Mad Monk #6 epilogue, Batman meets with Captain Gordon at the warehouse full of rictus grinning murder victims (the very same cadavers mentioned in the Mad Monk #6 epilogue). The next day, Bruce has dinner with prominent Gothamite Henry Claridge. During the dinner, Bruce evades a boring business discussion by citing the fact that he is merely a figurehead at Wayne Enterprises, which is 100% accurate at this juncture! The evening is interrupted when a debuting Joker appears on a live TV news report about the upcoming reopening of Arkham Asylum. Joker introduces himself to the public by threatening to kill Claridge at exactly midnight. Bruce slips away and switches into Bat-gear, utilizing a new Batmobile (or new Batmobile mode) that allows the car to camouflage itself as a civilian vehicle. Sure enough, at the stroke of midnight, despite massive police protection, Claridge keels over with a forced smile on his face—victim of time-release Joker Toxin (aka Joker Venom), with which he had been dosed earlier in the day. Across town, Joker kidnaps a bunch of asylum residents and turns them into his henchmen. In the morning, Joker threatens to kill millionaire Jay Wilde. When night falls, Joker is much less subtle this time, attacking the GCPD and Batman head-on via helicopter and shooting Wilde dead with Joker Toxin-tipped bullets. The next day, after some chemical analysis, Batman learns that the man in the Red Hood costume that fell into the vat at Ace Chemical three months ago is the Joker. Batman tracks the Joker and discovers that he has been looking at survey maps. Batman here seems unsure as to what Joker was searching for, mistakenly thinking it has something to do with the sewers. This feels like a continuity error on the part of Ed Brubaker—Batman surely would have realized Joker was finally ready to strike the reservoir since he’d already made that threat earlier in the week (on December 3 in Miller’s “Year One”). But since this is the definitive Joker origin, published in 2005, as I’ve stated above, the error becomes a retcon. Joker publicly threatening to contaminate the reservoir on December 3 simply never happened. Oh well. Batman spends the next two days creating an antidote to Joker’s Toxin. Joker then appears on TV again to threaten Judge Thomas Lake and Bruce Wayne! In order to free himself of police protection, Bruce fakes his own death at 11:30, injecting himself with Joker Toxin (and then having Alfred cure him in an ambulance down the road). Batman then realizes that Joker is going to attempt to poison the reservoir, battles Joker’s henchmen, and prevents the Clown Prince of Crime from doing so. (A flashback from Detective Comics #0, despite being published nine years prior to The Man Who Laughs, basically shows this fight scene between Batman and Joker, even including some verbatim dialogue.)[2][3] The epilogue to The Man Who Laughs takes place a few weeks later, and is listed below.


–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Battle for the Cowl – Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? #1—and referenced in Batman #403 and Batman Confidential #25. January 6. Bruce has his first sexual liaison with photojournalist Vicki Vale, becoming legitimate friends with her in the process. Post coitus, Vicki comments on Bruce’s various battle scars. Bruce tells her he got them playing polo. (Yes, as confirmed in other stories, notably Batman: War on Crime, Bruce is already fairly heavily-scarred due to his years of intense training abroad and brutal first year of vigilantism.) Bruce and Vicki will have an on-again-off-again thing for years to come. Vicki, who now works for a pro-Batman magazine, also meets the Dark Knight as well, becoming infatuated with finding out his secret ID. While we will only see Vicki sporadically in Batman’s Early Period, we must imagine that she will distantly trail the Dark Knight on a lot of his cases for the next decade.

–“Do You Understand These Rights?” by Andrew Kreisberg/Scott McDaniel (Batman Confidential #22-25) December 2008 to March 2009
January 6-13. First of all, this item is canonically dubious, containing several errors. As such, feel free to exclude it from your personal headcanon. The completist in me has chosen to include it here—with a few caveats, of course. We’ll address those caveats as we come to them. Our story picks up right after The Man Who Laughs ends. Batman hauls Joker to jail and meets with Jim Gordon. (Enter error number one. Writer Andrew Kreisberg incorrectly refers to Gordon as Lieutenant throughout this arc. Ignore it.) From jail, Joker uses his one phone call to phone GCPD Detective Geoff Shancoe’s wife Holly and, posing as her doctor, tells her she has a rare fatal blood disease. The unstable Holly commits suicide as a result! The next day, Batman and Gordon attend Holly Shancoe’s funeral. A day after that, Joker nearly escapes on his way to his arraignment hearing, killing two guards in the process, but Batman makes sure he gets to court. At the hearing, Bruce watches from the crowd as ADA Harvey Dent asks for an “expedited trial” aka “rocket docket.” The fast-tracked trial is granted by the judge, who sets the trial to last for four weeks. (Note that “expedited trial” has been a part of DCU canon dating back to the Golden Age.) However, before the judge can even bang his gavel, Joker, having learned of his serious allergy, kills the judge by flinging a peanut into his drinking water. If you haven’t already suspended all disbelief, do it now. The next day at trial, Joker manages to kill the court psychiatrist with a well-placed banana peel. After getting chewed out by the mayor, Gordon and Dent meet with Batman to discuss a plan of action. (This is error number two. Kreisberg and artists Scott McDaniel show Mayor Hamilton Hill, which is a total anachronistic continuity error. Hill won’t be mayor for years—so we should either ignore this scene, re-imagine it with Mayor Klass, or keep Hill but think of him as a city councilman or something.) Batman then gets purposefully arrested as Matches Malone in order to meets with Joker face-to-face in an attempt to get inside his head. Finding it impossible to do so, Batman bolts and frustratingly heads home. On the second day of the trial, a new judge halts the proceedings, citing that Joker is too “psychologically damaged to continue,” and sentences the criminal to Holly Springs Psychiatric Hospital. Angered at the decision, Shancoe snaps. He shoots both Gordon and his partner Robbie, cuts off Joker’s transport to Holly Springs, and then puts a gun to the villain’s head. Batman arrives just in time to take down Shancoe, but a freed Joker puts the gun to Batman’s head. Gordon, safe and sound thanks to his bulletproof vest, arrives as well and takes down the Joker. On trial day three, Joker goes to newly reopened Arkham Asylum—he is inmate number one, with Shancoe as inmate number two. (Here we face error number three. Kreisberg makes a weird “Arkham Estates” private condo reference. Arkham was already set to reopen as an asylum in The Man Who Laughs. Arkham was never—nor was it ever going to be—a condo.) Batman Confidential #25 has an epilogue involving the first capture of the Riddler, but that doesn’t take place until late March, so we’ll see it a bit later on our timeline.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #673, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #32-34, and The Batman Files. Batman invents one-man autogyro-copters called Bat-Gyros, which will occasionally (but rarely) get used on certain cases or patrols moving forward. When Robin comes on the scene in a few years, he will rename these things “Whirly-Bats.”

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #23. Bruce visits Dr. Leslie Thompkins. They hang out and she stresses how much she loathes Batman, thinking his vigilantism is reckless and dangerous. Bruce poses for a photograph with Leslie. After developing the photo, Bruce frames it and sends it to her as a gift.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #0. Batman poses in the Batcave, ready for a night’s patrol. The Batmobile is shown in the background.

–FLASHBACK: From Christmas With the Super-Heroes #2. Batman, having just returned to the Batcave from a routine patrol, greets Alfred and walks away from the Batmobile. This could take place pretty much anywhere but works here.

–Batman: The Man Who Laughs Epilogue by Ed Brubaker/Doug Manhke
Late January. With Joker in Arkham Asylum, Batman meets with Gordon and they discuss this horrific new super-villain. They also discuss the mayor’s acceptance of Batman and the use of the Bat-Signal.[5]

From Batman #682. Early February. Bruce and Alfred visit Thomas and Martha Wayne’s graves. Bruce mentions that he can’t date anymore because it will interfere with his work, suggesting that it’s time to end his relationship with Julie Madison. Alfred reminds Bruce, disgustedly, that Julie dumped him several months ago (two months ago to be exact). Alfred shows Bruce a box of unopened letters which Julie has been sending to Wayne Manor for months. Yes, this attitude seems very cold on Bruce’s part, especially in regard to someone he was legitimately in love with. However, while Bruce loved Julie deeply, Batman moved on, pushed her out of his mind completely, and never looked back.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Annual #11, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #167, and The Batman Files—originally told in Detective Comics #58. February. Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin makes his debut and meets Batman (separately as Batman and as Bruce). There is no actual story in the Modern Age that specifically shows the original meetings between Batman/Bruce and Penguin. Matthew Manning, author of The Batman Files, seemed to have been very aware of this when he wrote the canonical first Bruce/Penguin encounter into his book in 2011. Here’s a synopsis. Bruce, likely to bolster his “playboy” persona, begins dating rich society gal Linda Page (a nod to the Golden Age and Silver Age). He also sponsors a new wing of the Flugelheim Museum (a nod to Tim Burton’s Batman film), to which Bruce, Linda, and some of her friends visit. While there, Linda gossips, mentioning the rich Vreeland family (a nod to Batman the Animated Series).[6] Oswald Cobblepot also visits the museum, where he makes obnoxious comments to both Bruce and Linda before getting away scot-free with a stolen painting. Presumably, not long afterward, Bruce switches to his crime-fighting gear and shakes-down Penguin, thus officially meeting Penguin as both Bruce and Batman. This immediately leads to another quick confrontation (or possibly multiple confrontations in a row). Despite these head-to-heads, Penguin’s MO is to commit crimes with the façade of appearing like he is running a legitimate business, so he won’t get busted for anything right now. Nor will he really be on Batman’s true crime radar until a bit later. In Batman Annual #11 (which occurs in Bat Year Eleven) it is revealed that the Penguin has been in and out of prison for at least ten years prior to Batman’s debut. It can be assumed that Cobblepot’s outrageous nature (i.e. use of umbrellas and bird-themed crime) develops as a direct result of both the Batman’s presence and the ever-changing nature of super-villainy and “pop-crime” in Gotham. Penguin would have been a notorious quasi-celebrity swindler/club-owner for nearly a decade before Batman’s first appearance. Also, worth noting: Batman will collect a ton of Penguin’s staple trick umbrellas over the course of the next two decades. Shortly after this Penguin affair, Bruce breaks things off with Linda. Again, The Batman Files says that Bruce dates Linda for months, but they actually only date for weeks.

–Batman: Journey into Knight #1-6 by Andrew Helfer/Tan Eng Huat
February—Bruce’s birthday occurs at some point in Journey into Knight #3-4. Bruce begins having disturbing nightmares about his father. Soon after, Bruce meets with his dad’s old lawyer Mr. Simmonds (who Alfred mistakenly calls “Jenkins”) to officially become the Majority Shareholder of Wayne Industries. Bruce is now Chairman of the Board. (Mr. Simmonds mentions last seeing Bruce on the day his parents were killed, saying, “You were what—almost ten-years-old?” It’s a nice guess, but Bruce was eight.) The existing corporate heads at Wayne Enterprises are not pleased with the new CEO, especially when Bruce “sleeps” through every meeting. By night, Batman solves the case of Cary Rinaldi aka The Carrier, who spreads a fatal disease wherever he goes. By day, Bruce spends time with his new love interest: Mr. Simmonds’ daughter, Summer Skye Simmonds (aka Summer Simmonds aka Skye Peters), who has come back into his life for the first time since he was a boy. I guess Bruce just can’t let go of the ladies after all. After the Carrier is jailed, Batman is forced to go after terrorists, who have cut off the villain’s diseased hand and threaten to use it as a biological weapon. Batman debriefs Jim Gordon (mistakenly referred to as “Lieutenant”) atop police HQ while the latter tunes-up the Bat-Signal. Don’t forget, at this point, the Bat-symbol on the spotlight lens is still just adhered via transparent tape. Artist Tan Eng Huat doesn’t make this very clear, instead drawing it to look like a later version of the signal, but it is indeed a taped-on cloth symbol. With help from the Carrier’s girlfriend, Batman busts the terrorists.[7]

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #105-106. March—Mayor Wilson Klass mentions that the election is coming up in eight months, although Harvey Bullock mentions that Batman has been around for a year-and-a-half to two years. (Bullock is probably off in his guess, but this story could really go anytime this year.) Batman visits the Middle East to shut down a terrorist organization called El-Kar’isha. While the Dark Knight is away on an unspecified case, Captain Gordon and Sergeant Harvey Bullock challenge Joker, who escaped from Arkham Asylum two weeks ago and has allied himself with a French (possibly North African) terrorist. Gordon and Bullock stop Joker and his new pal from blowing up an oil tanker in Gotham.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Annual #8. March.[8] Batman first encounters Edward Nashton aka Edward Nigma, better known as The Riddler, a super-villain whose schtick is to send clues to the cops before committing a crime. Batman also deals with Riddler’s henchwomen Query and Echo. This “Riddler Year One” story (entitled “Questions Multiply the Mystery”) by Chuck Dixon/Kieron Dwyer is told through flashback from the Riddler’s point of view. Batman versus Riddler comprises a series of five major heists, which are also canonically mentioned in Batman Confidential #25. The Riddler’s first four heists occur in quick succession. (He commits some small-time, non-riddle muggings in there too.) Riddler’s fifth heist is the second part of number four, but the fifth is a charm, so to speak, since Batman finally nabs him—we will see him being jailed in the upcoming epilogue to “Do You Understand These Rights?” (from Batman Confidential #25). Anyway, the five heists are as follows: One, the Riddler’s paltry debut at Everest Theater; two, the Lighthouse Club job; three, the Reservoir Cash Depository job; and four and five, the two-part Stradivarius Kidnapping affair (after which Batman captures him). The second heist, at the Lighthouse Club, occurs at 2:29 am on March 4th (the time and date are part of the riddles), and since “Do You Understand These Rights?” states the Riddler’s crimes are all within the month, we can assume that the two-part Stradivarius Kidnapping is during the final week of March. During one of these encounters with the Riddler, Batman keeps a giant question mark as a souvenir, displaying it in the cave as a trophy (as seen and referenced in Nightwing Vol. 2 #101). Likewise, Batman keeps one of Riddler’s riddle clue notes as a trophy as well (as referenced in The Batman Files).

–“Do You Understand These Rights?” Epilogue by Andrew Kreisberg/Scott McDaniel (Batman Confidential #25 Epilogue) March 2009
Late March. Batman has just apprehended Riddler (following the second part of the Stradivarius Kidnapping plan from Detective Comics Annual #8) and drops him off at GCPD HQ.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Long Halloween and The Batman Files—originally told in Detective Comics #259. Late March to early April. The date-themed super-villain Calendar Man (Julian Gregory Day) debuts, publicly claiming that he will commit five crimes in a row (per day), each with a seasonal theme. After Calendar Man bests Batman four times, the Caped Crusader realizes that Calendar Man plans to strike again posing as Maharajah the Magician, a stage performer he killed last year. Batman busts Calendar Man, leaving him for Captain Gordon.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Countdown #37—and referenced in Batman: Legend of the Dark Knight #42 and Batman #670. Originally told in Batman #181. Spring—LODTK #42 explicitly states that Poison Ivy debuts in the spring. Batman encounters the former female-rockers turned super-villains, Silken Spider, Tiger Moth, and Dragon Fly. Shortly thereafter, Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley) debuts, demonstrating her ability to control both plants and people. Poison Ivy, out to prove that she is the number one female super-villain in Gotham, busts the trio of rival ladies. This leads to Batman busting Poison Ivy. NOTES: The placement of Poison Ivy’s debut is a tricky one. The only post-original Crisis debut tale for Poison Ivy is the definitively NON CANON “Year One Poison Ivy” by Alan Grant from Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #3. There are several things that make this story non canon. First, we meet a violently homicidal Pamela Isley. Isley doesn’t start using lethal tactics until later. Her first encounters with Batman are more playful than murderous and it is because of this fact that she is released instead of incarcerated. Second, Gordon is a lieutenant. Third, Batman still doesn’t have the Batmobile yet. Fourth, there are vague references to Christmas coming soon. Fifth, Poison Ivy is shown using former Joker and Penguin henchmen. Ivy could have used Penguin’s henchmen, but using Joker’s henchmen, on the other hand, would probably be unlikely since he doesn’t really use henchmen until later on. And sixth, references in Batman #670 hint at a Poison Ivy origin that involves Silken Spider, Dragon Fly, and Tiger Moth, meaning that Ivy’s origin is likely a modified version of her origin from Batman #181 (or one that combines it with elements of Shadow of the Bat Annual #3). Therefore, despite whether we completely ignore Shadow of the Bat Annual #3 outright or make mere reference to it, Ivy’s first appearance should still be placed here on the timeline, somewhere during the spring months about one year into Batman’s tenure as Gotham’s vigilante hero—(SOTB Annual #3 actually gets this one year in part correct).[9]

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Black and White Vol. 2 TPB Part 3. Bruce’s friend Dr. Robbin Carnahan gives birth to twin boys, Michael and Sam. Bruce meets the babies and agrees to be their godfather. Robbin will raise the boys as a single mother. Bruce will remain a fixture in their lives for years to come.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legend of the Dark Knight #79. Batman meets nude dancer Tabitha and begins using her as an informant.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #574. Batman goes on regular patrol, busting up some random baddies.

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Enter author Matthew Manning, who never misses an opportunity to play fast-and-loose with continuity gaps. Regarding Catman, Manning’s 2011 The Batman Files canonizes a version of 1993’s “Heat” by Doug Moench/Russ Heath (LOTDK #46-49), a Thomas “Catman” Blake origin story that features an entirely different version of the character. While “Heat” may have possibly been Moench’s attempt to write a new canonical Modern Age Catman origin in 1993, it was made non-canon a few years later, with the Silver Age Catman origin overwriting it. (It’s also highly possible that, like many other LOTDK stories, “Heat” was always meant to be non-canon in the first place.)[10] In any case, here is a synopsis, modeled after the original “Heat” story. (Despite that fact that “Heat” can be read more-or-less as-is, I’m hesitant to include it as an outright bulleted inclusion—as opposed to a simple reference listing—for all the complex background mentioned above.) A violent serial killer named Thomas Blake becomes the one-shot super-villain called Catman. Batman begins a very public war with Catman, much to the consternation of Captain Gordon, Mayor Klass, and Catwoman. Meanwhile, a wealthy big game hunter, also named Thomas Blake, becomes obsessed with the case because the serial killer has the exact same name as him. Eventually, Batman busts Catman Blake. The other Blake will eventually be inspired to copycat (pun intended) the man with whom he shares a name. Manning tells us that Catman II will debut a little over a year after Catman I, but since Manning utilizes a slightly different timeline than the Batman Chronology Project, he also mentions that Gordon will be commissioner when Catman II debuts. As such, Catman II won’t come around next year. He’ll make his first appearance in Year 6, when Gordon is commissioner.

–“Deja Vu” by Darwyn Cooke (Solo #5) August 2005
This tale is a canonical re-telling of “The Stalker” by Steve Englehart (originally from 1974’s Detective Comics #439). Batman chases down a group of robbers after they murder a young boy’s parents in front of him. After bringing the villains to justice, Bruce reflects in front of his own deceased parents’ portrait and cries. Very powerful in the 70s and the legendary Cooke treats the story with respect in 2005. (Although, we should ignore Cooke’s poetic license of placing Wayne Manor by the seaside.)

–“Gothic” by Grant Morrison/Klaus Janson (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #6-10)
In “Gothic,” Batman defeats Manfred Winchester, a three-hundred-year-old villain known as Mr. Whisper, who is hellbent on spreading a plague-like disease over Gotham. Oh, did I mention that Mr. Whisper used to be Bruce’s childhood boarding school teacher? Moving on, it’s probably safe to say that the curious case of Mr. Whisper takes at least a couple weeks to solve, especially since Batman makes two separate trips to Austria (yes, the one in Europe) to gather information about the villain’s dark origins.[11]

–FLASHBACK: From The Batman Chronicles #10. Batman busts some random crooks. An unnamed gangster witnesses the bust, which strikes the fear of the Bat into him. He tells his three partners in crime to be weary of Gotham’s protector, but sure enough, the Dark Knight sends them to jail in quick succession. When rival mobsters kill the unnamed gangster’s family, he comes to think Batman is responsible and becomes a vagrant recluse living on the streets of Gotham.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: War on Crime. Bruce meets real estate developer Randall Winters, who works closely with Wayne Industries.

–“Stalking” by Lee Marrs/Eddy Newell (LOTDK #107-108) June 1998 to July 1998
Late spring—this is a “summertime” tale, but it technically occurs in late spring, either late May or early June, shortly before Batman: Journey into Knight #7-12. A highly-trained motorcycle-driving assassin goes on a murder spree to avenge the death of her husband, a criminal who had been killed years ago by Captain Gordon.[12]

–“Hot House” by John Francis Moore/P. Craig Russell (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #42-43) February 1993 to March 1993
“Hot House” depicts Poison Ivy’s second encounter with Batman. Gordon references Batman’s first encounter with her as happening “last spring.” While the term “last spring” seems to imply spring from the previous year, we must take Gordon’s reference to mean the most recent spring, or in this case, three-and-a-half months ago. Thus, this seems like an appropriate place to put “Hot House” onto our timeline. In the tale, we learn that Ivy was released from a psychiatric hospital shortly after her first encounter with Batman and is now working at Gotham University. Has she really reformed? No way, Jose. “Hot House” plants the seeds (no pun intended) for the future of Pamela Isley; she’s manipulative, seductive, and downright unhinged. Overall, “Hot House” takes about a week to wrap up. The story ends after Batman travels to Seattle to interrogate one of Ivy’s former colleagues. Notably, both Dr. Jason Woodrue and Green Arrow are mentioned in their conversation, although Batman has yet to meet either of them. Also note that Bruce pisses-off his unnamed blonde date in “Hot House.” For the purposes of our timeline, this is Summer Skye Simmonds. It fits nicely in the time frame and double-functions as their official break up.

–Batman: Journey into Knight #7-12 by Andrew Helfer/Tan Eng Huat (April 2006 to November 2006)
Early June-early September. Issue #7 of Journey into Knight begins “four months later” after issue #6. In a highly elaborate storyline (not a necessarily good one, mind you) Journey into Knight reveals that the higher-ups at Wayne Industries climbed the corporate ladder by utilizing a criminal scheme that involved kidnapping, faking deaths, actual murder, arson, hypnotism, and many other felonies. Anyway, now that Bruce has settled into his role as CEO of the company, these guys stand to lose everything. Thus, the bad guys hypnotize Bruce (with the help of metahuman villain Sister Lailah) and he tries to kill someone. Bruce becomes a fugitive! This won’t be the last time Bruce becomes a fugitive! But knowing that Bruce will talk once he snaps out of the trance, they catch him, dope him up, and secretly incarcerate him in Arkham Asylum! This won’t be the last time Bruce is incarcerated in Arkham! To add to the chaos, Joker, unknown to the outside world, has assumed control of one of the Arkham wings and acts as Bruce’s personal “doctor,” keeping him trapped and drugged for THREE MONTHS. If we don’t assume that this “three months” has since been retconned down to a more reasonable number, then Batman is out of commission from mid-June to September. This technically is a possibility on our timeline, although it isn’t a paradigm. Either way, pick your own poison. Eventually, Bruce gets out, is cleared of all charges, and we see a fully-recovered Batman out-and-about two weeks later. Note that Journey into Knight #10 contains one of the biggest continuity errors of the entire Modern Age. While rummaging through Thomas and Martha Wayne’s bedroom, Gordon mentions that nothing has been touched in exactly ten years and six months, implying that Bruce’s parents only died that length of time ago. Absolutely ludicrous.[13]

–Batman: War on Crime by Alex Ross/Paul Dini (1999)
Late Summer.[14] Batman visits his parents’ graves and does his routine patrol, busting random baddies left-and-right. He also keeps up appearances (as Bruce) at elite soirees and in executive board rooms. While chatting with Alfred and working out in the Batcave, we see a shirtless Bruce and learn that, only a little less than a year-and-a-half into his crime-fighting mission, he already has heavy scarring on his upper body. Batman then spends a few days cleaning-up crime in the notorious Bayside District of Gotham—busting street level hoods, shuttering drug gangs, shaking-down a notorious ex-mobster turned club owner, making a positive influence on a young juvenile delinquent, and outing crooked real estate developer Randall Winters to the police.[15]

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #598. Batman builds and secretly imbeds a master password program that he can use to override all internal security for WayneTech’s computer systems. This gives him unlimited access to WayneTech’s computers.

–“Testament” by John Wagner/Chris Brunner (LOTDK #172-176) December 2003 to April 2004
The first of many violent/homicidal Batman-inspired criminal gangs emerges now. The gang known as “Rough Justice” burglarizes Wayne Manor and stumbles upon Bruce’s journal, which gives away his identity as Batman! Luckily for Bruce, the whole gang is killed before anyone finds out. Captain Gordon does manage to procure the journal, but opts not to read it, and instead returns it to Batman safely.[16][17]

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #673—and also referenced in Batman #665. So much unbelievable shit has gone down recently, Batman decides to begin keeping a log of any bizarre events involving metahumans, supernatural occurrences, aliens, and anything else seemingly beyond the realm of human comprehension. With the ever-changing and growing face of super-crime in Gotham, Batman worries about his own sanity, especially since he gets drugged so often during combat. Therefore, Bruce and Alfred begin compiling this intensive log, which is known as “The Black Casebook.”

–FLASHBACK: From the B&W second feature to Batman: Gotham Knights #47 and Detective Comics #0. The second feature to Gotham Knights #47 shows Batman chasing after an escaped Riddler, perambulatory at first, then in the Batmobile. Detective Comics #0 shows a separate flashback of Batman in the Batmobile, running Riddler off the road. While these two flashbacks were never meant to be linked, they connect quite well, hence my pairing of them here.

–“Secrets of the Batcave: Dinosaur Island” by Graham Nolan (The Batman Chronicles #8 Part 3) Spring 1997
This quick little yarn could easily have taken place a bit earlier, but I put it in here because we have never seen the Batcave dinosaur yet, but it will start showing up repeatedly from this point on. In “Dinosaur Island” we learn how the giant T rex winds up as a trophy. Batman defeats Stephan Chase, vile owner of “Dinosaur Island,” a theme park complete with robotic fighting cavemen and mechanical dinosaurs. Afterward, Alfred suggests that Batman should start an official trophy collection. In disguise, Alfred purchases the T rex at a police auction. The Dark Knight has already collected a few super-villain items here and there, but the acquisition of the T rex signifies the true start of Batman’s “Hall of Trophies.” We’ll see over the years that Batman will majorly get into prize collection. Note that Alfred mistakenly refers to Jim Gordon as “Lieutenant” in this item, whereas Gordon should correctly be “Captain.”

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Killing Joke. September. Batman has just started building his Hall of Trophies, so he will be trying to collect as much as possible now. As such, he obtains his signature giant penny! Contrary to popular belief, the giant penny is a trophy from the encounter with the “Penny Plunderer” aka gangster Joe Coyne, not from an encounter with Two-Face. The Batman Chronicles #19 has a good Penny Plunderer story, although it’s non-canon because Robin is in it.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #676. September. Last year, Batman kept the Monk’s shroud (his hood) after the events of Mad Monk. Since he is now building his trophy room, the Caped Crusader puts the shroud on display.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 2 #101. September. Batman continues building his trophy room by putting the Riddler’s giant question mark on display.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Killing Joke. September. An encounter with the Penguin earns Batman a life-size Emperor Penguin prop and the villain’s signature top hat.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #676—originally told in Detective Comics #35. September. Gotham archeologist Sheldon Lenox obtains a supposedly cursed Indian artifact called the Ruby Idol of Kila—a tubby corniculate demon statuette. Hoping to undo the curse and make a bit of dirty money, the superstitious Lenox sells the statuette to a man named Weldon. Lenox then enacts an elaborate ruse that involves faking his own death and then sending henchmen (pretending to be a fanatical cult) to steal the idol back from Weldon. In Gotham’s Chinatown, Batman exposes Lenox’s ruse and fights him. Lenox falls to his death, thus proving the curse to be true. Afterward, Batman keeps the Ruby Idol of Kila as a trophy.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #676—originally told in Detective Comics #42. September. The Case of the Prophetic Picture takes place. Anyone who commissions a portrait by the famous Gotham artist Pierre Antal winds up dead. Bruce has his picture painted to solve the case and then hangs it in the cave.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 2 #210. September. Batman goes on an unspecified case and adds a giant nickel to his giant coin collection.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #589—and also referenced in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #65, Booster Gold Vol. 2 #21, and The Batman Files. Late September. Batman’s second encounter with the Joker occurs, after which Joker seemingly dies. (Spoiler: He’s not really dead.) After his second official war against Joker, Batman proudly displays a giant playing card alongside his other trophies in the Batcave. Batman also keeps some bloody Joker playing cards (regular size), which the super-villain will use as his signature calling cards from now on. Since we know that Batman goes in disguise as a black man during one of his early encounters with the Joker (as seen in Batman #589), we might as well assume that he dons blackface (sigh) during this giant playing card adventure. (The giant playing card trophy is referenced inBooster Gold Vol. 2 #21 while the regular size playing card trophies are referenced in The Batman Files.)

–REFERENCE: In Batman #657 and The Batman Files. Being the history buff that he is, Bruce begins collecting historical armor (such as the garb of a Roman centurion), which he puts on display in a new museum-like “Hall of Armor” section of the Batcave. Moving forward, Bruce will add similar items to this collection (and to the Hall of Trophies) from time to time.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #137-138 and Batman Annual #19. Late September. Jonathan Crane debuts as Scarecrow. The 100% canonical LOTDK #137-138 specifically flashes-back to the quasi-canonical Batman Annual #19. One of the reasons Batman Annual #19 is merely quasi-canonical is because Two-Face makes an appearance—and, of course, Two-Face wouldn’t be around yet. Batman Annual #19 was written two years before Long Halloween was published and made officially canon, thus it didn’t know any better than to exclude Two-Face from the narrative. Another reason it is problematic is because of a bogus reference to Fontana ChemCorp.[18] However, despite its quasi-canonical status, the basic plot elements remain the same. Scarecrow starts scaring Gotham University professors to death. Soon afterward, Batman learns the sickening terror of Fear Gas, but recovers quickly to defeat Scarecrow in a corn field. The corn field scene is the one specifically flashed-back-to in LOTDK #137-138. Others list “Choices,” which occurs later this year, as Scarecrow’s debut story, but that simply isn’t possible. And Year One: Batman/Scarecrow by Bruce Jones/Sean Murphy is another Scarecrow origin tale, but Robin is in it, so that story is non-canon. Year One: Batman/Scarecrow does, however, like Batman Annual #19, retain some canonical material despite its non-canon status. It details flashbacks to Scarecrow’s family, specifically his poor mother Karen Keeny-Crane and his wicked grandmother that raised him, Marion Keeny. While nothing in the main action of Year One: Batman/Scarecrow is canon, the Crane Family flashbacks within are canon-legit thanks to DC Universe Holiday Special 2009, which highlights Karen Keeny-Crane and Marion Keeny in a Year Ten Deadman Christmas story titled “Unbearable Loss.”[19] Batman Villains Secret Files and Origins #1 (October 1998) has a messy quasi-canonical timeline that gives a history where Scarecrow debuts pretty early, definitely before Two-Face. While much of Batman Villains Secret Files and Origins #1 must be ignored, this fact can be taken as gospel.

–“Wings” by Chuck Dixon/Quique Alcatena (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #5) 1995
Early October. LOTDK Annual #5 (“Wings”) replaced the non-canon Secret Origins Vol. 2 #39 as the official Modern Age Man-Bat origin story. “Wings” starts right after the time when Batman begins his trophy displays in the Batcave and will run on-and-off for the next ten months. Batman battles the gang of masked acrobatic thieves called The Ridgerunners (aka The Blackout Gang from Secret Origins Vol. 2 #39) three times in a row, and three times in a row Batman is defeated. Elsewhere, Dr. Kirk Langstrom and his girlfriend Francine Lee work on a genome project involving bats.

–“Flyer” by Howard Chaykin/Gil Kane (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #24-26) November 1991 to January 1992
October. “Flyer” is the official 18 month-in story (as opposed to the out-of-continuity LOTDK #71-73 “Werewolf” tale).[20] Batman mentions his recent strange encounters with both Hugo Strange and Mr. Whisper. This story also has a direct tie-in to Miller’s “Year One” and here’s how: In Miller’s “Year One” Batman uses an ultrasonic technology to bring a flock of bats to his location, which functions as a chaotic black cloud to mask his escape from the law. “Flyer” reveals that one of the GCPD officers, Curtis Eisenmann, was seriously injured during this memorable Miller scene. Eisenmann’s mother, Birgit, who happens to be an ex-Nazi scientist, decides to turn her paralyzed son into Darth Vader, giving him a flying cyborg body and razor sharp teeth to exact revenge on Batman. Enter a anti-queer Nazi cyborg with an Oedipus complex. Wait, it gets better. After Curtis captures Batman, his mom reveals her thoughts that the Dark Knight is the perfect über-man. The plan all along was for Batman to father her child and start a new White supremacist herrenvolk! After some electrical torture to loosen up Bats for the sexual ride of his life, Oedipal-Curtis decides his mom’s plan of action is just too damn creepy and betrays her. Batman barely escapes with his life and the Eisenmanns perish in an explosion.

–“Playground” by James Robinson/Dan Brereton (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #114) January 1999
October. This story, like “Flyer,” also takes place roughly eighteen months into Batman’s career. The Dark Knight travels to Chicago and gets his ass totally handed to him by the murderous villain known only as Rhodes. The killer is about to claim victory when he’s mobbed by a bunch of homeless people. Talk about deus ex machina.

–“Wings” by Chuck Dixon/Quique Alcatena (conclusion) (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #5) 1995
Late October. Weeks after his last confrontation with the Ridgerunners/Blackout Gang, Batman confronts them again, and once again gets bested. Meanwhile, Kirk Langstrom injects a bat DNA serum of his own invention into his bloodstream, giving him increased hearing ability. Kirk and Francine then announce their engagement, but the serum takes further effect, turning Kirk into a monstrous bat creature. Man-Bat goes into hiding.

–“Terror” by Doug Moench/Paul Gulacy (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #137-141) January 2001 to May 2001[21]
Late October. “Terror” is the Hugo Strange-featured follow-up to “Prey.” I originally had this tale much later, but it should correctly go here with two big caveats. First, the mention of Two-Face must 100% be ignored since Two-Face hasn’t debuted yet. Second, Bruce’s decision to ramp up his father’s Wayne Foundation philanthropy must also be ignored. While Thomas’ Wayne Foundation was indeed philanthropic, it hasn’t been since his murder. Bruce will return the Wayne Foundation to its charitable roots, but not until next year. However, in spite of these flubs, “Terror” indeed goes here for a bunch of legitimate reasons. First, Moench’s narrative heavily insinuates that this takes place not that long after “Prey.” Second, the relationship between Catwoman and Batman is much too cat-and-mouse to go later, as in she is still a fugitive on the GCPD’s radar more-so than a menace that has been put on the back burner. Plus, if Bats and Selina were star-crossed lovers at this point, “Terror” completely forgets this aspect and the kiss in the alley reads as one of their first embraces. Third, “Terror” seems to show Scarecrow’s first foray out of Arkham after he has fully embraced his role (before he gets all “macabre’d-up” in “Choices” and Long Halloween). Thus, in a sense, “Terror” functions as an important character-developing moment tantamount to what the effect of his capture in Batman: Madness – A Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special (LOTDK Halloween Special #2) would have been were it canon. And fourth, “Terror” directly references Scarecrow’s initial defeat in the corn field, making this his second official appearance. Fourth, Catwoman mentions that she is planning to change her “looks, haircut, and attitude” in the near future, hinting at her new socialite persona that is soon to come. Phew. Now onto the synopsis! Hugo Strange returns and frees Scarecrow from Arkham in order to use him as a pawn against Batman. Instead, Scarecrow turns on Strange by impaling him on a spiked metal weather vane, leaving him for dead. The self-proclaimed Master of Fear then goes on a killing spree in an attempt to murder all the “jocks” who picked on him in high school. Neato! Batman very reluctantly teams up with Catwoman and together they bring Dr. Crane to justice. But that’s not all. The Cat/Bat team (and Crane) are stunned when Strange makes a dramatic resurrection. Turns out he was stuck with the weather vane impaled straight through his chest for three days and, despite massive exsanguination, survived by eating live rats! Jesus. “Terror” is also notable because Gordon finally paints the bat symbol onto the Bat-Signal. He had previously been using a cloth cutout of a bat and placing it over the spotlight. Also, Bruce does a massive upgrade of Wayne Manor’s security during this tale. From this point forward, as referenced in Red Hood: The Lost Days #2, Bruce will revamp Wayne Manor security every single month.[22]

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Late October. Batman is tickled by the fact that Batman Halloween costumes are among the most popular and sought-after costumes this holiday season.

–“Choices: A Tale of Halloween in Gotham City” by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1) December 1993
Halloween weekend. This tale was renamed “Fears” in the TPB. The month of the Scarecrow continues! Jonathan Crane is already on the loose again (we must assume he never makes it to Arkham or escapes immediately following “Terror”) and has been wreaking havoc for a nearly a whole week. By night, Batman finally battles the villain and defeats him. By day, Bruce is seduced by a beautiful femme-fatale named Jillian Maxwell, only to realize that she is a con-artist who’s only after his cash. There is a slightly odd part in “Choices” where Gordon mentions his wife by name and Batman seems to not remember who she is at first, but I think this slip-up can be chalked up to the fact that Bats hasn’t slept a wink in over three days.[23]

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #140Batman: The Long Halloween #1, and The Batman Files. Bruce Wayne meets Selina Kyle out-of-costume for the first time. They’ve already met in-costume on a bunch of occasions (and once when Bruce used his scarred-up war vet disguise), but never in their regular civilian personas. Selina, who has falsely established herself as notorious Gotham socialite “Marguerite Tone,” becomes playfully entangled with Bruce. (Selina will drop the fake name almost immediately after using it, although she’ll keep her new socialite status.) Selina and Bruce will cross paths several times over the course of the rest of this calendar year, but those meetings aren’t specifically referenced, so we will simply have to imagine them appearing randomly on our timeline. Furthermore, Selina will have no idea that Bruce is Batman, but the super-sleuth Dark Knight confirms that Selina is none other than his feline femme-fatale foe. Batman already basically knew, but know he knows for sure. (While there is a distinct possibility that Batman knows Catwoman’s secret identity right from the start of Year One, there is actually no definitive indicator that Batman learns it 100% until Year Seven’s Batman Confidential #17. Batman’s interactions with Catwoman—and Bruce’s with Selina—are coy enough to keep things deliberately vague on our timeline’s first six years. Therefore, there is an argument to be made for both cases and things are hazy enough in the comics that it’s hard to say for certain.) No matter what, though, at some point this year, Bruce and Selina begin on-again-off-again dating each other.[24]

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #0 and Batman: Ego. Batman meets with Captain Gordon atop police HQ to discuss an unspecified case.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Black and White #3 Part 2. Batman rescues a five-year-old girl named Karen, who has been kidnapped and missing for a week.

–FLASHBACK: From Superman/Batman #75 Part 6—and referenced in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #65. Joker resurfaces, but Batman fights him again. This is Batman’s third encounter with the Joker, who once again appears to die at the climax of their confrontation. (The Man Who Laughs/”Do You Understand These Rights?” combo counts as the first while the fight that nets the giant playing card is numero dos.)

–“Infected” by Warren Ellis/John McCrea (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #83-84) June 1996 to July 1996
“Infected” is a short story by Warren Ellis where two US Army soldiers have been injected with a test serum designed to make them into metahuman super-warriors capable of shooting bone fragment bullets out of their bare hands. After being dosed with the formula, they escape and begin rampaging through Gotham. One of the soldiers eventually commits suicide while the other gets an infection and becomes a walking-plague like threat. Batman figures out exactly what’s going on and passes the lab details to Captain Gordon, who passes them along to Mayor Wilson Klass. Batman winds up taking the plague soldier down with a cattle prod and a gun, yes you heard me right, a gun! Relax, he uses the gun to shoot at and disarm the renegade soldier’s bone spewing hands, not to kill him.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #169-170. November. A politician named Gill wins Gotham’s mayoral election, besting incumbent Wilson Klass. Mayor-elect Gill, following his inauguration in a couple months, will remain Gotham’s top official until his assassination in Bat Year Six.

–“The Sleeping” by Scott Hampton (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #76-78) October 1995 to December 1995
In “The Sleeping”, Bruce Wayne is injured in a car accident and goes into a coma for two weeks. While in the coma, Bruce (as Batman) enters a surreal realm that resembles Hell, battles a demon-like creature called a Soul Eater, and learns what his life would have been like had he not become a superhero (he falls in love, marries, etc). We never learn the name of the strange land that Bruce is astrally projected into, but it is possible that he enters “The Dreaming” from Gaiman’s The Sandman series (Sandman Vol. 2) or some dark side-realm connected to The Dreaming. There is also a notable line in “The Sleeping” where Bruce mentions having previously “played mind games with” Joker and Scarecrow, indicating that they are two of his most cerebral adversaries to date. Batman will meet another Soul Eater in roughly fifteen years (as seen in Batman: Gotham Knights #17). Note that creator Scott Hampton places this story specifically on August 30 through September 12. However, there’s no August/September spot that isn’t already filled in these early years, so we must ignore the specificity.

–“Tao” by Alan Grant/Arthur Ranson (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #52-53) October 1993
“Tao” is a short story where Batman exerts his dominance over the Triads (specifically the Chinese mob) in Gotham. We also see flashbacks to his training in China where he trained with the priestess Shao-La and dealt with her rivals H’Sien-Tan and Dragon. There is a nice splash page that has contains a mural of all of Batman’s main rogues, past, present, and future. Everyone seems appropriate, except for the guy at the top. Who is that? Dracula? Also, I think The Spook is in there. Not exactly big time. UPDATE: “Dracula” is indeed Carmine Falcone, as was pointed out to me. Good eye!

–“Terminus” by Jaimie Delano/Chris Balacho (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #64) September 1994
“Terminus” is a one-night story which inventively depicts The Terminus Hotel, a metaphorical inferno where murderers spend their last days before entering their final destination: Hell. This isn’t so much a Batman story; it’s more of a psychoanalysis or character study of the criminal mind. Pretty cool stuff.

–“Turf” by Steven Grant/Shawn McManus (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #44-45) April 1993 to May 1993
One of the first LOTDK stories to deal directly with race. “Turf” is about police brutality and hate crimes committed by members of the GCPD. When a string of African-Americans are beaten and killed by racist cops, the higher-ranking GCPD officials sweep it all under the rug, but Batman and Gordon aren’t satisfied. They want justice, and you can better believe they get it.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #701 Part 1. Alfred begins serving Batman what will become his favorite soup: mulligatawny. While we won’t see more mulligatawny notes on our timeline, know that this is Bruce’s soup of choice and he will get it quite often.

–REFERENCE: In the second feature to Detective Comics #782. Late November—the anniversary of Batman’s parents’ deaths. Batman continues his annual tradition of placing two roses on Crime Alley on the anniversary of his parents’ murders.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 3 #14. Batman gives Superman a sound piece of investigative advice: “Always question everything.”

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #618 and Batman #678. Bruce puts his father’s old bat-costume, which was once worn at a masquerade party before Bruce was born, on display in the Batcave.

–“Blades” by James Robinson/Tim Sale (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #32-34) June 1992 to July 1992
December. Hands down, one of the best LOTDK stories ever written. This story takes place about twenty months into Batman’s crusade and lasts for a little over a week. In “Blades” we are introduced to Hudson Pyle aka the original Cavalier (not the villain who uses the same name and similar costume years later). The Cavalier has been on the scene for a mere week, but quickly becomes Gotham’s most beloved swashbuckling superhero, not only because of his genuine effectiveness against crime, but because he embraces the public eye as well. He even apprehends the Riddler (who we must assume has escaped from incarceration). However, when his girlfriend is blackmailed by a crime-boss named Randolph Salt, the Cavalier is forced to commit petty crimes to protect her. He winds up being outed as a criminal and eventually murders Salt. After a duel with an exhausted Batman, who has just captured the serial killer Mr. Lime, the Cavalier sacrifices his own life by charging into a hail of police gunfire. There is a nice panel in issue #3 of “Blades” where Batman refers to his three toughest foes so far. Can you guess who they are? Our list is making even more sense as we move along—the three are the Joker, Hugo Strange, and the Riddler.


–Batman/Catwoman: Trail of the Gun #1-2 by Ann Nocenti/Ethan Van Sciver (2004)
This tale does a great job of developing Catwoman’s character.[26] When word of a futuristic prototype smart-gun that fires heat-seeking bullets hits the streets, Catwoman (and every other Gotham thief) begins to salivate. Batman hears that Selina is thinking about stealing the weapon and asks her to help him in an illegal gun-bust in order to teach her about the deadly consequences of unlicensed firearms. Selina, who isn’t quite won over yet, heads over to a metahuman dive bar (Gotham’s seediest thieves’ den) and assembles a crew for the job. Catwoman’s team breaks into the shop where the smart-gun is on display only to realize that two separate crews are already there with the same MO. A bloody gunfight ensues and nearly everyone dies. Catwoman gets blamed for mass murder! In the end Selina is able to shake down one of the other thieves, Gotham’s top burglar extraordinaire, Pike Peavy, who publicly proves her innocence. Peavy, on his deathbed, passes the “king of thieves” torch onto Catwoman. Finally, Batman is able to convince Catwoman that guns are not cool. Catwoman ponders whether or not she might be a hero instead of a villain.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #106. Batman exposes a French-speaking terrorist cell (of French or possibly North African origin). Batman’s investigation leads to army intervention, which leads to the deaths of several members of the cell. Their leader, next year, will try to get revenge by breaking Joker out of Arkham and attempting to blow up an oil tanker in Gotham. (Surprisingly, Batman won’t be involved in that affair.)

–“Blink” by Dwayne McDuffie/Val Semeiks (LOTDK #156-158) Aug. 2002 to Oct. 2002
Batman meets and befriends Lee Hyland, a metahuman conman who is completely blind but can see through the eyes of any animal or person he touches. In this tale, rich folks are having snuff films made (think 8mm) and Hyland, who will later don the name Blink, is witness to the crimes.

–“Irresistible” by Tom Peyer/Tony Harris (LOTDK #169 Intro) September 2003
Batman busts some gun-toting jerks that try to carjack an old lady. Meanwhile, we (the reader) are introduced to Frank Sharp, a born loser that just happens to be a metahuman with the telepathic power of coercion. Despite having to constantly deal with jerks that poke fun at his extremely palsied face, Sharp can order anyone to do just about anything simply by shaking their hand. Sharp will spend the next six months using his power to get whatever he wants, at which point Batman will be on him like white on rice. But we’ll get to that in just under six months.

–“Favorite Things” by Mark Millar/Steve Yeowell (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #79) January 1996
Mid December. It’s beginning to look a lot like X-mas in Gotham. Unfortunately, the holiday season has come with an uptick in the activity of criminal gangs, like the Joker-inspired Joy Boys and the chess-inspired Chess Men, who are running amok all over the city. In fact, the Chess Men have gone one step too far—they’ve stolen a very precious possession from Wayne Manor. What is it, you ask? Information leading to the secret identity of Batman? No. A nuclear device? No. Ultra-high-tech Bat gadgetry? No. A toy train that was given to Bruce as a child? You got it! Oh, Mark Millar, your attempt to pull on our heartstrings has failed miserably. Bruce ditches out on his own Wayne Manor holiday party to search for his toy. Batman shakes down known fence Eddie Mulligan (who he knows from his crime-files) before busting the Joy Boys and Chess Men. (Note that Batman is inexplicably shown wearing his yellow oval costume in three panels of his Mulligan beating, but is in his correct duds both on the cover and in all other scenes. The yellow oval must be an art error, and we should regard it as such.) After trouncing the leader of the Chess Men, Batman then confronts the toy thief and recovers his train. While we don’t see any giant chess pieces in LOTDK #79, the Chess Men must’ve had some lying around, right? As referenced in Detective Comics #569, Batman has a complete chess set (with pieces that are ten-feet-tall) in his trophy collection. I’ve fanwanked that Batman obtains this from the Chess Men. Try and tell me otherwise! In the Golden Age, Batman got his chess set following the mysterious “Case of the Chess Crimes,” which was merely a reference without any specific story detail.[27]

–“Going Sane” by JM DeMatteis/Joe Staton (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #65) November 1994[28]
December 16-19.[29] Joker resurfaces and bombs a group of people, hoping to draw Batman into his fourth official encounter with the Harlequin of Hate.[30] The bombing gets Batman’s attention, but Joker isn’t finished. He kidnaps and beats-up Councilwoman Elizabeth Kenner. After thrashing Joker’s henchman Frank Maguire (who Batman recognizes from his crime-files), Batman tracks Joker to the small town of Accord, about two hundred miles north of Gotham. Joker, having already released Councilwoman Kenner, challenges Batman in the woods. During the subsequent fight, Batman is injured to such an extent that the Joker believes he is dead and leaves him as such.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #67. December 19-31—LOTDK #66 tells us that the corpse of Dr. Elias Bruckner (killed at the end of LOTDK #65) is found on January 2, three weeks after his murder, hence our specific date range here. This flashback from LOTDK #67 fills-in what happens following Batman’s apparent death at the end of the first chapter of “Going Sane” in LOTDK #65. After the Dark Knight is left for dead, Dr. Lynn Eagles stumbles upon the injured Batman and takes him into her care. Luckily for Batman, Dr. Eagles is someone he’s saved in the past. Thus, feeling indebted to him, she decides not to inform any authorities, to treat him personally from her home, and also to keep his identity a secret. After life-saving surgery and a week in-and-out of consciousness, Bruce wakes upand realizes that this may be the way out of the hard life he’s chosen. He’s injured enough that he may never be able to function as an effective crime-fighter again and he’s in a calm little town where no one knows him. In fact, Bruce is so set on this idea that he doesn’t even contact Alfred to tell him he’s okay! (Poor Alfred!) Taking the name “Lazarus,” the wheelchair-using Bruce begins a slow recovery and settles into a quiet life in the small scenic village. Wait a minute… where’s Joker, you say? LOTDK #66 tells us what happens to the Harlequin of Hate while Bruce is living the easy life upstate. Batman’s “death” is such a shock to Joker’s system that the Clown Prince of Crime regains some semblance of sanity, as there is no antagonizing force to torment his evil nature. After some plastic surgery, hair dye, and a steady diet of pills for his skin condition, the Joker (as “Joseph Kerr”) starts his new straight life. Joe Kerr gets a nice apartment, a job, and even meets a lovely gal named Rebecca Brown!


| >>> NEXT: YEAR THREE >>>

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Welcome to Bat Year Two. There is a follow-up to Miller’s “Year One” from Detective Comics called “Batman: Year Two,” but it has long been retconned as non-canon via Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis—(although, parts of it have since been retconned back). So, forget about “Batman: Year Two,” which involves The Reaper. We’ll address the canonical remnants of that story next year in Year Three. If you haven’t already, please read the “Modern Times” for essential information regarding how my chronology is different than most others in regard to the placement of Two-Face’s debut, Robin’s debut, and the JLA’s debut.
  2. [2]VALHERU: Catwoman Annual #2‘s climax (Catwoman vs. Hellhound) is on the same night Joker attacks Bruce Wayne, Judge Lake, and the reservoir in The Man Who Laughs.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Speaking of the Gotham reservoir, CIA medical researcher Ted Galvin would have been dosing the city’s water supply with the experimental drug known as Neurotrol for the past thirty years (as referenced in LOTDK #206). The contaminated h2o is a direct catalyst for the creation of so many of Gotham’s villains that we will meet all throughout the “Early Period.” Furthermore, as revealed in the Shadowpact series, hundreds of years ago, an evil warlock was buried in an underground tomb in what would later become Gotham City. The demonic spirit of the so-called “Doctor Gotham” would influence generations of Gothamites, acting as yet another catalyst for the city’s strange and dark inhabitants. Talk about a double-whammy of bad-juju. Drugs in the water supply combined with the influence of a ghastly ghoul sure explains a heck of a lot about Gotham.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: In regard to the Joker’s origin as told in Batman Confidential #7-12 by Michael Green: While I’m not personally a fan of the Confidential series, the majority of the story-arcs are canon. However, such is definitely not the case for “Lovers and Madmen.” Here’s why: First of all, the charitable version of the Wayne Foundation would not have returned yet. (The original Wayne Foundation, which was a charitable venture prior to the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, currently only deals with real estate, mergers, acquisitions, and high finance. Only later will Bruce return the Wayne Foundation to its roots as a charitable organization dedicated to helping the needy). Also, the story tells us that Batman already tried the yellow-oval costume and found it to be “silly.” While this is not outside the realm of possibility, it doesn’t reflect anything else in canon. What truly is silly is the reveal that Joker pays for Harleen Quinnzell’s medical school tuition after meeting her at a bar. Furthermore, at one point Batman authorizes a mob hit on Joker. Huh? That sure doesn’t sound like the Batman I know. And, finally, while I don’t think it is necessarily a bad idea to change Joker’s origin to a gangster, the Red Hood origin (from The Killing Joke) is without a shadow of a doubt still canon to this day. In fact, the Confidential story “Do You Understand These Rights?” clearly references the Red Hood origin and even shows the red-hooded pre-Joker falling into the vat of chemicals! I should also mention that Green’s storyline was written in conjunction with the release of the film The Dark Knight and it is obviously meant for an audience less familiar with the details of the comics. Basically, this tale is the offspring of Warner Bros synergy and designed to tie-in with the movie, which is yet another reason why it is non-canon. To reiterate, Confidential, like LOTDK, is a series that can and will contain some out-of-continuity Elseworlds-style stories. Comic book guru/scholar Mike Voiles has been a huge inspiration for my project, and I wholeheartedly agree when he says, on his website, that “‘Lovers and Madmen’ is the last version of the Joker’s origin.” But when Voiles says, “‘Lovers and Madmen’ [conforms] with the reality rebuilt by Superboy-Prime,” that is incorrect. (Maybe one could argue that Superboy’s punches—from Infinite Crisis—altered reality temporarily, making “Lovers and Madmen” Joker’s new origin for a short time until it reverted back to The Man Who Laughs, but that is the only argument one could conceivably make and it’s an incredibly flimsy one at that.) The Man Who Laughs is the last published Modern Age Joker story that does not contradict other post-Infinite Crisis New Earth DCU canon tales, and therefore, it is the canonical Modern Age Joker origin.
  5. [5]ELIAS M FREIRE: At the conclusion of Batman: The Man Who Laughs, Gordon seemingly shows Batman the Bat-Signal for the first time. (Batman says to Gordon, “So, was that your idea?” Gordon replies, “The mayor’s actually. Should have seen Grogan’s face when he heard about it. Thought he was having an aneurysm.” Gordon then says, “Let’s see how it looks.”) However, the debut of the Bat-Signal already happened in “Prey.” This is not a continuity error, though. “The mayor’s idea” is not the creation of the Bat-Signal, but simply making it GCPD official, thus allowing Gordon to use it more openly while simultaneously acknowledge the contribution Batman brings to the city. Nevertheless, Gordon will keep using the cloth version, not painting the Bat-symbol onto the spotlight until “Terror,” by which time Batman will have gained his full trust.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: An important note about Bruce’s sex life. Matthew Manning’s The Batman Files attempts to include and order Bruce’s lovers during this early time period of his crime-fighting career. It does so via a tabloid newspaper article. Because of this, the information given comes from an unreliable narrator. Coupled with the fact that The Batman Files already has a dubious canonical status, we must take the tabloid writer’s order and lengths of Bruce’s love affairs with a grain of salt. The tabloid list is given in the following order: Viveca Beausoleil, Julie Madison, Skye Peters, Jillian Maxwell, Julie Madison, then Linda Page, which overlaps with Selina Kyle until Bruce officially breaks it off with Linda. (Note that the addition of Linda is simply Manning’s Easter Egging. She never appeared in a single Modern Age comic book.) In order for our timeline to work correctly, especially with Penguin’s debut (since The Batman Files links Penguin’s debut to Bruce dating Linda), the correct order of Bruce’s love affairs should be: Viveca Beausoleil, Julie Madison, Linda Page, Skye Peters, then Selina Kyle, which continues in an on-again-off-again fashion, briefly overlapping with Jillian Maxwell.
  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: According to our chronology, Journey into Knight #1-6 should take place around 1990, so technically there is some sort of primitive Internet (which is mentioned in-story). Topical references to the Internet (and other things) are added by DC editors in an attempt to make Batman seem younger and more contemporary. I think there is a “Year One Era” story (maybe even Journey into Knight) which mentions the TV show American Idol. These topical references must be taken with a grain of salt.

    VALHERU: Journey into Knight seems the most out-of- or at least fuzzily-in-continuity of the “Year One Era” storylines, and specificity may be in vain. JiK #1-6 seems to work better in November of Year One, but Bruce’s birthday must place it in February of Year Two.

    ACE FACE: There are problems trying to fit Journey into Knight into continuity. Some are superficial, like Gordon telling Batman to call him “Jim,” or Gordon’s rank being “lieutenant” throughout. But a bigger problem is that this story is meant to occur in Year One, which is an impossibility (and the reason we have it here in Year Two). Bruce visits the family solicitor on his birthday, which means the first part of this story must be in February. According to Year One, Batman doesn’t make an appearance until April, so this must be February of Year Two. A few weeks later, Bruce gets locked up in Arkham Asylum for three months, taking the story to at least September. However, the biggest problem is the private wing in Arkham. In “Do You Understand These Rights?”, Arkham had only just re-opened with the Joker as inmate number one, so, if the second half of Journey into Knight is really written as a Year One tale, the Wayne Enterprises Board members could not have been there all that time. Also, I find it hard to accept the ease with which Joker can be allowed out of his cell to act as Bruce’s doctor. Where are all the “real” Arkham staffers? This man is an extremely dangerous and manipulative murderer!

    COLLIN COLSHER: Okay, here is the full rundown on Journey into Knight. Bruce’s birthday does occur, so issues #1-6 must take place in February/March here in Year Two. The superficial continuity issue of Gordon telling Batman to “call him Jim” unfortunately must be ignored. Batman has been calling Captain Gordon “Jim” ever since Batman and The Monster Men—which brings us to the error of referring to Captain Gordon as “Lieutenant Gordon” throughout Journey into Knight. Writer Andrew Helfer is simply wrong on both of these points. Furthermore, in order for Journey into Knight to jibe with other stories about Joker and Arkham, including The Man Who Laughs and “Do You Understand These Rights?”, its second half (issues #7-12) has to begin in June of Year Two. In regard to the ease with which Joker is allowed to act as Bruce’s doctor for such a lengthy period of time, we must assume that the corrupt Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors has a strong influential hand in this.

    ELIAS M FREIRE: Note that, in Journey into Knight, Batman is shown driving what appears to be a regular vehicle that doesn’t look like the Batmobile. However, this is the Batmobile. As previously seen in Batman: The Man Who Laughs, the Batmobile has a camouflage mode that enables it to appear as a regular car.

  8. [8]LANE McD: Detective Comics Annual #8 is only canon as long as you ignore one Two-Face reference in the Riddler’s line of dialogue: “I wasn’t going to play second fiddle to the Joker or Two-Face or any of the wannabes.” Two-Face wouldn’t have debuted by this point on our timeline. Since this is the definitive Modern Age Riddler origin, we must ignore that quote.
  9. [9]LANE McD: To avoid any confusion, SotB Annual #3 is collected into a TPB entitled “Batman: Four of a Kind.”

    VALHERU: The Poison Ivy story in SotB Annual #3 appears as if it is in mid December of Year One. If it were canon, it would be definitely after the debuts of the Joker and Penguin—(Penguin debuts sometime in early December)—since Ivy’s goons worked for both of them, and since Alfred keeps adding things to Bruce’s Christmas list (a Batmobile and a spectrometer). Not sure I’d throw it out of continuity entirely, but I agree that enough of it doesn’t quite fit that it’s suspect.

    COLLIN COLSHER: SotB Annual #3 is definitively non-canon, but you could use it as a sort of skeletal framework that represents Poison Ivy’s debut (if you ignore the killings and other continuity errors). Even if one were to enter into such a dubious practice, the SotB Annual #3 as a whole has too many errors to deem it canonical. It contains enough legit continuity goofs that there’s no way it can be canon.

  10. [10]JACK JAMES: “Heat” fits here in Year Two for several reasons. First, Catwoman is still fairly new, not to mention her short hairstyle matches this time period. Second, the Batcave looks like it fits in this early era. Third, Klass is still mayor. Fourth, Bruce and Selina’s have yet to meet each other out of costume, so this item should go in somewhere in the months or weeks prior to that occurrence. (At the end of the “Heat” storyline, Batman directly confronts an unmasked Selina, so it makes sense that he goes on to meet her as Bruce Wayne following this encounter. It also kinda settles the question of whether or not he knows Catwoman’s identity—while it isn’t 100%, it basically hints that he knows! And frankly, after the events of “Her Sister’s Keeper,” it’d be wild to think Batman wouldn’t know since he seemed aware of who she was in that storyline. The Long Halloween and Dark Victory never clarify, but it’s left up in the air in those stories, so I’m tempted to say he did know.

    As for The Batman Files retcon of making the primary Catman a copycat of another Catman while having them both have the same name of Thomas Blake, it’s undeniably ridiculous, but then again the Catman (second one) origin is already ridiculous to begin with. Blake II goes from a fat, middle-aged dark-haired man and abusive husband to a dignified Brad Pitt-looking badass in the span of what can only be a few years, so for me to think that same dude would’ve started off with something as silly as “That Cat-Killer has my same name and I also like cats, I must become Catman!” is actually kinda logical, haha.

  11. [11]ISIAH: “Gothic” goes in Year Two because the gangsters in the story are scared of Batman at this point, yet he still seems like he is just starting out. Plus, with no Robin and no Batgirl, this placement seems like a good fit.
  12. [12]HEARTHESNAP: In regard to the placement of “Stalking”: First, our main antagonist resorts to bellowing out that she has “NO IDEA” of the existence of Batman and does not even remotely know who he is. While it is possible that she is simply ignorant, this seems unlikely. Secondly, in LOTDK #108 both the opening page and page ten of the story itself shows Baby James Gordon as an infant (as opposed to the young boy we will later see in stories like “Loyalties”)—Baby James is still young enough (and drawn as such) that Jim can raise him up over his head like a small tot and warrant being buckled into a car seat while drooling on himself. And thirdly, we must assume that since Jim bemoans about having shot so many criminals in his past, the death of the motorcycle killer’s husband likely took place in Chicago. This fact would also ply credence to our anarchist being ill informed of Batman’s doings in Gotham.
  13. [13]COLLIN COLSHER: While we are addressing continuity errors in Journey into Knight, let’s not forget the others in this series. This is already mentioned in a footnote linked to Journey Into Knight #1-6, but it is apropos to Journey into Knight #7-12, so I will reiterate. All of Journey into Knight contains the error of referring to Captain Gordon as Lieutenant Gordon. Writer Andrew Helfer is simply wrong about this. Furthermore, in order for Journey into Knight to jibe with other stories about Joker and Arkham (including The Man Who Laughs and “Do You Understand These Rights?”) its second half (issues #7-12) has to occur right here in Year Two. In regard to the ease with which Joker is allowed to act as Bruce’s doctor for such a lengthy period of time, we must assume that the corrupt Wayne Enterprises Board of Directors has a strong influential hand in this. And as I’ve already mentioned above, it is possible for there to be a three month gap of non-action for Batman from mid-June to September to account for Bruce’s three month-long incarceration. Of course, it’s not ideal, but it is technically feasible.
  14. [14]COLLIN COLSHER: This item could seemingly go anywhere on our timeline. We know it is summertime because of an outdoor pool scene. Batman is known but still regarded by many as an urban myth, so it’s definitely early in his career. But Batman is also heavily-scarred on his back, meaning he’s been doing vigilante action for an undetermined amount of time. (As stated above, it also speaks to his years of brutal training abroad.) Bruce is also fully in charge of Wayne Enterprises. As such, here in Year Two, shortly after Journey into Knight, seems like a fine place for this beautifully illustrated tale.

    JACK JAMES: War on Crime could technically be set anywhere, since there are really no specific indicators of when it takes place. However, there are clues. First, the criminal element in War on Crime does not feature costumed super-villainy, seemingly placing the tale during Batman’s earliest years. The way Batman describes crime in Gotham, it’s very grounded with no real indication whatsoever of super-villains at this point. By late Year Two/early Year Three, Gotham will have pretty much already become a hotbed of costumed villainy. Second, in War On Crime, we also get a shot of Bruce in the Batcave, which seems quite minimalistic. No giant dinosaur, no trophies, just a gym there, which could suggest it’s before he gets all that. Third, Bruce’s internal monologue implies implies that he hasn’t been on his Batman business for too long. Fourth, Jim Gordon makes a brief cameo, but we aren’t told his rank—although he seems to wield more authority than a mere lieutenant (but maybe less than a commissioner).

  15. [15]JACK JAMES: Chronologically-speaking, “War on Crime” is the first story on our timeline that highlights racism on the police force. Randall Winters mentions to Bruce that he knows “a few moonlighting cops willing to keep away the undesirables,” to which Bruce sits there while containing the urge to beat him up. Our first story to deal with police racism directly (as its primary focus) is coming up shortly in LOTDK #44-45 (“Turf” by Steven Grant, 1993). So, there is a direct connection between “War on Crime” and other tales this Bat Year.

    COLLIN COLSHER: If Winters knows any cops at all, then he definitely knows racist cops. Disturbingly, “Turf” and “War on Crime” are both just as relevant today as they were when they were published decades ago. After all, when it comes to policing in America, we’ve had a systemic racism problem that dates all the way back to the enslavement of Black people. If the GCPD is reflective of any major police force in the States, then it is inherently racist at its core. Guys like Jim Gordon are a rare exception, but even he (and Batman) help empower the broken system by taking part in it. That’s an important (and necessary) conversation for another time, though.

  16. [16]VALHERU / COLLIN COLSHER: “Testament” (LOTDK #172-176) takes five days—Rough Justice’s rampage is four days, not including the next-day coda with the new deputy commish. And because we’re dealing with deputies, we can assume that this is during Grogan’s commissionership when Gordon hadn’t yet become a “political” force in the GCPD. An editorial note says that this item occurs “many months” into Batman’s career, which is a bit specious since it has been well over a year at this point. The only legit clues we have to placement, besides the aforementioned deputy stuff, are that a) Gordon and Bats are “friends,” so we’re after Miller’s “Year One”; b) there’s a Batmobile, so after Year One; c) there’s a Bat-Signal, so after Year One; but d) it’s before Gordon’s promotion to commissioner (or deputy, for that matter). (There’s also the fact that Bruce’s card says he’s President and CEO of Wayne Industries, which fits after Journey into Knight.) Though “Testament” could theoretically be concurrent with “Shaman” in December of Year One, it just feels like a calendar-Year Two tale.
  17. [17]LUKASZ: Contributor MiTT3NZ suggests that the journal entries Bruce wrote in 2nd part of Journey into Knight (issues 7-12) could be “The Black Casebook.” However, that probably is not true since there was nothing supernatural about that story. Also, Bruce’s entries are very personal and inspired by his father’s suggestions to write down his thoughts and problems. Despite being wrong on these points, “Testament” should still go after Journey into Knight #7-12. It seems reasonable that even if Bruce decided keeping a journal was too dangerous he still would take Thomas Wayne’s teachings to heart and keep a “safer” journal for special purposes: “The Black Casebook.” Plus, we know for a fact that Batman journals for the entirety of his career.
  18. [18]PURPLEGLOVEZ (TIPTUP JR 94): In the quasi-canonical Batman Annual #19, Fontana ChemCorp is said to have enjoyed a monopoly in Gotham’s chemical market until three other companies arrived on the scene. It is implied this happened recently. In The Man Who Laughs, Ace’s Gotham plant is said to have opened twenty years before Year One. In Batman #682, Apex Chemicals is said to have been bought out by Ace after supplying Doctor Death. One other company is mentioned in Batman Annual #19: “AlchemCorp,” and while Ace and Apex could have been the other two, they certainly weren’t new to Gotham. Unlike the Two-Face mention, this detail is more crucial to the story and even harder to overlook. I thought I’ve seen Axis Chemicals mentioned somewhere in the post-original Crisis world as well, but for the life of me can’t remember where. Oh, and don’t forget Wayne Chemical and Morrison Chemical (from Batman/Scarecrow 3-D #1)!

    COLLIN COLSHER: Axis Chemicals, originally from Tim Burton’s Batman film, is also shown in Darwyn Cooke’s Batman: Ego.

  19. [19]PURPLEGLOVEZ (TIPTUP JR 94) / COLLIN COLSHER: “Unbearable Loss” (from DC Universe Holiday Special 2009) occurs in Year Ten because it takes place specifically around Friday, December 25. If we go by the real-world calendar, this places the tale either in 1992, 1998, or 2009. Since “Unbearable Loss” is clearly a Year One Era story it cannot take place in 2009. And since it is a Deadman story, it cannot take place in 1992, which is before his debut. 1998 i.e. Year Ten it is. “Unbearable Loss” is canon, but it contradicts information from other titles. First, in Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman says “Jonathan Crane strangled his mother years ago. On Mother’s Day.” Second, Batman does research on Jonathan Crane in Batman Annual #19 and determines that both of Crane’s parents are dead. Because “Unbearable Loss” makes it so that Karen Keeny-Crane is alive and well, we must assume that any references to Crane’s parents being dead (from The Long Halloween and Batman Annual #19) are therefore incorrect or erased via retcon. Or we can assume that the story of Scarecrow strangling his mom is widely believed to be true, with even Batman buying the bogus story as well—in both Annual #19 and still again in The Long Halloween. In a related note, the “Cold Case” story from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #201-203 claims that Jonathan Crane was teaching criminal psychology at Gotham University as early as 1968. This cannot possibly be true as it would make Jonathan and Karen way older than they appear.
  20. [20] COLLIN COLSHER: The LOTDK “Werewolf” story is non-canon because “Flyer” replaces it on the timeline. Plus, the werewolf in that tale isn’t even a real werewolf. It’s a ridiculous Disney animatronic thing the villains use to scare people.
  21. [21]Credit for both the correct placement and narratological details of “Terror” goes to HEARTHESNAP.
  22. [22]HEARTHESNAP: On an alternate version of this timeline, Madness obviously could have been Scarecrow’s first comic appearance (if it were canon), which still would make “Terror” his second appearance—mainly because of his characterization and his belief that Batman is the biggest bully around town. However, if we were to follow this alternate chronology, we could surmise that Scarecrow was sullied back into Arkham on at least two different occasions up to this point and thus, he would have a little bit more character clarity—but alas, Scarecrow is unpredictable, so his personality often shifts randomly. No matter how you spin it—Crane’s origin is one of the muddiest in all of the Modern Age. Also, a point of consideration for those reading in chronological order: Never assume things you may already know about future stories.
  23. [23]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman: Madness – A Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special aka LOTDK Halloween Special #2 (1994) and Batman: Ghosts – A Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special aka LOTDK Halloween Special #3 (1995) are both awesome Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale books, but both are out-of-continuity. Madness (LOTDK Halloween Special #2) is non-canon for two main reasons. First, it takes place right after Babs is adopted by Jim Gordon. On our chronology, that doesn’t occur until late Bat Year Four (and not near Halloween). Second, James Junior is still a baby (which makes sense if it goes here, but not if it’s during the time when Babs first gets adopted by Jim). James Junior should therefore more correctly be around four or five-years-old when Babs finally gets adopted.

    Ghosts (LOTDK Halloween Special #3) is non-canon mainly for one reason. It tells the story of how Bruce decides to establish the charitable Wayne Foundation. In Ghosts, Bruce is visited by the “ghosts of Halloween’s past,” a nightmarish and eye-opening experience that convinces him to create the brand new Foundation. However, this story contradicts Batman Confidential #6, where Bruce decides to return the Wayne Foundation to its charitable roots after meeting Lex Luthor, and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #136, which shows us the Wayne Foundation has existed in some form since before Bruce was born. If Ghosts were canon, it would take place during the exact same Halloween weekend as Choices (the first Halloween Special by Loeb/Sale).

  24. [24]SELVÅRV STIGÅRD: The significant event of Bruce Wayne meeting Selina Kyle socially is conspicuous in its absence from the Modern Age Batman mythos. In Miller’s “Batman: Year One” they fight (seemingly) without any idea of who the other one is. Later in that story, and then in Her Sister’s Keeper, Mad Monk, “Prey,” and “Terror,” they encounter each other as Batman and Catwoman. Then in The Long Halloween, Bruce and Selina already know each other well enough to dance and start dating. In one sense, it’s intuitive that these two have been flirting and getting to know each other for more than a year, but none of it has been as their “real” identities. The first time DC publishes anything depicting Bruce meeting Selina (socially, without masks or other disguises, and without punches and kicks) is the scene at Johnny Vitti’s wedding (in The Long Halloween #1), and they’re already on a familiar, first-name basis.

    COLLIN COLSHER: It’s true that there never was any scene in any issue or even a flashback which showed Bruce and Selina hitting it off (or even simply meeting) in their regular civilian IDs in the Modern Age. The Long Halloween is indeed the first time we see them interact chronologically. The Long Halloween implies that Selina and Bruce have a prior relationship (outside of the relationship between Batman and Catwoman). Thus, we have to assume that this relationship begins sometime after the end of Batman’s first year and before The Long Halloween starts. Since I’ve added a buffer year in between Miller’s “Year One” and The Long Halloween, the entirety of Year Two could conceivably feature the growth of their out-of-costume relationship (or, for simplicity’s sake, it could very well start here).

    PURPLEGLOVEZ (TIPTUP JR 94): In Legends of the Dark Knight #1, Bruce’s text-box monologue seems to suggest he was aware that the sex worker he fought on March 11 was Selina Kyle. Thus, a strong indicator that he might also have always known her identity as Catwoman immediately upon her debut in Year One. However, it is interesting to note that The Long Halloween and Dark Victory both craftily avoid outright confirmation that Batman knows who Catwoman is. He seems to almost definitely not know at Johnny Viti’s wedding, and it’s equally unclear at the Falcone wake that opens Dark Victory. When Selina leaves Bruce her letter, he reads it in her voice – “soft, yet strong — not at all like Catwoman’s low and sultry sound.” (Though, that could be interpreted multiple ways.) In issue #7, Bruce and Alfred seemingly discuss Catwoman and Selina as if they’re different people. Bruce never calls her or thinks about her as Selina and doesn’t seem to put the pieces together when Catwoman resurfaces at the end. I’m sure this was an intentional choice, it’s just… kind of strange. In Batman Confidential #17 (Year Seven), Barbara knows Selina is Catwoman (therefore, so does Bruce), making it the earliest confirmed instance of Bruce knowing—LOTDK #1 notwithstanding.

    JACK JAMES: As I mentioned above, after the events of Year One’s “Her Sister’s Keeper,” Batman seems to know that Catwoman is Selina. “Heat” seems to reinforce this as well.

  25. [25]COLLIN COLSHER: “Destiny” by Mark Kneece/Bo Hampton from LOTDK #35-36 (August 1992) was the very next story released after “Blades.” In the story, Batman meets the Norwegian superhero known as The Viking. After a visit to the local library, they learn that, according to Norse folk-legend, their respective ancestors supposedly once fought alongside one another against the forces of evil. So, naturally, they team-up and travel to Norway to take on an evil and monstrous waste management company that is dumping toxic materials underground. I use the words “evil” and “monstrous” to describe the company, not because I am a staunch and militant environmentalist, but because the executives are literally a bunch of hunchbacked, homicidal kidnappers. Hell, they even have a dungeon! So, anyway, this legend is definitively non canon, not because it’s a bad story, but for a couple other reasons. First of all, Batman is too well known. It seems highly unlikely that people in a remote part of Norway would know so much about him. Plus, Zero Hour probably would have canceled out wacky stories like this. Another reason this tale is non-canon; it ends with Batman setting off a bomb which floods a cave, drowning all the villains. Seems a bit out of character!? Furthermore, the Norse folk-tale relates the history of an ancient Viking version of Batman known as “The Bat Man.” This Viking Bat Man is supposed to be Bruce’s ancient ancestor. Yeeaahhh. Moving on…
  26. [26]AVINOAM YAGUR: Trail of the Gun comes somewhere between “Terror” and The Long Halloween, hence placement here, because Batman and Catwoman are much more familiar with each other in this story than in “Terror.” In Trail of the Gun, Catwoman doesn’t know Batman’s ID, but she knows that Batman knows who she is. Also, due to the length of Selina’s hair in Trail of the Gun, which is growing out, it makes sense for this item to be here.
  27. [27]MiTT3NZ: “Favorite Things” connects well to Bruce’s “nothing from his childhood should be moved” belief stemming from Journey into Knight.

    BLUEXY: In “Favorite Things” there is a frame showing the Batcave with both the dinosaur and the giant penny. Thus, it must go after the acquisition of these trophies.

  28. [28]ISIAH: I personally would place “Going Sane” later. It’s hard to imagine that the following things happen in only two years: Batman helps form Joker, Batman has reoccurring battles with Joker, Joker breaks out of Arkham multiple times, Batman fights him enough that Joker becomes obsessed with him, Gordon is promoted, and Batman gets used to all the tricks that Joker uses. I mean, hell, it could take months just for him to go to trial for the events taking place after he tried to poison Gotham. Let alone continuously break-out of the place.

    COLLIN COLSHER: Is “Going Sane” really in-continuity? What a question! Who the hell knows? Certainly not I. Some consider this story to be one of the highlights of the entire LOTDK series. Some even refer to it as a classic. Well, if it is a part of continuity, it is, as you’ve said, truly hard to imagine. But, as we’ve demonstrated in the chronology, it DOES all seem to go down the way it goes down, whether or not we have to suspend our disbelief a little or a lot. First off, we know that Joker’s trial lasts a few days before it is halted. Moving onto “Going Sane,” there is a lot of online debate about its canonical status. It is one of the hardest stories to fit into continuity properly. It doesn’t help that JM DeMatteis’ story-arcs usually take months or even years to wrap up—in this case over six months. I originally had “Going Sane” much later when I started the Batman Chronology Project, but it contradicted too many things in too many places. However, despite everything, I think it fits well right where it is now. Plus, as the text tells us, Joker has only fought Batman two times at this point (or three if we go by retcons). And I think those two or three instances would build up an unhealthy obsession between both characters.

  29. [29]COLLIN COLSHER / ELIAS M FREIRE: At the beginning of LOTDK #65, Joker says that it’s February. However, in LOTDK #66, we learn that our story begins about three weeks prior to January 2, meaning in mid December. Joker also calls his plastic surgeon Dr. Epstein, but his name is Elias Bruckner, so we really can’t trust Joker when he says anything.
  30. [30]COLLIN COLSHER: First of all, with “Going Sane,” we must address Batman’s opening dialogue, in which he says, “Twice I’ve faced [Joker]—and twice he’s ‘died.’ What made me think the second time would be any more permanent than the first?” This basically tells us that “Going Sane” is meant to be the third encounter between Batman and Joker. But, hold up. Not so fast. In 1994, when LOTDK #65 was published, DeMatteis’ intention with this line was to reference/canonize Batman’s first two Golden Age encounters with Joker, after which the villain seemingly perished (at the conclusion of both). However, Man Who Laughs (2005) and its connected “Do You Understand These Rights?” (2008) combine to form Batman’s first official encounter with Joker. And he doesn’t “die” at the end. No matter what, we must include at least one encounter between Batman and Joker that ends similarly to his early Golden Age appearances. This covers our bases for part of Batman’s history lesson. Then we have some options: We can ignore the other “death” and leave it at that, adding a retcon caveat saying that Batman should only have said one “death” instead of two. OR we can retcon Batman’s dialogue to infer that: following his initial Man Who Laughs/”Do You Understand These Rights?” encounter with Joker, the Dark Knight then had two more fights against the Clown Prince of Crime that each resulted in “deaths” for the villain. Either way works, but it’s entirely up to you. No matter the case, there’s definitely a retcon at play here. I’ve opted with the latter scenario because it allows me to creatively lump in some other early free-floating Batman references (notably, trophy gathering) to the two Joker appearances. This means, on my timeline, this is not Batman’s third encounter with Joker. Instead, it is his fourth.

42 Responses to Modern YEAR TWO

  1. Eric Agner says:

    I am a huge fan of your work and I give you an A+ for the effort and result. But one thing… couldn’t Zatara have taught Bruce to throw his voice off during the years he was away in Gotham?

    • Thanks Eric. Always nice to meet a new fan of the Project. The reason John Zatara’s voice-throwing training was in Year Two is because it takes place twenty years prior to ‘tec #827. This made me notice that ‘tec #827 actually takes place in Year 21, so this item SHOULD go in Year One instead.

      Of course, if you personally take the “twenty years ago” that Batman mentions as a more approximate “AROUND twenty years ago” then it could occur earlier. But I’ve taken it as an exact “twenty years ago,” hence my placement.

      • Ahh that is totally true! I’m sure since Paul Dini produced the Animated Series ep you are referring to AND wrote Detective Comics #827, he sure is referencing that (and making it canon in the comics).

        And I’m realizing that the “20 years ago” can still work… Bruce can train with Zatara in the middle of his training scenes in Batman #404 (Miller’s “Year One”)!! I will make the according changes.

        • Eric Agner says:

          I know I’m going to sound like a pain and sorry ahead of time. But the comic it says was “young” Bruce Wayne was trained by Zatara. Which the “around” would really have to take place. I’m sorry I didn’t read Detective Comics 827. Does it say 20 years ago or around 20 years ago? And again my apologies about the contining comic comeback. They are so confusing sometimes. However they are so great.

          • Yes, ‘tec #827 says specifically that Bruce learns how to throw his voice from Zatara “twenty years ago,” which places that occurrence shortly before Bruce becomes Batman i.e. making Bruce an adult at the time. I guess this differs from the Animated Series (Batman & Robin Adventures/Superman Adventures) comics? Does this differ from the TV episode? I haven’t read the Animated Series issue in question (which I’m assuming is Batman & Robin Adventures Annual #2) and it’s been nearly two decades since I’ve seen the episode.

            • Well, Bruce sorta grew up with Zatanna, so he learned a lot of tricks from the master magician Zatara family quite young. This is true in pretty much every continuity. Maybe we can understand this all to mean that Bruce learned a ton of stuff at a young age from John Zatara, but he only learned how to throw his voice later as an adult.

              • Eric Agner says:

                Only issue now is how can Bruce learn Ventriloquism in 1 and a half weeks.

                • HE’S BATMAN THAT’S HOW.

                  Haha, I kid I kid, you raise a good point. Technically, there are a few weeks of free time where Bruce could be learning such a thing (among other things) from John Zatara. Maybe I will update the page to reflect that.

              • Eric Agner says:

                Also I’m sorry for the bother. I’ve only been a DC fan for 2 years. And I know some but I am still learning and trying to understand things.

                • Hey, you are ahead of the curve already! Don’t bang your head against the wall too often though—there will be a multitude of things that simply don’t add up in the world of DC. We just make the most sense of what we’ve been given. Having fun and being entertained should still be at the top of your reasons for reading (which I’m sure they are). Otherwise, it’ll become a struggle. I always keep that in mind as I’m reading any superhero comics.

                  Nice to have you officially among the “divers hands” that have assisted in this Chronology Project.

  2. JOSIAH says:

    Hello eric and I think eric made a great
    Point I am also a new comic fan and it does say young bruce but also zatara trained him when he was batman is what I thought because there was nothing that I found abot young bruce

    • Eric made a bunch of great points, I agree as well. I think we have it the way it should be now. It’s hard to say for sure whether or not Dini was making part of his Animated history canon for the Modern Age comics. It’s even harder to say anything with clarity since things weren’t exactly crystal regarding Zatara’s training of Bruce in the Animated timeline. The cold hard fact is that Zatara trains Bruce twenty years prior to ‘tec #827 (Year 21). Based upon that one cold hard fact (plus whatever coojectural information we choose to add), I think early Bat Year One fits the bill. In the Animated Series TV episode “Zatanna,” Bruce studies with Zatara before donning the Batman costume (although he does so in the middle of his overseas training, which can’t possibly be the case in the Modern Age).

      • Eric Agner says:

        Thanks for agreeing to the point. And I believe you are right Collin. I believe. Bruce probably went to Zatara for escapology when he was younger. However few laters returned to learn Ventriloquism.

  3. Sir Toitlesworth says:

    Hello I just wanted to say I am looking forward to reading the timelines on this website. Can’t wait for learning about the different timelines!

  4. tiptupjr94 says:

    Heh, there’s also a Morrison Chemical Co. in Batman/Scarecrow 3-D #1.

    Anyway, I just found out something surprising: apparently Year One: Batman/Scarecrow DOES retain a bit of canonicity in the post-Infinite Crisis DCU.

    The evidence comes from DC Holiday Special 2009, which is currently free on Comixology (I’ll post a link below.) In it, there is a Deadman story entitled “Unbearable Loss.” This story features Scarecrow’s mother Karen and shows and references his great grandmother and the events of Jonathan’s childhood, all of which is from Year One: Batman/Scarecrow. So, it seems as though some of the details of Jonathan’s early life from that story actually do retain a bit of canonicity.

    However, this Deadman story forces us to make a few unique retcons. It takes place around Christmas; specifically a newspaper with a Scarecrow headline is shown with a date of Friday, December 25 (1992, 1998, 2009.) Deadman saves Karen from dying and at the end of the story she is still alive. However, in Batman: The Long Halloween, on Mother’s Day of what can be Year Three at the earliest (I’ll get to my opinion on this later) Batman says “Jonathan Crane strangled his mother years ago. On Mother’s Day.” Batman Annual #19 also states both of Jonathan’s parents are dead.

    (And this all plays into the slippery slope of post-Infinite Crisis retcons, of how the EVENTS of the old stories are canon but the details might not be. We know the EVENTS of The Long Halloween and Dark Victory are still canon but we don’t know exactly how or what the timeline is like.)

    Still. IF the timeline of The Long Halloween and Dark Victory stand unaltered, it is my personal opinion that The Long Halloween starts in Year Two and not Year Three. I respect that you disagree and I won’t ask you to change anything on your site, but even if TLH starts in Year Three, that means Jonathan strangled his mom on Mother’s Day of Year Two. Which means the Christmas in DC Holiday Special 2009’s Deadman story has to take place in Year One. Which means the Scarecrow is most likely the first post-Joker supervillain Batman faces. Batman Villains Secret Files #1 (Oct 1998) supports this view, but that timeline is such a hot mess that I know it’s a bit shaky.

    Still, I think the evidence is solid. I look forward to your thoughts.

    Also, the “Cold Case” story from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #201-203 claims that Jonathan Crane was teaching criminal psychology at Gotham University in 1968. Batman Annual #19’s chronology indicates Jonathan became a professor at around the age of 22, and I *believe* the other Year One story insinuates Karen had Jonathan when she was relatively young. Still, she would had to have been born in the 1930s at least for all this to work. Her somewhat youthful appearance in DC Holiday Special 2009 almost definitely nullifies ALL of this, and at any rate, there’s no way in hell Jonathan Crane was born in the 1940s.

    So um… yeah. Is the death of Jonathan’s mother explicitly reaffirmed in a post-Infinite Crisis story? “Unbearable Loss” could possibly go anywhere, but it does seem to be written as a Year One story… It’s interesting that this is such a clusterf*ck. Ohhh, DC.

    Anyway, here’s the issue: comixology (dot) com/DC-Holiday-Special-2009/digital-comic/655100

    • Hey, I haven’t read Year One: Batman/Scarecrow in years, nor have I thought about it. I’ll have to dig up a copy and re-read it before I return any thoughts.

      • tiptupjr94 says:

        Haha, okay. I first read it and 2012 and then stumbled on that holiday story a couple days ago and I was like… wow. Honestly, I thought it (Year One) was decent. And plus there’s art by SEAN MURPHY.


    • Ok, so my first thought is that Boston Brand doesn’t become Deadman until much later than Year One. In fact, on my timeline I have Deadman debuting in 1997. That means its either 1998 or 2009, if we are to stick to the TRUE dates (which we might not necessarily need to do).

      My second thought is that BOTH Batman Annual #19 and Long Halloween totally contradict Scarecrow’s origin tale from Year One: Batman/Scarecrow, which was published, from what I understand, NOT as a retcon, but more as a way to monetarily capitalize on the fact that Scarecrow was soon to appear in Nolan’s first Batman film as a main villain.

      I definitely agree with you that “Unbearable Loss” connects directly to Year One: Batman/Scarecrow, though. And “Unbearable Loss” is canon, so that means Scarecrow’s family (at least his grandmother and mom Karen) are canon (even if Year One: Batman/Scarecrow as a while remains non-canon. We can probably assume that any references to his parents being dead (from Long Halloween and Batman Annual #19) are therefore incorrect or erased via retcon. Or maybe we can assume that the story of Scarecrow strangling his mom has widely believed for years, with even Batman buying the bogus story as well—in both Annual #19 and still again in Long Halloween. With that in mind, I’d then probably place “Unbearable Loss” in 1998. The 1968 statement in “Cold Case” must be ignored as well.

  5. Kordarus says:

    I am really confused about what i read on this page about the Killer Croc reference, Mad Hatter debut and Dr X / Double X…

    To begin with this, i started a project to collect this time line of yours and reading this in that chronology. This is quite a big project i have to say, but these day it’s easier to buy CBR files than it is to find the paper comic book at decent price.

    Anyway i am at this stage of my project and you state that Mad Hatter, Killer Croc and Double X debut are on year two following some flashback that you mention. I tried to get that information elsewhere on the web, but couldn’t find any references at all about that, since all the reference i get for the first encounter against batman refer to Batman and Robin fihghting them. And i think your time line place Robin debut around year six if i’m not mistaken.

    Maybe you can help me understand what you mean in those reference to differents flashback and if it is not too much trouble for you to point me where i should look to get those issue that seem like important events if i want to follow that time line.

    Thank you for this huge work you did by the way, this is one of the most interesting work on Batman i found on the web so war, keep your great work my friend.

    • Hi Kordarus! I’m surprised no one brought this up before. Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, and Dr. Double X are three villains that I lumped together early on in the timeline-building process with hopes of later adding in more information as to their Modern Age origins. Clearly this never occurred and these three characters have sat in Year Two. Part of the reason for this is that these three characters don’t have origin stories in the Modern Age. They simply show up or are already around, meaning that their origins have to be inferred based upon that. I’ve now, per your query, gone back and shuffled things around/fixed things a bit. We first see Mad Hatter chronologically in Long Halloween #10, so I’ve slid his debut closer to that. Killer Croc isn’t seen chronologically until Gotham After Midnight #7, so his debut goes shortly before that. And Dr. Double X goes after Robin has debuted, as you stated. He’s never even seen in any Modern Age Batman comic (one that is canon, anyway)—Double X only appears in a few non-Batman-related items, making his debut a canonical reference from those appearances. Make sense?

      There are likely a bunch more super-villain debuts that are listed as REFERNCES but have no specific issues linked to them. This is, again, because there is no specific Modern Age origin tale for said characters. However, since every character shows up/appears for the first time in SOME SPECIFIC COMIC ISSUE (either narrative-chronologically or by publication date), that issue can definitely hold the reference and should be attached to the note. I’ll try my best to go back and fix these items on the timeline.

      Thanks for your support and patronage, Kordarus!

  6. tiptupjr94 says:

    Something I recently noticed about Batman discovering Catwoman’s identity… I finished re-reading The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, and unless I missed or have forgotten something, they craftily avoid outright confirming that Batman knows who Catwoman is. He seems to almost definitely not know at Johnny Viti’s wedding, and it’s equally unclear at the Falcone wake that opens Dark Victory. When Selina leaves Bruce her letter, he reads it in her voice – “soft, yet strong — not at all like Catwoman’s low and sultry sound.” (Though that could be interpreted multiple ways.) In issue #7 Bruce and Alfred SEEMINGLY discuss Catwoman and Selina as if they’re different people. Bruce never calls her or thinks about her as Selina and doesn’t seem to put the pieces together when Catwoman resurfaces at the end.

    I’m sure this was an intentional choice, it’s just… kind of strange. In Batman Confidential 17, Barbara knows Selina is Catwoman (therefore, so does Bruce) so is that the earliest confirmed instance of Bruce knowing, LotDK #1 notwithstanding?

    • Hey, tip. Good question! I’ll add your insights to the footnote about this topic. The first instance—LOTDK #1 notwithstanding—where the Bat-Family knows that Catomwan is Selina Kyle 100% is definitely in Batman Confidential #17. Thanks for drawing my attention to this fact.

  7. Jack James says:

    Probably nothing worth adding but I just thought of a connection that further justifies our placing of War On Crime haha

    In War On Crime, Randall Winters mentions to Bruce that he knows “a few moonlighting cops willing to keep away the undesirables”, to which Bruce sits there while containing the urge to beat him up, we can assume Winters was talking about the same racists cops that were later seen in LOTDK #44-#45.

    • I wouldn’t overthink it too much. If Winters knows any cops at all, then he definitely knows some racist cops. Doesn’t necessarily mean he knows the exact same dudes shown in “Turf” (a timeless tale that is disturbingly just as relevant today as it was in 1993). After all, in America, we’ve had a systemic racism problem when it comes to policing, which dates back to the slave trade. If the GCPD is reflective of any major police force in the States, then it is inherently racist at its core. Guys like Gordon are a rare exception, but even he (and Batman) help empower the broken system by taking part in it. (That’s a conversation for another time, though). I will, however, make a note about this discussion on the site! Thanks, Jack.

  8. Gigi says:

    A little confused on the placement of “Irresistible.” It says it takes place in January but it’s placed in December. Just looking for clarification 😄

  9. James IV says:

    I’m really happy someone puzzled out that the other character in the Tao montage was Carmine Falcone, as I never would have guessed. It doesn’t look like Falcone at all, and I don’t recognize the skull he’s wearing, haha. And I wouldn’t question Spook appearing, since Clayface was also randomly thrown in, and the Hagen version hasn’t mattered since the 60’s.

  10. Marcelo Millicay says:

    Hi! Pretty sure the Buddha statue in DC #676 is a reference to the story in DC#35, not 39, unless I missed something? Btw, love the addition of images for the Golden Age section, hope that eventually will come to Post Crisis as well. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Marcelo. Nice to hear from you. YES, how could I miss this one? It’s the Ruby Idol of Kila from ‘tec #39. Thanks! And I appreciate the kind words regarding the images. It’s a very tedious process, but I’m working my way forward bit by bit.

  11. Jack James says:

    Hey Colin, I think the Alan Scott team-up should go in Year One, seeing how Batman makes a comment about how he still doesn’t want to present himself in front of cops, by this point he’s already dropping off Joker and Riddler directly on the station.

  12. Randal says:

    I’ve been (attempting) a chronological reading of Batman TPBs, and wish I had stumbled across this when I started! Love it. This is the first time I’ve even heard of Journey Into Knight, though. I’m flummoxed a Batman mini series hasn’t been collected…

  13. Jack James says:

    I just read the “Heat” storyline from Legends of the Dark Knight and I actually do think it fits well here in Year Two. I know you made a note on Year Five about how the story as originally published can’t work, but I kinda disagree with that. I think it works just fine as a Year Two story set sometime in the spring, the way Catwoman is talked about makes it sound like she’s a fairly recent deal which lines up, not to mention her hairstyle which matches Year One better than later stories, Batcave is still very incomplete, Klass is still mayor, etc. There’s just a lot there that lines up with this era.

    I’d be tempted to put it right before Bruce and Selina’s first unseen encounter out of costume, actually. In the end of the Heat storyline, Batman directly confronts an unmasked Selina, so it’d make sense that later on he’d go on to meet her as Bruce Wayne, it also kinda settles the question of whether or not he did or not know Catwoman’s identity-he did; and frankly, already after the events of “Her Sister’s Keeper” to me it’d be kinda insane to think he wouldn’t since he seemed very much aware of who she was in that storyline. TLH and DV never clarify but it’s left very much up in the air in those stories so I’m tempted to say he did know.
    As for the orange Catman’s backstory being a little bit ridiculous with The Batman Files retcon, that’s true but I’d say the thing with orange Catman’s backstory is that it was already pretty ridiculous. He went from a fat, middle aged dark haired man and abusive husband to a dignified Brad Pitt-looking badass in the span of what could’ve only been a couple years, so for me to think that same dude would’ve started off with something as silly as “That Cat-Killer has my same name and I also like cats, I must become Catman!” is actually kinda logical haha

    The one complication though is that in the newspaper article The Batman Files it mentions that the orange Catman debuted little over a year later, and they mention there that Gordon is comissioner by that point, that obviously cannot be the case, but we I think we either ignore the reference of Gordon as comissioner or just simply act as tho the newspaper article was canon but the reporter got the date wrong; I mean, it’s Gotham, I don’t expect for it to have the best reporting haha

    • Hey Jack, this is a tricky one. When “Heat” was written, it was possibly Doug Moench’s attempt to write the new Modern Age origin for Catman. Of course, years later, it was clear that the old Silver Age origin of Catman (him being wholly different from the LOTDK version) was back as canon. This was no big deal, especially since many LOTDK stories were specifically meant to be non-canon. As such, there’s really no way “Heat”—no matter if it fits or not—was actually canon for very long (even if it was intended to be canon in the first place).

      That being said, ONLY The Batman Files tries to make it canon, and it only does so as a reference. This means there’s a couple ways to approach the situation. We can read The Batman Files as-is, meaning we only take the information Matthew Manning delivers there, turning “Heat” into an altered version of the original. Or we can read the source material he’s trying to canonize (“Heat”) as gospel. However, things get even more complicated because Manning’s timeline is clearly different than mine, since he has Gordon as Commissioner a year after Klass as mayor. If we acknowledge that Manning’s timeline is different, but understand that the idea is to place Catman I during the end of the Klass administration, followed by Catman II a year later, then it makes sense to ignore the “commissioner” line and have Catman I in Year Two with Catman II in Year Three. By that logic, it makes just as much sense to ignore the “year later” line and simply have Catman debut right after Commissioner Gordon debuts! Pick your poison. Let us not forget also that The Batman Files itself is only quasi-canonical, further adding to the complexity and confusion here.

      Here’s what I’m going to do. I do believe that “Heat” can be read basically as-is without any alteration to its text. So I think it needs to go in Year Two for sure. However, I still believe that its existence on the timeline is really only due to Manning’s reference, so I’m going to keep it as a reference. And I’m going to keep Catman II’s debut where it is in Year 6, citing that the “year later” thing is an error. Thanks, Jack!

  14. Milo says:

    First I want to thank you for this site. It’s what really got me into Batman comics years ago.

    I have a suggestion for the placement of Bruce and Selina’s first meeting out of costume. In the story “Terror”, Catwoman says that she is going to change her looks with a new haircut (her hair is already longer in the story) and make up and that she’s going to have a new attitude in her civilian persona. To me this seems like she is referring to creating her fake socialite persona we first see in The Long Halloween. So I would place that first meeting after “Terror”.

  15. Milo says:

    I just want to say that the placement of Blades, Going Sane, and Venom is good and forms a sort of continuous arc. In Blades, Batman accepts Cavalier as Gotham’s new champion, but those hopes are dashed. Then in Going Sane, Bruce almost gives up being Batman and settles down, but with no one else to protect Gotham, he realizes the need for Batman. (Perhaps if Cavalier hadn’t turned to a life of crime, he could have taken over as Gotham’s guardian, and Bruce could have retired.) Still weakened from his experiences in Going Sane, Bruce starts taking Venom. Cavalier’s words “Remember Batman, the potential for evil is in every man. Even you.” reverberate through Venom as a Venom-hopped Batman succumbs to his own evil impulses. (In Going Sane, Bruce also says that he was about to become one of the demons he was fighting.) As he beats his Venom addiction, he comes out stronger and more assured in his role as Batman, the protector of Gotham. It’s fun when you can spot commonalities and links in tales created years apart by varying writers and artists.

    • It’s making sense out of the nonsense that always works best. I love how eloquently you’ve stated it here. I’ll def add a footnote into the site with your comment here. Thanks, Milo!

      • Milo says:

        Wow, that’s a real honor for me. I’ve been a fan of your work for years, and to contribute even a little bit is a great feeling.

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