–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 Joker. Batman tracks 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 at the reservoir since he’d already made that threat only a month earlier (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.)[1][2] The epilogue to The Man Who Laughs takes place a few weeks later, and is listed below.


–“Do You Understand These Rights?” by Andrew Kreisberg/Scott McDaniel (Batman Confidential #22-25) December 2008 to March 2009
January 5-13. 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 immediarely 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 ring 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 the “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 artist 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 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 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.[4]

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 that 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. (Although this doesn’t explain away Bruce having hooked up with Vicki Vale since his breakup with Julie. Oh well.)

–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).[5] 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/owner of Wayne Industries. (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.) After signing on the dotted line, Bruce is christened as the new CEO/Chairman of the Board. (A reference in Superman/Batman #85 tells us that, as CEO/chairman, Bruce will no longer have to answer to shareholders—at least not like before. However, Bruce will technically still be committing felony fraud when pilfering tech to use for his war on crime, but from now on he’ll mostly be stealing from himself.) 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 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.[6]

–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 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. Mid to late March.[7] 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 referenced 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 plot 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 Dragonfly (aka “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, Dragonfly, 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).[8]

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

–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.)[9] 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 two years from now, 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 told in 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? The curious case of Mr. Whisper takes at least a couple weeks to solve, especially since Batman makes two separate trips to Austria to gather information about the villain’s dark origins.[10]

–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 beware 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.

–“Hot House” by John Francis Moore/P. Craig Russell (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #42-43) February 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 just over a month to a month-and-a-half 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 (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 must be Summer Skye Simmonds. It fits nicely in the time frame and double-functions as their official break up.

–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to Countdown to Final Crisis #11—and referenced in Batman: The Long Halloween #2 and The Batman Files. Batman encounters the undead Solomon Grundy in the sewer, later saving a young girl from him. Grundy has been a longtime infamous resident of Gotham, having fought Green Lantern Alan Scott decades ago. Thus, even though Batman only meets Grundy for the first time now, he has been aware of his existence since he was a boy.

–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.[11] 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 #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 Eight’s reference note from 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 seven-plus 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, Bruce and Selina begin on-again-off-again dating each other.[12]

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

–“Stalking” by Lee Marrs/Eddy Newell (LOTDK #107-108) June to July 1998
Late May—this is a “summertime” tale, but it technically occurs in late spring, 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.[13]

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Files. Batman and Captain Gordon bust serial killer Dr. Rudolph Klemper, known as The Senior Slasher. His trial is fast-tracked and prosecuted by ADA Harvey Dent. Unfortunately, Klemper is found not guilty by reason of insanity. Dent vents about the trial results, showing his frustration to Batman. Later, in secret, Dent kills Klemper. Note that this item is a modified and highly pared-down version of the non-canon Batman Annual #14 (1990), which was the original Two-Face origin prior to the publication of The Long Halloween (1997).[14]

–Batman: The Long Halloween #1 Part 1 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996)[15][16]
Early June. Harvey Dent has just been promoted from ADA to DA. Bruce attends the wedding reception of Johnny Viti (Carmine “The Roman” Falcone’s nephew) where he flirts and dances with Selina Kyle. (A flashback from Catwoman Vol. 3 #1 shows Bruce and Selina dancing here.) Also in attendance are Sal Maroni, Carmine’s bodyguard Milos Grapa, Carmine’s sister Carla Viti, and Carmine’s son Alberto Falcone. Toward the end of the celebration, Bruce and Selina peel off and get into their respective costumes. Batman chases off Catwoman and still manages to steal a ledger from Falcone’s mansion. Later, the Dark Knight delivers the ledger to Harvey Dent and Captain Gordon atop GCPD HQ where the trio plans their war against the Falcones. (A reference in The Batman Files adds a line about the recent “Klemper Case” to this rooftop conversation.)

–Batman: Journey into Knight #7-12 by Andrew Helfer/Tan Eng Huat (April to November 2006)
Early June-early July. Issue #7 of Journey into Knight begins “four months later” after issue #6 and supposedly spans over three months. However, in order to accommodate other stories, notably “Faith” and The Long Halloween, we must compress this part of the arc down to a svelte single month. 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 what we are told is three months. There’s just no room for Bruce to be off the grid for a full three months. As mentioned above, we must retcon it down to a more reasonable number, in this case one month, leaving Bruce is out of commission from early June to early July. Eventually, Bruce gets out, is cleared of all charges, and we see a fully-recovered Batman out-and-about. (We are told that Batman recovers for two weeks following his Arkham nightmare, but again due to compression, we really don’t have room for that either.) 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.[17]

–Batman: The Long Halloween #1 Part 2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996)
Early July. Bruce attends a board meeting for the Gotham City Bank and demands that they not do business with the Falcone family. Bruce is out-voted. Later that night, Batman visits corrupt bank president Richard Daniel and scares him into resigning. The next day, Bruce is elected new president of the bank and nixes any business relationship with the Falcones.

–“Faith” by Mike W Barr/Bart Sears (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #21) August to October 1991
July 5-July 28. “Faith” is an important canonical story, but it contains a big continuity error. Dr. Leslie Thompkins is shown working in a hospital full-time and doesn’t yet have her private clinic, but she actually had her private clinic before Bruce even became Batman. Moving on to the synopsis. Recovering drug user John Ackers winds up in the care of Leslie Thompkins, who helps him rehab. While Ackers rehabs, Batman takes to the streets as he always does, stopping a terrorist bomber on July 9. Ackers checks himself out of the hospital on the 10th, and by the 20th, has formed a vigilante militia known as The Bat-Men, directly inspired by his favorite hero. On the night of July 28th, Batman is in a tough spot against some drug dealers (led by the vile Costas) until the Bat-Men assist him. Note that we see Captain Gordon still using the cloth cutout version of the Bat-Signal, which is correct (!), helping us place this item. “Faith” is also a prequel of sorts to Mike W Barr’s other Year Two story, the aptly named “Batman: Year Two,” which also helps us place this item.

–Batman: War on Crime by Alex Ross/Paul Dini (1999)
Summer.[18] 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 soirées and in executive boardrooms. 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.[19]

–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
Now that we’ve seen the rise of the violent Bat-Men, we’ll start to see the emergence of other homicidal Batman-inspired criminal gangs as well. 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 he opts not to read it, instead returning it to Batman safely.[20][21]

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

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #673—and also referenced in Batman #665. So much unbelievable shit has gone down in Batman’s relatively short career already that he decides to begin keeping a log of 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 get majorly 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 moving forward. As such, he now 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. Batman’s second encounter with 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 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 in Booster 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 a history buff, Bruce begins collecting antique 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 The 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.[22] However, despite Batman Annual #19‘s quasi-canonical status, its basic plot elements remain the same. Scarecrow starts scaring Gotham University professors to death. Soon afterward, Batman learns the sickening terror of the villain’s Fear Gas, but he 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.”[23] 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.

–Batman: The Long Halloween #1 Part 3 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996)
Late September-early October. Carmine Falcone orders a hit on former Gotham Bank president Richard Daniel, who gets whacked by Johnny Viti. A few days later, Viti is murdered in his home. Viti’s mystery killer leaves a jack-o-lantern and a .22 caliber gun at the scene. Thus begins the “Holiday” serial killings that will specifically target mob families for the next year. Batman meets with Gordon and Dent to discuss the murder, and then meets with Catwoman, who tells him how to follow Falcone’s money trail.

–“Wings” by Chuck Dixon/Quique Alcatena (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #5) 1995
Early October. In 1995, LOTDK Annual #5 (“Wings”) replaced the non-canon Secret Origins Vol. 2 #39 (1989) as the official Modern Age Man-Bat origin story. “Wings” starts shortly 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 Batman’s official eighteen month-in story. 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 an 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
Mid 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 to May 2001
Mid October. “Terror” is the follow-up to “Prey.”[24] Hugo Strange returns and frees Scarecrow from Arkham Asylum 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” that picked on him in high school. Neato! Batman very reluctantly teams up with Catwoman to 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 Captain 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.[25]

–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 is titled “Fears” in the TPB. The month of the Scarecrow continues! Jonathan Crane is already on the loose again (it’s likely he never made it to Arkham Asylum or escaped custody 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 that’s only after his cash. There is a slightly odd part in “Choices” where Captain Gordon mentions his wife by name and Batman seems to not remember who she is at first, but this slip-up can be chalked up to the fact that Bats hasn’t slept a wink in over three days.[26]

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #527. October 31—Halloween. Dent, Gordon, and Batman meet as usual, but this time Dent asks Batman to illegally obtain evidence to help put away criminals that have evaded justice through legal loopholes. Dent goes so far as to imply that Batman should fabricate evidence even if it doesn’t exist to ensure that known criminals serve time. Batman refuses, of course. The relationship between the trio continues on, but this is an early sign that Dent is becoming more and more obsessed and unraveled.

–Batman: The Long Halloween #1 Part 4 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1996)
October 31—Halloween. Batman and Harvey Dent, thanks to Catwoman, find Falcone’s warehouse full of millions of dollars in cash. In the blink of an eye, Batman and Dent burn the warehouse (and all of its money) to ash. Later that night, Dent returns home to his wife Gilda Dent, but a bomb—set by Falcone’s hired Irish thug Mickey—explodes in their home.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Long Halloween #2. October 31-November 1. Harvey and Gilda miraculously survive their home explosion and are relatively unharmed. However, Harvey, as part of a plan contrived by Captain Gordon and Batman, lets the media believe he has died in order to help the investigation.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #0 and Batman: Ego. Batman meets with Captain Gordon atop police HQ to discuss an unspecified case (likely stuff related to The Long Halloween).

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

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Long Halloween #10 and The Batman Files—originally told in Batman #49. November 8. Mad Hatter (Jervis Tetch) debuts, robbing a yacht club that is being photographed by photojournalist Vicki Vale. After the robbery, Batman busts Mad Hatter. (This item is also re-imagined in the Silver Age 80-Page Giant #1 Part 2. However, this re-imagination is non-canon since it involves Robin and also paints Mad Hatter’s yacht club scheme as his second heist, not his debut.)

–FLASHBACK: From Superman/Batman #75 Part 6—and referenced in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #65. Joker resurfaces, and Batman fights him. This is Batman’s third encounter with 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 Batman versus Joker brouhaha 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 to July 1996
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 to December 1995
Bruce Wayne is injured in a car accident and goes into a coma for two weeks. (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. In fact, it probably makes sense to ignore the two week length as well.) 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 Neil 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).

–“Tao” by Alan Grant/Arthur Ranson (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #52-53) October 1993
Batman exerts his dominance over Gotham City’s Triads (specifically the Chinese mob). We also see flashbacks to Bruce’s training in China where he studied under 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, the Spook is in there. Not exactly big time. UPDATE: “Dracula” is indeed Carmine Falcone, as was pointed out to me. Good eye!

–Batman: The Long Halloween #2 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1997)
Late November. After a short altercation with Solomon Grundy, Batman captures Mickey and immediately connects the Irish hired-gun to the Falcones. However, evidence is circumstantial at best. Mickey and his pals refuse to implicate Falcone, refraining from even mentioning his name in front of an Irish-disguised Dent, who reveals to the public he’s alive and well. On Thanksgiving, Batman leaves a turkey dinner in the sewer for Solomon Grundy. Across town, Holiday (aka The Holiday Killer) strikes again, murdering a group of Falcone’s top men, including bodyguard Milos Grapa. Holiday leaves behind a cornucopia and the signature twenty-two.

–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.

–“Going Sane” by JM DeMatteis/Joe Staton (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #65-68) November 1994 to February 1995[27]
Late November to mid December. At the beginning of LOTDK #65, a resurfaced Joker says that it’s February. However, in LOTDK #66, we learn that our story begins months prior to that. 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 in this arc. Suffice to say, this arc is mega compressed, going from six months to one month in length, so we shouldn’t take any topical or time references at face value (whether or not they come from Joker). Joker bombs a group of people, hoping to draw Batman into his fourth official encounter with the Harlequin of Hate.[28] Joker’s bombing gets Batman’s attention, but the villain ain’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 Joker believes he is dead and leaves him as such. 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 the authorities, to treat him personally from her home, and also to keep his identity a secret. After life-saving surgery, Bruce wakes up and realizes that this may be a way out of the hard life he’s chosen. He’s injured enough that he thinks 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 rehab and settles into a quiet life in the small scenic village. Wait a minute… where’s Joker, you say? 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, Joker (as “Joseph Kerr”) starts a new straight life. Joe Kerr gets a nice apartment, a job, and even meets a lovely gal named Rebecca Brown! Meanwhile, a blissfully contented Bruce begins dating Dr. Lynn Eagles while rehabbing his injuries. Soon though, the honeymoon period begins to fade. Sensing Bruce’s growing restlessness, Lynn reveals that she knows all about his prior life as the Dark Knight, reminding him of a time when he once saved her. This talk prompts Bruce to return to his roots. He realizes that his destiny lies with the mantle of the Bat (and also that he’s been a dick to Alfred by not communicating with him for months). Meanwhile, as per LOTDK #66, Joker (as a cleaned-up and sane “Joseph Kerr”) is now engaged to be married to Rebecca! Batman ends his Accord retirement and returns to Gotham. The Dark Detective greets Alfred, chats with Captain Gordon, and chases a few Joker leads. After confronting Dr. Elias Bruckner’s wife and reviewing comedy video tape rental histories, Batman learns the whereabouts of the elusive Joker. “Joe Kerr” has gone on vacation with his fiancée in Pennsylvania. The Caped Crusader now knows all about Joker’s “sanity.” In PA, Joe Kerr reads a newspaper highlighting the return of Batman. Upon learning Batman is back on the scene, Joe Kerr politely excuses himself from Rebecca and travels back to Gotham. There, he slips right back into being the old super-villainous Joker (much to the dismay of his unsuspecting fiancée). Joker picks up right where he was before he “went sane”—by kidnapping Councilwoman Kenner and trying to kill Batman. Batman saves Kenner, puts Joker back in Arkham Asylum, and sends flowers to Lynn.

–“Blades” by James Robinson/Tim Sale (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #32-34) June to July 1992
Mid 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. 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 also 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 chronology is making even more sense as we move along—the three are Joker, Hugo Strange, and Riddler.


–“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 Xmas 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.[30]

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

–“Rules of Engagement” by Andy Diggle/Whilce Portacio (Batman Confidential #1-6) February to August 2007
After witnessing two murders, Batman returns home to the Batcave where he shows the gun that killed his folks. (Bruce took the gun out of police evidence and has had it for some time now, although he still hasn’t learned that it belongs to Joe Chill.) During this scene, Batman also mentions having started his costumed war on crime “over a year ago,” cementing placement here in Year Two. The first official meeting between Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne then occurs, and it’s filled with over-the-top robots, cyborgs, and explosions as LexCorp and WayneTech (specifically the Wayne Aerospace division) vie for a lucrative government defense contract. Also present is Lucius Fox, who will later become Bruce’s most trusted business partner. After some cutthroat actions by Luthor, including sabotaging WayneTech’s OGRE robot and framing anti-Luthor US senator Harold Crabtree for murder, LexCorp gains the defense contract. As per the contract, Luthor introduces an army of GI Robots, retooled US Army tech that hasn’t been used since Vietnam. (Bruce will co-opt these GI Robots many years later for his Batman Incorporated organization.) As part of his attempt to expose Luthor as a fraud, Batman debuts the brand new Batplane, but Luthor is able to corrupt the Batplane’s computer systems, briefly turning it against its owner. Eventually, Batman challenges Luthor’s army of robots in the desert, defeating them with the Batplane, Batbike (aka Batcycle), and a computer virus. However, the Dark Knight is unable to tie any criminality to Luthor, who proves he is truly above the law. Afterward, Bruce sees that he must be a wholly different type of millionaire than his vile business counterpart. Thus, Bruce officially ends the Wayne Foundation’s focus on real estate, mergers, acquisitions, and finance. Two of Wayne Enterprises’ main three subdivisions will now have new mission statements. Wayne Industries will still deal in the industrial sector with no real changes; WayneTech will still deal in R&D, but it will no longer take any defense contracts or build munitions; and the Wayne Foundation will now basically be re-created from scratch, switching from a focus on business ventures to a focus on philanthropic humanitarian activism and charitable aid for the poor and destitute. (Bruce’s dad, long ago, had originally created the Wayne Foundation as a charitable venture, but that was changed after he was killed. Thus, Bruce is finally returning the Foundation to its roots.) Bruce appoints Senator Crabtree as the chairman of the new Wayne Foundation. As referenced in Batman #403, Bruce, mostly through the Wayne Foundation, now starts contributing vast sums of money to charity and other philanthropic ventures in an attempt to make Gotham a better place with both his fists and his checkbook. Bruce will donate to just and needy causes for the rest of his life, although the majority of these kind acts will remain invisible on our timeline.[31]

–Batman: The Long Halloween #3 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1997)
December 24-25. Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum, obsessed with finding out Holiday’s identity. Batman and Captain Gordon visit Calendar Man in Arkham to gain some possible insight on the motives of Holiday, but they get a bunch of hooey instead. As Joker terrorizes Gotham, Holiday acts on Christmas Day, executing Falcone’s bodyguard.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Gotham Knights #10 Part 2 (Black and White), DC Retroactive: Batman – The 80s #1, and The Batman Files.” Batman: Year Two” (originally told in Detective Comics #575-578 and Batman: Full Circle by Mike W Barr and Alan Davis, 1987 to 1991) was originally made out-of-continuity following Zero Hour in 1994, but the references attached to this item function as DC’s attempt to canonize this story in some form. However, the updated version contains a major difference from the original arc. The original revolves heavily around Joe Chill and Chill’s extended family. On our current timeline, Batman has yet to discover that Chill is the man who killed his folks, so Chill cannot be a part of this tale at all. Here’s a synopsis for the updated version of events. Now that Bruce has reverted the Wayne Foundation back to its philanthropic roots, he’s brought the kindhearted Leslie Thompkins onboard to help with a few things. First order of business, Bruce orders construction of a brand new Wayne Foundation headquarters. Ground is broken and work begins. Bruce and Leslie Thompkins oversee the construction of the new Wayne Foundation Building (which will become the famous Wayne Enterprises Tower aka Wayne Tower and future location of the penthouse residence and Bat-Bunker). Bruce meets and becomes enamored with Leslie’s friend Rachel Caspian, who—unfortunately for Bruce—is set to become a nun. Batman then fights the decades-old vigilante known as The Reaper (Rachel’s father) for the first time, getting his ass handed to him. A distraught and battered Bruce takes the gun that was used to murder his parents and contemplates breaking his vow to never lethally use firearms. Bruce falls further in love with Rachel when he learns that she lost her mother in a similar fashion to how he lost his. (Kinda creepy reason, but it marks them as kindred spirits.) Despite Rachel’s pending Catholic sisterhood, Bruce charms and woos Rachel, starting a whirlwind affair. Bruce is so head-over-heels, he proposes to Rachel, giving her a custom fortune cookie engagement note. Rachel accepts! Soon afterward, the Reaper falls to his death from high atop the Wayne Foundation Building construction site while tangoing with Batman. Immediately afterward, a frazzled Rachel breaks off her engagement to Bruce and becomes a nun as previously planned. Rachel returns Bruce’s engagement note and ring to a heartbroken Bruce.

–Batman: The Long Halloween #4 by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1997)
December 31—New Year’s Eve. As the NYE ball drops, Batman recaptures Joker. Meanwhile, Alberto Falcone seemingly winds up dead in Gotham Harbor, with a snow globe and twenty-two left on the deck of his father’s ship.


| >>> NEXT: YEAR THREE >>>

  1. [1]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.
  2. [2]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.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: While I’m not a fan of the Batman Confidential series, the majority of its arcs are canon. However, such is definitely not the case for “Lovers and Madmen” (Batman Confidential #7-12) by Smallville TV writer Michael Green. 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 Quinzel’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 it isn’t 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.
  4. [4]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, and won’t paint the Bat-symbol onto the spotlight until “Terror,” by which time Batman will have gained more of his trust.
  5. [5]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, Vicki Vale (whom Manning curiously omits), Linda Page, Skye Peters, then Selina Kyle, which continues in an on-again-off-again fashion, briefly overlapping with Jillian Maxwell.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: According to our chronology, Journey into Knight #1-6 takes 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. 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 “Early Period” 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 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 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 early June of Year Two (and must be compressed/shortened). 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: 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.

  7. [7]LANE McD: Detective Comics Annual #8 is only canon as long as you ignore one Two-Face reference in 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.
  8. [8]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—Alfred keeps adding things to Bruce’s Christmas list (a Batmobile and a spectrometer). If it were canon, it would be definitely after the debuts of Joker and Penguin since Ivy’s goons worked for both of them. 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. It contains enough legit continuity goofs that there’s no way it can be canon.

  9. [9]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 have yet to meet each other out of costume, so this item should go in somewhere in the months 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.

  10. [10]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.
  11. [11]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.
  12. [12]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 i.e. right around 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.

  13. [13]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.
  14. [14]COLLIN COLSHER: The conclusion of The Long Halloween, which occurs next Bat Year, will function as the canonical origin detailing Harvey Dent’s transformation into Two-Face. Originally, the excellent Batman Annual #14 (1990) was the official Two-Face origin story, remaining canon for nearly seven years until it was replaced by The Long Halloween in 1997. To this day, scholars and fans alike argue about which is the better Two-Face origin. Some purists refuse to replace Annual #14 with The Long Halloween, citing it as utter blasphemy. These stories can’t coexist since they contradict each other in many ways, so no matter how your personal cookie crumbles, I’ve chosen to go with DC’s official version of events, which definitively has The Long Halloween as canon above all else.

    Despite the heated debate over Two-Face’s official origin story, 2011’s The Batman Files tries its best to placate both parties by retroactively sliding in a cute little reference to Batman Annual #14 into the very pages of The Long Halloween #1 Part 1. This simply means that The Long Halloween is still numero uno in regard to official continuity, but the opening part of Batman Annual #14 (the Rudolph Klemper case) is also canon, albeit as a modified and pared-down version of its original. It occurs immediately before the start of The Long Halloween, as listed above.

  15. [15]COLLIN COLSHER: The Long Halloween is the big one, the story that changes everything. And it is, arguably, the most important story during the “Early Period” besides Miller’s “Year One.” This is the story of how the organized mobs of Gotham fade away and become completely overshadowed by the costumed super-villains. Its second half forms the definitive Two-Face origin story, with the rise and fall of the Batman/Gordon/Dent union. It also begins to more fully develop the Catwoman/Batman love affair that will last for years. The Long Halloween is a direct follow-up to Miller’s “Year One,” which is why it begins here in Year Two. Originally, the Batman Chronology placed the start of The Long Halloween in Year Three in order to accommodate a bunch of other stories, namely “Venom,” “Going Sane,” and Journey into Knight. However, it makes much more sense to put The Long Halloween on a higher pedestal as it is date (holiday) specific and will directly influence storylines for decades to come.

    Essentially, having The Long Halloween begin in Year Two brings balance while reducing error in the “Early period” (Years 1-10). With The Long Halloween starting in Year Two, Robin now debuts a year earlier, which makes more sense (and is closer to where DC places his official debut). The Long Halloween was always intended to be a story beginning in Year Two, and it makes the most narrative sense as such. With this placement, we can also keep “Batman Year Two” in Year Two, along with key Leslie Thompkins and Wayne Foundation stuff. Prior to having The Long Halloween in Year Two, stories like “Going Sane” and “Journey into Knight” were dictating way too much of the flow of my timeline—particularly the former, a 1994 story that most people don’t even consider canon! (“Going Sane” is still on my chronology, but I’ve compressed it. The idea that I wouldn’t compress something like “Going Sane” when more important tales like “No Man’s Land” and “Knightfall” have been undeniably compressed seemed plain wrong.) In conclusion, the amount of fanwanking and retconning is actually significantly less than before as a result of these shifts. (There are dozens less caveat notes required.) The timeline is much stronger and way more cohesive in its current form.

    MILO NOUSIAINEN: Year Two sans The Long Halloween causes an unnecessary and awkward break from Batman’s main narrative development during his early years. Having The Long Halloween begin in Year Two (where it properly belongs) makes the timeline feel fuller and more connected. Furthermore, with The Long Halloween starting in Year Two, the “pillars” of Batman’s early years (“Year One,” The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, Robin: Year One, JLA: Year One, Teen Titans: Year One, Batgirl: Year One, Huntress: Year One, “Nightwing: Year One”) are more tightly knit, and provide a better overall framework for the “Early Period.”

  16. [16]CHIP:The Long Halloween and its sequel Dark Victory are fine stories, but they do prevent a lot of other stories from fitting in, or cause some awkward placement. It is therefore necessary to alter and compress them. (Scholar Chris J Miller, for example, has both stories compressed down to a couple of months and has moved scenes all around on his timelines.)

    COLLIN COLSHER: While it is true that The Long Halloween and Dark Victory prevent a lot of other tales from fitting in neatly, I have treated their narratives as pure gospel and have scrupulously tried to avoid compressing or editing either of them, especially since their narratives revolve so heavily around topical dates and holidays.

  17. [17]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 isn’t possible for there to be a three month gap of non-action for Batman during this time period.
  18. [18]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 previously, 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, Gotham’s criminal element in War on Crime does not feature mainstream 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 having become ubiquitous at this point. By late Year Two, 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, and while we aren’t told his rank, he seems to wield more authority than a mere lieutenant (but less than a commissioner).

  19. [19]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 next year in LOTDK #44-45 (“Turf” by Steven Grant, 1993). So, there is a direct connection between “War on Crime” and other tales in these first three years.

    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.

  20. [20]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 over a year-and-a-half at this point. The only legit clues we have to placement, besides the aforementioned deputy stuff, are that: a) Gordon and Batman 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 only after Journey into Knight.) “Testament” could also theoretically be concurrent with “Shaman” in December of Year One, but it just feels like a calendar-Year Two tale.
  21. [21]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.
  22. [22]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.” 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’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.

  23. [23]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 an “Early Period” 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.
  24. [24]COLLIN COLSHER: I originally had this tale much later, but it should correctly go here with some 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 later this year. However, in spite of these flubs, “Terror” indeed goes here for a bunch of legitimate reasons. First, writer Doug 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 (cat-and-bat?) to go later, as 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. Third, “Terror” seems to show Scarecrow’s first foray out of Arkham Asylum after he has fully embraced his role (before he gets all “macabre’d-up” in “Choices” and The 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. Fourth, “Terror” directly references Scarecrow’s initial defeat in the corn field, making this his second official appearance. Fifth, 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.
  25. [25]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. A point of consideration for those reading in chronological order: Never assume things you may already know about future stories.
  26. [26]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).

  27. [27]COLLIN COLSHER: Is “Going Sane” really in-continuity? Who the hell knows? Some consider this story to be one of the classic highlights of the 1990s while others regard it as nothing more than just another throwaway LOTDK tale. And it doesn’t help that JM DeMatteis’ story-arcs usually take months or even years to wrap up—in this case, over six months. However, in order to fit in any capacity, “Going Sane” must be compressed to death, going from six months-plus to one month tops. It should still go here in Year Two because its narrative tells us that Joker has only fought Batman a couple times at this point (three if we go by retcons). Of course, The Long Halloween (the other major Year Two story) takes precedence over “Going Sane.” (“Going Sane” is not only a questionably-canonical LOTDK tale, but it was published prior to The Long Halloween.)
  28. [28]COLLIN COLSHER: In “Going Sane,” Batman’s opening dialogue reads: “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, The 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 in regard to Joker. Moving onward, we have some options: a), 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 b) 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, 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’s his fourth.
  29. [29]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, Batman and the Viking 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 as a staunch and militant environmentalist, but because the executives are literally a bunch of hunchbacked, ogre-like homicidal kidnappers. Hell, they even have a dungeon! Anyway, this LOTDK arc 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 stories like this. Another reason this tale is non-canon; it ends with Batman setting off a bomb that 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…
  30. [30]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.

  31. [31]FRANK FERNANDEZ: At first glance, it might seem odd to see “Rules of Engagement” appearing this early, especially when subsequent books on the timeline don’t show the Batplane or Batbike. (In “Venom,” for example, Bruce is still chartering planes.) However, there are good reasons for placing “Rules of Engagement” here anyway: First, now is a good time for the re-christening of the Wayne Foundation (in close proximity to “Batman: Year Two” stuff). Second, Batman and Gordon (who is still a captain) are working together but they don’t have a strong rapport yet, not like what we’ll see post-The Long Halloween. Furthermore, one could argue that the Batplane and Batbike were so badly destroyed in “Rules of Engagement” that he had to charter planes and use simpler transport for a while afterward (giving us a fanwank for the aforementioned note about “Venom”). Even so, it still feels weird to see so much tech so early in Batman’s career. However, “Rules of Engagement” is a decent fit shortly before “Venom” and overlapping with The Long Halloween—also jibing with Luthor’s mention of metahumans in the tale. The rise of the metahuman is definitely upon us.

    COLLIN COLSHER: The placement of “Rules of Engagement” is indeed because of the Wayne Foundation re-christening, the Batman-Captain Gordon relationship, and Batman’s own comments about it being Year Two. And I like and will use your theory regarding the damaged Batplane and Batbike to further defend my placement. Some might feel that the tech in “Rules of Engagement” is too-over-the-top or advanced for the time period in which the story is supposed to take place, but it really isn’t. The tech shown in this arc is on par for the advanced fictive world of the DCU, even in these early days. Plus, “Rules of Engagement” is the first arc of a new series (Batman Confidential), so even though this is meant to be early on in Batman’s career, DC publishers didn’t want to depict an old school/quaint lo-fi world; they wanted to show a contemporary/hyper-modern environment while delivering an explosive high-octane vibe.

45 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.

  16. Milo says:

    Did you move the beginning of The Long Halloween here to Year Two, or was it always like that? I recall it starting in Year Three. If it’s a change, I would be interested to know what prompted you to do it.

    • A bunch of folks have asked me about this. I’ll have to add the details into the footnotes, but here’s what happened… Along with several other site contributors, I did a full overhaul of the “Early period” (Years 1-10) and found that it was imbalanced and contained a multitude of errors—many scenarios where I was forcing a square peg into a circular hole. Robin now debuts a year earlier, which makes more sense (and is closer to where DC seems to place his debut). Furthermore, my chronology was the only one that pushed the start of Long Halloween into Year Three. It really was always intended to be a Year Two into Year Three story. Likewise, with some of the shifting, we can keep “Batman Year Two” in Year Two, along with key Leslie Thompkins and Wayne Foundation stuff. One of the big things I noticed was how much “Going Sane” and “Journey into Knight” were dictating way too much of the flow of my timeline, particularly the former, a 1994 story that most people don’t even consider canon! (“Going Sane” is still there, but I’ve compressed it. The idea that I wouldn’t compress something like “Going Sane” when more important tales like “No Man’s Land” and “Knightfall” have been undeniably compressed seemed plain wrong.)

      But yes, we’ve had to compress a few items. However, the amount of fanwanking and retconning is actually significantly LESS than before as a result of the shifts. (As it stands, there are dozens less caveat notes required with the new way.) So while things might seem awkward due to some of the big moves (especially if you were used to what we had before), if you read Years 1-10 as a whole now, the timeline is much stronger and way more cohesive.

      • Milo says:

        I actually think this is a pretty good change. It makes the timeline feel fuller and more connected. Before, Year Two was kind of a break from the main narrative developments of the Early Years. Now, what I think of as the “pillars” of the Early Years (Year One, The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, Robin: Year One, JLA: Year One, Teen Titans: Year One, Batgirl: Year One, Huntress: Year One, Nightwing: Year One) are more tightly knit, and provide a framework for all the years in this Early Period.

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