Rebirth Year One

Rebirth Era (Post-“Superman Reborn”) Chronology

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YEAR ONE (2002)

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–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #53—and referenced in All-Star Batman #10-12, All-Star Batman #14, Batman Vol. 3 #24, and Detective Comics #996. Picking up directly from the Argentinian flashback (Batman Vol. 3 #105), the prodigal son (Bruce) returns to Gotham completely unannounced after nearly seven years of training abroad, surprising Alfred Pennyworth at Wayne Manor.[1] Bruce moves into his parents’ palatial mansion, becoming seigneur of the estate. Bruce tells Alfred about his training and nascent plans to fight crime—the primary mission being to ensure no one is hurt like he was when his parents were killed. Bruce also inviolably vows to never use guns or lethal tactics.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2 Part 1 Conclusion. Bruce puts his mother’s pearl into a safe in Wayne Manor.

–REFERENCE: In DC New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 Part 1. To formally end his training, a brash Bruce designs some special hang-gliding gear, climbs to the top of Wayne Tower, and does a base-jump off the top. Bruce suffers a concussion and a dislocated shoulder. Alfred is livid.

–REFERENCE: In Wonder Woman Vol. 5 Annual #1 Part 1. Along with the rest of the world, Bruce learns about and sees first images of Metropolis’ recently debuted Man of Steel, Superman.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #5 Part 3. Bruce reunites with his old friend Harvey Dent, who is now Gotham’s district attorney, and meets his fiancée Gilda Gold.

–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #11, Detective Comics #999, Batman: Three Jokers #1—originally told in “ZERO YEAR: SECRET CITY.”[2] Despite not having a 100% concrete plan, an obstinate Bruce decides to take his first action. “Unfocused and daring the world to kill him,” Bruce recklessly tests his mettle against Gotham’s vilest crew—The Red Hood Gang (led by The Red Hood i.e. likely the man who will later become “The Criminal” version of Joker). It’s definitely also possible that there is at least one other Red Hood leader prior to the man who will later become Joker.[3] Either way, Bruce is guided by Alfred, who helps with disguise and makeup. Moving forward, Alfred will often instruct Bruce in matters of disguise. Alfred is a complex individual. In these early days, he’ll be outwardly and vocally reluctant to support Bruce’s dangerous war on crime, yet he’ll always be Bruce’s biggest enabler, helping him every step of the way. While we won’t see it on our timeline ahead, Bruce will challenge the Red Hood Gang on-and-off.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #66
, Batman Vol. 3 #79, Batman Vol. 3 #85, Detective Comics Annual #3 (2020) Part 2, and Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #1 Part 2—and referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #34, Batman Vol. 3 #37, Batman Vol. 3 #50, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2 Part 1 Intro, and Detective Comics #999. Originally told in Frank Miller’s “BATMAN: YEAR ONE Part 1” (Batman #404). Bruce continues intensive training at Wayne Manor, which involves kicking through fully grown trees. Bruce will continue his patented tree-kicking technique throughout his life. On a Sunday night, Bruce dons a ski mask and takes to the streets to fight bad guys. Alfred patches him up when he comes home. A similar evening ensues on Monday night. On Tuesday night, under Alfred’s guidance, Bruce disguises himself as a homeless army vet (complete with a fake scar on his face) and heads to the rough East End neighborhood. On the street, Bruce runs afoul of Stan the Pimp and gets stabbed by young orphan Holly Robinson. This leads to a fight against Holly’s friend, martial arts expert and sex worker Selina Kyle. Selina and Holly see through Bruce’s disguise, recognizing him as a celebrity. The injured Bruce fends-off Selina, but gets shot by cops and thrown into a squad car. En route to the police station, Bruce causes the car to crash. He saves the cops’ lives and then retreats home.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #994, Detective Comics Annual #3 (2020) Part 2, and Batman Giant #2—and referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #94, Batman: Lost #1, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3, and Detective Comics #999. Originally told in Frank Miller’s “BATMAN: YEAR ONE Part 1” (Batman #404). A very badly injured Bruce, having just retreated home after his nearly fatal misadventure in Gotham’s East End, sits contemplatively in Wayne Manor. (Note that the flashback from Batman Giant #2 shows Bruce wearing a robe, which is incorrect.) Inspired by a bat crashing through his window, Bruce swears an oath to his father to become a bat-costumed vigilante. Unknown to Bruce, the bat is none other than the Dark Multiverse’s devil-god Barbatos. (Barbatos, as of yet unable to break free from the Dark Multiverse, can and will, on occasion, wield enough power to control a person or animal. Such is the case now.)[4] Bruce rings his bell, summoning Alfred to his save his life. Alfred drags the bloody Bruce upstairs to his bedroom and administers medical treatment.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Annual #3 (2020) Part 2—and referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #21-24, Batman Vol. 3 #53, Batman Vol. 3 #90, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #3, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #4, All-Star Batman #10-11, Dark Days: The Forge #1, Superman Vol. 4 #25, Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #7, Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #25, Detective Comics #959, Detective Comics #982, Detective Comics #988-989, Justice League Vol. 3 #24, Trinity Vol. 2 #11-14, Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #14, Dark Nights: Metal #2, Deathstroke Vol. 4 #30, The Brave and The Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman #3, Batman: Kings of Fear #1, Nightwing Vol. 4 #50, Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #58, Detective Comics #992-994, Detective Comics #1002, Detective Comics #1008-1009, Superman: Leviathan Rising #1, Event Leviathan #1Dial H for Hero #5, Batman Giant #5 (Batman: Universe #2), Batman Giant Vol. 2 #5 Part 1 (Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #7), Justice League Vol. 4 #52, Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point #5, Batman: Knightwatch – Batman Day Special Edition #1, and Detective Comics #1044. A day after his near fatal East End adventure and subsequent “I shall become a bat” experience, Bruce wakes up with a new mission and sketches a blueprint for a costume designed to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. While still outwardly reluctant, Alfred tailors the armored high-tech Bat-costume (grey with a black bat chest insignia and purple gloves). (Note that Alfred also tailors three different grey-and-black costumes—one with an underwear-on-the-outside look, one without, and one with ribbed padding on the arms and legs. He’ll wear these interchangeably, moving forward. Likewise, in these early days, Batman will wear either his purple gloves or standard black gauntlet gloves with razor-sharp forearm scallops. Not to mention some of his cowls will have different ear lengths and styles. Every iteration of the Bat-costume, from now until the end of his career, will be armored, fireproofed, and have a cape that can turn into a high-altitude glider.) Second, Bruce constructs a utility belt to wear with his new costumes. The utility belt will contain just about anything you can imagine a well-prepared Batman would have, including incendiaries, smoke pellets, flash grenades, shrapnel bombs, sonic weaponry, a sonic device that attracts bats, rope, various carpentry tools, mini grappling gun, net launcher, tranquilizer gun (with various dart types), mini bola gun, protective anti-magick talismans, cellphone, tablet computer, Bat-symbol-shaped headlamp, high voltage tasers, knives, tear gas, laser, Penthrane sleeping gas, gas mask, an EMP device that can temporarily kill electric signals, a GPS tracker connected to plantable mini-tracers, various extending/collapsable weapons (including a truncheon), computer hacking toolkit, flashlights, forensic kit, surgical/autopsy tools, handcuffs, chemical sniffer device, bio-life radar detector/health scanner, generic anti-neurotoxin spray, snack bars, hydration kit, pen, notepad, liquid nitrogen capsules, digital compass, and tape. With his costume and utility belt complete, Batman is officially born.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Annual #3 (2020) Part 2—and referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #21-26, Batman Vol. 3 #53, All-Star Batman #10-11, Action Comics #980, Wonder Woman Vol. 5 #22, New Super-Man #17, Flash Vol. 5 #46, Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #41, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #3, Batman: Kings of Fear #6, Batman: Pennyworth RIP #1, and Batman: The Detective #1-5. A day after finalizing his costume, Batman goes on his first ever patrol. Despite still outwardly disapproving, Alfred acts as field surgeon and tactical point-man, backing Batman’s incipient operations. Alfred will sometimes (but not always) use the radio call-name “Penny-One” while communicating with Batman. On his first night out, Batman saves a couple from some gang members dressed up as evil clowns. Batman gets stabbed in the arm during the confrontation, so he retreats home. After getting patched up by Alfred, Batman switches to his undamaged alternate underwear-on-the-outside costume, swinging right back out into the  dark Gotham night. While patrolling, Batman is a bit shaky and accidentally fires his grappling gun through a window. Batman will begin routine nightly patrols from this point forward. Alfred will constantly stitch-up the broken Batman as well as have debriefings with him, following patrols. That gem Alfred will also constantly clean-up after the messy and inconsiderate Batman when he returns home from patrol. Alfred will be in charge of mending damaged costumes, fueling-up all the vehicles, re-filling the utility belt, and fine-tuning weaponry. We will simply have to imagine both the patrols and patrol-related occurrences sprinkled throughout our timeline below, although Batman’s MO will be to operate primarily during nighttime hours. Batman will face countless thieves, muggers, and all types of criminals on his near-daily patrols, moving forward for the rest of his career. By the end of his illustrious career, he will have saved thousands of lives—millions if we count how many times he will save entire cities or even planets. Also note that Batman now begins the tedious practice of retrieving as much of his left-behind weaponry as he possibly can following each fight.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Annual #3 (2020) Part 2—and referenced in Blue Beetle Vol. 9 #4. The day after his first patrol, Batman makes national headlines, appearing as the cover story in the tabloid Arkham Post. From this point forward, photos of Batman will be published online and in print newspapers, tabloids, and magazines fairly regularly.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Annual #3 (2020) Part 2. One night after his first patrol, Batman—in his purple glove outfit—descends upon the city for his second night of action. As the surprised firefighters of the Gotham City Fire Department watch in disbelief, Batman saves a child from a burning building. Injured, Batman returns home and rings his bell. Alfred comes running and saves his life as usual.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: The World Part 4. Bruce briefly rekindles his relationship with Julie Madison. She convinces him to take a short vacation with her to Rome. While there, the restless Bruce sneaks out of their hotel room to patrol in his ribbed padding Bat-costume. Batman rescues a boy named Cesare and his parents from a mugger. Afterward, Batman chats with Cesare. Knowing that he won’t be able to date like a civilian, Bruce breaks it off with Julie. Moving forward, Batman will keep tabs on Cesare.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #21, Batman Vol. 3 #37-38, All-Star Batman #10-11, Wonder Woman Vol. 5 #22, Detective Comics #959, Detective Comics #967, Detective Comics #973, Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #10, Green Arrow Vol. 6 #29, Nightwing Vol. 4 #32, Flash Vol. 5 Annual #1Batman Secret Files #1 Part 3, The Batman Who Laughs #3, Young Justice Vol. 3 #3, Batman and The Outsiders Vol. 3 #4, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #4, and Batman: The World Part 10. In regard to his civilian alter-ego, Bruce becomes the head of his family’s wealthy global corporate business, Wayne Enterprises. (His uncle Philip Kane had been running the company since his parents’ deaths.) Bruce immediately hires his friend Lucius Fox to handle day-to-day business affairs. (While unsure of Bruce’s connection to Batman, Lucius will, moving forward, often work on special top secret Bat-related projects.) Bruce and Lucius meet their Board of Directors, which includes fellow company shareholders Ronald Warner, David, and Julian. (Bruce and Warner will become professionally close over the years, with Warner coming to strongly admire Bruce.) Via its subsidiaries WayneTech and Wayne Industries, the parent corporation has controlling interests in finance, manufacturing, energy, aerospace engineering, tech, R&D, real estate, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and hospitality. WayneTech owns hotels, factories, refineries, hospitals, and chemical plants all over the world. It also specializes in Internet-related services and products like the WayneNet search engine. Via its subsidiary known as The Thomas and Martha Wayne Foundation (aka The Wayne Foundation), the parent corporation is involved in charity, medical care, philanthropy, and social activism. Bruce, in order to mask any possible connections to Batman, begins publicly acting as a wild playboy. As part of his dissipation act, an abstemious Bruce will often feign being drunk, secretly chugging ginger-ale instead of booze. As a famous (and notorious) public persona, Bruce will attend galas and fancy parties, often carousing with pop-stars and models. He will sometimes be followed by paparazzi and will often have his picture taken and published. Despite having a genuine distaste for business matters, Bruce attends a variety of high-powered business meetings and meets many of Gotham’s financial elites, including the amicable Colonel Eric Yellin. Bruce will become fairly close with Yellin and meet the majority of Gotham’s elites over time. Ironically, in these business circles, Bruce will earn the reputation of being an introvert that doesn’t like to stay out very late—a stark contrast to his playboy persona. To further enhance Bruce’s pleasure-seeking front, Alfred will plan and schedule random parties, at which Bruce will show up and make a scene. These parties should be imagined, scattered throughout our timeline, moving forward.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics Annual #3 (2020) Part 2. Alfred and Bruce begin a routine of having brunch every Sunday, during which they plan out their upcoming week together.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #21, Batman Vol. 3 #63, Batman Vol. 3 #93, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #4, Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #14, Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #42, Gotham Academy: Second Semester #11, Deathstroke Vol. 4 #34-35, Trinity Vol. 2 #14, Detective Comics #1001, Detective Comics Annual #2 (2019), The Batman Who Laughs #1-3The Batman Who Laughs #6, Flash Vol. 5 #65, Event Leviathan #4, and Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #10. After surveying the caverns underneath the Wayne Manor property, Bruce and Alfred draw up plans for a secret lair known as the Batcave. As preparation for all things Batman-related, Bruce turns the Wayne Foundation into a front, moving its entire portfolio into multiple offshore bank accounts under different aliases. Through these exchanges, Bruce will be able to hide hundreds of millions of dollars he will spend on Batman-related projects. One major pitfall of this complicated top secret financial setup is that it potentially puts all of Wayne Enterprises (and Bruce’s personal fortune) at risk since the legit corporation is essentially run by a constellation of illegal shell companies. As further prep for the Batcave, Bruce and Alfred hire on a Wayne Enterprises construction crew. (The crew will work on some of the various projects below, and Bruce and Alfred will keep them guessing when it comes to the reasoning behind the strange jobs.) First, local access roads leading to the Wayne property are repaved using CBR geo-synthetics for load bearing and noise dampening. Soil is spread across the new roads in order to make them look old. After this, Bruce and Alfred build a preserve for the bats (to reduce methane levels) and erect a large foundry inside the cavern. (Note that the Batcave is literally a bat cave, meaning that no matter how many Chiroptera go in the preserve, there will still be a ton flying around and living within the cavern proper.) Bruce and Alfred then begin building the Batcave, which will eventually have a garage filled with weaponized cars, a fully-equipped state-of-the-art crime lab, science lab (complete with white lab coats!), industrial design studio, medical bay, weapons depot, training facility, library, and kitchenette. Bruce heavily-secures and camouflages multiple hidden entrances to the Batcave and then uses computer tech to erase geological records of the cave, which connects to larger waterways via underground rivers. False seismic echo generators are implemented to fool any future radio frequencies, ground-penetrating radar, or micro-gravity scanning. Additionally, Bruce installs holographic 3D surveillance cameras and laser cannons into the Batcave. Going the full distance in regard to security, Bruce and Alfred begin building a labyrinth of impenetrable false cavern walls into the accessible jigsaw catacombs adjacent to the Batcave. Bruce also builds multiple hidden passageways from the Batcave to Wayne Manor above—the most famous of which lies behind a grandfather clock in one of the living rooms. One of these hidden passageways can also be activated from a secret switch inside a bust of Shakespeare. The Shakespeare switch opens a passageway to the Bat-poles, firefighter poles that can be used to slide down to the Batcave. Also note that Wayne Manor already has several hidden rooms and passageways thanks to a wild design by eccentric occult architect Ambroos Lydecker, who also designed Gotham Academy and Arkham Asylum. Bruce exploits some of these passageways by connecting them to the Batcave. (Gotham Academy is one of Gotham’s most prestigious high schools. Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane—or simply Arkham Asylum for short—is Gotham’s most notorious prison. It is owned and operated by the Arkham family, who also owned the now-defunct Arkham Home in Innsmouth, MA.) Batman and Alfred then make a defense map of the Wayne property (including the caverns below), breaking down specific zones into designated “security sectors.” This security map will be passed down to all Bat-Family members in the future. (In case you didn’t know, Batman’s closest allies will eventually be known as the “Bat-Family.”) And last but not least, in regard to the Batcave, Bruce gives himself a special personal code that can lockdown all primary entrances. Bruce and Alfred will work on constructing the Batcave over the course of the rest of the calendar year. They will have building materials delivered to the property under the guise of massive renovations to Wayne Manor.[5]

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #62, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #4, Superman Vol. 4 #25, Dark Nights: Metal #2, Justice League of America Vol. 5 #14, Detective Comics #985-986, Detective Comics #1000 Part 10The Batman Who Laughs #6, Batman Secret Files #2 Part 2, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #5, and Justice League Vol. 4 #61. In regard to weaponry, Batman acquires a ton of different toys—mostly made out of or pilfered from WayneTech. He also creates various types of bat-shaped boomerangs and flechettes called Batarangs. Different Batarangs will have different features, such as the unfortunately-named Bangarang, which is an explosive weapon. Batman also creates a series of special programmable Batarangs that are voice-code activated. For instance, in “Blackout” mode, the programmable Batarang can emit an electromagnetic burst akin to an ion blast. He also builds: ultrasonic-relay mini-Batarangs that can summon bats by emitting high-pitched frequencies (based upon the pre-existing bat-attractant device he already has); ear-piercing sonic mini-Batarangs; rocket-thruster Batarangs, which do exactly what the sound like they do; camera Batarangs that can be used as makeshift surveillance drones; long-distance remote-controllable Bat-drones; electrified Taserangs, and exploding electro-bomb Batarangs. A variety of Batarangs will always remain stocked inside Batman’s utility belt at all times. Likewise, Batman will always keep a hidden Batarang taped to his chest, just in case. Furthermore, Batman re-jiggers an armory’s worth of assault rifles into non-lethal “Batarang guns,” which he stores in his weapons depot.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1017. Bruce, having taken control of Wayne Enterprises, also takes control of all the company’s orphanages. Bruce meets the current director of the Martha Wayne Orphanage, Mr. Morrison. Bruce will be in periodic touch with Mr. Morrison, moving forward.

–REFERENCE: In Batman & The Signal #2, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #3-4, Justice League Vol. 4 #21, and Batman Vol. 3 #98. Alfred begins the practice of leaving dinner/breakfast out and ready for Batman upon his return from nightly patrol. (Generally, Alfred will set the meal out just prior to midnight, continuing this practice for decades to come.) Notably, when Bruce tries to cook for himself (even the simplest of meals), he fails miserably. Such will be the case, moving forward. Even the great Batman is bad at something! Alfred also tries to serve Batman tea, but Batman hates tea, refusing to even touch the stuff. (Specifically, Alfred will serve darjeeling tea whenever Batman is working on a troubling or difficult case.) Coffee is his preference. (Bruce used to drink tea as a kid, but hasn’t had any since his parents died.) Moving forward, Alfred will try various means to get Batman to drink tea, but Batman will always refuse. Alfred will even try to get Bruce to drink tea by offering him home-made bat-shaped “justice-flavored” tea bags served in a “What Would Batman Do?” mug. However, in a few years, Batman will give tea a try and quite like it (especially the darjeeling).

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #37. Batman makes several backup Bat-costumes, but, in spite of this, wears the same costume for multiple nights of patrol—something he will do for his entire life. Gross!

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1000 Deluxe Edition Part 12, Detective Comics #1027 Part 3, and Detective Comics #1027 Part 10. Batman makes several specialized Bat-costumes, including a scuba costume, all-white camouflage snow costume, a bomb-handling suit, a sky diving suit, multiple space suits, and others.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #102-104. The Ghost-Maker, now utilizing his patented Ghost-Net technology (which is powered by the semi-sentient Icon AI), challenges Batman, fully aware of his secret identity as Bruce Wayne. Batman bests his longtime rival and convinces him that Gotham is his (Batman’s) city. The Ghost-Maker promises to stay out of Gotham for good, so long as Batman promises to stay out of any city in which he (the Ghost-Maker) has set up camp. Both sides agree and part ways.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 4 #32, Nightwing Vol. 4 #69, and Batman Vol. 3 #54—and referenced in The Green Lantern: Blackstars #2, Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular Part 1, and Detective Comics #1037 Part 3. Bruce visits Haly’s Circus with an unnamed date. There, they witness the Flying Graysons (Mary Grayson and John Grayson) fall to their deaths during a trapeze act.[6] Eleven-year-old (soon to be twelve) Dick Grayson is orphaned. Four-year-old (going on five) boy genius Tim Drake is in the audience, watching with his parents, Jack Drake and Janet Drake. (Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular Part 7 gives us Tim’s exact age.) Circus performer and bodyguard to Mary Grayson, Richard aka Mr. Numb, is also on hand. (He will later become the super-villain Raptor years down the road.) Upon learning that the trapeze act was sabotaged by crooks under the employ of gangster Tony Zucco, Bruce is not only there for Dick to lean upon, but he immediately begins stalking the killers. That very night, Batman busts those responsible for hands-on murdering the Flying Graysons. Zucco himself escapes and goes into hiding. Batman puts a newspaper with a headline article about the Flying Graysons case on display in the Batcave.[7] Soon afterward, Dick moves into an orphanage where he spends his nights sneaking out to beat up gang bangers. With approval from Dick’s distant relative Aunt Harriet Cooper, Bruce legally adopts Dick as his ward. (Aunt Harriet will be an infrequent part of both Bruce and Dick’s lives, moving forward. Bruce will come to regard her as his “aunt” as well.) After moving into Wayne Manor, Dick begins to have night terrors about his parents’ deaths. Bruce will comfort the boy as best he can. At first, Dick hates living in Wayne Manor, rejecting the care of Bruce and Alfred, constantly saying he hates everything, including Alfred’s cucumber sandwiches, which he refuses to eat. After Dick injures himself while swinging-on and destroying a chandelier, Bruce tries harder to connect with him. (Bruce also hated the cucumber sandwiches at first when he was a kid, and he injured himself on the same chandelier when he was a kid too.) Eventually, Dick warms up, revealing a love for potato chips and football. Dick sees Bruce working out in the Wayne Manor gym and is very impressed. They do handstands together until Alfred serves up his signature sandwiches. Dick finally tries them and will eventually grow to love them.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #5 Part 5. Batman unmasks to reveal his identity to Dick. Bruce and Dick embrace as the former vows to bring Tony Zucco (who has gone into hiding) to justice.

–Detective Comics #1000 Part 9
Having recently revealed his superhero secret to Dick, Bruce discusses with Alfred whether or not to train Dick to be Batman’s sidekick. Bruce is on the fence, but Alfred thinks it is a good idea, enthusiastically encouraging it. (Alfred’s opinion of using child soldiers will dramatically move in the opposite direction over time.) Dick, who has been hanging from the new chandelier, listens-in and swoops down, telling Bruce that he is ready to fight by his side. By candlelight in the Batcave, Dick swears a formal oath to honor all of Batman’s values. (This swearing-in ceremony is also shown via flashback from Dial H for Hero #5.) It’s time to begin Dick’s training! The Batman Family aka Bat-Family is officially born.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #43, Detective Comics #965, and Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #6. Late January. Batman draws up a training regiment and study program, immediately implementing it with Dick in order to prepare him to become his sidekick. This training will start now and last just under six months. Note that Batman will teach Dick (and all future Robins) everything that he has learned. Furthermore, everything Batman teaches Dick will also later be taught to all future Robins too. These teachings will come to be known as the “Robin Training Protocol.”

–REFERENCE: In Deathstroke Vol. 4 #19 and Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #5 Part 1. Batman tells his “criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot” mantra to Dick. He’ll tell this to all future Robins as well.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Prelude to the Wedding Part 2 – Nightwing vs Hush #1. Dick is shocked to witness the stuffy Bruce eat a burger with a knife and fork. All of the future Robins will have a similar experience and have the same chuckling reaction to this politesse, thinking Bruce the ultimate product of being raised by a prim-and-proper butler. (These mealtime interactions will have to be imagined on our timeline ahead.)

–REFERENCE: In Deathstroke Vol. 4 #31 and Batman Vol. 3 #92. Bruce sets up his office at Wayne Enterprises, adding the decor of wall art, books, and framed family pictures from his youth. He also acquires an antique motorcycle, which he puts on display as a showpiece in the room.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #5 Part 5. Batman teaches Dick various meditation techniques, stressing the importance of fortitude and stillness.

–REFERENCE: In Deathstroke Vol. 4 #34. Bruce meets Wayne Enterprises attorney and financial advisor, Walter, who will remain on top of the company’s books and be the chief legal strategist behind the company for decades to come.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #24. Batman continues training Dick, telling him to always take advantage of your surroundings while in combat. Batman also tells Dick that most criminals are unable to focus on anything other than themselves, which is a foible that can be exploited.

–REFERENCE: In Adventures of the Super Sons #1. Bruce puts WayneTech’s focus on semi-self-repairing structural engineering development. Bruce will monitor projects in this field closely, for decades to come. In the future, Batman will often utilize this tech when doing construction projects for himself and for the Justice League.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #81. Batman continues training Dick, teaching him the secret “language of fighting,” in which one can communicate via blows while in combat. Batman will teach this to every future member of the Bat-Family.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1000 Part 6. Bruce closes one of the main Wayne Foundation branches at Centre Street in Downtown Gotham, turning it into a Wayne Enterprises building.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #30-32. Batman continues training Dick, teaching him investigative skills. Batman tells his ward that detective work is “breaking things apart to put them back together”—meaning one must view the greater picture as a bunch of smaller puzzle pieces that must be put together in the correct way in order to solve the mystery. He also stresses that being a hero means helping and protecting everyone, even sometimes bad people who are undeserving.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #5 Part 3. Bruce attends the wedding of Harvey Dent and Gilda Gold.

–REFERENCE: In Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #20, Action Comics #980, Detective Comics #958-959, Detective Comics #967, Nightwing Vol. 4 #24, Batwoman: Rebirth #1, Dark Days: The Forge #1, Superman Vol. 4 #37, Batman: Prelude to the Wedding Part 4 – Red Hood vs Anarky #1, Red Hood & The Outlaws Vol. 2 #25, Batman Giant #3 (Batman: Universe #1), Batman Giant #6 (Batman: Universe #2), Detective Comics #991, Detective Comics #1003, Detective Comics #1005, Detective Comics #1026, The Batman Who Laughs #1, Batman Secret Files #2 Part 1, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #4, Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 2 #9 (Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 2 Print Edition #5), and Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #22. In the Batcave, Batman and Alfred set up the incredible Bat-computer, which is secretly linked to all of WayneTech’s satellites and Batman’s costume via an advanced online network. Both Batman and Alfred have equal access to the network via a multi-screen holographic display system, and Alfred can monitor Batman’s vital signs remotely through the networked costume connection. (All future Robins will have the same networked connection via their costumes.) Batman immediately begins logging information into a computer database that will hold criminal dossiers for every opponent he will face. While we won’t see Batman logging these dossier entries on our timeline, be aware that he will do this for just about everyone, even for good guys too. Also note that Batman will research and log information about super-villains and superheroes that he’s never even met. Furthermore, Batman begins maintaining a case-file archive/history on Bat-computer databases. This includes detailed summaries of all adventures and biometric data-maps on various individuals—files that will be constantly updated, moving ahead. Each database entry will include holographic 3D photos, weapon info, known associates and affiliations, power info, handwriting sample, fingerprints, and last known addresses/locations. (Note that Batman will tell Alfred about all his adventures every time he comes home. Alfred will keep a private journal about these adventures as well.) In conjunction with the Bat-computer, Batman and Alfred also set up “BatNet,” a constant monitoring system that scans for energy anomalies, and the “Human Kinematic Program,” which can hack into every single security camera or CCTV feed in Gotham, simultaneously scanning the imagery with state-of-the-art facial (and body) recognition software. (Batman links his cowl to the Bat-computer and other law enforcement networks so that he can utilize this FRS capability. His cowl also has aural GPS amplification and audio-dampening capabilities and infra-red, night-vision, diffusion, and internal holographic VR lens capabilities. It will also constantly record video that gets auto-logged into the Bat-computer. Note that Batman will make dozens of cowls for himself.) In the future, most Bat-Family member costumes will be networked into the Bat-computer system. And last but not least, Batman and Alfred both create special voice-activated override codes, just in case the system gets compromised.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1012. Batman hacks into and taps the 911 phone line, giving him the ability to listen-into all of Gotham’s emergency calls, a practice he will engage in regularly.

–REFERENCE: In Dark Nights: Metal #1, Detective Comics #965-967, Detective Comics #970, and Batgirl Vol. 5 #16. Via the Bat-computer, Bruce and Alfred set up a complex communications system linked to multiple WayneTech satellites and various other computer networks. With this system, Alfred will have multiple encrypted ways of contacting Batman (and vice-versa). Alfred will also be able to contact Batman in case of emergency at any time. Batman and Alfred also set up tiered emergency level priority codes, with “alpha one” being the top tier. The Bat-Family will use this same comm system and priority coding in the future. In a related note, Batman and Alfred can and will use their complex satellite network/computer network for “eye in the sky” surveillance purposes as well, recording detailed holographic 3D video of pretty much anything unobstructed at ground level. They can and will also be able to utilize this system to hack into pretty much and surveillance camera in Gotham, including those in Arkham Asylum. Furthermore, Batman and Alfred also construct a variety of top-notch sound recording devices to use in the field.

–REFERENCE: In Let Them Live! Unpublished Tales From the DC Vault #3. Batman builds a special algorithm for the Bat-Computer that tracks all missing persons reports and disappearances in Gotham while compiling connections between the cases. Starting now, Batman will look into every single one of these types of cases, no matter if it looks like foul play is involved or not. (We’ll obviously have to imagine Batman looking into every single one of these, and it’s likely that Batman doesn’t have the time to follow up on each one.)

–REFERENCE: In Batman: The Detective #1. Batman begins the meticulous chore of entering detailed information about everyone he saves while working cases or patrols, entering their information into his Bat-Computer database. He will add information for everyone he saves, moving forward. Hey, it’s great to get rescued by the Dark Knight, but at least give folks the opportunity to opt out of metadata sharing! Talk about illegal surveillance and information collection, Batman. And these are supposed to be the innocent victims!

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1029. Batman begins keeping his Bat-computer chair angled at four o’clock every time he leaves. This way he’ll know if someone was using the computer the second he returns.

–REFERENCE: In Gotham Academy: Second Semester #11 and Batman: Urban Legends #1 Part 1. Bruce begins collecting war-related items (both new and old), ranging from katanas and bō staffs from Feudal Japan to suits of armor from Medieval Europe. Bruce will even collect assault rifles and a variety of firearms. These things go into an above-ground armory in Wayne Manor, which has both a public entrance and a hidden entrance. Bruce will add to this personal collection over the years and also train with most of these weapons. Bruce also puts a surplus of guns into an armory chamber of the Batcave. He will study these firearms and reference them on many cases to come.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #43. Batman continues training Dick, impressing upon him that in their line of work, they must be ready to respond to a call at all times, meaning they can never take a day off. He will stress this idea (and practice what he preaches) for decades to come.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #998. Batman secretly visits STAR Labs (Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Labs) and meets scientist Dr. Silas Stone, who helps him retool a lot of his tech, fine-tuning a lot of Batman’s gadgetry, including his grappling hooks and other utility belt paraphernalia. Stone also teaches Batman all about the latest in cutting edge science and technology.

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #39 and Flash Vol. 5 #39. While doling out vigilante justice, Batman displays the darker aspects of his personality (which come more naturally to him), adopting a grim’n’gritty, bilious, grouchy, and downright unpleasant demeanor—quite the opposite of his alter ego’s chill party-boy attitude. Over the next few decades, Batman will come to be known by this brooding disagreeable persona by friends and foes alike.

–REFERENCE: In New Talent Showcase 2017 #1 Part 3. Batman continues training Dick, who has come to regard his mentor as being quite grumpy. Batman tells Dick a few pointers: never take on problems that aren’t worth taking on; always realize that physical pain is only really in your mind; always attack assailants head-on if civilians are in danger; in limited combat space, use your opponent’s body against himself; never get cocky; everyone needs a family to rely on; there’s no problem that doesn’t have a solution; and always rescue babies and children first.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #98. Bruce talks to Lucius about miniaturization of various tech. Lucius mentions how some of Batman’s tech resembles his (Lucius’) own tech. Later, a manically bullish Bruce perfects his Batarangs in the Batcave forge. Alfred makes a crack about how expensive it is to keep the Bat-computer running optimally. Bruce tells Alfred that they’ll eventually have to tell Lucius about their secret. They also chat about upgrading both the utility belt and Bat-costume.

–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #14 and the second feature to All-Star Batman #14. Batman has known how to pick locks since he was a teenager, but there’s always more to learn in any craft. Thus, Alfred begins teaching Batman the finer art of lock-picking. He also instructs and helps Batman to surgically sew mini lock-picks into the inside of his cheeks (to use in case of emergency). Alfred will teach Batman many things he learned while in the British military and while working for MI6—including how to use decoys to confuse your opponent while on the battlefield. These lessons will be taught to Batman over the course of the next few years, although they won’t be physically listed on our timeline.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #998. Batman fixes-up his grappling gun, retiring his original prototype for a sleeker new version.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Lost #1, Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #12, Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #11, Batgirl Vol. 5 #14, Batgirl Vol. 5 Annual #2, Detective Comics #1008, and Joker Vol. 2 #9—originally told in Frank Miller’s “BATMAN: YEAR ONE Part 2 and 3” (Batman #404-406). GCPD Detective Lieutenant Jim Gordon, who has recently moved back to Gotham from Chicago, butts heads with his corrupt police peers, including his boss Commissioner Gillian Loeb. (Once upon a time, Gordon was a rookie cop in Gotham, but moved to Chicago shortly after the Wayne Murders.) Batman roughs-up rotten Detective Arnold Flass while he attempts a drug deal. Batman later confronts the drug dealer and “convinces” him to cop a plea bargain with DA Harvey Dent, exposing Flass as a criminal. Soon after, Batman gets trapped by corrupt cops inside a vacant tenement building. Although cornered and injured, Batman escapes by using his sonar device, which attracts a swarm of bats to his location. Following his near fatal encounter with the cops, Batman befriends and works with Gordon. From this point forward, Batman and Gordon become a tight crime-fighting duo, with Harvey Dent providing support from the DA’s office. (Right now, Gordon is the only one that has a direct line to Batman; Dent won’t gain that status until a bit later.) Moving forward, Batman, Gordon, and Dent will focus on targeting the Falcone Mob, Gotham’s number one organized crime group. (The Falcone mob is a primarily Italian-American criminal organization led by the notorious Falcone family and its patriarch Carmine Falcone.) Concurrently, Gordon also begins an extramarital affair with his partner Detective Sarah Essen.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #23, Trinity Vol. 2 #11, and Detective Comics #965. Having now worked closely with Detective Lieutenant Jim Gordon, Batman is able to earn the confidence/backing of some of Gotham’s police force and judicial system. As one of Batman’s best crime-fighting partners, Gordon will become one of Batman’s best friends too, sharing a lot about his personal life with the Dark Knight. We should note that, while Batman will maintain that he “prefers to work alone” throughout his entire career, he will often find himself working with others—including Gordon, other cops, multiple Robins, the Bat-Family, various Justice Leagues, Outsiders, and more. A better interpretation of Batman’s concept of “preferring to work alone,” moving forward, will be that Batman “likes to work with others—provided he is in a leadership role.” The best interpretation of Batman’s relationship to teamwork comes from Detective Comics #965, in which Tim Drake says, “Batman needs people.”

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #78. While Bruce is off on unspecified business, Dick meets Detective Lieutenant Jim Gordon’s daughter Barbara “Babs” Gordon for the very first time. Jim and Babs give Dick a ride home to Wayne Manor. Note that this is portrayed as a snow scene, but it’d be at least springtime, so it’s either a very late snowfall or we must ignore the seasonality.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Lost #1. Just as Batman has befriended Jim Gordon, Bruce (as Bruce) befriends Gordon as well. Bruce first met Jim Gordon when his parents died, but Bruce now reconnects with Gordon, who has no idea that he is secretly Batman. While Bruce and Gordon won’t be BFFs, they will always remain on amicable terms.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #1000 Part 1 and Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #1 Part 2—and referenced in Batman: Lost #1, Detective Comics #1036, and Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #6 Part 5. Originally told in Detective Comics #27. Batman goes on his first official (non-patrol) mission, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” as it will be labeled by the news media. In this case, Batman attempts to solve the murder of industrial tycoon David Lambert. Batman helps Detective Lieutenant Jim Gordon on an investigation that points to Lambert’s son as a possible culprit. While examining the crime scene, Batman finds that one of Lambert’s museum pieces, an ancient looking glass, is actually a forgery. Over the course of the investigation, Batman and Gordon soon switch the focus of their suspicion from Lambert’s son to Alfred Stryker, one of Lambert’s partners. During the case, Batman busts smalltimer Henry Clay, which leads to a famous photograph (i.e. the cover of Detective Comics #27) being taken by Dan Mora, who will come to be known as “Shutterbat” for his many Batman photos that he’ll take during his career. At Apex Chemicals, Batman corners Stryker, who grins and leaps to his death in a vat of toxic liquid below. Unknown to Batman, Stryker is none other than Barbatos, playing head games with Batman. From this point forward, every time Bruce looks at his reflection, Barbatos will be staring back at him, watching his every move. After wrapping this case, Batman realizes the looking glass robbery is a separate affair entirely and begins an investigation. From this point forward, Batman will spend the next sixteen years trying to solve the mystery of Lambert’s looking glass. Some of the investigation will be shown on our timeline, but much of it will have to simply be imagined as going on in random spurts throughout the chronology. (SPOILER: The “Lambert’s looking glass case” is actually an elaborate challenge devised by Slam Bradley, leader of the clandestine Guild of Detection. Batman won’t solve the case or discover the truth about the Guild for another sixteen years.)

–REFERENCE: In Lois Lane Vol. 2 #5—originally told in Detective Comics #28. Batman begins his trademark method of interrogating criminals: hanging them upside down from buildings and grilling them until they spill their beans. This torturous method will strike fear into the heart of Gotham’s collective underworld for decades to come.

–REFERENCE: In Batwoman: Rebirth #1 and Detective Comics #964. An unknown person is wronged or injured during an unspecified Batman case. They come to blame Batman for their condition. This person will return years later as the evil villain known as “The First Victim.”

–REFERENCE: In The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1. Batman goes to ludicrous lengths to bust some random bad guys, showing Detective Lieutenant Jim Gordon that he refuses to use firearms. While not listed on our timeline specifically, Gordon will witness Batman uphold his anti-gun stance over and over, moving forward—even in the most precarious of situations.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #7, Detective Comics #997, and Batman: Knightwatch – Batman Day Special Edition #1. Batman permanently retires his purple gloves. He also puts one of his first costumes (with funny shaped cowl ears) on display in the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #26, Detective Comics #1000 Part 9, and Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #21. The mainstream media begin to call Batman by various appellations, including “The Dark Knight,” “The Caped Crusader,” “Dark Detective,” and “The World’s Greatest Detective.” The not-so-humble Batman begins referring to himself by some of these names as well. Despite now being a public figure, much of the world will regard Batman as an urban myth or urban legend for years to come.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #985. Batman gives Dick a tricky test as part of his ongoing training. Having been taught strict obedience thus far, Batman gives Dick a rule that is deliberately wonky and made to be broken. Dick disobeys Batman’s bad order and passes the test.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Pennyworth RIP #1. Batman, as part of Dick’s training, teaches him to be mindful of tools and tradecraft, meaning that, not only must he learn to forge his own throwing-weaponry, but he must also do his best to retrieve any weaponry left behind at the scene of battles. Batman will teach this important set of lessons to all the future Bat-Family members as well.

–REFERENCE: In Batwoman: Rebirth #1, Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #18, Detective Comics #973, and Trinity Vol. 2 #21—originally told in Batman #1 Part 2 and “BATMAN & THE MONSTER MEN.” Batman encounters the debuting Professor Hugo Strange, who uses his patented Monster Serum to turn asylum residents into hulking “Monster Men.” Using a specially-developed extra-strength knockout gas, Batman defeats the Monster Men. The Dark Knight will keep reserves of his new knockout gas in his utility belt from this point forward.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 5 #21. Batman obtains a giant penny and puts it on display in the Batcave as a trophy. While unspecified, it is possible that the penny is an art piece created by the recently deceased Philip Kane. Such was the case in the New 52.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 5 #21 and Detective Comics #1000 Part 2. Batman obtains a Tyrannosaurus rex robot from an unspecified case and puts it on display in the Batcave. Alfred throws his back out helping Bruce move the giant T rex into the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In Green Arrow Vol. 6 #29 and Blue Beetle Vol. 9 #12—originally told in Swamp Thing #7. Batman begins the habit of ending conversations as soon as he gets the information he needs, doing so by simply vanishing without a trace. Similarly, he begins the habit of surprising people by showing up out of nowhere. He does both of these things with Jim Gordon, various law enforcement officials, fellow superheroes, and others. Both of these things will become the Dark Knight’s signature trademarks, moving forward on our timeline.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1009. Alfred notices that Bruce has been neglecting Wayne Enterprises duties in order to focus on being Batman full-time. Alfred encourages Bruce to have some balance in his life, but Bruce won’t really listen. Alfred will be like a broken record about this for a very long time to come. Moving forward, the efficient planner that is Alfred will schedule most of Bruce’s business appointments and remind him up until the minute they are set to occur.

–REFERENCE: In Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #22 and the quasi-canonical Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1—originally told via flashback from Detective Comics #350 Part 1. Batman defeats the regal-themed super-villain known as The Monarch of Menace.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America Vol. 5 #25. Batman busts the serial killer known as Birthday Boy (Ray Salinger). Prior to this reference, Birthday Boy was only canon on the Earth-1 timeline as per Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Batman: Earth One.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #95. Bruce visits the dilapidated Monarch Theater and offers to purchase it, but the owner isn’t interested in selling. Bruce will attempt to purchase the theater several more times in the years to come, but the owner won’t budge (even after allowing it to fall into dereliction and desuetude). We’ll simply have to imagine Bruce’s future business visits to the rundown Monarch on our timeline ahead.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Secret Files #1 Part 2, Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #2, and New Year’s Evil #1 Part 7. Bruce begins co-funding Arkham Asylum’s day-to-day functions via Wayne Foundation grant money. Wayne Foundation grants will help Arkham stay afloat for decades to come. Furthermore, Bruce funds the construction of the GCPD Armory where all super-villain weaponry, costumes, and the like will be catalogued and secured by WayneTech security staff. Bruce also begins closely monitoring all purchases and shipments that are made/sent to Arkham.

–REFERENCE: In Deathstroke Vol. 4 #41 and Batgirl Vol. 5 #50 Part 1. Bruce begins donating a ton of money to the GCPD via Wayne Enterprises. He will do so for the rest of his life. Likewise, Bruce also begins donating to Gotham Academy, various museums, and multiple hospitals.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #86. Bruce continues his habit of doodling elaborate city skylines (i.e. “Little Gothams”)—now sometimes on casebooks instead of napkins. He’ll do this for the rest of his life. From this point onward, Alfred will often use these daydreamy moments of sketching to encourage Bruce to envision a real world where Batman isn’t needed and where Wayne Enterprises can help positively (and more progressively) shape the world instead. Alfred and Batman have a long conversation about his city designs and the necessity of Batman, a conversation they will have time and time again, moving forward.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin & Batman #1. Bruce and Dick train with bō staffs and then meditate together.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #29. Batman gets the Bat-costume that his father once wore at a masquerade. He puts it on display in the Batcave.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #1000 Part 11—and referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #25 and Detective Comics #1000 Deluxe Edition Part 12. Killer Croc (Waylon Jones) debuts against Batman.

–Robin & Batman #1
Dick draws several designs of a possible sidekick costume, even coming up with “Robin” as a potential name (based upon a nickname his parents used to call him). After Dick shares the concept with Alfred, the latter begins tailoring a prototype costume for the boy. Soon afterward, Batman decides that it’s time for Dick to experience a real world training exercise. Thus, Dick takes on some meatpacking thieves while Batman watches from a distance. When things don’t go as planned, an angry Batman intervenes and drags Dick back home. Bruce and Alfred argue about the boy’s path and future. Bruce orders Alfred to destroy Dick’s prototype costume. Meanwhile, backed by Detective Lieutenant Gordon, Batman tracks the meat thieves into the sewers. Taking matters into his own hands (and thinking that Batman is testing him), an impatient and frustrated Dick tailors his own makeshift Robin costume and follows the bad guys as well. When Dick is cornered by Killer Croc, Batman rescues him, but pays for it with a couple broken ribs. Back in the Batcave, Batman chews out Dick, but then unveils a more fully-formed prototype Robin costume, based off of Dick’s designs from his journal. Dick flips out, angry that Batman has read his journal. Meanwhile, Killer Croc visits Haly’s Circus (he used to work there too), realizing that Batman’s young partner is Dick Grayson.

–FLASHBACK: From The Batman Who Laughs #4 and Robins #2—and referenced in Flash Vol. 5 #21, Flash Vol. 5 #64Nightwing Vol. 4 #21, Nightwing Vol. 4 #37, Teen Titans Vol. 6 #8, Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #7, Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special #1 Part 4, Detective Comics #965Detective Comics #996Batman Vol. 3 #33, Batman Vol. 3 #55, The Terrifics #3, The Batman Who Laughs #4, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #6, Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 3 #7, Justice League Vol. 4 #53, and Robins #1. Originally told in Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet and Batman and Robin Vol. 2 Annual #2. Early July. Twelve-year-old Dick Grayson completes his training and becomes Batman’s sidekick, Robin. Based on Dick’s own designs, Batman and Alfred tailor two additional bright red-and-green costumes for Robin—a classic-looking speedo outfit and a more modern-looking (New 52 style) full body-coverage outfit. Robin will wear both of these interchangeably, moving forward.[8] Batman secretly imbeds hidden cameras into the breastplates of both costumes (and into the breastplates of each spare costume as well). From these cameras, Batman can (and will) monitor Robin when he gets out of his line of sight or does anything solo. The cameras will also save video footage and archive cases on the Bat-computer. (Note that, while it won’t be listed on our timeline moving forward, Batman will have the inveterate tendency to embed hidden cameras and/or homing beacons on many future Bat-Family member’s costumes in order to keep tabs on them. It is thanks to these secret costume cams and homing beacons, for instance, that Batman will be able to log and view all of Robin’s future Teen Titans cases. Some of the more savvy Bat-Family members—such as Damian, Batgirl, and an adult Dick—will be able to avoid their mentor’s spying.) Batman puts Robin through one final “gauntlet” exercise, tasking him with a six-hour game of rooftop tag. However, during the challenge, Robin winds up going solo to help bust gangster Joe Minette and his righthand man Lou Delcaine, shutting down the entire Minette crime organization. Robin then goes on his first official patrol with the Caped Crusader at his side, during which they bust the mutated warthog gangster called Tusk. The newly formed “Dynamic Duo” (as Batman and Robin will quickly be labeled) becomes the immediate scourge of Gotham’s underworld. The news media immediately labels Robin as the “Boy Wonder,” “Teenage Typhoon,” “Young Daredevil,” “Living Hurricane,” and “Hard-Fisted Little Scrapper.” Note that Dick quickly realizes that part of his “job” as Batman’s sidekick is to mellow out the grim n’gritty attitude of the Dark Knight. Dick will be quite good at this, putting a smile on Batman’s face quite often by making near-constant jokes and puns while on patrol. This includes Robin saying his signature “Holy, Batman!” catchphrase, which will enter the cultural lexicon by the end of the year. Dick will often tell Batman it’s okay to smile every once in a while. This concept of Robin being the “light that brightens the darkness” will get passed down the line to each new Robin. Batman notices that Dick loves swinging from rooftop to rooftop whereas he prefers to be at street level. (Batman will notice that all future Robins will enjoy rooftop swinging.) Note that Dick is emotionally damaged at this juncture, especially with the recent deaths of his parents. For Dick, being a crime-fighting jester of sorts is his only outlet to deal with his loss. Also note that Robin will sometimes be headstrong, disobeying direct orders. This will result in an angry Batman benching Robin from time to time. (This will also happen with Robins 2, 3, and 4.) Dick will also spend a lot of time trying (and failing) to sneak up on his mentor. Not all of these incidences are specifically shown on our timeline. As such, they will not all be specifically listed, moving forward. We must simply imagine them scattered throughout the chronology.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Giant Vol. 2 #4 Part 1 (Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #8 Part 1). Batman and Robin bust Tony Zucco.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #44, Batman Vol. 3 #78, Batman Vol. 3 #85, and Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point #6—and referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #24Batman Vol. 3 #50, Batman Vol. 3 #79, and Detective Comics #1012. Originally told in Batman #1 Part 3. Batman and Robin board a boat called the SS Dolphin to prevent the theft of a priceless diamond by Selina Kyle, who uses the super-villain name “The Cat.” (Selina slightly suspects Batman may be the same man she encountered on the street in the East End, but she still doesn’t know his true identity—not yet anyway.) Batman and Robin bust the Cat, who is disguised as an old woman. After unmasking the Cat, Batman recovers the diamond, hidden in a bandage around her ankle. Batman, sensing empathy in her eyes, instantly falls for the Cat and allows her to go free. Later, Bruce realizes that the love he feels for the Cat is legit. He knows that he’s met his equal and there will never be another quite like her. Bruce purchases the diamond that the Cat had attempted to steal on the boat and stores it in a safe place, knowing deep down that one day, he will give it to her.

–REFERENCE: In Catwoman Vol. 5 #3 and Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular Part 6—originally told in Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper #1-4 (Catwoman #1-4). Selina Kyle debuts a new gray feline costume and changes her name from “The Cat” to Catwoman. When Catholic nun Maggie Kyle (Catwoman’s sister) is kidnapped by Stan the Pimp, Batman is on the case. Batman and GCPD Detective George Flannery help Catwoman save Maggie from Stan, who dies during the altercation. Afterward, Batman and Catwoman kiss for the first time ever!

–Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular Part 6[9]
Batman learns that Catwoman has stolen an antique mezuzah, so the Dark Knight confronts Selina at her apartment where she is still plying her trade as a sex worker. They flirt, but Batman can’t get her to say why she took the Jewish artifact. Later, Catwoman gives the mezuzah to one of her childhood foster mothers, who is on her deathbed in an old folks home.

–Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2 Part 1 Intro
The crafty Catwoman, having discovered Batman’s secret ID, breaks into the Batcave (which is still pretty empty) via the manor above, stealing Batman’s car! Alfred alerts a patrolling Batman, who chases after Catwoman, who crashes the car into Porky’s Bar. Present at Porky’s are owner Porky and the watering hole’s usual offbeat customers, including Silver St. Cloud, Elmer Fudd, Taz, an unnamed guy and his pet frog named Michigan J Frog, Bugs the Bunny, Yosemite Sam, and William Ernest Coyote.[10] Porky refers to Batman’s car as the “Batmobile,” which Batman takes a liking to. Batman, who had previously been referring to his weaponized cars without any specific names, will now begin calling them “Batmobiles.” The Dark Knight retrieves the smashed-up Batmobile, in which he finds that Catwoman has left him a mouse. Batman keeps the mouse as a pet in Wayne Manor.

–REFERENCE: In Joker Vol. 2 #5. Jim Gordon is promoted to captain while Gillian Loeb gets replaced by Jack Grogan, who becomes the new police commissioner.)

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #29, Batman & The Signal #2, Batman Vol. 3 #53, Justice League Vol. 4 #51, Detective Comics #1027 Part 1, and Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 2 #4 (Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 2 Print Edition #2)—and also referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #25-26, Batman Vol. 3 #28, Batman: The Merciless #1, Detective Comics #969 Part 2, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2 Part 1 Conclusion, Batman & The Signal #1-3, Batman Giant #5-6 (Batman: Universe #2), and Batman: Three Jokers #1-3. Originally told in Detective Comics #140 and “ZERO YEAR: DARK CITY.” (Note that this item is a mash-up of Riddler’s Golden Age, Modern Age, and New 52 origins, plus Joker’s origin from The Killing Joke.) Batman—in his costume with purple ribbed-padding—shuts down the Red Hood Gang (led by the Red Hood i.e. likely the man who will soon become “The Criminal” version of Joker) in an epic battle, during which Philip Kane is killed and the Red Hood himself falls into a vat of toxic chemicals at Ace Chemicals. (Of course, the Red Hood here is merely a patsy—a local unnamed comedian that is playing the role of the Red Hood. The poor sap will soon return as Joker.) Batman keeps the Red Hood’s helmet as a trophy for the Batcave. Shortly after the Red Hood fight and presumable Philip Kane funeral, Batman and Robin match wits with Riddler (Edward Nigma aka Edward Nygma aka Edward Nashton), who debuts by committing a series of big-time heists, leaving public riddle clues/challenges for both the Caped Crusader and law enforcement before each crime. Batman and Robin also deal with Riddler’s femme fatale henchwomen, Query and Echo during these heists. After a very public confrontation with Batman, the Riddler claims victory and takes over the entire city, ruling with an iron fist for weeks while Batman remains in a coma. The injured Batman is cared for and nursed back to health by the Thomas family (Elaine Thomas, Doug Thomas, and young Duke Thomas). Duke is particularly encouraging and inspires Batman to make a dramatic return—wearing a sleeveless costume and riding a steam-powered motorbike. He teams-up with Captain Gordon against Riddler. Eventually, Batman fights the super-villain one-on-one, sustaining multiple serious injuries. In the end, Batman wins and punches Riddler’s lights out so mercilessly that he knocks his teeth out and puts him into a coma for two days. After Riddler’s hospital stay, Batman personally escorts Riddler for a handoff to Captain Gordon. The super-villain, always messing with everyone’s heads, orates a cryptic riddle with a new-toothed smile on his face. Shackled behind Arkham Asylum bars, Riddler will quickly become a police consultant for complex and bizarre crimes, sort of like Hannibal Lecter.

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2 and Batman Vol. 3 #54. Following Riddler’s “Zero Year” takeover and arrest, Batman claims his gaudy green question mark costume for a trophy, which he puts on display in the Batcave. This will be the start of Batman’s trophy collection. Batman also builds a trophy wall on which he will affix commemorative plaques (presumably of his own design). The first three plaques feature pictures of a question mark, the Red Hood’s helmet, and a rosette. The rosette, and this might be a stretch, could represent Carmine Falcone. Roses are kinda his thing.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #999. Also following Riddler’s “Zero Year” takeover and arrest, Batman collects some of Riddler’s DNA from the villain’s costume. This begins the practice of capturing and storing DNA from every villain that Batman will face with regularity. We won’t see this DNA collection on our timeline, but we can imagine it happening in conjunction with all of Batman’s many future battles. Presumably, Batman also sets up a DNA-typing lab in the Batcave.

–Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2 Part 1 Conclusion
The day after busting Riddler, an injured Bruce lounges at Wayne Manor and tries to make sense of the villain’s last riddle. When a pen goes missing, Alfred jokes about calling Superman for help. Bruce realizes that Catwoman is inside the house again. He chases her, but she hops out the window and gets away. Outside, police and news media have gathered—called to the scene by Catwoman herself in order to make a spectacle. Inside, Catwoman has left Bruce another mouse, which goes in the cage with the other rodent. Bruce immediately installs extra security alarms in Wayne Manor. A few days later, Catwoman breaks into Wayne Manor again, taking Bruce’s mother’s pearl out of the safe to examine it. Batman enters and they talk about their orphan childhoods while flirting with each other. (This scene is shown via flashback from Catwoman Vol. 5 #17, although Catwoman is wearing the wrong costume in it.) Catwoman sets off one of Batman’s smoke pellets and escapes, leaving another mouse, which gets added to the cage. A few days later, Batman catches Catwoman atop Wayne Manor, trying to break in yet again. He chases her while she tells him that she’s testing him to make him stronger because she wants him to survive his dangerous vigilante quest. Catwoman disappears into the woods, but once again leaves another mouse, which joins the rest of the little squeakers. After some quick detective work, Batman is able to locate Selina’s apartment. There, Bruce and Selina share their second kiss. They jokingly argue about how they first met, debating which encounter—their first meeting out-of-costume on the street or their first meeting in-costume on the boat—is more legit. This debate will be an in-joke that will stay with the duo for decades. Despite being at odds and occasionally warring with one another, Batman and Catwoman will remain on-again-off-again lovers from this point forward. Their intermittent love affair will continue for years to come, although most of it will remain invisible on our timeline.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #95, Batman: Three Jokers #1, Batman: Three Jokers #3, and Punchline #1—and referenced in Flash Vol. 5 #21, Batwoman: Rebirth #1Batman Vol. 3 #27, Detective Comics #995, Detective Comics #1025, Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #57, Batman: Three Jokers #1, Punchline #1, and Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #1 Part 2. Originally told in Batman: The Man Who Laughs and Batman #1 Part 1. Batman meets with Captain Gordon at a warehouse full of rictus grinning murder victims. The next day, a debuting Joker (aka “The Comedian”) appears on live TV, threatening to kill millionaire Henry Claridge at exactly midnight. 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 Venom (aka Joker Juice aka Joker Toxin aka Smylex aka Fun Juice), with which he had been dosed earlier in the day. Joker then murders another high profile Gothamite, Jay Wilde, during which he leaves his signature joker playing card on the corpse. While Batman fends off a Joker Venom attack, store owner Virgil Myers gets gassed. Due to a bizarre allergic reaction, Myers winds up with metahuman powers. (Myers will return years later as the super-villain known as The Mute.)  At this point, Joker secretly creates a pair of nearly identical doppelgängers, turning one of Gotham’s top mobsters (likely the Red Hood) into a Joker double called “The Criminal” and another man into a Joker double called “The Clown.” (Technically, this may already have happened—it’s possible that the Comedian created the other Jokers just prior to the Claridge affair, meaning that it’s possible that the Criminal was the Joker involved in that murder.)[11] In any case, following the Claridge affair, the Criminal publicly announces a war on organized crime and settles old scores with gangster Brute Nelson, members of the Lew Moxon gang, and a judge. The Criminal then captures Robin, but Batman is able to rescue his sidekick. Batman fights the Criminal at a factory, but the villain wings Batman with a few bullets to evade capture. No one, including Batman, realizes there are actually three Jokers. The three Jokers will operate together in secret, moving forward, taking careful precaution to not let anyone know there are actually three of them.[12] Not long after the Criminal’s “war on organized crime,” the Comedian tries to poison the Gotham Reservoir. At the waterworks, Batman battles the Comedian’s henchmen, and busts the villain, who winds up at Arkham Asylum. Note that, from this point on, the Jokers will use many different variations of Joker Venom, and each time Batman and Alfred will create new antitoxins by synthesizing various antibiotics, vaccines, and steroids. Batman will always carry the latest antitoxins in his utility belt, moving forward.

–REFERENCE: In Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #10. Batman, as he will do moving forward in regard to most dangerous chemicals he encounters, deposits leftover Joker Venom at Gotham Industrial Clean Waste, which is owned by Wayne Enterprises.

–REFERENCE: In Doomsday Clock #2, The Batman Who Laughs #1, and The Batman Who Laughs #6. In the Batcave, Batman sets up a newspaper clipping cork board dedicated to all things Joker-related. He will add to this board whenever Joker takes any action whatsoever. (Not all of Batman’s interactions with the Jokers will be listed on our timeline below. Since Joker will be Batman’s arch enemy, there are a lot of cases that we must simply imagine sprinkled throughout the chronology.) At this juncture, Batman begins obsessively studying gelotology and Joker’s sadistic nature. Batman finds Joker so detestable that he briefly considers breaking his vow never to kill. Moving forward, Batman will question whether or not to kill Joker from time-to-time, which is something he will never even think about in regard to his other foes. Batman won’t realize there is actually more than one Joker for some time to come.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Three Jokers #3. It’s been one week since Joker’s (the Jokers’) debut. Batman, while still unaware there are three Jokers, discovers the secret identity of the primary Joker (the Comedian). The Dark Knight learns about the Comedian’s wife Jeannie, who is pregnant with his child and has gone into a sort of witness protection program in order to escape the Comedian’s abusive behavior. She now lives in Alaska where she will soon give birth to a baby boy. Batman decides to make it a top priority to protect Jeannie. He will keep tabs on her, moving forward, while also making sure that no one knows about her existence. Thus, Batman will keep Joker’s ID a secret, even from his closest compatriots.

–REFERENCE: In Joker Vol. 2 #3. Joker (unclear which one) goes on another murderous crime-spree, prompting the FBI to come in to work the case with Captain Gordon and the GCPD. From a remote location, Joker leads an entire FBI unit into a death trap at a balloon factory, but Batman is able to save all but one agent. Notably, Batman and Joker don’t come face-to-face here.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #12, Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #11, Batgirl Vol. 5 #14, Batgirl Vol. 5 Annual #2, Detective Comics #1008, and Joker Vol. 2 #9—originally told in Frank Miller’s “BATMAN: YEAR ONE Part 4” (Batman #407). Captain Jim Gordon is able to expose deep corruption among GCPD higher-ups thanks to Batman’s assistance. With nearly all leadership resigning or being indicted overnight, Jim is immediately promoted and officially made Gotham’s newest police commissioner. Unfortunately, Jim’s personal life doesn’t go as smoothly as his professional life. Having told his wife Barbara Gordon the truth about his affair with Sarah Essen (which has now ended), Jim gets divorced. Barbara moves back to Chicago along with daughter Babs and son James Gordon Jr. (Young James Junior will soon kill one of Babs’ friends, which will be determined as an “accidental death,” after which James Junior will go back and forth between being under the guardianship of his mom and various psychiatric institutions for the next decade-plus.)

–REFERENCE: In the second feature to All-Star Batman #10, Batman Vol. 3 #26, Detective Comics Annual #1 (2018), Detective Comics #1000 Deluxe Edition Part 12, and Joker Vol. 2 #5—originally told in Frank Miller’s “BATMAN: YEAR ONE Part 4” (Batman #407). Batman and Commissioner Gordon have been supported by DA Harvey Dent in their war against Carmine Falcone’s mob for a while, but up until now only Gordon had a direct line to Batman. Batman and Gordon decide to change that by inviting Dent deeper into the fold, turning the crime-fighting duo into an official trio. Dent becomes very close with Batman in the process. With their new perfected alignment, Batman, Gordon, and Dent bust key members of the Falcone Mob. This trio will continue to deal with all matters Falcone-related from this point forward—that is, until Dent’s unfortunate accident at the hands of Sal Maroni next year.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1000 Part 5Detective Comics #1000 Part 10, and Dial H for Hero #5. Early September. Batman begins the annual tradition of visiting both Crime Alley (where his parents were killed) and the cemetery where his parents are buried on the anniversary of the day they were murdered. Batman, from this point forward, will leave two red roses on Crime Alley every year.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 5 #22, Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #7, and Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #6 Part 5. Commissioner Gordon, in conjunction with Batman, creates the Bat-Signal, a spotlight bat-symbol that will shine in the night sky both to frighten criminals and as a means of summoning Batman if he is needed by the police. (The Bat-Signal has orthographic variances of “Batsignal,” “Bat-signal,” or “Bat Signal”.) “Shutterbat” Dan Mora photographs Batman atop the GCPD roof, responding to the Bat-Signal for the first time ever. Soon after, Bruce purchases the original print of the photo at an auction.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #26 and Batman Vol. 3 #55. Batman tells Robin to never use real names when out in the field. This is a tough thing to remember and something that Batman will consistently have to remind Robin while on patrols and missions. Batman also begins referring to Robin as “Chum” while out on patrol. This is a double entendre—Batman regards Robin as a legitimate friend and surrogate son, but the Dark Knight has also noticed a fishy miasma pervading the Boy Wonder. This is because Robin wears the same dirty and smelly costume without ever washing it. Ironically, when Batman first started out, he never washed his stinky costume very often either. Batman will call Robin “Chum” quite often, moving forward. Note that the rule of only using codenames in the field will often get broken by various writers. Thus, despite his insistence, Batman will often break his own rule time and time again. Oh well.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #971. Batman introduces Robin to Commissioner Gordon, who does not approve of a child fighting in the Dark Knight’s war on crime. Gordon makes his views on child safety very clear to Batman. The Commish will never fully accept minors battling alongside Batman, but he will come to respect Robin (and the other future Bat-Family kids to come).

–DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 Part 1
Batman begins warring with Japanese hypnotist Tito Daka. At a party hosted by Tommy Elliot and his mother Marla Elliot, Bruce meets and falls in love with Linda Page, who quickly reveals that she hates Batman, thinking of him as an abusive bully. When Daka mind-controls everyone at the elder home where Linda works, Batman swoops-in and saves the day, breaking Daka’s control over Linda by revealing his secret ID to her. Thanks to the hypnosis, Linda doesn’t remember this. Despite being saved by Batman, Linda blames him for endangering innocent lives. This prompts Bruce to break up with Linda. (The moody snowfall in the background of the breakup sequence should likely be ignored as we are no longer in wintertime.)

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #89. While Batman is on a stakeout, Alfred quizzes him on basic encryption key words. Alfred will test Batman’s skills in this area as a general practice while the Dark Knight is on stakeouts, moving forward. In this way, Batman’s ability to decode or decipher scrambled or hidden messages will increase tenfold over the years.

–REFERENCE: In Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #5 Part 5. Batman and Robin begin the practice of doing hours-long meditation sessions (complete with burning incense) after particularly tough patrols.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 4 #79. Batman and Robin spar in the Batcave.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics Annual #3 (2020) Part 1. Bruce, Dick, and Alfred pose for a portrait, which gets hung up in Wayne Manor.

–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #24. Batman assigns Robin ongoing homework to read the criminal records and info sheets for all masked super-villains, even crooks that neither he nor Batman have met before. Both Bruce and Dick will do this practice for the remainder of their crime-fighting careers, constantly keeping up to date on all things in the hero-villain community, whether it affects them directly or not. Batman also teaches Robin how to turn any object within reach into a weapon, encouraging him to continue training himself in this regard, moving forward.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 5 #61 and Nightwing Vol. 4 #68—originally told in Robin: Year One. Dick goes undercover in a League of Assassins training camp led by Shrike. While training with Shrike, Dick befriends fellow student Boone. Eventually, Batman and Robin bring down the training camp and bust Shrike.

–FLASHBACK: From Nightwing Vol. 4 #35, Nightwing Vol. 4 #37, and Nightwing Vol. 4 #39. It’s been a few weeks since Dick debuted as Robin. Batman and Robin go on an unspecified mission and the green Boy Wonder messes up bad, which puts him in the Dark Knight’s dog house. Shortly thereafter, an anti-gambling activist known as The Judge (the immortal founder of Blüdhaven, Jacob De Witt) uses telepathy to force random folks to kill three casino developers at Gotham City Hall. A gold casino chip is left on each victim as a calling card. While Dick trains in the Batcave, Batman quickly learns the Judge is responsible and has fled to Blüdhaven (less than an hour away by car). Batman and Robin to Gotham’s sister city and team-up with Blüdhaven’s own baseball-themed resident superhero, Baby Ruthless (Lucy Weatherton), against King Sturgeon, a TMNT-style mutated shark villain that wears a pro wrestling title belt around his waist. A pro wrestling shark! Batman, Robin, and Baby Ruthless then fight the Judge and his henchmen aboard a ship, but the Judge escapes scot-free. Robin, worried that Batman will be upset with his failure, runs away and hides in the Justice Tree, an over 700-year-old tree marking the site of the Blüdhaven’s first colonial court held by Jacob De Witt. Batman gives his sidekick a pep talk and all is right in the world again. Before departing for Gotham, Batman and Robin follow-up on the Judge case and learn all about the history of Blüdhaven.

–FLASHBACK: From Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular Part 4. Batman tells Robin a series of important crime-fighting mantras to keep in mind while in the field.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #25-26, Batman Vol. 3 #31, All-Star Batman #10-11, Detective Comics #959, Detective Comics #967, Detective Comics #986, Detective Comics #994, Detective Comics #1003, Detective Comics #1013, Dark Days: The Forge #1, Dark Nights: Metal #1-2, Super Sons #10 Part 2, Flash Vol. 5 #46, Batman: Kings of Fear #1-3, Batman Secret Files #1 Part 5, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #3, The Batman Who Laughs #1, Teen Titans Vol. 6 #25, Dog Days of Summer #1 Part 2, Event Leviathan #5, Batman Vol. 3 Annual #4, Batman Giant #11 (Batman: Universe #5), Batman Giant Vol. 2 #1 (Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #2), Detective Comics #1029, Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #1 Part 3, Legend of the Dark Knight Vol. 2 #6, and Batman: Urban Legends #9 Part 2. Batman finishes construction on the Batcave, stocking it with new vehicles of his own research and design. Moving forward from this moment, Batman will constantly augment his collection of weaponized cars and bikes, filling his underground garage with Batboats, a hyper-submarine, a mini-sub, motorcycles, planes, motorized gliders, jetpacks, all-terrain APCs, snowmobiles, combo jet-ski swamp-mobiles, a swamp airboat, a blimp, tanks, an all-terrain war machine hummer, burrowing subterrene, a three-wheeled Bat-Raptor, a Bat-gyro-ball, a bathysphere, a BatRocket, a Batcopter, Whirly-Bats, and new tricked-out Batmobiles (pretty much every concept Batmobile from film and TV). Every vehicle is equipped with a portable crime lab and appropriate piloting gear. In case you haven’t already noticed, Batman loves adding the “Bat” prefix to the names of stuff, but now he’ll start doing it with just about everything that belongs to him (including all these vehicles), so get used to it. All of these vehicles have state-of-the-art security systems that include full emergency lockdown modes. Most of the Batmobiles will be self-driving, remote-controllable, and linked to a homing beacon in Batman’s costume. The highest-tech Batmobile will also have a full medical lab inside of it, complete with various blood packs in case the need for emergency transfusion should come up. Alfred will be well-versed in all Bat-tech, including the vehicles, and he will keep the blood packs up-to-date. Note that, while we won’t necessarily see it on our chronology, Batman will always upgrade his vehicles to the latest and greatest models. Also note that Batman adds some high-tech accoutrements to his civilian vehicles as well.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Giant #2. Batman drives the Batmobile.

–FLASHBACK: From Catwoman Vol. 5 #17—and referenced in Robin Vol. 3 #3. Batman responds to the Bat-Signal to find Catwoman waiting for him. They engage in a playful chase. As referenced in Robin Vol. 3 #3, by 2021, the super-villain community will be quite familiar with Batman and Catwoman’s not-so-hidden sexual chases across the rooftops of Gotham. While we’ll see a number of these encounters listed on our chronology, we should probably imagine even more of them sprinkled invisibly throughout.

–REFERENCE: In Trinity Vol. 2 #8, Superman Vol. 4 #20, Wonder Woman Vol. 5 Annual #1 Part 1, and Super Sons #5. Batman meets Superman (Kal-El/Clark Kent). They discover each other’s secret identities, after which Batman meets Superman’s love interest and intrepid reporter Lois Lane. Despite getting to know one another a bit, Superman and Batman are completely at odds. Batman won’t come to trust Superman (and vice-versa) just quite yet—not until the Justice League forms next year. In fact, Batman and the “Man of Steel” will often get into heated arguments when they cross paths. Most of these fights will happen invisibly, scattered throughout our timeline below.

–REFERENCE: In Trinity Vol. 2 #13 and Justice League Vol. 3 #29. Batman pontificates upon Superman’s origin story, noting how lucky the world is that two benevolent kind-hearted people raised Clark to be a decent human being. Any number of alternatives could have been disastrous. Batman will think about this circumstance of fate quite often over the course of his crime-fighting career. The Dark Knight begins studying Superman very closely, also noting that the Man of Steel typically holds back his full power while in combat, aware of the destructive capability of his Kryptonian abilities. Batman also notes that Superman gets his power from the Earth’s yellow sun, while discovering that red solar rays nullify his power.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #24. Batman first hears what will become Superman’s very public signature catchphrase: “Up, up, and away!”

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #36. Batman, possibly inspired by Superman’s pulpy argot, coins his own catchphrase, “Vengeance is the night!” which he begins growling at criminals while on patrol. Thankfully, Batman won’t say this very often.

–REFERENCE: In Joker Vol. 2 #1—originally told in “VENOM” (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #16-20). Feeling he needs an added edge to continue fighting crime at a high level, Batman begins taking the performance-enhancement drug known as Venom—a derivative of Hourman’s Miraclo created by disgraced former US Army scientist Timothy Slaycroft, manufactured primarily on the Caribbean Island nation of Santa Prisca in conjunction with their corrupt dictatorial junta and US military official Dr. Friedrich Baum, who is a secret member of the global cabal known as The Network. Quickly, Batman becomes a hulked-up abuser, which leads to Alfred resigning from his post. When Batman’s dealer, Dr. Randolph Porter, conspires with Slaycroft to blackmail the druggie Batman, the Dark Knight chases them out of the country, but realizes he’s become everything he hates. Alfred returns to help Batman clean-up and quit Venom cold turkey. Soon afterward, in Santa Prisca, a drug-free Batman kicks ass and defeats Slaycroft and Porter.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1000 Part 8—originally told in “THE LONG HALLOWEEN.” October 31. Halloween. A number of key players in the Falcone Mob are shot and killed by a mystery gunman, dubbed “The Holiday Killer” (aka “Holiday”) by the media. Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent investigate. Originally, this item was a part of the Modern Age’s The Long Halloween arc, which ran from Halloween to Halloween. However, The Long Halloween cannot fit as a yearlong narrative in the bloated Rebirth Era—there’s just no room for it. At most, this yarn can run about six months, up until Dent becomes Two-Face next year.

–REFERENCE: In Flash Vol. 5 #61. Batman and Superman team-up to bust the debuting Magpie.

–REFERENCE: In Action Comics #1003. International news-media begins referring to the team-up of Batman and Superman as “The World’s Finest.” This moniker will be used in reference to the duo every now and again, moving forward.

–REFERENCE: In Action Comics #982, Superman Vol. 4 #36-37, Dark Nights: Metal #4, Heroes in Crisis #2, Batman Vol. 3 #68, Superman Vol. 5 #16, and Event Leviathan #6. Batman learns about Superman’s major weakness to Kryptonite. He learns and studies the different types of Kryptonite and their various effects on Superman. There are Green, Red, Gold, Periwinkle, and a few other unknown Kryptonite variations. Batman then builds a data file, detailing how to surmount Superman in the off chance that the Man of Steel turns evil or is mind-controlled by an evil force. Batman will continuously catalog information about Superman, starting now. This information will be stored on the Bat-computer network. Notably, Superman actually gives Batman a Green Kryptonite ring with the expressed idea that he use it against him should he ever get mind-controlled or lose control. Batman also acquires various colored Kryptonite shards, storing them safely in the Batcave. Batman places a tiny sliver of Green Kryptonite (in a lead-lined case that blocks its radioactive emissions) into his utility belt. And last but not least, Batman gets a tour of Superman’s Arctic Fortress of Solitude for the first time! While the Fortress is all about solitude (as the name clearly states), Batman will spend a lot of time there, especially as his relationship with Superman matures over the years. We should imagine Fortress hang-outs sprinkled throughout the chronology. Furthermore, Superman allows Batman to link his Bat-Computer network with the advanced Kryptonian computer network inside the Fortress of Solitude.

–REFERENCE: In Superman: Man of Tomorrow #19. Batman and Superman discuss who would win in a fight if the latter was de-powered. Batman will often think about this, and it’s a subject the two will chat about every once and a while, moving forward.

–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 5 #9. Batman and Superman discuss Superman’s sleeping habits. The Man of Steel doesn’t ever need sleep, but he chooses to sleep like a human anyway.

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #37. Bruce tells Clark about his ginger-ale-swilling drunk act that fools people into thinking he is wasted at parties. Clark begins doing it too.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics Annual #2 (2019) and Detective Comics #1030. Having now seen a metahuman hero (Superman) up close and gone on a bunch of fantastic adventures, Batman decides to begin keeping a log of any bizarre events involving metahumans, supernatural occurrences, aliens, or anything else seemingly beyond the realm of human comprehension. Batman and Alfred begin compiling this intensive log, which is known as “The Black Casebook.” Batman decides the Black Casebook should also contain details about personal failures and unsolved mysteries. Notably, Batman creates a section of the Black Casebook dedicated to the (unsolved) multiple assassination attempts upon him when he was a teen. Batman will also fill the Black Casebook with various newspaper clippings. Batman and Alfred also begin logging “The Red Casebook.” We can only wonder what is in that one. In any case, both these casebooks will get filled-out accordingly, moving forward. Batman and Alfred also put the Dark Knight’s case-files (so far) into chronological order! Yes, they have their very own Batman Chronology Project! They will bind all the Dark Knight’s case-files into physical tomes—”Year One,” “Year Two,” “Year Three,” etc—and keep them in the Batcave library. Likewise, in the future, Batman and Alfred will bind very special cases into physical books for their library too.[13]

–REFERENCE: In Batman/Superman Vol. 2 #1. Batman and Superman begin a hypothetical debate about superhero ethics and morality, asking each other what would happen if they used the same methods super-villains use, but instead to fight against crime. This complex conversation will happen on-and-off between the super-friends for decades to come.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1000 Part 8—originally told in “THE LONG HALLOWEEN.” November 28. Thanksgiving. Holiday strikes again, killing another Falcone Mob connection. Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent continue to investigate.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #29Batman Vol. 3 #53, Detective Comics #1027 Part 3, and Batman: Three Jokers #1—and also referenced in Dark Days: The Casting #1, Doomsday Clock #2, and Batman: Three Jokers #1. Late November. Batman fights Joker again (this being their second face-to-face encounter, as the series of rapid-fire encounters attached to the Jokers’ debut counts as their first). Unknown to Batman, this is his first encounter with the Joker double known as the Clown. During the chase, following a gag involving a pair of oversized dice and an oversized playing card, the Clown unleashes a host of deadly tricks, including a flower that sprays acid, an electric hand buzzer, razor sharp playing cards, false teeth, and a gun that shoots out a flag instead of bullets. Shortly thereafter, the Clown surprises the Dark Knight with a bound-and-gagged policeman, who wears a “happy birthday” sash and has a bomb strapped to his chest. The cop is blown to smithereens. (Thus begins the Jokers’ sadistic ritual of giving Batman a twisted “birthday present” every single month, moving forward. The Jokers will never miss sending Batman his dark “gift,” not even once. Even from jail, they’ll make sure something gets sent or done on his behalf. While we won’t see all of the Jokers’ monthly “largesse” on our timeline, we will see a handful. The rest we’ll just have to imagine.) Eventually, Batman catches up with Joker, it’s actually the Comedian. Unable to tell the difference, Batman mercilessly punches him out, and puts him behind Arkham Asylum bars. Batman keeps the pair of giant dice, the acid-spraying flower, hand buzzer, razor sharp playing cards, false teeth, and flag gun as a trophies. When he returns home to find one of Joker’s signature playing cards inside the Batcave, Batman worries that Joker knows his secret ID. Bruce visits Arkham Asylum under the auspices of a Wayne Foundation business visit, sneaks off, meets with Joker, and shows him the playing card. Joker looks at Bruce, but makes no response or recognition. Even though the connection between Bruce and Batman has to be quite evident, Bruce believes that Joker’s twisted mind works in mysterious ways. He thinks that Joker doesn’t care who he is beneath the mask, and never will—that Joker is incapable of even broaching the subject of Bruce Wayne, for it might ruin his fun. Is this true? Or does Joker have more cunning faculty in regard to this matter than Bruce is willing to admit? (Joker definitely knows, that’s for sure.) Later, Batman enlarges Joker’s playing card and hangs it on display in the Batcave as a trophy. Note that while Joker definitely has an oversized playing card already, Batman doesn’t keep the original, instead making his own. I’m not sure why—maybe the original was damaged during the fight against the Clown?

–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #104—originally told in World’s Finest Comics #30. Batman and Robin defeat The Penny Plunderer (Joy Coyne). While the Penny Plunderer has always been a one-shot villain in prior continuities, the implication in this reference is that he will show up randomly in the years ahead. We must imagine these encounters on our timeline.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Giant Vol. 2 #5 Part 1 (Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #7)—and referenced in Detective Comics #958. Wearing his padded-arm costume, Batman battles the debuting Killer Moth (Drury Walker), who escapes via retractable hang-glider wings. Batman is inspired to add a hang-glider to his collection of crime-fighting tools. Soon after, Batman fights Killer Moth again and the villain escapes once again.

–REFERENCE: In the quasi-canonical Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1—originally told in Batman: Tenses. Serial killer Ted Krosby goes on a twelve-hour murder fest, killing folks all across Gotham. During this reign of terror, Krosby engages in nearly every serial killer horror movie trope possible (eating people, mutilating people, etc). Krosby even skins his own dad alive and then wears his face Ed Gein-style. Batman busts the twisted Krosby.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Beyond Vol. 8 #25. Batman and Robin fight an escaped Joker atop a moving tanker train filled with Joker Venom, which the Clown Prince of Crime intends to release into the city. Our heroes stop the Joker’s plot, but the villain escapes custody yet again. It’s unknown which Joker is featured here—it really could be any of the three.

–REFERENCE: In Gotham City Monsters #1. Batman defeats the deadly vampire and evil cult leader known as The Mad Monk.

–REFERENCE: In Deathstroke Vol. 4 #34-35. Bruce and Alfred upgrade Wayne Manor security yet again, adding a special lockdown mode, in which the entire house can be turned into a giant panic room in case of infiltration or extreme emergency. Likewise, the Batcave can be deactivated and sealed-off as well.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1000 Part 8—originally told in “THE LONG HALLOWEEN.” December 25. Christmas. Holiday strikes again, killing another Falcone Mob connection. Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent continue to investigate.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #53 and Detective Comics #1027 Part 1—and referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #25, Batman Vol. 3 #69, Batwoman Vol. 3 #7-8, Detective Comics #964, Detective Comics #967, Detective Comics #985, and Batman: Kings of Fear #5. Batman fights the debuting Scarecrow (Professor Jonathan Crane), who unleashes his tortured and brainwashed students, including Abigail O’Shay, upon the Caped Crusader. (Abigail will return years later as the super-villain Madame Crow.) Scarecrow also uses his patented Fear Gas on Batman, causing him to have intense hallucinations. Eventually, Batman wins the day and collects a sample of Scarecrow’s Fear Gas. From this point forward, Batman will collect samples of Scarecrow’s Fear Gas, of which there will be a variety of different strains, every time they face one another. Both Batman and Alfred will study Scarecrow’s poisons quite often, becoming more than familiar with their effects and chemical makeup. Batman, for the next few years, will expose himself to every variation of Fear Gas in order to memorize the effects and feel of each strain. Also, from this point forward, Batman will keep both Fear Gas and Fear Gas antidote syringes in his utility belt.

–REFERENCE: In Red Hood: Outlaw #51—originally told in Batman: The Hill #1. Batman and the GCPD chase jewel thieves into the predominantly Black section of Gotham known as The Hill. In the ensuing chaos, a fourteen-year-old is killed by police gunfire, inciting the neighborhood. Tensions in the community rise and protests erupt. After meeting the untouchable Demitrius Korlee Sr, head of the notorious Hill Gang, Batman sets into motion an elaborate plan that involves subterfuge, espionage, disinformation, and a fake Batcave. Korlee, thinking he has exposed a huge secret of the Bat, lets his guard down, allowing Batman to get the jump on him and bring him to justice. (Note that this item is said to occur twenty-one years prior to the events of Red Hood: Outlaw #51, which occurs in late 2020. However, the earliest it can go is here, eighteen years prior. The twenty-one year specificity is merely because 2021’s Red Hood: Outlaw #51 is the start of a sequel to 2000’s Batman: The Hill by Christopher Priest and Shawn Martinbrough. Martinbrough, having returned to script Red Hood: Outlaw #51, is cutely referencing the twenty-one years that have passed in-between the original Hill and the follow-up.)

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #1000 Part 8—originally told in “THE LONG HALLOWEEN.” December 31. New Year’s Eve. Holiday seemingly strikes again, killing Carmine Falcone’s son, Alberto Falcone. Of course, his body isn’t recovered, which doesn’t match up with the other Holiday murders. Curious. Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent continue to investigate.

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<<< Rebirth Era Salad Days <<< ||| >>> Rebirth Era Years 2-5 >>>

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER / JACK JAMES: All-Star Batman #11 places Bruce’s birth before the Falklands War, meaning somewhere in the 1980 to 1982 range. The Batman Who Laughs #1 confirms that, by the year 2019, Bruce is in his late 30s or early 40s. We’ve gone with the 1980 birthdate because it allowed for the proper length of time required for Bruce’s training abroad—nearly seven years, as reflected in the New 52. This means Bruce is currently twenty-one-years-old (turning twenty-two this year).

    As noted earlier, but worth repeating here, Batman: Gotham Nights Vol. 3 #20 tells us that Bruce supposedly was away for only five years. This merely shows that the public falsely believes that Bruce studied abroad in his late teens/early twenties for only five years. This type of disinformation regarding his personal history—something to help safeguard his secret ID—is something Bruce would definitely want disseminated in the public sphere.

  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman’s first year on the Rebirth/Infinite Frontier Era timeline features a tricky combination of his prior origins, Frank Miller’s “Year One” and Scott Snyder’s “Zero Year.” While Snyder is one of DC’s chief architects during this period, it’s Peter Tomasi and Snyder’s protégé James Tynion IV that cement Batman’s origin story here. Tomasi’s intent is to marry “Zero Year” and “Year One” (as evident in Detective Comics Vol. 3 Annual #3 Part 2), which shows the “Zero Year costume” (among other tiny nods and winks to “Zero Year) while also showing the all-important “Year One” butler bell. However, Tomasi clearly omits any direct visuals of the night Bruce decides to become Batman in the Annual, instead fleshing-out the night in other stories, notably Detective Comics #994 and Detective Comics #999, which both clearly demonstrate that Bruce’s East End outing leads straight into the bat crashing through the window and him ringing his bell, directly mirroring “Year One.” Meanwhile, Tynion heavily alludes to “Year One” in both Batman Vol. 3 #94 and Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3, ostensibly favoring it over his mentor’s “Zero Year” version of events. Last but not least, in Batman Giant #2, Jimmy Palmiotti tries to marry “Zero Year” and “Year One” as well, showing a robed Bruce in his father’s room (reminiscent of “Zero Year”), but with the broken window and bat (reminiscent of “Year One”). So there’s actually a lot of evidence that shows elements of both “Zero Year” and “Year One” are canon and mashed together, although “Year One” still seems to hold more weight. It’s definitely possible that Bruce fights the Red Hood Gang the day before his “I shall become a bat” moment (à la “Zero Year”), but that big moment definitely comes right on the heels of his East End fight from “Year One”.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Gotham City Villains 100-Page Anniversary Giant #1 Part 4 (by Stephanie Phillips and Max Fiumara) is a Red Hood Gang origin story that just doesn’t fit into continuity, which is fine since Gotham City Villains 100-Page Anniversary Giant #1 has at least one other non-canon yarn in it (Danny DeVito’s Penguin/Catomwn love story). However, the gist of the story—that there was a Red Hood prior to the man that becomes Joker, in this case a crook named Hank that gets whacked by his own gang—still can ring true. It’s possible that Batman comes right out of the gate, besting two different Red Hoods, or hell maybe even more than two. However, Phillips’ narrative includes the Bat-Signal and seems to take place closer to a year into Batman’s costumed career, neither of which jibe.
  4. [4]TODD CUNNINGHAM: Interestingly, the Modern Age’s Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 shows that Bane had been haunted by visions of a bat at an early age. At the time of its publication, these visions obviously had nothing to do with Barbatos, pre-dating the Rebirth incarnation of the character. But retroactively, one could imagine—if Barbatos was indeed the bat that flew through Bruce’s window—that the evil bat god was also long present in the life of one of Batman’s primary rivals as well. Admittedly, the Joker Vol. 2 series seems to hint at different inspirations for Bane’s hatred of bats, Batmen, and Bat-Families, but it’s up to your personal headcanon to decide whether or not Barbatos was making others batty besides just Bruce.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: Bruce and Alfred will all but finish their massive Batcave undertaking in less than a year. On our Rebirth Era timeline, we will see numerous instances of skyscrapers and superhero (and villain) headquarters being built to completion in a matter of months or even weeks or days. Battle damaged buildings, flooded natural disaster zones, and entire metropolitan infrastructures devastated by nuclear holocaust or alien attack will sometimes get fixed up in no time flat. Unlike in our reality—where One World Trade Center took over seven years to top-out—the DCU is a place of magick, metapower, and sci-fi technology. Put these things together and things get built quickly. We also cannot ignore trigger-happy writers, eager to return things to status-quo, to add new toys to the sandbox, or to just plain get on with their stories. Simply put, be prepared to suspend your disbelief when it comes to the speed of building and reconstructing things in the DCU. (Hell, Scott Snyder had Superman put a destroyed Moon back together like a puzzle in mere minutes.)
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: While some internauts say that the death of the Flying Graysons occurring in Year One is too early, it’s definitely depicted as such in the Rebirth/Infinite Frontier Era. And it’s not without precedent. In the Golden Age, Silver Age, and New 52 Era, the Flying Graysons died in Year One. The New 52 has a Year Zero, so technically the Grayson tragedy occurs in Batman’s second year there, but you get the picture—it happens very early on that timeline, just as it’s happening early on our timeline here.
  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman: Black and White Vol. 5 #4 Part 5 tells a tale of Batman meeting the Flying Graysons for the first time while working a case at Haly’s Circus. However, this story is non-canon because it shows a pacifier-sucking eight-to-twelve-month-old Dick Grayson. There is no primary timeline in which Batman exists a decade prior to Robin’s debut.
  8. [8]COLLIN COLSHER / DYLAN ROBINSON: Certainly long tights or long sleeves with boots would be warmer than a speedo and pixie shoes, so we could surmise that Robin has a costume for warmer weather and a costume for colder weather. While there’s a nice logic to the idea, nothing has ever been specifically stated about this, and in fact, it’s been fairly clear in the Rebirth/Infinite Frontier continuity that the costumes aren’t really meant to signify cold weather, instead rather to simply point toward a particular timeline era. This is definitely a personal headcanon decision.
  9. [9]JACK JAMES: Mindy Newell’s Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular story is set before Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2 Part 1, seeing how in Newell’s story, Catwoman she mentions not knowing Batman’s identity yet but intends to find out: “who is under that suit… watching me… two can play at that game… even if it kills me.” Thus, it actually ties in nicely into Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2 Part 1 as its direct precursor.
  10. [10]COLLIN COLSHER: A note about these Looney Tunes-inspired characters. On the Rebirth Era Earth-0 timeline, thanks to writer Tom King, the slapstick Looney Tunes characters have all been reverse-anthropomorphized (or de-toon-ified) into grim-and-gritty versions of themselves, all of whom hang out at a Gotham dive bar called Porky’s—as we see in Batman/Elmer Fudd #1 and Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2, and as referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #67. Note that all of the DC/Looney Tunes comics published in 2017-2018 are OUT-OF-CONTINUITY on the Rebirth Era Earth-0 timeline EXCEPT FOR Batman/Elmer Fudd #1.
  11. [11]EARTHMINE52: While it is not specifically made clear which Joker is the original—the Comedian or the Criminal, it’s likely that the Comedian is the original. Here is a possible history.

    The Comedian, as his name implies, was a failed stand-up comic with a chemical engineering background and was a former employee of Ace Chemicals. He had the skill and means to invent Joker Venom (likely derived from the chemicals that created him) but otherwise lacked everything else. The Criminal and Clown generally were created to hide his identity, but they could also have been made to teach him until he was ready to be the main and later only Joker.

    The Criminal was skilled at using guns, knives and explosives (all shown with his use of a tommy gun, knife, and dynamite in the last issue of Thee Jokers) and his experience as an ex-mobster gave him knowledge on how to pull off heists, robberies, and even assassinations—skills Joker needed. I think it’s likely that the Criminal was the one who planned their debut act and did some of it personally. The Clown on the other hand, unlike the Comedian in his old life, was actually funny. He was also very creative and theatric. His idiosyncratic skill of twisting gag items into lethal weaponry likely influenced the Comedian.

    The Comedian likely created them to learn all he could to have his ultimate never-ending game of revenge on Batman, and he will plan the eventual events of Three Jokers upon realizing he doesn’t need them anymore.

  12. [12]COLLIN COLSHER: One of my biggest complaints about Three Jokers (aside from a lack of much needed clarity surrounding the original three Jokers revelation from the Mobius Chair) is that it the three Jokers will be able to maintain their secrecy—even from the world’s supposed greatest detective—for many years to come, thus requiring us to suspend or disbelief to the maximum. Maintaining this secret will take a lot of near impossible legwork (and good luck) in order to not be exposed as three different people. The Jokers will have to implement ludicrous rules—like “if one of us is in jail, you cannot take action until the jailed one escapes,” for instance.
  13. [13]COLLIN COLSHER: One of the books shown on the Batcave library shelf in Detective Comics Annual #2 (2019) is entitled “Lost Year.” This could be random book, but it could also be a reference to Kate Kane’s “lost year” when she went on a bender after being kicked out of the army. In the Modern Age, Nightwing had a “lost year” in the form of Marv Wolfman’s “Nightwing Year One,” but this is not canon in the Rebirth Era, so it is unlikely that the “Lost Year” book is a reference to that. Also note that one of the books on the shelf is entitled “Year Zero.” This is not a reference to Batman’s first year in action. It is merely a log of Riddler’s “Zero Year” scheme, which briefly occurs during Batman’s first year.

27 Responses to Rebirth Year One

  1. Austin Eaton says:

    Why’d you move the debut of Robin to Year Zero? Also, the first encounters with Mr Freeze.

  2. Jack James says:

    I’m glad I could help, thank you for listening to my suggestion! Now, there’s another little thing that I kinda wanna see if we’re able to solve, which is Dick Grayson. Is there any direct suggestion he became Robin at 9 years old? Because that seems… somewhat off, considering the violent nature of this universe. Also, while I get the rationale for putting Robin in Year Zero, it also makes this year feel like there’s a little bit too much stuff going on, because not only do you have the events of Year One but also Year Zero (which I gotta add, canonizing both of those things is a decision that I very much question from the people over at DC since up to a point they’re pretty much incompatible with each other) and you also have a lot of other stuff going on.

    A thought I had, and granted this would be a huge headcanon but…. is there any way we could conceivably connect the fuzzy memory of Batman’s encounter in that boat with Selina to the “Black Casebook” and hallucination ideas of Grant Morrison’s run? That could give us a little bit more room to play around as to when did that encounter in the boat take place.

    • Hey, I’d like to ignore ALL of Tom King’s Batman LOL, but he’s been the primary architect of the Bat-line for quite some time now. Batman’s encounter with Selina (both on the street and on the boat) are central to the overarching Bat-Cat narrative, and it’s definitely meant to start right from the beginning. King has placed Robin right there too, which doesn’t make much sense. However, since he is the primary architect, I’ve taken it as gospel.

      I think relegating Batman’s experience with Catwoman on the boat to a hallucination might be too heavy-handed a fanwank here. I’d almost rather just say King was straight-up wrong to include Robin and label it an out-and-out continuity error. OR we could maybe fiddle with Dick’s age a bit (which admittedly is not an easy task).

      DC definitely wants to have its cake and eat it too when it comes to mashing-up Miller’s Year One and Snyder. I mean, that is DC blatantly fanwanking all over the timeline.

      In any case, I think we might be stuck with our Big Fat DC Year Zero timeline. Happy to dig deeper and see what can be done though. I actually think, at the very least, we can push Dick’s starting age to 11-going-on-12 even if we keep him in Year Zero. (This would make Bruce age 40 in 2020 and Dick age 30 in 2020, which sounds better.)

  3. Leonard Dement says:

    My dear Sir. You once again are using pre new 52 information in your timeline that isn’t continuity. Batman vol.3 #50 was the final issue of “Batman endgame”. The death battle Batman had with joker under gotham near a dionesium pit that joker used to survive “death of the family”. You a credit it to “year one” year one did not happen in this continuity. The memories he has are of the boat from his encounter with catwoman(sans golden age memory leakage from previous timeline according to Lois Lane #12) she remembers “year one”(old 52 modern age) If you will remember correctly, they first met in the new 52 Valentine’s day special of catwoman. She was robbing an apartment with her brother. That is the TRUE way they met in this continuity. The old 52 year one continuity never happened. Please correct your pages and please remove all mentions of all previous universe comics for they were erased from continuity via flashpoint. Just because Superman merged his history does NOT mean Batman got HIS history back because there has been no mention of this at all by dc comics. Thank you.

    • Hey Leonard,

      Batman Vol. 3 #50 (2018) is actually Tom King’s “Wedding” issue, not Endgame (which was Batman Vol. 2 #35-40, 2014-2015).

      I have the Valentine’s Day Special on my New 52 timeline, wherein which I have Bruce’s meeting with Selina on the street (both out of costume), Batman’s meeting with the Cat on the boat, and their OFFICIAL meeting (BOTH in costume) from the Valentine’s Day Special. Tom King has pretty clearly explained how the Bat and the Cat had both “meetings” early-on, reflecting the “Year One” and the Golden Age versions. And this has been a key point to his run both during the New 52 and Rebirth. (Note that the V-Day Special is only canon on the New 52 timeline and not on the Rebirth timeline.)

      And I haven’t merged ALL of Batman’s history (or Superman’s for that matter) into the Rebirth timeline. Everything is clearly listed with references and/or flashbacks. And, there have definitely (for better or worse) been references to Miller’s Year One, Snyder’s Zero Year, and some Golden Age stuff. The New 52 having references to the street, the boat, and V-Day special is messy, I’ll agree—but then again, what isn’t with the New 52? In any case, referencing older continuities is par for the course. Things from prior continuities always get canonized or re-contextualized piece by piece. Such is the very nature of continuity comics.

      And I’m hesitant to simply refer to anything referenced from prior continuity as a “fracture” (as Lois Lane talks about in her book). It’s an unnecessary easy out that makes the process of timeline-building pretty worthless. There’s nothing in Lois Lane #12 that says anything about Batman’s history being false memories from another timeline. HOWEVER, I do think you are onto something here… Lois’ “Fracturing” might be DC’s way of explaining the insanely messy timeline that is happening right now (post-Doomsdsay Clock, scrapped 5G issues, Death Metal, etc…). We shall see.

      But let me know if I’m misunderstanding your comment (maybe I am?). I’m happy to get to the heart of what you are saying—and it may be worth mentioning in footnotes on the site. Thanks!

  4. Ryan Angelastro says:

    What’s the chronology for the Riddler?

    • Hey Ryan, that’s a big ask—the Riddler has dozens of appearances in the Rebirth Era. You can go through my chronology and control-F search his name in each year to see. Importantly, though, I can tell you that his debut is a mash-up of his Golden Age (Detective Comics #140), Modern Age (Detective Comics Annual #8), and New 52 (“Zero Year”) origins.

      If I have some free time, I’ll try to throw together a full list for you, though.

      UPDATE: Here ya go! (Bear in mind, Riddler makes a lot of cameos here and there, especially in group shots and Arkham imagery, and that isn’t included below.)

      –Riddler’s debut a mash-up of his Golden Age (Detective Comics #140), Modern Age (Detective Comics Annual #8), and New 52 (“Zero Year”) origins—as seen via flashback from Batman Vol. 3 #29, Batman & The Signal #2, Batman Vol. 3 #53, Justice League Vol. 4 #51, and Detective Comics #1027 Part 1.
      –War of Jokes & Riddles
      –Willis Todd works for Riddler (fb from Red Hood and The Outlaws Vol. 2 #23)
      –Batman and Robin vs “United Underworld” (Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman) (r in Batman Vol. 3 #88)
      –FLASHBACK: From Batman: Kings of Fear #6. Batman busts Riddler and his newest gang, which includes Sammy “Scalpel” Sanchez.
      –FLASHBACK: From Batman Secret Files #2 Part 3. Riddler begins killing people who have wronged him in the past via bombs.
      –Batman #452-454 (“DARK KNIGHT, DARK CITY”) (as referenced in Batman: Lost #1.
      –Batman: Kings of Fear #1-3
      –FB from Detective Comics #1000 Part 7. Joker assembles all of Batman’s rogues for a big meeting of the minds.
      –FB from Detective Comics #1000 Part 3. Knute Brody (being played by Batgirl) & Batman vs Riddler.
      –“I AM BANE” (referenced in multiple comics)
      –“THE CURSED WHEEL” (fb from Batman & The Signal #2)
      –Batman: Prelude to the Wedding
      –FB from Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1. Batman vs Riddler.
      –Batman Vol. 3 #50
      –Batman Secret Files #1 Part 5
      –Batman Giant (“BATMAN UNIVERSE”)
      –“BEAST OF BURDEN”
      –r in Action Comics #1009 (Batman vs Riddler)
      –r in Superman Vol. 5 #16 (Robin & Superboy vs Riddler)
      –Doomsday Clock
      –“THE FALL AND THE FALLEN”
      –“CITY OF BANE”
      –Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1
      –r in Batman Vol. 3 #88-89. Riddler becomes addicted to meth, goes into hiding.
      –“THEIR DARK DESIGNS”
      –“THE JOKER WAR”
      –“JUSTICE/DOOM WAR”
      –“DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL”

  5. Earthmine52 says:

    Hello sir! Big fan. I was told you were a fan of my Three Jokers reddit posts and I saw you mention them. It’s an honor!

    Anyway, I’ve grown to agree more with the idea that the Comedian was the original Joker and I’ve thought of a few possible explanations that might inform of when the Criminal was created. The Comedian as his name implies was a failed stand-up comic with a chemical engineering background and was a former employee of Ace Chemicals. He had the skill and means to invent Joker Venom (likely derived from the chemicals that created him) but otherwise lacked everything else. The Criminal and Clown generally were created to hide his identity, but they could also have been made to teach him until he was ready to be the main and later only Joker.

    The Criminal was skilled at using guns, knives and explosives (all shown with his use of a tommy gun, knife and dynamite in the the last issue of 3 Jokers) and his experience as an ex-mobster gave him knowledge on how to pull off heists, robberies and even assassinations. Skills the Joker needed. I think it’s likely that the Criminal was the one who planned their debut act and did some of it personally. The Clown on the other hand, unlike the Comedian in his old life, was actually funny. He was also very creative and theatric. His use of trick gags, twisted into lethal weaponry, made him distinct and is a skill the Comedian could have learned from.

    The Comedian likely created them to learn all he could to have his ultimate never-ending game of revenge on Batman, and planned the events of 3 Jokers after realizing he didn’t need them anymore.

    Side-note: Batman/Catwoman is in a similar situation with its continuity but it features a Phantasm who may or may not be Andrea Beaumont from Mask of the Phantasm. If so, that means the Criminal was likely involved in killing her father just like in the film. I also saw a preview showing him in a fedora and wielding a tommy gun (old school mobster trope) and wearing gangster-like clothes: https://twitter.com/the_knaves/status/1304170451275481089

    • Love this analysis! Thanks for sharing—and if you don’t mind, I’ll include some of this in the notes on the site. And thanks for the kind words, as I am a big fan of yours as well! I’m very interested in where Batman/Catomwan fits in with everything too, especially with the Phantasm stuff. Looking forward to more of your Reddit posts for sure.

  6. Dylan says:

    I have some thoughts on what seems like a cleaner way to integrate Zero Year and Year One, but there are almost certainly problems with it. This is what I use on my own personal headcanon timeline:

    I start off with Zero Year, up until the Red Hood gang is defeated, with Bruce’s Year One meeting with Selina on the Street occuring at some point early on in it. At this point, baselessly, I have Superman debut, and his costume inspires the creation of the classic ‘briefs’ Batsuit.

    Then, you do the plots of Year One Issues 2-4 (presumably sans the Joker bit at the end- though wasn’t this also a problem post-crisis, since Mad Monk occurs before The Man Who Laughs?) and probably some variation of the Case of The Criminal Syndicate during this time period. Then, after that, you place the Riddler’s attack here, and resume the rest of Zero Year, sans the bit at the end where Gordon is immediately made comissioner.

    Thoughts? This isn’t suggested changes or anything; it’s just my own personal reading order. I also place The War of Jokes and Riddles as a sort of interquel between The Long Halloween and Dark Victory.

    • Hey Dylan, Thanks for the notes! I’m not seeing too much difference between your chronology and mine in terms of order. Only thing is that I haven’t added the beginning of Zero Year, Bruce hearing about Superman for the first time, or Dark Victory. I suppose I could add those things with relative ease, and I likely will based upon your suggestion! I think maybe my timeline looks “messy” or “less clean” simply because it has a lot (literally all) of the other references and flashbacks smashed in there. In any case, here’s how my timeline goes (just including the things you’ve mentioned in your comment).

      YEAR ONE

      –YEAR ONE Part 1 (#404) – Bruce strategizes, begins new phase of prep, takes to street, fights Selina Kyle
      –YEAR ONE Part 1 (#404) – Bruce becomes Batman; Bruce creates costume & utility belt
      –LONG HALLOWEEN BEGINS – February 14. Holiday killings begin
      –YEAR ONE Part 2-3 (#405-406) – Batman busts Arnold Flass, works with Dent & Gordon
      –YEAR ONE Part 4 (#407) – Gordon becomes commissioner, gets divorced
      –Case of the Chemical Syndicate
      –YEAR ONE Part 4 (#407) – Batman teams with Harvey Dent & Jim Gordon vs Falcone Mob
      –ZERO YEAR Conclusion- Red Hood falls into chemicals; Riddler debuts; Batman deals with Riddler’s “Zero Year” scheme

      YEAR TWO

      –LONG HALLOWEEN ENDS
      –WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES

  7. Jack James says:

    Are we sure that the “I shall become a bat” moment happened after the East End Selina Kyle encounter in Rebirth? The only story directly set on Rebirth in that era (Tec Annual #3) seems to make a point of really following Scott Snyder’s Zero Year down to the fact that the space that the Wayne Manor space Bruce Wayne had his encounter on had a ton of staircases.

    For all things I’ve seen on Rebirth (and granted, I may be missing a bit) there’s no real indication that anything from Year One aside from Bruce meeting Selina in that alleyway while undercover happened here; and overall I think it’s just more clean if we try to preserve as much of the original Zero Year narrative as possible, since Scott Snyder really is the backbone of these modern day versions of DC Batman canon that Tom King built from, so I’d still place that encounter as happening like in Zero Year, with the Red Hood encounter and so on.

    I know there are ways to really mix in together the whole stories of Year One and Zero Year but I honestly see no real indication that should be done, and on the whole I don’t think it’s narratively satisfying. The way the “I shall become a bat” scene happened in Zero Year was almost identical to Year One, and any minor deviations in flashbacks and references can just be chalked up to artistic representation just like how in Modern Age we still had some flashbacks that showed Bruce’s encounter with a bat more similar to the pre-Crisis counterpart.

    I will say something cool Tec Annual 3 gives us too is the fact that the bit happened on a Wednesday.

    But yeah overall I’d just advise to keep as much of the Zero Year narrative as possible with minor tweaks here and there (like the fact that Bruce is not 25) and adding the fact that at some point prior to becoming Batman he still had that encounter with Selina Kyle but it presumably didn’t end as dramatically. That fits well enough with what Bruce was doing before becoming Batman in Zero Year anyway. Unless there’s a direct reference in Rebirth that implies some other event from Year One also happened in Rebirth there’s no reasont to treat it as such.

    I think that this could even open the door towards making it so that maybe even Robin didn’t debut on the first year as Batman which is a thing that’s still annoying me hah But of course that’d require more drastic overhauls.

    • Hey Jack, while Scott Snyder and Tom King definitely laid the groundwork for the New 52 and Rebirth, it’s Peter Tomasi and Snyder’s protege James Tynion that have cemented Batman’s origins for a new era.

      It’s pretty clear that Tomasi’s intent has always been to marry Snyder’s Zero Year and Frank Miller’s Year One (as evident in Detective Comics Vol. 3 Annual #3 Part 2), which shows the Zero Year costume (among other tiny hints at Zero Year) while also showing the all-important Year One bell. However, Tomasi clearly omits any direct visuals of the prior night in question in that Annual, instead fleshing it out in other stories, notably Detective Comics #994 and Detective Comics #999, which clearly show that Bruce’s East End outing leads directly to the bat crashing through the window and him ringing his bell as he did in Year One.

      Meanwhile, Tynion heavily alludes to Year One in both Batman Vol. 3 #94 and Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III #3, ostensibly favoring it over his mentor’s Zero Year version of events.

      Last but not least, in Batman Giant #2, Jimmy Palmiotti seemingly tries to marry Zero Year and Year One as well, showing a robed Bruce in his father’s room (reminiscent of Zero Year), but with the broken window and bat (reminiscent of Year One).

      So there’s actually a lot of evidence that shows elements of both Zero Year and Year One are canon and mashed together, although Year One still seems to hold more weight. It’s definitely possible that Bruce fought the Red Hood Gang the day before his “I shall become a bat” moment, but that moment definitely comes right on the heels of his East End fight from Year One.

      • Jack James says:

        Ohhhh damn! I had completely missed the bit from Tec #999, sorry.

        Man, out of all the things that DC has done, making a brand-new epic early years Batman tale that was extremely well received only to have it chopped to pieces and retconned to hell just a few years later has to be one of the most baffling. It’s not like it’s the first time it’s happened, I mean there’s that absolutely bizarre Secret Files issue in 97 where they tried to retcon-out Year One after Zero Hour came out, but aside from that issue being too much of a one-off it really wasn’t any better the original Year One tale, but in this case it’s especially weird because not only did they make such a big deal out of Zero Year, it was also really good! Living up to Year One was a hard task but Scott Snyder did a really great job on putting his spin on things. It’s a little bit heartbreaking to be honest.

        But yeah, once again I gotta thank you for the great job! Making sense out of all of DC’s recent decisions in regards to continuity is not an easy task and you’ve done a fine job at trying to make sense of it. Thanks!

  8. Jack James says:

    Hey Colin, I just noticed a little mistake. You ordered “–Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2 Part 1 Intro” AFTER “–Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2 Part 1 Conclusion”, I think it should be the other way around.

    Also I think Mindy Newell’s Catwoman 80th anniversary 100-page spectacular should be set before that Annual, seeing how in Mindy Newell’s story in that comic she mentions that she doesn’t know Batman’s identity yet but intends to find it out: “who is under that suit… watching me… two can play at that game… even if it kills me”, seeing it from that perspective it actually ties in nicely to that Annual.

    • Makes sense. Thanks Jack! Making changes now. Will give you credit!

      • Jack James says:

        I will add something else though!

        Because the boat encounter is supposed to be one of the first encounters with Batman and Catwoman (hence why they argue so much about it) then it also makes sense to put the Mindy Newell storyline and the annual right after it.

        Also, Catwoman Her Sister’s Keeper has to go before the Mindy Newell storyline since Selina also directly references her kiss with Batman in that story, the death of the pimp, and the appearance of detective Flannery
        There’s also some issues with Robin’s placement, since you have him listed as debuting after “Zero Year Dark City” but you
        So the order would have to be something like this:

        -Dick Grayson completes training, Robin debuts in July
        -Batman #1 boat encounter.
        -Catwoman Her Sister’s Keeper
        -Mindy Newells’ Catwoman 80th story.
        -Batman Annual #2 Intro.
        -Zero Year: Dark City happens
        -Batman Annual #2 Conclusion.

        • OH yeah, for sure. I’m not sure how this got so out of order. I’ll run through and correct. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Jack! I think it’s a symptom of them just adding and adding and adding more to this era.

          This is actually a big mess… gonna really work at it, but it can be done! This Year One really is a true mash-up, the very idea messiest of the messy idea that “everything matters.” Sheesh.

          • Jack James says:

            Another detail to add is that this would make it so that the “Her Sister’s Keeper” kiss is their first kiss, while the one in the Annual is their second kiss. And yeah, in Rebirth there’s a lot going on this year.

            • Yep. Good call. It’s like writing a book with a fairly straightforward narrative, but someone is giving you the chapters in random order, and then they keep going back and adding in more chapters. Some things have to be chopped and screwed in order to fit, but it’s quite an ordeal to keep overhauling. Anyway, I’m reviewing this page now, and it seems to be in order… FOR NOW! lol

              • Jack James says:

                You also gotta erase the “(Selina, based on their previous encounter, has already deduced that Batman is Bruce Wayne.) ” from Batman #1 since we’ve already established that Her Sister’s Keeper and Mindy Newell’s story comes afterwards, which means that Selina doesn’t know Batman’s identity yet in the boat-meeting.

                Maybe she suspects it, but I think it makes sense she wouldn’t yet know the guy in the East End encounter was Batman, she just suspects whoever that guy was it’s Bruce Wayne, and then when she becomes a little bit more obsessed with the topic in Mindy Newell’s storyline, she figures it out afterwards based on that which would lead to the annual.

  9. Dylan says:

    I can’t actually find any reference to Robin debuting in the first year in Batman #79. It references him being around the first time they met while Bruce was in costume, but there’s nothing forcing that scene to take place in Year One; they don’t actually ever ‘meet’ in costume in the actual Year One storyline, to my knowledge; they’re briefly in the same place when she attacks Falcone, but they never actually ‘meet’. You’d have to place it before their encounter in The Long Halloween, which is still totally wack, but it’s less weird than a Year One Robin.

    Also, why the compression with The Long Halloween? It consists of smaller investigations no longer than a day or two, spread out across twelve months. I’m not sure why it couldn’t occur *around* other stories?

    • Hey Dylan, not quite sure what you are suggesting? Bat meeting Cat in the beginning of Year Two?

      The Bat Cat meeting on the boat takes place before Selina even becomes Catwoman. (She’s a sex worker on the street meeting disguised Army vet Bruce, then she’s the Cat meeting Batman & Robin, then she becomes Catwoman.) And unfortunately, a fully-costumed Catwoman is linked to many other Year One stories (and Zero Year stories)—notably via Batman Vol. 3 Annual #2, references to Her Sister’s Keeper #1-4, and more. And we know that Dick was already living with Bruce (so at least training) when Jim Gordon is still a lieutenant (Nightwing Vol. 4 #78). Gordon is captain by the time Joker debuts. There is precedent for a Year One Robin—as he debuts right from the start in the Silver Age. And he debuts almost immediately at the start of the Golden Age Year Two, barely six months into Batman’s campaign. And in the New 52, he debuts in Year One. Admittedly there’s a Year Zero there, but the concept in the Rebirth Era is a combined Zero Year and Year One. So in that respect, there’s actually more historical precedent for an early debuting Robin rather than a later one. I hear you though. I’d love to push it back, but it really seems like at least a handful of writers want Robin to be around early. If you have any concrete suggestions that don’t contradict with a lot of other stories, I’d be willing to listen for sure!

      Compression with Long Halloween is for several reasons. It really doesn’t make sense going prior to the events of Miller’s “Year One,” thus pushing it toward the end of the calendar Year One. And it leads into Two-Face’s debut, which in order to fit with other stories, must go rather early in Year Two. Hence compression. I suppose that Batman could be present and active during that span, and we could highlight holidays, and I suppose it could go from October to April-ish, which isn’t too bad of a compression. (12 months to 6 months). I’ll make this change.

      As always, thanks for the notes!

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