"Year One Era" (YEAR FIVE)
This page has not been updated since 2011. For an updated and correct version of this timeline, please redirect to THE REAL BATMAN CHRONOLOGY PROJECT.COM.
Bat-Year Five! Let's go! But before we do, there are three more LOTDK tales that can be placed right here (Spring of Bat-Year Five), but their continuity status is up in the air. "Conspiracy" by Doug Moench/J.H. Williams III and "The Primal Riddle" by Steve Englehart could both very well take place here, but they are pretty awful stories that involve wild conspiracy theories that never come up again and bizarre supernatural events that make no sense plot-wise. "Auteurism" by John Arcudi/Roger Landridge is an engaging and fun story, but it is very experimental and cartoony, so I'm not going to add it to the chronology either. If anyone really loves these stories and wants them in, I'll gladly do it. But until then let us continue...
NOTE: Batman meets the Swedish superhero Wingman (as referenced in Batman #669). Batman likes him so much, he trains him sporadically for the entire summer. Wingman will, many years later, dubiously claim that he invented the whole "Dark Knight" vigilante concept before Batman, which is totally untrue.
ANOTHER NOTE: A fifteen year-old Barbara Gordon spies on her dad Jim at home when Batman pays him a special visit to report on the details of corruption within the GCPD (as seen through flashback in the quasi-canonical Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20). Batman spots Babs and even leaves her a little note telling her to stay out of trouble. This event will inspire Babs to become a superhero. PS. Much of Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 is non-canon but "canonically referential," meaning it doesn't fit into a true history but retains the general framework of the past that we can glean information from. Furthermore, Secret Origins Vol. 2 #20 says Babs is thirteen years-old when she witnesses this Batman/Gordon meeting whereas she should be fifteen.
51. "Colossus" by Mike Baron/Bill Reinhold (LOTDK #154-155) June 2002 to July 2002
Baron gives us a little history behind the strange architecture in Gotham. We also learn that Rubio Dolor has a bone to pick with a famous Gotham architect (who is responsible for his father's death). Naturally, Rubio dresses up in a bondage outfit and kills him. If these one-shot revenge tales are beginning to drive you batty (no pun intended), then don't worry, you aren't alone.
52. "Storm" by Andrew Donkin/Graham Brand (LOTDK #58) March 1994
A CIA set-up has failed miserably and a bunch of terrorists have taken hostages in Gotham General Hospital. Batman saves everyone's ass.
53. "Criminals" by Steven Grant/Mike Zeck (LOTDK #69-70) March 1995 to April 1995
Death Row criminals at Gotham State Prison aren't being executed. Instead they are being released and given new aliases thanks to a corrupt warden. With Gordon's approval, Batman goes undercover as an officer in the GCPD ranks, and then... goes undercover as a prisoner in the jail to put a stop to the shenanigans. Ummm... yeah, so why does he need to go undercover twice? Blehhhh.
NOTE: It is around this time (pre-Dark Victory) that we should be witnessing the dramatic debut of Victor Fries aka Mr. Zero aka Mr. Freeze. Victor Fries becomes the supervillain Mr. Zero when his terminally ill wife, Nora Fries, who has been in cryogenic freeze for over twenty years, finally dies. Fries initially blames Batman for her death. One of the better (and brilliantly penciled) Mr. Freeze origin stories is "Snow" by J.H. Williams III/Dan Curtis Johnson/Seth Fisher from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #192-196 (2005). However, this story is out-of-continuity not only because Batman is wearing the yellow-oval costume, but also because flashbacks from "Cold Case" from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #201-203 render it so. "Cold Case" tells us that Victor and Nora are considerably older than Bruce and were contemporaries of Martha and Thomas Wayne. In "Cold Case," we learn that Victor knew about Nora's condition for decades before this time period and had even committed several murders in her name. "Snow" shows a much younger Victor and Nora, and the former only just learns about his wife's fatal condition now. Why DC would publish two contradicting Mr. Freeze origin tales so close to one another is beyond me. Which one is correct? I don't know for sure, but I'm sticking with "Cold Case."
ANOTHER NOTE: Gordon's wife and child leave him and move to Chicago (as referenced in Dark Victory). Poor Jimbo. Barbara Gordon (Jim's wife) will become the primary caretaker of young James Junior, who has various anti-social disorders and dark pathological issues (as seen through flashback in the continuity error-filled pages of Detective Comics #875). James Junior will spend most of his time with his mother, but will occasionally stay with Jim and Babs in Gotham. Dick will even babysit James Junior at times.
I should also mention that it is around this time that Captain Gordon is able to talk down Dr. Hale Corbett, who is about to murder a random bride and groom because his wife and child have just died (as told in the OUT-OF-CONTINUITY Batman: Turning Points #1, but referenced in the canonical Batman: Turning Points #5). Batman: Turning Points #1 is definitively out-of-continuity because it is written as if it takes place immediately following Frank Miller's Year One. This just isn't possible. However, Corbett is a canonical character that will appear later, so we must at the very least include his debut here. Following the Corbett incident, Gordon is promoted to commissioner (again, as referenced in Dark Victory). Before moving on, I wanted to mention that Batman: Night Cries by Archie Goodwin/Scott Hampton is a dark and beautifully illustrated graphic novel that realistically shows the painful crumbling of Jim and Barbara Gordon's marriage and how it affects their son James. I definitely suggest reading this, as it shows essential character development for Gordon. Unfortunately, this story is out-of-continuity mainly because Batman is already wearing his yellow-oval costume.
YET ANOTHER NOTE: The next eight numbered items on our list and six notes all overlap with Dark Victory, which begins NOW (August).
54. "The Secret" by Joshua Hale Fialkov/Adriana Melo (Superman/Batman #85-87) August 2011 to October 2011
Gotham Gazette reporter Garrett Remington is murdered after it is rumored that he has discovered Batman's secret ID. Batman searches Remington's apartment and upon learning that Remington had indeed discovered his identity, torches the place. Batman then meets with Superman and explains that Remington had linked Batman to WayneTech through a mechanical part patent that Bruce had overlooked in his first year when he was secretly patenting thousands of parts to later use as Bat-gadgetry. Remington's notes also proved that Bruce stole tech from his own company and shareholders (before Bruce became majority stockholder). While Batman interrogates Gotham Gazette chief Martin Mayne, Clark (on assignment for the Daily Planet) interviews Lucius Fox, who explains that it is public knowledge that Batman's toys are all from WayneTech. Fox further explains that whenever there is stolen tech, Bruce reimburses the company with his own personal money. Bruce, as Matches Malone, then rustles up some info at Remington's former local dive bar hangout and finds out that Martin Mayne had been receiving big payoffs from a secret party in exchange for information associated with big stories. Who is the secret party? The Joker, of course. And now Mayne has sold Clark out the same way he sold out Remington. Joker travels to Metropolis and tries to kill Clark, but the Dark Knight is close behind and "saves" Clark, who can't become Superman in front of an onlooking crowd. Batman also saves the entire Daily Planet staff and apprehends Joker.
55. "Batman Year Two: Fear the Reaper" by Mike W. Barr/Alan Davis/Paul Neary (Detective Comics #575) June 1987
First of all, I know that this story is supposed to be out-of-continuity, but it seems to me that the DC Retroactive series (2011) was DC's attempt to try to make this story canon in some way, shape, or form. So here is my take on "Batman Year Two." If you agree, then accept it with open arms into the chronology; if you don't, then feel free to ignore this one. Secondly, disregard the moniker "Year Two" as we are clearly in Bat-Year Five. DC Editors originally wrote things so that this tale would immediately follow up Frank Miller's Year One. Obviously, this is not the case anymore. However, the first issue of this story-arc is indeed canon since it is not only referenced but republished in 2011's DC Retroactive: Batman - The 80s #1. Since the final three issues of the story arc revolve heavily around Joe Chill, they are still definitively non canon, which means the conclusion to this story requires a little bit of imagination on the part of the reader; don't worry, I'll help. Oh, we also must ignore the yellow-bat insignia. Our story begins with Bruce and Leslie Thompkins overseeing the construction of the brand new Wayne Foundation Building (which will become the famous Wayne Enterprises Tower and future location of the penthouse and Bat Bunker). Bruce also meets and becomes enamored with Leslie's friend Rachel Caspian, who unfortunately for Bruce is set to become a nun. Batman then fights Rachel's father, the Golden Age vigilante known as The Reaper, for the first time and gets his ass handed to him. A distraught and battered Bruce takes the gun that was used to murder his parents and contemplates breaking his vow to never use firearms in battle. NOTE: Of course, the story continues for three more issues, but they are totally non-canon. But here's what we can assume happens next based upon the references in DC Retroactive: Batman - The 80s #1. First, Bruce falls madly in love with Rachel when he learns that she lost her mother in a similar fashion to how he lost his. (Creepy, I know). Secondly, the Reaper falls to his death from high atop the Wayne Foundation Building construction site after a tango with Batman. Third, Rachel becomes a nun.
56. "Shipwreck" by Dan Vado/Norman Felchle (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #112-113) Novmber 1998 to December 1998
The big problem with most later LOTDK stories is that they are so generic, you can't tell whether or not they take place in the Year One Era or post-No Man's Land (where Batman gets rid of the yellow-oval). Such is the case of the largely forgettable "Shipwreck" where Batman stops the terrorist known as Demise from hijacking a Halloween party cruise ship. Susbtitute "masquerade" in place of Halloween if the mis-matched holiday month really bothers you. This story takes place during Dark Victory.
57. "Citadel" by James Robinson/Tony Salmons (LOTDK #85) August 1996
Another pointless one-shot. Batman battles his way up 81 deathtrap-set, ax-wielding mercenary-filled, crocodile-stocked, booby-trap laid floors to apprehend a mob boss who winds up getting decapitated by his own getaway helicopter. This story takes place during Dark Victory.
58. "Spook" by James Robinson/Paul Johnson (LOTDK #102-104) Jan. 1998 to Mar. 1998
Enter The Spook! Yes, this is the official origin story for The Spook. We needn't say more. Except maybe for the fact that Robinson kinda totally rips off a lame Mike Baron Batman Annual from 1988. This story takes place during Dark Victory.
NOTE: Time-traveling superhero Booster Gold takes an adult Dick Grayson (from the year 2010 aka Bat-Year 22) and lets him secretly watch the final Christmas he was able to spend with his parents before their untimely deaths (as seen in Booster Gold Vol. 2 #25).
59. "Bad" by Doug Moench/Barry Kitson (LOTDK #146-148) Oct. 2001 to Dec. 2001
Bad Jordy is a meta-human with super-strength and a multiple personality disorder. This combo leads to him killing a lot of people. The story is about 80 pages long and I'd say about 40 pages are dedicated to Batman's long conversation with a shrink which contains dialogue that reads as if it's been taken straight from a college psychology text book. Blah. This story takes place during Dark Victory.
60. The Creeper Vol. 2 #1-6 by Steve Niles/Justiniano (October 2006 to March 2007)
The origin of The Creeper! Gotham talk show host Jack Ryder is turned into The Creeper by the evil Dr. Vincent Yatz, who injects him with a nano-cell technology serum. The Creeper meets Batman when the former apprehends the murderous supervillain known as The Axeman. Meanwhile, Yatz, in league with The Joker, hijacks a bus full of inmates and steals them away to an abandoned island prison ten miles outside of Gotham. The evil scientist turns the inmates into monsters. The Creeper teams-up with Batman and the latter is able to apprehend Joker. Yatz is outed as a criminal and his experiments are stopped, but he escapes from The Creeper. This story takes place during Dark Victory.
61. "Ghosts" by Sam Keith (Batman Confidential #40-43) March 2010 to June 2010
When several homeless people are slaughtered by a creature, a recently appointed Commissioner Gordon arranges for Batman to meet Callie Dean, a blind social worker who knows the victims well. Batman and Callie soon learn that they are dealing with a supernatural force that manifests itself in the form of a sulfurous monster with razor-sharp teeth. Batman confronts the monster, which temporarily blinds him and then delivers a premonition that Batman will grow to love Callie, but then the latter will die. In the end, the creature vanishes, and Batman does form a platonic love for Callie, only to watch her slip in the snow, hit her head, and die. Weird story. This story takes place during Dark Victory.
NOTES: (All of these notes overlap with Dark Victory)
--Circus performer (and friend of the Graysons) Boston Brand dies and become the ghostly superhero known as Deadman. Batman meets him (as referenced in next Bat Year's Batman/Deadman: Death and Glory, a quasi-canonical Year One Era tale that establishes that Batman and Deadman gave been acquainted with each other for some time prior to when it occurs). We should also mention that while Batman begins to encounter more and more mystical and magical characters like Deadman, he would most likely also team-up with JSA member Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson) around this time as well. These meetings take place during Dark Victory.
--During March of Dark Victory, Batman and Superman fail to save the life of Dr. Harrison Gray, while apprehending a criminal. They vow to meet every Spring to commemorate the loss and to reflect on each others' careers as superheroes. This tale was originally told in Batman & Superman: World's Finest #1, but that story is totally out-of-continuity because it is written as if it is taking place in Bat-Year One. In order for the subsequent World's Finest issues to correspond correctly with what occurs chronologically, the death of Dr. Grey must occur here and now. (Likewise, Batman & Superman: World's Finest #2 is written as if it is taking place in Bat-Year Two, which makes that story totally out-of-continuity as well. And the same goes for Batman & Superman: World's Finest #3. Not to mention, both issues #2 and 3 are full of anachronisms no matter where you place them.)
--Gotham mayoral candidate Baldwin Berkins is assassinated. Batman tracks down the killer and gets him to confess and turn himself in after dangling the man in front of an oncoming train (as mentioned in Batman #603 by Ed Brubaker). This story takes place during Dark Victory.
--Batman rescues the kidnapped heir to the Ashmore family fortune (as seen through flashback from the B&W Second Feature in Batman: Gotham Knights #42). This story takes place during Dark Victory.
--Bruce Wayne is named People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" (as mentioned in a flashback from Batman Confidential #52). Amazing! This announcement takes place during Dark Victory.
62. Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale (1999-2000)
Dark Victory is the official follow-up to "The Long Halloween." It's an epic and lengthy tale which begins in August and includes appearances by a newly appointed Commissioner Gordon, a newly appointed D.A. Porter, an escaped Two-Face, a host of rogues, the death of Detective Flass, and yes, the comic book debut (and death) of Chief Miles O'Hara. The final half of Dark Victory will start our next Bat-Year. When I originally wrote this post, I pondered Dark Victory's canonical status, but if there was any doubt, it was erased by Tony Daniel's Batman #692 which clearly references the events of Dark Victory. There are some definite time inconsistencies which must be addressed in regard to Dark Victory, but we'll get to that in a bit. Don't forget, the prior eight numbered stories and the six listed notes all occur during the first part of Dark Victory.