Bruce Wayne. According to my chronology he is (as of February 2011) 48 years-old. Does this seem too old? Too young? Maybe you're thinking, "Bruce looks (is drawn to look) a hell of a lot younger than 48." Well, that argument can be thrown right out the window due to several factors. Bruce has been resurrected from the dead by metahuman power (Super Powers), re-generated by a Lazarus Pit (Birth of the Demon), healed by the Holy Grail (The Chalice), psychically healed by metahuman power (Knightquest), killed and resurrected magically (JLA: Obsidian Age), mended in an Apokoliptian healing-chamber (Superman/Batman: Torment), sent to live as a god for thousands of years on ancient Earth-1 (Trinity), nourished by the Fountain of Life at Nanda Parbat (Ressurection of Ra's Al Ghul), enlivened by the "lazarus machine" at Vanishing Point (Return of Bruce Wayne), and re-animated by Metron after dying and visiting the New God afterworld (Return of Bruce Wayne). There's a good chance Bruce will look young, fit, and healthy well past his prime. But how did I get to 48?
First, let’s begin with DC’s version of Bruce’s life. DC tells us (in Frank Miller’s Year One) that Bruce becomes Batman at age 26 in Year 1. Robin comes along in Year 3 (age 29). In Batman #416, which takes place shortly before Jason Todd’s death, Nightwing says that he became Robin 6 years ago. So, when Jason dies in what must be Year 9, Bruce is 35. After Zero Hour retcons and “sliding time scales," we get to various Greg Rucka ‘tec tales and mini-series (Death and the Maidens), where we are told Bruce’s parents died roughly 25 years ago. If Bruce’s parents died when he was 8 (as we are told in Zero Hour), that means Bruce should be 33 around the time of Death and the Maidens, Hush, and other tales of that era, which is impossible. Even DC editors realized this paradox pretty quickly, which is why those “25 years ago” blanket statements were quickly ignored. Therefore, the next possible reference we can use (and the primary reference that DC editors use) is the age of Tim Drake. Tim Drake shows up a few months after Jason’s death (Year 10) and is at age 13 when he debuts as Robin. Now, according to DC editors, he is currently 17. Therefore, 4 years have passed since Year 10, making the current year, number 14, with Bruce at 40 years of age. This coincides with Grant Morrison’s run in Batman RIP, where we are told that Bruce is turning 40. This also confirms that Batman, according to DC writers and editors, is in his 14th year of costumed adventuring.
This is all fine and dandy, but unfortunately, in order for this version of events to fit correctly into any chronology we must ignore the fact (as we did regarding the life and times of Timothy Drake) that seasons change, holidays come and go, and time literally is shown passing over the years. Again, we would have to assume that from the time Tim became Robin all the way up to the current Red Robin storylines, only 4 years have passed. Put another way: The Death and Return of Superman, Knightfall, Cataclysm, No Man's Land, Bruce Wayne Murderer, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Countdown, Batman RIP, Final Crisis, 52, Battle for the Cowl, every single Morrison and post-Morrison JLA story, and a nearly uncountable number of other tales all take place in a mere 4 years! Again, no way, Jose.
Here’s how I see things. Let's start with Frank Miller's Year One. Bruce arrives back in
This age also works when we contrast it to other characters around him, such as Dick Grayson and Tim Drake. Bruce is 26 when he starts as Batman. Six years later Dick Grayson arrives on the scene. Bruce is 32. Four years later, Dick becomes Nightwing. Bruce is 36. Three years later, Tim becomes Robin. Bruce is 39. Nine years later (during which time we have the vast amount of stories I listed above) we are up to our current point and Bruce is 48. I’ve done a ton of compression to make this work, but unlike DC editors, I haven’t ignored stories or the literal passage of time which is definitively shown in the comics. Don’t get me wrong, I like DC’s version because it’s simple and works well, especially if you want to say “the New Earth created during Infinite Crisis did the same thing the original-Crisis did: it wiped out everything prior and created a new timeline loosely based upon seventy years of stories which took place before it." If that is the case, then you can say (although it’s still a bit of a stretch) that Tim was only Robin for 4 years and Bruce is now only 40 years old. If we did that, then our chronology would look a bit different. We would have a bunch of bulleted notes and only the stories after Infinite Crisis would be considered true canon. Come to think of it, I may invent a timeline/chronology that fits into the DC editors’ mentality just to have a compare-and-contrast chronology within this blog. HOWEVER, I can't blatantly ignore the passage of time and disregard hundreds (if not thousands) of stories to make a neat little package. Hell, I've already ignored all of the Golden Age, Silver Age, and Bronze Age. DC wants me to ignore the bulk of the Modern Age too!
But now I’m just rambling. DC says Tim is 17. I say he’s 20. DC says Bruce is 40. I say he’s 48. We are both right. Isn’t that weird?