Thoughts on the relaunch?

"You should be extremely excited, not extremely worried!  I can say no more.  Stay tuned!" --Batman Incorporated artist Chris Burnham, in regard to those wary of DC's announced September company-wide relaunch

"What Dan DiDio is doing is correct, massively gutsy, and long overdue.  More power to him." --Wonder Woman writer J. Michael Straczynski, in regard to publisher Dan DiDio's decision to relaunch the entire line

In my very first post I discussed relaunches, reboots, and retcons and what makes them bad and good.  To refresh your memory: In my opinion, a bad retcon/reboot is one that simply ignores past stories and changes continuity.  A good (or better, anyway) retcon is one that uses an in-story event to alter the past and therefore alter continuity.  In this latter version, which I've previously referred to as a "pure retcon," the reboot becomes a part of the history.  My opinions on the subject still haven't changed.

Is there a possibility that the Flashpoint reboot will render this chronology blog obsolete?  I sure hope not!  The original Crisis, Zero Hour, and Infinite Crisis all, to some extent, functioned as company-wide reboots.  However, a chronological historical structure was still maintained with each of those mega-events.  They all fell into the realm of the "pure reboot" or could be interpreted as such.  Now, I'm not going to weigh in on Flashpoint and the reboot until it actually happens.  But hopefully it's a fun and engaging read that not only lives up to its hype, but alters the DCU in a respectful way to its current history.

I trust the exclamations of Chris Burnham and JMS.  And with those in mind I'm not worried! After all, DC already has a bunch of parallel Earths to work with including First Wave, All-Star, or Earth One if they really want to construct a refreshed and rebooted DCU.  I think no matter what occurs, at the very least, I might have to do some serious editing on here.  But what do you guys think?  I know it is pure speculation at this point, but how will the reboot effect continuity?  Furthermore, what would YOU like to see happen?

Oh, and, I'm not the only one wondering what's up.  Please, please read this wonderful article by Newsarama Senior Editor Michael Doran.

AND also read this:  Brilliant article by Kelly Thompson!

AND ONE MORE article featuring words of divine wisdom from Greg Hatcher.

UPDATE:  Ok, so on 6/6/11, Morrison FINALLY chimed in and said that Batman Incorporated will go on hiatus after issue #10, but then will be relaunched with a new Batman Incorporated #1 in 2012.  He also said that he will pen a 12 issue Batman: Leviathan series in 2012 that will incorporate (no pun intended) all aspects of his entire run since he began working on Batman almost six years ago.  SO, it would appear as if the reboot/relaunch won't really effect Morrison's run?  The same thing has been hinted at in regard to Geoff John's also lengthy and also continuity-heavy Green Lantern run of the past several years.  I'm still having trouble imagining what the DCU is going to look like when the dust settles, but at least (or so it would seem) DC higher-ups aren't going to mess with their big-money books (Batman and Green Lantern) and their (arguably) two top writers.

UPDATE 2:  I added this in comments, but here it is in case y'all don't read comments.  Vaneta Rogers posted an amazing inquisitive piece regarding the continuity of the DCnU on Newsarama.

UPDATE 3:  WHOA... Amazing article worth reading in its entirety by Tom Bondurant.

UPDATE 4:  A Newsarama interview with Alan Moore where gives his two cents regarding the DC relaunch.  It's interesting, whether or not you agree with the angry old genius who hates modern comics.

UPDATE 5: On July 29, 2011 comic book genius David Uzumeri posted the following article on Comics Alliance.


  1. Doing a reboot for the bat-series, the best selling comicbooks in DC, would be suicidal. I'm enjoying reading the amazing list you have arranged which is a handful and in a manner gives the batman comics line worth a full re-reading. By the time it comes maybe we can see if the strategy from dc works and fans are happy with the results.

  2. Just going by logic, Batman is clearly not broke in an economical or critical sense; there's no reason to fix this line of books like there is to fix, say, JLA.

  3. Even if this is a complete reboot, or just one where parts of the current continuity are kept, I think the best course of action for this blog would be to leave the chronology as it is (well, except for whatever tinkering will happen as opinions change) and create a new one for the new continuity.

    I, for one, am not going to stop collecting the Batman of the last 25 years just because there's a new one out there. As a result, I'm gonna need to know what order those stories go in.

    I am a little concerned about the reboot, since they say they're starting over with Justice League, but then something like Green Lantern will keep going under Geoff Johns, and still maintain the current storyline. Unless they're planning on utilizing the multiple Earths in different series, this sounds like it could lead to the same problems that Crisis did.

  4. Hi Collin
    I used to read Batman comics when I was a teenager, but unfortunately I lost track of them. Now, very recently a feeling of nostalgia came to me, I started reading once again and I started to download comics to keep in track with current event in the Batman universe. You must realize that when I stopped reading comics “Legacy” just ended, so there was a lot of homework for me to do. I was very lost with the reading and your blog help me out a lot. A LOT!
    So, today I read in the paper, that batman and detective comics are due to a reboot in September!!!!. What does it mean? Is it all going to start all over again? Are we going to have to read a new fist encounter of the batman with the joker, a new origin of robin, etc.? ? I´m kind of disappointed because I have made a lot of effort to keep track with the current events in the batman universe , and now the whole thing is going to start again?!?! Is kind of frustrating. Please tell me if the reboot necessary implies that the story arc is going to start all over again or not. Thank you and you have a great blog here, keep it up.


  6. It looks like the Bat books and the Green Lantern books will remain largely unaffected by the relaunch/reboot as far as complete origin overhauls go. However, having said that with a sigh of relief, many of the other characters will be definitively affected come September. One rumor, for example, is that Superman will become single again in a sort of Peter Parker/Mary Jane way. How will this (if it happens) and other similar retcons affect Batman, since he is so intertwined with the others within in world and shares an important common history with them? That is my slight concern at the moment.

  7. I suspect it will be similar to situation bats was in right after COIE. Same status quo as before the reboot, but a compressed timeline and the details of how we got there will be changed. Some of the changes could be very recent (Jason Todd's origin comes as a major change pre and post-crisis.) This is all speculation however and we will have to wait until it comes out. If it is major I suggest preserving this timeline and starting a new one.

  8. Hey, folks. I could use help from some hardcore DC fans as yourselves. I previously collected Marvel comics and have a huge collection, but I've fallen away from comics in the past few years.

    I was really excited when I heard about the DC reboot, because I feel as though this is the perfect chance for me to get back in to comics without being completely lost. I know I want to subscribe to a Batman title, but my dilemma is I don't know which one, and it seems there are several.

    So, when all the #1s launch in September, which Batman title would you recommend I go for? I'm only going to have time and money to keep up with one title probably. I want something that's going to be probably the most mainstream and mature Batman title, in the sense that Uncanny X-Men has always been the core X-Men title. Though, I'd consider doing one that is less core if it had better writing (i.e., Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men run is my favorite in comics).

    Thanks for any help you folks can provide!

  9. If you only have money for one Batman title for the reboot, get Batman. Scott Snyder has been brilliant on Detective Comics for a while now; if you want a taste of what the rebooted Batman title will be like you can try out some of his issues with Jock and Francesco Francavilla.

    The writer for the other main Batman book, Tony Daniel, has been writing Batman for a while and it sort of reminds me of Spawn. There's some nice, shadowy art but the writing has been flat. That could just be my opinion though. The writers for these books are just swapping titles come the reboot.

    If you scrounge through enough people's sofa cushions to afford a second batman book it'd probably be Batman and Robin, or you could wait until Batman Incorporated comes back at the beginning of next year. Incorporated will be written by Grant Morrison, so if you like him wait until it comes out and if you hate him go with Batman & Robin as your theoretical second book.

    I would say those are the four "Main" Batman titles, but I don't have a clue what David Finch's "The Dark Knight series is about, so I could be wrong. Still, I seriously doubt it's as big as the other four titles I mentioned.

    Let's cross our fingers that they'll be good comics

  10. Hey, that's really helpful, thank you! Yeah, I was leaning toward "Batman" based on some things I've read. I'm also very intrigued by Batman Inc., so I'll consider giving that a try as well. I've read a lot of Morrison and usually like his work. It's more a time (and storage space) thing than a money thing, so perhaps I'll just make room for a second title. I've been considering doing digital distribution, but it just isn't the same to me.

    Thanks again!

  11. No problem; I think that when DC was trying to make their comics more accessible to new readers they didn't realize that nine Batman monthlies defeats the purpose.

  12. Hi,
    With the relaunch coming up, I am concerned about some potentially major problems. I read somewhere that Superman will be the first public superhero, but that Batman has been operating in secret for several years prior. If this is true it would obviously cause some pretty serious issues, as the year one era references to Superman clearly establish him as emerging as Batman is getting started. If this or other such issues arise (and you still plan on continuing what you've been doing), I was hoping you might consider keeping the current list intact somewhere on the site, as it would be a shame for this great reference to be lost. Maybe you could start a new blog for the post-Flashpoint chronology. While I understand and appreciate the idea of an organic chronological list that reflects the ever changing universe of Batman and DC, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would be disappointed to see your hard work up to this point just vanish. This is as close to a perfect tabulation of Batman continuity that anyone could build, and the editors at DC would be wise to use it as a reference and a tool for some self-education.

    Thanks for the fantastic blog, and good luck sorting out the DCnU

    Of course, I have much to say about the relaunch, but I'm trying my best to hold off on commentary until I can really see what happens. But in response...

    I'm glad that Batman's rich history is supposedly going to be held intact, but if the following changes are really going down: the "dawn of the superheroes" only occurring about 5 years ago, the debut of the JLA (with an altered original lineup) only occurring about 5 years ago, and the radical alteration to Superman's history in general, THEN I can really see no other course of action other than to relaunch the chronology with a brand new one. DON'T WORRY, faithful readers, I would NEVER delete this site. If indeed a new chronology is necessary then there will be an old one AND a new one simultaneously.

    I checked out the couple-page preview of the new "Justice League #1" and it raises some serious issues. One, Batman meets the rest of the heroes including Hal Jordan a mere 5 years ago. This is the dawn of the superhero where costumed adventurers are new and misunderstood by the public. Even after reading this six page preview, it would appear as if this really is a DCnU i.e. NOT a relaunch as they say, but an actual reboot.

    The last time there was an actual reboot of this magnitude was "Crisis on Infinite Earths," which erased decades of stories, keeping the more important aspects of DC's rich history intact by having those erased stories form the skeletal framework. For me, this worked! Granted, I was born in the early 1980s and had little investment in the past prior to that, BUT most of the stories were a convoluted mess dating back to the 1930s. Now, we have a DCU that (while some might argue is still a convoluted mess) has a more concrete history. I mean, if it didn't have some semblance of chronology then I wouldn't be able to glean enough information to create this website. Hell, they JUST released "DCU Legends" this past year, touting their own rich and detailed chronological history. So, basically, what I'm harping about here is that I'm having trouble distinguishing what makes this reboot (yes, I'M calling it a reboot for now) any different from what happened in 1986 with the original-Crisis (or, for that matter, what happened following Marvel's "Heroes Reborn."

    But, in any case, I am excited to see what happens, because DC is promising that this will be done right. Yes, a part of me is sad because I truly felt the DCU was in a strong position to continue with its current incarnation. But here's to the future and here's to creating a new timeline.

    Speaking of creating a new timeline... I guess what will happen is everything before "Flashpoint" is bye-bye. Only by reading the new stories will we slowly figure out what the publishers and editors decided was worth keeping. Hopefully, and they've already hinted at this, most of Batman's history is preserved. But no matter what they do, Batman's history will have to be placed into a new history since it looks like the whole of the DCU is going to be radically different.

    -Collin C

  14. Hi Collin,

    First of all, I LOVE your timeline. It is a work which has obviously been a labour (yes I am British) of love.

    After reading Flashpoint #3, it has become obvious that the entire timeline (post-crisis) HAS happened but Barry Allen is going to **** it all up by not being able to re-set all that has been destroyed by the Reverse Flash, and only be able to create the DCnU, instead of RE-creating the post-crisis DCU that we all love, and this timeline describes perfectly.

    Much as I hate to say this, this timeline WILL become redundant in September.

    Not so much that you, Collin, will need to delete it, heaven forbid. For the reason specified above, everything in this post-crisis timeline still happened, but thanks to the events of Flashpoint, the history has been compressed and certain events will be removed.

    You have a HUGE decision to make, whether you complete this timeline and draw a curtain around it as a post-crisis, pre-flashpoint timeline, never to be touched again, or try to keep as much of it as possible which fits into the DCnU timeline, which would delete several hundred, if not thousand events in this blog.

    Good luck.

  15. I always wanted to do a Pre-Crisis timeline and "draw a curtain around it" in addition to this timeline. (I may still try it in the future, although I am far less versed in classic comics and the sheer NUMBER of stories would be hard to tackle). Alas, now it looks like I will have to close-up this chronology, wrap it up with a nice-neat-bow, and encase it behind glass a la Jason Todd's old Robin costume in the Batcave.

    It would be cool to have a concrete finalized "never to be touched again" Pre-Crisis Batman Chronology timeline, a "never to be touched again" Post-Crisis Batman Chronology timeline (which is what this version will seemingly become), and an ongoing current work-in-progress Post-Flashpoint DCnU Chronology timeline (which I will definitely be doing).

    Let's examine this whole Flashpoint thing (in the context of the DCU and big reboot events) for a moment. The decades and decades worth of Pre-Crisis stories still technically happened, but they were erased by the epic original Crisis story and rendered into a skeletal framework of the DCU's history, a framework from which writers and editors could change, glean from, omit, or add to. NOW, it appears as if Flashpoint will function the same way. Flashpoint will ultimately erase the entire Post-Crisis DCU (thus, turning it into a new skeletal historical framework). In this regard, Flashpoint, in a sense, is swallowing up a history that has already swallowed up a history.

    So how does that affect this blog? Well, it spawns the question: Will most of the stories in the Modern Era still be canon, OR will they simply become asterisk reference material? For example, Batman Year One, Knightfall, No Man's Land, etc... will probably all still be a part of Batman's rich past, BUT to re-read those stories page for page would probably contradict a TON of things in the DCnU. Therefore, it seems to me that much of Batman's past is going to be references to stories (the same way many writers, especially Morrison, reference or allude to stories from the 40s, 50s, and 60s). Knightfall will cease to be an actual physical collection of images and words that comprise a part of Batman's history in the form of comic book issues; Knightfall, in the DCnU, will simply be a referential point in Batman's chronological past that will retain the main points of that story-arc, minus the details that contradict the history of the new universe.

    Furthermore, while speaking about the Modern Age of Comics. Does this mean the Modern Age is (FINALLY!) over? And if so, are we entering the New Age-- Nu Age (gross)-- Post-Modern Age (maybe even grosser)-- eh, who knows?

    It's very interesting. Good luck to me indeed. I'm not dreading it. I'm looking forward to it. Keep reading!

    Collin C

  16. Looks like I'm not the only one wondering about CONTINUITY! Vaneta Rogers (for Newsarama) poses some brilliant questions @

    How Much Does a Reader Have to Participate in Making the New Timeline Work?

    DC has indicated that the editorial staff put together a new timeline for when things happened in DCnU, particularly the five years since the "dawn of superheroes."

    But how much of the changes affected by the timeline are going to be spelled out?

    Already in this article, we've pointed out that Wally West was part of some of the stories that DC has indicated "still happened." And that's just one character.

    With all the "soft reboot" changes to the DCU, there is no way readers won't be able to go back and find "contradictions" if former storylines are mentioned.

    A perfect example: Superman's funeral.

    If it still happened, did it happen like it shows it happened? Or do readers have to choose to overlook Bloodwynd, and gray hair Hal and the New Gods, the JSA members there?

    And if the JLA has only been together for five years, and Superman has only been a public hero for five years, it gets tough to cram their history together into that timeframe.

    DC may want their fans to stop demanding such a strict adherence to continuity. But that negates something that fandom cherishes. From Star Trek to Anne Rice novels, continuity is the backbone of many fan communities based on fictional stories. And if those fans have to just kindly ignore too many images like Superman's funeral, next year's San Diego panels may see a few fan heads explode.

    And while we're talking about those five years of superheroes....

    How Long Did Batman's Career Predate Superman?

    As we've pointed out, DC has stated that Superman and the "dawn of the age of superheroes" only happened five years ago.

    In response to questions about how Batman's continuity could have happened in only five years, DC has indicated the Dark Knight actually started operating secretly before other superheroes appeared.

    In fact, he was just an urban legend.

    But fans are having trouble making those years add up.

    In five years, he had four Robins and was replaced twice?

    When did he father Damian, who's allegedly an 11 year old? Was that while he was Batman, as we've been led to believe?

    And if Batman was believed to be an urban legend, was the Joker too? Was he never arrested and put onto television and proven to be real? Did supervillains like the Joker, Killer Croc or Mr. Freeze, exist before Superman?

    Just because they say Batman's history is "mostly intact" doesn't necessarily mean it makes sense.... yet....

  17. Other people might not like it, but I love Batman operating in secret before heroes became public. Although I'm not the one who has to put together intricate continuity guides, so I guess it's sort of like an 'ignorance is bliss' thing.

    I'm looking forward to your thoughts when the new #1's do come around; your input on all this is appreciated and worth paying attention to.

  18. The whole thing is a bit irritating. I feel like if one or two people can throw together a mammoth work like this chronology, then DC, with its army of writers, can buckle down and give us a sheet of what has happened and what hasn't. Maybe start each of the new #1's with a story biography in the back for the fans who are itching to know what's happened.

    I mean, I've been reading the new bat books every month since they came out (Red Robin, Dick and Damien, and Batgirl) so to see everything that they were get ripped a new onekind of sucks, but I can respect it.

    This big ole' headache just makes me wonder if old Alan Moore's idea of putting a lock and key on everything and introducing a completely new set characters and continuity isn't the way to go if you

  19. What really sucks is that we're not getting a nice ending for the current DCU. No "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" ending. Instead, Superman ends with Grounded and another Doomsday fight.

    However, I think I'm still going to count the rest of Morrison's run as the end of the current Batman timeline. It kind of sucks to have that split into two different eras.

    And again, why do they keep tinkering with Earth-1's history when they have the multiverse? Or maybe there's an Earth-47 or something out there that was the exact same as the post-Crisis DCU until Flashpoint hit. And that's where everything happens.

    I'd love to see a series from the random citizen point of view of DC's events, especially the ones that screw with time.