I've begun rough drafting a New Age Batman Chronology aka New 52 Batman Chronology over at the Real Batman Chronology Project, so please check it out and give me notes (via e-mail if possible).
While DC still keeps calling this new multiverse "The New 52," I have not. In keeping with the linguistic tradition of
properly naming superhero comic book epochs, I have dubbed this part of
history–since it follows the Golden, Silver (and Bronze), and Modern
Ages–the NEW AGE.
2011 brought about a major shift in the DC
Universe/Multiverse/Omniverse. With the mega-crossover event
Flashpoint, the world of Batman was restructured yet again. This
relaunch/reboot gave unto us a brand new history for Batman, one that is
still settling to this date. As always, I’m hopefully up to the
arduous task of chronicling this dense history. It will be tricky, but here I go again!
This timeline is so new that it will constantly be changing
as each new bit of information is revealed week-to-week. Therefore, it
should be understood that it is not the finalized version and
construction will be occurring for quite some time to come. Unlike our
previous timelines, the New Age timeline will run each calendar year
from the normal January through December format. As far as this
chronology is concerned, if a story/event is not canonically referenced
in the pages of the New 52 issues themselves, then I’m not considering
it canon–it’s as simple as that. Of course, none of this is a strict
policy and everything is subject to change.
Another initial issue I’m having that is of utmost importance: Since DC is
being extremely vague as to revealing information regarding a timeline
of the New 52, I’m unsure whether or not Batman debuts in the same year
as Superman, or if Batman has his “urban legend” period for a few years
prior to the new Action Comics Vol. 2 and Justice League Vol. 2. If Detective Comics Vol. 2
takes place during Batman's "rookie years" as well (confirmed by Tony Daniel) then I’m
confused as to why, in the first issue, Daniel says Joker has been
around for six years. Does this mean that Batman has been secretly
active for five or six years prior to Superman’s debut? Or does this simply
mean that Joker has been around since before Bruce became Batman? Hopefully, I will figure this out sooner than later. BUT, if anyone at all has any input, please let me know!
QUICK UPDATE as of 4 March 2012: I've realized that Tony Daniel's Detective run takes place "in the now," meaning 2012 (as opposed to "5 years ago"). Tony Daniel has recently confirmed that 'tec occurs in 2011-2012.
There are several versions of the New Age that I am playing around with. Each of them seems feasible at this point, but hopefully one will stand out as the "most correct" one eventually. I will now run down the different concepts.
A. The first timeline is the way I'm currently imagining the New Age chronology. In it the age of superheroes begins FIVE YEARS AGO with Batman debuting roughly a year before Superman and with the Justice League debuting a year after that--thus placing current 2012 story-lines at the beginning of a fresh Year Eight (although some stories begin in late 2011). Most Internet chronologists that have bothered to attempt a new timeline seem to be going with this version as well (or something like it). This implies two important changes from the Modern Age: one, Bruce met Ra's Al Ghul shortly before he was Batman and met and conceived a child with Talia shortly before he was Batman; and two, Dick, Jason, and Tim were each Robins for much shorter time periods.
B. In regard to the meeting of the Al Ghul family, another alternate timeline idea would be to include an extra few "hidden years" before Year One (thus making our current 2012 year, YEAR NINE or YEAR TEN or even YEAR ELEVEN instead of Year Eight), which would make it so Bruce definitively meets Ra's Al Ghul and knocks up Talia in his first year as Batman. This would curiously, in a way, synch-up the New 52 timeline with Christopher Nolan's universe--Ra's Al Ghul (and possibly Scarecrow) as the first villains in the first year, followed by Joker in the second. Version A is already kind of like that, but the extra years ostensibly give Version B more credence.
C. IN CONTRAST, I have also seen an alternative which posits that Superman and the JL both indeed debuted FIVE YEARS AGO, but that Batman has been around for five or six years prior to that--having kept out of the public eye and maintained the status of urban legend. Thus, this alternative timeline says that Batman secretly debuted ELEVEN YEARS AGO or TWELVE YEARS AGO and only publicly "came out" five years ago (placing 2012 as Year Twelve). If this is true, then it not only gives us a lot more room to work with, but it allows for more reasonable time periods for the Robins (and reasonable ages for the Robins), makes more sense in regard to the conception and birth of Damian. Also, giving us eleven years to work with instead of a mere five allots a huge chunk of extra space that we can fill with the myriad of canonical-stories-that-surely-will-be-made-canon-if-they-haven't-been-made-canon-already. However, to play devil's advocate against this alternate timeline I paraphrase vitruvian's insightful commentary from the CBR message boards: "We know that Batman was around for a while as an "urban
legend" or hunted vigilante before JL Vol. 2 #1, rather than as a superhero
(Superman supposedly being the first person recognized as such), but we
really have no idea how long. I doubt it was a full five or six years, or that
the debut of Robin predates the 'superheroic era,' since there was no
indication in JL Vol. 2 #1 that vigilante Batman was known for having a kid
sidekick, but who knows." Who knows indeed.
The more I think about it, Version C's Twelve Year Model (where Year 12 is 2012) seems more and more legitimate and appropriate. In Red Hood & The Outlaws, Jason mentions that he spent "years" (emphasis on the plural yearS) learning to fight crime under Batman's tutelage. This seemingly implies that the Robins were Robins for longer than a one-year period each. In the shorter Eight Year Model (Version A), the Robins only serve their sidekick posts for roughly a year each. In a Twelve Year Model, each Robin can hold his post for around two years. ALSO, with the recent canonization of elements of "Knightfall" (as per Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #6) i.e. Bane breaking Batman's back, it seems as if an extra year or two (or three or four) might be appropriate. Maybe a Batman debut in 2000 or 2001 would be correct--it certainly would allow for Damian's conception to occur during Batman's first year in action. However, the obvious counter-argument against this would be that it extends Batman's "urban legend" period to five or six years long. Also, we still have to deal with that pesky insinuation in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #1 that says Joker has been active for six years as of 2011-2012. If this fact is indeed true in the Version C's Twelve Year Model, then Batman is around for nearly six years before Joker debuts. This seems highly unlikely to the point of it being ludicrous. Joker isn't around for five or six years!? How can any of this jive? Until we get a bit more info I'm afraid I'm still grasping in the dark.
The questions and complications that arise with Version C might be too great to overcome, despite the fact that it seems the most legit. If you'd like to see what I've done so far (i.e. my Version D!) then please check out:
But what do YOU think? I'm not only looking to stimulate conversation here, but I am also seriously looking for the correct answer! Help! Send me an email at email@example.com and deliver me some feedback, please!