Alan Kistler, over at Newsarama, has posted an insightful article entitled, "One Year Later: 10 Lingering Questions About The New 52". These questions are definitely apropos. At this point it is difficult to know resolutely what the honchos at DC have in store for their universes. I thought it would be interesting and beneficial to actually go ahead and answer Kistler's questions (as best I can, using the information provided in the New 52 issues thus far).
1. SHOULD WE IGNORE PARTS OF BATMAN INCORPORATED?
The short answer is YES—and not only parts, but the entire series! To explain my answer I will respond to each of Kistler's remarks. Kistler says, "[The] Leviathan Strikes one-shot is said to take place months before
all the new issue #1's, explaining why Dick Grayson has not yet returned
to his Nightwing identity and why Barbara Gordon still requires a
wheelchair. In fact, Barbara's physical state means that parts of Batman Incorporated need to take place at least 6 months before Batgirl #1." I have to disagree with this statement because in the New 52 we shouldn't assume that Oracle was a part of Batman Inc—in fact, it is my belief that Oracle never even existed in the New 52. Furthermore, The Leviathan Strikes! one-shot, based upon the dialogue and events going on—including the formation of the "Dead Heroes Club"—places the skeleton framework of events from Leviathan Strikes! as taking place right before Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #1. Kistler then extrapolates, "[DC] creators remark[ed] at San Diego Comic-Con that Stephanie was not a Robin, yet Batman Incorporated clearly says that this part of her history remains true." This is yet another reason to ignore Batman Incorporated from the Modern Age. Anything involving Stephanie has been wiped clean—clearly she wasn't referenced at all in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #1. Sorry, Spoiler fans. Kistler then pontificates, "And while we're told in the pages of Justice League that the team has
not had any new members in the five years since it formed, Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #1
includes remarks of Metamorpho's 'Justice League days.' Was he a member
but only for a short time now? Was he just an associate or consultant
on a few cases?" I added my response to this conundrum in Year Six of the New Age on my chronology. We must infer that Metamorpho was indeed, as Kistler theorizes, simply an associate, trainee, or consultant with the team. So, in summation, it is my belief that all of Batman Incorporated, including Leviathan Strikes!, is non-canon in the New 52. Only the things that are specifically flashed-back-to or referenced in the New 52 should be considered canon.
2. WHAT IS N.O.W.H.E.R.E.?
Okay, I can't really answer this one. As Kistler reminds us, Lobdell said that Superboy's Cadmus origins and his pre-Young Justice adventures would still be in continuity in the New 52. Of course, Superboy's origins are clearly linked not to Cadmus, and to NOWHERE instead. And furthermore, it appears as if his pre-Young Justice adventures have not occurred. So, I don't know what NOWHERE is, but I do know that, again, we must ignore Superboy's past from the Modern Age, except where things are flashed-back-to or specifically referenced in the New Age.
3. WHO KILLED ALEX DEWITT?
We don't know yet! It isn't Major Force anymore. Maybe she never got thrown in the fridge after all?
4. HOW LONG HAS BATMAN BEEN OPERATING?
Of course, this is the very purpose of my project, so I have an answer. Kistler weighs in on the subject, stating, "If we presume that Dick Grayson became
the original Robin after Superman's debut but before the formation of
the Justice League, then Batman was probably operating for at least
three or four years earlier (taking into account his solo adventures and
the previous timeline). So let's say Batman has been around for nine
years. Well, his son Damian Wayne is 10. When exactly did Batman meet
Ra's al Ghul and Damian's mother Talia in the new reality? Before he was
ever Batman?" Based upon that statement, Kistler and I pretty much agree. Batman has been around for 9 years. And Batman was operating for three years when Robin debuts and the Justice League forms—although, Kistler believes that Robin came first, and then the JL whereas I have it the other way around. Either way, they both happen around the same time, so they could very well be interchangeable. And in regard to the Al Ghuls, as I have on my chronology, Bruce definitely meets them (and conceives Damian) before becoming Batman. Kistler also addresses the James Gordon Junior problem—an issue that I also address in my chronology. Kistler says, "Another problem arises when you consider that Batman's origin is still said to be Batman: Year One.
But if that story features the birth of James Gordon Jr., then it must
take place almost 20 years ago since James seems to currently be in his
late teens, if not older." My obvious answer to this is that Batman: Year One is non-canon in the New 52. I know there was a one panel flashback to an image from Batman: Year One in one of Snyder's books, but that doesn't make the entirety of Miller's seminal tale canon. Clearly, James Junior was born, as Kistler reminds us, around 18 to 20 years ago, which is proof positive that Year One has been significantly altered to the point of non-recognition.
5. WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THE GORDON FAMILY?
The New 52 Gordon family tree is quite different (and more simplified) than the previous incarnation. Kistler asks, "What happened to Sarah Essen? Did she never reunite with Jim in the
new reality? Did they reunite but never marry? And if Babs/Batgirl is
the biological daughter of Jim Gordon and Barbara Gordon, then that
brings us back to wondering about the timeline and continuity of Batman: Year One and who that baby is that is being born, and is said to be Jim's first child." My response to these remarks is, again, Miller's Batman: Year One is now non-canon! Sarah Essen never existed, there was no baby born in Year One. Babs' mom left on her own accord. Babs' biological parents are Barbara and James Gordon.
6. WHERE DOES WONDER WOMAN THINK KIDS COME FROM?
The mythology behind the Amazons has changed drastically, causing many questions and much controversy alike. Kistler answers this query with, "There may be a good explanation planned, but we haven't heard it yet." I concur.
7. WAS THERE ANOTHER TALKING GORILLA?
This one is about how in Flash, Barry is shocked upon meeting Gorilla Grodd and the talking gorillas of Gorilla City, yet in the "five years ago" origin story for the Justice League, he mentions having already fought with a talking gorilla. In my humble opinion, this is probably a miscommunication or continuity snafu that someone in editorial missed. There is so much going on, a single line of dialogue that is incorrect is bound to slip through the cracks, right? Or "there may be a good explanation planned, but we haven't heard it yet."
8. WHO ARE THE TRINITY OF SIN?
This is less of a continuity question and more of a "I wonder where this story is heading" question. But Kistler does add an addendum of additional queries at the end, which include: "If the Phantom Stranger and Pandora are aware that this reality has
been altered, does that open the door for the old universes to come
back? Why reboot all of history if you're going to mention that this
isn't how things used to be? Are we leading to a new Crisis?" I hope we aren't heading to another Crisis. The New 52 is about new, fresh concepts, and not rehashing the old. The Trinity's mention of old timelines and alternate universes hopefully will lead toward something unique and thrilling, and possibly the crossover of worlds, but another Crisis we surely don't need.
9. WHAT MAJOR EVENTS TRULY HAPPENED?
Kistler talks about how Blackest Night, Batman's Omega time displacement, the destruction of Coast City, and other things have been mentioned as definitively happening in the New 52, but is confused as to how these things can be since they contradict so much of the New 52 mythos. Not to sound like a broken record, but what we need to remember is that just because a major Modern Age event is referenced in the New 52, it doesn't mean that that event occurred exactly as it did originally. For all we know, Batman was never involved in Blackest Night. Obviously, none of the JSA members were involved since they now live on another Earth and have completely revamped backgrounds. Likewise, the destruction of Coast City no longer happened in conjunction with the Death and Return of Superman story anymore. I can't stress this enough: The old tales from before Flashpoint are now non-canon reference materials. Everything has changed.
10. WHERE IS JOKER?
Again, this one is more of a "what is in store?" question rather than a continuity based question. Snyder is at the helm, as Kistler excitedly mentions, so anything could happen. I'm also excited to see how this plays out. It's pretty cool (and a strong move) to hold off on using arguably your biggest supervillain draw for over a full real-life calender year. It's a great way to significantly increase the impact of Joker's return and also demonstrates the New 52 as a omniverse where things have been planned well in advance by its architects.