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  1. #1
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    Default Batman Chronology

    So with Batman spread over several different series, what is the actual chronology of his story? I just read Miller's Year One and would like to continue in "order." What's next? Year Two? I'm looking for individual issues so if anyone has some ideas let me know. Thanks!
    Last edited by gwizz; 03-10-2005 at 08:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Gotham Guardian Captain Jim's Avatar
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    I'd recommend following Year One with The Long Halloween.
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  3. #3
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    You've never going to get an easy answer. As I understand the first 10 years of so of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, were set in the year 1-2 period. Presumably some of it even overlaps with Year 1, and is certaintly set before Year 2.

    It's best not to worry about these things

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    Whitmore: Rebirth! Sean Whitmore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dancj
    It's best not to worry about these things

    Yeah, even the editors don't. :)

    Seriously, there is no chronology, only a vague semblance of one. More than half of the Batman stories ever written "don't count" when it comes to continuity, which means you can pretty much pick up any book and enjoy it on it's own merits, without wondering how it fits into a (now nonexistent) cohesive universe.


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  5. #5
    writer/reviewer ComicMix
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    Because I am a sad human being who does not sleep enough and thinks of this stuff during class or when I'm out drinking with my fellow dork buddies, I have thought long and hard about the Batman chronology. Here is my PERSONAL Chronology list.

    BATMAN: YEAR ONE tpb

    "CATWOMAN: Her Sister's Keeper" tpb can be read as a campanion piece to BATMAN: YEAR ONE since it basically takes place over the same time period but through Catwoman's POV. And it also shows their first actual confrontation.

    BATMAN: PREY tpb (this story can take place during the month that Year One kinda skimps over when it jumps thorugh november and quickly to a day in December. Here we are introduced to Batman's prototype Batmobile, the first make-shift bat-signal, and the true beginnings of Batman and Gordon as a team)

    MAN OF STEEL #3 (Batman and Superman first meet and fight Magpie; this can also take place during that big gap in Year One)

    BATMAN: THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (here we go with tying up events alluded to on the last page of Year One, the first meeting with the Joker and the first appearance of the true/official bat-signal)

    FOUR OF A KIND tpb (the Poison Ivy story can take place during one of the gaps in Year One, in order to explain why Batman does not yet have the car, and the other stories after Year One)

    WORLD'S FINEST (the 12-issue miniseries) #1 (i put this in a shifty category because although several issues of the series can't fit into continuity anymore, I do think this first issue is a fine story and with the one exception of the fact that Luthor has his hair in it, it still works. Just a damn fun story.)

    BATMAN: COLLECTED LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT tpb (again, not ESSENTIAL i guess, but good stories)

    TERROR tpb (a follow-up to PREY and also a hint to Catwoman's plans to enter society life, which we see have come to fruition later in Long Halloween)

    BATMAN HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: GHOSTS
    BATMAN HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: MADNESS (Ghosts ended early on Halloween evening. Madness can very easily take place later that same night; Barbara's absence from the next several stories up until Robin Year One can be explained by the fact that she went to college early due to her oh-so-smartness. The reason I'd like to keep both these stories firmly in continuity is because the first shows us the introduction of Lucius Fox and the beginning of the Wayne Foundation and the second shows us a touching intro to Babs as well as a wonderful look on Leslie Thompkin and on how Bruce blames himself as being directly responsible for his mother's death, which comes up later in Long Halloween).

    BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN tpb

    BATMAN: TURNING POINTS # 1 (Gordon's wife leaves, thus her absence in Dark Victory)

    JUSTICE LEAGUE INCARNATIONS # 2 (Batman states he isn't used to working with a partner yet, so it's before Robin's appearance, but the League is definitely not just a bunch of rookies still either. Joining the League gets Batman to loosen up a bit on being such a loner, thus helping to make Robin's intro in Dark Victory more understandable).

    BATMAN: DARK VICTORY tpb (Robin!)

    BATMAN CHRONICLES: THE GAUNTLET one-shot prestige format (Robin's first night out, the only editorial mistake here would be that Gordon is incorrectly reffered to as a Captain when he was already a Commissioner by this time, you can mentally edit that out yourself it's no biggie. The reason i think this story should "count" is because 1, it's a great comic and 2, Nightwing refers to his experience with The Gauntlet in the recent Nightwing: Year One storyline).

    ROBIN: YEAR ONE tpb

    And that's basically it for the early/formation of Batman's career i think. All the significant stuff anyway.

    On another note, I'd like to add something. Some people have complained that the book TRINITY places Wonder Woman too far back in post-crisis DCU History and that it alters the fact that Ra's al Ghul now met Batman years before the kidnapping of Robin from his college dorm, a story which even in Hush is referenced as their first meeting. HOwever, here's my suggestion. The boy we see in the Robin costume in Trinity is never named. And what's more, he's got Jason's hairstyle. Why can't it be Jason? If that is true, then there's no reason at all to discount Batman's first meeting wtih Ra's as Denny O'Neil told it AND at most it moves Wonder Woman to having first appeared soon before the Crisis, a concept some other writers have suggested as well anyway.

    The only flaw could be Batman's reaction to Aquaman's cameo. But notice, he doesn't specifically say that he's never seen Aquaman before, just that he finds it impossible for someone to be so far adn deep with no equipment. Knowing what a skeptic Batman is, I can easily believe he'd still be doubtful of Aquaman's claims that he actually lived at the BOTTOM of the sea, thinking he was exagerrating his power.

    Also, I personally feel that there's really no reason not to have Strange Apparitions remain in continuity. All you'd need would be an extra issue special perhaps to serve as an epilogue where Batman reflects that he was certianly acting a mite friendlier with Silver St. Cloud around, and thus we can appreciate just how good she was for him.

    Anyway, that's my bit. Later.
    Last edited by Kistler; 03-17-2005 at 12:17 AM.

  6. #6
    Crusader of Justice dancj's Avatar
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    I thought Trinity was out of continuity??

  7. #7
    The Man without a Face The Joker's Avatar
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    I believe YEAR 2 is out of continuity as well.
    "Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is."

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    Yep, they are outta continuity. And Man of Steel # 3 must take place during Batman's Year Two at least, since Bats is wearing the yellow oval around the Batsymbol, and he didn't adopt the oval until his second year of activities.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kistler
    Because I am a sad human being who does not sleep enough and thinks of this stuff during class or when I'm out drinking with my fellow dork buddies, I have thought long and hard about the Batman chronology. Here is my PERSONAL Chronology list.

    BATMAN: YEAR ONE tpb

    "CATWOMAN: Her Sister's Keeper" tpb can be read as a campanion piece to BATMAN: YEAR ONE since it basically takes place over the same time period but through Catwoman's POV. And it also shows their first actual confrontation.

    BATMAN: PREY tpb (this story can take place during the month that Year One kinda skimps over when it jumps thorugh november and quickly to a day in December. Here we are introduced to Batman's prototype Batmobile, the first make-shift bat-signal, and the true beginnings of Batman and Gordon as a team)

    MAN OF STEEL #3 (Batman and Superman first meet and fight Magpie; this can also take place during that big gap in Year One)

    BATMAN: THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (here we go with tying up events alluded to on the last page of Year One, the first meeting with the Joker and the first appearance of the true/official bat-signal)

    FOUR OF A KIND tpb (the Poison Ivy story can take place during one of the gaps in Year One, in order to explain why Batman does not yet have the car, and the other stories after Year One)

    WORLD'S FINEST (the 12-issue miniseries) #1 (i put this in a shifty category because although several issues of the series can't fit into continuity anymore, I do think this first issue is a fine story and with the one exception of the fact that Luthor has his hair in it, it still works. Just a damn fun story.)

    BATMAN: COLLECTED LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT tpb (again, not ESSENTIAL i guess, but good stories)

    TERROR tpb (a follow-up to PREY and also a hint to Catwoman's plans to enter society life, which we see have come to fruition later in Long Halloween)

    BATMAN HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: GHOSTS
    BATMAN HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: MADNESS (Ghosts ended early on Halloween evening. Madness can very easily take place later that same night; Barbara's absence from the next several stories up until Robin Year One can be explained by the fact that she went to college early due to her oh-so-smartness. The reason I'd like to keep both these stories firmly in continuity is because the first shows us the introduction of Lucius Fox and the beginning of the Wayne Foundation and the second shows us a touching intro to Babs as well as a wonderful look on Leslie Thompkin and on how Bruce blames himself as being directly responsible for his mother's death, which comes up later in Long Halloween).

    BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN tpb

    BATMAN: TURNING POINTS # 1 (Gordon's wife leaves, thus her absence in Dark Victory)

    JUSTICE LEAGUE INCARNATIONS # 2 (Batman states he isn't used to working with a partner yet, so it's before Robin's appearance, but the League is definitely not just a bunch of rookies still either. Joining the League gets Batman to loosen up a bit on being such a loner, thus helping to make Robin's intro in Dark Victory more understandable).

    BATMAN: DARK VICTORY tpb (Robin!)

    BATMAN CHRONICLES: THE GAUNTLET one-shot prestige format (Robin's first night out, the only editorial mistake here would be that Gordon is incorrectly reffered to as a Captain when he was already a Commissioner by this time, you can mentally edit that out yourself it's no biggie. The reason i think this story should "count" is because 1, it's a great comic and 2, Nightwing refers to his experience with The Gauntlet in the recent Nightwing: Year One storyline).

    ROBIN: YEAR ONE tpb

    And that's basically it for the early/formation of Batman's career i think. All the significant stuff anyway.

    On another note, I'd like to add something. Some people have complained that the book TRINITY places Wonder Woman too far back in post-crisis DCU History and that it alters the fact that Ra's al Ghul now met Batman years before the kidnapping of Robin from his college dorm, a story which even in Hush is referenced as their first meeting. HOwever, here's my suggestion. The boy we see in the Robin costume in Trinity is never named. And what's more, he's got Jason's hairstyle. Why can't it be Jason? If that is true, then there's no reason at all to discount Batman's first meeting wtih Ra's as Denny O'Neil told it AND at most it moves Wonder Woman to having first appeared soon before the Crisis, a concept some other writers have suggested as well anyway.

    The only flaw could be Batman's reaction to Aquaman's cameo. But notice, he doesn't specifically say that he's never seen Aquaman before, just that he finds it impossible for someone to be so far adn deep with no equipment. Knowing what a skeptic Batman is, I can easily believe he'd still be doubtful of Aquaman's claims that he actually lived at the BOTTOM of the sea, thinking he was exagerrating his power.

    Also, I personally feel that there's really no reason not to have Strange Apparitions remain in continuity. All you'd need would be an extra issue special perhaps to serve as an epilogue where Batman reflects that he was certianly acting a mite friendlier with Silver St. Cloud around, and thus we can appreciate just how good she was for him.

    Anyway, that's my bit. Later.

    And where does the Venom story arc from LOTDK fit in, as it paves the way for the introduction of Bane et all?

  10. #10
    writer/reviewer ComicMix
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    DAMMIT! You're right, I totally forgot about VENOM!!! Hmmm. I would Put Venom right after FOUR OF A KIND.

    As for TRINITY, I realize it's not necessarily in continuity due to the reasons I mentioned, andthat's why it wasn't part of the main list, but I kinda wish it WERE in continuity. It was a great story.

    YEAR TWO as I understand is not in continuity at all anymore, nor is its sequel FULL CIRCLE, so I didn't include them.

    And IIRC Batman didn't have the yellow circle in MAN OF STEEL # 3. Also, in Post ZERO-HOUR continuity, he didn't have the yellow circle until sometime after Robin joined. They were even showing that BEFORE ZH when they did YEAR THREE.

    Anyway, that's just my own personal way of thinking/looking at it. In my head, I think of Superman and Batman being around for about a full year before the League ever forms. Just a prefence thing. Also, it makes more sense to me that others defer to them in JLA year one and stories taking place around that era. If everyone showed up just weeks after each other, that doesn't make as much sense to me. So in my mind, Batman's YEAR ONE era would have Superman, Batman, the Doom Patrol and a few others (Hal and Barry) operating at the time. Then in their second year, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter and Black Canary and Green Arrow would debut and soon afterwards the League would form.

    Just my own two bits. It works for me.

  11. #11
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    From http://www.sequart.com/batmanYEARONE.htm :

    In the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC elected not to reboot Batman as it had Superman, who in 1986 received a mini-series (entitled Man of Steel) revising his origin and telling episodes from his early years, a new continuity that took over his title. Not powered like Superman, Batman seemed to need less revision. DC thus gave writer Frank Miller, whose revolutionary mini-series The Dark Knight Returns had recently been completed, to write a four-issue storyline that would revise Batman's origin and would appear not in its own mini-series but in the Batman title. Miller, paired with David Mazzucchelli -- with whom he had earlier collaborated on the trailblazing "Born Again" storyline in Daredevil -- came up with Batman: Year One, boldly outlining Batman's first year as a vigilante.
    A realistic story beginning with Bruce Wayne's return to Gotham City after his extended martial arts training abroad, the story depicted the murder of Wayne's parents and Wayne's simplistic pledge to "become a bat" in order to frighten criminals with such power that it became the definitive and unchallenged version, with his and Mazzucchelli's particualar imagery and symbolism in those sequences even serving in later stories for those events and the power that Miller and Mazzucchelli invested in them. The storyline also showed Gordon as a flawed and compelling character in his own right, a man newly tranferred from Chicago and adjusting both to the city and to Batman's emergence. The story was also noted for the lack of super-villains, the sole semi-exception being Catwoman, whose emergence followed Batman's and who was cast as a former whore whose stark black costume made explicit the sadomasochistic fetish (implicit all along in her traditional use of whips, strained relationship with Batman, and choice of a pussy cat as her totem). Lacking super-villains, Batman dealt with mobsters and Gordon with crooked cops: in this sense, and particularly in the realism of Wayne's early and awkward attempts at vigiliantism, Year One owed more to detective novels, or mob and detective movies, than to super-heroics. Indeed, the whole story can be seen as a revisionist, starkly realistic take less on super-heroes than on the pulp tradition from which Batman originally came.
    Year Two quickly followed in Detective Comics #575-578. It had no involvement by Frank Miller. It also did not cover a full year, instead telling a story from Batman's past, presumably sometime during Batman's second year. That story focused on Joe Chill, the killer of Batman's parents, but they also introduced a villain called The Reaper. That villain would return in the prestige format special, Batman: Full Circle.
    Early 1989 saw the four-issue Catwoman mini-series, telling the events of Year One from Catwoman's perspective -- and moving beyond those events, both temporally and in terms of what Catwoman was involved in at the time. The series, suggested for mature readers, was of adequate quality and is mostly noted for its connection to Year One.
    Year Three would be published in Batman #436-439 in mid-1989. Whereas Year Two had not covered a full year, unlike Year One, Year Three would move away from the original premise yet further. Its story, focusing on Robin's origin, would occur only in flashback, framed by present-day material that showed Batman without a Robin, the second Robin (Jason Todd) having recently been killed off. It was all part of a plan to show how Batman needed a Robin and to introduce a third Robin, but this admirable plan sacrificed the storyline's importance to what was then a fledgling set of stories occurring in Batman's early days.
    A new ongoing Batman title, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, was launched in late 1989 to coincide with the incredibly successful 1989 movie. Wanting to make the new title special, Legends of the Dark Knight would tell stories from Batman's early years. Originally, each storyline was to feature a different creative team and to run five issues -- a considerably trailblazing and influential move. "Shaman," running in the first five issues, told a Batman adventure from the end of Batman's first year, occurring not long after Batman: Year One. Subsequent storylines jumped around a bit chronologically: "Gothic" (running in #6-10) featured the bat-signal, yet the bat-signal was established in "Prey" (running in #11-15). "Venom" (running in #16-20) told a memorable story that both showed Batman growing considerably darker from his experiences and introduced the strength-inducing titular drug, later used to create the villain Bane, who would break Batman's back in the "Knightfall" storyline / event. With #21, format of the five-part storyline was put aside: "Faith" (running in #21-23) had Dr. Leslie Thompkins learn Batman's identity and featured a cameo of the then-travelling Flying Graysons; "Flyer" (running in #24-26) showed consequences from a scene in Year One and explicitly fit between earlier Legends of the Dark Knight storylines. With the stand-alone issue #27, however, coherence with this chronology unfortunately became increasingly broken. For example, the nonetheless memorable "Faces" (running in #28-30) told Two-Face's return after two years in prison -- what should have been his second story, chronologically -- but this timing made no sense: Batman wore his original outfit (without the yellow oval background to his symbol that was added as part of his "new look"), though he was incongruously seen in his "new look" outfit in Year Two -- and putting Two-Face out of play for two years during Batman's first few years would prove unfeasable, since other stories would inevitably use the character in that period.
    Meanwhile, 1990 saw a very good story set in Batman's early years. Rather than publish another present-day story, Batman Annual #14 was given over to retelling Two-Face's origin. It referenced events of Year One explicitly but was an excellent tale in its own right.
    By 1995, the term "Year One" had come to into the vocabulary as a general term for introductory stories or stories set in a character's first year. DC made "Year One" the theme for all of its super-hero annuals for that year, giving many characters their first such story. In the case of Batman, the 1995 Batman annuals added to the pile of such stories, but did so by introducing fairly major villains -- like the Riddler -- who had not yet been introduced in the revised tales of Batman's early days. Though the Robin title had Robin III as its protagonist in the present, 1995's Robin Annual retold the original Robin's origin, acting as a kind of revised Year Three without the present-day framework. 1995's Catwoman Annual added a villain to Catwoman's first year, slipping the story into the original Catwoman mini-series (despite artistic discrepancies, prominently including breast size), much as the original Catwoman mini-series had slipped into Batman: Year One.

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  13. #13
    writer/reviewer ComicMix
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    Interesting list and I appreciate the effort put into it, but I can't get entirely behind its accuracy. Batman Year Two and Full Circle are out of continuity for a few reasons and Year Three can't co-exist with Long Halloween and Dark Victory cuz circumstances are altered and Zucco DIES in Dark Victory, a fact which was confirmed in ROBIN YEAR ONE (which was supposed to be the 'new year three' anyway, i thought). Also, I pretty much assumed that Many Deaths of Batman had been written out of continuity since we've learned about other teachers he had since that story that weren't targetted and since post-zero hour it made it clear he usually used a false name in his training, meaning that there shouldn't have been a way for someone to track down Batman's trainers as they did in Many Deaths of Batman.

  14. #14
    Whitmore: Rebirth! Sean Whitmore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kistler
    Interesting list and I appreciate the effort put into it, but I can't get entirely behind its accuracy. Batman Year Two and Full Circle are out of continuity for a few reasons and Year Three can't co-exist with Long Halloween and Dark Victory cuz circumstances are altered and Zucco DIES in Dark Victory, a fact which was confirmed in ROBIN YEAR ONE (which was supposed to be the 'new year three' anyway, i thought).

    All very true. The sad fact is that there is NO early-career Batman story that isn't contradicted by at least one other early-career Batman story (keep in mind I'm talking about an "event" story, like a first meeting, and not some dinky little one-off from LotDK or something).

    Some stuff, like "Year Two", is just 100% out-of-continuity, no question. As for all the rest, what you consider canon all depends on which story you like best.


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  15. #15
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    Default Timeline

    As others have said, this is all difficult to dig through to come up with something coherent for a timeline. However, it's certainly not impossible.

    First thing to consider: should we include "Bruce trains to become Batman" stories in the chronology? If so, there's

    A) the text origin piece from the Secret Origins tpb (written by O'Neil?), which kind of skips through Bruce's formative years in 12 pages.
    B)There's the incognito teenage Bruce in Detective Comics annual 2, which revived a mentor who's original debut was back in the 50's...and
    C)there's the flashback sections of LODK 52 and 53, which are somewhat like the Ninja episodes from the Bruce Timm animated series.

    I think it is best to leave these out, because there are huge gaps in between them. I think the chronology is better started at a point where you pretty much have continuous events happening one after the other.

    The other obvious question is where you end the "Batman's early days" chronology, and I'd say Batgirl Year One is about as late as you'd want to go.

    So my criteria for inclusion were A) comics that were titled "Year __ (whatever). The exception to this Batman Year 3 - most of the story takes place in "the present" rather than the past, and what does take place in the past is all knocked by the wayside by superior Robin origin stories that came along later. B) Comics that either introduce a major villain or hero or build upon that character's story in the early timeframe AND came out in some variation of a trade paperback. The tpb could be either the original release (as with Gauntlet) or reprinted as a TPB.

    I hate both Venom and Batman Year Two with a passion, but I include Year Two and don't include Venom. This is because the characters in Venom are original and don't get further developed in later "Year One" stories, while Year Two is definitely meant to go with Year One in the chronology and has a sequel that further validates it.

    So, starting after the above-mentioned "Brue as a teenager" tales, you've got...

    -Legends of the Dark Knight (LODK) #1 pg 1-13 (just before Bruce's return to Gotham)

    -Issue 1 of Batman Year One (occurring at the same time as the first 13 pages of the Catwoman mini-series (Sister's Keeper) #1 pg. 1-13

    (Detective Comics #0 is too obscure for me to include, but the flashback scenes from it would go here if you were to include it)

    -The rest of LODK #1

    -ppg 1-15 of B Year One #2, occurring at the same time as most of the rest of CW Sister's Keeper #1

    - flashback Red Hood scenes from Killing Joke

    -Catwoman Year One annual pg 5-26

    -the end of Year One #2 and the most of Year One #3

    -the end of Sister's Keeper #1 and beginning of Sister's Keeper #2

    -end of Year One #3

    -ppg 15-25 of Detective Comics Year One (the Riddler Year 1 annual)

    -the rest of Sister's Keeper #2, all of #3, beginning of #4

    -Year One #4

    Sorry, I haven't yet figured which parts of LODK 50 I keep and which parts of Man Who Laughs, so that's as far as I get for the moment. If there's interest in seeing more, I'll add to it.

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