Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Batman Timelines pre Earth P

A question was posed by Panda (Brian, who runs the Pendant Website and writes promotional blurbs for each show). He asked the Pendant Message Board about how Batman storylines like Hush and No Mans Land fit into Earth P continuity. In the Ace of Detectives show, the DC story lines of Hush, No Mans Land, Death in the Family, Killing Joke, and (indirectly) A Lonely Place of Dying have all been mentioned. In the Catwoman show, the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies arc has been mentioned, and in Superman and Wonder Woman, the Superman/Batman: Supergirl arc has been referenced.

Now, I guess because, you know, I keep the Book of Destiny, the question was also aimed at me to clarify. I typed something up, but it wound up being two pages long. I didnt think people would appreciate seeing 2 pages in their Daily Digest on the Pendant list, so I am posting the full essay here.

The easiest way to look at timelines and what happened when is to look at when the Robins have held their positions What do I mean by this? Well... We know Tim started training as Robin when he was 12. We know Tim saw the Grayson Family die when he was 3. Dick's parents died (and he started being Robin) when he was 13 in Post-Crisis Continuity. Dick's parents died during Batman Year 3, so Batman had been operating for 3 years when Dick started as Robin. Now, according to Nightwing, Year One, Dick was around 19 when he became Nightwing (In college, living on his own). That means it was around that time Jason became Robin, a position he held for only a few years. We know he was around 15 or 16 when he died, which was a year before Tim started.

Am I confusing you yet? This stuff makes perfect sense to me! Then again, my little Robin obsessed brain thought this crap through ages ago. I even have a timeline in spreadsheet form.... I am sad.

Ok so let's look at this another way. I personally see Batman as having been 40 when Hush took place. Tim was 16 then (I know this from Teen Titans and Robin comics at that same time). If we do all the math from that giant word/logic problem (well, as logical as Comic Book Time can be) then we get this:

Bruce started as Batman when he was 25. Three years later, he took in a 13 year old Dick Grayson as his sidekick. Dick was Robin until he was 19, when he left to become Nightwing. That same year, Bruce took in a 13 year old Jason Todd. Jason is Robin until he is killed by Joker in the Death in the Family arc at age 15. Later that same year, Barbara is paralyzed in the Killing Joke storyline.

Almost a year passes before Tim (aged 12) tracks down Dick and tells him to go become Robin again and explains that he knows who Batman is in the Lonely Place of Dying arc. A month or two after that happens, while secretly training to be Robin, Tim's mother is killed by TallyMan and his father put into a coma (that in Earth P, he'll never recover from). Tim becomes Robin officially at age 13, just in time for the Contagion arc (Ebola-type virus ravages Gotham) then the Cataclysm arc (Virus followed swiftly by 8.ohshit earthquake). On Dec 31 of that year, Gotham enters into the No Man's Land, which lasts a full year. During that NML year, Tim meets Cassie Sandsmark, who's only been Wonder Girl for a few months.

NML ends when Tim is 14, Dick is 24, Bruce is 39. After NML, the only arc I can tell happens that is relevant to Earth P is the Superman/Batman Public Enemies arc and the Superman/Batman Supergirl arc, which happened back to back the year after NML. I cant tell if the Bruce Wayne: Fugitive arc happens or not, or the Imperiex war.

Tim is 16 when Hush happens (Again, I know that from the Teen Titans stories that happened at the same time) so that makes Bruce 40, Dick 26. Personally, I feel that Hush was something of a Mid-Life Crisis for Bruce, so it makes sense for him to be 40. Earth P happens after Hush, but before anything else really happens. The Robin Unmasked story isn’t in Earth P continuity, neither is the War Drums/War Crimes arc, or Identity Crisis. I think of it as the first issue of Ace of Detectives happens a month or three after the end of Hush.

It's been a *Very nebulous comic timey don’t quote me on this at all you hear me* year and a half since the start of AOD. Tim just turned 18, which makes Bruce 42 and Dick 28. Jason, if he had lived, would be 22, so I think of Jason in Earth P as being 22, since he's from a world where he never died and was pulled across into our world. Of course, he could be a little older or younger, depending on if time progressed the same in that other Earth.

Now... All of this is just my opinion. It's based on reading lots of comics, but it's the closest I can get to anything that makes sense. DC likes to screw it up every few years by proclaiming Tim is still 15, or Bruce is 39. For a long time, both Batman and Superman were perpetually 30, but then Robins would grow up and move away and they adjusted it to perpetually 39, but even DC has said that they've bumped Bruce up into his 40s now (with the One Year Later stories).

As for what year all this happened? No way to tell. The time line slides. Basically, whatever story you are reading that is current is happening in the now, and all time before that is adjusted. This creates problems, though, when you have issues like this: When reading the NML arc when it came out, the year was 1998/9 and Lex Luthor fed money into the rebuild in hopes of winning the 2000 election. Now it's 2010, NML only happened 5 years ago and there was no election in 06. Also, when Death in the Family was written in '88-89, it was at a time when the US was throwing much money into arming the middle east to keep out the Soviet Russians (this is how the Taliban got big, and this is mentioned in the comic itself). However, when you adjust the timeline, that would have all happened in 2004.

So, without further ado, here is a sort of version of the spreadsheet chart I made AGES ago. For an RPG, actually. Not Earth P. See, I dont only do Earth P! Ages are very important to me!!

By year, I mean what year in Batman's career it is. "=" means Starts As, "R" means Robin, "NW" means Nightwing, "DOTF" means Death in the Family, "KJ" means Killing Joke, "LPOD" means Lonley Place of Dying, "NML" means No Man's Land, "D" means Dead.

_3______27_____13_____7_____3____Dick= R
_8______32_____18____12_____8____Tim figures Bat&R ID
_9______33_____19____13_____9____Dick=NW, Jason=R
_11_____35_____21____15_____11____DOTF, KJ
_12_____36_____22____D_____12____LPOD, Tim=R
_13_____37_____23____D_____13____Contag, Catycl, =NML
_15_____39_____25____D_____15____Supes/Bat (Kara=SG)
_17_____41_____27____D_____17____Earth P split
_18_____42_____28____22____18____Current Plots