Thursday, 23 April 2009

These things are fun for the person writing them.

It's the second part of my Bat-Chronology! Rejoice in that news.

The Story so Far -

In the first installment we deduced that the timeline offered by DC Editorial at their San Deigo panel was a bumper basket of bollocks. This didn't take much deducing since it involved Batman recovering from a helicopter crash before it happened.

We also discovered that, no matter how tidy it would be to have all of the tie-ins in which Gotham goes mental over Bruce's apparent death occur after Final Crisis, and thus refer to the same apparent death, a fair chunk of them simply have to happen inbetween RIP and FC and refer to a different apparent death.

So we ended up with this...

PART ONE - BATMAN BEATS THE DEVIL.
  • Detective Comics #846-50 ('Heart of Hush')
  • Batman #676-8 ('RIP' parts 1-3)
  • Robin #175-6
  • Batman #679-681 ('RIP' parts 4-6)
PART TWO - BATMAN'S MISSING FOR A BIT AND EVERYONE OVER-REACTS.
  • Batman and the Outsiders #11-14
  • Nightwing #147-151 ('The Great Leap') - concurrent with early chapters of 'Search for a Hero'
  • Robin #177-82 ('Search for a Hero')
  • Dectective #851, Batman #684 ('The Last Days of Gotham') - concurrent with later chapters of 'Search for a Hero'
PART THREE - BATMAN KILLS GOD.
  • That flashback sequence from #683
  • Final Crisis #1-4
  • Batman #682-3
  • Final Crisis #5-7
PART FOUR - BATMAN APPEARS DEAD FOR A BIT AND EVERYONE OVER-REACTS.
  • Nightwing #152-3
  • Detective #852, Batman #685 ('Reconstruction/Catspaw')


What I'm up to in this post is a little tidy-up to take us up to the start of Battle for the Cowl, which I'll do in one big lump once that's all over.

So, the things I need to slot in today are... Robin #183, Batman and the Outsiders Special #1, Outsiders #15-17 and Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Can't see anything that might be ambiguous there.

Starting with Robin #183, then we've references back to everything that's been going on in Gotham's RIP/Last Rites issues, but no references to Final Crisis. Gang Wars - worth mentioning, the End of the World - not so much. Taken with Tim's expectation that Bruce will be back, an expectation that's more reasonable if you've seen a big splash than if you've seen a charred corpse, then this might suggest we're still in the post-RIP/pre-FC interregnum. But were're not. This issue is explictly set after Alfred's "taken over the Outsiders", which happens in Batman and the Outsiders Special #1 and that issue does directly reference FC when it has has Black Lightning monologuing about its apocalyptic goings-on.

Batman and the Outsiders Special #1, hereafter known as Why Didn't They Just Make This One Batman and the Outsiders #15?, occurs "a predetermined length of time" after Batman's 'death', but an unspecified one. We might as well just stick to publication order and have it take place after the Faces of Evil thingy.

The new Outsiders' first mission, which begins in Outsiders #15, picks up directly from the end of Why Didn't They Just Make This One Batman and the Outsiders #15?. So until a reason presents itself in the four issues yet to be published, I'm going to assume for now that the arc which runs from #15-20 ('The Deep') takes place immediately after the special. This fits nicely with the fact that this Outsiders team is established before Battle for the Cowl: Man-Bat, but nevertheless four issues is a long time in comics, so this placement remains very provisional. Teatime Brutality Inc. accepts no responsibility for any distress caused should I later decide it goes later.

Right, what's left?

Well, it'd obviously be a travesty of limitation and reduction to misread Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? in order to fit it into continuity. So let's do exactly that. Sorry, Neil. Love ya, but if you're going to do a summation of all the different takes on the Batman Myth in the middle of someone elses' more extensive and insightful summation of all the different takes on the Batman Myth then the big fish noms the little one.

Caped Crusader depicts an 'essential' or Platonic Batman dying and being reborn in endless variations of his own life.

'The Omega Sanction' is established in Seven Soldiers as being a cycle of death and rebirth that sees its victim condemned to endless variations on his own life. Batman falls foul of the Omega Sanction in Final Crisis.

While Gaiman probably intends Caped Crusader to be 'continuity-transcendent', and while that's undoubtedly the best way to read the story on its own terms, putting Gaiman and Morrison's cycles of multiple Bat-lives together is irresistible in a project like this.

Actually, something rather pleasing happens when you let yourself pretend that Gaiman and Morrison are purposefully telling the same story. What makes the Omega Sanction a hell is that each life is increasingly without hope. But what makes Batman Batman, according to Gaiman, is that he never gives up. The single trait that makes this reincarnating self a consistent, self -identical, A=A, self is its refusal to surrender hope. So it's logically impossible to reincarnate Batman in a spiral of increasingly hopeless lives, as if the hope doesn't carry over then it's not Batman you're reincarnating. Fun, fun, fun.

So in it goes, as an FC coda, whether it likes it or not.

Couple of other things I'm going to stick in on this update are Superman Beyond (since FC's unreadable without it, and since the "selfless act...meet hate crime" synthesis sets up the logic by which Batman's able to kill Darkseid) and DCU#0. That issue doesn't really occur at any fixed point in a chronology, what with it showing Barry Allen condensing down from union with all space-time, but I'm bunging it in before RIP, since that's where its most Bat-relevant scene goes.

Here's how it looks...

PART ONE - BATMAN BEATS THE DEVIL.
  • DCU #0
  • Detective Comics #846-50 ('Heart of Hush')
  • Batman #676-8 ('RIP' parts 1-3)
  • Robin #175-6
  • Batman #679-681 ('RIP' parts 4-6)
PART TWO - BATMAN'S MISSING FOR A BIT AND EVERYONE OVER-REACTS.
  • Batman and the Outsiders #11-14
  • Nightwing #147-151 ('The Great Leap') - concurrent with early chapters of 'Search for a Hero'
  • Robin #177-82 ('Search for a Hero')
  • Dectective #851, Batman #684 ('The Last Days of Gotham') - concurrent with later chapters of 'Search for a Hero'
PART THREE - BATMAN KILLS GOD.
  • That flashback sequence from #683
  • Final Crisis #1-3
  • Superman Beyond #1-2
  • Final Crisis #4
  • Batman #682-3
  • Final Crisis #5-7
PART FOUR - WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER?
  • Batman #686
  • Detective Comics #853
PART FIVE - BATMAN APPEARS DEAD FOR A BIT AND EVERYONE OVER-REACTS.
  • Nightwing #152-3
  • Detective #852, Batman #685 ('Reconstruction/Catspaw')
  • Batman and the Outsiders Special #1
  • The Outsiders #15-20 ('The Deep') - provisional placement.
  • Robin #183
PART SIX - EVERYONE BATTLES OVER CAWL, A TRADITIONAL WELSH LAMB AND LEEK STEW.
  • Coming Soon.

3 comments:

  1. I just did a little piece for I Heart Comics pretty much telling everyone they can skip all of Battle for Cowl and not miss anything vital. I already like the Cawl version better.

    I still like the Laundry Crisis notion better as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, come now. If you skip over Oracle: The Cure, you miss the splendor of the worst miniseries DC has published in my memory. I mean, that comic is sublimely and epically bad. In exciting ways.

    Though Battle for the Cowl is pretty awful too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'll be skipping neither. In fact I'm tempted to do a great big textual analysis of 'The Cure', so hilariously bad is it, with it's loveable "disabled people are better off dead! Anti-life cures the lame but makes heads explode!" antics.

    I wish I'd skipped 'Battle for the Cowl: Arkham Asylum' though. It confused me. By being quite good.

    ReplyDelete