The Post-Crisis Batman Read Along Project

The Real Batman Chronology Project is one of the most ambitious reading order sites I’ve ever seen.

The site owner has several different reading orders for Batman and his various timelines (Golden Age, Silver Age, New 52, etc) but the granddaddy of them all is his “Modern Age” Post-Crisis timeline.

He fits in damn near every single Batman appearance there was in that era, and if he’s missing a comic from that era, best believe there will be a footnote explaining what the comic is and why it’s not ‘canon’ despite being published during that time.

I’ve used this site over the years as a source to accumulate my own personal reading order. I definitely don’t agree with some of the placement, especially in the first few years of Batman’s journey, but it’s still an amazing resource to have.

That being said, I thought it might be fun to throw away my own pride and ego, and start a thread where I (and hopefully eventually you) do a read along of the Chronology project exactly as it’s posted from the site runner. One reason I love DCUniverse is because their post-Crisis Bat catalogue is comprehensive and near complete, and so most comics on the timeline are available to read on the site.

The timeline itself is unbelievably detailed. If Bruce had a pet turtle at age 8 that had a farting disorder, then the site will absolutely make a reference to that and will try to place it on the timeline.

There’s thousands of little reference notes on the timeline, but I will be skipping most of those. Most of them are just telling us things we’ll eventually find out by reading the stories themselves.

The story so far…

Year Zero

The Batman Chronicles # 5 Part 3 - “Of Mice and Men”

Superman/Batman Secret Files # 1 Part 3 (the link takes you to Superman/Batman TPB Volume 1) - “When Clark Met Bruce”

Gotham Knights # 20 Part 2 - “The Lesson”

The Batman Chronicles # 6 Part 2 - “Shadow Job”

Year One

Batman # 404

Batman # 405 (stop at May 15th)

Legends of the Dark Knight # 1

The Batman Chronicles # 19 Part 1 - “Got a Date with an Angel”

Legends of the Dark Knight # 89-90

The Man of Steel # 3

Superman/Batman Annual # 1**

Batman # 405 conclusion (start at May 15th)

Batman # 406

Batman Annual # 13 Part 2 - “Waiting in the Wings” (the link takes you to the Batman Allies: Alfred Pennyworth TPB)

Gotham Knights # 3 Part 2 - “Broken Nose”

Batman # 407

Martian Manhunter # 22

Batman and the Monster Men # 1-6

Batman: Turning Points # 1

Gotham Knights # 10 Part 2 - “Guardian” (the link takes you to Tales of the Batman: Alan Brennert TPB)

Batman and the Mad Monk # 1-6 (the link takes you to Legends of the Dark Knight: Matt Wagner TPB)

Legends of the Dark Knight # 11-15

Legends of the Dark Knight # 2-5

Catwoman # 1-4***

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Coincidently I have been slowly going through his golden age appearances. The biggest shock is Gordon. Instead of being a friend on the force all he does is sit in Wayne Manor and complain about all the crime (and occasionally Batman) to his buddy Bruce.

Get out of that fancy mansion and do something about all those vampires Gordon! You are the police commisioner! Do something useful!

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I’ll definitely be checking this thread out often

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A few notes…

This timeline is not perfect and the site runner acknowledges this.

There will be stories where Gordon is still just a Captain, but everyone’s calling him Commissioner. Just roll with it.

In the early years, sometimes Gordon will have red hair, then in the next story he’ll have grey hair, and then back to red in the next. Oh well.

Speaking of Gordon, not even this site can make sense of his and his ‘niece’ ‘s relationship. And I’ve lost track on how many times his wife leaves him and then just reappears.

Basically Jim Gordon causes a lot of problems for the timeline haha. Oh well we’ll still have fun.

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Hair dye?

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That’s the excuse the site runner uses LOL

Hey it works.

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A few more notes…

The site runner also acknowledges that while he tries to adhere to the comic itself regarding what month/season it professes itself to be, sometimes it can’t be helped if we’re reading a summer story, but then a winter story, then back to summer.

Another thing, the site runner often times gets as detailed as to break up a comic panel by panel, go to another comic for a few panels, then back to the original comic.

I will hardly do this as that’s too much work for me. But you are free to follow along panel by panel as to the site’s instructions. I will let you know when a comic is supposed to be broken up.

I will also break this rule at the beginning when we read Batman 405 pages 1-8, stop to read 6 other comics, then come back to finish 405. Sometimes…it can’t be avoided.

Also, these “warnings” I’m giving you pertain primarily to the first six or seven years of the post-Crisis Batman.

Eventually we’ll get to Starlin Batman/Grant & Wagner Detective and from there it’s smooth sailing.

But the first few years of Batman’s post-Crisis adventure are comprised of stories created as far as twenty years apart and just trying to make sense of his first 10-15 years.

Anyway, the links are up for the pre-game warm up.

A note about “The Lesson”. It’s a spoiler, though, a 20 year old spoiler about an 8 page comic but anyway…

Basically young Bruce is searching through the cave and hears a voice telling him certain things.

It’s pretty wild but the last two panels of the story reveal that the voice was a time traveling Bruce Wayne from the future.

Honestly, what I’ve decided to do, is to pretend those last two panels do not exist and I’m gonna head canon that the voice Bruce hears is the same from Batman: Ego. That’s the beauty of comics, we can do whatever.

In the future if I choose to share such head canons, I will wait until the issue has been read and a synopsis has already been given. But we’re just getting started and already we have a time traveling Bruce Wayne, wow wtf haha.

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Year Zero

The Batman Chronicles # 5 Part 3

Let the warm ups begin!

Quick plot summary: Alfred Pennyworth, a butler working for The Wayne Family, puts in his work notice because he’d like to pursue other avenues in his life. Soon after he finds himself bonding with the Wayne child, Bruce, and decides to stay.

Like I said, quick.

I really enjoyed this little story, but a few questions/comments…

  1. It is stated that Alfred has been with the Wayne family for only a week before he puts in his notice. And the ending of the story suggests that the Wayne murders are going to happen soon. Is it post-Crisis canon that this Alfred was with them for so little time?

  2. The Wayne’s have an unhealthy view of comic books and at one point Martha is seriously talking some sh and I don’t dig that but hey we all have our opinions.

  3. At one point, Bruce is sent to his room without supper and skulks in his room thinking about the bad people. Who shows up with food to insist he eats? Alfred, baby! Our first instance in probably a thousand instances where Bruce skulks about thinking about injustice with Alfred making sure he eats while doing so. Nice touch, Alan Grant!

If you have any thoughts, share ‘em! Unfortunately I’m not the most critical analyzer or whathaveyou, if I missed something, lemme know!

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Year Zero

(I’m not sure how the links work, I’ve been trying to link you guys to the exact page of each story. If it just takes you to the beginning, then know that this can be found at the very end of the SM/BM TPB.)

Superman/Batman Secret Files # 1 Part 3 (the link takes you to Superman/Batman TPB Volume 1)

This Loeb/Sale collaboration is two pages long.

Quick Plot Summary: Young Clark Kent and his friend Pete Ross are playing in the summer fields of Smallville when they come across a Humber Super Snipe*** with Alfred fixing one of its tires. They see a young Bruce Wayne sitting in the back seat, and ponder if they should invite him to play.

***My knowledge of cars is near non existent and so I had to Google the type of car Alfred was driving.

I feel like I still got it wrong but regardless of the make and model…

I liked this short story. Not much to say about it. Basically Clark does his Superman thing and wants to uplift this sad looking boy. Bruce does his Batman thing by acknowledging that he should get out of the car and play but he “no longer has time for games”.

I’ve been in discussions before where it was discussed whether or not Bruce would’ve turned out relatively normal if he had had a friend like Clark Kent and his influence.

But no one ever thinks to ask the opposite - Would Clark Kent had turned out ‘normal’ if he had a rich, moody af friend and influence in Bruce Wayne?

Again, I enjoyed the story. Pretty funny how Clark keeps hitting homers and Pete is tired of running after them haha.

What did you think?

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yeah right the only thing gorden was known for back in the day was how much he didn’t do

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I like the one in batman superman better because he did play ball with bruce in that one.

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How did that interaction go?

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Year Zero

Note: I reluctantly put this story on here, not because it’s not good, but imo it’s not definitely post-Crisis. It was published in the post-Crisis era but in a Black and White book which includes stories from various Earths. Still, it’s on the timeline so here we go!

Edit - I realized that, in fact, this story was not published in a B&W mini as shown right below where it says Gotham Knights 20. Honest mistake. Still see below for my ‘reasoning’.

Gotham Knights # 20 Part 2

Quick Plot Summary: Young Bruce Wayne is investigating the caves that he fell into earlier in his life (that we’ll read about later) when he hears a voice speaking to him. Alfred interrupts Bruce’s conversation with the mysterious voice and prepares Bruce for his birthday party. In a twist ending, it’s suggested that the mysterious voice turns out to be Bruce/Batman of the future.

I enjoyed this tale quite a bit, but as I said in another post, before the ending I assumed this voice was just a manifestation coming from within Bruce a la Ego.

It’s interesting doing this chronologically because once again, like in “Of Mice and Men”, Bruce speaks about being terrified of the big bad bully. Nice consistency there. And it brings a disturbed smile to my face knowing that Bruce will in fact be broken by the physically biggest of his bullies in the future.

The ending is a let down to me. This comic is written by the legendary Julius Schwartz and while Batman fiddled around with time travel in his Silver Age heyday, the post-Crisis Batman avoided time travel completely in his own books for about twenty years until Morrison though he might have gotten caught up in time travel shenanigans in a Justice League tale or company wide crossover.

So here, right at the beginning of our journey, throwing that at us that Bruce will just decide to casually time travel is kinda odd but we’ll allow it!

Oh Lordy, have ‘Cook’ whip me up a Banana Split pronto!

lol @ referring to the help by their job title and not name. Do better, Alfred.

All in all I really liked this story though.

What did you think?

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Great best friends for life. they got into a fight afterward and bruce thinks its cool that clalk can’t get hurt clark feels truly understood by someone of his own age for the first time.

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Year Zero

The Batman Chronicles # 6 Part 2

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Quick Plot Summary: Private Investigator Dan Mallory is working the Kensington kidnapping case. Assisting him is a very early 20’s Bruce Wayne, under the guise of ‘Frank Dixon’. Some detective work and a chase scene later, it comes down to Mallory and ‘Dixon’ just beating the snot out of the kidnappers and saving the young kidnapping victim.

Some cool stuff here. Another first as Bruce busts through a window to surprise his foes. Mallory seems like a fun character, his quip calling Bruce “the boy wonder” was cheesy but I liked it. Loved Bruce’s chase scenes.

Nice shoes, Bruce!

Well that’s it for the warm ups, Year Zero is over.

The reason other flashback stories such as “Gordon of Gotham” aren’t being read now is for various reasons. In this particular case, it’s because a chunk of the story is Gordon telling Batman the story in the present and their back and forth on the topic.

Lots of other training flashbacks will occur, but they also are flashbacks that occur in present day stories with added context.

These four warm ups were particularly isolated stories that didn’t rely on context of the present day.

Except “The Lesson” with those last two panels lol. Oh well I included it anyway.

Soonish I will put up a list of the Year One comics with links to the issues.

Feel free to read ahead from those links and discuss even if I haven’t gotten to them yet.

I plan on doing at least an issue a day, hopefully.

Last but not least, what did you think of “Shadow Job” ?

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If your reading superman batman for the first time your in for a treat I have bought some volumes five times at this point.

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Year One

Batman # 404

Batman # 405 (stop at May 15th)

Legends of the Dark Knight # 1

The Batman Chronicles # 19 Part 1 - “Got a Date with an Angel”

Legends of the Dark Knight # 89-90

Note: There is barely a post-Crisis retelling of Clayface 1’s origins in a Secret Origins book for like a panel. We’ll get to it during Alan Grant’s “Mud Pack” storyline. LOTDK # 89-90 will tell Clayface II’s origins, and so Clayface 1 debuts before this as impossible as that seems. Like he must’ve debuted last week? Lol

The Man of Steel # 3

Superman/Batman Annual # 1**

Batman # 405 conclusion (start at May 15th)

Batman # 406

Batman Annual # 13 Part 2 - “Waiting in the Wings” (the link takes you to the Batman Allies: Alfred Pennyworth TPB)

Gotham Knights # 3 Part 2 - “Broken Nose”

Batman # 407

Martian Manhunter # 22

Batman and the Monster Men # 1-6

Batman: Turning Points # 1

Gotham Knights # 10 Part 2 - “Guardian” (the link takes you to Tales of the Batman: Alan Brennert TPB)

Batman and the Mad Monk # 1-6 (the link takes you to Legends of the Dark Knight: Matt Wagner TPB)

Legends of the Dark Knight # 11-15

Legends of the Dark Knight # 2-5

Catwoman # 1-4***


Links will be added later.

** Superman/Batman Annual # 1 is not considered canon even though it was published in the era.

The reasons given are that

  1. Batman mentions having a partner which is supposed to refer to Robin.

  2. Deathstroke appears too early perhaps? Idk, blasphemy yes but I don’t follow the Titans.

  3. The big reason is that the villains featured are the Crime Syndicate, and they don’t make their official post-Crisis debut until Morrison’s Earth 2.

I think I’m still going to read it as it features a fun modern retelling of Superman and Batman finding out each other’s identities which is kinda crucial.

Weak sure, but easy fix Batman could be referring to Alfred as his partner.

Superman/Batman and the Syndicate all simply forget about the existence of the other universe, similarly to what happens with Marvel/DC crossovers among others. Again weak but the head canon is head canoning!

The timeline’s official post-Crisis story of them discovering who each other are is a story called “The Trust” which is from an Alex Ross Mythology art book and is not on DCU.

If anyone has that story, please share the details if you’re so inclined and then we can have both!

*** The Catwoman mini is considered quasi canon because of Selina Kyle’s messy origin and it also contradicts the later updated origin from Catwoman Annual 2.

Still, plot points from this mini will be picked up waaaaay down the line in Brubaker’s Catwoman. While I won’t be reading every single issue of every single side character’s spin-off series’, I will read stories where Batman is featured.

Again if you’d like to read along with me, before me, or after me, comment your thoughts, questions, whatever!

If you’re following along on the actual chronology site and notice I’ve missed something on the list, please share!

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I always thought of the annual as cannon after all its not there first meeting its them finding out who the other is also mixauspitlick was messing with them so everything could have been erased from everyone’s mind also its fun and funny you’ll enjoy it.

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I can easily head canon it into the timeline but I understand why it’s not official.

I even almost skipped it because the Earth 2 story is awesome and shouldn’t be messed with. But I feel like this timeline needs a story where the World’s Finest discover each other’s identities and technically this mission does occur in the main canon according to Superman 710, though maybe a bit differently.

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the story with the ship should never be missed its iconic because it goes back to there very first meeting in the comics.

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