DC Comics just wrapped up an event called the DC Retailer Roadshow in New York, which is not an event to which I was invited, due to the fact that I am not a comics retailer, and thanks to ugly rumors spread by the owner of my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me to stop including the word “taser” in sentences that also include the phrase, “If I ever get face-to-face with Dan DiDio.”
A gentleman named Roderick Ruth, however, was there, and filed a report on the proceedings. Which included the normal stuff you would expect from a meeting with retailers – hype about the upcoming Trinity War event, addressing concerns that DC isn’t giving retailers enough information to appropriately order high-demand books like the one where Robin died, what have you – but it also included an interesting tidbit about Scott Snyder’s Batman origin story Zero Year, which just started last week.
That tidbit being that there will be crossover stories with Zero Year appearing not only in some of the Bat titles, but also in Action Comics, Flash, Green Arrow and Green Lantern Corps.
That announcement puts some of these books into a potentially weird area when it comes to DC Universe continuity as it’s been described since the New 52 reboot. Let me try to break it down – and keep in mind a lot of this is from memory, and a memory that’s had about 7,000 beers between reading the first New 52 books and now.
The first issue of Justice League took place five years before present day DC continuity. In that issue, Superman was already rocking his stupid Kryptonian battle armor, which means that the first issue of Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, where Superman was wearing a t-shirt and couldn’t fly, had to have been at least, say, six years in the past. Fine, okay; so if Superman is still the first superhero, then the DC timeline goes back six, maybe seven years from the September, 2011 reboot.
However, at the time of the reboot, we were told that Batman had already trained two Robins who “graduated,” one who got himself killed, and was busy training a fourth who would soon get killed… meaning that, once you discard Stephanie Brown the way that DC has, being Robin is a job with a 50% fatality rate. If I’m a young lad with no prospects who meets Batman, I would instead think long and hard about learning a safer trade. Perhaps Naked Firefighter, or U. S. S. Enterprise Security Guard.
So for Batman to plow through all those Robins within six years, he would have to be recruiting, training, and losing them on an average of one every 18 months. Further, considering Nightwing now appears to be in his mid-20s, Dick Grayson would have to have signed on as “Boy Wonder” when he was about 20, and I would like to think that DC Editorial wouldn’t give that kind of ammunition to the people who chanted, “Batman is a homo,” while flushing my head down the toilet in junior high school.
So really, the only way Batman makes any sense in the New 52 is if he was the first costumed hero, and has been operating for more than six years. But if that’s the case, then these crossovers will be, respectively, with a farmboy, a science geek, a millionaire playboy douchebag, and a mouthy cop who Batman will inevitably knock out with “one punch!” But if that’s not the case, and Batman really has only been operating for six or so years, it means that Batman has a stable of young boys that he beats on, dresses up in spandex and sometimes allows to die choking on their own blood.
Does anyone else smell burning toast?