Rayzor’s Ultimate Batman Chronology part 2 – the Death and the Joke

 

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Welcome to part two of the Ultimate Batman Chronology.  This is a place where we see that Rayzor has bitten off more than he can chew.  This is a huge project for those who are reading.  I am uncertain of how many parts this will be.  This post will take us through Nightfall as we go from Dick Grayson all the way to Tim Drake as Robin, we will pass over Jason Todd.  The reason for passing over Jason Todd, well as far as I could tell or find, there are collected editions that feature Jason Todd.  He and Dick Grayson suffer from coming up in the age of comics before major story arcs that would last 5 or 6 issue that impacted chronology, except one.

We left off with Dark Victory, at the end of the book we see Dick Grayson being swearing in as Robin in the Batcave.  In that time, Dick Grayson spent many years and nearly all of his teenage years working the streets of Gotham with Batman as Robin.  He would also go on to lead the Teen Titans for many years.  Finally he became Nightwing leaving an opening at Batman’s side.  Enter, Jason Todd, who most fans hated as Robin, but in being Robin he would come later to be known as a different and terrific character, Red Hood.  The other character that needed more for continuity’s sake is Barbara Gordon, who most know as Batgirl.  There is the great Batgirl Year One book, but she doesn’t have much of a background for the chronology, same with Jason Todd, the best story is when she is taken out of her costume.

But if you missed the earlier editions of the chronology, check out the first couple.

Rayzor’s Ultimate Batman Chronology part 1 – Escalation and the Knight

Rayzor’s Ultimate Batman Chronology – Frank Miller’s Dark Knight

Rayzor’s Ultimate Batman Chronology – Scott Snyder and the New 52 Batman

I think that may be a good starting point, the first two books are from the Batman Confindential run and deal with a villain called the Wrath and Batgirl vs Catwoman.

Batman: The Wrath


In the newer age, DC comics seemed to want to go back and try to fill in some of the holes in the Batman continuity with Batman Confidential, this was good.  I have been preaching this for a long time, we need a complete start to finish from the day Bruce dons the cowl and everything in between.

This story is shortly after Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing and a villain comes back to Gotham from the past.  I loved this book and the potential of this rivalry.  The Wrath is kind of like the anit-Batman, but is very similar to Batman and in some ways has the same ideals.  But he is obviously a bad seed with everything.  Like I said this story is not about the original Wrath, it is about the Wrath’s “Robin” dressing like his trainer and coming for revenge, great story.

The other thing, his costume is super cool, very similar to Batman and I am totally surprised the Wrath was not used in the Christopher Nolon films, like the Dark Knight or after.  They did use the idea of Batman copycats, but not in the way of the Wrath.

In the New 52 Detective Comics the Wrath showed up again with Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 4: The Wrath.  It is a strange story and pretty cool for an update for the character.  It is worth a read and we may talk about it again before the end of the chronology, I need to read the story one more time.

Batman: The Cat and the Bat


This was a fun and great Batman story, where is is barely involved.  Again, it comes from Batman Confidential directly after the Wrath stroyline.  It fits sometime after as well, if not before.  It is about the first meeting between Catwoman and Batgirl.

This is the only story that features Batgirl in my chronology, well Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, of course, later something happens to her.  But this one is a lot of fun and it shows what kind of trouble Batgirl can get in to and how much fun she would be in her own book.  We did see this later in Gale Simone’s new 52 version of Batgirl, which was fantastic.

This story was a big time chase scene, Catwoman nabs Commissioner Gordon’s notebook and Batgirl chases her all over Gotham.  She takes her in all kinda of strange places, including an all nude, masks only club, oh to be there at the club when these to walk in.  This is a great way to include more Catwoman and Batgirl into the Batman world.  Especially pleasing to see a good Batgirl story that isn’t Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown, who we will get to eventually.

This is the last I am going to include into the chronology, Batman Confidential.  It was fun, but this was the last good story, the follow up to this was about King Tut, the villain from the 1960s tv show, which would have been better placed in the Batman 1966 story.  King Tut is very campy.  But check this out, these last two stories are not essential, but fun reads.

Batman: Death in the Family


When I got back into reading comics, the first book I was handed was, Death in the Family.  I was told it was an older story and one I might not have read.  But in all the current Batman stories this book was referenced a lot.  When I saw the cover, I realized what happened and remembered this happened before I even started reading comics.  This one is essential.

Even if you have never read Death in the Family, you can tell by the cover, which is the biggest spoiler of all-time.  Robin dies in this book, but there is a story that surrounds the events, before and after.  Jason Todd is looking for his mother.  This is a set up by the Joker.  Batman was a little too late.

The best part about this book is the story behind the issue when Jason Todd, dies.  Dc Comics let the fans vote on whether or not to kill Jason Todd, even votes and they would either let him live, Batman made it on time or kill him, Batman is too late.  The fans did not like the way Jason Todd treated Batman, so they killed him.

This is really ballsy by the fans and DC and it shook Batman to his core, but in the long term, it paid off like crazy.  If not for this story, we would not have a couple of things, Tim Drake, Hush and Under the Red Hood.

Tim Drake was Robin when I started reading comics and Hush and Under the Red Hood were the two books I read after Death in the Family, the connect to the story and in reading Hush, there is such a great payoff.  This is an essential book, so that means get a copy, own it and read it.

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Batman the Killing Joke


Alan Moore is an interesting sort, this may be the sickest, strangest book there is in all of the Batman chronology.  Not only do we lose another member of the Bat-family, but we nearly lose Gordon, Commissioner.

In, this story we actually get another version of the Joker origin and we see him as the Red Hood.  This origin he is married and a struggling comedian.  He pulls a job at Ace Chemicals and alas, he becomes the Joker.  There are also some interesting moments between Batman and the Joker, like the end, the Joker kind of makes Batman laugh or chuckle.  But leading up is messed up.

Overall it is a great story and it is an essential book that is a must read.  It effects the entire Bat-family.  If you have not read the book, I do not want to spoil anything for you, just buy it, read it and love it.

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Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying and Robin: A Hero Reborn


These books help prove that Batman does in-fact need a Robin.  It shows how lost he can become after the loss of Robin.  Tim Drake shows Batman what he is missing and is welcomed as Robin.

A Lonely Place of Dying is the bridge from Dick Grayson to Jason Todd to Tim Drake.
In this cross-over with New Titans, Tim Drake, seeing Batman’s anguish after losing Jason Todd, tries to reuinite Batman with Nightwing.
A Hero Reborn follows-up A Lonely Place of Dying as Tim Drake first dons the mantle of Robin.

I have read both and they are older and to be honest a little hard to read at times.  But I really do like the what happened in A Lonely Place of Dying and we get a great new Robin who may have actually been Robin longer.  Of course Dick Grayson was Robin from 1940 to 1983, but maybe 8 or 10 years.  Tim Drake 1989 to 2009, but it seems like more than 10 years, it is hard to say.  Either way not bad to read, you could jump from the Killing Joke to Knightfall if needed.

Batman Versus Bane

This is a lead in to the next chapter of Rayzor’s Ultimate Chronology.  This book can work as an origin to Bane and some of his dealings with the League of Assassins.  There are a lot of great things to come out of this book and it is totally worth the read, it mostly has to do with Bane rather than Batman and that may be the best part of this book.

I want people to read this to know Bane is not all muscle and the venom juice that fuels his power.  He is much more

First, we get Bane’s origin story in an epic that leads from a hellish South American prison to the streets of Gotham City, as Bane’s obsession with destroying the Batman begins. Then, on a quest to learn the identity of his own father, he crosses paths with one of Batman’s most dangerous villain: Ra’s al Ghul, the Demon’s Head and his league of assassins,  Ra’s attempts to recruit Bane in his plans for world domination, but it does not work out.  This is actually the best part of the book, along with his interactions with Talia.

This is where I leave you for this week, next week Bane will break Batman, here is a spoiler image for you.

 

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