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SeraphTC

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xx Reading Order
« Thread started on: Apr 12th, 2011, 07:20am »

Hi,

I'm pretty new to Batman TPB's, and it's pretty daunting trying to figure out what to read, and in what order!

I should insert here that unless it's Batman, or directly affects the Batman TPB's, I don't really care. (I really couldn't care less about JLA, Superman etc etc - Catwoman/Nightwing are ok where relevant).

I did some research before I started, and based on what I had read and recommendations I recieved, I purchased and have read the following (in this order):

Batman: Year One
The Long Halloween
Dark Victory
Haunted Knight
Arkham Asylum
Hush

I've been looking over various timelines online, and what I'm having trouble figuring out, is what I should be reading in terms of continuity.

The best way to look at it, seems to be to treat each 'Crisis' point as it's own continunity 'chapter', but trying to avoid anything that has been completely junked. (I think this might be the best way to stop myself getting completely confused...).

So, in terms of YEAR ONE - what should I be reading and in what order? There seems to be a lot of chaff, and not so much wheat, and much of it seems to have been retconned to hell and back. At least twice.

I'm thinking that I'll be ignoring YEAR TWO completely.

I'd like something that ties up Catwoman's jump from apparent Hooker to Superthief between Millers Year One, and Loebs Long Halloween - I'm thinking that as 'Her Sisters Keeper' has been given the boot, the best thing to read here is Catwoman: Year One? (I'm hoping it explains her ability to go from Dominatrix to successful Thief in Millers Year One - which was one of the only things that bugged me about the book).

Is there anything else around the Year One timeline that is currently within continuity (ish) that I should be reading?

I don't mind reading the odd out of canon book as long as it's pretty self contained. As such, I've got 'The Dark Knight Returns', 'The Killing Joke', 'Gothic', and 'Tales of the Multiverse: Batman Vampire' all on order (I've had them recommended). Of those I guess only 'The Killing Joke' is potentially canon - although I have no idea where it fits in.

I'd really appreciate any advice anyone can offer.

Once I've got my Year One TPB's sorted, I'll be looking to drive forwards and link up with Hush.

Thanks!
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Nick

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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #1 on: Apr 12th, 2011, 08:43am »

Well Arkham Asylum isn't in canon, wonderful book though. smiley

I'll just list the Year One era books on my shelf as a vague indication of what works. I have the Year Two book placed right before Dark Victory because that's where it seems to have best fit, and Robin first appears in Dark Victory so I count that as the end of Bruce's solo run. I kinda class the entire Pre-Robin era as a whole, even thought it's obviously much more than a year, if that makes sense. So my early books look like this, I'll bold the ones I think are important to plot, irrelavant of their actual quality:

Year One
Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper (This is still canon)
Shaman
Batman & The Monster Men (So many contradictions, I don't like this)
Batman & The Mad Monk (Same as above)
The Man Who Laughs (Same as above)
Four Of A Kind (AWESOME!)
Tenses (Snipe hates this one, I love it)
Prey
Collected Legends Of The Dark Knight
Going Sane
Haunted Knight (Multiple tales set all over the place put here for convenience)
The Long Halloween
Gothic
Monsters
Terror
Dark Legends (The Joker tale majorly sucks and makes no sense, everything else is enjoyable enough)
Snow
Year Two (As far as I'm concerned this is still in, and Joe Chill definitely did shoot the Wayne's irrelevant of this)
Dark Victory
Catwoman: When In Rome
The Gauntlet
Robin: Year One

Also Killing Joke is totally Canon, you are right. It fits in the Jason Todd Robin era sometime after Barbara has retired. I don't have much at all on my shelf from this period but I have it sitting between Nightwing: Year One and The Cult.
« Last Edit: Apr 12th, 2011, 08:44am by Nick » User IP Logged

SeraphTC

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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #2 on: Apr 12th, 2011, 09:16am »

Thanks for the reply Nick smiley

Yeah I didn't think Arkham was canon. It's a great book though - I really enjoyed it. (After reading the author's notes on the original script it seems it was actually supposed to take place in Bruce's head during a rough nights sleep - but I'm actually glad they didn't ever write the 'it was all a dream' page)


Regarding 'Her Sister's Keeper' - are you certain that's still canon? I've read quite a few sites that state that it was retconned, and replaced with 'Catwoman: Year One' (Catwoman Annual Two).

Again - are you sure about Year Two? Everything I've looked up says it's completely retconned to the point that Batman does not know (currently) who killed his parents.

Which of the titles on your list do you feel contain really relevant information about the characters, and which are just extra stories? (I don't mind sometimes reading through some trash if the information contained in it is essential - but I'm not really bothered about reading non-essential nonsense wink )

Thanks for your advice!
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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #3 on: Apr 12th, 2011, 09:31am »

In Batman & The Black Glove, Bruce while dying (for the 100,000th time, ha ha) hallucinates about Chill. While it is based upon the original 1940s depiction of Chill rather than the Year Two version, it does confirm Chill as the culprit. For that reason I keep Year Two in because I can't think of any other story where Bruce discovers who killed his parents.

The ones in bold type are the ones I think have important character points. Tenses and Going Sane have great characterisiations that really nail the characters, but their plots are totally standalone. The ones in bold have plot points that had direct impact on the overall Continuity of the Batman mythos.

I think a lot of people have major issues with Her Sister's Keeper. I've only read it the once, and although was far from perfect, I don't recall having any real problems with it. And I personally think it is absolutely vital in setting up many plots Ed Brubaker developed in his AMAZING Catwoman series reboot, points that have also more recently been developed further in Gotham City Sirens.

cheesy
« Last Edit: Apr 12th, 2011, 09:31am by Nick » User IP Logged

SeraphTC

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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #4 on: Apr 12th, 2011, 10:30am »

Thanks for the extra info!

The problem I have with 'Her Sisters Keeper' is that it really seems to clash with 'Catwoman Year One' - which was written later. Have you read it? What do you think?

It seems that there is a bit of classic DC confusion over this - mostly because of Zero Hour I think (which I've not read - but I'm doing a lot of research before splashing more cash on books smiley )

Thanks again smiley
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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #5 on: Apr 12th, 2011, 11:03am »

To be honest I haven't read the Year One Catwoman Annual but I have read various summaries of it.

From my experience there always tends to be one origin that fits much better than others:

For example I personally do not like the 1996 (possibly wrong year) Robin: Year One Annual, and find the Dark Victory origin is much more preferable.

Conversely the Scarecrow: Year One 1996 Annual (collected in Four Of A Kind TPB with three other wonderful Year One's) is absolutely perfect. But the Scarecrow: Year One 'retcon' published alongside Batman Begins in 2005 has so many plot holes it is impossible to fit anywhere. For example, in the 2005 version Dick is already Robin when Scarecrow first appears, which contradicts so many preceding books you have to wonder how lazy the writer was.

I believe Brubaker followed more on from Her Sister's Keeper but was careful never to side so much either way about whether Selina was a hooker, a dominatrix, or just 'undercover' allowing the reader to decide. While Her Sister's Keeper runs with the hooker angle, it does seem a good fit to me because I think the angle that Selina reinvented herself as this rich socialite from all the money she stole is quite a clever angle - and works well with her Dark Victory and When In Rome portrayal.

There are so many plot holes and inconsistencies in most of DC's output unfortunately. I follow the ones that in my opinion have the least problems when regarded as the official Canon.
--

Hopefully this overload of info is digestable. But I might just throw in that my all time favourite fits into this era: Batman: Night Cries. It has absolutely no impact on any major plot points, but it is fully in Continuity and is one of the most wonderfully sublime reads you'll find. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #6 on: Apr 12th, 2011, 11:35am »

No worries with the information - I'll take all I can get at this point!

As a kid, Batman was probably my favorite superhero - because he wasn't a superhero. No special powers, just a potential schitzophrenic in a suite with some wonderful toys. I liked him for all the same reasons I *didn't* like superman - he's not a particularly nice guy, he's not particularly sane, and he's physically and mentally vulnerable.

As I got a bit older, I found that I was never in a position to really get into any comics. None of my friends were, I didn't have a shop anywhere near me where I could buy any, (I didn't have any cash to buy any with), and I drifted away from it and on to other things as kids tend to do.

Lately, I've been really fed up with my usual hobbies - it's all starting to feel a bit bland - and I ended up playing Arkham Asylum. I got hooked again, and really remembered *why* and *how much* I enjoyed Batman as a kid. It's not the sort of feeling I get often as - like many people - a huge chunk of my formative years weren't exactly enjoyable.

Without giving anyone *my* entire 'Year One' story, right now I'm an absolute SPONGE for this stuff. I'll take whatever I can get, and I really appreciate your responses - so thanks smiley

I've noticed the plot holes and er...*mess* that is the DCU wink I've encountered a lot of threads and forums with many rants back and forth regarding the merits of this or that. There is a HUGE amount of info to wade through - a lot of it fact, and a lot of it opinion. I think I'm starting to get there though!! I think your approach is a pretty sound one - it's basically what I am trying to do. I'll avoid the major RetCons so I don't confuse myself, and I'll try and find the TPB's with the *least* amount of issues.


I'm getting around the Catwoman issue by just queuing up HSK *and* Year One - I'm fairly sure that Year One is where DC want it to be, but HSK sounds too good to ignore completely, so it's going on the shelf. I'll make my own mind up smiley

I've read up on Night Cries a little before - it sounds really gritty. That's gone straight on the list - thanks! smiley
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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #7 on: Apr 12th, 2011, 5:32pm »

I used to be really hung up on continuity and what "really" happened ... so much so that I created this damned site. Anymore, just give me a good story that's true to the character(s) and has passable art.
Continuity, by definition, just doesn't work for characters that have been around for a while and have had literally hundreds of writers.
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SeraphTC

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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #8 on: Apr 12th, 2011, 5:47pm »

I'm finding that with the more research I do, the more that it's down to opinion what 'canon' actually is anyway to be honest. I'm following Nick's advice and going for books that a) I think I'll like and b) don't mash up the timeline so much that I end up getting completely confused.

I don't mind if some stuff gets altered down the line by the Crisis-RetConarama - I'll just segment the books on the shelf with some labeled dividers and treat each era as a selfcontained set smiley

I've started to develop a bit of a thing for the Elseworlds stuff - I like the idea of self contained stories that handle the character concepts differently, and don't have to worry about 'fitting in'.

I've got Batman/Vampire, Gotham by Gaslight and Holy Terror on order from Amazon and Ebay. They should be entertaining.
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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #9 on: Apr 12th, 2011, 7:15pm »

That's 'Catwoman Year One', 'Catwoman: When in Rome', 'Catwoman: Her Sisters Keeper' and 'Batman: Four of Kind' ordered as well....

That's the best part of 200 on Batman TPB's this month...I think I'd better put the brakes on until next month before I buy any more, or the wife is going to get a little annoyed!

Thanks for your input - I'm sure I'll be back for more!!!
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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #10 on: Apr 13th, 2011, 11:51am »

My take on continuity is that if it can happen, it does happen. Some things are a bit of a stretch, but most things can be squeezed into continuity. I'm probably what some would disparagingly refer to as a "continuity whore". I care way too much about that. I'm likely to dislike a well-written story just because it messes with established continuity, while I might enjoy an otherwise lame story just because it's very loyal to continuity. Yes, that's ridiculous, but it's just that the whole continuity aspect of comics is what got me into them in the first place. I was fascinated by how all this stuff was happening in one big universe. cool

Anyway, over the past few months, I have been attempting to re-read all of my continuity collection. It will likely take me several years. I've been taking a break from it for the past two months or so and I'm just now starting to get back into it. I've been chronicling my readings over in the "What are we currently reading" thread (starting on page 38 of that thread). That's my definitive reading order. It's mostly Batman stuff but there is also a lot of junk in there that you won't care about. You can refer to that if you like.

Actually, I'll just go ahead and copy & paste all of my readings up to this point right here and I'll add notes to clarify what each story chronicles. It's mostly just common-sense stuff that you probably already know. I'll keep the notes vague so it won't spoil anything. Anything that doesn't have a note is probably not important; either that or it's just self-explanatory. You can just skip over the non-Batman stuff.

My definitive reading order:

The Kents - set from about 1855 through 1875. Jonathan Kent's ancestors. There are a few cameo appearances by DC western legends like Jonah Hex and Scalphunter.

Secret Origins #5 - The Crimson Avenger
The Crimson Avenger - four-part mini-series
Secret Origins #9 - The Flash (Jay Garrick)
Secret Origins #18 - Green Lantern (Alan Scott)
Secret Origins #15 - The Spectre
Secret Origins #24 - Dr. Fate
Secret Origins #31 - Justice Society of America
Justice Society of America: Vengeance from the Stars (set in 1950, shortly before the JSA would disband)

The Man of Steel #1 (Clark Kent becomes Superman)
Superman For All Seasons #1
The Man of Steel #2

Batman: Year One (Bruce Wayne becomes Batman)
Batman: Shaman
Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper (Selina Kyle becomes Catwoman)
Catwoman Annual #2 (1995)

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn (Hal Jordan becomes a Green Lantern)
Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II

Batman: The Man Who Falls - in some paperback collection simply called "Secret Origins". The Batman story seems to be the only thing in it that was not previously published elsewhere. It just sums up his world travels as he trained to become a crimefighter, up through the events of Year One and Shaman.

Batman: Turning Points #1

Batman and the Monster Men
Batman and the Mad Monk

Batman: The Man Who Laughs (Batman's first encounter with the Joker)

The Man of Steel #3 (Superman and Batman meet for the first time)

Shadow of the Bat Annual #3 (1995) (Batman's first encounter with Poison Ivy)

Batman: Prey

Batman: Journey Into Knight

Batman: Tenses

The Man of Steel #4 (Superman's first encounter with Lex Luthor)

Batman: Gothic

Superman For All Seasons #2

The Batman Chronicles #8 - Dinosaur Island (Origin of the giant dinosaur robot in the Batcave)

Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #5 (1995) (Origin of Man-Bat)

Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #7 (1997)

Batman and Catwoman: Trail of the Gun

Superman For All Seasons #3

Batman: Venom

Batman: Snow (Origin of Mr. Freeze)

Superman For All Seasons #4

Detective Comics Annual #8 (1995) (Origin of the Riddler)

Batman Annual #19 (1995) (Origin of Scarecrow)

Batman: The Long Halloween (Harvey Dent becomes Two-Face) - This is probably my all-time favorite Batman story.
Two-Face: Year One (ties directly into the events of The Long Halloween)

Batman: Haunted Knight - This only loosely fits into continuity because it chronicles seemingly three separate Halloweens in one book and clearly that amount of time could not have passed here. I keep it in my continuity section simply because the third story chronicles Lucius Fox becoming C.E.O. of Wayne Enterprises, which is fairly important.

Batman: Terror

Batman: Rules of Engagement (Batman meets Lex Luthor)

Batman & Superman: World's Finest #1

Catwoman (first series) #38-40 (Catwoman: Year Two)

Green Arrow: Year One (Oliver Queen becomes Green Arrow)
Green Arrow Annual #7 (1995)
Secret Origins #38 - Green Arrow
Green Arrow: The Wonder Year

Batman: The Ring, The Arrow, and The Bat (Green Arrow meets Green Lantern; Green Arrow meets Batman) - This book should really be called "Green Arrow: The Ring, The Arrow, and The Bat", since Green Arrow is the star of both stories, while Batman only appears in the second. I suppose they figured that Batman is the more popular character and the book would sell better if marketed as a Batman book.

Secret Origins #32 - Justice League of America
JLA: Year One - A monumental event in the DC Universe. The Justice Leage of America is founded by Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), The Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman (Arthur Curry), Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz), and Black Canary (Dinah Lance).

Batman & Superman: World's Finest #2

JLA: Incarnations #1 (Green Arrow and the Atom are now members of the Justice League; Hawkman and Hawkgirl join the team at the end of this issue)

Batman: Jazz

Batman: Faces

Legends of the Dark Knight #0

Batman: Year Two (Batman encounters Joe Chill, the man who murdered his parents)

JLA: Incarnations #2 (Batman joins the Justice League of America; Superman joins as a reserve member)

Batman: Dark Victory (Dick Grayson's parents are murdered; Bruce Wayne takes him in and begins training him to be his sidekick)
Catwoman: When In Rome (This chronicles Catwoman's time in Italy during the events of Dark Victory)

Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet (Dick Grayson passes his final test and officially becomes Robin, the Boy Wonder)

Batman: Turning Points #2

Robin: Year One

Robin Annual #4 (1995) - This contradicts some of Dark Victory, but it also fills in some details that were left out, so I'm keeping it in continuity.

Batman & Superman: World's Finest: #3

Batman: Ego

Batman: Full Circle (This is a sequel to Batman: Year Two. Batman and Robin encounter the son of Joe Chill)

Legends of the DC Universe #6 - Robin & Superman (Robin meets Superman for the first time)

Year One: Batman/Scarecrow - This really doesn't fit at all. Scarecrow has clearly appeared in numerous stories before this, yet this seems to be his first appearance. However, using an abundance of suspension of disbelief, it can just barely be squeezed into continuity using Snipe's previous explanation of Scarecrow's gas possibly making them forget their previous encounters. Although, that still doesn't explain why this story has Jonathan Crane growing up in Georgia while all previous stories have him being native to Gotham City. Still, I'm choosing to keep this in continuity simply because there are not many stories chronicling Dick's early days as Robin.

The Brave and the Bold #54 (Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad team up for the first time) - Note: This is the oldest original copy comic book I own. It was published in July 1964.

Teen Titans: Year One (The Teen Titans are founded by Robin (Dick Grayson), Kid Flash (Wally West), Aqualad (Garth), Wonder Girl (Donna Troy), and Speedy (Roy Harper)

The Man of Steel #5

Detective Comics #334 - This is the earliest issue of Detective Comics that I own. It was published in December 1964.

Brave and the Bold #60 - Teen Titans

Batman & Superman: World's Finest #4

Batman: Fortunate Son


That's everything I've read since October. I'll be continuing to chronicle my readings over in the other thread. smiley
« Last Edit: Apr 13th, 2011, 5:05pm by TurkeyMoose » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #11 on: Apr 13th, 2011, 1:24pm »

on Apr 13th, 2011, 11:51am, TurkeyMoose wrote:
Batman: Fortunate Son


No no no no no no no! I'm pleading with anyone who reads this post, never in your life ever ever ever ever ever read this book! You will regret it! cry

Loophole - Should you ever be in this situation:

1) Read Fortunate Son
or
2) Read City Of Crime
or
3) Death

Then, and only then, should you read Fortunate Son.
« Last Edit: Apr 13th, 2011, 1:26pm by Nick » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #12 on: Apr 13th, 2011, 3:21pm »

Fortunate Son does suck some major ass. It's only redeeming factor is that it may be the only Dick-as-Robin story written post-Crisis (other than Year One books).
And it still sucks.
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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #13 on: Apr 13th, 2011, 5:02pm »

I totally agree that Fortunate Son is horrible. I commented more on it over in the "What are we currently reading" thread but I deleted that part when I copied this over to here. But it does fit into continuity with no major flaws, so I had to force myself to read it as a part of my chronological readings. cry
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xx Re: Reading Order
« Reply #14 on: Apr 13th, 2011, 6:42pm »

Hey Moose - Thanks for the list!

I think I managed to find copies of Prey and Shaman today, so that's two more ordered.

With regards to Fortunate Son, honestly I read the synopsis on Amazon. That was enough for me - I decided right there that was as close as I was going to get!!

cheesy
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