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RU Explains Continuity pt. 1: Batman and Marvel NOW!

RU Explains Continuity pt. 1: Batman and Marvel NOW!

RU takes on the daunting task of explaining continuity. This time he tackles New52 Batman and Marvel NOW!



Source: NONE
 

Hello there, Outhousers, it’s your good buddy, RU, here to talk continuity.  There's been a lot of complaining recently (and by recently I mean the entirety entireety of my 20+ years of reading comics) about continuity and retcons and whatnot, so I decided to help put and explain, in simple terms, what the heck is going on.

Let’s begin...

*****

From Facebook, Olman Quesada asks: 'How old is Batman? How can there be 2 (or 3) adult Robins by now? And how did Cassandra Cain come to be?'

Breaking the question down to its answerable parts:

“How old is Batman?”

This depends on who exactly you are talking about.  When the New52 started it was stated that Batman had only been active for 10 years with Justice League taking place five years prior, making Batman 10 years old.  If you mean “How Old is Bruce Wayne?” then it’s really more of a guessing game.  If we assume that Bruce went off to train around age 18-20 for roughly five years and thenbe came Batman around 25, that would make him 35ish at the time of the New52 launch.

“How can there be 3 Robins by now?”

This is actually pretty simple, in the OldDC:

  • Dick became Bruce's ward at age 9 and was Robin up until he went to college, at age 18
  • Jason became Robin at age 9 (also) and was in publication for only 5 years (1983-1988). In comics time, that is at most 2 years.
  • Tim learned that Bruce was Batman at age 9 (again) when he saw Robin (Dick) do something exactly like one of The Flying Graysons.

This means that Tim figured it out while Dick was Robin, and it wasn't untill after Dick left and Jason died that Tim became Robin.  Furthermore, there was a very quick turnaround (in comics' time-line) between Jason and Tim.

What does all that imply? Tim became Robin at age 14 (at the youngest) and was still in high school (~17) when OldDC ended, making him Robin for at most 4 years.  That makes 5-6 years if you add Jason and Tim together, give or take some solo Batman months.  Tim is even younger in the New52 (15/16) meaning those five years are now reduced to 1 or 2.

Now we put it all together in the New52:

(Note, with the possibility that not all of Batman's sidekicks were code-named "Robin" in the New52 "Robin" will be used from now on asa generic catch-all for the names of all of Batman's sidekicks.)

When was Dick Robin? That hasn't been defined yet, but rather than assume the worst, wouldn't it make sense to assume that his time as Robin was condensed by either making him Nightwing at a younger age or killing off his parents at an older age - one that might not make his relationship with Bruce creepy? Of course not, because fanboys don't complain about continuity because they want it to be satisfactorily explained. That would take all the fun out of being a hater.

Even assuming that Batman had no side-kick for the first five years he was active (and so far there is no reason to assume this limitation), it's pretty simple to fit Dick into the New52 as the first Robin.  From the first few issues of New52 Nightwing it appears that off the Graysons a few years after they died in OldDC, that still gives Dick at least a full year, and maybe more, as Bruce’s only side-kick.  It also occurs to me that it would be really wierd for Bruce to just put some kid out there without intensive training, so even if we count Batman as 'solo' for five years, his relationship with Dick can begin well before Bruce allows the young man to become Robin.

If Jason still has his full two years, and Tim, as a younger man, has only been around for, at most, two years, that still only adds up to five years in total that Batman had at least one Robin at the most, not counting any possible Tim/Damian overlap.  This still gives DC at least five years to play with and figure out where everyone falls.

“How did Cassandra Cain come to be?”

As a toxic character, Cass is now a never-was and matters even less than she used to.

From facebook, Tristan Kelly asks: 'Is Marvel NOW! Really now? Since every title published once supplied to the customer is actually at least a week old. Is it an ongoing "now", some sort of paradoxical, non linear, now? One that exists both in and outside of space and time, being at all times now and yet never now? Or is it a sinister plot by Marvel? Some sort of subliminal message, not so much referring to a time, as being a command, like "read Marvel, NOW!", with deathly implications only implied and never informed?'

Breaking the question down to its answerable parts:

“Is Marvel NOW! Really now? Since every title published once supplied to the customer is actually at least a week old. Is it an ongoing "now", some sort of paradoxical, non linear, now? One that exists both in and outside of space and time, being at all times now and yet never now?”

At times like this I look to one of the great American philosophers of the 20th century:

Colonel Sandurz: Now. You're looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now, is happening now.
Dark Helmet: What happened to then?
Colonel Sandurz: We passed then.
Dark Helmet: When?
Colonel Sandurz: Just now. We're at now now.
Dark Helmet: Go back to then.
Colonel Sandurz: When?
Dark Helmet: Now.
Colonel Sandurz: Now?
Dark Helmet: Now.
Colonel Sandurz: I can't.
Dark Helmet: Why?
Colonel Sandurz: We missed it.
Dark Helmet: When?
Colonel Sandurz: Just now.
Dark Helmet: When will then be now?
Colonel Sandurz: Soon.
Dark Helmet: How soon?
     ~Mel Brooks: Spaceballs     

"Or is it a sinister plot by Marvel? Some sort of subliminal message, not so much referring to a time, as being a command, like 'read Marvel, NOW!,' with deathly implications only implied and never informed?"

In short, yes.

*****

That's it for this first installment of RU Explains Continuity.  I have enough questions lined up for at least two more, but if you have any questions regarding continuity you can hit me up here at The Outhouse, the friendliest website in all of space and time, on the RUvierws Facebook page, or even the twitters.

Until next time, later peeps.




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About the Author - GHERU


RU, or as he’s known in the writers’ room: the cute one, is relatively unappreciated in his time.  RU’s YouTube show, RUviews is watched by literally multiple people every month and his Outhouse articles have helped line many a bird cage.  Before you send RU a message, he knows that there are misspelled words in this article, and probably in this bio he was asked to write.  RU wants everyone to know that after 25+ years of collecting he still loves comic books and can’t believe how seriously fanboys take them.  RU lives in Akron Ohio (unfortunately) with WIFE, ‘lilRuRu, and the @DogGodThor.  You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, & even Google+ (if anyone still uses that).

 


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