Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Batman: Death of the Family Timeline and Chronology

Batman: Death of the Family timeline

Death of the Family is a gigantic crossover that details the Joker's return from a year-long absence after having his face cut off in Detective Comics #1. The main story takes place in Batman #13-17, with tie-ins in Detective Comics, Suicide Squad, Catwoman, Batman and Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Teen Titans. Death of the Family takes place over the course of six days, starting on a Thursday, and ending on a Tuesday. Originally I debated the exact timeline of this story, but I have found irrefutable proof in the pages of the numerous tie-ins that the six-day, Thursday to Tuesday version is correct. For your consideration:
  • Nightwing #13 opens at night (Night 1) at which point Dick is aware that the Joker has returned. Thus, this has to take place after the Joker's GCPD raid in Batman #13.
  • The next night, Night 2, still in Nightwing #13, Nightwing crosses paths with Batgirl who is also aware the Joker has returned.
  • On Day 3, the day after, in Nightwing #14 at the Iceberg Casino, Ogilvy mentions the Penguin being praised for preventing the murder of Bruce Wayne. This happened the previous night (Night 2) in Detective Comics #13 and the beginning of #14.
  • In Detective Comics #13, the same night Penguin prevents Bruce's murder (Night 2), Bruce talks to Alfred. Therefore, this is before Alfred's kidnapping in Batman #13 and Joker's GCPD raid and Alfred's kidnapping happen on different nights.
  • As we see in Detective Comics #15, Penguin leaves for Arkham Asylum the night after preventing Bruce's murder in Night 2 (so, he leaves on Night 3). Therefore, the scene in Nightwing #14 with Ogilvy and Penguin has to take place on Day 3.
  • In Detective Comics #13, on what we now know is Night 2, Bruce says it is Friday night.
  • In Batman #14/15, on Night 3 (Saturday night), Joker announces he knows the Bat-family's identities and says that within the next 72 hours, they will be dead by Batman's hand. (So, that would take place on Night 6, Tuesday night.) This is important because it gives time for Joker to capture the entire family and nicely sets up the fact that...
  • Nightwing #17 opens on a scene that is shortly after the showdown with Joker in Batman #17, and says "Wednesday." This is after midnight on what is now technically Wednesday, although the finale in Batman #17 takes place on Tuesday night.
So, here is the gist of the main timeline:

Day 1, Thursday - Joker retrieves face from GCPD
Day 2, Friday - Joker captures Alfred
Day 3, Saturday - Joker poisons Jim Gordon and announces he knows the identities of the Bat-Family
Day 4, Sunday - The majority of the Superman crossover H'el on Earth (I'll explain why this goes here in the full timeline below.)
Day 5, Monday - Stuff
Day 6, Tuesday - finale in Batman #16-17

I originally had links in there taking you to each respective day, but Blogger kept messing it up. So, to fast-travel to a specific day just hit F3 and type "Day x (y)" with x being the day number and y being the day of the week. *sigh*

Now, we are also able to approximately determine when this story takes place. Be warned, both of the following entries contain spoilers for events that take place after Death of the Family, specifically in Batman Incorporated #8.
  • The Scarecrow arc in Batman: The Dark Knight #10-15 concludes on New Year's Eve and introduces us to Bruce's girlfriend, Natalya Trusevich. Natalya is referenced in Detective Comics #14, a Death of the Family tie-in. Also, Penguin stays in Arkham from Night 3 of Death of the Family to well after Damian Wayne's death, as seen in Detective Comics #18. Since Penguin is not incarcerated in the Scarecrow arc, and Damian appears alive and well in it, Batman: The Dark Knight #10-15 must take place before Death of the Family.
  • Because the first comic book outside of Batman: The Dark Knight #10-15 that references Natalya is Detective Comics #14, it is unlikely that the Scarecrow arc concludes on December 31, 2011; in order to mesh with surrounding events it is very likely December 31, 2012.
  • In Batman and Red Robin #19, taking place after Damian's death, a check is seen with the date of February 27, 2013 on it. So, Death of the Family must absolutely take place in January or February 2013. Soon, I will make a post speculating exact dates for events in the Bat-universe following (and including) Death of the Family, but for now this will have to do.
*phew* Okay! Let's get to it. Major spoilers in Batman and certain other titles are marked, but I didn't go through and put a spoiler alert before every plot revelation of every book, so read at your own discretion. I should also mention that synopses are no replacement for actually reading a story, and some of my descriptions don't go too in-depth (but they say what they need to!) Without further ado, here is my full Death of the Family timeline:

Tuesday (Prelude to Detective Comics #13)

  • Bruce Wayne donates $350,000 to Gotham City Orthodontic Association (referenced in Detective Comics #13, pg. 1)
  • Detective Comics #13, pgs. 6-7
    • Penguin hires the Ghost Dragons to assassinate Bruce Wayne on Friday, the night of the announcement of the new children's wing at the Neville Community Center. Penguin also tells one of his right-hand men, Ignatius Ogilvy, that arrangements will have to be made for Batman as well.
  • "IQ Test" from Detective Comics #13
    • Ogilvy and Martin, who is new to Gotham, begin working on Penguin's arrangements for Batman. There's some cool flashbacks and the ending is kinda cool too. I don't wanna spoil it, just read it!

  • "The Tell-Tale Face" from Detective Comics #12
    • At an indeterminate point in time, possibly Wednesday, a rookie police officer is assigned the graveyard shift in the evidence room containing Joker's face. Harvey Bullock plays a prank on her and places an audio player on the back of the face, causing her to think the face is laughing, then she finds out and punches Harvey in his face, etc. On the last page, in a dark alleyway, Joker appears in the shadows and says "Time to put on a happy face!"

Day 1 (Thursday)

  • The Wayne Foundation pays off the student loan debt of a half dozen recently graduated orthopedic surgeons (referenced in Detective Comics #13, pg. 1)

Night 1 (late Thursday, early Friday)

  • Batman #13, pgs. 1-7
    • Joker raids the GCPD, kills nineteen police officers, and retrieves his face, announcing his return. Note: on the first page, Jim Gordon makes a comment about early snows flooding the Gotham River and reversing its course for three full days. We have to assume this happened some time ago, as snow at this point in the year would certainly not be considered early.
  • Catwoman #13, pgs. 1-7
    • The Catwoman tie-ins are so disconnected from the main story that exact placement of them is difficult, if not impossible. However, I'm placing their events as early as I can so they don't get in the way of everything else. So, right after Joker's return, Catwoman is standing around on a "rotten old catwalk" when a balloon floats down with a stuffed cat toy attached to it; a toy that was once given to Selina by her friend, Lola, whose death later on was pretty much entirely Selina's fault. Selina sees a mysterious silhoutte and starts to chase it, seeing more of Lola's toys along the way, before she decides that she was simply chasing her own shadow. Note: she probably wasn't!
  • Nightwing #13, pgs. 1-5
    • Nightwing visits a series of gangland haunts, and remarks that although Joker usually sends local criminals into overdrive, trying to take advantage of the distracion to law enforcement, "the streets of Gotham City are quiet. Quiet as the grave." Yeah, Joker didn't do a whole lot right after he got his face back. Dick hits an abandoned weapons factory, wonders where all the mobsters have gone, and returns to his loft, unable to get in touch with Bruce or Alfred. (It is impossible for this to be a reference to Alfred's kidnapping on Night 2 in Batman #13; we must assume Alfred was preoccupied with something else.)
  • Nightwing #13, pgs. 6-7
    • Nightwing visits Penguin just as it is turning dawn, to learn what is going on in the criminal underworld. Penguin informs Nightwing that Lady Shiva is headed to Gotham. Penguin is also aware that Nightwing was once Robin.

Day 2 (Friday)

  • Nightwing #13, pgs. 8-9
    • After several hours trying to learn more about Lady Shiva, Dick goes to Amusement Mile for the daily construction update. Sonia Branch, daughter of Tony Zucco and representative of the bank overseeing the Amusement Mile affairs, says she will be out of the office all day tomorrow (Day 3) testifying at the S.E.C., and invites Dick to dinner later tonight (Night 2.)
    • Note: Dick says he goes to Amusement Mile "early the next morning" after visiting Penguin. As we learn in Nightwing #14, the Penguin visit and this Amusement Mile scene are actually on the same morning.
  • Catwoman #13, pgs. 8-9
    • At Selina Kyle's penthouse, Selina tells Gwen about the mysterious appearance of Lola's toys the night before. Gwen tells her that Selina is meeting a new client named Trip Winter later tonight.
  • Suicide Squad #14, pgs. 1-10
    • Joker retrieves Harley Quinn from Deadshot's funeral.
  • Batman and Robin #13-14
    • This rather bizarre story takes place before nighttime during a total solar eclipse over North America, and might involve zombies, I'm still not sure. Continuity-wise, I was in a bit of a quandary placing this. It definitely takes place on Day 2 or 3, but Damian remarks that Alfred is missing from Wayne Manor, "probably shopping for more of that pedestrian Earl Grey tea he thinks we all like." This reference is just vague enough that I'm going to say Alfred really was out and about, and these events take place on Day 2, before his kidnapping, for one major reason: Batman interacts with Jim Gordon for an extended period of time and does not mention the tape from Batman #14 that Joker left which named Gordon as his next victim. So, I'm comfortable placing these issues here and it really doesn't contradict anything (besides maybe Damian's "Joker isn't a serious threat" personality from the Batcave scene before Alfred's kidnapping in Batman #13, as in the beginning of Batman and Robin #13 he is clearly studying up on the Joker intensely. Well, let's just say in Batman #13 he was being a tough motherfucker!)
  • Nightwing #13, pg. 10, panels 1-4
    • From the Amusement Mile, Dick goes back to his loft, sleeps for a few hours and spends the rest of the day trying to reach Bruce or get a line on Lady Shiva. He fails in both endeavors. These events happen gradually throughout the course of this entire day. Sonia calls Dick to reschedule her meeting with him, leaving Dick with "the entire night to [him]self."

Night 2 (late Friday, early Saturday)

  • Catwoman #13, pgs. 10-11
    • Selina meets Trip Winter, who tells her about the... giant chess piece heist, and tells her "get a good night's rest; you make your move tomorrow." Let's assume that a full 24 hours don't actually pass and the job is just before dawn on this same night.
  • Detective Comics #13, pgs. 1-5, 8-20; Detective Comics #14, pgs. 1-4
    • It's Friday night (as in, Batman straight-up says that it's Friday) and Bruce Wayne is scheduled to make an appearance at the announcement of the new children's wing at the Neville Community Center. But someone wants Batman busy, as crimes keep happening at the same time at different ends of the city. Batman calls Nightwing and asks him to help him out. Anyway, Batman determines that every robbery is in a building with a Rink Series 7 Security System and someone's trying to exploit them, yadda yadda, Nightwing takes care of everything, Bruce takes down a guy with a red mask who was trying to assassinate Bruce Wayne, but then Bruce shows up at the party anyway, at which time the new children center has been renamed after Penguin's mother instead of Bruce's. Then a guy tries to kill Bruce with a giant flaming sword but Penguin stops him, trying to gain brownie points with the people of Gotham.
    • Note: Bruce speaks to Alfred throughout these events, therefore I'm placing them before Joker announces he will kill Mayor Hady in Batman #13 (it seems like they would cancel such a high-profile event as the children wing's unveiling if the mayor's life was threatened on TV, plus Bruce would be more focused on Joker anyway and probably wouldn't even bother attending this thing.) I'm placing all of these scenes before Nightwing crosses paths with Batgirl in Nightwing #13, pg. 10, panel 5 and pgs. 11-12, because it jives better that way.
  • Batman #13, pgs. 8-13
    • At the Batcave, Bruce, Damian, and Alfred discuss Joker. Nightwing, Red Robin, and Batgirl check in with Batman to talk about Joker as well. Joker appears on the TV and announces he will kill Mayor Hady at midnight.
    • Note: Dick asks "Is it true? He's back?" as if he didn't already know. Making things even stranger, Dick interacted with Bruce earlier this night in Detective Comics #13 but didn't mention the Joker. Whatever. I'm placing this after Batgirl's fight with Knightfall in Batgirl #13, but before she crosses paths with Nightwing in Nightwing #13. I am placing all this before she learns Joker kidnaps her mother, because you think she'd mention that to Bruce and Dick. According to Batgirl #13, "four hours" pass between the Knightfall fight and getting the call from her mother, so it works.
  • Nightwing #13, pg. 10, panel 5; pgs. 11-12
    • Nightwing runs into Batgirl. I am placing this after her fight with Knightfall in Batgirl #13, after she, Dick, and Tim check in with Bruce, but before she returns home "four hours" after the Knightfall scene and receives a call from her mother, and learns she has been kidnapped. After this scene in Nightwing, events taking place in separate titles over the course of this night may overlap.
  • Nightwing #13, pgs. 13-14
    • Dick visits the Black Bass Bar and learns a gangster named Chipper Panoicia plans to kill Lady Shiva when she arrives in Gotham. Dick also uses his E.M.P. mask from way back in Batman #1!
  • Nightwing #13, pgs. 15-20
    • Nightwing goes to the location but Lady Shiva never shows up; a boat they thought she was on explodes and some people presumably die.
  • Batgirl #13, pgs. 16-17; Batgirl #14, pgs. 1-11
    • Barbara returns home "four hours" after fighting Knightfall, receives a call from her mother who is being kidnapped, then gets a call from someone she thinks is the Joker, three guys show up at Barbara's door and she beats them up. The scene starting on pg. 12 of Batgirl #14 does not take place immediately after this; Barbara doesn't see her mother again for at least two days.
  • Catwoman #13, pg. 12
    • Selina is trying to sleep, but a toy robot is... looking at her, so she, um... destroys it.
  • Batman #13, pgs. 14-18
    • At the mayor's office, all of the security guards and police officers are killed (but not Mayor Hady himself) through a binary compound on their clothes activated by the mayor's floor cleaner. The first letters of three non-essential components in the compound are A, C, and E. Man, I wonder!
  • "Tease" from Batman #13
    • Joker prepares Harley Quinn for Batman's arrival at ACE Chemicals.
  • Batman #13, pgs. 19-24
    • (SPOILER ALERT!) Batman arrives at ACE Chemicals and is greeted by Harley Quinn in Joker's Red Hood costume. Batman is knocked into a vat by a giant hammer (I know, I know) and the vat closes and starts filling with acid. Meanwhile, Joker arrives at Wayne Manor and kidnaps Alfred.
  • Batman #14, pgs. 1-3
    • Batman escapes from the vat at ACE Chemicals. He tries to scan for Harley's heat signature, but he can't because the damage to his suit and cowl is irreparable. As we see in Suicide Squad, Harley is still there.
  • Batman #14, pgs. 4-7
    • Bruce returns to the Batcave, and issues an alert to his allies that Joker may be targeting them individually. Alfred is gone. Bruce finds a cassette tape wrapped in purple and green and listens to it. It's from the Joker! He's kidnapped Alfred! Uh-oh.
  • Suicide Squad #14, pgs. 19-20; Suicide Squad #15, pgs. 1-17
    • Shortly after Batman leaves ACE, Harley Quinn has returned to her "normal" costume (ugh) and is about to leave. Joker shows up and strangles her with a chain. After a lengthy battle where Harley is forced to kill the now-rabid-thanks-to-Joker hyenas, Bud and Lou (R.I.P. guys!) Joker bites Harley's ear, poisoning her, and locks her in a room with a bunch of skeletons he says were "other Harleys." Upon leaving, Joker says "I have business to attend to upstairs." I should also mention how strange it is that Joker shows up at ACE so soon after Batman leaves. But whatever, that's what happened.
  • Catwoman #13, pgs. 13-20; Catwoman #14, pgs. 1-4; pg. 5, panels 1-2
    • Catwoman does stuff, Joker was behind the chess thing the whole time, he takes her to "The Hell Hole Ride in Elliot Beach Amusement Park" which looks run down as... well, hell. (Fucking rofl!) And maybe this is why Dick is trying to spruce up Amusement Mile, because all the other theme parks are supervillain-infested shitholes. Anyway, Catwoman is rendered unconscious and will stay that way for the next several hours.
  • Suicide Squad #15, pgs. 18-20
    • "Hours later" from the previous scene in Suicide Squad, Harley has escaped from Joker's... dungeon? Anyway, Joker returns, discovers that Harley is gone and says she just might become his Harley after all.
    • Note: When Joker is walking up the stairs before returning, he says "Now that was a ton of laughs! Wait 'til you hear this one" and an editor's note says "see Batman #14." I have no idea what the implication is supposed to be here, since Joker certainly would've kidnapped Alfred and left the tape at Wayne Manor before fighting Harley at ACE. Let's just assume Joker was going to tell Harley about Catwoman and ignore the editor's note.
  • Catwoman #14, pg. 5, panels 3-4; pgs. 6-20
    • "Hours later" from the previous scene in Catwoman, Joker returns and a bunch of stuff happens. Joker says "Sorry I was gone so long, sweetheart, I had an appointment in divorce court. Terrible to see a whole family ripped apart..." Truth be told, Joker could be talking about anything (and I think Ann Nocenti was implying he just killed a random family) but the way I have it, Joker is referring to Harley Quinn deserting him back at ACE Chemicals. I think this synchs up quite nicely. After this, Selina returns to her penthouse and it kind of appears to be daytime outside the window, but she tells Gwen to have Trip Winter meet her "now" at Hotel No-Tell and it is clearly night again. After that, she fights Joker one more time. So let's say this all happened on the same night. Maybe Selina's windows are tinted weird, who knows.
  • Nightwing #14, pgs. 1-3
    • Dick spends most of the night searching for Lady Shiva. At "barely dawn," Dick asks Lucius Fox (who thankfully, as Dick puts it, "doesn't keep banker's hours") to do a background check on Wesley C. Bicolosi, a minor government bureaucrat whose murder fits Lady Shiva's profile.

Day 3 (Saturday)

  • Detective Comics #14, pg. 5
    • In the morning, Bruce and Damian discuss the previous night's events regarding Penguin.
  • Detective Comics #14, pgs. 9-10
    • Damian questions Alfred's absence and Bruce avoids giving him a real answer (see my note at the end of this entry.) Bruce tells Damian that there was an attack on the Bergen Street Foundry the previous night that seems to have been ecoterrorism, suggesting Poison Ivy.
    • Note: Alfred's kidnapping takes place the night previous to this issue (Night 2) but the majority of the Bat-family, including Damian, does not find out until the events of Batman #15, on Night 3. Dick finds out slightly beforehand in Batman #14, but still that same night.
  • Nightwing #14, pgs. 4-5
    • Shortly after the previous scene in Nightwing, Dick visits Amusement Mile for the morning construction update.
  • Superman #13
    • This is a prelude to H'el on Earth, a Superman crossover where the majority of the action actually takes place on Day 4. This issue takes place on Day 3 and has Clark quitting the Daily Planet and fighting a giant alien monster that is actually a prehistoric species native to Krypton. Although Batman doesn't actually appear in this issue, he does appear throughout the rest of H'el on Earth. This issue is relevant because it establishes Superman was essentially benchpressing the weight of the Earth for the past five days, and therefore his appearance in Red Hood and the Outlaws #14 has to take place after this (and the opening scene in Supergirl #14, which pretty much continues this issue.)
    • It might seem strange that a 14-issue Superman crossover takes place in the middle of Death of the Family. This is, in fact, the case. Red Hood and the Outlaws #14 (which must take place after Superman returns to Earth in Superman #13 and after the scene in Supergirl #14) concludes with Jason arriving to Gotham in time for the Batcave scene in Batman #15, Night 3. Superboy #14 also has to be on Night 3, after the events of Superman #13 and the opening scene of Supergirl #14, but before the later half of Supergirl #14 and the rest of H'el on Earth. In Superboy #14, the Teen Titans fight H'el who later absconds with Superboy. It is explicitly stated that Red Robin has departed for Gotham City. In Superman #14, it is stated to be the day after Superman #13 and the rest of H'el on Earth unfolds throughout the course of that day, Day 4. H'el on Earth is the first time Superman activates his Justice League beacon so it's not unreasonable that Batman would take time out to help him.
  • Supergirl #14, pgs. 1-7
    • Superman and Supergirl safely transport the Kryptonian creature to a research facility.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #14, pgs. 1-14
    • Superman, still unsure of the origin of the Kryptonian creature (as H'el has not yet introduced himself) asks Starfire if she has been approached by Helspont, to which she responds yes, but not before Superman and the Outlaws have a big, drawn out fight.
  • Nightwing #14, pgs. 6-18
    • Nightwing vs. Lady Shiva.
  • Nightwing #14, pg. 19
    • Penguin and Ogilvy at Iceberg Casino. Ogilvy mentions Penguin saving Bruce Wayne's life in Detective Comics #14, the night before. Ogilvy asks how Penguin plans to deal with Joker to which Penguin replies "Wah!" I'm placing this before "Men of Worship" in Batman #14 and, obviously, before Penguin leaving for Arkham and putting Ogilvy in charge in Detective Comics #15. Both of these events happen later this night.

Night 3 (late Saturday, early Sunday)

  • Nightwing #14, pg. 20
    • Joker frees Raya Vestri from Blackgate Prison.
  • Detective Comics #14, pg. 11, panels 1-4; pgs. 6-8; pg. 11, panel 5; pgs. 12-20; Detective Comics #15, pgs. 4-8
    • Batman goes to Shandy Pharmaceuticals to apprehend Poison Ivy, temporarily hallucinates seeing Natalya (supporting that this is after the Scarecrow story in Dark Knight #10-15.) It was a set-up and Batman and Ivy are rendered unconscious, Ogilvy shows up and leaves with Ivy, Batman wakes up as the building is burning and fights Clayface, who is claiming Ivy to be his wife. Batman escapes with a flower that was attached to Clayface.
  • Detective Comics #15, pg. 1
    • Ogilvy buries Poison Ivy.
  • "Men of Worship" from Batman #14
    • Joker recruits Penguin.
  • Detective Comics #15, pgs. 9-10
    • Penguin leaves for Arkham, puts Ogilvy in charge.
  • Detective Comics #15, pgs. 11-17
    • Batman tests the plant, determines Ivy was causing Clayface to hallucinate getting married, Batman fights Clayface who falls into the sewers. Batman decides the GCPD can take it from there and leaves. It should also be noted that Batman talks to Commissioner Gordon during this scene, albeit very briefly; shortly after this, Batman will inform the Commissioner that Jim has been named as Joker's next victim.
  • Detective Comics #15, pgs. 18-20
    • (SPOILER ALERT!) Ogilvy frees Poison Ivy, introduces himself as Emperor Penguin.
  • "Love in Bloom" from Detective Comics #15
    • This tale overlaps with events throughout the rest of this night. Nice Clayface epilogue, with some flashbacks to Clayface's time in Arkham shortly before, and including, Poison Ivy freeing him. This event is also explored further in Detective Comics #14's "Seeds & Dirt" story, and pages 2-3 of Detective Comics #15, but I haven't placed those scenes as actual items on this timeline because, well, it would be a bit awkward and some of them weren't even real. Just read the back-ups to each Detective Comics issue right after you finish the main story, and you'll be fine.
    • It's never been revealed what exactly happens at the end of this story when Clayface confronts Poison Ivy, but she must be okay since we'll see her later (not in Death of the Family, though.) Clayface will show up again in Batman #16, on Death of the Family's Night 6.
  • Batman #14, pgs. 8-11
    • Batman visits Jim and says Joker has named Jim as the next victim. Jim gets out some photographs and his entire body starts bleeding.
  • Batman #14, pgs. 12-14
    • Outside Jim's room at the hospital, Batman tells Nightwing Joker has taken Alfred. Batman says he knows where Joker is going to be next and tells Nightwing to go the aqueduct.
  • Batman #14, pgs. 15-22; Batman #15, pgs. 1-7
    • At the Gotham Reservoir, Joker announces he knows the identity of the Bat-family and Batman will kill them within the next 72 hours. Nightwing also seems to be caught in an explosion but this is never mentioned or acknowledged again; his injuries were either not serious or nonexistent.
  • Teen Titans #14, pgs. 16-18
    • Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Superboy, Kid Flash, Solstice, and Bunker arrive at Lex Towers in Manhattan. Superboy leaves ("I'll be back, Cassie, but for now I have to get... home.") and Red Robin leaves ("I've been called away on 'family business.' Can it wait a couple days?") The Teen Titans appear shortly after this in Superboy #14.
  • Superboy #14
    • Bunker shows up at Superboy's appartment, then summons the remaining Teen Titans to fight H'el, who absconds with Superboy. It is "the middle of the night" and Kid Flash reaffirms that Red Robin has left for Gotham City.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #14, pg. 15
    • Jason, Isabel, Starfire, and Arsenal arrive in Gotham City; only Jason and Isabel stay (although Starfire and Arsenal will end up coming back the next night.) Judging by the scene that starts on page 16 (which is on Night 4) Jason must not actually spend Night 3 in Isabel's apartment.
  • Batman #15, pgs. 8-9
    • Bruce hallucinates that the Joker is in custody and the family is safe, and that a Jokerized Alfred attacks him.
  • Batman #15, pgs. 10-17
    • Bruce wakes up in the Batcave. Dick, Jason, Tim, Damian, and Barbara are present, who have all learned about Alfred's kidnapping (Dick found out at the hospital.) Bruce tells the family what Joker meant about his calling card. Dick says "the other day" Joker freed Raya from prison, Barbara says "and then he came after my mother!" Eh, whatever. Close enough.
  • Nightwing #15, pgs. 1-8
    • (SPOILER ALERT!) Dick's friend Jimmy is killed by the Joker. Nightwing and Batgirl are having a conversation on the rooftops when Dick gets the call that Jimmy is dead. Dick rushes to Amusement Mile and urges all the circus members to leave Gotham. Elsewhere, Raya awakes, the Joker waiting for her. Over the next six hours, Dick will watch the circus members leave by train.

Day 4 (Sunday)

  • Nightwing #15, pg. 9
    • By sunrise, the police have removed Jimmy's body. Nightwing goes to Blackgate, canvasses Raya's block for an hour, but finds nothing.
  • Nightwing #15, pgs. 10-11
    • Nightwing visits the city morgue and finds traces of jet fuel in Jimmy's blood. Sonia (who is still in Gotham) calls Dick and asks him to come over and sign some paperwork. After leaving the morgue, Dick goes to his loft to "set up the computers for a chemical analysis" before taking a train downtown, "doubling back to shake any tails" which "takes time."
  • H'el on Earth
    • For more on why H'el on Earth has to take place here, see the Superman #13 entry on Day 3.
    • A Kryptonian named H'el arrives on Earth and enacts a plan to go back in time to before Krypton's destruction, but before he does, he'll have to harvest the energy of Earth's entire solar system. Superman calls the Justice League in to help (Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg) and everything is eventually returned to normal. It should be mentioned that one of the side-effects of H'el's tampering is specifically stated to be time warps. I'm going to use these as an explanation for some of the stranger occurences on Night 4; characters being in multiple places at once, the same scene being presented twice with different dialog, etc. I'll address these as they happen. Anyway, here's the reading order, apart from the previous scenes in Superman #13 and Supergirl #14 that occured on Day 3:
  • Supergirl #14, pgs. 8-20
  • Superman #14
  • Superboy #15
  • Supergirl #15
  • Superman #15
  • Superboy #16
  • Supergirl #16
  • Superboy Annual #1
  • Superman #16
  • Superboy #17
  • Supergirl #17
  • Superman #17

  • Nightwing #15, pgs. 12-13
    • Dick visits Sonia. They kiss, but Dick backs off, receives the chemical analysis, and leaves for Kline Industries.

Night 4 (late Sunday, early Monday)

  • Nightwing #15, pgs. 14-20
    • Dick arrives at Kline Industries, is confronted by a Jokerized Raya who then dies. There is a message painted on her body saying there is a surprise party at Amusement Mile at Haly's Circus.
  • Nightwing #16
    • Dick fights Joker, Joker blows up Amusement Mile, Dick gets taken out by a bunch of Jokerized circus members (who Dick thought had left town.) Joker incapacitates Dick and takes him to the cave.
    • I'm placing Dick's confrontation with Joker before the following events in Red Hood and the Outlaws and Teen Titans, mainly because Nightwing #15 has a gradual narrative lead-in to this night's events, whereas Teen Titans #14 simply skips forward "a day later" from Night 3. For more info, read this update.
*Note: parts of Red Hood and the Outlaws #14-16 and Teen Titans #14-16 overlap with each other.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #14, pgs. 16-20; Red Hood and the Outlaws #15, pgs. 1-11
    • Jason and Isabel arrive in Isabel's appartment, and while Jason showers Isabel is poisoned, but in a way that makes it look like she overdosed on drugs. Surprise, Joker was behind it, and when Harvey Bullock arrives on the scene, Jason fights a few of his men and steals a police cruiser to go warn the rest of the family, but Joker, who was hiding in the car, sprays some form of paralyzing gas and knocks Jason out.
    • Don't worry, Isabel will be alright. Jason gives this monologue about how he trusts Bullock and he'll do the right thing by getting her help and whatnot. Yay, Bullock!
  • Teen Titans #14, pgs. 19-20
    • At Lex Towers, Wonder Girl, Solstice, Kid Flash, and Bunker discover Red Robin has been kidnapped.
  • Teen Titans #15, pgs. 1-5
    • Batgirl arrives to meet Wonder Girl, Solstice, Kid Flash, and Bunker at Scott's Toys in Gotham. Batgirl keeps saying how she doesn't have time for this: "I take five minutes that I don't have to help a friend," "I really don't have the time..." and "someone needs me right now." The Titans tell Batgirl that Red Robin has been kidnapped and she tells them about the Joker.
  • Teen Titans #15, pgs. 6-8
    • Red Robin wakes up, in his original costume from when he first became Red Robin, and is greeted by the Joker.
  • Teen Titans #15, pgs. 9-10
    • Batgirl marks locations of former Joker crimes on a map and directs the Titans to split up and search them. She says "I've got my own issues to deal with, so I can't join you."
  • Teen Titans #15, pgs. 11-13
    • Kid Flash and Solstice run around Gotham checking various possible Joker locations.
  • Teen Titans #15, pgs. 14-16
    • Joker reveals to Red Robin that, while Kid Flash was running around the city looking for him, Kid Flash was also unknowingly spreading deadly Joker toxin. After this, Joker incapacitates Tim and puts him back in his current Red Robin costume (although we don't actually see this happen.)
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #15, pgs. 12-18
    • Joker screws with Jason's head and reveals that the events of Jason's life that led to him becoming Robin may have been manipulated by Joker. Jason falls through a trap door and lands next to an unconscious Red Robin, who is back in his current costume. Jason is rendered unconscious as well.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #15, pg. 19
    • Arsenal tells Starfire he picked up a call from Wonder Girl to Batgirl. This is either the call that brings Batgirl to the Titans at the beginning of Teen Titans #15, and they intercepted it late (or on their way to Gotham) or it is an unseen call from Wonder Girl to Batgirl before she tries calling Kid Flash in Teen Titans #15, pg. 17. Not necessarily supporting or refuting either of these possibilities, in Teen Titans #15, pg. 4, there is a text on a phone that Kid Flash is holding that says "Meet at Scott's Toys. Midnight. Need Help."
  • Teen Titans #15, pgs. 17-19
    • Outside a Gotham aviary, Wonder Girl and Bunker try to contact Kid Flash and Solstice. They see Solstice's power signature, which is bigger than usual, and they follow it to see Kid Flash and Solstice being ambushed by Jokerized townspeople.
    • Kid Flash thinks about using his powers to defend himself against the townspeople, but decides against it because, according to him, he feels faster somehow and fears he might not be able to control his powers. He wonders if Joker's poison could be doing this, or something else, and it shows a weird-looking dude with his hands on his temples and then shows Black Canary, and an editor's note says to check out Birds of Prey #15 for what's happening. First of all, this Teen Titans scene is not taking place concurrently with the events of Birds of Prey #15; that issue takes place in Japan and also features Batgirl, who appeared in Gotham just minutes prior to this Teen Titans scene. Initially I pondered invoking a H'el on Earth-induced time anomaly to wave this away, but no. Here is what's happening:
      • That strange-looking guy in the green suit is actually Kurt Lance, who was once Black Canary's husband before he "died." Teen Titans #16 tells us that Kurt was telepathically giving the Teen Titans a power boost to help them out, which Birds of Prey #15 also indicates he does sometimes before Black Canary performs her Canary Cry. (Should that be capitalized?) Anyway, at the end of his appearance in Teen Titans #16, Kurt is incapacitated by an agent of Basilisk. Kurt will show up much later in the Birds of Prey title, but we'll get there when we get there.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #15, pg. 20/Teen Titans #15, pg. 20
    • Arsenal and Starfire arrive to help the Teen Titans. Although it seems that these two pages depict the same scene, they both feature different dialog; but if this isn't an error, I think page 20 of Red Hood and the Outlaws #15 comes first. Of course, we can't rule out a H'el on Earth-induced time anomaly, but I think we're okay here.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #16
    • The Teen Titans (sans Red Robin) and the Outlaws (sans Red Hood) save the day and cure all the people. Also, apparently Hugo Strange writes self-help books. Deathstroke also makes a one-page cameo that is never followed up on. Maybe someday! Alright, and finally, Joker appears at the end doing something with one of Jason's Red Hood helmets. Hmmm.
    • Page 5 shows a picture of Joker, with Tim's current Red Robin wings, prancing around Tim and Jason's unconscious bodies, while Tim is wearing his original Red Robin costume. By all accounts, this is probably impossible; when Jason first arrives in this room, Tim is in his current Red Robin costume. There are three possibilities:
      • Joker switched Tim back to the old costume so Joker could mess around with the current one for a short while, and then switched the costumes back one more time, or...
      • A H'el on Earth-induced time anomaly caused Tim to be back in the old costume temporarily, and caused his current costume to appear on Joker, or...
      • Arsenal is imagining this scene. This is probably the most likely of these options, so it's the one I'll go with.
  • Teen Titans #16
    • Red Hood and Red Robin vs. the Joker, interspersed with three separate cameo scenes featuring the remaining Outlaws and Teen Titans, Kurt Lance, and Raven. Joker ends up incapacitating Tim and Jason and they awake in a cave, to see a purple-suited Joker presenting them with bloody silver platters.

Day 5 (Monday)

Night 5 (late Monday, early Tuesday)
  • Detective Comics #16-17
    • Alright, the placement of these issues is open for debate, but I'll try to do the best I can. This story deals with the numerous gangs "inspired" by the Joker that appear whenever he is in town, one of which is called the League of Smiles, which this story focuses on. I'm gonna say these issues take place over the course of one night, as evidenced by the Merrymaker saying "the night is young" at the end of #16, and a morning scene at the end of #17 referring to "last night's killings," which occurred at the start of #16.
    • However, at the start of #17, Bruce says "Yesterday the G.C.P.D. found a charred body in a psychiatric office complex..." Bruce believes this body to be the League of Smiles' psychiatrist, which enabled him to connect all the individual members together in #16. In #16, pg. 9, presumably the same night as the rest of the issue's action, Bruce says "before today, I'd never even heard of them." in reference to the League of Smiles. So, it's possible the main action of #17 takes place in the early AM hours and "yesterday" was technically still the same day, or maybe they did find it the day before but it wasn't relevant until the League of Smiles revealed themselves.
    • This issue could take place on Night 4 or Night 5, but I'm putting it here because it seems as though Bruce spent most of the day preceding this tale preoccupied with League of Smiles stuff; on Day 4, that certainly would've taken a backseat to H'el on Earth. Plus, I simply don't want Bruce just doing nothing on Day/Night 5. Damian appears in Detective Comics #16, nicely setting up his next appearance in Batman and Robin #15, which should also probably be on Night 5.
  • Batman and Robin #15-16
    • Note: these events could take place on Night 4 or Night 5, but I have placed them here. For more info, read this update.
    • These issues take place after Damian's appearance at the beginning of Detective Comics #16. After that, these issues overlap with Detective Comics #16 and #17 starting with panel 5 of pg. 10 in Detective Comics #16, onward.
    • Damian is at the cave because Bruce told him to sit this one out, but he's not happy about it. He says "My father can't afford to focus only on one person--with the Joker out there, the entire city needs his attention." which could be interpreted as a vague reference to events over in Detective Comics. Damian decides to investigate Alfred's abduction, which leads him to the zoo. Since there's nothing Joker does to specifically set off this chain of events (that we know of) I'm placing these issues before the Batgirl tie-ins in the next entry.
    • At the zoo, Damian is captured by Joker, who at one point mentions "those glorious, unbalanced denizens of Gotham--who I'm sure I don't have to tell you number quite a few." I am also taking this as a reference to events over in Detective Comics. Anyway (SPOILER ALERT!) Joker makes Damian fight a Jokerized Batman, except we learn it's not really Bruce under the cowl. Joker incapacitates Damian, takes him to the cave.
  • Batgirl #14, pgs. 12-20; Batgirl #15, pgs. 2-4; pgs. 6-7; pgs. 9-17; pg. 18, panels 2-4; pg. 19, panels 2-5; pg. 20, panel 2; Batgirl #16
    • Note: these events could take place on Night 4 or Night 5, but I have placed them here. For more info, read this update.
    • Batgirl arrives at a skating rink that she thought Joker was giving her directions to, but it was actually James Jr. on the phone. Joker is at the rink with Barbara's mother. He tells Batgirl to go to a church so they can get married and he will let her mother go. At the church, a bunch of stuff happens. Joker incapacitates Barbara and, when she awakes, presents her with a silver platter.
    • The skating rink and church scenes take place on the same night, one after another (at the church, James Jr. mentions his mother still being at the skating rink; I don't think Barbara would waste much time going to the church from the skating rink, even if the Joker's instructions said otherwise, which to our knowledge, they don't.) Barbara's other Death of the Family appearances, except for the remaining Batman items on Night 6, all have to take place before these scenes, or at least certainly the church scene.
    • Alysia's appearance and dialog in Batgirl #15 seems to suggest the attack on her appartment was recently. Sorry, it can't have been. The attack has to have happened on Night 3, and these Batgirl issues can't take place earlier than Night 4, after the Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Teen Titans tie-ins. But to avoid clutter, I've placed them here.
    • Batgirl #15 is interspersed with flashbacks to "some years ago" of the Joker in Arkham, hence the strange page and panel order presented here; just read the issue like you normally would. It is seemingly not probable that the book Joker has in these flashbacks is the same book he teases about and has on him throughout the rest of Death of the Family.

Day 6 (Tuesday)

Night 6 (late Tuesday, early Wednesday)

*Warning: after this point, ending spoilers follow*
  • "Red Light, Green Light" from Batman #15
    • Joker recruits Riddler. After we see some men trying and failing to transport a horse for Joker (by carrying it) Joker says "How can this beauty be expected to perform tonight if you're dropping her all over the place?!" so yes, this definitely goes on Night 6 before Batman arrives at Arkham.
  • Batman #15, pgs. 18-21; Batman #16
    • Batman arrives at Arkham Asylum. A bunch of stuff happens, Batman takes down Mr. Freeze, Clayface, and Scarecrow in two seconds flat (sorry, fans of those characters!) and finally makes it to the throne room. Joker is there in a jester hat, and Two-Face, Penguin, and Riddler are there as well. There are also random people dressed up as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Superman, and Aquaman. Joker makes the Superman guy touch and electric chainsaw and he dies. I think. Batman makes it into the room but Joker shows him pictures of the Bat-family being defeated/kidnapped. Joker says that if Batman doesn't sit in his "throne" (an electric chair) then he'll never see his family again. Batman sits in the chair (but no, he doesn't die.) The back-up to #16 continues this scene and has Joker leaving Two-Face, Riddler, and Penguin trapped in Arkham because they were talking shit to him. At the end Joker says it's "time for dinner."
    • Interestingly, we never actually learn what happens to the people dressed in the Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman costumes. It's possible the Wonder Woman dies (she's just lying on the ground in the last page of #16's main story) but as for the other two, who knows?
    • Also, how did the electricity make it through Batman's cowl? Bruce's suit protects him from "electrified plates" in Detective Comics #14, so I don't see why it wouldn't do the same here. But maybe his cowl doesn't have that feature for some reason. Or the chair just had a really high voltage. Or it was special Joker electricity! Alright, never mind.
  • Batman #17, pgs. 1-24
    • In the cave (or at least, a cave) a bunch of crazy, stupid shit happens and Batman ends up saving the day. While Batman runs off to chase Joker, the family gets poisoned by Joker toxin but they overcome it through the power of friendship, and when Batman finally catches up to him, after a big fight and some dialog and stuff, Joker ends up "falling" down a cliff. I put that word in quotation marks because shortly before Joker falls for real, he almost falls but Batman grabs him and ominously says "Not that way, Joker. Not by accident... Everything that happens to you tonight happens by my hand." But the idea of Batman intentionally, even subconsciously, letting Joker fall is never mentioned again, so whatever.

  • Batman #17, pgs. 25-31
    • Although not explicitly stated, it is a safe assumption that this is the morning after the finale. Alfred is in bed and Bruce tells him that once upon a time, shortly after Dick entered their lives, Bruce waltzed into Joker's cell (unmasked) and presented Joker with the playing card that he may or may not have left in the Batcave. Joker looks at him like "dafuq did I just see?" Yeah, I am not a fan of this revelation and (in my opinion) it is one of the worst things anyone has ever done to the Batman character. Anyway, after the flashback, Bruce gets a bunch of texts and calls from various members of the Bat-family saying they can't make it over for tea and crumpets (LOLZ!) and Bruce is butthurt. Oh yeah, Dick calls and Bruce asks what Joker told them in the dark but Dick just goes "it doesn't matter." Will we ever learn what was said down there? Probably not.
    • Anyway, after all that shit, Bruce goes down to the cave and the Bat-computer says that it has identified a mysterious isotope in the Joker toxin. It's dubnium, or as it is also known, "hahnium." Bruce says to pull up the original element symbol and it's the word "Ha." The camera (fuck, you know what I mean) zooms in on the monitor and a little fly lands on it, like the ones that were always flying around Joker cuz of his rotten fucking face.
    • Horray, it's finally over!

...Or maybe not. In DC Comics' Batman volume 3: Death of the Family, a collected edition of Batman #13-17, a number of changes are made to the text of the original comics. Many of these changes can be seen here, courtesy of raffnav. Some of them are for the better, some of them are just plain idiotic, but for the purposes of this timeline I'll consider the following scenes to have at least some degree of canonicity:

  • I like the new version of Batman #13, pg. 8, panel 4, where Alfred says the line about hope instead of Bruce.
  • In the new version of Batman #13, pg. 20, panel 1, a reference to Batman knocking Joker off a catwalk and sending him into a vat of chemicals at ACE is removed, since that is not how it goes down in Zero Year. Alternatively, maybe Joker purposefully recorded a false version of his origin as a clue that it wasn't really him under the Red Hood, and that's how Batman knew! At any rate, I do like the line about Joker being bathed in fire and having his false skin burned away so I'm definitely keeping that in.
  • I prefer the new version of Batman #14, pg. 10, panel 3 where it is clear that Batman is holding a tranquilizer.
  • The new arrangement of the word balloons in Batman #15, pg. 13 is definitely superior.
  • There's an added line in Batman #16, pg. 19, panel 4, where Batman shows some concern for Joker's Wonder Woman hostage, who is now apparently "Guard Freeman." Still, the ultimate fate of her and the other costumed hostages is never revealed.
  • In the revised version of Batman #16, pg. 20, panel 2, there is more dialog from Joker that kind of makes it vaguely more plausible that he could capture five members of the Bat-family without Batman knowing.
  • While I'm not sure which version I prefer or which should be considered canon, the new version of Batman #17, pg. 28, panels 1-2 has completely different dialog than the original.
  • Similar to the above, the new version of Dick and Bruce's phone call in Batman #17, pg. 29 is totally different from the original. Not sure which I prefer, but the revised version seems to have a continuity glitch: Dick says the Joker didn't say anything to the family in the cave and they didn't even know he was there. This is questionable, because at the end of Nightwing #16, Teen Titans #16, Batman and Robin #16, and Batgirl #16, we see Joker presenting each Bat-family member with a silver platter and talking to them. Batgirl is definitely conscious during her silver platter scene, and Robin and Nightwing seem to be as well. I'm not sure when these scenes are supposed to take place; shortly after each family member is captured, or right before the beginning of Batman #17? For now, I guess we simply don't know.

Well, here we are at the end. While this timeline has been constructed to adhere as close to the facts presented in the comic books as possible, when it comes to matters of continuity, it's always up to each individual reader to decide what they ultimately consider to be "canon." And in that respect, I hope this guide has been helpful, and that you've enjoyed this Death of the Family timeline and will continue to find it useful. If you have any comments or questions, please, put them in the comment box! I'd love to hear peoples' thoughts on what I've done here.

Thanks for reading.