DC Comics Trade Paperback Timeline

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Welcome to the Collected Editions DC Comics Trade Paperback Timeline, a resource for graphic novel readers wanting to know what to read when. How does Batman RIP coincide with Final Crisis? What are the final trades of the old DC Universe before the DC New 52? What are the reading orders for Night of the Owls, Death of the Family, Trinity War, Forever Evil, Futures' End, and more? What do you read to understand the DC Universe? This timeline will be your guide, with the aim to place every relevant DC Comics trade paperback in context.

Creative Commons LicensePost comments, questions, corrections, and suggestions here. Updated entries are marked as "New!" Last updated 10/30/14.

Collected Editions 2014 Comic Book Gift Guide

Table of Contents
Legends | Millennium | Invasion | The 1990s | Zero Hour | Underworld Unleashed | Final Night | DC One Million | Our Worlds at War/Joker's Last Laugh | The 2000s | Identity Crisis | Infinite Crisis | 52/One Year Later | Countdown to Final Crisis | Final Crisis | Blackest Night | Brightest Day/Flashpoint | New 52 Vol. 1 | New 52 Vol. 2 - Zero Month | New 52 Vol. 3 - Death of the Family | New 52 Vol. 4 - Trinity War | New 52 Vol. 5 - Forever Evil | Pre-Crisis (Recommended Reading)

Legends
Technically DC Comics published Batman: Year One after the Legends crossover, but story-wise it takes place before Superman: The Man of Steel Vol. 1. Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper takes place during the events of Batman: Year One; this origin of Catwoman has at times been superseded but largely returned to continuity as of the Ed Brubaker Catwoman series (and then left continuity again with the New 52). There's a somewhat unspoken ten-year gap that occurs after the events of Man of Steel Vol. 1 (the Man of Steel miniseries) during which a number of pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths events (including the creation of the Justice League, the death of Barry Allen, etc.) take place; this too becomes fluid after the New 52.
The Green Lantern and Wonder Woman collections take place after the "ten-year gap" that follows Batman: Year One and Superman: Man of Steel, occurring just before the Legends crossover.
Superman: The Man of Steel Vol. 2 crosses over with Legends. The Keith Giffen-era Justice League begins in Justice League International Vol. 1, following from the end of Legends.
The 2012 Batman: Birth of the Demon collection contains the Birth of the Demon, Bride of the Demon, and Son of the Demon stories; Son, published about this time, was long considered out of continuity and is generally ignored (though referenced to an extent in Kingdom Come), until returning to continuity in part after Infinite Crisis in Batman and Son; these stories do not entirely fit with Batman continuity of the moment, but can be read for additional reference. Batman in the Eighties contains one generally unrelated Batman story published after Detective Comics crossed over with Legends; Batman: Year Two took place in Detective after this point (and flashes back to after Batman: Year One) -- again, though publishing order is preserved, the events may be slightly out of step with one another in the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Man of Steel Vol. 6 crosses over with Showcase Presents: Booster Gold and shares an issue in common. Superman meets Jason Todd here prior to A Death in the Family.
Both the Question series and Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters are rather removed from the events of the mainstream DC Universe, but take place about this time. In a continuity gaffe, Green Arrow next appears in Millennium in the new costume he gains here, but the change in Black Canary's powers won't be reflected for some time. Longbow Hunters lead in to a Green Arrow series that would run over 100 issues (collected in Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better or For Worse and Green Lantern: Emerald Allies, among other places) before the Green Arrow series would be relaunched with Green Arrow: Quiver.
Saga of the Swamp Thing Vols. 5 and 6 collect Swamp Things first post-Crisis on Infinite Earths appearances. Vol. 6 ends just before events in Swamp Thing that take place during the Millennium crossover.
Millennium

 

Justice League International crosses over with Millennium (also with the planned Suicide Squad: The Nightshade Odyssey trade, later cancelled). Showcase Presents: Booster Gold stretches from the beginning of Justice League International (and even some pre-Crisis Superman appearances) to just after Millennium. Hawk Hank Hall appears in Showcase Presents: Booster Gold before the new Hawk and Dove series. Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Gods crosses over with both Legends and Millennium. Superman: Man of Steel Vol. 7 crosses over with Millennium.
This third collection of George Perez's run on Wonder Woman includes an issue of Action Comics.

 

Hawk Hank Hall appears here after Showcase Presents: Booster Gold, but before Invasion. This miniseries introduced a new Hawk and Dove partnership and lead in to a Hawk and Dove ongoing series, which would cross-over with War of the Gods and Armageddon 2001 (both uncollected) and end shortly before the final issues of Superman: Time and Time Again.
The stories collected in Sword of the Atom begin pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths and continue to about this point. These Atom adventures remain largely in-continuity until the New 52.

 

This volume contains a couple of pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Deadshot stories, plus the Deadshot miniseries published at about this time.
Barbara Gordon cameos in Death in the Family after the events of Batman: The Killing Joke. Killing Joke is also collected in DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore, along with Batman Annual #11, the first post-Crisis Batman annual.
Invasion

 

Both Justice League International Volumes 3 and 4 contain elements of Invasion. The Invasion issue of Animal Man takes place between the Invasion issues of Justice League International, but is not directly related.
These Action Comics Weekly stories starring Nightwing and Speedy were published at about this time.
Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run launches from Invasion with Crawling from the Wreckage; the second volume, The Painting That Ate Paris, guest stars the Justice League International. Though Doom Patrol became a Vertigo series after Morrison's run, its characters are referenced up to and including the Blackest Night-era Doom Patrol series.
Like Doom Patrol, Sandman would become a Vertigo title, and its ties to the DC Universe are limited and tenuous, though characters from Justice League International make an appearance in the first volume, and references to the Sandman title are later found in JLA, JSA, Green Arrow: Quiver, Superman: The Black Ring, and elsewhere. Vol. 1 contains the Preludes and Nocturnes, Doll's House, and Dream Country stories; Vol. 2 contains Season of Mists, A Game of You, and some stories from Fables and Reflections. Absolute Death includes Death: The High Cost of Living and The Time of Your Life, and takes place after A Game of You.
Question: Epitaph for a Hero includes an appearance by Green Arrow, who was largely unseen in other titles at this time.
The 1990s
According to Batman and Superman: World's Finest (published later, and acting retroactively on these stories), Superman: Exile takes place subsequent to the events of Batman: A Death in the Family. Superman in the Eighties takes place throughout the late Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis Superman stories up to this point, with the latest story taking place just after Superman: Exile.
The Many Deaths of Batman reacts to the events of Death in the Family before A Lonely Place of Dying; DC published Blind Justice in Detective about this time, but it remains separate from Death in the Family. Crossover between various titles is somewhat limited at this time, but A Lonely Place of Dying (containing both Batman and New Teen Titans issues) takes place roughly after the end of Superman: Exile.
Published at about this time, but the story threads here won't be picked up until Green Lantern: Baptism of Fire and JLA: Strength in Numbers.
In 1989, a Hawkworld miniseries expanded on the origin of the Silver Age Hawkman, Katar Hol; but subsequently, DC followed the miniseries with a Hawkworld series that rebooted Hawkman and Hawkwoman, and contradicted Hawkman's post-Crisis appearances so far. Later on, the Hawkworld series (uncollected) retroactively changed the events of Superman: The Man of Steel Vol. 3, Invasion, and Justice League International Vol. 3 such that the Hawkman that appears there is not Katar Hol, but actually a Thanagarian spy posing as the Golden Age Hawkman Carter Hall's son (this is not at all, of course, reflected in those books). The Hawkman who appears in World Without a Superman, Zero Hour, and other events therefore is now the new Hawkworld iteration of Katar Hol; this Hawkman (who, through a sequence of events, would merge with the Golden Age Hawkman Carter Hall) would enter a limbo dimension shortly before Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare. The Hawkman that emerges in JSA: The Return of Hawkman is no longer Katar Hol but rather fully the Golden Age Hawkman Carter Hall, slightly altered; later events, including Blackest Night, affect this further. Along with Adam Strange: The Man of Two Worlds and Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn, this "soft" reboot of the Hawkman character was published at about this time.
Legends of the Dark Knight poses a quandary for the reading order of the DC Universe Trade Paperback Timeline, since the stories are often out of continuity or deal with Batman's early career, but may also be reflected in present-day books; their placement on the timeline will endeavor to reflect either publication date or relevance to other stories. The first LODK collection, Shaman, is reflected in the Batman story "The Man Who Falls," first published in the Secret Origins trade. Secret Origins also includes stories about Superman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, and the JLA; the latest-dated origin, of Green Lantern, predates Emerald Dawn and should be read here.
The Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn miniseries tell Hal Jordan's origin and are not specifically part of continuity, but were published around this time; they lead in to the Green Lantern series of the time, the first issues of which are collected in The Road Back. Guy Gardner appears in Justice League International, and Hal Jordan will cameo in Superman: Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite. This Green Lantern series would not be collected again until Emerald Twilight, around issue 50.
Animal Man: Deus Ex Machina crosses over with the Time Masters collected miniseries and Justice League International Vol. 5; all of the issues in these collections were published at about this time, as well as Justice League International Vol. 6.
The Question series wraps at about this time. Threads from The Question will be picked up in the weekly miniseries 52 and the Question collections that followed it.
Superman: Eradication takes place before Superman: Dark Knight Over Metropolis, and then issues in Lois & Clark (a selection of comics that "inspired" the TV series) take place before and after those collections. The Lobo's Greatest Hits collection includes issues found in Eradication, as well as Justice League International and uncollected issues of LEGION and Mister Miracle.
The main bulk of Time and Time Again takes place here, though the final issues jump ahead to after Superman: They Saved Luthor's Brain (but before The Death of Superman). After Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite but just before Time and Time Again, Superman reveals his identity to Lois Lane (currently uncollected -- start writing letters now).
These two Robin trades collect issues of Batman and Detective respectively, and the first and second Robin miniseries respectively. The Detective issues in Tragedy and Triumph actually occur before A Hero Reborn, but the first Robin miniseries naturally comes before the second; there's no way to read these two trades in whole without aspects of one spoiling the other. Batman: Last Arkham, the first collection of the Shadow of the Bat series, takes place about this time.
Batman: Venom is one of the few Legends of the Dark Knight stories that has bearing on later continuity with the introduction of the Venom drug that factors in to Batman: Knightfall and other stories. The other Legends of the Dark Knight collections are unconnected to continuity, but were published in the series prior to Venom, so they're placed here together.
Panic in the Sky and They Saved Luthor's Brain take place for the most part concurrently (Luthor's Brain has issues just before and after Panic in the Sky). There is, essentially, no way to read the two volumes without a bit of confusion -- Luthor's Brain introduces Lex Luthor II before Panic in the Sky, but Panic returns the Matrix Supergirl before Luthor's Brain. Subsequent to these stories, Superman becomes leader of a new incarnation of the Justice League prior to The Death of Superman.
This Deathstroke trade takes place around this time, after Panic in the Sky but well prior to Zero Hour. Much of the Titans material from this era remains uncollected.
Lobo: Portrait of a Bastich collects two Lobo miniseries (not terribly tied to continuity), the second of which took place about this point; Lobo then has a minor cameo in Ray: Blaze of Power. Lobo continues to appear in LEGION at this point. The miniseries collected in Portrait of a Bastich were themselves previously collected individually in Lobo: The Last Czarnian and Lobo's Back.

 

 

DC published the latter part of this Deadman collection around this time. Deadman would appear in the new Spectre series that began here, after the events of Crimes and Punishments.
The Doom Patrol volumes take place from Invasion through to just before the Death of Superman. Their crossover with the DC Universe at large is limited except where noted above; they are included on the timeline mainly because later series reference some of these volumes.

 

The Legends of the Dark Knight series will cross over with the regular Batman series in Knightfall; the collected Legends of the Dark Knight storylines that take place between Venom and Knightfall, though unconnected to continuity, appear here for completeness.
The events of Robin: Flying Solo take place concurrent with Knightfall Vol. 2.
Emerald Twilight picks up Hal Jordan's story from The Return of Superman. The last issue of this trade crosses over with Zero Hour, but for Hal Jordan's continuity, it's best read beforehand. Introduces Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern. The Knightfall saga takes place more or less during the time that Superman is deceased; Batman and Superman: World's Finest will place Knightfall Vol. 2 and 3 at the same time as The Return of Superman.
The Steel spin-off series follows the Return of Superman, and it, Superman: Bizarro's World, and the Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey miniseries all take place shortly before Zero Hour. The other Death of Superman spin-off series, Superboy, never received a collection.
There's not much out there in terms of Aquaman collections; this lead-in to Peter David's Aquaman series came out about this time. The series would subsequently cross over with Zero Hour.
The Power of Shazam graphic novel revised Captain Marvel's origins (revising, though not significantly, appearances in Legends, Justice League International, and elsewhere) and lead into the Power of Shazam series. That series is generally uncollected except for issues that appear in the Starman trades.
Zero Hour
This trade takes place both before and after Zero Hour and Flash: Terminal Velocity, but the "Reckless Youth" storyline, which introduces Impulse, should be read before Zero Hour.

 

Terminal Velocity follows the Flash after the events of Zero Hour.
Takes place shortly after Zero Hour and the Arsenal-era reformation of the Titans.
The Starman, Wonder Woman, and Legion trades contain zero issues from the Zero Month that followed the Zero Hour miniseries. The Superman trade contains Superman #100, and was published shortly before the 100 issue in Wonder Woman: The Contest. Legion: The Beginning of Tomorrow starts a new Legion continuity that would last through Legion: Foundations and Teen Titans: The Future is Now; this Legion is seen in Final Night and Legion Lost, among other places. Sovereign Seven began just before Underworld Unleashed and would last through just after the uncollected Genesis crossover.
Catwoman: The Catfile and Batman: Prodigal each begin the month after Zero Month; Nightwing: The Ties that Bind follows shortly after Prodigal. Anarky collects Batman issues before and after Prodigal, but preceding Underworld Unleashed and Batman: Contagion.
Again, the Sandman title only has tenuous ties to the DC Universe, but its plotlines are later referenced in a variety of titles. Vol. 3 contains stories from Fables and Reflections, and the Brief Lives and Worlds' End arcs; Vol. 4 contains The Kindly Ones and The Wake. Popular wisdom suggests the events of Worlds' End are in part affected by Zero Hour.
Underworld Unleashed
The Trial of Superman and Starman: Night and Day cross over with Underworld Unleashed.
These two Wonder Woman trades directly follow The Challenge of Artemis. Superman appears here after The Trial of Superman and before Final Night, when he and Lois have temporarily broken off their engagement.
These Flash trades begin after Underworld Unleashed and span until just before Final Night.
Batman vs. Bane collects the first Vengeance of Bane special, which takes place before Knightfall, and also the Bane of the Demon miniseries, which was published after Legacy but takes place before it. Legacy leads in to Nightwing: A Night in Bludhaven, which takes place about the same time as Final Night. This first Birds of Prey trade collects stories that span from just after Superman: The Trial of Superman to now. The issues collected in Hitman Vol. 1 include the Demon Annual #2 from the Bloodlines crossover (1993, roundabouts the Return of Superman [Reign of the Supermen] and Batman: Knightfall), a story from Batman Chronicles #4, plus the first issues of the Hitman series, which were published just before the Batman: Legacy crossover.
Final Night

 

Hitman: Ten Thousand Bullets contains a Final Night crossover issue. Local Heroes follows after; Hitman next appears in JLA: American Dreams.
The Supergirl trade paperback includes a Final Night crossover; Superman's appearance in the Supergirl collection takes place around the beginning of Revenge Squad. Superman loses his powers in Final Night, leading in to Superman: The Wedding and Beyond and Superman: Transformed. Superman vs. the Revenge Squad takes place between the pages of Transformed, and the two should be read concurrently. Superman's return to normal after Transformed is not collected, but see Superman: Daily Planet for an issue around that time. These are the last regular series Superman collections for a couple years.
JLA: New World Order takes place generally between the pages of Superman Transformed, after Superman regains his powers but before he becomes Superman Blue. Superman Blue's appearance in JLA: American Dreams places these trades around Superman: Transformation. Superman Blue appears in JLA: Rock of Ages and Starman: To Reach the Stars before he regains his original form as of JLA: Strength in Numbers. The final issue of JLA Presents: Aztek: The Ultimate Man takes place at the same time as the first chapter of JLA: American Dreams.
Starman: A Wicked Inclination, Times Past, and Infernal Devices take place generally on their own from after Underworld Unleashed through Final Night and to the uncollected Genesis crossover; Infernal Devices ties in to Genesis.
JLA: Rock of Ages ties in to the Genesis crossover.
Shazam: The Greatest Story Ever Told is one of the few trade paperbacks to collect a tie-in issue from the Wonder Woman crossover War of the Gods. It also contains an issue of Power of Shazam published just before the Power of Shazam crossover issues in Starman: To Reach the Stars
Flash: Born to Run covers a long stretch of Flash stories, from before Flash: The Return of Barry Allen (in a story that recounts Wally West's origins) to here, just before the uncollected Chain Lightning storyline. The Life Story of the Flash also alludes to Chain Lightning; Flash picks up next with Wonderland. Green Lantern: Emerald Allies collects Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-ups from Baptism of Fire through now; Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Flash then team-up in Flash: Emergency Stop. Based on the appearance of certain members of the JLA, Flash: The Human Race and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights both take place after JLA: Strength in Numbers.
Catwoman appears in Hitman: Ace of Killers in a story published prior to Cataclysm. Parts of Nightwing #19 appear in Nightwing: Rough Justice, but the main parts of #19-21 appear in Batman: Cataclysm. Cataclysm takes place in general after the Genesis crossover but is unrelated to that story.
The first Resurrection Man collection includes the Genesis event crossover, and ends just before Resurrection Man's appearance in DC One Million.
DC One Million
The events of JLA: One Million take place during Starman: A Starry Knight, Nightwing: Love and Bullets, Resurrection Man Vol. 1, and Young Justice: A League of Their Own, though they're not necessarily referenced all of those books.
Hitman: Tommy's Heroes (which replaced the collection Hitman: Who Dares Wins) includes a DC One Million tie-in issue. The rest of the Hitman books don't necessarily tie into a specific part of DC continuity and are included here for completeness.

 

Issues from Nightwing: Darker Shade of Justice also appear in the second (revised) No Man's Land collection. Nightwing: A Darker Shade of Justice contains a Superman cameo related to the uncollected Superman: King of the World (Superman Rex) storyline. Batman: No Man's Land Vol. 3 includes the Azrael issue that tied into the Day of Judgment crossover, but this is a minor tie and Day of Judgment more properly appears later in the timeline.
JLA: Year One tells of the creation of the Justice League, but was published and only became canon at this point (and is later changed after Infinite Crisis); it's placed here because characters from the Mark Waid-written JLA: Year One also appear in Waid's No Man's Land issue in JLA: Justice for All. Brave and the Bold is a sequel to JLA: Year One, taking place in between a number of Flash and Green Lantern pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths stories.
Neither the Tangent comics fifth week event collections, nor Kingdom Come and its sequel, The Kingdom (first published in 1996 and at this time respectively), directly impact continuity here. Certain Kingdom characters, however, begin to appear at this point in the mainstream DC Universe, like the Quintessence that next appear next in JLA: Justice for All, and the Tangent universe is referenced briefly in The Kingdom. Post-Infinite Crisis, both the Tangent and Kingdom Come universes becomes more directly linked to the mainstream DC Universe.
No Man's Land figures into one story in JLA: Justice For All. Birds of Prey: Old Friends, New Enemies takes place about this time, but doesn't necessarily cross over into No Man's Land.
The Secret Origins stories collected here range from general non-specific tales, like the Superman origin, to ones that preview upcoming storylines, like the Aquaman story. That Aquaman story was published the latest, at about this point, making these origins safe to read here.
Superman for All Seasons takes place interspersed with the events of Superman: The Man of Steel Vol. 1, but the series (by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale) was published just before Loeb's run on Superman beginning in No Limits, and the events of Superman for All Seasons only come into continuity at this point (plus it's a good story), to be later replaced in part by Superman: Birthright and Superman: Secret Origin respectively (and then replaced again completely in the New 52). Superman: Daily Planet is included for completeness purposes; the book contains Superman #151 (the first chapter of Superman: Endgame), but also the Superman: Save the Planet special from the period just after Superman: Transformed.
Both the end of Batman: No Man's Land and Superman: Endgame supposedly take place on New Year's Eve 2000 (and involve some of the same characters), though the stories don't necessarily reflect one another. Superman: End of the Century was a graphic novel published about this time which also took place on New Year's Eve 2000; most of the events of this book have been ignored in favor of Endgame, but the origin of the Countessa, who appears in Young Justice: Sins of Youth among others, is largely intact.
These three trades spin out of No Man's Land.
This Kid Eternity miniseries by Grant Morrison revamped the classic character; DC later published a Kid Eternity series under their Vertigo imprint. This book is not required reading, but Kid Eternity appears briefly in the JSA series and then again in Teen Titans around Final Crisis/Blackest Night.
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Vol. 1 ties in to Day of Judgment, but that book mainly takes place after the events of JSA: Justice Be Done. The Starman, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., and JSA trades take place at roughly the same time. Justice Society Returns is a new story that takes place during the Justice Society's Golden Age, and was published as a lead-in to the JSA series that began with JSA: Justice Be Done. The new Dr. Mid-Nite appears in his own miniseries before JSA. The second Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. volume ends just before Darkness Falls, but should be read after it to avoid spoilers.
JLA: World War III, Grant Morrison's last JLA volume, ties in to Day of Judgment. JLA: Earth 2 doesn't have a specific place in continuity (though it's referenced in various JLA stories later), but it generally takes place after JLA: World War III. Orion follows from JLA: World War III to Orion: Gates of Apokolips.
The Young Justice: Sins of Youth story takes place after the beginning of Superman: Til Death Do Us Part, but before the events of Critical Condition (even though one Superman trade leads directly into the other).
During Batman: Evolution, Oracle makes reference to events in JLA: Tower of Babel, which take place between the beginning and end of the Batman trade.

 

Robin: Year One, in a bit of retroactive continuity, takes place during the Batman: Year One era, but was published about this time and contains characters in common with Nightwing: On the Razor's Edge; Batgirl: Year One, equally continuity light, follows Robin: Year One.
Issue #53 of Nightwing is found in Batman: Officer Down. The Harley Quinn series begins before Officer Down. The last issue of Batman: Turning Points also takes place shortly before Officer Down.

 

Spoiler trains with Batman during Green Arrow: Quiver. Aquaman's appearance in Green Arrow: Quiver places this before Superman: Our Worlds at War. A resurrected Green Arrow and Hawkman meet first in Green Arrow: Sounds of Violence, and then in Hawkman: Endless Flight.
Our Worlds at War/Joker's Last Laugh
Flash: Blood Will Run ends just before Our Worlds at War, where Cyborg joins the cast of Flash for a limited time. Flash: Mercury Falling, an Impulse collection, takes place about the same time as Wonderland. The issues in Superman: President Lex follow Emperor Joker prior to Wonder Woman: Paradise Lost.
The regular titles of the above (except Green Arrow: Archer's Quest) cross over with Batman: The Joker's Last Laugh event. Much of Superman/Doomsday: The Collected Edition has been reprinted before, except the Last Laugh crossover issue Superman #175. Wonder Woman: Paradise Found takes place during and after Superman: Our Worlds at War. The JSA's involvement in Our Worlds at War presumably takes place between JSA: The Return of Hawkman and JSA: Fair Play. Events on Oa seen in Green Lantern: Legacy are reflected in The Power of Ion. Green Arrow makes reference in Archer's Quest to seeing the JLA a week ago, in Green Arrow: Quiver; Archer's Quest takes place after The Power of Ion. Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better or For Worse duplicates some issues of Archer's Quest, but also contains Green Arrow issues that fill in earlier uncollected gaps.
Black Canary leaves the JSA between Fair Play and Stealing Thunder in order to sort out her feelings for the resurrected Green Arrow.
Hawkman: Endless Flight is the first meeting of Green Arrow and the new Hawkgirl; they meet again in JLA: The Obsidian Age. Hawkgirl and Tigress previously fought in JSA: The Return of Hawkman before Hawkman: Endless Flight.
These New Gods backup tales appeared in the Jack Kirby's Fourth World and the Orion series, as well as a Mister Miracle special. The stories don't necessarily happen in the present, but DC published the final Orion backup story at about this time, so reading the book here avoids any potential spoilers.
At about this time DC canceled their Legion of Super-Heroes and Legionnaires titles (post-Zero Hour continuity) and published for a year the Legion Lost miniseries, collected in hardcover. DC followed the Legion Lost miniseries with Legion Worlds miniseries and a new series simply called Legion. The only collection of Legion is Legion: Foundations, guest-starring the Connor Kent Superboy; Legion ended as of Teen Titans: The Future is Now and was replaced by the Mark Waid Legion of Super-Heroes/Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes title. This Legion was replaced by a semi-pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths version around Final Crisis, and that iteration continued into DC's New 52 post-Flashpoint continuity, incorporating some of the Legion Lost-era characters.
The 2000s
This Young Justice/Spyboy crossover with Dark Horse took place just before the end of the Young Justice series.
Selina's Big Score and the first half of Catwoman: Dark End of the Street take place at the same time and overlap to some extent.
Batgirl: Death Wish and Fists of Fury take place simultaneously (issues are interspersed); Fists contains a Joker's Last Laugh crossover issue. The Batgirl trades collects issues published both before and after the Batman: Bruce Wayne - Murderer and Fugitive stories; these books may contain minor spoilers for one another. The Batman Begins movie trade contains Batman #604, a major, uncollected turning point in Batman: Bruce Wayne, Fugitive that occurs between the pages of Vol. 2.
The Chase collection includes all nine issues of that series, plus Batman #550 (published just before Batman: Cataclysm) and the crossover issue with the DC One Million event. Chase is placed here because it also includes a number of Secret Files stories, including ones relating to Superman: Our Worlds at War, Batman: Joker's Last Laugh, and the Hawkman series of the time; the Batgirl Secret Files story takes place after Batgirl: Death Wish.
JLA: The Golden Perfect certainly takes place after Wonder Woman: Paradise Found. Suggested that Batman returns to active JLA duty after the events of Murderer/Fugitive in the middle of JLA: The Golden Perfect. Spoiler ends training with Batman.
The first and second collections of Ed Brubaker's run collect issues that came out around the time of Batman: Murderer/Fugitive, but are generally unrelated to that storyline. Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale overlaps with Crooked Little Street, but contains an issue of Catwoman from just before Batman: Cataclysm.
Roulette's appearance in the former, and Power Girl's appearance in the latter, of these two trades place them after JSA: Fair Play. Because of Batman's appearance in the trades, I've put them after the Batman: Murderer/Fugitive storyline. We can guess that Max Lord accepts Manga Khan's offer to make him human again off-screen, which is how Max can be a cyborg here and human in The OMAC Project. As for Guy Gardner's mysterious power ring in the latter trade, we choose to take Guy's own advice: "Don't ask."
Green Lantern gains a new costume in The Power of Ion, first seen in JLA in JLA: The Obsidian Age. Superman's S-symbol is black for a time after Superman: Our Worlds at War. Green Lantern's decision to leave Earth in Brother's Keeper is reflected in JLA: The Obsidian Age Book Two; trades seem to happen concurrently.
Superman: Return to Krypton contains two stories; the first takes place before Our Worlds at War, and the second just before Ending Battle. The Supergirl series of this time ends with Many Happy Returns around the time of Ending Battle. Superman's S-shield changed from yellow to black after Our Worlds at War; changes back after Ending Battle. Day of Doom doesn't have a concrete place in continuity, but was published about this time.
JLA/Avengers takes place in partial continuity due to later JLA events, but placement is tricky--the only time a resurrected Aquaman can appear with Green Lantern in his new costume is after The Obsidian Age, but Aquaman's costume for much of JLA/Avengers does not support this. Chalk it up to slight timestream discrepancies.
JLA: Rules of Engagement through The Tenth Circle feature John Stewart as Green Lantern. In Trial by Fire, Lex Luthor is still president.
DC began this short-lived series at about this time.
Batman's revelation to Catwoman in Hush is reflected in Catwoman: Wild Ride. Catwoman: The Movie and other Cat Tales contains an issue from right after Wild Ride. The first ten issues of Gotham Central collected in the hardcover of In the Line of Duty (including both In the Line of Duty and Half a Life), take place concurrently (but generally do not cross over with) Hush.
Cyborg moves from Flash to Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day, and subsequently to Teen Titans. The Superman vs. Flash trade contains DC First: Superman/Flash, which takes place between the prologue and chapter one of Crossfire.
Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia graphic novel takes place sometimes just before the beginning of Rucka's run on Wonder Woman in Down to Earth. Donna Troy's death in Graduation Day is mentioned in Down to Earth. The New Teen Titans: Who is Donna Troy? trade collects mostly Millennium-era stories, except for the final story that takes place after Graduation Day (also found in Death and Life of Donna Troy).
JSA: Savage Times mentions the events of JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice. Doctor Fate's appearance in Hawkman: Enemies and Allies appears concurrently to his travel to Gemworld in JSA: Savage Times.
Impulse appears in Flash: Blitz, dating this before Teen Titans: A Kid's Game. Gorilla Grodd, imprisoned in Gorilla City in Flash: Blitz, escapes in Outsiders: Looking for Trouble; he next appears in Flash: The Secret of Barry Allen. Black Lightning mentions his daughter's superhero career in Green Arrow: Straight Shooter, shown later in more detail in Outsiders. Lex Luthor is president in both Looking for Trouble and Green Arrow: Straight Shooter. The events of Straight Shooter are mentioned in the Outsiders trade; Arsenal's injuries in Outsiders are mentioned in Green Arrow: City Walls.
JSA: All-Stars happens loosely between the pages of Princes of Darkness, before Sentinel and the Star-Spangled Kid change their names. Impulse appears in JSA: Princes of Darkness, dating this before Teen Titans: A Kid's Game. Jesse Quick leaves the Flash title in Blitz and moves directly to JSA in Princes of Darkness. Hawkman: Wings of Fury is published concurrent to Green Arrow: Straight Shooter. The appearance of Black Adam, and the hint as to his recent actions, places Wings of Fury after (but mostly concurrent to) JSA: Princes of Darkness.
In Teen Titans: A Kid's Game, Wonder Girl makes reference to Wonder Woman's book, as seen in Wonder Woman: Down to Earth. In Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Superman mentions that Superboy speaks highly of Starfire, placing this after Teen Titans: A Kid's Game. Appearances of Lex Luthor in Teen Titans: A Kid's Game take place in an uncertain period before/after Public Enemies. Batman: Death and the Maidens takes place before Public Enemies in terms of revelations about Talia Head's status with LexCorp. Oracle's appearance in Death and the Maidens, and lack of reference to any issues with Robin or other members of the Bat- family, places this story before War Drums, but certainly after Ra's al Ghul's appearance in Batman: Hush.
Published in the Batman titles after Hush, Broken City is a mostly out-of-continuity, vaguely referenced story by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. Batman and the Monster Men, and Mad Monk, are also semi-out-of-continuity, sometimes referenced stories set during the Batman: Year One period, as is the titular story from Man Who Laughs; these three stories lead in to one another. Man Who Laughs is placed here because the Detective Comics story collected within, Made of Wood, was published at the same time as Broken City. The Detective Comics issue in False Faces came right after Made of Wood; False Faces also contains a Batman story published around (but unconnected to) Officer Down, and a Wonder Woman story from just before Paradise Lost. None of these stories are considered required reading, but are included here for completeness. (See also Batman: Long Halloween and associated titles.)
Tim Drake is still Robin in both Batman: As the Crow Flies and Teen Titans: Family Lost. The Teen Titans encounter Mammoth and Gizmo in Family Lost; the villains next appear in Outsiders: Sum of All Evil.
Pete Ross is president as of Outsiders: Sum of All Evil, and Black Lightning resigns from the White House, placing this after Public Enemies.
Of Like Minds reflects events that have taken place between Oracle and Nightwing in non-collected issues of Nightwing. Huntress, in her post-Hush costume, serves with the Outsiders in Sum of All Evil, and mentions it in Birds of Prey: Sensei and Student.
Superman/Batman: Supergirl seemingly takes place a few days after Superman/Batman: Public Enemies; however, the Cir-El Supergirl appears in Public Enemies but is not mentioned in Superman/Batman: Supergirl, suggesting she's disappeared as of Superman #200. In Superman #200, Lex Luthor is still president (before Public Enemies), so we assume that Superman #200 takes place somewhere in a negligible space between Public Enemies and Supergirl trades. An appearance by Raven, among others, places Superman/Batman: Supergirl after the Teen Titans and Outsiders trades.
The Superman Returns movie tie-in trade contains a few additional Superman issues, including one that was published the month before Superman: Strange New Visitor, though the stories are unrelated. Superman #200, published the month before Strange New Visitor, establishes Superman: Birthright as the first new Superman origin in continuity since Superman: The Man of Steel (also replacing Superman For All Seasons); this will later be superseded by Superman: Secret Origin after Infinite Crisis, and changed again in the New 52. The beginnings of Wrath of Gog and Unconventional Warfare seem to take place concurrently, but text in the Superman trades suggest that they take place in this order before branching off. Superman: In the Name of Gog is the last Superman trade before the Identity Crisis crossover.
DC published Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals mostly concurrent to Superman: The Wrath of Gog and Unconventional Warfare (Wonder Woman appears in both).
JSA: Black Reign and Flash: Ignition are both the last trades of their series before the Identity Crisis crossovers. The Flash joins the Justice League Elite based on events in Flash: Blitz, but after Flash: Ignition. It's likely that Justice League Elite actually takes place toward the middle of The Flash: The Secret of Barry Allen (just before the Identity Crisis) chapters, but for simplicity's sake, and to preserve the JLA timeline overall, the Justice League Elite and JLA: Syndicate Rules trades are placed here. We know that Justice League Elite and Syndicate Rules take place before Identity Crisis because of the Atom's presence. JLA: Syndicate Rules takes place between the first and second Justice League Elite trades, and before Identity Crisis; the Flash's mention of his new day job places Syndicate Rules after Ignition. Pain of the Gods doesn't necessarily fit into continuity, but the issues occur between Justice League Elite and Syndicate Rules.
JLA Classified features JLA stories with loose ties to continuity -- consider these simply "Tales of the JLA." DC published the majority of these stories after the modern JLA series ended before Infinite Crisis and before the post-Infinite Crisis Justice League of America launch, and the stories generally involve the Grant Morrison-era JLA; best to read them here before JLA crosses over with Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis.
Superman and Wonder Woman's conversation at the end of Absolute Power places this story after Superman and Wonder Woman's "difficulties," referring most likely to Superman/Batman: Supergirl, though certainly foreshadowing Superman: That Healing Touch, Superman: For Tomorrow, and The OMAC Project. Wonder Woman's physical appearance places this before Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon and Superman: That Healing Touch. It's difficult to triangulate this trade in terms of the Batman timeline, short of a brief mention of Robin that probably places this before Robin: Unmasked and Batman: War Games.
After Knightfall, the Legends of the Dark Knight series crosses over with the regular Batman series in No Man's Land and War Games. The Legends collections that were published since Knightfall, though unconnected to continuity, appear here for completeness; Monsters was published before No Man's Land, but it appears here to keep with the other Legends collections. Legends is not collected after Going Sane and has since been cancelled.
Robin III appears in Batman: Hush Returns, placing this trade before Robin: Unmasked; Hush Returns leads in to War Games, suggesting that the following trades take place between the end of Hush Returns and War Games. The appearance of Robin IV in Teen Titans: Beast Boys and Girls takes place before the end of Batman: War Drums. Gotham Central: Jokers and Madmen takes place from the end of the previous trade through just before War Games.
Birds of Prey: Between Dark and Dawn takes place before and after Batman: War Games -- most notably dealing with the aftermath of War Games -- and therefore is positioned afterward. Gotham Central: On the Freak Bat also takes place during War Games, and the latter half of that collection continues into Flash: Rogue War.
Technically the events of this trade take place at the beginning of Nightwing's career, but the series issues in which the Nightwing: Year One series took place are the ones just after the Nightwing/War Games crossover.
Some interaction between Batman and the GCPD suggests this story takes place after War Games, though definitely before War Crimes.
Identity Crisis

 

These trades take place between the pages of Identity Crisis. The Flash tie-in issues began the earliest in Identity Crisis, followed by JSA and Manhunter. The Cheetah storyline from The Flash continues to Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon and Land of the Dead.
Events in Green Arrow: Moving Targets lead in to issues in the middle of Teen Titans: The Future is Now. The Legion: Foundations precedes Teen Titans: The Future is Now because Superboy is already in the future at the beginning of Teen Titans in terms of the Legion timeline; he has not gone to the future yet in the Teen Titans timeline. Legion of Super-Heroes: Teenage Revolution immediately follows the future events of Teen Titans: The Future is Now. The Titans trade stems from before Identity Crisis (but after Batman: War Games) through to Countdown to Infinite Crisis. The Flash's mention of the JLA battling the Crime Syndicate should be ignored, as there's no way that JLA: Syndicate Rules could take place concurrent to The Future is Now, given the Atom's presence in JLA. Robin/Batgirl: Fresh Blood takes place during and after the Titans trade. Even though Starfire appears with the Outsiders in Green Arrow: Moving Targets (a change that doesn't take place until Outsiders: Wanted), this reading order is preserved in order to follow the new Speedy's trajectory from Moving Targets to Teen Titans: The Future is Now.
Outsiders: Wanted takes place concurrent to Identity Crisis. Various cast members move from Teen Titans: The Future is Now to Outsiders: Wanted before Teen Titans/Outsiders: The Insiders.
The Wonder Woman trade takes place after Wonder Woman's appearance in Identity Crisis, but before her appearance in Superman: That Healing Touch.
This Wonder Woman trade definitely takes place before Superman: For Tomorrow and The OMAC Project trade (specifically, the Countdown to Infinite Crisis chapter), but after Teen Titans: The Future is Now, as Wonder Girl mentions the Titans' fight with Dr. Light. Wonder Woman: The Land of the Dead contains one issue of Flash that takes place during the Flash: Rogue War trade.
Superman: For Tomorrow takes place after the end of Superman: That Healing Touch, and continues to Superman: The Journey. The subsequent Superman/Captain Marvel crossover collected in Day of Vengeance takes place in an inexact space around this time. Lex Luthor: Man of Steel takes place earlier than For Tomorrow, but the two share characters that allows for its placement here. The presence of John Stewart in For Tomorrow places it before Green Lantern: Rebirth.
The in-continuity-but-semi-satirical Plastic Man series by Kyle Baker began and ended about this time.
Adam Strange: Planet Heist takes place concurrent to Identity Crisis, leading up to OMAC Project. A mention of the absent Guardians of the Universe places it before Green Lantern: Rebirth. Rebirth takes place after Identity Crisis and JSA: Lost, but before The OMAC Project.
A mention of Insiders in Superman: Sacrifice confirms that the Titans trade takes place before the Superman trade.
The OMAC Project trade begins the Countdown to Infinite Crisis trade crossover series, as it contains the Countdown 80-page story. Superman's appearance in the "Sacrifice" chapter of OMAC Project is preceded by the Superman/Captain Marvel adventure at the beginning of Day of Vengeance and by issues in Superman: The Journey, Superman: Ruin Revealed, and Superman: Strange Attractors; for this reason, since the operative chapter of Superman: Sacrifice is reprinted in The OMAC Project, Superman: Sacrifice is placed later, with the other Superman trades.
Batman: Under the Hood picks up the Amazo storyline from Identity Crisis, but takes place concurrent to/after Countdown to Infinite Crisis (in OMAC Project) in reference to the missing Kryptonite shipment. Manhunter: Trial by Fire generally reflects events of OMAC Project before Infinite Crisis.
First Thunder takes place well before Day of Vengeance, but there's some continuity between First Thunder and the initial storyline in the Day of Vengeance trade. JSA: Black Vengeance crosses over with Day of Vengeance; much of the Villains United material in the JSA trade takes place prior to the miniseries itself. Black Adam's appearance here occurs before his early appearance in Superman: Strange Attractors, but Strange Attractors is listed after Villains United because it also contains later Villains United chapters, unlike Black Vengeance.
The beginning of this trade takes place before Villains United.
The Villains United trade contains flashback scenes to issues from JSA: Black Vengeance, Superman: Strange Attractors, and Robin: To Kill a Bird, among others.
Weather Wizard appears in Rogue War before and after Villains United. Zoom can be followed to Superman: The Journey. Plots from Gotham Central: The Quick and the Dead follow to here.
Robin: Days of Fire and Madness takes place mostly concurrent to The OMAC Project, but after Day of Vengeance, and before Infinite Crisis. The Batgirl trade contains elements of Villains United, but takes place -- at least in terms of when the books were released -- before Batman: War Crimes. The Nightwing trade takes place after Villains United, as Nightwing is aware of the Secret Society. Birds of Prey: The Battle Within crosses over with The OMAC Project, but a Nightwing cameo places it after Mobbed Up. City of Crime is out-of-continuity and generally unrelated to these proceedings, but was published in Detective Comics before and after War Crimes.
Mention is made in Green Lantern: No Fear of the new Corps recruiting. The Hawkman trade takes place directly before Hawkman's presence in the Rann/Thanagar War (and shortly before JSA: Black Vengeance), and Green Lantern Corps: Recharge takes place during/after the Rann/Thanagar War.
These Victorian-era stories of Batman and vampires were originally out of continuity as part of DC Comics' Elseworlds series, but firmly join continuity after Infinite Crisis and in the Countdown to Final Crisis. There's a glimpse of the "Red Rain" characters in Superman/Batman: Vengeance.
Supergirl: Power takes place before the Power Girl trade and Teen Titans/Outsiders: The Death and Return of Donna Troy, but after Teen Titans/Outsiders: The Insiders, and concurrent to or after Villains United. Nightwing appears here with the Outsiders despite the end of The Insiders (and ignoring Nightwing: Mobbed Up). Supergirl: Power contains Superman/Batman #19 (also called Supergirl #0), placing it before Superman/Batman: Vengeance. Placement of Superman/Batman: Vengeance vis a vis the Supergirl and Power Girl trades is largely imperfect; despite references in Superman/Batman: Vengeance that indicate it takes place before Batman: Under the Hood Vol. 1, the presence of iterations of Superboy and Supergirl from The Insiders and Supergirl: Power respectively suggest that it should be read after those trades. Additionally, Supergirl and Power Girl have already met prior to Vengeance, placing Vengeance after the Supergirl and Power Girl trades. Statements by Lex Luthor in Vengeance suggest that some of Vengeance even takes place during Supergirl: Power. Superman/Batman: Greatest Stories does not directly affect continuity, but contains an annual published about this time.
Infinite Crisis

 

Infinite Crisis, the Companion, and World Without a Justice League take place at the same time and interconnect. World Without a Justice League essentially takes place between Infinite Crisis #1 and the Day of Vengeance Special within the Infinite Crisis Companion. Donna Troy will appear in a number of titles recruiting characters for an adventure within Infinite Crisis; in the Justice League books she recruits Supergirl and Red Tornado.
The single issues of Green Arrow that comprise this trade end during Infinite Crisis #5, but those pages (showing "infinite" Green Arrows, in the same way many titles showed "infinite" heroes at the same time as Infinite Crisis #5) are not included in the trade. As such, this trade doesn't directly cross over with Infinite Crisis, but Green Arrow's appearances here, and those of Black Lightning, can essentially be placed after his final appearance in Infinite Crisis (and after JLA: World Without a Justice League); the continuity between this trade and Infinite Crisis is not exact.
JSA: Mixed Signals takes place mostly before Infinite Crisis, except for the last story, which deals tangentially with Infinite Crisis #1; Donna Troy appears here, recruiting Alan Scott and Air Wave. Honor Among Thieves contains two stories that take place in and around Villains United and Infinite Crisis.
Though this trade takes place mostly before Infinite Crisis, the last issue makes mention of events in Infinite Crisis #4.
Crosses over with Infinite Crisis #3, and ends just before the middle-to-end of Infinite Crisis #5. Because of a revelation about one of the Wonder Woman characters in this trade, a revelation which is also mentioned in Superman: Ruin Revealed and Superman: Sacrifice, this trade is placed before the connected Superman trades. Donna Troy and Supergirl appear here following JLA: World Without a JLA.
Though both Superman: The Journey and Superman: Ruin Revealed cross over with The OMAC Project, and Superman: Sacrifice takes place in the middle of both trades, their ultimate cross-over with the beginning of Infinite Crisis place them after that trade. The Journey begins right after Superman: For Tomorrow, and though much of The Journey and Ruin Revealed seem to occur concurrently, their general timelines (especially in terms of Jimmy Olsen and his relationship with Clark Kent) are essentially irreconcilable, and the trades should be enjoyed as separate but connected entities. Sacrifice is placed after these two trades to avoid spoiling items in both. Superman: Strange Attractors, which contains the least continuity, is set just before Sacrifice; Sacrifice contains one scene that relates to a Strange Attractors sub-plot. Supergirl's appearance in The Journey follows her appearance in JLA: World Without a JLA, and may be before or after her appearance in Wonder Woman: Mission's End.
The latter half of this trade crosses back and forth with Infinite Crisis, ending just before events taking place in Infinite Crisis #4.
This trade takes place mostly concurrent to the fight between Superman and the Earth-2 Superman in part five of the Infinite Crisis trade.
Under the Hood Vol. 2 takes place roundabouts after The OMAC Project and Infinite Crisis #2 (since it suggests that the Joker, previously imprisoned, has been released for his appearance in Infinite Crisis #2, then recaptured for his appearance here, then escapes for his appearance in Infinite Crisis #7). The end of the trade specifically takes place during Infinite Crisis #4, which should place it before Superman: Infinite Crisis (which crosses over with Infinite Crisis #5); however, a revelation in Superman: Infinite Crisis places that trade before this one. This and the previous Under the Hood volume are also collected in one volume as Batman: Under the Red Hood. Red Hood: The Lost Days technically takes place before Batman: Hush, but the story is best read after the introductory Red Hood books.
Batman appears here after Under the Hood Volume 2. Nightwing's story here is somewhat concurrent to his appearances in Infinite Crisis #4, though events don't entirely match up. Essentially, Nightwing appears next in Teen Titans: Life and Death.
This trade crosses over with Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Superman/Batman: Vengeance, and ends during Infinite Crisis #4.
The Outsiders trade begins before Infinite Crisis, as Donna Troy takes a gathering of heroes into space, and ends at the "New Earth" moment of Infinite Crisis #5 where infinite versions of the heroes are revealed.
Teen Titans: Life and Death takes place during and after the Superboy/Superboy-Prime fight in Infinite Crisis #4, contains Robin issues from after Robin: Days of Fire and Madness, and ends with scenes from Infinite Crisis #6, making it one of the final-most Infinite Crisis crossover trades.
Despite writer Grant Morrison stating that Seven Soldiers of Victory takes place in the week before Infinite Crisis, it actually seems that the stories finish at the same time as the Metropolis battle in Infinite Crisis #7, placing them here. The Ultramarine Corps story takes place an indeterminate time before Seven Soldiers, but serves as a prologue to those books.
52/One Year Later
The DC: World War III trade contains 52 #50, and takes place between the pages toward the end of the 52 series.

 

DC published these four books by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale beginning at about the same time as Batman: Cataclysm. They were not immediately in continuity, and were in fact contradicted at least by Robin: Year One, which ties in to the Nightwing: On the Razor's Edge collection. However, after Infinite Crisis, both Batman: Face the Face and especially Batman: Life After Death acknowledge the events of Long Halloween and Dark Victory, so we bring the books into the timeline at this point. As with many books set around the early origins of DC characters, this book's ties are tenuous at best.
Arkham Asylum: Living Hell came out around the time of Batman: Hush, but was set an indeterminate time earlier. Elements from the story come into continuity after One Year Later.
Alan Scott appears first after One Year Later in JSA: Ghost Stories, followed by Checkmate: A King's Game. The Icicle appears in Checkmate after JSA Classified: Honor Among Thieves. Some members of the JSA appear in Manhunter: Origins, which takes place before and after the One Year Later jump.
The Green Arrow trade reflects Oliver Queen's new status post-One Year Later, and contains a mention of Checkmate. The first few issues of the Green Lantern trade take place during Infinite Crisis (after JLA: Crisis of Conscience and Infinite Crisis #1), but the majority happens after the One Year Later jump and contains appearances by Alan Scott and Oliver Queen. Green Lantern Corps: To Be a Lantern takes place prior to the end of Green Lantern: Revenge of the Green Lanterns, and Green Lantern Corps: Dark Side of Green follows after.
A reference is made to the Outsiders being "dead" in Nightwing: Brothers in Blood, placing the Nightwing trade first. Alan Scott appears in Outsiders following his appearance in Checkmate: A King's Game.
The events of Shadowpact: Pentacle Plot during the One Year Later "lost year" are irreconcilable with their appearance in 52.
Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch takes place before and after One Year Later; the latter part, where a temporary member joins the Birds, takes place concurrent to Robin: Wanted. Events of Robin: Wanted take place after Nightwing: Brothers in Blood and the Outsiders "One Year Later" trade. Captain Boomerang follows from Outsiders: The Good Fight to Robin: Wanted. Wanted takes place both before, during, and after Batman: Face the Face.
The Battle for Bludhaven features the "new" Titans after the One Year Later jump, placing this after Teen Titans: Around the World. Wonder Woman appears in Titans Around the World after Who is Wonder Woman?, though for other reasons the Wonder Woman book appears later in the timeline.
The first new Flash trade takes place after Titans Around the World; Cyborg appears here after the Titans trade.
The Titans, Aquaman, Firestorm, and the new Flash all appear in Superman: Back in Action. Firestorm: Reborn takes place both before and after Superman: Back in Action, in regards to Jason Rusch's partnership with Lorraine Reilly.

 

Supergirl's appearance in Legion of Super-Heroes takes place before Supergirl: Candor; The Dominator War crosses over with 52: Volume 4. Captain Boomerang appears in Supergirl: Candor; Supergirl's portrayal, seemingly different from the portrayal in Superman: Up, Up, and Away is later explained in Supergirl: Identity.
A reference to the new CEO of LexCorp places the Catwoman trades after Superman: Camelot Falls Volume 1.
The first "One Year Later" Wonder Woman trade takes place prior to the re-formation of the Justice League and the Justice Society, but after the first Flash: The Fastest Man Alive trade and Superman: Back in Action. The new Justice Society members who appear in Who is Wonder Woman? should be considered "under consideration" as of Justice Society of America: The Next Age.
The Dr. Thirteen story served as a backup to the Spectre story in Tales of the Unexpected; it takes place (purposefully) outside continuity, but aspects of it are seen in Booster Gold: 52-Pickup, and Dr. Thirteen next appears in Reign in Hell.
The Mystery in Space volumes don't bear directly on current events (they're referenced later), but were published at about this time.
Black Canary and Oracle cameo in Blue Beetle: Shellshocked prior to Canary's move to Justice League of America. Helmet of Fate follows plotlines from Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits.

 

Black Canary references events from Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits in The Tornado's Path. Felix Faust appears first in Black Adam: The Dark Age, then Justice League and Supergirl: Identity, but other elements of The Dark Age require its placement after the first One Year Later Justice Society collection.
Wanted — Hal Jordan reflects the new lineup of the Justice League after Tornado's Path.
A scene from the Martian Manhunter trade takes place in the new Justice League headquarters. Martian Manhunter appears in his new costume in Superman/Batman: Enemies Among Us.
The first new Atom trade takes place before Justice League of America: The Tornado's Path, but alludes to the membership of the new League.
Hawkman's appearance in Justice Society of America: The Next Age follows from Hawkman Returns. Superman: Redemption contains a Hawkman cameo, but essentially takes place at the same time as Superman: Camelot Falls Volume 1.
The new Justice Society series begins after the reformation of the Justice League.
A Monitor appears behind the scenes in Nightwing: Love and War, and that meeting is referenced in Supergirl: Identity. Supergirl: Identity takes place before Katana's costume change in Outsiders: Pay as You Go; the trade also flashes-back to scenes prior to Superman: Up, Up, and Away. The Teen Titans appear in Supergirl: Identity after the events of Teen Titans: Titans Around the World. The second "One Year Later" Outsiders trade explains the fate of Black Lightning prior to Justice League of America: The Tornado's Path. A small image of the Martian Manhunter in his new costume is explained by J'onn's appearance at the end of World War III.
Ion: The Dying Flame references Nightwing: Love and War and Supergirl: Identity. The building of the new Justice Society brownstone suggests this story takes place before Justice Society of America: The Next Age.
References are made in the first Uncle Sam trade to the Justice League and Justice Society. Both Uncle Sam, Creeper, and Trials of Shazam had stories in DC Comics's Brave New World one-shot after Infinite Crisis.
References to Supergirl's repaired relationship with Superman, and appearances by Blue Beetle cast member La Dama, place the first Brave and the Bold collection after Blue Beetle: Road Trip and Supergirl: Identity; the second Brave and the Bold collection follows after. Green Lantern's appearances here fall prior to the Sinestro Corps War.
Countdown to Final Crisis
The Manhunter trade leads into Wonder Woman: Love and Murder and Amazons Attack, which cross over with one another. Catwoman Dies deals with fallout from Amazons Attack, as does the second Uncle Sam trade.
Black Adam and Four Horsemen are both 52 Aftermath collections; Four Horsemen takes place before Black Adam, around the same time as Amazons Attack. The Black Adam collection poses some difficult placement: Felix Faust's appearance predates his appearance in Justice League: The Tornado's Path and Supergirl: Identity, and yet also takes place after Four Horsemen and Amazons Attack. Black Adam also takes place between Trials of Shazam volumes one and two.
Writer Grant Morrison makes vague reference, mostly thematic, to the Arkham Asylum graphic novel in one issue collected in the Batman and Son trade. Suggested reading here only for the most ardent of continuity fans (though Arkham Asylum is a good, ground-breaking graphic novel in its own right).
Batman: Under the Cowl duplicates an issue from Batman and Son; otherwise most of the issues in that collection can be found elsewhere except for one issue of Legends of the Dark Knight, and is included mostly for completeness' sake. Batman and Son and Detective were published at the same time and have a story with the same Bat-villain, thought Batman and Son is considered more canonical.
Harley Quinn moves from Death and the City to Dead of Winter. Events between Green Arrow and Black Canary are reflected in Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter. Katana changed her costume in Outsiders: Pay as You Go, and the appearance of her old costume in Dead of Winter is a mistake; Outsiders: Pay as You Go takes place before Dead of Winter. The Secret Six go from Six Degrees of Devastation to Dead of Winter
Bart Allen's appearance in Titans East predates Flash: Full Throttle. The end of Flash: Full Throttle takes up from Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga. Flash: The Wild Wests follows from the end of Flash: Full Throttle. The Hawkgirl series ends at about this time.
Last Son takes place before and after Camelot Falls Volume 2. Camelot Falls reflects aspects of Superman's post-Infinite Crisis history established in Justice League: The Lightning Saga, placing these two Superman collections here. Lightray appears in Countdown Volume 1 after Camelot Falls Volume 2. Note that because of some shipping delays, a considerable amount of the Superman stories prior to Final Crisis (including many written by Kurt Busiek) seemingly take place in a single afternoon when the Chris Kent character lives with Lois and Clark; these appearances are generally irreconcilable and should be taken as is.
Events between Green Arrow and Black Canary are reflected in The Lightning Saga. A scene from the first volume of Countdown is found in Titans East, but little is spoiled. Holly Robinson appears in Countdown after the events of Catwoman Dies; Harley Quinn appears after Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter and Batman: Death and the City; the Pied Piper and the Trickster after Flash: Full Throttle; Karate Kid after Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga.
Superman and Batman encounter the new Metal Men in an uncollected story after Superman/Batman: Enemies Among Us; the Metal Men next appeared in a mini-series published about this time.
This trade is largely out of continuity, except that the end references the New God Sleez's appearance in Countdown to Final Crisis Volume 1.
References are made to Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins in Green Arrow/Black Canary: Road to the Altar prior to Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul.
The Shadowpact appears in Cursed, Checkmate: Pawn Breaks, and Countdown to Volume 2 before a roster change in their next trade, Darkness and Light. The new Suicide Squad begins to emerge in the Checkmate volumes, as seen in Countdown to Final Crisis Vol. 1 and 2. Fall of the Wall follows events from Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter, and also references the ongoing plotline found in Death of the New Gods.
This story takes place after Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga and Flash: Full Throttle.
A trio of villains that also appear in Justice League make their next appearance here. Background images in Booster Gold contain spoilers for the Sinestro Corps War, placing this collection after that.
The Justice Society fights Zoom in this volume following events in The Sinestro Corps War. A new Judomaster appears here following Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits.
Blue Beetle: Reach for the Stars takes place alongside Teen Titans: Titans of Tomorrow, and both also cross over with Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War. The Quest for Cosmic Boy reveals the new Titans lineup as established in Titans of Tomorrow; Supergirl goes from Legion of Super-Heroes to World War III in The Quest for Cosmic Boy and closes the Supergirl/Legion loop. Countdown to Adventure takes place in general after the new Titans lineup in Titans of Tomorrow. The Legion series continues into Enemy Rising and Manifest, published during Final Crisis but generally unrelated; best to end the series here and then pick up with Final Crisis and Legion of Three Worlds.
The Suicide Squad appears in both Green Arrow/Black Canary: The Wedding Album and Justice League: The Injustice League. These two trades take place simultaneously; Tangent: Superman's Reign picks up threads from Injustice League.
Changes in regards to the Outsiders here carry over into Checkmate, Suicide Squad, and other related titles. Takes place after the events of Trials of Shazam Vol. 1.
The two Infinity Inc. trades collect all but this series incarnation's last two issues. Those two missing issues have relevance to Teen Titans: On the Clock and Birds of Prey: Club Kids; Infinity Inc. next appears in Terror Titans after Final Crisis.
This Cyborg miniseries took place an unspecific time after Teen Titans: Titans of Tomorrow, but was published around this time and contains minor elements of Countdown to Final Crisis.
The two Birds of Prey trades take place before and after Green Arrow/Black Canary: The Wedding Album. Teen Titans: On the Clock takes place simultaneous with Birds of Prey: Club Kids. Club Kids deals with the story found in Death of the New Gods. Threads of Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter continue in Blue Beetle: End Game. Green Lantern: Secret Origin takes place much earlier, but the actual issues came out after The Sinestro Corps War. Green Lantern Corps: Ring Quest follows The Sinestro Corps War and contains elements from Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter and Checkmate: Fall of the Wall.
The Suicide Squad story takes place throughout the Suicide Squad activity listed above.
Checkmate: Chimera takes place after Fall of the Wall, but is generally unrelated to other ongoing events.
The two Ray Palmer volumes reflect events from Countdown to Final Crisis Volume 2, leading in to Countdown to Final Crisis Volume 3.
Superman: 3-2-1 reflects events in both the first and second volumes of Countdown. Superman: Third Kryptonian reflects events from the Supergirl trades.
Countdown: Arena reflects scenes from Countdown to Final Crisis Volume 3; these scenes make more sense if you read Arena first. DC published the Captain Carrot miniseries at about this time, and it ultimately ties in to Final Crisis.
Shadowpact has a roster change as of Darkness and Light, which is reflected in Trials of Shazam Vol. 2. The Justice League appears in the second volume of Shazam prior to the events of Injustice League. Shadowpact concludes with Burning Age shortly before Final Crisis.
Scenes in part two of Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come spoil Death of the New Gods. Scenes in Death of the New Gods take place parallel to scenes in Countdown Vol. 3.

 

Countdown to Mystery and its Eclipso backup start during Countdown to Final Crisis Vol. 2 and take place behind the scenes; the Eclipso story ties in with Countdown Vol. 3. The Lord Havok miniseries finishes in general after the events of Countdown to Final Crisis Vol. 3-4.
The Wonder Girl miniseries takes place about this time and contains elements of Death of the New Gods/Countdown to Final Crisis. The continuity between Wonder Woman and Countdown to Final Crisis as relates to Themyscira doesn't quite work, but we can grant that after Countdown to Final Crisis Volume 4, what we see of Themyscira in The Circle and Ends of the Earth stands.
The Atom Ryan Choi appears next in Trinity and Final Crisis. Giganta's appears here after Blue Beetle: Reach for the Stars, though how one relates to the other is unclear.
The Raven miniseries takes place just before the new Titans series. This new Titans series begins prior to Final Crisis, about the same time as Teen Titans: On the Clock; the Titans East special that begins the collection takes place during the Death of the New Gods aspect of Countdown to Final Crisis. Though Titans: Old Friends must take place at the end of Countdown to Final Crisis (per Donna Troy's status), Starfire's initial status references the end of Countdown to Adventure; her appearance in Rann/Thanagar: Holy War takes place about the same time. Titans is at this point generally unrelated to current events in Batman and Nightwing.
The Martian Manhunter's appearance here predates Salvation Run; a reference to a missing villain is explained in Salvation Run. Geo-Force moves from Justice League to Outsiders with this volume. Batgirl Cassandra Cain returns to the Batman family with Outsiders and Batgirl: Redemption.
Catwoman: Crime Pays and The Long Road home directly cross over with Salvation Run. Gotham Underground reflects events in Gotham at the same time as Salvation Run.
Private Casebook serves as an epilogue to The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul and also follows the end of Salvation Run. Nightwing: Freefall takes place after Batman: The Black Glove but before Batman: RIP (and spoils large elements of The Black Glove collection). The Nightwing book also references The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul and events from Countdown to Final Crisis/Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga. The events of Robin: Violent Tendencies are incongruous with Gotham Underground, but that story generally comes before the Robin trade.
Green Arrow/Black Canary: Family Business and A League of Their Own take place after Batman: Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul and Batman: Private Casebook.
Characters from Salvation Run next appear in Platinum Flats and The Snare.
Manhunter: Forgotten follows Platinum Flats, and Blue Beetle: Boundaries follows Forgotten. Blue Beetle also appears at about this time in Booster Gold: Blue and Gold.
This Question miniseries (published roundabouts Countdown to Final Crisis Volume 3) takes place about six months after the Question's appearance with Batwoman in Countdown to Final Crisis Volume 2, about the same time as Batman: Gotham Underground, and shortly before Final Crisis itself.
Part three of Justice Society: Thy Kingdom Come follows the conclusion of Salvation Run. Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes shows events hinted at in Thy Kingdom Come volume three. The issues collected in Escape from Bizarro World come before Superman and the Legion.
Salvation Run leads in to Justice League: Sanctuary, which in turn leads in to Final Crisis. Justice League: Second Coming takes place after Sanctuary in a strange space that essentially ignores Final Crisis, but comes before Trinity; best to just read it here. The Vixen collection is generally unrelated to continuity, but was published at about this time. Superman/Batman: Search for Kryptonite takes place after Sanctuary, but still in the strange space within the middle of Superman: Last Son. Lana Lang in general follows from Search for Kryptonite to Superman: Shadows Linger, though unusual aspects of Lana's behavior in Search for Kryptonite won't be explained until Superman/Batman: Night and Day. Superman/Batman: Finest Worlds picks up from the end of Search for Kryptonite and makes vague references to the events of Batman: Death and the City.
This Batman story takes place just before Batman RIP, and therefore just before Final Crisis.
These Brave and the Bold collections generally don't affect continuity, but take place before Booster Gold: Day of Death and Justice League: When Worlds Collide.
The Trinity weekly series began publication at about the same time Final Crisis begins. The events in Trinity are largely out of continuity, but certainly take place before Final Crisis, and some dialogue suggests the story takes place between the end of Salvation Run and the beginning of Final Crisis. Red Tornado appears here after JLA: Second Coming; Mister Miracle's minor cameo after Death of the New Gods is essentially an error.
Final Crisis

 

In what may be one of the most controversial choices in this timeline, I've chosen to place Batman RIP after Final Crisis. Yes, the "RIP" aspect of the book does take place before Final Crisis, but the "Last Rites" chapter takes place during Final Crisis, and makes absolutely zero sense unless you've read Final Crisis first. The conclusion of Final Crisis, in my opinion, takes away nothing from the end of Batman RIP; they're almost separate stories until "Last Rites," which is itself included in the Absolute Final Crisis edition. If you're generally unfamiliar with Batman's pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths history, Black Casebook is a handy read before Batman RIP. Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? is essentially out of continuity, but shares thematic ties to Final Crisis and Batman: RIP.
Final Crisis: Rogue's Revenge and Revelations take place during Final Crisis.
Rage of the Red Lanterns and Sins of the Star Sapphire take place almost concurrently, and indeed there's no way to read Rage and Sins without spoiling something in the other; however, going by sheer chronology, Rage of the Red Lanterns comes before Sins of the Star Sapphire (see events regarding the Book of Oa). Rage of the Red Lanterns takes place just after the beginning of Final Crisis, but is otherwise mostly unrelated to Final Crisis. Rage and Sins include "Faces of Evil" covers, which spotlighted DC villains toward the end of Final Crisis. Green Lantern Corps: Emerald Eclipse and Green Lantern: Agent Orange follow almost directly after these stories, but various Green Lantern characters cameo in Superman: New Krypton Vol. 3 generally before the next Lantern trades.
This newest origin of Superman enters continuity with the Superman: New Krypton storyline.
Superman: New Krypton poses a minor continuity problem. Based on events in the (uncollected) DC Universe: Last Will and Testament, the final chapter of Superman: Brainiac takes place after Final Crisis, and Superman: New Krypton Volume 1 immediately follows Superman: Brainiac. Batman's cameo in New Krypton, however, would place this trade before Final Crisis. This cannot be resolved, and later volumes of New Krypton will reflect Final Crisis, so we place this trade here. The second collection of New Krypton follows immediately after the first and contains a "Faces of Evil" cover. Superman: The Coming of Atlas takes place indeterminately before or after Final Crisis, but it's part of the new post-Final Crisis Superman team, so we include it here.
Starman follows from Justice Society: Black Adam and Isis to Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds. Legion of Three Worlds leads in to Flash: Rebirth, but generally conflicts with Teen Titans and Red Robin up to Blackest Night; how Legion of Three Worlds fits with Final Crisis is also suspect. Conflicts between REBELS and the end of Legion of Three Worlds go unexplained. REBELS contains a minor reference to Rann/Thangar: Holy War. Black Adam and Isis contains an Origins and Omens story.
Flash: Rebirth takes place after Final Crisis and Rogues Revenge, but before the lead-in to Battle for the Cowl.
Robin: Search for a Hero takes place during Batman: RIP and Nightwing: The Great Leap; the Nightwing trade takes place generally after Final Crisis. Robin, Nightwing, Titans: Lockdown, and Teen Titans: Changing of the Guard all contain "Faces of Evil" covers and Origins & Omens stories, short origin tales that set the stage for the Blackest Night crossover. Lockdown comes after Justice League: When Worlds Collide, but before Battle for the Cowl. Teen Titans: Changing of the Guard takes place concurrent to and after both Terror Titans and Reign in Hell; the Terra trade contains one issue from Supergirl: Identity, and then the rest of the book takes place before Terror Titans. Changing of the Guard takes place at least in part during Supergirl: Who is Superwoman? Nightwing and Robin change their Titans status in the respective trades. Terror Titans references the fate of the character Boss Dark Side in Final Crisis, and takes place during or just after Final Crisis. Teen Titans: Deathtrap takes place around the same time as Battle for the Cowl, after the trades above it and before Blackest Night.
Oracle: The Cure ends the first volume of the Birds of Prey series, and contains a "Faces of Evil" issue and Origins & Omens story. Events in The Cure follow Teen Titans: Changing of the Guard, and take place before Batman: Battle of the Cowl.
Outsiders: The Deep takes place before Batman: Battle for the Cowl, which follows the last issues of Robin and Nightwing respectively. Officer Harper travels from the Batman to Superman titles after Battle for the Cowl.
Secret Six: Unhinged takes place before Final Crisis, but includes the post-Final Crisis Origins & Omens tale; Depths crosses over with Battle for the Cowl.
Kobra: Resurrection takes place chronologically before Final Crisis, but includes a Faces of Evil special published after Final Crisis. JSA vs Kobra takes place after the events of Final Crisis: Resist, collected in the Final Crisis Companion.
Justice League: When Worlds Collide takes place before and after Final Crisis; it poses a Superman/Batman/Final Crisis continuity problem much like New Krypton (see note above). Xombi debuts in the DC Universe in his own collection and also appears in Brave and Bold: Milestone. A story in Brave and the Bold: Milestone takes place between the pages of When Worlds Collide. Team-Ups of the Brave and Bold is generally outside continuity, but is included here to complete the Brave and Bold series. Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink includes Justice League members that place the story before When Worlds Collide. Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! takes place after When Worlds Collide. Wally West's appearance in Worlds Collide is incongruous with Flash: Rebirth.
Worlds Collide and Superman: Mon-El take place at about the same time; Dr. Light Kimiyo Hoshi proceeds from one to the other. The Supergirl trade takes place both before and after the events of Superman: New Krypton Vols. 1 and 2; to that end, Superman: New Krypton Vol. 1 and 2 each contain minor spoilers for this trade, but chronologically each comes largely before Who is Superwoman. Superman travels from Superman: Mon-El to New Krypton Vol. 3, but Sodam Yat travels from New Krypton Vol. 3 to Mon-El; these books too must be read somewhat concurrently. Hal Jordan's appearance in Worlds Collide and New Krypton Vol. 3 come after Green Lantern: Agent Orange, but Sodam Yat's appearance in Mon-El comes before Green Lantern Corps: Emerald Eclipse (events in the Superman and Green Lantern books are generally unrelated, hence the irreconcilable overlap).
After Infinite Crisis and through Final Crisis, DC Comics produced a number of Year One miniseries, now collected. These are largely ignored by continuity and can be read as imaginary tales at any point; however, Green Arrow/Black Canary: Enemies List does make slight reference to the Green Arrow: Year One story, so these collections are placed together here.
Wonder Woman: Rise of the Olympian takes place concurrent to Supergirl: Who is Superwoman?, per the TV news in Superwoman. The JLA line-up in Olympian is not completely congruous with Justice League: When Worlds Collide, but Wonder Woman: Warkiller at least takes place after that story. Olympian contains both a Faces of Evil issue and an Origins and Omens story. Both Green Arrow: Enemies List and Olympian include cameos by the Red Circle Shield. Nemesis appears in Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape after the events of Warkiller. Stories from Secret Six: Depths continue into Warkiller. The villain Red Volcano appears in Wonder Woman: Rise of the Olympian (minorly, in the DC Universe #0 excerpt) before Red Tornado: Family Reunion. Wonder Woman: Contagion does not contain many continuity notes and is placed here for ease of reading; the next Wonder Woman collection, Odyssey, appears on the timeline in the Brightest Day/Flashpoint section. The Amanda Conner collection contains a short story from Wonder Woman #600 that takes place generally out of continuity, after Contagion but before Odyssey.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance reflects events of Worlds Collide and Mon-El.
Emerald Eclipse comes before Agent Orange (see movements of Lanterns Ash and Saarek), and both books contain "Origins & Omens" stories.
Batman: Long Shadows takes place before Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn. Azrael: Death's Dark Knight collects the Azrael mini-series that took place during Battle for the Cowl, but also Batman and Detective Annuals published at this time; the issues in Azrael: Angel in the Dark were also published around this point. Batwoman: Elegy was branded as a "Batman Reborn" tie-in. Booster Gold: Reality Lost, though set before Final Crisis, contains both a post-Final Crisis "Faces of Evil" cover and an Origins & Omens story; Booster Gold: Day of Death takes place after Batman Reborn.
Streets of Gotham: Hush Money takes place before Red Robin: The Grail (as confirmed later in Red Robin: Collision). Streets of Gotham: Leviathan takes place concurrent to the end of Gotham City Sirens: Union. Hush Money reflects the Justice League lineup after Justice League: When Worlds Collide.
One small panel in Gotham City Sirens: Union references Power Girl: A New Beginning.
The Superboy book contains an Origins and Omens story that takes place about the same time as Codename Patriot, and intersects with the New Krypton story in Mon-El: Man of Valor. Superboy takes place after Red Robin: The Grail and Flash: Rebirth, but generally conflicts with Teen Titans until after Blackest Night.
Codename Patriot references the events of Teen Titans: Child's Play, but with no great importance. Patriot follows immediately after Superman: New Krypton Vol. 3, and Supergirl: Friends and Fugitives follows immediately after Patriot.
Blink and you'd miss it, but DC published a new Warlord series by creator Mike Grell at around this point, and released a collection of the first six issues. This trade does not intersect with the ongoing DC Universe of this time, but Secret Six: The Reptile Brain picks up threads of the uncollected end of this Warlord series.
Blackest Night
James Robinson's Cry for Justice takes place for the most part sometime after Battle for the Cowl and Supergirl: Who is Superwoman?, but before Blackest Night, except for the epilogue, which takes place after Blackest Night but doesn't spoil anything. Since Cry for Justice mostly involves the fallout from Final Crisis, some of which was later mitigated by Blackest Night, the Justice League collection is placed here, though Cry for Justice and Blackest Night were published simultaneously and don't reference one another, though other collections (including Justice League: Team History) reference both.

 

Secret Six: Danse Macabre contains Suicide Squad #67, a Blackest Night "resurrected" title; the rest of those issues are collected in Blackest Night: Rise of the Black Lanterns.
Superman/Batman: Night and Day takes place mostly before the events of Final Crisis (out of continuity, even), except for the final story that follows the Solomon Grundy collection and takes place during Blackest Night. Night and Day offers some additional explanation of the events of Superman/Batman: Search for Kryptonite. Superman/Batman: Big Noise was published about this time, but takes place just after Our Worlds at War (loosely, and with little tie to continuity).
Green Arrow: Five Stages takes place mostly just before Cry for Justice, except for a final Blackest Night tie-in issue also found in Blackest Night: Rise of the Black Lanterns.
The Outsiders appear with Alfred in Batgirl Rising, placing it before the events of Outsiders: The Hunt. The Hunt itself takes place somewhat incongruously during the events of both Battle for the Cowl and Blackest Night.
New Krypton Vol. 4 contains one issue from Codename Patriot, but then jumps to after the events of that story. The second Mon-El trade takes place before and after Justice League: Team History. Titans: Fractured leads in to JLA: Team History; the end of Team History parallels the end of Justice Society: Axis of Evil.
The New Krypton/Batman Reborn World's Finest miniseries takes place generally after Codename Patriot but before the end of Superman: New Krypton Vol. 4, Mon-El: Man of Valor, and Nightwing/Flamebird Vol. 2, and between the first and second Red Robin trades.
The Justice Society appears in Nightwing and Flamebird Vol. 2, after the events of Justice Society: Bad Seed. Supergirl: Death and the Family takes place around this point, before the events of Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton. Though Justice Society: Bad Seed was published concurrent with Blackest Night, the Justice Society title does not catch up with Blackest Night until after Justice Society: Axis of Evil.
Strange Adventures continues the story of Adam Strange and Captain Comet from Rann/Thanagar: Holy War. The characters next appear in REBELS: Strange Companions, at about the same time as Green Lantern: Agent Orange (the lead-in to Blackest Night). Strange Companions is placed here because it leads directly in to REBELS: Son and the Stars, which crosses over with Blackest Night.
Last Stand of New Krypton makes brief reference to a scene at the end of REBELS: Strange Companions; REBELS: Sons of Brainiac takes place after Last Stand of New Krypton Vol. 2. Outsiders: Road to Hell follows the end of the New Krypton storyline.
Batman: Life After Death shares a scene with Batman: Arkham Reborn; the latter part of Arkham Reborn directly follows Life After Death. The books are generally unrelated to the larger Grant Morrison-written "Batman Reborn" arc, so they're placed here before the Batman vs. Robin collection.
Red Robin: Collision takes place after Blackest Night: Batman (in Rise of the Black Lanterns Vol. 1), crosses over with the new Batgirl series, and takes place at about the same time as both Arkham Reborn and Justice League: Cry for Justice. Batman vs. Robin takes place around the same time as Collision and mentions revelations made by Tim Drake in Collision. Song of the Sirens picks up from events of Batman: Life After Death, and also follows from the Catwoman crossover issue in Blackest Night: Rise of the Black Lanterns.
Parts of Teen Titans: Child's Play take place before the Oracle: The Cure miniseries, but the final chapters take place during Blackest Night. The Ravager: Fresh Hell collection takes place alongside the Teen Titans story and shares some issues in common.
Doom Patrol: We Who are About to Die contains a Blackest Night crossover story. Doom Patrol: Brotherhood picks up just after the previous volume. Question: Pipeline includes characters from the Doom Patrol trade.
Blue Beetle: Black and Blue collects Blue Beetle co-feature backup stories from the issues of Booster Gold that are collected in The Tomorrow Memory. Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes appears in Teen Titans: The Hunt for Raven before the events of Justice League: Generation Lost.
Brightest Day/Flashpoint

 

Green Lantern Corps: Revolt of the Alpha Lanterns takes place after Brightest Day Vol. 1; the second story in Revolt takes place just before the events of Rage of the Red Lanterns.
Justice Society: Axis of Evil takes place mainly before Blackest Night, but the final pages span the events of Blackest Night to just before Justice League: Dark Things. JSA All-Stars: Constellations ends concurrent to the events of Blackest Night, and references events in JSA: Axis of Evil. The Magog trade takes place in the middle of Constellations; the two trades (minorly) overlap. Magog appears in the Shield trade, and Shield would appear in the Magog series shortly after the issues in the Magog collection. Power Girl: Aliens and Apes takes place after Blackest Night, JSA: The Bad Seed, and Constellations. JSA All-Stars: Glory Days takes place closer to the DC New 52 relaunch, but is generally unrelated to other series and placed here.
JLA: Dark Things is a JLA/JSA crossover, and ties in to Brightest Day.
Titans: Villains for Hire is a Brightest Day tie-in and follows the events of Justice League: Rise and Fall. Though not stated explicitly, it appears both Cheshire and Dwarfstar appear in Secret Six: Cats in the Cradle prior to their appearances in Titans: Villains for Hire. Dwarfstar appears next in Secret Six: The Reptile Brain.
Birds of Prey: End Run takes place simultaneously with Justice League: Dark Things. Batgirl: The Flood occurs after the Birds of Prey re-form in End Run.
The first volume of Superman: Grounded appears to take place prior to the Return of Bruce Wayne. Both the first volume of Black Ring and Supergirl: Bizarrogirl take place concurrent with Grounded Vol. 1.
The events of Justice League: Omega occur before Justice Society: Supertown. Supertown takes place during the events of Superman: Grounded. Monument Point is the last pre-DC New 52 Justice Society of America collection.
Batman: Rules of Engagement through Batman vs. the Undead are collections of the Batman Confidential series; like Legends of the Dark Knight, these are stories set early in Batman's career and are largely apocryphal or outside continuity. These books are included here only because a very minor and vague mention of the events of Rules of Engagement is made in the "The Return" section of Batman and Robin Must Die; this timeline does not suggest following Batman Confidential is necessary for a full reading experience.
Red Robin: The Hit List takes place both before Time and the Batman and also after Return of Bruce Wayne and Bruce Wayne: The Road Home; there is essentially no way to read Red Robin and the other titles without one spoiling the other in some way. This timeline places Red Robin: Hit List before the rest of these books, but an alternate reading would place Red Robin after Bruce Wayne: Road Home. The make-up of the Justice League in Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne places that volume after Dark Things.
Time Masters: Vanishing Point takes place concurrent to The Return of Bruce Wayne, though the ties are tenuous; the end of Time Masters: Vanishing Point leads in to the Flashpoint crossover.
The beginning of Batman: Eye of the Beholder takes place before the beginning of Batman, Inc. Gotham Shall Be Judged takes place between the first and second story in Eye of the Beholder. Birds of Prey: Death of Oracle takes place before Batgirl: The Lesson. The beginning of Batman, Inc. also takes place before Batgirl: The Lesson, but a later issue of Batgirl leads in to a later issue of Batman Inc.; essentially there is no way to read these two books without (minor) spoilers for one another. Death of Oracle also follows from Secret Six: Cats in the Cradle. Squire appears in Batman: Knight & Squire before Batgirl: The Lesson. Batman: Eye of the Beholder, Batman, Inc. Birds of Prey: Death of Oracle, and Batgirl: The Lesson are the final collections of these series before the DC New 52 relaunch.
These Batman books represent their titles' final collections before the DC New 52 relaunch. Batman and Robin: Dark Knight, White Knight references the beginning of Batman Incorporated. Batman: Black Mirror is a Detective Comics collection; it takes place at about the same time as Batgirl: The Lesson (minor references in Lesson).
Gotham City Sirens: Strange Fruit and Division span from Return of Bruce Wayne/Road Home to around the events of Batman: Gotham Shall Be Judged. These are the last collections of Gotham City Sirens before the DC New 52 Relaunch.

 

Though generally unrelated to other titles, the issues in Titans: Family Reunion were published at about this time. This is the last Titans trade before the DC New 52 relaunch.
Flash: Dastardly Death of the Rogues takes place after Brightest Day Vol. 1 and Red Robin: The Hit List, but references both the Return of Bruce Wayne and Wonder Woman: Odyssey.
Green Lantern: Brightest Day takes place after Green Lantern Corps: Revolt of the Alpha Lanterns and Batman: Bruce Wayne -- The Road Home, and concurrent with Emerald Warriors and The Weaponer; essentially these three Green Lantern-family books take place at the same time and interconnect. A character (with a Red Lantern ring) next appears in REBELS: Sons of Brainiac after Green Lantern: Brightest Day. Sons of Brainiac takes place after Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton Vol. 2.
Justice League: Generation Lost begins at the same time as Brightest Day Vol. 1. Power Girl: Bomb Squad and Booster Gold: Past Imperfect both reflects the events of Generation Lost Vol. 1.
Superman follows from the end of Grounded to Return of Doomsday, and then to Black Ring Vol. 2 and Reign of Doomsday (which share an issue). Grounded Vol. 2 takes place concurrent to the Superboy/Kid Flash race in Superboy: Smallville Attacks. Return of Doomsday begins in a Steel one-shot and follows to Outsiders, Justice League, a Superman/Batman annual, and Superboy; the crossover issues are collected in the titles above and Superboy: Smallville Attacks, as well as in Return of Doomsday. These are the last pre-DC New 52 collections of Superman, Outsiders, and Justice League of America.
Teen Titans: Team Building crosses over with Red Robin: Seven Days of Death. Superboy: Smallville Attacks shares an issue with Superman: Return of Doomsday. The Teen Titans: Prime of Life, Red Robin, and Superboy collections are the final pre-DC New 52 volumes of these series.
Secret Six: The Reptile Brain and Black Ring cross-over, and each book collects their own and the other's issue. Darkest House completes Secret Six. The second volumes of Superman: Grounded and The Black Ring take place after Wonder Woman: Odyssey and REBELS: Sons of Brainiac respectively, placing these books after the first volume of Brightest Day and Green Lantern: Brightest Day. Superman proceeds from Grounded to Return of Doomsday and then to the second volume of Black Ring and Reign of Doomsday. Reign of Doomsday is the final Superman collection before the DC New 52 relaunch.
Brightest Day Vol. 2 specifically shares a scene with Green Arrow: Into the Woods.
Batman Bruce Wayne appears in Justice League: Generation Lost Vol. 2 after the events of Brightest Day Vol. 2. Power Girl: Old Friends takes place during the events of Generation Lost Vol. 2. This is the last pre-DC New 52 Power Girl collection.
The events of Wonder Woman: Odyssey take place after Wonder Woman's appearance in Justice League: Generation Lost Vol. 2. This is the final pre-DC New 52 Wonder Woman collection.
Green Arrow: Salvation shows the events of the end of Brightest Day Vol. 3 from Green Arrow's perspective. War of the Green Lanterns takes place specifically after Brightest Day Vol. 3; the Aftermath volume follows War of the Green Lanterns. These are the last pre-DC New 52 collections for Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors, and Green Arrow.
The Brightest Day-era Zatanna series stretched from just after the beginning of Brightest Day through to the DC New 52 relaunch. The series is largely unconnected to ongoing continuity (the Justice League that appears at the beginning of Maid of Magic is from the Final Crisis era) and appears on the timeline mainly by popular request.
One story from Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes takes place after Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds; the rest of the stories take place between early Legion adventures published in the 1950s. Superman/Batman: Worship mostly takes place in an inexact time between Identity Crisis and Final Crisis, except the Legion appear at the end prior to Legion of Super-Heroes: The Choice. Choice makes vague references to Flashpoint. Superman/Batman: Sorcerer Kings and Legion: When Evil Calls are the final pre-DC New 52 collections of those series.
Flash: Road to Flashpoint leads directly into the beginning of Flashpoint itself. The "Deadman" story in the Flashpoint: Batman collection takes place before the "Lois Lane" story in the Flashpoint: Wonder Woman collection; that "Lois Lane" story takes place before the Flashpoint: Superman collection. These Flashpoint collections effectively end the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Universe prior to the DC New 52 relaunch.
New 52 Vol. 1
In August 2011, following Flashpoint, DC Comics relaunched their continuity with 52 new #1 issues, called the New 52. The relaunch poses significant changes to most (but not all) DC Comics continuity. For example, recent Batman and Green Lantern events have taken place, but Superman's continuity is entirely different. Justice League: Origin takes place five years before the new "present," detailing the first meeting of the Justice League, and replaces JLA: Year One, Legends, and the original Justice League International, among others. Action Comics: Superman and the Men of Steel technically takes place before Justice League: Origins, but DC specifically published Origins as the first book to be read in the New 52.
A number of DC New 52 titles reference Green Arrow Oliver Queen's company Q-Core, introduced in Green Arrow: The Midas Touch.
The Flash appears in Captain Atom: Evolution after the start of the New 52 Flash series. Static Shock: Supercharged takes place during or just after Captain Atom: Evolution; Supercharged also references Hawkman and the Teen Titans, and Static appears in Hawkman: Darkness Rising and Teen Titans: It's Our Right to Fight. The Hawkman book, without specifics, references the alien threat also found in Superman, Stormwatch, and related titles.
Supergirl appears in Superboy: Incubation after the events of her own collection, and then in Superman: What Price Tomorrow? The Superboy collection takes place concurrent with Teen Titans: It's Our Right to Fight.
Batman: Court of Owls takes place shortly after Bruce Wayne's return to Gotham as suggested at the end of Batman: Gates of Gotham. The book takes place concurrent to the first DC New 52 Nightwing volume. The Batgirl trade takes place during Bruce Wayne's crusade to revitalize Gotham, as shown in Court of Owls; the Batgirl collection takes place specifically before the Nightwing collection. The first DC New 52 Batwoman and Batwing trades each make reference to Batman, Incorporated. Red Hood and the Outlaws takes place after the Batwing collection. The Bat-titles next cross over in "Night of the Owls."
The Animal Man volume takes place concurrent with the first DC New 52 Swamp Thing volume.
The first volumes of Frankenstein and OMAC cross over with one other, showing the same events from two perspectives. Frankenstein appears in an issue of Men of War. The OMAC volume mentions the DC Universe Presents Challengers of the Unknown story.
Deadman and Madame Xanadu appear in Hawk and Dove, and Dove next appears in Justice League Dark.
Justice League International cameos Green Arrow, Frankenstein, Hawk and Dove, Captain Atom, Hawkman, and Blue Beetle, and Batman appears.
The Blackhawks appear in Mind Games, as well as in Deathstroke: Legacy and Voodoo: What Lies Beneath. Blackhawks: Great Leap Forward takes place after the formation of the Justice League International. The Huntress: Crossbow at the Crossroads miniseries takes place after the events of Mr. Terrific.
Deathstroke appears in flashback in Resurrection Man, and Madame Xanadu from Justice League Dark appears in cameo.
I, Vampire and Justice League Dark take place at the same time and cross-over with their next volumes. Batman appears in I, Vampire and those events are mentioned in Detective Comics: Faces of Death.
The first DC New 52 Stormwatch volume takes place after Justice League International: The Signal Masters; members of the JLI cameo. Events in the Superman and Stormwatch books interrelate; the Superman book begins before the Stormwatch book, but the end of the Stormwatch book takes place before the end of the Superman book. Grifter takes place specifically after Stormwatch: The Dark Side and makes reference to events coming up in Superman; Green Arrow also guest-stars. Superman, Stormwatch, Grifter, Demon Knights, Voodoo, and Savage Hawkman all deal with a certain alien threat. The DC Universe Presents Deadman story is generally unrelated to Deadman's other appearances, while the Challengers story is referenced in the OMAC collection; the DC Universe Presents trade is placed after the Superman trade because the Superman and Challengers stories share a minor supporting character.
The "Culling" crossover connects Legion Lost, Superboy, and Teen Titans with their second volumes. The Black Razers appear in Legion Lost, first introduced in the Blackhawks collection; they also appear in Voodoo. A member of Stormwatch also appears in Legion Lost.
The first volumes of the New 52 Green Lantern books take place about the same time. The Sinestro Corpsman Arkillo and the Red Lantern Bleez appear in Green Lantern: New Guardians at about the same time as Hal Jordan encounters the Sinestro Corps in Green Lantern: Sinestro, and concurrent with the Red Lanterns collection respectively. Green Lantern: Sinestro takes place immediately after the events of War of Green Lanterns and the War Aftermath books. Green Lantern Corps features a character from Stormwatch. New Guardians's Kyle Rayner also appears in Voodoo; Voodoo takes place after the events of Grifter.
The first DC New 52 Detective Comics collection, Faces of Death, includes references to Catwoman and to Green Arrow Oliver Queen's Q-Core, and takes place specifically after the first volume of I, Vampire. Suicide Squad: Kicked in the Teeth takes place after Detective Comics: Faces of Death and Green Arrow: The Midas Touch, and references the events of Stormwatch: The Dark Side.
All-Star Western, Aquaman, Firestorm, and Wonder Woman are generally unconnected to other events in the DC New 52 Universe at this time.
New 52 Vol. 2 - Zero Month
The Action Comics: Bulletproof collection takes place five years before current events in the DC Universe.
The Batwoman and Batman, Inc. collections are generally unrelated to the other Batman collections at this time. Batwoman appears in Batgirl: Knightfall Descends after the events of Batwoman Vol. 2.
All of these trades contain Night of the Owls tie-in issues; the same issues are also found in the Night of the Owls collection. Catwoman: Dollhouse reflects events of Detective Comics: Faces of Death. Birds of Prey: Your Kiss Might Kill has ties to Teen Titans: The Culling. Dark Knight: Knight Terrors includes appearances by the Justice League, Nightwing, Red Robin, Batgirl, and the Birds of Prey; despite that Knight Terrors is a Vol. 1 New 52 collection, it includes a "Night of the Owls" crossover issue. Dark Knight Vol. 2: Cycle of Violence is generally unconnected to ongoing events and so it's placed here as well. An additional Night of the Owls tie-in, Batman and Robin Vol. 2: Pearl, also contains significant Death of the Family material, and is placed later in the timeline. Events in a backup story in All-Star Western Vol. 2 later factor into a Phantom Stranger story.
The end of Voodoo leads in to the middle of the second Grifter book. Events in Grifter and Superman: Secrets and Lies take place simultaneously and each book contains minor spoilers for the other (very, very minor). Red Hood and the Outlaws: The Starfire deals with events in the Superman book.
Events in Justice League: The Villain's Journey are reflected in Justice League International: Breakdown. Villain's Journey references Night of the Owls and events in Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood. Captain Atom Vol. 2: Genesis is generally unrelated to the Justice League trade, but takes place before the end of Villain's Journey; Captain Atom appears next in Fury of Firestorm Vol. 3 and Legion Lost Vol. 2.
Events in Justice League International: Breakdown take place in the middle of Blue Beetle: Blue Diamond. Justice League International crosses over with Fury of Firestorm. Batwing appears in Justice League International and the team appears in Batwing: Shadow of Ancients before the end of the Justice League International trade. The Batwing trade includes a Night of the Owls tie-in issue. Justice League International reflects the end of Justice League Vol. 2: Villain's Journey.
The Green Lantern Corps: Alpha War collection contains some issues that are technically part of the "Rise of the Third Army" crossover that takes place in the next volume of the Green Lantern titles; however, if you read Green Lantern: Revenge of Black Hand prior to the Green Lantern Corps collection, spoilers are minimal. Green Lantern: New Guardians: Beyond Hope crosses over with Blue Beetle: Blue Diamond. Red Lanterns: Death of the Red Lanterns and Stormwatch: Enemies of the Earth cross over. Minor elements in Stormwatch: Enemies of the Earth place it during Batman: Night of the Owls, and before the end of Justice League International: Breakdown, though the book is placed after Justice League International to avoid a spoiler about the membership.
Most of the issues collected in Culling: Rise of the Ravagers are also collected in the second Superboy, Teen Titans, and Legion Lost collections, except for the Teen Titans Annual #1. After the Culling crossover, events in the Superboy and Teen Titans collections still intersect, with the Superboy issues taking place slightly before the Titans issues. The second and final Legion Lost collection includes Superboy and the Ravagers after the events of Superboy Vol. 3 and Ravagers Vol. 1, so that trade is placed later in the timeline. Titans: Culling connects to Birds of Prey: Your Kiss Might Kill.
The Swamp Thing and Animal Man books begin to intersect; they will cross over with "Rotworld" in their next volumes. The Animal Man trade takes place slightly later than the Swamp Thing trade, but because it spoils Swamp Thing's new look, the Swamp Thing trade is placed first. The Animal Man trade references events in Flash: Move Forward. Frankenstein: Secrets of the Dead follows the events of Animal Man: The Hunt, and includes a "Rotworld: Secrets of the Dead" prelude story that leads into the next Animal Man and Swamp Thing collections.
The Earth 2 and Worlds' Finest series don't tie into the ongoing DC Universe at this point, but Worlds' Finest will reflect events of in the Batman titles with the next trade.
Legion: Secret Origin provides an updated origin for the Legion in the New 52. Legion of Super-Heroes: Dominators remains unrelated to the ongoing DC Universe.
The Aquaman, Dial H, Flash, and Wonder Woman titles are generally separate from the greater DC Universe with these volumes. Aquaman crosses over with Justice League with their next volumes. The Flash book continues directly into Flash Vol. 3: Gorilla Warfare, which is referenced in Justice League Vol. 3, so a reader could as easily read Flash Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 as one volume.
New 52 Vol. 3 - Death of the Family
Aquaman Vol. 3 and Justice League Vol. 3 cross-over with "Throne of Atlantis"; many chapters are collected in both volumes but Aquaman Vol. 3 alone contains the prologue. The DC Presents: Black Lightning and Blue Devil book and the Shazam book are listed before Justice League: Throne of Atlantis because the characters cameo in that volume. The events of Flash Vol. 3: Gorilla Warfare are referenced to explain the Flash's absence from the Justice League story. Dial H Vol. 2: Exchange takes place simultaneous with the end of Flash: Gorilla Warfare.
The Green Lantern crossovers "Rise of the Third Army" and "Wrath of the First Lantern" are collected in their own volumes, and then also in the individual Vol. 3s of Green Lantern, Corps, New Guardians, and Red Lanterns. Some events continue directly from Green Lantern Vol. 3 to Green Lantern Corps. Vol. 3. These stories take place during Green Lantern's absence from the Justice League during the "Throne of Atlantis" story.
The Batman "Death of the Family" crossover ties in to a number of Batman-family books. The tie-in issues are collected all together in the Joker: Death of the Family volume, and also in their individual series collections. The "Requiem" event also begins in the Batman books following the events of Batman Inc. Vol. 2: Gotham's Most Wanted. Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 3 crosses over with Teen Titans Vol. 3 in their "Death of the Family" tie-in.
The third Detective Comics, Nightwing, and Batgirl collections and the second Worlds' Finest collection all tie in with Death of the Family and deal with the "Requiem" fallout from Batman, Inc. Vol. 2. Nightwing Vol. 3 mentions events in Detective Comics Vol. 3. Talon appears to encounter the Bat-family in Talon Vol. 1 after the events of "Death of the Family."
The third Demon Knights, All-Star Western, and Catwoman books, and the first Team 7 and Sword of Sorcery collections are part of a loose thematic event (not actually a "crossover") that regards Eclipso's Black Diamond (also called "The Black Diamond Probability"). Demon Knights, All-Star Western, and Team 7 all take place at various times in the past; the Catwoman trade corresponds with "Death of the Family" and "Requiem."
Amethyst appears in Justice League Dark after the beginning of the Sword of Sorcery trade after many of the other Vol. 2s. I, Vampire crosses over with Justice League Dark. Stormwatch appears in the I, Vampire collection. Steve Trevor appears in Justice League Dark after the events of Justice League Vol. 2: The Villain's Journey.
The Phantom Stranger appears in Justice League Dark Vol. 3 before the Justice League Dark appears in Phantom Stranger Vol. 1. The Spectre next appears in Constantine after Phantom Stranger Vol. 1. Raven also appears in the Phantom Stranger collection before Teen Titans Vol. 3. Teen Titans crosses over with Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 3; both books precede "Requiem." The Titans trade alludes to events in the Birds trade. Events regarding a former Team 7 member in the Teen Titans trade continue into the third Suicide Squad volume.
Resurrection Man Vol. 2 crosses over with Suicide Squad Vol. 2. The Zero Month issue of Suicide Squad Vol. 2 follows the end of Team 7.
Action Comics Vol. 3 takes place roughly five years before the current Superman storyline; the events of At the End of Days are later references. Action Comics joins the current timeline after this trade. The "H'el on Earth" crossover event between Superman, Superboy, and Supergirl is collected in its own trade, and then also each series' individual issues are collected in their own trade. The Teen Titans appear in Superboy Vol. 3 between the pages of Teen Titans Vol. 3: Death of the Family. Superboy appears in Ravagers Vol. 1 and Legion Lost Vol. 2 between the pages of Superboy: Lost.
Superboy appears in the first Ravagers collection after the events of Superboy Vol. 3. Superboy and the Ravagers subsequently appear in the Legion Lost trade before Ravagers Vol. 2; the Legion Lost and Firestorm share events relating to Captain Atom.
The Animal Man and Swamp Thing series join in the "Rotworld" crossover.
New 52 Vol. 4 - Trinity War
Superman Vol. 4 and Action Comics Vol. 4 take place between the pages of one another; Superman Vol. 4 begins before the main story of Action Comics Vol. 4, but Action Comics Vol. 4's end leads in to the end of the Superman book.
The Trinity War crossover between Justice League, Justice League Dark, and Justice League of America (plus Pandora, Phantom Stranger, and Constantine tie-ins) is collected in its own volume and also the individual pieces appear in individual volumes. The Justice League Dark Vol. 4 collection includes Forever Evil tie-ins and is placed later in the timeline. Justice League: The Grid makes minor reference to events in Aquaman Vol. 4: Death of a King. Justice League Vol. 4 and Justice League of America Vol. 1 each contain spoilers for the other regarding new members of the League; there is no perfect way to read these two titles except interspersed, but in general we recommend Justice League of America Vol. 1 first (even though its Trinity War issues take place after the ones collected in Justice League Vol. 4). Part of Catwoman Vol. 4 takes place between the pages of Justice League of America Vol. 4.
Because Savage Hawkman Vol. 2 (and, later in this list, Deathstroke Vol. 2) are large trades encompassing events that are otherwise included in other titles third and fourth volumes, they are placed late in this list. The end of Savage Hawkman Vol. 2 takes place after events in Justice League of America Vol. 1 (though a villain from Savage Hawkman appears in Justice League of America after the events of Savage Hawkman); the Green Arrow Vols. 2 and 3 take place before Justice League of America Vol. 1, but cross-over with Hawkman Vol. 2. Green Arrow Vol. 4: The Kill Machine takes place after the early events of Justice League of America Vol. 1 but before Trinity War. Deathstroke Vol. 2 also crosses over with Hawkman Vol. 2.
Stories in Deathstroke Vol. 2 continue from Team 7 Vol. 1. The final issues of Team 7, Ravagers, and Deathstroke cross over, in that order.
A character from GI Combat next appears in Suicide Squad Vol. 3. The third Suicide Squad volume is a "Death of the Family" tie-in.
New 52 Vol. 5 - Forever Evil
Forever Evil picks up almost immediately from the end of Trinity War. Both Justice League Vol. 5 and Justice League of America Vol. 2 take place during the events of Forever Evil. In the DC Comics Villains' Month that took place simultaneous to Forever Evil #1, some issues cross-over with Forever Evil and some are independent; at least one, the Black Adam issue, continues directly into Forever Evil and is not collected anywhere else; therefore the Villains' Omnibus is placed before Forever Evil.
Suicide Squad Vol. 4 takes place before Forever Evil except for the Villains Month issues collected at the end, which take place during Forever Evil. Suicide Squad Vol. 5 specifically takes place during the events of Forever Evil.
Batman: Zero Year takes place in the past; a number of series cross over with Zero Year with their issues #25. Some titles, like Batgirl Vol. 4: Wanted, include both Forever Evil/Villains' Month and Zero Year tie-ins, placing the story here.
Nightwing Vol. 4 takes place before Batgirl Vol. 4, and both precede the events of Batman and Robin Vol. 4: Requiem for Damian. The Batman and Robin volume would seem to take place or be unrelated to the events of Trinity War/Forever Evil, but it's placed here because it follows Batgirl Vol. 4, and Batgirl Vol. 4 includes both a Zero Year issue and a Villains' Month tie-in that specifically takes place during Forever Evil.
Pre-Crisis (Recommended Reading)

 

Elements of the Justice League and Justice Society's pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths meetings, the death of Red Tornado, the return of the Seven Soldiers of Victory, the fate of the Sandman's partner Sandy, and other episodes from the Crisis on Multiple Earths collections are still partially in continuity post-Crisis (prior to the New 52). Zatanna's Search and the Green Lantern/Green Arrow collection, also both still partially in post-Crisis continuity, take place between the pages of the Crisis on Multiple Earths collections.
The events of Aquaman: Death of the Prince take place at about the same time as the latter issues of Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 4.
Power Girl appears pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths in stories collected in the first Power Girl trade paperback (which includes post-Crisis stories, and appears on the timeline just before Infinite Crisis), and then in Justice Society Vol. 1 and Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 4. These appearances are somewhat out of continuity post-Crisis (and are invalid in the New 52), but are referenced in Infinite Crisis and late in the JSA series, among other places.
The pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Huntress first appears in a story collected in Darknight Daughter, and then Darknight Daughter and Justice Society Vol. 2 take place at the same time and material from each inevitably spoils the other; these should be read together. This pre-Crisis Earth 2 Huntress, Helena Wayne (not to be confused with the New 52 Helena Wayne), is referenced post-Crisis in Infinite Crisis, Supergirl: Candor, and Justice Society of America stories.
The Fourth World characters appear with the Justice League after the events of the Fourth World books and some (uncollected) revival series; characters and elements of Jack Kirby's original Fourth World series remain somewhat in continuity in Final Crisis and other stories. The Earth-2 Huntress also appears here following Justice Society Vol. 2, and Firestorm appears here after the classic Firestorm: The Nuclear Man collection.
Though out of continuity after Crisis on Infinite Earths, this timeline recommends Jack Kirby's OMAC as useful reading, if not before the countdown to Infinite Crisis, than at least before the Countdown to Final Crisis, as many elements from OMAC are referenced without good explanation (see Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape, at least, plus earlier stories).
Batman and Ra's al Ghul's pre-Crisis encounters do not remain entirely in continuity after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but some aspects do carry over, especially as regards the Son of the Demon story after Infinite Crisis; parts of these stories even remain valid into the New 52.
Many of these early stories of the Teen Titans are still in post-Crisis-to-Flashpoint continuity (see Booster Gold: Day of Death, among many others) despite taking place prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths. The New Teen Titans cross over with Batman and the Outsiders prior to the "Judas Contract" storyline, collected in the New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 2. Terror of Trigon takes place shortly before Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The original Infinity Inc. title -- some of which is out of continuity but other parts of which are referenced in Sandman, JSA, and elsewhere -- began at about this time.
After Infinite Crisis, the adventures of the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Legion of Super-Heroes returned to continuity, include the Great Darkness Saga and Curse storylines.
The Green Lantern: In Brightest Day collection contains stories that range from the early Silver Age through Green Lantern: New Dawn; some of these are reprinted in the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps trades, but the early Sinestro and Guy Gardner stories can only be found here. The next Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Volume appears earlier in this list just before the Legends crossover.
The Trial of the Flash storyline ends just before Flash Barry Allen's appearance in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Many but not all of the DC characters' timelines are restarted after Crisis on Infinite Earths, leading to the origin books at the beginning of this timeline.
The Swamp Thing books are only loosely tied in to the DC Universe, but Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 4 contains a branded Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-in; a later issue of Swamp Thing ties in to DC's Invasion crossover event.

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