DC was able to dodge most of the bad times of the 90s. While Marvel pushed artists and tried to find replacements for Image Seven, DC focused on its writers and characters. DC in the 90s embraced the legacy in a way that its wonderful competition often did not. This created some amazing DC comics of the decade, often bucking the trend of style over substance that embodied the comic book industry at the time.
In the 90s, DC made many big changes to its line and produced some amazing comics. The most important DC books of the 90s gave fans of the universe what they wanted.
ten The Sandman #75 ended one of the greatest comics of all time
The sand man is one of the greatest pieces of comic literature of all time. It changed the way mature comics were viewed and remains one of the greatest catwalk comics ever published because everyone who reads it loves it. Many amazing numbers came out in the 90s; however, the last problem, The Sandman #75 by writer Neil Gaiman and artist Charles Vess, is particularly significant.
It’s not so much the story, which puts a nice little cornerstone to Gaiman’s epic, but the fact that the book ended. Gaiman didn’t own any of the characters, and it was one of the most popular books of the decade. The fact that DC let it end gracefully is amazing and not something most comic companies would do.
9 Zero Hour #1 introduced Jack Knight to the DC Universe
Zero hour #1, by writer/artist Dan Jurgens and artist Jerry Ordway, there’s a lot going on, but its biggest factor has nothing to do with the event book itself. The issue features Jack Knight, the son of Golden Age Starman Ted Knight. Jack took over as Starman after his brother David died in star manheadlining the new book.
Writer James Robinson and artists Tony Harry, Peter Snejberg and others have used Jack to shine a light on the heroes and villains of Golden Age DC – a corner of the DC Universe that hasn’t received the love that he deserved after Crisis on Infinite Earths. Jack Knight was the catwalk character allowing many ’90s readers to meet characters they otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.
8 JSA #1 started the streak which again made the team a big deal
The success of star man led DC to work more on the Justice Society side of its universe. In 1999, JSA#1, by writers James Robinson and David S. Goyer and artist Stephen Sedowski, gave up and made the team a big deal in the DC Universe for the first time in years. JSA would go on to become one of the greatest DC team books of all time and helped spur the DC revival of the 2000s.
Featuring a roster of old favorites and new heroes, JSA repositioned the team as one of the main legs of the DC Universe. The Justice League was the best of the best and the Teen Titans were the new guard. However, the Justice Society was a mix of the two, with the stars of yesteryear teaching the heroes of tomorrow the ropes.
7 The Flash (Vol. 2) #95 introduced readers to the Speed Force
The Speed Force has become one of the most important parts of the DC Multiverse and empowers the Flashes. He first appeared in The Flash (Vol.2) #95, by writer Mark Waid and artist Salvador Larocca, and changed the way DC Universe speedsters operated going forward. The introduction of Speed Force redefined the Flash mythos – something that had a huge effect on the rest of DC history.
It also meant a lot to Wally West’s development, allowing him to finally step out of Barry Allen’s shadow. Wally would become the most skilled Speed Force user and fastest Flash ever.
6 Green Arrow (Vol. 2) #101 ended Oliver Queen’s tenure as Green Arrow
In the ’90s, DC aimed to refresh its icons, many of which had languished for years. One of them was Green Arrow. Oliver Queen’s best years were far behind him, so Green Arrow (Vol.2) #101, by writer Chuck Dixon and artist Rodolfo Damaggio, killed off the character and placed his newly revealed son Connor Hawke to take over.
Hawke would bring Green Arrow back to center stage for the first time in years, once again making fans care about the Emerald Archer. This would snowball and also lead to a renewed interest in Oliver, which would culminate when writer/director Kevin Smith made Green Arrow (Vol.3) #1 a top 10 book – something no one thought possible.
5 Legion Of Superheroes (Vol. 4) #0 rebooted the team for its last truly successful run
The Legion of Super-Heroes has had a checkered history in recent years, with multiple reboots falling flat for readers. 1994 Legion of Super-Heroes #0 – by writers Mark Waid and Tom McCraw and artist Stuart Immonen – was not one of them. He revitalized the team after years of confusing retcons forced upon the group by Crisis on Infinite Earths.
This comic retold the Legion’s origin with a modern twist and created one of the most beloved incarnations of the team. Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning would eventually take over the book, launch the sister title Legionnaires, and create the last era where the Legion truly succeeded.
4 Green Lantern (Vol. 3) #50 started the Kyle Rayner years
Hal Jordan was another DC mainstay who didn’t connect with readers in the ’90s, so DC shook up his title. Green Lantern (vol.3) #50, by writer Ron Marz and artist Darryl Banks, ended the “Emerald Twilight” storyline and pitted Hal Jordan, renamed Parallax and possessing more power than ever, against new Green Lantern Kyle Rayner.
Rayner won their battle and became what many fans consider the best Green Lantern of all time. Rayner’s adventures as the Green Lantern renewed interest in the Green Lantern mythos and that side of the DC Universe, which ultimately led to the Corps reboot in the mid-2000s.
3 Batman (Vol. 1) #497 broke the bat
fall of the knight was full of epic battles, but none of them held a candle to that of Batman (Vol.1) #497, by writer Doug Moench and artist Jim Aparo. It was the issue where Bane broke Batman’s back – a moment that sent shockwaves through the Batman fandom and led to Jean-Paul Valley’s Azrael taking over as the caped crusader.
This issue solidified Bane as one of Batman’s greatest enemies of all time, and played into DC’s attempts to freshen up their superhero mantle. Azrael’s saga as Batman ridiculed the comic book industry of the 90s, showing why extreme superheroes were a passing fad, all of which had its genesis here.
2 Superman (Vol. 2) #75 Killed the Man of Steel
The Death of Superman is a great moment in DC history. The big event ended in Superman (Vol.2) #75, by writer/artist Dan Jurgens and artist Brett Breeding. This issue showed the final moments of the battle between Superman and Doomsday, telling the story with massive cover pages that brought the whole thing to life.
Killing Superman started DC’s trend of smashing its icons in the ’90s. This comic was one of the best-selling comics of the decade, and its success led to the multi-year epics “Reign Of The Supermen”https:// www.cbr.com/”Return Of Superman” that redefined the Man of Steel for the 90s.
1 JLA #1 Made Justice League Stars Again
The Justice League was once one of the greatest comic book superteams, but the ’90s put it to the test. For most of the decade, Justice League comics have been on the steamer side. JLA #1, by writer Grant Morrison and artist Howard Porter, took a back-to-basics approach with the team, bringing back the Big Seven line-up and focusing on DC’s most powerful team facing the most big threats.
The book was a hit and made the League a go-to team. This cemented Morrison’s place in the DC hierarchy and made him one of the most important Justice League writers of all time. JLA became one of the most beloved team books of the 90s, adored by fans and critics alike.
NEXT: The 10 Most Important DC Comics Of The 2000s, Ranked
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