DC was able to duck most of the bad parts of the ’90s. While Marvel was pushing artists and trying to find replacements for the Image Seven, DC was concentrating on its writers and characters. DC in the ’90s embraced legacy in a way that its marvelous competition often didn’t. This created some amazing DC comics from the decade, often bucking the style over substance trend that embodied the comic industry at the time.
In the ’90s, DC made a lot of big changes to its line and produced some amazing comics. The most important DC books of the ’90s gave the universe’s fans what they desired.
10 The Sandman #75 Ended One Of The Greatest Comics Of All Time
The Sandman is one of the greatest pieces of comic literature ever. It changed the way mature comics were perceived and is still one of the greatest gateway comics ever published, as anyone who reads it loves it. Many amazing issues came out in the ’90s; however, the final issue, The Sandman #75 by writer Neil Gaiman and artist Charles Vess, is particularly important.
It’s not so much the story, which puts a nice little capstone on Gaiman’s epic, but the fact 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, it has a lot happening in it, but its most important factor has nothing to do with the event book itself. The issue introduces Jack Knight, the son of Golden Age Starman Ted Knight. Jack took over as Starman after the death of his brother David in Starmanheadlining the new book.
Writer James Robinson and artists Tony Harry, Peter Snejberg, and more used Jack to shine a spotlight on the heroes and villains of Golden Age DC – a corner of the DC Universe that didn’t get the love it deserved after Crisis On Infinite Earths. Jack Knight was the gateway character for a lot of ’90s readers to meet characters they otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.
8 JSA #1 Started The Series That Made The Team A Big Deal Again
The success of Starman led to DC putting more work into the Justice Society side of its universe. In 1999, JSA #1, by writers James Robinson and David S. Goyer and artist Stephen Sedowski, dropped and made the team into a big deal in the DC Universe for the first time in years. JSA would become one of the biggest DC teams books of all time and helped spur on the DC renaissance of the 2000s.
Starring 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 were the best of the best, and the Teen Titans were the new guard. However, the Justice Society was a mix of both, with yesteryear’s all-stars teaching tomorrow’s heroes 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. It first appeared in The Flash (Vol. 2) #95, by writer Mark Waid and artist Salvador Larocca, and changed the way speedsters in the DC Universe operated in the future. The Speed Force’s introduction redefined the Flash mythos – something that had a huge effect on the rest of DC history.
It also meant a lot to the development of Wally West, allowing him to finally step out of Barry Allen’s shadow. Wally would become the most skilled user of the Speed Force and the fastest Flash ever.
6 Green Arrow (Vol. 2) #101 Ended Oliver Queen’s Tenure As Green Arrow
’90s DC was all about refreshing its icons, many of which had been languishing for years. One of these was Green Arrow. Oliver Queen’s best years were long behind him, so Green Arrow (Vol.2) #101, by writer Chuck Dixon and artist Rodolfo Damaggio, killed off the character and positioned his newly revealed son Connor Hawke to take the mantle.
Hawke would bring Green Arrow back to prominence for the first time in years, making fans care about the Emerald Archer again. This would snowball and lead to a resurgence of interest in Oliver as well, which would peak 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 Superheroes has had a checkered history in recent years, with multiple reboots falling flat for readers. 1994’s Legion Of Superheroes #0 – by writers Mark Waid and Tom McCraw and artist Stuart Immonen – wasn’t one of those. It revitalized the team after years of confusing retcons were forced onto the group by Crisis On Infinite Earths.
This comic retold the origin of the Legion with a modern twist and created one of the most beloved incarnations of the team ever. Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning would eventually take over the book, launch the sister title Legionnaires, and create the last era the Legion was truly successful.
4 Green Lantern (Vol. 3) #50 Began The Kyle Rayner Years
Hal Jordan was another DC mainstay who wasn’t connecting 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 went on to become who many fans consider the best Green Lantern ever. Rayner’s adventures as Green Lantern renewed interest in the Green Lantern mythos and that side of the DC Universe, which eventually led to the mid-2000s reboot of the Corps.
3 Batman (Vol. 1) #497 Broke The Bat
knightfall was full of epic battles, but none of them held a candle to the one in Batman (Vol. 1) #497, by writer Doug Moench and artist Jim Aparo. This 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 foes of all time and played into DC’s attempts to refresh their superheroic mantles. The saga of Azrael as Batman lampooned the ’90s comic industry, showing why extreme superheroes were a passing craze, all of which had its genesis here.
two Superman (Vol. 2) #75 Killed The Man Of Steel
The Death Of Superman is a huge 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 splash pages that brought the whole thing to life.
Killing Superman began DC’s tendency to break their icons in the ’90s. This comic was one of the best-selling of the decade, and its success led to the multi-year “Reign Of The Supermen”https://www.cbr.com/”Return Of Superman” epics that redefined the Man Of Steel for the ’90s.
1 JLA #1 Made The Justice League Stars Again
The Justice League was once one of comics’ greatest superteams, but the ’90s put that to the test. For most of the decade, Justice League comics coasted on fumes. 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 concentrating on DC’s most powerful team facing the biggest threats.
The book was a hit and made the League a must-read team again. It cemented Morrison’s place in the DC hierarchy and made them one of the most important Justice League writers of all time. JLA became one of the most well-regarded team books of the ’90s, beloved by fans and critics alike.
NEXT: The 10 Most Important DC Comics Of The 2000s, Ranked
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