DC dodged most of the pitfalls in the 90s by focusing on their writing talent, an approach that paid off in the 2000s. Although they still lagged behind Marvel in sales, fan and critical reception towards the DC’s 00s output was through the roof.
While the decade saw DC start some trends that would hurt the publisher in the long run, there is far more great material from this period than bad. The 2000s were an exciting time for DC and its fans. Great creators, great stories, and an ever-changing DC Universe made the decade amazing and set the publisher apart from their marvelous competition.
10 There Were Multiple Fan Favorite DC Runs Throughout The Decade
DC in the 00s found a way to match exactly the right writers with the right characters. The Superman books prospered under writers like Jeph Loeb, Joe Kelly, Geoff Johns, and Kurt Busiek. Phil Jimenez and Greg Rucka turned in a classic Wonder Woman run. The Batman books prospered with talents like Judd Winick and Grant Morrison.
The Big Three were in good hands, but that wasn’t all. DC editors found unique and interesting writers for each book, and artists like Jim Lee, Adam Kubert, Andy Kubert, Doug Mahnke, Carlos Pacheco, Scott Kolins, Gary Frank, Rags Morales, along with so many more turned in breathtaking visuals to match the scripts.
9 The Outsiders Was One Of The Best Team Books Of The Decade
The Outsiders were first introduced in the 80s as Batman’s personally curated superteam. The concept would return in the 2o00s in The Outsiders, written by Judd Winick with art by Tom Raney, Carlos D’Anda, Matthew Clark, and others. Brought together by Nightwing instead of Batman, the team consisted of Arsenal, Jade, Shift, Indigo, Thunder, and Grace.
This was a different kind of superteam and DC let Winick and company take the stories in a much more mature direction than other DC comics. The Outsiders was one of the best team books on the market during Winick’s run and is still a great read.
8 52 Showed How Great Weekly Comics Could Be
In the wake of Infinite Crisis, DC jumped all of its titles a year into the future. They filled in the missing years with 52, a weekly series written by Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Keith Giffen with art breakdowns by Giffen and finishes by more artists than one can shake a stick at.
The book followed Booster Gold, Renee Montoya, the Question, Wonder Girl, Elongated Man, Steel, Black Adam, Starfire, Animal Man, Adam Strange, and more throughout the year, revealing to readers what they missed. 52 is one of the best weeklies ever and a huge achievement.
7 The Return Of The Justice League International Was A Cause For Celebration
Writers J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen are two of the most important Justice League writers ever. Along with artist Kevin Maguire, their work on the Justice League International in the 80s was a fan favorite run that focused on B-list heroes and accentuated their humorous aspects. The three creators teamed back up again for Formerly Known As The Justice League and I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League in JLA Classified in the 2000s, reminding fans just what they loved about the JLI. These two stories were highlights of the decade: a mixture of humor and superheroes not seen since the last time the team worked together. Fans old and new loved the stories.
6 The Sinestro Corps War Was The Best Green Lantern Story In Years
The 2000s added a lot to the Green Lantern mythos and the best story of the bunch is The Sinestro Corps War. Running through The Sinestro Corps War one-shot, Green Lantern, and Green Lantern Corps, the story, by writers Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, and Dave Gibbons with art by Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, and Pat Gleason, introduced Sinestro’s fear powered Corps and pitted them against the GLC.
Introducing the emotional spectrum and setting the stage for years of Green Lantern stories, The Sinestro Corps War is an undisputed classic. It’s a high point for Green Lantern and the decade, setting the DC Universe on the trail to Blackest Night in 2010.
5 Brad Meltzer’s Justice League Of America Was Amazing
Novelist Brad Meltzer had made a splash at DC with Green Arrow: The Archer’s Quest and Identity Crisis. Post-Infinite Crisis, Meltzer was chosen to relaunch Justice League of America with artist Ed Benes. The team created a new version of the Satellite League, combining League mainstays with new members and characters who hadn’t been on the team in years.
Their inaugural story, “The Tornado’s Path,” is a must-read for all Justice League fans, and their twelve-issue run – including “The Lightning Saga” crossover with Justice Society of America and two one and done stories – captures the grandeur of the League perfectly. It’s a short yet defining run.
4 Geoff Johns Helped Make The Justice Society Great Again
The Justice Society has long been one of DC’s strongest teams, but post-Crisis DC wasn’t exactly great for them. 1999 saw the team relaunched as JSA by writers James Robinson and David Goyer with artist Leonard Kirk. Robinson would leave the book and Geoff Johns would join, eventually taking over as sole writer of the title.
Johns helped make the Justice Society the biggest team in the DC Universe and JSA was considered one of the best team books on the market throughout his run. He relaunched the book post-Infinite Crisis as Justice Society of America with artist Dale Eaglesham, continuing a run of excellence before leaving the book in 2009.
3 All-Star Superman Reset The Bar For Every Superman Story That Came After
All-Star Superman, by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, is the greatest Superman story and possibly the greatest superhero comic of all time. Morrison and Quitely combine Superman concepts from throughout the character’s history to create the perfect encapsulation of why the Man of Tomorrow is one of the greatest fictional creations in human history.
It’s nearly impossible for any other superhero story of the ’00s to compete with All-Star Superman. Morrison and Quitely are a potent team who worked together many times; they understand the other’s creative process and their love of the project shines through on every single page of the comic. It’s a masterpiece with few peers.
2 Infinite Crisis And Its Build-Up Were A Massive Undertaking That Paid Off
Infinite Crisis, by writer Geoff Johns and artists Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Ivan Reis, and Jerry Ordway, is one of the best event comics of the ’00s, regardless of publisher. The sequel to Crisis On Infinite Earths, IC is made all the more impressive when one realizes that DC spent years building up to the story, placing clues as to what was coming all through its line.
Countdown To Infinite Crisis launched things in earnest, followed by four prequel miniseries- Villains United, Day Of Vengeance, The OMAC Project, and Rann-Thangar War. Fans were hyped to the moon and when IC finally dropped, it delivered everything advertised and more. Infinite Crisis is a fitting sequel to CoIE and an amazing achievement.
1 Final Crisis Is Grant Morrison’s DC Opus
Grant Morrison is one of DC’s greatest writers. They’ve worked on some of the best books at the publisher, but the one that comes closest to their ultimate statement on DC is Final Crisis, with art by J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco, and Doug Mahnke. Pitting the heroes of the DC Universe against Darkseid and his followers as well as another threat, the book seamlessly welds together text and subtext to tell an amazing, one-of-a-kind story.
Morrison pulls out all of the tricks in their bag for this one, combining big concept superhero action with deft commentary on the state of the comic industry and DC for a mind-bending event book that surpasses just about anything written before and since. Final Crisis is not an easy book to get through, but it’s infinitely rewarding and demands to be read multiple times.
NEXT: 10 Best Changes DC Comics Made Post-Crisis