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Top 10 Storylines That Changed the DC Universe

VO: AS WRITTEN BY: Craig Butler
Written by Craig Butler Heroes routinely save the world; these stories changed the world’s routine. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down the Top 10 Storylines That Changed the DC Universe. For this list, we’re looking at storylines that had a really major impact on the DC Universe – or Multiverse, as the case may be. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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Heroes routinely save the world; these stories changed the world’s routine. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down the Top 10 Storylines That Changed the DC Universe.

For this list, we’re looking at storylines that had a really major impact on the DC Universe – or Multiverse, as the case may be.

#10: “Blackest Night” (2009-10)

As superhero comics have taken on a grimmer tone – and as the need for “really big events” has strengthened – there has been an increase in deaths of major characters. By 2009, the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Elongated Man, the Question, a couple of Blue Beetles and many, many more were all deceased. So when Nekron, a being who is basically Death in somewhat human form, decides to use a Green Lantern villain to resurrect an army of the Dead, he ended up with a pretty stellar line-up. By the time the fighting had ceased – and good prevailed, naturally – twelve dead characters had been restored to life, ready to impact the future of the DC Universe.

#9: “The Kingdom” (1999)

DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths intended to simplify the DC Universe by eliminating the multiverse concept, but snags kept popping up even after that series ended. In 1996, DC had published the Kingdom Come mini-series, set outside DC continuity. The Kingdom served as a sequel of sorts, with a character named Gog going back in time and killing Superman again and again. This created essentially created new timelines every time he did this. This concept of there being endless possible timelines became known as hypertime and was used by DC to explain conflicting continuities – but it really just opened up the same bag of worms as the original multiverse concept.

#8: “52” (2006-07)

A year-long event published on a weekly basis, 52 told a convoluted story with multiple strands, but the pertinent one centers on time travelers Rip Hunter and Booster Gold and Booster’s robot droid, Skeets. Rip and Booster come to realize that Skeets has turned against them and is launching an evil plan to conquer time. In fact, Skeets has been taken over by the diabolic Mr. Mind. This leads to the discovery of a new multiverse – but instead of there being an infinite number of universes, there are now 52. Thus parallel worlds were once again established, and the series brought about many other changes to characters in the process.

#7: “Zero Hour: Crisis in Time” (1994)

DC still had some continuity problems after the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Like, how come the Justice Society was still running around when they were in their 70s and 80s now? And how could the Legion of Super-Heroes have been inspired by Superboy if he no longer existed? These and other issues were addressed in 1994’s Zero Hour, when an insane Hal Jordan tried to remake the universe. His plan was foiled by heroes, but a new timeline did unfold in the wake of events. It helped solve some of the continuity errors, but not all of them, paving the way for the previously mentioned “Kingdom” and the concept of hypertime.

#6: “Infinite Crisis” (2005-06)

At the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Superman and Lois of Earth Two, Luthor of Earth Three and the Superboy of Earth Prime had gone to live in a “pocket universe.” Twenty years later, they escape when Superboy literally punches a hole in reality. Luthor recreates Earth-Two, then a bunch of other alternate Earths, while Superboy-Prime goes on a maddened rampage of death and destruction. Eventually, Superboy-Prime fights the post-Crisis Earth and in the process manage to merge all the earths into a “New Earth.” Kinda like what happened in the original Crisis… but different. This sets up the return of the multiverse in the subsequent 52 series.

#5: “Final Crisis” (2008-09)

Because DC can never have enough Crises, Final Crisis came along in 2008. The recent death of the god Darkseid created a hole in creation, and the multiverse is being sucked in. An epic and lengthy battle ensues between Darkseid’s forces of evil and the forces of good, with humanity enslaved by the Anti-Life equation. Eventually, it turns out the Dark Monitor was mixed up in all this. Superman eventually uses something called the Miracle Machine to recreate the multiverse, in the process allowing for the New Gods’ “Fourth World” to evolve into a “Fifth World.” Oh, and everyone thinks Batman’s dead, but he’s really sent on a trip back through time.

#4: “Formation of the Justice Society of America” (1940)

The cover of All-Star Comics #3 doesn’t look too exciting. It’s just a bunch of super-heroes sitting around a big table. But this issue ended up being a landmark, as it was the first time it brought together a team of superheroes from what would become DC Comics. This crystallized the idea that all of the heroes from DC existed in the same place and could team up at any time. And it eventually gave birth to the Justice League of America, and to the need to explain how these two teams could co-exist – which later gave birth to the multiverse. Their first adventure - which was more of a meet-up where each hero told a story - may not have been a classic, but it was enormously impactful.

#3: “DC Universe: Rebirth” (2016)

So many of DC’s relaunches have combined elements of one multiversal revision with others. In this case, the Rebirth took elements from the recent New 52 relaunch and decided which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of- and which ones to pull in from other revamps. Significantly, Rebirth explained that the Flashpoint/New 52 world had been manipulated by Dr. Manhattan. Previously the Watchmen characters had existed outside of any DC Universe. His inclusion now makes the characters part of the DC canon, if you will. This Rebirth eventually comes about due to the efforts of Superman and his family – and the Man of Steel’s real father seems to be involved as well.

#2: “Flashpoint” (2011)

All the Flash wanted to do was stop his mother from being killed. But when he did that, he apparently created Flashpoint, a whole new universe with Superman a secret experiment, Cyborg a major superhero, and Wonder Woman and Aquaman engaged in all-out war. Naturally, he goes back in time again to fix things – but the resulting New 52 Universe is very different as well. For one thing, everybody’s 10 years younger. New 52 was a radical reboot, one in which superheroes had only been around a few years. Their relationships and the way they were viewed by humanity was very much in flux. It didn’t please everybody, but it was a true departure.

#1: “Crisis on Infinite Earths” (1985-86)

The granddaddy of DC’s company-wide crossovers, the Crisis was set to coincide with DC’s 50th anniversary. Marv Wolfman and George Perez set out to wash away all the continuity errors and contradictions that had accumulated in that time. It all boiled down to a battle with the Anti-Monitor, an all-powerful being who was devouring universes. In order to stop him, his good counterpart the Monitor merged together five universes into one. Along the way, entire universes were destroyed, along with many heroes and villains. The deaths of Supergirl and the Flash made a huge impact, but it also eventually brought about revamps of Superman and Wonder Woman as well.
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