Initial issues of this volume reintroduced the characters, and provided new and divergent origins for them. Most characters resemble their previous counterparts in costume and powers, with the most notable exceptions including Chameleon Boy, now called simply Chameleon and depicted as an androgynous creature; Star Boy, who in this version of the Legion is black; Colossal Boy, who is now a giant who shrinks to human size; and Phantom Girl, who exists in two universes at once and has conversations with people in her own dimension while talking to Legionnaires at the same time.
Beginning with issue #16, The Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 5) was retitled Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes with Supergirl traveling to the future and joining the Legion. With issue #31, Tony Bedard replaced Waid as writer. The title reverted to The Legion of Super-Heroes with issue #37 and Jim Shooter became the writer. The series ended with issue #50, in which the script was credited to “Justin Thyme”, a pseudonym previously used by uncredited comic book artists.
Suffering from a hyper-accelerated metabolism, Bart Allen was aging at a faster rate than that of any human being thus causing him to appear the physical age of twelve when he was chronologically, and mentally only two years old. To prevent him from developing mental health problems, he was raised in a virtual reality machine which created a simulated world that kept pace with his own scale of time. When it became clear that this method was not helping, his grandmother, Iris Allen, took him back in time to the present where The Flash, Wally West, tricked Bart into a race around the world. By forcing Bart into an extreme burst of speed, Wally managed to shock his hyper-metabolism back to normal. Because he had spent the majority of his childhood in a simulated world, Bart had no concept of danger and was prone to leaping before he looked. The youth proved to be more trouble than Wally could handle, and he was pawned off onto retired superhero speedster Max Mercury, who moved Bart to Manchester, Alabama. In Impulse #50, it was revealed that Batman actually named Bart “Impulse” as a warning, not a compliment.
The series is accompanied by a series of one-shots which fill in events between issues. They are written and drawn by Frank Miller, which continues his experimentation with noir-style writing and divisive art style.
The Shadow, set in our modern era, was continued in 1987 as a monthly DC comics series by writer Andy Helfer (editor of the miniseries); it was drawn primarily by artists Bill Sienkiewicz (issues 1–6) and Kyle Baker (issues 8–19 and two Shadow Annuals).
The Trials of Shazam!, a 12-issue maxi-series written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Howard Porter for the first eight issues and by Mauro Cascioli for the remaining four, began publication in August 2006. The series redefined the Shazam! mythos, the characters, and their place in the DC Universe. Trials of Shazam! featured Captain Marvel, now with a white costume and long white hair, taking over the role of the wizard Shazam under the name Marvel, while Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel lose their powers. A powerless Freddy Freeman is then drafted to prove himself worthy to the individual six gods evident in the “Shazam” acronym so that he can become their new champion and herald under the name Shazam, although a witch Sabina from the Council of Merlin attempts to take the power herself, as ordered by her father Merlin. Atlas is killed during the series by Sabina, but Apollo’s healing replaces him. Marvel helps Freddy when he is trapped by the weight that Atlas bore.
In the darkly humorous Lobo’s Back, Lobo is killed over and over again by one of his quarries but is refused entrance to both Heaven and Hell. As a result, the Main Man finds himself reincarnated in various forms, among them a woman and a squirrel. Furious but unfazed by his less than appealing new identities, the bounty hunter continues his mission.
Green Lantern would know a number of revivals and cancellations. Its title would change to Green Lantern Corps at one point as the popularity rose and waned. During a time there were two regular titles, each with a Green Lantern, and a third member in the Justice League. A new character, Kyle Rayner, was created to become the feature while Hal Jordan first became the villain Parallax, then died and came back as the Spectre.
Justice League Dark was announced on May 31, 2011 as a First Wave title of The New 52The title and team was created by Peter Milligan, with art by Mikel Janín. The title launched on September 28, 2011. The title brought several of DC Comics’ occult and offbeat characters, something which had been a trait of sister imprint Vertigo, back into the main DC Universe following Vertigo’s editorial change to publish purely new, creator owned content.
The series also featured the popular “Batman: Black and White” back-up strip, which allowed various artists with widely varying styles to do their take on the Dark Knight in a black and white format. These back-up strips are also collected in trade paperback form.
The low sales of the various Justice League spinoff books by the mid-1990s prompted DC to revamp the League as a single team (all the various branch teams were disbanded) on a single title. A Justice League of America formed in the September 1996 limited seriesJustice League: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Mark Waid and Fabian Nicieza. In 1997, DC Comics launched a new Justice League series titled JLA, written by Grant Morrison with art by Howard Porter and inker John Dell. Morrison stayed as writer for the series through issue #41, though several issues had fill-in writers. JLA #18-#21 and #33 were written by Mark Waid. Mark Millar, Devin Grayson and Mark Waid, and J.M. DeMatteis wrote issues #27, #32 and #35 respectively.
This series, in an attempt at a “back-to-basics” approach, used as its core the team’s original and most famous seven members (or their successors): Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and the Martian Manhunter. Additionally, the team received a new headquarters, the “Watchtower“, based on the Moon. JLA quickly became DC’s best-selling title, a position it enjoyed off and on for several years.