- Knight Terrors gave readers a choice to dive into the event or sit out, a rarity for event books.
- DC One Million had a unique hook, showcasing the heroes of the 853rd century and providing a glimpse of a possible future.
- DC Rebirth added pre-Flashpoint continuity to the New 52, but didn’t change enough, disappointing some fans.
Knight Terrors was a different kind of event book. While there were the requisite miniseries containing the main story, instead of having crossover issues take over DC’s line, it put everything on pause for two months, replacing DC’s comics with two issue miniseries. This gave readers a choice that most event books don’t give them. They could dive into the event or they could sit out the story if they didn’t like it.
Knight Terrors wasn’t the first time DC Comics had an event take over its entire line of books. Over the years, DC has experimented with various event types, each of them using crossover books differently. From single issues to complete reboots of the company’s history, these DC events found interesting ways to take over the publisher’s various series.
10 DC One Million
DC One Million is often overlooked. The first event comic Grant Morrison ever wrote, DC One Million had a unique hook. The heroes of the 853rd century came to the present. That wasn’t a random number. Morrison did the math and figured out what year DC’s books would hit issue one million. As part of the event, which ran in 1998, each DC book got a millionth issue.
It was a clever gimmick that showed readers a glimpse of a possible future. Morrison guided their fellow writers in their plots to provide cohesion, and many of these issues are amazing. DC One Million omnibuses often include these issues, which makes them worth the price. There are definitely some gems among them, including JLA, Resurrection Man, Chase, Starman, and many more.
9 Dawn Of DC
The most recent linewide soft reboot, Dawn of DC spun out of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths. There hasn’t been any cohesive narrative to the change, although there are definitely some factors that motivate the events behind it. These changes include upgrading the Titans into the new A-list team, the return of the old multiverse, Lex Luthor’s arrest for Manchester Black’s murder, mindwiping Superman’s identity, and letting heroes like Shazam, Fire, Ice, and more step up.
While not every book has been affected — Batman Detective Comics, and Justice Society of America soldier on — Dawn of DC has been pretty popular so far. DC does events like this one well, giving new readers a blank slate. Dawn of DC has relaunched DC mainstays like Superman and Green Lantern. Relaunches for Flash and Wonder Woman are coming soon, made, and Action Comics became a Superman family anthology. The event even gave multiple B and C list characters from Superboy to Hawkgirl their own books.
8 Future’s End/Convergence
Sometimes, DC has one event to lead into another, which is what happened with Future’s End. Starting out as a weekly series, it began in a terrible future thirty-five years down the road where Brother Eye has infected the heroes with his nanites, creating superpowered cybernetic bug hybrids. However, this series was only the beginning.
In September 2014, for the three-year anniversary of the New 52, every book in the line would fold into Future’s End. These issues would take place five years into the future and reveal where the heroes were at. Looking back, this is all pretty funny now, since the New 52 only had two more years of life left in it, not five. The story would lead into Convergence, which created its own mini line of two issue miniseries.
7 Year Of The Villain
DC Rebirth had cooled off significantly by 2019. The linewide reboot had ended the controversial New 52, but delays to Doomsday Clock caused the line to move on instead of finishing the story that was supposed to redefine the DC Multiverse. So, in order to build towards Dark Knights: Death Metal, a new yearlong crossover event kicked off: Year Of The Villain.
While one can argue the whole point of the crossover was to push the Batman Who Laughs to the top of the supervillain community, Year Of The Villain crossed through every DC book at some point between March 2019 to March 2020. DC has amazing villains, so this crossover had some great issues.
6 Infinite Frontier
DC’s Infinite Frontier had some great books, but it’s gone down in history overall as a disappointment. Spinning out of Dark Knights: Death Metal, the event set down the new status quo of the DC Universe. Characters like Yara Flor, Jon Kent, and Jace Fox stepped up as Wonder Girl, Superman, and Batman, respectively. Wally West returned as the Flash. Nightwing inherited billions from Alfred and decided to clean up Blüdhaven. Then Darkseid returned and suddenly things got very dark.
Infinite Frontier gave readers a new jumping on point. Of course, there were some problems with it. For one thing, this was smack dab in the middle of DC’s “all Batman, all the time” phase. It felt like DC was more interested in publishing Batman miniseries, one-shots, and Black Label books than anything else. Infinite Frontier all built up to Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, which also disappointed some fans. It was a step in the right direction, but most agree it didn’t go far enough.
5 DC Rebirth
DC Rebirth was a hopeful era for fans. The New 52 had led to some short-term sales success in the beginning. However, the wild changes of creators after then editor-in-chief Bob Harras brought in many of the creators he worked with at Marvel, mixed with DC’s refusal to release any type of canon timeline for it, led to readers souring on the reboot. Fans tired of the New 52 and DC Rebirth seemed like the change readers wanted.
Every book in the line got restarted with a Rebirth issue,which led to a new number one. The only exceptions were Action Comics and Detective Comics, which went back to legacy numbering. The major problem with DC Rebirth is that it just added pre-Flashpoint continuity to the New 52, but still kept a lot of parts of the New 52. It definitely didn’t change enough.
4 Post-Crisis On Infinite Earths DC
Crisis on Infinite Earths is a legendary story. A twelve issue maxi series that ran from 1985 to 1986, the book set the standard for every event book that came after it, at Marvel or DC, and made a tremendous change to the DC Multiverse, making it into a singular universe. Everything was changed by this move, and DC relaunched its entire line of books to represent the new continuity.
Books like Action Comics Batman, Detective Comics, Legion of Superheroes, and other long-running books kept their numbering. Superman became Adventures of Superman so writer/artist John Byrne could make a new Superman #1, but the DC Universe was entirely different from the end of Crisis on. Post-Crisis DC was meant to tempt Marvel readers over to DC by streamlining its continuity, and it did a great job of that.
3 Zero Month
Zero Hour is the forgotten child of Crisis on Infinite Earths. It launched in 1994, a year before the tenth anniversary of Crisis, and was meant to clean up some of the messed up continuity left behind. It didn’t do a great job on that front, but it led to a linewide event known as Zero Month. Zero Month was simple — every book got a zero issue, meant as a jumping point for new readers.
These stories would kick off all-new storylines and introduced new books like Starman, a comic that would play a huge role in bringing back DC’s Golden Age heroes. Zero Month didn’t have any overarching story or anything like that. It was just a bunch of solid comics meant to get new readers into DC. It was a bit of a concession to the collector mentality of the ’90s, and it would later motivate DC to do something similar during the New 52.
2 The New 52
Flashpoint seemed like a run-of-the-mill DC event until readers learned it was going to reboot the DC Multiverse, which had gone through some rather big upheavals in the preceding years of the aughts. The New 52 would eventually stir controversy, but at first it was massively successful. Much like the post-Crisis reboot before it, DC completely changed its history. It restarted every book from issue one, including long-running books like Action Comics, Detective Comics, Batman, and more.
The New 52 would suffer from poor planning and turmoil behind the scenes. DC had several gimmick months throughout the New 52, like a new Zero Month and Villains Month, neither of which were events or crossover driven. They were meant to drum up sales, but their failures and more would spell the end of the ambitious New 52.
1 One Year Later
DC builtInfinite Crisisperfectly, so it makes sense that they had also meticulously planned out its aftermath. The publisher announced that after Infinite Crisis ended, all of DC’s titles would jump a year forward in time. Readers wouldn’t find out what was happening in the intervening year unless they picked up 52, a weekly series that focused on characters like Booster Gold, Renee Montoya, the Question, Black Adam, Steel, Elongated Man, and more.
One Year Later gave readers some great stories like Batman: Face The Face, Superman: Up, Up, And Away. It alsoled to some A-list creative teams taking over different books. Amazing stories came from this development, causing readers to hail 52 as the best weekly comic ever. This entire period of DC was extremely fruitful, mixing old school Silver/Bronze Age ideas with modern edge.