Day of Judgment (1999)
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Matt Smith
The Spectre has been present in the DC Universe since the 1940s, the wrath of God bound to a human soul in the form of Jim Corrigan. Corrigan has died, and the Spectre is loose giving into the rage without a human check. Etrigan the Demon sees an opportunity and frees fallen angel Asmodel to help him claim the Spectre. They are successful, and Asmodel begins to use this new power to inflict his anger on Earth. The Justice League find themselves up against a force they may not be able to stop. Cue the Sentinels of Magic, a team of the DC Universe’s top sorcerers, witches, and magic users. Their goal is to find a human spirit that could provide the needed constraints on the Spectre, and they will find it in the most unlikely of people.
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The Kingdom (1999)
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Ariel Olivetti, Mike Zeck, Jerry Ordway, Mark Pajarillo, Brian Apthorp, Matt Haley, Frank Quitely, and Barry Kitson
In 1996, DC Comics published Kingdom Come, a four issue prestige mini-series under their Elseworlds banner. Elseworlds was an imprint that DC would use to tell “imaginary” or What If? style stories. Kingdom Come stood out from the pack because it’s painted art came courtesy of Alex Ross, an artist who first made his mark with the fantastic Marvels mini-series. Ross co-wrote Kingdom Come with Mark Waid and delivered a story set approximately thirty years in the future to examine how an elderly Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman dealt with a world that was becoming increasingly darker and more violent. Fan reaction was through the roof, and DC wanted to capitalize on the ongoing buzz around this brief story. So, they decided to greenlight The Kingdom.
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DC One Million (1998)
Written by Grant Morrison (with James Robinson, Ron Marz, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning)
Art by Val Semeiks (with Peter Snejbjerg, Howard Porter, Bryan Hitch, Butch Guice)
In a burst of power, the Justice Legion of the 853rd Century appears before the modern day JLA. This team of the future explains they have come to hold down the fort while Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and the others travel into 853rd Century to herald the return of Superman Prime who has been in a self-imposed exile within the sun for millennia. The teams swap places with the JLA rookies (Steel, Zauriel, Plastic Man, Big Barda, Orion, and Huntress staying behind). As soon as the original team departs, all hell breaks loose. The android Hourman releases a nano-virus that was secretly programmed into him and Vandal Savage nukes Buenos Aires. It becomes clear this whole hero exchange was turned into a plan to destroy hope in the galaxy and transcends the present and future.
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Written by John Byrne
Art by Ron Wagner
The power levels of Earth’s metahumans has suddenly begun to fluctuate and send the planet into chaos. It’s revealed that the Godwave is responsible, a force of energy that was born at the start of our universe and is now retracting back to its origins, The Source Wall. This means the denizens of New Genesis aid our heroes against the forces of Apokolips. Darkseid seeks to harness the power of the Godwave for his nefarious purposes. So what we have are a bunch of heroes crowded into different rooms and then confusing action set pieces.
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The Final Night (1996)
Written by Karl Kesel
Art by Stuart Immonen
An alien woman named Dusk arrives on Earth with a warning: The Sun-Eater is coming. The Sun-Eater is a biological weapon that has gone rogue, consuming the core of a solar system and destroying the orbiting planets as a result. It has arrived in our system, and it will take the combined efforts of the DC superheroes plus Lex Luthor to do something about it. Helping out is a group of time-displaced Legionnaires who can recall bits and pieces of historical data about the Sun-Eater. The planet begins to freeze over as the heroes’ efforts appear to be for naught, with some of them believing these are their last days together. However, help comes in the form of a very unexpected figure and will begin a journey to redemption.
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Underworld Unleashed (1995)
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Howard Porter
Flash rogue Abra Kadabra has gone about recruiting the villains of the DC Universe to serve under Neron, a lord of the underworld. Neron offers these villains new powers and their greatest fantasies if they only give him their souls. Suddenly Metropolis, Gotham, and other cities are beset by villains with an immense level of power. Neron eventually turns his gaze to Belle Reve, the prison for super powered criminals. The Justice Leaguer Blue Devil goes it alone deep into the bowels of Hell to stop this villain and is transformed forever. Eventually, it is up to a group of Earth’s heroes to follow his path and take on Neron.
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Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (1994)
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway
Monarch is no more! He has been transformed into a new villain, Extant, with seemingly infinite power to erase all of reality. Fragments of other timelines begin bleeding into the main DC Universe. These come in the form of Barbara Gordon still operating as Batgirl, and a variation on Superman called Alpha Centurion. Waverider investigates and finds that the people of the DC Universe have forgotten events from their past, specifically the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Heroes like the Justice Society of America end up unfortunate casualties in the battle while the Team Titans are revealed as sleeper agents of Extant (somehow?!). But the real villain is hiding in the shadows, letting Extant play until he reveals himself.
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