The ’00 are often considered a renaissance for DC, and a big reason is the work of writer Geoff Johns. He set the industry on fire with his work on JSA, The Flash, Teen Titans, and more, rising to the top of DC’s ranks. He produced multiple best of all-time stories and was crucial in charting the future of the DC Universe for years to come.
While Johns’ star among fans has dimmed considerably in recent years, there was a time when his developments at DC helped make them competitive with Marvel during one of the industry’s most creative periods. Johns did a lot to make the DC Universe a better place, regardless of what came later.
10 Geoff Johns Made People Care About Hawkman Again
Crisis On Infinite Earths overall was great for DC, but not every character benefited from it. Hawkman is the perfect example of that; his already confusing continuity made even worse. Every attempt to fix the hero failed until Geoff Johns came along and repaired a lot of the mess in “The Return Of Hawkman” in JSA #16-25.
He used reincarnation to explain away the multiple Hawkman origins, and instead of focusing on the character’s twisted continuity, he just reminded readers why Hawkman was great. Hawkman’s long legacy in DC and Johns made it palatable for modern audiences.
9 Geoff Johns Made Black Adam Into An A-Lister
Black Adam was a D-list villain before his star turn in JSA. While the then-Captain Marvel Shazam was always an important hero, his villains never really got the love that he did. Johns putting Adam into the biggest team book of the ’00s did wonders for the character, and the writer built him into an A-lister with the villain’s star turn.
Johns introduced the anti-hero elements into the character, making him more than a one-dimensional villain. Black Adam has become one of DC’s most beloved characters since. He’s about to star in his own movie, and has been granted the coveted role of Justice League membership. But, of course, none of that would have been possible without Johns.
8 Aquaman Would Never Be The Force He Is Today If It Wasn’t For Geoff Johns
Aquaman in the 1990s got a revamp from writer Peter David that saw him grow in popularity for the first time in years. Unfortunately, after David left the book, things for the character got worse until he became a non-factor in the DC Universe. Starting with Blackest Night and extending into the New 52, Johns rebuilt the Aquaman mythos from the ground up.
Johns took a character that fans had soured on and used a back-to-basics approach, highlighting all the great things about Aquaman, to make him popular again. Johns’ Aquaman, along with artist Ivan Reis, is his most beloved work since 2011.
7 Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern Run Created An Unforgettable Epic
Geoff Johns brought Hall Jordan back in Green Lantern: Rebirth and planted the seeds for the biggest Green Lantern epic ever. Using the germ of an Alan Moore idea, Johns kicked off the War of Light with “The Sinestro Corps War,” introducing the emotional spectrum, the multiple Lantern Corps, and redefining many characters in the Green Lantern mythos.
Johns’s work on Green Lantern produced some brilliant stories and superhero sci-fi epics that were better than anything else on the market at the time. His stories from “The Sinestro Corps War” to Blackest Night became holy writ for Green Lantern fans and helped elevate the character to levels he had never been before.
6 Geoff Johns’ Run On Action Comics Was A Masterwork
Geoff Johns moved over to Action Comics in 2007, working with co-writer and legendary director Richard Donner for his initial stories, along with artists Adam Kubert, Eric Powell, and Gary Frank. Pitting the Man of Steel against General Zod and the Phantom Zone criminals, Bizarro, Brainiac, and re-establishing Superman’s origin with the Legion of Superheroes, the joint effort produced some best of all-time Superman stories.
Johns is known for mixing the classic and modern in the best possible ways, and Action Comics is a perfect example of that. His run on the book showed that he had an excellent grasp on Superman and his mythos, crafting stories with notable villains that fans love.
5 Geoff Johns Kept Up Wally West’s Run Of Excellence
Wally West is widely considered the most extraordinary Flash. While Geoff Johns is most known for his more recent work with Barry Allen, which damaged Wally as a character, he was responsible for some of Wally’s best stories during his run on The Flash. Johns’s work on the title was a stepping stone to more extraordinary things, impressing readers with his skill.
Johns introduced Zoom, did a lot of work with Wally and Linda’s relationship, and told just plain great Flash stories. It was one of the books that showed just what Johns was capable of and a run that has gone down as one of the best Wally West runs of all time.
4 Geoff Johns Did An Amazing Job With Villains
If there was one place where Johns excelled, it was with villains. During his time on The Flash, he redefined the Rogues for a new generation with one-shot issues that dug into each of them, proving why they were some of DC’s best villains. In addition, he created Zoom, a Reverse Flash for Wally West, made Superboy-Prime into a villainous icon, and helped redefine many Superman and Justice Society foes.
Johns took classic villains and modernized them, making them more dangerous than ever. In addition, his work is known for giving villains facets they didn’t have before, making them more well-rounded, and giving future creators something great to work with.
3 Geoff Johns Was Instrumental In Bringing Back The Multiverse
The DC Multiverse is a defining characteristic of the publisher that had been gone since 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. As the years went by, fans and creators alike missed it, though, and eventually, Johns would play a huge role in it coming back, both with Infinite Crisis, which planted the seed of its return, and by co-writing 52, where those seeds blossomed.
The DC Multiverse and the way it worked is one of the main things that set DC apart from its marvelous competition. Fans were thrilled upon its return, and while one can argue that it could have happened without Johns, no one can deny how instrumental he was to its return.
2 Geoff Johns Made The Justice Society Stars Again
JSA relaunched in 1999, but the book wouldn’t truly hit its stride when Johns became co-writer with David S. Goyer in #6 before taking over as sole writer with #51, finishing out the book, and launching Justice Society of America. His time writing for the team created some of the greatest Justice Society stories, making them more popular than they’d been in decades.
The Justice Society is comics’ most influential team, and Johns’s time writing them made them into a must-read group for the first time in years. JSA and Justice Society of America were the two of the best team books of the ’00s and are still impressive even today.
1 Infinite Crisis Is The Best Event Book Of The 21st Century
The 21st century, at Marvel and DC, has been defined by event books, but one stands above all the others. Infinite Crisis, by Johns and artists Phil Jimenez, George Pèrez, Ivan Reis, and Jerry Ordway, stands above all the rest. Playing on concepts introduced in CoIE, Johns created an event book that delivered all the action fans wanted and shifted the DC Universe in a new direction.
Infinite Crisis was a masterwork in event storytelling. While one can argue that it started DC’s trend of hidebound storytelling that saw the publisher stagnate in many ways, it’s still a great story. It set many ideas in motion that several creators ran with, doing wonders for the DC Universe.
NEXT: The 10 Most Important Marvel Comics Of The 2000s, Ranked