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MODERN AGE (1998-PRESENT)

Something had to change and fortunately it did.  In 1997 DC revitalized the Justice League franchise with a new take titled simply 'JLA' and written by superstar writer Grant Morrison.  At the end of 1998 Marvel revitalized their line with the creation of the Marvel Knights imprint pulling in Kevin Smith to write Daredevil (with art by Joe Quesada) and Christopher Priest's reinvention on Black Panther for a new generation of comics readers.   The industry was pulling out of the mid-1990s tailspin and entering the Modern Age.  

 This continued in 2000 with Marvel's launch of their "Ultimate Universe", re-imaginings of key properties driven by creator Brian Michael Bendis, that were not burdened with years of continuity.  Marvel's Ultimate Universe provided a useful alternate to the main Marvel Universe but itself ultimately became burdened with over a decade of its own continuity and outlived its usefulness.  After 15 years the line ended with Marvel's 2015 Secret Wars event, with a few of the more popular characters surviving to be merged into the main Marvel Universe.

 Another key feature of the Modern Age is a prevalence of creators shaping the main super-hero universes who feel that they must leave a mark on each series they take over, making it feel like it is theirs.  When a new team comes on board they often toss out everything that was done by the last creative team, sometimes this works better than others, depending on how a creator's new take is received by fans.  This led into another facet of the Modern Age, downplaying years of continuity.  There is typically a desire for the characters to behave consistently with how they have behaved in the past (though this is sometimes thrown out the window if a creator has a story to tell that entails a complete personality overhaul for a character) but the need to hold every single event that ever occurred as canon that can handcuff the creators from telling the story they want to tell has been discarded.  The common credo is 'tell a good story' and let the rest work itself out.