[[quoteright:300:[[ComicBook/{{Justice}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/justice1.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300: So many things have changed since [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks the]] [[TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks beginning]]... and so many things [[{{Reconstruction}} have remained the same.]]]]

If TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks and TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks were the childhood of {{Super Hero}}es, TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks was their adolescence, and TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks was their [[EmoTeen angst-ridden teenage years]], then TheModernAgeOfComicBooks is surely the college years: [[ScheduleSlip all the work gets turned in late]], people come up to you with [[CrazyAwesome crazy-awesome]] ideas all the time (most of which don't really pan out), and there's still some adolescent attitude about, but it's growing into something more mature. In the process, some things that are eschewed as childish in adolescence return because we're old enough to realize a little of that is [[TropesAreNotBad not a bad thing.]]

If you want a start date for the Modern Age, then the publication of ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan #1'' in 2000 is as good a signpost as any: definitely a sharp turn back towards lighter and happier comics, harbinger of a lot of Modern Age tropes like WritingForTheTrade (something of a side-effect of the DecompressedComic) and [[ScheduleSlip habitual lateness]], the beginning of [[MarvelComics Marvel]]'s [[UltimateMarvel Ultimate universe]], and hey -- it's a great big obvious #1 issue. Of course 1996 is just as good, since it's the year that Comicbook/KingdomCome came out, and the year that Comicbook/TheSandman ended, and the year of UsefulNotes/TheGreatComicsCrashOf1996. Or even 1995, when ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' came out. Hindsight is always clearer, though, so this is another thing we'll probably have to change in five or ten years, when we can look at the Age as a whole.

Depending on your viewpoint, we may still be in TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks; or at least, there's still [[DarkerAndEdgier some]] [[{{Gorn}} lingering]] [[NinetiesAntiHero elements]] of the Dark Age hanging around. This generally seems to refer to tone and atmosphere more than actual content, since the extremes of that era have long-faded, and could be more of a sarcastic insult as much as actual criticism. Some consider the extended "Dark Age" to be TheIronAgeOfComicBooks.

The Modern Age is the era in which RunningTheAsylum became overt, as creative teams often went to great lengths to restore the elements of their own favorite childhood comics -- frequently to the point of [[ArmedWithCanon completely discarding the contributions of the ''last'' creative team.]] With an unusually high rate of turnover in the 2000s, this would occasionally result in a character experiencing several All New Directions in the space of two or three years.

Both Dark Age and Modern Age influences can be seen in recent [[ComicBookAdaptation superhero movies]]. If Film/TheDarkKnightSaga is comprised of Dark Age movies, then the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse movies can be considered Modern Age movies.

Another feature of the era is while the decline of the comic book as a regularly published periodical is real, the rise of the graphic novel as respectable reading material in mainstream North American culture has been dramatic. For instance, public libraries, which for generations have largely treated comic books like a hospital does with medical waste, have embraced the format in their acquisitions. This is not only important in growing recognition of the medium's unique artistic and literary virtues, but also in recognition that one way to encourage kids to read at all in this age of VideoGames, HomeVideo and online resources is by meeting them halfway with this combination of word and image.

Some suggested that, following the "metallic" scheme of Golden/Silver/Bronze/Iron, the current age may be known as "Aluminum", since so much of it is recycled. Another possible name is the "Diamond Age" or [[http://mindlessones.com/2008/08/03/a-hall-of-mirrors-ii-prismatic-age/ Prismatic Age]] because the medium has become multifaceted (or because Diamond has an effective monopoly on distribution, take your pick). Another suggested name is [[PostModernism "The Post-Modern Age"]], due to the growing number of post modern books that have been coming out. The name "Neo-Silver Age" has also been used, considering the common values of the two. Creator/GrantMorrison recently referred to the current age as the "Renaissance", to contrast it with the Dark Age that had just come before. Some consider this and the Dark Age to be a single era, TheIronAgeOfComicBooks.

It's too early to say for sure, but if an "age" of comic books lasts fifteen or so years, and the Modern Age began in the mid-90s, then it is likely to be reaching its end point now. Certainly, the September 2011 [[{{New 52}} reboot]] of TheDCU following ''ComicBook/{{Flashpoint}}'' appears to be a significant change, similar to how some consider ''CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'' to mark the end of the BronzeAge. Also, ArchieComics and DC finally officially dropped UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode in 2011. The fact that the reboot also marks the beginning of DC's major digital publishing initiative is also a sign that times are changing. On the Marvel side of things, September is also the month that ''Ultimate Spider-Man'', one of the launchers of the Modern Age, officially passes the torch from Peter Parker to new character Miles Morales; Marvel also experimented with their own relaunch in 2012, beginning Marvel NOW.

!!Series of the Modern Age which may or may not be notable in the future:
* ''Comicbook/KingdomCome'': a harsh {{Deconstruction}} of the Dark Age and the NinetiesAntiHero archetype. As good a starting point for the modern age as any other, set into motion many of trends such as {{Reconstruction}}, LighterAndSofter, and GenreThrowback to earlier ages, and comics that you need to purchase entire companion books in order to understand every reference. It was also a key factor in the declining popularity of the NinetiesAntiHero in favor of more traditional Silver Age archetypes.
* Creator/GrantMorrison's ''[[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA]]'', which brought back the bright, shiny character art and likable heroes in huge, epic plots. Began in 1997, one year after Comicbook/KingdomCome, and helped to [[TropeCodifier Codify]] many of the concepts and trends introduced by Comicbook/KingdomCome, and did more to [[{{Reconstruction}} Reconstruct]] the Main DCU than any other series.
** Also by Morrison, ''[[ComicBook/AllStarDCComics All-Star]] [[ComicBook/AllStarSuperman Superman]],'' an AlternateUniverse take on {{Superman}} that uses various Silver Age tropes to tell the story of a Superman who is nearing the end of his life. Also notable for the scene in which [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Superman punches out the Tyrant Sun.]]
* David S. Goyer and, later, Creator/GeoffJohns' run on ''[[JusticeSocietyOfAmerica JSA]]'' not only followed ''[[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA's]]'' example of shiny, colorful art, clearly heroic characters, and large-scale plots, but brought back classic [[GoldenAge Golden]] and SilverAge heroes that hadn't seen the light of day in years.
** A related early example was Johns' ''Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.'', his first DC work which also was the debut of Courtney Whitmore, the Stargirl, a character that would feature prominently in JSA.
* UltimateMarvel, featuring updated versions of all the various Marvel characters without years of continuity, and with artists and writers being give free rein to change the characters in any way they wanted, or retell classic storylines in new ways (such as Carnage being responsible for the death of Gwen Stacy for example). As time went on, the focus eventually shifted from retreading old stories and characters to doing things that would never be allowed to happen in the regular Marvel universe; like [[spoiler:wiping out most of the X-Men, disbanding the Fantastic Four with Reed Richards becoming the next Dr. Doom, and [[HilariousInHindsight killing off Peter Parker]]]].
* ''ComicBook/{{Invincible}}'', probably the most successful indie hero of recent years. It starts with SilverAge four-color heroics, subverts them with PlotTwist reveals, reconstructs them in a post-modern setting, as well as having a great deal of incredibly graphic violence showing the effects of superheroes not holding back against their opponents.
* ''Comicbook/CivilWar'', which combined a long-term change to the status quo of the MarvelUniverse with an attempt at large-scale political commentary; whether or not it was successful...
* ''{{Runaways}}'' is a modern representation of the more hip and deconstructing elements of this era. Combining a diverse amount of influences from old school comics, to manga, and modern day nerd culture and pop cultural references. As well as featuring more well known heroes in vastly different circumstances.
* The entire Marvel Comics Siege [[MetaPlot macro crisis]] was a DeconstructorFleet of the entire Marvel Comics universe, the ReedRichardsIsUseless trope, and the idea of the superhero in general:
** It starts with Avengers Dissembled showing what happens when you entrust the world to a set few ultra powerful humans, followed by House of M showing what happens when the super humans take over.
** Civil War addressed the stupidity of having the government let walking A-bombs blow themselves up in New York every day, while simultaneously showing how said government control plans would fail. This is shown in the ''deliberate'' {{Flanderization}} of Captain America and Iron Man showing how both sides are pretty stupid. This was also exposited in the what-if story arc when both sides find a balance and thus achieve peace.
** Dark Reign then deconstructed the entire "Lone Cop saves the world and gets promoted" genre by showing what would happen if said psychopaths were really appointed to such positions of power, whilst Thor, Reed Richards, and Iron Man's tenures as God, Guardian, and Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in each of their individual story arcs show how each quest to "fix" the world leads to disaster.
** Then the New Captain America saga had a deconstruction of the Sidekick.
** The idea of power and potential is again brought up in The Hood's recent story, showing what happens if all the D-listers in the universe eventually got together and actually ''applied'' their powers, while the Current Mighty Avengers show how these super teams affect the political climate.
** The Illuminati is in itself a deconstruction of large hero collaborations (and how they lead to failure i.e. the Secret Invasion) and its counterpart "The Cabal" showed just how incapable a society of villains would be at functioning. All this is paralleled by the Annihilation series depicting what kind of galaxy is filled with empires that invade and blow stuff up planets on a daily basis and how disillusioned it makes charters. Seeing [[spoiler: Black Bolt]] turn to insanity was just further reconfirmation of what a world Cosmic Marvel is.
** The Nova Corps pretty much deconstructed all SpacePolice tropes with its nigh-omnipotent run band of non-sanctioned super soldiers and how that would affect any political situation.
** The Decimation arcs in X-Men show how humans would react to mutants if the odds were evened.
** The Secret arcs show what being a ''real'' spy means and all the details it entails.
** And finally, ComicBook/{{Siege}} shows the {{reconstruction}}, revealing that after all this, heroes are still heroes no matter what.
* ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'' from DCComics, which was the first full-length narrative comic to ship on a weekly basis for [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin 52 consecutive weeks]]. Appropriately enough, it dealt with the {{reconstruction}} of TheDCU after yet another CrisisCrossover, with the various heroes trusting each other much more afterward and TheMultiverse being restored for the first time in 20 years. Written by a DreamTeam of four authors (Creator/GeoffJohns, Creator/GrantMorrison, Creator/GregRucka, and Creator/MarkWaid), each of whom contributed something to each issue.
* ''ComicBook/IdentityCrisis'', which was critically both a success and a failure, often in the same review. The series and accompanying crossover is noteworthy for the fact that the nominal murder plot takes a backseat to everyone's reaction, essentially creating a CrisisCrossover that was primarily about the personal affairs of the characters in their own books.
* ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'': The twentieth anniversary of the original [[ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths crisis]] saw Creator/GeoffJohns being given the task of coming up with a "sequel". What he came up with was that the survivors of the original crisis have been watching the DCU all along. And that they've grown so disgusted with how dark it's become, that they're willing to kill everyone in the existing universe to create a newer, "better" one. A continuity reset and a meta commentary on the evolution of comics at the same time.
* ''ComicBook/AstroCity'', The first major {{Reconstruction}} of superhero comics.
* ''TopTen'', taking the MundaneFantastic to the streets-- or flying over them, as the case may be.
* ''{{Supreme}}'', the Creator/AlanMoore version; what started as RobLiefeld's infamously violent NinetiesAntiHero ShallowParody of {{Superman}}, was turned by Moore into a [[AffectionateParody loving look]] at Superman and comics in general, especially the Silver Age.
* ''Comicbook/{{Justice}}'', a GenreThrowback to the [[SilverAge Silver]] and [[BronzeAge Bronze Ages]] that manages to [[AdaptationDistillation distill the optimism and heroism of those eras.]]
* The GeoffJohns run on ''GreenLantern'' and ''GreenLantern [[TheChosenMany Corps]]'', brought us the "war of light" MetaPlot, including the following major storylines:
** ''GreenLantern: Rebirth'', which undoes the Dark Age fall of Hal Jordan with a spectacularly Silver Age rationale.
** ''The SinestroCorpsWar'' which deals with epic battles between the Green Lanterns and the newly founded "Sinestro Corps" whose goal is to spread fear through out the universe. Featuring epic battles almost on the scale of a SpaceOpera. This story specifically brought attention to Johns' work on the franchise and helped make Green Lantern a BreakoutCharacter of the Modern Age.
** ''BlackestNight'', a CrisisCrossover ZombieApocalypse encompassing the rest of TheDCU. It uses a [[TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks Dark Age]] GL tale penned by Creator/AlanMoore as a springboard for a commentary on the role of Death in Comic Books. It also introduces a number of other emotion-based "color corps".
* ''ComicBook/{{Annihilation}}'', ''Annihilation: Conquest'', and the revival of Marvel's cosmic line by Creator/DanAbnett and Andy Lanning through ''Comicbook/{{Nova}}'', ''GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', and ''WarOfKings''.
* Creator/GregRucka's ComicBook/{{Batwoman}}, wildly popular, and with much critical acclaim, due to its psychological storyline and [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs surreal]] artwork. She's the most popular LBGT character in comics history.
* ''{{Irredeemable}}'', Mark Waid's deconstruction of TheCape with Superman's CaptainErsatz the Plutonian shows what would happen if the former had a FaceHeelTurn.
** In a similar vein, ''SupremePower'' does this with an entire team of superheroes.
* Creator/WarrenEllis' ''superhero trilogy'': three independent mini-series, deconstructing the superhero genre. ''ComicBook/BlackSummer'' shows us what if heroes were too human, ''ComicBook/NoHero'' if they were crazy, and ''{{Supergod}}'' if they didn't have humanity at all.
** Most of Ellis' most important works, such as ''ComicBook/{{Transmetropolitan}}'', ''ComicBook/{{Planetary}}'', and of course ''ComicBook/TheAuthority'', were created after 1996.
* DC's CrisisCrossover for 1996 was ''FinalNight'', in which [[GreenLantern Hal Jordan]] as [[FaceHeelTurn Parallax]] redeems himself with his HeroicSacrifice to re-ignite the sun, thus saving the planet Earth.
* The Video Game version of ''VideoGame/TheDarkness'' successfully [[{{Reconstruction}} Reconstructed]] the NinetiesAntiHero (after over a decade of {{Deconstruction}} and ridicule), and revitalized the forgotten Image character. By copying many aspects of the game, the comic had new life injected into it. This, along with the success of VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum, are examples of how comics and video games can interact in a more positive way than the shallow adaptations of the past.
* StarWarsLegacy: An epic DeconstructorFleet of the StarWarsExpandedUniverse.
* ComicBook/GothamCentral: Took the radical approach of focusing on the [[{{Franchise/Batman}} Gotham City]] Police Department as they try to solve crimes amidst Batman and his villains. Several of its characters have gone on to be {{Legacy Character}}s for DC heroes.
* DCComics buying Wildstorm studios from {{Image}} in 1999 may well be one of the biggest events of the Modern Age.
* The ''{{Spider-Man}}'' storyline ''ComicBook/OneMoreDay''. The dark side of the era's trends towards reconstruction, as the story attempts to bring aspects of the Silver Age back to Spidey comics but does so in the worst way possible, alienating readers in droves.
* ''ComicBook/RisingStars'' exemplifies the trend of portraying the effect of superheroes on the world (and of the world on them) more realistically than in earlier ages.
* ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW'' is noteworthy for being as significant a crossover success as the GirlShowGhetto busting WesternAnimation [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic TV series]], reaching out as a GatewaySeries to not only its unusual fandom, but also to the badly neglected child readership, a demographic the comic book market needs to connect with to survive.
* Rick Remender and Colin Bunn's Run on ComicBook/{{Venom}} shows us what comics can do when it comes to CharacterDevelopment, TheBusCameBack, playing with the NinetiesAntiHero, and ContinuityPorn.