James Highwater appeared in the Arizona desert, with no memory of how he got there. He eventually found his way to his own apartment, where he found a note directing him to Arkham Asylum to speak with the Psycho-Pirate.
At Arkham, Highwater (who had since discovered that he was a Doctor of Physics), encountered The Mad Hatter who made cryptic statements about everything they know being words on a Page. Later, Psycho-Pirate gave him a scrap of paper with a strange story about a fox on it, and what appeared to be a page from a comic book depicting the origins of Animal Man on the reverse.
Later, Highwater woke up from a dream to find himself in San Francisco, having moved to the west coast in order to find Animal Man.
For a time, he experienced instances of fading from existence, to the point that almost half his body had disappeared by the time he contacted Animal Man.
The same scrap of paper that he had been given by the Psycho-Pirate turned into a map of Arizona, leading to a specific mesa. Highwater and Animal Man decided to follow it, and upon arriving there, discovered a collection of peyote buttons, which they took reluctantly. Together, they embarked on a vision quest, where Highwater came in contact with his eagle totem, and gained a new understanding of quantum physics and implicate order.
Later, the aliens from whom Animal Man gained his powers visited Highwater, and took him to Arkham Asylum, explaining that all of the different versions of reality were converging there. Inside, they hoped to have a part in preventing the apocalypse. When Animal Man finally arrived, Highwater's theory that he and everyone else involved are merely characters on a page was proved true by a crisis in continuity caused by the Psycho-Pirate's persistent memories of characters erased from continuity by the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The Psycho-Pirate explained the nature of the Crisis to Highwater, who realized at last that he was simply a minor character in a comic book. He explained to the out-of-continuity characters that, through comic books, they can outlive their own creators, and never die, regardless of whether or not new stories are written for them. Dissatisfied with their plight, the characters all were absorbed into Psycho-Pirate's Medusa Mask.
The Aliens suggested that in order to mediate between reality and comic book reality, someone needs to wear the mask. Highwater put the mask on, and took the Psycho-Pirate's place in Arkham.
This was until the Psycho Pirate came back from limbo for reasons unknown, and took back the Medusa Mask. The fate of James Highwater is uncertain from than on.
- 10 Appearances of James Highwater (New Earth)
- 1 Images featuring James Highwater (New Earth)
- Quotations by or about James Highwater (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: James Highwater (New Earth)