Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Top One and Done Issues

Best One And Done Issues

One of the signs of a great creative team is being able to tell a compelling story in the confines of a single issue.  So I want to highlight some of my favorite One-Shot issues.  Some of these will be issues of a longer running book, but the issue itself tells a self contained story.  But there are some good books that are made up of one and done issues.  I will not be counting anthology one-shots however.  Though I may do my favorite anthology issues later.

Fantastic Four #588
Written By Jonathan Hickman
Art By Nick Dragotta
Published By Marvel Comics

This has to be one of the best single issues I have ever read.  Often referred to as “The Month of Mourning”, Fantastic Four takes place right after the death of the Human Torch.  And I mean that literally.  The first page shows the remaining members of the Fantastic Four returning from the Negative Zone moments after Johnny sacrificed himself to allow his family to escape.  And as the portal closes the Avengers arrive to give them help stopping Annihilus.  But immediately realize they are too late.  And right there Hickman sets the stage for what is to come.  

For the rest of the issue Fantastic Four #588 shows how Sue, Reed, and Ben deal with the lost of their family member.  But what really makes this issue stand out is that for the entire main story of the issue there aren’t any words.  That’s right readers it is a silent issue.  And it is probably the best silent issue of all time in my eyes.  because without a single word Hickman and Dragotta manage to convey so much emotion that it brought a tear to my eyes.  Especially the part that focus’ on Ben trying to deal with the loss with the “help” of Donald Blake and Bruce Banner.  If you have read the issue, you know what I am talking about.

Wild Rover One-Shot
Written By Michael Avon Oeming
Art By Michael Avon Oeming & Victor Santos
Published By Dark Horse Comics

I grabbed this issue on a whim the day it came out.  I saw the cover featuring a man dumping two bottles of liquor into the mouth of a Lovecraftian creature so I looked into what the story was.  The story focus’ on a man named Shane who is literally battling his family demons.  Because Shane inherited alcoholism from his mother, but the alcoholism in this case is a physical liquor demon within his body.  And the only way to truly battle demon is the very thing that plagues his life.  Because if he gives into his addiction he gains more power to fight the demon inside.  

It is implied that by defeating the liquor demon Shane will not only free himself of the addiction but anyone who has been possessed by it.  And that Shane may be the only one to stop it.   This story was contained in it’s own issue but Shane’s quest to rid the world of all the addiction demons was later continued in Dark Horse Presents.

Scalped #35
Written By Jason Aaron
Art By Danijel Zezejl
Published By Vertigo Comics

Scalped is a gritty story of life on the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation.  It follows Dashiell Bad Horse as he returns to the reservation he was sent from by his mother when he was only a teenager.  But it isn’t the same community as when he left.  But issue #35 takes a look at the life of two elderly members of the Lakota tribe who live in the Badlands, a stark corner of Prairie Rose that is a long way from the rest of society.  The two struggle to survive off the lands they live on, but how long can you last without a hospital or even a drug store anywhere nearby?  And what happens when a proud man has to ask for assistance when the garden that is how they stay so self reliant stops growing food due to the harsh land they have carved out for themselves.  It is all of these aspects that make this issue really standout.  

Hack/Slash Comic Book Carnage
Written By Tim Seeley
Art By Mike Norton
Published By Image Comics

This issue is pure awesome.  It takes two of my favorite pieces of pop culture, Comics and Horror Movies, and mashes them together like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  And better yet it has a great ability to make fun of itself in both of those genres.

The story focus’ on the main character Cassie Hack and her disfigured sidekick Vlad as they show up at Whizzer World Comic Con when Steve Niles of 30 Days of Night Fame is murdered.  They quickly discover that there is a Slasher hunting down the members of Youngbuck Entertainment who are about to relaunch a classic character with a darker, grittier edge.  And with Niles dead, Cassie and Vlad turn to protecting Skottie Young, Robert Kirkman, and Messy Stench.  Who are the remaining members of the relaunch.  The sense of humor contained within this one shot is rarely seen especially when it comes to the characterization of the creators involved.  And then there is a great gag to do with Vlad telling Cassie about how he learned to read on comics.  And considering how Vlad is a hulking killer you would think, like Cassie does, that he read some pretty dark comics.  But no he learned by reading Chippy Chipmunk.  Whether you have read any Hack/Slash or not I highly suggest you read this issue.

Detective Comics #826
Written By Paul Dini
Art By Don Kramer
Published By DC Comics

Tim Drake is the main focus in this issue of Detective Comics.  When Drake is over matched by a bunch of heavily armed thugs he is on the run until he is pinned down.  Until a car pulls up behind Tim and the driver calls for Robin to get in to escape.  The Problem is that Joker is the person behind the wheel of this particular vehicle.  And before Drake can react he is knocked out and handcuffed.  When he awakens Drake finds himself an unwilling accomplice to The Joker’s blatant Psychotic actions as he continues to drive around Gotham City.  The entire issue takes place in the car with Tim trying to escape from Joker before it is too late.

Joker plays a series of mind games with the tied up Robin in a further attempt to break the spirit of the boy wonder.  But before long Drake manages to outsmart The Joker and turn the tables.  This issue was the point at which I finally understood why so many people like Tim Drake so much.  And the way Drake manages to finally get the upper hand is just brilliant.

Journey Into Mystery #630
Written By Kieron Gillen
Art By Richard Elson
Published By Marvel Comics

This issue came out right after the Fear Itself event came to an end.  So what better to do after a big event wraps up then put out an one shot issue that had nothing to do with the central character to the book.  In this particular one-shot Volstagg returns home after the Serpent has been vanquished to his wife and many kids.  But it is bedtime for the children, So Volstagg puts the children into bed and tells them a bedtime story.  And what story does Volstagg tell his kids?  Is it the legendary quests of the recently fallen Thor? Nope, it is the story of how Volstagg single handedly “saved everyone from the evil of the Serpent”  

I have gone back and read this issue several times since it was released, and it has never gotten old.  In fact I loved this issue so much that I want to see a 6 issue mini of nothing but Volstagg telling his versions of the biggest throughout Marvel History.  Just picture Volstagg telling his kids of how he “saved the universe from Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet.

Thanks for reading my article.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for more articles please leave them in the comments section.  And as always…. Keep Reading Comics Fans!!!

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