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Archive for the ‘One-Shot At Greatness’ Category

One-Shot At Greatness #100 Thorion

27 Feb

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Thorion of the New Asgods #1Publisher: Amalgam Comics
Cover Date: June 1997
Cover Price: $1.95
Writer: Keith Giffen
Artist: John Romita Jr

When the DC and Marvel Universes merged in Marvel vs DC, a new one was created: the Amalgam Universe. This one-shot combined Thor with Orion (of the New Gods).

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

In a bid to unleash Ragnarok upon the Asgods, Thanoseid sends L’ok D’saad to set free the architects of the “end day”: Surtur, Kalibak, Ymir and Mangog. But, Thorion manages to defeat the villain and, by fusing the four giants together with himself, he becomes the Celestial!

It’s a pretty basic plot but there’s some fun action to be had here: trolls and other creatures invading Asgod; Thorion vs L’ok armed with the Mother Cube. But, perhaps what is most intriguing is this mysterious new creature formed from Thorion and the world-ending giants. What powers and goals does this enormous Celestial possess? That’s a mystery that may forever remain unlocked – but I shouldn’t wouldn’t mind seeing it explored!

On Ebay: Amalgam | Keith Giffen | JRJr
On AtomicAvenue: Amalgam Comics

 

One-Shot At Greatness #99 Punisher 2099

20 Feb

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Punisher 2099 #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 2004
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Pop Mhan

This is one of several one-shots that envisions what the Marvel Knights relaunches would have been like if they were published in 2099. In this future version of the Marvel Universe, the government re-enacted the Mutant Registration Act. The super-heroes joined together to defy the government but were eventually overpowered and went underground.

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Cassandra Natchios (the daughter of Elektra and the Punisher) has followed in her father’s footsteps by continuing his war on organized crime as the Punisher. Up until now, she’s kept this hidden from her son, Franklin, but now that she’s been diagnosed with cancer, Cassandra decides that he has to continue the family legacy. So, she takes him with her on her hunts. He’s right there with her, learning how to shoot, who to shoot, what to blow up – but he’s conflicted. He just doesn’t seem to be into it. He feels that he doesn’t have the heart to continue this war by becoming a ruthless killer. But, when his mother finally passes away, will this trigger a change of heart or will the Punisher legacy die with her?

The concept of a “legacy” hero has been around in comics for a long time. Green Lantern. The Flash. Even Batman & Superman have their proteges. Here, Robert Kirkman introduces the concept to the Punisher – which is kind of a strange fit since his war on crime was so personal because the mob killed his family. It’s kind of hard to pass that passion on to someone else who wasn’t as severly affected by crime. And, that’s kind of the concept the Kirkman runs with here. Franklin understands that there are bad people out there – but he doesn’t feel strongly enough about it to go around killing them for it. It’s a neat way to approach the concept and because of its “finite-ness”, I’m not left wanting any more. But, in this case, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

If you came into this thinking you were getting a comic about the real Punisher 2099 (aka Jake Gallows) – then you got punked!

On Ebay: Punisher | Robert Kirkman
On AtomicAvenue: Punisher

 

One-Shot At Greatness #98 Superman’s Metropolis

13 Feb

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Superman's Metropolis #1Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Date: 1996
Cover Price: $5.95
Writer: R.J.M. Lofficier with Roy Thomas
Artist: Ted McKeever

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

In this Elseworlds tale, the shining city of Metropolis is run by steam-machines, the greatest of which is called Moloch. These machines are maintained by a large worker caste of citizens that are overworked and underpaid. The city is ruled by Jon-Kent, the Master Over Metropolis, who shares his wealth and power with an elite few, including his son Clarc Kent-Son. Unbeknownst to all, Jon-Kent is being controlled by the mad scientist, Lutor, who is now half-machine after an unfortunate accident.

Now, Lois is inspiring the working class with hope of a Super-Man who will unite the ruling class with the workers. Her words have reached Clarc Kent-Son and he’s even joined the worker caste, to experience their hardships for himself. But, when Lutor hears of this, he unveils Futura - the first in a planned line of robots that will replace the workers – never tiring and needing no economic reward. She is sent, disguised as Lois, to crush the hopes of the citizens. Clarc Kent-Son sees through the ruse and, with his newly discovered powers and heritage, sets out to take down the mad scientist and make the city a better place for all of its citizens.

I’ve never seen Fritz Lang’s Metropolis but, I know enough about it to understand that this is a clear homage of the film. It utilizes the film’s framework and inserts Superman and his supporting cast into the story. It’s an interesting story about the haves and the havenots that doesn’t end with the havenots overthrowing/killing/ruling over the haves. It ends with mediation being the end goal – cooperation, instead of just turning the tables. I dig that twist and I also greatly appreciate Ted McKeever‘s unique art. I’ve been a fan of his ever since I discovered his creator-owned series Metropol in my Local Comic Shop’s back-issue bins. Now, I know his art isn’t made for everyone but, it seems to me that a Superman story might be the perfect place to introduce it to a mainstream audience. So give it a whirl: unique art, Superman and an homage for a classic film that exposes the darker sides of Capitalism.

On Ebay: Superman | Elseworlds | Roy Thomas
| Ted McKeever
On AtomicAvenue: Superman

 

One-Shot At Greatness #97 Mutant 2099

06 Feb

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Mutant 2099 #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 2004
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Khary Randolph

This is one of several one-shots that envisions what the Marvel Knights relaunches would have been like if they were published in 2099. In this future version of the Marvel Universe, the government re-enacted the Mutant Registration Act. The super-heroes joined together to defy the government but were eventually overpowered and went underground.

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Chad Channing is a teenage mutant who’s secretly been taken under the wing of Reed Richards. Reed – who is now a dismembered brain that sometimes arms itself in a Thing replica body – has been giving Chad placebo pills to replace his mutant suppresive pills that the government makes mutants take. Chad and Reed jump into action when the government’s peace-keeping Sentinels seem to be slacking – this time they stop an invasion by the Mole Man.

But, Chad discovers that all of this super-heroing is negatively affecting his grades and his relationships with his parents and girlfriend. And, for what? Having not been old enough to remember the way life used to be, he’s not so sure that his role as an unlicensed hero is necessary – even though Reed tells him so. Days later, a giant monster is rampaging in the city – will Chad’s involvement show him that his role is necessary? Or will he throw it all away to live a normal life?

Kirkman unravels the complexities of a Utopian society in this tale and shows you the weak points that value “upholding the law” over the lives of its citizens. The art is a bit cartoony and Chad’s powers aren’t specifically explained but those are minor grievances that don’t outweigh the great parts of this comic. The dismembered brain of Reed Richards is an interesting supporting character that connects Chad’s heroics to the Marvel Universe – and 2099 fans with eagle eyes may notice another character with the last name of O’Hara (a relation to Spidey 2099, mayhaps?). Underneath this fun tale of teenage-superheroics, there’s some subtle commentary on government-enforced Utopia that adds a deeper level of storytelling. Give it a shot!

Note: To date, this is the only Marvel Knights 2099 character that has appeared outside of these one-shots. Robert Kirkman used him in Marvel Team-Up vol. III #16, 17, & 18.

On Ebay: Fantastic Four | Robert Kirkman
On AtomicAvenue: Fantastic Four

 

One-Shot At Greatness #96 Super Soldier: Man of War

30 Jan

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Super Soldier: Man of War #1Publisher: Amalgam Comics
Cover Date: June 1997
Cover Price: $1.95
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dave Gibbons

When the DC and Marvel Universes merged in Marvel vs DC, a new one was created: the Amalgam Universe. This one-shot combined Superman with Captain America.

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

In 1942, Super-Soldier has been given the task of following stolen government equipment that’s being smuggled overseas. But, when the boat he’s on is attacked by Nazi U-Boats, he is distracted with protecting the ship while they make off with the equipment. Meanwhile, Super-Soldier’s pals, Sgt. Rock and his Howling Commandos have been captured by Baron Zemo and his Nazi forces. The very same forces that have stolen the equipment. Fortunately for them, Peggy has infiltrated the Nazi castle, set them free and informed Super-Soldier of their location. The heroes overtake the castle but not before Zemo escapes with the stolen goods. In the last page, Zemo meets with Lex Luthor and reveals that the stolen materials will be used to create a villain that Super-Soldier will not be able to defeat: Ultra-Metallo!

This tale of times past in the Amalgam Universe tells the story behind the creation of Ultra-Metallo (the villain from the first Super-Soldier one-shot). It also introduces the Amalgam version of Nick Fury/Sgt. Rock and features the double-villainy of Zemo and Luthor. Unfortunately, it didn’t really capture my interest as I hoped it would and, Gibbons’ art seems very unfinished – especially when it comes to backgrounds (which are missing or very basic, half of the time). No real surprise there since I wasn’t a big fan of the first one-shot, either.

On Ebay: Amalgam | Mark Waid | Dave Gibbons
On AtomicAvenue: Amalgam Comics

 

One-Shot At Greatness #95 Thor: Wolves of the North

23 Jan

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Thor: Wolves of the North #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: February 2011
Cover Price: $3.99
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Mike Perkins

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Hela has formed an alliance with Skald (one of the greater demon kings) in a bid to conquer Asgard. Their forces are marching across the Earth on their journey to the borders of Asgard, wreaking havok. Thor has just been dispatched to attack the army’s rear guard, and has landed in Redhangir – where the viking leader Thorvald has just been slain in battle by Skald, leaving his daughter Einar in charge. She provides Thor with a lock of her hair to serve as his anchor to Midgard.

When Hela discovers Thor’s presence, she sends some of her forces to kill Einar, which would sever his link to Earth. But, she surprises the Norse Queen of Hel by killing her captors, giving Thor plenty of time to defeat Skald and the rest of the invading troops.

Mike Carey has crafted a neat story that’s part of Thor’s long, storied ancient history. It pre-dates his return to Earth in Marvel’s Silver Age, which allows it to play to the strengths of being a barbarian/fantasy/ancient myth story. Plenty of savage battles to be had here with great artwork by Mike Perkins – and not one super hero, in sight. This is the type of story that fits the character well and I wouldn’t mind reading more!

On Ebay: Thor | Mike Carey
On AtomicAvenue: Thor

 

One-Shot At Greatness #94 Curse of the Mutants: Storm & Gambit

16 Jan

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants - Storm & Gambit #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: October 2010
Cover Price: $3.99
Writer: Chuck Kim
Artist: Chris Bachalo

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Once Xarus (Dracula’s son) became the new lord of the vampires, he declared war on San Francisco (the new home of the X-Men). The vampires are armed with new technology that allows them to walk in daylight so the X-Men will need their own secret weapon to take Xarus down … Dracula, himself. The X-Men dispatch Gambit and Storm to “Vampire Island” to figure out how to shut down its protective shield so they can return with Dracula’s body.

After the two former thieves have snuck onto the island, they meet with Janus, the firstborn son of Dracula. He wants to see his father reinstated as the lord of the vampires, and joins forces with Storm and Gambit, who share similar goals. As Janus and Gambit battle through Xarus’ vampiric forces, Storm manages to shut down the island’s protective field – allowing the other X-Men (Emma Fost, Colossus, Northstar, Angel, Psylocke, Wolverine and more!) to teleport in. They make short work of the vampires and transport Dracula’s headless body back home with them.

Chris Bachalo’s art style is very neat to explore but, at times it does get a bit sloppy (most noticeably in the page after the X-Men ‘port in). Kim’s script plays heavily on Storm’s past with Dracula, which is a nice treat for long-time fans like me, who remember those old issues. Even though Gambit is the guest-lead in this story and shares a lot of the action, the main characterization follows Storm as she is made to take an innocent life in order to shut down the vampires’ field of protection. It’s not something she does lightly and Gambit notes that the important part was her hesitation. Overall, it was a neat mutants vs vampire story that advanced the Curse of the Mutants storyline ever so slightly as the X-Men gained posession of Dracula’s body … but not his head …. not yet.

On Ebay: Curse of the Mutants | Chris Bachalo
On AtomicAvenue: X-Men | Gambit | Storm

 

One-Shot At Greatness #93 Inhumans 2099

09 Jan

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Inhumans 2099 #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 2004
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Cliff Rathburn

This is one of several one-shots that envisions what the Marvel Knights relaunches would have been like if they were published in 2099. In this future version of the Marvel Universe, the government re-enacted the Mutant Registration Act. The super-heroes joined together to defy the government but were eventually overpowered and went underground.

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

On the day of the Great Emergence, the lord of the Inhumans has deemed one of his young citizens worthy of receiving the transformative Terrigen Mists. The Mists unleash the process of Terrigenesis within the body of the receiver – developing the child’s inner potential super powers or mutation. And, as the moment of Terrigenesis approaches, the honored child’s parents grow concerned that they may unleash a dangerous or deformative mutation.

But, before the Terrigenesis ritual can progress, the Great Emergence must first occur. And, after fifty years, the lord of the Inhumans bears witness to the emergence of Black Bolt from his stasis pad. Years prior, when the Mutant Registration Act was enacted, the Inhumans took to the stars in an enormous vessel. Black Bolt and the rest of the ruling class entered cryogenic stasis but, Maximus broke out early and became the lord of the Inhumans. Maximus the Mad killed the others (Medusa, Gorgon, Crystal, Triton, Karnak) while they slept in their cryogenic pods. And, all this he has just revealed to the newly-risen former leader of the Inhumans, Black Bolt. With but one word, Black Bolt has his revenge on his mad brother … and ultimately dooms his entire race by destroying their spacecraft and leaving them unprotected from the ravages of deep space.

There’s a lot of set up here for Inhuman characters that ultimately have no bearing or importance on the larger story of the brothers, Black Bolt and Maximus. I feel that there were far too many pages devoted to these minor characters instead of developing the plot line of Black Bolt’s return. Additionally, the art wasn’t al that great, either. I’d skip this one if I were you.

On Ebay: Inhumans | Robert Kirkman | Cliff Rathburn
On AtomicAvenue: Inhumans

 

One-Shot At Greatness #92 Spider-Boy Team-Up

02 Jan

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Spider-Boy Team-Up #1Publisher: Amalgam Comics
Cover Date: July 1997
Cover Price: $1.95
Writer: Roger Stern & Karl Kesel
Artist: Jose Ladronn

When the DC and Marvel Universes merged in Marvel vs DC, a new one was created: the Amalgam Universe. This one-shot combined Superboy with Spider-Man.

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

During a battle with the Scavulture, Spider-Boy is at the mercy of the villain’s Evil Eye. And, just as the eye’s energy blast is about to hit him, Spider-Boy is trapped within a Time Square and transported to the future – the year 2099, to be exact – by the Legion of Galactic Guardians 2099. They reveal that his memory inspired the formation of their team. He’s been plucked from the past, moments before his death, so they can meet him face to face. But, it’s got to be a short meeting since he can only stay for ten minutes or so before it starts to place stress on the time-stream.

Things get bad when the Frightful Five break into the Legion’s headquarters and smash the Time Square Generator. So, our heroes have to stop the Frightful Five and figure out a way to send Spider-Boy back to his own time before a chronal collapse is triggered. And, even then, Spider-Boy is still at the mercy of Scavulture’s deadly energy blast. Sheesh! All this … and the first appearance of Spider-Boy 2099, as well!

There’s certainly a lot of time-travel going on in this book but, fortunately, it’s not super-confusing. Ladronn’s art is really channelling Jack Kirby – which seems to work well for this story. Stern & Kesel’s tale is quite in-depth – there’s a lot going on but it’s not so overwhelming that it gets beyond your grasp of understanding. Plus, it was neat to see the way they worked in the origin of Spider-Boy 2099. All in all, it was a fun read but nothing strong enough to make me wish for another one.

On Ebay: Amalgam | Karl Kesel | Jose Ladronn
On AtomicAvenue: Amalgam Comics

 

One-Shot At Greatness #91 Iceman and Angel

26 Dec

Because publishers want you to buy their product every month, comics are typically serial in nature. However, occasionally (and more often nowadays than ever before) publishers launch a comic title that is only meant to last for one issue. While ongoing series often have multiple chances to hook in new readers, the comics highlighted in this ongoing investigations only had One-Shot At Greatness!

Iceman and Angel #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: May 2011
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Brian Clevinger
Artist: Juan Doe

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Bobby and Warren are on spring break … in New York City … when Goom (the Thing From Planet X! Remember? from Tales of Suspense #15!) rises from the harbor and begins tearing through the Big Apple. Since there’s only two of them going up against a Godzilla-sized monster, their only hope is to delay it long enough for the Fantastic Four or the Avengers to show up. After all, Iceman (a guy that shoots ice) and the Angel (a guy with wings and no other powers) can’t stop the rampaging beast all by themselves … can they?

One of the fun parts of this “First Class” story is that Clevinger allows the characters to use dialogue that pokes fun at stories that will happen in their future. For example, there’s this delightful bit of exchange:

Bobby: You’re not really built for this kind of thing. Y’know what you need? Like, wings made outta knives!
Warren: That’s the single stupidest thing I ever heard. What about my normal wings? Where do they go?
Bobby: They’re still there too.
Warren: Bobby, I can’t have both. Wings don’t work like that.

A clear allusion to Warren’s transformation into Archangel at the hands of Apocalypse. Aside from that, there’s plenty of fun dialogue and the inclusion of a classic Marvel Monster makes for an enjoyable read. I’m really enjoying these “silver age” type stories told with the advantages of today’s storytelling and art. Fans of the original X-books won’t go wrong with this one.

On Ebay: Iceman
On AtomicAvenue: Iceman