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Archive for the ‘One-Shot At Greatness’ Category

One-Shot At Greatness #90 Punisher MAX XMAS Special

19 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!

Punisher MAX X-Mas Special #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: February 2009
Cover Price: $3.99
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Roland Boschi

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Don Maranzano has put a hit out on the head of the Chicago mob, Johnny Castellano, and his about-to-be-born son. But, before Maranzano’s boys can do the deed, they’re offed by the Punisher who then leads Castellano and his pregnant wife to a safe spot. In a bid to wipe out the Castellano bloodline, Maranzano ups the ante – $1M bounty on the baby’s head. Meanwhile, the Punisher has led the expecting parents to a nearby stable to deliver the child and, when the hitmen come calling, he puts them down. As the bodies grow cold around them, an innocent child is brought into the world. But, will the Punisher show mercy for a change and let the parents enjoy their new baby boy … or will they be punished for their crimes, too?

There’s a strange dichotomy to this tale – an innocent babe is born amid a flurry of spilled blood but, it’s ultimately delivered into a family of hope. The story creates some clear parallels to Christmas – just as Herod had babies put to death while looking for the newly-born Jesus, Don Maranzano has ordered the death of the Castellano child. There’s a babe born in a stable and, of course, the Punisher dispenses lead (instead of coal) to “naughty” men. The story is rather straight-forward with no real unexpected twists nor any of the dark humor that I’ve come to enjoy from other Punisher stories. In the end, it’s just a story about a ruthless killer killing other ruthless killers in order to protect the innocent people of the world.

* I think it’s worth noting that there is a mature variant cover available for this issue. The picture posted above is the “PG” cover.

On Ebay: Punisher | Jason Aaron
On AtomicAvenue: Punisher

 

One-Shot At Greatness #89 Daredevil 2099

12 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!

Daredevil 2099 #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 2004
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Karl Moline

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*

Samuel Fisk was raised in the shadow of greatness. His father would often remind Samuel that his grandfather achieved his goals by destroying his greatest enemy, Daredevil. In a bid to make up for his family’s crimes, Samuel has devoted his time and money to crime-fighting, now that he’s a grown man. As a testament to his guilt, he’s taken up the mantle of Daredevil and used his money to devise a powerful suit that amplifies his strength.

Unfortunately, his pursuit of crime-fighting has taken time away from his business and his family. On a slow night, Samuel decides to follow his wife and discovers that she’s sought attention from a suitor more willing to give it. And, it’s with this revelation that we discover Samuel’s days are spent as the Kingpin of Crime. His wife’s suitor is about to find out that he’s every bit as ruthless as his grandfather was.

Robert Kirkman (better known for writing/creating the Walking Dead) has created a truly interesting new take on the Daredevil mythos. And, the twist at the end has me wanting more! This story begs to be followed up on – how can one man balance being the Kingpin of Crime and a crime-fighter? How, Robert? How?!

On Ebay: Daredevil | Robert Kirkman | Karl Moline
On AtomicAvenue: Daredevil

 

One-Shot At Greatness #88 Magnetic Men featuring Magneto

05 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!

Magnetic Men Featuring Magneto #1Publisher: Amalgam Comics
Cover Date: June 1997
Cover Price: $1.95
Writer: Tom Peyer
Artist: Barry Kitson

When the DC and Marvel Universes merged in Marvel vs DC, a new one was created: the Amalgam Universe. This one-shot combined Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants with the Metal Men.

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Magneto discovers that his Magnetic Men (Nickel, Iron, Cobalt, Antimony, Bismuth) have gained sentience so, he creates new identities for them and sends them out to live amongst humanity. Now, alone, he journeys to the living dinosaur island of Krakoa to continue his mission of defeating his brother Will Magnus, who wants to destroy mutantkind.

But, the Magnetic Men aren’t given much time to enjoy their newfound “humanity”. They’re quickly attacked and defeated by the Sinister Society (Soniklaw, Kultron, Vance Cosmic, Deathborg, Black Vulture) and brought back to Chemodam and Quasimodox - who intend to take over the Magnetic Men’s bodies.

Magneto’s attack on his brother’s fortress is halted when his magnetometer beacon warns him that the Magnetic Men are in danger. He follows the beacon and frees them from the Sinister Society – and during the battle, they release that they all have a common enemy in Will Magnus. United in purpose, a new team emerges!

There’s a lot of action happening in this issue that leaves very little time for character development. It’s got an enormous cast of 14 characters to juggle around but, it’s still a fun read that takes little brain power to enjoy. Not the finest example of comic story-telling but the art sure is nice and shiny.

On Ebay: Amalgam | Tom Peyer | Barry Kitson | Magneto | Metal Men
On AtomicAvenue: Amalgam Comics

 

One-Shot At Greatness #87 Cyclops

28 Nov

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!

Cyclops vol. II #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: May 2011
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Lee Black
Artist: Dean Haspiel

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Cyclops‘ latest sulkfest is interrupted by the path of destruction caused by Batroc the Leaper and the Circus of Crime as they race back to report to their new, mysterious leader. Cyclops hops on to a stolen (ok … borrowed) bicycle and tracks down the villains. He quickly dispatches them with his optic blast but can he defeat their boss (spoiler: It’s Baron Zemo XII) without the aid of his fellow X-Men?

If you’re missing the classic version of Cyclops (less cocky and more inexperienced … but still very straight-laced) or you’re just jonesing for some classic “silver-age” style fun, then this is the book for you. Black and Haspiel evoke the early days of Marvel but they execute it with modern storytelling – the best of both worlds! And hey! How about that Roger Cruz cover?

On Ebay: Cyclops
On AtomicAvenue: Cyclops

 

One-Shot At Greatness #86 Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham

21 Nov

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!

Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 2007
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Mike Wieringo and more

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Spider-Ham goes on a trippy quest to locate his lost thought balloons. On his adventure, he gets caught in the middle of Marvel’s Civil War and then transported into space by Doctor Strange. Afterwards, he’s dropped into the Vietnam War which leads him to a portal that reveals some parallel heroes form his anthropomorphic version of the Marvel Universe including Wolverham, Iron Ham, and more. Doctor Strange scoops him back up and drops him off back to where the story started. And, finally, Spider-Ham finds thought balloons – he steals them from Spider-Rat! No … seriously!

This story was nearly 100% unenjoyable and almost totally incoherent. Its only redeeming quality was when it poked fun at Marvel’s newer policy of never using thought bubbles (and using narrative boxes, instead). There were quite a few pin-ups that were fun to look at by great artists including Skottie Young, Clayton Crain and Ariel Olivetti but not good enough to make up for the lousy story.

On Ebay: Spider-Ham
On AtomicAvenue: Spider-Ham

 

One-Shot At Greatness #85 Black Panther 2099

14 Nov

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!

Black Panther 2099 #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 2004
Cover Price: $2.99
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Kyle Hotz

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*

The Black Panther bloodline has been disrupted ever since the death of T’Challa’s son. A council was formed to keep order and prevent every citizen from attempting to usurp the kingdom of Wakanda. However, it appears that the council has grown corrupt over the years and newly appointed councilman, K’Shamba, doesn’t like it. At their latest meeting, they were attacked by a horde of Doombots and within a mere six weeks, Wakanda was completely conquered by Doctor Doom. However, a resistance force has grown over this time, one which K’Shamba has joined and been quickly promoted to leader.

In the bid to inspire more Wakandans to join the movement, K’Shamba dons the sacred uniform of the Black Panther. And, inspire, it does! Within mere weeks, the Wakandans have driven Doom from their homeland and K’Shamba has been fortified in his new position as the Warrior King of Wakanda. But, Doom always has another plan for conquest…

Kirkman & Hotz have put together a future that doesn’t look all that different than today’s world. Their tale of a leaderless nation, banding together to find a new leader and to oust their newly-enforced dictator was well done and could have easily been decompressed into a six-issue storyline with a lot more characterization. But, one-shot’s all we’ve got so, once you get over the disappointment that it’s not set within the original 2099 universe, you can begin to enjoy this tale of freedom.

On Ebay: Black Panther | Robert Kirkman | Kyle Hotz
On AtomicAvenue: Black Panther

 

One-Shot At Greatness #84 Lobo the Duck

07 Nov

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!

Lobo the Duck #1Publisher: Amalgam Comics
Cover Date: June 1997
Cover Price: $1.95
Writer: Alan Grant
Artist: Val Semeiks

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

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Lobo the Duck has been hired to take down the ultimate supreme unknown villain that has destroyed Manhattan. And, on his way to find his bounty, he comes across another bountyhunter (Ambush the Lunatik) looking for the same prey, a jealous ex-lover (Bevarlene) and old companions (Jonas Turnip, Gamorola & Billie the Millie) who know the villain’s identity! Unfortunately, they’re distracted before they can spill the beans. Crazily enough, the identity of the unknown villain is locked away within Lobo’s brain! And, he manages to intimidate himself enough to give it up … it’s Gold Kidney-Lady. And, now that he knows who he’s after, he takes her down easily … but not before her deadly Gravitoninoutometer has been activated, pulling the Moon towards the Earth for a deadly collision!

I know it’s nit-picky but, I don’t like my one-shots to end with “to be continued”. And, yes, the point of these Amalgam one-shots was to make them look like the first issue in an ongoing series … but still! Give me a conclusion, people! Anywho, Semeiks’ artwork is wonderfully cartoony and kooky. It’s super-busy and very fun to look at. Alan Grant’s story is very irreverent and follows no real logical path. It’s absolutely unhinged and couldn’t follow a straight line to save its own life. But, that’s what’s fun about it.. This one’s for you if you’re into kooky, krazy komix!

On Ebay: Amalgam | Alan Grant | Val Semeiks
On AtomicAvenue: Amalgam Comics

 

One-Shot At Greatness #83 Curse of the Mutants – Smoke and Blood

31 Oct

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 - Smoke and Blood #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 2010
Cover Price: $3.99
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

A power outage traps Dr. Kavita Rao, Madison Jeffries and Doctor Nemesis in their lab with their captive vampire. Only, it’s not so captive now – thanks to the lack of electricity. They must survive being locked up, as the vampire stalks them in the dimly lit laboratory. Can they figure out a way to neutralize the threat before they’re all killed?

I haven’t read a current X-Book in years so the only character I was familiar with was Jeffries (I know him as Box from his tenure with Alpha Flight). That being said, this makes a much better survival-horror story than an X-story. Once I managed to shift gears from X-MEN X-MEN X-MEN to SCARY HORROR TERROR, I was able to enjoy the tale for what it was. But, it certainly took me quite a few pages to get to that point. Clayton Crain’s cover art is spectacular! But, it makes Walta’s interior artwork look even that much worse in comparison. Although, once I mentally switched gears from x-story to horror story, the artwork seemd a better fit. The last question remaining is: Is this important to the Curse of the Mutants storyline? Only in the sense that our heroes discover a way to neutralize the “telepathic virus” that the vampires have developed.

On Ebay: Curse of the Mutants | Simon Spurrier
On AtomicAvenue: X-Men

 

One-Shot At Greatness #82 Trial of Venom

24 Oct

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-Man Special Edition #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November 1992
Cover Price: $1.25
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Jim Craig

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

The Guardsmen at the Vault discover Eddie Brock separated from a lifeless symbiote in Venom’s cell. It appears that Venom may be dead and gone – leaving Eddie Brock in the unique position to file an appeal. His lawyer, Matt Murdock (otherwise known as Daredevil), is out to make the case that Eddie Brock is a completely separate entity from that of the super-villain, Venom, and should therefore be found innocent of Venom’s crimes. And, when the counsel calls upon its main eye witness, Spider-Man, will his testimony help procure Eddie’s innocence? You can be sure that Spidey doesn’t hope so!

Leave it to Peter David to come up with such a neat idea! He intricately weaves this Spider-Man/Daredevil/Venom story so well that any of the three could have had their name on the title and it would have been appropriate. Each character gets plenty of time to shine and each one is written in tune with their established personalities and convictions. This issue has a cover price of $1.25 but it was actually only available if you donated $5 (or more) to UNICEF. On top of the donation, you also got a nifty embossed cover and an in-bound poster! So, let’s recap: great story, enhanced cover, poster and donation to UNICEF. How can you go wrong?

On Ebay: Spider-Man | Daredevil | Venom| Peter David
On AtomicAvenue: Spider-Man | Daredevil | Venom

 

One-Shot At Greatness #81 Mangaverse X-Men

17 Oct

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!

Mavel Mangaverse: X-Men #1Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: March 2002
Cover Price: $2.25
Writer: C.B. Cebulski
Artist: Jeff Matsuda

*Warning! Plot Spoilers Below*

Rogue has fled the X-Men because they’ve been unable to help her control her powers. She’s sought the aid of Amanda Sefton (a sorceress) and her foe, Magnus (an electromagnetic demon). Storm surmises that Magnus will attempt to take over Rogue’s physical form and, once he’s “grounded” in a body, Amanda Sefton will destroy him (along with Rogue’s body) to take her revenge. So, the X-Men race off to save their teammate. But, first they must battle through Sefton’s team of villains, the Azure (Nightcrawler, Mystique, and the Beast). Afterwards, they realize that Magnus has returned … but not in Rogue’s body … he’s in Colossus. And, the only thing that can stop him is Rogue with borrowed Phoenix powers!

This is probably the second best Mangaverse one-shot … but that’s not very high praise. There’s a lot going on here, plenty of characters to juggle and almost no characterization. It almost seems like halfway-decent fan-fiction. Perhaps the best part about this book is the opportunity for Matsuda to redesign the X-Characters. Unfortunately, most of them are fairly unimpressive or, at least, not much different than their established looks. But, I did take note of Cyclops’ cool (and unique) new look along with Storm’s afro puffs.

On Ebay: Mangaverse | X-Men | Jeff Matsuda
On AtomicAvenue: Mangaverse