Yesterday showed how great One-Shot comics can be. Today I wanna highlight books that are the opposite. It’s not easy to tell a complete, satisfying story in one comic but when it’s done well it makes for some of the best comics I’ve read. On the other hand, some people fail at this and it can be for many reasons. Each comic listed here fails for a different reason because of how broad the category is.
Runner Up #1 Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket #1 by Mike Carlin and Rags MoralesFlashpoint is a decent comic event that had an extremely high number of tie-ins for some reason. While some of the books are good and some aren’t this one, the Canterbury Cricket stands out like a sore thumb for how awful and unnecessary it is. Rags Morales is a good artist and while I’ve never heard of Mike Carlin it looks like he’s been in the industry for a long time. So I don’t know how they came together to drop this awful book. The main character is unlikable and his origin story about getting power from touching a cricket while in a church is ridiculously bad. The character is barely relevant to the event this ties into and this comic is a waste of time. Its only saving graces and why it’s not higher is that the Ambush Bugs are a good idea in the book and that it’s a short comic in an alternate universe so it doesn’t really matter.
Runner-Up #2 Newsboy Legion/Boy Commandos Special by Howard ChaykinIn 2017, DC published a series of One-Shot comics to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of the King of Comics, Jack Kirby. The six comics are mostly good except for two of them, the Darkseid special (which almost hit the list) and this one The Newsboy Legion/Boy Commandos. I knew nothing about these characters going into this comic and I still don’t know anything about them. The two teams in this comic look the same and their dialogue is so thick in this “Street talk” that I could barely understand it. The art is dark and muddy and the setting of WW2 didn’t interest me. Now, to be honest, I dropped the book about 10 pages in because I couldn’t stand reading it which is why I can’t in good faith put it as the winner, but it’s an awful book regardless.
Winner – Superman: Distant Fires by Howard Chaykin and Gil KaneYes, Howard Chaykin took a runner-up and the winner place somehow. I don’t know much about him and his books but he just happened to write two of the worst one-shot comics I’ve read. Superman: Distant Fires is an Elseworlds comic about Superman during the apocalypse. Somehow the event took his superpowers away so now he struggles against the world. That’s a good concept and if this book continued down that path I probably would have really enjoyed this. Superman runs into Wonder Woman and she takes him back to a small village of other heroes who survived.Here, Chaykin takes the story down a different path and makes some awful choices while doing so. Superman starts dating Diana and this makes Billy Batson, aka Shazam or Captain Marvel, jealous. Billy is supposed to be one of the purest characters at DC but Chaykin’s take has him as a jealous, angry, murderer. This characterization alone is one of the big black marks on the comic. From here the book makes less and less sense as powers start returning for no good reason and the planet explodes. The ending is the worst moment though, as Superman sends his own child away to another planet while remarking that he could come with him, but decided not to because he’s “It’s meant to be this way.” Absolutely ridiculous and the only reason this book isn’t the worst ever is its high-quality art by Gil Kane.