Long runs, six or seven issue events, and even one-off miniseries were a plenty in 2011 but every Wednesday when you went to your local shop (or fired up your mobile device) it was those single issues that gave us our comic book fix for the week. Some fixes were more satisfying than others…
Our favorite single issues category includes any single issue or one-shot from 2011.
Red Skull: Incarnate #1 | Geoff Arbuckle
We are introduced to Johann Schmidt as an orphan in Germany pre-Nazism. He’s, to say the least, a pretty bad apple. There, we meet his kind-hearted friend who is often bullied for being soft. When the friend finds a sick puppy he brings it into the orphanage, under the threat of beatings for everyone for the noise the puppy makes, things take a turn for everyone – including the reader. To avoid this fate, Johann decides to deal with the puppy himself starting the boy down the path of the pure evil we know he will become. I literally had to spend some alone time for about 20 minutes to get over what I saw and read. It might not have been the most exciting or the very best of what the comic book industry can offer in 20-22 pages, but it will stick with me for a very long time. I can tell you one thing, though, I definitely hugged my dog once I was able to take a few minutes to process the issue.
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Batman Incorporated #7 | John Barringer
“It doesn’t have to take millions, does it? The idea works. Batman on a budget.”
In a surprising twist for the series Grant Morrison gave us a whole issue of the Native American Batman, Man-of-Bats and his son Red Raven as they get targeted by the secretive anti-Batman Incorporated villain, Leviathan. And although Man-of-Bats and his son are about as far from the ideal Batman were accustomed to, their heroics were one of the most memorable of the year. Instead of soaring over rooftops their vigilantism takes the form of delivering groceries to the elderly, checking in on single moms, and going around door to door asking how they can help. Their Batmobile, a broken down truck with a Bat-decal on the side; their Batcave, a shed with trophies such as a giant wooden penny and news clippings, a crime lab on a fold up table. No secret identities, no skyscrapers to leap on and off on, just the plains and a community who’s 80% unemployed. “Batman on a budget.” What they lack in techy resources they more than make up for in motivation, attention to detail, and passion. Morrison’s tale of Bill (Man-of-Bats) and his son taking down a growing gang (backed by Leviathan) had an emotional finish and put a different spin on “Batman.” Even made Bruce step back in awe.
Give me a Man-of-Bats series penciled by Chris Burnham and I’ll buy every issue.
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Secret Avengers #18 | Dan Cole
Warren Ellis teaming with David Aja to create a done-in-one avengers story is the stuff of wonder. An Escher inspired enemy base, Shang-Chi playing the straight guy, Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter doing their best Mr &Mrs Smith impression and an absurdly overcomplicated doohickey that can destroy the universe. It’s utter nonsense, but it’s charming, funny and gorgeous to look at.
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Fantastic Four #600 | Victor Kutsenok
You knew it was coming. You knew it would eventually happen. You just didn’t know when. Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, is back from the dead. This issue hit you on so many levels. It was incredibly emotional to see one of the First Family return from the grave. It was action packed from cover to cover so it kept your adrenaline pumping at all times. The art was fantastic so you very visually satisfied. There were multiple future stories developed so it hooked you in for subsequent issues. It really was a perfect book on all levels and deserving of this accolade.
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G.I. Joe: Cobra #12 | Tom Parry
Talk about starting the year off with a bang… literally. With one shot straight through the helmet, Chuckles managed to change the course of the modern Joe continuity as he put down the infamous Cobra Commander. Spring boarding from the events in this issue, the Cobra Civil War has changed the landscape of the Joes dramatically, and has managed to bring a long since abandoned Joe reader like me back into the fold.
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Batgirl #24 | Wayland Smith
I hated to see the book go, but the pages about what would have happened were great. We saw so many glimpses of what could’ve been, it almost made things worse for us to know we’d more than likely never actually see those stories. Steph with a Blue Ring of Hope was just awesome, to pick one example.
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Let us know what your favorites were!