Welcome to the inaugural installment of a new feature here. This series will spotlight comic book stories that are commonly referred to as “done-in-one”. There are no 12 part “epics” that will change everything, for-real-this time, here. Instead these are single issues, and maybe graphic novels, that can be enjoyed, on their own, without any additional parts. If you are tired of event books and need a rest, these books are for you.
Since these won’t be so much a review as much as a synopsis of the books, I will not be “rating” them. These books will come with my highest possible recommendation. Hopefully, you will come to take that as a standard of quality for these comics.
Starting off is a book that I feel encapsulates what this series of articles is about. Plus, this blog has been DC heavy so far (which it probably will continue to be). Therefore, we begin with Thor the Mighty Avenger #4.
This critically acclaimed, but short-lived, series came out prior to Marvel’s first Thor movie. During a flood of Thor product, this title was criminally overlooked. Written by Roger Langridge, who I consider to be one of the best writers of the past ten years. Drawn by Chris Samnee who later went on to Daredevil with Mark Waid. As you can see from the cover above, the copy pictured is from my personal collection and is signed by Samnee. (I just wish I could remember when he signed it.) Talking to Samnee, he related to me that he loved working on this title and wished he was still working on it. This was when his amazing run on Daredevil with Waid was well underway!
Issue number four is entitled “Boys’ Night Out”. Our story starts with Jane Foster talking to Thor about the Thor from Norse mythology as they try to figure out who he is. She shows him a book with a very Jack Kirby looking Thor in it. Then, there is a knock at the door and they are greeted by the Warriors Three! Thor recognizes his friends but has forgotten why he is on Midgard. The Warriors reason that they cannot reveal to Thor why he is here as he is supposed to be learning a lesson.
Instead, they call down a ram-driven chariot and go out for a night on the town. As they get lost later on, in England, Thor goes into a bar to ask for directions. Frustrated with the barkeeper, Thor runs afoul of Captain Britain. Over the course of the next few pages is probably one of the better fight scenes in a comic book. Like ever. Not so much for the violence, or ferocity of the battle, but more the ingenuity while keeping the story moving. Also, the lighthearted, bar fight nature of the conflict. Two really well done splash pages highlight the fight. The clash climaxes with Thor and the Warriors Three piling on Captain Britain, only to realize that they are eventually only fighting each other.
Captain Britain’s portrayal in this issue is so likable and well done that I wish there would have been a similarly toned spinoff book with him. After they settle their differences, as all heroes do, Thor, The Warriors Three, and Captain Britain all go their separate ways and return home. Thor returns to Jane Foster’s home, still unsure of his purpose on Earth, but content in the knowledge that he has made a new friend.
There are subplots for the title that run through this issue, but they aren’t necessary for understanding this story. Nor do they take away from it. Thor the Mighty Avenger, was a book that wasn’t tied to any existing continuity. Unfortunately, that and timing probably worked against it. It’s still hard to understand how a book of this caliber only lasted 8 issues.
Glancing around the internet, this issue can be had for under $5 at a few sites. If you like this one, I would highly recommend picking up the entire series. It all seems to be relatively cheap and is also available digitally at the customary sites.
Let me know what you think of this article, and the book in the comments or on Twitter @detective651. I look forward to doing more of these and am open to suggestions.
Thanks for reading.