Top 50 Comic Book One-Shots: #45-41

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45. "Wounded Wolf" Uncanny X-Men #205 (1986)

After leaving comics for a number of years to pursue other art projects, Barry Windsor-Smith made a triumphant return in the 1980s. He began a tradition where he would draw at least one issue of Uncanny X-Men a year for a few years there (sometimes more than one). Typically, his issues would be one-off stories. His most famous one was "Wounded Wolf," which introduced the modern depiction of Lady Deathstrike. Wolverine has always been best contrasted when used with young, female heroes and that was evident in this classic issue, where Katie Power (Energizer from the Power Pack) is separated from her class during a field trip to New York City for Christmas when she runs into Wolverine, who is being hunted by Deathstrike and the Reavers. Wolverine has been abused and is barely more than an animal at this point...

However, his instinctual need to protect Katie eventually leads to Wolverine making the conscious choice to be a human over an animal. Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor-Smith really were a wonderful team together.

44. "Nobody Dies" Flash #54 (1991)

Towards the end of his run on Flash, William Messner-Loebs introduced the idea of Wally West working for the government to help pay off some tax penalties that he owed. In the start of Flash #54 (art by Greg LaRoacque and Jose Marzan), the Flash stops a group of terrorists. He pulls out the bullets from their guns and tells them that there is a rule - "Nobody dies." He is later on an airplane transporting the villain when the bad guy's friends try to spring him. Flash defeats them, but he is shocked to see that the fight opened up a hole in the plane and a flight attendant that the Flash had befriended earlier in the flight was now gone. This leads to the Flash making a bold decision...

How amazing is that shot of Flash coming out of the hole in the plane?

Messner-Loebs cleverly set up earlier in the issue that the Flash is able to sort of "fly" by vibrating his legs (he saves a guy who was knocked out of a building earlier in the issue), so this is not just out of nowhere that the Flash could possibly pull off this deal. He catches up with the flight attendant and then the rest of the issue is him fighting to save both of their lives...

Remember, though, "Nobody dies. It's a rule."

43. "Calliope" Sandman #17 (1990)

In this awesome Twilight Zone-esque story, a novelist with writer's block is contacted by a famous older novelist who reveals that his own success had been due to the fact that he had captured Calliope, one of the nine muses of ancient myths, years ago and had kept her captive to become his private muse. Since he was now an old man, he decided to transfer her to this promising younger novelist. We see how depraved this novelist is, that he would rape this muse and keep her captive just to inspire him. He becomes a giant success through it. However, eventually Morpheus comes to save Calliope (who was his former lover) and while he cannot force the novelist to give her up, he comes up with a punishment to essentially force it to happen...

Kelley Jones and Malcolm Jones III did a great job on the artwork.

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