Top 50 Comic Book One-Shots: #25-21

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25. "A League Divided" Justice League of America #200 (1981)

While he had the benefit of an extra-long comic book to fit the whole story in, Gerry Conway came up with an almost ideal anniversary issue with Justice League of America #200. It seems as though the aliens that the Justice League fought way back in their origin story are back and they are forcing the original seven Justice League members to collect aspects of the aliens. They have to fight the eight heroes who joined the League in the years since. The main story is drawn by George Perez and Brett Breeding, but each of the individual battles is either drawn by an artists known for one of the characters (like Joe Kubert draws the story with Hawkman in it and Carmine Infantino draws the one with Flash in it) or just top artists of the era (Brian Bolland draws the Batman vs. Green Arrow and Black Canary story).

This leads to the original Leaguers realizing what went wrong and they turn on the aliens, but the fight goes poorly, leading to the entire League teaming up together to take the aliens down...

To do so, they split into groups, in classic style and then save the day. My pal John Trumbull thinks that this story is okay.

24. "Captain America Joins...the Avengers!" Avengers #4 (1964)

Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and George Roussos brought former star Golden Age character Captain America back into the Marvel Age in a classic tale that is so powerful that it seems to get re-told every other month. The sight of Captain America trapped in ice, the Avengers finding his frozen body, Cap leaping to attention, discovering that his partner Bucky died in the same incident that ended up with Cap being frozen – it’s such an amazing job by Lee and Kirby.

The rest of the story is not as strong as that opening, but it is interesting to see how well Cap folded into the Avengers. The “Man out of time” angle was extremely compelling right out of the gate.

23. "To Kill a Legend" Detective Comics #500 (1980)

This anniversary story by Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano has the Phantom Stranger show up and tell Batman and Robin of a world where Thomas and Martha Wayne have not yet been killed. The Stranger gives Batman the opportunity to save their lives. Robin tags along and once there, he discovers that this world is unique in that it has never had ANY heroes of any kind...

This brings us to the heart of the matter. Does Batman save his parents and likely deprive this world of its only superhero? Robin has a problem with that idea...

It's a tragic question and one it is probably unfair for Robin to ask of Batman, but it is an interesting one nonetheless. How it all resolves is really impressive on Brennert's part - very cool stuff.

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