A couple of years ago we selected our favorite 10 one-shot comics of all time, but a lot has happened since. I, for one, decided to give Marvel a true chance, being a fairly vocal DC enthusiast. I do not regret it! These Best Marvel One Shot Comics are definitely worth a look.
We have included a variety of Marvel comic styles and universes. There’s a little Avengers, a little Defenders, and a bunch of new stories you might not have heard of before. Hope you enjoy our one-shot selection!
“I’ve died before. It was boring, so I stood up.” ― Warren Ellis, Moon Knight, Volume 1: From the Dead
- 10th place
Daredevil: Born Again
Miller’s Daredevil: Born Again has as much drama and tension as the best Hollywood films. David Mazzucchelli’s art transports you into the story, without a single page wasted. The characters live and breathe, and the intensity of their emotions is palpable. You don’t need to know who Daredevil is before reading this piece, you’ll love this comic nonetheless.
Karen Page, Matt Murdock’s former lover, has traded away the Man Without Fear’s secret identity for a drug fix. Now, Daredevil must find strength as the Kingpin of Crime wastes no time taking him down as low as a human can get.
- The comic introduces the Kingpin character
- A psychologically engaging story that drives you into the ugly, unsettling perspectives of its protagonists
- Extraordinarily well written and illustrated
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
If I had to recommend an X-Men issue to someone who has never read it, this would be it. The story follows the beginning of a genocide of mutants, lead by fanatical religious leader William Stryker, and served as the basis for the second X-Men movie.
As the X-Men and the Purifiers meet in a series of frenzied skirmishes, Stryker holds Professor Xavier hostage, subjecting him via drugs and electrodes to devastating mind-wash procedures. By far one of the best X-Men stories, and perhaps one of the best one-shot comics out there.
- Professor Xavier and Magneto join forces against a new adversary who threatens them all and the entire world
- Chris Claremont is one of the bestselling comic writers in the world
- The story of William Stryker, which the second X-Men movie loosely followed
It’s revealed at last, how it all ends for Daredevil, the Man Without Fear! In the near future, the Kingpin and Daredevil have been murdered – but that’s just the beginning of the story. Investigative reporter Ben Urich has one last story to write: What was exactly Matt Murdock’s final secret? Ben digs deep into the seedy underbelly of the Marvel Universe, tracking down Matt’s buried sins and past loves to discover the secrets behind his death – but who is the new Daredevil that’s tracking Ben? You won’t believe your eyes when the mystery behind Daredevil’s final days stands revealed! It’s a story years in the making, brought to you by some of the greatest creators in Daredevil history!
Maleev’s and Mack’s art are breathtaking. Add Sienkiewicz and Janson and you can’t go wrong.
About the Author: Brian Michael Bendis is an award winning comics creator and one of the most successful writers working in mainstream comics. For the last eleven years, Brian’s books have consistently sat on the top of the nationwide comic and graphic novel sales charts. Brian’s other projects include the Eisner award winning “POWERS” (w/Mike Oeming) from Marvel’s creator owned imprint ICON, and the Hollywood tell all “FORTUNE AND GLORY’.
- An amazing collaboration of authors and artists
- Are the Kingpin and Daredevil really dead? What was Matt’s last secret?
- Really good ending to daredevil’s life story
- Publisher: Marvel (July 3, 2013)
Ghost Rider Annual #2 was actually one of Warren Ellis’s first ever published work. What this Marvel one-shot comic brings to the table is a brand new villain character study: The Scarecrow (nope, not the Batman one, this one is crazier). The Scarecrow is a unique villain, he is completely demented, and has a morbidly evil nature. A wonderfully tense climax that ends with a brutal finale.
Warren’s start with Marvel began in 1994, and chose a layered story for his debut, with complex imagery interlaced throughout the panels. If you get your hands on this one, read it.
- A difficult to find but unforgettable one-shot from Marvel
- Thorough character study with The Scarecrow
- Warren Ellis’s first ever published work
- Publisher: Stan Lee; Annual #2 edition (1994)
This Wolverine oneshot comic tells a tale about honor, loyalty and paying your debts, no matter the cost. Although Wolverine has had its fair share of oneshot comics over the years, this one deserves a special mention.
In this oneshot, David Lapham flashes back to a seeming ’70s-era setting for some old school action. The plot follows Wolverine as he arrives in Japan and stumbles across a murder mystery involving an old friend. What makes this comic interesting is not the exploration of the character, but the tying of ninja murders, Yakuza conspiracies and the emergence of a fleet of killer robots. Undoubtedly, the art is one of the main driving forces in this book, with plenty of bold and engaging page constructions.
- A true work of art and a different approach to Wolverine
- A grounded story that diverges from the traditional flashy superhero line
- Comic: 48 pages
- Publisher: Marvel Comics (2011)
Heroes Don’t Cry. But you will if you read this one-shot :/
Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham’s run on Spidey tells the story of a young inner city boy named Jamal and his everyday life. Jamal’s life is not easy, his mom usually passes out on the filthy couch, his father is nowhere to be seen. However, Jamal likes to imagine he has Spider-Man, protecting him, caring for him. Now, this is a special kind of comic. The story doesn’t trivialize or diminish the real problems Jamal faces, and it explores topics we don’t normally see in superhero comics, such as morality.
This is a great comic to get you started if you are not familiar with the literature or characters.
- A heart-wrenching Marvel must-read.
- Great for new comic readers as well as more experienced ones.
- Publisher: Marvel Comics (2001)
Star Wars C-3PO One Shot Comic
Follow everyone’s favorite protocol droid as he Journeys to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in this special one-shot leading up to his appearance in the film! Just how did Threepio get a red arm, anyway? Find out here as the blockbuster creative team of James Robinson and Tony Harris of DC’s Starman reunite for the first time in nearly two decades! You may be fluent in over six million forms of communication… but this book is a must have in any language! The artwork in this oneshot is very retro in style, and the storyline while simple enough is a great background for C-3PO. It explains how he got his red arm which he mentions in Episode 7.
About the author: An Englishman residing in Las Vegas, James Robinson is a writer of comic books and graphic novels. And a couple of films. His most noted comics work is Starman for DC Comics, currently being collected in the New York Times best selling series of six Starman Omnibuses. He now works for Marvel Comics, a tenure that began with (now collected) runs on Fantastic Four and All-New Invaders.
- A special one-shot that leads up to C-3PO’s appearance in the first Star Wars film.
- Written by James Robinson and illustrated by Tony Harris.
- Publisher: Marvel (2016)
In the midst of the harsh division of the Civil War, James Buchanan Barnes, Captain America’s one-time partner Bucky, faces his first Christmas of the 21st century. And faces the truth of the terrible things he was forced to do as the Winter Soldier. And with Cap caught in a conflict he can neither take a side of – or understand – what moves can he make to try to redeem himself? And what do Hydra have planned for New York this Christmas?
Featuring guest appearances by the Young Avengers and some of the original Invaders, this Special issue is an action-packed character study that defines the Winter Soldier’s future place in the Marvel Universe. By Wizard Top Ten writer Ed Brubaker, with dynamic art by Lee Weeks (Civil War Frontline) and a cover by Cap fan-fave Steve Epting.
“Winter Kills” turns out to be a surprisingly melancholic and nostalgic look back to the early days of Bucky’s life and allows readers to feel the struggle of repentance and acceptance for another man who is also out of time.
- A nostalgic look back to the early days of Bucky’s life.
- Dynamic art by Lee Weeks (Civil War Frontline)
- What do Hydra have planned for New York this Christmas?
- Publisher: Marvel Comics; First Printing edition (2006)
Banner and his alter ego The Hulk are locked in a battle of wills in this satisfying, self-contained tale of post-apocalyptic America. Chronicling the final days of the Green Goliath! Peter David and Dale Keown, creative team on some of the Hulk’s most memorable tales, reunite to produce this searing vision of the future in which Bruce Banner, the Incredible Hulk, is the last man on Earth. This comic is composed of two completely separate stories (“Future Imperfect” and “The End”) about what might happen to Bruce Banner and The Hulk in the distant future. In both there has been some major environmental disaster that wiped out much of humanity.
“The Last Titan” wrestles his inner-demons to discover his place in a dying world – if only he can survive! Having been dragged into the future – into a post-holocaust, dystopian world – Bruce Banner discovers that his nightmare has a whole new name: the Maestro. This is a nightmare that only Hulk can end. For he knows that he himself is responsible for the presence of the evil Maestro.
About the author: Peter David is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous Star Trek novels, including the incredibly popular New Frontier series. In addition, he has also written dozens of other books, including his acclaimed original novel, Sir Apropos of Nothing, and its sequel, The Woad to Wuin. David is also well known for his comic book work, particularly his award-winning run on The Incredible Hulk. He recently authored the novelizations of both the Spider-Man and Hulk motion pictures.He lives in New York.
- A self-contained tale of post-apocalyptic America
- One of the best Marvel one-shot comics
- Introduces the character of The Maestro
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Marvel (February 9, 2011)
If you are looking for good Marvel oneshot comics, The Thanos Quest is a great choice. This is a great graphic novel with a very interesting plot and interesting characters. Want to find out how Thanos gets the Infinity gems? This is how you do! Come for Thanos being a badass, overcoming his foes through a mixture of might and wit, stay for the lush colors and the psychedelic conclusion. The perfect prelude to one of the greatest events in comic book history. Well written and illustrated, don’t hesitate to read this story.
The Thanos Quest is a two-issue comic book limited series published in September and October 1990 by Marvel Comics. The storyline is a continuation of events involving resurrected Starlin-character Thanos, featured in the title Silver Surfer. The storyline leads directly into three consecutive limited series, The Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, and Infinity Crusade. Jim Starlin’s Thanos is the definitive version. Highly recommended!
- Great way to lead into Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War and more
- Published in September and October 1990 by Marvel Comics
- Written by Jim Starlin, and drawn by Ron Lim.