Welcome ladies and gents, to another episode of the Crank File, where we strive to make America crank again. Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, a day when everybody is a little nerdish. Who doesn’t love free stuff? There will be a whole bunch of goodies to be got this weekend, but while you’re getting your grab on, try not to be the greedy idiot who ruins it for everyone else. FCBD etiquette is 5 free comics per person on Saturday. But if it’s still at your local comic shop a week from now, then it’s fare game. Have a safe and super Free Comic Book Day everyone. We really need to come up with a catchier name for this holiday.
Here’s what I’m reading this week:
The Top of the Pile: Sheriff of Babylon #6
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads
What it is: It’s always hard to know for sure who is winning in a war, but for Christopher and his allies, they sure don’t see a clear victory coming anytime soon. While Chris and Sofia try to deal with a personal tragedy falling out from the attack on her convoy, Nassir’s enemies make another move on him and his wife-and this time the couple won’t get away so easily. This all began with two dead bodies, but it’s anyone’s guess how many more there will be before everything is finished.
Why we love it: It’s an intimate human drama set in the aftermath of the Iraq War, where the war was won but the battles never stopped. Author slash ex-CIA agent Tom King is making quite a name for himself as a comic book writer. His current run on Vision has been, in my opinion, the best series in the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe. He’s writing Batman for DC post-Rebirth. Sheriff of Babylon is just more evidence that he is in fact the real mutha-flippin deal. Originally slated as a 6-issue mini, S.o.B. has already been extended to 12 and for good reason. It’s one of the best independent books on the stands these days.
The Mainstream One: Moon Knight #2 (Tedesco variant)
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood
What it is: THE ONLY WAY OUT IS DOWN! Marc Spector is in an asylum full of faces: haughty doctor, hostile orderlies, vacant-eyed patients. Or maybe those faces are actually just masks? If some of those masks hide friends, others may hide enemies, or worse, GODS and MONSTERS. The moon is out, the mask is on: it’s time to escape-will Marc find a city full of sand, or something truly horrifying?
Why we like it: I had high hopes for Moon Knight when I found out that Lemire was writing it. I’m happy to report that issue #1 absolutely demolished all my expectations. It was an awesome, reality bending tale that shattered the thin line separating brilliance and insanity. Dark, violent and a bucket full of crazy. Check this series out if you’re a fan of Lemire, or a fan of Moon Knight or if you just enjoy reading good comics. Either way, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
The Indie One: Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises
Publisher: Darby Pop
Words: Jeff Kline
Art: Brandon McKinney
What it is: Alive and… well… alive in North Hollywood. Bruce Lee remains both a fish out of water – and a man on the run. As Bruce and Joe try to unravel the mystery of Bruce’s previous imprisonment, villainous alliances shift, and the stakes only rise. Of course, there’s also the small matter of Jax and Wren and their missing father. Is there a connection? Is Bruce still wearing Joe’s boxers, circa 1973?
Why we like it: While it was definitely geared towards a younger audience, I found enough to like from Dragon Rises issue #1 to pick up another issue. I was pleasantly surprised by how solid the first issue was. There was loads of Kung Fu action, engaging characters, hilarious man-out-of-time moments and just enough mystery to keep me hooked. Bonus points for the sweet cover art.
The #1: The Punisher #1 (Maleev variant)
Words: Becky Cloonan
Art: Steve Dillon
What it is: FRANK CASTLE LOSES CONTROL! A by-the-numbers drug bust is about to take Frank Castle by surprise,and he HATES surprises. The horrible fallout threatens to send The Punisher into the heart of darkness, but Castle won’t make that journey alone: A DEA agent is on his trail and attempting to get into his head, but what horrors will she find there, and will she survive the experience? Parental Advisory
Why we like it: If you watched Jon Bernthal’s performance as Fank Castle on Netflix’s DareDevil show, you knew it was only a matter of time before he got his own spin-off. Last week the news was confirmed and Marvel’s looking to capitalize on increased interest in the Punisher by assembling an all-star creative team for his new solo series. That Maleev variant is baaaaaad ass, will definitely be tracking down this cover.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Scarlet Witch #6
Words: James Robinson
Art: Javier Pulido
Cover Art: David Aja
What it is: PARIS, JE T’AIME Wanda’s next magical mystery takes her to the streets of Paris, France! There she teams up with broken-hearted hero LE PEREGRINE, who has lost his ability to fly. In order to make him whole again, the SCARLET WITCH will have to risk life and limb visit ghosts of the past…
Why we like it: M.C. Escher that’s my favorite M.C. David Aja’s cover work on Scarlet Witch has been so good that he’s already taken this spot twice during the first 6 issues of the series. I’ve picked up enough issues just for the cover art alone that I’ve found out that Robison’s story is actually pretty darn good as well.
That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!