Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.
Here’s what I’m reading this week:
The Top of the Pile: Black Hammer #13
Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dan Ormston
What it is: It was the greatest superhero event of all time, a multiversal crisis. Black Hammer, Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Barbalien, Colonel Weird, and even Madame Dragonflythey united to take down Anti-God, the ultimate evil, on the streets of Spiral City. For ten years, the former heroes have been living in exile. But a new arrival from the main timeline brought new hope. And maybe, finally, its time for them to relaunch . . .
Why we love it: Black Hammer has been one of my favorite reads and it’s appearance at the top of the pile has been a long time coming. This is a story of flawed super heroes who are inexplicably transported to a seemingly idyllic rural town. Life there is simple there, and peaceful, but our heroes are unable to leave, ever. How they were trapped there and why they were sent in the first place is still unknown, but the mystery is slowly unraveling and the story keeps getting more and more intriguing as it does. The scratchy artwork may turn some people off, but fans of Jeff Lemire will already be accustomed to it. Although the illustrations aren’t lush, crisp or highly detailed, they are stark and effectively convey the emotional drama which is the core of Black Hammer’s charm. Love the Death of Superman cover swipe too.
The Mainstream One: Batman #31 (Tim Sale variant)
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin
What it is: ‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part five! It’s tough to beat the two biggest puzzlemakers in the world at their own game, and Batman’s gambits have only pulled him deeper into the moral quagmire where the Riddler and The Joker do their dirty work. All of Gotham City hangs in the balance as Batman faces the ultimate conundrum: are brainteasers better than belly laughs?
Why we like it: If you read last issue’s “Ballad of Kite-Man part 2” then you know that this Batman run is unlike any before. Writer Tom King recently stated in an interview that he hopes to do Batman for 100 issues and I’m all for it. The War of Jokes and Riddles wages on but the really surprising thing about this issue is that I’m actually liking the Tim Sale cover B.
The Indie One: Shirtless Bear Fighter #4
Words: Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner
Art: Mike Spicer, Nil Vendrell
What it is: With his home destroyed and his spirit broken, Shirtless must join forces with a hated enemy if he hopes to rise against Logger and his loyal army of chainsaw-wielding Lumber Louts! Don’t miss the pulse-pounding penultimate issue of SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER!
Why we like it: The title pretty much says it all. But in case you needed more explanation for what this book is about, just take a look at that cover. Unapologetic, ridiculous fun.
The #1 One: Dark Ark #1
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Juan Doe
What it is: NEW SERIES! The wickedness of mankind has moved the Creator to destroy the world by way of the flood. Noah has been tasked with building an ark to save his family and the animals of the world. But this is not Noah’s story. For darker powers have commanded the sorcerer Shrae to build his own ark and save the unnatural creatures of the world-such as the vampires, the dragons, the naga, and the manticore. But what will happen on a vessel crawling with monsters, where insidious intrigue and horrific violence are the rule of law? From writer Cullen Bunn (X-Men Blue, Deadpool, Venom) and artist Juan Doe (AMERICAN MONSTER, WORLD READER) comes a sinister tale of biblical proportions that HAD to be told at AfterShock Comics.
Why we like it: I had a hard time picking a #1 this week, so I fell back to an old staple: Cullen Bunn writing a horror title for an indie publisher. Love this premise that injects horror elements into a classic tale.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Infamous Iron Man #11 (Venomized variant)
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: Stefano Caselli
Cover Art: Adi Granov
What it is: Riri Williams accidentally causes an international incident that may throw the entire world into chaos! So, you know, no big deal. The prologue to one of the biggest Iron Man stories in modern history!
Why we like it: When he’s on, Adi Granov’s covers stand among the best of this generation. Kneel before Venom von Doom!
That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!