Gung xi fat choi comic book fans and welcome to a special Chinese New Year edition of the Crank File, the only place on the web calling the year of the rooster, the year of the cock. I’m your host Ken Lee and here’s what I’m reading this week.
The Top of the Pile: Paper Girls #11
Words: Brian K Vaugha
Art: Cliff Chiang
What it is: A BOLD NEW STORYLINE STARTS HERE! The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning ‘Best New Series’ from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and CLIFF CHIANG returns, as Erin, Mac, and Tiffany finally reunite with their long-lost friend KJ only to encounter some horrifying new threats in an unexpected era.
Why we love it: Brian K Vaughan absolutely gutted his Saga fans last week (I’m still recovering emotionally), proving once again why he’s one of the best writers on the planet. Anything this dude writes gets fast tracked to the top of the pile, and Paper Girls has been fantastic so far. The dialogue feels completely natural and effortless, but delivers tremendous emotional payoffs. Making amazing comics never looked so easy.
The Mainstream One: Batman #16
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch
What it is: ‘I Am Bane’ part one! Bane is coming for Batman. Bruce must keep those he loves safe for five days in order to save Gotham Girl once and for all. But Bane will stop at nothing, and no one is safe.
Why we like it: This series keeps getting stronger and better with each arc. Last issue’s “Rooftops” was a stark-yet-beautiful glimpse into the complicated Cat/Bat relationship. This week we are back to bat-kicking business as “I Am Bane” starts a new thrilling chapter. Long live Tom King!
The Indie One: Walking Dead #163
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard
What it is: NEW STORY ARC! ‘CONQUERED’-In the aftermath of The Whisperer War: ALL IS LOST. ALSO: HOLY CRAP! THIS ISSUE IS .25 CENTS TO CELEBRATE THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF IMAGE COMICS!
Why we like it: The Whisper Wars ended with a 2-page spread that made it very clear, the real war was just beginning. The grand-daddy of all zombie herds is headed right towards Rick’s camp and even by Walking Dead standards, things are looking pretty grim. Oh and holy crap, this is a 25 cent issue.
The #1 One: Darth Maul #1
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Luke Ross
What it is: Bred on hate, fear, and anger, steeped in the ways of darkness, and trained to kill. Darth Maul’s time as apprentice to Darth Sidious has long been cloaked in shadows, but at last we will reveal his tale of revenge. From writer Cullen Bunn (DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, WOLVERINE) and artist Luke Ross (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, HERCULES) comes a tale of rage unleashed as Darth Maul prepares for his first encounter with the Jedi.
Why we like it: After being utterly wasted in that dreadful Star Wars prequel, Darth Maul proved so popular that his character was included in the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series. Now he’s getting his own solo comic written by the talented Cullen Bunn. The series will reveal the Sith apprentice’s journey leading up to that dreadful Star Wars prequel. There are a bunch of variants being released with this new #1, as Marvel is wont to do. I’m a sucker for action figure variants, but the Rod Reis regular cover is probably my favorite.
The Ones I’m Buying for the Cover: Avengers #4, Nova #3, Deadpool #26, Champions #5 Corner Box variants
Cover Art: Joe Jusko
Why we like it: Do those look familiar? How about these?
Those little guys live in the top-left corner of comic book covers and were created by some of Marvel’s most revered artists. Some wizard at Marvel had the brilliant idea of having Joe Jusko recreate those thumbnail sketches as full-sized portraits with his realistic, painted style. The series of Corner Box variants, consisting of 20 covers in total, will be released throughout the month of February.
That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!