Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. The world lost one of its treasures this week. Len Wein’s influence within the world of comics is legendary. If you name your top 5 favorite Marvel/DC characters, chances are Len wrote for at least two of them. He helped create timeless characters like Swamp Thing, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus. As an editor he championed bold storytelling, like Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans, and Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal Watchmen. Len was a creative force and belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Comics.
Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’ll be checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week:
The Top of the Pile: Action Comics #987
Art: Viktor Bogdanovic, Nick Bradshaw
What it is: ‘THE OZ EFFECT’ part one! The agents of the mysterious Mr. Oz begin to move as the Man of Steel works to stop the chaos they unleash in Metropolis and across the globe. But when Mr. Oz steps from the shadows his identity rocks the Last Son of Krypton to his core. The story that began in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 begins to end here!
Why we love it: We’re a full year into Rebirth and while fan reception of the revamped DC Universes has been generally positive, there are still lingering questions… Like what exactly happened and who caused it? That’s a big one. While I expect most of these loose ends will be unraveled later during November’s Doomsday Clock event, it appears the identity of the enigmatic Mr. Oz will be revealed here in this week’s Action Comics. Ozymandus? Jor-El? Mon-El? Conner Kent? My money’s on Superboy Prime. This issue is also being released with a lenticular cover, if that sort of cover tickles you.
The Mainstream One: Weapon X #8
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Marcelo Borstelmann
What it is: WHAT IS THE SECRET OF WEAPON H? Doctor Alba’s macabre experiments for the Weapon X program turned one of America’s Finest into a behemoth imbued with genetics gifts of the Hulk and Wolverine. Despite countless iterations, only he survived… What made him the perfect vessel for the curse? And how far will Doctor Alba go to recover her success story?
Why we like it: I’m into Batch H and this smells like an origin story here. I’m enjoying the story carried over from Weapons of Mutant Destruction and the cover art is bad as. For the first time ever, Weapon X is on my pull list. Well done, Greg Pak. There’s also a Venomized Batch H variant cover for this issue. I expect that the Venomized variant will be popular, so grab it if you see it, but personally I’m digging the regular cover.
The Indie One: Babyteeth #4
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Garry Brown
What it is: So, you know how we’ve all been really coy and playful about how this book is going to get dark and bloody and really hardcore at a certain point? This is the issue where that starts happening. Happy reading everyone! (Call your mother. She worries). From Donny Cates, the writer of Buzzkill, Paybacks, Redneck and the breakout hit God Country comes a pulse-pounding new series with art from THE REVISIONIST’s Garry Brown!
Why we like it: I don’t imagine being a single, new mother is easy. It’s probably stressful enough without finding out that your baby is the anti-christ. This series has been a fun read. It’s got horror, it’s got humor and it’s got plenty of heart. And it sounds like writer Donny Cates is about to kick it up to 11.
The #1 One: Runaways #1
Words: Rainbow Rowell
Art: Kris Anka
What it is: GET READY TO RUN! The ‘IT’ book of the early 2000s with the original cast is back – Nico! Karolina! Molly! Chase! Old Lace! And, could it be? GERT?! The heart of the Runaways died years ago, but you won’t believe how she returns! Superstar author Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Carry On) makes her Marvel debut with fan-favorite artist Kris Anka (ALL-NEW X-MEN, CAPTAIN MARVEL) in the series that will shock you and break your heart!
Why we like it: If you’re unfamiliar with the Runaways, they are a group of super-powered teenagers/kids who, after discovering that their parents are secretly super villains, run away (get it?) from home. And while only one of them has a pet dinosaur named Old Lace, they are all awesome in their own way. They are a lovable band of misfits who I have a lot of affection for. I’m not super excited about the creative team on this run, but I’m hoping for the best on Wednesday.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Amazing Spider-man #32
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Greg Smallwood
Cover Art: Alex Ross and Francesco Mattina
What it is: Norman Osborn’s goblin-free battle with Spidey didn’t go the way he had hoped? Now, Osborn needs to find an edge and get the Goblin back, and neither you nor Spidey are ready for the edge he’s going to find! Guest artist Greg Smallwood (MOON KNIGHT) joins Dan Slott for this special issue that sets off the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN event of 2018!
Why we like it: Can’t get enough Green Goblin? Amazing Spider-man #32 has you covered with not 1, but 2 ridiculously cool Goblin covers. The Alex Ross regular cover features a super-intense Harry Osborn donning the Green Goblin mask. The Francesco Mattina variant cover features a venomized Green Goblin. Grab your favorite one or grab them both. That’s a win-win.
That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!