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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – January 3, 2018

Happy new year comic book fans and welcome to the first episode of the 2018 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: Batman #38 (Coipel variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Travis Moore

What it is: “THE ORIGIN OF BRUCE WAYNE”! If Mattie could grow up to be anybody, he’d grow up millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. But what would happen if he was forced to relive the worst tragedy of Bruce’s life and his parents were murdered? Batman’s hunt for the killer puts him face to face with a strange mirror version of his own past.

Why we love it: Tom King’s Batman has surpassed Scott Snyder’s New 52 run in regards to expanding the Batman mythos without breaking the character, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees. This week we look at Batman’s origin from a new angle, complete with a new villain. This book has been speculated on heavily and both covers are already sold out at Diamond, however villain first appearances typically don’t do as well as heroes in the secondary market so don’t go nuts trying to secure multiple copies on Wednesday.


The Mainstream One: Batman White Knight #4

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Sean Murphy

What it is: Jim Gordon and the GCPD are thrown into disarray when Jack Napier leads a show stopping campaign to become councilman of the politically abandoned neighborhood of Backport. Civic backlash brews as Mayor Hill struggles to find creative ways of criminalizing Napier’s democratic aspirations, and Batman’s interference blooms into a liability for the GCPD’s public image. Through it all, the new Joker plots to derail everything-and new secrets about Harley’s past are revealed. RATED T+

Why we like it: There’s a new Joker in town, and it’s the new Harley… Didn’t follow me? Ok, exposition time.  Batman White Knight takes place in an alternate-ish DC Universe where the original Harley Quinn (aka Harleen Quinzel) left the Joker when she realized Joker couldn’t control his obsession with Batman. The Joker was so engrossed with defeating Batman that he didn’t even notice when a woman named Miriam Drews replaced Harleen as the new Harley Quinn. After being reformed through prescription meds, the Joker, now just Jack Napier, is reunited with Harleen Quinzel and the two start a new, normal-ish relationship, while Miriam Drews, furious at the Joker’s betrayal, assumes the mantle of Neo Joker. That’s her on the cover and the book is awesome, so read it.


The Indie One: Walking Dead #175 (Bill Sienkiewicz variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard


Why we like it: The Walking Dead shambles on with a new arc, which means new characters will be introduced. While the AMC TV show has lost a bit of its shine in the last few years, the series is still hugely popular. If any of the new characters introduced from this week’s issue appear on the show, you can be certain this comic will be sought after.  There’s an excellent Sienkiewicz variant that I will be on the lookout for come Wednesday.


The #1 One: Batman and the Signal #1 (of 3)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Cully Hamner

What it is: Batman may own the night, but with new villains emerging during the day he needs an ally to defend the city when he can’t. Only one teen is up to the challenge, Duke Thomas. After months of training, he’s ready to step out of the shadow of the bat to become his own kind of hero. Meet Gotham City’s newest protector: The Signal! Spinning out of adventures in ALL-STAR BATMAN and WE ARE ROBIN, comics superstar Scott Snyder and newcomer Tony Patrick take our young hero to new heights in this exciting miniseries with artwork by Cully Hamner.

Why we like it: Duke Thomas has been Batman’s protege for a few years but he’s still figuring out his place in the Batman universe. This week we get Duke headlining what was supposed to be his first, solo mini-series. Even the solicit says that he’s ready to step out of the shadow if the bat, so I don’t understand why the editors at DC still felt it necessary to name the series “Batman and the Signal”.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Black Bolt #9

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Saladin Ahmed
Art: Christian Ward
Cover Art: Christian Ward

What it is: THE MIDNIGHT KING RETURNS TO EARTH PART 2. In an alien prison far from Earth, Black Bolt lost a friend and ally. Such is the life of heroes. But for those left behind, a noble death is little comfort. Far better to seek retribution – and Black Bolt is first in line! But he has more than angry loved ones to worry about. A corrupted version of Steve Rogers imprisoned and tormented his people. Is it time for the Midnight King’s revenge? Rated T+

Why we like it: I don’t know if this was done as an intentional swipe, but definitely getting a Hulk #340 vibe from this cover. Love the details, love the colors and love the composition.


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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