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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – September 26, 2018

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: Heroes in Crisis #1 (of 7)

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Clay Mann

What it is: There’s a new kind of crisis threatening the heroes of the DC Universe, ripped from real-world headlines by C.I.A.-operative-turned-comics-writer Tom King: How does a superhero handle PTSD? Welcome to Sanctuary, an ultra-secret hospital for superheroes who’ve been traumatized by crime-fighting and cosmic combat. But something goes inexplicably wrong when many patients wind up dead, with two well-known operators as the prime suspects: Harley Quinn and Booster Gold! It’s up to the DC Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman to investigate-but can they get the job done in the face of overwhelming opposition?

Why we love it: Every once and a while, a creator comes into the comics industry and challenges what the medium can achieve. Someone who pushes the dialogue forward instead of running it into the ground. Tom King broke the cycle of mediocrity at Marvel with the acclaimed Vision maxi-series and I think he’s about to drop something special on DC with Heroes in Crisis.

The Mainstream One: Doomsday Clock #7 (of 12)

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

What it is: The critically acclaimed team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank continue the groundbreaking miniseries bringing the world of WATCHMEN to DC. In this chapter, the truth behind Dr. Manhattan’s curiosity with the DC Universe is revealed as the planet teeters on the edge of the Super-War.

Why we like it: It’s been a while since DC Rebirth’d, so in case you forgot, this is a big deal. A major tease from 2016’s Rebirth reboot event was the revelation that Dr. Manhattan from the Watchmen universe had played a major role in Flashpoint, the 2011 event which led into DC’s New 52 reboot. In 2017 the first issue of Doomsday Clock was released, the series that would explain the New 52/Watchmen connection. But constant production delays kept pushing release dates back and here we are two years later, finally getting that big reveal. And I wonder whether DC dropped the ball here because it doesn’t seem like anyone remembers enough to care at this point.

The Indie One: Stranger Things #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jody Houser
Art: Stefano Martino, Keith Champagne, Lauren Affe, Kyle Lambert

What it is: The nostalgia-igniting hit Netflix original series comes to comic shelves. Follow Will Byers into a dimension of decay and destruction where he must use his wits and resolve to dodge the pursuit of the Demogorgon and escape the Upside Down.

Why we like it: I was a huge fan of the Netflix original series. So much of the show was focused on the events transpiring in the real word, Eleven and the gang, Hopper and Joyce, John and Nancy. I love that they are going to expand on Will Byer’s time in the Upside Down. 

The #1 One: Spidergeddon #0 (of 5)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Christos Gage
Art: Clayton Crain

What it is: SPIDERGEDDON IS HERE! The end of all Spiders doesn’t exclude the star of the most anticipated video game of 2018! Marvel’s Spider-Man is out September 7, 2018 exclusively on PlayStation 4. He makes his Marvel Comics debut on September 26! How does he enter the Marvel Universe and what role will he play in the final chapter of SPIDER-VERSE?! Rated T+

Why we like it: Kind of cheating here since this is technically a zero issue, and let’s be honest, we all hate #0 issues. Zero’s not a number, get over it. I haven’t played the game but I know a lot of people who have and they rave about it. It’s interesting to see a character crossing over directly from a video game into main continuity. Could be worth seeing if he sticks around. Get it? Because he’s a spider, so he sticks to things.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom First Host #5 (of 5) 

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Mark Bagley
Cover Art: Javier Garron

What it is: As if things couldn’t get any worse, Tel-Kar, THE FIRST HOST, has set his sights on Earth! Though this Kree soldier may have been a war hero for his beloved homeworld, he has no such affections for Earth… and all that’s standing between him and the planet… IS VENOM! Rated T+

Why we like it: Man, and I thought Venom was scary when there was a human face under there.


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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – September 19, 2018

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: Return of Wolverine #1 (of 5)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Steve McNiven

What it is: HE’S BACK, BUB. Parental Advisory

Why we love it: We all secretly suspected it all along, but now it’s official. Logan’s not actually dead! But where has he been? What has he been up to? And what’s up with those hot claws? The answers to these questions and many more will be answered, well probably not in this issue, but soon! Welcome back to the Marvel Universe Wolvie, hope you survive the experience! 

The Mainstream One: Venom First Host #4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Mark Bagley

What it is: Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been SEPARATED, but Brock isn’t giving up without a fight! With a pair of unlikely allies, Brock takes the fight to his symbiote’s home turf…outer space! Rated T+

Why we like it: In a bizzarre twist in the previous issue, Eddie bonded with his symbiote’s baby blob. Although still weak and underdeveloped, the symbiote spawn has given Eddie a completely different powerset, which so far we know includes the ability to release aerosol pheromones that allow him to manipulate people’s thoughts and emotions. Plus he looks like a can of Monster energy drink.

The Indie One: Black Hammer: Age of Doom #5

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormstron

What it is: The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns with lots of revelations! Our heroes’ journey from Spiral City to the farm is finally revealed and will change them forever!

Why we like it: Finally, the issue I’ve been waiting for. We finally learn how the heroes of Spiral City became trapped in their rural prison. This series has been a great read. Love this cover too, not quite similar enough to be a Dark Knight Returns swipe but I’m definitely feeling that vibe to it.

The #1 One: Batman Damned #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Brian Azerrello
Art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: DC BLACK LABEL, the highly anticipated new imprint from DC Comics, starts here! The Joker is dead. There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery. Problem is, Batman can’t remember… and the more he digs into this labyrinthine case, the more his mind starts to doubt everything he’s uncovering. So who better to set him straight than… John Constantine? Problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people’s heads even more. So with John’s ‘help,’ the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered The Joker. BATMAN: DAMNED is a bimonthly super-natural horror story told by two of comics’ greatest modern creators-a visceral thrill-ride that proudly puts the ‘black’ in BLACK LABEL.

Why we like it: DC’s Black Label imprint is where DC is letting their top creative talent tell ground breaking stories that exist outside of the main DC continuity. Being out of continuity allows the writer to play with themes that just don’t work in the classic, long form comic book tradition. Themes like death (see Top of the Pile). It bothers me that these books will come in an oddly sized, prestige format, which will make them annoying to bag, board and store. That $7 price tag isn’t doing any favors either.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batman #55

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is: The KGBeast lives! The Russian super-assassin is back-but under whose orders? Does he have a specific mission, or is this simply some leftover Cold War mayhem? Nyet, comrade-it has to do with Bruce Wayne’s recent court case involving Mr. Freeze. Something is rotten in Gotham, and you can still smell it, even if it’s on ice!

Why we like it: Another week, another next-level cover by Francesco Mattina. Mattina has to be the current king of cover art and what’s especially impressive is that he’s doing it without the cheesecake.


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

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Comic Shop Talk Video Blog: September 2018

Hi Everyone!

The team is back at it again with another edition of Comic Shop Talk!  We cover a range of topics including The Return of Wolverine, the latest X-event called Xtermination, the latest Venom series, the crazy Rick and Morty/Dungeons and Dragon crossover, and some brief conjecture on the much-anticipated DC Heroes in Crisis storyline!

We hope you enjoy this latest video, which was a lot of fun to make, and be sure to look out for our September Pop Culture Video Blog coming soon!

-The Great Stories Team

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – September 12, 2018

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. Pretty soft showing for new books out tomorrow. Had to dig deep to put together this week’s list.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Red Hood and the Outlaws #26

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Lobdell
Art: Dexter Soy

What it is: Jason Todd’s about to take this vigilante game to a whole new level. His partners, Bizarro and Artemis? Gone! His mentor, Batman? Out! His base of operations, Gotham City? Abandoned. Cast out and alone, Red Hood embarks on a bold, brutal new mission, with a new costume, new weapons and a new plan to punish evildoers across the DCU. Plus, Pete Woods (JUSTICE LEAGUE) joins writer Scott Lobdell as this new era begins!

Why we love it: This issue marks a new direction for Jason Todd, aka Red Hood. After getting has butt womped by Batman repeatedly and losing his crew, Jason is breaking out the solo act and he’s got a new outfit to go along with it.

The Mainstream One: Fantastic Four #2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Sara Pichelli

What it is: WISH YOU WERE HERE! What have Reed, Sue and the kids been up to all this time? What adventures have they been on? What strange new friends have they found along the way? What deadly new enemies have they made? And what are Franklin and Valeria’s new codenames? All these questions will be answered… just in time for ENTIRE UNIVERSES TO DIE! The return of Marvel’s First Family keeps getting more and more intense! Don’t you dare miss a single moment of the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine! Rated T

Why we like it: Fantastic Four #1 was a total tease, as we never actually see Marvel’s first family re-united. Sounds like we’ll get the proper reunion in issue #2 out this week.

The Indie One: Mech Cadet Yu #12

Publisher: Boom
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Takeshi Miyazawa

What it is: Stanford and the other cadets will rely on all their training to try and save the world in the final issue of the critically acclaimed, fan-favorite series.

Why we like it: This has been a fun mecha story with a giant, iron heart. Sad to see it end. Will be picking this up in trade when volume 2 is released.

The #1 One:  Cemetery Beach #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Warren Ellis
Art: Jason Howard

What it is: From the creators of the acclaimed TREES graphic novels, which are currently being adapted for television, comes something completely different. A professional pathfinder, his only ally a disaffected young murderess, breaks out of a torture cell in pursuit of his worst extraction scenario ever: escaping on foot across a sprawling and secret off-world colony established a hundred years ago and filled with generations of lunatics. WARREN ELLIS & JASON HOWARD ignite a high-speed new action serial.

Why we like it: Trees was a thoughtful, well crafted, sci fi series that I pulled for around 12 issues. I know that this is a strong creative team  that works well together, so I’m definitely going to check out their latest offering.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Catwoman #3

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Joelle Jones
Cover Art: Stanley Artgerm Lau

What it is: The secret shot-caller who’s been borrowing Catwoman’s M.O. for a series of crimes steps out of the shadows in this issue, and her ‘secret origin’ is unlike anything Selina’s run into before! Meanwhile, the police close in on Catwoman as well, as they believe she killed a cop during one of the crimes she’s been framed for. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Catwoman’s running out of her nine lives fast!

Why we like it: Baby got back


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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – September 4, 2018

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: Thanos Legacy #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Gerry Duggan

What it is: ‘THANOS WINS’…AGAIN? Rising star Donny Cates returns to the Mad Titan to bring the story bridging the gap between his best-selling ‘Thanos Wins’ and the world-shattering INFINITY WARS! How did Thanos’ journey back from the future lead to the events of INFINITY WARS PRIME? Now it can be told! Rated T+

Why we love it: Marvel has clearly found a cash cow and they are milking every last drop. Donny Cates is back to his old tricks with more stories spinning out of his acclaimed ‘Thanos Wins’ run. What dastardly deeds does he have planned for Thanos this time? And will his good buddy Cosmic Ghost Rider make an appearance?

The Mainstream One: Avengers #7

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Ed McGuinness

What it is: FEATURING GHOST RIDER 1,000,000 BC! If you thought you knew the beginnings of the Marvel Universe, you were wrong! Odin and his Prehistoric Avengers represent a period of Marvel history that’s never been explored. That exploration begins this issue with the origin of the very first Ghost Rider, one who rides a flaming woolly mammoth and battles a savage and familiar foe! Rated T+

Why we like it: If I read that correctly, this is a caveman possessed by the spirit of the Ghost Rider that rides a flaming woolly mammoth into battle. Sometimes you can’t tell if Marvel is even trying anymore.

The Indie One: Spawn #289

Publisher: Image
Words: Todd McFarlane
Art: Jason Shawn Alexander

What it is: The countdown to the giant-sized 300th issue begins here! Spawn catches his first victim as he continues to search for the men responsible for his wife’s death.

Why we like it:  For the first time in 20 years, I’ve got Spawn  on my pull list. I started picking up this title again when Francesco Mattina began his run on covers. It’s definitely not the Spawn of the 90’s but it’s still a fun read. 

The #1 One: The Dreaming #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Simon Spurrier
Art: Bilquis Evely

What it is: From the upheaval of THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE #1 rises THE DREAMING-a kingdom in chaos. There is a place where stories are born. Today its walls lie slashed and bleeding. Dream has abandoned his realm, and until he is found, its residents must protect its broken borders alone. But the most senior storysmiths are tormented by invasive secrets, the warden Lucien is doubting his own mind-and beyond the gates something horrific waits with tooth and talon. Only Dora, the monstress, finds opportunity in madness, stealing dreams for the highest bidder. But she has no idea how deep the danger lies. Meanwhile, in Dream’s gallery, something new is growing…

Why we like it: The Dreaming was a bit dull and not at all what I was expecting. I mean Dream was hardly in it. And it’s looking like more of the same here. I hear Neil Gaiman is plotting the story, so I’m giving this series a long leash.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Deathstroke #35

Publisher: DC
Words: Christopher Priest
Art: Carlo Pagulayan
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is: In this corner: Deathstroke, suffering from a traumatic brain injury at the hands of Batman! In the other corner: Batman, with Deathstroke’s knife in his gut! All of this with the feds invading Wayne Manor-and now they’re in the catacombs under the mansion, which lead to the you-know-what-cave! If they’re going to escape, Batman and Slade are going to have to work together.

Why we like it: Mattina makes his second appearance on this week’s list. Truly a master.

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