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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – February 21, 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: Amazing Spiderman #796

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Mike Hawthorne

What it is: THREAT LEVEL RED Part 3. You’ve watched for months as Norman Osborn has scoured the globe for a cure to the genetic tampering that prevents him from becoming the Green Goblin. IN THIS ISSUE…HE FINDS IT! And it spells the worst kind of trouble for your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man! Rated T

Why we love it: There’s a ton of hype for the first appearance of Red Goblin. So much that Midtown Comics and many other large comic retailers are putting a 1-copy limit per customer on this issue. Whether or not #796 actually marks the first full appearance of the Red Goblin is still in question, but at very least you get a sweet Alex Ross cover.

The Mainstream One: Avengers #681

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Al Ewing
Art: Aaron Kim Jacinto

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 7 Who is Voyager? Valerie Vector, the forgotten founding Avenger, tells all! And a fan-favorite Avenger returns to the fold as the stakes in the battle for Earth become clear! Rated T+

Why we like it: Not much more needs to be said about this series, as Avengers has made it on the list for the last 4 weeks. This week we get the origin if the mysterious new Avenger, Voyager.

The Indie One: Descender #27

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen

What it is: BRAND-NEW STORYLINE-‘OLD WORLDS,’ Part One! The origins of the Harvesters are finally revealed as we jump back thousands of years to see the dawn of the robotkind and the the secrets of the Ancient Robot and how it connects to Tim-21 in the present. Secrets that have been building since issue one are finally revealed in this shocking new story arc. Each issue in this arc will feature ‘LITTLE ROBOT’ variant covers by DUSTIN NGUYEN.

Why we like it: FINALLY!!! Lemire’s back from his brief stint at Marvel and he’s lighting a fire under Descender by revealing the biggest mystery of the entire series, the secret origins of the Harvesters. I really enjoyed this series when it first launched. I love Lemire’s dialogue and was blown away by Dustin Nguyen’s beautifully rendered water colors, but I dropped Descender sometime in the late teens due to an unfocused narrative. This seems like a great point to jump back in.

 

The #1 One: Doctor Strange Damnation #1 (Javier Garron  Young Guns variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Rod Reis

What it is: The city of sin gets its biggest sinner yet. When Doctor Strange raises Las Vegas up from its destruction during SECRET EMPIRE, he inadvertently opens a big door for the embodiment of evil, MEPHISTO! The devilish villain takes the city for himself and sets his sights on the rest of the world. It’s going to take heroes from all over the Marvel Universe to defeat him, but there’s nothing simple about fighting the lord of Hell. Rated T+

Why we like it: Donny Cates might be the hottest writer working for any of the comic publishers right now. Although this title has been overshadowed by Cate’s Thanos run, I have been loving Dr. Strange. The Damnation mini series picks up right after the events of Dr. Strange #385, where Stephen Strange regains the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme from the trickster Loki, and will set the stage for Marvel’s grand plans for 2018. With a new start and a fresh outlook, Damnation is sure to continue shaking up the status quo.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Justice League #39 

Publisher: DC
Words: Rod Reis
Art: Ian Churchill
Cover Art: J. G. Jones

What it is: ‘JUSTICE LOST’ part six! An environmental disaster unites both Justice League teams as Cyborg faces the first test of his leadership while still being overshadowed by Batman. Meanwhile, the Green Lanterns struggle with internal conflicts while being recruited by a mysterious visitor for an unspecified deep-space mission.

Why we like it: At some point J. G. Jones will start getting the recognition he deserves as one of the finest cover illustrators working in the industry. This might be the cover that pushes him into the conversation with other high-profile painters like Mattina or Ross.

 

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 – February 14, 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: Avengers #680

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Aaron Kim Jacinto

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 6 Wonder Man and Beast team up in a desperate attempt to save Jarvis, while the Avengers reel from the crushing loss of one of their own. Rated T+

Why we love it: No Surrender, no man left behind! Asides from the Always Sunny reference, I’m really enjoying this story. Packed with action, intrigue, and potential first appearances. The weekly release schedule hasn’t burned us with delays yet, and it has really helped keep the momentum going. Do not sleep on Avengers this week.

The Mainstream One: Captain America #698

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee

What it is: OUT OF TIME Part 1 THE STORYLINE LEADING TO THE MASSIVE ISSUE #700 KICKS OFF! Steve Rogers awakens to find himself in a strange new future – and it’s his worst nightmare! Can he assemble a new band of Howling Commandos to help him battle for freedom? Rated T+

Why we like it: Caps back to his Silver Age roots with a classic man-out-of-time story. Wait a minute… That actually sounds like legacy. About gd time Marvel. I wonder if there’ll be Nazis in the future for Cap to fight. Sadly, I’d guess yes.

The Indie One: Invincible #144

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Ryan Ottley

What it is: SERIES FINALE ‘THE END OF ALL THINGS,’ Conclusion Final issue. Everything since issue one has been building to this. Nothing can prepare you.

Why we like it: I’m not actually reading this issue this week because I’m about eight trades behind, but one of the longest running Image titles comes to a conclusion this week. I feel like the end of a landmark series deserves a mention. Gratz Kirkman! Now kindly write us something interesting in Outcast already, will ya?

 

The #1 One: Death of Love #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Justin Jordan
Art: Donal Delay

What it is: Love sucks. Philo Harris is going to do something about it. After gaining the ability to see the Cupidae that make love work-after a particularly bad drunken decision-Philo ends up going to war with love itself. With a chainsaw.

Why we like it: I almost forgot Wednesday is Valentine’s Day. This pick is for me, fatty, sideburns lady, and the mutants over at table 9.

  The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Action Comics #997

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Will Conrad, Brett Booth
Cover Art: Kaare Andrews

What it is: ‘BOOSTER SHOT’ part five! Superman and Booster Gold are stranded in time on a world ruled by not one but two Generals Zod! As Lor-Zod asserts himself as rightful heir to the military dictatorship of their adopted homeworld, Old Man Zod turns his attention to the interlopers from the past. Our heroes’ only hope of survival is to repair their craft and get home-but to do that, they’ll need to travel into the belly of beast!

Why we like it: If you don’t like this cover than you are a card carrying communist who hates freedom. You don’t… hate freedom, do you?

 

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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – February 7, 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: Swamp Thing Winter Special #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King after Len Wein
Art: Jason Fabok

What it is: Tom King and Jason Fabok pay tribute to the legendary creators of Swamp Thing, writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson, as they join forces for an earth-shattering Swamp Thing passion project! In this new, squarebound one-shot, Swamp Thing is out of his element as he shepherds a lost boy through a blinding blizzard and other hazards of a strange, frozen tundra. In this touching and harrowing tale of survival, the pair must navigate countless threats throughout a bewildering terrain-with a bloodthirsty snow monster hot on their heels. But how long can they rely on each other? Separated from the Green and stripped of his powers in this dead world, Swamp Thing struggles to fight for their lives and deliver the boy to safety. Disoriented and decaying, Swamp Thing’s fading understanding of his surroundings forces the duo to confront their desperation and uncover the true identity of the snow monster that hunts them. In addition, this special features the final Swamp Thing story from the monster’s co-creator, Len Wein. Originally intended as the start of a new series, it is presented here both in its original script form and with art by Kelley Jones. RATED T

Why we love it: Regular readers know my hetero-love for Tom King known no bounds. I will literally read anything he writes: tweets, books, comics, graphic novels, grocery lists. Anything. But I’m especially excited for this Swamp Thing story. Tom wrote Swamp Thing into Batman #23 and it was so good that immediately after it was released, a petition started circulating to get Tom King to write the next Swamp Thing book. It’s here, it’s oversized and overpriced, but I’ll happily pay for the quality.

The Mainstream One: Avengers #679

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Aaron Kim Jacinto

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 5 THE AVENGERS WEEKLY EPIC CONTINUES! Who is the Challenger? What is at stake in his grudge match with the Grandmaster? And when the two of them clash, can the Earth survive the destruction they unleash? Rated T+

Why we like it: This book is getting some buzz already as most covers are sold out in advance. And if you read issue #678 last week, then like me you are dying to find out what happens to the hot headed Avenger Johnny Storm. By the looks of the cover… nothing good.

The Indie One: Extremity #11

Publisher: Image
Words and art: Daniel Warren Johnson

What it is: The beacon is lit, the final battle has started, and no matter the outcome, nothing will ever be the same for Thea of the Roto clan.

Why we like it: Apparently, this is the penultimate issue. I had no idea that this was only a 12 issue series. With a deep cast of nuanced characters and fleshed out world, I was looking forward to many more adventures in the world of Extremity. But with only 2 issues to go, my favorite, new independent title is ending too soon, but it’s going out in grand fashion.

 

The #1 One: X-Men Red #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Tom Taylor
Art: Mahmud A. Asrar

What it is: The Hate Machine Part 1 THE FIRST SENSATIONAL ARC OF AN ALL-NEW TEAM OF X-MEN STARTS HERE! JEAN GREY is back! Returned to a world she doesn’t recognize, the First Lady of the X-MEN gathers an unlikely team – NIGHTCRAWLER, NAMOR and LAURA KINNEY (A.K.A. ALL-NEW WOLVERINE) – to face an evil that threatens to tear down XAVIER’s dream by any means necessary! Rated T+

Why we like it: If you missed out on Phoenix Resurrection, spoiler alert, Jean Grey has been resurrected but without the Phoenix. So she’s back and for now, she’s just Jean. Which is awesome because Jean doesn’t need the Phoenix force to be awesome. I like the team of misfits that she’s assembled and can’t wait to see how Jean and Laura get along.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley Quinn #37

Publisher: DC
Words: Frank Tieri
Art: Mirka Andolfo
Cover Art: Frank Cho

What it is: ‘ANGRY BIRD’ part one! Ever since he started horning in on New York City, the Penguin and Harley Quinn have been stuck in a cold war…and it’s about to heat up! Making a long-term investment in a Gotham City that’s crawling with Bats isn’t the Penguin’s style, so now he’s hell-bent on making Coney Island his new nest!

Why we like it: No surprises here. Frank The Tank Cho does it again. The colors in Harley’s petticoat are just masterful and I love the grumpy expression on her face.

 

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 – January 31, 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: Dark Knight Metal #5 (of 6)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: The Justice League faces the final extinguishing of our world, invaded on all sides by unimaginable nightmares, fueled on to the edge of oblivion only by the belief that there must be a light in the endless darkness-somewhere. But…what if there’s not? FOIL-STAMPED, EMBOSSED COVER RATED T+ 

 

The Mainstream One: Avengers #678

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Pepe Larraz

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 4 NOW ON SALE WEEKLY! The Avengers are caught in a game of cosmic proportions, but they don’t know the rules – and one of them is about to pay the ultimate price! THE FIRST AVENGER FALLS! Rated T+

 

The Indie One: Spawn #282

Publisher: Spawn
Words: Daragh Savage
Art: Jason Shawn Alexander

What it is: ‘DARK HORROR,’ conclusion THE EXCITING FINALE OF THE DARK HORROR STORY ARC! This issue marks the introduction of a NEW CHARACTER, soon to have its OWN Image comic book!



The #1 One: Hungry Ghosts #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose
Art: Alberto Ponticelli, Vanesa Del Rey

What it is: Kitchen Nightmares! On a dark, haunted night, a Russian oligarch dares a circle of international chefs to play the samurai game of 100 Candles–where each storyteller spins a terrifying tale of ghosts, demons and unspeakable beings–and prays to survive the challenge. Inspired by the Japanese Edo period game of Hyakumonogatari KaidankaiHungry Ghosts reimagines the classic stories of yokai, yorei, and obake, all tainted with the common thread of food. First course: With bad consequence, a ramen chef refuses to help a beggar, and a band of pirates get more (and less) than they were bargaining for after their encounter with a drowning woman turns ghastly. Hungry Ghosts is cooked up by the infamous author and chef, Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential, Emmy-Award winning TV star of Parts Unknown) and acclaimed novelist Joel Rose (Kill, Kill, Faster, Faster, back again from their New York Times #1 best seller, Get Jiro!). Joining them this issue are stellar artists Alberto Ponticelli and Vanesa Del Rey, with amazing color by Jose Villarrubia, and a drop-dead cover by Paul Pope.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Phoenix Resurrection #5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Koi Pham
Cover Art: Kamome Shirahama

What it is: A light in the darkness is not always welcome. Kitty Pryde, Old Man Logan and Cyclops are leading teams of X-Men all across the globe, chasing events connected to the Phoenix. But with teammates disappearing and familiar enemies returning, the X-Men are fighting a losing battle. Beast doesn’t know how or what shape it will take, but he knows they are running out of time before the Phoenix makes its true presence known. Meanwhile, a young woman named Jean is starting to go insane in her peaceful, suburban life. Nightmares and daydreams are spilling over into the world and revealing cracks in her reality. Jean’s life and everything in it may just be a facade, but made by who? And why? Jean needs to escape. The X-Men need to stop the cycle of death the Phoenix brings. Their worlds will violently collide as Jean searches for an opening and the X-Men fight for closure. But when they are brought together, will the X-Men be reunited with their long-lost teammate – or something darker? Rated T+

 

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 – January 24, 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: Avengers #677 (Julian Tedesco variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Pepe Larraz

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 3 NOW ON SALE WEEKLY! Quicksilver flamed out of the Avengers, leaving devastation in his wake. But now that it’s all hands on deck, is this his chance at redemption? Or will his hunger to prove himself be his downfall? Rated T+

Why we love it: Last week’s Avengers #676 was a surprise smash hit, who woulda thunk it? (Spoiler alert, I did). But the big question that is on everyone’s lips, who is Voyager? Seems like readers are digging this reality altering event that promises to re-write Avengers history, issue #676 sold out and is already going back for a second printing. While I don’t think #677 will sell out quickly, there seems to be a lot of interest here so make sure you secure your copy on Wednesday.

 The Mainstream One: Doomsday Clock #3

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

What it is: The story takes a turn in the third chapter of this 12-issue series you never thought you’d see, from writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank. RATED T+

Why we like it: At the end of Doomsday Clock issue #2, our protagonists from the Watchmen universe successfully traced Dr. Manhattan’s energy signature across the multiverse to what appears to be the main DC Universe. Worlds are literally colliding and I’m willing to bet that something special happens this week in the third issue of Doomsday Clock.

 The Indie One: Monstress #13

Publisher: Image
Words: Marjorie Liu
Art: Sana Takeda

What it is: Hugo Award-winning MONSTRESS returns with a new arc and an oversized issue! Maika has spent most of her life learning how to fight, but how will she fare when the only way to save her life…is to make friends?

Why we like it: Monstress is finally back. Liu and Takeda sure are taking their sweet time telling this story, which is just fine by me when the quality of work is this good. But it’s hard to believe that more than two years since its release, we’re only on issue #13.

 

The #1 One: Legion #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Peter Milligan
Art: David Haller

What it is: Trauma Part 1 A mind-bending X-Men tale from the brains of Peter Milligan (X-Statix, Shade the Changing Man) and Wilfredo Torres (Moon Knight, Black Panther)! David Haller, the son of Professor Charles Xavier, has always had trouble containing the multiple personalities in his mind. And with each personality, comes a wild and dangerous mutant power. But now, a terrifying new personality is threatening to absorb these powers and take over David’s mind and body. In a desperate attempt to save himself, David seeks out the help of renowned young psychotherapist Hannah Jones to delve into his fractured mind and fight back this dark personality. But unknown to Legion….Dr Jones brings her own demons with her… Rated T+

Why we like it: I honestly don’t much about Legion except that he’s the son of Professor X, he’s crazy and his FX show is getting glowing reviews. The premise sounds cool and I’ve always had a perverse fascination with mental illness, so I’m willing to give this one a flip through on Wednesday.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Marvel Two-in-one #2 (Dell’Otto variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Jim Cheung
Cover Art: Gabrielle Dell’Otto

What it is:  THE FATE OF THE FOUR Part 2 What is THE SECRET OF REED RICHARDS? And is it deep within MONSTER ISLAND? Ben and Johnny are the only ones who can uncover it, unless DOOM beats them to it! THE FATE OF THE FOUR continues here! Rated T

Why we like it: Dell’Otto does it again and I believe that this is a cover-price variant. Love the lighting effects used for Black Knight’s photon sword.

 

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 – January 17, 2017

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: Avengers #676

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Pepe Larraz

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 2 NOW ON SALE WEEKLY! The Black Order. The Lethal Legion. Two teams of powerful villains bent on destroying each other have arrived on Earth, and they don’t care who gets caught in the crossfire. But who’s pulling their strings? And what is the secret of the lost Avenger? Rated T+

Why we love it: At the end of Avenger’s #675, we were teased with a new character who threatens to tear apart the space-time continuum. Valerie Vector aka Voyager, appears to be a new character but for some reason everyone in the book remembers her as one of the founding Avengers. Hence the amazing, fourth wall breaking, inception-like cover by Mark Brooks which shows a comic collector going through long boxes and pigging out a copy of 1963’s Avengers #1 with Voyager on the cover. It’ a concept so bizarre that it would only work in comics. Looking forward to the reveal for this mystery.

The Mainstream One: Batman #39

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Joelle Jones

What it is: SUPERFRIENDS” part three! Batman and Wonder Woman fight together in an epic battle that will define and then redefine their relationship. What bonds these two pillars of the DCU together? What tears them apart? Find out as Batman continues on his quest for the one thing he’s never had, happiness.

Why we like it: Batman continues his quest to convince his friends that he is not crazy for getting engaged to Catwoman. Superfriends part two was a fun, double-date issue that saw Clark & Lois and Bruce & Selina going toe-to-toe at a funfair. This week, he has a much taller task with winning over Wonder Woman. Writer Tom King has really been on top of his game and the Bat/Cat romance angle has been far more interesting than I had expected.

The Indie One: Ice Cream Man #1

Publisher: Image
Words: W. Maxwell Prince
Art: Martin Morazzo, Chris O’Halloran

What it is: Chocolate, vanilla, existential horror, drug addiction, musical fantasy…there’s a flavor for everyone’s misery. ICE CREAM MAN is a genre-defying comic book series featuring disparate ‘one-shot’ tales of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. Each installment features its own cast of strange characters, dealing with their own special sundae of suffering. And on the periphery of all of them, like the twinkly music of his colorful truck, is the Ice Cream Man-a weaver of stories, a purveyor of sweet treats. Friend. Foe. God. Demon. The man who, with a snap of his fingers-lickety split!-can change the course of your life forever.

Why we like it:  Slow week for indies. This is one of those horror anthology books that sounds a bit like Tales From the Crypt, if the Cryptkeeper was a middle-aged ice cream truck driver. I really don’t know what to expect from this series but it sounds so weird that I’m willing to give it a flip through at the stands.

The #1 One: Damage #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Robert Venditti
Art: Tony S. Daniel, Danny Miki

What it is: Tasked as the government’s own living, breathing, ticking time bomb, Ethan retains no control when the monster takes over. Cheaper than a nuclear warhead and twice as effective, Ethan fights to rein in the damage he unleashes when the beast inside him springs free for one hour a day. With everyone around him in danger, Ethan struggles to contain the DAMAGE he inflicts on the DC Universe. RATED T+

Why we like it: It’s the first appearance of DC’s newest anti-hero, a Hulk analog called Damage. Writer Robert Venditti did a great job re-launching X-O Manowar for Valiant and I think there’s some potential here.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Aquaman #32

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art: Ricardo Federici
Cover Art: Joshua Middleton

What it is: ‘the crown comes down’ part two! As Aquaman’s resistance against King Rath gains momentum, a new kingpin of crime emerges from the Atlantean underworld-King Shark! But whose side is he on? He could be a powerful ally to the Undercurrent…or a dangerous new agent of evil! RATED T

Why we like it: Josh Middleton is just knocking these cover B’s out of the park. As an added bonus, the actual story inside hasn’t been half bad either. I can’t believe that I’m actually saying this, but I’m enjoying Aquaman.

 

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 – January 10, 2018

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to a late 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: Mister Miracle #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: The hit miniseries reaches the emotional conclusion of its first arc! Scott Free returns to New Genesis to face his punishment, but instead finds the whole world has been flipped upside down. Mister Miracle and Big Barda battle their way through monsters and New Gods to get to the Highfather, but once they reach Orion’s throne room, they learn that the war against Darkseid has taken a bloody turn. MATURE READERS

Why we love it: The secrets out and Mister Miracle is officially a hit. First printings of issue #1 are already selling for $30 on the secondary market. Issue #5 was a love story that ended with a crazy cliffhanger. Now it’s Scott Free and Big Barda vs all of Apokolipse.

The Mainstream One: Avengers #675

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Al Ewing, Mark Waid, Jim Zub
Art: Pepe Larraz

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 1 AVENGERS goes WEEKLY for the stunning sixteen-part saga that will write the end of an era! The Earth has been STOLEN! The sky burns while mysterious cosmic objects crash down from above, wreaking havoc across the world! The Avengers are the last line of defense between Earth and the mysterious forces threatening to tear it apart. It’s time to ASSEMBLE! The teams you know and love from AVENGERS, UNCANNY AVENGERS, U.S.AVENGERS and OCCUPY AVENGERS come together to face a threat beyond any they’ve faced before in a weekly epic adventure that will define the future of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

Why we like it: There are wayyyy too many Avengers books out right now, and it seems like Marvel is getting the message. I’m hoping that this events brings us back to one or max two Avenger series.

The Indie One: Judas #2

Publisher: Boom
Words: Jeff Loveness
Art: Jakub Rebelka

What it is: Judas comes face-to-face with Satan, and the Great Adversary begins to win him over.

Why we like it: If God is omnipotent, then logically he must have known that Judas was going to betray his son. And if all happens in accordance to God’s will, then doesn’t that make God responsible for Judas’ betrayal? And if God was responsible for the betrayal, then does it mean that Judas, the most reviled character in the Christ story, was just a patsy? I was extremely surprised by how well written issue #1 was. It challenges conventional religious thought without being offensive or sacrilegious.

The #1 One: Old Man Hawkeye #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ethan Sacks
Art: Marco Checchetto

What it is: AN EYE FOR AN EYE Part 1 The super heroes have fallen. The country has been divided into territories controlled by super villains. Among the wastelands lives CLINT BARTON – one of the few Avengers to survive. But it’s been 45 years, and he’s no Avenger. Trying to eke out a living anyway he can, the former HAWKEYE is confronted with a startling discovery: the sharpshooter is going blind. With time running short, Clint realizes there’s one last thing he wants to see: revenge for his fallen comrades-in-arms. Rising-star writer ETHAN SACKS and superstar artist MARCO CHECCHETTO take you back to the Wastelands in a story set five years before the original classic OLD MAN LOGAN. Rated T+

Why we like it: I’m a big fan of the Old Man Logan universe and excited to learn more about Old Man Hawkeye. If there is one thing that I hope this series delves into, it’s Ashley Barton aka Spider-Woman.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: New Superman #19 (Chang variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Mariko Tamaki
Art: Brent Peeples
Cover Art: Bernard Chang

What it is: ‘A Day in the Life’! The New Super-Man and Justice League of China changed the metahuman landscape of China forever, and Laney Lan has reported on their heroics since day one. But there’s more to Shanghai’s ace reporter than meets the eye, and when faced with turmoil in her own family, Laney’s commitment to reporting the truth will be tested like never before. RATED T

Why we like it: Quite a few good looking covers this week, but I’m loving this cover celebrating Chinese New Year. 2018 is the year of the dog, which also just happens to be my zodiac sign.

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 – 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

What it is: NEW STORY ARC ‘NEW WORLD ORDER,’ Part One NEW FRIENDS. NEW ENEMIES. NEW THREATS. IT’S A WHOLE NEW WORLD.

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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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – December 27, 2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to a special Boxing Day 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. It’s the last Wednesday of 2017 and I want to thank all of you for reading this article and wish you a happy 2018.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Doomsday Clock #2

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

What it is: DC and Watchmen characters collide at last! The story that began in DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 comes to a thrilling and unexpected crescendo in the pages of this titanic twelve-issue series by the all-star team that brought you BATMAN: EARTH ONE and SHAZAM! In this second chapter: The Dark Knight discovers another relic from the Watchmen world. Lex Luthor pays a devil’s bargain. And killer clowns trek through Gotham seeking a madman. RATED T+

Why we love it: No sugar coating, I was disappointed with issue #1. In fairness, my expectations were pretty high to start. But the first issue was a long, dense read that explained basically nothing except for introducing a few new characters. The $6 price tag didn’t do me any favors either. I’m still holding out hope for issue #2, and really hope it shines some light on where this series is going, otherwise this could be a quick jump off for me.

 The Mainstream One: Thanos #14

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw

What it is: THANOS WINS Part 2. Thanos has journeyed to the end of time to the moment of his complete victory…and he’s not happy with what he sees! Writer Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw (God Country) continue the tale of the Mad Titan’s biggest glory and ultimate shame! Parental Advisory

Why we like it: The same creative team that brought us the awesome God Country brings us an awesome Thanos story. In the previous issue we were introduced to a cosmic Ghost Rider as well as a future version of Thanos that has succeeded in conquering the galaxy. It was a fantastic setup issue and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

 The Indie One: Redneck #8

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Lisandro Estherren

What it is: You never see the thing that gets you in the end. At least, that’s how the saying goes, but with the Bowmans taking on new blood, is the thing that’s going to end up killing them right in front of their very faces? And what does a weird albino boy out in the woods have to do with all this?

Why we like it: Donny Cates makes the list a second time. If that seems like a recurring theme this year, it’s because I think Cates has the potential to be a great comic book writer and Redneck shows off his talent in full view. If you can get past the scratchy artwork, you will be treated to an intelligent vampire story that relies as much on character drama, family dynamics and existential musings as traditional horror tropes.

 The #1 One: Phoenix Resurrection (Artgerm variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Leinil Francis Yu

What it is:  She will return, like a Phoenix from the ashes. Years ago, Jean Grey died and the X-Men mourned her. Since then, the world has changed, her teammates have lived without her and died without her. And now, when strange events start happening all over the world, those teammates can only come to one conclusion – the one true Jean Grey is back! Rated T+

Why we like it: There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes and the resurrection of Jean Grey. You just can’t keep a good woman down. I’m super excited for the Phoenix’s most recent return and have high hopes for this creative team. There are a bunch of retailer variants being released for this issue, as well as a slew of store exclusives. I think the Artgerm covers are the best. There is a regular priced version features a red Dark Phoenix. The cover shown above where she’s wearing the classic green and gold Phoenix costume is a 1:100 ratio variant. Good luck finding one on Wednesday.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Mace Windu #5 (40th Anniv variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matt Owens
Art: Denys Owen
Cover Art: Salvador Larroca

What it is: Having rooted out the rebellion in their ranks, Master Windu and his companions make their final stand against the AD-W4 and his droid army! Rated T

Why we like it: There have been some good 40th anniversary Star Wars covers, and there have been a few great ones. I think this falls under the latter. Salvador Larroca is a master and he beautifully captures one of the most iconic moments from New Hope here. There’s also a Mace Windu action figure variant for this issue, but I think the 40th anniv variant could be a sleeper.

 

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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – December 20, 2017

Season’s greetings comic book fans and welcome to a holiday spectacular 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: Dark Knights Metal #4

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: The Justice League has been broken and scattered to the far corners of the DCU, each member forced to face their worst fears alone…and the fears are winning. When an unlikely ally reveals a glimmer of hope, they must seize their chance, or risk their window of opportunity closing for good!

Why we love it: As the mystery behind Metal has been slowly revealed, I’ve really started enjoying this horrifyingly, dark read. It took me a bit to warm up to it, but after the events of issue #3 I’m completely sold on the rest of Metal. This mini-series has already enjoyed a measure of success bringing the Sandman universe into the DC universe and spawning a breakout villain with the Batman Who Laughs (and who really needs a better code name).

The Mainstream One: Tales of Suspense #100

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Travel Foreman

What it is: RED LEDGER Part 1 (OF 5) SPRINGING FROM THE PAGES OF SECRET EMPIRE! THE BLACK WIDOW is dead…but someone is killing her enemies. With a broken heart and a bloody trail to follow, HAWKEYE is looking for answers. And the only person alive who may have them is Natasha Romanoff’s OTHER ex-boyfriend, THE WINTER SOLDIER. Can they trust each other long enough to unravel the web of mysteries that Black Widow left behind? Rated T+

Why we like it: Natasha Romanova is dead (it was Stevil Rodgers with a shield on the steps of the Capitol Building). The return of the Tales of Suspense title will involve plenty of cloak and dagger situations and I suspect it will also lead to the return of the Black Widow. Wouldn’t it be funny if Marvel gender swapped Black Widow and one of these dude’s took up her mantle? Matthew Rosenberg is a good writer who hasn’t quite found his footing at Marvel yet, but I always enjoy his dialogue. And I’m really digging the Marco Checchetto cover.

The Indie One: Hellboy Krampusnacht #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Mike Mignola
Art: Adam Hughes

What it is: The only thing more exciting than pitting Hellboy against this Satanic spin on Santa is the team-up of Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes.

Why we like it: Nothing says Christmas like Hellboy fighting the Krampus.

The #1 One: Marvel  Two-in-one #1 (Alex Ross variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Jim Cheung

What it is: The Fate of the Four Part 1 THE FOUR ARE NO MORE, SO TWO MUST DO! Something is very wrong with THE HUMAN TORCH and only THE THING can help him! It’s the Marvel Universe reunion you’ve all been waiting for (well, HALF of it, at least!). Plus: What monumental secret has DOOM been hiding since the end of SECRET WARS, and how will it completely change the lives of Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm? PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Rated T

Why we like it: The return of Marvel Two-in-one is likely just the precursor to the full on return of the Fantastic Four. Now that Disney has secured the film rights for Marvel’s first family, the FF’s return in 2018 is pretty much a lock. I like the Art Adams variant cover the best, but had to show the Alex Ross variant here because the body positioning and the look on the Thing’s face are funny to me.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley Quinn #33

Publisher: DC
Words: Amanda Conner
Art: John Timms
Cover Art: Frank Cho

What it is: “The Mourning After!”. Reeling from the death of her boyfriend Mason Macabre, Harley desperately needs something, anything else to think about — and deliverance has arrived on Coney Island’s beach, in the form of a strangely hairy, strangely looney distraction!

Why we like it: Another gorgeous piece by the master Frank Cho. The line work is just mind-bogglingly detailed, evoking a woodblock carving style. This is in my top 3 favorites from Cho’s run on Harley cover Bs.

 

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