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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 7/22/2015

Hey there comic book aficionados. Over the weekend I had the pleasure of holding in my hands a raw copy of Batman 139 from 1961, the first appearance of Bat-Girl. Not Babs Gordon but Bette Kane, the silver age love interest that DC created for Robin to dispel gay rumors swirling around Bruce and Dick. The book was retrieved from an estate sale, found in a box among a stack of loose silver age superhero books. It had seen better days, the cover was detached at both staples, but it was all there. An important piece of comic book history rescued from obscurity.

Although I covet silver and bronze age keys, I can’t quit my new releases. After grinding through half a work week, there are few rewards that feel more gratifying to me than being able to sit down with a stack of new books. I just love the smell of new comics in the evening.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Fables #150 Volume 22 Image

Fables

Once upon a time, Bill Willingham created a little comic series for Vertigo called Fables which followed the lives of fairy tale characters who were forced to exist in our world. After 149 issues, half a dozen spin-offs, a novel, a video game and a couple of hack-job TV shows, this fully grown fairy tale world comes to an end. But not before the grand finale. The 150th and final issue of Fables is also the 22nd volume and will be published as a 150-page trade paper back. Still written by Willingham and featuring both the original artists and an all star list of guest artists, Fables #150 sends off its memorable cast to their happily-ever-after in style. Click on that cover art and see for yourself.

The Mainstream One: WeirdWorld #2 Marvel

WW2

Secret Wars kicked off with a blast, but Marvel’s megavent has delivered uneven results to this point. The stories have been very good on a whole, but I worry about the continued delays in its release schedule. I, like many fans, am in favor of providing the creative team enough time to tell their story. But as a company, you have to realize that when the main arc an event gets pushed back, so do the release dates for all related tie-ins. Which in this case involves everything that Marvel is currently publishing. Settle in folks, we could be in BattleWorld for a while. However all could be forgiven if the Secret Wars keeps revealing gems like Weird World. Issue #1 served up a psychadelic, high-fantasy adventure full of mystery and danger. It’s Jason Aaron, the artwork is bonkers and you need to check this book out to believe it. Weird World is insanely cool.

The Independent One: Enormous vol.2 #1 215 Ink

Enormous

The first volume of Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour’s Enormous delivered arguably the most realistic artwork of all of the current comic titles, Which is saying something considering that this is a story about giant monsters invading earth. The print run on the first few issues was minuscule and have become some of the most sought after modern comics. The first issue of volume two is out on Wednesday and I hope that the publisher is better prepared this time around. Take a peak through the interiors and prepare to catch your jaw when it melts off your face.

The #1 One: Cyborg #1 DC

Cyborg

He’s a technological wonder, a founding member of the New Teen Titans and a current member of the Justice League of America. And for the first time in his 35 year career at DC, Victor Stone gets his own solo series. Two sweet covers and the preview looks positively amayyyyzing.

The One(s) I’m Buying for the Cover:

G.I. Joe #216 IDW Hall of Comics Action Figure variant

starwars_toy-boba_fett-final-bw-grey-web

Star Wars #7 Marvel Black and White Boba Fett Action Figure variant

Baroness_frontBaroness_back_cover

This week’s best cover candy is a tie between two exclusive action figure covers. Both of these variant covers will have tiny print runs and feature hugely popular characters. You do the math.

The regular color variant for Star Wars issue #4 was a huge success. The black and white Boba Fett variant will be limited to 3000 copies and will be available for pre-sale on artist John Tyler Christopher’s website at midnight on July 24.

The Baroness variant is only available through the Hall of Comics and will have a microscopic print run of 1500. Like their #215 Snake Eyes action figure variant, the back cover is designed to look like the back of the original backing card. Winner!

Last Week’s Leftovers: Hawkeye #22 Marvel

Hawkeye

I didn’t even realize that the final issue of Fraction and Aja’s ground breaking Hawkeye run came out last week. But I think I can excuse the slip considering issue #21 came out way back in February and Lemire and Perez are going to be 4 issues into their Hawkeye run on Wednesday. Loved this run, the Fraction/Aja creative team took a stale B-list character and transformed him into something new and wonderful. This one was probably under-ordered and deserves a pick up.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 7/15/2015

Welcome back comic book aficionados. Everybody over their SDCC hangovers? Man that Force Awakens Comic Con Reel had me giddier than a midget in a mini-skirt convention. Finally, someone who understands that Star Wars isn’t frigging green screen, CGI fest. It was very apparent to fans of the original 3 that the last trilogy lacked a soul Rubber alien masks, giant model spaceships and keeping one foot in the pre-digital world is the only way to do Star Wars justice. Search your feelings, you know it to be true. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the link and get ready to feel the force. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTNJ51ghzdY

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Postal #5 Image

Postal

Sort of a slow week but thank goodness Postal is back. Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins are crafting a crazy, unconventional, detective mystery. With an autistic mailman patrolling a town populated by criminals, Postal consistently delivers thrills and surprising new plot points. One of my favorite new titles from Image returns and it’s ok to go Postal on Wednesday.

The Mainstream One: Justice League #42 DC

JL

Let’s all forget that Convergence every happened and focus on how awesome Darkseid Wars is going to be. This book has so much going for it, an epic story line involving two demi-gods at war, with the DC universe’s greatest heroes caught in the middle. From the critically acclaimed creative team of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok, Justice League is going to be a mighty good read.

The Independent One: Book of Death #1 Valiant

Bod

Valiant’s summer blockbuster, Book of Death, promises a thousand year journey into the future of the Valiant Universe. Valiant has really upped its superhero game, bringing back a lot of Pre-Unity Valiant fans for a look at their revamped lineup. And what would any self-respecting, superhero universe be without a crossover event of insane proportions? And thus Book of Death, written by Robert Venditti and Robert Gill with visuals by Doug Braithwaite. Really digging that Kevic-Djurdjevil cover.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Guardians of Knowhere #1 Gwenom cover Marvel

Gwen

The alien symbiotie costume grafts itself to the radioactive spider-powered Gwen Stacy, turning her into Gwenom. It practically writes itself.

Last Week’s Leftovers: Strange Fruit #1 Boom

SG

If it’s a slow week for you too and you haven’t read the first issue of Boom’s racially charged, period piece, Strange Fruit, take a flip through and see if it compels you. I know that bland, Easter Island looking cover turned off a lot of readers, but take a peak at the interiors. If J. G. Jones’ realism style doesn’t do anything for you, just flip to the last page for a laugh 😉

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The Crank File: Marvel Gives You the First Taste for Free

It’s Comic Con week nerdettes and nerds. A special time of the year when several thousand lucky people get the opportunity to stand in lines for hours for exclusive, new collectibles and to hear exclusive news about their collectibles.

While the rest of us are forced to sit and watch from behind our screens, we too can enjoy in the spoils of Con. In celebration of SDCC 2015, Marvel is giving away access to Marvel Unlimited, their digital comic service with over 15,000 comic for, well not exactly free, but for only $0.01 for the first month.

The newest issues on Marvel Unlimited are from 6 months back, so although it won’t get you caught up on recent titles, Marvel Unlimited is a great service for catching up on back issues from some of Marvel’s most classic and endearing stories.

Just head on over to Marvel’s website, register an account and use the promo code “penny” when you check out. Just make sure you disable the auto-renew option when you sign up or you’ll get dinged for the full $9.99 monthly fee in August.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 7/8/2015

Hey comic book fans. Crazy fourth of July weekend down at the Crank File. Booze and fireworks are always a dangerous mix. Some people just don’t know how to handle their freedom responsibly. Tons of buzz as we prepare for the San Diego Comic Con, but before we get a peak into the future of the comics industry we have an impressive crop of books out on Wednesday.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Batman #42 DC

BTM42

I think we were all just a little anxious about how Snyder would follow up the bombshell events that went down in issue #40. The Divergence previews and leaked identify of the new Batman caused some trepidition about the direction of the new Batman. Issue #41 cast aside any any doubts that I had about the direction the series was headed in. This is amazing story telling. Unconventional, surprising and undeniably entertaining, Batman #42 will be read in store and probably won’t ever reach the pile. Includes the introduction of a new villain, Mr. Bloom. Do NOT miss it.

The Mainstream One: 1872 #1 Marvel

1872

Sort of a slow week for Marvel’s Secret Wars event and I’m not a Lando fan. Civil War will probably get a lot of looks because of the upcoming Captain America movie, but I’m looking forward to exploring BattleWorld’s cowboy universe. Returning to Marvel’s classic Wild West frontier, I’m hoping that 1872 is more Magnificent Seven than Two-Gun Kid.

The Indie One: Big Man Plans #4

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Saga #30 is also out this week but my regular readers are probably bored of hearing me gush about how great Saga is. So I’m going to spotlight the fourth and final issue of Eric Powell’s revenge story Big Man Plans. Brutal is really the only way to describe this series. The tone, like the action is raw and rubs right against the nerve. The humor is grim and sardonic (hang in there!). Even the heartfelt moments feel as tragic as they do inspiring. And it’s bloody captivating. This violent road of redemption is coming to an end and issue four promises to finally reveal the dark motives driving this little big man’s plans. Don’t overlook this one.

The #1 One: Archie #1 Archie Comics

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Strange Fruit #1 from Boom is more interesting to me, but I can’t ignore what Archie has meant to American pop culture. After 666 issues, it’s hard to believe that Archie comics is rebooting Riverdale for the first time. Archie volume 2 promises a new Riverdale reinvented for a new generation. One with characters and stories that feel fresh and relateable to today’s youth. One that also happens to be created by two of the best in the biz, Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. Archie comics won me over with their Dark Circle imprint so I’ll give new Archie a chance. It will be released with more than 20 variant covers by a group of superstar artists. Grab the one that you like best. Personally, I’m digging the Ramon K. Perez cover.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Spider-Verse #3 Phil Noto Variant Marvel

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Phil Noto’s covers are elegant and beautifully understated. Another gorgeous variant from Noto without the Hughes price tag. HA!

The Speculation One: The Walking Dead 144 Image

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Walking Dead continues to shamble on, and issue 144 marks an important moment in the zombapocalypse. Here’s the statement released in this week’s preview, “Walking Dead #144 is the final chapter in volume 24 of the walking dead and the last issue compendium 3 and, as such, involves some key moments in the series”. Yeah, this issue is going to be huge and their is a rabid fan base. Might want to think about picking up a few.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 7/1/2015

Welcome to a star spangled episode of the Crank File. Happy 239th ‘Murica. Your wrinkles have started to show, but you are still as beautiful as ever. Marvel released a lot of news this week, and we’ve caught a glimpse of the new Marvel Universe when it relaunches in October. Some pleasant surprises (heavy doses of X-men and Wolverine, Spiderman 2099’s new costume) and disappointments (Silk turns heel, freshmen series like Ms. Marvel and Spider Gwen getting rebooted). Head over to the Bleeding Cool website and search “MarvelOctober”. Marvel is really shaking things up and while it seems a bit confusing, one thing is certain. All of these #1’s will be released with a hundred different variants.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Secret Wars #4 Marvel

SW4

Secret Wars was a huge gamble and so far Marvel’s event has paid out in spades. Secret Wars has been a summer blockbuster of ridiculous proportions, with compelling stories spinning out of this twisted shadow of the Marvel universe. I’m loving titles like Planet Hulk, WeirdWorld, Thors and Old Man Logan and happy that some of these limited series will be finding homes in the new Marvel universe. But while the tie-ins have been enormously entertaining, it will be in Ribic and Hickman’s main arc that the why’s and wherefore’s of BattleWorld’s existance will be revealed.

The Mainstream One: Darth Vader #7 Marvel

DV7

Episode 4.5 has been more fun than shooting womp rats in a T-16. While I haven’t been keeping up with Princess Leia, Darth Vader’s solo story has been a fascinating companion piece to New Hope and Empire, filling in a lot of missing back story and character development. Canonically strong with the force is this one. Read it you should.

The Indie One: Airboy #2 Image

AB2

It only took a glance at the cover and first page to sell me on Airboy #1. Dark, brutally honest and genuinely funny, Airboy is unlike anything else on the stands right now. This offbeat, meta-comic created by writer James Robinson and artist Greg Hinkle follows the misadventures of writer James Robinson and artist Greg Hinkle who have been hired to rework the Golden Age comic book hero, Airboy, for a new generation. Their search for inspiration quickly descends into night of booze, drugs and debauchery but just as it seems that the wheels have completely fallen off their creativity train, someone unexpected shows up to save them from imminent failure. I am very excited for issue 2 of this four part mini-series.

The #1 One: We Stand On Guard #1 Image

Print

It’s Brian K. Vaughan. It’s a #1. It’s a 40-pager for $2.99. That’s two more reasons than you should need to pick this issue up on Wednesday.

The One I’m Buying For the Cover: Barb Wire #1 Dark Horse

BW1   BW2

Barb Wire kicked the competition square in the jimmies with a pair of stunning Adam Hughes covers and a rare variant that was only available through an amazing promotion. In case you haven’t already heard the story, Dark Horse used to own the rights to Star Wars comics. When Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise Marvel gained control of Star Wars comics. Marvel has been making a mint off of their Star Wars comic book series and Dark Horse was understandably not pleased. So they did the only sensible thing. They put out a bounty on Marvel. If you mailed Dark Horse the covers from 20x first print copies of Marvel’s Star Wars #1 before June 5, then you would receive an uncensored “Don’t @$!# with Barb Wire” “ultravariant”.

From a pure artwork standpoint though, my favorite cover out this week is the Cosmic Krishna variant cover for Grant Morrison’s 18 Days #1. You can check that one out here: http://comics.gocollect.com/priceguide/view/940761

Last week’s leftovers: Ultimate Spider-man Web Warriors 8 Marvel

 UWW8

Super low print run and featuring an overlooked Deadpool appearance in a kid-friendly title. With lots of online sales at x3 to x4 cover price, this one could be an easy flip if you can find any clean ones at your local shop.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 6/23

Howdy ho comic book fans and welcome back for this 18th installment of the Crank File. What a week for Spiderman fans. Marvel announced that they had cast baby faced Tom Holland as the new Peter Parker in the upcoming Spiderman movie. And while it seems that Marvel’s official stance on Peter Parker is that he has to be Caucasian male, Spiderman is a different story. Miles Morales, who up til now has been relegated to being the Ultimate Spiderman, will be joining Marvel’s main continuity with his own Spider-man title, launching at the end of Secret Wars. No confirmation as to whether Miles is replacing Peter Parker or just supplanting the legacy wall crawler, but now’s the time to start looking for copies Ultimate Fallout #4.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Fight Club #2 Dark Horse 

Fight_Club_2_2

As an impressionable high schooler, 1996’s Fight Club movie turned my juvenile worldview upside down. “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your f*c

The Mainstream One: We Are Robin #1 DC

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Spinning out of the pages of Detective Comics: Endgame, We Are Robins #1 will reveal the origins of The Robins, a group of teenagers who presumably fight crime in Gotham city. There’s a review of We Are Robins #1 online. Art by Jorge Corona, Rob Haynes and Khary Randolph. Words and covers by Lee Bermejo. All of the above look exceptional. Check it out here.

The Indie One: Ninjak #4 Valiant

Ninjak 4

Valiant’s been putting out some high-quality books lately, and Matt Kindt’s run on Ninjak has been no exception. Ninjak’s newest nemesis Roku is a world class assassin and all around bad ass; with a look that is sure to be a hit within cosplay circles. Issue #4 reveals her origin story and has one of the prettiest covers on the stands this week. Don’t miss it.

The #1 One: X-Men ’92 Marvel

XMEN-92-1

The 90’s X-Men cartoon was my first introduction into the world of the X-Men. With it’s diverse team construction and  heavy metal theme music, Fox’s The X-Men became the highlight of my Saturday mornings as a child and the start of a lifelong love affair with comic books. I am definitely looking forward to picking up this #1, though mildly concerned that OGs Beast and Jean Grey are missing from the cover. Let’s hope that their omission is only temporary.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover:Howard the Duck #4 Latour Gwen the Duck Variant Marvel

Gewn the duck 

Jason Latour lit the fire under the current Gwen frenzy (the Gwenzy?) with the introduction of Spider-Gwen. An instant fan favorite, Spider-Gwen has become something of a pop-culture phenomena. Latour pays homage to the origins of his creation with this swipe of Robbie Rodriguez’s iconic cover to Spider-Gwen’s first appearance in Edge of Spider-verse #2. I’ve been restraining myself from picking up any of the Gwen variants but this EoSV cover swipe is just too good to leave on the shelf.

The Speculation One: G.I.Joe #215 Atkins Action Figure Variant IDW

Snake_Eyes_cover_frontSnake_Eyes_back_cover

Part 4 of the Death of Snake Eyes story arc. A new hero will rise and assume the mantle and rumors are that the new Snake Eyes could be *spoiler* a woman. Kudos to Robert Atkins and Hall of Comics in Southborough, MA who absolutely killed it with their exclusive action figure variant. Marvel’s been pushing their Secret Wars action figure variants hard and this fad was beginning to feel like it has run its course. But one look at that back cover and I was a 10 year old kid in the toy store again.

Last Week’s Leftover: Southern Bastard’s #1 Image 

SB1

FX recently optioned Jason Aaron and Jason Latour’s Southern Bastards for television. Being optioned doesn’t actually mean anything, but this series would be perfect for television. Southern Bastards #1 was a hot commodity for a little while after its release but has since cooled down considerably. While technically #1 didn’t come out last week but I recently found a stack of them bagged and boarded for cover price at my local shop. With television rumors helping push speculation on this book and copies selling for $10-$15 online, Southern Bastards #1 is worth a poke through the back-issue bins.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 6/17

Greetings comic book fans to issue #17 of the Crank File. We’re back with another installment of the Crank File. Sorry for the long layoff between posts. I was in Taiwan last week on business and only recently re acclimated to living on the Western hemisphere. I’m just getting over the jet lag, and getting over the events of Game of Thrones. More importantly I’m getting to the bottom of a three week stack of books. Thanks to Tania over at Friendly Neighborhood Comics I didn’t miss an issue. Asia is always fun but it’s comforting being back home in the good ole you ess of eh. For you one thing, you don’t have vendors selling stinky tofu in the streets over here. God bless you America.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Alex + Ada #15 Image

AlexAda15-2x3-300

Nobody told me last month that #14 was the penultimate issue. I wasn’t ready for it. And I sure don’t think I’m ready for the series finale either. I am fairly certain that Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn’s Alex + Ada is going to wind up somewhere on my “Best of..” end of the year list. Their tale of love and sentience slowly won me over with a thought provoking story set in neo-futuristic suburbia and I’m sad to see it come to an end. Not the issue to be jumping in on the series with but don’t you miss it. Issues #1 – 10 are available now in two trade paper backs. Issues #11 – 15 will be collected in volume 3, out August 12.

The Mainstream One: Old Man Logan #2 Marvel

OLD-MAN-LOGAN-2-2435e

Secret Wars brings back the classic Mark Millar and Steve McNivens creation, Old Man Logan.  Written by the prolific Brian Michael Bendis, Old Man Logan is like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, only with snikters and an adamantium laced skeleton. The pseudo-western plot is rendered in stunning beauty through Sorrentino’s dramatic artwork. Marvel’s summer event has continued to sizzle with consistently fresh and quality stories and in Old Man Logan I have found my favorite Secret Wars series.

The Indie One: Low #7 Image

Low7

Issue #7 opens up a brand new arc for my favorite aquatic sci-fi fantasy. In a future where our sun has gone red giant, mankind has been forced into the depths of the ocean. With resources in these sub-oceanic colonies running out, one family sets out on a mission to save humanity at any cost. Low is certainly a haunting story, which should be expected from a Remender series, but the protagonist remains unapologetically optimistic in the face of tragedy, a ray of hope piercing a dark sea of despair.

The #1 One: Justice League of America #1 DC

JLA1

There’s a 7-page preview available, and the art in issue #1 looks stunning. I don’t love the $5.99 cover price and I don’t love that it’s being released with 9 variant covers, but at least we’re getting a double-sized premiere issue here. DC tapped superstar comic book artist Bryan Hitch to helm the relaunch of JLA, and handed him the reins to both drawing and writing duties. That’s a huge vote of confidence for a creator who is notorious for not working well on a deadline. http://www.comicbookresources.com/

The Speculation One: Wonder Woman #41 DC

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It’s a brand-new Wonder Woman, folks. New direction, new outfit, and most importantly a new villain. Could be a long term hold.

Last Week’s Leftovers: We can Never Go Home #3 Black Mask

We-Can-Never-Go-Home-3

Black Mask has scored a string of hits recently with Space Riders and May Day, but WCNGH may be the best of the bunch. This series has the makings of an indie darling. Copies of issue #3 were absolutely on fire in the secondary market after several reviews sent speculators on a raid of the bay. With BIN auctions selling regularly for $15, We Can Never Go Home #3 is a book to look out for when you go pick up your regular pulls.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 5/13/2015

Welcome back true believers to the 16th issue of the Crank File. Speaking of the number 16, On Saturday, May 16 Great Stories takes its first step down the road towards brick and mortar, opening up shop at Bernats Antiques over in Uxbridge, MA. Stop by if you’re around this weekend. You can pick yourself up some sweet collectibles and meet some great people. Coincidentally, May 16 also happens to be my birthday. Excelsior! May I live all the days of my life.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Saga # 28 Image

Saga_28-1

In case I haven’t made my feelings about Saga completely clear by now, I love this series. Any week that Saga is out, it’s the first off the pile. It’s really that good. I promise you. You need Saga in your life.

The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #2 Marvel

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Not only was the Alex Ross cover for Secret Wars #1 gorgeous but it was made of that textured paper that feels velvety to the touch. Fuzzzzy. As for the actual story, I seriously enjoyed the deliberate pacing in issue #1. Hickman dished up plenty of action without a ton of exposition, allowing the tension and drama to build naturally before cutting the cord on the Marvel and Ultimate Universes. Some serious stuff went down with too many A-list casualties to list (or believe) and the return of the Dark Phoenix, who’s a dude now. Now that the great schism has occurred and the status unquo’d, I’m looking forward to seeing where this creative team is going and whether they can keep the momentum going. I have my eyes on the Wolverine action figure variant for issue #2.

The Indie One: Mythic #1 Image

Mythic

Science is a lie, an opiate for the masses. The truth is, magic makes the world go ’round. And when magic breaks, MYTHIC is the team assigned with keeping the gears of the supernatural world turning, and more importantly, keeping you from ever knowing about it. An intriguing premise from an award winning creative team. A $1.99 introductory price makes it easy to check out this new #1 from Image.

The #1 One: Injection #1 Image Cover B

Injection-1-B-Cover-Haunted-Variant

I’m buying cover B for the soft, white cover and insanely detailed pencils. The subdued colors and flowery patterns look sweet and delicate and then you realize that it’s a face with a horrifying fungal infection. Get ready for a dose of sci fi and horror from Warren Ellis and the creative team behind his brief yet memorable run on Moon Knight.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Thor #8 Marvel Phantom Variant

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Bonus points for revealing the identity of Lady Thor. Another ASM #300 cover swipe from Phantom. You guys keep printing them and I’ll keep putting them in my collection. Which character do you want to see get the 300 treatment? My vote’s for a Hulk cover with green numbers.

The Speculation One: Darth Vader #5 Marvel

DV5

Darth Vader is my favorite of all the Star Wars books out now. It’s an insightful look into one of the most powerful and complex characters in the Star Wars universe. But it’s not all about the Vader. The secondary characters like Aphra and triple zero have been delightfully twisted, evil, and memorable. Issue #5 promises to introduce some more characters, with unidentified green and yellow lightsabers crisscrossing the cover. Do they belong to Jedi? The force is strong with this one.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 5/6/2015

Greetings, and thanks for routing into The Crank File issue #15. The Crank File was supposed to be a place where I offered my rants, ravings and speculations on all things comics, but slowly it seems to be devolving into a weekly preview column. I enjoy writing What I’m Reading because I get to share lots of fun, new comics with you, but mostly because it is far less intensive than writing a proper review.  

I feel like I say this every week, but it was a fun week to be a fan of comics. First a big thank you to my girlfriend who got me into a private Thursday night screening of Age of Ultron and spoiler alert, it was a mighty good time. The weather on Free Comic Day was perfect for traveling around comic shops and scrounging freebies. FCBD gets bigger each year and it’s starting to feel like a real holiday. The shops in my town continued stepping up their game on the biggest comic book day of the year with more artists, cos play and swag than a nerd could swing a lightsaber at.

And then there was Batman. Holy spoilers ahead, skip this paragraph if you still haven’t read Batman #40. Then go read Batman #40. While there was much grumbling from the other groundlings in the pit, I absolutely loved this issue. The war between Batman and Joker reached its only logical conclusion with the two foes lying at the brink of death in adjoining pools of blood, finally free from their eternal struggle. Heart-breaking stuff. My hat goes off to Mr. Snyder and Capullo for giving one of the greatest incarnations of the Batman an honorable death and a well-deserved rest.

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Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Descender #3 Image

Descend 3

Child-droid TIM-21 awakens from suspended animation and is terrified to discover that he and his robo-dog Bandit are the last two alive in a derelict space colony. Terrifying and poignant, rendered in dreamy watercolor, Jeff Lemire’s space adventure has delivered two superb, fast paced issues. Descender has lived up to all the hype so far, I’m really excited to see if the momentum keeps going in issue #3.

The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #1 Marvel

Secret Wars1

Marvel reveals their Secret Wars event which promises to kill the Marvel Universe. Realities collide and the most powerful beings from each world will have to fight for their survival on an alien planet called Telos… No wait, that was DC’s Convergence. This one is happening on a planet called Battleworld. The merging universes reboot feels trite but Hickman’s writing it and I need that Alex Ross variant cover, so I’m giving it one issue. Make it count Marvel.

The Indie One: We Can Never Go Home #2 Black Mask

WCNGH2

A punk rock, love story that speaks in a voice that I haven’t heard in decades. We Can Never Go Home is as much a comic as a love letter to the lost youth of the 90’s generation. It’s mixed tapes and teenage romance, with just a touch of super powers. Young love on the run and I’m up for a road trip.

The #1 One: Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1 Image

Roche1

75 years after its destruction, a group of military agents and research scientists return to the ruins of the Roche Limit space colony in search of answers. I really enjoyed the first Roche Limit mini-series, especially Michael Moreci’s dark, introspective prose. A new artistic team comes on board the Clandestiny arc, bringing a fresh look to the science fiction series. I hope that they preserve the stark, edginess that first drew me to the series.

The One I’m buying for the Cover: Swords of Sorrow #1 Dynamite Frison variant Cover

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Dynamite gets in on the crossover action with superstar Gail Simone leading an all-female team of writers into Sword of Sorrows. This event brings together Dynamite’s fiercest female warriors including Red Sonja, Vampirella, Dejah Thoris, Kato and Jungle Girl. A bunch of beautiful variants will be offered for this first issue, with the amazingly talented J. Scott Campbell taking honors on the regular cover. The Lotay and Hack covers are both outstanding, but I’m really hoping to snag the Jenny Frison regular price cover.

Last Week’s Leftover: Justice League #40 DC

JL40

Justice League’s 40th issue was the prologue to the other DC event, The Darkseid War. It also featured the introduction of a new character who made her dramatic first (cameo?) appearance on the final page. I don’t want to reveal too much, but based on her lineage, it reasons that she will play a large role in the upcoming event. No doubt that the full identity and motives of this mysterious new villainess will be revealed next issue, so stayed tuned.

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 4/29/2015

Thanks for joining me for The Crank File #14.

This is usually the part where I would recap last week’s comic news and note any significant market movers. But in light of recent events, I’d like for us to take a moment and turn our thoughts to the innocent people in Baltimore and Nepal, both victims of senseless violence.
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Here’s what I’m reading this week.

The Top of the Pile: Batman #40 DC

BM40

The gloves are off and the stops all pulled out. Snyder and Capullo’s masterful Endgame arc comes to a climatic finish in Batman #40. The Dark Knight and the Clown Prince have been racing towards the ultimate show down, and this issue will change the Batman universe for, well for at least the foreseeable future. Regardless, this issue marks a significant moment in Batman history and has unsurprisingly sold out at Diamond. It also features one of the most bizarrely awesome covers in Batman history. And that’s the regular cover. Don’t miss out on this one.

The Mainstream One: Fantastic Four #645 Marvel

FF654

This is it. The End. The fourth issue of the four part The End is Fourever story arc will also be the final issue in the Fantastic Four’s 54 year run. The fourmidable foursome may not have their own title four now, but they will not be fourgotten. It’s actually impressive that Marvel’s first family has never been rebooted before this. I guess family values never go out of style.

The Indie One: Alex and Ada #14

AA14

I think I’m in love with this comic, though it makes me kind of nervous to say so. Not the sexiest book on the rack, but Alex + Ada is definitely worth a look. This sci-fi thriller is soaked with social commentary, a compelling story that begs to be read and appreciated. In an age where shelves are packed with time-travelers, spies, super-powered beings and empty cheesecake, it’s refreshing to find a book that feels relatealbe and human. Read Alex + Ada, fall further in love, get next issue, goto 10.

The #1 One: Pisces #1 Image

Pisces

Aliens with a heavy dose of psychological terror, Kurtis Wiebe returns to his horror roots with this new series from Image. Wiebe has built a dedicated fan base off the strength of Peter Panzerfaust and Rat Queens, but it was his work on Green Wake that won him a Shuster award for Outstanding Comic Book writer. Pisces #1 tells the story of a Vietnam war vet who is recruited by NASA for a mission to make first contact. There’s an advanced preview available on ComicBookResources.com, and the artwork looks both vibrant yet genuinely creepy.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Silk #3 Marvel Regular, What the Duck and Nauck Phantom

Silk3Silk ThrillerSilk Pantom

The regular cover is just straight up zany. The Thriller cover is a delight (even though Silk isn’t actually on it) and I just can’t get enough of the ASM 300 cover swipes (even though Silk isn’t actually on it). It’s a menage a troi in Silk covers.

The Speculation Pick: Batman #40 DC

See the top of the pile.

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