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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween 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: Old Man Logan #50

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ed Brisson
Art: Ibraim Roberson

What it is: Logan came into this world the same way he’s leaving it: IN PAIN! Don’t miss the end of an era as Old Man Logan’s golden years are cut short! Parental Advisory

The Mainstream One: Avengers Halloween Special

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Gerry Duggan
Art: Juanan Ramirez

What it is: TRICK OR TREAT, TRUE BELIEVERS! PLUS! Spooky stories starring the X-Men & Doctor Doom! Epic thrills and ghastly horror awaits in these all-new twisted tales! Spanning the breadth of the Marvel Universe, through the macabre lens of a murderer’s row of writers and artists assembled here, see your favorite heroes and villains as you’ve never seen them before! Also including the Marvel Comics writing debut of Jay Baruchel (This is the End; Goon)! Rated T

The Indie One: Wytches Bad Egg Halloween Special

Publisher: Image
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Jock

What it is: ‘BAD EGG’ Serving as both a stand-alone story in the WYTCHES world and a prequel to the highly anticipated WYTCHES, VOL. 2, ‘BAD EGG’ tells the story of Seb and Jackson-two innocent teenagers reared on opposite sides of the eternal struggle between good and evil. Sebastian’s mother is a member of ‘The Irons,’ the most ruthless Wytch hunters in history, while Jackson’s family are ‘High Horn’ Wytches. Can these two boys find friendship amidst this age-old blood feud, or are their fates already sealed? Collecting the entire IMAGE+ magazine run and, for the first time, the 13-page, pulse-pounding conclusion plus extra materials, WYTCHES: BAD EGG reunites the Eisner-award winning duo of SCOTT SNYDER and JOCK in a horror-filled romp just in time for Halloween!

The #1 One: Sex Death Revolution #1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Magdalene Visaggio
Art: Becca Farrow

What it is: Life is a story. Her’s is being rewritten. Still reeling from the sudden collapse of her cover, Manhattanite sorceress Esperanza tries to rebuild. But everyone in her life is saying she’s done and said things that never happened — terrible things. Before she knows it, she’s becoming someone entirely different. Someone she used to be, once upon a time. Life is full of ch-ch-ch-changes in this urban fantasy from Eisner-nominated writer Magdalene Visaggio (Eternity Girl, Kim & Kim) and artist Becca Farrow (Ladycastle).

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman the Witching Hour #1

Publisher: DC
Words:
James Tynion IV
Art:
Ricardo Federici
Cover Art: Ricardo Federici

What it is: The deadly finale of ‘The Witching Hour’ arrives as Zatanna battles for Wonder Woman’s soul-and the rest of the Justice League Dark battle for their lives! Hecate is more powerful than the Greek Gods…and no matter who wins, the Earth will lose its chance of surviving the war that’s coming!

 

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 – October 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: Detective Comics #991

Publisher: DC
Words: James Robinson
Art: Carmine Giandomenico

What it is: Batman’s newest partner…Two-Face? As Harvey Dent’s persona asserts fragile control over the villain’s psyche, the Dark Knight, Commissioner Gordon and their ally-turned-enemy-turned-ally must work together to stop Kobra’s terrorist attack against Gotham City.

Why we love it: Unlike other members in Batman’s rogues gallery, Harvey Dent was and until this day remains a friend of Bruce Wayne’s, which makes Batman/Two Face stories more dynamic. While Bats is content with battering most of his enemies into submission, he takes a different approach with Two Face, always trying to appeal to the good man trappee inside. It’s a weakness that Two Face is aware of and one that he has been able to exploit. I enjoyed writer James Robinson’s “Batman: Face to Face” and look forward to more of his takes on the Batman-Two Face relationship.

The Mainstream One: Return of Wolverine #2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Steve McNiven

What it is: Logan is alive again – let’s see if he can stay that way! Parental Advisory

Why we like it: The first issue was intriguing but raised a lot more questions than it answered. I’m just waiting for an explanation for the heat claws. Seriously, wtf is up with those?

The Indie One: Redneck #16

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Lissandro Estherrem

What it is: Let’s go to prison! What does a state penitentiary’s most famous inmate have to do with the Bowman family? And what secret is Greg hiding from his dad?

Why we like it: Donny Cates has been on a tear this year. Seems like everything he touched at Marvel turned gold, and his breakout indie series God Country was recently picked up for a media deal. I loved God Country and featured it on the Crank File multiple times, but I honestly think Redneck would be a better property for TV development. It’s a Southern-fried vampire story filled with buckets of violence and engaging characters, sort of like True Blood before it went all faeries.

The #1 One: Spider-Gwen Ghost Spider #1 (Jee Hyung varaint)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Seanan McGuire
Art: Rosi Kampe

What it is: A SPIDER-GEDDON TIE IN! What? You thought we were done with Gwen Stacy after the first two landmark volumes of her series?! GET OUTTA HERE. It’s a whole new spin on Gwen and her world of Earth-65, brought to you by none other than SEANAN MCGUIRE & ROSI K?MPE! We pick up with Gwen right where we left her – fighting crime through her home reality, unaware that it sits on the precipice of interdimensional calamity! Someone’s gonna be late to band practice? Rated T+

Why we like it: This is already the 3rd Spider-Gwen #1 since her character first appeared in 2014. Last time she got a #1 was because of Marvel’s Secret Wars reboot, this time it seems just to officially designate her new code-name, Ghost Spider. This name change was a inevitable since she couldn’t call herself Spider-Gwen without someone  eventually figuring out her secret identity.  There are a bunch of variants for this #1, including a nice ArtGerm, but the Jee Hyung variant shown here is the best of the lot.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Moon Knight #200 (Sienkiewicz remastered variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Max Bemis
Art: Paul Davidson
Cover Art: Bill Sienkiewicz

What it is: DARKEST NIGHT! MARC SPECTOR comes face-to-face with his demons! Old enemies return! It’s a celebration of 200 issues of the multifaceted MOON KNIGHT with an oversized anniversary issue you’d be crazy to miss! Rated T+

Why we like it: Sienkiewicz goes back-to-back, with best cover of the week honors two weeks in a row. If you compare his Venom annual cover from last week to this week’s remastered variant (meaning this is recycled artwork from his 1981 Moon Knight run), you can really appreciate the breadth of Sienkiewicz’s artistic talent.

 

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 – October 17, 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: Giddeon Falls #7

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Andrea Sorrentino

What it is: NEW STORY ARC ‘ORIGINAL SINS,’ Part One After the mind-blowing events of the first arc, Norton digs deeper into the mystery of the Black Barn, and secrets of his past begin to come to light. Meanwhile, Father Fred does some digging of his own and learns the hard way that some secrets should just stay buried.

Why we love it: Lemire and Sorrentino continue the mysterious tale of the Black Barn in this week’s issue of Giddeon Falls. The book reads like a suspense-thriller with horror themes, perfect reading for the Halloween season. The first arc was incredibly creepy and I can’t wait to see what terrifying places the second arc takes us.

The Mainstream One: Marvel Zombie #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: W. Maxwell Prince
Art: Stefano Raffaele

What it is: NEW FROM THE HOUSE OF IDEAS! MARVEL ZOMBIES IS BACK…WITH A TWIST! Years after an incurable zombie virus ravaged the world, a small colony of survivors is protected by the Marvel U’s few remaining heroes, including Spider-Man, Daredevil and the Falcon. But when their last chance at salvation arrives, will they be willing to sacrifice their own humanity in the process? From the twisted minds of ICE CREAM MAN writer W. Maxwell Prince and Stefano Raffaele (Generations: Hawkeye) comes the next macabre obsession for fans of The Walking Dead and The Road! Parental Advisory

Why we like it: More spooky stories to get you in the Halloween mood. Writer W. Maxwell Prince is the creator behind the hit Image horror series Ice Cream Man, so I’m expecting a disturbingly fun tale of terror here.

The Indie One: Skyward #7

Publisher: Image
Words: Joe Henderson
Art: Lee Garbett

What it is: ‘HERE THERE BE DRAGONFLIES,’ Part Two Willa’s alone in the middle of the forest, surrounded by giant insects that want to make her dinner. But here to the rescue comes a badass group of sword-wielding… farmers?

Why we like it: This book has been a fun read and it has already been optioned for television (for whatever that is worth). The plot centers around the mystery of why the earth’s gravity has weakened and the story continues to surprise and delight at every turn.

The #1 One: Shuri #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nnedi Okorafor
Art: Leonardo Romero

What it is: FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE BLACK PANTHER! The world fell in love with her in the movie. Now, the Black Panther’s techno-genius sister launches her own adventures – written by best-selling Afrofuturist author Nnedi Okorafor and drawn by Eisner-nominated artist Leonardo Romero! The Black Panther has disappeared, lost on a mission in space. And in his absence, everyone’s looking at the next in line for the throne. But Shuri is happiest in a lab, surrounded by gadgets of her own creation. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them. But a nation without a leader is a vulnerable one – and Shuri may have to choose between Wakanda’s welfare and her own. Rated T

Why we like it: Shuri was one of many bright spots that shined in the Black Panther movie. She has taken up the mantle of the Black Panther in the past, but it looks like Marvel is trying a different approach with her this time and leaning into her STEM background. I would love to see Shuri join the Champions team sometime in the near future.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom Annual #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Tigh Walker
Cover Art: Bill Sinekiewicz

What it is: For the first time in Marvel history, the Wicked Webslinger called VENOM gets his very own Annual! This one features a few walks down memory lane from some of the best creators in comics today — and even a few surprise guests from Venom’s past! Serving as a great jumping on point for readers new and old, this is one issue of VENOM you can’t afford to miss! Rated T

Why we like it: Sinekiewicz is constantly experimenting with his style which is why his art is seldom boring, though it can be inconsistent. This time he absolutely crushed it. This is up there with my all-time favorite Venom covers, which is saying a lot.

 

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 – October 10, 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: Venom #7

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Iban Coello

What it is: ‘THE ABYSS’ STARTS HERE! Just when you thought the blockbuster story of the summer couldn’t get any more intense, Donny Cates and special guest artist and Venom veteran IBAN COELLO (VENOMVERSE, VENOMIZED) turn the story on its head AGAIN! But face front, True Believers, because it won’t be dragons and god-hosts and breakneck action this time. No, no. This time Donny and Iban are putting Eddie Brock through an emotional meat grinder the likes of which haven’t been seen in the Marvel Universe ever before! Rated T+

Why we love it: When Donny Cates writes, I listen. I’ve made my feelings about his current run on Venom very clear. I’ve featured it numerous times here on the Crank File. I’ve been singing its praises during our Comic Talk videos. I don’t know what else I can say to get you to read this book. Apparently there’s a secret variant cover for this issue that shows tongue if that does anything for you.

The Mainstream One: Wonder Woman #56

Publisher: DC
Words: James Tynion IV,
Art: Emanuela Lupacchino

What it is: ‘The Witching Hour’ part two! The Justice League Dark barely escaped their first encounter with Hecate, but they know she’ll be coming back for the power inside Wonder Woman. But what if Diana could tap into that power herself to take on Hecate directly?

Why we like it: I read part one of this story arc and it was solidly creepy. Tying into the events of Justice League Dark, this is a super natural Wonder Woman story with some horror elements, making it a great way to get in the mood for Halloween. The Yasmine Putri foil cover looks pretty dope too.

The Indie One: The Weather Man #5

Publisher: Image
Words: Jody LeHeup
Art: Nathan Fox

What it is: Nathan Bright is in the clutches of the Pearl and the clock is ticking. Agent Cross must choose between her own desire for vengeance and protecting a man who, though drenched in the blood of billions, might still be innocent.

Why we like it: I need to catch up on this series. One of the guys that I talk comics with at work won’t stop going on about how insanely cool this book is. If anyone reading this has issues #2-#3 and is willing to trade, let me know in the comments.

The #1 One: Murder Falcon #1

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer

What it is: From DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON, the creator of the Eisner-nominated series EXTREMITY, comes MURDER FALCON! The world is under attack by monsters, and Jake’s life is falling apart: no band, no girl, no future… until he meets Murder Falcon. He was sent from The Heavy to destroy all evil, but he can’t do it without Jake shredding up a storm. Now, with every chord Jake plays on his guitar, the power of metal fuels Murder Falcon into all-out kung fu fury on those that seek to conquer Earth. It’s time to shred!

Why we like it: I was a big fan of Extremity, which turned out to be surprisingly thoughtful story about the horrors of war and the ceaseless cycle of misery that follows a life lived for revenge. I get the feeling that Murder Falcon will be a bit more lighthearted. Daniel Warren Johnson is one of the new guys starting to make a name for himself in comics and it’s easy to see why. His artwork just pops with energy and style.

The Ones I’m Buying for the Cover: Captain America #4, Immortal Hulk #7, Catwoman #4, Suicide Squad #47, Superman #4

Cover Art: Ross, Ross, Artgerm, Mattina, Hughes

Why we like it: I think the Artgerm Catwoman is the best out of the bunch, but it is an embarrassment of riches for cover art this week.

 

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 – October 3, 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: Batman #56

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Tony Daniel

What it is: The Dark Knight’s looking to drop both the hammer and sickle on the KGBeast, whose rampage across Gotham City takes a toll on Nightwing when he’s injured in the fray. Blaming himself for his ward’s fate, Batman gets grimmer than usual-and vows to take the Russian assassin down like the Berlin Wall. Is even Gotham City ready for that much violence? The streets will run red like borscht if the Dark Knight gets his way against this Soviet scourge.

Why we love it: Last issue ended with a bang, literally, and with Nightwing getting shot in the freakin head. Batman’s got some revenging to do. And just look at that Mattina cover.

The Mainstream One: Deathstroke #36

Publisher: DC
Words: Christopher Priest
Art: Ed Benes

What it is: ‘Deathstroke: Arkham’ starts here! After being declared criminally insane, Deathstroke is committed to the infamous Arkham Asylum! It isn’t long before the hunter becomes the hunted as Slade, powerless and weaponless, is targeted by some of Gotham City’s most wanted. But after initially mocking and contravening the system meant to help him, Deathstroke learns that his only hope for survival may be to confront his own inner demons.

Why we like it: It’s Slade versus Batman’s rogues gallery. And another killer Mattina cover makes the list.

The Indie One: Spawn #290

Publisher: Image
Words: Todd McFarlane
Art: Jason ShawnnAlexander

What it is: PRELUDE Part 2… leading to GIANT-SIZED SPAWN #300 Spawn has to decide if he is going to let one of his enemies live until he can get the answers he wants… but if he does let him live, thousands of innocents will die instead. What will our dark hero choose?

Why we like it: This could be the first time that anyone, artist or writer, has appeared three times on the list in the same week. All hail Mattina! Although I started buying these for the covers, this Spawn arc has been surprisingly fun. They’ve brought back a bunch of classic 90’s villains like Overtkill, The Cursed and Cygor which tickles my nostalgia bone.

The #1 One: X-Men Black Magneto #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Chris Claremony
Art: Dalibor Talajic

What it is: MAGNETO IS BACK! …and so is Chris Claremont! For years, Magneto has done everything he can to achieve his goals for mutant domination. But now Magneto has declared that enough is enough. So what revolutionary plan does Magneto have that will change the face of mutantkind? And will anyone be able to stop him? Will anyone want to? PLUS: Includes Part 1 of X-MEN BLACK: APOCALYPSE the back up story by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, and Geraldo Borge! Rated T+

Why we like it: It’s only a matter of time before the House of Mouse reclaims the X-Men’s movie rights, which means it’s reboot time! They even brought back the writer who turned the X-Men from a rag tag team of misfit teens into Marvel’s premiere super hero group, hall of fame writer Chris Claremont. Digging the J Scott Campbell regular covers.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Cosmic Ghost Rider #4 (of 5)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Dylan Burnett
Cover Art: Maxx Lim

What it is: The Rider is determined to save the universe by ridding it of the greatest threat that ever existed…and that’s why he’s kidnapped Thanos to raise him right! How’s that gonna work out? He’s about to learn. Rated T+

Why we like it: Anytime there’s a good Ghost Rider cover out, chances are I’ll pick it up. It’s got skulls. It’s got fire. It’s got chains and motorcycles and leather and spikes. If a heavy metal album and a comic book had a baby, it would be the Ghost Rider.

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 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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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!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – August 29, 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. It’s the dreaded fifth Wednesday of the month. You know the drill, annuals, one shots, quality time with the family. Horrifying. But fear not because I dug deep to find you something good to read.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Shoule
Art: Ramon Rosana

What it is: THE HUNT IS OVER. The hunt for Wolverine is over… Now the time has come to put the pieces together and see what was learned. Kitty Pryde, Daredevil, Tony Stark and Sabretooth may have found what they were looking for…but it wasn’t what they expected. Where has Wolverine been? What has he been doing? And how does it lead into next month’s WOLVERINE #1? Parental Advisory

Why we love it: Dead Ends #1 is actually the last issue in the five-issue ‘Hunt for Wolverine’ mini (they were ridiculously all #1’s), leading into Return of Wolverine #1 (of 5), the final chapter of writer Charles Shoule’s  Death of Wolverine trilogy. Ol’ Canucklehead’s coming home. And I hear he’s got heat claws now? Can’t wait to hear this one. Killer Marco Checchetto cover.

The Mainstream One: Web of Venom Ve Nam #1 (1-shot)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Juanan Ramirez

What it is: SPINNING OUT OF THE PAGES OF VENOM! As the United States of America struggled through the Vietnam War, Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. needed a secret weapon – and when an ancient creature was discovered at an archaeological dig site, he was sure he’d found it. In reality, the discovery was an ancestor of the Klyntar symbiotes…and would become a waking nightmare for a platoon of American soldiers! Rated T+

Why we like it: Donny Cates’ run on Venom is a glorious piece of horror and off to an excellent start. This one shot will almost certainly be a beautiful, dark nightmare as well. You probably don’t need to be all caught up with the main series to appreciate this symbiote one-off, set during the nightmare that was the Vietnam War.

The Indie One: Rick and Morty vs Dungeons & Dragons #1

Publisher: IDW
Words: Patrick Rothfuss and Jim Zub
Art: Troy Little

What it is: When Morty needs to learn how to play D&D to keep up with the cool kids, his hard-drinking, old school-gaming, mad science-making grandpa is happy to teach him how to roll the dice, but neither of them is prepared for the saving throws they’re about to fail or the true quest yet to come. Strap on a +1 longsword and grab your 10-foot pole, because this is going to be a gaming gauntlet like no other! The world’s greatest role-playing game. Reality’s most dysfunctional family. What could go wrong?

Why we like it: RnM vs DnD. Somebody at IDW was wearing their helm of intellect when they pitched this series. I expect this one will be popular with the kids. Hoping I can find the Morty character sheet variant soI can see how he rolled.

The #1 One: Venom First Host #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Mark Bagley

What it is: MIKE COSTA AND MARK BAGLEY REUNITE FOR A VENOM STORY UNLIKE ANY OTHER! Before the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN…before VENOM… There was the FIRST HOST. And that First Host has returned in need of Venom’s help – only by reuniting can the two avert cosmic ruin! Can Eddie and the symbiote trust one another long enough to save the galaxy, or will the FIRST HOST prove to be Venom’s undoing?! Rated T+

Why we like it: And yet another Venom title. It must almost be movie time. This limited series explores the history of the Klyntar symbiote prior to Secret Wars and it’s first host. That’s right, before Eddie Brock and before Peter Parker, there was another.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Joker Daffy Duck Special #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Lobdell
Art: Norm Rapmund
Cover Art: Sanford Greene

What it is: When Daffy Duck pays a call to the Acme corporate headquarters in Gotham City, he finds the company long gone and their abandoned building now occupied by The Joker. With a hit in progress, Daffy tries to sneak away, only to find himself in the clutches of the Clown Prince of Crime. But Joker decides that there’s some potential in this manic bird and forces Daffy to join his gang. Will he find a way to escape…or will he become The Joker’s new right-hand duck?

Why we like it: A joker walks into a house with a duck under his arm…

 

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