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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week- 3/22/2017

Hey hey comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Tuesday here I spotlight some of the new books coming out on Wednesday that I’m excited about. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

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The Top of the Pile: Black Hammer #7

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

What it is: Joe Weber: the Black Hammer. A hero from the Spiral Slums. A husband. A father. Gone without a trace. A visitor from the outside world arrives on the farm, looking for the Black Hammer and bringing news of Spiral City to its Golden Age heroes. Her arrival stirs up old memories and awakens new hope in the marooned heroes.

Why we love it:  Lemire recently announced that he will not be renewing his contract with Marvel upon completion in order to focus on his independent work. While unfortunate news for Marvel, it’s a relief for fans of his indie books. There were concerns that the mammoth workload of writing Old Man Logan, Extraordinary X-Men, Moon Knight, Thanos, Hawkeye, Bloodshot, Descender, Royal City and illustrating A.D, was going to delay release dates, or worse affect the quality of work. Much to my delight, it seems as if my favorite series from the hardest working man in comics is back. Seriously, the man must have clones of himself.

 

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The Mainstream One: Action Comics #976

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: ‘SUPERMAN REBORN’ finale! As this epic tale wraps up, Superman’s life is drastically changed…and that’s all we are saying for now-except that you won’t want to miss it!

Why we like it: Thy probably should have put a spoiler alert warning on that cover. As you can tell, the New 52 Superman is somehow back after disintegrating just a little under a year ago. What does it all mean? Hopefully not that Rebirth was just another lazy, line-wide shuffle in an attempt to grow market share.

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The  Indie One: Underwinter #1

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Ray Fawkes

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE! ‘SYMPHONY,’ Part One-Critically acclaimed creator RAY FAWKES launches his new monthly horror series: UNDERWINTER, twisted portraits of our dark world, beginning with the perverse, topical SYMPHONY – a beautifully painted tale of music and cruelty in the modern age.

Why we like it: Light week for independent books. Asides from the relaunches at Valiant, there really weren’t many indie titles that caught my eye. As a fan of both horror and music, this gets a look from me.

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The #1 One: Iron Fist #1 (Ross variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ed Brisson
Art: Mike Perkins

What it is: THE GAUNTLET STARTS HERE! K’un Lun is in ruins. The chi fueling Danny’s fists is wavering. Is there a future for the Iron Fist? Danny Rand pushes himself to the breaking point, finding fights to prove his worth. But a bigger fight than he can handle may have found him?

Why we like it: I haven’t started the Netflix show yet, so you won’t find any reveals here. Iron Fist isn’t my favorite Kung Fu fighter, but I am happy to see Marvel giving some attention to it’s martial arts characters (and the sweet Alex Ross variant cover doesn’t hurt any). I hope that we see some of this bleed over into the movies. Although they’ll probably just end up casting Tilda Swinton as the lead.

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Electra #2 (Granov variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matt Owens
Art: Alec Morgan
Cover Art: Adi Granov

What it is: ELEKTRA COMES OUT TO PLAY! ELEKTRA has tried to lie low, but she finds herself in the crosshairs of a dangerous force in Sin City. A string of clues including high tech weaponry, kidnappings and assassins lead her to a game of chance more deadly than she ever expected. Can she outsmart this mastermind?or is she playing right into his hand?

Why we like it: It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be finding this lovely cover out in the wild. It’s a 1:25 ratio variant and if your local comic shop is anything like mine, then they probably wouldn’t have ordered 25 copies of Elektra #2. This cover is an absolute beauty and copies are already trading at close to $100 on feeBay. If you’re lucky enough to see one at your store, don’t hesitate for even a second.

 

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 – 3/8/2017

Hello comic book fans and welcome back to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that gave up being clever for lent. Every Tuesday I give you a glimpse at my new comics reading pile and let you know what I’m excited about. Another glorious Wednesday is upon us, so here’s what I’m reading this week.

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The Top of the Pile: Low #16

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini

What it is: NEW STORY ARC! ‘OUTER ASPECTS OF INNER ATTITUDES,’ Part One-As a gladiator, Marik Caine brought the light of hope into the one of the darkest corners of the ocean before that darkness swallowed him whole. Now, a new hero arises from the fighting pits of Poluma to carry on Marik’s legacy.

Why we love it: One of my favorite Image comics is back from a scheduled break and I’ve been dying to know where the story goes after last issue’s heart-breaker ending. Low is classic Remender, a story of optimism, family, honor and self-sacrifice, all told while pushing the main characters through the proverbial meat-grinder. Not for the faint of heart nor the small of mind, Low is high-art in low-brow format.

 

 

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The Mainstream One: Action Comics #975

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: ‘MILD MANNERED’ part one! The road to ‘Superman: Reborn’ starts here! With Superman and Lex Luthor back on Earth, the Man of Steel turns his attention to uncovering the mystery of the human Clark Kent living and working in Metropolis. But there’s something off about this guy, and Superman better figure out just what that is, before it’s too late!

Why we like it: I’m totally sucked into this Rebirth mystery. I have a theory that explains the Clark Kent/Superman conundrum. It’s too long winded to spell out here, but it involves Crisis on Infinite Earths, Watchmen, Flashpoint, the New 52 and Darkseid Wars.

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The Indie One: Copperhead #11

Publisher: Image
Words: Jay Faerber
Art: Drew Moss

What it is: NEW STORY ARC! Critically acclaimed COPPERHEAD returns with new artist DREW MOSS! Sheriff Clara Bronson’s past and present collide as an old friend arrives in town while Clara investigates the murder of Copperhead’s mayor.

Why we like it: I honestly did not expect to see another issue of Copperhead, so this is a pleasant surprise. I was really enjoying this series before it went on extended hiatus. The last issue, issue #10, was release all the way back in October. Of 2015. Copperhead returns Wednesday and will hopefully be able to stick on a regular release schedule with new artist, Drew Moss. An artist named Drew is as amusing as a quarterback named Chuck.

 

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The #1 One: Grass Kings #1

Publisher: Boom!
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Tyler Jenkins

What it is: From The New York Times bestselling writer Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Peter Panzerfaust artist Tyler Jenkins comes a rural mystery series chronicling the tragic lives of the Grass Kings, three brothers and rulers of a trailer park kingdom, a fiefdom of the hopeless and lost, of the desperate poor seeking a promised land. Eldest brother Robert leads a grief-stricken life, having lost his daughter to a tragic accident, followed by his wife disappearing one morning never to return. When an enigmatic young woman named Maria flees to their community in search of safe haven, Robert takes her in. Will his decision lead to ruin and retribution dooming the Kingdom? Perfect for fans of True Detective Season One or Scalped. Oversized, prestige format first issue featuring 30 pages of story!

Why we like it: Matt Kindt is one of those creators that I will always check out when they put out new stuff. From his insane, sci-fi Dark Horse titles to his insane super hero work at Valiant, the man never fails to deliver something fresh and interesting.

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman #18

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Bilquis Evely
Cover Art: Jenny Frison

What it is: ‘GODWATCH’ part two! Godwatch grows, and Diana has her first encounter with the ghost in the machine known as Dr. Cyber!

Why we like it: Jenny Frison has been knocking it out of the park for Wonder Woman since issue #7, but there’s something about Wundy’s pose on this cover that evokes the same iconic feeling as Brian Bollard’s cover to Wonder Woman vol. 2 #72. Insta-classic.

 

That’s all I got this week. Let me know what you’re checking out in the comments. Until next time, carpe comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 5/11/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome back to another installment of the Crank File, where the crank you take is equal to the crank you make. How was your Free Comic Book Day? I hope you made it out to your local comic shop and picked up some free swag. My personal highlight from Saturday was meeting one of my favorite comic book artists, Sean Gordon Murphy. Sean was the coolest. We chatted about his independent titles, future projects with DC and he even let me get a look at some of his early concept sketches for a bad-ass new Batmobile. Picture the Nolan Dark Knight tumbler front-end with Tim Burton Batmobile rear-wheels and hot-rod exhaust pipes running along the side. Nerdgasm.

 

The Top of the Pile: Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6

 

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Publisher: DC/IDW
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Freddie Williams II

What it is: The crossover event of the year comes to its thrilling conclusion. The Turtles have one last, desperate shot at going home. But will they take it, knowing what nefarious plans Shredder has for Gotham City? It’s full-on ninja warfare as our heroes go up against the combined forces of the Foot Clan and the League of Assassins.

Why we love it: Last issue we got a glimpse at what the Shredder could do with a can of pure mutagen and the inmates of Arkham Asylum, setting up what will undoubtedly be an epic showdown. I can’t think of a crossover series that I have enjoyed more than Batman TMNT. I’m sad to see this series come to an end, but I can’t wait to see how it finishes.

 

The Mainstream one: Action Comics #52 (Oliver variant)

 

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Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin

What it is: ‘Super League’ continues-as two Supermen meet at last: pre-New 52 Superman meets the current Clark. A force seeking to end both Men of Steel brings them together, but divided they may fall as one Superman must choose the safety of his family before himself.

Why we like it: The ‘Super League’ story arc has been running across the various Superman titles and is providing a peak at what the post-Rebirth DC will look like. Last week’s Batman Superman #32 gave us our first look at the new Chinese Superman, Kenan Kong and quickly sold out. Rumors around the interwebs are that this week’s issue of Action Comics will reveal the fate of the New 52 Superman. Don’t miss out.

 

The Indie One: Southern Bastards #14

 

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Publisher: Image
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Jason Latour

What it is: The big game is over. But the troubles have only just begun. The return of Roberta Tubb.

Why we like it: Team Jay-squared return with a brand new arc of Southern Basterdly goodness. It’s been almost five months since we witnessed Coach Boss’ humiliating loss to the Rebels’ hated rivals, the Wetumpka Warriors. There’s going to be hell to pay in Craw County, and I have the feeling that Earl Tubbs’ daughter is coming back to exact some revenge of her own.

 

The #1 One: All New All Different Avengers #9

 

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Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Adam Kubert

What it is: Introducing the all-new Wasp! Who is she? What is she? And what does she intend to do about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?

Why we like it: So technically it’s not a #1 but there is a first appearance of a new character here, so I’m counting it. Ok, so technically it’s not an entirely new character either, it’s Janet Van Dyne’s step daughter taking up the Wasp mantle. Slow week for #1’s, so I’m still counting it.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Black Panther #2 (Cho variant)

 

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Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Brian Stelfreeze
Cover art: Frank Cho

What it is: The darkest chapter of the Black Panther mythos continues as Wakanda crumbles from within. Enter: The Midnight Angels! Two mysterious women leading the citizen revolt against the current regime of Wakanda, challenging not only T’Challa’s politics but also his resolve. But will their rage provide more for the people than the royal family has thus far?

Why we like it: There’s been all sorts of Black Panther love after T’Challa made his MCU debut in Captain America 3. With a solo movie already confirmed, everything Black Panther is a hot commodity right now. I expect fans will be seeking out this rare 1:25 variant, so keep your eyes peeled for this cover when you’re making your rounds. Check out the article from Bleeding Cool where Frank Cho goes over his creative process in making this cover.

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2016/02/24/frank-cho-explains-the-making-of-black-panther-2-cover-to-bleeding-cool/

 

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 4/20/2016

Welcome to another episode of the Crank File, where the crank is dark and full of terrors. This week the File’s eye turns westward, or whichever direction Westeros lies. Game of Thrones is back and winter is coming, but not soon enough. Season 5 ended on such a crazy cliffhanger that it hasn’t been off my mind since June. Sunday’s season premiere poses a challenge for me as Wednesday is already looking like a big day for new books. I will be reading a lot of comics this week and writing about some of them, but a part of me just wants to watch trailer breakdowns and read fan theory threads. Oh well, valar dohaeris.

Here’s my five bold predictions for season 6: Lady Sansa Stoneheart, Jon the Ghost Targaryen, Tyrion Targaryen and the red witch gets naked.

And here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Divinity II #1

 

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Publisher: Valiant
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Trevor Hairsine
Cover Art: Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic

What it is: At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – determined to win the Space Race at any cost – green lit a dangerously advanced mission. They sent three cosmonauts farther than anyone has gone before or since. Handpicked orphans with no connections to Earth, trained as devout Communists, and restricted from having families, they became lost in the stars and encountered something Unknown. Something that changed them. Long thought lost and erased from the history books, Abram Adams was the first to return. The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. But, even with limitless powers, he is concerned only with the secret love he hid away from his superiors and the unborn child he never met. Now, Miska, the female co-pilot of the group, has also returned to Earth, but, unlike Abram she had no secret family. Unlike Abram, she still believes in the Communist ideal. And, unlike Abram, she intends to play a very real role in the return of Soviet glory. Earth is about to meet a new god. And she’s a Communist. How long can it be before the nations of Earth bend before DIVINITY?

Why we love it: The highly-cerebral story of a lost, Russian cosmonaut returned to earth introduced the world to a super-powered being unlike any before. Beautifully rendered and deeply poignant, Divinity volume 1 was one of the best series I read in 2015. I’m almost as excited for the return of Divinity as I am about Thrones.

 

The Mainstream One: Action Comics #51

 

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Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin
Cover Art: Karl Kerschl

What it is:  Superman is shocked to learn that Kara has been missing for some time as part three of ‘Super League’ begins! Now, with Batman’s help, Kal-El is on his cousin’s trail-but he can’t believe where it’s leading him and who she has joined!

Why we like it: I’ve been keeping close tabs on Supes since it was announced that the New 52 Superman was going to die during this “Final Days of Superman” crossover event, and somehow his powers will be transferred to a group of people who will carry on his legacy when he is gone. I smell first appearances and origin stories.

 

The Indie One: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank

 

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Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Tyler Boss

What it is: A fun(ish) crime caper about children! Eleven-year-old Paige and her weirdo friends have a problem: a gang of ex-cons need her dad’s help on a heist… the problem is those ex-cons are morons. If Paige wants to keep her dad out of trouble, she’s going to have to pull off the heist herself. Like Wes Anderson remaking Reservoir Dogs, 4KWIAB is a very dark & moderately humorous story about friendship, growing up, D & D, puking, skinheads, grand larceny, and family.

Why we like it: Black Mask is back and Matt Rosenberg, writer of the outstanding We Can Never Go Home, brings us another comic about kids breaking the law and looking good doing it. If they can keep to a regular release schedule, the sky’s the limit for this indie darling.

 

The #1 One: Dept H #1

 

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Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Matt Kindt

What it is: Mia is a special investigator hired to uncover possible sabotage taking place at a deep-sea research station. What she finds is a mind-blowing crime scene filled with suspects with terrible secrets, strange deep-sea creatures, and an impending flood!

Why we like it: Matt Kindt’s artwork is an acquired taste for which I still have yet to acquire. Still, his writing and storytelling abilities are second to none.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley’s Little Black Book #3 (Lisner variant)

 

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Publisher: DC
Words: Amanda Conner
Art: Joseph Michael Linsner

What it is: The most ghost-filled mansion on Coney Island has been demolished-and unfortunately, every one of its spirits has decided that Harley’s hacienda is the hot new hangout to haunt! It sure is convenient, then, that Zatanna is currently booked at Big Tony’s cabaret show! It’s up to Harley and Zatanna to convince all of those ghosts to move on to the next world…but if you think Harley’s got problems now, just wait until you see the ectoplasmic baggage these specters are packing!

Why we like it: Two of DC’s finest gracing this cover.

 

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