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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – August 15, 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: Extermination #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ed Brisson
Art: Pepe Larraz

What it is: Cyclops. Iceman. Angel. Beast. Marvel Girl. The original team of teen mutants brought together by Professor Charles Xavier many years ago have been shunted through time to find a world they barely recognize but were determined to help. Now, finding themselves targeted for death, the future of mutantkind lies squarely in the hands of its past. Writer Ed Brisson (OLD MAN LOGAN, CABLE) and artist Pepe Larraz (UNCANNY AVENGERS, AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER) answer the biggest question of all: can the fate of the X-Men be changed? Rated T+

The Mainstream One: Batman #53

Publisher:  DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks

What it is: ‘Cold Days’ continues! The jury in the Mr. Freeze trial is hopelessly deadlocked because one man won’t vote guilty-and that man is Bruce Wayne. Freeze’s defense is that Batman used excessive force, making his arrest illegal, and Bruce is the one man who actually knows for sure what went down between Batman and his ice-cold nemesis. And if Bruce is right, that means everything he’s devoted himself to as the Caped Crusader is a lie; he is hurting more than helping. With Dick Grayson putting the Batsuit back on to keep Gotham City safe while Bruce is sequestered, could this be the out Bruce needs to discard the cape and cowl forever? The Eisner Award-nominated team of Tom King and Lee Weeks reexamine the relationship between hero and foe, as Batman relives not just that one violent night when he took down the King of Cold, but every time the two have come to blows.

The Indie One: Gideon Falls #6

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Andrea Sorrentino

What it is: ‘THE BLACK BARN’: Conclusion-Father Fred enters The Black Barn on a daring rescue attempt but nothing can prepare him for the horrors within. Meanwhile Norton and Angie delve deeper into Norton’s past and zero in on the secrets of the Barn. A 2018 Eisner Award nominee for Best Writer, JEFF LEMIRE!

The #1 One: Pearl #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Michael Gaydos

What it is: From the Peabody Award-winning creators of Jessica Jones comes a brand-new creation. PEARL is the story of an exceptional tattoo artist and accidental assassin for one of the modern-day San Francisco Yakuza. She was born into one life, but another is calling to her. When Pearl accidentally meets one of her peers, her doppelgänger from another clan, she starts to dream of a better life. But Pearl has a very special ability that keeps pulling her back into the violent world she is desperate to escape. PEARL is a major series launch from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos that features their first brand-new original character since Jessica Jones. Fans of the Jessica Jones comic and TV show will be thrilled and delighted by this bold new direction the creative team has taken.

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

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art: Vicente Cifuentes
Cover Art: Joshua Middleton

What it is: Guest-starring Task Force X, and continuing from SUICIDE SQUAD #45, also on sale this month! After Atlantis rises to the surface once more, Aquaman finds himself outnumbered and outgunned when Amanda Waller sends in the worst of the worst-the Suicide Squad-to send the Lost City straight to Hell in ‘Sink Atlantis!’ part two!

 

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 – July 18, 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: Immortal Hulk #3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Al Ewing
Art: Joe Bennett

What it is: What happened in the church on Mercer Avenue? What made the Lembert boy do what he did? Who is the One Below All? Reporter Jackie McGee has four eyewitnesses, with four different viewpoints, telling four different stories. But they all saw Bruce Banner…and the Immortal Hulk. Rated T+

Why we love it: This series puts a horror spin on the Hulk. Bruce Banner is battling the monster within and it is absolutely terrifying. 

The Mainstream One: Batman #51

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks

What it is: The honeymoon’s over for Bruce Wayne as Gotham City’s most prominent citizen gets selected for jury duty in a chilling court case involving Mr. Freeze! Freeze claims the charges should be dismissed because Batman used excessive force; cue the outrage and media circus. While doing his civic duty, Wayne’s forced to take a hard look at the Dark Knight’s methods. And hey…what is Dick Grayson doing running around the city dressed as Batman?

Why we like it: So the Bat/Cat wedding was a beautiful, poetic bit of nothing. I still feel writer Tom King has left the door open for the wedding to happen later in his run, but will be interesting to see the direct fallout.

The Indie One: Skyward #4

Publisher: Image
Words: Joe Henderson
Art: Lee Garbett

What it is: ‘MY LOW-G LIFE,’ Part Four-When someone close to Willa is kidnapped, she’s forced to make an impossible choice. To make matters worse, there’s a storm coming-and weather in this low-G world is much more dangerous than it used to be…

Why we like it: Earth’s gravity has been reduced to a fraction of its strength and only one man knows how to fix it. Only someone will do anything in his power to stop him.

 The #1 One: The Life of Captain Marvel #1 (Artgerm variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Margaret Stohl
Art: Carlos Pacheco

What it is: THE DEFINITIVE ORIGIN OF CAPTAIN MARVEL! Carol Danvers was just a girl from the Boston suburbs who loved science and the Red Sox until a chance encounter with a Kree hero gave her incredible super-powers. Now, she’s a leader in the Avengers and the commander of Alpha Flight. But what if there were more to the story? When crippling anxiety attacks put her on the sidelines in the middle of a fight, Carol finds herself reliving memories of a life she thought was far behind her. You can’t outrun where you’re from – and sometimes, you HAVE to go home again. But there are skeletons in Captain Marvel’s closet – and what she discovers will change her entire world. Written by best-selling author Margaret Stohl and drawn by fan-favorite comics veteran Carlos Pacheco, this is the true origin of Captain Marvel. Rated T+

Why we like it: Captain Marvel is next in line to get the big screen treatment, so it’s time for Marvel to get their audience primed. That Artgerm variant is straight fire!

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Cable #159 (Anceleto variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Lonnnie Nadler
Art: German Peralta
Cover Art: Jay Anceleto

What it is: ‘PAST FEARS’ PART 5: BACK TO CABLE’S CHILDHOOD WITH REDD AND SLYM! Young CABLE faces his biggest fear: his own Techno-Organic virus! Guest-starring CYCLOPS & PHOENIX! Cable’s dark secret is finally revealed! Rated T+

Why we like it: Jay Anceleto went beast mode on this Cable cover. This could be a movie poster.

 

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 – July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day fellow 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. Retailers were given the go ahead by most publishers to release books at midnight, so make sure to check if your LCS is open late and get an early jump on your week’s reading.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Batman #50

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: It’s the wedding you never thought you’d see! The Batrimony is real as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are set to tie the knot in a can’t-miss, extra-length milestone issue that will reshape Gotham City. All their friends (and a few enemies?) will be party to a comic book coupling for the ages. Superstar scribe Tom King officiates the sure-to-be-offbeat nuptials, joined by an all-star lineup of guest classic Bat-artists doffing their hats to the lucky couple in a series of pre-wedding flashback scenes sure to set the romantic mood.

Why we love it: It’s the wedding of the year and Catwoman also has a new solo series starting this week. That does not bode well for Batman. Kitty Pride left Colossus at the alter in X-Men last week, will this kitty be a copy cat?

The Mainstream One: Captain America #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ta-nehisi Coates
Art: Leinil Francis Yu

What it is: IT IS WINTER IN AMERICA. For over 70 years, he has stood in stalwart defense of our country and its people. But in the aftermath of Hydra’s takeover of the nation, Captain America is a figure of controversy, carrying a tarnished shield…and a new enemy is rising! Who are the Power Elite? And how do they intend to co-opt and corrupt the symbol that is Captain America? Rated T+

Why we like it: Love the creative team and that Alex Ross cover is some of his best work in years. What better way to celebrate the birth of our nation than grabbing the #1 of a new chapter for Captain America?

The Indie One: Death of Glory #3

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Bengal

What it is: Glory has found a way to save her father’s life, but getting there means barreling into the heart of her ex’s criminal empire-and the horrors he committed there.

Why we like it: Diggin that Bullitt homage cover. Has been a fun read so far with excellent art. Highly recommended.

The #1 One: Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 (of 6)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Sylan Burnett

What it is: EXPLODING FROM THE PAGES OF THANOS! Frank Castle was the Punisher. A deal with the devil made him Ghost Rider. A deal with Galactus made him cosmic. A deal with Thanos made him…DEAD?!? Not to worry, he’s coming back, and he’s got a plan to make the universe a better place that’s going to lead him into an even CRAZIER adventure than he’s ever been in! Join hot new comic (and cosmic?) writer Donny Cates (THANOS, DOCTOR STRANGE) as he pushes his wildest creation past the breaking point! Rated T+

Why we like it: The cosmically powered Frank Castle Ghost Rider was one of the most insane and funnest parts of Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s critically acclaimed Thanos run. He’s back from the dead and as weird as ever. I have a feeling that this series is going to be straight bonkers.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Star Wars #50 (JTC Action Figure variant)

Publisher: Marcel
Words: Kieron Gillen
Art: Salvador Larocca
Cover Art: John Tyler Christopher

What it is: IN THIS ISSUE…HOPE DIES. The REBEL FLEET is completed. It’s magnificent. It’s beautiful. It’s secret. But no secret is kept for long from DARTH VADER. The most epic story yet done in a STAR WARS comic begins here. Prepare to witness the Empire TRULY strike back. Rated T

Why we like it: You want this… don’t you?

 

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 – June 6, 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 #48

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: 

What it is: ‘THE BEST MAN’ part one! Batman and Catwoman decide it might be better to elope rather than go through some big, stodgy wedding ceremony, but no sooner do they put their marriage on the fast track than The Joker appears! And when The Joker kidnaps the Caped Crusader, will he give his old foe a piece of his mind or bash in his brains?

The Mainstream One: Doctor Strange #1(Bachalo variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mar Waid
Art: Jesus Saiz

What it is: NEW SPELLS, ALLIES & ENEMIES IN THIS NEW SERIES FROM MARK WAID & JESUS SAIZ! SORCERER SUPREME…OF THE GALAXY! The Eye of Agamotto is closed! Doctor Stephen Strange has lost his connection to the Earth’s arcane power, and he can’t wait to recover while nightmares press against the seams of our reality. Tony Stark offers a 21st-century solution: When astral travel fails, try astronautical travel. Enter Doctor Strange: Space-Explorer Supreme! New spells, allies and enemies – new and old – await Strange beyond the stars, along with corners and secrets of the Marvel Universe seen here for the first time! Space is endless, but time is short. After years of threats, Stephen’s bill for magic use is coming due – who will come to collect?!

The Indie One: Death of Glory #2 (Totino variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Bengal

What it is: Hot off the heels of a heist run on her ex’s criminal empire, Glory realizes just what it is she stole… and how much trouble she’s in now.

The #1 One: Justice League #1 (Lee variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Jim Cheung

What it is: ‘THE TOTALITY’ part one! A brand-new era begins here! Comics legends Scott Snyder and Jim Cheung launch the Justice League into a cosmos-shaking mystery that will draw out their most terrible foes…in ways our heroes couldn’t possibly imagine! In this debut issue, Martian Manhunter struggles to protect the team from an incoming threat that will shatter the world as they know it, while a familiar face strikes out on a dark path…

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley Quinn #43

Publisher: DC
Words: Christopher Sebela
Art: Mirka Andolfo
Cover Art: Frank Cho

What it is: When Harley Quinn finds herself hammer-deep in a paranoid spiral, the last thing she needs is for someone to blow up her favorite bodega! Worse, the only clue she finds seems to indicate Harley herself was the actual target of the attack! What’s a girl to do when she’s pushed all her friends away just as someone decides to kill her?

 

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 – May 16, 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: Barrier #3

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Marcos Martin

What it is: A very special ‘silent’ issue! This is the first wordless comic ever from either BRIAN K. VAUGHAN or MARCOS MARTÍN.

Why we love it: Originally published on Brian K Vaughan’s digital platform, The Panel Syndicate, the first printed issue of Barrier was given away on Free Comic Book Day, with issues #1 and #2 going on sale this past Wednesday. I read both issues last week and was immediately captivated. The plot revolves around two characters, a Texas cattle rancher at risk of losing her land due to cartel violence and an assumed illegal immigrant crossing the Mexico/US border. Their lives unexpectedly intersect when they are both abducted by aliens. One of the recurring themes of the story is communication, or rather difficulty communicating across language barriers, and I should point out to interested readers that the first two issues had pages of dialogue entirely in Spanish, without any translation. I was able to puzzle most of it out using my 3-years of high school Spanish and Google Translate did the rest. But unless you are a Spanish speaker, expect to do some work. Thankfully issue #3 is wordless, so problem solved for now.

The Mainstream One: Batman #47

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Sandu Florea

What it is: THE TRAVELERS’ part three! As Booster Gold, Batman and Catwoman zero in on the time anomaly, what they find and their actions to correct it will have ramifications on all of the DC Universe. Tom King and Master Class artist Tony S. Daniel end their first story with a bang that will tee up the next big development in the Batman/Catwoman romance.

Why we like it: Booster’s ingenious plan really crapped the bed last issue. Just about everyone was murdered, Booster was shot and his time traveling machine is smashed to bits. I have no idea how Bats is going to detective his way out of this pickle and I love it.

The Indie One: Infidel #3

Publisher: Image
Words: Pornsak Pichetshote
Art: Aaron Campbell

What it is: Following last issue’s devastating events, the mysterious entities haunting Aisha’s home escalate their attacks. As the nightmare spreads to her friends and neighbors, the creatures expose their true natures and long-buried hatreds.

Why we like it: I picked Infidel as my #1 One when it debuted and this freaky, haunted house story with racial overtones has already been optioned by Tristar pictures to be adapted as a movie. Be on the look out for #1’s on Wednesday, covers A and B are currently trading on the Bay for $10-$15 with the virgin cover going for $25-$30. You will probably want to flip them quick, as movie options often fail to materialize.

The #1 One: Walk Through Hell #1

Publisher: Aftershock
Words: Garth Ennis
Art: Goran Sudzuka

What it is: So these two FBI agents walk into a warehouse… Special Agents Shaw and McGregor handle the routine cases nowadays, which is just the way Shaw likes it. She’s pushing 40, a borderline burnout, the ghastly memories of her last investigation still clinging like shadows. McGregor is younger, more dedicated, hanging onto some measure of idealism whatever the world might throw at him. When two fellow agents go missing inside a Long Beach warehouse, Shaw and McGregor are sent to investigate. But what they find waiting is far from routine, as the local police have already discovered to their cost. Before the night is out, our heroes will encounter terror beyond their most appalling nightmares-in a place where the night may never end at all. A new kind of horror story for modern America, written by Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys, Crossed) and drawn by Goran Sudzuka (Y: The Last Man, Hellblazer)

Why we like it: I’m always down for a good horror mystery.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: True Believers X-Men #25

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Fabian Nicieza
Art: Andy Kubert
Cover Art: Andy Kubert

What it is: Reprinting X-Men (1991) #25

Why we like it: This is a reprint of one of my favorite single issues of all time. It was the first comic book that I bought myself, purchased off a spinny rack at a local convenience store, and it contains one of the most unforgettable moments in X-Men history. The image of Magneto ripping the adamantium off of Wolverine’s skeleton, watching in horror as it burst through his skin, it still haunts me to this day. I was 9 years old at the time and I still remember the panels and the words and I remember desperately thinking “I need to know what happens next!!” It was a first step into a larger world. If you never had the opportunity, here’s your chance to own it for a buck.

 

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 – May 2, 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 #46

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Tony S. Daniel

What it is: ‘THE TRAVELERS’ part two! Booster Gold’s wedding present has screwed up Batman’s past, and done even more damage to his present. Now, with the Caped Crusader himself refusing to cooperate, the only way for Booster to correct this runaway timeline is to get Catwoman on his side. But with her own past altered, can he make Catwoman recognize the qualities in her husband-to-be that brought them together in the first place? Plus, if Batman isn’t doing his job, Gotham City may become way more dangerous than our bumbling time-traveler might be ready for.

Why we love it: Part one of this Booster Gold story was dark, dark, dark. I mean, it was funny and  peppered with Booster’s trademark goofy banter, but the plot was just terrifying with several WTF moments. Basically Booster travels back in time and alters the timeline by preventing the murder ofMartha and Thomas Wayne, thus Bruce never becomes Batman and drastically alters the course of history. Sort of like a really messed up version of It’s a Wonderful Life. It was as an ill conceived wedding present for Batman and while Booster’s intentions were to revert the timeline back after he revealed his gift, Bruce was having none of it and chose instead to remain in wonderland.

The Mainstream One: Spider-man #240

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art:  Oscar Bazaldua, Patrick Brown

What it is: Marvel Comics proudly presents the final issue of Bendis’ epic (bio-electric) run! Over seven years and across two universes, Miles Morales has been an Ultimate, a Web-Warrior, an Avenger and a Champion. A New Yorker, a student, a son and a friend. And whenever the city needed him (and one time when all of reality needed him), he was always SPIDER-MAN. Don’t miss the chance to see comics superstar Brian Michael Bendis bid farewell to one of his most beloved creations, and to glimpse what the future may hold for Miles Morales.

Why we like it: While Miles will remain a part of the Marvel universe, Brian Michael Bendis, the man who created and wrote the character through the years, is leaving for DC marking the end of an era for Miles Morales.

The Indie One: Death of Glory #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Bengal

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE Meet Glory, raised off the grid in a convoy amid truckers-the last men and women fighting for true freedom on the American open road. Now, in order to pay for her beloved dying Father’s surgery, Glory has three days to pull off four dangerous cross-country heists with mob killers, crooked cops, and a psycho ex-husband all out to bring her in or die trying. The new ongoing series by New York Times bestselling author RICK REMENDER and legendary French superstar BENGAL brings you a high-speed chase across the American West that examines our dwindling freedoms and the price paid by those who fight for an untethered life, in this special double-sized first issue with 40 pages of story!

Why we like it: I’ll read just about anything that Rick Remender writes. Tack on superstar artist Bengal and you now have one of the most highly anticipated new Image series releasing this year. Keep an eye on this one.

The #1 One: You Are Deadpool #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Al Ewing
Art: Salva Espin

What it is: DID YOU EVER WANT TO BE DEADPOOL??? Now’s your chance! This weekly series is not JUST the most amazing comic book you’ve ever read…it’s also a role-playing adventure! YOU decide what choices Deadpool makes! YOU keep track of your scores issue by issue! YOU roll dice to combat various foes! Travel through Marvel history as Deadpool to meet Hulk in the swinging ’60s! To smell Man-Thing in the swampy ’70s! To be ‘seen’ by Daredevil in the hard-boiled ’80s! And avoid the many BAD ENDINGS you could fall into…or suffer the consequences!

Why we like it: It’s a choose your own adventure book done Deadpool style. What’s not to love?

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Green Arrow #40

Publisher: DC
Words: Collin Kelley
Art: Marcio Takara
Cover Art: Tyler Kirkham

What it is: ‘THE CHILDREN OF VAHKAR’ finale! Nothing and his army have left Green Arrow for dead in the desert. In order to get himself back to full strength and take out the army, Green Arrow will have to team up with a band of rebel heroes in Vahkar – but will they trust him? Or will he only find himself with more enemies to fight?

Why we like it: I really like the colors and composition of this cover.

 

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 – April 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: Amazing Spiderman #798

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Stuart Immonen

What it is: GO DOWN SWINGING Part 2 Dan Slott’s final SPIDER-MAN story continues! The GREEN GOBLIN HAS RETURNED – and he’s exacting his ultimate revenge not only on SPIDER-MAN, but on everyone the wall-crawler loves! Norman Osborn’s offering NO QUARTER, an ultimatum that threatens to finish PETER PARKER once and for all! Rated T

Why we love it: The Red Goblin makes his first appearance in the pages of ASM #798. ‘Nuff said.

The Mainstream One: Batman #44

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: ‘SOMETHING BLUE’! Follow Batman and Catwoman on two separate but parallel paths as their wedding planning kicks into high gear. Selina picks out her dress, and Bruce starts to make arrangements for their new life together-but this being Gotham City, and they being Batman and Catwoman, you can bet that nothing will go as expected!

Why we like it: We’re only a few months away from the much anticipated Bat/Cat wedding day. I doubt many readers actually believe that they will go through with it and I think we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop. Writer Tom King excels at infusing the insanity of superhero stories with mundane slice-of-life moments and this Batman run has been his masterpiece.

The Indie One: Spawn #284

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

What it is: The re-creation of Spawn’s arch villain THE VIOLATOR…A NEW LOOK! NEW POWERS!

Why we like it: Spawn creator Todd McFarlane returns to resurrect the most well-known, possibly only-known, character from Spawn’s rogue gallery. And it looks like the Violator will be getting an upgrade. Fracesco Mattina is also back with another stunning cover that alone is worth the price of admission. 

The #1 One: Isola #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Brenden Fletcher
Art: Karl Kerschl

What it is: Childhood friends BRENDEN FLETCHER (MOTOR CRUSH) and Eisner Award-winning storyteller KARL KERSCHL (Gotham Academy) reunite on the comics page with a breathtaking fantasy adventure two decades in the making! The captain of the Royal Guard has fled the capital city with the Queen of Maar, suffering under the effects of an evil spell. Captain Rook’s only hope of returning Queen Olwyn to her throne and saving the kingdom from impending war lies on an island half a world away-a place known in myth as Isola, land of the dead. Featuring lush color work by MSASSYK (Gotham Academy) and letters by ADITYA BIDIKAR (MOTOR CRUSH). Recommended for fans of Studio Ghibli and the work of Hayao Miyazaki.

Why we like it: Cool concept from a stellar creative team.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Deathstroke #30

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

What it is: ‘Deathstroke vs. Batman’ part one! Beginning this month, a six-issue series-within-a-series featuring the ultimate showdown between DC’s fiercest rivals! When Batman discovers a mysterious package containing DNA test results proving that he is not Damian Wayne’s biological father, the Dark Knight sets his sights on his son’s true father-Deathstroke! But Damian Wayne can’t really be Slade Wilson’s son-can he? And who sent the package-and why? The ultimate custody battle ensues as the World’s Greatest Detective and the World’s Deadliest Assassin clash in this instant classic!

Why we like it: Francesco Mattina joins an exclusive group of creators who have made the Crank File list twice in the same week. He’s making a strong case for being the top cover artist of 2018. The colors and composition of this Deathstroke cover are killer.

 

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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – January 17, 2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Avengers #676

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Pepe Larraz

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

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

The Mainstream One: Batman #39

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Joelle Jones

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

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

The Indie One: Ice Cream Man #1

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

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

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

The #1 One: Damage #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – January 3, 2018

Happy new year comic book fans and welcome to the first episode of the 2018 Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff I’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Batman #38 (Coipel variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Travis Moore

What it is: “THE ORIGIN OF BRUCE WAYNE”! If Mattie could grow up to be anybody, he’d grow up millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. But what would happen if he was forced to relive the worst tragedy of Bruce’s life and his parents were murdered? Batman’s hunt for the killer puts him face to face with a strange mirror version of his own past.

Why we love it: Tom King’s Batman has surpassed Scott Snyder’s New 52 run in regards to expanding the Batman mythos without breaking the character, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees. This week we look at Batman’s origin from a new angle, complete with a new villain. This book has been speculated on heavily and both covers are already sold out at Diamond, however villain first appearances typically don’t do as well as heroes in the secondary market so don’t go nuts trying to secure multiple copies on Wednesday.

 

The Mainstream One: Batman White Knight #4

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Sean Murphy

What it is: Jim Gordon and the GCPD are thrown into disarray when Jack Napier leads a show stopping campaign to become councilman of the politically abandoned neighborhood of Backport. Civic backlash brews as Mayor Hill struggles to find creative ways of criminalizing Napier’s democratic aspirations, and Batman’s interference blooms into a liability for the GCPD’s public image. Through it all, the new Joker plots to derail everything-and new secrets about Harley’s past are revealed. RATED T+

Why we like it: There’s a new Joker in town, and it’s the new Harley… Didn’t follow me? Ok, exposition time.  Batman White Knight takes place in an alternate-ish DC Universe where the original Harley Quinn (aka Harleen Quinzel) left the Joker when she realized Joker couldn’t control his obsession with Batman. The Joker was so engrossed with defeating Batman that he didn’t even notice when a woman named Miriam Drews replaced Harleen as the new Harley Quinn. After being reformed through prescription meds, the Joker, now just Jack Napier, is reunited with Harleen Quinzel and the two start a new, normal-ish relationship, while Miriam Drews, furious at the Joker’s betrayal, assumes the mantle of Neo Joker. That’s her on the cover and the book is awesome, so read it.

 

The Indie One: Walking Dead #175 (Bill Sienkiewicz variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard

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

Why we like it: The Walking Dead shambles on with a new arc, which means new characters will be introduced. While the AMC TV show has lost a bit of its shine in the last few years, the series is still hugely popular. If any of the new characters introduced from this week’s issue appear on the show, you can be certain this comic will be sought after.  There’s an excellent Sienkiewicz variant that I will be on the lookout for come Wednesday.

 

The #1 One: Batman and the Signal #1 (of 3)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Cully Hamner

What it is: Batman may own the night, but with new villains emerging during the day he needs an ally to defend the city when he can’t. Only one teen is up to the challenge, Duke Thomas. After months of training, he’s ready to step out of the shadow of the bat to become his own kind of hero. Meet Gotham City’s newest protector: The Signal! Spinning out of adventures in ALL-STAR BATMAN and WE ARE ROBIN, comics superstar Scott Snyder and newcomer Tony Patrick take our young hero to new heights in this exciting miniseries with artwork by Cully Hamner.

Why we like it: Duke Thomas has been Batman’s protege for a few years but he’s still figuring out his place in the Batman universe. This week we get Duke headlining what was supposed to be his first, solo mini-series. Even the solicit says that he’s ready to step out of the shadow if the bat, so I don’t understand why the editors at DC still felt it necessary to name the series “Batman and the Signal”.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Black Bolt #9

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Saladin Ahmed
Art: Christian Ward
Cover Art: Christian Ward

What it is: THE MIDNIGHT KING RETURNS TO EARTH PART 2. In an alien prison far from Earth, Black Bolt lost a friend and ally. Such is the life of heroes. But for those left behind, a noble death is little comfort. Far better to seek retribution – and Black Bolt is first in line! But he has more than angry loved ones to worry about. A corrupted version of Steve Rogers imprisoned and tormented his people. Is it time for the Midnight King’s revenge? Rated T+

Why we like it: I don’t know if this was done as an intentional swipe, but definitely getting a Hulk #340 vibe from this cover. Love the details, love the colors and love the composition.

 

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

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Comic Shop Talk: December 2017

Comic Shop Talk is a video blog dedicated to Comics, and pop culture talk including movies, television, books, and more.  Ken Lee is the author of our long-running comic blog The Crank File, Rob Goyer is our Cards and Counters game blog author, Tylor Hamel appears in many in-store livestreams and works at Great Stories Comics & Gaming, Wayne Demers is author of our very own The Dope Sheet movie blog, and Chris Mills is the owner of Great Stories. 

Greetings everyone, and welcome to another installment of Comic Shop Talk.

Our first video (Starring Ken, Rob, Wayne, and Chris) covers all things comics starting with DC, before getting into Marvel, and ending with a couple of Indie suggestions.  Check out the timestamps below.

0:00-13:05:  DC talk including Doomsday Clock, Dark Knights Metal, Batman: White Knight, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

13:06-34:48:  Marvel talk including many Legacy titles including Jean Grey, Doctor Strange, Punisher, Moon Knight, Astonishing X-Men, Spirits of Vengeance, and Monsters Unleashed. We also give some commentary on Marvel’s lenticular covers.

34:49-41:15:  Star Wars in Comics including talk about the Mace Windu limited series and the Darth Vader.

41:16-42:52:  A couple of quick Indie selections including Spawn and G. I. Joe for the prospectors.

Our second video covers our Pop Culture Talk, as Tylor joins the discussion!

0:00-14:00: We talk about The Punisher on Netflix.

14:01-16:24:  The immediate future of Marvel/Netflix cooperation and releases.

16:25-24:50:  We then delve into Thor:Ragnarok.

24:51-36:00:  We talk the Justice League movie.

36:01-43:30:  We talk a bit about the approach of DC and Marvel to their cinematic universes.

43:31-47:35:  We talk Marvel’s Inhumans (Disaster…Marvel is human!).

47:36-49:50:  A little talk about Agents of SHIELD.

49:51-51:20: We preview a bit of Hulu’s Runaways series.

51:21-1:01:47: We discuss some 2018 projects that are anticipated for both TV and film.

 

Write in to us with any suggestions you have for comic and pop culture topics for our next video!  You can reach us at [email protected]!  Thanks for watching!