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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – August 16, 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. It’s looking like a monster week with so many good books out this week. While this is great news to me as a fan, it was not an easy week to make picks. This week’s list required a lot of deliberation and a lot of good books didn’t make the cut. These are the books that did:

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Totally Awesome Hulk #22

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Robert Gill

What it is: ‘WEAPONS OF MUTANT DESTRUCTION’ PART SIX! The Weapon X program’s twisted head scientists have finally completed their magnum opus! Now BATCH H is awake, and it’s MAD AS HELL. Rated T

Why we love it: Batch H makes its debut in the final issue to Weapons of Mutant Destruction. Reading the solicits for Weapon X, this Hulk/Wolverine/cyborg hybrid could be sticking around for a while even after WMD wraps. We get our first good look at him here with another totally awesome cover by Stonehouse.

The Mainstream One: Batman #29

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part five! Batman has done his best to keep the peace, but with neither faction backing down, he may have to choose the lesser of two evils if he wants the violence to end. Will Batman embrace the murderous anarchy of The Joker or the bloody fascism of the Riddler? If he wants to win, he’ll have to choose a side-and either way, he loses.

Why we like it: My guess is that Barman doesn’t embrace either and plays both the Riddler and Joker for chumps and wins. But that’s just my guess. Great series, another of Tom King’s slow burners that is heating up quick.

 

The Indie One: Descender #23

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen

What it is: ‘RISE OF THE ROBOTS,’ Part Two The new DESCENDER event explodes as Tim-21 makes his daring escape from the clutches of the Hardwire. Meanwhile Andy, Effie, and Bandit are taken prisoner by the UGC until one of them shockingly turns traitor. And deep below the ocean planet of Mata, the final fate of Telsa is revealed.

Why we like it: Rise of the Robots started off with a blast, throwing us some major league plot twists punctuated by deep space action. I can’t wait for the Harvesters to start showing up, and it seems like we could be seeing them sooner than later.

The #1 One: Dark Knights Metal #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: The superstar BATMAN team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo reunite for a massive, universe-spanning event! DARK NIGHTS: THE FORGE and THE CASTING hinted at dark corners of reality that have never been seen till now! Now, as DARK DAYS: METAL begins, the Dark Multiverse is revealed in all its devastating danger-and the threats it contains are coming for the DC Universe! DARK DAYS: METAL is a DC event unlike any other-one that will push Batman, Superman and heroes of the Justice League beyond their limits to take on threats unlike any our world has ever seen! It will take the combined might of the World’s Greatest Heroes as you’ve never seen them before to face what’s coming their way!

Why we like it: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo reunited on Batman and it feels so good. I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about this series outside of the creative team, but recent rumors have been hinting at a crossover with Vertigo’s Sandman universe at the end of issue 1. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was released through Vertigo during the late 80’s/early 90’s and is hands down my favorite book of all time, comic or otherwise, so I’m adequately pumped for Metal. There’s a special midnight release Capullo variant cover that I like better than the regular Capullo cover, so I guess it’s going to be a late night.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Aquaman #27

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art and cover art: Stjepan Sejic

What it is: ‘UNDERWORLD’ part three! Aquaman lives! Threatened by the return of Atlantis’ natural-born ruler, King Rath accelerates his plan to scrub the sunken city of all its ancient magical treasures-but why is he stockpiling magic? Whatever the reason, Rath will need all the firepower he can get when Mera breaks through the barrier surrounding the city!

Why we like it: In an unexpected twist, Stjepan Sejic’s cover A for Aquaman gets the nod over the Josh Middleton cover B. One of the better Mera covers I’ve seen in a while. With her character appearing in both the upcoming Aquaman and Justice League movies, a lot of eyes will be turning to the Queen of Atlantis.

 

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 2, 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: Extremity #6

Publisher: Image
Words: Daniel Warren Johnson
Art: Daniel Warren Johnson

What it is: END OF STORY ARC The Roto and Paznina clans meet on the battlefield to ensure that only one remains when all the blood is shed.

Why we love it: This has been the surprise book of the year for me. An unflinching look at the brutality of war and the collateral damage that it leaves in its wake. Amazing art and a story that plumbs the dark depths of human nature to find truth and compassion.

 

The Mainstream One: Batman #28

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part four! War is hell. Unless it’s in Gotham City, where it’s so much worse. The clash between The Joker and the Riddler continues to escalate, with the rest of the city’s villains picking sides and joining in. In the midst of the battle, Batman must try to save whoever he can while knowing he will forever be haunted by those he can’t.

Why we like it: Fans seem to be pretty divided on Tom King’s run on Batman. Some people find it lacking. While I will concede that the first arc was underwhelming, everything after the Monster Men crossover has been excellent. I am enjoying the heck out of the War of Jokes and Riddles and can’t wait to see what happens this week. 

 

The Indie One: Elsewhere #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Jay Faerber
Art: Sumeyye Kesgin

What it is: COPPERHEAD WRITER JAY FAERBER TEAMS WITH RISING STAR SUMEYYE KESGIN TO UNVEIL ELSEWHERE: THE FANTASTIC STORY OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO AMELIA EARHART! Mysteriously transported to a strange new world filled with flying beasts and alien civilizations, Amelia desperately struggles to return home. Along the way, she forges alliances and makes enemies as she goes from aviator to freedom fighter in a rebellion against a merciless warlord! ‘Get lost in this other world and you’ll be in the best company.’ – KIERON GILLEN (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE)

Why we like it: Jay Faerber wrote the gritty space Western, Copperhead, which was one of my favorite reads before the series was derailed by delays. He’s back with a new fantasy series that like Copperhead promises exciting new worlds to explore with a strong, female lead.  

 

The #1 One: Generations The Strongest (Mattina 2nd print)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Matteo Buffagni

What it is: BRUCE BANNER. AMADEUS CHO. Both have carried the curse of the Hulk. Now they come face-to-face at last – but will they meet as friends or foes? Fan-favorite Hulk scribe GREG PAK is joined by red-hot artist MATTEO BUFFAGNI (X-MEN BLUE) for a time-bending tale that will finally answer the question on everyone’s minds: WHO IS THE STRONGEST ONE THERE IS? Rated T+

Why we like it: Generations will be a series of one-shots, bringing together past and present iterations of heroes that will lay the foundation for Marvel’s next phase in its comics universe, Marvel Legacy. It all kicks off with the first Generations book uniting Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho, closing the gap between modern and legacy Hulks. While I’m looking forward to seeing how they pull this off (isn’t Banner still technically dead?), I might hold out a week for the Mattina second print variant.

 

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

Publisher: Titan
Words: Brian Wood
Art: Marco Turini
Cover Art: Stanly Artgerm Lau

What it is: Harmony Gold’s cult ’80s television series Robotech returns or all-new adventures! Comic written by Brian Wood (DMZ, Briggs Land, Northlanders) and illustrated by Marco turini! TV episodes now available on Crackle, Amazon Prime & Netflix! Live-action film being developed by Sony Pictures! Comic features classic characters Rick, Lisa, Minmei, Roy, Claudia, and Gloval! New comic series will delight original fans and newcomers alike! With annual conventions, over 200,000 fans on Facebook, New toys and merchandise, Robotech fans are passionate supporters of this amazing cult franchise!

Why we like it: Robotech was a bit before my time, so this isn’t tickling any nostalgia, but this series has enough going for it to warrant my attention. The Robotech relaunch has an extremely capable writer in Brian Wood and a regular cover by fan favorite Artgerm which makes this #1 selling out a certainty.

 

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 19, 2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. We experienced a glitch in the Matrix which is why this week’s entry is a day late. But we’re back online, just in time for new comic book day. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I will be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #6

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Leinil Francis Yu

What it is: The unworthy, the untrusted, the unstable – this is their day! BEWARE THE SECRET EMPIRE! Rated T+

Why we love it: Secret Empire continues to rule the top spot. It’s no secret that we’re big fans of this series at the Crank File. Last issue was absolutely jam packed with crazy reveals and new mysteries, and the stage is set for what will be a memorable second half. Love this Thor cover too, some of Mark Brook’s finest work.

 

The Mainstream One: Batman #27

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Davide Gianfelice 

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF THE JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part three! The war has spread to every corner of Gotham City, and while Batman battles back the forces of Joker and Riddler, an unlikely criminal becomes the pivotal key to its potential resolution, but it could cost him everything.

Why we like it: Tom King is the master of taking offbeat characters and casting them in a twisted light. Last year he did it with Vision, last month it was Elmer Fudd, and this week it’s D-lister Kite Man. If you’re wondering who Kite Man is, you are not alone. The Silver Age was a weird time for Bat-villains. The same period that gave us memorable characters like Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and the modern Clayface also spawned oddities like Calendar Man, Crazy Quilt, and Kite Man. I don’t know much about Kite Man other than the Charlie Brown reference, but I can guarantee this will be the greatest Kite Man story ever told. Which isn’t saying much, but I’m also willing to bet it’s going to be a great read.

 

The Indie One: Spencer and Locke #4

Publisher: Action Lab
Words: David Pepose
Art: Jr. Santiago

What it is: The end is nigh, as Spencer and Locke square off against Locke’s crime lord father, Augustus, with a child’s life hanging in the balance! Can Locke survive against these overwhelming odds? Does he even want to? And who killed Sophie Jenkins? Find out here in this explosive finale!

Why we like it: I really wanted to like this series better. The detective noir angle was well executed and I enjoyed the Calvin and Hobbes callbacks, but the dark tone keeps this series from being a spiritual successor to my favorite childhood comic. Still, I hung on for three issues and I’m pretty much committed to reading the finale, but I won’t love it. Mr. Watterson, if you’re reading this, please let us have more Calvin and Hobbes.

 

The #1 One: Astonishing X-Men #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Jim Cheung

What it is: ONLY THE X-MEN CAN SAVE US! An ancient evil is attacking the world’s most powerful minds. It will have them by the time you finish this sentence, and a moment later, it will have us all. A band of X-MEN discovers the truth behind the threat, but there is no time left. PSYLOCKE, OLD MAN LOGAN, BISHOP, ARCHANGEL, FANTOMEX, ROGUE and GAMBIT will attempt to save a world that hates and fears them. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE THE X-MEN. From blockbuster writer CHARLES SOULE and joined by a roster of superstar artists beginning with JIM CHEUNG. ASTONISHING X-MEN. It’s the X-book you need. Rated T+

Why we like it: Love the cast of characters, love the creative team. This could be the X book I’ve been needing since Extraordinary ended. Naturally, with this being a Marvel book, Astonishing is being released with a ton of variants. There’s a couple of good looking ones, I like the Artgerm and Jim Lee covers but they are 1:100 and 1:1000 incentive variants that will set you back $100 and $1000 respectively.

  

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley Quinn #24

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

What it is: ‘THE PARENT TRAP’! Harley has faced every challenge even she could possibly imagine, but can she survive?a visit from her parents?! And in ‘Harley Loves Joker’ part eight, the duo’s new headquarters comes with some unforeseen complications!

Why we like it: Tough call this week. DC has two cover B’s that could have made it here. Cho gets the nod for the insane amount of detail in the line work. This cover is part one of a two-part connecting cover, with the second part revealed on the next issue. The other cover B that didn’t make the cut was a gorgeous Joshua Middleton piece for Aquaman #26. You’ll know it if you see it. And if you see it, I’d advise you to grab it as well.

 

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 – 7/5/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to a special July 4th edition of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’m digging. Happy birthday ‘murca. Enjoy the day off.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

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The Top of the Pile: Batman #26

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part two! The Riddler and The Joker escalate their bloody feud, and the villains of Gotham City are forced to choose sides or be caught in the crossfire! It’s up to Batman to push himself to the limit and keep innocent citizens out of harm’s way.

Why we love it: The war of jokes and riddles rages on and the only questions on anyone’s mind is, so did she say yes, or….? Honestly, it doesn’t matter much to me because we all know comic marriages are soap opera marriages, they never stick. Despite all the manufactured attention over Batman’s proposal to Catwoman, there’s actually a pretty cool story brewing here. There’s also a smoking hot Joshua Middleton cover B featuring Poison Ivy for this issue to be on the lookout for.

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The Mainstream One: Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Dalibor Talajic

What it is: Remember the time Deadpool went a little TOO crazy and killed the entire Marvel Universe? Well, this isn’t that. This is a DIFFERENT time. Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajic (A.K.A. the creators behind DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE) have reunited for ANOTHER tale of Deadpool taking out all of your faves in the most horrific ways possible! It’s gonna hurt him more than it hurts you, and you’re gonna love it! Parental Advisory

Why we like it: The first time that Deadpool killed the Marvel Universe was an unexpectedly brilliant sendup of the comic genre. It was a meta tale of revenge, soaked in ultraviolence, wit and humor, and resulted in Deadpool figuratively killing the core of the Marvel’s Universe by murdering the creative team of Bunn and Talajic. That same creative team from the original is apparently back from the dead and back for a sequel. This is a can’t miss for me.

 

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The Indie One: Sacred Creatures #1

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Pablo Raimondi and Klaus Janson

What it is: When the supernatural forces maintaining the fragile balance of power in this world start to unravel, Josh Miller, a young college grad and expecting father, is caught in the middle of a vast conspiracy threatening to tear apart the foundations of humanity as we know it. As myth and reality collide, Josh finds himself on the frontline of a battle against an enemy dating back to the beginning of time itself. Comic legends KLAUS JANSON (Daredevil, Dark Knight Returns) and PABLO RAIMONDI (X-Factor, Book of Doom) proudly present SACRED CREATURES, their first-ever creator-owned series, with a monster-sized first issue featuring 66 pages of color art!

Why we like it: Sacred Creatures makes the list on the strength of the creative team and an advance preview, which you can check out here. The preview doesn’t offer any more clarity as to what this book is about, but it is certainly intriguing. I’m at least giving this flip through at the stands.

 UThe #1 One: Unholy Grail #1

Publisher: Aftershock
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Mirko Colak

What it is: Arthur Pendragon was the king of all Britain. His story is legendary. Merlin. The Lady of the Lake. Excalibur. Camelot. The Knights of the Round Table. But these stories are bright lies painted over the truth. Here is presented the gospel of Arthur’s bloody rise to power and his unholy reign. The legend of King Arthur is not the stuff of legends, but the fuel of nightmares. As Arthur descends into darkness, is there any lingering hope that he still might do something good? From writer Cullen Bunn (Uncanny X-Men, Deadpool) and artist Mirko Colak (Punisher) comes a Lovecraftian take on the Arthurian legend that HAD to be told at AfterShock Comics.

Why we like it: Cullen Bunn makes his second appearance on this week’s list with a dark blend of King Arthur and Lovecraft. I’ve been digging the medieval horror books that have come out recently. The premise reminds me of another Aftershock book, Pestilence, which pit a band of Crusaders against a zombie horde. They are the knights who say braaaaaaaiins.

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Superman #26 (Jimenez variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J Tomasi
Art: Scott Godlewski
Cover Art: Jorge Jimenez

What it is: ‘ROAD TRIP’ part one! It’s been an emotional and physical rollercoaster for Superman, Lois, and Jon: the Eradicator, Dinosaur Island, Frankenstein and the Bride, Multiversity, Reborn and Black Dawn – a barrage of terror and horror! What does the family need right now? Yep, you got it… a vacation!

Why we like it: Beauty of a cover swipe. Superman #14 came out 75 years ago and the image is still striking. A bonafide classic.

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, happy 4th everyone, stay safe out there and as always carpe comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 5/3/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is off rocking across international movie screens and is already over 100M at the box office just after opening weekend. Seems like Marvel’s popular space dramady has captured lightning in a bottle for a second time.

Every Wednesday in new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’ll be checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

SE1

The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Steve McNiven

What it is: It’s been building for months, across a bevy of titles! But now, the moment has arrived for Steve Rogers to step into the light and declare his allegiance to Hydra! How can the heroes of the Marvel Universe cope with this shattering betrayal by the most trusted figure among them? And what will this mean for the world? The map of the Marvel Universe changes in ways nobody will expect – TRUST THE SECRET EMPIRE!

Why we love it: I was soundly impressed by the zero issue and I’ll admit to being excited for Secret Empire. After having his history corrupted by a living Cosmic Cube named Kobik, Captain Steve Rogers has become not only the secret supreme leader of Hydra, but also director of S.H.I.E.L.D and the acting commander of the US military. I literally have no idea what to expect from this story and for a Marvel title, that is incredibly refreshing.

 

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The Mainstream One: Batman #22

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Jason Fabok

What it is: THE BUTTON” part three! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!

Why we like it: “The Button” part two featured in last week’s Flash #21 ended on an absolutely bonkers cliffhanger, with Flash and Batman stranded in an alternate universe. DC keeps insisting that the big bad of Rebirth is not who we suspect, which we all suspect is Dr. Manhattan. I’m giving the Rebirth mastermind Geoff Johns a pretty long leash here, but if it isn’t Dr. Manhattan and all of these Watchmen references don’t payoff, then I’m going to be pissed.

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The Indie One: Pestilence #1

Publisher: Aftershock
Words: Frank Tieri  
Art: Oleg Okunev

What it is: NEW SERIES! It’s the late 14th Century, and a Great Pestilence-the ‘Black Death’- is sweeping across Europe, killing over 100 million people. BUT, what if history as we know it was a lie? What if, in reality, this was no straightforward plague, but the FIRST non-recorded Zombie Infestation of man? Ex-Crusader Roderick Helms and his fellow ‘black ops’ agents the Church, Fiat Lux, must seek out the cause of this undead outbreak and vanquish it before mankind ceases to exist! Written by the master of violence, gore, and mayhem, Frank Tieri (Marvel vs Capcom, Wolverine, Deadpool), with spectacular art from Disney illustrator, Oleg Okunev, and covers by Eisner Award-nominated artist Tim Bradstreet (The Punisher, Hellblzer)!

Why we like it: The zombie craze seems to be dying off but Pestilence’s premise is brilliant. Definitely one of those wish-I’d-thought-of-that ideas.

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The #1 One: Black Bolt #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Saladin Ahmed
Art: Christian Ward

What it is: THE KING OF THE INHUMANS’ FIRST SOLO SERIES! Black Bolt imprisoned! But by who? And where exactly? The answers to both will shock you! But to learn those answers, Black Bolt must first win a fight to the death with a fellow inmate – The Absorbing Man! Award-winning science fiction writer Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon) crafts a story as trippy as it is action-packed, with truly mind-bending art from the one and only Christian Ward!

Why we like it: Staggering to think that one of Marvel’s premiere Kirby creations from the 60’s has never had his own solo-series. Finally Black Bolt gets his turn at headlining a series and womp womp, he’s a prisoner. I’ll skim this one at the stands to see if I dig the story, but I’m mostly looking forward to checking out Christian Ward’s psychedelic art.

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Star Wars Poe Dameron #14 (Zdarsky Star Wars 40th Anniv Variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Phil Noto
Cover Art: Chip Zdarsky

What it is: It is a sad day for the Resistance as they mourn the loss of a fallen comrade. But their fight is far from over – the First Order must be stopped! And Captain Phasma knows just how to get Terex to toe the line.

Why we like it: Han shoots first in three… 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 – 4/19/2017

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 that I will be checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

se0

The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #0

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Daniel Acuna

What it is: What if your greatest ally was secretly your greatest enemy? What if the most trustworthy, stalwart hero history has ever known has been planning in secret a massive betrayal? That time is now. And you won’t be ready for…SECRET EMPIRE! Before the premier comic launch of 2017, superstar creators Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuña toss the every hero of the Marvel Universe into a fiery crucible as Captain America’s master plan is cast into action with April’s SECRET EMPIRE #0!

The Marvel Universe is under siege from within! Captain America, secretly a true believer in the cause of Hydra, has turned his back on the Super Hero community. Using the trust and respect he has gained over the years he has ascended to a position where he can enacts Hydra’s ideals. The death of Jack Flag, the trial of Maria Hill, the second Civil War, the alien Chitauri Queen. All of the dominoes of Captain America’s plan have been laid out – and it will take only the slightest push to set them into action!

“Wherever you find favor within the Marvel Universe, SECRET EMPIRE is a story for you,” says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. “When the world’s most respected and trusted super hero, Captain America, assumes ultimate power and goes bad, it serves as a rallying cry for all the heroes. Avengers, X-Men, Guardians, Inhumans and street-level heroes unite to fight for the fate – and soul – of the Marvel Universe.”

Now, the Avengers, the Champions, the Defenders, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men and more will be tested. As Hydra’s grip tightens around the Marvel Universe, the heroes stand at the precipice of an unprecedented challenge. How will they Marvel Universe cope with this shattering betrayal by the most trusted among them? The secret is out this April in SECRET EMPIRE #0!

Why we love it: Marvel’s latest super-awesome-mega-event Secret Empire officially kicks off this week with two books, Captain America Steve Rogers #16 and Secret Empire #0. I sat on the sidelines for Civil War II but I’m into Secret Empire. It features the Cap’n front and center, the Mark Brooks covers are insane and Marvel has hinted at no more events for 18 months.

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The Mainstream One: Batman #21

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Jason Fabok

What it is: “THE BUTTON” part one! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!

Why we like it: Speaking of events, do we all remember when DC Rebirth totally mind-boned us by showing the iconic Watchman smiley face button embedded in the Batcave walls? A year after and we’re getting more questions and then later, hopefully, some satisfactory answers. There’s been a lot of heavy hinting at Dr Manhattan being the watchmaker behind the curtain, but it’s almost too obvious at this point.

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The Indie One: God Country #4

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw

What it is: Emmett Quinlan goes to Hell.

Why we like it: God Country hasn’t slowed down for one second. Emmett and the God of Blades descend into Hell on a rescue mission and nobody comes back from Hell a winner. Shaw’s artwork is a wonderful compliment to Cates’ script, conveying the frenzied action of clashing Gods and capturing emotion in the personal moments.

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The #1 One: Redneck #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Lisandro Estherren

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE The Bowmans are VAMPIRES who have quietly run the local barbecue joint in their small town for years, living off cow’s blood. Their peaceful coexistence ends as generations of hate, fear, and bad blood bubble to the surface–making it impossible to separate man from monster! Critically acclaimed writer DONNY CATES (GOD COUNTRY) and artist LISANDRO ESTHERREN serve up the tale of a DIFFERENT kind of family just trying to get by, deep in the heart of Texas.

Why we like it:  Making a rare second appearance on this week’s list, Donny Cates is riding God Country’s wave of popularity and launching another Southern-fried fantasy comic with this week’s Redneck #1. This book is already sold-out all over the place, with lots of readers loading up on multiple copies in hopes that the new series replicates God Country’s success on the secondary market.

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom #6

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Cover Art: Gerardo Sandoval

What it is: ‘NUFF SAID!

Why we like it: Just in case it isn’t apparent from the cover or the laughably inadequate synopsis, Eddie Brock returns as Venom this week. Quick, everyone hide your brains.

 

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 – 4/5/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Tuesday I spotlight some of the new comics coming out on Wednesday that I will be checking out. Speaking of checking out, if you’re near Marlboro, MA this weekend then you’ll want to check out Super Megafest. They assembled a nice lineup of creators this year. Better go Saturday if you want to meet legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

b20

The Top of the Pile: Batman #20

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I am Bane’ finale! In this epic climax, there is no going back. No more tricks, no more allies. Just Batman. And Bane. When the final blood spills nothing will ever be the same for the Dark Knight.

Why we love it: There’s a theory among certain circles of Batfans that all the greatest Bat-villains represent specific mental disorders: Joker is insanity, Catwoman is kleptomania, Two Face is multiple personality disorder, Riddler is an autistic (maybe on the spectrum?), etc.etc. But Bane. He’s a sane man, relatively speaking. A psychopath at worst and at best megalomania, but the same could be said of anyone in the Batman universe, Batman included. And that is why Bane is Batman’s greatest foe. He’s Batman’s equal. Batman’s dark reflection. I know it, and Tom King knows it. And if you’re reading this comic, then you know it too.

s20

The Mainstream One: Superman#20

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J Tomasi
Art: Patrick Gleason

What it is: ‘Superman black’ part one! A ‘Superman Reborn Aftermath’ tie-in! As the smoke clears the Kents are faced with leaving Hamilton to go back to Metropolis, but someone or something doesn’t want them to leave! Batman and Robin discover something is mysteriously wrong with the son of Superman-he’s losing his powers!

Why we like it: It’s been a long time since Superman has been a regular on my pull list. Superman has always been the central character in the DC universe and Superman Reborn gave us a huge piece of the Rebirth puzzle. Looking forward to having big blue back in the regular rotation.

rcm1

The Indie One: Rock Candy Mountain #1

Publisher: Image
Words and art: Kyle Starks

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE Eisner-nominated comic creator, KYLE STARKS (SEXCASTLE), would like to invite you to enter the magical world of hobos. The world’s toughest hobo is searching through post-World War II America for the mythological Rock Candy Mountain, and he’s going to have to fight his way to get there. Lots of hobo fights. So many hobo fights. A new action-comedy series full of high action, epic stakes, magic, friendships, trains, punching, kicking, joking, a ton of hobo nonsense, and the Literal Devil. Yeah. The Literal Devil.

Why we like it: When I was a young child, I wanted to grow up to be either an astronaut or a hobo. I haven’t achieved either throughout my career, although my fascination with both has never left.

xg1

The #1 One: X-Men Gold #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Marc Guggenheim
Art: Ardian Syaf

What it is: FROM THE ASHES OF INHUMANS VS X-MEN, AN ALL-NEW TEAM OF X-MEN RISES! Xavier’s dream comes full circle as KITTY PRYDE takes the reins and assembles a squad of the most iconic X-Men to fight at her side. STORM. COLOSSUS. NIGHTCRAWLER. OLD MAN LOGAN. PRESTIGE. They are X-MEN GOLD! And they’re on a mission to be Earth’s finest heroes, even when that means defending those who hate and fear them. Brought to you by an all-star creative team of Marc Guggenheim (X-MEN, S.H.I.E.L.D., television’s Arrow) and Ardian Syaf (BATGIRL, SUPERMAN/BATMAN, BRIGHTEST DAY), a new beginning for the strangest heroes of all starts here!

Why we like it: X-Men wasn’t my first introduction into comics, but it was my first love. And like all first loves, the X-Men will always hold a very special place in my heart and on my pull list. The lineup is a partial-revamp of the All-New All-Different team that debuted in Giant Size X-Men #1 and turned the series from one Marvel’s lowest selling titles to the most recognizable superhero team of the 90’s.

ca15

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Captain America Steve Rogers #15

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Javier Pina
Cover Art: Gabriele Dell’Otto

What it is: Only one man can lead Hydra into a new age of dominance and superiority! The Red Skull believes that he is that man! But Captain America thinks otherwise! It’s a no-holds-barred final throwdown that you will not believe!

Why we like it: Who doesn’t love a beautiful cover of Captain America punching the world’s second most recognizable nazi in the face? Nazis I suppose, but we don’t care about them around here.

 

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 – 3/1/2017

Hi diddly ho comic book fanerinos and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the net that still thinks that La La Land won the Oscar for best picture. I’m your host Ken Lee and here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

 

bm18

The Top of the Pile: Batman #18

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I AM BANE’ part three! Bane broke the bat before, but it wasn’t enough-now he’s going to break everyone else! Bane is coming, and no one is safe!

Why we love it: Tom King has really hit his stride and Batman is so frakkin good right now. After the shocking cliff hanger in issue #16, we got another pants-crappingly insane ending in issue #17. This week Bane and the Dark Knight square off, and you better pack an extra pair of underwear.

 

 

sm18

The Mainstream One: Superman #18

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Patrick Gleason

What it is: ‘SUPERMAN REBORN’ part one! In DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1, the enigmatic Mr. Oz told this Superman, ‘You and your family are not what you believe you are. And neither was the fallen Superman.’ Now, in the first Rebirth crossover between SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS, the shocking truth behind Oz’s words is revealed. It begins with one of Oz’s prisoners escaping, and ends in a tragic moment for Lois and Superman. The covers by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray and the variant covers by Gary Frank for SUPERMAN #18-19 and ACTION COMICS #975-976 will connect to form a single vertical image.

Why we like it: DC’s been quietly hinting at the grand machinations behind Rebirth, dropping breadcrumb clues in lenticular covers and buttons with images of smiley faces. It sounds like we’ll be getting some big reveals in this week’s Superman. If you’ve been digging Rebirth, then you won’t want to miss this issue.

 

 

eq1

The Indie One: Extremity #1

Publisher: Image
Words and art: Daniel Warren Johnson

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE! Thea dreams. Not of a better life, but of revenge on the clan that ruined her family. With ferocious battles between man, machines, and monsters ahead, who knows where her quest for vengeance will take her? Creator DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Space Mullet) and colorist MIKE SPICER present a bold new vision, where the beauty and imagination of Studio Ghibli meet the intensity of Mad Max, in this all-new Skybound Original.

Why we like it: I read a great interview with the author Daniel Johnson in which he described the creative process and ideas that make up Extremity. It included a preview too. I’m digging it. Check it out and if you like what you see, pick it up on Wednesday.

http://www.avclub.com/article/dive-emotional-exhilarating-world-extremity-exclus-251008

 

 

ak1

The #1 One: Amerikarate #1

Publisher: Action Lab – Danger Zone
Words: Brockton McKinney
Art: Devin Roth

What it is: In the vein of the greatest ’80s action flicks of all time – such as Bloodsport, Gymkata, Rambo, Commando, and Kickboxer – comes AMERIKARATE! The story of one American’s fight to karate-fight with karate for America – and karate!

Why we like it: This was a tough call, because I originally wanted to spotlight Marvel’s Ms. America Chavez solo series “America”. But Amerkarate is just too weird and off-beat to ignore.

 

 

am18

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

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art: Scot Eaton
Cover Art: Joshua Middleton

What it is: ‘WARHEAD’ finale! Aquaman’s battle with Warhead leaves him trapped in the tortured mind of the telepathic beast, where the sea king is forced to experience the lifetimes of combat that define his tragic new foe!

Why we like it: Middleton’s been putting out amazing covers for Aquaman since Rebirth, but this one stands out for perfectly depicting the duality of Arthur Curry. Above water, he’s just some lame wad who likes swimming in the ocean. Underseas, he’s an absolute force of nature who will rip you to shreds. There aren’t many iconic Aquaman covers, but I think this one deserves consideration.

 

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 2/15/2017

Happy Valentines Day comic book lovers and welcome to an extra-romantic episode of The Crank File, the only place on the net that isn’t worried about being single on Valentines Day because we all die alone in the end. Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

bm17

The Top of the Pile: Batman #17

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I Am Bane’ part two! Barricading himself within the walls of Arkham Asylum still might not keep Batman and his allies safe from Bane’s assault. Which one of Bruce’s loved ones will be torn from him next?

Why we love it: Issue #16 kicked off the “I am Bane” arc, and started so innocently. The Bat family was gathered for a meal at a Batman themed hamburger shop and hilarity ensued, like Dick Grayson ordering a Happy Meal for Damien and Bruce eating his burger with a fork and knife. But by the final page I was left slack-jawed, gasping in horror. I can’t wait to see how last issue’s cliff hanger plays out this week. Issue #17 won’t even make it on the pile, I plan on reading it off the rack.

 

 

cc5

The Mainstream One: Clone Conspiracy #5

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Jim Cheung

What it is: THE SPIDER-EVENT OF THE YEAR CONCLUDES! The Jackal takes drastic measures that Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen and Scarlet Spider could never see coming. Jackal’s coup de grace not only sets a host of resurrected villains loose on the unsuspecting streets of San Francisco, but threatens the lives of everyone on Earth! After months of waiting, heartache and incredible surprises, THIS is the issue Spider-fans around the world will be talking about for years to come!

Why we like it: Before Clone Conspiracy launched, Dan Slott publicly lobbied stores to up their orders for the series, hinting that it would be of great importance and would have long term ramifications for Spidey. The event has been pretty entertaining thus far and I’m loving the Del Otto cover art, but nothing terribly groundbreaking has happened yet. So I’m guessing we’ll see it in this issue. Will this be the return of Ben Parker to the realm of the living? I sure hope not.

 

 

gc2

The Indie One: God Country #2

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw

What it is: As Emmett Quinlan attempts to rebuild his family and his home after the devastating tornado that broke them, something otherworldly screams through the sky under a banner of WAR. The GODS have come to Texas– and they do not intend to leave it empty handed.

Why we like it: #1’s are introduction issues, and boy did God Country make a hell of an entrance in theirs. Dark, emotional and undeniably bad-ass, the first issue sold out almost immediately and quickly went back for a second printing. A southern fried, fantasy adventure, there’s a lot of interest in how God Country will unfold and with good reason. High expectations here for issue #2.

 

 

ss1

The #1 One: Super Sons #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Jorge Jimenez

What it is: ‘When I grow up’ part one! The sons of Batman and Superman have graduated to their own monthly comic-but if they want to survive, they’re going to have to share it! Writer Peter J. Tomasi (BATMAN & ROBIN, SUPERMAN) teams with rising-star artist Jorge Jimenez (EARTH 2) to bring you the adventures of the World’s Smallest. This debut issue looks at the lives of Robin and Superboy and their destiny to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, while we meet a new villain whose ascension parallels the boys’ own understanding of their powers-except that he believes it’s his right to rule over every being on the planet!

Why we like it: John Kent and Damian Wayne join forces in this much anticipated on-going series. Fans, myself included, have been impatiently waiting for this title since the two sons first met in Superman Rebirth #10. Super Sons has a ton of potential and should appeal to a wide audience of readers. Mix in the first appearance of a new villain and Super Sons #1 has all the ingredients for a classic.

 

 

u24

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Ultimates 2 #4 (Jusko corner box variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Al Ewing
Art: Travel Foreman
Cover Art: Joe Jusko

What it is: Philip Vogt knows the truth. The Ultimates have reformed — and they’re working for Galactus. That means trouble. It’s time to send in the Troubleshooters! Meanwhile, on the fringes of possibility, Galactus confronts a terrifying new entity, LOGOS!

Why we like it: I’ve been grabbing all of the corner box variants that I can find at my local shop, but I’m going out of my way to secure a copy of this one. Absolutely gorgeous.

 

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 2/01/2017

Gung xi fat choi comic book fans and welcome to a special Chinese New Year edition of the Crank File, the only place on the web calling the year of the rooster, the year of the cock. I’m your host Ken Lee and here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

PG11

The Top of the Pile: Paper Girls #11

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K Vaugha
Art: Cliff Chiang

What it is: A BOLD NEW STORYLINE STARTS HERE! The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning ‘Best New Series’ from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and CLIFF CHIANG returns, as Erin, Mac, and Tiffany finally reunite with their long-lost friend KJ only to encounter some horrifying new threats in an unexpected era.

Why we love it: Brian K Vaughan absolutely gutted his Saga fans last week (I’m still recovering emotionally), proving once again why he’s one of the best writers on the planet. Anything this dude writes gets fast tracked to the top of the pile, and Paper Girls has been fantastic so far. The dialogue feels completely natural and effortless, but delivers tremendous emotional payoffs. Making amazing comics never looked so easy.

 

 

BM16

The Mainstream One: Batman #16

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I Am Bane’ part one! Bane is coming for Batman. Bruce must keep those he loves safe for five days in order to save Gotham Girl once and for all. But Bane will stop at nothing, and no one is safe.

Why we like it: This series keeps getting stronger and better with each arc. Last issue’s “Rooftops” was a stark-yet-beautiful glimpse into the complicated Cat/Bat relationship. This week we are back to bat-kicking business as “I Am Bane” starts a new thrilling chapter. Long live Tom King!

 

 

WD163

The Indie One: Walking Dead #163

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard

What it is: NEW STORY ARC! ‘CONQUERED’-In the aftermath of The Whisperer War: ALL IS LOST. ALSO: HOLY CRAP! THIS ISSUE IS .25 CENTS TO CELEBRATE THE 25th ANNIVERSARY OF IMAGE COMICS!

Why we like it: The Whisper Wars ended with a 2-page spread that made it very clear, the real war was just beginning. The grand-daddy of all zombie herds is headed right towards Rick’s camp and even by Walking Dead standards, things are looking pretty grim. Oh and holy crap, this is a 25 cent issue.

 

 

DM1

The #1 One: Darth Maul #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Luke Ross

What it is: Bred on hate, fear, and anger, steeped in the ways of darkness, and trained to kill. Darth Maul’s time as apprentice to Darth Sidious has long been cloaked in shadows, but at last we will reveal his tale of revenge. From writer Cullen Bunn (DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, WOLVERINE) and artist Luke Ross (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, HERCULES) comes a tale of rage unleashed as Darth Maul prepares for his first encounter with the Jedi.

Why we like it: After being utterly wasted in that dreadful Star Wars prequel, Darth Maul proved so popular that his character was included in the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series. Now he’s getting his own solo comic written by the talented Cullen Bunn. The series will reveal the Sith apprentice’s journey leading up to that dreadful Star Wars prequel. There are a bunch of variants being released with this new #1, as Marvel is wont to do. I’m a sucker for action figure variants, but the Rod Reis regular cover is probably my favorite.

 

 

A N D C

The Ones I’m Buying for the Cover: Avengers #4, Nova #3,  Deadpool #26, Champions #5 Corner Box variants

Publisher: Marvel
Cover Art: Joe Jusko

Why we like it: Do those look familiar? How about these?

ACB     NCB

Those little guys live in the top-left corner of comic book covers and were created by some of Marvel’s most revered artists. Some wizard at Marvel had the brilliant idea of having Joe Jusko recreate those thumbnail sketches as full-sized portraits with his realistic, painted style. The series of Corner Box variants, consisting of 20 covers in total, will be released throughout the month of February.

 

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