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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – December 12, 2018

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

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Batman Damned #2

Publisher: DC
Words: Brian Azzarello
Art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: As Batman’s descent into the madness of Gotham City’s decadent underbelly continues, he must try to exorcise some of his demons…and who better to help than the Demon, Etrigan himself. And where there’s demons, there’s also a Deadman, a Spectre, an Enchantress and a host of other supernatural friends and foes-it’s a veritable Grand Guignol!

Why we love it: Issue #1 sparked controversy with the now infamous Batawang panel, causing it’s price to sky rocket to $50 on the secondary market. But unless we see Harley’s cooch in issue #2, don’t expect the same explosive appreciation in value here. Regardless, this is a good Batman series and well worth your time.  

The Mainstream One: Defenders Silver Surfer #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Latour
Art: Ron Garney

What it is: ‘THE BEST DEFENSE’ PART FOUR! Shall not the Judge of All the Earths do right?
Norrin Radd is not so certain. But it falls to him who is the Silver Surfer to decide which planets will live…and which will feed the unending hunger of the world-devouring Galactus! A single honest person can tip the balance…if only the Surfer can find one in time! And the Train rolls on… Rated T+

Why we like it: The Surfer is one of my favorite Marvel characters, and now that he’s back under control of the MCU I expect a big push coming for the FF and Surfer in 2019 before inevitably they make their way back to the big screen.

The Indie One: Murder Falcon

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

What it is: Jake. Murder Falcon. Johann. Who’s next to join the band? If they’re going to defeat the Veldar, they’re going to need someone to lay down a heavy beat.

Why we like it: This book is so metal that I can’t even. If you read comics and you are a fan of metal music, I promise that you will absolutely love Murder Falcon.

The #1 One: Batman Who Laughs #1 (of 6)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Jock

What it is: Left rattled by the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, Bruce Wayne must come face to face with the nightmares spawned from the Dark Multiverse. But even though evil devoured evil in the collapse of Challengers Mountain, the Dark Knight still has his doubts. He discovers that the Batman Who Laughs not only survived the fight with The Joker at the end of METAL, but now he is enacting a sinister plan across the Multiverse-something both terrifying and oddly familiar. But when Bruce Wayne realizes the only way to stop this madman is to kill him, he must consider violating the very rule Batman won’t break…the same rule that created this insatiable villain-the Batman Who Laughs!

Why we like it: DC’s recent breakout character is getting his own mini series and he’s being given the high-profile treatment, with two of DC’s most recognizable, creative talents attached. If you aren’t familiar with the character, he comes from the Earth -22 dimensions where Bruce Wayne as Batman is driven insane by the Joker, transforming him into the Batman Who Laughs.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Amazing Spider-man #11 (Dell Otto variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Nick Spencer
Ryan Ottley
Cover Art: Gabriele Dell Otto

What it is: J. JONAH JAMESON has a new job as a shock jock, but is the world ready for a pro-Spider-Man JJJ? More importantly, is Spider-Man ready? His post-secret-identity relationship with Jonah was already complicated, but this very public embrace may put him over the edge! Spidey’s definitely not ready for the Enforcers to come at him harder than ever! Rated T

Why we like it: Kneel before the badassery that is Dell Otto!


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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – September 19, 2018

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

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Return of Wolverine #1 (of 5)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Steve McNiven

What it is: HE’S BACK, BUB. Parental Advisory

Why we love it: We all secretly suspected it all along, but now it’s official. Logan’s not actually dead! But where has he been? What has he been up to? And what’s up with those hot claws? The answers to these questions and many more will be answered, well probably not in this issue, but soon! Welcome back to the Marvel Universe Wolvie, hope you survive the experience! 

The Mainstream One: Venom First Host #4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Mark Bagley

What it is: Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been SEPARATED, but Brock isn’t giving up without a fight! With a pair of unlikely allies, Brock takes the fight to his symbiote’s home turf…outer space! Rated T+

Why we like it: In a bizzarre twist in the previous issue, Eddie bonded with his symbiote’s baby blob. Although still weak and underdeveloped, the symbiote spawn has given Eddie a completely different powerset, which so far we know includes the ability to release aerosol pheromones that allow him to manipulate people’s thoughts and emotions. Plus he looks like a can of Monster energy drink.

The Indie One: Black Hammer: Age of Doom #5

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

What it is: The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns with lots of revelations! Our heroes’ journey from Spiral City to the farm is finally revealed and will change them forever!

Why we like it: Finally, the issue I’ve been waiting for. We finally learn how the heroes of Spiral City became trapped in their rural prison. This series has been a great read. Love this cover too, not quite similar enough to be a Dark Knight Returns swipe but I’m definitely feeling that vibe to it.

The #1 One: Batman Damned #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Brian Azerrello
Art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: DC BLACK LABEL, the highly anticipated new imprint from DC Comics, starts here! The Joker is dead. There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery. Problem is, Batman can’t remember… and the more he digs into this labyrinthine case, the more his mind starts to doubt everything he’s uncovering. So who better to set him straight than… John Constantine? Problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people’s heads even more. So with John’s ‘help,’ the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered The Joker. BATMAN: DAMNED is a bimonthly super-natural horror story told by two of comics’ greatest modern creators-a visceral thrill-ride that proudly puts the ‘black’ in BLACK LABEL.

Why we like it: DC’s Black Label imprint is where DC is letting their top creative talent tell ground breaking stories that exist outside of the main DC continuity. Being out of continuity allows the writer to play with themes that just don’t work in the classic, long form comic book tradition. Themes like death (see Top of the Pile). It bothers me that these books will come in an oddly sized, prestige format, which will make them annoying to bag, board and store. That $7 price tag isn’t doing any favors either.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batman #55

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is: The KGBeast lives! The Russian super-assassin is back-but under whose orders? Does he have a specific mission, or is this simply some leftover Cold War mayhem? Nyet, comrade-it has to do with Bruce Wayne’s recent court case involving Mr. Freeze. Something is rotten in Gotham, and you can still smell it, even if it’s on ice!

Why we like it: Another week, another next-level cover by Francesco Mattina. Mattina has to be the current king of cover art and what’s especially impressive is that he’s doing it without the cheesecake.


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