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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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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – December 13, 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: Mister Miracle #5

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: How do you spend your last night on Earth? Why, with the one you love, of course! Having been condemned to death by the new Highmaster, Mister Miracle is going to have to return to New Genesis for his execution. Before he does, he and Big Barda go on one last date. But if Scott Free truly is infected by Darkseid, as Orion says, you can bet some dark force will intervene-only to what end? MATURE READERS

Why we love it: Still pretty fuzzy about what the heck is going on in this book but I love it. King and Garad’s Miracle Man is dark, disturbing and fearless, and must not be missed.

  The Mainstream One: Batman White Knight #3 (of 7)

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Sean Murphy

What it is: Tragedy strikes, and the Bat-family face the fight of their lives against an army of super-villains and waning public support. A new discovery reinforces Jack’s plot to jeopardize the Dark Knight’s standing in Gotham City, and Harley’s obsession with The Joker reaches a new height-and threatens to change the game for good! RATED T+

Why we like it: The rumors of Harley appearing as Neo-Joker has provided lot of heat on this book, especially this Sean Murphy cover. Regardless, this series has been great so far and is worth a pickup just for the read.

The Indie One: Extremity #9

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Daniel Warren Johnson

What it is: As Thea and Rollo risk life and limb to revive a fallen friend, Annora proves that the beasts below aren’t the only monsters prowling the Ancient Dark.

Why we like it: Extremity is one of my favorite Image books being published right now. I originally picked this title up for the artwork but have stuck around for the surprisingly deep and nuanced, anti-war narrative.

  

The #1 One: Paradiso #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Ram V
Art: Dev Pramanik

What it is: The Midnight Event forever changed the world. Now, centuries later, Jack Kryznan arrives on the outskirts of Paradiso City, haunted by fragments of childhood memories and in possession of a mysterious device-one with the power to change the destiny of this living breathing metropolis, the people who dwell within, and the guardians who strive for and against it.

Why we like it: Pretty cool premise but I’m always up for a dystopian sci-fi story.  If you’re on the fence, you can check out a preview of issue #1 here https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/09/exclusive-image-comics-preview-paradiso-is-the-pos.html

  

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Amazing Spider-Man #792

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Ryan Stegman
Cover Art: Alex Ross

What it is: VENOM INC. Part 2 Spider-Man finds himself between Eddie and a mysterious new figure! And Black Cat and her gang find themselves face-to-face with an amped-up villain named Maniac that might just rip those faces right off. Rated T

Why we like it: I think that these ASM Alex Ross covers aren’t getting enough love. I think maybe the Dan Slott hate has gone too far because a lot of these are getting overlooked by collectors. Case and point, this cover one featuring Spidey, Venom and Anti-venom is an absolute beauty that is going right into my personal collection.

 

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 – November 1, 2017

Happy Halloween comic book fans! And welcome to an extra spooky episode of the Crank File. Actually I lied, there’s nothing the least bit horrifying out this week. They released it all last week. The only scary thing this week was the number of candy bars I ate while binge watching Stranger Things 2. 3 Musketeers 4 life. 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 #34

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Joelle Jones

What it is: ‘Dream of Me’ part two! Batman is on a quest in the desert, far from his Gotham City home. His friends and allies think he’s gone crazy, and his mission puts him far outside the law. Waiting for him at the center of the chaos is an old enemy… and plenty of old demons.

Why we love it: Ok, so here’s what’s actually happening. A man is taking his fiance to meet his baby’s mama. Absurd, I know, but once you learn who the players are it sort of works. Joelle Jones’ artwork was brilliant last issue, can’t wait to see how she follows it up.

  

The Mainstream One: Batman White Knight #2

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Sean Murphy

What it is: Public support for Batman dwindles and Gotham City’s 99 percent rally around ex-Joker Jack Napier’s crusade to expose decades of corruption within the GCPD. A proposition inspires new revelations about Harley and The Joker’s past; and as Jack transforms into a hero of the middle class and takes extreme measures to mobilize a revolutionary army of super-villains, Bruce struggles to stay focused on engineering a technological breakthrough to save Alfred.

Why we like it: Back to back bat books (say that 5 times fast). This is the second issue in a seven issue miniseries and here’s what’s actually happening here. Batman’s gone crazy and Joker’s gone sane and it’s game on. Murphy’s artwork is excellent as expected, his style is perfect for drawing the gritty streets of Gotham. Looking forward to this #2.

The Indie One: Paper Girls #17

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

What it is: At last, the Paper Girls learn what the hell is going on. By Eisner Award-winning writer BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and artist CLIFF CHIANG, with colors by 2017 Eisner Award-winning colorist MATT WILSON.

Why we like it: So here’s what’s actually going on here… I actually have no idea what’s going on here either. I love that synopsis. What the hell is going on? It’s pure sci-fi bananas and I love it. Did you see that all the creators have won Eisners?? They all won Eisners for their work on this book. So yeah, it’s pretty good.

 

The #1 One: No. 1 With a Bullet #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Jacob Semahn
Art: Jorge Corona

What it is: ‘A sublime piece of futurism that is both entertaining in its absurdity and terrifying in its predictions.’–Clive Barker Her social media, strong. Her variety show segments, a hit. Nash Huang is at the top of her game. But when the iRis Shutter contact lens hits the market, Nash’s life is personally invaded. The latest leap forward in ‘technological progress,’ these contacts not only play video or augment reality…but also record footage. Fighting to keep her life together after a leaked sex tape goes viral, a clingy super-fan is the last thing on Nash’s mind…but that’s exactly when the bodies pile up and the terror begins. From the bestselling team that brought you GONERS, comes NO. 1 WITH A BULLET!

Why we like it: The #1 One is No. 1 With a Bullet #1. It’s actually not, it’s Grave Diggers Union #1 but that “number one” bit was just too good to not use.

  

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Captain America #695
(Ross lenticular variant)

Publisher: Marvel 
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee
Cover Art: Alex Ross

What it is: HOME OF THE BRAVE Part 1 HOME OF THE BRAVE begins – and Steve Rogers is back in action in the red-white-and-blue! Steve begins a journey across America to restore his tarnished reputation – and the dangers he encounters along the way are unlike any he’s faced before! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Rated T+

Why we like it: I love the cover art but I have not been impressed at all by Marvel’s lenticular covers.  I really wish they would offer a standard, non-lenticulating version of these Legacy covers because some of the swipes have been outstanding. Alex Ross here with an excellent swipe of Tales of Suspense #39.

 

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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – October 4, 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: Batman #32 (Coipel variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Clay Mann

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ finale! This is the finale everyone will be talking about for years to come! In BATMAN #24, we gave you the question; in BATMAN #32, you get the answer. As the Riddler and The Joker desperately fight for supremacy in Gotham City, Batman reveals how far he had to go to end the war. Now, knowing Batman’s greatest sin, Catwoman must make her decision: Will she marry Batman?

Why we love it: 8 issues in the making, everyone’s waiting on edge for Selina’s answer to Bruce’s proposal. I just can’t see her saying yes.  Even if she does I don’t expect their marriage will last. These are comics that we are talking about here after all. I’m really more interested in seeing how the War of Jokes and Riddles plays out. This story arc has been fantastic and is without a doubt the pinnacle of Tom King’s run on Batman thus far.

  The Mainstream One: Batman White Knight #1 

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Sean Murphy

What it is: In a world where Batman has gone too far, The Joker must save Gotham City. He’s been called a maniac, a killer and the ‘Clown Prince of Crime’ but ‘white knight’? Never. Until now… Set in a world where the Joker is cured of his insanity and homicidal tendencies, The Joker, now known as ‘Jack,’ sets about trying to right his wrongs. First he plans to reconcile with Harley Quinn, and then he’ll try to save the city from the one person who he thinks is truly Gotham City’s greatest villain: Batman! Superstar writer and artist Sean Murphy (PUNK ROCK JESUS, THE WAKE) presents a seven-issue miniseries of a twisted Gotham City with a massive cast of heroes and villains that, at its heart, is a tragic story of a hero and a villain: Batman and The Joker. But which is the hero-and which the villain?

Why we like it: Yes, you read that correct, the Joker must save Gotham from the Batman. Sean Murphy is one of my favorite comic creators. He’s a unique story teller and as an artist he’s like a man among boys. I haven’t seen much from Sean G since Tokyo Ghost concluded and I expect that he’s been pouring his heart into this twisted tale.

The Indie One: Extremity #7

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Daniel Warren Johnson

What it is: NEW STORY ARC Thea and Rollo enter the Ancient Dark, where they are hunted by things that dare not live in the light above.

Why we like it: One of my favorite Image titles returns with a new arc. If you missed out on this one, the first 6 issues have been collected in trade paper back. I really can’t recommend this sci-fi, war drama enough. It’s got amazing art, multi-dimensional characters and stories that run you through the emotional gamut. Basically everything that makes for a great comic, Extremity delivers in spades.

  The #1 One: Slots #1

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Dan Panosian 

What it is: NEW SERIES You can say this about the life of Stanley Dance: he did it his way. Unfortunately, his way never took getting old into account. Now, the former boxer is on his last legs, looking for redemption…but he’ll settle for going down swinging. Roll the dice with superstar artist DAN PANOSIAN as he creates a bold and breathtaking vision of Las Vegas, where everything old can become new, and superstition influences how the chips fall.

Why we like it: Dan Panosian is undeniably an incredibly talented artist. It will be interesting to see how he fares as a writer. After leaving comics for years to work in video games and advertising, Panosian returns to Image with a hard-boiled, crime story that he calls “a labor of love.”

  The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica #1 (Hughes variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Marc Andreyko, Paul Dini
Art: Laura Braga
Cover Art: Adam Hughes

What it is: Free college tuition for all Riverdale residents?! That’s the plan-after the town drains the wetlands that lie between it and Gotham City and then builds a new campus. The only snag? A certain botany-obsessed super-villain. When Poison Ivy enlists her bestie, Harley, to kidnap both Veronica Lodge, daughter of Riverdale’s most important citizen, and her friend Betty, she’s counting on some assistance-and the mayhem that ensues will probably work as well! DC Comics and Archie are proud to present the adventure of a lifetime for all these best pals. Their hijinks are brought to you by the real-life team-up of Paul Dini (HARLEY QUINN) and Marc Andreyko (WONDER WOMAN ’77), with art by Laura Braga (DC BOMBSHELLS)!

Why we like it: It’s no secret that I love me some Adam Hughes covers. It’s a regular price variant so you should be able to snag this beauty in the wild pretty easily on Wednesday. The fact that Paul Dini is co-writing this series is just icing on the cheesecake.

 

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