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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


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 – 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.



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.



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.


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.


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.


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!