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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!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – August 22, 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: Venom #5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Ryan Stegman

What it is: An ancient Klyntar has awakened on Earth, and with it, something has stirred in Eddie Brock’s symbiote. And while Venom would never do anything to hurt Eddie or an innocent person, the ancient symbiote has no such qualms… Rated T+

The Mainstream One: Black Panther #3

Publisher:  Marvel
Words: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Daniel Acuna

What it is: THE INTERGALACTIC EMPIRE OF WAKANDA CONTINUES! The rebels make their move! On the verge of liberating the Nameless, T’Challa, M’Baku and Nakia hunt for mysterious artifact that promises to turn the tide. What is the M’Kraan Shard? And will T’Challa find its acquisition worth the cost? Rated T

The Indie One: Black Hammer: Age of Doom #4

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

What it is: The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns with lots of revelations! All is revealed when Lucy makes her way back to the farm from Dreamland, confronting the mastermind of their current situation. The revelations here will alter the fate of the Black Hammer family forever!

The #1 One: Punisher #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Riccardo Buchielli

What it is: YOU CAN TAKE THE PUNISHER OUT OF THE WAR MACHINE… Punisher no longer has the War Machine armor, but he retained his newly acquired taste for big game, and he’s hungry for more. However, the paths to such perilous pursuits are fraught with dangers bigger than any Frank has faced before, and this lone wolf could use otherworldly help on his way up to the world stage. MATTHEW ROSENBERG continues pushing the boundaries of the Punisher, and now joined by acclaimed artist RICCARDO BURCHIELLI (DMZ, Northlanders), this is the book Punisher fans will be talking about for years to come! Parental Advisory

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Detective Comics #987 

Publisher: DC
Words: Bryan Hill
Art: Miguel Mendonca
Cover Art: Mark Brooks

What it is: Then, the pulse-pounding ‘On the Outside’ storyline hurtles toward its cataclysmic conclusion! Batman has tasked Katana, Black Lightning, the Signal and Orphan (a.k.a. Cassandra Cain) with stopping a rogue operator using alien technology that can crack into any mind on Earth! What does this case have to do with the Brainiac Files seen in JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE #1? And how does Amanda Waller factor in? Guess you’re ‘outside’ of Batman’s circle of trust… for now.

 

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 23, 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:  Invincible Iron Man #600

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Everyone

What it is: BRIAN BENDIS ENDS HIS MARVEL TENURE WITH THIS VERY SPECIAL OVERSIZED ANNIVERSARY ISSUE! Tony Stark is back, but in what form? At least five huge surprises await new and old fans alike. Industry legend Brian Michael Bendis drops his final Marvel Comic to end an era, and he’s going out big! This super-sized anniversary extravaganza features artistic contributions from a bevy of Bendis’ collaborators from over the years, including Jim Cheung, David Marquez, Mike Deodato Jr., Mark Bagley, Leinil Francis Yu, Daniel Acuña and a few other surprises! All this and a huge new villain arises! And the futures of Tony, Riri Williams and Victor Von Doom are all revealed!

Why we love it: Bendis’ last issue before he moves on for the bluer pastures at DC. I read that Tony is going to try to bring Rhodey back from the dead. This is sure to end well.

The Mainstream One: Champions #20

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jim Zub
Art: Sean Izaaksi

What it is: What good is conquering a world if it’s already destroyed by the time you take over? The Master is determined to save Earth from itself and the Champions are going to help him do it… Plus, a new hero from an unexpected source – Who is Snowguard?

Why we like it: New character alert, Amka Aliyak aka Snowguard. She’s a teenaged Inuk whose powers seem similar to DC’s Beast Boy. She can shapeshift and take on animal traits. Champions has a smaller print run which could make this a harder to find first appearance down the road, if the character sticks around. What is up with Hulk’s face? He looks like friggin Mr. Yunioshi.

The Indie One: Black Hammer: Age of Doom #2

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dan Ormston

What it is: The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns! As new Black Hammer Lucy Weber fights her way out of this gritty new dimension, she finds herself caught in Hell itself and up against trickster demons, Satan, and a bizarre emo god.

Why we like it: Jeff Lemire keeps hammering out the hits. Age of Doom is delivering the same sense of mystery and dread that made the first volume of Black Hammer so enjoyable. 

The #1 One: Black Panther #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Taneshi Coates
Art: Daniel Acuna

What it is: A NEW DIRECTION FROM TA-NEHISI COATES & DANIEL ACUñA! A bold new direction for the Black Panther! For years, T’Challa has fought off invaders from his homeland, protecting Wakanda from everything from meddling governments to long-lost gods. Now, he will discover that Wakanda is much bigger than he ever dreamed… Across the vast Multiverse lies an empire founded in T’Challa’s name. Readers caught a glimpse of it in MARVEL LEGACY #1. Now find out the truth behind the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda! Ta-Nehisi Coates welcomes aboard fan-favorite artist Daniel Acuña for a Black Panther story unlike any other!

Why we like it: Black Panther in spaaaaaace! Just look at that 1:25 In-Hyuk Lee variant cover! How are we gonna top that?

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batgirl #23

Publisher: DC
Words: Hope Larson
Art: Minkyu Jung
Cover Art: Josh Middleton

What it is: ‘STRANGE LOOP’ finale! Trapped in a prison of her own mind’s making, Batgirl must act out of character in order to reenter reality. Can she put her need to survive above the needs of those she’s sworn to protect? Or is she doomed to wander the mazes of her mind for all of eternity?!

Why we like it: This is going to be a semi-virgin cover and will look drop dead gorgeous. Congrats Josh Middleton, you’ve created a classic!

 

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 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: Action Comics #1000

Publisher: DC
Words and Art: Everyone

What it is: Celebrate 1000 issues of Action Comics with an all-star lineup of top talent as they pay tribute to the comic that started it all! From today’s explosive action to a previously unpublished tale illustrated by the legendary Curt Swan to the Man of Tomorrow’s future-this very special, oversized issue presents the best of the best in Superman stories!

Why we love it: That is a lot of zeroes. Action Comics #1 came out in 1938 and started a cultural revolution. Congrats Supes, you’ve been an inspiration to us all. May you live to see another thousand.

The Mainstream One: Amazing Spider-man #799

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Stuart Immonen

What it is:  GO DOWN SWINGING Part 3. SPIDER-MAN will need to the help of friend and foe alike if he hopes to stop THE GREEN GOBLIN this time! The mystery of the RED GOBLIN is finally revealed, and it’s not going to be pretty for Peter Parker!

Why we like it: You may think that nothing could top last issue’s reveal of the Red Goblin’s true identity, but you would be so wrong! I was able to check out an advanced preview of issue #799 and there’s a heartbreaking reveal in here that is guaranteed to knock the webbing out of your shooters.

The Indie One: Black Hammer: Age of Doom #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dan Ormston

What it is: The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns! Picking up immediately where we left off–Lucy Weber has become the new Black Hammer and right as she’s about to reveal to our heroes how they got stuck on the farm and can escape she vanishes. Now our new Black Hammer finds herself trapped in a gritty world filled with punk rock detectives, emo gods, anthropomorphic humans, absurdist heroes, and many more weirdoes, in a mad world in which there is no escape!

Why we like it: Black Hammer is one of the best indie titles I’m currently reading. It’s a story about superheroes but it’s not a typical superhero story. The characters are flawed, conflicted and often impotent against the mysterious force that has them trapped in a world that no one understands. If you haven’t checked this series out already, do yourself a favor and order the volume 1 trade paper back.

The #1 One: Harley Quinn #42

Publisher: DC
Words: Frank Tieri
Art: Mauricet

What it is: Old Lady Harley”! In this far-flung future tale, Harley returns home thirty years after leaving Coney Island — or, more accurately, she’s DRAGGED home — to deal with the mess that the Gangs of Harley have made in her absence! Her disciples have all splintered into warring tribes, and they’ve torn down what’s left of ravaged, mutated New York City in the process!

Why we like it: Ok, so technically not a #1 but Old Lady Harley sounds hilarious. Can’t wait to see how the rest of the gang has aged.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Weapon X #16

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Roland Boschi
Cover Art: Eric Canete

What it is: ‘OLD MAN LOGAN VS. SABRETOOTH’ CONCLUSION! Savage action as Old Man Logan and Sabretooth fight alone in a containment facility filled with horrific beasts! But who will prove himself the biggest monster? Witness the true fate of Sabretooth from the Wastelands of Old Man Logan’s past! Sets up a huge status quo change for Marvel’s deadliest team of mutants!

Why we like it: I peed a little when I first saw this cover. Terrifying.

 

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 20, 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: Black Hammer #13

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dan Ormston

What it is: It was the greatest superhero event of all time, a multiversal crisis. Black Hammer, Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Barbalien, Colonel Weird, and even Madame Dragonflythey united to take down Anti-God, the ultimate evil, on the streets of Spiral City. For ten years, the former heroes have been living in exile. But a new arrival from the main timeline brought new hope. And maybe, finally, its time for them to relaunch . . .

Why we love it: Black Hammer has been one of my favorite reads and it’s appearance at the top of the pile has been a long time coming. This is a story of flawed super heroes who are inexplicably transported to a seemingly idyllic rural town. Life there is simple there, and peaceful, but our heroes are unable to leave, ever. How they were trapped there and why they were sent in the first place is still unknown, but the mystery is slowly unraveling and the story keeps getting more and more intriguing as it does. The scratchy artwork may turn some people off, but fans of Jeff Lemire will already be accustomed to it. Although the illustrations aren’t lush, crisp or highly detailed, they are stark and effectively convey the emotional drama which is the core of Black Hammer’s charm. Love the Death of Superman cover swipe too.

  The Mainstream One: Batman #31 (Tim Sale variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part five! It’s tough to beat the two biggest puzzlemakers in the world at their own game, and Batman’s gambits have only pulled him deeper into the moral quagmire where the Riddler and The Joker do their dirty work. All of Gotham City hangs in the balance as Batman faces the ultimate conundrum: are brainteasers better than belly laughs?

Why we like it: If you read last issue’s “Ballad of Kite-Man part 2” then you know that this Batman run is unlike any before. Writer Tom King recently stated in an interview that he hopes to do Batman for 100 issues and I’m all for it. The War of Jokes and Riddles wages on but the really surprising thing about this issue is that I’m actually liking the Tim Sale cover B.

The Indie One: Shirtless Bear Fighter #4

Publisher: Image
Words: Jody Leheup, Sebastian Girner
Art: Mike Spicer, Nil Vendrell

What it is: With his home destroyed and his spirit broken, Shirtless must join forces with a hated enemy if he hopes to rise against Logger and his loyal army of chainsaw-wielding Lumber Louts! Don’t miss the pulse-pounding penultimate issue of SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER! 

Why we like it: The title pretty much says it all. But in case you needed more explanation for what this book is about, just take a look at that cover. Unapologetic, ridiculous fun.

  The #1 One: Dark Ark #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Juan Doe

What it is: NEW SERIES! The wickedness of mankind has moved the Creator to destroy the world by way of the flood. Noah has been tasked with building an ark to save his family and the animals of the world. But this is not Noah’s story. For darker powers have commanded the sorcerer Shrae to build his own ark and save the unnatural creatures of the world-such as the vampires, the dragons, the naga, and the manticore. But what will happen on a vessel crawling with monsters, where insidious intrigue and horrific violence are the rule of law? From writer Cullen Bunn (X-Men Blue, Deadpool, Venom) and artist Juan Doe (AMERICAN MONSTER, WORLD READER) comes a sinister tale of biblical proportions that HAD to be told at AfterShock Comics.

Why we like it: I had a hard time picking a #1 this week, so I fell back to an old staple: Cullen Bunn writing a horror title for an indie publisher. Love this premise that injects horror elements into a classic tale.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Infamous Iron Man #11 (Venomized variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: Stefano Caselli
Cover Art: Adi Granov

What it is: Riri Williams accidentally causes an international incident that may throw the entire world into chaos! So, you know, no big deal. The prologue to one of the biggest Iron Man stories in modern history!

Why we like it: When he’s on, Adi Granov’s covers stand among the best of this generation. Kneel before Venom von Doom! 

 

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