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)
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
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
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
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!