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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – March 28, 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: Dark Knight Metal #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: All roads lead…to darkness. In the devastating and epic conclusion to DC’s cataclysmic event series, heroes from across the universe make their final charge into the unknown to battle the forces of the Dark Multiverse! Space and time, dreams and nightmares, all will collide – and what is left at the end will leave the DC Universe irrevocably changed!

Why we love it: Better late than never, I suppose. DC’s lucky that Metal has been rock solid, or else I wouldn’t have bothered. But I can’t look away now, not when the end is at hand. Every issue in this series has ended on a note of hopelessness, with our heroes facing increasingly hopeless scenarios. During last issue’s finale, Batman and Superman had been disintegrated at the World Forge, Barbatos and the dark universe had succeeded in crossing over into our universe and the world had basically gone to hell. I can’t imagine how they’ll get out of this mess in one issue but here it is, the conclusion to Dark Nights Metal.

The Mainstream One: Doomsday Clock #4

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

What it is: The series you thought you’d never see reaches its fourth issue with a shocking revelation about the aftermath of Ozymandias’ actions and how they reach into even the darkest corners of the DC Universe. Don’t miss the latest chapter by the acclaimed team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank!

Why we like it: The countdown to Doomsday continues, only now it’s counting down at half speed after the announcement that issues would be coming out every other month. We are almost 2 years post Rebirth and it boggles my mind that many of the mysteries seeded back then still haven’t borne fruit. What was the deal with the multiple Supermen? Where is Dr. Manhatten and what role did he play in creating the New52 universe? What was up with the 3 Jokers reveal? With so many loose plot threads still dangling, the clock’s ticking to deliver answers or else I fear fans will just stop caring.

The Indie One: Saga #50

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What it is: SAGA TURNS 50! To help their friends, Hazel and her parents risk everything to visit a dangerous new world. Celebrating 50 consecutive issues by the same award-winning creative team. Plus, the winners of the latest SAGA COSTUME CONTEST are revealed exclusively in ‘To Be Continued,’ the letters page showcasing the best readers in comics!

Why we like it: I know I said that I would stop highlighting Saga every week that it comes out, but this is a milestone issue for what I consider to be the most important independent comic being published right now. If you haven’t been reading Saga, now is not a good jumping on point as the last two issues have been foreshadowing some serious shit going down in this arc. And if you haven’t been reading Saga, I would highly recommend that you remedy that situation immediately.

 The #1 One: Bruce Lee Walk of the Dragon

Publisher: Darby Pop
Words: Nicole Dubuc, Shannon Lee, Jeff Kline
Art: Brandon McKinney

What it is: Philosopher/teacher/real-life superhero Bruce Lee is back. And, let’s be honest, the world needs him now more than ever. Taking a brief respite from battling an otherworldly evil, Bruce Lee attempts to navigate modern-day Southern California despite still suffering from amnesia and having been ‘out of the loop’ for over 45 years. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a simple ‘lunch run’ soon turns into a comedy of errors involving mistaken identity, a Film Festival,’ and the pokey. And despite never being one to initiate fisticuffs, Bruce continues to find it difficult to both hide his martial arts skills – and keep his shirt on.

Why we like it: I’m a huge fan of Bruce Lee, but not necessarily his comics. These Darby Pop comics are being produced under the watchful eye of Bruce’s daughter Shannon and it’s definitely aimed towards a younger audience, lacking any gratuitous violence, controversy or compelling drama. I enjoy the “man out of time” hook and watching a newly unfrozen Bruce navigate modern society is entertaining. But otherwise these are fairly vanilla stories that focus on fun, comedy and morality.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Damnation Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Christopher Sebela
Art: Phil Noto
Cover Art: Clayton Crain

What it is: DAMNATION TIE-IN! Johnny Blaze takes the fight to a different devil than he usually faces – Mephisto! But Mephisto will show Johnny his own brand of suffering – and give Johnny PLENTY of reasons for vengeance. Rated T+

Why we like it: Hot damn, this cover is straight fire!

 

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 – January 31, 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: Dark Knight Metal #5 (of 6)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: The Justice League faces the final extinguishing of our world, invaded on all sides by unimaginable nightmares, fueled on to the edge of oblivion only by the belief that there must be a light in the endless darkness-somewhere. But…what if there’s not? FOIL-STAMPED, EMBOSSED COVER RATED T+ 

 

The Mainstream One: Avengers #678

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Pepe Larraz

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 4 NOW ON SALE WEEKLY! The Avengers are caught in a game of cosmic proportions, but they don’t know the rules – and one of them is about to pay the ultimate price! THE FIRST AVENGER FALLS! Rated T+

 

The Indie One: Spawn #282

Publisher: Spawn
Words: Daragh Savage
Art: Jason Shawn Alexander

What it is: ‘DARK HORROR,’ conclusion THE EXCITING FINALE OF THE DARK HORROR STORY ARC! This issue marks the introduction of a NEW CHARACTER, soon to have its OWN Image comic book!



The #1 One: Hungry Ghosts #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose
Art: Alberto Ponticelli, Vanesa Del Rey

What it is: Kitchen Nightmares! On a dark, haunted night, a Russian oligarch dares a circle of international chefs to play the samurai game of 100 Candles–where each storyteller spins a terrifying tale of ghosts, demons and unspeakable beings–and prays to survive the challenge. Inspired by the Japanese Edo period game of Hyakumonogatari KaidankaiHungry Ghosts reimagines the classic stories of yokai, yorei, and obake, all tainted with the common thread of food. First course: With bad consequence, a ramen chef refuses to help a beggar, and a band of pirates get more (and less) than they were bargaining for after their encounter with a drowning woman turns ghastly. Hungry Ghosts is cooked up by the infamous author and chef, Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential, Emmy-Award winning TV star of Parts Unknown) and acclaimed novelist Joel Rose (Kill, Kill, Faster, Faster, back again from their New York Times #1 best seller, Get Jiro!). Joining them this issue are stellar artists Alberto Ponticelli and Vanesa Del Rey, with amazing color by Jose Villarrubia, and a drop-dead cover by Paul Pope.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Phoenix Resurrection #5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Koi Pham
Cover Art: Kamome Shirahama

What it is: A light in the darkness is not always welcome. Kitty Pryde, Old Man Logan and Cyclops are leading teams of X-Men all across the globe, chasing events connected to the Phoenix. But with teammates disappearing and familiar enemies returning, the X-Men are fighting a losing battle. Beast doesn’t know how or what shape it will take, but he knows they are running out of time before the Phoenix makes its true presence known. Meanwhile, a young woman named Jean is starting to go insane in her peaceful, suburban life. Nightmares and daydreams are spilling over into the world and revealing cracks in her reality. Jean’s life and everything in it may just be a facade, but made by who? And why? Jean needs to escape. The X-Men need to stop the cycle of death the Phoenix brings. Their worlds will violently collide as Jean searches for an opening and the X-Men fight for closure. But when they are brought together, will the X-Men be reunited with their long-lost teammate – or something darker? Rated T+

 

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 16, 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. It’s looking like a monster week with so many good books out this week. While this is great news to me as a fan, it was not an easy week to make picks. This week’s list required a lot of deliberation and a lot of good books didn’t make the cut. These are the books that did:

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Totally Awesome Hulk #22

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Robert Gill

What it is: ‘WEAPONS OF MUTANT DESTRUCTION’ PART SIX! The Weapon X program’s twisted head scientists have finally completed their magnum opus! Now BATCH H is awake, and it’s MAD AS HELL. Rated T

Why we love it: Batch H makes its debut in the final issue to Weapons of Mutant Destruction. Reading the solicits for Weapon X, this Hulk/Wolverine/cyborg hybrid could be sticking around for a while even after WMD wraps. We get our first good look at him here with another totally awesome cover by Stonehouse.

The Mainstream One: Batman #29

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part five! Batman has done his best to keep the peace, but with neither faction backing down, he may have to choose the lesser of two evils if he wants the violence to end. Will Batman embrace the murderous anarchy of The Joker or the bloody fascism of the Riddler? If he wants to win, he’ll have to choose a side-and either way, he loses.

Why we like it: My guess is that Barman doesn’t embrace either and plays both the Riddler and Joker for chumps and wins. But that’s just my guess. Great series, another of Tom King’s slow burners that is heating up quick.

 

The Indie One: Descender #23

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen

What it is: ‘RISE OF THE ROBOTS,’ Part Two The new DESCENDER event explodes as Tim-21 makes his daring escape from the clutches of the Hardwire. Meanwhile Andy, Effie, and Bandit are taken prisoner by the UGC until one of them shockingly turns traitor. And deep below the ocean planet of Mata, the final fate of Telsa is revealed.

Why we like it: Rise of the Robots started off with a blast, throwing us some major league plot twists punctuated by deep space action. I can’t wait for the Harvesters to start showing up, and it seems like we could be seeing them sooner than later.

The #1 One: Dark Knights Metal #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: The superstar BATMAN team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo reunite for a massive, universe-spanning event! DARK NIGHTS: THE FORGE and THE CASTING hinted at dark corners of reality that have never been seen till now! Now, as DARK DAYS: METAL begins, the Dark Multiverse is revealed in all its devastating danger-and the threats it contains are coming for the DC Universe! DARK DAYS: METAL is a DC event unlike any other-one that will push Batman, Superman and heroes of the Justice League beyond their limits to take on threats unlike any our world has ever seen! It will take the combined might of the World’s Greatest Heroes as you’ve never seen them before to face what’s coming their way!

Why we like it: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo reunited on Batman and it feels so good. I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about this series outside of the creative team, but recent rumors have been hinting at a crossover with Vertigo’s Sandman universe at the end of issue 1. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was released through Vertigo during the late 80’s/early 90’s and is hands down my favorite book of all time, comic or otherwise, so I’m adequately pumped for Metal. There’s a special midnight release Capullo variant cover that I like better than the regular Capullo cover, so I guess it’s going to be a late night.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Aquaman #27

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art and cover art: Stjepan Sejic

What it is: ‘UNDERWORLD’ part three! Aquaman lives! Threatened by the return of Atlantis’ natural-born ruler, King Rath accelerates his plan to scrub the sunken city of all its ancient magical treasures-but why is he stockpiling magic? Whatever the reason, Rath will need all the firepower he can get when Mera breaks through the barrier surrounding the city!

Why we like it: In an unexpected twist, Stjepan Sejic’s cover A for Aquaman gets the nod over the Josh Middleton cover B. One of the better Mera covers I’ve seen in a while. With her character appearing in both the upcoming Aquaman and Justice League movies, a lot of eyes will be turning to the Queen of Atlantis.

 

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