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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 10/12/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that’s gonna crank ten thousand files, and then crank ten thousand more. I started watching Luke Cage on Netflix and sweet Christmas is it good. I’m only four episodes in and already sucked into its gritty, urban world of turf wars, political maneuvers, amazing live musical performances and good old-fashioned beat downs. Dig it!

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

DV25

The Top of the Pile: Darth Vader #25 (Christopher action figure variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Kieron Gillen
Art: Salvador Larroca

What it is: It has all built up to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids! All comes to fruition in an oversized 40-page issue by the stellar team of Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca! You won’t want to miss this ending!

Why we love it: I love that Aphra is getting the action figure treatment for the final issue of Gillen and Larocca’s exceptional Darth Vader solo series, it is well deserved.  This series introduced a number of memorable, new characters into the Star Wars universe including the lovable murder bots BT-1 and 0-0-0. But the unquestionable star of the series has been the complex Dr. Aphra. We never hear about her character in episodes IV – VI, and I’m seriously worried that she’s not going to survive the series.

 

CC1

The Mainstream one: Clone Conspiracy #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Jim Cheung

What it is: “DEAD NO MORE”: The Jackal is back and has conquered death. The Amazing Spider-Man is outmatched by his classic enemy’s army. Does the wall-crawler stand a chance? SHOULD he stand in The Jackal’s way if he’s found the key to eternal life?

Why we like it: Long time Spider-scribe Dan Slott has been hyping this book hard, promising to make some major changes to the Peter Parker status quo. There are rumors that a major character or characters are coming back from the dead, and the series has one of the hottest artists in Gabriele Dell’Otto doing covers.

 

R1

The Indie One: Reborn #1 (Jock variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Mark Millar
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: Where do you go when you die? Not heaven or hell; somewhere else. Somewhere you have to fight to survive. Somewhere the people from the past are waiting for you-the good and the bad.

Why we like it: Two comic book titans joining forces to create one of the most highly anticipated Image titles of the year. This new Image #1 is being released with a bunch of variant covers done by high-profile artists John Cassaday, Jock, Frank Cho and Todd McFarlane.

M1

The #1 One: Mosaic #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Geoffrey Thorne
Art: Khary Randolph

What it is: Professional basketball player and world renowned celebrity, Morris Sackett, gains extraordinary abilities, at the grave cost of his own mortal body. Imbued with the ability to jump from person to person like a ghost, he controls the bodies and memories of those he inhabits. With his own body destroyed, the one-time superstar athlete must rely on others to survive. The saga of the newest Marvel Inhuman Mosaic begins here!

Why we like it: Marvel continues to diversify its roster with a new, black super hero. I read a preview which further explained the nature of Mosaic’s powers and I think that there is a ton of potential with this character. The guy literally has no body of his own and has to always be occupying a host body, which if you think about is both awesome and absolutely terrifying.

 

dc942

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Detective Comics #942

Publisher: DC
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Andy MacDonald
Cover art: Rafael Albuquerque

What it is: ‘NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN’ part six! The earth-shaking finale is here! Batman’s going one-on-one with Hugo Strange, the mastermind behind the beasts unleashed on Gotham?but the biggest and most dangerous of all the monsters was saved for last! What will the Bat-Family have to sacrifice to bring it down? And what’s the strange secret behind Hugo’s design?

Why we like it: So technically I’m buying this issue for the conclusion to the Night of the Monster Men crossover, which I have been loving, but this Albuquerque variant cover is too dynamic to not spotlight.

 

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 8/24/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that’s finger crankin good. I watched the Killing Joke animated feature and liked it a lot. I grew up watching Batman the Animated Series, so hearing Mark Hamil and Kevin Conroy reprise their iconic roles as the voices of Joker and Batman was fantastic. There was a Bat-girl/Oracle origin story that book-ended the original story, which I didn’t love, but it did give Barbara’s story some meaning besides just being the setup for the Joker’s most twisted joke. Otherwise it was a near exact retelling, complete with song and dance routine. Dark, haunting and still relevant after almost 30 years, Alan Moore and Brian Bollard’s classic is the definitive Joker story.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

WW5

The Top of the Pile: Wonder Woman #5

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Liam Sharp

What it is: ‘The Lies’ part three! Steve Trevor finds himself trapped in the heart of Urzkartaga’s darkness, with Wonder Woman and Cheetah the only hope of rescue for him and his men. But how far can Cheetah be trusted?

Why we love it: Wonder Woman’s Rebirth has been off to an interesting start. Greg Rucka has been weaving two separate stories, one retelling Diana’s exile from Themyscira and the other set in present day where Wonder Woman has entered into an alliance with her arch nemesis Cheatah in hopes of finding a way back home. The two stories lines alternate each issue and will eventually tie together to reconcile Wonder Woman’s multiple, conflicting origin stories. It’s a monumental task and will be an amazing feat if Rucka can actually pull it off.

 

DC939

The Mainstream one: Detective Comics 939 (Albuquerque variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Eddy Barrows

What it is: ‘Rise of the Batmen’ part six! The full scope of the Colony’s plans, and their mysterious leader, have all been revealed, so what’s it going to take to stop them? Believe us, you are not prepared for the last scene.

Why we like it: Tynion’s run on ‘Tec has already thrown us a few good twists. Sounds like he’s got something big cooked up for us this week and I’ll be reading with great interest.

 

Outcast 20

The Indie One: Outcast #20
Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Paul Azteca

What it is: A POWER EXPOSED’ Allison is learning that there is in fact something very special about her daughter. But where is Kyle?

Why we like it: The reigning king of horror returns with another terrifying issue of Outcast. The current arc has been serving up heaping piles of scares and answers. And as we learn more about the nature of Kyle’s powers, the more dangerous we realize his situation is.

 

KW1

The #1 One: Kingsway West #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Mirko Colak

What it is: After thirteen years in prison, a Chinese gunslinger named Kingsway Law just wants to find his wife. But in a fantastical American Old West crackling with magic, monsters, and racist vigilantes, trouble just won’t leave him be. And in this case, trouble is a woman with a magic sword who needs his help.

Why we like it: I’ve been excited for this series since I met Greg Pak at a convention last year. He told me about his creator owned comic about a Chinese gunslinger’s adventures through a magical American Old West and I was instantly sold. It’s pretty much the story that I would write and draw if I had the time, and talent. Thank you Pak-man!

 

VSK11

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom Space Knight #11

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Robbie Thompson
Art: Aaron Kim Jacinto
Cover Art: Gerardo Sandoval

What it is: ‘CIVIL WAR II TIE-IN! Venom versus the Amazing Spider-Man! Secrets, symbiotes and superiority! Flash and his hero have enough to fight about without the conflict that’s tearing the Marvel Universe apart!

Why we like it: Marvel eeks its way onto the list with an old, reliable gimmick, a sweet-ass Venom cover.

 

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 7/27/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web where all we ask is that you let us crank it your way. There’s no better way to ride out a heat wave than staying indoors with the AC turned up to 11. I’m not one who watches a lot of TV, but I spent a good amount of time last week binge watching Netflix’s Stranger Things. I’m 5 episodes in and totally hooked. The plot is like something straight out of an 80’s Stephen King movie with matching setting and musical score. Nothing is done as parody, everything about it feels real and honest. The acting, the cinematography, the costuming and stage design all feel absolutely genuine and it is awesome. It’s an homage to my childhood. The writers scored big points with me for the X-Men 134 reference (the first issue to the classic Dark Phoenix saga). If you dig 80’s style horror then you need to head over to the ‘Flix and get your fix.

That’s what I’m watching. Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

DII4

The Top of the Pile: Divinity II #4

Publisher: Valiant
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Trevor Harsine
Cover Art: Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic

What it is: DIVINITY vs. DIVINITY! Myshka’s plot to re-engineer the globe in Russia’s favor is all but complete. Will Abram Adams – the god-like being now called Divinity – stand against his former comrade?

Why we love it: Valiant’s Divinity is better than 90% of the capes and tights books from the big two. Time shifting, reality bending and some of the finest artwork in comics make Divinty one the most captivating new superheroes on the stands.

 

F3

The Mainstream one: The Flash #3

Publisher: DC
Words: Joshua Williamson
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico
Cover Art: Karl Kerschl

What it is: ‘LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE’ Chapter Three: In issue #3, dozens of innocent people mysteriously gain super-speed! But not all are heroic, and it’ll take everything The Flash and August have to harness the lightning before Black Hole does.

Why we like it: If you’ve been keeping up with the Flash like me, this is the issue we’ve been waiting for. The arrival of Goodspeed.

 

O19

The Indie One: Outcast #19

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Paul Azaceta

What it is: Answers are given and secrets are revealed, as the start of a new story arc finds Kyle and Sidney having a conversation that will change EVERYTHING. Kyle has never been in more danger.

Why we like it: Demons, cults and exorcisms abound in Robert Kirkman’s other horror comic with a TV show, Outcast. This series has been a slow burn and things really started smoldering in the last arc with Kyle beginning to learn the true nature of his ability.

 

T1

The #1 One: Titans #1 (Cover B)

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art: Brett Booth
Cover Art: Mike Choi

What it is: ‘REMEMBER THE TITANS’ Chapter One After an old ally returns to the team, the Titans set their sights on a dangerous enemy with the power to change reality itself! But the Titans have never faced a threat this massive before, and with so much on the line, will they be able to stand united as a team? Or will their past mistakes be their undoing?

Why we like it: Wally West and the Titans are looking like they will be key players in explaining how the DC Universe was re-birthed. And it all starts here. Well technically it started back in the DC Universe Rebirth one-shot and then in Titans’ Rebirth #1. But check out Wally West’s new costume! Cover B is the one that you want.

 

DC937

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Detective Comics #937 (Cover B)

Publisher: DC
Words: James Tynion IV
Art and Cover Art: Alvaro Martinez

What it is: ‘RISE OF THE BATMEN’ Chapter Four: Batman’s found his way into the heart of the Colony, the mysterious new organization cutting its way through Gotham City! Unfortunately, now that he’s in he may find there’s no way out!

Why we like it: If you don’t appreciate this cover then you must either hate Batman or you hate America. We know that nobody hates Batman. You don’t hate America, do you?

 

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 6/8/2016

Welcome back to another installment of the Crank File, the only place on the web that cranks different. Please wipe your feet and come on in.

Mainstream news picked up on two words from the last panel of Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 and created a media crap storm, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the first time DC killed off Superman. Ironically, while Marvel was stealing the spotlight with just those two words, DC’s Rebirth was quietly an across the board success. My LCS ordered heavily on all Rebirth titles and they were almost all sold out by the weekend. Even Scooby friggin Doo sold out. And the sell out was well deserved. DC’s delivering the goods early on and I’m enjoying the heck out of Rebirth. Let’s hope they can keep pushing ahead and avoid postpartum depression.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Vision #8

 

V8

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

What it is: ‘LITTLE BETTER THAN A BEAST’ STARTS NOW! The most critically acclaimed series of the year continues. The Avengers know. They know his wife killed the Reaper and the boy. They know Vision lied to protect her. They know that those lies will lead to more lies, those deaths will lead to more deaths. And they know they need to act, they need to find a way to prove that he has done what he has done so the Avengers can do what they have to do–finally and forever dismantle the Vision and his family

Why we love it: I would argue that The Vision is the best superhero comic on the stands today. Dark, strange and philosophical, The Vision is more than your typical capes and tights fare. It’s a story about family and the lengths we go to protect the ones we love, even if it means doing something bad.

 

The Mainstream one: Detective Comics #934

 

DC934

Publisher: DC
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Eddy Barrows

What it is: ‘RISE OF THE BATMEN’ chapter one An unknown predator begins outdoing Batman, taking down dangerous threats with military precision. It’s up to the Dark Knight and series costar Batwoman to rally and train the young heroes of Gotham City to end this mysterious threat! WHAT NOW: Batman and Batwoman begin training Spoiler, Red Robin and Cassandra Cain, but is the villainous Clayface ready for redemption?

Why we like it: Detective Comics is not being Reibirthed with a #1. Instead it picks back up with its original numbering and begins a new story arc written by Scott Snyder protege, James Tynion IV. Anytime that Bat signal appears, you answer the call.

 

The Indie One: Head Lopper #4

 

HL4

Publisher: Image
Words: Andrew McLean
Art: Andrew McLean

What it is: At long last, Norgal and Agatha face off against the demigod-sorcerer Barra, who proves to be much more able than his frail frame implies. Meanwhile, Lulach approaches with an entire army at his back, but does he come in support or opposition of Barra’s cause?

Why we like it: It’s a quarterly book, but it is well worth the wait. What Head Lopper lacks in proficiency it more than makes up with in quality and quantity. This high fantasy adventure shines with humor, monster slaying and a ton of charm. Issue #4 will be the last issue of this series but I hope it’s not our final adventure with Norgal and Agatha.

The #1 One: Wacky Raceland #1

 

WR1

Publisher: DC
Words: Ken Pontac
Art: Leonardo Manco

What it is: The world has ended, but the race has just begun! Penelope Pitstop, Peter Perfect and the rest of the Wacky Racers vie for the finish line in a contest where the winner takes all and second place is death. Today’s trial: the shattered maze of freeways known as the Uberpass, where they’re beset by giant sand beasts, mutated insects, and worst of all, Dick Dastardly’s murderously poor sportsmanship. The last thing they need after surviving the race is a brutal bar fight in a local dive, but that’s just what they get!

Why we like it: I was pretty skeptical when DC announced its plan to remake classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons with a modern bend, but Scooby Doo surprised the heck out of me. While the names and faces remained familiar, it was was a completely fresh take on Scooby Doo with less camp and more mature plot line. So I’m going to give Wacky Raceland a read because it looks more Beyond Thunderdome than Stop the Pigeon. You can check the preview and judge for yourself: http://comicbook.com/dc/2016/06/03/exclusive-dc-preview-wacky-raceland-1/1

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman Rebirth #1

WWR1

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Liam Sharp, Paulo Siqueira
Cover art: Stanley “Artgerm” Lau

What it is: After suffering an unimaginable loss, Wonder Woman must rebuild her mission as Earth’s ultimate protector and champion. DON’T MISS: New York Times best selling writer Greg Rucka returns to Wonder Woman with a tale that will forever alter the DC icon.

Why we like it: Because Artgerm.  Love.

 

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

 

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 3/9/2016

Welcome to another episode of the Crank File, now with 20% more crank per file. Sad news as comic book artist and Massachusetts native son Paul Ryan died this week. Ryan was an absolute beast during the 80’s, penciling flagship Marvel series like the Avengers, the West Coast Avengers, Iron Man and an astonishing five year run on the Fantastic Four. If you read modern age comics during the late eighties slash early nineties, then chances are you are already familiar with his work. You know that Amazing Spider-man issue where Peter and MJ got married? That was Paul Ryan. Although his name is not as widely remembered as other stars from that era, his artwork will be appreciated by comic books fans for generations to come. Paul was only 66 years old.

 

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile:  Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4

 

BMTMNT 3

Publisher: DC/IDW

Words: James Tynion IV

Art: Freddie Williams II

What it is: With the possibility existing that they might never get home, the Turtles take up residence at Wayne Manor. Everyone seems to be adapting except for Raphael, who still can’t understand why his friends all trust this Bat-person. So Batman takes the skeptical Turtle on a trip down Crime Alley to tell Raph what led him to don the cape and cowl in the first place.

Why we love it: Gotham has been the perfect stage for introducing the Dark Knight to the comedic stylings of the Ninja Turtles and I’m amazed by how seamlessly the two worlds have blended. This week Bruce tells Raphael how he became the Batman. Batman’s origin story is a crucial part of what makes him tick, but we’ve all heard the story a million times by now. This will be Raph’s first time and he gets to hear Bruce tell it firsthand. That’s top of the pile material.

 

The Mainstream One: Vision #5

v5

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Tom King

Art: Gabriel Hernandez

What it is: The secrets are turning into lies, and the lies are turning into blood. In the midst of this violence, Vision must find the truth of what happened to the Grim Reaper. But when he does, will he protect his family or destroy them? Find out as the story of Vision’s family builds to a breathtaking cliffhanger.

Why we like it: The unexpected hit of Marvel’s relaunch for me has been Vision. This book is a hundred times darker and more insane than anything I could have ever imagined. But most of all, the Vision feels new. It’s so refreshing to read a story that doesn’t feel like it has been done a thousand times before. I feel like this series has the potential to be something really special and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t done so already.

 

The Indie One: Head Lopper #3

 

HL3

Publisher: Image

Words and Art: Andrew MacLean

What it is: Norgal and Agatha meet fellow adventurer Zhaania while battling a mega-arachnid from Hell.

Why we like it: Set in the world of swords and sorcery, Head Lopper is an adventure comic that follows Norgal, a nomadic warrior who travels the land with the wise-cracking, decapitated head of a witch Agatha and it is just enjoyable as heck. Andrew MacLean has a voice and visual style that is totally unique and wholly his own.  The first two issues were packed with monsters, violence and humor and by the sound of “mega-arachnid from Hell” issue #3 will stay the course.

 

The #1 One: Haunted Mansion #1 (Crosby variant)

 

HM1

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Joshua Willamson

Art: Jorge Coehlo

What it is: WELCOME, FOOLISH MORTALS, TO THE HAUNTED MANSION! It seems that no one lives in the elegant mansion on the hill, but then where’s that creepy organ music coming from? Are the iron gates meant to keep people out, or some things in? Get ready to meet the 999 ghosts of the Haunted Mansion, but be warned, they’re looking for the 1000th! The delightfully chilling Disney attraction comes to (after)life in an all-new story, penned by JOSHUA WILLAMSON with art by JORGE COELHO! Don’t miss the next great Disney Kingdoms adventure, and the most spine-tingling experience you’ll find this side of a Doom Buggy!

Why we like it: The haunted mansion ride is pretty high up on my favorite Disney memories. There’s just something about the strange combination of horror and humor that never fails to put a grin on my face.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Detective Comics #50 (Tony S. Daniel polybag variant)

 

DC50

Publisher: DC

Words:  Peter J. Tomasi

Art: Fernando Pasarin

What it is: Jim Gordon faces his past in this extra-sized conclusion to his most shocking cold case yet. With history itself forcing him to reflect on the last year as Batman, Gordon must make a decision about what his future holds in Gotham City.

Why we like it: Another fantastic Batman vs Superman cover. I love the cartoonish proportions of the figures on this cover.

 

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 2/3/2016

The Top of the Pile: Vision #4

 

v4

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Tom King

Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Just as everything is coming together, everything goes to hell. After finally finding love for The Vision, Virginia must respond to the one person who threatens that love – and her response will shock the Marvel Universe. A not-to-be-missed ending that builds to next issue’s breathtaking climax.

The Vision has been one of Marvel’s most popular super heroes, and like other A-listers from the Silver Age, he is burdened with a complicated history and convoluted cannon. This latest Vision series gets back to the core of who or what the Vision is, a cybernetic super-weapon turned hero who wants to live like a normal person. Tom King’s Vision literally builds himself a family and attempts to settle them down in the peace and quiet of suburbia, but inevitably trouble comes knocking at their door. Now we find out how far the Visions will go to protect their family. A dark and fascinating, suburban horror story, Visions feels like the most all-new, all different series from Marvel’s relaunch.

 

The Mainstream One: Invincible Iron Man #6

 

IIM6

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Brian Bendis

Art: Mike Deodato

‘THE WAR MACHINES’ STARTS NOW! Something is not right in the house of Stark, and Tony must delve into the nooks and crannies of his international organization to find out what. Plus: The first big clues of major things to come in the Marvel Universe! 

Marvel’s teasing their next big event and it seems like it will involve Iron Man and what sounds like a whole squad of Iron Men and Women. MJ officially joined Team Tony last issue and I’m keeping a close eye on that situation. If you remember back in September when Secret Wars Renew Your Vows #5 came out, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the appearance of a certain someone wearing certain armor. The hype quickly died down once readers found out that Renew Your Vows was not carrying over post relaunch, but maybe Marvel was playing the long game. Spider-Gwen and Gwenpool were surprise hits, could Iron Jane be next?

 

The Indie One: Paper Girls #5

 

pg5

Publisher: Image

Words: Brian K. Vaughan

Art: Cliff Chang

The first arc of the smash-hit ongoing series concludes with major revelations and another game-changing cliffhanger. MAJOR PLOT POINT Lots of answers to our major mysteries in this issue, as well as a final page that will completely transform the book’s status quo before our series’s first regularly planned hiatus.

This series has been so much fun. Paper Girls has been everything I wanted and nothing that I expected. It’s been one surprise after another. Asides from the crazy, scifi elements, the best thing about Paper Girls is how it honestly captures, for me, what growing up as a child in the 80’s felt like without falling back on tired cliches. There was a multi-page spread in issue #4 where we witness one of the girls, Tiffany,  as her life flashes before her eyes, and it’s just scenes of her on the couch playing Breakout on the Nintendo. I have absolutely no idea how Vaughan plans on topping last month’s cliff-hanger, but I’ll be there when he does.

 

The #1 One: Spider-man #1

 

SM1

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Brian Bendis

Art: Sarah Pichelli

Miles Morales has been doing the super hero thing for a while, now, but after SECRET WARS, he’ll be a full-fledged member of the Marvel Universe. Swinging next to The Invincible Iron Man, The Mighty Thor and the All-New Captain America as a card-carrying member of the Avengers is an adventure, but it’s not all fun and games for New York City’s main Spider-MAN! What happened in the eight month gap? It all starts in SPIDER-MAN #1!

Miles makes his triumphant entrance in the Marvel Prime universe and he’s landed the full-time Spider-man gig. Spider-man was originally a story that was painted with teenage angst. Peter Parker was a kid who got picked on by bullies, was awkward around girls and had everyday problems that all ages could relate to. But he grew up, graduated high school and then college, made a career as a photographer at the Bugle, married MJ then made a deal with the devil to erase his marriage to MJ, and rose to CEO of the multinational Parker Industries. We’ve witnessed a huge evolution in Peter Parker’s character and those just aren’t the kind of plot lines that will hold a teenage audience. Enter Miles Morales with his trusty sidekick Ganke Lee and we’re back in New York’s high school system. Another Marvel series, returning to its core.

The One I’m Buying For the Cover: Detective Comics #49 (Neal Adams variant)

 

DC49

Publisher: DC

Words: Peter J. Tomasi

Art: Fernando Pasarin

Caught up in an cold case from his days on the force, James Gordon grapples with the new freedom he has as Batman to investigate the crimes of Gotham City?and the slippery slope that this freedom can be. Does the system he’s believed in all this time still work? Or is it the only thing he has left to hold on to?

I give DC a lot of credit for their variant incentive program. Their themed variant months have been great. The Harley and Joker months produced some memorable covers, I loved the entire set of Looney Tunes covers, Harley’s Black Books make me feel like Charlie Bucket every time I crack open one of their polybags, and I’ve recently spent hours creating masterpieces out of their adult coloring book covers. These themed variants are fun, they look great, and most importantly they are cover-price.

For the month of February, DC pays homage to the legendary Neal Adams by publishing 25 variant covers drawn by Neal Adams. This month’s variant covers revisit and re-imagine some of the most famous and recognizable covers originally drawn by Adams. The Detective Comics #49 variant is a swipe of the cover to Batman #227, which itself is a swipe of 1939’s Detective Comics #31 drawn by Batman creator Bob Kane.

BM227

 

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 1/6/2016

Salutations comic book fans, and welcome to the first episode of the Crank File for 2016. It’s the start of the new year and like many collectors, a part of my resolutions list includes comics that I will be targeting to purchase in the coming year (the top of my want list, for those of you interested, is a mid-grade copy of Avengers #4).  Having goals is an essential part of any good collection. Impulsively collecting everything that catches your fancy is a great way to accumulate a lot of stuff, but without focus and direction you’ll find a good chunk of  your money going towards random pieces and then not having funds for the key pieces or sets that would really add value, whether monetary or sentimental, to your collection.  Take a moment to assess your collection, identify a few pieces or trends that you want to get into in 2016 and then do lots and lots and lots of research. Determine a price range that you can afford and then come up with a budget to help you save up for it. Collecting should be rewarding, and there is nothing more rewarding then getting exactly what you want, for a price that you are comfortable paying. If setting collecting goals wasn’t on your resolution list in 2015, I hope that it’s there in 2016.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Star Wars #14

 

SW14

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jason Aaron

Art: Mike Deodato

VADER DOWN, PART FIVE CHEWBACCA VERSUS BLACK KRRSANTAN! What else do you need? Marvel’s first Star Wars event continues! 

 

Darth Vader #15

 

DV15

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Kieron Gillen

Art: Salvador Larroca

VADER DOWN: THE CONCLUSION! Luke Skywalker–captured by the Empire! Darth Vader–beset by enemies on all sides! The finale of the biggest Marvel Star Wars story yet!

There has indeed been an awakening in the force. Fresh off complete domination at the box office, Star Wars returns to comics with not one, but two concluding issues to the incredible cross-over miniseries, Vader Down. There’s no stopping the Star Wars empire right now and these two books will undoubtedly be among the best sellers this week.

 

The Mainstream One: Spiderman Deadpool #1 (Del Mundo variant)

 

SMD1

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Joe Kelly

Art: Ed McGuiness

BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT! The Webbed Wonder and the Merc with a Mouth are teaming up for their first ongoing series EVER! It’s action, adventure and just a smattering of (b)romance in this episodic epic featuring the WORLD’S GREATEST SUPER HERO and the star of the WORLD’S GREATEST COMICS MAGAZINE. Talk about a REAL dynamic duo! 

Marvel’s two greatest wisecrackers finally get their own team-up series, and I’m guessing that it’s going to be hysterical. Marvel is bringing in the creative team that was largely responsible for Deadpool’s current popularity. In 1997, Kelly and McGuiness defined the character and what we typically now think of as Deadpool during their run on his first solo series. They’re back with more insane adventures for everybody’s favorite, smelly merc and his wall-crawling pal, Spidey. (Did you notice that the title is not “Deadpool Spiderman”? Spiderman takes second billing to no one!)

 

The Indie One: Fade Out #12

 

FO12

Publisher:  Image

Words: Ed Brubaker

Art: Sean Phillips

SERIES CONCLUSION It all ends here! The dramatic wrap-up to the mystery and to Brubaker and Phillips best-selling and most ambitious project yet!

I was not expecting to enjoy The Fade Out as much as I did. The end of its run will leave a void in my pull box that is unlikely to be filled by another title. Unlike 99% of comics, there were no supernatural forces at play here. No special powers or abilities. No rogue technology, no zombies. No secret magic and no hidden evil besides what already lies within the hearts of men. The Fade Out is all about well-developed characters and plot twists that will read like a movie in trade paperback format. Don’t attempt to jump on this one, you have to begin at the start, but definitely don’t miss it.

 

The #1 One: Swamp Thing #1

 

ST1

Publisher: DC

Words: Len Wein

Art: Kelly Jones

Swamp Thing returns in an all-new series written by his co-creator, legendary writer Len Wein! Swamp Thing has received an ominous warning, and now he finds himself under attack from the forces of dark magic. These are more than just your average monsters-and there’s something much worse looming on the horizon for Alec Holland!

Swamp Thing is on my all-time, top-5 list of comic book heroes from the big two. Plus, one of Swamp Thing’s original creators, Len Wein, is back on writing duties. This one is a no-brainer.

 

The Ones I’m Buying for the Covers: A-Force #1 (Hughes Hip Hop variant)

 

AF1

Publisher: Marvel

Words: G. Willow Wilson

Art:  Jorge Molina

A-FORCE, ASSEMBLE! From the ashes of Battleworld, Marvel’s newest hero SINGULARITY has risen and entered the Marvel Universe. But she didn’t make the journey alone. To combat the most fearsome threats from across the multiverse, Singularity will summon the world’s mightiest team of Avengers to her side: SHE-HULK. CAPTAIN MARVEL. DAZZLER. MEDUSA. NICO MINORU. Together, they are A FORCE to be reckoned with! 

This gorgeous Adam Hughes cover also features Marvel’s cleverest hip hop cover swipe yet, “Straight Outta Comics!” a play-on NWA’s breakout album “Straight Outta Compton”.

 

Detective Comics #48 (Adult coloring book variant)

 

DC48

Publisher: DC

Words: Peter J. Tomasi

Art:  Marcio Takara

In the wake of the Robin War and globe-hopping with the Justice League, Jim Gordon is looking forward to getting back to what he, and Batman, do best: taking out crime in Gotham City. But lurking in the shadows at home is a case from Jim’s past that may decide the future of Batman

The marketing department over at DC had me directly in their sights when they cooked up this “adult coloring book” variant campaign. I will be purchasing two copies of Detective Comics #48. One cover will be given a complete, psychedelic crayon treatment, while the other copy will be carefully preserved in bag with a board in pristine condition. I’m also reading just about all of the current Bat books as we approach issue #50, which I suspect will be when we see the return of Bruce Wayne as Batman.

 

Carpe Comics!