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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 6/22/2016

Welcome back comic book fans to another episode of the Crank File, the only blog on the web that cranks late so that you can read great.

I attended the New England Comic Con up in Wilmington, MA last Sunday and much to my delight (and to the vendors’ chagrin) there was hardly anyone at the show. I didn’t find any dollar bin gems or high value keys at a discount, but there were a couple of highlights. My girlfriend really wanted to meet Karyn Parsons (aka Hilary Banks of Fresh Prince fame) and since the con was practically deserted we ended up hanging out with her at her table for half an hour just chatting her up. She was a sweetheart and is still achingly gorgeous. Later in the day we stopped by the lounge to grab a drink at the bar. We order our drinks and look over and we’re sitting right next to Micky friggin Dolenz of the Monkees. Unfortunately he must have been on his fourth or fifth whisky and didn’t feel much like singing, playing or monkying around. At least not with a couple of comic nerds, which is understandable.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

F1

The Top of the Pile: Flash #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Joshua Williamson
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico

What it is: ‘LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE’ chapter one A new storm brews over Central City and disproves the old adage about lightning never, well… you know. Just as Barry begins to feel overwhelmed fighting crime, a new speedster debuts-but just where did this amazing new friend come from?

Why we love it: The Rebirth train keeps on rolling and the Flash races to the top of the pile along with it. Who’s this new speedster they are mentioning? Will we see more of the mysterious Godspeed who was teased in the Flash Rebirth issue, or will an all-new hero tap the Speed Force? There’s only one way to find out. Run, don’t walk, to your comic shop because this one’s already selling out.

 

H7

The Mainstream one: The Totally Awesome Hulk #7

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Alan Davis

What it is: Bruce Banner’s fate during the 8-month gap post-Secret Wars is revealed! Was he really cured by Amadeus Cho? Did he survive? Has Amadeus made a disastrous miscalculation?

Why we like it: One of the biggest Marvel mysteries since Secret Wars has been, what the heck happened to Bruce Banner? Seems like we’re going to find out what the heck right here.

 

R14

The Indie One: Rai #4 (Guinaldo variant)

Publisher: Valiant
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Andres Guinaldo

What it is: For the first time ever, witness the violent foundation of Father’s space-born utopia of New Japan and, with it, the shocking genesis of the line of guardians that bear the name Rai! Born and bred by Father to enforce peace at any cost, follow the first Rai and his successors across two millennia as they chronicle the history of 4001 A.D. – from the launch of New Japan into orbit to the latest Rai’s crusade to bring it crashing back down to Earth!

Why we like it: It’s the introduction of a new Rai. A female Rai. Hey, it’s working for Divinity II (whose issue #3 is also out this week from Valiant).

 

DPvG1

The #1 One: Deadpool Vs Gambit #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ben Acker
Art: Danillo Beyruth

What it is: Gambit-one of the smoothest, best-looking operators in the world of the X-Men. Deadpool-one of the most annoying, ugliest dirtbags in the world of everything. Naturally, these guys got beef. But do you know what they have in common? A secret history of working together to pull con-jobs. That’s right-the grift is on as the Regeneratin’ Degenerate and the Ragin’ Cajun begrudgingly take on one last job together.

Why we like it: Deadpool vs. Spiderman has been absolutely hysterical. I’ve always been a big Gambit fan so I’m hoping for another uproarious team-up book.

 

WW1

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman #1 (Cho variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Liam Sharp
Cover art: Frank Cho

What it is: ‘THE LIES’ chapter one Why has the lasso of truth stopped working for the Amazon Princess? Start down the rabbit hole as dark secrets from Wonder Woman’s past unravel her present!

Why we like it: Dem thighs!

 

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 4/20/2016

Welcome to another episode of the Crank File, where the crank is dark and full of terrors. This week the File’s eye turns westward, or whichever direction Westeros lies. Game of Thrones is back and winter is coming, but not soon enough. Season 5 ended on such a crazy cliffhanger that it hasn’t been off my mind since June. Sunday’s season premiere poses a challenge for me as Wednesday is already looking like a big day for new books. I will be reading a lot of comics this week and writing about some of them, but a part of me just wants to watch trailer breakdowns and read fan theory threads. Oh well, valar dohaeris.

Here’s my five bold predictions for season 6: Lady Sansa Stoneheart, Jon the Ghost Targaryen, Tyrion Targaryen and the red witch gets naked.

And here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Divinity II #1

 

D2

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

What it is: At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union – determined to win the Space Race at any cost – green lit a dangerously advanced mission. They sent three cosmonauts farther than anyone has gone before or since. Handpicked orphans with no connections to Earth, trained as devout Communists, and restricted from having families, they became lost in the stars and encountered something Unknown. Something that changed them. Long thought lost and erased from the history books, Abram Adams was the first to return. The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. But, even with limitless powers, he is concerned only with the secret love he hid away from his superiors and the unborn child he never met. Now, Miska, the female co-pilot of the group, has also returned to Earth, but, unlike Abram she had no secret family. Unlike Abram, she still believes in the Communist ideal. And, unlike Abram, she intends to play a very real role in the return of Soviet glory. Earth is about to meet a new god. And she’s a Communist. How long can it be before the nations of Earth bend before DIVINITY?

Why we love it: The highly-cerebral story of a lost, Russian cosmonaut returned to earth introduced the world to a super-powered being unlike any before. Beautifully rendered and deeply poignant, Divinity volume 1 was one of the best series I read in 2015. I’m almost as excited for the return of Divinity as I am about Thrones.

 

The Mainstream One: Action Comics #51

 

AC51

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin
Cover Art: Karl Kerschl

What it is:  Superman is shocked to learn that Kara has been missing for some time as part three of ‘Super League’ begins! Now, with Batman’s help, Kal-El is on his cousin’s trail-but he can’t believe where it’s leading him and who she has joined!

Why we like it: I’ve been keeping close tabs on Supes since it was announced that the New 52 Superman was going to die during this “Final Days of Superman” crossover event, and somehow his powers will be transferred to a group of people who will carry on his legacy when he is gone. I smell first appearances and origin stories.

 

The Indie One: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank

 

4K 1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Tyler Boss

What it is: A fun(ish) crime caper about children! Eleven-year-old Paige and her weirdo friends have a problem: a gang of ex-cons need her dad’s help on a heist… the problem is those ex-cons are morons. If Paige wants to keep her dad out of trouble, she’s going to have to pull off the heist herself. Like Wes Anderson remaking Reservoir Dogs, 4KWIAB is a very dark & moderately humorous story about friendship, growing up, D & D, puking, skinheads, grand larceny, and family.

Why we like it: Black Mask is back and Matt Rosenberg, writer of the outstanding We Can Never Go Home, brings us another comic about kids breaking the law and looking good doing it. If they can keep to a regular release schedule, the sky’s the limit for this indie darling.

 

The #1 One: Dept H #1

 

D1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Matt Kindt

What it is: Mia is a special investigator hired to uncover possible sabotage taking place at a deep-sea research station. What she finds is a mind-blowing crime scene filled with suspects with terrible secrets, strange deep-sea creatures, and an impending flood!

Why we like it: Matt Kindt’s artwork is an acquired taste for which I still have yet to acquire. Still, his writing and storytelling abilities are second to none.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley’s Little Black Book #3 (Lisner variant)

 

HBB3

Publisher: DC
Words: Amanda Conner
Art: Joseph Michael Linsner

What it is: The most ghost-filled mansion on Coney Island has been demolished-and unfortunately, every one of its spirits has decided that Harley’s hacienda is the hot new hangout to haunt! It sure is convenient, then, that Zatanna is currently booked at Big Tony’s cabaret show! It’s up to Harley and Zatanna to convince all of those ghosts to move on to the next world…but if you think Harley’s got problems now, just wait until you see the ectoplasmic baggage these specters are packing!

Why we like it: Two of DC’s finest gracing this cover.

 

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