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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week- 3/22/2017

Hey hey comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Tuesday here I spotlight some of the new books coming out on Wednesday that I’m excited about. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

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The Top of the Pile: Black Hammer #7

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

What it is: Joe Weber: the Black Hammer. A hero from the Spiral Slums. A husband. A father. Gone without a trace. A visitor from the outside world arrives on the farm, looking for the Black Hammer and bringing news of Spiral City to its Golden Age heroes. Her arrival stirs up old memories and awakens new hope in the marooned heroes.

Why we love it:  Lemire recently announced that he will not be renewing his contract with Marvel upon completion in order to focus on his independent work. While unfortunate news for Marvel, it’s a relief for fans of his indie books. There were concerns that the mammoth workload of writing Old Man Logan, Extraordinary X-Men, Moon Knight, Thanos, Hawkeye, Bloodshot, Descender, Royal City and illustrating A.D, was going to delay release dates, or worse affect the quality of work. Much to my delight, it seems as if my favorite series from the hardest working man in comics is back. Seriously, the man must have clones of himself.

 

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The Mainstream One: Action Comics #976

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: ‘SUPERMAN REBORN’ finale! As this epic tale wraps up, Superman’s life is drastically changed…and that’s all we are saying for now-except that you won’t want to miss it!

Why we like it: Thy probably should have put a spoiler alert warning on that cover. As you can tell, the New 52 Superman is somehow back after disintegrating just a little under a year ago. What does it all mean? Hopefully not that Rebirth was just another lazy, line-wide shuffle in an attempt to grow market share.

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The  Indie One: Underwinter #1

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Ray Fawkes

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE! ‘SYMPHONY,’ Part One-Critically acclaimed creator RAY FAWKES launches his new monthly horror series: UNDERWINTER, twisted portraits of our dark world, beginning with the perverse, topical SYMPHONY – a beautifully painted tale of music and cruelty in the modern age.

Why we like it: Light week for independent books. Asides from the relaunches at Valiant, there really weren’t many indie titles that caught my eye. As a fan of both horror and music, this gets a look from me.

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The #1 One: Iron Fist #1 (Ross variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ed Brisson
Art: Mike Perkins

What it is: THE GAUNTLET STARTS HERE! K’un Lun is in ruins. The chi fueling Danny’s fists is wavering. Is there a future for the Iron Fist? Danny Rand pushes himself to the breaking point, finding fights to prove his worth. But a bigger fight than he can handle may have found him?

Why we like it: I haven’t started the Netflix show yet, so you won’t find any reveals here. Iron Fist isn’t my favorite Kung Fu fighter, but I am happy to see Marvel giving some attention to it’s martial arts characters (and the sweet Alex Ross variant cover doesn’t hurt any). I hope that we see some of this bleed over into the movies. Although they’ll probably just end up casting Tilda Swinton as the lead.

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Electra #2 (Granov variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matt Owens
Art: Alec Morgan
Cover Art: Adi Granov

What it is: ELEKTRA COMES OUT TO PLAY! ELEKTRA has tried to lie low, but she finds herself in the crosshairs of a dangerous force in Sin City. A string of clues including high tech weaponry, kidnappings and assassins lead her to a game of chance more deadly than she ever expected. Can she outsmart this mastermind?or is she playing right into his hand?

Why we like it: It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be finding this lovely cover out in the wild. It’s a 1:25 ratio variant and if your local comic shop is anything like mine, then they probably wouldn’t have ordered 25 copies of Elektra #2. This cover is an absolute beauty and copies are already trading at close to $100 on feeBay. If you’re lucky enough to see one at your store, don’t hesitate for even a second.

 

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

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The Female Perspective: Ladies Are Taking Care of Business…

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I thought about writing about Daredevil season 2 and how amazing the women are in that show but then I started thinking in a slightly broader sense. As I was binge watching season 2 with my man I realized that in the Marvel film and TV universe, they are writing exceptional women. Women who fight, who love and who do not apologize for being tough and brave, but who are also feminine and have their weak moments as well.

It’s bloody brilliant.

Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in "Daredevil" season 2.
Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in “Daredevil” season 2.

I am obviously a huge fan of the Marvel Universe that’s being created but I didn’t stop to really think of why, beyond the flash and fun of course, and now I realize it’s because in pretty much ever movie or TV show I’ve watched the women are bad ass, in the most wonderful way. This is feminism at work, this is equality at work and it’s wonderful to see. Today young girls have the option of so many female role models from Black Widow to Supergirl to Agent May on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and so many more that’s actually quite staggering. Even on a show like Daredevil the character of Elektra had the potential to be overshadowed by the “big boys” like Punisher and Daredevil himself, but she didn’t, she had her own storyline, her own struggles, her own power. Karen Page, a normal human by all accounts, finds her way in the world, finds her purpose and doesn’t ever become meek or fragile, even when kidnapped and fearful of her life, she manages to use her head and even though she doesn’t technically save the day, she manages to keep herself alive and guess what? She doesn’t fall apart in a sobbing pile in a man’s arms after. She picks herself up and keeps going. Elektra and Karen were essential to this season of Daredevil and that makes my feminist heart flutter with joy.

To me that’s how women should be written for TV or film. As women who can fight for their life when they need to, who can keep their heads in terrifying situations and who can rebound after those situations and keep going, keep fighting. They don’t run to the nearest man for love and/or sex and/or comforting, they comfort themselves and get going. They take care of business.

Frankly, that’s how the women I know in real life act. Of course, none of them have been kidnapped by madmen (thank God), but we have all had stressful situations in our life. We crumble, we fight, we cry, we get back up. That’s how you do it and it’s about damn time that TV and film catch onto that.

It’s been a gradual shift and Marvel is not the only one doing it by any means. If we look at Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Katniss from The Hunger Games (not a fave of mine but I know a strong lady when I see one) or one of my favorites, Black Widow from The Avengers and Captain America. What I love about Black Widow is that she is evolving, we first see her in Iron Man 2 and she is a sexy lady who turns out can fight circles around the men. Then we start to see her in other Marvel films and she starts to become a person, not just a fighter and a solider, but a person. In Age of Ultron she speaks about feeling like a monster for what she has done, for what has been done to her and when faced with the choice of fighting or running away with Bruce, she chooses to fight, because that’s what has to be done. She sacrifices her happiness for the greater good and hopefully you all know some women like that in your lives, I know I certainly do.

Black Widow doesn't apologize for who she is, it weighs heavily upon her, but she keeps on going, carrying that load.
Black Widow doesn’t apologize for who she is, it weighs heavily upon her, but she keeps on going, carrying that load.

The fact is, women are smart, sexy, tough and wonderful (as are men), and what makes me truly happy is to see that finally reflected in popular fiction on TV and in movies. I have high hopes for this weekends big release Batman v. Superman, not because of Batman or Superman, but because of Wonder Woman. FINALLY we get to see her in action and I for one, am extremely hopeful that WW takes after all the women before her and comes off as tough but feminine in the best ways possible.

What I am really digging is that while the costumes are tight fitting and all that, they aren’t slutty or offensive, they make sense for the character and (unlike what so often happens in comics) they are both sensible and sexy, a wonderful combination because when we see young girls cosplaying their favorites, we don’t have to sensor it because hey, it’s long pants and sleeves with a high neckline, fabulous! It makes me proud to be able to witness a time when characters like Agent Peggy Carter and Daisy from S.H.I.E.L.D move flawlessly from being powerful and brave, to being confused and/or uncertain and back again. These are flawed women, beautifully flawed women that aren’t taken advantage of. They stand toe-to-toe with the male characters and sometimes, they end up saving them.

"Don't worry fellas, I'll protect you." - Wonder Woman
“Don’t worry fellas, I’ll protect you.” – Wonder Woman

It’s a wonderful thing to witness, and with so much going on today that is stressful, sad or troubling, it’s truly heartening to be able to see women gaining so much ground, even if it is in a fictional sense. Here’s hoping that one day soon, it will start to really, truly happen in the “real” world.

How about YOU? What female character do you love that’s on TV or in film nowadays? Sound off in the comments and tell me why you love her!