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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – March 20, 2019

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: Spider-man Life Story #1 (of 6)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Mark Bagley

What it is: In 1962, in AMAZING FANTASY #15, 15-year-old Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and became the Amazing Spider-Man! Fifty-seven years have passed in the real world since that event – so what would have happened if the same amount of time passed for Peter as well? A special high-end limited series that’s a part of the celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary, SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY combines the talents of Chip Zdarsky (SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, MARVEL 2-IN-ONE) and Mark Bagley (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN) to tell the entire history of Spider-Man from beginning to end, set against the key events of the decades through which he lived! In this first oversized issue, when Flash Thompson is drafted to serve during the Vietnam War, Spidey must weigh the question of where his responsibility truly lies! Rated T

Why we love it: Chip Zdarsky is coming off an acclaimed run on Spectacular Spider-Man and taking Spidey back in time, all the way back to the 1960’s. Don’t worry, this is not a time travel story. This is the Silver Age Spider-man, living through the Silver Age, doing something that we rarely get a chance to see super heroes do, growing up.

The Mainstream One: Naomi #3

Publisher: DC
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Jamal Cambell

What it is: A brand-new character in the DC Universe comes into focus as Naomi confronts the one person in her small town she is convinced knows the secret of her mysterious adoption and her obsession with Superman. The truth is going to change both her and the DC Universe forever. The secret of Naomi opens the door to an enormous reveal you will not want to miss. This exciting new mystery from the powerhouse creative team of writers Brian Michael Bendis (Jessica Jones, Spider-Man) and David F. Walker (Shaft, Cyborg) and new, amazing art talent Jamal Campbell.

Why we like it: DC and Bendis clearly have big, long term plans for Naomi. The first two issues have been teasing a mysterious connection to Superman and it sounds like we’re getting the goods this week. I’ve really been enjoying this series, it has been charming and introspective in a way that reminds me of G. Willow Wilson’s run on Ms. Marvel.

The Indie One: Invisible Kingdom #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Christian Ward

What it is: Set in a far-flung star system, this new epic sci-fi monthly saga tells the tale of two women–a young religious acolyte and a hard-bitten freighter pilot–who separately uncover a vast conspiracy between the leader of the system’s dominant religion and the mega-corporation that controls society. On the run from reprisals on both sides, this unlikely pair of rebels risk plunging the world into anarchy if they reveal the truth. But when your beliefs betray you, what choice is there left? By Hugo Award-winning writer G. Willow Wilson (Wonder Woman, Ms. Marvel) and Eisner Award-winning artist Christian Ward (Black BoltODY-C).

Why we like it: G. Willow Wilson is one of my favorite authors, Christian Ward’s artwork will melt your face off, and it’s being published under the Berger Book imprint, curated by legendary comics editor Karen Berger. That’s a trifecta of awesome.

The #1 One: Rise #1

Publisher: Scout Comics
Words and art: Don Aguillo

What it is: Nine-year-old royal orphan Zakaiah falls heir to the throne of the broken post-apocalyptic kingdom of Pacifica, and must endure the Trials of the House of Jasser, a series of tests designed to prepare her to occupy the seat of the kingdom. Recently orphaned and reluctant to embark on a set of trials to teach and test her on the responsibilities that now rest on her shoulders, she is guided on this tumultuous path by soldiers and strangers, plagued by their own struggles, pasts and hidden agendas. Embarking on the journey on a dark road with strangers who now answer to her and inexperienced in carrying the weight of the world, she’s left the only home she’s ever known to explore the realm she now has the responsibility to rule. Behind them, the empty throne is at the mercy of a ruling class that threatens to usurp it for their own dark agendas, and just beyond the shadows ahead, the emergence of an ancient evil threatens to halt their journey dead in its tracks.

Why we like it: I’m picking this one up on the strength of the artwork. I’ve seen a few preview pages and the interior artwork is as gorgeous as the cover.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Immortal Hulk #15

Publisher: Marvel
Words:
Al Ewing
Art:
Joe Bennett
Cover Art: Alex Ross

What it is: Dr. Leonard Samson is a gamma mutate and part-time super hero who recently came back from the dead. He’s been wanting to discuss that with an old patient of his… But he’s not here to see Bruce Banner. Take a seat on the couch, IMMORTAL HULK. It’s going to be quite a session. Rated T+

Why we like it: Alex Ross doing his Hulk thing.

 

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 – March 6, 2019

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: Doomsday Clock #9 (of 12)

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

What it is: The critically acclaimed series by master storytellers Geoff Johns and Gary Frank reaches its most shocking chapter yet when the DC Universe collides with its greatest threat: Dr. Manhattan. But nothing is hidden from Manhattan, and the secrets of the past, present and future will rock the very foundation of the DC Universe.

Why we love it: We’re into endgame with Doomsday Clock. The every other month release schedule has really been killing the flow of the narrative, but every issue has been phenomenal.

The Mainstream One: Star Wars Vader Dark Visions #1 (of 5)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Paolo Villanelli

What it is: WHO IS DARTH VADER? He has been many things: a SITH warrior, a commander, a destroyer. DARTH VADER is to many throughout the GALACTIC EMPIRE a symbol of fear and mysterious, otherworldly power. But there are some who have seen the DARK LORD in a different light. There are some corners of the galaxy so dark and desperate that even Vader can be a knight in shining armor. The first issue of a new STAR WARS limited series, writer Dennis Hopeless (CLOAK AND DAGGER, JEAN GREY) sheds new light on the many sides of the galaxy’s greatest villain. Rated T

Why we like it: Need something to fill that Empire sized hole in your life since Darth Vader ended in December? Fear not because while his ongoing series ends, Vader’s legacy expands with a brand new mini series with brand new tales from the dark side.

The Indie One: Once Our Land 2 #1

Publisher: Scout Comics
Words and Art: Peter Ricq

What it is: Giant-sized first issue! The long-awaited sequel to the post-apocalyptic break-out hit! Set in 1830’s Germany where creatures from another world have conquered our land. Six years have passed since Ingrid and Fritz have ventured out of their hometown. After their long search for other survivors, they finally make their discovery. The problem is, the survivors are worse than the monsters that roam the land. A fantasy, sci-fi, action, period piece rolled into one epic package. A tale for little and big ones.

Why we like it: The first volume of Once Our Land was a delightfully illustrated, albeit short, adventure. I’m excited for this follow up and I hear that there’s an animated film in the works as well.

The #1 One: Black Hammer ’45 #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Ray Fawkes

What it is: From the World of Black Hammer comes a truly gripping tale of war and intrigue! During the Golden Age of superheroes, an elite Air Force crew called the Black Hammer Squadron was formed to fight the Axis powers. Facing occult threats from the German side, this team must save a family of scientists from the Nazi’s. But the mysterious and dangerous Ghost Hunter is hot on their trail.

Why we like it: If you haven’t read Black Hammer yet, I would describe it as a book about super heroes that isn’t a super hero book. The characters and events in Black Hammer are so bizarre and intriuging that it elevates above the standard capes and tights tropes.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Immortal Hulk #14

Publisher: Marvel
Words:
Al Ewing
Art:
Kyle Hotz
Cover Art: Alex Ross

What it is: Betty Ross is going through a lot. She’s having a family crisis. Her employers won’t pick up the phone. And at her door is the husband she thought was dead. But Bruce Banner hasn’t come alone. He’s brought the IMMORTAL HULK. Rated T+

Why we like it: Immortal Hulk has consistently been one of the best selling, best reviewed comics published in the past year. To top it of, Alex Ross is on cover art duty and he’s doing some of his finest work in years. Easy pick.

 

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 2, 2019

Happy new year comic book fans and welcome to the inaugural 2019 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: Immortal Hulk #11

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Al Ewing
Art: Joe Bennett

What it is: Hulk in Hell: Part 1 – Jackie McGee is in hell. Carl Creel is in hell. Walter Langkowski is in hell. Eugene Judd is in hell. Carl Burbank is in hell. Los Diablos is in hell. Shadow Base is in hell. New Mexico is in hell. Planet Earth is in hell. We are all in hell… …and so is the IMMORTAL HULK. Rated T+

Why we love it: This has been a terrifyingly good refresh of the tired, old Hulk smash routine. The dark themes in Immortal Hulk borrow heavily from the horror genre, and make Hulk out to be more monster than superhero.

The Mainstream One: Wolverine The Long Night #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ben Percy
Art: Marcio Takara

What it is: Following a string of mysterious deaths in Burns, Alaska, Special Agents Sally Pierce and Tad Marshall arrive to investigate. They soon find there’s more going on than meets the eye… Marvel’s hit scripted podcast, ‘Wolverine: The Dark Night,’ comes to life on the page! Chilling twists and turns, brought to you by the original author of the podcast, Benjamin Percy, and the art talents of Marcio Takara! Parental Advisory

Why we like it: I listened to this as a dramatic podcast on Stitcher and it was a vintage Wolverine story. Set in the remote Alaskan wilderness, a pair of FBI agents are trying to get to the bottom of a string of gruesome murders plaguing the town of Burns. There are cults, drug cartels, killers, and evil forces and a mysterious stranger named Logan who appears to be caught up in all of this. Looking forward to this comic adaptation.

The Indie One: Low #20

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini

What it is: NEW STORY ARC ‘LAST EMBERS,’ Part One (of Seven) It’s mankind’s final hour, and the reckoning rests on the shoulders of the Caine family. Stel, Tajo, and Della are on a collision course that they may not all survive. RICK REMENDER and GREG TOCCHINI bring their seminal aquatic apocalypse to a harrowing boil in a world where everything comes down to a battle between desperate hope and certain oblivion.

Why we like it: Probably my favorite of all the Remenderverse books, Low is a sci-fi series that frames a message about the immense power of steadfast optimism against the grim realities of a world about to end. Not a great point to jump on, but I highly recommend going back and getting caught up because this should be an epic finale.

The #1 One: Conan The Barbarian #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Mahmud A. Asrar

What it is: BY CROM, THE GREATEST SWORD-AND-SORCERY HERO RETURNS TO MARVEL! From an age undreamed…hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet… Robert E. Howard’s creation returns to comics, in an epic tale as only MARVEL could bring you! Conan’s travels have brought him to the far reaches of the unkown, from his birthplace in Cimmeria to the kingdom of Aquilonia and all in between. As his fighting prowess allows him to carve his way through life, so too does it attract the forces of death! The all-new ages-spanning saga begins here, by writer Jason Aaron (THE MIGHTY THOR, STAR WARS) and artist Mahmud Asrar (UNCANNY X-MEN, ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS), as Conan’s destiny is forever changed! Parental Advisory

Why we like it:  Conan is joining the Marcel universe and I can’t think of a better pick for a writer than Jason Aaron.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Flash #61

Publisher: DC
Words:
Joshua Williamson
Art: Christian Duce

Cover Art: Derrick Chew

What it is: Powerhouse looks to turn the Scarlet Speedster into a scarlet skid mark! The two Force wielders find themselves at odds when Alexa wants to overthrow the criminal government of Corto Maltese that’s crushing her people. (Remember that locale from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS?) Barry must quash their beef and convince Powerhouse to join his Force Quest if he ever hopes to learn the secrets behind these new Force powers!

Why we like it: I like this Flash cover. A fine example of a DC cover really benefiting from the semi-virgin treatment.

 

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 – November 7, 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: The Green Lantern #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Grant Morrison
Art: Liam Sharp

What it is: Superstar writer Grant Morrison (Batman, All-Star Superman) returns to DC alongside red-hot artist Liam Sharp (The Brave AND the Bold, Wonder Woman) to launch a new, ongoing series: THE GREEN LANTERN! In this debut issue, when Earth’s space cop, Hal Jordan, encounters an alien hiding in plain sight, it sets off a chain of events that rocks the Green Lantern Corps-and quite possibly the Multiverse at large-to its very core. There’s an inter-galactic conspiracy afoot, as well as a traitor in the GL Corps’ ranks, so strap in for more mind-bending adventures in this masterpiece in the making.

Why we love it: The man, the myth, the legend Grant Morrison makes his triumphant return to DC comics. Widely regarded as one of the most creative and influential comic writers of our generation, Morrison is known for revitalizing high profile properties like the X-Men, Batman, JLA, and Superman, and now he has his sights set on a new sprawling, cosmic Green Lantern epic that should not be missed.  

The Mainstream One: Marvel Knights 20th #1 (of 6)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Travel Foreman

What it is: In celebration of the legendary imprint founded by Marvel’s CCO Joe Quesada, a new crop of talent stands poised to tell a groundbreaking story across the Marvel Universe! In the cemetery, the blind man does not know who he is, or why he has come to this particular grave at this moment. He doesn’t know the burly police officer with the wild story who has approached him. Or the strangely intense man who sits in the rear seat of the patrol car, his eyes flashing green. But all of that is about to change.

Why we like it: If Donny Cates is writing it then I’m going to give it a read. Marvel Knights seems like the perfect fit for him, where he can write stand-alone stories that are in continuity but don’t necessarily fit in with the current running arc in the main series.

The Indie One: Seven to Eternity #12

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Jerome Opena

What it is: In order to save the Mud King, Adam must make a terrible choice.

Why we like it: Seems like Seven to Eternity is back on schedule, as issue #12 will be the third issue released in three months. I’m cautiously jumping back on board with this series, as it was one of my favorite reads before it started getting bogged down by release delays.

The #1 One: Outer Darkness #1

Publisher: Image
Words: John Layman
Art: Afu Chan

What it is: Sci-fi and horror collide in this new series from the co-creator of CHEW! Mankind has colonized the galaxy, but during our interstellar travels, we discovered a terrifying secret out in the Outer Darkness of space. Join Captain Joshua Rigg and the crew of the starship Charon as they encounter demonic possessions, hauntings, cosmic horror, and more! All-star writer JOHN LAYMAN (CHEW) and artist AFU CHAN (Immortal Iron Fists) are ready to let you know that outer space is terrifying.

Why we like it: I had picked up Leviathan a few months ago in anticipation of Chew writer, John Layman’s next big comic but it was admittedly a bit disappointing. Maybe it was too weird, or maybe it wasn’t weird enough, but for whatever reason it just didn’t click with me. I read the ashcan preview of Outer Darkness and liked what I saw, so I’m hopeful that this is the comic that I’ve been waiting for.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Immortal Hulk #8

Publisher: Marvel
Words:
Al Ewing
Art:
Joe Bennett
Cover Art: Alex Ross

What it is: Bruce Banner is dead. His corpse has been dissected, his organs catalogued, and his inner workings are being studied by the scientists of Shadow Base. Bruce Banner is no longer a threat. That just leaves the IMMORTAL HULK…

Why we like it: Ross’ covers on Immortal Hulk have been excellent on the whole, but this one really ratchets up the horror into 11th gear.

 

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 – July 18, 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: Immortal Hulk #3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Al Ewing
Art: Joe Bennett

What it is: What happened in the church on Mercer Avenue? What made the Lembert boy do what he did? Who is the One Below All? Reporter Jackie McGee has four eyewitnesses, with four different viewpoints, telling four different stories. But they all saw Bruce Banner…and the Immortal Hulk. Rated T+

Why we love it: This series puts a horror spin on the Hulk. Bruce Banner is battling the monster within and it is absolutely terrifying. 

The Mainstream One: Batman #51

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks

What it is: The honeymoon’s over for Bruce Wayne as Gotham City’s most prominent citizen gets selected for jury duty in a chilling court case involving Mr. Freeze! Freeze claims the charges should be dismissed because Batman used excessive force; cue the outrage and media circus. While doing his civic duty, Wayne’s forced to take a hard look at the Dark Knight’s methods. And hey…what is Dick Grayson doing running around the city dressed as Batman?

Why we like it: So the Bat/Cat wedding was a beautiful, poetic bit of nothing. I still feel writer Tom King has left the door open for the wedding to happen later in his run, but will be interesting to see the direct fallout.

The Indie One: Skyward #4

Publisher: Image
Words: Joe Henderson
Art: Lee Garbett

What it is: ‘MY LOW-G LIFE,’ Part Four-When someone close to Willa is kidnapped, she’s forced to make an impossible choice. To make matters worse, there’s a storm coming-and weather in this low-G world is much more dangerous than it used to be…

Why we like it: Earth’s gravity has been reduced to a fraction of its strength and only one man knows how to fix it. Only someone will do anything in his power to stop him.

 The #1 One: The Life of Captain Marvel #1 (Artgerm variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Margaret Stohl
Art: Carlos Pacheco

What it is: THE DEFINITIVE ORIGIN OF CAPTAIN MARVEL! Carol Danvers was just a girl from the Boston suburbs who loved science and the Red Sox until a chance encounter with a Kree hero gave her incredible super-powers. Now, she’s a leader in the Avengers and the commander of Alpha Flight. But what if there were more to the story? When crippling anxiety attacks put her on the sidelines in the middle of a fight, Carol finds herself reliving memories of a life she thought was far behind her. You can’t outrun where you’re from – and sometimes, you HAVE to go home again. But there are skeletons in Captain Marvel’s closet – and what she discovers will change her entire world. Written by best-selling author Margaret Stohl and drawn by fan-favorite comics veteran Carlos Pacheco, this is the true origin of Captain Marvel. Rated T+

Why we like it: Captain Marvel is next in line to get the big screen treatment, so it’s time for Marvel to get their audience primed. That Artgerm variant is straight fire!

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Cable #159 (Anceleto variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Lonnnie Nadler
Art: German Peralta
Cover Art: Jay Anceleto

What it is: ‘PAST FEARS’ PART 5: BACK TO CABLE’S CHILDHOOD WITH REDD AND SLYM! Young CABLE faces his biggest fear: his own Techno-Organic virus! Guest-starring CYCLOPS & PHOENIX! Cable’s dark secret is finally revealed! Rated T+

Why we like it: Jay Anceleto went beast mode on this Cable cover. This could be a movie poster.

 

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