Posted on

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
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!

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – August 9, 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.


Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Mister Miracle #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: From the team behind THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON and the Hugo Award-nominated writer of Vision comes a unique new take on one of Jack Kirby’s most beloved New Gods. Scott Free is the greatest escape artist that ever lived. So great that he escaped Granny Goodness’ gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, the former female fury known as Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. He even caught the attention of the Justice League, which counted him among its ranks. You might say Scott Free has everything…so why isn’t it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick-except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out. Written by Tom King (BATMAN) and illustrated by Mitch Gerads (The Punisher), this is a MISTER MIRACLE unlike any you’ve read before.

Why we love it: Tom King took one of Marvel’s more oddball heroes and with artist Gabriel Walta, turned the Vision into a 12 issue post-modern masterpiece that won a freaking Eisner. Mister Miracle will be a 12 issue mini that deconstructs one of Jack The King Kirby’s strangest creations. It’s King on King action!


The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #8

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Daniel Acuna

What it is: UNITED WE STAND – against the SECRET EMPIRE! Rated T+

Why we like it: Still good. Still on time. Still loving this event.


The Indie One: Low #19

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini

What it is: END OF STORY ARC ‘OUTER ASPECTS OF INNER ATTITUDES,’ Conclusion Death comes to the drowning city as Tajo and her crew fight to inspire the citizens of Salus to not go gentle into that good night.

Why we like it: It’s the end to another glorious Low arc and as usual, things aren’t going so great for our main characters. One of the recurring themes of Low has been finding hope when things are at their darkest moment but it has been pretty grim since Stel’s story came to a grisly end in issue #15. I’m looking for something in this week’s issue to keep my spirits buoyed.


The #1 One: Generations Phoenix & Jean Grey #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Aaron A
Art: R. B. Silva

What it is: Teenage Jean Grey is willing to do whatever it takes to avoid the fate that befell her predecessor. But when Jean is cast through time and comes face-to-face with the newly possessed Phoenix, will she find the key to saving herself or learn that her fate is sealed? Rated T+

Why we like it: Jean Grey was one of my first crushes, so the prospect of having two Jean Greys at the same time is something of a dream come true. It looks like we’re gonna be doing some time-traveling here, so prepare for things to get convoluted. Like with Generations Hulk, there will be a beautiful Mattina second print cover, but the Stephanie Hans regular cover is just too good to pass on.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: DC Cover B’s

Publisher: DC
Cover Artists: Frank Cho, Artgerm, Renato Guedes

Why we like it: I was having a hard time choosing the best cover this week so here’s three amazing DC cover B’s. These are all spectacular and can all be had for cover price.


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

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 3/8/2017

Hello comic book fans and welcome back to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that gave up being clever for lent. Every Tuesday I give you a glimpse at my new comics reading pile and let you know what I’m excited about. Another glorious Wednesday is upon us, so here’s what I’m reading this week.


The Top of the Pile: Low #16

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini

What it is: NEW STORY ARC! ‘OUTER ASPECTS OF INNER ATTITUDES,’ Part One-As a gladiator, Marik Caine brought the light of hope into the one of the darkest corners of the ocean before that darkness swallowed him whole. Now, a new hero arises from the fighting pits of Poluma to carry on Marik’s legacy.

Why we love it: One of my favorite Image comics is back from a scheduled break and I’ve been dying to know where the story goes after last issue’s heart-breaker ending. Low is classic Remender, a story of optimism, family, honor and self-sacrifice, all told while pushing the main characters through the proverbial meat-grinder. Not for the faint of heart nor the small of mind, Low is high-art in low-brow format.




The Mainstream One: Action Comics #975

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: ‘MILD MANNERED’ part one! The road to ‘Superman: Reborn’ starts here! With Superman and Lex Luthor back on Earth, the Man of Steel turns his attention to uncovering the mystery of the human Clark Kent living and working in Metropolis. But there’s something off about this guy, and Superman better figure out just what that is, before it’s too late!

Why we like it: I’m totally sucked into this Rebirth mystery. I have a theory that explains the Clark Kent/Superman conundrum. It’s too long winded to spell out here, but it involves Crisis on Infinite Earths, Watchmen, Flashpoint, the New 52 and Darkseid Wars.


The Indie One: Copperhead #11

Publisher: Image
Words: Jay Faerber
Art: Drew Moss

What it is: NEW STORY ARC! Critically acclaimed COPPERHEAD returns with new artist DREW MOSS! Sheriff Clara Bronson’s past and present collide as an old friend arrives in town while Clara investigates the murder of Copperhead’s mayor.

Why we like it: I honestly did not expect to see another issue of Copperhead, so this is a pleasant surprise. I was really enjoying this series before it went on extended hiatus. The last issue, issue #10, was release all the way back in October. Of 2015. Copperhead returns Wednesday and will hopefully be able to stick on a regular release schedule with new artist, Drew Moss. An artist named Drew is as amusing as a quarterback named Chuck.



The #1 One: Grass Kings #1

Publisher: Boom!
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Tyler Jenkins

What it is: From The New York Times bestselling writer Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Peter Panzerfaust artist Tyler Jenkins comes a rural mystery series chronicling the tragic lives of the Grass Kings, three brothers and rulers of a trailer park kingdom, a fiefdom of the hopeless and lost, of the desperate poor seeking a promised land. Eldest brother Robert leads a grief-stricken life, having lost his daughter to a tragic accident, followed by his wife disappearing one morning never to return. When an enigmatic young woman named Maria flees to their community in search of safe haven, Robert takes her in. Will his decision lead to ruin and retribution dooming the Kingdom? Perfect for fans of True Detective Season One or Scalped. Oversized, prestige format first issue featuring 30 pages of story!

Why we like it: Matt Kindt is one of those creators that I will always check out when they put out new stuff. From his insane, sci-fi Dark Horse titles to his insane super hero work at Valiant, the man never fails to deliver something fresh and interesting.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman #18

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Bilquis Evely
Cover Art: Jenny Frison

What it is: ‘GODWATCH’ part two! Godwatch grows, and Diana has her first encounter with the ghost in the machine known as Dr. Cyber!

Why we like it: Jenny Frison has been knocking it out of the park for Wonder Woman since issue #7, but there’s something about Wundy’s pose on this cover that evokes the same iconic feeling as Brian Bollard’s cover to Wonder Woman vol. 2 #72. Insta-classic.


That’s all I got this week. Let me know what you’re checking out in the comments. Until next time, carpe comics!

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 3/14/2016

Greetings and welcome to the Crank File, the only place on the internet where the file cranks you. Marvel teased us with a little Spider-man cameo at the end of the latest Civil War trailer, and it definitely made my web shooters go off. I haven’t been excited about a Spider-man movie in a long time, but that’s as close to a true-to-comics Spidey costume as you’ll get in a movie. And it looks amazing. Spider-man.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:


The Top of the Pile: Low #12



Publisher: Image

Words: Rick Remender

Art: Greg Tocchini

What it is: ‘Shore of the Dying Light’ Part 2 At last Stel Caine reaches the surface, but what she finds there isn’t what she imagined.

Why we love it:  Low is set in a world where centuries ago mankind retreated into the sea to escape the inhospitable conditions on land. But as resources and air start to run thin, humanity is faced with the choice of a slow, under water extinction or reclaiming the land from where it came. After spending eleven issues navigating the dark depths of the ocean, Stel Cain is finally emerging topside and who know’s what our heroine will find there. Greg Tocchini’s use of water-colors throughout this series has been marvelous and I can’t wait to see how it looks when we transition from ocean to land. We’re big Rick Remender fans over here at the Crank File, and Low is probably our favorite of his creator owned work.


The Mainstream One: Extraordinary X-Men #8



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jeff Lemire

Art: Ken Lashley

What it is: ‘APOCALYPSE WARS’ STARTS NOW! Mutantkind is an endangered species once more. But what better way to ensure your people see the future?than to skip ahead right to it? As the mutant race’s last hope is jettisoned into the time stream, the Extraordinary X-Men make a startling discovery: the fate of their kind is about to fall into the hands of one of their most formidable adversaries – the immortal APOCALYPSE. Now, the X-Men race into a perilous future, desperate to reclaim what was taken from them?and completely unaware of the horrors that await them.

Why we like it: The buzz surrounding this week’s issue is coming from a panel floating around the internet, showing a new team of horsemen consisting of Colossus, Venom, Moonknight and Deadpool. Anything Deadpool is hot these days, and this book could be in short supply on Wednesday making it a potential short term flip. But honestly, Extraordinary has been a wonderfully written X-Men book and you should be picking it up just for the story.


The Indie One: Clandestino #2


Publisher: Black Mask

Words and Art: Amancay Nahuelpan

What it is: Things heat up for Clandestino as he attacks the military prison where Leena is held before hurtling on a high-octane, action-packed chase. Meanwhile, General Kapala continues laying waste to rebels who threaten his regime. Guns shoot in all directions and no one is safe in this revolutionary thrill-ride by the artist of Young Terrorists.

Why we like it: Clandestino #2 makes the list is because it also marks the return of Black Mask. Last year Black Mask was the little label that could. The darling of indie comics scored big with some of the best titles from 2015, like We Can Never Go Home, Space Riders and Young Terrorists. However the company lost a lot of momentum as long delays in their release schedules resulted in backlash from their fan base. In a recent post, Black Mask announced that they had settled their legal issues which were causing delays and that they would be back putting out kick-ass comics in 2016. With a new series ‘4 Kids Walk into a Bank’ kicking off in April and new issues of Young Terrorists solicited for April and May, I’m hoping for a spectacular come back.


The #1 One: Roche Limit Monadic #1



Publisher: Image

Words: Michael Moreci

Art: Kyle Charles

What it is: Earth is in ruins after the Black Sun’s annihilation of the planet. Now, in the last remaining human city, its inhabitants fight for survival while a chosen few realize that their world may not be what it seems.

Why we like it: The first Roche Limit volume was an unexpected gem. It was dark and philosophical, an intelligent sci-fi comic that made its social commentary without beating you over the head with it. I had planned on trade waiting volume 2 but flipping through the first issue of Roche Limit Clandestiny, I was hooked and immediately added it to my pull list. There’s no apprehension this time around. I’m fully on board for Monadic, the final arc in Roche Limit’s brilliant run.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: International Iron Man #1 (Dell Otto variant)



Publisher: Marvel

Words: Brian Michael Bendis

Art: Alex Maleev

What it is: Who is Tony Stark, really? Since learning that he was adopted as a baby, this question has cast a shadow over Stark’s life. Now, it is time to uncover what his legacy truly is, a journey that will carry Tony into new directions as a man and as a super hero. Alongside his strange new quasi-ally Doctor Doom, Iron Man will discover new things about the Marvel Universe he didn’t know existed before! A character deconstruction from Bendis and Maleev along the lines of their award-winning DAREDEVIL run!

Why we like it: Dell Otto is probably the hottest cover artist at the moment, and while his work hasn’t quite reached the popularity of Adam Hughes or Alex Ross, it won’t be long before he will be among their ranks. I love the classical realism of Dell Otto’s painted art-style and I am happy that this kind of artwork is being recognized and gaining appreciation within the collecting community.


That’s all for this week. Like something that I missed? Leave it in the comments below. Until next time, carpe comics!

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 10/14/2015

Monster week came and went, and with all the hype and build up to October 7 it wasn’t shocking that I came away feeling a bit unsatisfied. Marvel launched its post-616/1610 universe with #1’s for some of its flagship series, but my favorite books from Marvel last week came from the late, great Secret Wars #6 and their various Star Wars titles. Iron Man was fine and it was fun seeing Amazing Spider-Man web-slinging around Shanghai but I expected more from All-New, All-Different. The $4 and $5 dollar price tags didn’t help. But there’s no slowing the Big Red Machine machine as it rolls in with another flurry of #1’s this week: Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Gwen, Captain America Sam Wilson, New Avengers, Spider-man 2099, Uncanny Avengers. And spoiler alert, none of them even make this week’s list. And neither does Batman.

This is indeed a disturbing universe.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.


The Top of the Pile: Roche Limit #5 Image

Story by: Michael Moreci
Art by: Kyle Charles




The Conclusion of volume two of the sci-fi trilogy.

The first Roche Limit volume was a great series which spoke so many truths about things that often go unsaid in sci fi. The second volume has been a totally independent story from volume 1, with a completely new lineup of characters and new plot points but has maintained the same razor sharp dissection of the human condition. Love this series and can’t wait to see how volume 2 wraps up.



The Mainstream One: Chewbacca #1 Marvel Alex Ross Variant

Story by: Gerry Duggan
Art by: Phil Noto




After the battle of Yavin, Chewbacca is on his own when he crash lands his ship on an Imperial occupied planet. Now stranded, Chewie finds himself caught in the middle of trying to return to the rebellion and helping a young and feisty girl in need.

Chewie is my favorite Star Wars character of all time. I can totally relate to his growl-softly-but-carry-a-big-bowcaster mentality. The baller Alex Ross cover is just gravy.



The Indie One: Low #10 Image

Story by: Rick Remender
Art by: Greg Tocchini and Dave McCaig




This is it: Stel Caine has risen from the depths to set foot on the surface of Earth, the first human in millennia to do so. But what she finds there will make her wish she never left the safe darkness of the deep sea.

I flip flopped a couple times between Low and Roche Limit for the top spot. Roche Limit eventually took the honors mostly because it will be the final issue of volume 2, but everything I said about Roche can be said about Low. Low could easily find itself on top Wednesday.



The #1 One: The Twilight Children #1 Vertigo

Story by: Gilbert Hernandez
Art by: Darwyn Cooke




When a white orb washes up on the shore of a remote Latin American village, a group of children naturally poke at the strange object to see what it is. The orb explodes, leaving the children completely blind. And when a beautiful young woman who may be an alien is found wandering the seafront, she’s taken in by the townspeople, but soon becomes a person of interest to a quirky pair of undercover CIA agents, and the target of affection for a young scientist. Can they come together to prevent an all-out alien invasion and save the souls in this sleepy, seaside town?



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: I Hate Fairyland #1 Image Cover B

Story and Art by: Skottie Young




Yeah, it shocked me too. And that’s just the preview version. I’ve seen the actual cover and it is NOT censored. Four letters and the full double deuce. Skottie Young appears hell bent on breaking away from his adorable “Marvel-babies” persona with his first creator owned series.

In an adventure that ain’t for the little kiddies, (unless you have super cool parents, then whatever), you’ll meet Gert-a six year old girl who has been stuck in the magical world of Fairyland for thirty years and will hack and slash her way through anything to find her way back home. Join Gert and her giant battle-axe on a delightfully blood soaked journey to see who will survive the girl who HATES FAIRYLAND!



The Speculation One: Clandestino #1 Black Mask

Story and Art by: Amancay Nahuelpan




The country of Tairona became a no man’s land after the military coup. Guerrillas were formed across the lands, and rebels unified against the dictator to resist the regime. The hopes of many lay on Clandestino, who barely escaped from the military attacks as a child, and was then recruited by the rebel forces, to later lead the revolution against the dictator.

The market has spoken and Black Mask is unarguably the hottest publisher at the moment. NM copies of We Can Never Go Home #1 and sets of Space Riders #1-4 selling around the $100 mark. Clandestino will certainly have a small print run and you would be wise to pick up any #1’s from Black Mask.


Last Week’s Leftovers: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 IDW Jack Kirby Variant

Story by: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow
Art by: Mateus Santolouco, Cory Smith





When news broke of Donatello’s “death” in issue #44 shelves were promptly raided, discussion forums flooded, theories bandied about and you couldn’t find a copy for less than 5x cover. I feel that the events that went down in Ninja Turtles #50 were far more shocking so imagine my surprise when nobody cared. Sure, it was Marvel Monster Week and the New York Comic Con was going down, so maybe most of the community was suffering from a mild hangover. It is the only logical reason that explains why issue #50 didn’t completely rock the internet. This was a key issue and I think a lot of people missed the boat on this one. Don’t be one of those people. Keep your eyes open for the 1:10 Jack Kirby variant.


Carpe Comics!