Welcome back comic fans, to a very solemn episode of the Crank File. Thoughts and prayers go out to the people of France and the friends and families affected. It’s weird, trying to drum up the conversation about comic books after a tragedy like this occurs. The bulk of our super hero books are bursting off the pages with glorious depictions of battle. The Marvel and DC universes are literally on the brink of annihilation every 5 years or so. These scenes of mass destruction, which while looking undeniably awesome, feel macabre in light of real life acts of violence. But here we are. So hopefully we find something to enjoy this week. Something to talk about and take our collective minds off that craziness knocking just outside our door for a while. Something uplifting, something that reminds us why we remain courageous in the face of great danger, and why good triumphs over evil, every single time.
Here’s what I’m reading this week.
The Top of the Pile: Ms. Marvel #1 Marvel
Words: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Takeshi Miyazawa, Adian Alphona, Ian Herring
The internationally-beloved, butt-kicking, smack-talking, most adorable super hero makes her triumphant return. Look out world, Kamala Khan is back and officially an Avenger! Yup, the dream to end all dreams has happened for Kamala. She’s toe to toe with the best of the best, but will being one of Earth’s mightiest heros be everything she imagined? Is being a celebrity hero as wonderful as Kamala has hoped? Plus: WHO IS THAT WITH BRUNO??
One of the most popular and endearing comic book characters of our generation, Ms. Marvel is not only a teenager and female, she’s Muslim. There is currently NOT a lot of good-will towards Muslims in the world. I wonder if we will eventually see this creeping into Kamala’s world. Marvel has a unique opportunity to have her say something socially relevant. Or maybe she’ll just battle mutants and inhumans. Either way, this is the same critically acclaimed creative team from Ms Marvel volume 1, so I’m pretty sure that they’ll crush it. Grabbing the Sara Pichelli 1:25 variant if I see it at a decent price.
The Mainstream One: Batman Europa #1 DC
Words: Matteo Casali
Art: Jim Lee, Giuseppe Camuncoli
Superstar artist Jim Lee returns to the Dark Knight with this premiere issue! The impossible has happened and Batman is on the verge of being taken down by an enemy he cannot defeat: a virus for which there is no cure! And the only hope for his salvation is The Joker! Who infected Batman, what does the Clown Prince of Crime know, and how will the Dark Knight get that information? Together, the enemies crisscross Europe, desperate to find answers before time runs out.
I was so stoked when I saw that this book was finally coming out. Batman Europa was originally scheduled for release in 2004, and again in 2011. Better late than never I suppose. One of my all-time favorite comic book artists is doing pencils and inks for the #1. Jim Lee, the man who sparked my love of comics at the tender age of 10 with his run on 1992’s X-Men, is returning to Batman. For one issue. The remaining three issues of the mini series will have different artists. And cue sad trombone music.
The Indie One: Tokyo Ghost #3 Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Sean Murphy
Led and Debbie find their target in the Gardens of Tokyo, a messianic figure that keeps the island free of all technology.
The second issue of Tokyo Ghost was every bit of good that I was hoping for and my expectations for issue #3 are through the roof. It’s Rick Remender and Sean Murphy for crying out loud. The Tokyo Ghost creative team has way too much talent to be overlooked.
The #1 One: Huck #1 Image
Words: Mark Millar
Art: Rafael Albuquerque
In a quiet seaside town, Huck uses his special gifts to do a good deed each day. His neighbors return the favors by keeping his abilities a secret. But when a newcomer alerts the media, a firestorm erupts, sending Huck on an adventure that will change everything.
It’s Mark Millar so of course it has already been optioned, and although option doesn’t mean that it will see production, Huck already has built a bit of buzz around itself. Mark Millar’s series typically start off strong and the preview of Albuquerque’s artwork is breathtaking. Definitely worth a look.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: I Hate Fairyland #2 Image
Words and Art: Skottie Young
Does Gert die by the axe of her assassin, Bruud The Brutal? Spoiler. Probably not
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to afford the Vader Down 1:5000 variant, but I’m happy with this crass cover for I Hate Fairyland. Skottie Young goes completely for broke on the visuals in his deranged twist on a cute fairytale and it totally pays off. His drawings never fail to make me laugh. I imagine Skottie read a lot of Calvin and Hobbes growing up. And did a lot of psychedelics.
The Speculation One: Martian Manhunter #6 DC
Words: Rob Williams
Art: Eddy Barrows
A new female Martian warrior emerges as the mystery of our four heroes and their connection to the late J’onn J’onzz is finally revealed, and the Martian invasion reaches its deadly endgame.
Female iterations of traditionally male characters are all the rage right now. The fact that she’s a warrior hints that she’s probably a Green Martian, not a White Martian pacifist like Ms. Martian M’gann M’orzz. It could be a new character. No telling if this one will stick around, but at $2.99 I’m willing to take a gamble.