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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 5/31/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. The fifth Wednesday of the month is the Dominos pizza of new comic book day. Nobody’s super excited about it but everyone grabs a slice when it arrives. It looks like Marvel is trying to capitalize on the lack of DC titles out this Wednesday by releasing some of their heavy hitters this week, including the launch of a new Cable solo-series. Will it be enough to tip the month of May in their favor?

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

S43

The Top of the Pile: Sagae #43

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What it is: NEW STORY ARC BEGINS FOR JUST 25 CENTS!!! SAGA returns monthly with a brave new direction, and to celebrate Image’s 25th Anniversary, this full-sized issue costs just 25 cents! In a perfect jumping-on point for first-time readers, Hazel and her star-crossed parents embark on a thrilling new adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.

Why we love it: The best comic book on the planet is back from its regularly scheduled between-arc hiatus with an old-West flavored story. What could be better than the return of one of the most critically acclaimed comics? How about being able to pick up a copy for just a quarter? Be on the lookout for the exclusive Sage prints that Image will be sending to stores that ordered enough copies of Sage #43 to qualify.

 SE3

The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Andrea Sorrentino

What it is: Under constant attack from wave after wave of invading Chitauri aliens, Captain Marvel and the deep space task force under her command is waging a war of attrition – one they may not be able to survive! And back on Earth, things aren’t looking too rosy for Hawkeye and his band of renegade heroes, either! But don’t worry -THE SECRET EMPIRE WILL AVENGE YOU! Rated T+

Why we like it: The reveal at the end of Secret Empire #2 completely took the comic community by surprise and sparked a storm of new debates and theories about the true nature of Hydra Cap. I won’t spoil it here, but if you were on the fence about Secret Empire because you couldn’t stand that Marvel turned Cap into a Nazi, grab issue #2, flip to the last page and then get excited for issue #3.

 

M12

The Indie One: Monstress #12

Publisher: Image
Words: Marjorie M. Liu
Art: Sana Takeda

What it is: END OF STORY ARC The final issue of the second arc! Will Maika return with her soul intact?

Why we like it: I started to lose interest with Monstress after its incredible opening arc. The second volume felt loaded with history and exposition that dragged down the pacing. I understand that effectively building a brand-new fantasy world requires time, but sometimes I have the need for instant gratification from my comics. I am pleased to report that after a brief lull, the last few issues have been a return to form, dishing up heaps of action, more mysteries, and even a few answers along the way. Sana Takeda’s gorgeous, manga-inspired artwork continues to shine throughout the series, giving me reason enough to check out every issue.

 LN1

The #1 One: Little Nightmares #1

Publisher: Titan
Words: Alex Paknadel
Art: Aaron Alexovich

What it is: Enter the terrifying and unpredictable comic series based on one of the most hotly-anticipated games of 2017! Comic written by Alex Paknadel (Arcadia, Assassin’s Creed) and Dan Watters (Limbo, Assassins Creed) and illustrated by Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim, Serenity Rose) the game follows Six, a young girl in a yellow raincoat, as she explores the horrifying world of The Maw, looking for a way out!

Why we like it: In addition to being a comic book afficianado, I also keep informed about the video game scene. Occasionally an indie title will pop-up that looks so unique that it challenges my perception of what video games could be. Little Nightmares may be one of those games. Part fantasy, part horror, the visuals in this adventure game look like a 5-year old’s nightmare come to life. If Little Nightmares turns out to be a hit, you can bet that cross-media fans like myself will be hunting this #1 down the road. Titan comics traditionally doesn’t do large print runs, so you never know.

 RM26

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Rick and Morty #26

Publisher: Oni Press
Words: Kyle Starks
Art: Marc Ellerby
Cover Art: Derek Fridolfs

What it is: Rick is the only thing that stands between our world and an alien invasion. Surely he’ll do something about it! Or, sh*t, maybe Jerry will.

Why we like it: If you’re a Rick and Morty fan, you get it. If you’re not, you’re really missing out. Crude, off-the-wall comedy of the highest caliber.

 

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 4/13/2016

Welcome to another episode of the Crank File, where with great crank there must also come great responsibility. It’s tax week which means my refund will be funding some new comic purchases. I opted to skip the long lines at Super Megafest this weekend and hit up a local convention held at the Franklin Elks lodge. I can enjoy the carnival atmosphere of large cons but I’ve never felt comfortable digging through longboxes in a crowded convention hall. So when I’m looking for big bargains, I go small. I came home from the micro-con with a nice haul of gems found for under $60 total, including a first appearance of Misty Knight, a first appearance of Azrael, a first appearance of Huntress Helina Bertinelli, two Guardians of Knowhere #1 Gwenom variants, Locke and Key: Headgames #1-3 and Capes #1 featuring the first previews of a little Image series called The Walking Dead. I believe that qualifies as a score, at least from a technical standpoint.

That’s what I bought last week, here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 

BMTMNT5

Publisher: DC, Co-published by IDW
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Freddie Williams II

What it is: While Shredder enters an uneasy alliance with a deadly new partner, Casey Jones is arrested by the GCPD. At the same time, a crisis breaks out at Arkham Asylum, which is bound to keep both Batman and the Turtles busy. Meanwhile, a certain young resident of Wayne Manor returns home to find a new, green occupant in his room.

Why we love it: We love Batman. We love Ninja Turtles. We love crossovers. And we really loved the end of issue #4 which showed Shredder heading towards Arkham Asylum with a canister full of pure mutagen. Hold on to your booty, Gotham’s about to get mutie.

 

The Mainstream One: Moon Kinght #1

MK1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood

What it is: THE BOOK YOU’D BE INSANE TO MISS! Marc Spector (a.k.a. Moon Knight/Jake Lockley/Steven Grant) has been fighting criminals and keeping New York City safe for years, or has he? When he wakes up in an insane asylum with no powers and a lifetime’s worth of medical records, his whole identity (indentities) are called into question. Something is wrong, but is that something Marc Spector himself?

Why we like it: Jeff Lemire made the jump from indie to mainstream without missing a beat. Extrodinary X-Men and Old Man Logan have been two of my favorite post-Secret Wars Marvel titles and my expectations for his Moon Knight series are sky high. This is Moon Knight’s time to shine.

 

The Indie One: Monstress #5

 

M5

Publisher: Image
Words: Marjoire Liu
Art: Sana Takeda

What it is: Maika struggles with the monster inside.

Why we like it: Monstress’ first arc closes this week and we’re just starting to get a sense of the big picture. I’m really digging this book and the artwork, Takeda’s colorful, manga inspired pages are worth a look. The story feels enormous in scope, which can be difficult to wrap your head around on the first pass. A slew of factions, races, characters and mythology are introduced with little exposition, but the writing is strong enough to keep the reader invested without knowing what is going on. Be sure to snag any copies of #1 that you come across. All covers are selling well on the secondary market, especially the second and third printings.

 

The #1 One: Gwenpool #1 (Stacy Lee variant)

 

GP1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Christopher Hastings
Art: Gurihiru

What it is: Gwen Poole used to be a comic book reader just like you…until she woke up in a world where the characters she read about seemed to be real! But they can’t be, right? This must all be fake, or a dream or something, right? And you know what that means…NO CONSEQUENCES! Could Gwenpool truly be Marvel’s least responsible and least role-modely character to date? She can if she tries!

Why we like it: Somewhere along the way, the girl who died became the girl who was resurrected as everyone else. I will admit that the Gewnpool character makes zero sense, and that these Gewn Stacy derivations of other established Marvel characters is a fad. Neither of those reasons will stop me from picking this up on Wednesday because it looks like crazy, senseless fun. I’m going for the Stacy Lee variant if I find it at a good price.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batman Superman #31 (Paquette variant)

 

BSM31

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Doug Mahnke

What it is: In part two of ‘Super League,’ Superman enlists Batman’s aid in seeking out people that can help form his new super-league. A shocking discovery is made about a new super-being no one knew existed, and something is beginning to stalk Superman…

Why we like it: In Chinese mythology, the dragon and tiger represent two parts of a whole; the yin and the yang, two unstoppable forces forever locked in eternal conflict. I feel Batman fights more Dragon style and Superman fights Tiger style, but otherwise I can’t think of a better analogy for Supes and Bats.

 

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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 12/9/2015

Greetings comic book fans and welcome back to the Crank File, the only file that gives you 50% more file per crank. Another good week of books coming up and I have still barely touched last week’s stack. So this week, instead of my normal shtick, I’m giving you two comics per category and keeping my personal opinions short.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Tops of the Pile:

 We Stand on Guard #6

 

WSOG6

Publisher: Image

Words: Brian K. Vaughan

Art: Steve Skroce

MINISERIES CONCLUSION The smash-hit miniseries reaches its epic FINAL ISSUE with explosive battles and shocking revelations… but how will things end for the Great White North?

There are few things in the world more satisfying than a good Brian K. Vaughan ending.

 

Harrow County #8

 

HC8

Publisher: Dark Horse

Words: Cullen Bunn

Art: Tyler Crook

Kammi has rallied the forsaken haints to her dark cause. Now Emmy may have to make a profound sacrifice if she hopes to protect her kith and kin at the heart of Harrow County.

Demon fight!! Latest news on the Syfy TV adaptation is that it has moved into development.

 

 

The Mainstream Ones:

Secret Wars #8

 

SW8

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Esad Ribic

GENESIS! 

I’m sticking it through until the end, which has now officially been pushed back to January 2016.

 

Contest of Champions #3

 

CoC3

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Al Ewing

Art: Paco Medina

IRON MAN! JOE FIXIT! GAMORA! MARVEL’S HEAVY HITTERS COLLIDE IN THE CONTEST! Can Iron Man and Gamora trust Guillotine – or is the call of her bloody legacy too strong? Ares strikes! Plus: Venom Hulk?!

Yup, you read that correct. Venom. Hulk.

 

 

The Indie Ones:

Monstress #2

 

M2

Publisher: Image

Writer: Marjorie Liu

Words: Sana Takeda

Maika fights to cross the wall.

Loved the oversized first issue. Can’t wait for this #2.

 

Head Lopper #2

 

HL2

Publisher: Image

Writer: Andrew MacLean

Words: Andrew MacLean

Norgal and Agatha pass through a dark forest with a particularly grim history, where they meet a strange little creature named Gnym. Is he a friend? Or does he just want to see undead giants squish the Head Lopper to meat-jelly? All this… And more! MAJOR PLOT POINT Villain, Servin Lulach’s origin story is introduced.

Loved the oversized first issue. Can’t wait for this #2. Creator Andrew MacLean will be hanging out at Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham, MA on Saturday Dec 12 from noon to 3pm.

 

 

The #1 Ones:

Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

 

BMTMNT1

Publisher: DC

Writer: James Tynion IV

Art: Freddie Williams II

DC Comics and IDW team up for the crossover you never saw coming as two of the greatest entertainment icons meet for the first time! In Gotham City, a series of deadly raids leads Batman to believe he’s up against a group of highly trained ninjas known as the Foot Clan! Somehow, they’ve crossed over to another dimension and are determined to take advantage of the situation while looking to get back home. But they haven’t come alone: Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo are hot on their trail. Get ready for excitement as heroes and villains from both worlds clash and team up in an epic battle that threatens the very fabric of reality!

There was no way that I wasn’t buying a Batman/TMNT crossover. Having Tynion IV writing the script is just gravy. I’m snagging the Eastman variant.

 

Snow Blind #1

 

SB1

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Words: Ollie Masters

Art: Tyler Jenkins

What happens when you discover your dad isn’t the man you thought he was? For high school teen Teddy, life in a sleepy suburb in Alaska turns upside-down when he innocently posts a photo of his dad on Facebook, only to learn he and his family are in the Witness Protection Program. A man seeking revenge invades their town, and soon FBI agents arrive, too. But what if his dad’s reasons for going into the program aren’t as innocent as he says?

I’m really digging the creative team on this one. The 1:20 Matt Taylor variant cover is stunning.

 

 

The Ones I’m Buying for the Cover:

Insexts #1

 

I1

Publisher: Aftershock Comics

Words: Marguerite Bennett

Art: Ariela Kristantina

At the dusk of a century, a pair of vengeful Victorian vixens discover a horrifying power that transforms them into rich and strange new creatures. Armed with their dark, evolving forms, they descend into a world of the cultured and occult, with new senses and new sensuality, to forge a life for themselves and the child of their love. This new monthly series is the brainchild of writer Marguerite Bennett (A-Force, Angela, Red Sonja) and artist Ariela Kristantina (Wolverines, Deep State), a comic unlike any you’ve seen before!

Classic art nouveau, reminiscent of painter Alphonse Mucha.

 

Batman #47

 

BM47

Publisher: DC

Words: Scott Snyder

Art: Grag Capullo

While Jim Gordon is in the fight of his life against Mr. Bloom, Bruce Wayne discovers a shocking secret about his past that will change everything in Gotham City! This issue features open-to-order variant covers by Alex Ross that will be shipped in opaque polybags.

This Alex Cover is a swipe of a cover he did in 1999 for Batman: Harley Quinn. The issue was printed in prestige format and introduced Harley Quinn into the main DC continuity. There were unconfirmed reports last week that a few fans actually received original artwork within their black poly bags for Harley’s Little Black Book #1.

 

 

The Speculation Ones:

Justice League: Darkseid War #1 (Lex Luthor)

 

JLDW1

Publisher: DC
Words: Francis Manapul

Art: Bong Dazo

Lex Luthor has gained the power of a God, but his one failure continues to deny him the peace he craves-and only a crazed Superman can help him get it!

If you’re caught up with the Darkseid Wars, then you know that at the end of the latest issue Lex Luther is imbued with god-like powers. This will be his first full appearance with super powers. Lex was scary enough when he was just relying on his evil mind.

 

Brooklyn Animal Control #1

 

BAC1

Publisher: IDW

Words: J T Petty

Art: Stephen Thompson

Brooklyn Animal Control is not your run-of-the-mill social services agency, and the officers assigned to it are not your average caseworkers? they are a breed apart. These street-hardened veterans negotiate a dangerous secret world in the heart of New York City, one inhabited by werewolves that roam the streets by night, and infest the hidden back rooms of the criminal elite in their human alter-egos by day. Which of their forms is more viscous is open to debate? but both are equally deadly!

The USA channel is currently developing a pilot for the TV adaptation of this series.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 11/04/2015

Welcome back comic fans. Good to have you back for another episode of the Crank File. I hate this time of year. There’s something soul crushing about getting out of the office at 5 pm and not seeing daylight. Lousy farmers. It’s looking like another slow week for new comics but don’t you fret, I’m here to make sure that you get your weekly fix.

 

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Paper Girls #2 Image

 

PG2

Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Cliff Chiang

The hottest new ongoing series of the year continues, as the Paper Girls witness the impossible.

I was completely hooked by what I saw in issue #1. Billed as “War of the Worlds” meets “Stand by Me”, I loved Paper Girl’s 80’s realism, Chiang’s clean, expressive line work and Brian’s masterfully balanced dialogue. Paper Girls delivers issue #2 on Wednesday, make sure to sign up for your subscription. I have the feeling that you won’t want to miss out on this one.

 

The Mainstream One: Uncanny X-Men #600 Marvel

 

XM600

Writer: Brian Bendis
Art: Stuart Immonen, Mahmud Asrar, Kris Anka, Frazer Irving

The final explosive issue in Brian Michael Bendis’ epic X-Men saga! Scott Summers – savior or destroyer? Questions will be answered! The Jean Grey School, the New Xavier School – it’s all going to change. The X-Men are at a crossroads. And not everyone will make it through in one piece.

A milestone issue for my favorite Marvel team, Uncanny X-Men #600 featuring artwork and a bunch of variant covers from some of the best X-lumni to work on the title. Did you know that the X-Men didn’t start using “Uncanny” in their title until issue #114? Throughout issues #94-#111 they were the “All-New, All -Different X-Men”, and for issues #112-#113 they were the “Now on Sale Monthly! X-Men”.

 

The Indie One: Niobe She Is Life #1 Stranger Comics

 

NSL1

Writer: Sebastian A Jones
Art: Ashley A. Woods

A coming of age tale of love, betrayal, and ultimate sacrifice. Niobe Ayutami is an orphaned wild elf teenager and also the would-be savior of the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda. She is running from a past where the Devil himself would see her damned… toward an epic future that patiently waits for her to bind nations against the hordes of hell.

Co-written by Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg, there’s already quite a bit of buzz around this book. Some of the best new comics out there right now are coming from small indie publisher and this one is already sold out at the distributor level.

 

The #1 One: Monstress #1 Image

 

M1

Writer: Marjorie Liu
Art: Sana Takeda

Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces.

The preview was intriguing and I am really enjoying Takeda’s lavish artwork.I always support Asian creators but Monstress makes it easy with sixty pages of story with no ads for only $4.99.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Vision #1 Marvel

 

V1

Writer: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

The Vision wants to be human, and what’s more human than family? He goes to the laboratory where he was created, where Ultron molded him into a weapon, where he first rebelled against his given destiny, where he first imagined that he could be more, that he could be good, that he could be a man, a normal, ordinary man. And he builds them. A wife, Virginia. Two teenage twins, Viv and Vin. They look like him. They have his powers. They share his grandest ambition or perhaps obsession: the unrelenting need to be ordinary. Behold The Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong?

The plotline sounds absolutely ridiculous but I’m digging Del Rey’s Wiz Khalifa cover. Has to be my favorite hip-hop variant so far.

 

The Speculation One: Howard the Duck #1 Marvel

 

HD1

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Joe Quinones

First spectacular issue! A great jumping on point! Sure to go up in value! Don’t miss out on the series everyone is calling ‘Howard the Duck’! The last page will shock you! Nothing will EVER be the same again!

All of the above is true, and I’ll tell you why in one word: Gwenpool. Copies of Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 Gwen-pool variant are currently selling steadily for $20 based on a cover appearance alone. She’s getting her own backup story in Howard the Duck #1. Grab the Ron Lim variant, then sit back and watch the money pile up.

Carpe Comics!