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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/3/2016

Greetings comic fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that is the danger that cranks on the door. Is it obvious that I’m re-watching Breaking Bad? It had been a while since I watched it in its entirety, I almost forgot how amazing the series is. Someone should make a comic book based off it.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

MK5

The Top of the Pile: Moon Knight #5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Gregg Smallwood

What it is: PYRAMID SCHEMES! Marc Spector comes face to face with Moon Knight?! Who is under the mask? Marc’s hunt for answers becomes a Run For His Live through half-remembered histories. Will he finally confront SETH – god of storms and instigator of New Egypt’s takeover of New York?

Why we love it: Lemire’s Moon Knight is a twisting tale of forgotten history and lost identity. What is the Moon Knight? Is he a crime fighter imbued with supernatural powers, or is he the demented hallucination of a sick man? Whatever his true nature, Moon Knight has been one of the shining stars in the post Secret Wars Marvel Universe.

 

BM4

The Mainstream one: Batman #4

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I Am Gotham’ part four. When Gotham City falls prey to true evil, will Batman be abandoned by the new heroes Gotham and Gotham Girl? The Dark Knight must decide who to entrust with the safety of his beloved city if he hopes for any of its citizens to survive.

Why we like it: Tom King’s Batman debut has been just ok so far. Nothing extraordinary (by Batman standards) has happened yet, but we’re only beginning to peel back the cover of this run. King’s Batman is getting a long leash from me, it took 3 issues for his Vision series to emerge as something exceptional.

 

WD157

The Indie One: The Walking Dead #157 (Adams connecting variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard
Cover Art: Arthur Adams

What it is: ‘THE WHISPERER WAR,’ Part One The time has come. The forces are aligning. The war has begun! Has Rick brought about the demise of everything he’s built? Or will he triumph once again? Know this, there will be a cost.

Why we like it: Holy smokes, if you caught last month’s ending to Walking Dead #156 then you know that stuff is going down in this issue. To commemorate what will surely be a memorable WD story arc, the legendary Arthur Adams is doing a set of connecting variant covers for the Whisperer War.

 

SSR1

The #1 One: Suicide Squad Rebirth #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Rob Williamson
Art: Phillip Tan

What it is: Soldier. War hero. Traitor. Captain Rick Flag was one of America’s greatest military commanders before he was banished to a secret military prison. But after years of isolation, Flag’s life changes forever when a woman called Amanda Waller offers him redemption in exchange for taking on the single most dangerous job in the entire DC Universe: keeping the Suicide Squad alive!

Why we like it: Wednesday is going to be all about one DC character, Harley Quinn. It’s almost as if she has a movie coming out or something. Not only is her Suicide Squad title getting Rebirthed, her solo series is also out with a brand new #1 issue, both which will be incredibly popular with her legions of fans. Eat your heart out Mr. J, there’s no stopping the clown princess of crime.

 

CWII KP2

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Civil War II King Pin #2 (Nguyen variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Cover art: Dustin Nguyen

What it is: Despite the heroes’ new future-seeing ally, the crime business is treating Wilson Fisk VERY well. So well, in fact, that his jealous competitors are MURDERING the Kingpin’s men. And to make matters worse, the linchpin of Fisk’s operation – an inhuman with the uncanny ability to stay incognito – is getting ill. Can the Kingpin find a way to keep his business afloat or is his time on top finally finished?

Why we like it: Matthew Rosenberg’s Marvel debut on King Pin #1 was a hell of a good read and had a great Esad Ribic variant cover. The follow up issue delivers another gorgeous variant cover by Dustin Nguyen, showing the stark images of the King Pin and the DareDevil looming large over Hell’s Kitchen. I can’t help but be reminded of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.

 

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 7/6/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that cranks red, white and blue. Hope everyone had a fun 4th of July weekend, with all digits and appendages still in tact. It has been crazy busy summer here at the Crank File. Whenever I hear the term “lazy summer days”, it makes me want to scream. That phrase made so much more sense back before I graduated. Thank god for Wednesdays.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

MK4

The Top of the Pile: Moon Knight #4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood

What it is: Marc Spector and his fellow asylum patients – Frenchie, Gena and Marlene – finally reach street level. But Marc doesn’t see streets. He sees New York City sinking in the sands of NEO-EGYPT! How much of himself – and how many more friends – will Marc lose before he reaches his true enemy?

Why we love it: Marc Spector lives in a mental institute and Marc is having a bad day. He’s having another psychotic episode. During these episodes, he becomes the vigilante called The Moon Knight and goes around fighting crime. Only The Moon Knight isn’t real. And the bad guys that he beats up are, in reality, just the orderlies. That’s what the doctors have been telling him for years. But as Marc’s psyche descends deeper between altered states, we begin to question whether these episodes are just delusions or something super-natural. Superb writing, great art, you want to check out this book.

 

ASM15

The Mainstream one: Amazing Spider-man #15

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli

What it is: ‘Power Play’ comes to its rousing conclusion! Regent’s master plan is working until Mary Jane Watson gets into the fray!

Why we like it: It’s Iron Jane. That’s Mary Jane Watson in the Iron Spider suit. For those who forgot, that’s the suit Tony Stark built for Peter Parker during the first Civil War event. MJ clearly wears it better. Bonus points for the stunning Alex Ross regular cover.

 

PG7

The Indie One: Paper Girls #7

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Cliff Chang

What it is: Trapped in a dark future, Erin and her fellow deliverers from 1988 uncover shocking truths about their own fates.

Why we like it: Because BKV. He knows how to write good comics.

 

KP1

The #1 One: Civil War II: Kingpin #1 (Ribic variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mathew Rosenberg
Art: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz

What it is: An Inhuman with the ability to predict the future has helped the heroes of the Marvel Universe clamp down on crime before it can even happen. While this thwarts most criminals, one man has found a way to keep doing what he does best. Wilson Fisk has managed to stay one step ahead of the good guys and his crime enterprise is BOOMING. But what’s his secret?!

Why we like it: There are two reasons why I like this pick. One, that Ribic cover is an instant classic. Two, Matt Rosenberg makes his writing debut at Marvel. He wrote my favorite mini-series from last year, We Can Never Go Home, and is currently writing another book which I am loving, 4 Kids Walk into a Bank. I tend to follow good writers and Matt is one I’m watching with keen interest.

JLR1

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Justice League: Rebirth #1 (Madureira variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Bryan Hitch
Art: Bryan Hitch
Cover art: Joe Madureira

What it is: A new day dawns for Earth’s greatest heroes as they welcome three new members to the team, including Superman? Who is this strange visitor from a dead world-and can he be trusted? Batman and Wonder Woman aren’t so sure.

Why we like it: Joe Mad does it again, teasing us with another gorgeous cover for DC. What I wouldn’t give for a few more issues of Battle Chasers. Come back to comics Joe, we miss you.

 

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 5/4/2016

Welcome ladies and gents, to another episode of the Crank File, where we strive to make America crank again. Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, a day when everybody is a little nerdish. Who doesn’t love free stuff? There will be a whole bunch of goodies to be got this weekend, but while you’re getting your grab on, try not to be the greedy idiot who ruins it for everyone else. FCBD etiquette is 5 free comics per person on Saturday. But if it’s still at your local comic shop a week from now, then it’s fare game. Have a safe and super Free Comic Book Day everyone. We really need to come up with a catchier name for this holiday.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Sheriff of Babylon #6

 

SOB6

Publisher: Vertigo
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: It’s always hard to know for sure who is winning in a war, but for Christopher and his allies, they sure don’t see a clear victory coming anytime soon. While Chris and Sofia try to deal with a personal tragedy falling out from the attack on her convoy, Nassir’s enemies make another move on him and his wife-and this time the couple won’t get away so easily. This all began with two dead bodies, but it’s anyone’s guess how many more there will be before everything is finished.

Why we love it: It’s an intimate human drama set in the aftermath of the Iraq War, where the war was won but the battles never stopped. Author slash ex-CIA agent Tom King is making quite a name for himself as a comic book writer. His current run on Vision has been, in my opinion, the best series in the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe. He’s writing Batman for DC post-Rebirth. Sheriff of Babylon is just more evidence that he is in fact the real mutha-flippin deal.  Originally slated as a 6-issue mini, S.o.B. has already been extended to 12 and for good reason. It’s one of the best independent books on the stands these days.

 

The Mainstream One: Moon Knight #2 (Tedesco variant)

 

MK2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Greg Smallwood

What it is: THE ONLY WAY OUT IS DOWN! Marc Spector is in an asylum full of faces: haughty doctor, hostile orderlies, vacant-eyed patients. Or maybe those faces are actually just masks? If some of those masks hide friends, others may hide enemies, or worse, GODS and MONSTERS. The moon is out, the mask is on: it’s time to escape-will Marc find a city full of sand, or something truly horrifying?

Why we like it: I had high hopes for Moon Knight when I found out that Lemire was writing it. I’m happy to report that issue #1 absolutely demolished all my expectations. It was an awesome, reality bending tale that shattered the thin line separating brilliance and insanity. Dark, violent and a bucket full of crazy. Check this series out if you’re a fan of Lemire, or a fan of Moon Knight or if you just enjoy reading good comics. Either way, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

The Indie One: Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises

 

BL2

Publisher: Darby Pop
Words: Jeff Kline
Art: Brandon McKinney

What it is: Alive and… well… alive in North Hollywood. Bruce Lee remains both a fish out of water – and a man on the run. As Bruce and Joe try to unravel the mystery of Bruce’s previous imprisonment, villainous alliances shift, and the stakes only rise. Of course, there’s also the small matter of Jax and Wren and their missing father. Is there a connection? Is Bruce still wearing Joe’s boxers, circa 1973?

Why we like it: While it was definitely geared towards a younger audience, I found enough to like from Dragon Rises issue #1 to pick up another issue. I was pleasantly surprised by how solid the first issue was. There was loads of Kung Fu action, engaging characters, hilarious man-out-of-time moments and just enough mystery to keep me hooked. Bonus points for the sweet cover art.

 

The #1: The Punisher #1 (Maleev variant)

 

P1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Becky Cloonan
Art: Steve Dillon

What it is: FRANK CASTLE LOSES CONTROL! A by-the-numbers drug bust is about to take Frank Castle by surprise,and he HATES surprises. The horrible fallout threatens to send The Punisher into the heart of darkness, but Castle won’t make that journey alone: A DEA agent is on his trail and attempting to get into his head, but what horrors will she find there, and will she survive the experience? Parental Advisory

Why we like it: If you watched Jon Bernthal’s performance as Fank Castle on Netflix’s DareDevil show, you knew it was only a matter of time before he got his own spin-off. Last week the news was confirmed and Marvel’s looking to capitalize on increased interest in the Punisher by assembling an all-star creative team for his new solo series. That Maleev variant is baaaaaad ass, will definitely be tracking down this cover.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Scarlet Witch #6

 

SW6

Publisher: Marvel
Words: James Robinson
Art: Javier Pulido
Cover Art: David Aja

What it is: PARIS, JE T’AIME Wanda’s next magical mystery takes her to the streets of Paris, France! There she teams up with broken-hearted hero LE PEREGRINE, who has lost his ability to fly. In order to make him whole again, the SCARLET WITCH will have to risk life and limb visit ghosts of the past…

Why we like it: M.C. Escher that’s my favorite M.C. David Aja’s cover work on Scarlet Witch has been so good that he’s already taken this spot twice during the first 6 issues of the series. I’ve picked up enough issues just for the cover art alone that I’ve found out that Robison’s story is actually pretty darn good as well.

 

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!