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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – October 24, 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: Detective Comics #991

Publisher: DC
Words: James Robinson
Art: Carmine Giandomenico

What it is: Batman’s newest partner…Two-Face? As Harvey Dent’s persona asserts fragile control over the villain’s psyche, the Dark Knight, Commissioner Gordon and their ally-turned-enemy-turned-ally must work together to stop Kobra’s terrorist attack against Gotham City.

Why we love it: Unlike other members in Batman’s rogues gallery, Harvey Dent was and until this day remains a friend of Bruce Wayne’s, which makes Batman/Two Face stories more dynamic. While Bats is content with battering most of his enemies into submission, he takes a different approach with Two Face, always trying to appeal to the good man trappee inside. It’s a weakness that Two Face is aware of and one that he has been able to exploit. I enjoyed writer James Robinson’s “Batman: Face to Face” and look forward to more of his takes on the Batman-Two Face relationship.

The Mainstream One: Return of Wolverine #2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Steve McNiven

What it is: Logan is alive again – let’s see if he can stay that way! Parental Advisory

Why we like it: The first issue was intriguing but raised a lot more questions than it answered. I’m just waiting for an explanation for the heat claws. Seriously, wtf is up with those?

The Indie One: Redneck #16

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Lissandro Estherrem

What it is: Let’s go to prison! What does a state penitentiary’s most famous inmate have to do with the Bowman family? And what secret is Greg hiding from his dad?

Why we like it: Donny Cates has been on a tear this year. Seems like everything he touched at Marvel turned gold, and his breakout indie series God Country was recently picked up for a media deal. I loved God Country and featured it on the Crank File multiple times, but I honestly think Redneck would be a better property for TV development. It’s a Southern-fried vampire story filled with buckets of violence and engaging characters, sort of like True Blood before it went all faeries.

The #1 One: Spider-Gwen Ghost Spider #1 (Jee Hyung varaint)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Seanan McGuire
Art: Rosi Kampe

What it is: A SPIDER-GEDDON TIE IN! What? You thought we were done with Gwen Stacy after the first two landmark volumes of her series?! GET OUTTA HERE. It’s a whole new spin on Gwen and her world of Earth-65, brought to you by none other than SEANAN MCGUIRE & ROSI K?MPE! We pick up with Gwen right where we left her – fighting crime through her home reality, unaware that it sits on the precipice of interdimensional calamity! Someone’s gonna be late to band practice? Rated T+

Why we like it: This is already the 3rd Spider-Gwen #1 since her character first appeared in 2014. Last time she got a #1 was because of Marvel’s Secret Wars reboot, this time it seems just to officially designate her new code-name, Ghost Spider. This name change was a inevitable since she couldn’t call herself Spider-Gwen without someone  eventually figuring out her secret identity.  There are a bunch of variants for this #1, including a nice ArtGerm, but the Jee Hyung variant shown here is the best of the lot.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Moon Knight #200 (Sienkiewicz remastered variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Max Bemis
Art: Paul Davidson
Cover Art: Bill Sienkiewicz

What it is: DARKEST NIGHT! MARC SPECTOR comes face-to-face with his demons! Old enemies return! It’s a celebration of 200 issues of the multifaceted MOON KNIGHT with an oversized anniversary issue you’d be crazy to miss! Rated T+

Why we like it: Sienkiewicz goes back-to-back, with best cover of the week honors two weeks in a row. If you compare his Venom annual cover from last week to this week’s remastered variant (meaning this is recycled artwork from his 1981 Moon Knight run), you can really appreciate the breadth of Sienkiewicz’s artistic talent.

 

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 – September 19, 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: Return of Wolverine #1 (of 5)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Steve McNiven

What it is: HE’S BACK, BUB. Parental Advisory

Why we love it: We all secretly suspected it all along, but now it’s official. Logan’s not actually dead! But where has he been? What has he been up to? And what’s up with those hot claws? The answers to these questions and many more will be answered, well probably not in this issue, but soon! Welcome back to the Marvel Universe Wolvie, hope you survive the experience! 

The Mainstream One: Venom First Host #4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Mark Bagley

What it is: Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been SEPARATED, but Brock isn’t giving up without a fight! With a pair of unlikely allies, Brock takes the fight to his symbiote’s home turf…outer space! Rated T+

Why we like it: In a bizzarre twist in the previous issue, Eddie bonded with his symbiote’s baby blob. Although still weak and underdeveloped, the symbiote spawn has given Eddie a completely different powerset, which so far we know includes the ability to release aerosol pheromones that allow him to manipulate people’s thoughts and emotions. Plus he looks like a can of Monster energy drink.

The Indie One: Black Hammer: Age of Doom #5

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormstron

What it is: The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns with lots of revelations! Our heroes’ journey from Spiral City to the farm is finally revealed and will change them forever!

Why we like it: Finally, the issue I’ve been waiting for. We finally learn how the heroes of Spiral City became trapped in their rural prison. This series has been a great read. Love this cover too, not quite similar enough to be a Dark Knight Returns swipe but I’m definitely feeling that vibe to it.

The #1 One: Batman Damned #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Brian Azerrello
Art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: DC BLACK LABEL, the highly anticipated new imprint from DC Comics, starts here! The Joker is dead. There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery. Problem is, Batman can’t remember… and the more he digs into this labyrinthine case, the more his mind starts to doubt everything he’s uncovering. So who better to set him straight than… John Constantine? Problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people’s heads even more. So with John’s ‘help,’ the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered The Joker. BATMAN: DAMNED is a bimonthly super-natural horror story told by two of comics’ greatest modern creators-a visceral thrill-ride that proudly puts the ‘black’ in BLACK LABEL.

Why we like it: DC’s Black Label imprint is where DC is letting their top creative talent tell ground breaking stories that exist outside of the main DC continuity. Being out of continuity allows the writer to play with themes that just don’t work in the classic, long form comic book tradition. Themes like death (see Top of the Pile). It bothers me that these books will come in an oddly sized, prestige format, which will make them annoying to bag, board and store. That $7 price tag isn’t doing any favors either.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batman #55

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is: The KGBeast lives! The Russian super-assassin is back-but under whose orders? Does he have a specific mission, or is this simply some leftover Cold War mayhem? Nyet, comrade-it has to do with Bruce Wayne’s recent court case involving Mr. Freeze. Something is rotten in Gotham, and you can still smell it, even if it’s on ice!

Why we like it: Another week, another next-level cover by Francesco Mattina. Mattina has to be the current king of cover art and what’s especially impressive is that he’s doing it without the cheesecake.

 

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