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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – July 25, 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: Doomsday Clock #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

What it is: The critically acclaimed super star team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank continue this groundbreaking event as the Mime and the Marionette take center stage in DOOMSDAY CLOCK #6.

The Mainstream One: Teen Titans #20 (Shirahama variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Adam Glass
Art: Bernard Chang

What it is: Batman has no idea what he’s doing. Superman? Not a clue. Wonder Woman? Whatever. Damian Wayne is Robin, and he’s done with the bleeding-heart approach favored by the heroes of the senior circuit. New plan of action: recruit a new Teen Titans. Kid Flash, Red Arrow and newbies Roundhouse, D’jinn and…wait, Lobo has a daughter? That’ll end well. And then build something in secret deep beneath the new Teen Titans HQ. Secret from his teammates, secret from even Batman. It’s a secret that will change the way you look at Robin forever!

The Indie One: Saga #54

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

What it is: The explosive ‘season finale’ to SAGA’s most shocking storyline yet.

The #1 One: Justice League Dark #1 (Capullo variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: James Tynion IV
Art: Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno

What it is: From the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE! Earth’s magic once belonged to them. Now they want the magic back. But who exactly are they? It’s up to the new Justice League Dark to find out and stop this nightmarish new threat at all costs! After the events of NO JUSTICE, team leader Wonder Woman guides the misfit magic mix of Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat and Detective Chimp against enemies too fantastic even for the Justice League. Plus, what awful things are coming through the Tree of Wonder? Dark days ahead…

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman #51

Publisher: DC
Words: Steve Orlando
Art: Laura Braga
Cover Art: Stanley Artgerm Lau

What it is: Then, is Man’s World ready for Wonder Woman to bring Amazonian justice to today’s society? Guest writer Steve Orlando (Justice League of America) delves into that theme in ‘Transformation Island,’ which sees Diana visiting the small-time crook known as Mayfly in jail over the course of several years. But how do these visits impact Diana and Mayfly?

 

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 – June 27, 2018

https://www.facebook.com/stephanie.hans.18/videos/1730316607034369/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: Saga #53

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

What it is: Uh-oh.

Why we love it: I couldn’t help myself. If you’re a regular reader here then Saga needs no introduction. I love Saga even when it rips my heart out, which it does fairly regularly. I’ve been purposefully leaving it off the list because otherwise it would always be at the top of the pile. But this latest arc has been building a sense of dread throughout and I just know something soul wrenching is coming soon. The cover shows The Will reaching a bloody hand for his lance… uh-oh may be an understatement. 

The Mainstream One: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #32

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brandon Montclare
Art: Natcha Bustos

What it is: SAVE OUR SCHOOL PART 1. If Lunella Lafayette is smart enough to get into the Future Foundation or some Wakandan prep school, what’s she doing at good ol’ P.S. 20? Have you heard NYC has a new mayor? Wilson Fisk is running the Big Apple and everything in it, including the Department of Education! But he won’t be ruling it alone… meet your new favorite Marvel character: PRINCESS FISK! Rated T

Why we like it: First appearance of Kingpin’s daughter, Princess Fisk. Could grab some heat from speculators and Moon Girl’s print run is notoriously low. Remember when Omnipotentious’ first appearance blew up? Grab one just to be safe.

The Indie One: Harrow County #32

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Tyler Crook

What it is: This is it! The final issue of Harrow County! Emmy, with the help of Bernice and the Abandoned, takes on Hester Beck in a war of magic as the hit series comes to a final conclusion.

Why we like it: I am admittedly a few volumes behind Harrow County, but I have loved what I have read so far. Now that it’s coming to an end I can happily play binge catch up with this fantastic backwoods horror story.

The #1 One: Teen Titans Special #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Adam Glass
Art: Robson Rocha

What it is: Robin, Kid Flash and Red Arrow are sick of the super-hero status quo, and if the adults won’t do anything about it, you’d better believe these teenagers will! Following the shocking events of NO JUSTICE, don’t miss this special oversized issue that sets the stage for a fearless new direction that will change the Teen Titans forever!

Why we like it: Their are rumors that Lobo’s daughter Crush will be making a first appearance in this issue. Whether it is a first full appearance or a cameo has not been revealed yet. Take a flip through on Wednesday and decide for yourself.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Ms. Marvel #31

Publisher: Marvel
Words: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Nico Leon
Cover Art: Stephanie Hans

What it is: Celebrating 50 issues of Kamala Khan! That’s right – we’ve published 50 issues of MS. MARVEL, and we’re celebrating-SLUMBER PARTY STYLE! KAMALA is having a sleepover with her best friends NAKIA, ZOE, and MIKE…but when calamity strikes in Jersey City, how can MS. MARVEL save the day without bailing on her friends? And speaking of friends, top creators SALADIN AHMED, RAINBOW ROWELL, and MORE are joining the party with series regulars G. WILLOW WILSON and NICO LEON to bring you this historic tale! PLUS: a special surprise that’ll rock Kamala’s world! Don’t miss this landmark issue! Rated T+

Why we like it: Stephanie Hans has been on a tear since her Venomized Jean Grey variant hit with fans. This is a beauty and you can watch Stephanie’s process on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stephanie.hans.18/videos/1730316607034369/

 

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 – March 28, 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: Dark Knight Metal #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: All roads lead…to darkness. In the devastating and epic conclusion to DC’s cataclysmic event series, heroes from across the universe make their final charge into the unknown to battle the forces of the Dark Multiverse! Space and time, dreams and nightmares, all will collide – and what is left at the end will leave the DC Universe irrevocably changed!

Why we love it: Better late than never, I suppose. DC’s lucky that Metal has been rock solid, or else I wouldn’t have bothered. But I can’t look away now, not when the end is at hand. Every issue in this series has ended on a note of hopelessness, with our heroes facing increasingly hopeless scenarios. During last issue’s finale, Batman and Superman had been disintegrated at the World Forge, Barbatos and the dark universe had succeeded in crossing over into our universe and the world had basically gone to hell. I can’t imagine how they’ll get out of this mess in one issue but here it is, the conclusion to Dark Nights Metal.

The Mainstream One: Doomsday Clock #4

Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

What it is: The series you thought you’d never see reaches its fourth issue with a shocking revelation about the aftermath of Ozymandias’ actions and how they reach into even the darkest corners of the DC Universe. Don’t miss the latest chapter by the acclaimed team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank!

Why we like it: The countdown to Doomsday continues, only now it’s counting down at half speed after the announcement that issues would be coming out every other month. We are almost 2 years post Rebirth and it boggles my mind that many of the mysteries seeded back then still haven’t borne fruit. What was the deal with the multiple Supermen? Where is Dr. Manhatten and what role did he play in creating the New52 universe? What was up with the 3 Jokers reveal? With so many loose plot threads still dangling, the clock’s ticking to deliver answers or else I fear fans will just stop caring.

The Indie One: Saga #50

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

What it is: SAGA TURNS 50! To help their friends, Hazel and her parents risk everything to visit a dangerous new world. Celebrating 50 consecutive issues by the same award-winning creative team. Plus, the winners of the latest SAGA COSTUME CONTEST are revealed exclusively in ‘To Be Continued,’ the letters page showcasing the best readers in comics!

Why we like it: I know I said that I would stop highlighting Saga every week that it comes out, but this is a milestone issue for what I consider to be the most important independent comic being published right now. If you haven’t been reading Saga, now is not a good jumping on point as the last two issues have been foreshadowing some serious shit going down in this arc. And if you haven’t been reading Saga, I would highly recommend that you remedy that situation immediately.

 The #1 One: Bruce Lee Walk of the Dragon

Publisher: Darby Pop
Words: Nicole Dubuc, Shannon Lee, Jeff Kline
Art: Brandon McKinney

What it is: Philosopher/teacher/real-life superhero Bruce Lee is back. And, let’s be honest, the world needs him now more than ever. Taking a brief respite from battling an otherworldly evil, Bruce Lee attempts to navigate modern-day Southern California despite still suffering from amnesia and having been ‘out of the loop’ for over 45 years. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a simple ‘lunch run’ soon turns into a comedy of errors involving mistaken identity, a Film Festival,’ and the pokey. And despite never being one to initiate fisticuffs, Bruce continues to find it difficult to both hide his martial arts skills – and keep his shirt on.

Why we like it: I’m a huge fan of Bruce Lee, but not necessarily his comics. These Darby Pop comics are being produced under the watchful eye of Bruce’s daughter Shannon and it’s definitely aimed towards a younger audience, lacking any gratuitous violence, controversy or compelling drama. I enjoy the “man out of time” hook and watching a newly unfrozen Bruce navigate modern society is entertaining. But otherwise these are fairly vanilla stories that focus on fun, comedy and morality.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Damnation Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Christopher Sebela
Art: Phil Noto
Cover Art: Clayton Crain

What it is: DAMNATION TIE-IN! Johnny Blaze takes the fight to a different devil than he usually faces – Mephisto! But Mephisto will show Johnny his own brand of suffering – and give Johnny PLENTY of reasons for vengeance. Rated T+

Why we like it: Hot damn, this cover is straight fire!

 

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 – October 25, 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: Saga #48

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

What it is: END OF STORY ARC Ghüs and Squire have an adventure.

Why we love it: Saga’s going to keep being on the top of the pile until Chris tells me that every last one of his subscribers has Saga in their pull box. I cannot stress this enough, Saga is the best comic book out by any publisher and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. 

  The Mainstream One: Wonder Woman #33 (Frisson variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: James Robinson
Art: Carlo Pagulayan

What it is: ‘TIMES PAST’ part one! Grail, the daughter of Darkseid, has been on a quest to restore her father to his full power and glory after the events of Darkseid War! She must challenge children of the gods to steal their energy for the almighty Darkseid. Will any hero of myth be able to withstand her onslaught?! RATED T

Why we like it: I will probably be passing on most of the big 2. DC only has a few Metal tie-ins out this week and Marvel Legacy has been pretty underwhelming (is anyone else seeing large stacks of unsold Marvel lenticular covers sitting on their LCS’ shelves?). Wonder Woman #33 gets the nod here because it features Darkseid’s daughter Grail, Wonder Woman’s long-lost twin brother Jason and a gorgeous Jenny Frisson cover.

The Indie One: Jughead the Hunger #1

Publisher: Archie
Words: Frank Tieri
Art: Pat Kennedy

What it is: Brand New Series! Jughead Jones is a werewolf, and Reggie Mantle has fallen victim to Jughead’s monstrous ways. Now Betty Cooper: Werewolf Hunter along with Archie Andrews are hot on the trail of Jughead. For TEEN+ readers.

Why we like it: Just in time for Halloween. Jughead the Hunger is a sort-of spinoff of the surprise hit Afterlife with Archie, which first incorporated elements of horror into Riverdale’s otherwise idyllic, suburban setting. First it was Archie and zombies, and this time we get Jughead and werewolves. Just in time for the holidays.

  The #1 One: Eternity #1 

Publisher: Valiant
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Trevor Hairsine

What it is: A VISIONARY NEW SERIES! From the minds of New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (X-O MANOWAR, Mind MGMT) and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine (DIVINITY, X-Men: Deadly Genesis) comes an expedition into the Unknown. Beyond time… Beyond space… Beyond reality itself… ETERNITY awaits! This October, Valiant unveils a new plane of existence beyond our own and unleashes a universe of new worlds, new beings, and new myths…

Why we like it: Same creative team from Valiant that brought us Divinity, which my dedicated readers will remember as being one of my favorite reads of 2015 (probably second only to Vision). Part super-hero, part sci-fi, completely bad-ass, Divinity and its sequels were flat out awesome reads. Eternity sounds a bit close to Divinity, but I’m excited to see what mind-bending stuff Matt Kindt has planned for us.

  The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Star Wars Jedi Republic Mace Windu (Tedesco variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matt Owens
Art: Denys Cowan
Cover Art: Julian Tedesco

What it is: Mace and his squad’s first mission of the newly begun Clone Wars continues! What do the Separatists want with the planet of Hissrich? Can Mace overcome mercenary droid AD-W4 to stop them? Rated T

Why we like it: And you will know his name is Mace Windu, when he lays his wrath upon thee. Love the colors on this cover.

 

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 27, 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: Action Comics #988

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Jurgens
Art: Patrick Zircher

What it is: ‘THE OZ EFFECT’ part two! As Superman struggles with the ramifications of Mr. Oz’s identity, the mysterious figure’s origins and the long road to Superman’s doorstep finally reveal themselves.

Why we like it: If you haven’t read Action Comics #987 yet, they reveal Mr. Oz’s identity and it is bonkers. If you have read Action Comics #987 then you’re just as wtf as I me… You got some serious explaining to do Dan Jurgens. Another great looking lenticulared cover here.

 

The Mainstream One: Spider-Gwen #24

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Robbie Rodriguez
Art: Jason Latour

What it is: The aftermath of the PREDATORS storyline leaves Gwen in a VERY different place. * Matt Murdock’s plans all come home to roost, and when you plan like our good friend Murderdock does, you know that ain’t pretty. * WHAT IS THE NEXT EVOLUTIONARY STEP FOR SPIDER-GWEN?!

Why we love it: The hype’s been cooking on this one for a while. 3 years ago, Gwen Stacy came swinging back into our lives with new radioactive spider powers and it was love all over again. And this is the moment I’ve been waiting for since then. Spider-Gwen’s getting her own symbiote saga and that can only mean one thing, Gwenom.

The Indie One: Saga #47

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

What it is: Meet Ianthe, who has very big plans for The Will.

Why we like it: After an emotional arc with the heroes of our story, this issue will offer a nice change of pace catching up with one of my favorite secondary characters, the broken bounty hunter The Will. I am also very interested in meeting Mr. Crystal Face Fancy Pants over there.

 

The #1 One: Marvel Legacy one shot (Alex Ross variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Esad Ribic

What it is: EVERYTHING STARTS HERE! It begins at the dawn of the human race, and ends with a child’s prayer! In between, empires fall, mysteries brew, secrets are revealed, quests are undertaken and legends are forged! All leading up to the dramatic return you’ve been waiting for – and one you’ve been dreading! Jason Aaron (MIGHTY THOR) and Esad Ribic (SECRET WARS) usher in a new dawn – one whose rays will touch every corner of the Marvel Universe in the days to come! MARVEL LEGACY: It’s everything you’ve been longing for – and more! ONE-SHOT/Rated T+

Why we like it: Marvel is going to start phasing in legacy characters that have been missing from the Marvel continuity for a while and the come back starts here. They sort of spoil it on the cover (which is amazeballs), but I’m excited none the less. This is not an event book, it’s a one shot issue that Marvel is using to setup story lines for the coming year before they reboot the All-New All-Different universe in 2018. Ha, just kidding… hopefully.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Mighty Thor #23 (Venomized Villains variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Valerio Schiti
Cover Art: Clayton Crain

What it is: THOR AGAINST THOR! When the Ultimate Thor finally goes too far, Jane has no choice but to stop him. Can she quell the rage of the War Thor before he destroys the very realms he once hoped to save?

Why we like it: Things aren’t looking good for Jane Foster.  This venomized Hela cover however looks totally amazing. I think it’s currently a tie between Clayton Crain and Francesco Mattina for the best symbiote artist. Hela’s playing a central role in the upcoming Thor Ragnarok movie and she should be gaining some fans.

 

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 – August 30, 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. If you are reading this article, then you are no doubt aware of Jack Kirby. A man so well respected that his contemporaries called him Jack “The King of Comics” Kirby, later shortened to Jack “King” Kirby for the whole brevity thing. This week would have been Jack’s 100th birthday. This week is also the dreaded 5th Wednesday of the month, which mean most of the publishers phoned it in. One shots, annuals, you know the drill. It’s rough but there are a few diamonds in there. Here’s what glitters.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Saga #46

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

What it is: An operation and a farewell.

Why we love it: The best comic in comicdom continues to be just that. The last page of issue #45 has been giving me nightmares since I read it and I’m no doctor, but that cover doesn’t look good.

  The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #10 (Gabrielle Dell Otto variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Steve McNiven

What it is: Can there be any redemption for Captain America as the SECRET EMPIRE starts to crumble? Rated T+

Why we like it: This is the end for Hydra Cap! What happens to Steve Rogers and how can he possibly be redeemed after going this far? Secret Empire has been a good event and an even better read but I’m getting worried that it all ends with Kobik ex machina. Regardless, that is one bad mutha Dell Otto cover.

The Indie One: Image Plus #1 (Wytches The Bad Egg part 1)

Publisher: Image
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Jock

What it is: Volume two of the Diamond Gem Award-winning comics magazine IMAGE+ begins now! Fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of SCOTT SNYDER & JOCK’s smash-hit horror series WYTCHES ever since the first season ended on a brutal cliffhanger. Now, they’re back with a taste for the upcoming second season of the series by serializing what happens next in IMAGE+! How did Sailor make it to safety? What has she been doing since?

Why we like it: Free when purchasing a copy of Diamonds Preview, Image Plus #1 brings the much anticipated return of Wytches. I loved the first arc when it came out in 2014, and I’m super excited that it is coming back. I hate that it’s being printed in Image Plus magazine instead of single issue floppies.

 The #1 One: Star Wars Jedi Republic Mace Windu #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matt Owen
Art: Denys Cowan

What it is: For over a thousand generations, the Jedi have been the peacekeepers of the galaxy…but now, at the dawn of the Clone Wars, they find themselves in a new role: generals in the Army of the Republic. As Mace Windu, one of the Jedi’s greatest warriors, leads a small unit of Jedi into battle shortly after the war begins, the Jedi must make peace with their new role, or be lost to the violence around them! Rated T

Why we like it: Hi kids, do you like sci-fi action? With Sam Jackson, gonna grow up like Titanic with Bill Packson? Cool brother with the bald head and goatee. Isn’t he the first black guy to be in Star Wars Since Billy D? Hi, my name is, huh? my name is who? my name is chicki, chicki, Mace Windew. Jimmy Fallon may be a twit but I always liked that bit.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman #29

Publisher: DC
Words: Fonta Shea
Art: Messi David
Cover Art: Jenny Frison 

What it is: ‘HEART OF THE AMAZON’ part four! No single bounty hunter would be enough to draw blood from Wonder Woman-which is why the cabal that’s so desperate to get their hands on Amazon DNA has sent five!

Why we like it: Maybe it’s just me, but this WW cover reminds me of that famous National Geographic cover with the Afghan Girl.

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics! And to everyone affected by Harvey, our thoughts go out to you. Stay safe and take care of each other!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 6/28/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome back to another episode of the Crank File. Did you miss me? I’ve missed you. Wednesday is new comic book day and Tuesdays I spotlight some of the stuff that I’ll be checking out. It’s looking like a strong crop of books and I had a really hard time making this week’s picks. Lots of good books couldn’t make the cut. These are the ones that did. Your results may vary.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

SE5

The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Leinil Francis Yu

What it is: They thought they were safe! They thought they could handle anything that was thrown against them! But the united heroes of the Marvel Universe never reckoned on the dread power that Steve Rogers would unleash! THE SECRET EMPIRE WILL AMAZE YOU! Rated T+

Why we love it: I wasn’t ready for Secret Empire to be this entertaining. This dystopia has been relevant, intriguing and undeniably provocative. Evil Steve Rogers (Stevil Rogers?) has outmaneuvered earth’s superheroes at every turn. What tricks does he have up his gauntlets this time? Is that really the Hulk on the cover? Did Hawkeye somehow shoot him back to life?

 TAH20

The Mainstream One: Totally Awesome Hulk #20

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Mahmud A. Asrar

What it is: WEAPONS OF MUTANT DESTRUCTION PART 2! What is the mysterious Weapon Gamma? AND WHO IS BEHIND ITS CREATION? Rated T

Why we like it: Hulkverine. Nuff said.

S44

The Indie One: Saga #44

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

What it is: Hazel and her family search for elusive treasure: affordable healthcare.

Why we like it: The best comic in all of comicdom, Saga takes us where few comics dare or care to go.

EoV1

The #1 One: Edge of Venomverse #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Roland Boschi

What it is: EDGE of VENOM-VERSE starts here! The series that sets up the epic VENOM EVENT of 2017 STARTS HERE! Each issue introduces another major Venomized character that will feed into VENOMVERSE itself! THIS ISSUE, the young mutant clone designated X-23 collides with a cryogenic tube containing a strange alien symbiote during her frenzied escape from The Facility, . Bonding with the alien enhances her already considerable abilities, and aids in her escape, but it begins to alter her mind! On the run from the very people that made her, can X-23 hold it together or is she doomed to give in to Venom! Rated T

Why we like it: Francesco Mattina absolutely slayed this cover. I thought X-23 was plenty scary before the corrupted alien parasite costume. It seems like the entire world has caught Venom fever since the news of a Venom/Carnage movie broke. If you or someone you love is suffering from symbiote separation anxiety, talk to your local comic shop about Venomverse.

ww25

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman #25

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Liam Sharp
Cover Art: Jenny Frison

What it is: Writer Greg Rucka weaves together the threads of ‘The Lies,’ ‘Year One,’ ‘The Truth,’ and ‘Godwatch’-every story in WONDER WOMAN since the start of the DC Universe Rebirth era-in this extra-sized anniversary issue!

Why we like it: Jenny Frison really wants to get Jennifer Connelly cast as Wonder Woman. Frison’s entire run of WW cover Bs has been outstanding, with a few exceptional pieces. This is an exceptional one. Speaking of exceptional, the Wonder Woman movie. It wasn’t perfect, but it was close. See it. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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 – 5/31/2017

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.

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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.

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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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A View From Above: Where to Spot Good Writing

As a student of writing, I’m constantly on the lookout for good quality work. Most of the time when we think of good quality writing we think of the classics like Shakespeare, Chaucer, or Milton. Similarly we also think good writing comes from novels and/or plays; forms that are generally thought of as a little highbrow and difficult to connect with. However, good writing can also come from film, television and even comic books.

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I’ve read a lot of classics from Homer’s The Iliad to Beowulf to Paradise Lost. From Edgar Allen Poe to Bram Stoker. They’re all great if you want to learn story structure and expand your vocabulary and I highly recommend you start at the beginning. On the other hand, I’ve also read and watched things that were recommended to me with the thought that I’d like them, but alas poor Yorick I did not. They just didn’t do it for me. Breaking Bad, for example, which is consistently rated as one of the best television series’ of all time. I couldn’t get through the second episode. Don’t get me wrong, it was an interesting premise, but just not my thing. Just the other day I got caught up in a twitter debate about how “great” The Expanse is. Is it? I found the characters boring, and the dialogue weak. I muddled my way through the first season and don’t plan on continuing. How it got renewed for a third season is beyond me. I simply cannot watch anything produced by the SyFy channel. Can anyone tell me why everything looks blue on that show? Ender’s Game was another recommendation. This was one experience where I rather enjoyed the movie more than the book. No. Just no.

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The theory is that I like science fiction. Everyone knows my love of Star Wars. The thing is Star Wars isn’t science fiction. I’m not a fan of any specific genre. I like what’s written well. Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Preacher (the comic not the show, please…not the show), are all very different. This is how I can tell if I really like something; I cannot physically put it down or turn it off. It’s impossible And if I can remember what I’m reading, that’s a sign. The best part of good writing for me is the dialogue. Which any writer, no matter their skill level, will tell you is the most difficult to get right. Garth Ennis, the writer for Preacher gets the dialogue down so perfectly, with speech inflection and all like nobody’s business. Yes, it may take a couple readings to get through a speech bubble, but it pays off later on when you realize it becomes part of the character and their development.

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What I like about GoT and HoC is not only the dialogue, but the delivery of it by the actors. It’s quick, yet forceful. It’s serious but not overly dramatic. The multilayered storylines give both shows an extra level of intrigue. This made me realize my own novel is way too simple (editors note:  Eric is in the process of writing his first book).

Another show I respect, but am not completely enthralled with is Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Legend of Korra to an even lesser extent. I know it’s blasphemy to not love these shows. I really like them, and love how the story and characters develop. I think it’s because it’s animated, which doesn’t make sense at all because I love Star Wars Clone Wars and Rebels.

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I had just caught up with Saga, the comic series written by award winning comic writer Brian K. Vaughan. I’ll say this; it’s definitely original, which is a big plus in my book. It’s well written, but didn’t pull me in as much as Preacher did. I’m also reading his other series, Paper Girls which is also very original. Y: The Last Man, from what I read is really good too! I’ll stay with both for now. A few more examples of good writing came from a recommended comic called Wytches by Scott Snyder. Wow! If you like creepy comics, in the vein of Stephen King, I cannot recommend this one enough. I read the entire trade in one sitting, something I never do. Lastly, Transmetroplitan and Planetary also came recommended, both written by Warren Ellis. I’m excited to dive into those!

I’m all ears for more recommendations. I can’t guarantee I’ll like it, but I’m willing to try. Movies, books, or comics!

Eric Onkenhout

@EricOnkenhout or @WritingEric

Facebook.com/eric.onkenhout

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 1/25/2017

Greetings super heroes and heroines and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the net that believes the freedom to punch a Nazi in the face is a god given right. I’m your host, Ken Lee, and here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

 

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The Top of the Pile: Saga #42

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

What it is: END OF STORY ARC ‘THE WAR FOR PHANG,’ The Epic Conclusion! Hell is war, as Hazel and her family learn the hardest way.

Why we love it: Still the best book on the stands, and once again the top of the pile. It’s the end of another spectacular Saga arc, which is always bitter sweet. It means that something jaw-droppingly awesome is going to happen, but it also means a couple months off before we get another issue while the creative team goes on scheduled hiatus.

 

 

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The Mainstream One: Totally Awesome Hulk #15

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Mahmud A. Asrar

What it is: ‘BIG APPLE SHOWDOWN’ STARTS HERE! Amadeus Cho is slowly learning how to become a team player, but he better learn fast when Ms. Marvel, Shang Chi, Silk and a host of other heroes come to town!

Why we like it: I didn’t realize how much I wanted this team-up until I saw the cover art. Marvel’s assembling a group of Asian super heroes, which will eventually need a catchy team name. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I’m thinking “The Persuaders”.

 

 

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The Indie One: Divinity III #2

Publisher: Valiant
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Trevor Hairsine

What it is: Cold world war! Welcome to the year 2017 where the Soviet Union has spent decades as the the world’s reigning superpower and the Iron Curtain now encircles a planet riddled with war, strife, and oppression. Freedom is a thing of the past in the Stalinverse. So why can’t Russian intelligence officer Colin King shake the feeling that something has gone terribly wrong? He’ll put his freedom and life on the line to uncover the truth. Even if that means finding out whatever happened to the long-missing cosmonaut Abram Adams – the one man who just might hold the key to unraveling the dystopian world of today. This is no alternate reality. This is the Valiant Universe as we know it and, soon, New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt and blockbuster artist Trevor Hairsine will lead Valiant’s event-level epic to the architect behind this new world order!

Why we like it: I’ve dipped a toe into a Valiant series or two over the years, but never found any of their titles interesting enough to add to my pull list. But since Valiant unleashed the Russian cosmonaut slash demigod, Divinity, upon their universe, I’ve been hooked. Divinity is THE reason to read Valiant.

 

 

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The #1 One: The Dregs #1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Lonnie Nadler
Art: Eric Zawadzki

What it is: A gentrified city. Its homeless population restricted to six square blocks called The Dregs. When people start disappearing, a drug-addled homeless man obsessed with detective fiction becomes addicted to solving the mystery. Equal parts Raymond Chandler and Don Quixote set in a thriving metropolis that literally cannibalizes the homeless, The Dregs is the first homeless meta noir ever made.

Why we like it: I haven’t heard much about this series, but it already wins the award for the most bizarrely intriguing synopsis. Black Mask lost some goodwill from fans due to uneven release schedules, but there’s no denying that they have published some of the best alternative comics in recent history. Definitely will check this out on Wednesday.

 

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Deadpool #25

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Gerry Duggan
Art: Scott Koblish
Cover Art: Mark Brooks

What it is: DEADPOOL 2099 reaches its DOUBLE-SIZED CONCLUSION! Wade’s two daughters battle for his legacy! PLUS: The old man himself gets in the game! AND: IRON FIST shows just how IMMORTAL he is!

Why we like it: Nothing really jumped out at me this week for cover art, so I’m falling back on an old, reliable tactic. Everyone loves a good DP cover.

 

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