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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/14/2016

Greetings comic book aficionados and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the crankiest place on the net. This Saturday, September 17 is Batman Day (happy birthday Bats!) and that means there’s a good chance that your local comic shop will be giving away all sorts of free stuff. For those not in the know, Batman Day originated in 2013 as a celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary. It was such a hit with retailers and fans that DC has promoted it every year since. So get out there this weekend and grab that sweet Bat-swag.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

ASB2

The Top of the Pile: All-Star Batman #2 (Shalvey variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: John Romita Jr

What it is: ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ part 2! All aboard the train ride from hell! Batman and Two-Face continue their journey to Harvey Dent’s cure through an assassin-infested landscape. But can the Dark Knight continue his crusade across the countryside when Two Face turns one of his greatest allies against him?

Why we love it: With Batman Day coming up, it’s only fitting that he takes the top spot this week. Issue #1 was classic Snyder, throwing us headfirst into a crazy adventure in progress, quickly bringing us up to speed, only to crack a bombshell reveal over our slack-jawed heads in the closing panels. Issue #2 drops this week and surprisingly I’m passing on the Jock cover in favor of this sweet Shalvey variant.

 

F6

The Mainstream one: The Flash #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Joshua Williamson
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico

What it is: LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE’ part 6! You’ve seen glimpses of him. You’ve witnessed the carnage he’s unleashed on Central City. Now meet Godspeed, the super-speed serial killer who murders speedsters and steals their powers. Barry Allen is going to need help!

Why we like it: I really hope this is when we quit getting teased with half page cameos and finally witness the epic head-to-head showdown with Godspeed that we’ve all been anxiously awaiting since Rebirth. I also hope that they finally give August Heart a proper superhero moniker.

 

LK22

The Indie One: Lady Killer #2

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Joelle Jones
Art: Joelle Jones

What it is: Josie accepts an offer to team up and discovers the partnership is a match made in hit heaven. But not everything is smooth sailing when the local hit squad discovers who her new partner is.

Why we like it: Everyone’s favorite suburban assassin-slash-homemaker is back with a new volume, packed with all the kills and thrills we’ve come to expect from Lady Killer. Come for the retro pinup covers, stay for the murder and intrigue.

DP1

The #1 One: Doom Patrol #1

Publisher: DC (Young Animals)
Words: Gerard Way
Art: Nick Derington

What it is: The atoms are buzzing. The daydreams crowd sentient streets, and the creative team has been warned, ‘Turn back now or suffer the mighty consequence of sheer, psycho-maniacal mayhem.’ Generation-arsonists unite-this is DOOM PATROL, and the God of the Super Heroes is bleeding on the floor. A blenderized reimagining of the ultimate series of the strange, DOOM PATROL combines elements from classic runs, new directions, and things that could not be. Our entry point is Casey Brinke, a young EMT on the graveyard shift to abstract enlightenment, with a past so odd that she’s not entirely sure what is real and what is not. Along with her partner, Sam Reynolds, the pair blaze a path through the city and its denizens, finding the only quiet that exists at 3am is the chaos of the brain. When the pair answer a hit-and-run call, they find themselves face to face with a familiar figure: Cliff Steele, AKA Robotman. ‘It gets weirder from here,’ writer Gerard Way had to say about the book, with artist Nick Derington gripping tightly on the wheel of the ambulance. The pair’s only communication? Shouting out of the open windows while at high velocity. Who needs a new roommate? Who names a cat ‘Lotion’? And when do we get to see all those muscles? Find your answers inside the pages of this comic book, as we set the stage for new beginnings, as well as the re-introduction of some classic DOOM PATROL characters, including Niles Caulder, Negative Man, Flex Mentallo, and Crazy Jane. The debut title of DC’s Young Animal line kicks off with a removable sticker on its cover: Pull back the gyro to reveal its secrets, but be warned-there is no turning back.

Why we like it: Yeesh, did anyone understand what the heck that was supposed to mean? I am not familiar with Grant Morrison’s classic run on Doom Patrol and don’t know if that would help put this bizarre description into any kind of context, but there’s been major buzz surrounding DC’s Young Animals imprint and this is going to be the line’s flagship title. I have no idea what exactly to expect, but I expect it to be all sorts of weird and entertaining. Also, apparently you can peel off the gyro off the cover to reveal something hidden underneath.

 

SW10

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Scarlet Witch #10

Publisher: Marvel
Words: James Robinson
Art: Joelle Jones
Cover art: David Aja

What it is: The murder of a famous warlock takes the SCARLET WITCH to KYOTO, JAPAN! But little does she know, that as WANDA hunts the murderer, the murderer is also hunting her!!!

Why we like it: Aja is a master. With a palette consisting of just three colors, he has crafted gorgeous cover after gorgeous cover during this Scarlet Witch run. I will also pick up the Black Panther Udon variant if I can find it for a decent price.

 

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

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Trailer Snark (Captain America: Civil War Edition)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Editor’s Note: We are foregoing the usual format of this week’s blog, because by and large most movie studios have wisely cleared their release calendar for what could very well be the year’s biggest film. Captain America:  Civil War, the third installment in the Steve Rogers series, and really what amounts to Avengers 3 in terms of the ensemble cast showcases the characters we have come to know and love, under the expert tutelage of the Russo Brothers, who take the reins from Joss Whedon.  The team gives their thoughts below, along with their pledge of allegiance to either Team Cap or Team Iron Man.  Enjoy!

Captain America:  Civil War (Disney) – Action/Adventure
PG-13 for violence and thematic situations
Tag Line:  Whose side are you on?
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Paul Rudd, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman, and more.
Plot: Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.
Running Time:  146 minutes

Thoughts on the trailer…..
Jessica: I am SUPER EXCITED about “Captain America: Civil War”, I think the trailer looks like yet another hit for Marvel and I do really enjoy the Captain’s story as he finds his place in the “new world” after being asleep so long
Chris: The only thing that exceeds the trepidation of watching to of Marvel’s most famous icons draw the battle lines is to see how they can pull it off effectively and leave fans of both sides satisfied.  And from all accounts, this is one for the ages!

Whose Side are They On?
Ken: Team Rogers, no question.  I agree with Chris that these are beings of unimaginable power, capable of massive destruction and as such should be be held accountable. However, I don’t believe the responsibility of policing the gods should be left in the hands of a few, un-elected individuals. Who died and made Iron Man the sheriff of the MCU?  It’s a question of personal freedom vs conformity. Cap is the ultimate soldier, and like a good soldier he fights to protect his country and the government it represents, but he also fights for the guy next to him in the foxhole. He’s fighting for his brother when he believes that his brother is being treated unjustly. Is there a more noble cause? Like Jess, I sincerely doubt that Tony’s motivations for heading up the superhero registration act are entirely altruistic. What eccentric, billionaire wouldn’t want a position of power with near-unlimited resources at his disposal?
Jim: I don’t know what side I’m on. I just want to be entertained.  I just hope that this isn’t the slog that Age of Ultron was and the squalid excuse for a movie that Batman vs. Superman was. If Hollywood’s going to spend truckloads of money on superhero movies, they can at least make them fun and well-made. Here’s hoping.
Jessica: I am completely torn as to what side I want to be on. I see both sides of it but in the end, I think Tony Stark’s militaristic approach is a bit too much and would have to side with the Captain in the end. His heart is in the right place and I think he has the moral compass to do the right thing, whereas Tony Stark’s moral compass is nonexistent and I simply don’t trust him to make a decision that benefits mankind if it gets in the way of his own ambition and brain powers. I think Stark’s biggest fault is thinking he’s always the smartest man in the room. Whether he is or not, he never takes into account the emotional toll his decisions take and that is a big problem in the long run. So yeah, I’m Team Captain America!
Chris: I love Captain America, and I love the idea of Captain America.  In an ideal world, I would be in his camp, and beating my libertarian drum to the max, but the simple fact is that this is an unreal fantasy world where individuals hold more power than one can imagine.  That power unchecked is a threat to all.  As for who they should answer to is a whole other question, but I find myself aligning with Tony Stark on this one.  This is the movies folks and real world politics do not apply.  Team Iron Man

Added to the Ranks of Team Cap:  Ken and Jessica
Added to the Ranks of Team Iron Man:  Chris
Jumping in on the Winning Side at the Last Possible Moment?  Jim

The debate rages on!
The debate rages on!
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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 4/6/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome back to the Crank File, the crankiest place on earth. It’s shaping up to be a big week for new comics so let’s dive right in, Louganis style.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Vision #6

V6

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Tom King
Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

What it is: The book everyone is talking about. The first arc of this acclaimed series comes to its frightening climax. The bodies will not stay buried. The truth will not remain hidden. And The Vision will never be the same.

Why we love it:  The Vision builds himself a wife and two kids and tries to assimilate them into a quiet suburban town, just like a normal human family, but he can’t escape his violent past or the neighborhood’s fear of his family. Dark, intelligent and idiosyncratic, the Vision is like no other superhero story you’ve seen before.

The Mainstream One: Spider-man #3

SM3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: Sarah Pichelli

What it is: Miles finds himself face-to-face with his toughest villain yet- HIS GRANDMOTHER!!! And an Avengers-study session (date?) with Ms. Marvel goes horribly wrong!

Why we like it: Miles Morales allows Marvel to tell contemporary, teen-aged Spider-man stories without having Peter Parker in an alternate universe or making deals with devil. This week Miles teams up with fellow All-New, All-Different Avenger Ms. Marvel to tackle his most frightening foe, homework.

 

The Indie One: Bruce Lee Dragon Rises #1 (Cho variant)

BL1

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

What it is: Bruce Lee never died. And he hasn’t aged. But, Bruce has no idea who he is or why so many ‘thugs’ want a piece of him. Co-written by Bruce’s daughter, Shannon Lee, and ‘Jackie Chan Adventures’ EP Jeff Kline.

Why we like it: Martial artist, philosopher and all-around bad-ass, Bruce Lee has been my hero since grade school. I’ve never cos-played as a superhero but I’ve dressed up as Bruce on three separate Halloweens. He’s as close to a super human as I’ve seen in real life. A double sized issue for only $3.99 and a Frank Cho cover makes this one an easy pick.

 

The #1 One: Black Panther #1 (Ross variant)

BP1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Brian Stelfreeze

What it is: A new era for the Black Panther starts here! Written by MacArthur Genius and National Book Award winner TA-NEHISI COATES (Between the World and Me) and illustrated by living legend BRIAN STELFREEZE, ‘A Nation Under Our Feet’ is a story about dramatic upheaval in Wakanda and the Black Panther’s struggle to do right by his people as their ruler. The indomitable will of Wakanda — the famed African nation known for its vast wealth, advanced technology and warrior traditions — has long been reflected in the will of its monarchs, the Black Panthers. But now the current Black Panther, T’Challa, finds that will tested by a superhuman terrorist group called The People that has sparked a violent uprising among the citizens of Wakanda. T’Challa knows the country must change to survive — the question is, will the Black Panther survive the change?

Why we like it: Black Panther’s popularity has been on the upswing since he began appearing in the Captain America 3: Civil War trailers. Marvel capitalizes on his meteoric rise by giving him his own series with an all-star creative team. A classic Alex Ross cover makes this #1 a must pull.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Scarlet Witch #5

SW5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: James Robinson
Art: Marguerite Sauvage

What it is: Wanda’s journey takes her to Spain! There she finds an old vineyard converted from a haunted church where witches used to be burned at the stake. But to unravel the mystery of the hauntings, she must first fight off the ghosts of the SPANISH INQUISITION!

Why we like it: Cover artist David Aja has been doing amazing, minimalist artwork for the current Scarlet Witch run. This week’s cover is especially dramatic with silhouettes of witches burning at the stake forming Wanda’s cloak. A stunning reminder that sometimes less is actually more.

 

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