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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 01/11/2015

The Top of the Pile: Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Eastman variant)

 

BTMNT2

Publisher: DC/IDW

Words: James Tynion IV

Art: Freddie Williams II

Trapped in a world where they can scarcely tell friend from foe, the Turtles’ first encounter with the Dark Knight puts their fighting skills to the ultimate test. And while Batman and scientist Lucius Fox search for any clue as to where these strange ninjas come from, Shredder strikes a deal with The Penguin!

The first issue of this unconventional crossover felt very natural. Using Killer Croc to segue into a universe shared by both series was brilliant. I was surprised by how well the distinct styles of the two worlds meshed together. I can’t wait to see more and especially look forward to when Batman gets a load of Krang. Bats has seen some strange stuff in Gotham, but a brain being from another dimension…  Love Eastman’s swipe of his iconic TMNT #1 cover.

 

The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #9

 

SW9

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Esad Ribic

Prepare for GENESIS and witness the birth of All-New, All-Different Marvel.

In reality it is three months after Genesis and we are finally finding out how the current Marvel Universe came to be. There will be answers and hopefully some will be enriching, but since Marvel rebooted in October the secrets of Secret Wars have lost a lot of their intrigue.  The series has actually been amazingly good, but it was disappointing not knowing the conclusion before Marvel rebooted.

 

The Indie One: Walking Dead #150 (Moore variant)

 

WD150

Publisher: Image

Words: Robert Kirkman

Art: Charlie Adlard

In our 150th issue, Rick Grimes finds himself… BETRAYED.

Issue 100 was a huge milestone issue for the series and it was marked by the brutal murder of a major character. What will #150 bring? With the way things have been shaking out for Rick’s crew, probably someone important is dying. There are a handful of covers coming out with #150 and they are all pretty awesome. The Tony Moore swipe of Walking Dead #1 is going to be popular, but the jewel will be the black and white, regular cover. Not a ratio incentive variant, every comic book shop will be sent one copy and only one copy of the retailer appreciation variant. Already pre-selling for more than $200, the black and white variant is going to be a ghost on Wednesday.

 

The #1 One: Legend of Wonder Woman #1

 

LoWW1

Publisher: DC

Words and Art: Renae De Liz

In the beginning there was only chaos. But Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, saw a better future-and eventually, her daughter would be destined to bring that new world to life! Before her ultimate fate unfolds, though, Diana of Themyscira must learn the important lessons of an Amazonian childhood!

This series has already been released digitally and it is a gorgeous, modern retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin story. One of the best things that DC has done with Wonder Woman’s character is allowing women to write her. The most talented female writers in comics have graced the pages of Wonder Woman, which shows how much faith DC has in newcomer De Liz, an artist to keep an eye on.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: All New Wolverine #4 (Sook variant)

 

ANW4

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Tom Taylor

Art: David Lopez

THE DOCTOR IS IN! Things get truly STRANGE when Wolverine turns to the Sorcerer Supreme in the next mystical chapter of the mystery of the three sisters. But will the supernatural efforts of Stephen Strange combined with the raw power of THE WOLVERINE be enough to combat the evils of Alchemax? Parental Advisory

Best Wolverina cover yet. A lot of people are making the case that Ryan Sook’s covers are on the same level as Adam Hughes. I think a more accurate comparison is with Dodson, but there’s no denying that the guy’s got serious talent.

 

The Speculation One: Silk #3

S3

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Robbie Thompson

Art: Stacey Lee

SPIDER-MAN VS. SILK! GOBLIN KING VS. SILK!!! ALL IN ONE ISSUE?! 

Looks like Silk’s got her hands full this week. I know I say it every month, but I am loving this series. In issue two we were briefly introduced to a mysterious, goblin looking dude with sweet phasing abilities. Is he an ally? Who is he working for? And how does he know Silk’s secret identity?  Will we get a full introduction this week? The 1:25 Campbell variant cover is already creeping up to triple digits on the Bay and should be on your radar on Wednesday.

 

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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.

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

Hey there comic book fans, good to have you back for another piece off the Crank File. How many of you out there went to the Rhode Island Comic Con last weekend? After last year’s debacle I still wasn’t ready to make the drive down, so instead I spent my Sunday over at a small convention being held at a local elks lodge. I was able to snag some really nice books at a bargain, including a Harbinger #1, and first appearances of Gamora and the Winter Soldier. But the word from people who went to RICC on Saturday was that the event organizers did a much better job managing the nerd herd this year. Attendance was high as expected, but crowd density was kept under control by spreading the event out across two convention halls and implementing scan badges. The only real complaints I heard were about $40 parking and Carrie Fisher being a later scratch due to illness. Fisher promised that she would return next year, and you know what? You just might see me there next year as well.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: All-New All-Different Avengers #1 Marvel

 

AV12  AV1

Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Adam Kubert

The Avengers are dead–long live the Avengers! Earth’s Mightiest Heroes–Captain America, Thor, Vision, and Iron Man–are living separate lives, not tied to any team–but when a threat from beyond the stars targets our world, fate draws them together once more, alongside Nova, Ms. Marvel, and Miles Morales a.k.a. Spider-Man!

My two favorite new Marvel heroes, Miles Morales and Kamala Khan are leading a new team of earth’s mightiest heroes. Written by the indispensable Mark Waid, the only hard part about picking up this issue is choosing between the Ross regular cover and the hip-hop variant.

 

The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #7 Marvel

 

SW7

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Esad Ribic

THE GREATEST SACRIFICE!

Don’t get me wrong, the constant delays with the main Secret Wars story are completely inexcusable. It’s the second week of November, Marvel’s all-new, all-different universe has been in existence for a solid month now and we STILL have no idea how we got here. All of this would make it easy to disregard Secret Wars and just move on, since apparently it doesn’t matter in the new Marvel universe anyways, but the quality of storytelling has been so high that I feel compelled see it through to the end regardless. Just please try to wrap it up before 2016 Marvel.

 

The Indie One: Airboy #4 Image

 

AB4

Writer: James Robinson
Art: Greg Hinkle

Is this a dream, reality, or somewhere in between? All James Robinson and Greg Hinkle know is that now that they’re in Airboy’s world and not the bars of San Francisco, they have to put down the bottle, put away the drugs, zip up their flies-and actually act like heroes. Except they don’t know how to be heroes. And if they die, will they just wake up…or really perish?

The booze and drug fueled adventure reaches its explosive conclusion in the final issue of what has been one of my favorite mini-series this year. Definitely not one for the kids, Airboy is a bombastic blend of humor, vulgarity and existential insight. Led by the pure hearted Airboy, our heroes have traveled back in time to fight history’s evils and to battle their own inner demons. A metaphysical masterpiece, I cannot wait to see how it all ends on Wednesday.

 

The #1 One: The Goddamned #1 Image

 

GD1

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: R.M. Guera

‘And the earth was filled with violence.’ Genesis 6:11. It’s 1655 years after Eden, and life on Earth has already gone to hell. The world of man is a place of wanton cruelty and wickedness. Prehistoric monsters and stone-age marauders roam the land. Murder and destruction are the rule of the day. Humankind is a failed experiment. This is life before the Flood. The story of man on the verge of his first apocalypse. Welcome to the world of THE GODDAMNED.

The creators of the seminal crime series Scalped, reunite for a new ongoing series of stark and brutal biblical noir, and it sounds like an absolute winner. This one’s easy to jump on board with a special over-sized debut issue featuring thirty pages of story for only $3.99.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: All-New All-Different Wolverine #1 Marvel (Marquez Variant)

W1

Writer: Tom Taylor
Art: David Lopez

X-23 was created to be a weapon and for a time, that’s all she was. But with the help of her mentor, Logan-the original Wolverine-she escaped that dark past. Tragically, Logan has fallen, but Laura will continue in his footsteps as a hero. Recent events have her doing everything in her power to keep those around her alive, as violent forces are hell-bent on mutual destruction. If anyone can stop them, it’s Laura. She is the best there is at what she does. She is THE ALL-NEW WOLVERINE.

I’m not completely sold on Laura Kinney taking up the mantle of her father/clone yet and I’m skeptical about how Ms. Wolverine will be received by fans. I think most Wolverine fans will gravitate towards Old Man Logan, but this cover is just too good to pass on. The Marquez variant is a beautiful homage to the original Wolverine’s first appearance at the end of The Incredible Hulk #180. Nuff said.

 

Last Week’s Leftovers: Klaus #1 Boom

 

K1

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Dan Mora

Set in a dark fantastic past of myth and magic, Klaus tells the story of how Santa Claus really came to be. Where did he begin? What was he like when he was young? Why does he do what he does? How does he do what he does? And what happens when he faces his greatest challenge? Drawing on Santa Claus’ wilder roots in Viking lore and Siberian shamanism-taking in the creepier side of Christmas, and characters like the sinister Krampus-Klaus is a ‘Santa Claus: Year One.’

I loved that description, “A Santa Claus Year One”. Morrison is the master of deconstructing classic characters and stories and then re-imagining them in a new light. It’s Santa, and Santa’s a bad ass. Klaus #1 was all sorts of awesome. It was violent, trippy and weird, par for the course on a Morrison title, but it was comprehensibly weird. With Christmas just around the corner, you can start getting into the spirit with the first issue of this 6 part mini-series from Boom studios.

 

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The Crank File: The Fantastic Fourplay

Welcome back for the fourth installment of The Crank File. The Crank File is an open forum where I will offer speculations, reviews and ravings on all things comics. In today’s episode of the Crank File we discuss the end of a Marvel icon and the beginnings of a new era. And a familiar face makes an unexpected appearance.

Fantastic Four issue #642 kicks off The End is Fourever story arc. The End is Fourever will be the final chapter in the seminal Marvel series The Fantastic Four, which will lead us into Marvel’s big 2015 event, Secret Wars. You heard that right true believers. The Fantastic Four has been cancelled.

Created in 1961 by legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Marvel Comic’s The Fantastic Four was the title that launched the Marvel Universe. Just a few years after The Fantastic Four exploded onto the comic book scene, Marvel had created some of the most recognizable heroes in pop culture history, including Spider-man, Thor, the Hulk, the Avengers, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Dare Devil and the Silver Surfer.

But while other characters rose to stardom and beyond, fame was not as kind to the group once known as the world’s greatest heroes. While the Fantastic Four team was unique and diverse by Silver Age standards, as comics grew up the Fantastic Four sort of stayed the same. Their old school persona and mediocre movies didn’t endear the group to a new generation of comic book readers. And with lower popularity leading to sagging sales, I guess they just couldn’t afford to keep the lights on at the Baxter Building.

I have a soft spot for FF personally because of the “Marvel Secret Story of ” series of books. Does anyone else remember this?

The Secret Story of the World's Greatest Superheroes

A set of four hardcovers, I discovered “The Secret Story” books as a child at my public library. Each book highlighted a different Marvel superhero. There was The Hulk, Spider-man, Captain America and The Fantastic Four. I’d check out any of these books whenever I could. The Fantastic Four might not have been my favorites but they were always there on the shelf, waiting just for me.

I haven’t seen much of the FF since then, outside of their obligatory cross-over appearances. So what better place to start getting reacquainted than at the end? If issue #642 is representative of the series, then Fantastic Four certainly isn’t being cancelled for a lack of quality. Writer James Robinson puts a lot of heart into this story, where we find Marvel’s first family vulnerable, separated and under assault.The artwork is outstanding throughout the issue and I absolutely love the Jim Cheung variant cover, a beautiful homage to the genesis of the Fantastic Four.

FF 642 variant cover

There’s also a great line swipe from Allen Moore’s Watchmen; a nod to a series that in many ways revolutionized comics for its own generation.

Watchmen Swipe    FF watchemn swipe

It is almost poetic that the end of the Fantastic Four would also bring about the start of a new era in Marvel comics. For months now Marvel has been teasing 2015’s upcoming Secret Wars, and The End is Fourever story arc should lead us into this monumental event. From the press releases, we know that in Secret Wars the Marvel Universe and Ultimate Universe will be destroyed with the remaining fragments forming a patchwork planet called BattleWorld. This event is set to shatter the 616 universe as we know it and promises to have profound effects on almost every Marvel title. Although it is not officially being called a franchise reboot, Marvel is promising that Secret Wars will mark a completely new direction for the company.

And we can expect that the members of the Fantastic Four will be involved in Secret Wars. After all, cancelled doesn’t mean dead. Although they might not have their own name on a book for a while, don’t expect it to last forever. Comic books don’t die. They are undead. Sometimes they even come back better and wiser than before. All the best ones do.

Minor spoiler ahead.

On the last page of Fantastic Four #642 we are reintroduced to the SleepWalker. Published for only three years during the early 90’s, SleepWalker was supposed to be Marvel’s response to Vertigo’s popular Sandman series (lol!). Sleepy hasn’t been relevant in comics for decades, if ever, but his sudden appearance at the end of issue #642 indicates that he could play an important role in the Marvel Universe’s transition into Secret Wars. This news has caused prices for the first appearance of Sleep Walker to soar. A recent dollar-bin book is now regularly moving on eBay for $10, with some BIN auctions surpassing $15.

Sleepwalker cover

I can’t find an estimated print run number for this issue, but considering that it came out during the height the first comic book boom… I would guess hundreds of thousands. Check your long boxes and your LCS’s dollar bins and flip them while the flipping is good. It might finally live up to it’s promised “Collector’s item!” status.