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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – August 9, 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: Mister Miracle #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: From the team behind THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON and the Hugo Award-nominated writer of Vision comes a unique new take on one of Jack Kirby’s most beloved New Gods. Scott Free is the greatest escape artist that ever lived. So great that he escaped Granny Goodness’ gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, the former female fury known as Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. He even caught the attention of the Justice League, which counted him among its ranks. You might say Scott Free has everything…so why isn’t it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick-except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out. Written by Tom King (BATMAN) and illustrated by Mitch Gerads (The Punisher), this is a MISTER MIRACLE unlike any you’ve read before.

Why we love it: Tom King took one of Marvel’s more oddball heroes and with artist Gabriel Walta, turned the Vision into a 12 issue post-modern masterpiece that won a freaking Eisner. Mister Miracle will be a 12 issue mini that deconstructs one of Jack The King Kirby’s strangest creations. It’s King on King action!

 

The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #8

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Daniel Acuna

What it is: UNITED WE STAND – against the SECRET EMPIRE! Rated T+

Why we like it: Still good. Still on time. Still loving this event.

 

The Indie One: Low #19

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini

What it is: END OF STORY ARC ‘OUTER ASPECTS OF INNER ATTITUDES,’ Conclusion Death comes to the drowning city as Tajo and her crew fight to inspire the citizens of Salus to not go gentle into that good night.

Why we like it: It’s the end to another glorious Low arc and as usual, things aren’t going so great for our main characters. One of the recurring themes of Low has been finding hope when things are at their darkest moment but it has been pretty grim since Stel’s story came to a grisly end in issue #15. I’m looking for something in this week’s issue to keep my spirits buoyed.

 

The #1 One: Generations Phoenix & Jean Grey #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Aaron A
Art: R. B. Silva

What it is: Teenage Jean Grey is willing to do whatever it takes to avoid the fate that befell her predecessor. But when Jean is cast through time and comes face-to-face with the newly possessed Phoenix, will she find the key to saving herself or learn that her fate is sealed? Rated T+

Why we like it: Jean Grey was one of my first crushes, so the prospect of having two Jean Greys at the same time is something of a dream come true. It looks like we’re gonna be doing some time-traveling here, so prepare for things to get convoluted. Like with Generations Hulk, there will be a beautiful Mattina second print cover, but the Stephanie Hans regular cover is just too good to pass on.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: DC Cover B’s

Publisher: DC
Cover Artists: Frank Cho, Artgerm, Renato Guedes

Why we like it: I was having a hard time choosing the best cover this week so here’s three amazing DC cover B’s. These are all spectacular and can all be had for cover price.

 

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 – July 26, 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: Secret Empire #7

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

What it is: It was foretold by Ulysses, it’s haunted Spider-Man’s nightmares for months, and now the moment has arrived: It’s time for Miles Morales to kill Captain America! Unless Natasha? Rated T+

Why we love it: Secret Empire keeps coming out on time and it has really helped the narrative keep the momentum going as it heads into the final stretch. Will the truth behind Ulysses’ vision be revealed in this issue?

The Mainstream One: Weapon X #6

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Greg Land

What it is: ‘WEAPONS OF MUTANT DESTRUCTION’ PART FIVE! BATCH H is finally ready for a test drive. Its targets? Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Domino, Warpath and the Hulk! With a genetic cocktail of the most powerful enhanced beings on the planet coursing through its veins, how can anyone stand a chance?! Rated T+

Why we like it: It’s looking like Batch-H is going to be sticking around even after WMD ends and it could be making its first appearance towards the end of this issue. Kick ass series to boot.

 

The Indie One: Redneck #4

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Lisandro Estherren  

What it is: In an attempt to stop the chaos engulfing their family, Perry and Bartlett revisit Bartlett’s past but digging up old wounds sometimes opens new ones. What exactly is Bartlett’s big secret?

Why we like it: Donny Cates is absolutely crushing this book. I was instantly hooked. Not a huge fan of the art, but it’s serviceable.

The #1 One: Heavenly Blues #1

Publisher: Scout Comics
Words: Ben Kahn
Art: Bruno Hidalgo

What it is: People live. People die. The ‘good’ are pleasantly escorted off to Heaven; while the rest unceremoniously rots in Hell. Hell – a world where torture isn’t retribution, it’s just hazing. Isaiah Jefferson fancied himself a dashing rogue; the greatest thief of the Great Depression, but a cruel betrayal left him dead in the dirt. Erin Foley was a scared grifter desperate not to be another child fed to the violent maw of the Salem Witch Trials. When they’re given the chance to leave Hell and spit in the face of judgment, can they face their demons and become the master thieves they were meant to be? Heavenly Blues reunites the team behind Shaman to deliver a mystical heist mash-up from beyond the grave.

Why we like it: Digging the concept and the artwork. Willing to check out Scout’s latest offering on a slow week for new #1’s.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Edge of Venomverse #3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Roland Boschi
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is: THE SYMBIOTIC SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE! Robbie Reyes was just an average, ordinary super hero with a flaming skull? ?right up until he found himself bonded with a dangerous extraterrestrial symbiote! Don’t miss the first daring drive of the HOST RIDER! Rated T+

Why we like it: Another great character design ruined by a ridiculous name. Did they just go with the first name they could think of?

 

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 – July 19, 2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. We experienced a glitch in the Matrix which is why this week’s entry is a day late. But we’re back online, just in time for new comic book day. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I will be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #6

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

What it is: The unworthy, the untrusted, the unstable – this is their day! BEWARE THE SECRET EMPIRE! Rated T+

Why we love it: Secret Empire continues to rule the top spot. It’s no secret that we’re big fans of this series at the Crank File. Last issue was absolutely jam packed with crazy reveals and new mysteries, and the stage is set for what will be a memorable second half. Love this Thor cover too, some of Mark Brook’s finest work.

 

The Mainstream One: Batman #27

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Davide Gianfelice 

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF THE JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part three! The war has spread to every corner of Gotham City, and while Batman battles back the forces of Joker and Riddler, an unlikely criminal becomes the pivotal key to its potential resolution, but it could cost him everything.

Why we like it: Tom King is the master of taking offbeat characters and casting them in a twisted light. Last year he did it with Vision, last month it was Elmer Fudd, and this week it’s D-lister Kite Man. If you’re wondering who Kite Man is, you are not alone. The Silver Age was a weird time for Bat-villains. The same period that gave us memorable characters like Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and the modern Clayface also spawned oddities like Calendar Man, Crazy Quilt, and Kite Man. I don’t know much about Kite Man other than the Charlie Brown reference, but I can guarantee this will be the greatest Kite Man story ever told. Which isn’t saying much, but I’m also willing to bet it’s going to be a great read.

 

The Indie One: Spencer and Locke #4

Publisher: Action Lab
Words: David Pepose
Art: Jr. Santiago

What it is: The end is nigh, as Spencer and Locke square off against Locke’s crime lord father, Augustus, with a child’s life hanging in the balance! Can Locke survive against these overwhelming odds? Does he even want to? And who killed Sophie Jenkins? Find out here in this explosive finale!

Why we like it: I really wanted to like this series better. The detective noir angle was well executed and I enjoyed the Calvin and Hobbes callbacks, but the dark tone keeps this series from being a spiritual successor to my favorite childhood comic. Still, I hung on for three issues and I’m pretty much committed to reading the finale, but I won’t love it. Mr. Watterson, if you’re reading this, please let us have more Calvin and Hobbes.

 

The #1 One: Astonishing X-Men #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Jim Cheung

What it is: ONLY THE X-MEN CAN SAVE US! An ancient evil is attacking the world’s most powerful minds. It will have them by the time you finish this sentence, and a moment later, it will have us all. A band of X-MEN discovers the truth behind the threat, but there is no time left. PSYLOCKE, OLD MAN LOGAN, BISHOP, ARCHANGEL, FANTOMEX, ROGUE and GAMBIT will attempt to save a world that hates and fears them. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE THE X-MEN. From blockbuster writer CHARLES SOULE and joined by a roster of superstar artists beginning with JIM CHEUNG. ASTONISHING X-MEN. It’s the X-book you need. Rated T+

Why we like it: Love the cast of characters, love the creative team. This could be the X book I’ve been needing since Extraordinary ended. Naturally, with this being a Marvel book, Astonishing is being released with a ton of variants. There’s a couple of good looking ones, I like the Artgerm and Jim Lee covers but they are 1:100 and 1:1000 incentive variants that will set you back $100 and $1000 respectively.

  

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley Quinn #24

Publisher: DC
Words: Amanda Conner
Art: John Timms
Cover Art: Frank Cho

What it is: ‘THE PARENT TRAP’! Harley has faced every challenge even she could possibly imagine, but can she survive?a visit from her parents?! And in ‘Harley Loves Joker’ part eight, the duo’s new headquarters comes with some unforeseen complications!

Why we like it: Tough call this week. DC has two cover B’s that could have made it here. Cho gets the nod for the insane amount of detail in the line work. This cover is part one of a two-part connecting cover, with the second part revealed on the next issue. The other cover B that didn’t make the cut was a gorgeous Joshua Middleton piece for Aquaman #26. You’ll know it if you see it. And if you see it, I’d advise you to grab it 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 – 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 – 6/14/2017

Hey there comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. The Bat Family lost one of it’s most iconic members last week. RIP Mayor Adam West. You may be gone, but the Batsui will live on.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

vdc

The Top of the Pile: Vision Director’s Cut

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

What it is: One of the most surprising super-hero stories ever told, now better than ever! Experience Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s masterpiece…re-presented with bonus behind-the-scenes content! Behold the Visions! They’re the family next door, and they have the power to kill us all. What could possibly go wrong? Collecting VISION (2015) #1-2, plus extras — including Tom King’s original series pitch, script excerpts, character designs and sketches by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, cover sketches by Mike del Mundo and more.

Why we love it: Vision was unlike any other Marvel story told before and will serve as the high water mark for all comics to come. I’m definitely down to watch how that sausage gets made.

 SE4

The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #4

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

What it is: There is a power that can either save the world or doom it! Both Steve Rogers and the heroes arrayed against him need this power! But unfortunately for all of them, the key to possessing this power lies in the hands of the unstoppable Ultron! LIVE IN X-CITING TIMES! SECRET EMPIRE! Rated T+

Why we like it: For those of you who came over to comics from the movies, there’s a story about the Ultron-borg looking fella on the cover. In Marvel comics continuity Ultron was created, not by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, but by legacy Avenger Hank Pym. Hank’s has worn a lot of titles during his career, including Ant Man, Giant Man, Goliath, Yellow Jacket and Wasp. And at one point Ultron and Hank Pym fused their biological and technological selves, body and mind, creating the monstrosity that stands here before us today. Apparently he’s in possession of a shard of the cosmic cubic. Could Ultron be the key to ending Secret Empire? More importantly, what’s up with that second Steve Rogers??

 

MD29

The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #29 (Spawn month variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess 
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: A new kind of monster emerges from the fog as an unsavory finally makes his move against his enemy.

Why we like it: See more at: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/manifest-destiny-29#sthash.qME9ATBz.dpuf

 DDTF1

The #1 One: Dark Days The Forge

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder, James Tynion III
Art: Andy Kubert, Jim Lee, John Romita Jr.

What it is: DARKNESS COMES TO THE DC UNIVERSE WITH THE MYSTERY OF THE FORGE! Aquaman, The Flash and more of DC’s pantheon of heroes suspect Batman of hiding a dark secret that could threaten the very existence of the multiverse! It’s an epic that will span generations-but how does it connect to the origins of one of DC’s most legendary heroes? The great comics event of summer 2017 is about to begin courtesy of superstar writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion III and illustrated by a master class of comics artists: Andy Kubert, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr.! You do not want to miss this one! RATED T

Why we like it: This is the prelude to Batman Metal, the hugely anticipated reunion of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo on Batman. There will be two Dark Days primer books, The Forge and The Casting, and they feature some of the best talent to ever grace the pages of Batman. And John Romita Jr.

 v151

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Venom #151 (Mattina variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is: “THE LAND BEFORE CRIME” Starts Here! Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been reunited at last – and their hatred of Spider-Man is greater than ever! While hunting the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, Venom comes face-to-face with none other than STEGRON THE DINOSAUR MAN! Can Venom postpone feasting on Spider-Man’s brain long enough to stop Stegron from turning everyone in New York into a bloodthirsty dinosaur?!

Why we like it: To buy, or not to buy. Is that even a question? A little Shakespearean humor there. Brill.

 

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.

 LN1

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.

 RM26

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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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 05/17/2017

Hey there comic book fans and welcome to a very special birthday episode of the Crank File. I’ve spent my 35 years doing nothing but reading and collecting comics… and now there’s only time to say… life well spent!

Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’m checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

F22

The Top of the Pile: Flash #22

Publisher: DC
Words: Joshua Williamson
Art: Neil Googe

What it is: “THE BUTTON” part four! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!

Why we love it: “The Button” reaches its conclusion in Flash #22, and you know it’s going to be a crazy issue when the return of the golden age Flash, Jay Garrick, is revealed on the cover. What are they hiding under the cover? Who’s really behind the mystery of the button and the New 52? In what must be related news, Geoff Johns recently teased the “Doomsday Clock” story line which will be coming out in November, and will have Superman facing off against Dr. Manhattan. So even though all of the solicits for “The Button” have been telling us “it’s not who anyone suspects”, I’d be gobsmacked if we didn’t see the return of Dr. Manhattan here.

SE2

The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Andrea Sorrentino

What it is: Enshrouded in darkness, plagued by the minions of Baron Mordo and cut off from all assistance, The Defenders and Doctor Strange struggle to save the lives of the innocent people consigned to this hell on Earth. Will Dagger prove to be the key to stopping this nightmare? Meanwhile, will the appearance of a new hero provide Iron Man with the key to Captain America’s startling change? THE SECRET EMPIRE WILL DEFEND YOU! Rated T+

Why we like it: Whether or not you agree with what Nick Spencer has done with Captain America, there’s no denying that Secret Empire has so far been an exceptionally well crafted comic. The plotting, writing and artwork has been aces and I can say without hyperbole that Secret Empire has been my favorite Marvel event since Civil War came out ten years ago.

 

4kwb4

The Indie One: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank #4

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Matthew Rossenberg
Art: Tyler Boss

What it is: Things go wrong. Things begin to fall apart. Time to arrange a date with a trucker.

Why we like it: I’ve been looking forward to the 4th issue of this hilarious crime-caper since… damn, December. My love for Matthew Rossenberg’s Black Mask comics has been well documented throughout the Crank File’s run, but the constant delays are really killing my buzz. I hope that they can get this series back on a regular release schedule, because it was one of my favorite reads.

S1

The #1 One: Spawn #1 25th Anniversary Director’s Cut

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Todd McFarlane

What it is: 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of SPAWN, created by TODD McFARLANE. Spawn debuted to the public, selling 1.7 million copies in 1992 and is on track to be the longest running independent comic ever. Director’s Cut edition of SPAWN #1 includes: Original SPAWN #1 art boards Page commentary by TODD McFARLANE. Vintage surprises from the early days of SPAWN

Why we like it: I got my start reading Marvel and DC comics, but Spawn was the first series that I made a point to get down to my local comic shop to pick up each new issue as they came out. 270-some issues later and the Spawn franchise is still raising hell. What is dead may never die.

 BW3

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batwoman #3

Publisher: DC
Words: Marguerite Bennett
Art: Steve Epting
Cover Art: J. G. Jones

What it is: ‘The Many Arms Of Death’ part three! Batwoman’s identified the cancer spreading through the lawless nation of Coryana, but to fight back, she’s going to need an army?and the only soldiers at hand belong to the island’s deadly warlords and gang leaders! Can Kate rally every one of these cutthroats to a common cause? Or will Coryana collapse into the same wretched hive of scum and villainy it’s always been? The fate of one of Kate’s greatest loves hangs in the balance? RATED T+ Includes a code for a free digital download of this issue.

Why we like it: Only a handful of standout covers this week. I’ve been digging J. G. Jones’ covers throughout this Batwoman run. I wouldn’t be surprised if most shops didn’t order many or any cover B’s, making these a bit scarcer and harder to hunt down in the future. My recommendation, get em now while the gettin’s good.

 

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 – 5/3/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is off rocking across international movie screens and is already over 100M at the box office just after opening weekend. Seems like Marvel’s popular space dramady has captured lightning in a bottle for a second time.

Every Wednesday in new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’ll be checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

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The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Steve McNiven

What it is: It’s been building for months, across a bevy of titles! But now, the moment has arrived for Steve Rogers to step into the light and declare his allegiance to Hydra! How can the heroes of the Marvel Universe cope with this shattering betrayal by the most trusted figure among them? And what will this mean for the world? The map of the Marvel Universe changes in ways nobody will expect – TRUST THE SECRET EMPIRE!

Why we love it: I was soundly impressed by the zero issue and I’ll admit to being excited for Secret Empire. After having his history corrupted by a living Cosmic Cube named Kobik, Captain Steve Rogers has become not only the secret supreme leader of Hydra, but also director of S.H.I.E.L.D and the acting commander of the US military. I literally have no idea what to expect from this story and for a Marvel title, that is incredibly refreshing.

 

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The Mainstream One: Batman #22

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Jason Fabok

What it is: THE BUTTON” part three! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!

Why we like it: “The Button” part two featured in last week’s Flash #21 ended on an absolutely bonkers cliffhanger, with Flash and Batman stranded in an alternate universe. DC keeps insisting that the big bad of Rebirth is not who we suspect, which we all suspect is Dr. Manhattan. I’m giving the Rebirth mastermind Geoff Johns a pretty long leash here, but if it isn’t Dr. Manhattan and all of these Watchmen references don’t payoff, then I’m going to be pissed.

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The Indie One: Pestilence #1

Publisher: Aftershock
Words: Frank Tieri  
Art: Oleg Okunev

What it is: NEW SERIES! It’s the late 14th Century, and a Great Pestilence-the ‘Black Death’- is sweeping across Europe, killing over 100 million people. BUT, what if history as we know it was a lie? What if, in reality, this was no straightforward plague, but the FIRST non-recorded Zombie Infestation of man? Ex-Crusader Roderick Helms and his fellow ‘black ops’ agents the Church, Fiat Lux, must seek out the cause of this undead outbreak and vanquish it before mankind ceases to exist! Written by the master of violence, gore, and mayhem, Frank Tieri (Marvel vs Capcom, Wolverine, Deadpool), with spectacular art from Disney illustrator, Oleg Okunev, and covers by Eisner Award-nominated artist Tim Bradstreet (The Punisher, Hellblzer)!

Why we like it: The zombie craze seems to be dying off but Pestilence’s premise is brilliant. Definitely one of those wish-I’d-thought-of-that ideas.

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The #1 One: Black Bolt #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Saladin Ahmed
Art: Christian Ward

What it is: THE KING OF THE INHUMANS’ FIRST SOLO SERIES! Black Bolt imprisoned! But by who? And where exactly? The answers to both will shock you! But to learn those answers, Black Bolt must first win a fight to the death with a fellow inmate – The Absorbing Man! Award-winning science fiction writer Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon) crafts a story as trippy as it is action-packed, with truly mind-bending art from the one and only Christian Ward!

Why we like it: Staggering to think that one of Marvel’s premiere Kirby creations from the 60’s has never had his own solo-series. Finally Black Bolt gets his turn at headlining a series and womp womp, he’s a prisoner. I’ll skim this one at the stands to see if I dig the story, but I’m mostly looking forward to checking out Christian Ward’s psychedelic art.

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Star Wars Poe Dameron #14 (Zdarsky Star Wars 40th Anniv Variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Phil Noto
Cover Art: Chip Zdarsky

What it is: It is a sad day for the Resistance as they mourn the loss of a fallen comrade. But their fight is far from over – the First Order must be stopped! And Captain Phasma knows just how to get Terex to toe the line.

Why we like it: Han shoots first in three… two..

 

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 – 4/19/2017

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 that I will be checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

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The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #0

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Daniel Acuna

What it is: What if your greatest ally was secretly your greatest enemy? What if the most trustworthy, stalwart hero history has ever known has been planning in secret a massive betrayal? That time is now. And you won’t be ready for…SECRET EMPIRE! Before the premier comic launch of 2017, superstar creators Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuña toss the every hero of the Marvel Universe into a fiery crucible as Captain America’s master plan is cast into action with April’s SECRET EMPIRE #0!

The Marvel Universe is under siege from within! Captain America, secretly a true believer in the cause of Hydra, has turned his back on the Super Hero community. Using the trust and respect he has gained over the years he has ascended to a position where he can enacts Hydra’s ideals. The death of Jack Flag, the trial of Maria Hill, the second Civil War, the alien Chitauri Queen. All of the dominoes of Captain America’s plan have been laid out – and it will take only the slightest push to set them into action!

“Wherever you find favor within the Marvel Universe, SECRET EMPIRE is a story for you,” says Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. “When the world’s most respected and trusted super hero, Captain America, assumes ultimate power and goes bad, it serves as a rallying cry for all the heroes. Avengers, X-Men, Guardians, Inhumans and street-level heroes unite to fight for the fate – and soul – of the Marvel Universe.”

Now, the Avengers, the Champions, the Defenders, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men and more will be tested. As Hydra’s grip tightens around the Marvel Universe, the heroes stand at the precipice of an unprecedented challenge. How will they Marvel Universe cope with this shattering betrayal by the most trusted among them? The secret is out this April in SECRET EMPIRE #0!

Why we love it: Marvel’s latest super-awesome-mega-event Secret Empire officially kicks off this week with two books, Captain America Steve Rogers #16 and Secret Empire #0. I sat on the sidelines for Civil War II but I’m into Secret Empire. It features the Cap’n front and center, the Mark Brooks covers are insane and Marvel has hinted at no more events for 18 months.

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The Mainstream One: Batman #21

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Jason Fabok

What it is: “THE BUTTON” part one! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!

Why we like it: Speaking of events, do we all remember when DC Rebirth totally mind-boned us by showing the iconic Watchman smiley face button embedded in the Batcave walls? A year after and we’re getting more questions and then later, hopefully, some satisfactory answers. There’s been a lot of heavy hinting at Dr Manhattan being the watchmaker behind the curtain, but it’s almost too obvious at this point.

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The Indie One: God Country #4

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw

What it is: Emmett Quinlan goes to Hell.

Why we like it: God Country hasn’t slowed down for one second. Emmett and the God of Blades descend into Hell on a rescue mission and nobody comes back from Hell a winner. Shaw’s artwork is a wonderful compliment to Cates’ script, conveying the frenzied action of clashing Gods and capturing emotion in the personal moments.

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The #1 One: Redneck #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Lisandro Estherren

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE The Bowmans are VAMPIRES who have quietly run the local barbecue joint in their small town for years, living off cow’s blood. Their peaceful coexistence ends as generations of hate, fear, and bad blood bubble to the surface–making it impossible to separate man from monster! Critically acclaimed writer DONNY CATES (GOD COUNTRY) and artist LISANDRO ESTHERREN serve up the tale of a DIFFERENT kind of family just trying to get by, deep in the heart of Texas.

Why we like it:  Making a rare second appearance on this week’s list, Donny Cates is riding God Country’s wave of popularity and launching another Southern-fried fantasy comic with this week’s Redneck #1. This book is already sold-out all over the place, with lots of readers loading up on multiple copies in hopes that the new series replicates God Country’s success on the secondary market.

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

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Cover Art: Gerardo Sandoval

What it is: ‘NUFF SAID!

Why we like it: Just in case it isn’t apparent from the cover or the laughably inadequate synopsis, Eddie Brock returns as Venom this week. Quick, everyone hide your brains.

 

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