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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – April 4, 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: Amazing Spiderman #798

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Stuart Immonen

What it is: GO DOWN SWINGING Part 2 Dan Slott’s final SPIDER-MAN story continues! The GREEN GOBLIN HAS RETURNED – and he’s exacting his ultimate revenge not only on SPIDER-MAN, but on everyone the wall-crawler loves! Norman Osborn’s offering NO QUARTER, an ultimatum that threatens to finish PETER PARKER once and for all! Rated T

Why we love it: The Red Goblin makes his first appearance in the pages of ASM #798. ‘Nuff said.

The Mainstream One: Batman #44

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: ‘SOMETHING BLUE’! Follow Batman and Catwoman on two separate but parallel paths as their wedding planning kicks into high gear. Selina picks out her dress, and Bruce starts to make arrangements for their new life together-but this being Gotham City, and they being Batman and Catwoman, you can bet that nothing will go as expected!

Why we like it: We’re only a few months away from the much anticipated Bat/Cat wedding day. I doubt many readers actually believe that they will go through with it and I think we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop. Writer Tom King excels at infusing the insanity of superhero stories with mundane slice-of-life moments and this Batman run has been his masterpiece.

The Indie One: Spawn #284

Publisher: Image
Words: Todd McFarlane
Art: Jason Shawn Alexander

What it is: The re-creation of Spawn’s arch villain THE VIOLATOR…A NEW LOOK! NEW POWERS!

Why we like it: Spawn creator Todd McFarlane returns to resurrect the most well-known, possibly only-known, character from Spawn’s rogue gallery. And it looks like the Violator will be getting an upgrade. Fracesco Mattina is also back with another stunning cover that alone is worth the price of admission. 

The #1 One: Isola #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Brenden Fletcher
Art: Karl Kerschl

What it is: Childhood friends BRENDEN FLETCHER (MOTOR CRUSH) and Eisner Award-winning storyteller KARL KERSCHL (Gotham Academy) reunite on the comics page with a breathtaking fantasy adventure two decades in the making! The captain of the Royal Guard has fled the capital city with the Queen of Maar, suffering under the effects of an evil spell. Captain Rook’s only hope of returning Queen Olwyn to her throne and saving the kingdom from impending war lies on an island half a world away-a place known in myth as Isola, land of the dead. Featuring lush color work by MSASSYK (Gotham Academy) and letters by ADITYA BIDIKAR (MOTOR CRUSH). Recommended for fans of Studio Ghibli and the work of Hayao Miyazaki.

Why we like it: Cool concept from a stellar creative team.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Deathstroke #30

Publisher: DC
Words: Christopher Priest
Art: Carlo Pagulayan
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is: ‘Deathstroke vs. Batman’ part one! Beginning this month, a six-issue series-within-a-series featuring the ultimate showdown between DC’s fiercest rivals! When Batman discovers a mysterious package containing DNA test results proving that he is not Damian Wayne’s biological father, the Dark Knight sets his sights on his son’s true father-Deathstroke! But Damian Wayne can’t really be Slade Wilson’s son-can he? And who sent the package-and why? The ultimate custody battle ensues as the World’s Greatest Detective and the World’s Deadliest Assassin clash in this instant classic!

Why we like it: Francesco Mattina joins an exclusive group of creators who have made the Crank File list twice in the same week. He’s making a strong case for being the top cover artist of 2018. The colors and composition of this Deathstroke cover are killer.

 

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 – January 31, 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 #5 (of 6)

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo

What it is: The Justice League faces the final extinguishing of our world, invaded on all sides by unimaginable nightmares, fueled on to the edge of oblivion only by the belief that there must be a light in the endless darkness-somewhere. But…what if there’s not? FOIL-STAMPED, EMBOSSED COVER RATED T+ 

 

The Mainstream One: Avengers #678

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Pepe Larraz

What it is: NO SURRENDER Part 4 NOW ON SALE WEEKLY! The Avengers are caught in a game of cosmic proportions, but they don’t know the rules – and one of them is about to pay the ultimate price! THE FIRST AVENGER FALLS! Rated T+

 

The Indie One: Spawn #282

Publisher: Spawn
Words: Daragh Savage
Art: Jason Shawn Alexander

What it is: ‘DARK HORROR,’ conclusion THE EXCITING FINALE OF THE DARK HORROR STORY ARC! This issue marks the introduction of a NEW CHARACTER, soon to have its OWN Image comic book!



The #1 One: Hungry Ghosts #1

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose
Art: Alberto Ponticelli, Vanesa Del Rey

What it is: Kitchen Nightmares! On a dark, haunted night, a Russian oligarch dares a circle of international chefs to play the samurai game of 100 Candles–where each storyteller spins a terrifying tale of ghosts, demons and unspeakable beings–and prays to survive the challenge. Inspired by the Japanese Edo period game of Hyakumonogatari KaidankaiHungry Ghosts reimagines the classic stories of yokai, yorei, and obake, all tainted with the common thread of food. First course: With bad consequence, a ramen chef refuses to help a beggar, and a band of pirates get more (and less) than they were bargaining for after their encounter with a drowning woman turns ghastly. Hungry Ghosts is cooked up by the infamous author and chef, Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential, Emmy-Award winning TV star of Parts Unknown) and acclaimed novelist Joel Rose (Kill, Kill, Faster, Faster, back again from their New York Times #1 best seller, Get Jiro!). Joining them this issue are stellar artists Alberto Ponticelli and Vanesa Del Rey, with amazing color by Jose Villarrubia, and a drop-dead cover by Paul Pope.

 The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Phoenix Resurrection #5

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Koi Pham
Cover Art: Kamome Shirahama

What it is: A light in the darkness is not always welcome. Kitty Pryde, Old Man Logan and Cyclops are leading teams of X-Men all across the globe, chasing events connected to the Phoenix. But with teammates disappearing and familiar enemies returning, the X-Men are fighting a losing battle. Beast doesn’t know how or what shape it will take, but he knows they are running out of time before the Phoenix makes its true presence known. Meanwhile, a young woman named Jean is starting to go insane in her peaceful, suburban life. Nightmares and daydreams are spilling over into the world and revealing cracks in her reality. Jean’s life and everything in it may just be a facade, but made by who? And why? Jean needs to escape. The X-Men need to stop the cycle of death the Phoenix brings. Their worlds will violently collide as Jean searches for an opening and the X-Men fight for closure. But when they are brought together, will the X-Men be reunited with their long-lost teammate – or something darker? Rated T+

 

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 – November 29, 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. It’s the dreaded fifth Wednesday of the month, when the big two phone it in with annuals and minis. You know the drill by now, it’s going to be a slow week for new books. But I’ll take a slow Wednesday over no Wednesday any time. Besides, there’s still good stuff to be read if you know where to look. I’m here to help.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Batman Annual #2

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks

What it is: Travel back in time with us to see the early days of the Bat and the Cat. What was Bruce and Selina’s first date? How did this rivalry blossom into romance, and then go right back to being a rivalry again? Tom King re-teams with his BATMAN/ELMER FUDD collaborator Lee Weeks to show us a little young love with capes and cowls. And a little crime fighting, too.

Why we love it: If you’re a regular here then you might already know that I absolutely adored Tom King and Lee Week’s Batman/Elmer Fudd book. It was hands down the best of the DC/Loony Tunes crossovers, which isn’t saying much in itself but I was raving about it to anyone who would listen. Well, the band’s back together this week with a $5 oversized annual, which isn’t the typical book that makes the list, let alone the top of it, but there is a LOT of buzz about this issue. Don’t expect the first appearance of a hot new character, or a book that skyrockets in value overnight, but be ready for one of the best, single-issue stories of the year. Do NOT sleep on this one.

 

The Mainstream One: Old Man Logan #31

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ed Brisson
Art: Mike Deodato

What it is: THE SCARLET SAMURAI Part 1 Old Man Logan – the man who was Wolverine – is up against a foe like no other…the Hand! Logan’s past comes back to haunt him when a former love drags him into battle with the Hand, who have bolstered their forces like never before. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Logan encounters the mysterious Scarlet Samurai! Will Logan be able to discover who she is and take down the Hand? Parental Advisory

Why we love it: Some of my favorite Wolverine stories take place in the Far East. There’s something about Logan’s sense of honor and penchant for blade violence that fits perfectly into the samurai/ninja genre. If you’ve never read an Ed Brisson comic, the best word I could use to describe them is “brutal”, which makes him the perfect writer for OML.

The Indie One: Spawn #280

Publisher: Image
Words: Darragh Savage
Art: Jason Shawn Alexander

What it is: Death. Destruction. And deception. Spawn piles as much pain as he can in his attempt to protect a young girl who very shortly will be a NEW SUPERHERO much stronger than Spawn himself.

Why we like it: I don’t keep up much with Spawn these days, but I always jump back in anytime there’s a new character. There are rumors that the new superhero is Cyan, and that’s reason enough for me to give this a flip through. Oh Spawn, I wish I knew how to quit you.

 

The #1 One: Mystik U #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Alisa Kwitney
Art: Mike Norton

What it is: Leave the world of the mundane behind and step through the magical doors of Mystik U! After a tragic accident, a young Zatanna Zatara, under the guidance of Rose Psychic, enrolls in a mysterious university that teaches its students how to master their unique brands of magic. Will Zatanna fit in with her new classmates (Enchantress, Sargon the Sorcerer, Faust and more!) and unlock her true potential? Find out in this exciting bimonthly miniseries from novelist Alisa Kwitney (DESTINY) and Mike Norton (Revival, Runaways)!

Why we like it: Zatanna is my girl and I believe it’s only a matter of time before she gets the live-action treatment. A Harry Potter-esque tale set in the DC universe sounds a little derivative but I could see this being a fun mini. Big fan of the Julian Tedesco cover.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Vampirella #8

Publisher: Dynamite
Words: Jeremy Whitley
Art: Andy Belanger
Cover Art: Jorge Fornes

What it is: The perfect jumping on point for anyone who has been curious to try Vampirella! Join brand new creative team Jeremy Whitley (The Unstoppable Wasp, Avengers, Princeless) and Andy Belanger (Southern Cross, Swamp Thing, Black Church) as Vampi and Vicki emerge into a ruined wasteland that hates Vampirella for the unintended consequences of saving them. This Vampirella story has everything: a new adventure, new romance, and the return of a very old evil.

Why we like it: Jorge Fornes apes Jock on this stunning Vampirella cover. Not sure if this counts as a swipe, but I’m getting a strong Detective Comics 880 vibe here. Either way, totally baddass.

 

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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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 12/30/2015

Welcome back comic book fans to another episode of the Crank File. We’re on the cusp of a new year, a time journalists love because it means kicking back and compiling “best of” lists instead of doing any actual writing. If they were really clever, they would just write their regular columns in list format. But while some are looking back at the year past, I have my sights set squarely ahead towards Wednesday’s new books. So without further ado, my final list of cool comics for the year. Goodbye 2015, we hardly knew ye.

Here’s what I’m reading this week

 

The Top of the Pile: Locke and Key, Shades of Terror Adult Coloring Book

 

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Publisher: IDW

Art: Gabriel Rodriguez

Color yourself a fan! Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s wonder-filled world of Locke & Key produced gorgeous, detailed pages of comic book art… and the best of those illustrations is collected here for your coloring enjoyment!

Don’t worry, an adult coloring book isn’t anything sleazy. Although not technically a comic book, I’m a huge fan of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s horror comic and also a huge fan of coloring. I can’t wait to crack open a fresh 64-pack of Crayolas and recreate some of my favorite pages from the series.

 

The Mainstream One: Batman Europa #3

 

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Publisher: DC

Words: Matteo Casali

Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Weakened by a deadly virus, Batman arrives in Paris to find some answers. But with The Joker along for the ride, Batman’s guaranteed to face terrifying challenges as they follow a trail that leads to their common enemy.

The temporary truce between eternal enemies is revealing fascinating and disturbing angles to complex the Batman and Joker relationship. I had high expectations for the story and so far it has delivered a solid setup that has me anxiously awaiting the next issue. But what has really made Europa a stand out Batman series is the tremendous interior artwork. Gorgeous.

 

The Indie One: Spawn #259

 

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Publisher: Image

Words and Art: Todd McFarlane

BEGINNIG ‘THE SATAN SAGA WARS!’ – THE FOUR-PART STORY CHRONICLING THE FINAL FATE OF WANDA SIMMONS’ SOUL! THIS STORY WILL FOREVER CHANGE THE WAY SPAWN WILL LIVE HIS LIFE! In the entire run of the SPAWN comic, our hero has never had to face his greatest threat: Satan himself! Starting with this issue, Al Simmons will come face to face with Lucifer for the very first time. A battle of epic proportion will begin and the prize is… Wanda’s soul. This story will forever change the way Spawn will live his life. Join us on this historic odyssey as Spawn takes on the Evil entity that gave him his powers way back in issue #1.

Spawn was my first. The first book that I purchased and read regularly, anticipating each new issue as it came out month to month. I loved this series back when Todd had a creative hand in it, so I’m so excited to see the Spawn creator back in the saddle. Toss in a throw down with Satan and you have my full attention.

 

The #1 One: Rocket Racoon and Groot #1 (Superlog variant)

 

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Publisher: Marvel

Words: Skottie Young

Art: Filipe Andrade

ROCKET RACCOON BREAKS BAD! There’s a new criminal mastermind in the galaxy, and it’s…ROCKET RACCOON?! How did this happen? SERIOUSLY, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN, YOU GUYS??? Groot knows, but he’s not talking! Well, he is talking, but all he’s saying is…oh, you know. Diabolical danger, madcap mysteries and astonishing adventure abound as SKOTTIE YOUNG and FILIPE ANDRADE return to tell tall tail tales of Rocket Raccoon, now with the adorable, arboreal Groot along for the ride! If you love adventure, animals, outer space and just about anything in between, this is the book for you!

This week’s “#1 one” was originally going to be Obi-wan and Anikan #1 but for some reason Marvel is asking retailers not to sell this book, even though it was solicited for and shipping this week. So instead I’m picking another buddy book, featuring the cutest pair of bounty hunters in the galaxy. It’s weird to see Skottie Young’s name on a book but not as the artist, but he’s proven to me with the diabolically funny I Hater Fairyland that he has writing chops to match his outlandish artistic sense. Love the Superlog variant.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Justice League #47 (Jim Lee variant)

 

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Publisher: DC

Words: Geoff Johns

Art: Jason Fabok

Super-star artist Jason Fabok returns as the second act of ‘DARKSEID WAR’ begins! As the members of the Justice League struggle with their new Godhood abilities, Wonder Woman must turn to the beings that have fought the Anti-Monitor before: the Crime Syndicate! Plus, what secret does Grail hold that will change Diana’s world forever?

Jim Lee’s cover is another winner in Harley’s Little Black Book. I just wish they could figure out how to make a polybag that doesn’t damage 99% of books. Oh, the actual story is pretty damn fantastic as well.

 

Happy new year guys and gals! Carpe Comics!