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Spider-Man: Homecoming – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  July 7, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  2 hour 13 minutes
After Credit Scene:  YES (and during credits)
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  9 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Spider-Man Homecoming is the movie of the summer and my favorite film of the year.  It will take a lot to knock this one from the top of my list.  If you saw Captain America: Civil War then you already have an introduction into who Peter Parker and Spider-Man is.  Every actor pulls his or her weight in this film.  Ver pleasantly surprised how characters were used and few I wasn’t expecting were revealed.  Tom Holland and Michael Keaton had such great chemistry with their characters.  Holland is Parker and Keaton is Vulture.  It all works and works well.  Marvel Studios has done it again!

What works:  We didn’t need an origin story and we didn’t get one.  EXCELLENT!  The movie is very well written and met all my expectations of the film.  It is funny where you expect it to be without going overboard.  There is enough action to see Spider-Man spinning webs and jumping around.  The casting was excellent.  Even the supporting cast is loaded with names/faces we know and what a great job they did.  The story takes some unexpected chances that I’m not certain how people will feel, but I like their decisions because they are trying to make Parker/Spider-Man relevant in 2017.  Although the movie felt a little long, I’m fine with it because they gave us a very good Parker.

What doesn’t work:  I’m not so certain that kids today in high school are listening to 80’s bands.  I was expecting a bit more contemporary music; however, I’ll take my 80’s where I can get it.  Although I listed this as a “what works,” taking chances on some of who the characters are is so risky.  I may not mind, but purists may take a step back.  Without spoiling anything, there are a few moments in the trailers that would have been better if kept for the movie only.  It would have had a better impact.

I think most people who see this film will leave feeling happy with what they saw.  Be sure to stay to the end of the credits as there is an after-credit scene worth seeing.  Small little spoiler here, there is no Venom and no mention of Venom in the film.  Good, no need for us to rush things with Spider-Man even though I’m aware that Venom is a Sony property, not Marvel.

My viewing was not in 3D nor IMAX, but I can only imagine how spectacular and amazing it must be (ya, I couldn’t resist).

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Spider-Man: Homecoming a 9.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a popcorn combo.  I look forward to seeing it again very soon.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

spiderman poster

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The All-New All-Different Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 1/11/2017

Greetings comic book boys and girls and welcome back for another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that don’t crank much, ’cause real cranksta ass readers know we got it. We are back, and damn it feels good to be a cranksta! How’s everyone doing? I hope you were able to find good stuff to read while I was away. If not, fear not, for I have returned to share with you which books I’m checking out at the stands every week. For those of you wondering where I’ve been for the last two months, I recently purchased a house and have been in full-on project mode. Between scraping layers of wallpaper, smashing bathtubs and hanging sheet rock, there just wasn’t a lot of time for comics. Now that the renovations are nearing completion, and I can finally get back to my favorite distraction. Just in time, because I desperately need a distraction. So without further adieu…

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

asb6

The Top of the Pile: All Star Batman #6

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Snyder
Art: Jock

What it is: ‘Cold to the Core’! Batman travels to Alaska to confront Mr. Freeze as he attempts to extract the world’s oldest ice core and bring humanity to a new Ice Age!

Why we love it: Growing up with the Batman Animated Series, Mr. Freeze was my favorite minor Batman villain. In a lot of ways he was like Batman, just a man in an elaborate suit avenging the death of someone loved. And he also carried a badass icebeam cannon. So I’m stoked to see him back in action and by the looks of the handsom ice armor Batman is sporting on the cover, Freeze will be in his element. The second All Star Batman arc is being brought to us by the creative dream team of Snyder and Jock, who have already carved out a memorable Batman run together during their Black Mirror arc (Tec issues 871-880).

 

sm12

The Mainstream One: Spider-man #12 (Isanove Variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Sara Pichelli

What it is: THIS IS IT! THE MOMENT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! THE KISS HEARD ROUND THE WORLD! The two most talked about heroes give us something new to talk about in this Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen crossover. How did Miles and Gwen get here?!

Why we like it: I love Miles and Gwen, but feel like Marvel just pulled this PR stunt with Lady Thor and Black Cap. You’d figure an interracial kiss wouldn’t move the needle in the 21st century, but this book’s stirring up some early of buzz. The 1:25 Isanove variant sizzles and that all black cover will make it hard to find in high grade. Grab it if you see it.

 

mc2

The Indie One: Motor Crush #2

Publisher: Image
Words: Brendan Fletcher
Art: Babs Tarr

What it is: Domino confronts her father about the ‘machine narcotic’ Crush, and is forced to put her life on the line to save an old flame from danger.

Why we like it: Motor Crush is punk rock on motorcycles, fast, aggressive and non-stop action. Issue #1 was a great read. The art was kinetic and the layouts were exploding with detail. It definitely brought back memories of playing Road Rash in my friend’s basement after school. Speed and violence, always a crowd pleaser.

 

rs1

The #1 One: Red Sonja #1 (Camuncoli variant)

Publisher: Dynamite
Words: Amy Chu
Art: Carlos Gomez

What it is: A new chapter for the Queen of the Hyrkanian Age. Our favorite warrior has faced the toughest of demons, foes and strange magic, but nothing has prepared this 6 ft. tall barbarian for the modern world. Emerging from a subway construction site in New York City, confronted by cops and guns, Sonja fights for her survival in a new and hostile world. Is she here by accident or by design?

Why we like it: Amy Chu caught my attention with her Poison Ivy mini-series, Cycle of Life and Death, and I’m interested to see how she handles another of my favorite female characters. Here she’s giving Red Sonja the woman-out-of-time treatment, and swords and sorcery will collide with the modern world. J.Scott Cambell fans will be all over cover B, but I’m digging the Camuncoli variant.

 

swpd10

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Star Wars Poe Dameron #10 (Immonen variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Phil Noto
Cover Art: Stuart Immonen

What it is: Poe and Threepio’s covert mission comes to an end! Can they escape with their informant intact? Or will Terex’s past come back to haunt them?

Why we like it: I just watched Rogue One and it feels like I’m seeing this classic image with new eyes. A beautiful tribute to her worshipfulness. Force be with you, Princess. Close runner-up was Ben Oliver’s Bat-Woman cover for Detective Comics #948

 

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 5.18.2016

Welcome to another installment of the Crank File, the only place on the web that cranks without first looking both ways.

I headed out to Poughkeepsie New York over the weekend with the girlfriend. Whenever I’m traveling to a new place, I like visiting a local comic shop in the area. This trip brought us to Alterniverse in Hyde Park. It was a small shop, with only a dozen or so longboxes apart from the current books lining the wall racks. The store owner Anthony greeted us warmly and explained how the store was organized and we got to digging. Asides from an occasional regular popping in and inquiring about a Magic tournament, we were the only customers in the store. We’re getting to the end of the row of boxes when an older gentleman, probably in his 60’s, walks into the shop. He quickly browsed through a couple of short boxes before heading over to the new release rack, where he picks out a copy of ElfQuest: Final Quest. He brings it up to the counter and says to Anthony, “Thank you for carrying my book and for having it displayed prominently on the shelf.” It was Richard freaking Pini, co-creator of Elfquest. For those of you unfamiliar, Elfquest is one of the longest running and most successful independent comics ever published, a high-fantasy tale written and drawn exclusively by husband/wife duo Richard and Wendy Pini since 1978. Richard was super cool and what began as a random visit to a local shop turned into hanging out with a legend; just four nerds in a small shop talking comics and elfs.

Rest in peace Mr. Cooke. Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Civil War II #0 (Noto variant)

 

CW20

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Olivier Coipel

What it is: From the creative team that brought you House of M and Siege comes a blistering first chapter in Marvel’s new explosive event. Watch as the players are introduced and the table is set for a storyline that fans will be talking about for years.

Why we love it: I usually am wary of these line-wide events, but I enjoyed with the first Civil War series and felt validated that a comic book was willing to explore larger social issues. After seeing the Civil War movie this weekend, I feel that the underlying argument of security vs freedom is as relevant today as it was ten years ago.

 

The Mainstream one: Spider-man #4

 

SM4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Sara Pichelli

What it is: Miles is just finding his feet in the all new marvel universe; the media is growing obsessed with his skin color and now he has to share his own book with a hot new mutant who goes by the name of… wait for it… All this and the Queenpin of New York, the Black Cat, has set her sights on this new Spider-Man. She has put out a hit on his head and now no one is safe!

Why we like it: Bendis makes two appearances on this week’s list and there’s no denying that Marvel’s goldenboy is at the top of his game here, writing a contemporary Spider-man story that feels miles more relateable than Slott’s Old Man Parker. If you enjoyed Tom Holland’s take as an adolescent Peter Parker then you know how much fun a young Spider-man can be.

 

The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #19 (James Harren variant)

 

MD19

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: Lewis & Clark didn’t lead the first expedition west? nor were they the first to encounter the biggest mammal in all the land: Sasquatch!

Why we like it: So happy that Manifest Destiny is back. I don’t know if MD is my favorite Image title, but I can’t think of a book that I have more fun reading.

The #1 One: Tank Girl: Two Girls One Tank #1

 

TG1

Publisher: Titan
Words: Alan Martin
Art: Brett Parsons

What it is: Fresh off the back of their latest calamitous chapter comes this shiny new Tank Girl tale from series creator Alan Martin and artist extraordinaire, Brett Parson! Expect a healthy dose of delirium and plenty of ball-crunching action in this high-octane crosscountry skirmish that asks the question: is this world really big enough for two Tank Girls? Strap yourself in, folks; It’s gonna be one helluva ride!

Why we like it: Probably not actually picking this one up, but wanted to point out the best/worst title I’ve heard in a while.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Superman American Alien #7 (Jock variant)

 

SMAA7

Publisher: DC
Words: Max Landis
Art: Jock
Cover art: Jock

What it is: After a massive explosion rocks downtown Metropolis, Clark finds himself face-to-face with a white-skinned alien riding a flying motorcycle-and the eyes of the world are all on this so-called Superman! But when Clark’s attempt at reason fails and the bounty hunter reveals some unpleasant truths about Clark’s own alien origin, a brutal showdown begins! Superstar artist Jock reteams with Max Landis for the epic series finale to SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN!

Why we like it: Jock created an iconic Batman cover with his chilling joker portrait on the final issue of Detective Comics #880. He may have just done it again with the final issue of Superman American Alien #7. An instant classic.

 

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 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!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 3/2/2106

Hey comic book geeks, and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. It’s a leap year and that means bonus day! I think leap year day deserves way more celebration then it currently receives. A day that occurs just once every four years, and because of its existence our calendars can remain synchronized with Earth’s orbit. It’s the Olympics of cosmic events, yet we do nothing about it. That must stop. If we can find a day to celebrate unionized labor then we can surely find a way to properly observe this phantom day phenomena. How should we, as a society, properly observe a Leap Year? I think the only obvious answer is, we purge. Or have a bank holiday.

 

Here’s what I’m reading this week. Disappointingly, not a single Image title makes the cut this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Spider-man #2

 

SM2

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Brian Bendis

Art: Sara Pichelli

What it is: The Avengers are down and Miles Morales stands alone against a villain with the power to destroy the universe. More importantly, his grades are in the toilet.

Why we love it: While Peter Parker is off jetting around the world and running his global empire, the new Spider-man is kicking it old-school, by which I mean high-school. Never mind super-powered villains, alien invasions and the end of the universe. Some of the most stressful moments of young Peter Parkers’ life involved balancing his secret life as Spider-man with his social life at school and work. Issue #1 channeled a lot of that classic teen-age Parker angst through Miles and told a story that felt fresh but also familiar.  Cant’ wait for #2.

 

The Mainstream One: A-Force #3 (Brooks variant)

 

AF3

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: G. Willow Wilson

Art: Jorge Molina

What it is: As Antimatter grows increasingly dangerous, SHE-HULK, CAPTAIN MARVEL, MEDUSA, DAZZLER and NICO MINORU must put aside their differences and learn to become a real team – the team Singularity knows they can be – before it’s too late. When a desperate battle in space with Antimatter goes awry it may be the death of one of them, just as this new team is beginning to find its way. Meanwhile Tempest Bell’s analysis of Antimatter may not bode well for the future of A-Force.

Why we like it: G. Willow Wilson’s incredible Ms. Marvel run is beloved for its strong female characters, its tender heart and its goofy sense of humor.  A-Force is still in the early goings and I already feel a lot of the same themes emerging throughout the first two issues. So I’m definitely sticking around at least a bit longer to see where this goes. Plus that roller derby cover is smoking.

 

The Indie One: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

 

MMPR1

Publisher: Boom

Words: Kyle Higgins

Art: Hendry Prasetyo

What it is: This is Green Ranger Year One! The Green Ranger’s addition to the team has brought new instability and uncertainty to the Rangers. With remnants of Rita Repulsa’s control still stirring in the back of Tommy’s mind, he must confront the fact he may be more of a danger to his new team than a help. As Rita plays the heroes against each other, her ultimate plan begins to take form, and vengeance for the Green Ranger’s betrayal will be unleashed on Angel Grove. Also featuring a Bulk & Skull short story by Steve Orlando (Midnighter) and artist Corin Howell that puts the pair on the ultimate mission to impress Kimberly and Trini!

Why we love it:  You may recall that the issue #0 Green and White Ranger variants were selling for insane amounts of money a week after release. Don’t expect lightning to strike twice. I think that issue #1 is releasing with something like 25+ variant covers, including a handful of store-only exclusives. And with all the hype from #0, Boom may up the print run in anticipation. Anyways, tread lightly with this book if you’re playing the spec game. But if you watched the show most weekday afternoons after school, grab whichever cover tickles your fancy and enjoy having a piece of your childhood back in your life.

 

The #1 One: Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1 (party variant)

 

ASAPHA1

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Nick Spencer

Art: Jesus Saiz

What it is: Pleasant Hill looks like the perfect small-town community — but underneath the surface, a deadly secret lurks. One so explosive it will draw estranged allies Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson back together to save a friend in danger and put things right. But when the combined might of the Captain Americas isn’t enough, whom do they call? In the face of unspeakable evil, it’s time for the Avengers to Assemble like never before! The blockbuster spring AVENGERS event starts right here!

Why we like it: That title is just ridiculously long. Even the acronymization is crazy, ASAOPHA?? That’s a four-syllable word in itself. But in all seriousness, there are two syllables that sum up my feelings towards this comic: Gwen-pool. It pains me to admit it, but I’m really digging the character. I know that it makes no sense at all, but maybe that just feeds into the Deadpooly, self-aware, weirdo nature of her character. Also there’s a story concerning Steve Rogers and being Captain America in here.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batman Beyond #10 (Nguyen variant)

 

BB10

Publisher: DC

Words: Dan Jurgens

Art: Bernard Chang

What it is: Captured by the Splicers, Batman is set to become the latest guinea pig in their DNA experiments! His only hope may be the very thing that got him into this mess, as Matt’s investigations into history’s greatest heroes-long thought dead in the war with Brother Eye-finally bears fruit: enter the Justice League Beyond!

Why we love it: There’s a Batman Vs. Superman movie coming out later in the month and that means we’re getting a bunch of awesome Batman Vs. Superman variant covers on books that have absolutely nothing to do with Batman or Superman. Ok, I guess Batman Beyond is technically a Batman related book. Anyways, Dustin Nguyen’s watercolors are sublime and this cover just rules.

 

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

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The Crank File: The Spectacular Dan Slott

Welcome back for The Crank File #7. The Crank File is an open forum where I will offer speculations, reviews and ravings on all things comics. Today I salute Dan Slott, current writer of Marvel’s Amazing Spider-man, for being an amazing human being.

Two recent events in comic culture have spewed waves of unfounded bigotry and hate across social media: a gay kiss on Walking Dead and rumors of a Black/Latino lead in the next Spider-man movie.

Someone remind me what year it is again?

Comic books have always provided a safe place for me. Like many of us growing up, I got picked on by other children for being different. It wasn’t vicious, just the typical meanness of ignorant youth. Not big enough, not tall enough, not fast enough, not Caucasian enough. Comic books were an escape from the harsh realities of the chalkboard jungle, a fantastic world where being a freak also meant that you could be a hero. Those comic book panels were the great equalizer. Regardless of your age, gender, race, species or whatever, if you were righteous and you defended the weak then that’s all that mattered, I would cheer for you. I still do.

And in that vein, I want to express my gratitude towards Dan Slott who has taken a stand against the rising tide of intolerance. Not only is he currently penning the adventures of Peter Parker for Marvel, he’s defending the case for a Black/Hispanic Spider-man and reminding us all why comic books are so frikkin awesome in the first place:

Dan Slott Lays Down The Case For A Non-White Spider-Man

I am Spider-man.

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The Crank File: Spec-tacular Spider-man Movie News

Thanks for joining me for The Crank File #6. Today I speculate on a couple of Spider-man related back issues that have jumped up in price due to a recent movie announcement

Happy lunar new year! In the Chinese zodiac 2015 is the year of the goat. inexplicably the Mandarin word for goat, yang, also translates as sheep or ram. So technically, 2015 is the year of the goat/sheep/ram. Don’t be confused by the conflicting imagery floating out there, it’s all good. OK, enough cultural education. To the comics!

Fans are still rejoicing after last week’s announcement that our friendly neighborhood Spider-man is thwipping his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Thwip thwip!

Spider-man is the bacon of the comic book world, he makes anything better. Expectedly, the deal struck between Marvel and Sony Pictures has fans buzzing with anticipation. Where will Spider-man appear next? We already know that next year’s Captain America movie is titled “Civil War”, and Peter Parker played a pivotal role in the comic book series by the same name. And can you imagine how jaw-droppingly awesome an Avengers movie guest-starring Spider-man would be?

Shut up and take my money!

As speculation about the next Spidey movie runs riot, so has speculation on several key Spider-man books. But unlike the Civil War series which has been hot for some time now, these books have just started to tick upwards. So scrounge those back issue bins at your local honey holes, they could be holding gold.

Avengers 316

Written by superstar John Byrne in 1990, this is the issue when Spider-man officially becomes a member of the Avengers. It seems a lot of people are betting on a future Spider-man/Avengers movie. This was a $2 issue just days before the movie news hit. Every affordable copy has since been snapped up and are now popping up on online auctions asking $15-$20 for NM raw copies. And they are getting it. The craziest thing about the recent price jump is that there hasn’t been any news that a Spider-man/Avengers movie is actually happening. But if that movie ever is announced, watch out because this book could explode.

Ultimate Fallout #4

Ultimate_Comics_Fallout_Vol_1_4

I’ve had this book pegged as undervalued for a while now. It features the first appearance of a very popular character, Miles Morales the Ultimate Spider-man. Our last decade of Spider-man movies have all kicked off with Peter Parker’s origin story. And as much as I love classic Spider-man, i just don’t think I can stand watching Uncle Ben get murdered for another time. I think a new take on Spider-man could be refreshing and equally amazing. Marvel movies have been borrowing from both the Classic 616 and Ultimate 1610 universes, so although a movie featuring Miles Morales as Spider-man would be a bold and unlikely move, it’s not unthinkable. Marvel has already been pushing diversity hard in their comic titles, why not in their movies? The Avengers could use a little color in their ranks. Once a $5 book, Ultimate Fallout #4 is consistently fetching $15-$20 with a scorching hot 1:25 variant. The first printing with Miles’ face hidden behind the title is the cover to look out for.

Happy hunting!

Oh, hey Fox? Do the world a solid and give us back the X Men and Fantastic Four already.

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The Crank File: Breaking the Internet with Amazing Spider-man #12

Welcome to the third 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 much-hyped secret revealed at the end of Amazing Spider-man issue 12. Spoilers ahead. 

Reigning Amazing Spider-man writer Dan Slott refused to comment on rumors that the events of this month’s issue of Amazing Spider Man was going to break the internet. I’m happy to report that it has been 4 days since ASM#12 was released into the world and the internet still stands. Huzzah!

Secretly, I never really believed that Mr. Slott could actually break the internet. But I did take it into serious consideration. Mr. Slott has certainly performed some spectacular stunts during his tenure as chief scribe over at Amazing Spiderman. He successfully pulled off a body switch between Otto Octavius and Peter Parker leading to the bizarre but immensely entertaining events of the Superior Spider-man. And just this past September he introduced us to Gwen Stacy from Earth-65, who in the 65 universe was bitten by the radioactive spider and transformed into Spider Woman (or Spider-Gwen as she has become affectionately known by her fans). Clearly Slott is neither uncomfortable with stepping outside normal conventions or afraid of making internet-breaking changes to the world of Spider-man.

Case and point, the current Spider-Verse event has multitudes of spider-men iterations from alternate Earths banding together to fight an enemy that threatens all of their universes. In addition to providing some truly memorable and endearing Spider-heroes, these alternate Earths provide a convenient deus ex machina for introducing new characters without much exposition, like the aforementioned Spider Gwen. And although I am a big Spider Gwen supporter, it does feel a bit contrived. Which takes us to the big reveal in ASM#12. Potentially internet-breaking spoiler ahead. Last chance to turn back now.

Uncle Ben?!
Uncle Ben?!

Dun dun duhhhhh. Yup, Uncle Ben is back after being dead for over half a century. Granted this Uncle Ben is from an alternate reality and not the Earth 616 universe, but it is still Uncle Ben none the less.

In a story where alternate realities entwine and characters can jump from universe to universe, the revelation that Uncle Ben was alive in another universe didn’t land with earth-shattering impact I would have expected. Maybe it is because I’ve grown accustomed to seeing deceased characters resurrected on the regular. Heck, we just went through the “death” of Peter Parker in ASM #700’s Dying Wish, only to see him resurrected with the relaunch of 2014’s Amazing Spider-man volume 2. So it is not incredibly shocking when Marvel brings back one of the most influential characters in Spider-man’s life. But it is a big deal.

Uncle Ben’s return didn’t break the internet but it did add an interesting new fold to Spider-man mythology. We have to remember how momentous an event the death of Benjamin Parker was in Peter Parker’s life. Before Uncle Ben’s murder, Peter had been using his new found spider-abilities solely for personal gain. It wasn’t until the death of Peter’s beloved uncle and paternal role-model that he swore to use Spider-man as a means for fighting injustice and protecting others. Had that fateful encounter between Uncle Ben and the burglar never occurred, would Peter have ever truly understood that with great power comes great responsibility? It is not difficult to imagine Peter’s life taking a very different trajectory had Earth 616’s Uncle Ben lived. And now he’s alive.

Characters in the worlds of comic books are not like real people. Not abnormal just because they often wield superhuman powers, but because they exist as ideas in our shared consciousness. Good ideas don’t die, they just come back in different forms. Uncle Ben’s character represents an ideal, a loving memory that inspires strength and courage to face a hard world and to be the best that we can. The big question is, what will his memory mean when the events of the Spider-verse conclude?

I’m interested about how Slott will utilize Uncle Ben’s character and excited to see how the relationship between uncle and nephew develops. The possibilities are endless. Maybe the UncIe Ben from this universes was bitten by the radioactive spider turning him into Spider-Ben. Or maybe in this Uncle Ben’s universe, Aunt May was shot by the burglar and Uncle Ben survived, blaming Spider-man for her death. It’s too early to really speculate on the reasons for Uncle Ben’s return. We only get to see him in the last page with just a few words exchanged. What we do know is that the whole secret identity thing is out the window as Spider-man openly refers to him as “Uncle” Ben to which his uncle coolly responds, “Peter”.

I hope that the introduction of a new Uncle Ben doesn’t water-down the memory of the original, or worse taint it’s legacy. We are talking about digging up the bones of one of the most significant deaths in comics history. Don’t be surprised if you unearth ghosts. Whatever his motives, Slott has earned my confidence as a reader and my spidey sense tells me that this is going to be more than just a marketing gimmick.