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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 4/26/201

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’m looking forward to. It’s kind of a light week, but there’s still some good stuff to nerd out to. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

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The Top of the Pile: Flash #21

Publisher: DC
Words: Joshua Williamson
Art: Howard Porter

What it is: “THE BUTTON” part two! 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 premiere issue of The Button story line began in Batman #21 and while it was chock full of Batman getting his Batt-butt womped all over the cave, it came up short in the answers/clues department. All signs are still pointing at Dr. Manhattan as the architect, but he has yet to grace us with his giant, electric-blue, um, visage. Maybe this issue?

 

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The Mainstream One: X-Men Gold #1 (Granov variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Marc Guggenheim
Art: Ardian Syaf

What it is: BACK TO BASICS! An all-new BROTHERHOOD OF EVIL MUTANTS is rampaging through New York City! And there are some surprising familiar faces in their ranks… Can the X-MEN subdue their foes and former friends?

Why we like it: X-Men Gold #1 received a lot of press when it came out, but unfortunately it was for some cryptic religious messages hidden in the background and not for being an engaging relaunch for the Uncanny X-Men team. I’m digging the Gold team and will be back for issue #2. Really hoping to score the sweet Adi Granov incentive variant but I think that cover will be long gone by the time I make my post-work LCS run.

 

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The Indie One: There’s Nothing There #1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Patrick Kindlon
Art: Maria Llovet

What it is: Celebrity-socialite Reno Selleti doesn’t believe in very much beyond Instagram comments, hipster drugs, and the flash of paparazzi cameras, so when a friend invites her to an EYES WIDE SHUT-type party she goes along mostly for the lulz. But the joke doesn’t feel as funny when she realizes it’s an actual occult ritual, and suddenly she’s seeing things… Horrifying apparitions trying to warn her. ‘RUN.’ Like Darren Aronofsky remaking DRAG ME TO HELL, There’s Nothing There is a stylish & hallucinatory thriller about losing yourself in the bright lights and finding yourself at rock bottom.

Why we like it: Patrick Kindlon co-created Black Mask’s breakthrough hit series, We Can Never Go Home, which was my favorite mini from 2016. Although I’m not completely sold by the synopsis, I am interested to see what Kindlon can do with occult’s high society.

 

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The #1 One: Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Peter David
Art: Mark Bagley

What it is: One of the most controversial characters in comics has returned – and the controversy has only BEGUN! In the aftermath of THE CLONE CONSPIRACY, Ben has a new take on life and he’s not the same Scarlet Spider he was before. Come witness what will be the most talked about comic of the year!

Why we like it: Spider-Gwen called. She wants her hoodie back.

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Suicide Squad #16

Publisher: DC
Words: Rob Williams
Art: Tony Daniel
Cover Art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: ‘EARTHLINGS ON FIRE’ part one! Amanda Waller is used to getting what she wants-but this time, what Waller wants is something only Lex Luthor has. Striking a deal won’t be easy-or cheap! It’s a war on two fronts as Waller leads a smoldering charm offensive in Luthor’s penthouse while her Suicide Squad tries to open the most heavily guarded safe in all of Lexcorp.

Why we like it: Amazing swipe of the iconic Alex Ross cover to 1999’s Batman: Harley Quinn. This is a 1:1 regular price variant, but some of the Rebirth Cover B’s have been under-ordered, and this one could be hard to spot out in the wild. Definitely grab it if you see it, as I can see this cover being sought after by Harley fans.

 

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

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The Female Perspective: Harley Quinn v. Wonder Woman

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


I’ll preface this blog by saying I have not read any comics with Harley Quinn. I’ve done some looking into her backstory and watched a Justice League movie awhile back, but I am by no means a HQ expert, so I ask those that are experts to be kind and offer up some corrections if I do get anything incorrect here. This blog is entirely based on my opinions, nothing more. I don’t presume to be spouting facts!

That being said…

Like many folks, I am looking forward to the Suicide Squad movie with baited breath. Unlike many, I have enjoyed the Superman movies that have come out as late so my expectations are not as low for Suicide Squad as many others. I think this looks fun and I don’t give one great big hoot about the reviews that have come out stating otherwise, I don’t trust reviewers and like to experience a movie for myself.

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I have heard of a few of the characters and one in particular, Harley Quinn, is one I’ve seen in cosplay form a lot at various cons.  She’s a popular one, in all her various iterations and I’ve always wondered why. From the research I’ve done and from what I’ve seen, I am not overly impressed with her character. She’s in love with The Joker (we’ve all made bad choices in love, so that I am okay with) and eventually goes crazy from that and becomes a villain, and eventually more of an anti-hero. All right, all of that I can deal with. What I don’t like and what really irritates the holy heck out of me is the weird, totally dysfunctional and abusive relationship she has with The Joker. He shoved her in a vat of acid and yet, she still loves him. There is literally nothing he can do that would make her not love him. It bothers me, and I thought about the reasons why it bothers me. It’s just a comic book right? It’s not real life. But the fact is, young girls do look up to these heroes and villains, they do emulate them and I have seen many young women wearing Harley Quinn costumes and I think, why her? What is it about her that makes you want to be her in some way? I may have to ask a few HQ’s at the next con I attend because I am honestly curious.

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I’ve always been a huge fan of Wonder Woman. Her strength, beauty and smarts are compelling and inspiring. While she may have fallen in love from time to time, it never seemed to be the thing that defined her as a character. She was defined by her power, her mission and her fairness. Of course, she’s the polar opposite of HQ because one is a hero and the other a villain, so of course they’re going to have different stories. I know this and yet, I do not get why anyone would want to be HQ. She’s abused, she’s mis-treated and she’s debased by The Joker time and time again and yet, she comes back for more.

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I think for me, her backstory rubs me the wrong way because I’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship so watching anyone (fictional or otherwise) go through that pushes my buttons.  It’s a personal thing, sure it is, but isn’t that the beauty of good art? It triggers you (for good or bad), it makes you feel one way or the other. I guess the creators of HQ did a good job with her if I feel so strongly anti-Harley Quinn and so very pro-Wonder Woman. As I said on the outset, I don’t presume to know everything about Harley Quinn so if I’m off the mark, let me know, please. I’d love to learn what makes her so popular!

For me WW represents everything I wanted to be as a kid. Not a super hero so much as a woman with integrity, morals, bravery and strength. For me, watching HQ just makes me feel ill-at-ease. I want her to shove the Joker in a vat of acid and walk away, never to speak to or think about him again. I want her to be emotionally stronger than she seems to be. I guess what I’m saying is I want her to be a hero.  Which I realize may be a ridiculous wish to have for a comic book character.

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What do you think? Who’s your favorite between the two?

Wonder Woman or Harley Quinn? Or is it someone else?

Why? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Suicide Squad, Superman v. Batman and Ant Man! Oh My!

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Unless you live under a rock, you know that San Diego Comic Con was last week. While I did not attend SDCC I, like so many others, got to reap some of the benefits as trailers were “dropped” for some of the biggest upcoming releases for next year. The two that got me REALLY excited were Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. My little geek heart leapt with joy when I got to watch these trailers and finally see a little bit more of what Zach Snyder is doing with S v. B and what the heck Jared Leto is going to look like as the Joker (I’ve seen stills but I wanted to see him talking and walking)!

I was not disappointed.

So much Yes. SO MUCH!
So much Yes. SO MUCH!

First, let’s talk about Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice. There’s been a lot of debate about how much destruction Superman caused at the end of Man Of Steel and how it goes against his character. It seemed to offend a lot of people and while I agree to a certain extent, I was also willing to wait and see what the sequel held for us before deciding that Zach Snyder did Superman a terrible disservice by not having him held accountable for the lives and building damage he caused.

My patience has been rewarded.

You can tell within seconds that people are not as enamored of Superman as in previous films. He is in trouble for what he did to save them and he is in trouble for the pain and suffering he caused while trying to save the world. He has also managed to pretty royally piss off an aging Batman (played by Ben Affleck).

I’m not going to lie, I am pretty psyched to see this movie. First off, The Dark Knight is one of the finest comics ever written (in my humble opinion) in the Batman Universe and to be able to see the battle between Superman and Batman on the big screen is pretty freaking exciting for me. Not to mention, we get to see a little bit of Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot)  in this trailer and while I’m not quite sure what her part is in all of this, I am excited to see that she seems to have some serious power. It appears at one point that she locks her wrist gauntlets together and emits a pretty powerful charge. I can’t wait to see what else she can do.

While Snyder has a hit or miss track record with films, he shines the brightest when he is adapting other material. He also does a good job of cultivating strong and powerful female characters. I have a lot of hope for this incarnation of Supe and the Bat and I can’t wait till 2016 to see it on the big screen!

The Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad

Now, onto Suicide Squad. I’ll admit that I don’t know a ton about their origins. I’ve seen some of the characters on Arrow and I’ve watched an animated show with my boyfriend that I very much enjoyed but that’s about it. That being said, I’m all sorts of excited when it comes to Harley Quinn, the Joker and really, any other misfit from the comic universe. I’ve always been a sucker for the bad guys.

After the trailer “leaked” from SDCC, we finally get a look of this merry gang of misfits and I am pretty psyched for this film. I think it’ll be a lot of fun and a lot of action. I can even get on board with having Will Smith in it since he’s a pretty solid actor and can pull of surly toughness fairly well. But what really gets me jazzed?

This guy:

Jared Leto as The Joker
Jared Leto as The Joker

Yep. I’ve been a sucker for the Joker since I was a kid. Something about his misfit look and sick sense of humor really appeals to my dark little heart. At the same time, I find Jared Leto to be a really decent actor, his work in Dallas Buyers Club blew me away. I think he is a perfect choice to fill the shoes vacated by Heath Ledger and his few seconds in the above trailer gave me chills. That laugh that echoes before you see him, then his smile as he threatens… damn that’s some good stuff.

Finally, I’m excited to be going to see Ant Man this Friday and I hope to do a review next week for it. In the meantime, check out the trailer and tell me YOUR thoughts about these and any other films you’re excited about. Did the SDCC trailers leave you cold? Get you psyched for some good stuff from DC Comics? Or are you looking forward to a different film in 2015 or 2016? Sound off in the comments!