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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 7/5/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to a special July 4th edition of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’m digging. Happy birthday ‘murca. Enjoy the day off.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

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The Top of the Pile: Batman #26

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin

What it is: ‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part two! The Riddler and The Joker escalate their bloody feud, and the villains of Gotham City are forced to choose sides or be caught in the crossfire! It’s up to Batman to push himself to the limit and keep innocent citizens out of harm’s way.

Why we love it: The war of jokes and riddles rages on and the only questions on anyone’s mind is, so did she say yes, or….? Honestly, it doesn’t matter much to me because we all know comic marriages are soap opera marriages, they never stick. Despite all the manufactured attention over Batman’s proposal to Catwoman, there’s actually a pretty cool story brewing here. There’s also a smoking hot Joshua Middleton cover B featuring Poison Ivy for this issue to be on the lookout for.

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The Mainstream One: Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Dalibor Talajic

What it is: Remember the time Deadpool went a little TOO crazy and killed the entire Marvel Universe? Well, this isn’t that. This is a DIFFERENT time. Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajic (A.K.A. the creators behind DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE) have reunited for ANOTHER tale of Deadpool taking out all of your faves in the most horrific ways possible! It’s gonna hurt him more than it hurts you, and you’re gonna love it! Parental Advisory

Why we like it: The first time that Deadpool killed the Marvel Universe was an unexpectedly brilliant sendup of the comic genre. It was a meta tale of revenge, soaked in ultraviolence, wit and humor, and resulted in Deadpool figuratively killing the core of the Marvel’s Universe by murdering the creative team of Bunn and Talajic. That same creative team from the original is apparently back from the dead and back for a sequel. This is a can’t miss for me.

 

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The Indie One: Sacred Creatures #1

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Pablo Raimondi and Klaus Janson

What it is: When the supernatural forces maintaining the fragile balance of power in this world start to unravel, Josh Miller, a young college grad and expecting father, is caught in the middle of a vast conspiracy threatening to tear apart the foundations of humanity as we know it. As myth and reality collide, Josh finds himself on the frontline of a battle against an enemy dating back to the beginning of time itself. Comic legends KLAUS JANSON (Daredevil, Dark Knight Returns) and PABLO RAIMONDI (X-Factor, Book of Doom) proudly present SACRED CREATURES, their first-ever creator-owned series, with a monster-sized first issue featuring 66 pages of color art!

Why we like it: Sacred Creatures makes the list on the strength of the creative team and an advance preview, which you can check out here. The preview doesn’t offer any more clarity as to what this book is about, but it is certainly intriguing. I’m at least giving this flip through at the stands.

 UThe #1 One: Unholy Grail #1

Publisher: Aftershock
Words: Cullen Bunn
Art: Mirko Colak

What it is: Arthur Pendragon was the king of all Britain. His story is legendary. Merlin. The Lady of the Lake. Excalibur. Camelot. The Knights of the Round Table. But these stories are bright lies painted over the truth. Here is presented the gospel of Arthur’s bloody rise to power and his unholy reign. The legend of King Arthur is not the stuff of legends, but the fuel of nightmares. As Arthur descends into darkness, is there any lingering hope that he still might do something good? From writer Cullen Bunn (Uncanny X-Men, Deadpool) and artist Mirko Colak (Punisher) comes a Lovecraftian take on the Arthurian legend that HAD to be told at AfterShock Comics.

Why we like it: Cullen Bunn makes his second appearance on this week’s list with a dark blend of King Arthur and Lovecraft. I’ve been digging the medieval horror books that have come out recently. The premise reminds me of another Aftershock book, Pestilence, which pit a band of Crusaders against a zombie horde. They are the knights who say braaaaaaaiins.

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Superman #26 (Jimenez variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J Tomasi
Art: Scott Godlewski
Cover Art: Jorge Jimenez

What it is: ‘ROAD TRIP’ part one! It’s been an emotional and physical rollercoaster for Superman, Lois, and Jon: the Eradicator, Dinosaur Island, Frankenstein and the Bride, Multiversity, Reborn and Black Dawn – a barrage of terror and horror! What does the family need right now? Yep, you got it… a vacation!

Why we like it: Beauty of a cover swipe. Superman #14 came out 75 years ago and the image is still striking. A bonafide classic.

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, happy 4th everyone, stay safe out there and as always carpe comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 6/6/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Wonder Woman absolutely crushed it to the tune of $100 million domestic box office in its opening weekend. I can hardly wait to see it this weekend because it has been receiving almost universal praise. Could Wundy’s silver-screen success mark the turning point for the DC cinematic universe? Time will tell, but I’m already feeling much more optimistic for Justice League.

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

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The Top of the Pile: Superman #24

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Jaimie Mendoze, Doug Mahnke

What it is: ‘BLACK DAWN’ part five! The Man of Steel faces the one foe he refuses to fight-his son. An emerging new ability for Superboy proves deadly to Superman as the promise of power appears to lead Jon Kent to betray his father. RATED T

Why we love it: Maybe it was the return to a more traditional Superman persona, or the introduction of the Kent family dynamics, but this comic has succeeded in retaining an air of nostalgia while building something entirely new, making it feel both modern and classic. Before Tomasi’s run, I don’t remember the last time when Superman was relevant (maybe his death back in ’92?). Now, I eagerly await each issue as it comes out and I know I am not alone.

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The Mainstream One: Champions #9

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mark Waid
Art: Humberto Ramos

What it is: Casting a spotlight on young synthezoid Viv Vision! After what became of her family, she willingly shut down her emotions – but does that come with a price to pay? Rated T+

Why we like it: Tom King created Viv Vision during his landmark run on Vision, which lasted only 12 issues before he left to write Batman for DC. If you read this blog at all during 2015-2016, chances are you heard me gushing about King’s run on Vision. I thought it was the best comic Marvel had put out in years and I immediately fell in love with the Visions, especially with the kids Vin and Viv. I was elated to see Viv break out on her own after the main series ended and I am so stoked to read how she’s been processing everything that has happened since. Do androids get PTSD?

 

 

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The Indie One: Paper Girls #19

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Cliff Chang

What it is: EXPLOSIVE END OF A STORY ARC! It’s the end of an era as KJ, Mac, Tiffany, and Erin must do the unthinkable to escape our prehistoric past. 24 pages of story on the best paper in comics, and still only $2.99!

Why we like it: Paper Girls picked up two Eisner awards last year, winning Best New Series and Cliff Chang taking home Best Penciller for his work on the series. This year it has three nominations for Best Continuing Series, Best Writer and Best Colorist. Experts and Cranks agree that this book is chock full of awesome. So why haven’t you added it to your pull list yet?

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The #1 One: Babyteeth #1 (Elizabeth Torque variant)

Publisher: Aftershock
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Garry Brown

What it is: NEW SERIES! Sadie Ritter is sixteen years old, nine months pregnant, and scared out of her sweet nerdy mind. Having a baby that young is tough, but with the support of her loving family behind her, everything should be okay. OH YEAH, and also her baby is the antichrist and it’s going to break open the barriers between the earthly and demonic planes and unleash eternal suffering to all of humankind. Other than that, though…should be fine. From the writer of Buzzkill, Paybacks, Redneck and the break-out hit God Country comes a pulse-pounding new series with art from THE REVISIONIST’s Garry Brown!

Why we like it: There’s that name again. Donny Cates. I feel like a broken record here, but there’s no denying that this young man is the hottest up-and-coming writer in the biz. God Country has sold out again and again and gone back for multiple reprints of every issue (issue #1 is on its fourth printing at the time of this writing). Redneck #2, released two weeks ago, sold out and will be back for second printings. Redneck #1 is already going to a third print. The market has surely taken notice by now and Babyteeth #1 is a guaranteed sell out. Make sure you reserve a copy in advance.

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Aquaman #24 (Josh Middleton variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art: Scot Eaton
Cover Art: Joshua Middleton

What it is: ‘CROWN OF ATLANTIS’ finale! Hopelessly at odds with the people of Atlantis, Arthur is finally stripped of his crown. In his place, and to Aquaman’s horror, the previously imprisoned Atlantean fundamentalist Corum Rath is installed as the new king! Every step of AQUAMAN REBIRTH has been building to this! RATED T

Why we like it: I’ve almost added Aquaman to my pull list for Middleton’s covers alone. Some of this cover’s impact will be diminished when the cover dressing gets added, but a stunning image regardless. Superstar artist Stjpan Sejic takes over interior art duties starting next issue, so don’t be surprised if we start seeing more Aquaman around these parts.

 

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 – 4/5/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Tuesday I spotlight some of the new comics coming out on Wednesday that I will be checking out. Speaking of checking out, if you’re near Marlboro, MA this weekend then you’ll want to check out Super Megafest. They assembled a nice lineup of creators this year. Better go Saturday if you want to meet legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

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The Top of the Pile: Batman #20

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I am Bane’ finale! In this epic climax, there is no going back. No more tricks, no more allies. Just Batman. And Bane. When the final blood spills nothing will ever be the same for the Dark Knight.

Why we love it: There’s a theory among certain circles of Batfans that all the greatest Bat-villains represent specific mental disorders: Joker is insanity, Catwoman is kleptomania, Two Face is multiple personality disorder, Riddler is an autistic (maybe on the spectrum?), etc.etc. But Bane. He’s a sane man, relatively speaking. A psychopath at worst and at best megalomania, but the same could be said of anyone in the Batman universe, Batman included. And that is why Bane is Batman’s greatest foe. He’s Batman’s equal. Batman’s dark reflection. I know it, and Tom King knows it. And if you’re reading this comic, then you know it too.

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The Mainstream One: Superman#20

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J Tomasi
Art: Patrick Gleason

What it is: ‘Superman black’ part one! A ‘Superman Reborn Aftermath’ tie-in! As the smoke clears the Kents are faced with leaving Hamilton to go back to Metropolis, but someone or something doesn’t want them to leave! Batman and Robin discover something is mysteriously wrong with the son of Superman-he’s losing his powers!

Why we like it: It’s been a long time since Superman has been a regular on my pull list. Superman has always been the central character in the DC universe and Superman Reborn gave us a huge piece of the Rebirth puzzle. Looking forward to having big blue back in the regular rotation.

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The Indie One: Rock Candy Mountain #1

Publisher: Image
Words and art: Kyle Starks

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE Eisner-nominated comic creator, KYLE STARKS (SEXCASTLE), would like to invite you to enter the magical world of hobos. The world’s toughest hobo is searching through post-World War II America for the mythological Rock Candy Mountain, and he’s going to have to fight his way to get there. Lots of hobo fights. So many hobo fights. A new action-comedy series full of high action, epic stakes, magic, friendships, trains, punching, kicking, joking, a ton of hobo nonsense, and the Literal Devil. Yeah. The Literal Devil.

Why we like it: When I was a young child, I wanted to grow up to be either an astronaut or a hobo. I haven’t achieved either throughout my career, although my fascination with both has never left.

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The #1 One: X-Men Gold #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Marc Guggenheim
Art: Ardian Syaf

What it is: FROM THE ASHES OF INHUMANS VS X-MEN, AN ALL-NEW TEAM OF X-MEN RISES! Xavier’s dream comes full circle as KITTY PRYDE takes the reins and assembles a squad of the most iconic X-Men to fight at her side. STORM. COLOSSUS. NIGHTCRAWLER. OLD MAN LOGAN. PRESTIGE. They are X-MEN GOLD! And they’re on a mission to be Earth’s finest heroes, even when that means defending those who hate and fear them. Brought to you by an all-star creative team of Marc Guggenheim (X-MEN, S.H.I.E.L.D., television’s Arrow) and Ardian Syaf (BATGIRL, SUPERMAN/BATMAN, BRIGHTEST DAY), a new beginning for the strangest heroes of all starts here!

Why we like it: X-Men wasn’t my first introduction into comics, but it was my first love. And like all first loves, the X-Men will always hold a very special place in my heart and on my pull list. The lineup is a partial-revamp of the All-New All-Different team that debuted in Giant Size X-Men #1 and turned the series from one Marvel’s lowest selling titles to the most recognizable superhero team of the 90’s.

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Captain America Steve Rogers #15

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Javier Pina
Cover Art: Gabriele Dell’Otto

What it is: Only one man can lead Hydra into a new age of dominance and superiority! The Red Skull believes that he is that man! But Captain America thinks otherwise! It’s a no-holds-barred final throwdown that you will not believe!

Why we like it: Who doesn’t love a beautiful cover of Captain America punching the world’s second most recognizable nazi in the face? Nazis I suppose, but we don’t care about them around here.

 

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 – 3/1/2017

Hi diddly ho comic book fanerinos and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the net that still thinks that La La Land won the Oscar for best picture. I’m your host Ken Lee and here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

 

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The Top of the Pile: Batman #18

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: ‘I AM BANE’ part three! Bane broke the bat before, but it wasn’t enough-now he’s going to break everyone else! Bane is coming, and no one is safe!

Why we love it: Tom King has really hit his stride and Batman is so frakkin good right now. After the shocking cliff hanger in issue #16, we got another pants-crappingly insane ending in issue #17. This week Bane and the Dark Knight square off, and you better pack an extra pair of underwear.

 

 

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The Mainstream One: Superman #18

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Patrick Gleason

What it is: ‘SUPERMAN REBORN’ part one! In DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1, the enigmatic Mr. Oz told this Superman, ‘You and your family are not what you believe you are. And neither was the fallen Superman.’ Now, in the first Rebirth crossover between SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS, the shocking truth behind Oz’s words is revealed. It begins with one of Oz’s prisoners escaping, and ends in a tragic moment for Lois and Superman. The covers by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray and the variant covers by Gary Frank for SUPERMAN #18-19 and ACTION COMICS #975-976 will connect to form a single vertical image.

Why we like it: DC’s been quietly hinting at the grand machinations behind Rebirth, dropping breadcrumb clues in lenticular covers and buttons with images of smiley faces. It sounds like we’ll be getting some big reveals in this week’s Superman. If you’ve been digging Rebirth, then you won’t want to miss this issue.

 

 

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The Indie One: Extremity #1

Publisher: Image
Words and art: Daniel Warren Johnson

What it is: SERIES PREMIERE! Thea dreams. Not of a better life, but of revenge on the clan that ruined her family. With ferocious battles between man, machines, and monsters ahead, who knows where her quest for vengeance will take her? Creator DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Space Mullet) and colorist MIKE SPICER present a bold new vision, where the beauty and imagination of Studio Ghibli meet the intensity of Mad Max, in this all-new Skybound Original.

Why we like it: I read a great interview with the author Daniel Johnson in which he described the creative process and ideas that make up Extremity. It included a preview too. I’m digging it. Check it out and if you like what you see, pick it up on Wednesday.

http://www.avclub.com/article/dive-emotional-exhilarating-world-extremity-exclus-251008

 

 

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The #1 One: Amerikarate #1

Publisher: Action Lab – Danger Zone
Words: Brockton McKinney
Art: Devin Roth

What it is: In the vein of the greatest ’80s action flicks of all time – such as Bloodsport, Gymkata, Rambo, Commando, and Kickboxer – comes AMERIKARATE! The story of one American’s fight to karate-fight with karate for America – and karate!

Why we like it: This was a tough call, because I originally wanted to spotlight Marvel’s Ms. America Chavez solo series “America”. But Amerkarate is just too weird and off-beat to ignore.

 

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Aquaman #18

Publisher: DC
Words: Dan Abnett
Art: Scot Eaton
Cover Art: Joshua Middleton

What it is: ‘WARHEAD’ finale! Aquaman’s battle with Warhead leaves him trapped in the tortured mind of the telepathic beast, where the sea king is forced to experience the lifetimes of combat that define his tragic new foe!

Why we like it: Middleton’s been putting out amazing covers for Aquaman since Rebirth, but this one stands out for perfectly depicting the duality of Arthur Curry. Above water, he’s just some lame wad who likes swimming in the ocean. Underseas, he’s an absolute force of nature who will rip you to shreds. There aren’t many iconic Aquaman covers, but I think this one deserves consideration.

 

That’s all I got this week. Let me know what you’re checking out in the comments. Until next time, carpe comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 10/05/2016

Hey there comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the web that was too busy to think up a witty tagline this week. And staying with that theme…

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

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The Top of the Pile: The Walking Dead #159 (Art Adams variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard

What it is: ‘THE WHISPERER WAR,’ Part Three The war rages on.

Why we love it: Holy crud, last issue was crazy. Rick and his crew were not prepared for the kind of fight that the Whisperers were bringing to their door. We’re only two issues in and the bodies are already piling up. The Whisperer Wars has already claimed a few significant casualties and I don’t think we’re even close to being done.

 

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The Mainstream one: Death of X #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire
Art: Aaron N. Kuder

What it is:

  • What happened eight months ago that set the Inhumans and X-Men on a collision course? Find out here!
  • The Inhumans travel to Japan where one of the Terrigen Clouds creates a shocking new Inhuman.
  • The X-Men travel to Muir Island where the second Terrigen Cloud causes something truly terrible.
  • When these two events collide, a war of catastrophic proportions explodes!

Why we like it: We like mysteries and one of the bigger mysteries leftover from 2015’s Secret Wars was what Cyclops did that resulted in his death and the sterilization of earth’s mutant population. We also enjoy bullet point lists.

 

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The Indie One: Paper Girls #10

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Cliff Chang

What it is: The second arc of the smash-hit ongoing series concludes with the Paper Girls risking everything to escape the 21st Century, but if any survive, where will they end up next?

Why we like it: The first 10 issues have been pretty heavy on mystery and random acts of craziness. And it has been awesome.

 

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The #1 One: Cage #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words and Art: Genndy Tartakovsky

What it is: On the mean streets of Harlem, shoes are big, shirts are large, bottoms are belled and crime is rampant! But in the heart of the city, the world’s hardest-working, smack-talking, chain-wearing super hero is on the street and on the case! And his rates are reasonable! He’s CAGE! and he’ll save your behind. Dig it!

Why we like it: This was a real tough pick this week. There are a ton of cool #1s out this week that are worth taking a look at, including Champions (Marvel), Black (Black Mask), Moonshine, Cannibal (Image), Shade the Changing Girl (Young Animals), Shipwreck (Aftershock) and Girrion (Scout). Cage #1 gets the nod because I am a huge fan of Tartakovsky’s animated series Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack.

 

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

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Doug Mahnke
Cover art: Kenneth Rocafort

What it is: ‘RETURN TO DINOSAUR ISLAND’ part one! Father and Superson work on a science assignment with bizarre consequences that transports the pair along with Krypto to Dinosaur Island! Now, amid relics of World War II, Superman tries to keep Jon from the jaws of prehistoric predators! Worse, Kal-El can’t find a way to fly off the Island.

Why we like it: This cover embodies the eternal nature of Superman. He stands larger than life, his cape looming like a landscape behind the gleaming S on his chest.

 

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 6/15/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to a very somber episode of the Crank File, where the important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself. Thoughts go out to the victims, families and friends affected by the Orlando shooting. While it’s natural that we feel angry and afraid, this is not the time for hate and division. It is a time for grieving and unification. Because there’s only one way to make it through a tragedy, together. Peace, love and crankiness.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

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The Top of the Pile: Batman #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: No one has ever stopped the Caped Crusader. Not The Joker. Not Two-Face. Not even the entire Justice League. But how does Batman confront a new hero who wants to save the city from the Dark Knight?

Why we love it: The last time DC rebooted, Batman turned out the epic Court of Owls story arc, laying the foundation for Snyder and Capullo’s legendary run. While I will miss the masterful work of Scott and Greg on Batman, I think DC nailed it with the new creative team. Add in possible first appearances and a #1 on the cover and you have the recipe for a classic.

 

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The Mainstream one: Superman #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Patrick Gleason

What it is: The Last Son of Krypton must decide whether to help his young son use his new and rapidly increasing abilities, or hide them from the world.

Why we like it: While I enjoyed Pak’s run on Action Comics, the New 52 Superman always felt a little off. I was happy to see the pre-New 52 Superman back in action (see what I did there?) Superman classic returns to Metropolis and he’s brought his family with him. Last week’s Action Comics gave us one of the biggest WTF moments in comics since “Hail Hydra”.

 

 

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The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #20

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: Many have claimed to have seen the Sasquatch? now join the men who made first contact!

Why we like it: Manifest Destiny started its latest arc by straying from its typical, linear storytelling. The story begins with a flashback to an early attempt at settling the American North West frontier that turns cannibally before we catch up with our regularly scheduled protagonists, Lewis and Clark, whose expedition just stumbled upon a ruined settlement. Action, horror and the legendary Big Foot.

 

 

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The #1 One: Green Arrow #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Benjamin Percy
Art: Otto Schmidt

What it is: As Oliver struggles with how he can fight ‘the man’ when his huge fortune makes him the man, he and Black Canary uncover a deadly new threat to Seattle that cuts the Archer to the bone.

Why we like it: This was what writer Benjamin Percy had to say about the new Green Arrow, ‘My touchstones are Dennis O’Neil and Mike Grell, while trying to make the series my own. Green Arrow will be a politically and culturally relevant series. Expect stories that aim a broadhead into the zeitgeist, that are ripped from the headlines.’ I’m in. I’ve always felt that Green Arrow works better with a partner, and I’m stoked that Black Canary is around.

 

 

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The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Star Wars #20

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Mike Mayhew
Cover art: John Tyler Christopher

What it is: Another dive into the journal of Obi-Wan Kenobi! Jabba has hired bounty hunter Black Krrsantan to find out who’s been thwarting his men! The old hermit of the dune wastes might know something about that.

Why we like it: A rare Yoda cover appearance keeps it from being a DC sweep this week. All asses, this cover kicks.

 

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

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week: 5/25/2016

Welcome back to another installment of the Crank File, where the cranks are made up but the problems are real.

Short post this week as I’m preparing for a business trip that will take me halfway across the world for the next week. So I just have two words for you: hold door.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: DC Universe Rebirth #1

 

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Publisher: DC

What it is: It all begins here. Do not skip to the last page. Do not let a friend or message board ruin this comic for you. The future (and past) of the DC Universe starts here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! THEY SAID IT: ‘Rebirth is about focusing in on the core of the character and their respective universe,’ says writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. ‘It brings back what has been lost, the legacy of the characters, the love and the hope of the DCU!’

Why we love it: It’s DC Rebirth week and the internet is already swirling with rumors and leaks. Who will die? Who will make their first appearance? What secrets will be revealed? Fortunately many of us won’t have to wait until Wednesday to find out the answers, as some local comic shops are holding midnight release parties on Tuesday to mark the occasion.

 

The Mainstream one: Justice League #50 / Superman #52

 

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Publisher: DC
Words: Geoff Johns / Peter Tomasi
Art: Jason Fabok / Mikel Janin

What it is: The epic conclusion to the Darkseid War saga, and the final issue of the New 52 Superman.

Why we like it: It’s all DC this week and I couldn’t choose between these two because both issues will reveal major events in the DC universe. Potential spoilers ahead. It has been hinted that Superman #52 will be the death of the New 52 Superman and Justice League #50 will reveal the Joker’s true identity.

 

The Indie One: Squarriors: Summertime #1

 

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Publisher: Devil’s Due
Words: Ash Maczko
Art: Ashley Witter

What it is: Next from the break-out hit series Squarriors: The saga of warring rodents in a post-human world continues with Squarriors: Summer. There’s little time to nurse wounds as the Tin Kin’s struggle against the Maw and Amoni intensifies. The conflict of woodland creatures boils under the scorching Summer Sun. And the tribes find themselves on the brink of war and the edge of annihilation.

Why we like it: Squarriors volume 1 was a fantastic read and I’ve been looking forward to volume two of this epic fantasy tale. The elevator pitch for this series is Wind in the Willows meets Game of Thrones. Ashley Witter’s gorgeous painted artwork is worth the price of admission alone.

 

The #1 One: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1

 

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Publisher: IDW
Words: Troy Little
Art: Troy Little

What it is: Troy Little’s gonzo adaptation of Hunter Thompson’s Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas is now available in an all-new format. This comic book version is presented in black-and-white and at a slightly larger size than the full-color hardcover edition. Each issue also includes pages from Little’s sketchbook and other behind-the-scenes information. ‘[Little’s] talents make him perfectly comfortable with the elastic expressions required to recreate the exploits of Thompson and his companion, Dr. Gonzo, as they slingshot between mania, paranoia, rage, and despair… the graphic-novel aspect adds layers to Thompson’s prose.’

Why we like it: The Terry Gilliam movie was something of a revelation for me. While I was originally drawn to it for the promise of zany, drug-fueled misadventures, what actually resonated with me deeply was the retrospective of the 60’s generation and its lasting effects on American culture.

 

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

 

MB 3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Chelsea Cain
Art: Kate Niemczyk
Cover art: Joelle Jones

What it is: Bobbi suits up as Mockingbird to save an adolescent girl driven bonkers by her new powers. Later, a rakish Englishman asks Bobbi to dogsit.

Why we like it: Joelle Jones is an immensely talented artist and has already done a couple of fantastic covers for Mockingbird. This one’s on a whole different level though.

 

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

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The Female Perspective: In Defense of “Superman v. Batman”

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’m not going to pull any punches here, I really, really enjoyed Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and I am going to tell you why. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and want no spoilers I’d say stop reading, I’ll try to keep the important stuff out of here, but if you’re like me and want to know NOTHING about a movie before watching it, then stop reading. You’ve been warned!

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I, like so many people, have been looking forward to Superman v. Batman for awhile. I am a big fan of Man of Steel as well so yeah, there’s that. I will also say that when I heard that Ben Affleck was going to play Batman, I was a bit … disappointed.

I’m over that now.

Here’s what I think is good about Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and why the haters really do need to shut up.

The Casting 

Yep, Affleck at the older, more world-weary Batman is perfect (and huge). As much as I loved Christian Bale’s portrayal, Affleck does the Caped Crusader justice. Having read The Dark Knight and other comics that feature this older, grumpier Batman, I feel like Affleck really managed to capture that essence. This is a man who has been through a lot of crap, has watched a lot of people he love die and who isn’t about to let some dude in a cape take over the world. Affleck is at times so earnest in his hatred toward Superman that you feel uncomfortable, not because the acting is bad but because the acting is so good. You want to shake him and make him see reason, Superman is not going to turn on the humans, he wants to help for goodness sake, just like you do Bats. Just like you do.

I find Henry Cavill as Superman a continued great choice. He’s got the gravitas, the looks and the persona to pull off the titular character. He was great in Man of Steel and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future permutations of Superman. In this film he did not disappoint, this was a different Superman than in Man of Steel, he’s conflicted. He wants to do the right thing but the more he tries, the more crap he seems to get. He also seems to revel in the love and adoration of the people he saves, a dangerous combination for a mortal, but as an alien, is Superman immune to an inflated ego? Only time will tell.

"Don't worry fellas, I'll protect you." - Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman … Oh man did she rock this big time. Not only is she beautiful, but she is also tough as all get out. She’s as tall as the fellas and very easily stands with them in the final battle. When verbally sparring with Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince doesn’t flinch from his steely gaze, nor does she cow-tow in anyway. She stands tall and walks off without a care in the world. Unimpressed by the billionaire. When she finally shows up in her full costume, it’s wonderful because she saves Batman. SHE SAVES BATMAN! I love it. It made me VERY excited about her upcoming feature film, I have ZERO doubts that Gadot can pull it off. She’s going to be amazing.

Can you see it? The madness underneath?
Can you see it? The madness underneath?

Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Oh man, this kid. This kid rocked Luthor. The overall tone of the movie is much darker than a lot of  the other comic book films and Luthor is the ultimate epitome of that. He is nuts. Totally batsh*t crazy nuts. Eisenberg plays it perfectly. At times being an adorable jokester before finally revealing the massive smarts and diabolical brain behind that boyish exterior (when he feeds another man a Jolly Rancher, I laughed out loud. It was amazing). I cannot wait to see what else he does as Luthor.

The Story Is Dark and Wonderful

What I loved most about Superman v. Batman is the fact that they don’t shy away form what happened in Man of Steel, instead it’s the focus for everything happens in SvB. We are pushed 18 months after Superman battles General Zod and we see how Bruce Wayne was  part of the action, watching one of his buildings crumble to the ground with people in it that he cared about still inside. We see the anger, the fury building in Wayne’s eyes and we know, oh yes, we KNOW that he is not going to let Superman pass by unscathed after the massive destruction.

Superman himself is being both lauded and lambasted by the government and the people. They see him as a God, and that fills people with both joy and terrible fear. What if he decides to kill everyone? Could he destroy the world? Should someone have that kind of power and be allowed to run loose around the world? When Superman finally shows up at the capitol to answer for his “crimes”, all Hell breaks loose and the anguish on his face, when he is witness to death on a massive scale, is clear. He doesn’t know who he is, he doesn’t know what he’s doing … Superman is having an existential crises on the Superhero level.

It’s a dark movie. It’s not for kids and it’s not a Marvel movie. This doesn’t make it bad, in fact, I loved that it was “real world” (and I know people hate that term) because you know what? If Superman showed up one day, this is what would happen to the world. We would be split in half, those who see Superman as a God-like figure here to save humanity and there would be those who see him as the Devil, here to destroy humanity. It’s good and smart film making and writing.

Batman-v-Superman-Poster

The Battles!

The battles are awesome. That’s all I can really say about that. Not too much CGI to make it annoying and enough chaos and excitement to make you hover on the edge of your seat, not sure what’s going to happen. Though Lois Lane needs to get a brain in her head! Her throwing away Batman’s spear made me nuts! I know it had a plot reason behind it but for pete’s sake woman, hold on to that! You KNOW they’re going to need it later.

Besides that, watching costumed superhero’s duke it out always fills me with geek-ish glee. I LOVE IT. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, together at last.

The Haters

There have been a lot of bad reviews of Superman v. Batman and I get it, some people are just Hell-bent on hating on the movie, just like they did with Man of Steel and that is totally their prerogative. In my (humble) opinion, they’re wrong. This is a good movie. It’s a lot of fun in it’s own dark way, but it’s a great addition to the superhero genre of films. Is it for everybody? No. Some people are going to really hate it (as we’ve seen) and some people are going to really love it. It’s that kind of movie I think, you either really love it or you really hate it. But don’t let the critics make that decision for you, go, see for yourself if you’re so inclined and decide for yourself.

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Did you see Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice? What did you think??? 

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Trailer Snark (March 25th, 2016 Theatrical Trailers)

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!

Last Week: Zootopia topped the box office for the third straight week with $38M and putting its overall domestic haul to over $200M.  The latest Divergent series entry, Allegiant, came in second place with a $29M opening.  Miracles from Heaven debuted at number three with $18.5M.  10 Cloverfield Lane was in fourth ($12.5M/$45.1M).  In fifth was Deadpool still doing good biz ($8M/$340.9M).  The rest of the top ten was as follows:  London Has Fallen ($6.8M/$50M), Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ($2.8M/$19.2M), The Perfect Match ($1.9M/$7.3M), The Brothers Grimsby ($1.4M/$5.9M), and The Revanant ($1.2M/$181.1M).  It’s a short list of new releases this week as most studios made way for a certain superhero battle royal movie.  Let’s see what is on tap!

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Bros) – Action/Adventure
Rated PG – 13 for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg
Plot: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.
Running Time: 151 minutes

Ken: I don’t care how bad the latest slew of reviews have been, I’m still pretty excited to see Dawn of Justice this weekend. Please be good…
Jessica: I remember a time were advance info and reviews weren’t as easily available and I miss those days. I don’t care what anyone else says, i want to see this bad boy and I have high hopes for it.
Jim: I’m reaching my saturation point with superhero movies, but have to admit this looks like a good one. Hopefully, it’s not just the trailer that’s good. Jesse Eisenberg as Luthor has me hopeful…but then again, so did Kevin Spacey. Ugh.
Chris: I have scoffed at the premise of any scenario where Batman could take on Superman, but comic movies are all about suspending reality anyway, so what the heck.  I am in.
Rob:  Make mine Marvel!

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Universal) – Comedy/Romance
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material
Tag Line:  Every day of my life is Greek Club.
Starring: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett
Plot: A Portokalos family secret brings the beloved characters back together for an even bigger and Greeker wedding.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Rob:  I will probably be forced to watch this with my wife at some point, but will try to resist.
Chris:  I formally renew my vow to not see this film.
Ken: Didn’t see the first, no interest in the sequel.
Jessica: Where’s the caped crusader? The man of steel? Wonder Woman? No superhero’s means I don’t care.
Jim: Jaded Moviegoer is showing up a lot this week—I’ve had it with ethnic family comedies as well—they peaked with Moonstruck.

I Saw the Light (Sony Picture Classics) – Biography/Drama/Music
Rated R for some language and brief sexuality/nudity
Tag Line: None
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen
Plot: The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Jim: Might as well just rent Walk the Line.
Rob:  No interest.  But Hiddleston may be the next Bond, so it may be good to see what he can do.
Chris: Tom Hiddleston seems to take to this role of country legend well.  Color me intrigued.
Ken: Reminds me of Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash movie, but with a much grimmer ending.
Jessica: Nope, nope, nope…No Lex Luthor? All set.

Born to Be Blue (IFC Films) – Biography/Drama/Music
Rated R for drug use, language, some sexuality and brief violence
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo
Plot: A re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker’s musical comeback in the late ’60s.

Jessica: Music is nice, I bet Batman likes music, moody sad music, oh so jazz is perfect for him!
Jim: I love jazz and Ethan Hawke always surprises me—rental, at the least.
Rob: Looks really good, but rental material.

Chris: Two musical bio-pics in one week.  Country Vs Jazz….FIGHT!
Ken: Another dark, musical biopic. Not familiar with Chet Baker so not very jazzed about this movie.

They’re Watching (Amplify) – Comedy/Horror
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Mia Faith, Kris Lemche
Plot: When an American home improvement TV show visits a remote Eastern European village, the young crew thinks the lack of mocha lattés and free wifi will be the worst of their problems. But after their filming interrupts the superstitious villagers’ private religious ritual, the situation takes a turn for the homicidal… and when the blood starts flowing, that’s when things get really weird. With THEY’RE WATCHING, noted graphic novelists and animators Micah Wright and Jay Lender turn a classic horror premise upside down to create a fresh, funny, eye-popping twist on the genre.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Ken: Literally watched the trailer 3 times, still can’t figure out wtf is going on. Who just yells out “witch” at a strange bar?
Jessica: Um what? Superman would blow this film up with his heat vision.
Jim: WHAT are we watching? Sorry, the SpongeBob reference threw me.
Rob:  Stupidly amusing, and would rent it.  I also love the SpongeBob reference.

Chris:  They is certainly not me.

Tickets Purchased:  Four tickets for the DC throw-down (Ken, Chris, Jessica, and Jim).  Rob stays home and watches more Daredevil.

Whose Side Are You On?
Whose Side Are You On?
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 12/23/2015

Happy holidays comic book fans. This time of year always get crazy hectic and a light week of new books is a welcome relief from too much yuletide spirit. Christmas came early for geek nation as the new Star Wars movie launched to almost universal acclaim. The Force Awakens death starred all previous records for opening weekend box office sales and the world breathed a communal sigh of relief. There’s no real secret recipe at work here, it’s a beloved franchise that consistently delivers high-quality product to its rabid fan base.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: The Dark Knight Returns III #2 (Jim Lee Variant)

 

 

DK32

Publisher: DC

Words: Frank Miller

Art: Andy Kubert

DKIII #1 delivered a strong premiere issue for the miniseries. The action and storytelling felt focused and the shocking ending to issue #1 promises a completely original Bat story and I’m totally in for the ride. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read DKIII #1 and you plan on reading this series at some point. Do not read the following description and avoid looking at the regular cover to issue #2 if you don’t want to ruin the surprise.

The unexpected finale to the Dark Knight saga continues as Carrie Kelly gets caught…that is, she finds herself…she gets into—well, you’re just going to have to read it yourself.

 

 

The Mainstream One:  Darth Vader #14

 

DV14

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Kieron Gillen

Art: Salvador Larocca

VADER DOWN, PART FOUR Han & Luke take on Vader’s forces…and more? Meanwhile…Leia makes a hard decision.

Unquestionably, Star Wars rules the pop-culture galaxy. Need proof? Currently, Marvel’s Star Wars comics franchise accounts for about 10% of all comics sold each month. Darth Vader is my favorite Star Wars comic series out now, and the whole gang is reunited as the Vader Down crossover approaches critical mass.

 

 

The Indie One:  Saga #32

 

s32

Publisher: Image

Words: Brain K. Vaughan

Art: Fiona Staples

Marko and Alana learn something.

No surprise to anyone, Saga is back with a new arc and back in my pull pile. This modern space opera continues to be my hands down favorite ongoing series.

 

 

The #1 One: Patsy Walker Hellcat #1 (Sophie Campbell variant)

 

HC1

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Kate Leth

Art: Brittney Williams

Patsy Walker has managed to escape her past, her enemies and Hell itself (literally), but nothing compares to job hunting in New York City! Between trying to make rent and dodging (literal) bullets, Patsy barely has time to deal with her mother’s exploitative romance comics about her childhood resurfacing, much less how they start to interfere with her work and dating life. As she goes from living a double life to a triple, what the Hell is Patsy Walker supposed to do? Raise your (literal) claws for Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat!

Actress Rachael Taylor’s depiction of Patsy Walker on the Netflix Jessica Jones show helped revitalize this classic character with an all-new, all-different kind of vibe. Digging this Campbell variant, even though it’s not by that Campbell.   

 

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Superman #47 (Harley’s Little Black Book variant)

SM47

Publisher: DC

Words: Gene Luen Yang

Art: Howard Porter

Cover Art: Lee Bermejo

What would happen if the powers of all of Superman’s foes were contained in one villain? You’ll find out when you meet the Amalgam of Composite Superman Foes-and this is one nightmare a semi-powered Man of Steel may not survive! Join series writer Gene Luen Yang and guest artist Howard Porter for an unforgettable new epic! This issue features open-to-order variant covers by Lee Bermejo that will be shipped in opaque polybags.

I think the cover speaks for itself.

 

The Speculation One: New Avengers #4

NA4

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Al Ewing

Art: Gerardo Sandoval

Out beyond the nether dark lurks… Moridun, Master Magus of the Fifth Cosmos! He’s not just an evil wizard – he’s an evil Space Wizard! But when the space dust settles, who will be… the King of Space? Seriously, everything’s cooler in space. How cool will the New Avengers be in space? THEY WILL BE PRETTY COOL!

The first appearance of a new cosmic villain, Moridun, a character who looks suspiciously similar to the classic Lovecraftian nightmare, Cthulhu.

 

 

Carpe Comics!