Posted on

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

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

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

 

F22

The Top of the Pile: Flash #22

Publisher: DC
Words: Joshua Williamson
Art: Neil Googe

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

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

SE2

The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Andrea Sorrentino

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

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

 

4kwb4

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

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

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

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

S1

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

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Todd McFarlane

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

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

 BW3

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

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

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

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

 

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

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 5/3/2017

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

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

 

SE1

The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Steve McNiven

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

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

 

Bm22

The Mainstream One: Batman #22

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Jason Fabok

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

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

P1

The Indie One: Pestilence #1

Publisher: Aftershock
Words: Frank Tieri  
Art: Oleg Okunev

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

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

BB1

The #1 One: Black Bolt #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Saladin Ahmed
Art: Christian Ward

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

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

SW14

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

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

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

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

 

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

Posted on

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.

F21

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?

 

XMG2

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.

 

tnt1

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.

 

brss1

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.

 

ss16

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!

Posted on

The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 4/19/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I will be checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week.

se0

The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #0

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Daniel Acuna

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

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

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

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

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

b2q1

The Mainstream One: Batman #21

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Jason Fabok

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

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

gc4

The Indie One: God Country #4

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw

What it is: Emmett Quinlan goes to Hell.

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

rn1

The #1 One: Redneck #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Lisandro Estherren

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

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

v6

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

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

What it is: ‘NUFF SAID!

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

 

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