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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/31/2016

Greetings comic book friends and welcome to another episode of the Crank File, the only place on the net that makes cranks for a smarter planet. It’s a slow week for comics but a crazy week for personal stuff, so let’s do it to it. Comics that is.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.



The Top of the Pile: Saga #37

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What it is: NEW STORY ARC ‘THE WAR FOR PHANG,’ PART ONE Saga is back with its most epic story line yet, and to celebrate, Fiona Staples graces this issue with a gorgeous wraparound cover! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages.

Why we love it: The best comic in all of comicdom returns after a scheduled hiatus with a self-contained story arc. This is a perfect time for readers who love Saga’s bestselling trade paper back collections to join the monthly adventures of their favorite intergalactic outlaw family.



The Mainstream one: Amazing Spider-man #17

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slot
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli

What it is: BEFORE ‘DEAD NO MORE’! The Prowler (and our readers) meet the new Electro! Who is this woman and what does she have to do with the Man in Red?!

Why we like it: The gender bendification of Marvel continues, this time it’s a member from Spider-man’s rogue gallery that gets the lady treatment. With a female Electro, you’d think that her name would be Electra but that’d confuse the heck out of DareDevil fans.



The Indie One: Tokyo Ghost #10 (Nguyen variant)

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Sean Murphy

What it is: MINISERIES FINALE The final confrontation for the future of mankind is here. It’s Debbie Decay, Mother Nature’s own samurai savior, vs Davey Trauma, the Living Singularity. Critically-acclaimed creators Rick Remender and Sean Gordon Murphy wrap up their tale of tech addiction, unintended consequences, and love in a world populated by the disenfranchised and isolated.

Why we like it: The brain child of two of my favorite creators, I had huge expectations for Tokyo Ghost. While I enjoyed the early issues, the series never really coalesced into the sci-fi epic I was hoping for. And when Sean Murphy announced that he would be working exclusively with DC for the next two years, it signaled an early the end to the series. I can’t criticize Murphy though. When you get the opportunity to work on Batman, you take it.



The #1 One: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtels Universe #1

Publisher: IDW
Words: Paul Allor
Art: Damian Couceiro

What it is: Introducing a new era in TMNT! This series will explore characters and story-lines that are pivotal to the IDW TMNT universe! When a mysterious new mutant targets Baxter Stockman, it will be up to the TMNT to reluctantly save him. Little does everyone know that a larger trap is being laid by a new arch-foe! Plus a back-up story from TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and comics legend Bill Sienkiewicz!

Why we like it: While I’m looking forward to taking a deeper look at the peripheral characters that populate the TMNT universe, I’m really interested in that Easman / Sienkiewicz backup story. Sienkiewicz’s stark, expressionist art style would be perfectly suited for a dark, noir-style Turtles story.



The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Justice League of America #9 (Lee variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Bryan Hitch
Art: Bryan Hitch
Cover art: Jim Lee

What it is: With Earth as collateral damage, the Kryptonian deity called Rao has the Justice League on the ropes! It would take a miracle to defeat him. Good thing the League makes miracles look easy!

Why we like it: Batman v Superman rendered by the legendary Jim Lee. This cover looks about fifty times more interesting than the movie. This is a regular price variant and should be widely available at your local shop. My pick here was originally the Uncanny Avengers #13 Hughes variant, but that one is a 1:50 and will likely be hard to find at a decent price.


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 11/18/2015

Welcome back comic fans, to a very solemn episode of the Crank File. Thoughts and prayers go out to the people of France and the friends and families affected. It’s weird, trying to drum up the conversation about comic books after a tragedy like this occurs. The bulk of our super hero books are bursting off the pages with glorious depictions of battle. The Marvel and DC universes are literally on the brink of annihilation every 5 years or so. These scenes of mass destruction, which while looking undeniably awesome, feel macabre in light of real life acts of violence. But here we are. So hopefully we find something to enjoy this week. Something to talk about and take our collective minds off that craziness knocking just outside our door for a while. Something uplifting, something that reminds us why we remain courageous in the face of great danger, and why good triumphs over evil, every single time.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.


The Top of the Pile: Ms. Marvel #1 Marvel



Words: G. Willow Wilson

Art: Takeshi Miyazawa, Adian Alphona, Ian Herring

The internationally-beloved, butt-kicking, smack-talking, most adorable super hero makes her triumphant return. Look out world, Kamala Khan is back and officially an Avenger! Yup, the dream to end all dreams has happened for Kamala. She’s toe to toe with the best of the best, but will being one of Earth’s mightiest heros be everything she imagined? Is being a celebrity hero as wonderful as Kamala has hoped? Plus: WHO IS THAT WITH BRUNO??

One of the most popular and endearing comic book characters of our generation, Ms. Marvel is not only a teenager and female, she’s Muslim. There is currently NOT a lot of good-will towards Muslims in the world. I wonder if we will eventually see this creeping into Kamala’s world. Marvel has a unique opportunity to have her say something socially relevant. Or maybe she’ll just battle mutants and inhumans. Either way, this is the same critically acclaimed creative team from Ms Marvel volume 1, so I’m pretty sure that they’ll crush it. Grabbing the Sara Pichelli 1:25 variant if I see it at a decent price.


The Mainstream One: Batman Europa #1 DC



Words: Matteo Casali

Art: Jim Lee, Giuseppe Camuncoli

Superstar artist Jim Lee returns to the Dark Knight with this premiere issue! The impossible has happened and Batman is on the verge of being taken down by an enemy he cannot defeat: a virus for which there is no cure! And the only hope for his salvation is The Joker! Who infected Batman, what does the Clown Prince of Crime know, and how will the Dark Knight get that information? Together, the enemies crisscross Europe, desperate to find answers before time runs out.

I was so stoked when I saw that this book was finally coming out. Batman Europa was originally scheduled for release in 2004, and again in 2011. Better late than never I suppose. One of my all-time favorite comic book artists is doing pencils and inks for the #1. Jim Lee, the man who sparked my love of comics at the tender age of 10 with his run on 1992’s X-Men, is returning to Batman. For one issue. The remaining three issues of the mini series will have different artists. And cue sad trombone music.


The Indie One:  Tokyo Ghost #3 Image



Words: Rick Remender

Art: Sean Murphy

Led and Debbie find their target in the Gardens of Tokyo, a messianic figure that keeps the island free of all technology.

The second issue of Tokyo Ghost was every bit of good that I was hoping for and my expectations for issue #3 are through the roof. It’s Rick Remender and Sean Murphy for crying out loud. The Tokyo Ghost creative team has way too much talent to be overlooked.


The #1 One:  Huck #1 Image



Words:  Mark Millar

Art: Rafael Albuquerque

In a quiet seaside town, Huck uses his special gifts to do a good deed each day. His neighbors return the favors by keeping his abilities a secret. But when a newcomer alerts the media, a firestorm erupts, sending Huck on an adventure that will change everything.

It’s Mark Millar so of course it has already been optioned, and although option doesn’t mean that it will see production, Huck already has built a bit of buzz around itself. Mark Millar’s series typically start off strong and the preview of Albuquerque’s artwork is breathtaking. Definitely worth a look.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: I Hate Fairyland #2 Image



Words and Art: Skottie Young

Does Gert die by the axe of her assassin, Bruud The Brutal? Spoiler. Probably not

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to afford the Vader Down 1:5000 variant, but I’m happy with this crass cover for I Hate Fairyland. Skottie Young goes completely for broke on the visuals in his deranged twist on a cute fairytale and it totally pays off. His drawings never fail to make me laugh. I imagine Skottie read a lot of Calvin and Hobbes growing up. And did a lot of psychedelics.


The Speculation One:  Martian Manhunter #6 DC



Words: Rob Williams

Art: Eddy Barrows

A new female Martian warrior emerges as the mystery of our four heroes and their connection to the late J’onn J’onzz is finally revealed, and the Martian invasion reaches its deadly endgame.

Female iterations of traditionally male characters are all the rage right now. The fact that she’s a warrior hints that she’s probably a Green Martian, not a White Martian pacifist like Ms. Martian M’gann M’orzz. It could be a new character. No telling if this one will stick around, but at $2.99 I’m willing to take a gamble.


Carpe Comics!