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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – September 19, 2018

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’ll be checking out.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Return of Wolverine #1 (of 5)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Steve McNiven

What it is: HE’S BACK, BUB. Parental Advisory

Why we love it: We all secretly suspected it all along, but now it’s official. Logan’s not actually dead! But where has he been? What has he been up to? And what’s up with those hot claws? The answers to these questions and many more will be answered, well probably not in this issue, but soon! Welcome back to the Marvel Universe Wolvie, hope you survive the experience! 

The Mainstream One: Venom First Host #4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Mark Bagley

What it is: Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been SEPARATED, but Brock isn’t giving up without a fight! With a pair of unlikely allies, Brock takes the fight to his symbiote’s home turf…outer space! Rated T+

Why we like it: In a bizzarre twist in the previous issue, Eddie bonded with his symbiote’s baby blob. Although still weak and underdeveloped, the symbiote spawn has given Eddie a completely different powerset, which so far we know includes the ability to release aerosol pheromones that allow him to manipulate people’s thoughts and emotions. Plus he looks like a can of Monster energy drink.

The Indie One: Black Hammer: Age of Doom #5

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dean Ormstron

What it is: The Eisner Award-winning superhero saga returns with lots of revelations! Our heroes’ journey from Spiral City to the farm is finally revealed and will change them forever!

Why we like it: Finally, the issue I’ve been waiting for. We finally learn how the heroes of Spiral City became trapped in their rural prison. This series has been a great read. Love this cover too, not quite similar enough to be a Dark Knight Returns swipe but I’m definitely feeling that vibe to it.

The #1 One: Batman Damned #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Brian Azerrello
Art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: DC BLACK LABEL, the highly anticipated new imprint from DC Comics, starts here! The Joker is dead. There is no doubt about that. But whether Batman finally snapped his scrawny neck or some other sinister force in Gotham City did the deed is still a mystery. Problem is, Batman can’t remember… and the more he digs into this labyrinthine case, the more his mind starts to doubt everything he’s uncovering. So who better to set him straight than… John Constantine? Problem with that is as much as John loves a good mystery, he loves messing with people’s heads even more. So with John’s ‘help,’ the pair will delve into the sordid underbelly of Gotham as they race toward the mind-blowing truth of who murdered The Joker. BATMAN: DAMNED is a bimonthly super-natural horror story told by two of comics’ greatest modern creators-a visceral thrill-ride that proudly puts the ‘black’ in BLACK LABEL.

Why we like it: DC’s Black Label imprint is where DC is letting their top creative talent tell ground breaking stories that exist outside of the main DC continuity. Being out of continuity allows the writer to play with themes that just don’t work in the classic, long form comic book tradition. Themes like death (see Top of the Pile). It bothers me that these books will come in an oddly sized, prestige format, which will make them annoying to bag, board and store. That $7 price tag isn’t doing any favors either.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batman #55

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Lee Weeks
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina

What it is: The KGBeast lives! The Russian super-assassin is back-but under whose orders? Does he have a specific mission, or is this simply some leftover Cold War mayhem? Nyet, comrade-it has to do with Bruce Wayne’s recent court case involving Mr. Freeze. Something is rotten in Gotham, and you can still smell it, even if it’s on ice!

Why we like it: Another week, another next-level cover by Francesco Mattina. Mattina has to be the current king of cover art and what’s especially impressive is that he’s doing it without the cheesecake.


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 – August 29, 2018

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’ll be checking out. It’s the dreaded fifth Wednesday of the month. You know the drill, annuals, one shots, quality time with the family. Horrifying. But fear not because I dug deep to find you something good to read.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Shoule
Art: Ramon Rosana

What it is: THE HUNT IS OVER. The hunt for Wolverine is over… Now the time has come to put the pieces together and see what was learned. Kitty Pryde, Daredevil, Tony Stark and Sabretooth may have found what they were looking for…but it wasn’t what they expected. Where has Wolverine been? What has he been doing? And how does it lead into next month’s WOLVERINE #1? Parental Advisory

Why we love it: Dead Ends #1 is actually the last issue in the five-issue ‘Hunt for Wolverine’ mini (they were ridiculously all #1’s), leading into Return of Wolverine #1 (of 5), the final chapter of writer Charles Shoule’s  Death of Wolverine trilogy. Ol’ Canucklehead’s coming home. And I hear he’s got heat claws now? Can’t wait to hear this one. Killer Marco Checchetto cover.

The Mainstream One: Web of Venom Ve Nam #1 (1-shot)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Juanan Ramirez

What it is: SPINNING OUT OF THE PAGES OF VENOM! As the United States of America struggled through the Vietnam War, Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. needed a secret weapon – and when an ancient creature was discovered at an archaeological dig site, he was sure he’d found it. In reality, the discovery was an ancestor of the Klyntar symbiotes…and would become a waking nightmare for a platoon of American soldiers! Rated T+

Why we like it: Donny Cates’ run on Venom is a glorious piece of horror and off to an excellent start. This one shot will almost certainly be a beautiful, dark nightmare as well. You probably don’t need to be all caught up with the main series to appreciate this symbiote one-off, set during the nightmare that was the Vietnam War.

The Indie One: Rick and Morty vs Dungeons & Dragons #1

Publisher: IDW
Words: Patrick Rothfuss and Jim Zub
Art: Troy Little

What it is: When Morty needs to learn how to play D&D to keep up with the cool kids, his hard-drinking, old school-gaming, mad science-making grandpa is happy to teach him how to roll the dice, but neither of them is prepared for the saving throws they’re about to fail or the true quest yet to come. Strap on a +1 longsword and grab your 10-foot pole, because this is going to be a gaming gauntlet like no other! The world’s greatest role-playing game. Reality’s most dysfunctional family. What could go wrong?

Why we like it: RnM vs DnD. Somebody at IDW was wearing their helm of intellect when they pitched this series. I expect this one will be popular with the kids. Hoping I can find the Morty character sheet variant soI can see how he rolled.

The #1 One: Venom First Host #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Mark Bagley

What it is: MIKE COSTA AND MARK BAGLEY REUNITE FOR A VENOM STORY UNLIKE ANY OTHER! Before the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN…before VENOM… There was the FIRST HOST. And that First Host has returned in need of Venom’s help – only by reuniting can the two avert cosmic ruin! Can Eddie and the symbiote trust one another long enough to save the galaxy, or will the FIRST HOST prove to be Venom’s undoing?! Rated T+

Why we like it: And yet another Venom title. It must almost be movie time. This limited series explores the history of the Klyntar symbiote prior to Secret Wars and it’s first host. That’s right, before Eddie Brock and before Peter Parker, there was another.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Joker Daffy Duck Special #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Scott Lobdell
Art: Norm Rapmund
Cover Art: Sanford Greene

What it is: When Daffy Duck pays a call to the Acme corporate headquarters in Gotham City, he finds the company long gone and their abandoned building now occupied by The Joker. With a hit in progress, Daffy tries to sneak away, only to find himself in the clutches of the Clown Prince of Crime. But Joker decides that there’s some potential in this manic bird and forces Daffy to join his gang. Will he find a way to escape…or will he become The Joker’s new right-hand duck?

Why we like it: A joker walks into a house with a duck under his arm…


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