Greetings, and thanks for routing into The Crank File issue #15. The Crank File was supposed to be a place where I offered my rants, ravings and speculations on all things comics, but slowly it seems to be devolving into a weekly preview column. I enjoy writing What I’m Reading because I get to share lots of fun, new comics with you, but mostly because it is far less intensive than writing a proper review.
I feel like I say this every week, but it was a fun week to be a fan of comics. First a big thank you to my girlfriend who got me into a private Thursday night screening of Age of Ultron and spoiler alert, it was a mighty good time. The weather on Free Comic Day was perfect for traveling around comic shops and scrounging freebies. FCBD gets bigger each year and it’s starting to feel like a real holiday. The shops in my town continued stepping up their game on the biggest comic book day of the year with more artists, cos play and swag than a nerd could swing a lightsaber at.
And then there was Batman. Holy spoilers ahead, skip this paragraph if you still haven’t read Batman #40. Then go read Batman #40. While there was much grumbling from the other groundlings in the pit, I absolutely loved this issue. The war between Batman and Joker reached its only logical conclusion with the two foes lying at the brink of death in adjoining pools of blood, finally free from their eternal struggle. Heart-breaking stuff. My hat goes off to Mr. Snyder and Capullo for giving one of the greatest incarnations of the Batman an honorable death and a well-deserved rest.
Here’s what I’m reading this week:
The Top of the Pile: Descender #3 Image
Child-droid TIM-21 awakens from suspended animation and is terrified to discover that he and his robo-dog Bandit are the last two alive in a derelict space colony. Terrifying and poignant, rendered in dreamy watercolor, Jeff Lemire’s space adventure has delivered two superb, fast paced issues. Descender has lived up to all the hype so far, I’m really excited to see if the momentum keeps going in issue #3.
The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #1 Marvel
Marvel reveals their Secret Wars event which promises to kill the Marvel Universe. Realities collide and the most powerful beings from each world will have to fight for their survival on an alien planet called Telos… No wait, that was DC’s Convergence. This one is happening on a planet called Battleworld. The merging universes reboot feels trite but Hickman’s writing it and I need that Alex Ross variant cover, so I’m giving it one issue. Make it count Marvel.
The Indie One: We Can Never Go Home #2 Black Mask
A punk rock, love story that speaks in a voice that I haven’t heard in decades. We Can Never Go Home is as much a comic as a love letter to the lost youth of the 90’s generation. It’s mixed tapes and teenage romance, with just a touch of super powers. Young love on the run and I’m up for a road trip.
The #1 One: Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1 Image
75 years after its destruction, a group of military agents and research scientists return to the ruins of the Roche Limit space colony in search of answers. I really enjoyed the first Roche Limit mini-series, especially Michael Moreci’s dark, introspective prose. A new artistic team comes on board the Clandestiny arc, bringing a fresh look to the science fiction series. I hope that they preserve the stark, edginess that first drew me to the series.
The One I’m buying for the Cover: Swords of Sorrow #1 Dynamite Frison variant Cover
Dynamite gets in on the crossover action with superstar Gail Simone leading an all-female team of writers into Sword of Sorrows. This event brings together Dynamite’s fiercest female warriors including Red Sonja, Vampirella, Dejah Thoris, Kato and Jungle Girl. A bunch of beautiful variants will be offered for this first issue, with the amazingly talented J. Scott Campbell taking honors on the regular cover. The Lotay and Hack covers are both outstanding, but I’m really hoping to snag the Jenny Frison regular price cover.
Last Week’s Leftover: Justice League #40 DC
Justice League’s 40th issue was the prologue to the other DC event, The Darkseid War. It also featured the introduction of a new character who made her dramatic first (cameo?) appearance on the final page. I don’t want to reveal too much, but based on her lineage, it reasons that she will play a large role in the upcoming event. No doubt that the full identity and motives of this mysterious new villainess will be revealed next issue, so stayed tuned.