Welcome back comic book fans, for another helping of the Crank File. It’s the week after Thanksgiving folks and if you were like me, you emerged from your food induced coma just long enough to snag some sweet deals over the weekend. This past Saturday was also Local Comic Shop Day, and I was fortunate enough to have one the shops in my area participating. And then it was Cyber Monday. It was an embarrassment of riches, or brokeness as it were, and there’s still the North East Comic Con coming up this weekend where I plan to meet George Perez and have him to sign some books. To cap it all off, it’s shaping up to be an unexpectedly huge week for new books. So take a deep breath, close your eyes and don’t think about next month’s credit card statement. ‘Tis the season.
Here’s what I’m reading this week:
The Top of the Pile: We Can Never Go Home #5
Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Patrick Kindlon
Art: Josh Hood
All roads end.
We Can Never Go Home is not only the hottest indie comic at the moment, it could be the best comic series of 2015, period. The popularity of this series alone has carved out a spot on comic shop shelves for Black Mask books. Originally only given a five issue mini-series, WCNGH has been extended to an ongoing because the fans demanded it. Pay close attention here, we’re witnessing comic history.
The Mainstream One: Totally Awesome Hulk #1 Woo Chul Lee variant
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Frank Cho
There’s a brand new Hulk in town, and his name is Amadeus Cho! Get ready for the craziest Hulk story of the millennium as a kid genius decides he’s gonna be the best Hulk ever — and just possibly brings the entire Marvel Universe crashing down into chaos! Totally awesome beach day! Massive monster mayhem! She-Hulk and Lady Hellbender! Massive heart and ridiculous action brought to you by Planet Hulk writer Greg Pak and superstar artist Frank Cho! Is it possible for us to fit in one more exclamation point? YES!
I want so badly for this character to be good. When I first heard who the creative team was behind the relaunch of Hulk in the new Marvel universe, I was delighted. Greg Pak wrote the classic Hulk tale, Planet Hulk, and Frank Cho’s art is outrageous. When I learned that Hulk was going to be Asian, I was pretty much over the moon. When I saw Hulk’s faux-hawk and read “Totally Awesome” in the title, doubts started creeping in. Hulk conflicted…
The Indie One: X’ed #1
Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Tony Patrick
Art: Ayhan Hayarula
A sci-fi thriller about a next-gen form of psychiatry: ‘subliminal hitmen’ injected into your mind who hunt down and kill the demons that haunt you. Ex-military sharpshooter Colin McClure is Mezign Corporation’s most recent recruit for the still-experimental (and often deadly) job of subliminal hitman. McClure is the perfect candidate for two reasons: a) he’s a killing machine, and b) he lost his legs in the war, so subliminal-ops are his only way to see any action. But he’s also a dangerous candidate for one reason unknown to Mezign: Colin’s true motive is to enter the mind of his catatonic daughter and bring her out of a coma.
I’m still waiting for the next big thing from those wizards over at Black Mask studios. Could it be X’ed? The premise sounds absolutely bizarre. You know a story is bonkers when they have to break the synopsis out into bullet points. The preview looked interesting enough and right now I’m picking up every Black Mask #1 that comes out.
The #1 One: Robin Wars #1
Words: Tom King
Art: Khary Randolph
In part 1 of this new epic, it’s Robins vs. cops! Robins vs. Robins! Robins vs. Batman! And Robins vs. the Court of Owls?! Damian Wayne returns to Gotham City, and he is not happy. There are kids all over the city calling themselves Robin, Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman and the GCPD, led by the new, armored-up Batman, is cracking down on anybody wearing the ‘R.’ And things only get worse when Red Hood, Red Robin and Grayson all come back to Gotham City…
In the Batman hierarchy, it goes Batman, Joker and then Robin. In the New 52 continuity where Batman has amnesia and Joker is “dead”, the Robins are stepping up and running the town. Strange things are going down in Gotham. I’m hoping that this Robin Wars event will eventually tie into Bruce Wayne getting back under the cowl.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Harley’s Little Black Book #1 J. Scott Campbell variant
Words and Art: Amanda Conner
It’s the sensational debut of a bimonthly, overstuffed, oversized team-up series in which Harley meets (and almost certainly annoys) the greatest heroes and villains of the DC Universe! First up? The incredible Wonder Woman! There’s a plot to assassinate Wondy, and Harley is convinced that only she could possibly stop it! (Hey, you want to tell her about all the other options? We tried.) This issue features open-to-order variant covers by J. Scott Campbell that will be shipped in opaque polybags.
Taking a page out of the Sex Criminals playbook, Harley’s Little Black Book will feature a variant version that comes sealed in an opaque polybag. Each bagged copy will contain one of three versions of the variant cover: a regular color version, a black and white ink variant or a blue-line sketch variant. Campbell draws some of the hottest women in comics today and I don’t believe he’s ever done a Harley cover before. This one is a beauty.
The Speculation One: Daredevil #1
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Ron Garney
Back in black and on his home turf, Daredevil begins again in New York City as a new enemy emerges. Meanwhile his alter ego, Matt Murdock, is on a new side of the law in the District Attorney’s office. Fighting crime in the shadows, prosecuting bad guys in the light, it’s a whole new chapter for our man without fear-including the arrival of the devil’s advocate. Welcome to Hell, Blindspot.
Charles Soule is an immensely talented writer and I have high hopes for his Daredevil run. Daredevil is already super popular due to the success of his Netflix series, but I think that this book could have spec potential because it features the first appearance of a new villain, Blindspot, aka Samuel Chun, who also happens to be featured prominently on the regular cover. I rest my case.