Welcome back comic book fans to another episode of the Crank File. We’re on the cusp of a new year, a time journalists love because it means kicking back and compiling “best of” lists instead of doing any actual writing. If they were really clever, they would just write their regular columns in list format. But while some are looking back at the year past, I have my sights set squarely ahead towards Wednesday’s new books. So without further ado, my final list of cool comics for the year. Goodbye 2015, we hardly knew ye.
Here’s what I’m reading this week
The Top of the Pile: Locke and Key, Shades of Terror Adult Coloring Book
Art: Gabriel Rodriguez
Color yourself a fan! Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s wonder-filled world of Locke & Key produced gorgeous, detailed pages of comic book art… and the best of those illustrations is collected here for your coloring enjoyment!
Don’t worry, an adult coloring book isn’t anything sleazy. Although not technically a comic book, I’m a huge fan of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s horror comic and also a huge fan of coloring. I can’t wait to crack open a fresh 64-pack of Crayolas and recreate some of my favorite pages from the series.
The Mainstream One: Batman Europa #3
Words: Matteo Casali
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Weakened by a deadly virus, Batman arrives in Paris to find some answers. But with The Joker along for the ride, Batman’s guaranteed to face terrifying challenges as they follow a trail that leads to their common enemy.
The temporary truce between eternal enemies is revealing fascinating and disturbing angles to complex the Batman and Joker relationship. I had high expectations for the story and so far it has delivered a solid setup that has me anxiously awaiting the next issue. But what has really made Europa a stand out Batman series is the tremendous interior artwork. Gorgeous.
The Indie One: Spawn #259
Words and Art: Todd McFarlane
BEGINNIG ‘THE SATAN SAGA WARS!’ – THE FOUR-PART STORY CHRONICLING THE FINAL FATE OF WANDA SIMMONS’ SOUL! THIS STORY WILL FOREVER CHANGE THE WAY SPAWN WILL LIVE HIS LIFE! In the entire run of the SPAWN comic, our hero has never had to face his greatest threat: Satan himself! Starting with this issue, Al Simmons will come face to face with Lucifer for the very first time. A battle of epic proportion will begin and the prize is… Wanda’s soul. This story will forever change the way Spawn will live his life. Join us on this historic odyssey as Spawn takes on the Evil entity that gave him his powers way back in issue #1.
Spawn was my first. The first book that I purchased and read regularly, anticipating each new issue as it came out month to month. I loved this series back when Todd had a creative hand in it, so I’m so excited to see the Spawn creator back in the saddle. Toss in a throw down with Satan and you have my full attention.
The #1 One: Rocket Racoon and Groot #1 (Superlog variant)
Words: Skottie Young
Art: Filipe Andrade
ROCKET RACCOON BREAKS BAD! There’s a new criminal mastermind in the galaxy, and it’s…ROCKET RACCOON?! How did this happen? SERIOUSLY, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN, YOU GUYS??? Groot knows, but he’s not talking! Well, he is talking, but all he’s saying is…oh, you know. Diabolical danger, madcap mysteries and astonishing adventure abound as SKOTTIE YOUNG and FILIPE ANDRADE return to tell tall tail tales of Rocket Raccoon, now with the adorable, arboreal Groot along for the ride! If you love adventure, animals, outer space and just about anything in between, this is the book for you!
This week’s “#1 one” was originally going to be Obi-wan and Anikan #1 but for some reason Marvel is asking retailers not to sell this book, even though it was solicited for and shipping this week. So instead I’m picking another buddy book, featuring the cutest pair of bounty hunters in the galaxy. It’s weird to see Skottie Young’s name on a book but not as the artist, but he’s proven to me with the diabolically funny I Hater Fairyland that he has writing chops to match his outlandish artistic sense. Love the Superlog variant.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Justice League #47 (Jim Lee variant)
Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Jason Fabok
Super-star artist Jason Fabok returns as the second act of ‘DARKSEID WAR’ begins! As the members of the Justice League struggle with their new Godhood abilities, Wonder Woman must turn to the beings that have fought the Anti-Monitor before: the Crime Syndicate! Plus, what secret does Grail hold that will change Diana’s world forever?
Jim Lee’s cover is another winner in Harley’s Little Black Book. I just wish they could figure out how to make a polybag that doesn’t damage 99% of books. Oh, the actual story is pretty damn fantastic as well.
Happy new year guys and gals! Carpe Comics!