Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is off rocking across international movie screens and is already over 100M at the box office just after opening weekend. Seems like Marvel’s popular space dramady has captured lightning in a bottle for a second time.
Every Wednesday in new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’ll be checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week.
The Top of the Pile: Secret Empire #1
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Steve McNiven
What it is: It’s been building for months, across a bevy of titles! But now, the moment has arrived for Steve Rogers to step into the light and declare his allegiance to Hydra! How can the heroes of the Marvel Universe cope with this shattering betrayal by the most trusted figure among them? And what will this mean for the world? The map of the Marvel Universe changes in ways nobody will expect – TRUST THE SECRET EMPIRE!
Why we love it: I was soundly impressed by the zero issue and I’ll admit to being excited for Secret Empire. After having his history corrupted by a living Cosmic Cube named Kobik, Captain Steve Rogers has become not only the secret supreme leader of Hydra, but also director of S.H.I.E.L.D and the acting commander of the US military. I literally have no idea what to expect from this story and for a Marvel title, that is incredibly refreshing.
The Mainstream One: Batman #22
Words: Tom King
Art: Jason Fabok
What it is: THE BUTTON” part three! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!
Why we like it: “The Button” part two featured in last week’s Flash #21 ended on an absolutely bonkers cliffhanger, with Flash and Batman stranded in an alternate universe. DC keeps insisting that the big bad of Rebirth is not who we suspect, which we all suspect is Dr. Manhattan. I’m giving the Rebirth mastermind Geoff Johns a pretty long leash here, but if it isn’t Dr. Manhattan and all of these Watchmen references don’t payoff, then I’m going to be pissed.
The Indie One: Pestilence #1
Words: Frank Tieri
Art: Oleg Okunev
What it is: NEW SERIES! It’s the late 14th Century, and a Great Pestilence-the ‘Black Death’- is sweeping across Europe, killing over 100 million people. BUT, what if history as we know it was a lie? What if, in reality, this was no straightforward plague, but the FIRST non-recorded Zombie Infestation of man? Ex-Crusader Roderick Helms and his fellow ‘black ops’ agents the Church, Fiat Lux, must seek out the cause of this undead outbreak and vanquish it before mankind ceases to exist! Written by the master of violence, gore, and mayhem, Frank Tieri (Marvel vs Capcom, Wolverine, Deadpool), with spectacular art from Disney illustrator, Oleg Okunev, and covers by Eisner Award-nominated artist Tim Bradstreet (The Punisher, Hellblzer)!
Why we like it: The zombie craze seems to be dying off but Pestilence’s premise is brilliant. Definitely one of those wish-I’d-thought-of-that ideas.
The #1 One: Black Bolt #1
Words: Saladin Ahmed
Art: Christian Ward
What it is: THE KING OF THE INHUMANS’ FIRST SOLO SERIES! Black Bolt imprisoned! But by who? And where exactly? The answers to both will shock you! But to learn those answers, Black Bolt must first win a fight to the death with a fellow inmate – The Absorbing Man! Award-winning science fiction writer Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon) crafts a story as trippy as it is action-packed, with truly mind-bending art from the one and only Christian Ward!
Why we like it: Staggering to think that one of Marvel’s premiere Kirby creations from the 60’s has never had his own solo-series. Finally Black Bolt gets his turn at headlining a series and womp womp, he’s a prisoner. I’ll skim this one at the stands to see if I dig the story, but I’m mostly looking forward to checking out Christian Ward’s psychedelic art.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Star Wars Poe Dameron #14 (Zdarsky Star Wars 40th Anniv Variant)
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Phil Noto
Cover Art: Chip Zdarsky
What it is: It is a sad day for the Resistance as they mourn the loss of a fallen comrade. But their fight is far from over – the First Order must be stopped! And Captain Phasma knows just how to get Terex to toe the line.
Why we like it: Han shoots first in three… two..
That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!