Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. So long summer of 17, we hardly knew ye. I hope everyone had a good Labor Day weekend. 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: Batman #30
Words: Tom King
Art: Clay Mann
What it is: THE BALLAD OF KITE MAN’ part two! In our second ‘War of Jokes and Riddles’ interlude, it’s the making of a super-villain! He’s been pushed by Batman to snitch on The Joker, and cajoled by The Joker to betray Batman-now, the flunky who would be Kite Man finally snaps. He’s lost everything, and a life of crime is the only way to go.
Why we love it: How does a comic that features D-lister Kite Man make it to the top of the pile? Tom King, that’s how. He’s an absolute master at re-interpreting and revitalizing oddball characters and Batman villains don’t get much weirder than Kite Man. Maybe Crazy Quilt.
The Mainstream One: Venomverse: War Stories #1
Words and Art: Various
What it is: Sure, you know about some of the adventures All-New Wolverine, Gwenpool, Ghost Rider, Old Man Logan and Deadpool went on with their symbiotes, but what about the rest?! Featuring a star-studded lineup of creators and characters, including – a VENOMIZED PUNISHER story written and drawn by Declan Shalvey! And the awesome adventures of VENOMIZED ROCKET RACCOON by Magdalene Visaggio!
Why we like it: Can I tell you a secret? I’m not that into this Venomverse event. I’m mostly just in it for the amazing Fracesco Mattina covers. The whole thing feels like a tired, retread of 2014’s Spiderverse event. I wonder whether Marvel is trying to catch lightning in a bottle and hoping that one of these venomized, mash-ups will resonate with fans. That’s why I’m picking War Stories this week over the main Venomverse series. Venomverse War Stories is a collection of shorts that each feature a different, venomized character. If one of those characters hits, we could be looking at an Edge of Spider-verse #2 type issue.
The Indie One: Walking Dead #171
Words: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard
What it is: FEAR THE PRINCESS: Who is she, and what does she want?
Why we like it: Walking Dead first appearances typically do well in the after market. If she ends up being a main character in the series, this issue could be sought after down the road. I stopped watching the show years ago but I keep reading the comics because it is still a really, really good read.
The #1 One: Star Wars: Captain Phasma #1 (Mark Brooks variant)
Words: Kelly Thompson
Art: Marco Chechetto
What it is: As the excitement ramps up for this December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, come back with us to the final moments of The Force Awakens and the destruction of Starkiller Base to learn the fate of Captain Phasma! Captured by the Resistance and thrown into a garbage masher, we follow the chrome-adorned warrior from the site of the First Order’s biggest defeat to the doorstep of this holiday season’s biggest blockbuster! Written by Kelly Thompson (HAWKEYE, STAR WARS ANNUAL 2016) and drawn by Marco Checchetto (STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE, STAR WARS: SCREAMING CITADEL), Captain Phasma will recondition you to love Star Wars again!
Why we like it: I wasn’t the only one who thought that Captain Phasma was grossly under-utilized in The Force Awakens. Much like Bobba Fett, Captain Phasma showed up with the coolest outfit in the galaxy, spoke a couple of unessential lines before being dumped unceremoniously down a garbage chute. She deserved better, and now she’s getting it. Marco Checchetto is doing the drawing here and he’s quickly become one of my favorite pencilers in the biz. This should give you Star Wars junkies your fix until The Last Jedi drops at the end of the year.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Green Lantern #30 (Brandon Peterson variant)
Words: Sam Humphries
Art: Carlo Barberi
Cover Art: Brandon Peterson
What it is: ‘OUT OF TIME’ part five! Jessica, Simon and the first seven bearers of green rings face Volthoom in the past as he holds the Guardians of the Universe hostage. As Lantern after Lanten falls, is there any chance of stopping the First Lantern from rewriting reality?
Why we like it: A lot of great cover art out this week but this cover B variant stood out to me. It looks like something right out of a Tool music video. I wonder if Brandon Peterson is also a fan of Alex Grey.
That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!