Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. 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: Scooby Apocalypse#25
Words: Keith Giffen
Art: Ron Wagner
What it is: After nearly fifty years of Scooby-Doo, the unthinkable occurs! This month death claims one of the most beloved figures in pop-culture history: Fred Jones! This stunning turn of events will have repercussions that you won’t want to miss!
Why we love it: You gotta respect any man who rocks the same ascot for fifty years. I’m hoping that Fred’s death is meaningful and actually sticks for a while and isn’t just a ploy to sell books in the short term. Fred Jones dying may not seem like a big deal, but the Scooby universe is not a place where killing a main character only to resurrect them shortly afterwards is standard operating procedure. I’m sorry Mr. Jones, it’s time.
The Mainstream One: Batman White Knight #8 of 8
Words and art: Sean Gordon Murphy
What it is: In the extra-sized finale of Sean Murphy’s top-selling miniseries, Jack Napier’s suspicious seduction of Gotham City comes to its twisted conclusion! With the city on the verge of becoming an icy tomb for the GTO, Batgirl makes a crucial assist and Gordon is forced to reevaluate his judgment of Batman to secure the greater good. As the true Joker’s return becomes imminent, Harley seeks vengeance and reckons with the bleak future that looms for her loved ones.
Why we like it: A series that introduced us to a reformed Joker, multiple Harley Quinns, and a rogue Batman, Sean Gordon’s alternate Batman universe has been a wild, wild ride. Sad to see this one end, but there are rumors that this series could be returning for a volume 2.
The Indie One: B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #6
Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie
Art: Sebastian Fiumara
What it is: Hellboy is back on earth, and the B.P.R.D. struggles to understand his unwillingness to hunt the demon threatening to turn the earth into a literal Hell.
Why we like it: For those of you not keeping track, Hellboy has been dead for 3 years. This week he returns but he seems… different. A can’t miss moment for fans of the Mignolaverse.
The #1 One: Venom #1
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Ryan Stegman
What it is: A NEW SERIES BY DONNY CATES & RYAN STEGMAN! In the wake of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collapse, an ancient and primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of New York, and with it, something equally evil has awakened in that most Wicked of Webslingers – VENOM! Still a Lethal Protector of the innocents in New York, this never-before-seen threat could force Venom to relinquish everything it holds dear – including Eddie Brock! Join two of the hottest creators in comics today, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, for a VENOM adventure a thousand years in the making!
Why we like it: Donny Cates continues his rocket-like trajectory to super stardom with the launch of a new Venom series. Expect first appearances and a shake up of the status quo. I wish that Cates would be allowed to work exclusively with artist Geoff Shaw, with whom he created God Country and had a memorable run on Thanos. But I do like Ryan Stegman’s art and hope that he and Donny find a similar chemistry.
The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Suicide Squad #41
Words: Rob Williams
Art: Jose Luis
Cover Art: Francesco Mattina
What it is: ‘CONSTRICTION’ part one! Batman has broken Deadshot out of Belle Reve! Now the Dark Knight and the assassin who never misses have a new mission: rescue Deadshot’s daughter from the clutches of Kobra! But Amanda Waller’s not having it, and she’s determined to drag her prisoner back at any cost!
Why we like it: I was debating between two Mattina covers this week, the other being cover B for Flash which features a closeup head shot of Professor Zoom. This one gets the nod for the amazing smoke and lighting effects. Mattina’s recent work has been next level (Harley Quinn aside) and continues to ascend into the upper echelon of cover art.
That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!