The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – October 21, 2020

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: The Scumbag #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Lewis LaRosa

What it is: ‘JAZZ APPLE ARMAGEDDON,’ Part One: The fate of the world rests in the hands of the worst person on it! NEW ONGOING SERIES from the writer of DEADLY CLASS! RICK REMENDER launches an all-new comedy espionage series, THE SCUMBAG-the story of Ernie Ray Clementine, a profane, illiterate, drug-addicted biker with a fifth-grade education. He’s the only thing standing between us and total Armageddon because this dummy accidentally received a power-imbuing serum, making him the world’s most powerful super spy. This new ongoing series will feature a murderers’ row of all-star artistic talent rotating each issue. The first issue showcases the stunning work of LEWIS LaROSA, with subsequent chapters and covers by brilliant talents such as ANDREW ROBINSON, ERIC POWELL, TULA LOTAY, WES CRAIG, ROLAND BOSCHI, SIMONE DI MEO, MARGUERITE SAUVAGE, DUNCAN FEGREDO, YANICK PAQUETTE, MIKE McKONE, DAVE JOHNSON, MORENO DINISIO, and many more!

Why we love it: I saw a preview for this tripped out, spy-fi thriller by one of my favorite authors, Rick Remender, and found it highly entertaining and very, very funny. Which was a pleasant surprise considering the general bleak tone throughout Remender’s recent work. His indie series have always been consistently good, especially his sci-fi stuff, and the artistic talent backing him up on this title is insane. I believe they are rotating artists month-to-month, so it will be interesting to see how that works.

The Mainstream One: Fantastic Four #25

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Paco Medina

What it is: ‘There Shall Come a Reckoning’ A NEW ERA FOR THE FANTASTIC FOUR! Do NOT miss it! This issue has it all: New Artist! New villains! New uniforms! And a new, major, permanent status quo change for Marvel’s First Family! Who is the HELMSMAN? Is he here to save our reality or destroy it? Why is VICTORIOUS in New York-and what will that mean for the HUMAN TORCH? All this and an appearance by DOCTOR DOOM! One of the most important characters in the entire cosmos…returns from the dead! And a major turning point in the history of the FANTASTIC FOUR! Rated T

Why we like it: I’ve been digging FF since Empyre, especially Ben Grimm’s story-line with his newly adopted Kree and Skrull children, N’Kalla and Jo-Venn, former slaves who were forced by the Profiteer to fight each other as entertainment. Also that is a very bad-ass Doom cover.

The Indie One: Dune House Atreides #1

Publisher: Boom!
Words: Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
Art: Dev Pramanik

What it is: * Set in the years leading up the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Dune-which inspired the upcoming feature film from Legendary Pictures- DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES transports readers to the far future on the desert planet Arrakis where Pardot Kynes seeks its secrets. * Meanwhile, a violent coup is planned by the son of Emperor Elrood; an eight-year-old slave Duncan Idaho seeks to escape his cruel masters; and a young man named Leto Atreides begins a fateful journey. * These unlikely souls are drawn together first as renegades and then as something more, as they discover their true fate – to change the very shape of history!

Why we like it: With a new film adaptation set to be released in the near (hopefully) future, it’s a good time to get familiarized with the characters and worlds that populate the Dune universe. Dune: House Atreides is the first book in the Prelude to Dune series, a prequel trilogy written after Frank Herbert’s death, based off his notes and unfinished stories. As good as the movie trailer looks, Dune is a sci-fi drama of such humongous proportions, it must really be read to fully appreciate it’s depth and richness. But I get it, the novel is super thick. And comic books have words, so I’m counting it.

The #1 One: Batman White Knight Presents Harley Quinn #1 (of 8)

Publisher: DC
Words: Katana Collins, Sean Murphy
Art: Matteo Scalera, Dave Stewart

What it is: The Joker is dead, Bruce Wayne is behind bars…and Gotham City is just starting to redefine itself without Batman. As Harley Quinn struggles to adjust to her new life as the mother of Jack Napier’s twins, an elusive mastermind called the Producer seizes the moment to assemble a crew of villains—starting with the Starlet, a serial killer who murders Gotham’s golden age film stars in homage to their silver screen roles.When a recent, gruesome crime scene suggests a connection to The Joker, the GTO, and FBI agent Hector Quimby turn to Harley as the one person with information that could crack the case. With some help from Bruce, Harley agrees to investigate—but to protect her children and her city from a fatal final act, Harley must flirt with madness and confront her own past.

Why we like it: Sean Gordon Murphy’s White Knight pocket universe is truly exciting. It has successfully twisted the canonical Batman universe in such a clever way that feels at the same time new and thrilling, yet also hauntingly familiar. I miss Sean Murphy on art, but Matteo Scalera’s style totally fits this series.  

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Spider-Woman #5

Publisher: Marvel
Karla Pacheco
Pere Perez
Cover Art: Skottie Young

What it is: • With not just her life but her family’s on the line, Spider-Woman takes desperate action! • As her own body turns against her and with her enemies so close to home, can Jess hold herself together in time to save everyone?! • An unmissable blockbuster 100th issue with all the stops pulled and no punches pulled! Rated T+

Why we like it: Aping John Tyler Christopher’s negative space variants, Skottie Young applies the same technique to his Marvel-baby style with fantastic results. 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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