The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – April 14, 2021

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: Locke and Key Sandman Hell and Gone #1

Publisher: IDW
Words: Joe Hill
Art: Gabriel Rodriguez

What it is: If you think you can unlock the gates of Hell and just invite yourself in, you must be Dreaming! The epic crossover between two of the most beloved fantasy universes in comics begins here. John ‘Jack’ Locke is ten years dead, but that hasn’t stopped him from posting the occasional letter home… from Hell. Now Mary Locke will do anything to save her brother’s soul, including cut a deal with Roderick Burgess-the most evil man in England-to search for answers in the House of Mystery and risk the walking nightmare known as the Corinthian to find help in a disintegrating Kingdom of Dreams!

Why we love it: This issue was announced last February and originally scheduled to be published back in October 2020. But its release was delayed by covid and I’ve had to wait over a year to get my hands on it. Tomorrow, my long wait comes to an end. Two of my all-time favorite comic franchises crossover in a story that feels natural for both universes.  It’s like a dream come true.

The Mainstream One: Thor #14

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Donny Cates
Art: Nic Klein

What it is: • THE FINALE OF ‘PREY’ – AND THE FIGHT OF THOR’S LIFE! All-Father Thor breaks out of his prison! But Donald Blake has amassed more power than the King of Asgard can know. One thing is certain: When the hammer comes down, only one man will remain standing. Big action and big stakes are the Donny Cates and Nic Klein special – but you’ve never seen them like this before. This is the issue you can’t miss! Rated T+

Why we like it: If you are a regular reader of this blog, or have watched any of our Comic Shop Talk videos, or have ever spoken to me about comics for more than 5 minutes, then you probably already know that I am in love with Donny Cates’ Thor. This week we get the show down we’ve been waiting for, Donald Blake vs Thor in a battle for the fate of Asgard! This likely would have been the top of the pile had Locke and Key/Sandman not been delayed until this week.

The Indie One: Karmen #2

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Guillem March

What it is: In this second issue, Cata explores her newfound ability to fly, landing at a plaza in Palma where real-life Xisco and Cata are having a conversation that plunges her further into the depths of despair. When an ever-cheeky Karmen pops in to intervene, she and Cata sit down for a philosophical heart-to-heart.

Why we like it: I really enjoyed the first issue of Karmen. The artwork was spectacular, every page was exceptionally gorgeous and trippy, which was expected from an artist of Guillem March’s talent. But I was not ready for the depth of the story and had no idea the dude could write like this. Beautifully macabre and wonderfully whimsical, I can’t wait to read more of Karmen.

The #1 One: Batman the Detective #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom Taylor
Art: Andy Kubert

What it is: An epic tale begins that will take Batman on a harrowing, action-packed European adventure in a new miniseries by superstar creators Tom Taylor and Andy Kubert! A horrific tragedy in the United Kingdom sends a very personal and deadly message to the Dark Knight, €”one that will draw Batman out of Gotham City to investigate! From the moment he lands in Europe, Batman will face a difficult investigation and unheard-of adversaries and find the assistance of a partner once more, all in the hunt for the villain known as Equilibrium! New villains! New allies! A thrilling overseas adventure begins for the Dark Knight, starting with an extra-sized 26-page debut story!

Why we like it: Many of my favorite Batman stories are of him doing the detective thing, searching for clues, following up on leads, and solving crimes. Great creative team on this book.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Joker #2

Publisher: DC
James Tynion IV, Sam Johns
Mirka Andolfo
Cover Art: Lee Bermejo

What it is: As the dust settles on Arkham Asylum and tragic recent events, The Joker is the most wanted man in the world, €”and powerful forces are lining up around the globe to hunt him…but where exactly is the Clown Price of Crime? Jim Gordon, facing his twilight years haunted by the madman, knows where to start the hunt, and he’€™s been given the go-ahead to pursue him… but will he be willing to pay the price? And what shocking revelation will Gordon stun Batman with before he departs? And in the backup story, within the walls of Blackgate Penitentiary, Punchline has become the target of the Queen of Spades from the Royal Flush Gang. It’™ll take everything Punchline has just to survive, while on the outside, Bluebird digs deeper into Punchline’™s horrific past!

Why we like it: I’m not even a Punchline fan, but this cover is just too good.

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

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