The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – April 21, 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: Aliens #2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Philip Kennedy Johnson
Art: Salvador Larroca

What it is: THE RETURN TO EPSILON! • Cruz has only one chance to save his son from the horrific fate he barely escaped. • The clock toward total collapse is ticking. • The aliens are loose. Parental Advisory 

Why we love it: I was super impressed with Marvel’s first foray into the Aliens universe. Issue #1 did a nice job including characters and events previously established in the franchise which long-time fans will recognize, while at the same time laying out a totally new story that any reader can jump on. And the artwork is absolutely horrifying in all the right ways. 

The Mainstream One: Women of Marvel #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Louise Simonson, Nadia Shammas, Elsa Sjunneson, Sophie Campbell, Anne Toole, Natasha Alterici
Art: Kei Zama, Eleonora Carlini, Skylar Patridge, Joanna Estep

What it is: WHO RUNS THE WORLD? YOU ALREADY KNOW. CELEBRATE THE WOMEN OF MARVEL WITH AN EXTRAVAGANZA OF EXTRAORDINARY TALENT! The future is female! Get in on the ground floor with this amazing assembly of writers and artists from all over entertainment. Comics legend Louise Simonson kicks things off with a must-read introduction! Nadia Shammas punches the glass ceiling with the Jade Giantess! Elsa Sjunneson grits her way to the front line with Captain Peggy Carter! Sophie Campbell goes feral with a bone-grinding Marrow story! Video game-and-comics writer Anne Toole makes her Marvel debut in a blaze of glory! Natasha Alterici of Heathen fame charges sword-first into the Marvel Universe! With astonishing art from new and established artists Kei Zama (Transformers, DEATH’S HEAD), Eleonora Carlini (Power Rangers, Batgirl), Skylar Patridge (Resonant, Relics of Youth), Joanna Estep (Fantastic Four, Fraggle Rock) and more, you’re sure to come away powered up and ready to slay – in high heels and boots alike. ONE-SHOT/Rated T

Why we like it: I love seeing the ladies of Marvel getting some well-deserved recognition. While I am excited to see many notable names from other entertainment industries making their Marvel comics debut, I feel like this anthology should have included some of the outstanding female talent currently working at Marvel like Tini Howard, Leah Williams, Vita Ayala, Maureen Goo or Karla Pacheco.

The Indie One: Rain Like Hammers #3 (of 5)

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Brandon Graham

What it is: Supercriminal Brik Blok plans to steal a high-ranking aristocrat’s fingers and use them as keys to access the palace-world’s deepest sub-levels. Elsewhere, a detective working for the Immortals, and his sexy-sex robot assistant, are traveling across the solar system to investigate the strange happenings on Skycradle.

Why we like it: Brandon Graham is something of an indie comic auteur. His books share a distinct style that goes beyond the exquisitely bizarre line-art visuals. His sparse approach to story telling can make his comics a bit harder to approach and grasp, but fans of his work stick around because every once and a while we witness something brilliant that could only happen in one of his creations. 

The #1 One: You Promised Me Darkness #1

Publisher: Behemoth
Words and Art: Damien Connelly

What it is: Approximately every 75 years, Halley’s Comet orbits around the sun, and every time this happens people around the world are born with incredible abilities, special auras that grant them with supernatural skills, but those auras can also be cursed. Yuko and Sebastian, two siblings with special auras are constantly running from an evil being, known as the ‘Anti-everything,’ who feeds from these special auras, getting stronger with each intake. This being is obsessed with these brothers’ auras and will not stop until he feasts on them.

Why we like it: This book is getting a lot of buzz leading up to release and it is already sold out at distribution level.  I was not overly impressed by the art that I saw in preview pages, but the story itself sounds intriguing and I do enjoy books written in the superhero/horror mashup genre. I will definitely give this a flip-through on Wednesday, assuming I can find a copy.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Catwoman #30

Publisher: DC
Ram V
Fernando Blanco
Cover Art: Jenny Frisson

What it is: The Riddler revealed that he knows details about Poison Ivy’€™s whereabouts. Now, after the Riddler has been gravely wounded, Catwoman brings him to be patched up by Alleytown’€™s less-than-scrupulous medics. Now on the mend, Riddler points Selina in Ivy’€™s direction, ”but is he telling the truth, or wrapping her up in another one of his riddles? Meanwhile, the Penguin’€™s come to realize that enlisting Father Valley to take out Catwoman may have been a mistake and finds himself asking whether he hired a hit man…or inked a deal with the devil himself.

Why we like it: I’m a sucker for a good Catwoman cover, but I have been mostly left wanting with Jenny Frisson’s cover run. This one is a hit. She absolutely nails the colors and composition. And those claws…

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

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