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Judging by the Cover – 03/04/20 new releases

Chris shares his favorite covers from this week’s new comics.

Most comic book fans have a pretty good idea what they’re going to buy every week when they visit their local comic shop. With that said, there’s still a lot of fun to be had just glancing at the week’s new releases and taking a chance on a book that looks promising. That’s where covers come in. A fantastic image can make the difference between trying something new or saying, “Nah, not this week.”

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In that spirit, here are the covers that captured our attention this week, with entries from comics editor Chris Coplan.

Flash #750

Cover by Howard Porter

Right now, ol’ Barry Allen is having to contend with a “supercharged Speed Force” taking a sledgehammer to both his personal and professional life. So as far as metaphors go, this battle of Barry’s two “sides” is pretty much smashing the nail right through the board. But it’s still a powerful cover, and Howard Porter does a bang-up job creating a scene brimming with fury and tension, a true snapshot of a Barry in flux. And with this special issue packed with so much A-list talent, it also feels like an encapsulation of the potential that defines the Flash character and his overarching canon. Run, Barry, run.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #16

Cover by Javier Garron

And speaking of slightly on-the-head metaphors, you have Miles Morales crouched for action above the crib of his baby sister, Billie. Once again, directness is key here, and Javier Garron has depicted Miles in such a way that it links him to his true source of power (family and community) while instilling him with a depth and ferocity the character can’t always achieve. It’s a touching image and also a deeply unsettling one, and if it doesn’t strike you right in the ol’ heart-box, maybe re-calibrate your systems.

King of Nowhere #1

Cover by Tyler Jenkins

If you read our recent interview, you’ll know writer W. Maxwell Prince is onto something intriguing with King of Nowhere. It’s reportedly a bizarre and highly evocative tale of mutants, mental health, and the magic of the mundane. And as far as depictions go, Tyler Jenkins has certainly nailed that last one, and the larger art style promises something out of this world and deeply metaphysical that nonetheless maintains a sense of playfulness and familiarity. Wherever Nowhere is, we should probably go there, pronto.

Strange Academy #1

Variant Cover by Skottie Young

On paper, Strange Academy seems like a sure shot. It’s basically Harry Potter in the Marvel Universe — no one could botch this moneymaker. And while the actual cover by Humberto Ramos is a solid enough option, it’s writer Skottie Young’s variant cover that picks up on what makes this series a potential hit. Which is to say, that playfulness and sense of child-like wonder, an energy that’s wonderfully captured by this “Calvin and Hobbes meets Garbage Pail Kids” cover. Ain’t being young just such a magical time?

Strange Adventures #1

Cover by Mitch Gerads

And now a different kind of strange. After creating one of the single best comics of the last decade in Mister Miracle, writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads reunite to tell the story of another less celebrated DC hero, Adam Strange. Based solely on Gerads’ cover, this one looks to be another profound reinterpretation, playing with Strange’s sense of morality and duality as an alien on an alien world. Even if this is half the comic of its predecessor, Strange Adventures should still blow the dome right off the top of your skull.

Outer Darkness/Chew #1

Cover by Afu Chan

You might be thinking that all crossovers are a fun and easy way to make fictional magic while also generating a little cross-promotional synergy. And that’s mostly true, unless you have a title that blends the wildly dichotomous Chew and Outer Darkness. Sure, John Layman’s the effective pen behind both titles, but it’s hard to see how any of these books can meld given not only drastically different timelines but overall aesthetics, vibes, and end goals. Yet Afu Chan’s cover has me nonetheless intrigued (it’s an homage to Chew #1, FYI), and here’s hoping there’s some kind of power/ability swapping going on. Or, at the very least, Tony Chu has to chow down on some demon meat. Give the people what they want, y’all!

Crone #5

Cover by Justin Greenwood

Anyone who has talked to me or read my reviews in recent months knows that I am a massive fan of Crone. As someone who doesn’t normally love modern fantasy offerings, there’s something powerful in this story of revenge and second chances. So while I’m bummed it’s ending, it’s going out on what’s likely a high point. Based solely on Justin Greenwood’s latest cover, this could be a happy ending or a sad one (or, given the series’ narrative arc and dedication to organic storytelling, both). Either way, it’s an image that fosters a sense of peace and actual grief/mourning — in other words, genuine and complicated emotions you can’t always find in every book.

Daphne Byrne #3

Cover by Piotr Jablonski

Since even the preview images, DC’s Daphne Byrne has brought a new kind of scary, one just as much focused on body horror and demonic imagery as instilling a sense of beauty and serenity that’s equally as unsettling. That seems just as true for issue #3, which provides a compelling sense of detail that demands attention even as your skin begins to crawl and sweat pools in all the wrong places. Great horror shouldn’t be a one-note thing, but a symphony of ideas and experiences. Let’s call this one “Oh Dear God What’s Happening!” in B Flat.

Marvel #1

Cover by Alex Ross

A quick history lesson: Alex Ross originally launched the idea for Marvel to re-imagine Marvel character’s in a new way. Flash forward 30-ish years, and this series is a chance to let dynamic artists tell new stories featuring beloved heroes, with many creators having never worked in the MU before. But even in an issue that promises work from legends like Kurt Busiek and Frank Espinosa, it’s Ross’ efforts that are most exciting. His familiar work — all bright colors, sleek lines, and endless drama — are a kind of welcoming embrace before you turn the page into the unknown. It’s a way to welcome new and old fans alike, and this cover seems to live in a special place in comic fandom and history.

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