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Judging by the Cover – 03/11/20 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.

X-Men #8

Cover by Leinil Yu

There’s a lot of really great writing happening in the X titles as of late. Lots of great metatextual explorations of politics and nation-building that genuinely make for exciting reading. (If you haven’t already, Ryan Sonneville breaks down these issues in his excellent 7-part series.) Yet for all that intellectual discourse, it’s just nice to have a little action on the cover of X-Men #8, with some especially bad-ass posturing by Cyclops himself. Because comics are capable of so much, but let us never forget the value of laser eye blasts.

Catwoman #21

Cover by Joëlle Jones

Don’t forget for one second that Catwoman remains a straight OG. There may have been that whole wedding/marriage thing, but as Joëlle Jones and Fernando Blanco have made clear in their ongoing series, this cat still has nine lives worth of stories and change and action to experience. Case in point: Jones’ truly epic cover, which shows Selena doling out violence with only the kind of grace and precision she could ever muster. Characters and circumstances change, but something like a mile-wide badass streak remain eternal.

Decorum #1

Cover by Mike Huddleston

In addition to his ongoing work with the X titles, Jonathan Hickman returns to creator-owned work with Decorum. If anyone can make the story of a “mild-mannered assassin” deeply interesting, it’s Hickman, who truly excels when it comes to his own properties (East of West, Pax Romana, The Manhattan Projects, etc.) But so far it’s the art of Mike Huddleston that’s really shining bright, and his efforts hint at something that feels like a mix of The Maxx and Aeon Flux with a dash of anime. It’s the sort of slick but doubly weird aesthetic that should fit perfectly with wherever Hickman takes this story.

Cable #1

Cover by Phil Noto

If you’re kicking off a new series with a true star player like Cable, you need plenty of great variant covers. Skottie Young’s cartoonish spin is both endearing and frightening, and there’s something exciting about W. Scott Forbes’ spin on a young Cable. But it’s series artist Phil Noto that deserves the most praise. Sure, the whole “this is like a movie cover” is a little overdone, but with so many characters, not to mention the simple but effective color scheme and ’70s grindhouse vibe, it’s a movie I’d watch over and over. Even if the popcorn was all burnt and oily.

SfSx (Safe Sex) #7

Cover by Tula Lotay

The art of this Image series has changed a few times already, shifting from the initial edgy vibes of Michael Dowling to the more clean, thoughtful lines of Jen Hickman. But what’s remained mostly consistent are the covers of Tula Lotay, who does a lot for driving the series’ overarching grit, heart, and sense of excitement. Issue #7, the finale of the first “Protection” arc, is another great example, a thrilling, almost terrifying image of this sex-deprived society trying to burn the last spark of humanity from itself. Even if you haven’t been following the series like I have, it’s the sort of imagery that demands your full attention.

Ant-Man #3

Cover by Eduard Petrovich

I haven’t paid much attention to the new Ant-Man series beyond issue #1 (and that’s not a quality or interest thing, just a statement about my own guilt and laziness). That said, the cover for #3 has me plenty intrigued. Sure, the whole “your main character is in peril” trope is comics 101, but there’s something really special that Eduard Petrovich’s done here. It’s just how small and powerless Ant-Man looks here, and the way Black Cat and Spider-Man appear so sleek and powerful (and Spidey also looks uber mad). It’s one powerful image that speaks volumes about Ant-Man, his own perceptions, and his larger place in the MU.

Wonder Woman #753

Cover by Robson Rocha

There’s a certain image attached to Wonder Woman, one of power and virtue in the face of a ceaseless onslaught of villainy. But in this cover, Robson Rocha really captures something different about Diana: a sense of weakness and a distinct lack of control. It’s clear that Diana is enraged, even as she tries to hold herself together under the weight of a great battle and an even larger sense of personal duty. Seeing her this way, not pristine or even remotely in control, reminds us of the core of this greater character, and the real strength and courage she encapsulates. Plus, quotes on comics covers are always delightfully cheesy.

New Mutants #9

Cover by Michael del Mundo

The whole thing about this current New Mutants run is that the team symbolizes hope. As mutants continue to build up Krakoa, it’s this generation that will lead their island nation into the long-term future. But what happens when that promise is perverted, or people are left to fear what happens when such a great generational shift occurs? The youth may be the dawning of a better age, but there’s some real anxieties attached to that, and this cover encapsulates that perfectly. Maybe the kids aren’t alright after all?

Stealth

Cover by Jason Howard

It’s less the art and more the plot of this new Skybound series that has me promise. Basically, it’s about an older superhero grappling with Alzheimer’s, unwilling to give up the cowl, and the son who has to help him (and, in turn, the city). Once you know the story, the art takes on a different life, mirroring that sense of anger and stubbornness the titular Stealth may be experiencing. If this one can keep the story and art aligned in such a dynamic way, it may be worth keeping on your personal radar.

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