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Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 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.”

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

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In recent weeks, we’ve also run a similar version of this feature. Check out entries from the “Nostalgia edition.”

DCeased: Unkillables #3

Cover by Howard Porter

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

As I’ve said in the past, the cover’s for DCeased: Unkillables have been pretty great. And with the whole plot of “pseudo-baddies fighting zombified DC stand-outs,” it’s really hard to not deliver some magic. But Howard Porter goes above and beyond for the finale, managing to blend a sense of “holy schnikes” -level pop culture awesomeness with a generally impactful sense of dread and uncertainty. It’s not just about building this perfect comic book scenario, but ringing the most emotion possible by stripping away the life and virtue attached to so many of these heroes.

The Ludocrats #1

Cover by Jeff Stokely

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

Don’t know what a Ludocrat is exactly? Well, it’s a “ludicrous aristocrat,” which seems to be either the best or worst kind of aristocrat. But if you’re still not hooked, it’s a series by extra witty writer Kieron Gillen and Jim Rossignol (Sir, You Are Being Hunted), with art by Jeff Stokely of The Spire fame. Still not swayed? The whole project’s described as the “collision of the ornate fantasy of Dune and an M-rated Asterix & Obelix.” And if all that’s still not enough somehow, Stokely’s cover looks amazing, like the mutant love-child of Sonic games and Saturday morning cartoons. Pick this up — or don’t, I’m not your parent.

Hawkeye: Freefall #5

Cover by Kim Jacinto

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

After just four issues, the Matthew Rosenberg-written Hawkeye: Freefall series already has some great covers courtesy of Kim Jacinto. Like, the action film snapshot depicted on issue #2, or the tubular Daredevil-starring piece on issue #4. That trend continues with Jacinto’s efforts for #5, which feels different than the past. Namely, it’s our best and most clear depiction of Clint Barton thus far, and there’s heavy layers of rage and intent spread across the face of the Avengers’ resident jokester. It’s nice to see this side of ol’ Hawkeye, and Jacinto’s cover manages to capture something essential about the character: a depth of real humanity amid some increasingly bizarre and terrifying circumstances.

Vlad Dracul #1

Cover by Andrea Mutti

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

I’m generally a sucker for Vlad Dracul. No, not the patchwork character that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I mean the actual 15th century Romanian prince who was a truly monstrous figure. (He once reportedly nailed the hats of two disrespectful monks firmly to their heads.) But the joy of the Dracul mythos isn’t apologizing for his abhorrent behavior but understanding the man and how someone could be so terrible for a mostly just cause (countering the Turks). Hopefully writer Matteo Strukul and writer-artist Andrea Mutti have a similar affinity, and they show us a true and thoughtful take on the maddening legacy of the Son of the Dragon. Based on Mutti’s cover to issue #1, we just might expect a honest but evocative take, and that’s all we can hope for. That, and maybe some dope sword fights from time to time.

Wonder Woman #755

Cover by Danny Miki

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

The last several issues of the Steve Orlando-penned Wonder Woman have shown Diana Prince in some truly epic positions of power. But after depicting her facing down the odds with sword and shield, not to mention some truly fierce looks, the cover to #755 finds Diana in a much different stance, one of great fear and possible submission. Given that she’s contending with the four horsewomen, it’s easy to see why Wonder Woman might react with such breathtaking vulnerability. Still, it’s a powerful example of the character’s scope, and strength amid fear and doubt are among the character’s genuine hallmarks. Putting her in a moment of “weakness” is a way to show that when Wonder Woman fights, it’s with the depth of her heart and convictions.

2020 Ironheart #1

Cover by Skan

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

For those unaware, Marvel’s whole “2020” storyline is all about a robot revolution, with the universe’s many automatons and A.I. rebelling against humanity. That seems to include N.A.T.A.L.I.E., the A.I. version of Riri “Ironheart” Williams’ deceased friend of the same name. On the one hand, any new series with Williams is great, as she’s been a highlight among the many new young heroes in recent years. However, for her first solo outing since 2018’s series to be this potent (struggling with the moral and emotional implications of her A.I. BFF going rogue), it’s going to be an especially powerful way to delve deeper into the character. And if this cover by Skan is any indication, it’s going to be extra gripping and oh-so slick looking to boot.

Year Zero #1

Cover by Kaare Andrews

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

There’s a lot working for and against Year Zero. For one, it’s written by Benjamin Percy, and it’ll be interesting to see how his approach to solid crime writing works when applied to the zombie apocalypse. Speaking of which, yet another zombie story feels about as necessary as more bad news in 2020. At least this title has a mostly promising cast, including a “Japanese hitman, a Mexican street urchin, and an Afghan military aide.” But a story that tackles the “weighty moral and theological questions posed by the pandemic” has a lot to live up to (i.e., similar critiques offered decade ago by George Romero’s films). For now, though, we only have Kaare Andrews’ cover to go off, and it’s certainly a compelling mix of influences and tropes that does more to bolster this series’ chances. That said, just no more running zombies, please.

Disaster Inc. #1

Cover by Andy Clarke

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

Based solely on its description, Disaster Inc. could be an intriguing new series. It’s basically about a underground tourism group that lets high-rollers enter an exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Not sure why such a zone might result in the return of samurais and their distinct form of socio-politics (the series proper might have answers!), but then stranger things have happened in comics. What I can say in the series’ favor, though, is Andy Clarke’s cover looks like the most badass mix of a metal album and some kind of samurai recruitment poster ever. Because in a nuclear wasteland, it’s always important to look hella cool.

Red Sonja #15

Variant Cover by Joseph Michael Linsner

Judging by the Cover – 05/20/20 new releases

Don’t ever say the folks at Dynamite don’t believe in giving fans options galore. With the ongoing Red Sonja series (by Mark Russell, Bob Q, Dearbhla Kelly, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou), there’s usually somewhere between 3 and 124 variant covers. Some may be stronger than others, but that kind of sheer diversity makes the series feel special while giving great artists some work and added attention. For issue #15, there’s some really solid options (extra shout-out to the pieces by Marc Laming and Bob Q), but the clear winner is Joseph Michael Linsner’s variant. There’s something both terrifying and almost hilarious about Sonja and her victim mid-beheading, and it feels perfectly in line with this weird and wonderful series. And if nothing else, it’s the one cover (for better or worse) that will catch anyone’s eye, regardless of their comics fandom.

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