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Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 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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Batman #85

Cover by Tony Daniel, Danny Miki, and Tomeu Morey

Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 new releases

As I’d mentioned in a recent edition of Judging by the Cover, Batman is gearing up for the “Joker War.” What this means is still left to be seen in its entity, but apparently the Harlequin of Hate is looking to end his battle with the Bats once and for all, win or lose (or maybe draw?) And there’s no better way to really eek the Dark Knight than to trash his supercomputer with spray paint and/or makeup. But what really makes this cover pop is that Joker seems ready to confront Bats like never before, demonstrating a new level of confidence and intensity than in past interactions. Is this really The End? Doubtful. But it should be one heck of a barn-burner.

Wolverine #3

Cover by Adam Kubert, Greg Hildebrandt, Tony Daniel, Gerardo Zaffino

Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 new releases

Pardon the broken record routine, but Adam Kubert always deserves to be drawing a Wolverine comic. Yes, it’s an inherently great character, and this latest ongoing (now penned by Ben Percy and Jonathan Hickman) feels like the perfect injection of noir into the X titles. But just peep Kubert’s cover for issue #3, with its gnarly gunfire and massive claws and snarling look of deep rage plastered across Logan’s face. More than anyone, Kubert captures ol’ Wolvey’s raw animal energy with a power and prowess that speaks absolute volumes of the character. Yeah, he’s the best at what he does, and what he does it totally bonkers art.

Wynd #2

Cover by Michael Dialynas

Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 new releases

Anyone who has followed AIPT in recent months will know just how fond we are of Wynd. James Tynion IV’s spin on a fantasy adventure is as endearing as it is thoughtful and inventive. Plus, the art of Michael Dialynas fosters those same ideals while adding a new dash of heart and soul. The cover for #2, especially, somehow blends fantasy, nostalgia, and just a dash of steampunk for something that’s delightful as it is whimsical. It’s often not about what’s shown, but the sorcery that permeates the story and its larger aesthetic.

Empyre #2

Cover by Jim Cheung and Frank Martin

Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 new releases

Last week, after a giant-sized build up, Empyre #1 debuted, a mostly great start to what’s sure to be a massive summer event. We keep chugging right along with issue #2, and Jim Cheung and Frank Martin once again deliver with a solid cover. Are there more dynamic and/or exciting covers out there? You betcha. Do those same covers manage the same level of cinematic intrigue and sheer nerdiness? No way, yo. Because Empyre may feel like an “obvious” creation in its whole vibe and approach, but there’s going to be real magic in the story proper. Hopefully.

Chu #1

Cover by Dan Boultwood

Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 new releases

For those unaware, Chu is another follow-up to the mostly excellent Chew series. (Also, don’t forget about the Outer Darkness/Chew crossover from early 2020.) Here, criminal Saffron Chu and her brother, good cop Tony Chu, butt heads in an epic game of cat and mouse — if said animals each had food-centric superpowers. (Tony is a cibopath, who achieves psyhic imprints from what he eats, while Saffron is a cibopars, who only gains said imprints from who she eats with.) If nothing else, the cover is a dynamic way to introduce the uber cool Saffron, as she stands atop a mound of possible zombies in pure celebration. Even if this series doesn’t make us rethink our morals, the sibling rivalry should prove entertaining if this is what we can expect from Saffron.

Batgirl #47

Cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 new releases

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will to be safe: this is a total homage to a vital scene in Batman: The Killing Joke. I won’t spoil the specific scene, but it is among the most disturbing and memorable in all Bats comics, and a clear cut decision to truly mess with canon (for better or worse). Is such a ploy by the creative team (including a cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli) something resembling a cheap ploy? Yes and no — it’s definable a cheat code to comics fans’ hearts, but it’s also done with grace and nuance. The end result feels like a powerful way to cite that influential story and still create something new and original. Whatever happens once that door opens, it’s sure to be important.

Bliss #1

Cover by Caitlin Yarsky

Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 new releases

As far as elevator pitches go, the team behind Bliss nailed it and then some. This slice of urban fantasy is described as “Breaking Bad meets Neil Gaiman’s Sandman,” and involves a hitman working with gods and memory-wiping drugs. If nothing else, though, artist Caitlin Yarsky has come up with a similarly promising cover for issue #1. There’s a distinct melding of fantasy and noir vibes, which gives the piece as much wonder and magic as it does darkness and emotional sternness. It feels both romantic and unsettling, a sweet-spot that’s sure to appease fans of multiple genres. Everything seems to be going right for this new series, and let’s hope the story proper delivers on all the wonderment.

Yasmeen #1

Cover by Fabiana Mascolo

Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 new releases

To be honest, it was the story of Yasmeen (due out via Scout Comics) that hooked me initially. Here, writer Saif A. Ahmed promises a story of a young girl who migrates from ISIS-controlled Mosul, and her harrowing tale of survival trapped between her painful past and a new world wholly afraid and angry at her mere existence. If nothing else, the art of Fabiana Mascolo seems to be a brilliant bit of accompaniment. The cover, especially, expertly blends the beautiful and the brutal, capturing Yasmeen in such a way to show her strength, courage, heartache, and boundless obstacles with such profound precision. She seems at once connected to the world and wholly disconnected from it, and that should make for a totally beguiling tale during a unique point in history.

Kidz #5

Cover by Jocelyn Joret

Judging by the Cover – 07/22/20 new releases

Sometimes I’ll know a little something about a series and use the cover art to inspire and/or motivate me to write up a blurb. But in the case of Kidz, I know absolutely nothing, except for the fact that this is the best homage I’ve seen in quite some time. For those perpetually unhip, artist Jocelyn Joret recreated the cover for Gorillaz’ 2001 self-titled LP, a truly awesome record that shaped the musical taste of many a person in or around their 30s. Does this cover have anything to do with the series? No clue. Do I hope the series somehow recreates or mimics the album’s larger, totally dope vibe? Oh heck yes. Do I just think this a wondrous piece of pop culture worth celebrating? For sure! In the immortal words of the sage Noodle, “Get the cool shoeshine.”

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