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Judging by the Cover – 08/26/20 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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Daredevil #1

Cover by Chip Zdarksy

Judging by the Cover – 08/26/20 new releases

Through entire 20-ish run of Daredevil, it’s Chip Zdarsky that’s made the book something unique. Sure, there’s lot of great artists attached, not to mention helpful editors, but it’s his whims and energy that has shaped a dynamic chapter in the story of Matt Murdock. But with the cover of this new annual, we get to see a more focused take on Zdarksy’s Daredevil as he creates a most compelling piece plastered front and center. Is this a great callback to Daddy Daredevil himself, “Battlin” Jack Murdock? You know it, and the nostalgia is working overtime. But it’s also a nice analogy about what makes DD so great: he’s a fighter, and he always gets back up (even maybe we he shouldn’t). Also, the man can still pull off yellow like few other heroes.

Wonder Woman #761

Cover by Alejandro Sanchez

Judging by the Cover – 08/26/20 new releases

By now, the history of Wonder Woman and Maxwell Lord is pretty well know. They’ve always had a mostly contentious relationship, but it reached a new kind of harrowing when WW snapped Lord’s next right around Infinite Crisis. One would think that would put a damper on any future collabos, but through various machinations, the pair are effectively working together as of issue #761 against some “psychic phenomenon.” All of that context informs a truly wonderful cover, which puts Lord in a position of extreme menace toward the World’s Greatest Amazon. It works not just ’cause Lord’s a psycho, but because he’s the threat that will never truly die, and his sense of control and power remains a constant foil for Wonder Woman’s larger canon. Something about old dogs and tricks might apply here — if this wasn’t such an already super tense cover.

That Texas Blood #3

Cover by Jacob Phillips

Judging by the Cover – 08/26/20 new releases

Any regular readers of this feature may know we’re big fans of That Texas Blood. More than just a re-hashing of stories like No Country for Old Men, it adds to the canon of Texas-fried noir with thoughtful storytelling and solid character development. But let’s say you have no time for reading more books — just peep these excellent covers by series artist Jacob Phillips. Issue #3, in particular, manages to encapsulate the dark energy, down-home vibes, boundless grit, and intensity of this series in one simple image. There’s a perfect blend of humanity and inhumanity on this cover, and that only drives home the sheer scope and depth of this book. So maybe please do read and not browse the covers all slack-jawed and wide-eyed.

Batman: Three Jokers #1

Variant Cover by Jason Fabok

Judging by the Cover – 08/26/20 new releases

The premise of this new Geoff Johns-penned book is simple but effective: there’s somehow three distinct and separate Jokers loose in Gotham City, and that’s going to spell heaps of trouble for Batman. Given the scope and anticipation around this book, they’ve delivered quite a few epic variant covers. There’s one from Jason Fabok that looks like a Joker Venom-induced fever dream, or this extra stern Batman that must capture hour 432 of dealing with the three Jokers. But for this fella’s money, you can’t go wrong with the Joker Fish cover (also by Fabok). There’s something about that extra demonic looking guppie, paired with a dapper looking Joker (dapper for an evil crime clown), that drives home just how scary Joker can really be. Whether there’s one or 100, Joker sort of crawls into your brain and rents a room.

X-Men #11

Cover by Leinil Francis Yu and Rain Beredo

Judging by the Cover – 08/26/20 new releases

If I had to describe the ongoing X-Men/Krakoa saga, it would be, “What if the X-Men got what they wanted and it was mostly totes cool.” Which is maybe short-sighted readign of this dense, ongoing narrative, but it’s mostly true — after years of struggle, mutants have what they want (a level of power, a semblance of control, etc.), and the story comes with what they do next. Magneto, in particular, has had it pretty good: after years of effectively being a terrorist, he now has a sweet leadership job at the council’s table. Which is why this cover (yet another Empyre tie-in) works so well. There’s a struggle going on with Magneto, one between the fear he may have always lived with and his newfound power, all of it expanded and heightened by extraterrestrial threats. Whatever breaks first, we as readers are in for one heck of a story.

Mega Man: Fully Charged #1

Cover by Toni Infante

Judging by the Cover – 08/26/20 new releases

Don’t get me wrong, I am super-jazzed for a comics series about Mega Man. Especially one based around the delightfully cheesy Mega Man: Fully Charged TV series. But I can’t help but shake the notion that, despite how simple it should be, not every artist can truly nail the Mega Man model perfectly (or even remotely in some cases). For every near-perfect depiction like Mega Man X, there’s an equally disastrous Legends version of the Blue Bomber. Luckily, this cover by Toni Infante lands closer to the former than the latter, and while hyper-realism could have easily gone wrong, there’s a kind of depth and intensity to go along with the very youthful energy of this Mega Man. And if nothing else, his gun arm looks hella dope.

Grit #2

Cover by Kevin Castaniero

Judging by the Cover – 08/26/20 new releases

Last month, I spent a few minutes fawning over the cover to Grit #1. Sure a lot of it had to do with the whole premise of “grumpy old man fights demons and monsters,” but artist Kevin Castaniero has cultivated such a great aesthetic and a keen eye for imagery that you can’t help but gawk. Which is why the cover #2 is just as promising: there’s so many threads and ideas to explore here, from the placement of Barrow amid “Death’s” robe and the distinct shading/shadows to the whole thing with “Death” having one eye. But you don’t need meta-textual clues and chicanery to enjoy this cover: it just plain rocks. Because that’s enough for a great cover, and if you have the insight to delve deeper, this story won’t disappoint (thus far, of course).

Star Trek: Hell’s Mirror #1

Cover by Matthew Dow Smith

Judging by the Cover – 08/26/20 new releases

If you’re a Star Trek fan (wave your Tribbles high in the air, y’all), there’s plenty to be excited about for this new series from IDW. Namely, it’s the first time J.M. DeMatteis has written anything related to Star Trek in 40-plus years, and he’s coming back with a big ol’ tale about Khan Noonien Singh and the Mirror Universe. But even more than that, would you just take a second to enjoy the amazing art of Matthew Dow Smith. Is it the perfect distillation of nostalgia? Yes, as if it were ripped from some movie poster circa 1982. Is this also perfectly aligned with the whole vibe and aesthetic of this rich, giant-sized canon? For sure! Does Spock also look dope with a goatee? Always and forever. Beam us up, pronto.

Year Zero #4

Cover by Kaare Andrews

Judging by the Cover

Even with just three issues, Year Zero has presented some truly great covers. (In addition to writer Benjamin Percy having crafted a dynamic and interesting spin on the mostly crowded, sometimes overwrought zombie genre). Cover #3, for instance, felt like both a perfect homage to Pink Floyd and a powerful meditation on modern humanity (who knew you could do both simultaneously?) But issue #4 somehow feels like an even grander achievement. No zombie entrails or screaming humans — just a quiet slice of humanity juxtaposed with a threat of great destruction and even bigger narrative implications. It’s such a quiet cover but if you listen loud enough, the message comes barreling through: the world is over and it’s coming for us all, one way or another. Enjoy your week-long chills, y’all.

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