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Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 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 #98

Cover by Tomeu Morey

Judging by the Cover

Merited or not, the ongoing introduction of Punchline into the DCU has been fraught with controversy. Some folks thought that the character was a lackluster move despite some more lofty promises. And others didn’t like anyone usurping Harley Quinn’s throne as Joker’s complicated love interest. But there’s no denying that all this attention and tension hasn’t paid off, as both Quinn and Punchline go toe-to-toe on the cover to issue #98. As far as marketing campaigns go, it’s been a shot in the arm, and the battle between these two dynamos is going to make for an interesting payoff. Let’s just hope Bats brought enough bear mace and Batarangs.

Wolverine #5

Cover by Adam Kubert

Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 new releases

Regular readers of this feature will know how much I adore Adam Kubert’s work with Wolverine. The man just knows how to draw Logan in such a way as to play up both his animalistic tendencies and deeply emotional core, making for a character brimming with energy and tension. And that goes double — maybe even triple — for the cover to issue #5. Could the creators have opt to show Wolverine battling Dracula? Yes, and that cover would have been totes bonkers. But Kubert’s artistic choice here plays up both Logan’s scrappy, never say die mentality and his tendency to be overwhelmed by violence and forces beyond his own control. It’s a totally beautiful character study and a great preview of a nasty fight to come.

Batman: The Adventure Continues #4

Cover by James Harren

Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 new releases

For those unaware, Batman: The Adventure Continues is basically the answer to, “What if we brought back Batman: The Animated Series but as a comic book?” With Paul Dini on writing duties, it’s accomplished that mission statement and more, playing up the same aesthetic and tone as that beloved cartoon. But it’s not just about rehashing the past, and issue #4 features a story with the one and only Azrael. Does this version of him make me think of Mask of the Phantasm? Oh yeah. Is it a totally killer design that feels like a proper homage to Azrael’s regular look while still pushing boundaries? Duh. And am I swimming in a sea of delightful nostalgia? You know it!

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #18

Cover by David Curiel and Javier Garron

Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 new releases

Back in March, Marvel dropped the debut issue of Outlawed, in which teen heroes are banned from superheroics and must deal with the resulting fallout. After some COVID-centric delays, we’re starting to get some tie-in titles/books, including this issue of Miles Morales: Spider-Man. What I love about the David Curiel/Javier Garron cover is it feels perfectly in line with this series — which is to say, it expertly plays up the tension Miles grapples with while giving this cover a distinct vibe of some totally cool teen crime drama circa 2003. Miles is likely torn in his thoughts and feelings, and this cover nails that dichotomy while making him feel nonetheless ready for making such massive life choices.

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1

Cover by Simone Di Meo

Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 new releases

OK, I get why someone might think this cover is a little underwhelming. Or why I wouldn’t have chosen some of the epic variant covers (including this super psychedelic piece by Christian Ward). But as someone who read the book (and then walked away and then read it again shortly thereafter), this cover is actually profoundly perfect. Without spoiling anything about the actual story, it captures both the sheer size of this space epic and the resulting feelings of awe and inadequacy you’ll experience in grappling with the larger narrative. If anything, consider the cover to be a nice saunter before the proper story drives you across the universe at warp speed.

Spy Island #1

Cover by Lia Miternique

Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 new releases

Here’s another instance similar to We Only Find Them When They’re Dead. Only the cover to this new Dark Horse title (from best-selling author Chelsea Cain) is sort of cool, like a horror version of a ’60s James Bond film. Except once you get inside the actual issue, the story’s so much more. It’s about a spy operating on a mysterious island packed with other agents of chaos — it feels sort of like Clueless meets Clue by way of The Man with the Golden Gun. Still, the cover more than does its job, and hints at the sheer coolness and tension throughout this promising new series.

New Mutants #12

Cover by Michael del Mundo

Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 new releases

What’s been great about this latest run of New Mutants is that every character seems to be the best version of themselves. Yes, they’re all still young and rash (which is sort of what this title is all about), but they also come off as well-developed, fully-formed iterations. And that includes Illyana “Magik” Rasputina, who remains the same headstrong, slightly cocky magic user she’s always been. Is it a little short-sighted to swing a sword at the media? Maybe. But then is it also effective, both as a visual gag and a powerful statement for Krakoa? Yes, yes it is. They may be young and dumb, but New Mutants know how to make a statement.

Sea of Stars #6

Cover by Stephen Green

Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 new releases

From the very first issue, Sea of Stars felt like something truly special. It was this hugely endearing, utterly whimsical series about a young boy braving the massive dangers of space to reunite with his father (a space trucker). And while there’s no way to say how arc No. 2 will build on that excellent first chapter, we get something of a hint with this cover to issue #6. Here, even as Kadyn uses his new god-like abilities, he hasn’t lost the innocence and sense of adventure in this cosmic epic. Also, it helps that he looks like a young Tarzan mixed with Adam Strange, which would make an amazing new series in and of itself.

Hellblazer: Rise and Fall #1

Cover by Darick Robertson

Judging by the Cover – 09/02/20 new releases

There’s a lot working in favor of this new Hellblazer story/series. Tom Taylor is handling the script, and John Constantine feels like the perfect character for his unique style. Plus, it’s got Darick Robertson on the art, and nobody captures this whole gritty magic user aesthetic better. And the fact that this is being published via DC Black Label will only allow the series to get as weird and dark as humanly possible. So far, this cover is serving as a most proper introduction, capturing both the grit, cynicism, and humor that we expect from Hellblazer. Plus, did John buy a new coat, ’cause that thing looks extra crisp.

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