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Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 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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Nightwing #75

Cover by Travis Moore

Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 new releases

There’s one reason I’ve chosen this cover: Chuck Dixon. It’s that writer’s excellent mid-90s run on Nightwing, which I’m currently making my way through, that makes me so keen on honoring this latest run. On the one hand, the two series couldn’t be further apart visually: the Dixon series (which mostly features art from Scott McDaniel early on) is quintessential ’90s (dramatic character designs, huge lines/angles, 10-foot ponytails, etc.) while Travis Moore and Ronan Cliquet keep it more crisp and modern. But this cover (from Moore) does maintain something from that excellent ’90s series: the youth and prowess of Nightwing, and how he’ll stand up against all odds with just his escrimas and grit. But, seriously, they need to bring back ponytails that reach a person’s upper butt region.

Daredevil #23

Cover by Marco Checchetto

Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 new releases

Regular readers of this feature will know that Daredevil covers in the Chip Zdarsky era are always brilliant. And what’s especially bonkers is that it’s always with a different artist, which is not an easy feat to obtain. Perhaps it has everything to do with Zdarsky’s talents as both writer and artist, and how the whole series (the story and aesthetic) seems fully aligned and thus able to deliver in a big way. This month, Marco Checchetto has the covers duty, and he presents a slice of nerd magic by teaming Daredevil with Spider-Man for a sweet pose-off. Is it as compelling as some other covers from this series? Maybe not. But it’s just so damn cool, and the fact that these covers tell just as much of a story (emotionally or from a narrative perspective) is just damn impressive. Also, this is the best NYC hero configuration. Period.

Dark Nights: Death Metal – Robin King #1

Cover by Riley Rossmo

Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 new releases

What’s the best part of the entire ongoing Dark Nights: Metal and Dark Nights: Death Metal saga? If you said anything but the Robins, you’re wrong. Sure, there’s a lot of truly amazing angles and gimmicks in these stories, but the idea of Jokerized feral children running around and causing bloody chaos feels like the most potent bastardization of something so beloved, which is likely the whole point of this entire massive event. So that’s why I’m so jazzed that they’re giving a book to Robin King (the psychotic right-hand Robin of the Darkest Knight). And issue #1 doesn’t waste any time, placing Robin King amid a pile of dead DC heroes. It works on so many different levels to poke and prod at your childhood and turn all those cheery vibes and associations into a tsunami of anger and fear. The fact that it’s also just a teensy bit funny (seriously, peep Batman’s face) just makes this all the more confounding and devastating.

Iron Man #2

Variant Cover by Mattia de Iulis

Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 new releases

With last month’s mostly great debut, writer Christopher Cantwell unveiled a nuanced and thoughtful take on Iron Man. Issue #2, then, promises to continue that slow, deliberate narrative build as Tony Stark tries to get back to basics to find some truths and value to his work as an armor-wearing Avenger. So, it makes sense to give Alex Ross the main cover duties, as his work expertly reflects some of those same emotional pillars with a blend of nostalgia and pure artistry. But yet I have to give the props to Mattia de Iulis’ variant cover for one reason: an Iron Man/Man-Thing hybrid is just so freaking sweet. Does it have anything to do with the story proper? You’ll have to read to be sure. But sometimes something cool and weird is enough of a change of pace before the story unfolds in new and exciting ways. I am Iron Man-Thing!

Dune: House Atreides #1

Cover by Jae Lee

Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 new releases

I’ve never seen Dune, and I’m not sure I ever have a reason to after all these years. Sure, I love weird, needlessly stratified sci-fi/fantasy series, but something about all the palace intrigue and talk of “spice” just doesn’t do it for me. But this new prequel series (released to hype the October 2021 debut of the Denis Villeneuve-led remake) might be my ticket to the planet Arrakis. I won’t bore you with any of the story proper — seems like more of the same as we delve into the ample mystery surrounding House Atreides — but just peep Jae Lee’s cover. It certainly hits the same aesthetic high-points as the rest of the series, but there’s a kind of grit and intensity that feels much different from some of the more regal vibes of the film. Could the comic make me a fan of the movie? We’ll see, but maybe this book is enough for fans to cling to all on its own.

The Scumbag #1

Cover by Lewis LaRosa

Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 new releases

Sometimes comic book covers look like little movie posters, and those connections often do wonders for interest within a series. But in the case of The Scumbag, it’s hard to shake the vibe of this being some totally bonkers FPS video game. It also helps that this Rick Remender-penned series could be a video game, as a profane biker named Ernie Ray Clementine gains superpowers, becomes a spy, and tries to prevent Armageddon. Still, it’s mostly the cover, which doesn’t just look cool but somehow manages to capture every aspect of that plot summary and still play up the sheer silliness and insanity within. The only thing this cover doesn’t hint at? Will there be a terrible underwater level or not.

Phantom Starkiller #1

Cover by Joseph Schmalke

Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 new releases

Sometimes all you need is two words to really fall for a series. In this case, Phantom Starkiller instantly carries the kinds of wondrous, bonkers connotations of some Jack Kirby creation on mescaline. (And it helps that the plot, which involves something called the “The Curse of The Cryptocrystalline Stone,” only enhances that whole vibe.) But if nothing else, it’s the cover, from series artist Joseph Schmalke, that really stands out. Star Wars vibe? Check. Creepy undertones? For sure. Endless layers of ’50s-style cheesiness? Definitely. Whatever happens in this series, it’s going to be weird and cool so long as it keeps the spirit of this cover. All hail Starkiller!

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #1

Cover by Sean Murphy

Judging by the Cover – 10/21/20 new releases

Say what you will, but the whole “White Knight” storyline/saga has had an impact. There’s been few other Batman-centric, (mostly) non-canon stories that have shaken up the landscape of Gotham City in such profound ways. Here, Harley Quinn stands as the only hope for cracking the case of the serial killer called Starlet. (If you’re not caught up, Batman is in prison and Joker is dead.) Putting Harley Quinn in this position isn’t just novel, but adding all these other layers (raising twins, the GTO, etc.) makes for a more compelling spin on the Batman mythos and a deeper understanding of what makes Quinn a truly compelling character. Plus, any chance to show off her hyena boys is always welcomed.

Juggernaut #2

Cover by Geoff Shaw

Judging by the Cover

Modern comics has made a lot of headway in transforming how people relate to the medium. A huge part of that, then, is how the storylines and visuals have become heightened, and there’s a greater emphasis on complex narratives and larger (emotional and moral) stakes for these characters. But sometimes you want to toss all that aside and just watch a couple meaty behemoths do battle. Geoff Shaw’s cover for this new Juggernaut series marries some modern aesthetic with some much-needed, context-free savagery between the Unmovable Juggernaut and the Immortal Hulk. Sure, the story’s likely to be pretty good (issue #1 was a pretty solid start), but you just need to enjoy this cover to get all you’d want from this book. Talk about a smashing good time.

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