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Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 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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Dark Nights: Death Metal #6

Cover by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion

Judging by the Cover

By now, it’s more than clear that Death Metal is meant to be like a massive rock concert for the DCU (but think less Iron Maiden and more Dio). Maybe there’s other titles from the series that exude that necessary swagger, but the cover for #6 feels especially worthy of praise. Is it Wonder Woman’s chainsaw sword channeling the lightning of the rock gods? Sure. Is it that every hero and villain is posing like the cover of some Judas Priest record? Of course. Mostly, though, its the balance of nerdy energy with a genuine sense of depth and intent — the veritable sweet spot for this entire event. Horns up, folks.

The Immortal Hulk #41

Cover by Alex Ross

Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 new releases

Everything about Al Ewing’s run on Immortal Hulk is geared toward messing with your head. From the whole premise of an “undead” Hulk to the exploration of duality and the metaphysical nature of life, this book has continually jumped leaps and bounds above “giant green rage monster who smashes stuff.” And that includes some of the covers, including this latest from Alex Ross. Here, the artistic legend channels something from a Norman Rockefeller painting, in what might actually be a slice of real life if you lived in the Marvel Universe. There’s also a great sense of emotion purveyed throughout, as if Hulk and The Thing might explode into battle at any second. But the most impressive thing? The structural integrity of that booth.

Rorschach #3

Cover by Jorge Fornés

Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 new releases

Already just a few issues in, and writer Tom King has taken the Rorschach book into some really interesting and heady directions. (What did you expect from the man behind both Mister Miracle and Strange Adventures?) Yet despite tales of “the Kid,” or the many sweet mysteries working their way through this crime thriller, this book remains indebted to a certain aesthetic and story value. Case in point: the cover, which sort of feels like an old pulp novel and some conspiracy flick from circa 1977. But that’s pretty much Rorschach to a tee: a hardboiled crime story conjoined to a deeply intellectual exploration of life, the universe, and morality. At least it’s all colorful, though.

Captain America #26

Cover by Alex Ross

Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 new releases

Hey, another entry from the incomparable Alex Ross. Is it fair to double dip, as it were, given how few entries we’re working with? Maybe, but then just look at this cover. If Adam Kubert has the market cornered on drawing Wolverine, then it’s Ross who has truly nailed the Hulk Family, portraying an extra terrifying (and utterly ripped) Red Hulk like never before. But it’s also the way he depicts Captain America himself, going full in, with nary an ounce of fear or hesitation, in battling his oversized foes. Ross has a huge wealth of talent and skills, but it’s his ability to capture the essence of these characters that’s truly, hehe, smashing.

Post Americana #1

Cover by Steve Skroce

Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 new releases

You may know Steve Skroce from his series Maestros, but it’s Post Americana that feels like an especially masterful stroke of genius. Without spoiling too much: it’s the end of the world, and a group of “elites” wants to use a special bunker to control the Wasteland — until a young girl rises up in defiance. It really feels, in terms of the overall scope and vibe, like it could be some ’70s grindhouse film, and Skroce’s cover really captures that vibe perfectly (thanks to colors from Dave Stewart, of course). It feels a little dirty and packed with the right amount of deliberate cheesiness, and I for one can’t wait to see what unfolds. It’ll be nice to see a different take of the world falling apart.

Deadpool #9

Cover by Chris Bachalo

Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 new releases

I may have said this before, but it’s sometimes nice to see a different side of Deadpool. All the covers with weird jokes or fourth wall-busting gags are great, but the character is so much more than a running dick joke (but he is definitely that for sure). That’s why I appreciate this cover from Chris Bachalo: as he deals with a potential betrayal from Elsa Bloodstone, Wade abandons all logic and reason and leans into the situation just to experience some momentary joy. More than all the chimichanga jokes in the world, that feels like Deadpool to his utter core. Also, extra mega bonus points for that gorgeous AF font choice.

Superman #28

Cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado 

Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 new releases

If you’ve ever noticed before, I talk a lot of garbage about Cyclops. But you should just hear what I have to say about DC’s overhyped boy scout, Superman. Over the years, my glowing hatred of Krypton’s last son has cooled into a general disinterest. Even as some writers and artists have tried to reframe Supes as some metaphor for our collective hope, I generally just can’t care beyond his overpowered nature and rigid morality. But even I can admit this cover is deeply gorgeous. There’s a profound grace and elegance in capturing such a simple and beautiful moment between Superman and Lois Lane. Is it a little like a cheesy romance novel? Yeah, but then that’s basically what Superman is: an unabashed declaration of simplicity and romance in a weird and dark world. It’s this kind of work that makes me see the big deal about the Man of Steel — for the most part, at least.

Encoded #1

Cover by Phil Hester

Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 new releases

The perks of this column is that I often stumble across comics I might not have otherwise. Encoded, from the smaller Devil’s Due Publishing, is one of them. Written by Josh Blaylock, and with art from Jethro Morales, it explores the threat of an evil futuristic A.I. in a really new way, with a narrative involving near world domination and a “hemp farmer known only as Epictetus.” What we get for a preview, though, is an amazing cover from Phil Hester, which depicts something I assume is less a feature of the story narrative (but God do I wish) and more a larger metaphor for our own hopes and fears about the emergence of a possible technological singularity. Whatever happens, it’s likely going to be hugely interesting and something novel. Thanks, Judging by the Cover.

Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #1

Cover by Richard Pace

Judging by the Cover – 12/16/20 new releases

If you’re unfamiliar, Second Coming is basically about Jesus Christ himself becoming roommates with a superhero, Sunstar, and learning how to fight crime. With Only Begotten Son, the story continues as we get to see the origin story of the aforementioned hero Sunstar. And in a massive display of sheer confidence and prowess, the creative time have opted to further jack from the story of Superman himself. Is it a little cocky and arrogant? Oh yeah. Could they open themselves up to lawsuits? I don’t think so? But if you’ve read this book, it works, and what’s likely a mix of satire and celebration is a great choice for this little series that could. Also, any book that promises to portray “science denial, mass extinction, and real estate sales” already has my vote.

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