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Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 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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The Amazing Spider-Man #55

Cover by Patrick Gleason

Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 new releases

With a Spider-Man comic, you’d think the hook was all about bright colors and ample action (and perhaps a dash or two of punnery). But as this Patrick Gleason cover emphatically proves, there’s so much more opportunity available for making a truly great Spidey image. It’s the sharpness of the lines, the visual metaphor of his head like spider webs, and the perfect balance of black and white spaces; this is such a stark and compelling image. Add in that this is the end of the “Last Remains” story, which promises to end with Peter “looking at himself differently,” and this cover becomes a real watershed moment for our relationship with modern Spider-Man. Plus, did I mention it’s just cool?

Dark Nights: Death Metal – The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1

Cover by Dan Mora

Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 new releases

I think the word “epic” gets thrown around a lot, but this latest chapter in the Death Metal saga more than deserves that descriptor. A whopping 80 pages? Yup! An all-star cast of creators that includes Matthew Rosenberg, Scott Snyder, Marguerite Bennett, and James Tynion IV? Double yup! The promise of a multiverse-spanning war that pretty much involves everyone, good, bad, or otherwise in the whole DCU? Ah, triple yup. A cover that fully reflects the sheer size and scope of the story itself, with heroes practically exploding off the page? An emphatic quadruple yup! Aren’t big ol’ comic events just grand?

Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #3

Cover by Tyler Crook

Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 new releases

Given his name, Colonel Weird is perhaps the most kooky and bizarre member of the entire Black Hammer universe (and that’s saying a lot given there’s a dude named Abraham Slam). But the whole appeal of Weird as a character isn’t that he’s just a little bananas and thus entertaining; his adventures allow us to delve into the metaphysical in a way that’s just as much about exploring our own emotions and understanding of the big, bad universe. Sometimes that involves creepy space monsters and portals to insane dimensions, and sometimes it means covers like this. As Weird is wandering around the ’60s, possibly involved with a murder mystery, we get to see the overwhelming beauty he may experience from time to time, as if the universe opened up and revealed something truly transcendent. It just may be why this weirdo keeps traipsing into the unknown.

Jinny Hex Special #1

Cover by Nick Filardi and Nick Derington

Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 new releases

As a standout of the Young Justice series, it was only a matter of time before Jinny Hex got her own solo book (be it a one-shot or a standalone series). Here, writer Magdalene Visaggio takes Jinny out of the “Multiverse conflict” and sends her back to the Old West for a rip-roaring adventure. Admittedly, this cover isn’t exactly mind-blowing, but it does capture something really essential. It’s sort of a playful ode/homage to some Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys covers, albeit with a distinct comics spin. Sure, that kind of thing is what Wonder Comics is all about, but when they do it so effectively with covers like this, the crossover appeal is all that more amplified. Get ’em, Jinny!

Wolverine #8

Cover by Adam Kubert

Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 new releases

I’ll save you the 405th version of “Adam Kubert is the single greatest Wolverine artist” speech. Because we already know that Kubert can draw the heck out of Wolverine, and this latest cover is just more proof on the mound of his essential take on the hairy killing machine. But can we instead talk about what Kubert has done with Maverick/Agent Zero? For a guy with arguably the lamest suit in all of the X books (and that is saying soooo much), Maverick’s always looked like the love child of a gimp, a crash test dummy, and Grifter/Cole Cash. Sure, he still mostly looks like that, but this version somehow feels more foreboding and intense, fully capable of going toe-to-toe with this version of Wolverine. Could this mean I want a Maverick solo book? No, no I don’t.

The Witcher: Fading Memories #2

Cover by Evan Cagle

Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 new releases

Myself and countless other fans have long argued that comics are proper artform and not just something for kiddies. The problem is, it’s not always so easy to argue when you have a cover like this, or even like this. But from now on, I’ll point all nonbelievers to some of the art that’s come out of this latest Witcher series. That includes this utterly gorgeous cover from Evan Cagle, which doesn’t so much look like your average comic as it does some 15th century painting called “The Sleeping Warrior.” It feels like a perfect encapsulation of what a great comic cover should do: appeal to anyone with even the smallest interest in art and yet honor the (slightly dweeby) material on hand. This thing belongs in a museum or something, in a giant gold frame. But you get to keep it in your comic collection instead — that’s pretty cool, right?

X-Men #16

Cover by Leinil Francis Yu

Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 new releases

If you’ve read any of my work here with AIPT, you may have seen me dump on Cyclops a time or two — or almost any opportunity I get. (To be fair, others have had a better, more nuanced take on the hero.) And while I think he’s often a bland character, and any depictions of him as being “dark” or “intense” often feel forced, even I can admit when the character is effective. Namely, he’s always got a really great presence from a visual standpoint, as evidenced by this cover to X-Men #16. Maybe it’s the muscles or the laser eyes, but Cyclops has the best presence when artists/creators present him in a kind of “portrait” mode. Yes, that means no story or dialogue attached; just a chance for Scott Summers to look good as some kind of super-powered mannequin. Is that another burn? Yes, but it’s one that also came from the heart.

Tales From The Dark Multiverse: Dark Nights: Metal #1

Cover by David Marquez

Judging by the Cover – 12/30/20 new releases

As a rule, I’ve loved the Tales From The Dark Multiverse entries so far; they’ve all been a genuinely entertaining chance to get really weird with DC history. However, I do have to point out that reworking the ending of Dark Nights: Metal, which happened just a few years ago, feels both overly meta and a little too quick on the revisionist shtick. But then I see this cover from David Marquez, and I’m mostly excited again. It feels both familiar to Metal‘s overall vibe and narrative arc but clearly takes a hard left turn somewhere to present something somehow more bonkers and bizarre. If Metal/Death Metal has been a giant rock concert, than this feels like a three-hour Phish jam — and I’m mostly alright with that development.

I Walk With Monsters #2

Cover by Sally Cantirino

Judging by the Cover

If you haven’t read the first issue of this Vault series, do yourself a favor and track down a copy. Without spoiling too much, it’s basically about a woman and her “companion” who hunt monsters — and while that seems like a slightly generic narrative, the storyline itself and the expert backstory created cultivate something that’s so much more emotionally potent and terrifying than that most basic description. But if that doesn’t fully sway you, just peep the cover to issue #2. There’s a big scary monster, a dash or two of Americana vibes, and a badass heroine unphased by the chaos and evil that surrounds her. Oh, and it totally hints at a major part of the story and/or first issue without overly broadcasting said revelation. Seriously, grab a copy pronto.

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