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Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 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.

Future State: The Next Batman #1

Cover by José Ladrönn

Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 new releases

This week, the long-awaited Future State finally kicks over at DC. If you’re unaware, it’s basically a look at the many possible futures across the DCU, and that means some big changes for your favorite heroes. Case in point: The Next Batman, in which Bruce Wayne is no longer the Batman and the cape is now helmed by another hero. (I won’t spoil who, but let’s just say it’s a big change that’s nonetheless still in the family.) Yet for as much as things might be changing, the cover to #1 is proof that some thing remain eternal. Because whoever serves as the future Batman, this piece expertly captures his grace, power, and sense of duty to watch over Gotham, no matter what it looks like or who may think they’re in charge. Guess the future ain’t so scary after all.

Thor #11

Cover by Olivier Coipel

Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 new releases

In just 10 or so issues, there’s been some pretty bonkers events in the latest run of Thor. He’s been the herald of Galactus (complete with an all-new suit) and traversed outer space to meet some really weird cultures/peoples. Yet what remains at the center of this series is a commitment to exploring what makes Thor so compelling and effective across the entirety of his history and character arc. So even as Thor must deal with the threat of Donald Blake, we see him going toe-to-toe with an old foe, the Midgard Serpent. It’s a blast from the past that also plays up his more recent happenings — and the end result is a great commentary on Thor as a whole. Plus, any chance to see him turn Mjolnir into a cyclone is dope.

Future State: Wonder Woman #1

Cover by Joëlle Jones

Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 new releases

And speaking of Future State, Wonder Woman is also undergoing some big changes. A new hero is rocking the magical tiara, as Yara Flor becomes the future Wonder Woman and the one and only defender of Man’s World. Series writer/artist Joëlle Jones is a great choice to helm this book, and her overall approach and aesthetic is pretty spot-on. There’s a kind of indie pulp vibe throughout this book, and it plays up nicely to balance the nostalgia and newness that this book and other event titles are trying to capture. This whole book and event may be a culture shock for some, but it’s this kind of work that makes this the perfect device to both explore DC as it is and what it could become. Our future is even more shiny than the Lasso of Truth itself.

Eternals #1

Cover by Esad Ribic

Judging by the Cover

In his review, our own Justin Harrison noted that this latest run of Eternals “builds on the work that has come before it while setting its own stage. And thus far, the stage commands attention.” That’s pretty high praise no doubt, but if anyone can accomplish such a lofty goal, it’s writer Kieron Gillen and artist Esad Ribic (not to mention colorist Matt Wilson). Case in point: Ribic’s cover to the debut issue, which A) captures the series’ regal, larger-than-life vibes while B) infusing something new that seems to be reflective of the series’ larger motif of change and/or evolution. There’s both an inherent humanity and an otherworldly sense to this cover, and that gives us ample hope for this already promising series.

Future State: Swamp Thing #1

Cover by Mike Perkins

Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 new releases

With new titles featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, there’s tons of hits coming out of Future State. But here’s one title you should not sleep on: Swamp Thing, written by Ram V. and with art from Mike Perkins. For one, both are hugely skilled creators, and their talent together has heaps of potential. But more than that, this cover expertly reflects the book’s scope/setting, a post-cataclysm America and the efforts by Swamp Thing and his cohorts to return the world to its state before mankind up and ruined it. The cover itself feels like an environmentalist’s remake of Planet of the Apes, and that alone should make anyone doubly excited for this book.

Scout’s Honor #1

Cover by Andy Clarke

Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 new releases

As it turns out, there’s more new books out this week that have nothing to do with Future State. Written by David Pepose, and with art from Luca Casalanguida, Scout’s Honor is about a kind of dystopian/post-nuclear war cult who is built entirely around the boy scout’s manual. Or, as Pepose described it, the series is “Fallout meets Mulan meets The Handmaid’s Tale.” And if that weren’t cool enough order 11 copies, there’s also this cover by Andy Clarke. There’s definitely some post-apocalyptic energies here, but also some kind of dusty Americana vibes and just the faintest hint of some ’70s-style kung fu thriller. Either way, we want to earn our merit badge for “reading this promising new comic.”

The Amazing Spider-Man #56

Cover by Mark Bagley

Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 new releases

They may not shoot electricity, or have four extra arms, but Wilson Fisk and Norman Osborn are two of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. There’s a certain kind of intimacy in their respective dynamics, and both men are powerful enough (in other, less obvious ways) to deal some massive damage in both Spidey’s personal and professional lives. It’s that context that makes the cover to issue #56 all the more terrifying — they are more than capable of tearing Spider-Man apart individually, and together they’re a conceptual foe like no other. Add in the especially creepy faces of both men, and this is a terrifying book on a few dozen levels.

Ninja Nuns: Bad Habits Die Hard #1

Cover by Jason Copland and Josh Jensen

Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 new releases

If you’ve never even heard of Metalshark Bro, don’t fret. The basic premise of this new spin-off is pretty straightforward: nuns as badass ninjas fighting all sorts of ungodly threats. Because sometimes a book doesn’t need to be any more in-depth than that. Which isn’t to say, the handful of stories aren’t still great — rather, it’s about getting weird and silly over some in-depth narrative. Enjoy the debut’s cover as a kind of preview, which features a titular ninja-nun ripping through what might be a demon or a side character from Pan’s Labyrinth. Wooo!

Future State: Harley Quinn #1

Cover by Derrick Chew

Judging by the Cover – 01/06/21 new releases

I mentioned in some other Future State writeups that the event is about balancing past and future (and likely the present to boot). So things are truly different, but stories and characters retain the essence of their narratives to grow and explore these spaces in a fresh but nonetheless organic manner. But some things can never truly change, as evidenced by this cover to a new Harley Quinn book. Because even though it’s in the future, and even though the fiendish Magistrate is trying to destroy her, Quinn remains as fiery and prone to acts of violence via a Louisville Slugger as ever before. It’s not that Quinn’s efforts are a constant reminder of life’s inevitabilities (though that is true) — it’s more that she continues to find success in such a rudimentary approach. Talk about a true comfort!

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