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Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 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.

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Sweet Downfall #1

Cover by Stefano Cardoselli

Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 new releases

You may know artist/writer Stefano Cardoselli from his work in Heavy Metal, or his contributions to books/series like Fish Eye. But even if you don’t know the Tuscan-born artist, let Sweet Downfall be your proper introduction. Without spoiling too much, it’s about a futuristic crash test dummy that becomes a hitman and falls in love with a girl. But it gets better still, as Cardoselli’s cover for #1 (seemingly the only single title as the full story is being collected shortly hereafter) shows us what kind of world this story occupies. And it’s clearly one where technology ain’t exactly streamlined and pristine, where some anachronistic elements may still be cool (or Jonny the dummy just hasn’t updated his wardrobe in a long time). Either way, this cover screams one thing: get ready for a truly weird and wonderful tale of romance and killer robots.

Wolverine #9

Cover by Adam Kubert and Frank Martin

Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 new releases

Long-time readers of this feature will know how serious I take Adam Kubert’s Wolverine covers. (Spoiler: it’s sort of like God handing down Moses the 10 Commandments, but a comic book.) Yet this one somehow feels like a massive step up in terms of every perceivable metric. It’s both hugely serious and yet deeply humorous, this really absurd little snapshot of Marvel comics. The cover manages to terrorize readers with its sheer implications, and yet there’s something here (maybe the beam through Magneto’s helmet, or how I can’t shake the feeling that Logan’s hand is just about to throw up the bird) that also makes this really delightful. It’s the perfect tonal encapsulation of writer Benjamin Percy’s story thus far, and a genuine watershed moment for a really great book.

Future State: Dark Detective #2

Cover by Dan Mora

Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 new releases

If you’ve read the first issue, it’s pretty clear there’s no getting rid of Bruce Wayne. Even as he takes on a “new” mantle as the “Dark Detective,” Wayne continues to Batman all across a new and disturbing Gotham CIty run by the Magistrate. For further proof of his truly unshakable nature, just peep this cover by Dana Mora. No matter the odds, or the presence of some gun-wielding fiend, Wayne is ready with fists in fighting position, poised to strike a blow in the name of justice and goodness. The more things change, the more the emotionally-stunted man-child still beats up thugs and fascists with ample piss and vinegar.

Daredevil #26

Cover by Marco Checchetto

Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 new releases

Much like Kubert’s work on Wolverine, you may already know that Daredevil covers have been exceptional during this entire Chip Zdarsky-penned run. That streak continues this week with another exceptional piece from Marco Checchetto. But he deserves even more praise as the book is “roped” into the ongoing King in Black event. That’s no slight on the event itself, but rather that some of this title-spanning endeavors tend to swallow up other stories, and that’s not always conducive to greater storytelling. It remains to be seen if this issue suffers the same fate, but at least as far as the cover is concerned, it pays full homage and service to the event itself while keeping that essential sense of elegance and emotionality that’s exemplified these Daredevil covers. More like King in Red, amirite?!

Future State: Suicide Squad #1

Cover by Javier Fernandez

Judging by the Cover

Even in the future, Amanda Waller is controlling everything. For this iteration of Task Force X — which may or may not actually turn on Waller for unseen reasons — we seem to have some doppelgangers of our favorite heroes. (Spoiler: it’s more complicated than originally appears.) And by doppelgangers, I mean twisted mirror reflections from a haunted carnival and/or evil clones. Either way, this cover clears up two things: 1) it’s easy to play with the sensibilities of DC heroes just by appropriating their images and 2) these drawings may be sentient and are likely to come for every one of us. I’d say Conner in the corner may help, but even he looks too terrified to do anything of value.

X-O Manowar #4

Cover by Christian Ward

Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 new releases

I’ll admit it: it’s been some time since I’ve picked up an issue of X-O Manowar. But I do so thoroughly enjoy looking at the covers, even if they remind me I’m a lackluster fan. Still, just peep Christian Ward’s offering, which manages to capture the inherent anger and physicality of Aric while also providing an almost ethereal, metaphysical depiction of everyone’s favorite screaming space warrior. Is this some larger metaphor for the character’s fate in this latest run? Perhaps his emotional state instead? Is this an allegory about his relationship with the X-O armor as he forges a new set? Maybe it’s just cool to look at? Whatever the answer, this is another standout.

Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #4

Cover by Tyler Crook

Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 new releases

If you haven’t read any of this series by now, here’s a quick wrap up: Colonel Weird is traipsing down some metaphysical rabbit hole, trying to get back to “normalcy” (whatever that is for him) and remember something vital that he’s somehow forgotten. It’s a story about memory, self-discovery, the inevitability of fate, the power of true connection, and the search for a place in the universe. And all of that is expertly and succinctly communicated on this cover to the grand finale, which plays up some of the earnestness and whimsy of the colonels’ travels without forever foregoing the insanity and trippy vibes that purvey his saunter across space and time. Pick this one up if you want your heart to swoon and your head to explode.

Strange Adventures #8

Cover by Mitch Gerads

Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 new releases

I’m a little behind on this series, having only just read the first few issues or so. But I have a few takeaways already: 1) this is just as good, if not slightly better, than Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ work on Mister Miracle; 2) it’s more subtle but also more pointed in its efforts to explore this mostly “jokey” Silver Age relic; and 3) it’s clearly a story about how we tell the truth (and why that matters). That last point is clearly at the heart of the issue for #8, which depicts Mr. Terrific, who investigates Adam Strange after a mysterious murder, going face-to-face with Strange and his wife. Even as this issue promises a big fight and not much in the way of more detective work, Terrific is still “opposing” the Stranges in this massive saga. Because there’s the truth and then there’s the Truth, and the conflict to resolve that is the thing that propels this truly amazing series.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter Of Blood #4

Cover by Alan Robinson

Judging by the Cover – 01/27/21 new releases

This kooky lil’ series from AHOY Comics basically provides some updated versions of Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous stories, plus a whole slew of originals and other goodies. Basically, if you love Poe, it’s a weird little way to pay homage to the gothic legend while also breaking down his work and public persona. Case in point: the cover to issue #4, which finds Poe getting straight smacked. Is this something he may have deserved given his, um, unique life choices? Maybe. Is it also just really funny, especially since it seems to have come while Poe was writing mid-sentence? Oh, for sure. And that right there demonstrates why AHOY is so great: nothing is sacred, and everything can be wrung out for maximum hilarity and weirdness.

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