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Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 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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Future State: Dark Detective #4

Cover by Dan Mora

Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 new releases

After three fairly exciting issues, we’ve reached the conclusion of Dark Detective. Bruce Wayne is still pretty dead, and he’s been forced to operate as the Dark Detective to take down the Magistrate. And what better way to cap it all off then with a final battle with Peackeeper-01 amid some hugely dramatic building that’s a crumblin’ down. On the surface, it’s a moment pulled from some great ’90-style action flick, complete with badass poses. But dig a little deeper, and you see the commonality between the two men, and the sense of control they try to exude through their be-masked take on justice. That’s been a constant theme of Future State as a whole, and one of the reasons its been so swell.

Crossover #4

Cover by Geoff Shaw

Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 new releases

Mind you, I haven’t paid much attention to Crossover since the first issue or so. But if anything could draw me back, it’s this great cover. For those unaware, the series is basically an unrepentant celebration of pop culture, and it invites in a slew of characters to delve into what makes fandom so cool and doubly important (emotionally, creatively, etc.). The end result, as this cover demonstrates, is that whether you know these characters or not (or they’re newbies or some old faves), you can likely identify their archetypes or what they represent. And from there it’s a short turn into dweeb heaven, a place to commemorate what these folks stand for and the value they contain in helping us understand the world and the way it’s to be processed. Ain’t nerd stuff just the coolest?

New Mutants #16

Cover by Christian Ward

Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 new releases

Regular readers may be well aware of the frequent praise I have for Daredevil and the covers that series has generated over the last couple years. But New Mutants has proven to be just as consistent in offering up some truly amazing covers as well. Case in point: Christian Ward delivers this genuine standout just as the team further contend with the Wild Hunt. Is this totally bizarre and trippy? Yup. Does it play with a sense of morality and the team’s alignment? Oh for sure. Does it also remind me just a teensy bit of the New Mutants film? Yessir! See, that’s what a truly great cover should be all about.

Future State: Superman: House of El #1

Cover by Yanick Paquette

Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 new releases

And speaking of “things Chris tends to repeat across multiple editions,” I’ve got a weird relationship with Superman. It’s cooled in recent years to a begrudging acceptance, and a recognition that the Super Boy Scout is generally entertaining if not entirely overhyped and occasionally one-dimensional. But even I wouldn’t say I’m stoked for House of El, which is basically Superman’s descendants doing Superman stuff several centuries in the future. Then I saw this cover, and maybe I can get onboard. Because who wouldn’t like what basically looks like a Superman-themed soap opera. Maybe it’ll be like Days of our Lives, with just a little Passions-level wackiness/magic thrown in for good measure. Either way, I hope the dude with the sword is like the crazy cousin.

Year Zero #4

Cover by Kaare Andrews

Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 new releases

Were that I more financially solvent, I might give Kaare Andrews a few bucks for his work on Year Zero. From Volume One through the beginning of this latest run of stories, Andrews’ covers have been a weird and wonderful montage of pop culture references and good-old fashioned zombie madness. But this cover clearly takes the cake, and it’s like some odd romance novella circa 1997, but with zombies and ravenous lions. I have almost no idea if this is from a proper story, or even how this very specific scenario could even occur. (Like, business people went to the zoo, died and became zombies, and tried to eat the lions?) Either way, I’m 1,000% onboard once again.

Frank at Home on the Farm #2

Cover by Clark Bint

Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 new releases

You may recall from a few months ago the debut issue of Frank at Home on the Farm. This horror story about a returning veteran’s search for his family quickly became a personal favorite, and it’s one of the most engaging and terrifying series I’ve read in quite some time. From the looks of the cover to issue #2 alone, all of that weirdness and horror is set to continue. With a cover star that looks like a Child of the Corn and the girl from the Night of the Living Dead poster, there’s just so much profound, existential terror emanating from such a deceptively simple cover. It’s hard to tell if he’ll pull you into the barn or if he’s preventing anyone from making it in themselves. That kind of playful narrative structure/fcous is why this series is so great so early.

Spawn #315

Cover by Björn Barends

Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 new releases

This week, Todd McFarlane made news when he announced plans to open up the Spawn universe with several new titles. Those handful of new books include a group book featuring Spawn, Redeemer, Gunslinger, Medieval Spawn, and She-Spawn. While I would never dare tell McFarlane what to do (except maybe make guns smaller?), this cover to Spawn #315 does make one thing clear: She-Spawn deserves her own solo title. Seriously, if you said to me “We have this book starring She-Spawn and she just goes around blasting mutant-looking foot soldiers,” I’d likely throw a wad of cash fast enough to break your nose. But I’m sure everything else will be just as good (if not nearly as cool and elegant as She-Spawn).

Generations: Forged #1

Cover by Liam Sharp

Judging by the Cover – 02/24/21 new releases

If I had to describe Future State‘s ultimate goal in just a couple words, it’d be, “Future nostalgia.” Which is a really pretentious way of saying the whole project/event looks at the future, and it’s eventual status as some dystopian, quasi-fascist hellscape, with a certain sheen of romance, as if that’s the goal to make superheroes shine. But in terms of actual nostalgia, the event delivers in a big way with Generations: Forged. Basically, a group of time-dispersed heroes (including Dr. Light, Steel, and 1939 Batman) have to pull a Legends of Tomorrow and repair the space-time continuum. And in keeping with those nostalgic vibes, Liam Sharp’s cover feels hugely retro, a kind of greatest hits for the DC universe that feels reminiscent of a cover from Crisis on Infinite Earths. Past, future, or whatever, it’s another great element to a truly great event.

Skulldigger + Skeleton Boy #6

Cover by Tonci Zonjic

Judging by the Cover

Much like with Crossover, I haven’t read Skulldigger + Skeleton Boy since issue #3. But again, it’s this stark and somewhat unsettling cover that will likely draw me back in big time. The series’ early issues took an unflinching approach to the “dark side” of superheroes and vigilantes, showing us the violence and intensity that comes with putting on a mask and fighting thugs. This cover, however, builds on that with lethal efficiency, and it’s hard to decide if this is cool for the sake of it all or it’s a step too far given the epic detail and overall scope. But then that’s likely the point: this is a book for examining what it means to be a hero, and it ain’t always so sweet and breezy.

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