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Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 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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Nightwing #78

Cover by Bruno Redondo

Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 new releases

New creative team alert! Writer Tom Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo join forces to tackle the “next stage of [Nightwing’s] evolution as a hero.” Over the years, Dick Grayson has had a ton of evolutions, iterations, and phases — he’s been a hero constantly looking to define himself and still honor his legacy among the Bat family. But based solely on Redondo’s debut cover, it looks like Master Grayson’s off to an especially heroic start. The cover practically screams Superman levels of grace and prowess, as Nightwing overlooks the city that literally made him who he is today. Wherever this next leg of the journey goes, it’ll be a real trip.

Iron Man #7

Cover by Alex Ross

Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 new releases

Regular readers of this column will recall frequent praise of Alex Ross’ covers. Not only are they just insanely beautiful, but given Christopher Cantwell’s story, they feel like a perfect extra bit of storytelling and world-building. But this cover to issue #7 may be an accomplishment in and of itself. With some extreme Norman Rockwell vibes, we get a kind of silly but nonetheless telling moment in the Tony Stark-James Rhodes dynamic. Is it a little bit of a throwaway gag? Sure. But does it also extend the story and play up this whole rag-tag team’s intergalactic saga? You betcha. The only weird thing: why does Stark have a special welding mask and why doesn’t he just use his super amazing robot helmet?

Catwoman #29

Cover by Joëlle Jones

Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 new releases

Readers of Future State (not to mention our own totally neat-o coverage) will recognize Joëlle Jones. She killed it with Wonder Woman, and her unique amalgamation of styles, not to mention those starks lines and dynamic use of color, were a clear highlight of the event. Now, Jones has provided the cover to Catwoman #29, and it very much feels like another epic standout. This whole piece is like the wondrous love-child of ’90s anime and Big Trouble in Little China; it’s both gritty and intense and yet nonetheless still light and playful. It feels like the perfect total aesthetic for Catwoman as a whole, and everything feels bold and dramatic without losing that proximity. Golf claps all around!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #115

Cover by Sophie Campbell

Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 new releases

If you’re of a certain age, Bebop and Rocksteady are perhaps your earliest introduction to the archetypal henchmen. Physically intimidating, but ultimately ineffective to the point of being detrimental. Which is why seeing them going toe-to-toe (or is it hoof and claw somehow?) with Tokka and Rahzar is wildly entertaining. In this sense, they’re kind of the underdogs, and that somehow makes you want to cheer them on. But then again, they’re all evil mutant monsters and maybe the best we can hope for is some kind of embarrassing draw. Either way, writer/artist Sophie Campbell’s cover is both deeply compelling and packed with a certain kind of whimsical nostalgia. And that’s why TMNT will seemingly last forever in the comics.

The Bequest #1

Cover by Freddie Williams II

Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 new releases

I’ll admit that upon first glance, the cover to The Bequest feels a little, how do I say, ultra silly. It exudes a kind of cheesy ’90s energy, like some off-brand mix of every generic ’90s fantasy cartoon and Wild C.A.T.s. But if you spend some time with the piece, it becomes kind of endearing, and series artist Freddie Williams II has clearly captured something that’s charming and whimsical, a distillation of pure fantasy and the inherent magic of the genre. Add in that the actual storyline — fantasy heroes come to our world to end the black market sale of magic artifacts — and it’s hard not to see this series for what it could become: a great slice of unabashedly romantic fantasy.

Orphan and the Five Beasts #1

Cover by James Stokoe

Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 new releases

If you read our interview with artist/writer James Stokoe, he may have won you over with a simple hook: “Man explodes horse with thighs.” But in case that didn’t quite do the job, just peep the cover to issue #1. It’s like if Akira and Avatar: The Last Airbender did a mound of shrooms and then painted a mural — a mural from a dystopian war planet. While there’s a lot of different vibes and influences balanced here, Stokoe’s sense of intensity and his robust line work remain a singular entity in and of themselves. Really, though, exploding horse.

Captain Marvel #27

Cover by Marco Checchetto

Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 new releases

Having not read any issue of Kelly Thompson’s run, I can report I am both confused and highly intrigued about why this cover looks like some cheesy dating sim. Apparently, as Carol Danvers tries to get back into the superhero groove, she is forced into “an intervention that looks a hell of a lot like speed dating.” And thus we have this cover, where in a perfect world we’d see the likes of Spider-Man and Namor duke it out for the hand of Captain Marvel herself. Again, I haven’t a clue if that’s the actual case, but if nothing else, we have this totally wonderful cover that tells a million different stories without a single bit of text. Ain’t love grand totally weird?

Ultramega #1

Cover by James Harren

Judging by the Cover

It only takes one quick glance to recognize this latest Skybound series is a robust celebration of kaiju culture. Giant hero that looks like Ultraman? Check. A ruined cityscape? Double check. The perpetual threat of monstrous baddies? Triple check. But artist/writer James Harren has done more than ape great kaiju comics/flicks; he’s spun in a sense of grittiness and imperfect organics to make this feel more “human” than similar projects. The end result feels like it could be all the more gripping and intense, less of a rehashing of ideas/influences and more so this unceasing look at the ideas and emotions that kaiju can explore like few other “canons.”

Happy Hour #5

Cover by Michael Montenat

Judging by the Cover – 03/17/21 new releases

For those unaware of AHOY Comics’ mostly great series, Happy Hour is about a future America where everyone has to be happy all the time (or face the might of an extra nasty police state). Knowing that, it’s easy to see why the cover features a character smiling like they’ve just fallen in love — despite being ripped apart by some kind of ring-tailed animal. (Biology aficionados, help me out!) And the sheer insanity of this cover would be enough to enjoy if it were, like, hung up in a really freaky museum. But in the context of the story proper, it’s all the more weird, wonderful, and utterly depressing. That’s why AHOY is totes cool, folks.

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