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Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 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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Batman #107

Cover by Jorge Jimenez and Tomeu Morey

Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 new releases

Tensions are running especially high in Batman — and that’s saying a lot given this is a book about a man dressed as a bit fighting crazy supervillains in the worst city in America. But for all that chaos, there’s a certain sense of order bordering on nigh serenity in the cover to issue #107. That probably has everything to do with the configuration of Batman, Scarecrow, and the rest of the players here — a deliberate organization and balance that serves as a perfect counter to the sheer madness brewing within. It feels like both a great visual metaphor for Bats’ connection with his rogue’s gallery and a much-needed break in the action before things truly pop off. Who says you always need explosions and sweet angles to make an effective cover?

Venom #34

Cover by Iban Coello and Jesus Aburtov

Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 new releases

The end is here (sort of): the final tie-in for the King in Black event, which has proved to be both utterly crazy in terms of story while offering some really wonderful, totally out there visuals. And what a great moment for the Venom book to choose in “commemorating” this moment: a simple shot of Eddie Brock walking away, suggesting that all things flow through him as he enters the dark and whatever madness may come next. It’s difficult to pick a better visual message considering that they’re also hinting at the “end of the Venom symbiote as we know it” — could that effect actually be the suit leaving instead? Either way, this cover more than delivers in properly hyping a big moment in what’s been a continually great narrative arc and story.

Geiger #1

Cover by Gary Frank 

Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 new releases

The world has spent the last year or so fearing that the end might come through some awful global pandemic. But as a way to remind us of the continued threat of total nuclear annihilation, there’s Geiger. Here, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank team up for a series about a titular fella scavenging an Earth long since devastated by total nuclear war. As such, the cover is pretty basic, with a gnarly skull inside a mushroom cloud. But is the man out front (we’d assume the aforementioned Geiger>) celebrating the explosion? Could he perhaps be the one evoking or causing said blast? There’s bound to be some answers inside, but for now we’ll have to sit around and twist on the other possibilities of our imminent demise. Feels like a COVID vacation!

The Next Batman: Second Son #1

Cover by Doug Braithwaite

Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 new releases

If you missed Future State (why?!), the iconic John Ridley penned The Next Batman, which followed Tim Fox as he became The Next Batman for a semi-futuristic Gotham City. Now, Ridley (joined by artists Tony Akins and Travel Foreman) come together for an origin story about Fox’s journey to becoming the man behind the cowl. More specifically, it looks at Fox’s relationship with the rest of his family and the resulting years of estrangement. Which totally explains this cover, with Fox amid in his own family/support network. If you’re one of the folks who hated seeing a new Batman, this series may be a continued annoyance. But for the rest of us who aren’t silly willies, this series will be something to extend that great story. And as this cover expertly demonstrates, it’s going to be a story that pushes new ideas and perspectives while maintaining something essential about the Bat canon: family is vital, and no story is complete without this much-needed bit of context.

The Immortal Hulk #45

Cover by Alex Ross

Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 new releases

If you’re a fan of body horror (and who isn’t?!), The Immortal Hulk has been like a monthly version of Christmas. We’ve seen The Hulk/Bruce Banner literally broken down into random body parts, or utterly disemboweled with giant claws. Even the parts of this series that aren’t specifically about body horror are physically uncomfortable given the look and aesthetic of the story thus far. But even all of that doesn’t feel quite as effective as the cover to #45. An emaciated, physically broken Hulk manages to maintain his trademark rage while looking mere moments from actual death. The contrast is doubly effective, and it creates this profound sense of tension that is hugely compelling. This series has never been easy to swallow, and it continues to make uncomfortable ideas and visuals hugely appealing. Bravo, team.

ENIAC #2

Cover by Lewis LaRosa and Diego Rodriguez

Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 new releases

And speaking of slightly uncomfortable physical portrayals, we have the cover to ENIAC #2. If you missed out on issue #1, it’s the story of a rogue A.I. that’s basically guided American military policy since WWII, and two agents’ attempts to finally bring it down for good. It’s a story all about poking holes in the military-industrial complex, and what better way to do that then choose this specific shot. Seemingly taken from some fish bubble camera in a soldier’s body armor (or perhaps from ENIAC himself?!?!), it’s a powerful distortion of the people and events that are associated with warfare. The end result is clear: war is total hell and we’ve mostly done it all to ourselves. Enjoy!

Hollow Heart #2

Cover by Paul Tucker

Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 new releases

If you missed the debut issue, Hollow Heart is basically about a human-turned-robotic-war-machine falling in love with his mechanic. The queer love story dazzled even part way through #1, and the connection between Mateo (the human) and EL (the war bot) already felt like a massive accomplishment in character development. And with issue #2, their budding romance continues as the pair hatch their escape while further developing their love affair. But just peep the cover to #2: with the swirling colors, prominent placement of a heart, and that sense of jarring momentum, it expertly captures what it’s like to fall in love. Which is to say, a thrilling and terrifying experience that rocks everyone’s world, be they humanoid or massive robot. Ain’t love just grand?!

Bloom #1

Cover by Bong Dazo

Judging by the Cover

If you’re unfamiliar with Hero Tomorrow Comics universe, Regina is “the most powerful character,” and Bloom is her origin story of sorts. Specifically, it’s about a wild and psychedelic journey between comics artist Ramsey and the dancer Regina as they “break on through to the OTHER side.” But forgot the story, or the larger canon for a moment or two, and just peep this cover. It just screams Dr. Seuss meets bad acid trip, and it’s just so deeply beguiling to gaze upon, likely slack-jawed. If this whole book is all about the wonders and weirdness of the late ’60s, then this cover alone tells so much of the story already. Whatever comes next, then, will hopefully be just as groovy.

Project Patron #1

Cover by David Talaski

Judging by the Cover – 04/07/21 new releases

If you see Steve Orlando as the writer, that’s all the push you need to pick this book up. But in case you need a tad more, Project Patron is about how a beloved hero is secretly replaced by some clone, and what happens to the team “piloting” said hero as tragedy strikes their little family and/or cabal. So knowing all that, it really makes this cover, which would otherwise scream “1950s superhero pinup glory,” feel all that more different. A little more sinister? Maybe, but it’s more than that. It sort of asks us to question our perceptions of heroes, and if the end result is still “good guy smashes monster,” do we really care about the actual truth? No one can answer that but you, dear reader, and let’s hope the story itself delivers as much as the actual cover.

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