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

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 04/21/21 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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X-Force #19

Cover by Joshua Cassara

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

If we’re to believe the press materials for issue #19, Quentin Quire is about to go all Nightmare on Elm Street and battle the nasty dreams plaguing the X-Force. He did sort of luck out by being away while said nightmare creature broke the team down, so it’s more like he has no other way forward. And as far as tough jobs are concerned, you can’t really get more impossible then traipsing through the head of one Jean Grey, whose dreams would make even the most fiendish demon scream and vomit instantly. But if nothing else, this is going to be a huge story with heaps of new visual potential — even if some of that is twisted nightmares — and this cover is a great preview of what’s to come. Good luck, Q!

Catwoman #30

Cover by Joëlle Jones

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

In this instance of Catwoman‘s mostly excellent run, Selina Kyle’s dealing with a lot of mystery. Like, where is Poison Ivy? Can the Riddler be trusted to help find DC’s queen of plants? And what’s Penguin doing and who exactly is that hit man he hired? Given all of that, you can’t have chosen a better cover to issue #30 than this little nugget of noir-y goodness. There’s actual question marks to hint at said mysteries galore, Kyle’s little mysterious little gesture, a bunch of weird plants, and ample rain, which though not inherently mysterious does still fit perfectly with the whole “whodunnit” vibe. Whatever mysteries this issues lets slip, there’s bound to be even more great questions ahead. That, and a super slick comic book story to boot.

The Girls of Dimension 13 #1

Cover by Bret Blevins

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

The Girls of Dimension 13 follows a gaggle of young woman who move into a mysterious home in NYC, only to be effectively gifted superpowers to defend the nexus point for all known realities. You know, that old nut that we’ve seen a hundred times on “Tales from Craigslist.” But the creative team looks solid — Graham Nolan (The Chenoo) is writing, and there’s art from Bret Blevins (Batman Beyond) — and there should be a lot of neat-o directions for this thing to grow toward. Which is why the cover to issue #1 works: it’s deeply multifaceted. Are these girls some dope new magical singing group that also fight monsters? Maybe they’re a band of ghost-hunting superheroes? Or, is this some bonkers new version of Powerpuff Girls? All of the above?! Whatever way it goes, there’s plenty to look forward to with this series.

Way of X #1

Cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli

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

And speaking of questions, there’s heaps surrounding Way of X. Our own David Canham presented his own such ponderings in a totally excellent essay, but these queries extend beyond the series’ inherently religious subject matter and/or larger tone. Instead, it’s more questions about just what Nightcrawler tends to do, and how can he help the souls of his fellow mutants (and do said souls actually need his help?) That’s why this simple but effective cover works so darn well: it puts the core emphasis on Nightcrawler, and through his appearance (super sharp swords, creepy demon smile, etc.), we’re meant to think about him specifically as it applies to these larger motifs of religion/spirituality. Is he the mutants’ savior, or is there something more to the Way of X? Holy moly, you have our collective attention regardless.

Superman: Red and Blue #2

Variant Cover by David Choe

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

This new series is meant to highlight Superman as we’ve never seen him before. It’s through these seemingly random, disconnected stories that we’re likely to reach a new and more nuanced appreciation for the Man of Steel. But at the end of the day, unless the stories show him punching bald eagles or voting Republican, we’re still likely to value Supes as the god-like paladin he’s always represented for the DCU. That’s why I like David Choe’s variant so much: it shows a less “clean” and more chaotic version of Superman. There’s a chaos to his emblem, which feels like a metaphor for contextualizing just what he represents. Or, the “messy” laser beams and the accompanying sense that he struggles with controlling such huge power. It’s a little gesture, but these are the kinds of insights I hope this series offers up in spades.

Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #2

Cover by Iban Coello

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

Without spoiling too much of the debut issue, we’re really seeing a new side of the Black Knight/Dane Whitman character as well as his larger mythos. Who is he really, and what does his power have to do with Arthurian legend? It’s so far been a new and interesting way to delve into this “unsung” hero, and to try and contextualize his larger role in the Marvel universe. But at the same time, the visuals have just been top-notch, and this cover to issue #2 tears all that down to focus on the chaos and darkness and utter weirdness swirling around this story. It’s like, come for the brave knight burying magical steel into nasty monsters, but stay for the larger story of a single man amid a mad history. And stay we certainly will.

Lady Baltimore #2

Cover by Abigail Larson

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

What I’ve loved about every part of the Baltimore universe, and that includes this latest iteration, is the sheer simplicity. Lord/Lady Baltimore hunt down monsters and engage in some really satisfying battles with swords and spears and simple guns. And this cover to Lady Baltimore #2 continues that great tradition, with our Lady of Perpetual Ass-Kicking dishing it out to some fiendish ghoul/creature with a face that screams, “You’ll pay for this annoyance with your bloody head.” But like the series also does so very well, there’s a hint of something more here; be it a larger part of the story, something unseen about this battle, or another mystery waiting to be cracked open wide. Still, just focus on the sick monster-bashing if you need to keep things simple.

Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point #1

Variant Cover by Kenneth Rocafort

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

In most circumstances, if you told me there’s a series where Batman enters Fortnite, I’d spit in your face and set fire to a nearby mailbox. But maybe I’m softening in my age, or I’ve given up the ability to fight trivial battles for my fictional heroes, but I can actually get behind the whole Zero Point story. Especially as we have a great cover like this from Kenneth Rocafort. Batman is still being Batman, with that trademark look of “I don’t care how weird things get, I have a job to do.” All the while, weirdness unfolds behind him, the very least of which is Harley Quinn (for once). I mean, if he can hang out with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then maybe Batman can make even this asinine pop culture mashup seem less gimmicky and silly. But so help me if he does that dance…

Vietnam Horror #2

Cover by Vito Coppola

Judging by the Cover

As someone who grew up with a dad who obsessively read books about the Vietnam War, I’m mostly over any kind of book, show, movie, etc. about this singular moment in history. But then you add in a monster, and maybe I’m actually ready to pay attention. Vietnam Horror promises just that, with a group of American soldiers doing battle with unknown monsters in the middle of a hellacious warzone. Do I think this reads like Saving Private Ryan meets The Thing? Or even Apocalypse Now meets Slither but with waaay more body horror? Absolutely. But I think it’s the kind of thing to get folks interested in history, even more so than 100 of my dad’s own non-fiction books. Because those don’t have nearly enough monsters with giant gruesome back claws.

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