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Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 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-Corp #1

Cover by David Aja

Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 new releases

The whole point of Krakoa is to serve as an island paradise for all of mutantkind. But maybe mutants will want more beyond food, shelter, and a sense of peace, and so who handles that process? (Which, in this case, could be anything from a jet ski to, like, tickets to a Dua Lipa show, right?) Well, that’s where X-Corp comes in: lead by Monet St. Croix and Warren Worthington, the “corp” is meant to be mutants’ entrance into “corporate culture,” a means to grow Krakoa into something like a Facebook or Amazon. So prepare for a lot of exploration of the hellish sides of capitalism, or questions about the ethics and exploitation of such corporate structures. In the meantime, though, the cover to #1 does a great job setting up this part of the X world, looking like the craziest episode of Mad Men ever conceived and hinting at that mixture of cool Wall Street vibes and terrifying corporate hellscape. Whatever happens, consider this client already sold.

Future State: Gotham #1

Cover by Yasmine Putri

Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 new releases

If you know us, you’ll already know that Future State was a big hit around AIPT. So, of course, we’re more than glad to see it continue via Future State: Gotham, in which the Red Hood actually works for the Magistrate to hunt down this story’s Batman (Tim Fox). Obviously, there’s questions galore there, like why is Red Hood acting like a fascist hunting dog, or how did he have such a falling out with the larger Bat family? I’m sure the series itself will answer those queries, but from the cover alone, at least a few things are already obvious. Like, Red Hood’s arrived at a suit that actually looks sort of cool (and almost screams inspiration from Batman Beyond). Plus, the whole hooked sword weapon works, and also might speak volumes about his overall state in this latest flash forward to Gotham’s awful future. However all this unfolds, more Batman stories in the world are always a good thing.

Fantastic Four #32

Cover by Mark Brooks

Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 new releases

This time, on As The Four Turns, Johnny Storm was set to start his life with his soulmate Sky — only for his ex-wife, Crystal, to return under mysterious circumstances.

::Cue theme music similar to Passions::

In all seriousness, it’s sort of nice to see the already thin barrier between comics and soap operas melt a little further away, and this whole “The Bride of Doom” storyline promises to be rich in slightly over-the-top drama. In the meantime, though, we get this great cover, which basically tells us everything we’ll need to know coming into part one. Namely, Johnny is about to have his world totally rocked, and Doom is likely going to play a huge role in this affair of the hearts. Doom’s presence isn’t new — he’s made a career of mucking around in the Fantastic Four’s lives — but this somehow feels extra spicy given the storyline and cover art. Bring the drama, y’all!

Justice League: Last Ride #1

Cover by Darick Robertson

Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 new releases

At first glance, there’s not a ton that makes this piece standout. Sure, you have the big three, and they’re in particularly harrowing, extra dramatic poses that indicate some massive, world-altering event could be playing out. But, to be totally fair, you could get a lot of that in some other books. No, for Last Ride, you really need to add in the context to make this piece pop. It’s written by Chip Zdarsky, who does well with personal stories of our favorite larger-than-life heroes, and focuses on a Justice League that’s been effectively “broken up” for sometime, now grappling with one big final “case” involving a murder trial of galactic proportions. Spin that all together, and you have a doubly dramatic, especially resonant debut cover that is going to get good from the first panel of page one. Prepare yourself for a lot of juicy venting and difficult reunions, everyone.

Time Before Time #1

Cover by Declan Shalvey

Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 new releases

If you already browsed our interview with the creative team, you’ll know how promising Time Before Time has proven to be. It’s basically “Quantum Leap meets The Wire,” or “Looper meets Saga” — however you want to describe this book, it’s great. But what works about this cover to issue #1 is that it doesn’t completely hint at this series’ sci-fi bent. Which is to say, rather than focus on the fantastical elements of time travel, it opts for the dark, slightly brooding quality of living life in a bleak future, working for some nasty criminal syndicate. That choice speaks volumes of what the series is looking to explore, and its larger messages about sci-fi tropes, humanity’s prospects, and the cyclical nature of our existence. And at the same time, the cover just makes this look so deeply cool and compelling, a difficult task if there ever were one. This book’s a real good time, and you should prepare yourselves for accordingly.

Silver City #1

Cover by Roberta Ingranata

Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 new releases

Much like the cover to Justice League: Last Ride, the debut for Silver City isn’t much without a lot of context. On first glance, it’s some angsty looking 20-somethings in front of a weird shanty town of sorts. But once you know Silver City is actually the name of this universe’s afterlife, and the whole thing is like Sin City meets Push (seriously, Chris Evans’ finest role), and the cover becomes so much more epic. (There’s an interview running with writer Olivia Cuartero-Briggs on Tuesday morning, so peep that for the inside scoop.) With said context, now you might guess that these aren’t mere young people, or that there’s something more to the city depicted here. Either way, you’re now prepared for this series’ larger story to start to slowly unfold, revealing a rich marriage of fantasy and superhero comics and crime fiction that you shouldn’t miss. Or the angel thing will eat your brains.

Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #2

Cover by Phil Noto

Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 new releases

If you missed issue #1, this delightful story, which is basically a What-If tale, asks the question, “What if Peter Parker became Venom?” And as evidenced by the cover to #2, you might have guessed it’s already gone poorly, with Petey here succumbing to the symbiote’s dark influence pretty quickly. What I love about this cover, more than what it so perfectly encapsulates about the story, or even that it’s clearly a nod to some old-school movie poster for a horror thriller, is the end result. Which is to say, it’s a great sort of standalone effort that is both a powerful piece of comics-centric art and yet also doesn’t try and exude some kind of obvious, slightly cheesy homage to whatever it’s inspirations might actually be. Would I want to hang this up in my apartment, perhaps above a bookshelf or liquor cabinet? Maybe not. But I love when comics art achieves that blend of geekery, coolness, and artistic scope to transcend what it is and just be cool in and of itself. And this cover does that and then some.

Wonder Woman #772

Cover by Travis Moore

Judging by the Cover

There’s plenty of reasons why I’d choose this piece. For one, it’s part of an extra compelling storyline, in which Diana gets caught up in the machinations and mythos of Asgard. That means she’ll have to work with Thor to overcome obstacles and learn valuable lessons about being a warrior and trying to find some kind of balance in life. I could also just be celebrating the backup story, which is about a young Diana going all Aqualass to explore mysteries hidden in and around Themyscira’s oceans. But if I’m being totally honest, I chose issue #772 because Diana’s true nemesis (as seen here) is described as her “darkest self,” and that just makes me thing of 1) Dark Link but also 2) Batman’s contingency plans for the League, in which Diana (influenced by nanites) fights her unstoppable equal to the death. With so many layers here, it’d be impossible not to give this cover the loudest of shout-outs.

White #1

Cover by Khary Randolph

Judging by the Cover – 05/12/21 new releases

If you haven’t read BLACK (shame on you), it’s basically about what happens in a world where only Black people receive superpowers. (The short answer: it’s an intense and hugely compelling world that you should read about pronto.) So now the same creative team — writer Kwanza Osajyefo and artist Jamal Igle — have reunited for White, a sequel of sorts taking place three years after the story’s grand revelation. Without detailing too much, the book follows the empowered Kareem Jenkins and his fellow super-powered citizens living in a world where the fiendish Theodore Mann has been elected president. And the real scope of this world is apparent on every single inch of the cover to #1, a deeply evocative portrait of inequality and terror that’s just as much a part of our universe as it is this fictional one. If you want to read a book that speaks truth in really interesting ways, this is the one — so long as you also get BLACK, too.

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