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Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 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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Wonder Girl #1

Cover by Joëlle Jones

Judging by the Cover

If I’ve said it once — and I’ve definitely said it more than that — Yara Flor was a true star amid the Future State event. The new Wonder Girl rightly gets her own solo series this month, where she leaves behind Boise, Idado to explore her place amid the universe/canon of Wonder Woman mythos. And as far as previews go, this cover’s a truly great start, depicting a particularly fierce looking Yara amid a backdrop of her many adventures delving into this rich pantheon. Writer/artist Joëlle Jones really did something special with this whole chapter of the “Wonder family,” and this debut issue should be a crackin’ first shot into Yara’s journey into the grander DCU.

Way of X #2

Cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 new releases

We’ve definitely hit the ground running with our coverage of Way of X. (See the review here and David Canham’s excellent essay, with even more to come from him this Tuesday.) And with the quality of this book’s story and art, it’s easy to see why we’d be so loony for it already. Case in point: this excellent cover to issue #2, which works whether you know what’s going on or not. If you’ve read issue #1, you may guess this has everything to do with the as-yet-unrevealed villain of the series. And if you’re coming in totally blind, then just enjoy multiple versions of Nightcrawler as pirates fighting some off-brand Kraken. It’s a win-win either way, y’all!

Catwoman #31

Cover by Robson Rocha

Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 new releases

Why does this Catwoman series seem to always deliver in such a specific way? Is it the great creative team, most noticeably writer Ram V. who nails Selina Kyle in such a deliberate way? Sure. Is it the great, stylized art of cover artist Robson Rocha or Fernando Blanco handling internals? Of course it’s also that. It’s also just that, across the many issues and different teams behind this book thus far, there’s been a great balance achieved. It’s one that the cover to issue #31 exemplifies: sleek and sexy, and yet also cheesy and playful, with Catwoman portrayed like both Madonna and Marilyn Monroe together for a piece that screams precisely what makes this series wonderful and singular. It’s a huge creative accomplishment, and one we hop only builds over time.

Fantastic Four: Life Story #1

Cover by Daniel Acuna

Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 new releases

If you read Spider-Man: Life Story already, you may already know what to expect. If you don’t, then it’s basically a real-time telling of the Fantastic Four’s story, starting with their cosmic power-up circa the Cold War/Space Race. Given all the many kooky adventures the team’s had over the year, things are going to get interesting real quick, but what a great place to start. Specifically with this Daniel Acuna cover, which expertly captures this dynamic moment in both actual history and the Four’s larger canon. The end result is both futuristic and firmly set in some ’60s-centric style, a deeply personal portrait of the team amid the backdrop of an exciting and yet unsettling time in mankind’s development. This cover will make you all nostalgic in the gut before it slaps you with something far deeper and more emotionally nuanced.

Phantom on the Scan #2

Cover by Mark Torres

Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 new releases

If you missed issue #1 — a pox onto your house! — this mostly great new series follows a group of psychics trying to figure our their abilities before it’s too late. And across issue #1, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Mark Torres worked exceedingly well together, their combined efforts resulting in a story that was steeped in vintage sci-fi and yet opened up to include horror and even a slice-of-life story about everyday people. And it looks like all that will continue on with issue #2, at least as far as the cover is concerned. So what exactly is the “story” of issue #2 if we’re just going off the cover? No idea, but it does seem we can expect more psychic weirdness and ungodly terrors (possibly of the body horror variety?!) across the entirety of issue #2. Either way, it’s going to be a profound next step for a promising new series.

Red Room #1

Variant Cover by Peach Momoko

Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 new releases

Recently, we told you that Ed Piskor (the man behind the excellent X-Men: Grand Design) had launched a new series of sorts, Red Room. This “cyberpunk, outlaw, splatterpunk comic”is basically the love-child of E.C. Comics and Black Mirror, and as such, promises a weird and wild ride into the depths of horror comics. But it’s not just that Piskor has absolutely nailed the aesthetic and narrative look and feel already — he’s also chosen some variant cover artists that are just as skilled and effective. Case in point: this piece by Peach Momoko, which somehow maintains her own deeply elegant, pseudo-minimalist style while still reflecting the scary vibes and intensity of Piskor’s own work. It’s amazing to see the cohesiveness here, and it’s just more proof that this is going to be one heck of freaky read.

O.B.E. (Out Of Body Experience) #1

Cover by Christopher Allen

Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 new releases

If you’re like me, sometimes you can feel a little overwhelmed by the endless dystopian scenarios in fiction. But here’s one that manages to merge both action and philosophy, as O.B.E. follows a detective hunting a serial killer picking off folks who can astral project (i.e., most of the population in this bleak futurescape). Aside from the interesting premise, the art — as exemplified in the cover to issue #1 — is certainly checking a few important boxes. A subtle Blade Runner vibe? Yup. Expert use of colors without mitigating the sullen vibes of this awful timeline? Yup yup. And futuristic-but-not-too-futuristic weapons and/or cars? Triple yup. Here’s hoping this future story plays out as promising as it looks.

Rangers of the Divide #1

Cover by Megan Huang

Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 new releases

This new Dark Horse series just lists “dragons, mythical beasts, and sci-fi technology” in its premise, and that’s more than enough to snag our collective eyeballs. But in case you need a little more, writer-artist Megan Huang’s debut series follows a grizzle military commander linking up with some newbies to define this weird and wonderful world. If we go just off the cover, it’s bound to be a wild adventure for sure, one that maybe feels a little like all the best Saturday morning cartoons mixed with a little Avatar. But there’s more here to the debut cover, and this could be a huge new world that’s just as whimsical and magical as it is more complicated and mysterious than any descriptor could fully muster. Regardless, we’re already rootin’ on the Rangers.

Redshift #1

Cover by Amancay Nahuelpan

Judging by the Cover – 05/19/21 new releases

From the first look, there’s a lot of different questions that emerge regarding this new Scout Comics title. For one, is that fella some kind of space farmer? And is that a Mars chicken or a (seemingly already dead) Earth chicken? And why does the night sky look as terrifying as it is deeply moving and gorgeous? We don’t have much answers yet; in fact, what we do know — this “brew of Total Recall and Interstellar” follows an astronaut who is “scared of space” — only adds to both our larger interest and utter sense of unknowing/mystery. But all of that’s enough to make Redshift a promising new entry to anyone’s pull list — just so long as they give us an update on the chicken pronto.

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