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Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 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 Woman #773

Cover by Travis Moore

Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 new releases

If you haven’t been keeping up with Wonder Woman, you’re in for a treat: Vikings! More specifically, Diana’s found herself tackling with the many denizens of Asgard, trying to save the day and promote peace where she can. That last bit’s especially important as issue #773 has her up against the hall of Valkyries, trying to prevent these mighty warriors and their male counterparts from destroying each other outright. What that means for us as readers is a chance to see Diana and the Valkyries go toe-to-toe, complete with a laser light show courtesy of Mjolnir (dig this design for the universe’s baddest hammer). Something about peace and the making of an omelet comes to mind, but damn if I’m just not enthralled by this fight scene.

Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #3

Cover by Phil Noto

Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 new releases

For those also not caught up with Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow — are you also re-reading Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers work?! — it’s basically, “What happens if Spider-Man became Venom.” Cue a whole lot of crazy happenings, and as we head into issue #3, writer Chip Zdarsky further flips the script by having Peter Parker’s worst villains, effectively the Sinister Six, being the ones to take down Your (Not So) Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. (Oh, and Reed Richards is in the mix, too.) What strikes me about this cover is that prevailing reversal of the roles being displayed here, as its the Six that are the target of Dark Spidey’s twisted machinations. As an extension of that, Peter’s posture implies that he’s the one controlling this twisted web of a narrative. All of that adds up to be a great chapter in a powerful story that plays with all our of core Spidey sensibilities.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #117

Cover by Sophie Campbell

Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 new releases

It was another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cover, from many, many months ago, that caught this writer’s eye despite him having never read a single issue. (My TMNT cred, though, stems back to making my dad spend all of Christmas morning 1993/1004 building and inflating the Turtles’ blimp.) Though I may know even less about issue #117, other than what’s actually on the cover and how this marks “important steps” towards the book’s “next chapter,” knowing less makes me actually feel even better. That’s because everything I need to know is displayed in beautiful, succinct fashion: badass turtle ally (apparently Jennika?) playing a sick guitar while all sorts of story threads and other narrative tidbits are teased throughout. What I’m missing in the actual story is more than made up for by a quintessential TMNT piece of artwork that speaks to all fans across mediums, eras, etc.

DC Pride #1

Variant Cover by Jen Bartel

Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 new releases

Recently, as Pride Month kicked off, our own Madeleine Chan wrote an especially excellent essay about comics and the month-long celebration. What they said, effectively, was that if the comics industry wants to do its part and commemorate this important time for the LGBTQ+ community, that celebrate needs to 1) be about actual Pride and 2) go deeper than rainbow logos and featuring gay and trans characters to more meaningful forms of inclusion and support. But as far as surface-level obligations go, I do sure love this variant cover by Jen Bartel. Not only because I’d love Bartel’s work even if she exclusively drew stick figures, but this speaks to something essential about gay characters and how they should be presented across DC’s titles. Namely, something true and earnest about the greatest love affair in comics (Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn), showing the lovebirds in a perfect moment that feels all about the characters without trying to earn credibility. What happens beyond this cover is hard to discern, but this piece nails it all and then some.

Marjorie Finnegan Temporal Criminal #2

Cover by Andy Clarke

Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 new releases

I guess that writer Garth Ennis is perhaps best known for big and bloody creations like Preacher and The Boys. And while those series both get extra quirky extra fast, it’s always done in a way to further service the robust violence throughput. With Marjorie Finnegan Temporal Criminal, however, Ennis gets to indulge a slightly “softer” side, showing some insanity that isn’t always rooted in extreme displays of violence. (But don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of such madness throughout the book.) That’s why I like this Andy Clarke-penned cover to issue #2, in which Marjorie plays some sort of game (Rubik’s Chess maybe?) with the actual Grim Reaper. (Fun fact: it’s also a great Bill & Ted reference.) In just one silly, nonetheless bonkers image, Clarke speaks volume about the work going on inside this series. And that work is mind-numbingly cool.

Bunny Mask #1

Variant Cover by Nathan Szerdy

Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 new releases

With his series Colder, writer Paul Tobin directly facilitate the creation of one of my favorite comics covers of all-time. So, when he joins forces with artist Andrea Mutti for a new series titled Bunny Mask, you’ll have to color me intrigued. The long and short is that a man must discover the story behind the titular character, a kind of super-powered woman of mystery who was “sealed in a cave before the dawn of man” only to be “released by a crazed madman.” Before that whole kooky nut cracks itself, I love this Nathan Szerdy variant cover much in the same way I love the aforementioned Colder piece. Do either one tell me what’s going on in the story? Nope! Am I deeply terrified and also disturbed? Heck yeah! But more than anything, that fear makes me want to read on into the darkness.

Duplicant #2

Cover by Leila del Duca and Owen Gieni

Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 new releases

I know very little about Duplicant, but I sure know great body horror when I see it. According to official press/descriptions, it’s about a research scientist who grows clone organs for people, and the web of mystery and socio-politics he’s then caught up in after discovering the black market underworld that’s sprung up around these pricey “Duplicant” organs. So if a mostly timely, politically-oriented thriller lambasting the U.S. healthcare system wasn’t enough, there’s these super sweet covers like issue #2. It’s like the people are having to actually fight their organs… either to keep ’em in or in the event they’re somehow removed. Either way, I think this seems like the perfect blend of the serious and the totally gross that all great fiction should strive to achieve.

The Amazing Spider-Man #68

Cover by Mark Bagley

Judging by the Cover

It doesn’t take long — maybe two or three issues of any book — to realize we don’t kill beloved heroes. And if publishers do, you can bet your bottom dollar that these good guys/gals return quicker than a sneeze from the Flash. So, then, why do creators still tease these deaths despite your average fan knowing much better? Because, they want to make us think that one day, the end could actually come. But there’s more here in this excellent cover, and it sort of reminds of the scene from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse when they actually kill Peter Parker (of Miles’ universe). Is that intended as a subtle nod? Yeah, seems safe enough to say just that. But even if it’s not, is still accomplishes what all these faux hero deaths should: force us to reconcile with that most terrible of endings, and what it means for both our beloved icons and ourselves.

Challenge of the Super Sons #3

Cover by Simone Di Meo

Judging by the Cover – 06/09/21 new releases

The last work I really got excited about from Simone Di Meo was those early issues of We Only Find Them When They’re Dead. In that book, Di Meo managed to do something new with the sheer cosmic scale, injecting a sense of wonder and beauty amid that endless void. This time, with issue #3 of Challenge of the Super Sons, Di Meo is working on a much smaller scale, depicting the Super Sons doing battle with some kind of large giant monster. All the Di Meo trademarks are their — the size, the psychedelic wonder, etc. — tossed in with the silliness and innocence of the Sons themselves. The end result is equal parts charming, thrilling, and just a teensy bit scary. More like We Only Find Them When They’re Totally Nailing It, amirite?!

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