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Judging by the Cover – 06/23/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 06/23/21 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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Action Comics #1032

Cover by Mikel Janin

Judging by the Cover

When you’re talking about the Justice League, there’s a lot of really great combinations. Batman and Superman. Batman and Wonder Woman. Even Batman and Green Lantern. But then there’s Superman and Aquaman, and while that’s not everyone’s immediate pick for super amazing team-up, it works wonderfully. They’re both aliens in a strange world, trying to reconcile their lineage with the way the world actually works and also sees these dynamic heroes. That’s why this is such a great cover: not only does it remind you, the dear reader, about this tag team’s potential, but it also just serves as a great reminder about how simple pairings can tell such a great story in and of themselves. That, and including giant sea kaiju can only ever help.

Wolverine #13

Cover by Adam Kubert

Judging by the Cover – 06/23/21 new releases

And speaking of great pairings, we get another chapter in the weird and sordid saga of Wolverine and Deadpool. Just because the X titles are engaged in a fancy gala doesn’t mean that Wolvey and Mr. Pool can’t still but heads; their respective similarities (immortal Canadians) and drastic differences (literally everything else) always make for the best stories when used as a starting point/an accelerant. There’s a lot one could pull from this cover about the pair’s relationship and place in the current X titles. Are they both outcasts, whose only solace is in the perpetual fight? You bet. But it’s also just totes cool to see them tussle in evening wear, especially as Wade Wilson never spills a drop of booze. Talk about a real party pleaser, amirite?!

The Blue Flame #2

Variant Cover by Yoshi Yoshitani

Judging by the Cover – 06/23/21 new releases

In his rather glowing review of issue #1, our own David Brooke spoke about how the series is for those “hungry for complex storytelling with superheroes.” He went on to say it combines “real-life” banality with a John Carter-esque story that’s “dynamic and nimble and thought-provoking.” And I can’t say it much better; it’s a story that both celebrates and re-contextualizes everything truly great about superhero stories/the larger archetype. Which is why I had to choose this truly amazing variant cover for issue #2 — it perfectly encapsulates the energy, intrigue, and nougaty core of off-kilter emotionality that has made this such a gripping story thus far. Perhaps you can’t tell what this story is just by looking at this piece, but then that’s seemingly the point: it’s so many different things and ideas at once, and the greatness comes when you have the courage and passion to jump right in. It’s genuinely worth it, we promise.

Batman/Superman #19

Cover by Ivan Reis

Judging by the Cover – 06/23/21 new releases

And speaking once more about awesome pairings, the cover to issue #19 of Batman/Superman delivers in a big way in furthering the Bats/Supes dynamic. Without spoiling too much about the current story, DC’s bestest pals are moving across different realities to stop “apocalypse” from “cascading” — which translates to some great alternate Earth versions of Batman and Superman. On the one hand, this cover speaks for itself — Batman and Superman in a Wild West-style world. But at the same time it also offers up a heap more questions. Are they fighting Egyptian robots for some reason? Does it get hot wearing multiple layers like that? And why does Batman still wear a full-face mask, regardless of which Bats this is actually being depicted> Enjoy rolling those questions around your brain pan before reading this issue.

Spawn’s Universe #1

Variant Cover by Todd McFarlane

Judging by the Cover – 06/23/21 new releases

After months of lead up, it’s here at last: the debut issue of Spawn’s Universe, which serves as an intro for three new series (a team book, a new Spawn title, and a Gunslinger Spawn monthly series). So while we can expect a double-sized slice of Spawn goodness, I’d also recommend some time celebrating and/or studying the actual cover. That’s because it feels like the best kind of encapsulation of the Spawn universe: all sorts of groovy characters, some more familiar and/or cool than others, presented in a way that shows just how unpredictable and chaotic these new series will likely prove to be. If the promise is that the “world of Spawn changes forever,” I can’t think of a better way than throwing all the cards on the table to hype just what comes next. A legion of kooky Spawns, that’s what’s comin’.

Infinite Frontier #1

Cover by Mitch Gerads

Judging by the Cover – 06/23/21 new releases

If you never read Dark Nights: Death Metal (why you being so silly, dog?), here’s what you need to know before hopping into Infinite Frontier. Basically, all of DC’s past Crises have been undone, and all your most beloved lost heroes have “returned from whatever exile they had been in.” That includes the likes of Alan “Green Lantern” Scott and, like, all of the JSA. So, as far as covers are concerned for such an “event,” slapping these returned heroes front and center should go a long way to hyping folks up to the Nth degree. But there’s more here, and with Darkseid clearly also playing a huge role in this tale, it just goes to show that their respective returns are going to be more complicated than these heroes had ever imagined. This is DC, after all, and even if we’re mucking around with some great past stories, the potential for something just as great emerging remains fairly strong.

X-Men: Legends #4

Cover by Walt Simonson

Judging by the Cover – 06/23/21 new releases

The whole promise of X-Men Legends is that it’s “all-new tales” populated by “your favorite X-Men, spanning classic eras.” Just don’t let things like canon or the like get in your way, and you, too, can enjoy the simplicity of high drama and killer action featuring some of your most beloved X-Men (and Cyclops — zing!!) With issue #4, we get a story set pre X-Factor #43 (all the way back from August 1989) from the iconic duo of Louise Jones Simonson and Walter Simonson. But we also get this truly great cover, which somehow manages to reference both that X-Factor story, the ’90s X-Men cartoon, and even arcade game from 1992. Yet this is more than just a head-rush of nostalgia; it’s done in a way to appropriate the material in new and exciting ways. Is this still something of a retro-tinged cash grab? Sure, but one that feels totes worthy.

Giga #4

Cover by John Le

Judging by the Cover – 06/23/21 new releases

After a couple months off, Giga roars back to life with issue #4. Let’s hope enough of you jumped aboard in the interim, because this has been a really interesting and engaging story thus far, one that scratches the itch for both evocative storytelling and also giant, totally cool mechs. But I’ve also liked the “story” as depicted on the three preceding covers. After depicting the true scale of these mechs, issue #4 pulls backs for an especially “intimate” portrayal, something that feels really personal and in stark contrast to the giant robots otherwise portrayed. I think that editorial decision speaks to a few different things: the human core at the heart of this story; the dynamic between characters Aiko and Evan; and how the big reveal of this series will likely feel like something deeply personal. Come for the mechs, stay for the cutting storytelling, folks.

Imogen of the Wyrding Way #1

Cover by Peter Bergting

Judging by the Cover

If you see “Dark Horse Comics” and “Mike Mignola” on the cover, just go ahead and pony up the money right away. In the latest such must-have project, Mignola, joined by artist Peter Bergting and regular collaborator Christopher Golden, expands the Baltimore and larger Outerverse by focusing on the story of Imogen, a “Wyrder” who winds up battling Nazis and some strange magical foe. The pedigree of the book alone should be enough to earn a pre-order, but if you need a little more incentive, peep Bergting’s cover to issue #1. It checks all the boxes of a great Mignola-verse story: giant weird monster, magic galore, a cool history lesson, and a plucky young protagonist. Don’t be wyrd — read this book!

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