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Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 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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Moon Knight #1

Variant Cover by Mike Mayhew

Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 new releases

Perhaps the return of Moon Knight to his own solo series doesn’t have the impact of, say, a Spider-Man anniversary issue. But Marc Spector back on the prowl is nonetheless worthy of ample commemoration, and with Jed MacKay behind the pen, we’re going to see the Fist of Khonshu head toward some pretty wacky directions. So for that alone, Marvel has really rolled out some A-list variant covers, and each one does its own job to hype the debut issue. There’s this pristine piece courtesy of Alex Garner. Or, this Tyler Kirkham cover that screams old-school Moon Knight. You can’t forget about this slightly trippy cover from David Mack. And, of course, this weird and mysterious piece from Kyle Hotz. But the piece de resistance is this cover from Mike Mayhew, which exudes a perfectly ’90s, alt comic energy while perfectly encapsulating MK in one glorious image. Welcome back, Team Moon Knight.

Flash #772

Cover by Brandon Peterson

Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 new releases

If you recall last week’s edition, I also featured — actually. lead with — a Flash cover; that annual 2021 cover (also from Brandon Peterson) was just too perfect not to feature. But whereas that cover featured a perfect visual story of the Flash himself, the cover to #772 is all about Heat Wave, who opts to go on a real mission of fiery destruction just as Wally West gets his life in Central City back on track. As far as visual metaphors go, using Heat Wave as the harbinger of doom for Wally’s personal life is super apt. But there’s something about this version of the long-standing fiend — maybe its that evil-looking grin? — that just takes this piece up a few notches (or degrees, amirite?!) Sometimes you don’t need a lot for a great cover — just a chance to stare down your foe and really let it all sink in.

Thor Annual #1

Cover by Alex Garner and Aaron Kuder

Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 new releases

There’s quite a few reasons to love this annual’s cover. For one, it’s an annual, and that means you can pick it up regardless of if you’ve been reading the current Thor series (you should!) and still enjoy some context-free action from the god of lightning himself. More specifically, this annual promises all sorts of things: 1) some awesome Thor vs. Thor action; 2) a “mysterious guest” with “otherworldly powers”; and 3) Hawkeye. All of that comes together for a nice preview in this epic cover, which boils everything down to what readers actually want (that’d be Thor smashing Thor, folks). Is there bound to be something more to the story, perhaps some twist or other device to make this more intriguing or compelling? Of course. But for now, just peep all this epic Asgardian battle action, and let it prepare you for whatever may come.

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #2

Cover by Bilquis Evely

Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 new releases

If issue #1 is any indication, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow is going to be quite the interesting series. Here, Supergirl becomes trapped on a planet without her many powers, helping a girl get Princess Bride-style vengeance on the man who killed her father. I’ve had a lot of negative things to say about Superman (and, by extension, a lot of that applies to Supergirl), but there’s one thing that’s always made Supes interesting: stripping away his powers. Only then do I really see the earnest, slightly folksy heroes that others seem to adore, and that’s clearly what’s going to happen with Supergirl in this series. The cover for issue #2 is a gorgeous snapshot of this excellent de-powering, and the kinds of deeply human situations (despite not being human at all) she’ll find herself thrown into. That’s where the Super family actually soars, and I’ll take “waiting at an intergalactic bus stop” over any adventure any day of the week.

M.O.M: Mother of Madness #1

Cover by Jo Ratcliffe

Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 new releases

If you recall our interview from a month ago or so, actress Emilia Clarke is making her comics debut. Joined by writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Leila Leiz, the Mother of Dragons has penned M.O.M: Mother of Madness, in which a scientist-turned-superhero battles a nasty group of human traffickers. (The book is described as the collision of “Deadpool action and Fleabag comedy.”) And if you want a great preview of just what this might become, maybe the cover isn’t necessarily the best. Even still, Jo Ratcliffe’s piece is undoubtedly still excellent, and at the very least it, primes the senses and synapses for a dash of kooky superhero comics coming down the pipeline. Plus, it all builds nicely on the interiors from Leiz, and you can at least expect some amazing art in this 40-page story. Will the rest of it deliver? You’ll just have to read for yourself…

Black Hammer: Reborn #2

Variant Cover by Jill Thompson

Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 new releases

If you’re not up-to-date on yet another project from this most awesome universe, Black Hammer: Reborn follows Lucy Weber 20 years after she’s “retired.” It’s both an exploration of family life — her kids kinda suck, and her marriage is in the pits — as well as promising to be a grand old adventure featuring “spatial warps, shark monsters, and familiar faces.” So if you’re just getting going with this story, issue #2 is both still early enough to latch on to posthaste. Is the piece a little on the nose? Sure, but then that’s what makes it so perfect. It shows not only the family’s disconnect, and the kids’ own disinterest or utter disdain, but how confused and uncertain Lucy looks. As if she understands how to beat up interdimensional monsters, but not how to deal with two unruly children. In that sense, this book presents a multi-layered adventure, and any time we can return to these characters is a win-win.

Syphon #1

Cover by Jeff Edwards and John Kalisz

Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 new releases

My parents are among the countless hordes who enjoy shows like Chicago Fire. And while we should honor the work of EMTS everywhere, not even all the drama in the world could make me want to watch such a presentation. But then you have Syphon, starring “fast-living EMT” Sylas, and you’ve got my undivided attention. Because instead of utterly unrealistic situations of danger, or spicy relationship happenings behind-the-scenes, Syphon follows Sylas as he develops the power to “sense and siphon pain from others.” As far as previews go, the cover for issue #1 works brilliantly to hype this supernatural medical drama. It’s not just the small-ish river of blood, the gritty city backdrop, or the weird aberrations in reality — it’s Sylas’ reflection. That small bit of an already amazing piece speaks volumes, and hints at ideas and sensibilities and layers of emotion with utter efficiency. However this series breaks down, you don’t need to be an empath to know it’s going to be an emotionally potent story.

Justice League #65

Cover by David Marquez

Judging by the Cover

As someone who knows what he likes and doesn’t like on comics covers, I’ll tell you there’s a few tropes I adore. And lucky for me, they’re all presented on the cover to Justice League #65. First is when you have a smaller hero next to larger heroes and/or villains; it somehow makes me care a little more given the “uneven” stakes here. Next, you have some kind of prop usage or appropriation; in this case, it’s the chess board, and that works both as a halfway decent metaphor as well as a straight up visual gag given just how much of this issue depends on Checkmate. Finally, it’s got a character actually speaking on the cover, and even without the awesome pun involved, I often both hate and celebrate this hokey device. All together, these instances make for one heck of a cover, and that’s not even counting the hype for an issue with Black Adam and Etrigan. Talk about a jam-packed story or what?

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #28

Cover by Taurin Clarke

Judging by the Cover – 07/21/21 new releases

By now, we’re already at part four of the “Clone Saga.” And if you haven’t already deciphered it from this cover to issue #28, our own Miles Morales may be in real danger. But forget, for a moment even, the very-real stakes here, and instead spend a few minutes just peeping Miles’ form. It’s almost like a spin on the way he normally floats through the air, with a sense of abandonment and grace that speaks volumes about this young hero. Only now it’s like he’s actively hurt and falling, and the repurposing of this visual “gag” works to devastating effect. It’s subtle, but then that’s why it works so well — it’s like we’re questioning Miles’ chances for success at a very fundamental and essential level, and that’s always the best way to strike at the heart of any hero. Whatever happens in this issue, and even the larger story, this moment will still be hugely impactful.

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