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Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 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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Suicide Squad #6

Variant Cover by Yoshitaka Amano

Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 new releases

There’s a reason that Harley Quinn has emerged as a star, of sorts, in recent years. (Even if that newfound star power means she’s often relegated to comic relief.) Quinn deals perfectly in dichotomies, like how she’s a certified genius in the psychiatric arts but also just straight loca. She embraces all aspects of her multi-faceted identity, and for that she’s all the more intriguing and relatable. And this cover does a wonderful job of representing the legion that is Quinn, showing both her sweet and scary sides and their connection to one another. It’s not that Quinn shifts herself, but as this cover demonstrates, the many sides of her psyche have a kind of intimate connection most of us could never truly achieve. The fact that she uses a giant bat, or has hyenas for pets, are just added bonuses.

X-Men #2

Cover by Pepe Larraz

Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 new releases

The X-Men have always been an allegory for outsiders and underdogs try to gain the acceptance and status they deserve. Only, in the last few years, I think its been easy to lose sight of that. Especially because they have their own island-nation, and there’s 400 different offshoot teams, and the X core is basically a global superpower in politics, business, art, medicine, etc. That newfound “power” is totally well-earned, and a massive sort of twist in the decades-long story of the X-Men, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re miles away from their more simple origins. But then a cover like this comes along, and we’re reminded of what makes the X-Men so appealing. As this latest configuration of the main squad face another world-ending threat, they convene for a team fist bump. Is it a little hokey? Maybe. But does it also remind us instantly of the heart of humanity and decency that rests at this canon? For sure.

Green Lantern #5

Cover by Bernard Chang

Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 new releases

To an extent, the genuinely entertaining new Green Lantern series has been a way to finally give John Stewart some much-needed spotlight. (If you don’t believe me, I went and asked writer Geoffrey Thorne myself.) But that doesn’t mean that Stewart is the only leading Lantern, and this book has also given some important attention to Jo Mullein, the star of the similarly great Far Sector. Issue #5, in fact, features Mullein going-to-toe with Sinestro and the Yellow Lantern Corps as one of the two “main” narratives. With that ensuing battle, you couldn’t have chosen a more fitting cover, with Mullein flying directly into the gaping maw of a horde of angry Yellow Lanterns. It’s not only a cool looking piece but one that speaks volumes about Mullein as well as this saga of the Green Lantern Corps in general. That message? “Don’t mess with the Green Lanterns.”

Spirits of Vengeance: Spirit Rider #1

Cover by Takashi Okazaki

Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 new releases

If you don’t know who Kushala is, prepare to be amazed. Without revealing and/or spoiling too much, she’s sort of a mystical powerhouse, being both a Ghost Rider as well as Sorcerer Supreme — which sort of makes her like a mega badass. But she’s also an Apache woman from the mid-1800s, and this book is both hugely important in regards to diversity and representation as well as just being hella cool. So, how do you encapsulate the sheer awesomeness of this character? Well, this cover does a pretty good job overall in depicting her amazing power, especially as it comes to being the “savor” of Johnny Blaze, who himself is struggling with what we’ll call an influx of power as of late. But it’s also in the subtle, non-demon fire touches; the look on Kushala’s face screams grace and rage that’s both frightening and compelling in equal parts. Also, this book was co-written by Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, and that somehow ups the bonkers factor by 6.5.

Jenny Zero #4

Cover by Magenta King

Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 new releases

If you missed out on any of the three previous issues in this four-issue miniseries, you’ve got a few days to get your reading on. Because if you can look at this cover and not be delighted, then you’re an infinitely stronger person than myself and others. But this is more than just a cool cover depicting a massive fight between a giant monster girl and a samurai mech; it’s also a perfect encapsulation of this larger story. Without revealing too much — seriously, go read the first three issues or your sink will become haunted — it’s about a girl trying to make her own way in the world and confront her destiny. The fact that a lot of that is translated directly into kaiju battles may be an oversimplification for some, but it actually is just a great way to give that emotion and narrative a place to grow and get weird, and that makes it all the more resonant and impactful. Read this book or face my Spacium Beam!

We Don’t Kill Spiders #1

Cover by Joseph Schmalke

Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 new releases

This is your standard police procedural — if it were set in the “early Viking Age.” Also, if your average procedural meant it follows a “faithless Norseman detective” teaming up with a “necromantic witch” to hunt down a serial killer. So 1,000% like Law & Order, folks! That deeply amazing premise aside, I love this book already just from the cover to issue #1 alone. It’s the way it sort of takes the procedural vibe and maintains it so brilliantly (tell me you don’t get some real Benson-Stabler vibes). Or just the general aesthetic, like a modernized look at Vikings that skirts the line between period accuracy and straight up cosplay. Even in the powerful use of pink; all of it together makes me super hopeful that this weird little amalgamation of images and ideas might work after all. Plus, totally long, super cool swords are always dope.

Deadpool: Black, White & Blood #1

Variant Cover by Alan Quah

Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 new releases

The latest entry in Marvel’s black-and-white-centric anthologies throws in some blood with tales of the ever-bonkers Deadpool. Given the scope of this book, and all of the insane things that Deadpool has done over the years (listing them out would curse us both to a life where our conscious and unconscious minds switched places), there’s plenty of  great artistic directions for the cover. But of all the infinite possibilities, I’m very, very glad we got this cover from Alan Quah. Does it keep with the whole color scheme and vibe? Yes, and beautifully at that. Does it speak volumes about who Deadpool is as a character? God yes, and in ways we could never truly recover from. Does it also let the reader learn something new? Sure, like why in the One-Above-All is there a Galactus Deadpool? Whatever you could want from Deadpool, it’s pretty much depicted on this cover. But don’t stare too long or your thalamus will disintegrate.

TMNT Best of Casey Jones #1

Cover by James Biggie

Judging by the Cover

If you’ve read this feature a few times — bless your heart, sugar — you’ll know my supreme childhood love affair with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (On Christmas one year, I made my dad spend something like five hours assembling the Turtles’ blimp.) But I have a secret: I never much cared for Casey Jones. In a show/canon with actual ninja turtles, I never saw the value of an obsessive sports fan with a terribly cliched Brooklyn accent. But even I have to get a little excited about this cover for a Jones-centric best-of, which provides a wealth of stories starring “TMNT’s unpredictable ally.” Sure, this cover is sort of exactly like the others — a simple portrait with the character’s given color. But there’s also some little things — the uneven lines in places, the look on Jones’ be-masked face, the edges of his bat, etc. — that both speak volumes to the character’s core while setting this cover and book apart from others in the larger collection. Maybe you’re not so bad after all, Mr. Jones.

The Me You Love in the Dark #1

Variant Cover by Megan Hutchison-Cates

Judging by the Cover – 08/04/21 new releases

This follow-up to the generally good Middlewest sees writer-artist Skottie Young and artist Jorge Corona get all meta with it. Specifically, it follows an artist named Ro who visits a quaint cabin to try and get work done, only to realize “the muse within is not what she expected.” Given that this is a book from two artists about an artist making art, it only makes sense they’d also enlist some artists friends for variant covers. (Art!) There’s this cover from Lipwei Chang, which speaks volumes about the premise in some profound and terrifying ways. Or, this delightfully hokey cover from Dave Sanchez that feels like it exudes the best, most cheesy parts of great horror. I could have also picked Eryk Donovan’s piece, which also does wonders in playing up the central motifs, or the one from from Mike Krome, which adds a kind of Norman Rockwell quality to it all. Still, the winner for me is this cover from Megan Hutchison-Cates, which looks like both a movie and video game poster (duh, Scream homage) while also playing up the core themes in a more subtle but truly effective manner. Whatever the cover, though, things are about to get doubly weird and spooky, folks.

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