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Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 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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Daredevil #33

Cover by Marco Checchetto

Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 new releases

It’s been a minute since we featured a Daredevil cover in this weekly feature, and boy are we coming back with a hot one. (Get it?!) As Elektra tries to track down some possibly otherworldly serial killer terrorizing Hell’s Kitchen, one Matt Murdock continues in his own hell as some super drug makes its way through his prison, threatening to turn everything into a powder keg of violence. So, it only makes sense we’d portray Mr. Murdock in such a way — not only is he clearly angry, but all that demonic flame imagery makes us think Murdock is questioning his beliefs and willing to let himself be consumed by pure anger and unadulterated violence. It’s a singularly amazing image that speaks volumes about this latest, especially thrilling chapter. Also, did I pick this because, for just a sec, I thought it was a Batman cover? Maybe…

Detective Comics #1041

Cover by Dan Mora

Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 new releases

If you’re unaware, Batman is a pretty damn good allegory for our criminal justice system. (Also, Captain America is great for critiquing American nationalism, and the Hulk is a great metaphor for male rage.) Which is to say, his very presence asks important questions like, “What power do we have to stand up for injustice in the world?” and “Can one man really take it upon himself to fight crime despite any complaints and/or danger to the civic good?” So then it’s just all that more interesting as this cover depicts Batman gravely injured in the arms of Lady Justice herself. Is she kind of comforting? Maybe. But is she also maybe the reason why he’s in dire straits? Could be. Regardless, this is a beautiful visual metaphor for Batman’s larger place in society, not to mention the stakes he faces and the sense of responsibility we have in either celebrating or condemning a character like Batman. A lot going on, for sure, but it’s also just hella gorgeous.

The Unbelievable Unteens #1

Cover by Tyler Crook

Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 new releases

If you read our recent interview, you may know that The Unbelievable Unteens is a tad bit meta. It’s a comic book about a comic book artist (Jane Ito) who may not have come up with her most famous book but rather is actually recreating the adventures of her own super squad. How did Ms. Ito forget that they’re a legit superhero, and who’d want said creator to not remember? Well, then you’ve arrived at the bulk of this rather compelling little story. So, given that, co-creator/artist Tyler Crook chose a damn fine cover to kick things off, with Ito’s face transposed with both a here-to-unknown monster (you’ll find out who this is soon enough) and images from her comic book/actual heroic adventures. It takes the meta element and really imbues it with some scary energy, making you second guess things like the basic shape of reality or what’s the fiction and how can we ever tell otherwise. Be prepared to get your head messed with — in the very best possible way, of course.

Defenders #1

Cover by Javier Rodriguez

Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 new releases

If you’re not sold on Defenders, here’s a few tidbits that may help sway you. For one, it promises to be a reunion of writer Al Ewing and artist Javier Rodriguez, who did some work together on the mostly entertaining Royals circa 2017. Ewing, meanwhile, is coming of that white-hot run on The Immortal Hulk, and if this book is even 10% as good, it’s going to be a real winner. And in support of that likelihood, Marvel has promised a trippy, extra psychedelic book about the “weirdest, wildest heroes on a mission that will uncover the hidden architecture of reality itself.” Lastly, if none of that has moved you, just peep the cover to issue #1. Not only does it capture this trippy, extra psychedelic vibes, but it spins in a real pulp-y vibe while also nailing the sweet action team pose to a tee. If those aren’t ample enough reasons, just go read Howard the Duck or something.

Batman ’89 #1

Variant Cover by Mico Suayan

Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 new releases

If you’re of a certain age — maybe middle-level to somewhat older Millennial, the 1989 Batman film may hold a special place. Or, if you’re slightly younger, you may have been exposed thanks to an older sibling, and thus feel some type away about its presence and impact. Either way, DC is celebrating Tim Burton’s totally excellent films with Batman ’89, in which writer Sam Hamm and artist Joe Quinones work to “pull on a number of threads left dangling by the prolific director.” Let’s focus, though, on this totally excellent variant cover from Mico Suayan, which may or may not actually reflect the art of the book proper. (Spoilers: yeah, mostly.) What it does accomplish, in fact, is that it both recreates the whole vibe and aesthetic of the Burton films while also spinning in a new kind of elegance and depth. It’s not as deliberately cheek or playful as the aforementioned Burton aesthetic, and instead feels more stoic like some great ’40s pulp novel. That shift works, and it speaks to what’ll make this series feel like a trip down memory lane and a brave new chapter in the grander Bat canon.

X-Men: Legends #6

Cover by Todd Nauck

Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 new releases

If you haven’t been keeping up with the 215th X-Men book, Legends basically gives us super awesome stories set throughout the many great eras. Thus far, we’ve been mucking about the many awesome contributions from writer Peter David, and issue #6 sees us land smack dab in the middle of the original X-Factor run. Which means, this issue becomes a cornucopia of X goodness and weirdness as Wolfsbane (!) takes center stage for a story that also features “renegade mutants” and Doctor Doom (!!) I love this cover because it embraces the book’s larger M.O., which is to buck canon and all that jazz and just tell great stories from this rich universe. But I also love this cover because, even if I were a child and had no idea what was going on, I’d want it for the sheer awesomeness depicted and the many dazzling, dazzling colors. And if Old Chris and Young Chris can agree on a title, it must be truly amazing.

Infinite Frontier #4

Cover by Mitch Gerads

Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 new releases

If you haven’t been paying attention, Infinite Frontier is the answer to the question, “What happens now that everything is now canon in DC after the conclusion of Death Metal?” This limited series — and the larger era it represents — is less about reboots and more about trying to tell a bigger, Multiverse-spanning saga. And thus far, this book’s been mostly entertaining, and by issue #4 we’re pretty deep into a tale involving, among some other elements, President Superman and the battle in/around/for Earth-0. But don’t get too caught up with the story yet, and enjoy this cover for a few moments. Not only is it straight cool, but it also speaks volumes about the story, in both the larger scope and maybe some of the sentiments and ideas being explored here. (For instance, good vs. bad, but also what that means in the grand scheme of an infinite, ever-churning Multiverse.) It’s a weird and wild new world, and this cover captures these sentiments and energies almost perfectly.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation #2

Cover by Dave Wilkins

Judging by the Cover

Truth be told, I don’t care much about Masters of the Universe. Not the old one, and not even the new one being led by Kevin Smith. I can achieve the very basic sense of excitement for this preview comics, but even that’s sort of limited. The fact is, the whole He-Man thing never captured my attention. But maybe things could have been different if artist Dave Wilkins had been the one handling all the art. His cover to issue #2 is the most badass metal album I’ve ever seen, and it makes me think that He-Man is going to bash Skeletor’s face in with a battle axe-guitar combination. I’m sure the rest of the art inside is just as thrilling and compelling, but this cover sort of cinches it for me in terms of He-Man’s real potential, and everything else just sort of falls flat. But I think we’re at a point most folks are either on-board or done with He-Man entirely, and this cover can just exist as a super sweet piece of art.

Campisi: The Dragon Incident #1

Cover by Fran Galan

Judging by the Cover – 08/11/21 new releases

There’s nothing about Campisi: The Dragon Incident that I don’t find especially exciting. For one, it’s described as one-part Get Shorty, one-part Dragonslayer, and it follows a mob fixer named Sonny who has to battle an actual dragon. If that premise weren’t enough, it’s a story in good hands thanks to writer James Patrick, whose series The Kaiju Score was both entertaining and genuinely delivered in regards to “sick battles with giant monsters/fiends.” But more than all of that, I’m convinced about this book’s promise thanks to the work of cover artist Fran Galan. This cover perfectly captures the whole vibe as we see the worlds of magic and dragons and all that come face-to-face with the day-to-day brutality of a mobster. It’s not about blending these worlds, and the inherent tension is so tangible you can nearly taste it. If this book delivers even to a small extent on it’s promise, it’s bound to drive us all a little batty.

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