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Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 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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Batman: The Detective #5

Cover by Adam Kubert

Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 new releases

If you haven’t been keeping up with Batman: The Detective, it’s been pretty bonkers. Basically, Batman has travelled to Europe to solve a mystery involving people he’d saved in previous cases. It’s sort of ground-level Bats with a dash of Batman, Incorporated and a little James Bond voodoo — and the end result basically scratches every itch for true Batman fans. So, if you’re just coming aboard with issue #5, you might see some giant truck and a bulkier Batman and instantly start thinking, “Oh boy, that’s some Dark Knight Returns stuff right there,” and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. It’s more the spirit and energy of these stories, and the way all of these dynamic aspects and components of Batman can be combined to tell a really great story. So, whatcha waiting for? Get reading, sillyhead.

X-Men #3

Cover by Pepe Larraz

Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 new releases

Depending upon your age, you may recall the High Evolutionary from the X-Men cartoon. He was basically a big jerk who wanted to use the X-Men and their ripe genetic material to either take over the world and/or force a mass evolution to consume the planet. He’s obviously been around in the comics before and after that animated series, but I always liked his cartoon appearances because it meant one thing: things are about to get weird and wild. That’s certainly clear from the cover to X-Men #3, in which Rogue and Wolverine battle what looks like dinosaurs, a rhino with a laser horn, and a super-intelligent feral gorilla. (Oh, and don’t even get me started on what’s happening in the bottom right corner.) Will this be the same as the cartoon? No way. But will it have the same kind of action-oriented goodness and kooky charm? God I sure hope so.

Superman: Son of Kal-El #3

Cover by John Timms

Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 new releases

Were you ever a teen, and your parents let you stay home alone for a long weekend by yourself if you promised not to have any wild parties or whatever? And then, before their car even left the neighborhood, you smashed an old family heirloom by playing racquetball inside? That’s kind of what’s happening in Superman: Son of Kal-El, as just three issues in young Jon Kent has already “upset some powerful people with his heroism,” according to press. So, is his being behind bars a genuine occurrence? Maybe, and man that would make for a neat little bit in the story proper. But I think the real tale is the look he’s giving daddy dearest — a smirk like, “Yeah, I did something, but I’m sure it’s all fine and I can fix it with my super strength and uber charm and boyish good looks.” (Plus, he could ripe off those bars like you and I would peel a grape.) This whole story is about young Kent’s development, and I think this chapter and cover represent a great moment in his understanding of his greater role, the proper take on good and evil, and what he’s really capable of. Fly straight, young Superman.

X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation #1

Cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 new releases

If you’ve been following AIPT long enough, you’ll know we’ve been big, big fans of the Way of X series. As that story now ends by transmogrifying into The Onslaught Revelation, we’re clearly at the peak of action. Can Nightcrawler (and Legion) work together to save Krakoa, or, as the press promises, will the mighty island “slip into the abyss”? I think the answer is pretty clear at this point, but to ensure that Krakoa is all hunky dory, that means going through Onslaught himself. What I like most about this cover is that it not only shows what’s happening — generally a good thing in most comics — but does so in a way to capture the tension and power of the previous five issues without having needed to read Way of X — though it’ll help a ton if you have done so by now. It’s the clear lines of division, the look of rage on Nightcrawler’s face, and the especially terrifying visuals of Onslaught. This is going to be a fight, and it’s going to get real nasty, real quick.

King Spawn #2

Cover by Don Aguillo

Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 new releases

When it launched, there was ample hype around King Spawn. And rightly so — it was the first new Spawn book in some three decades, and promised to involve a massive clash between Heaven and Hell (among other things). And if that weren’t enough, we get the return of the sadistic Kincaid/Billy Kincaid in issue #2. But I only want to talk about one thing and one thing only, and that’s the dope depiction of Spawn’s cape on the cover to issue #2. It reminds of the power and grace depicted in both the animated series and the (I actually don’t think it’s that bad) full-length movie. It’s almost alive, and it’s both consuming Spawn as it also moves out into the world to do his bidding (if said bidding involves strangling folks or ripping apart buildings). If King Spawn is about referencing or bringing back all sorts of stuff from the past, I’m 100% down if that involves more sweet, early ’90s cape-based shenanigans. I’d even take the cape stuff if it meant a second movie also starring John Leguizamo.

Frontiersman #1

Cover by Maurizio Rosenzweig

Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 new releases

Sometimes the choice to pick up a book comes down to one sentence. In the case of Frontiersman from Image Comics, that sentence is, “Classic Green Arrow-style adventure blends with the thoughtfulness of Concrete in a super-hero odyssey for mature but uncynical readers!” Which, if you’re anything like me, has you actively tossing cash at your computer screen. But wait, gather those dollars and cents, bid your time till the book actually drops this Wednesday, and just peep this wondrous cover. Our heroic Frontiersman looks like a combination of Davy Crockett, Puck, and Thor, and I love that he uses what looks like a wooden dragon cane to bash what also looks like robots. More than that, I love that gruff look of annoyance on his face, and he’s clearly not jazzed about abandoning his status as a retired hero. All of that together screams “amazing book!” and I hope this actual story can deliver just one-tenth of that potential.

Batman #113

Cover by Jorge Jimenez

Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 new releases

The thing about the introduction of Ghost-Maker is that its been a kind of mixed bag. Do I love him as a kind of “anti-Batman,” willing to kill and also act like a pompous jackass without all the heart and sense of humanity? Yup! But do I hate how quickly these “enemies” became friends, and how I think this is all one drawn-out ruse? Sure do. But it’s been entertaining, and I’m mostly happy as we enter issue #113, which promises another Bats/Ghost team up as well as a “dark revelation about [Ghost-Maker’s] past connection to Jonathan Crane.” I generally love how this latest chapter sees the two fall into some seemingly Jigsaw-esque trap, and hopefully that means this revelation may be both hugely damaging and the kind of secret revealed that would pit the pair into bloody battle at the least convenient time possible. Either way, “Fear State” continues to build perfectly, and I can’t wait for what happens next.

Moon Knight #3

Cover by Steve McNiven

Judging by the Cover

Over the last couple issues, I’ve expressed some hesitance about this latest Moon Knight series. (I’m an authority as I own two t-shirts depicting the lunar do-gooder.) But even if the action’s been a little subdued by now, and the depiction of Marc Spector a little uneven, writher Jed MacKay has done a wonderful job in further building the mythos around this character. More specifically, Spector’s offering protection to vampires, the supposed “ancient enemies of the Moon God” Khonshu, and that’s both A) expertly expanding on the whole moon mythology and B) potentially causing some real tension between the god and his apostate priest. And while a lot of that isn’t apparent in the actual cover, it’s nonetheless totes cool. Because it sort of nails the basics, like the rage churning through Moon Knight even as he tries to keep a lid on things for those he helps. As well, this piece gives off some real monster/vampire energy, and I hope that’s a thing we actually see in the story proper. Lastly, it’s just super neat to look at, and that’s kind of how I feel about Moon Knight each and every time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4

Cover by Kevin Eastman

Judging by the Cover – 09/22/21 new releases

I have heard so many wonderful things about the entire The Last Ronin saga. It’s the story of a “lone surviving Turtle” as he seeks retribution for his dead loved ones, and promised from page one to be among the “most memorable TMNT stories you will ever read.” And while I actually haven’t read it yet, I could see why people got so excited if only by the covers, which have been both deeply cool looking, sort of like TMNT’s version of The Dark Knight Returns, but also with a mix of James Dean vibes and some slight nods to old-school samurai films. But if there’s any one cover that will get me to finally book this book up, it would be issue #4. It’s the one that feels most “romantic,” and it speaks to the overwhelming sense of loss and accompanying duty that seems to be at the very heart of this book. It’s both deeply hopeful and wildly depressing, and the cover seems to both celebrate the Ronin’s journey and mourn his efforts simultaneously. I must have this book now — even if Donatello isn’t likely the hero.

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