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Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 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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Robin & Batman #1

Variant Cover by Jeff Lemire

Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 new releases

Jeff Lemire finally on a Batman title is like if Michael Jordan… actually, I’m not qualified at all to finish this analogy and/or terrible joke. But I’m super jazzed to see the beloved writer and artist get his hands on a proper story (outside contributions to books like Batman Black and White, Batman/Superman, and Joker: Killer Smile). And the fact that it’s a story featuring the first Robin, Dick Grayson, as he navigates his early work as half of the PB&J of crimefighting duos is just all the more reason to be extra jazzed. As far as previews go, this variant cover by Lemire himself is a truly promising start for what could be an important new perspective into the Grayson-Bruce Wayne dynamic/narrative. Lemire has nailed the innocence of young Robin, complete with the slightly homegrown feel to his costume, not to mention Batman’s perpetual scowl (and perfect ear length to boot, if I do say so). This kind of aw-shucks, oh-god story is right in Lemire’s wheelhouse, and this cover has me thinking we’re in for a truly epic adventure.

The Thing #1

Variant Cover by Lee Bermejo

Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 new releases

If you don’t know Walter Mosley, then you don’t know much about crime fiction. The L.A. native is best known for the long-running of novels starring black detective Easy Rawlins. (You may, depending on your age, have seen Mr. Rawlins portrayed by Denzel Washington in 1995’s Devil in a Blue Dress.) Now, being a master of hard-boiled detective stories may not be the most obvious pick for a story about The Thing, but color me super delighted for this story regardless. That’s because Mosley has crafted a nostalgia-tinged story that will see Mr. Ben Grimm “encountering—and battling—figures both old and new.” Plus, art from Tom Reilly, who has done some cool things with the everyone’s favorite vamp in Morbius: Bond Of Blood. But truly and completely, the only proof of this book’s potential is this cover from Lee Bermejo. Do I think it fits with the story proper? No, although “Ben Grimm’s displays of wild destruction” is a story I want. Is it just a great visual and a proper way to tease a Thing-centric story? You betcha! Plus, if anyone deserves big, rippling muscles and lines, it’s the king of Yancy Street himself.

Batman: The Imposter #2

Variant Cover by Lee Bermejo

Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 new releases

I remarked in another recent edition of this feature that series/cover artist Andrea Sorrentino did some fantastic things in teasing Batman: The Imposter. And as it turns out, his covers are a great representation of this series that follows a slightly different, somehow more menacing alt-Batman as he contends with a conman rocking his cowl. But as it turns out, the book is so ripe with pure potential that other artists, including variant cover artist Lee Bermejo, is delivering some real great previews and teases. Case in point: the cover to issue #2, which focuses on Detective Blair Wong’s connection with this Batman and how the two may, um, share information (among some other things perhaps, but I shan’t spoil another thing). Bermejo made a solid choice in demonstrating the pair’s connection, and how it relates not only to their opposing-but-also-interconnected jobs but how all of this also involves Gotham City itself and their respective sense of duty to DC’s worst cityscape. The case may still be building, but this cover proves that the Wong-Batman relationship is already a huge part of this book’s early success.

Alien #8

Cover by Marc Aspinall

Judging by the Cover

If you learned anything this Halloween season, I hope it’s the following: what’s often most scary isn’t always so direct. Are zombies covered in blood, or even demonic tentacle monsters, still terrifying? Yes, duh, but sometimes it’s what you don’t expect that’s hugely unnerving. Case in point: this cover to the mostly great ongoing Alien series from Marvel. On the one hand, the solicitation text is a minimalist lesson in purer terror (“The xenomorphs overtake the settlement. A last stand is made. A terrible truth is learned.”) But peep the actual cover; it’s not the xenomorph that should make you shutter, or even the seemingly acidic rain or the mostly empty/dark/abandoned background. No, it’s the dang chickens, y’all. Like, why are they so cool with that alien right at their feet? Are they just that unaware? Have they somehow been infected already? ANd what does some alien-chicken hybrid creature actually look like? Nothing from the entire Aliens franchise has made me more angry and sweaty since that time I watched those playthroughs for Alien: Isolation.

What’s the Furthest Place From Here? #1

Cover by Tyler Boss

Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 new releases

If you made a checklist for What’s the Furthest Place From Here?, it might look something like this:

  • A story by Matthew Rosenberg and art from Tyler Boss (aka a 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank reunionCHECK
  • A variant cover by Brian Michael Bendis (somehow?!) CHECK
  • An actual 7-inch with exclusive songs (from Blake Schwarzenbach and Joyce Manor) CHECK
  • A tale of dystopic end-times, plucky young teens, and vinyl records.

And if all of that weren’t enough, we also get a real nice preview of sorts with the cover to issue #1. It may not be much beyond a burned-out record store, but it does pretty much capture everything you’d need to know about the series proper. Plus, I love the mix of warmth and nihilism together, and how familiar it all seems even amid the endless destruction. If this is how the world really ends, let’s put on some records and dance.

Venom #1

Variant Cover by Peach Momoko

Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 new releases

I do not envy the creative team of Al Ewing, Ram V, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, and Alex Sinclair. (I mean, I do, but admitting that ruins the forthcoming gag.) Because after the phenomenal run by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, this collective has the duty of taking over the much-beloved Venom. (Similarly, Cates has big shoes to fill as he assumes Ewing’s old job on Immortal Hulk.) But the team’s already off to a promising start, especially as the solicitations promise a “mind-bending and gut-wrenching tale of symbiosis the likes of which the Marvel Universe has never seen.” What better way to start that all then with a slew of variant covers from some A-list talent. That includes Kendrick Lim’s epic piece, Tyler Kirkham’s dope contribution, which may be a sweet Prime reference, and the sheer brutalism of this David Yardin piece. Still, the final nod goes to Peach Momoko, who manages to capture both the delicate humanity and sheer terror that is Venom. Here’s to new beginnings, y’all!

Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body #1

Variant Cover by Ryan Sook

Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 new releases

Writer Christopher Cantwell has been on a roll as out late, especially with superhero comics. He’s done some interesting things to explore the essence of Iron Man, and his creator-owned Blue Flame book is a similarly great character study into the mind of a hero. Now, though, he teams with artist Luca Casalanguida for a slightly different series, Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body. As you might have already gathered, the book focuses on the assassination of JFK after the death of Lee Harvey Oswald at the hands of Jack Ruby. More specifically, how the “body buried at Oswald’s Rose Hill gravesite is not actually Lee Harvey himself,” and the group of “useful idiots” who helped cover up this world-altering crime. What works about this variant cover from Ryan Sook is that it clearly doesn’t focus on JFK or Oswald, and we see said band of criminal dummies as if they’re posing for the best Steve McQueen movie poster ever. My hope is the series takes notes from this cover, and we see this monumental moment in history through the lens of other folks in a way that recontextualizes our connection and understanding. And if anyone can do that, it’s likely Mr. Cantwell.

Phenom X #1

Cover by Jim Muniz

Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 new releases

If I’m being honest, I did sort of pick this initially for the fact that it’s co-written by actor John Leguizamo. (The Pest is an amazing film — change my mind.) But then I saw the actual cover art and solicitation, and maybe there’s actually something here. For one, the hero, Max Gomez, even looks like Leguizamo, and while that’s more than likely on purpose, it makes me happy to think of Leguizamo in a superhero story where he isn’t a terrible clown. Plus, a Latinx superhero is always going to be essential for inclusion, especially when you give him wicked shape-shifting powers and slap him in the midst of a “superpowered war fought on the streets of NYC.” The whole aesthetic of Jim Muniz’s cover screams ’90s comic bonanza, but in a way that feels slightly more playful and not quite as silly (but still silly in a mostly deliberate kind of way, if that makes any sense). I’m not expecting something groundbreaking, but if Keanu Reeves gets his own BRZRKR franchise, we can make some room for Leguizamo.

Black Manta #3

Cover by Valentine De Landro

Judging by the Cover – 11/10/21 new releases

Even just two to three issues in, Black Manta already feels like a mostly important entry for modern-day DC. For one, it’s a book starring a villain, and while those titles do exist, they’re often reserved for A-listers a la the Joker. To have a book starring Black Manta, then, feels like a powerful way to highlight great characters and give them a little well-deserved bump. But more than just celebrating long-stand ne’er-do-wells, the book has also given the spotlight to several rookie talents, including Torrid, who continues her “collision course” with Black Manta as we uncover “the truth of Manta’s link to Atlantis.” Torrid’s been quite impressive in the past two issues, and we see her now getting the best of Manta in a way that shows this story will not only be interesting, but this book really is about giving the spotlight to deserving characters and doing so in a way to tell the most entertaining stories possible. The fact that she has a kind of lightning sword is basically just icing on this bad-ass cake.

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