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Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

Chris shares his favorite covers from this week’s new comics.

Most comic book fans have a solid idea about what they’re going to buy every week as they descend upon 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, funny, scary, etc. 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. This is Judging by the Cover.

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Detective Comics #1056

Cover by Irvin Rodriguez

Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

Even with a weekly schedule, Detective Comics has been filled to the brim with story goodness as part of “The Tower” arc. And that’s certainly true of issue #1056, which promises a story involving The Scarecrow vying for control in the new Arkham Tower; the struggle for Nightwing, Harley Quinn, and Huntress to maintain order in the tower; and a daring rescue by Batwoman, the Batgirls, and Tim Drake. (And that’s not even mentioning stuff with an unnamed villain and Jim Gordon). So, given the sheer madness contained within this issue, perhaps it made sense to keep things “simple” and focus on Ms. Quinn. And by “simple,” I mean another striking, photo-realistic portrait showing Harley in her element: bashing folks with a baseball bat and just having the time of her life. Few other people could look so real and cartoonish and vice versa in such pristine harmony, and having Harley as the cover story somehow encapsulates everything without saying a word. Unless those words are, “LOL, you now have blunt force trauma.”

Punisher #1

Variant Cover by Björn Barends

Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

This new era of Punisher has a lot of tidbits that could make for a truly daring new story. That starts with the all-star team of writer Jason Aaron and artists Jesús Saiz and Paul Azaceta. From there, we get the storyline itself, which sees Frank Castle become the “warlord” of The Hand, and how this whole affair deals with his bloody past and his larger future in the MU. But more than anything, this series has already been overtaken by discussion around a new Punisher logo, which has been either celebrated for breaking with the connotations of the old skull design or generally laughed at for being a tad silly. (My opinion? It’s a pretty cool design, and that’s mostly all that matters.) So, given all of that, I really enjoyed Björn Barends’ variant, because it tackles the toughest of jobs: showing us everything we need in one image. There’s the lightning rod of the new logo, mostly front and center, but it never draws away from the core storyline or the focus on a new, possibly “evolved” Castle. (It also looks like a sick new version of Metal Gear Solid, but that’s neither here nor there.) It’s hard to tell how this new era will play out, but we’ve got a pretty idea of how thinks might look and/or feel.

Daisy #4

Cover by Colin Lorimer

Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

This Dark Horse Comics series got some sturdy love from us early on. And while it hasn’t been featured as prominently in this feature since its kick-off, Daisy has continued to tell a weird and wild story about missing family, the pains of growing up, and, um, cannibalistic giants from Heaven. And as we enter into issue #4, we’re at a pretty important point, as Daisy enters a new realm, shedding her old form for something deeply beautiful and glorious, and what this all means regarding Daisy’s burning hopes for the future of others sharing her “afflictions.” However, even the uninitiated reader shouldn’t let that district from the sheer awesomeness of the cover, which sort of captures a lot of the themes/motifs of the book, the larger feel and aesthetic, and even how much of the story takes shape. It’s like the mutant love-child of body horror and a monster movie, and all of that only really scratches the surface of what makes Daisy so deeply compelling. Get in on this ASAP if you love a touching story and weirdness galore.

Superman: Son of Kal-El #9

Cover by Bruno Redondo

Judging by the Cover

We now arrive at part two of the Superman/Nightwing crossover. This chapter should help crack the mystery of who is murdering superpowered folks, and what this will mean for Nightwing as the mentor and Jon Kent as the mentee and future super-duper-hero. But more than that, it’s been another way to encapsulate the Jon-Dick Grayson relationship and dynamic via some truly great covers. The cover to February’s Nightwing #89 showed us a perfect snapshot: perpetual daredevil Nightwing, leaping from a tall building, knowing that he’ll be saved by a Superman who isn’t quite sure of the joke and maybe what to fully make of this man who’s molding his superhero career. And in issue #9’s cover, we already see some powerful development, as Jon Kent cracks a sturdy smirk and begins to understand their dynamic a bit more and some of the joy to be had (even if they’re dealing with, once again, dead superheroes). And for his part, Nightwing is still enjoying the ride, showing that he’s ready for the challenge and capable of guiding this vital new hero. If this whole story, even just the art, doesn’t give you all the feels, I feel deeply sorry for you.

Captain Carter #1

Variant Cover by Jen Bartel

Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

If you saw Marvel’s What If series (and, really, read some other comics a la Exiles), you’ll know Captain Carter already. She’s what happens if Peggy Carter takes the Super Soldier Serum instead of Steve Rogers, and she goes about smashing the baddies with the same mix of pure heroism and a giant vibranium shield. In this series, Captain Carter undergoes the same de-icing as the original Cap, and she’s forced to reconcile with a strange new world utterly alien to her own in almost every way. With an all-start creative team of writer/designer Jamie McKelvie and artist Marika Cresta, it won’t just be an update of that familiar old Cap story but a daring new spin for Carter and a compelling fish-out-of-water tale. How do I know that? Because of that badass cover by Jen Bartel. Do I think something like this will actually happen? Maybe not, but given this creative team, truly anything could happen. Do I think it’s more representative of the kind of wild adventures awaiting Captain Carter, and how there will be nothing resembling limitations? Oh, for sure. But mostly it’s gorgeous and scary and alluring, and that feels like a great set of sentiments to kick of this intriguing new title.

Little Monsters #1 

Cover by Dustin Nguyen

Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

If you see the names Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen on a book’s cover, it’s a safe bet you can just pick this one up and be satisfied. But for my own experience, the deal was further sealed when our own David Brooke gave it the thumbs up. Still, this book doesn’t really need the appeal of big-time creators, or even the approval of a smart friend/colleague, when it just has this amazing first cover. In a story about immortal child vampires, and what happens when their “idyllic” society is smashed to bits after centuries of prosperity, there’s a lot of ways the team could have gone. Instead, they went this piece, which marries those robust influences of The Lost Boys and Stranger Things, with maybe just a hint of The Strain, into something that’s deeply horrifying and also touching and poignant. Nguyen’s work always does a great job in blending gritty realism and some kind of ethereal magic, and that seems like the perfect vehicle for just such a series. Now, I hope my own endorsement is enough to slap this on a pull list.

Batgirls #4

Variant Cover by Rian Gonzales

Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

It’s only issue #4, and there’s heaps going on in Batgirls. That includes the ongoing confrontation with the hypnotic Tutor, the promise of “magical bookstores,” the added promise of a returning ex of one Barbara Gordon, and even a new villain in Spellbinder. As such, there’s so many great cover options that reflect just how insane this issue might be. That includes Jorge Corona’s main cover, which hints at the big bad of this book, and even this epic piece from Jonboy Meyers, which I’m not sure has much to do with the story proper but any excuse for motorcycle mayhem is much appreciated. Still, the clear winner is this variant from Rian Gonzales, which is so cute it may give you a stomachache. Why’s it so important even if, once more, it may have little to do with this action-packed issue itsels? Well, it speaks volumes of the Stephanie Brown-Cassandra Cain dynamic, and how that silly but nonetheless serious partnership is the beating heart of this book. And, given all the promises baked into issue #4, maybe there’s time for a quick cuddle with Bitewing after all.

Thor #23

Cover by Nic Klein

Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

We’ve reached the climax of another great story arc in the similarly-great Thor series. With “God of Hammers,” Thor has been at war with the titular deity, and now we reach an ending with a very angry, emotionally drained God of Thunder. The whole thing has been a profound continuation of a major thread in this whole series: Thor’s rocky relationship with Mjolnir — and losing it has only complicated the themes of grief, addiction, self esteem, and how we handle life and its many sordid challenges. And while there’s been heaps of great moments in this ongoing narrative exploration, the cover to #23 feels like a similarly big moment. We see Thor going into battle without his loyal hammer, and while his powers and sword feel just as capable, there’s nonetheless a tinge of anger and regret to this otherwise epic moment of pre-battle glory. It’s another instance of this series committing to an idea and exploring it with such heart and creativity, and that only gives us more insights into Thor’s continued development. Whatever happens next, things are going to remain emotionally resonant and deeply interesting.

Kill Lock: The Artisan Wraith #1

Cover by Livio Ramondelli

Judging by the Cover – 03/09/22 new releases

Way back in 2020 (you remember that mostly quiet calendar year, yeah?), writer-artist Livio Ramondelli launched Kill Lock via IDW. The story saw four robots joined together by the titular mechanism, which meant if one died, they all died. Cue a great space-faring sci-fi adventure that explore the ideas of family and friendship, the value of community and collaboration, and even how to transcend one’s lot in life. Without spoiling too much, things worked out for our robo-heroes, and we get to see what happens to these “newly-united” bots (again, the vagueness is meant for your continued, spoiler-free enjoyment). Luckily, the cover to issue #1 also doesn’t spoil too much, and what we see is a badass sci-fi movie post with heaps of robots and a really stark alien world. More than that, though, there’s some clear Star Wars and even Starship Troopers vibes (with a dash of Transformers perhaps?) that might hint at the crux of this new chapter. Or, take my word for it: there’s a lot of heart to this book, and you’ll laugh and weep alongside our heroes (or hero?!?!) as their story takes a compelling new twist.

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