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Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 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.

Moon Knight #10

Cover by Cory Smith and Rachelle Rosenberg

Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 new releases

With a really great first episode, everyone’s going slightly bonkers for the Disney+ Moon Knight series that kicked off just last week. And rightfully so: as our own David Brooke noted, it’s a mostly great contribution to the TV canon, and it gets going into a weird thriller with the efficiency of a crescent moon-shaped throwing knife. (My only complaint so far? I hate Khonshu’s voice and wished it sounded like Julian Richings with a sore throat.) But lest we forget there’s an equally dope MK ongoing comics series, and as we roll into issue #10, Marc Spector has his hands full as he deals with two kinds of trouble affecting his work within the Midnight Mission. And the cover to #10 does a damn fine job demonstrating that robust tension, spinning a little magic into a genuine threat to play up the sheer intensity of it all. Is it the most groundbreaking cover? No. But does it do the work and show something unique and distinct of MK stories? Heck yes. Now let me hear a “woo-hoo” for this Moon Knight renaissance.

Batman Beyond: Neo-Year #1

Variant Cover by Mico Suayan

Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 new releases

Batman Beyond is weird, yeah? Not only ’cause it’s the future, and that mix of robots and gene splicing and all that jazz is always bound to make for a surreal experience. But also because it seems like the story of Terry McGinnis as Batman has come and gone a few times, and people can’t seem to decide if there’s a lot of storytelling magic or if maybe things were better left for the mostly great cartoon series. But DC forges on, and with Neo-Year we get to see Mr. McGinnis go solo as Batman for the first time, defending the increasingly bonkers Gotham City (and that’s already saying heaps) from a horde of new villains. As far as fully capturing this moment goes, Mico Suayan’s brilliant variant cover seemed like an obvious choice. I love the anime-meets-pulpy-sci-fi vibes; the look of strength and serenity on Bats’ face; and even all that sweet ab action going on. It says a lot of things about how this series could turn out — chief among them, “Let’s make some future magic happen pronto.”

Fantastic Four #42

Cover by Cafu

Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 new releases

By now, you may be aware of my, um, weird takes on certain beloved heroes. Like, how Cyclops is the Jared Leto of superhero comics. Or, how Spider-Man is best when he’s absolutely struggling. And you may have already known that one long-held stance among those is that Reed Richards is a big bag of brain farts. I get that I’m supposed to like him for his chiseled good looks and his massive intellect and his desire to help his friends. But I only ever see the Maker when I look at any version of Richards — there’s a reason why that character resonates so deeply with so many as it feels like the best and most logical extension of the larger Richards character. So I’m obviously delighted by the cover to issue #42, as a lot of things come to ahead, including the Richards-Ben Grimm relationship. Do I enjoy Richards suffering, as vividly captured by Cafu here in life-like detail? Maybe a little. But mostly I like that he kind of has it coming (especially in recent stories), and his face on this cover recognizes that fact with unsettling depth. I am a man of weird opinions, but this cover proves I’m likely not alone.

Earth-Prime #1: Batwoman

Cover by Kim Jacinto

Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 new releases

I am of two minds when it comes to the DCU shows on the CW. On the one hand, the shows are entertaining enough, and it’s been great to see this “take” on our favorite heroes evolve over the last decade or so. Yet I also realize that, even in the land of DC, some of these shows can be extra silly and a little hokey. But one decision I always applaud is Ryan Wilder as Batwoman, a casting decision which managed to slyly tackle a genuinely complex real-life issue while making the show’s universe feel all the more rich and open. And that worthwhile sense of growth continues as the Wilder Batwoman gets her own comics series spinning directly out of the show. Expect a lot of the same action (with this story focused around Clayface), and that of course extends to the cover of #1. I like that it feels a little different than some other DCU covers, which makes sense given the context. Plus, it’s got a real mix of ’90s energy and Saturday morning cartoon vibes, which again feels perfectly in line with these CW characters/storylines. Welcome to comics, Batwoman.

West of Sundown #1

Cover by Aaron Campbell

Judging by the Cover

If you haven’t read our interview with two of the book’s creators, you’re missing out. Sure, vampires have been done to death (get it?!), but West of Sundown feels a little different than the rest. For one, there’s the whole western elements, and aside from a standout like John Carpenter’s Vampires, there’s a real dearth of southwest goodness in most vampire flicks. That, and it’s really a love story, and unlike some other films (I’m not at all referencing Twilight), this tale feels like a powerful reflection on commitment, loyalty, and the very idea of home. But if none of that sways you, just peep the first cover from co-writer/creator Aaron Campbell. It may not have that overt sense of blood that other vampire properties achieve, but there’s a kind of surreal and almost psychedelic energy that shows you just how unique this book truly is. Plus, little details like the wrinkles and fades across this “poster” just prove that the book’s power is in the little ways it subverts the genre. Take a bite; you’ll thank us for it.

The Joneses #1

Cover by Mike Deodato, Jr.

Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 new releases

OK, where doth I begin? This new series is actually part AWA Studios’ ongoing The Resistance, a series from J. Michael Straczynski, Mike Deodato, and Frank Martin, in which the survivors of the Great Death develop superpowers. (Unlike our own pandemic where we all just have developed robust trauma.) The Joneses, then, focuses on the titular family as they try and make their way through the new and scary world. So, what can we expect from this book? I have no idea. I assume an action-packed superhero story in general. But maybe also a poignant exploration of family bonds and the subversive nature of power? What we get so far, though, is a really weird cover, one made all the more silly because of people doing yard work in super suits but also deeply creepy based on the sheer realism spilling off the page (and into my nightmares). It’s my hope that the book delivers on that weird convergence of ideas and sentiments, and we get something that embraces old superhero tropes and something all together new and confrontational. Also, don’t ever look the Joneses directly in their eyes.

Batman: Killing Time #2

Variant Cover by Kael Ngu

Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 new releases

Maybe it’s me (and it often is), but I don’t feel I’ve heard nearly enough traffic around Batman: Killing Time. Which is silly given what this book offers up, even among the hype of some other books (like Jock’s One Dark Knight) and The Batman film itself. That list includes a story by Tom King, dynamic art from David Marquez, and a pretty ripping narrative around a perfect crime perpetrated by Riddler and Catwoman. So, if you need a reminder to pick this book up pronto, then let it be this excellent variant cover from Kael Ngu. Does it have a lot to do with the story itself? Maybe, but I won’t really say either way. Is it just cool as hell? Yeah; it certainly reminds me of some of the great Batman animated flicks (like Assault on Arkham). But more than anything else, it speaks to something essential about Bats: no matter what’s going on in his rich, massive canon, there’s always going to be something cool to dropkick the clutter and noise and show you why you loved the Dark Knight in the first place.

Spider-Punk #1

Variant Cover by Maria Wolf

Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 new releases

OK, I have to come clean: I don’t care about Spider-Punk. Do I love Spider-Man? Yes, of course. Do I love punk rock? Yeah, like I like marshmallows and chocolate (which is to say, a lot). But somehow I just don’t like the combination together, even if punk rock Spidey does welcome a lot of opportunities for bashing the webslinger with lots of character-developing hardships. But I love this Maria Wolf variant cover for precisely the reasons I otherwise give Spider-Punk a big “meh.” It’s the slightly dirty, ramshackle vibe, which is missing or feels forced from other depictions. Or, that some of the clothing options feel less like punk cosplay and more like “I just got done beating up Rhino in Central Park and now I’m playing a show big deal nerds.” It may even just be that the spikes on this version’s head just feel more organic. Regardless, it’s this kind of “transformative” art that almost makes me want to give Spider-Punk a real and genuine chance.

The Rocketeer: The Great Race #1

Variant Cover by Stephen Mooney

Judging by the Cover – 04/06/22 new releases

This year, The Rocketeer turns 40 years old. (Am I alone in thinking the character was actually 100 years old or something?) And so IDW has decided to celebrate by launching The Rocketeer: The Great Race, in which flying ace Cliff Secord tries to deal with the ever-looming WWII by… taking part in a race. It seems a little silly, but it’s clearly a concept that not only keeps pace with the franchise itself but a lot of stories from that time period. And it’s a storyline made all the more delightful thanks to this variant cover from Stephen Mooney. His line work feels ripped directly from the ’40s itself, and there’s that perfect mix of silliness and robust action that just feels similarly so dang era-appropriate. Sure, maybe there’s more sexual energy about than I’d normally associate with The Rocketeer, but if we’re going to delve into a story about cross-ocean races and nefarious villains, may as well check all the boxes on the “perfect 1940s storytelling list.” Best of luck, Rocketeer!

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