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Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 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.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #37

Cover by Taurin Clarke

Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 new releases

It was just two weeks ago when Miles Morales was thrust into the multi-/Spider-verse in issue #36. Now, it seems the “Beyond” story may be over, and both Miles (and his “partner” Shift) are faced with a dimension-spanning quest where “people who left…aren’t going to be the same people who come back.” And that’s why I really love this cover — things are especially dire in a big way. When we think of the Spider-Verse stuff, it’s usually funny and playful and totes silly. But as we see brilliantly in Miles’ posture/body language, he’s deeply scared at a literal infinite number of universes/worlds and all the terrors and threats they carry within. Here’s a kid from Brooklyn who has achieved a new level of intensity in his still-young superhero career, and while he’ll always face any challenge with gusto, it’s stirring to see him recognize the onslaught that lies ahead. Feel that? It’s goosebumps, folks.

Batman: Urban Legends #14

Cover by Karl Mostert

Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 new releases

Much like the totally iconic Legends of the Dark Knight anthology series, Urban Legends is a grab bag of Batman goodness. And issue #14 has some extra tasty promises, with tales featuring a Batman-Zatanna team-up, appearances by Lady Shiva and Katana, a Batman-Question tag team, and, perhaps best of all, Ace the Bat-Hound! And as far as great cover images go, this one, clearly about the Ace-centric story, couldn’t be a more appealing and satisfying choice (even if I can somehow feel my own nose itching manically). But maybe this isn’t just about the Ace story, and it’s from another of the stories? Or, heck, it’s actually nothing to do with anything about anything in the issue proper. Does it makes it any less of a totally badass image? Nope, and if anything, it proves great moments and powerful statements are just par for the course for this exceptional series. You go, Ace!

Daisy #5

Cover by Colin Lorimer

Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 new releases

We’ve reached the end of Daisy, and what a totally bonkers and maddening ride it’s been. Writer-artist Colin Lorimer has been able to marry horror, religious trauma, and teenage angst into a deeply compelling story that’s as engaging as it is utterly unnerving. And oh what a finale it’s going to be, as Daisy fights actual Creation itself, a battle where losing means an eternity of torture and winning will mean… something slightly less awful? If this is what Daisy’s meant to square off with, I think she might be best just taking a seat in whatever hell dimension exists in this series’ canon. Have you ever seen pics of those biblically-accurate angels? I’d punch a billion of those before I ever set one foot in this gooey dimension of demon mouths. But Daisy’s much braver than I, and as sad as it is to see her journey end, it’s going to be a whizbang ending for a truly intriguing and impactful comics story.

We Ride Titans #3

Cover by Sebastián Piriz

Judging by the Cover

I’ve mentioned before that, sometime in the last couple of years, there’s been a resurgence of kaiju comics. And while there’s plenty of great such titles on shelves, you’ve got to give it up to We Ride Titans. Does it have giant dope robots? Yup. Are the big, nasty monsters to bash back to the ocean depths/some alternate dimension? Sure thing. But unlike some other series, there’s a more robust sense of humanity, as Kit Hobbs has to return home from an extended absence to fight robots and the dark undertones that effectively smashed her family apart. (I’d take the former over the latter any day of the week.) In fact, it’s that deeply human story that is so effective, it can easily be the center piece to issue #3’s cover, somehow obfuscating the majesty of a giant badass robot. The tension is so thick, it’d make a giant squid kaiju want to crawl back into its nest or whatever.

Break Out #1

Variant Cover by Rafael Albuquerque

Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 new releases

I saw the main cover of this and thought it’d be just like The Cube — only with like hot young folks as if the cast of the 90210 remake was somehow captured instead. But once I read the solicitation, I learned (sadly) it’s not nearly as gruesome and brutal. Instead, it’s about high school students who, in a world where people are being abducted by alien cubes, come together to try and save the world and their loved ones. Maybe there will be some Cube-esque feats of ultraviolence, but I like that this series is really playing up the YA energy while still getting a little dark and a little weird with the alien influence. It makes the variant cover, from Rafael Albuquerque, stand out as a great choice, and a piece that perhaps feels most indicative of what this series will actually be: uplifting as heck and a great foil for some other, more “pessimistic” alien stores. And if I’m wrong either way, you’ve got to always appreciate a little meta action on a comic cover.

Dark Beach #1

Cover by Sebastián Piriz

Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 new releases

Oh, hey, another appearance from Sebastián Piriz! Only instead of drawing dope mechs and whatnot, he’s tackling the cover for Behemoth’s latest sci-fi thriller, Dark Beach. Fans of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (and I know there’s heaps of you) will like this story about an Earth floating away from the sun, and a plucky crime scene photographer living in a domed city as he tackles “a murder rife with old sun mystery” that leads him “down a rabbit hole to find the truth.” Piriz’s cover seems to pretty much hit all the major notes, albeit by emphasizing less of the sci-fi elements and playing up some of the gritter crime aspects. The end result feels a little like the best of both worlds, and we get the sense that this world is not like ours but yet is very much similar in some deeply unsettling ways. There’s so much nuance here at play, and it makes this human drama feel as cold and distant (and thus hugely compelling) like the very vacuum of space.

X-Men ’92: House of XCII #1

Variant Cover by Scott Williams

Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 new releases

If you’ve been living in a hole for some time, Marvel is bringing back the ’90s. Not in a meaningful way, like house or gas prices, but with an “all-newer and all-more different” take on the ’90s incarnation of the X-Men. But don’t expect standalone adventures, or the comics version of this watershed moment, but rather the “90s X-Men are tackling the Krakoan Age thirty years early.” So, like really angsty political chicanery? Or like political intrigue but with more leather wear? Even if we can’t actually know already what it’ll be like — beyond just “not going the way you’d expect” — it’ll at least capture the same vibes as that beloved era, with lots of big hair, bulging muscles, and dramatic shots galore. Maybe this will be closer to a cash grab than the expert storytelling and world-building of the true Krakoa saga, but we could all use some proper nostalgia nowadays.

Batman ’89 #5

Cover by Joe Quinones

Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 new releases

I realize that, as a life-long Batman fan, the following statement may be a tad controversial: I didn’t care as much for the Michael Keaton films. Sure, I can readily recognize the larger cultural value of those flicks, and the nuanced, understated portrayal of the star of such beloved films as Mr. Mom. But I just don’t resonate with them beyond, “Hey, ’90s Batman is sort of kooky and fun.” Which is why I’ve appreciated the work of a series like Batman ’89, which addresses and touches on dangling threads of Tim Burton’s two films. And part of that effort has been a kind of recontextualization of the whole vibe and aesthetic of that “era.” Case in point: the cover to issue #5, which I think finally makes Catwoman look like a genuine terror and not just a very depressing dominatrix with a cat fetish. Hell, even the cats are scared of her, and that tension and emotionality goes a long way to making this series feel less like a simple retelling and more a might experiment in storytelling. At least these movies beat the pants off Batman & Robin (but not Batman Forever).

A Town Called Terror #1

Variant Cover by Szymon Kudranski and Tony S. Daniel

Judging by the Cover – 04/13/22 new releases

A new horror series from Steve Niles is always an occasion for celebration. And that’s double true if it’s with artist Szymon Kudranski, whose done some truly great, deeply horrific work on Spawn in the past. The story itself is perhaps a little uninspired, with a husband disappearing and a wife trying to get help with nary any evidence of the “phantom crime.” (If Niles’ work is any indication, that premise will quickly turn into something really powerful and doubly haunting.) But in the meantime, we can enjoy this excellent variant cover from Kudranski and Tony S. Daniel, which you could say looks like Freddy Krueger but the skinless fella on this cover is infinitely more visceral and psychically terrifying. That seems like a really great omen for the story itself, so long as we can keep that unflinching look at the weirdness and darkness that permeates the world. And, if you’re somehow unsure, yes I do think our cover star is clearly smirking.

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