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.
Jurassic League #2
Cover by Daniel Warren Johnson
Comics are weird, yeah? Where else could you read a sentence like, “Brontozarro has invaded Supersaur’s home village, and now the super-powered sauropod must defend his home and the humans who have raised him since his arrival on Earth.” Not only that, but it both makes perfect sense and will likely tug at the old heart strings. At least that last bit’s true if you read issue #1 of Jurassic League, which already proved to be a weird and wonderful retelling of the life and times of the league’s Big Three (i.e., Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman). The cover for issue #2 is yet another moment of, “Huh, that’s bizarre and super cool.” Because we’ve seen Bats and Supes fight a billion times, but never as dinos — and perhaps never as ferociously and with such purely savage energy. But that’s been the promise of the book from word one — a way to blast your frontal lobe with powerful images and get you to really reconsider the scope and shape of these heroes and their story. Comics, man, hell yeah.
Cover by Ron Joseph
I don’t really get the fear some folks have over spiders. Yeah, they’re creepy and crawly and all sorts of lowkey menacing — who needs eight arms?! — but they’re also cute, and play a vital role in their ecosystem, and who doesn’t love something that should be creepy but is ultimately just misunderstood. But if you are terrified of spiders already, maybe avoid Endangered. Because, through another brilliant misuse of science, a team of researchers “unknowingly facilitated the evolution of the insects” on a post-nuclear war Earth. Does that mean we can expect planet-sized spiders? No, but man that would be so cool to see their resulting webs. Instead, it’s probably just your garden variety insectoid mutants, perhaps with venomous sword fangs or screams that can shatter glass. It also means a solid focus on our cute-but-terrifying spider friend, and the sheer lack of humanity here just plays up the unknowable quality of this book — and that’s scarier than all the bugs in the world. Well, except for maybe whatever this thing is, of course.
New Fantastic Four: Marvel Tales #1
Cover by Logan Lubera
Don’t get too excited, comics fans, as this isn’t some way to give Reed Richards and company the boot, which would be a great move in 2022 for a number of reasons. No, this title actually collects issues #347-349 from Fantastic Four (from Walter Simonson and Arthur Adams), in which F4 call on Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, and the Hulk to take their place and help settle some scores. The only thing new, then, is the cover from Logan Lubera, who does a damn fine job without traipsing on the work of Adams and Simonson. Maybe it’s how each hero clearly feels like themselves, like the snarling mania of Wolverine or the weird vacant nihilism of Hulk. Yet the four still feel connected somehow, despite being more different than apples, oranges, and a rhinoceros — likely in how they’re placed together and have a similar thread of intensity in their stances. The final cover feels like a great homage and some new way to understand and contextualize a great chapter in the F4 canon — not to mention Ghost Rider’s suit looks clean as all hell.
The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #3
Cover by Reiko Murakami
Back in April, yours truly got to talk to James Tynion IV just before The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country officially launched. And for a guy who has penned some intense, existential horror a la Razorblades and The Nice House on the Lake, it was interesting to talk about how he saw Corinthian as being one of the most intense and creepy characters he’s ever had the (good? bad?) misfortune of writing. But now that I’ve seen the cover to issue #3, I really understand Tynion’s insight about Corinthian in a new way. Not that the first two issues haven’t been intense enough as our mouth-eyed ne’er-do-well has tried to crack the mystery of the Smiling Man. It’s not just that his eyes are eating steak/meat I won’t bother to speculate over. It’s that we can confirm he likes it a little on the raw side (that’s a crime worthy of being labeled a monster in and of itself). Or, that he actually has to eat, and that tidbit may seem obvious but is nonetheless somehow upsetting. Either way, it continues a great theme of this book thus far: the scariest things are in the tiniest moments/details.
Hulkling & Wiccan #1
Cover by Peach Momoko
I get we’re months removed from Valentine’s Day, but I hope you’re prepared to have your hearts broken. In this series from Josh Trujillo, Jodi Nishijima, Ariana Maher, and Matt Milla, Hulking and Wiccan get to do that thing all great couples do and learn, Sliding Doors style, about what could have been for the members of Marvels’ greatest couple. Cue new partners and weird changes (like a romance novel mated with a What If), and we’re going to have to deal with the fallout of some truly terrible knowledge, even if I do think they’ll make it back together somehow. But what’s great about this cover (from the always excellent Peach Momoko) isn’t the brooding sensuality that would make even Fabio jealous; it’s the flirtatious energy and emotion of it all. The lovebirds are still very much focused mostly on one another, and we see how they remain aligned even in this “game” they’re playing. There’s clearly going to be at least some stakes and dire odds here, and hopefully they’ll learn about themselves and one another. But one image captures their dynamic, and why this couple is so beloved among comics fans.
Do a Powerbomb #1
Cover by Daniel Warren Johnson
If you’re like me, your two first loves were pro wrestling and comic books. (And then somewhere in there pepperoni pizza and zombies.) So not only are these two decidedly similar worlds once more coalescing, but its under the direction of artist/writer Daniel Warren Johnson, who is clearly a super fan based on the sheer number of German suplexes he’s featured in past books. And the cover to issue #1 feels like the perfect melding of these rich institutions. Johnson understands the profound connections (big showy heroes, sinister villains, and lots of physical intensity) as well as some of the differences (superhero comics often feel a tad bit more realistic — I said it). The end result is something that represents a happy medium, a pro wrestling comic for a world where both of these ideas grapple in the heads and hearts of fans across the globe. But Johnson also makes this his own thing by adding in some other weird magical tidbits a la necromancery, showing that the real power of these two is the wondrous things they generate in the silly minds of their most devoted followers.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #12
Variant Cover by Roger Cruz and Norm Rapmund
There’s a great thing happening in DC as of late, and it’s lead by ongoing series like Nightwing and Superman: Son of Kal-El. Those two, and maybe the latter especially, are humanizing these characters in really great ways — and than pitting them up against some heinous foes to see what shakes out. As we enter issue #12, Jon Kent is facing the dual foes of Lex Luthor and President Bendix, who have turned the Gamorra Corps on our young hero to taste his skills and mettle. And as a response we see… Jon taking the time to entertain local children via a misuse of his god-like powers. OK, the variant cover likely has nothing to do with the story proper, but imagine if it did? It shows that Jon’s the kind of guy who makes time for all people, and it’s the small gestures that demonstrate just how much of a true hero he is, even if it’s not the best time for such “community service.” That idea gels brilliantly with this series at-large, and it’s one of the reasons why every cover, variant or otherwise, feels like it could be a part of this really wonderful, life-affirming story.
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1
Cover by Carmen Carnero and Alejandro Sánchez
Earlier this year, Marvel launched its plans for dual Captain Americas. We’re already a couple issues deep with Captain America: Symbol of Truth (which stars Sam Wilson), and this month we get the debut of the Steve Rogers-starring Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty. Here, Cap will encounter a long-standing secret — likely around his shield — that will “change the way Rogers views the 20th century…and how he chooses to fight in the 21st.” So, what better way to start things off than by showing Rogers and his shield fully aligned, doing what they do best by bashing some big baddie with (what I assume to be) 60 pounds of Vibranium. I realize that this previous sentence, and the very notion of the shield’s importance, makes it sound like they’re about to undergo a really nasty breakup or something. Someone should write that story eventually — and for now, boiling Cap down to the powerful imagery of his shield and his whole star-spangling shtick feels like a great way to explore him and cultivate some fresh insights. Plus, more shield-related stunt fighting in the world is always a good thing.
Seven Sons #1
Cover by Jae Lee
There’s a lot of reasons to be extra hyped for Seven Sons. First, it’s the first creator-owned series from famed artist Jae Lee since 1994. It’s also described as “The Fugitive meets the Book of Revelation,” and that couldn’t be a bad starting point if it actually tried. It’s also the promise of the story itself, as we follow the young Delph as he tries to run away after learning that he “may be the Second Coming of Christ.” If all that weren’t enough still, we’ve got this excellent debut cover from Lee. We get the sense of the look and feel of the book (like an even more depressing 12 Monkeys); the undertones of horror (a sinister-looking Midsommar); and some really unsettling, culture-blurring humanoids that clearly have never seen or held an infant before. All of that together feels like this could be a great thriller, one that plays with ideas of horror, religion, and existentialism in ways to make readers nervous and uncomfortable — and that’s often a good thing.
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