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Judging by the Cover – 10/26/22 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 10/26/22 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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The Amazing Spider-Man #12

Cover by John Romita Jr.

Judging by the Cover – 10/26/22 new releases

Let me take you back to the ’90s and the thing that keeps me up at night to this very. I’m a child with a newfound love of Spider-Man, and so my parents buy me all the goodies (figures, web shooters, etc.) And one holiday and/or birthday celebration, I got this bad boy, and my life has never been the same. Why does a man who can swing on webs (often those he projects from his own body) need to drive a car? And more than that, why have these so-called “Spider Cars” since proliferated toy aisles nationwide? It’s enough to make you doubt the sanctity of a character in the name of mindless capitalistic churn. Anyway, all of that’s to just to say that I can push aside my paranoia for a truly great cover from John Romita, Jr. Mostly because it makes the very strong case for a similarly “dumb” Spidey vehicle (a glider) because it fits brilliantly with the character’s aesthetic. (That, and it makes sense contextually. And even if none of that were true, Spider Pumpkin Bombs.) This won’t exactly bring me any peace, but man alive is it still cool to see Spidey fight technological fire with technological fire.

DC vs. Vampires #10

Cover by Guillem March

Judging by the Cover – 10/26/22 new releases

We’ve reached a huge point in an already huge series. While there’s still a couple issues left in the excellent DC Vs. Vampires, issue #10 feels like we’re moving all the pieces into play for some truly explosive finale. We get Green Arrow rescuing “human cattle” from one of the vamps’ many blood farms; Supergirl and company out in Australia making a break for space; and the Birds of Prey infiltrating Gotham City for a big ambush (and likely not a reunion with Dick “Vampire King” Grayson, I’d imagine.) It feels only right that cover artist Guillem March would opt for the latter “event” in creating the cover to #10. It’s got the most emotional potential; the most likeliness to go very, deeply wrong; and, perhaps more than anything else, it’s more of a chance to give the Bat Family members stakes to murder vamps. It’s that sort of profound doubling down (on themes, character arcs, etc.) that makes this book so bloody wondrous.

Damn Them All #1

Variant Cover by Bjorn Barends

Judging by the Cover

If my recent interview with Si Spurrier and Charlie Adlard didn’t make it super clear, I really love Damn Them All very much. It’s not just that it’s about demons and gangsters; that it’s described in the same breath as We Have Demons and Something is Killing the Children (it already deserves that comparison, for reals); or that our hero, Ellie, uses a cursed hammer as a weapon. It’s also that this feels like a big series given all the star power attached — which also includes some truly great variant covers. Like this bit of minimalist badassery from Bill Sienkiewicz; this psychedelic madness from Christian Ward; and most excellent direct homage to John Constantine from one Sean Phillips. In the end, though, the nod has to go to Björn Barends because of the way it references its inspirations with subtlety and grace; the dreamy quality that uplifts this very “grounded” tale; and the way the hammer both stands out and fades to the background, which seems like a nice bit of thematic wizardry. Damn you if you don’t get this book.

Lovesick #1

Cover by Luana Vecchio

Judging by the Cover – 10/26/22 new releases

You might have guessed from this cover that it’s meant to be a proper Halloween launch from Image Comics and writer-artist Luana Vecchio. But it’s not actually all that appropriate for the season. Instead, this book is all about an “exclusive, subscribers-only site on the dark web” where the matriarch Domino punishes and tortures her subscribes — all of whom pay for the rare opportunity for said face time with Mistress Domino. Only, some folks aren’t so sex-positive, and they believe Domino is a “deranged succubus” who “must be hunted down and punished.” So all that blood and gore and naughty bits doesn’t have anything to do with the season, and yet there’s no denying that connection between the two as the book feels a little campy and fun (alongside being totally depraved and intense). And because of that “flirtation,” this feels like a “scary” book that transcends the season for a kind of pure and unsettling level of horror goodness. The Court of Owls-looking masks also don’t hurt in making this one a must-grab.

Star Trek #1

Variant Cover by David Aja

Judging by the Cover

As a rule, I’m not a Star Trek guy. Unless, of course, it involves the Borg and/or this gem of an episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation. But given the creative team — Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, and Ramon Rosanas — I’d be silly not to give this new IDW series a try. For one, it’s meant to follow around Captain Benjamin Sisko, another unsung part of this massive canon, as he and his crew of the U.S.S. Theseus have to tackle a mystery around ::checks notes:: someone murdering gods. And this big new series launches has an accordingly grand launch with some solid covers, including this perfect Sisko portrait from Francesco Francavilla and this similarly dope portrait from Declan Shalvey. Yet the nod has to go to the variant from David Aja, who shows us the most important part of the whole canon: instilling a sense of beauty and wonder while also making us feel very small in our tiny corner of a cold, indifferent universe. OK, maybe I’m a bigger Star Trek fan than I’d earlier imagined.

Nightfall Double Feature #1

Variant Cover by Joshua Hixson

Vault reveals 'Nightfall: Double Feature' #1 variant cover artists

I’ve mentioned a few times in recent weeks that, despite my hesitation this year, DC and Marvel always do a bang-up job with their extra-large Halloween-themed compilations. But as it turns out, Vault Comics are no slouches, and their 64-page Nightfall Double Feature contains two stories from some top-notch talent (including Tim Daniel, Daniel Kraus, David Andry, and Jason Shawn Alexander). I could’ve gone with almost any of the five or so variant covers because 1) they’re all great and 2) they each expertly tow the line between the bloody and cheesy, the intense and silly. But there’s something about this Joshua Hixson cover that just really stands out. Like, if that bag of bones and such is meant to be eaten, would a ritual blade not be a great add-on for cracking open said skulls? And, while 1,000% terrifying, isn’t a theater full of corpses also not the dream of utter silence for any real cinephile? For asking the hard questions and embracing the horror with gusto, this cover proves horror goodness is the skill of all truly great publishers.

New Mutants #31

Cover by David Curiel and Rafael de Latorre

Judging by the Cover – 10/26/22 new releases

Get ready for Escapade! If you live under a rock — that’s no admonishment; look at the world — the mutant named Shela Sexton debuted back in June’s Marvel’s Voices: Pride. She’s not only got impeccable taste in leather jackets, but one of the coolest powers dreamed up in some time: by switching places with someone physically, she can “assume” their powers/skills/paraphernalia/etc. (And often that leads to some cool but also harrowing moments, which is why she doesn’t use her powers as often.) So, after accepting an offer from Emma Frost to train on Krakoa, this cover shows Escapade in a delightful montage of sorts absorbing the powers of the New Mutants. But it’s more than that, too, as this cover also lets us live vicariously through Escapade given her powers while showing us how much we’re all connected through the things that make us unique. It’s all of that together that makes this not only a dope cover to look at but also something that feels inspiring — the true sweet spot for all great comics and/or characters.

Vanish #2

Variant Cover by Daniel Warren Johnson

Judging by the Cover – 10/26/22 new releases

As Ryan Stegman all but confirmed in our interview, Vanish is a massive love letter to the madness and insanity of ’90s comics. It’s about embracing things that are overly gritty, drenched with attitude (and sweet, pocket-laden jackets) as a means of recontextualizing the energies of that decade and understanding how weird and transformative that time ultimately proved to be. And all of that is why I just had to choose this sick variant cover from Daniel Warren Johnson. (Also because I don’t have another issue of Do A Powerbomb this week to drool over.) Johnson’s whole approach/style can often feel very much removed from the ’90s; it’s often too chaotic and understated to match that decade’s tendency for bombast. As such, I think a cover like this, which very much feels like any Spawn cover, is made all the more nuanced and layered thanks to Johnson’s deliberate work. Sure, he’s got the grit down for any proper ’90s homage, but it just feels like something all the more weird and wild than that decade ever produced (despite producing some truly wild highlights).

Catwoman: Lonely City #4

Variant Cover by José Luis Garcia-Lopez

Judging by the Cover – 10/26/22 new releases

Even though it’s just four issues, it’s taken basically a year to get to the grand finale of Catwoman: Lonely City. But it’s more than been worth the wait, as writer/artist Cliff Chiang (alongside some talented creators and editors) has told a powerful and poignant tale of Selina Kyle working toward one last big score (aka, pillaging the Batcave). And Chiang and company have quite the swansong planned, as Kyle waits in front of the Batcave to discover the secrets she’s waited so many years to obtain. Yet despite how great Chiang’s own main cover for issue #4 is, I just had to go with this variant from José Luis Garcia-Lopez. Because, ultimately, this is about not just stealing the Batcave’s giant penny; it’s about Selina working through her relationship and connection to Bruce and Gotham City at-large. And so showing her at the Bat Grave (is that a thing?) isn’t just a powerful moment of emotional manipulation, but the memory she “sees” feels especially fitting. Because after everything, and with so much more still to do, it’s so touching (and depressing, too) that she recalls something so pure and earnest about their time together. Not that any of that will stop her, but it does drive home the depths of this deeply poignant tale.

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