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Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 new releases

Comic Books

Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 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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Fantastic Four #1

Cover by Alex Ross

Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 new releases

Just the title alone seems to elicit feelings of awe and grandeur; it’s not everyday that we get a new Fantastic Four #1 (even if it’s not as rare as you might originally hope). And Ryan North and Iban Coello have quite the start for this bright and shining new era, as they instantly put the family in a dire situation and let Ben and Alicia Grimm save the day on road trip that smacks of Groundhog Day. And what better way to really capture how big things are about to be than by letting Alex Ross loose on this main cover. He’s done a lot over the years to make superheroes seem even larger than life, but there’s just something about F4 that really makes Ross’ work dazzle. It’s an especially poignant and dramatic image that captures what makes the family so essential while never once skimping on that visceral humanity that makes their adventures all the more impactful. Here’s to brave new starts everywhere.

Batgirls #12

Cover by Jorge Corona

Judging by the Cover

Despite my long running devotee of almost all things Bat Family, I only just got into the Harley Quinn show on HBO. My favorite thing about that show — besides Bane and King Shark; talk about a spin-off we all need — is that it reminds you there’s so many ways to frame and contextualize these characters, and most titles can show us something new and interesting if they commit to some larger idea. I mention that only to segue into the latest cover of Batgirls. Now, the Mad Hatter has always been a joke character in the Bat Canon — and that’s saying a lot with folks like Condiment King. But Jorge Corona clearly watched the Harley series just enough to know that a character’s true mettle is just one image away. In this case, it’s an image that reminds us of the mix of silliness and insanity at the Hatter’s core, and how all that magic and wonder can really feel like a cerebral form of violence and intimidation. Plus, it helps ground the Batgirls team in the canon by having them contend with a baddie who I’d say is a true deep cut (at least compared to your Jokers and Banes). Don’t drink the tea, squad.

Do a Powerbomb #6

Cover by Daniel Warren Johnson

Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 new releases

I know what you’re probably saying. “Oh, Chris is writing about yet another cover from Do A Powerbomb. How novel and new — shouldn’t he use this space for an X-Men cover or something?” And you’re totally right — I’m obsessed with this book and have written lovingly about every previous cover to the point I’m probably extra annoying. But I don’t care with this book; after the gut-wrenching, super thrilling arc across the first five issues, I can’t tell enough people about the wonders of this poignant family drama that also centers around a multiverse-esque situation and ample pro wrestling. I mean, just look at this cover from series mastermind Daniel Warren Johnson — even if you know nothing about the book itself, it tickles the deep nougaty nerd part of the brain (especially those parts invoking metal, wrestling, fantasy, etc.) while hinting at emotions and energies that feel huge and visceral in the best possible ways. In short, this has been a master class of great comics, and you’re lucky I don’t own a bullhorn and live in your neighborhood.

WildC.A.T.s #1

Cover by Stephen Segovia

Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 new releases

I’ve spoken before about books that we hear about almost endlessly from entertained readers across Twitter. But if you’ve heard anything about the relaunch of the most ’90s comic ever, WildC.A.T.S., it’s likely been from writer Matthew Rosenberg. Is that kind of self promotion essential form all creators? Yeah. But Rosenberg has taken it to a next level, making a kind of deep artistry in just trying to get people to pick up the book. But Rosenberg’s efforts aren’t for same silly book, and this relaunch captures everything great about those early runs while infusing a new kind of depth and humor and edge into the team itself (while feeling quite relevant to the current age of DC). And if you won’t fully believe me till you get your hands on this book, just peep the cover from Stephen Segovia. It’s a perfect homage to overly cheesy ’90s comics — Grifter especially has all that oversized grit and hard edges — while curbing some of those energies and tendencies to feel more current with these kinds of antihero tales that occur in 2022. The fact that the cover also promised a “senses-shattering issue” only proves that this cover and book are about confronting our sensibilities and smashing them across the bridge of the nose. Welcome back, cats.

Legion of X #7

Cover by Ben Harvey

Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 new releases

We had some truly interesting ideas about the start of Legion of X, especially as the book was doing some really thoughtful worldbuilding and exploring its “moralistic” themes/motifs. But it’s been a minute since we’ve really delved (no matter how superficially) into the book, and the creative teams have really taken the whole thing in some new and compelling directions. Case in point: issue #7, as the team are dealing with some weirdness in the astral plane while also having to contend with a mutated Nightcrawler. Is all of that likely ripe with the same sort of thematic goodness that writer Si Spurrier has embedded in this book from day one? You know it. But let’s just focus on the cover, and the overt spookiness and general leftover Halloween vibes it effortlessly exudes. Not only is this proof that you can have spooky time any year round (if done right), but this brand of horror feels really evocative over being initially shocking, and it brings in some vintage elements and a tinge of melodrama to really make this feel utterly special. Wherever this book has wandered, it’s been compelling, and covers like this are proof of the ideas and energies at play.

Two Graves #1

Cover by Annie Wu

Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 new releases

If you get a chance, go ahead and read the solicitations for Two Graves. The new Image Comics series, from Catwoman writer Genevieve Valentine and Hawkeye artist Annie Wu, is full of truly literary gems. Like bloody handprints on necks, or “Death and the Maiden go on a road trip.” And to accompany what could very well be a killer narrative, we get outlet first preview of Wu’s art with this great cover. On the one hand, it does deliver the same kind of grit and edginess as the solicitation promises — the colors, especially, give off that bit of “playful” darkness. But then there’s other things — like that text and the freaking demon man hanging off a g-d cliff! — that push things into the depths of a truly unsettling level of existential horror. It’s as if the solicitation gets you to look closely, and the rest of it leaps from the dark in a Michael Myers mask to scare your very lizard brain. That’s the best kind of horror experience: something not so obvious or deliberate that still manages to terrify in levels and in ways you could never truly expect. And like the book itself also promises, “No one gets out alive.”

Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #6

Variant Cover by Crystal Kung

Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 new releases

I’ve shared my thoughts about Dark Crisis in a few different avenues. And the thing I don’t think I’ve said enough of — both good and bad and maybe otherwise — is that the book’s pacing has been pretty good. It’s taken the time to touch on enough stuff, whether it needed to or not, to help build the world and the tension before moving on. And so by the time we reach issue #6 (i.e., nearly the end), it feels extra warranted when things explode into some big set pieces dripping with loads of super vital stakes. But because of that, I want to slow things down and really celebrate this great variant cover from Crystal Kung. Because, sure, we’ve seen the funeral stuff and we’ve all had time to mourn for a bit. But there’s something about Kung’s work that makes things a little more foreboding, as if people are just as fearful of Jon Kent/Superman as they are optimistic and filled with any shred of hope. And that little bit just makes everything feel all the more heavy and intense. As if all the war and anger is only the start, and we’re in for something all the more devastating still.

Marauders #8

Cover by Peach Momoko

Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 new releases

I think it’s safe to say that Peach Momoko is a one-of-a-kind, truly generational talent. But there’s also no reason to ignore that she mostly does variant covers (at least in her work with Marvel), and that fact carries some significance. (Namely, that her works are meant to be “discovered” beyond those who stick exclusively to the main covers, and that she’s maybe got more freedom conceptually or thematically than you’d expect from those “proper” covers). But now she’s got a chance to do a main cover, and she’s not wasted a single bit of space and/or opportunity. (It helps, of course, that with the team headed back to the first days of mutants, and the accompanying inclusion of sweet dino-based action.) Momoko delivers and then some, playing up all those themes/ideas with both a sense of cartoonish joy and overall elegance to set up the story itself for something more playful than you might get from any another artist. Momoko clearly has her whole vibe and aesthetic nailed down pat, but here it just feels more robust while also upping that X factor in some interesting ways.

Kaya #2

Variant cover by Wes Craig

Judging by the Cover – 11/09/22 new releases

When this book debuted last month, we gushed pretty openly about it. And rightfully so: creator Wes Craig has already forged a compelling and heartfelt fantasy adventure series even before issue #1 is fully complete. And why we look forward to continuing this evocative family story with the second issue, there’s somehow more things to find charming and entertaining from this book. Namely, Craig has promised a series of variant covers that reference and celebrate some other beloved series/titles. And what a way to seize that joyous opportunity than a cover referencing Adventure Time. But Craig did more than just capture the kind of manic energy and general zaniness of that most excellent cartoon: he’s recontextualized all of that into this wild and wonderful world, and by doing so, he’s clearly given the reader a chance to see the rich interplay and connections to the two series (while allowing them their much-needed independence). If that’s what we can expect from subsequent variant covers, then we’re in for something earnest and thoughtful— just like the rest of this book.

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