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Judging by the Cover – 01/29/19 new releases

Chris shares his favorite covers from this week’s new comics.

Most comic book fans have a pretty good idea what they’re going to buy every week when they visit 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. That’s where covers come in. A fantastic image can make the difference between trying something new or saying, “Nah, not this week.”

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In that spirit, here are the covers that captured our attention this week, with entries from comics editor Chris Coplan.

Sex Criminals #26

Cover by Chip Zdarsky

After quite some time away, the excellent Sex Criminals returns for its final arc. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky have done some wonders with a series about time-stopping sex thieves, spinning something that’s earnest and thoughtful while also wickedly funny and weird. The cover to issue #26 feels like the love-child of an ’80s rom-com movie poster and a pulp novel, equal parts romantic and intriguing and delightfully cheesy. If this is how the end must begin, then bring it on, gents.

Thor #2

Cover by Olivier Coipel

Of all the series that have launched in 2020, few have been as instantly exciting as Thor. Without spoiling too much of issue #1, the God of Thunder was thrust into a truly exciting situation, one where this book’s art could really get wild and weird. Case in point: this cover by Olivier Coipel, which hints at the larger storyline and dynamic between Thor and Galactus. Forget bad-ass metal album covers; this is like the sickest prog rock LP ever.

Suicide Squad #2

Cover by Bruno Redondo

If you pick up a Suicide Squad book, you’re likely looking for morally ambiguous characters and heaps of mayhem. But you may also want a little mystery and intrigue alongside some human chess, that’s seemingly what Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo are likely delivering with their new series. This cover for issue #2 says, “We’re about to turn the squad’s world upside down, and make everybody feel all topsy turvy.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the sense this is a squad unlike any other before.

Dr. Strange #2

Cover by Max Fiumara

You can’t sub-title a Doctor Strange book “Surgeon Supreme” with busting out the freaky medical stuff. And that’s what the cover of issue #2 does in spades, with Strange elbow-deep in tentacles. Sure, the best Strange stories often involve some level of dichotomy, exploring the good doctor’s attempts with balancing the mundane and the mystical and then serving up the resulting drama. But then it’s also a great cover ’cause it’s just weird and tacky. And ain’t that enough sometimes?

Justice League Dark #19

Cover by Yanick Paquette

The great thing about Justice League Dark is that supernatural/magic storylines tend to be rich with great imagery. And this cover is clearly an example of that. The “evil” versions of Wonder Woman aren’t just scary looking, but it’s how they play with the inherent character that’s most terrifying of all. Diana Prince is a pillar of goodness and justice, and to see these different “sides” of her is a truly disconcerting and troubling experience. One image makes you question years of history and character development. Spooky.

Doctor Strange: The End #1

Cover by Rahzzah

Is it cheating and/or unfair to have two Doctor Strange books on one list? Maybe, but you’d never forgive us for skipping out on Doctor Strange: The End. As you might’ve guessed from the title, it’s the final Strange story, one that somehow combines ye olde magic and “cyberpunk sprawls.” But mostly it’s what this cover promises — an old and clearly beaten down Strange holding onto magic for one last shot at saving everything. Will he do it, or has his good juju finally run out? Guess you’ll have to read it.

Killadelphia #3

Cover by Jason Shawn Alexander

If I say to you, “The bad guy of this book is a vampire John Adams,” you might either 1) pass out from laughing or 2) pass away after your head explodes. But what’s great about Killadelphia is that, despite that sheer ridiculousness, the premise is grounded enough to not distract from a really solid story of father and son. And so much of that is Jason Shawn Alexander’s art, which relies on minimalism and coloring to make everything feel real and yet surreal, scary and somehow awe-inspiring. But, really, vampire John Adams.

Protector #1

Cover by James Stokoe

If you’re going to try and hook readers, describing your new series as “equal parts Conan the Barbarian, Mad Max, and The Expanse” feels so effective it should practically be illegal. But even without that pitch for Simon Roy and Daniel M. Bensen’s story, the art alone is a massive hook. James Stokoe’s cover, especially, is like the most intense anime ever, as if Akira absorbed Blade Runner and Berserk and then kept right on going for your face. The rest of the interior art looks equally insane, and this whole series feels like it could be overwhelming in the best possible way.

Hawkeye: Free Fall #2

Cover by Kim Jacinto

It’s not enough that this series has Otto Schmidt, who perfectly divines what makes Clint such a great character. But it’s also in this dynamic cover from Kim Jacinto, who manages the same level of insights. Like the stylized color and angles, the martial arts film influence, the grace and cockiness of Hawkeye, and even the slightly “monstrous” quality of this new “Ronin.” Because some comic books just have all the luck.

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