We are nearing the bend on Cover with its fourth issue this week. The artist turned spy turned confused man continues to get punched in the face, but is love in the air?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Max is not having the best year of his career. Sales on his comics series are tanking, and his personal life is crumbling. Could it have something to do with his double life as a spy? Max learns the definition of “in too deep” as his worlds start to collide.
Why does this matter?
David Mack is drawing some of his best work yet. It’s symbolic, emotive, and deeply moving. Bendis is infusing this story with comic book culture and interesting meaning. Together they have a unique story that could easily serve as a great movie or TV show.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It’s becoming very clear this series is an orgy of art and interesting ideas. This issue mixes up multiple artists’ work (I spot Michael Avon Oeming and David Mack to name two) with different levels of story structure at work. Max continues to get pummelled by a fellow artist (I can’t help but think this has happened to somebody involved with this work) but a bit of positivity comes out of all this drama. It’s a story about espionage, trust, and love and things start to bloom here.
The strongest element of this issue is the watercolor splattered pages in all their colorful glory. Max is falling for someone and you feel it in the art as well as his confused and overtired mind. Things build impressively via two other artists as Max relays what happened, and then does a doodle after absorbing other artists’ work. Something about this series that may go unnoticed is how it’s so casual in how it reveals its characters. It does a great job here.
This issue also comes with a backup from Bendis, Bill Walko, and Howie Noel that originally published in the New York Times that pays homage to Stan Lee. It’s a fitting addition, especially well-timed given Marvel is honoring Lee in all its books this week, and has just the right amount of sentimentality and heart.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
As we’re four issues into the story, I’m a tad surprised it turned from mysterious espionage story to love story. Max continues to be punched out by the same guy of the last issue and doesn’t do much beyond realizing his feelings for someone. I was expecting a bit more, but it appears we’re holding fast to a more internal story.
Is it good?
This is a comic that artists will love, and those who wish they could make art will fawn over.