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.”
In that spirit, here are the covers that captured our attention this week, with entries from comics editor Chris Coplan.
In weeks past, we’ve run a similar version of this feature. Check out entries from the “Nostalgia edition.”
The Flash #755
Cover by Jordi Tarragona and Rafa Sandoval
The rivalry between Flash and Reverse-Flash is right up there with the Montagues and Capulets and that Hatfields and McCoys. (Also, me and my neighbor who plays terrible REM covers.) So it’s been kind of interesting see Joshua Williamson’s lead up to these bitter rivals banding together against a shared “enemy” in Paradox. But when it comes to capturing the sheer complexity of this dynamic, you have to give it up to the cover by Jordi Tarragona and Rafa Sandoval (more teamwork!) Everything’s right there on the page: the anger and tension between the two, their bloody apprehension at having to actually collaborate, and the actual threat posed by this diabolical Paradox. Because if you’re gonna smash around their joint canon, at least give us such a profoundly awesome, deeply evocative cover to properly set the mood.
Cover by Julian Totino Tedesco
I’ve said it once (I may have actually said it a five or six times), but the Chip Zdarsky-led run of Daredevil has resulted in some truly dynamic covers. Most of those have been by by Julian Totino Tedesco, whose stark lines and deliberately nuanced use of light and detail create some breathtaking pieces. In issue #20, right as Hell’s Kitchen is in the grip of chaos, Totino Tedesco once again knocks it out of the park, playing up the profound relationship between Matt Murdock and Kingpin amid this thrilling backdrop, enhancing the core story while creating an image that stands alone in its depth and emotional range. Boom.
Cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson
Having Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson team up is sort of like if Steve Nash in 2004 played with Michael Jordan in 1996 (decide who is who). Which is to say, it’s the sort of team up that might not exactly be a dream for some, but could create the sort of mind-scrambling magic that we all could really use right now. And there’s a lot going right for this series. It’s being published via Image, who know how to support this specific kind of series. Plus, the whole premise — a modern rebirth of pulp comics mixed with maybe a dash of Last Action Hero (?) — seems ripe with potential. But really, it’s the Terry and Rachel Dodson cover that’s most thrilling, this sleek and powerful slice of neo-pulp goodness that’s both glamorous while still expertly striking at the ol’ nostalgia gland. It’s adventure time, y’all.
Justice League Odyssey #21
Variant Cover by Skan
It’s rather difficult to pick a cover for the latest issue of Justice League Odyssey. On the one hand, José Ladrönn’s cover is plucked from the deepest part of a nerdy comics fan’s brain, the sort of beefy action that so many of us crave when we first crack open an issue. But then there’s Skan’s offering, and the whole “Darkseid will annihilate Earth with his bare hands” reaches levels of unsettling that are almost physical in nature. In the end, you have to give it to Skan, as he just does a little more to show the true scope and threat of Darkseid. That, and the forehead game is on point.
New Mutants #10
Cover by Michael del Mundo
As a rule, teeth freak me out. They’re so vital, and yet so deeply fragile, and thus any depiction in fiction just makes my skin crawl (especially since, nine times out of 10, something terrible happens to said pearly whites) Still, Michael del Mundo’s cover has me less freaked out and more genuinely delighted. Perhaps it’s everything to do with the metaphor for youth and braces at work here. Or, the slightly cheesy, MAD magazine-esque vibes. Or even that it depicts the team’s confusion and instability in such a perfectly profound way. Regardless, I love this so much I won’t even bother counting my own teeth afterward.
Cover by Mike Huddleston
In case you forgot, Jonathan Hickman is also doing non-X work. Case in point: Decorum, his series with Mike Huddleston that launched just before the world went and lost its damn mind. Issue #2 arrives at last, and based off the debut, this story (which some described as being about “well-mannered assassins”) is another compelling Hickman offering, as he unfurls yet another deeply layered tail brimming with wit and intellect. But you can’t forget Huddleston’s contributions, which are encapsulated by the great covers. Issue #2, for instance, captures the surreal and cerebral quality of the series, and manages to delight, frighten, and entice readers in equal parts. Beat any of that, X titles.
Faithless II #1
Cover by Maria Llovet
Writer Brian Azzarello and artist Maria Llovet have reconvened for the next art/chapter of Faithless, which is essentially modern erotica meets Skins and The Magicians. While the story is charming and engaging enough, it’s the art of the series (which is risque but only in the most thoughtful and compelling ways) that often shines bright. Luckily, that list now includes Llovet’s latest cover for chapter two’s first issue. This is a profound encapsulation of what’s truly great about the series: the energy, passion, and intensity of a deeply human story. Sure, it’s a little naughty, but under all that there’s still a story that feels as familiar (and yet also wildly fantastical) as a lover’s embrace.
The Joker 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular #1
Variant Cover by Gabriele Dell’Otto
Last week, we got a giant-sized anniversary extravaganza for Catwoman. This week, we celebrate eight wacky and murderous decades of the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker. And just like with Catwoman, there’s whole slew of amazing talent attached, including Scott Snyder, David Finch, Paul Dini, Tony S. Daniel, Tom Taylor, and many, many more. Again, you could choose almost any cover as a fitting homage to the Harlequin of Hate. Like Brian Bolland’s simple but unnerving cover, Jock’s creepy slice of body horror , or the spooky surrealism of Francesco Mattina’s tribute. But for this writer’s money, you can’t do any better than Gabriele Dell’Otto’s variant, which manages to capture the insanity, terror, loneliness, rage, and dash of panache that’s made Joker a compelling character for so long. Here’s to 80 more, Pudding!
James Bond #5
Cover by Afua Richardson
One of the great things about Dynamite’s several James Bond titles is how they expand the character and extend his larger narrative. While those threads continue in the new ongoing from writer Vita Ayala and artist Eric Gapstur, there’s also a continued expansion of the great art attached to the series. Case in point: the cover for issue #5 by Afua Richardson. Once more, there’s a great balance between some classic themes and imagery attached to Bond while maintaining a more modern vibe and/or aesthetic. But Richardson’s cover does so much more, and there’s a kind of sadness and determination in Bond’s eyes that draws out more and more of his human side. License to kill? Maybe, but also license to break our hearts to boot.