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.
Dark Knights: Death Metal #1
Variant Cover by Ian MacDonald
It’s here at last. After a long lead-up (and some delays), Dark Knights: Death Metal is set to arrive this week at the DC universe. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo team up once again for the “encore” to Dark Knights: Metal, weaving a tale of badassery and end-times as the Justice League struggles against The Batman Who Laughs. Given the gravitas of the story, DC went all out with some variant covers, including an epic Doug Mahnke piece, Kael Ngu’s homage to demonic motorcycles, and Ryan Brown’s piece that we all wish was ripped from a new D&D expansion. But for this writer’s money, you can’t go wrong with Ian MacDonald’s variant, which shows the stakes of the series in their most vivid and terrifying detail. Rock on, y’all.
Cover by Eduard Petrovich
Spoiler: I haven’t paid much attention to the latest Ant-Man series. It caught my eye in the beginning, but then other series happened (and the world caught fire), and it’s become an afterthought of sorts. But then I peeped this Eduard Petrovich cover, and I realize I may have to play catch up in the near future. There’s something really epic and yet silly about this art, capturing an essential element or vibe of the micro-sized hero. This could be from some Saturday morning cartoon or a knock-off manga; either way, it sure kicks (a little) butt.
The Man Who Effed Up Time #3
Cover by Karl Mostert
Upon my reading of the debut issue, I found The Man Who Effed Up Time to be mostly lacking. Sure, it had a great premise, but the execution fell flat and some of the characters’ motivations seemed tenuous as best. Which is why I dismissed issue #2 and was all but happy to move on in my reading and reviewing patterns. Until I saw the issue for #3, and my tiny mind went pop inside my dense skull. I have no idea what’s going on, but “mutant caveman holding hero’s detached head” is clearly the cheat code to my heart. The series may still have its issues, but if the cover’s sheer weirdness is any indication, I might want to learn to love it after all.
Ironheart 2020 #2
Cover by Woo Chul Lee
Riri Williams’ latest series kicks back into gear with its second issue, and based on the cover, the creative team isn’t wasting any time. The hero’s partner N.A.T.A.L.I.E. (formerly her BFF turned A.I. construct) has pit Riri against her suit right off the bat, and that’s the kind of stakes we need. From a visual standpoint, the cover tells you everything you need to know: the intimacy of this threat, Riri’s resiliency in the face of danger, and the sick action that awaits. Talk about some especially lethal efficiency, folks.
Cover by Ivan Reis
Last week, I picked another cover with a terrifying alien overlord threatening Earth (or some Earth-like planet). What can I say: the whole motif is effective, and that’s doubly so when you apply it to a Superman comic. Is Mongol as threatening as Darkseid? No way, y’all. However, putting both our home planet and Supes right in Mongol’s mitts does a lot in amping up the sheer sense of dread. Plus, it beats the variant cover, which is example #445,838,302 of Supes being just such a great guy. Ugh.
Cover by Michael Dialynas
There’s a lot going right for this new BOOM! Studios series. It’s written by James Tynion IV, who is on a Batman-centric hotstreak, and has art from Michael Dialynas, who worked on the compelling The Woods. It’s also got a great storyline, in which a boy who must hide his magical powers embarks on a quest to save himself and the world. (Perhaps some cool Harry Potter vibes — albeit without the, um, worrisome creator attached.) And based on Dialynas’ cover, this could be a good one, a mostly whimsical, highly imaginative tale about friendship, growth, and the power of acceptance. Now that is magical.
Vlad Dracul #2
Cover by Andrea Mutti
In the name of transparency, I didn’t actually go and pick up issue #1 of Vlad Dracul. Yes, he is my favorite historical figure, and the story by Matteo Strukul sounded like a deeply compelling interpretation of his weird and bloody place in history. Still, at least I can enjoy looking at the covers by Andrea Mutti, and issue #2 is just as gnarly and unsettling (in all the very best ways). When you’re talking ’bout The Impaler (and I often am), it’s about the balance of grace and savagery in telling his wicked story. This cover nails it (and it’s not caps to the heads of unruly monks).
Family Tree #6
Cover by Phil Hester
As a rule, any time there’s a new issue of Family Tree, I am going to cover it with gusto. It’s been one of the more compelling series of the last several months, a powerful meditation of family bonds and the things we share (whether we want to or not). Issue #6 kicks off a new arc — here’s a handy recap of volume one, FYI — and Phil Hester once more does a damn solid job setting the stage. It’s more than seeing an older Josh turned into some tree-fighting badass: we get to see the scope of this world, and as the story fills us in on what happened, that image stands as a stark reminder of the change and entropy that dominate the world. It’s a poignant bit of visual magic that ties perfectly with the story’s deepest story roots.
Young Justice #15
Cover by John Timms
I’ll admit that I only picked this cover because of the sheer tsunami of nostalgia presented. I’m sure Young Justice is a solid series (the show is dope!), but it’s just not been one that I’ve followed regularly. That said, any chance to show ’90s Superboy is an instance worth celebrating, and that leather jacket and angular haircut is the chef’s kiss of ’90s comic weirdness (and greatness). Whatever happens in the story proper, one thing remains clear: more heroes needed stupid sunglasses and studded belts.