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.
Cover by Tony S. Daniel
Hear me out: subtlety is overrated. Yes, some kind of nuance and sub-text is always great, and it allows creators to reveal a story and its many messages without bashing readers in the face. But this is comics, and sometimes deeply deliberate moments are the ones that land the best. Case in point: this cover to Batman #93, which pretty openly lays out not just the coming “Joker War” storyline but also the long-standing dichotomy between Batman and the Harlequin of Hate and their hugely complicated dynamic. Because why say with a whisper what you could say via screaming, blood-soaked clown?
Cover by Olivier Coipel
OK, so in the short run of the Donny Cates-penned Thor, there’s already been some hugely impressive covers. (For instance, #2 is pretty epic). That said, this cover to #5 isn’t quite “made for a metal album cover,” but it does still work well enough. It’s nice to see a more “intimate” side of Thor, and he appears pained and lost in this cover. It also hints nicely at the emotional and (possibly) physical changes he’s undergoing in this whole “Black Winter” affair. But if nothing else, it’s just cool to know Mjolnir doubles as a sweet intergalactic flashlight.
Batman: The Smile Killer #1
Variant Cover by Kaare Andrews
There’s a lot to be hopeful for regarding this “one-shot epilogue.” For one, it promises to turn the Batman mythos on its head with a wonderfully unsettling Joker story. And if anyone could help achieve said goal, it’d be the creative team of writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino. But for the clearest sign of the story’s success, look no further than Kaare Andrews’ amazing variant cover. It checks all the boxes for visceral, highly unsettling horror tale, and there’s something about the stoicism of a young Bruce Wayne and the horror of Batman that just punches you right in the gut. This writer would be smiling wide right now — if I weren’t so darn scared, that is.
Empyre: Avengers #0
Cover by Jim Cheung
Unless you haven’t been paying attention, Empyre is Marvel’s grand old event for 2020, and it centers on a massive alien invasion threatening the MCU. So you’d think, given how much of an impact this story will have and the stories/series it will run through, that Marvel would really bring put the big guns visually. But as simple as this cover appears, it’s still deeply effective. There’s something about gathering such a dynamic cross-section of heroes, and placing them in a formation that screams “highly stressful battle!,” that just works wonders. What this prelude lacks in explosive potential it makes up for in setting a mood and tone for the larger event.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #50
Variant Cover by Clayton Crain
I wanted to be the Green Ranger as a wee boy. Not only because he was morally dubious, and because the gold shoulder pads made all the difference, but because of the Dragonzord. The fact that it looked like the mutant child of a samurai, a dragon, and a turtle made me stupidly happy as a youngster, and there was something about the connection it shared with the Green Ranger that felt like a boy and his dog (or Harry and the Hendersons). Either way, Clayton Crain depicts the mechanized beast in all its glory: you mess with the Rangers, you’re gonna get smacked around by a giant robo-dragon.
2020 Rescue #2
Variant Cover by Mirka Andolfo
For those unaware, the 2020 Rescue miniseries is basically Pepper Potts donning the Iron Man suit to save the day (and likely Tony Stark’s rear end). This variant cover from Mirka Andolfo feels like an especially powerful encapsulation of what makes this story, at least on paper, feel really essential. Namely, just how impressive Potts is as a continuation of the Iron Man idea of “all it takes is a good person and the right tools to save the day.” But Potts is also her own hero, and her special brand of hope feels a little more pure and down to earth compared to Mr. Stark. Also, any excuse to bash HYDRA should be embraced with true gusto.
Justice League #47
Cover by Gary Frank and Brad Anderson
OK, I know Death Metal #1 came out last week, and heaps of folks are still trying to drool over Wonder Woman’s chainsaw sword, or figure out where to buy Batman’s sick leather jacket. But there’s still really great visuals popping up elsewhere in DC comics. For instance, issue #47 of Justice League, in which the team fights what is effectively a hydra (no, one that one). Is it as cool as Superman with gorgeous long hair? No, but then few things are. What this cover does accomplish, though, is priming everyone for the end of “Vengeance Is Thine” while offering a chance to showcase some epic battle scenes. Because that’s all you need sometimes when you’re not working out a massive storyline.
That Texas Blood #1
Cover by Jacob Phillips
Don’t know the first thing about this new Image series? You obviously didn’t read my interview last week. My hurt feelings aside, That Texas Blood is effectively a younger brother of Paris, Texas and No Country for Old Men, with some horror-esque elements spun in for good measure. All you really need to know, though, is what the cover offers up. Which is a highly effective sense of grit and intensity as we delve head-first into the life of Sheriff Joe Bob Coates and the bloody mystery that lands in his quaint Texas town. This story may be indebted to its influences but it’s also something so much more wonderful (and unnerving).
Rogue Planet #2
Cover by Andy MacDonald
One of the best parts about manning this feature is that I discover books that might have otherwise slipped off my radar. This Cullen Bunn-penned series finds an intergalactic salvage crew seeking riches only to find all sorts of alien-oriented body horror. The cover itself reminds me of Dead Space (a game I could only play in 10-minute chunks), and there’s actually something almost comforting about alien-blood super-vomit. Not sure what that says about me personally, but who cares when there’s new comics to read!