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 Ivan Shavrin
In all honesty, it’s the premise of this latest X book that really has me hooked. It’s effectively CSI: Krakoa, and deals with dead mutants and the process for reincarnation. It’s also the team assembled by writer Leah Williams and artist David Baldeon; not only are Daken, Prestige, Prodigy, Polaris, Northstar, and Eye-Boy apparently the best suited for this mutant cop procedural, but the combination alone practically breaks the brain. Still, if you ignored most of that, you’d have Ivan Shavrin’s great cover, which doesn’t really hint at what’s to come but present something that still feels like the title screen of some extra kooky BBC detective show. It’s a cover that captures what really matters about this series: things are going to get slightly bonkers real fast.
Suicide Squad #7
Cover by Juan Albarran and Daniel Sampere
The whole breadth of this issue is meant to deal with Deadshot’s final exit from Suicide Squad and his chance to finally be a real dad. Deadshot’s always maintained a special connection with the group and the title, and to see him finally bid adieu is meant to be a huge moment emotionally while making us reconsider what the group might actually be all about. Fortunately, Juan Albarran and Daniel Sampere have expertly captured this moment, showing some real depth and heartache while leaving intact the sense of detachment and stoicism that’s essential to the Deadshot character. Does it break your heart a little? Yeah, duh. But the cover also feels like a real turning point, and that’s a massive source of excitement. ::Salutes::
That Texas Blood #2
Cover by Jacob Phillips
Anyone who has read our coverage should already be aware: That Texas Blood is a deeply promising series. The first issue delivered in a big way, and set the foundation for a modern spin on No Country for Old Men with a distinctly supernatural spin. (We heard you like dark noir, so we made it darker with monsters and such.) As for issue #2, the cover promises even more of the same. Here, we launch into part one of the “A Brother’s Conscience” storyline, and with it some more deeply unsettling murder and mystery from the heart of Texas. Jacob Phillips does a lot quite well in this series thus far, and the covers especially are so deeply beautiful while capturing the unflinchingly human qualities that make the story so effective. Please, do mess with this Texas.
Cover by Jesse Lonergan
How’s this for a timely story: Hedra tells the tale of lone astronaut who rockets away from an irradiated earth in search of a new world among the cosmos. Writer-artist Jesse Lonergan has drawn on everything from the works of Moebius to 2001: A Space Odyssey to create something that feels utterly haunting and yet deeply engaging. Case in point: the issue to #1, which is just as comforting (with its minimalist approach and super clean lines) as it is nigh-terrifying (everything is so small and insignificant). If this is how I feel before cracking open the book, or seeing what destinations await beyond our solar system, just imagine what wonders (or fresh hells?) actually await.
Cover by Kevin Castaniero
I’ll admit it: I’m an absolute sucker for “grizzled dude with two blood-soaked melee weapons” in just about any context. But if that weren’t enough, the series (by writer Brian Wickman and artist Kevin Castaniero) promises to be “The Witcher by way of Southern Bastards,” and follows an old man who gets entangled with some doomsday cult. There’s a lot of similar hybrid titles in comics, each promising new levels of goodness and/or gore as they further blur ideas and inspirations. But I have a good feeling about Grit, and Castaniero’s whole aesthetic here has taken all these references and presented something that hums with their purest essence: a sense of organic grit and humanity amid the dark and bloody madness. Sign me up, y’all.
Variant Cover by Phil Noto and R.B. Silva
Did I choose this cover because of its connotations of violence toward Cyclops? That seems likely, especially since in the past since I may have called him a dweeb or labelled him something of a frustration amid the core X-Men. But it’s also because this variant cover has done something that desperately needs to happen to Cyclops: loss and devastation. The whole “Summers family living it up on Moon Krakoa” isn painfully pleasant, and Cyclops always feels properly used he’s when faced with villainous foes and/or extreme emotional circumstances threatening himself and those he loves. Do I talk joy when Mr. Summers is facing down a baddie? Maybe, but his whole aesthetic (complicated Boy Scout leader) works when there’s ample tension. And based on this cover, there’s plenty of that to go around.
Red Hood: Outlaw #47
Cover by Paolo Pantalena
Truth be told, I’ve never really paid much attention to the Red Hood: Outlaw book. Sure, I love Red Hood, and the weird journey he’s undergone since his “return,” but the character’s also felt like something of a secondary focus even amid some of the many titles he’s supposedly be either lead on and/or a top tier talent. But if anything peeks my interest, it’s this cover by Paolo Pantalena. Sure, it doesn’t seem like anything beyond standard fare, but there’s so much more going on. There’s a kind of weird energy permeating this piece, and it’s in the angles and colors and faces of Red Hood and Artemis. I also am a sucker for great muscle lines, and while too many can be overwhelming, the ones here feel like peak ’90s action heroes (in the best possible way). And if nothing else, I just dig the choice of pink text throughout. Sometimes covers are just cool, and they deserve a tiny shout-out for being neat and fun if that’s all they ever accomplish.
Cover by Frank Martin and Jim Cheung
Another week and another issue of Empyre debuts. (If you haven’t, be sure to peep our ongoing coverage.) Once again, I’ve picked the main cover when there’s just so many epic variant options available. That includes Michael Cho’s fiery Human Torch piece and this epic, ’90s-inspired action piece from Ed McGuinness. But why settle with something so direct and to the point? I feel like all the Empyre covers have become focused on “let’s assemble the weirdest and coolest cross-section of heroes and villains and put them into a tussle.” And as far as that M.O. is concerned, a cover with Black Panther, The Thing, Mantis, and Super-Skrull is a firm 7.3 on the crazy-action meter. All it needs is a dash of Namor, maybe?
Lost Soldiers #1
Cover by Luca Casalanguida
Growing up, my father (shout-out to Bill Coplan!) was always reading books about Vietnam. As a result, it’s something I’ve always felt slightly ambiguous about: it’s a sore subject in so many ways, but there’s a lot of great stories and history from this era. Which is why I’m mostly interested in Lost Soldiers (from writer Ales Kot and artist Luca Casalanguida), which follows three vets on a “collision course with a new war.” What that means still remains to be seen, but Casalanguida’s art (and Heather Moore’s colors) manage to check all the boxes for great war-centric fiction (grizzled faces of battle-hardened dudes, heavy air of stoicism, perfect manly haircuts, etc.) The great books/art about Vietnam do a great job of purveying this complex mix of emotions and politics, and this book looks like it could do much of the same.