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 Travis Moore
This latest run of Nightwing has seen writer Dan Jurgen weaving a tale of amnesia and denied identities as “Ric Grayson” struggles to regain his memories as the titular hero. As such, lots of folks have been messing with him, including the Joker, who waves some magical crystal in his face with the promise of recovery and a returned life. So what makes this cover so great is that, in addition to furthering a mostly interesting story, it also distills something essential about Nightwing: his continued dedication to the simplicity of superheroism and the general decency of the universe. Nightwing is proof that if you’re willing to jump off the cliff (or building, in this case) with gusto and determination, the world will always be a good place to make sure you land (mostly) safe and sound. With any lucky, the “Boy Blunder” won’t end up street pizza.
The Rise of Ultraman #1
Cover by Alex Ross
It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world, Kaiju will always be dope. It’s giant monsters fighting in massive cities, the kind of simplistic but rewarding entertainment that remains essentially relevant. But this latest series is extra special, with a story by Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom (and art from Guruhiru and Michael Cho) in which the legend of Ultraman is expertly reimagined. As such, there’s some stellar variant covers, like this uber precious cover by Skottie Young and Adi Granov’s super slick fight scene. But if you’re relaunching Ultraman, the best choice is Alex Ross, who delivers the sheer size and scope of this dynamic hero like few others. There’s something about this cover that screams endless nostalgia without forgoing that slick futuristic vibes.
The Flash #761
Cover by Howard Porter
I’ve probably said this between one and 100 times, but Flash is at his best when he’s fighting Reverse-Flash. There’s a tension and emotionalize between the two that offers almost any story a real space to explore just such a nuanced and complicated relationship that touches on everything from classic hero/villain tropes to our ideas of justness and decency. This cover, especially, speaks volumes. Not is it just another great chapter in the long and sordid brawl between the two speedsters, but it demonstrates the larger toll of this physics-destroying rivalry on the DCU and its inhabitants. Their rivalry takes up so much space, and try though they may to escape it, they’re always locked in this back and forth. It’s just as thrilling as it is mostly depressing.
The Amazing Spider-Man #48
Cover by Chris Sotomayor
The ongoing “Sins Rising” story has basically asked one essential question: “What is Spider-Man’s breaking point?” As we see on the cover to issue #48, he’s likely pretty close to that very point (or he’s just trying to test his super-strength). I can’t say that, unlike some other heroes, Spidey’s at his best when he’s being pushed beyond what he thinks he might be able to handle. If anything, the appeal of this story (and perhaps Mr. Peter Parker to a larger extent) is how he retains his fire and chutzpah regardless of the odds. I don’t know if Spidey is cracking jokes while in a straitjacket, but his never-say-die attitude is why he keeps fighting (and why we keep reading).
Cover by Russell Dauterman
There’s a lot to love about the ongoing Marauders series. For one, it’s a really powerful allegory about the impact of capitalism and commerce on society — but with dope pirates. But really, it’s Kitty Pryde (the reigning Red Queen) who has been a continual highlight from issue #1. This whole series has seen her embrace the whole pirate thing head on, and the character has come alive in some new and exciting ways (thanks in part to the mystery Kitty and the Krakoa gates). This cover feels like a grand encapsulation of this awesome “new” Kitty Pryde, all swagger and no concerns. With this whole run of X titles emphasizing massive structural change, few characters have come out so exciting and fresh than Kitty, and the more we celebrate this shift, the better.
The Green Lantern: Season Two #7
Cover by Liam Sharp and Howard Porter
From issue one, Grant Morrison has done some truly bonkers things with the Green Lantern canon. Sure, even Morrison could make the Condiment King interesting, but that doesn’t change the fact that this ongoing series has given readers new avenues into the Green Guardian and what he represents in the DCU. Luckily, the art has always kept pace, including the efforts of folks like colorist Steve Oliff and artist Liam Sharp, each of whom have provided such an out-of-this-world story with similarly great art. The cover to issue #7, thenm feels like a great moment, a sleek and super intense encapsulation of what makes GL so cool. Parallax vibes? Check. Old-school nostalgic undertones? Yup. The addition of a much-needed cape/cloak? Finally!
Ice Cream Man Presents: Quarantine Comix Special #1
Cover by Martin Morazzo and Chris O’Halloran
OK, here’s a long-story made short. The team behind Ice Cream Man, Image’s totally cool one-short compilation series, kept making comics during the industry’s shutdown (called, conveniently enough, Quarantine Comix). Now that the world’s back on track (read: things are still on fire but we have comics!), those tales have been collected in this super cool special. Never read Ice Cream Man? This should be a fairly solid start, and the cover says a lot about the scope and value of this series. Feel wildly uncomfortable and racked with a combination of fear and uncertainty that’s near-crippling? That’s what every actual issue offers up (in a bowl or waffle cone to boot).
Bill & Ted Are Doomed #1
Cover by Evan Dorkin
If you’re not down with Bill & Ted, I’m curious: what’s it like being the most lame person born in 1995? But fully and completely, this whole series about burnout time travelers is great, and now we have a comic book prequel to bridge the gab between Bogus Journey and the newly released Bill & Ted Face the Music. This time, we get to follow the duo as they embark on a world tour to kickstart their failing careers, and oh what hijinks will likely ensue. Don’t believe me? Peep this cover from artist/co-writer Evan Dorkin (the man behind both Milk & Cheese and Dork). It captures everything delightfully bizarre and cheesy about this series, distilling it like the mutant love-child of MAD magazine and a Saturday morning cartoon. The quote the two sages, excellent!
Cover by Antonio Fuso
Without humble-bragging, this series landed in the ol’ inbox a few weeks back, and it’s so totally delightful. It’s sort of like a more traumatic version of Stranger Things (only with aliens), or like an American version of Die (but without all those dope ’80s music references). Regardless, it’s a series packed with a specific kind of nostalgia, and series artist Antonio Fuso nails that perfectly just on this cover alone. It oozes that pure-ish warmth of childhood, even if strange monsters and endless drama may have actually ruined said period. It both romanticizes and lays bare these feelings we all share in trying to grow up and become the best person we can hope to be. In short, this one may poke your brain with a big stick.