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 #4
Cover by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
If you read our recent interview with Scott Snyder, you’d know the true importance of issue #4 of Death Metal. Not only for the larger narrative, or even Snyder’s emotional connections with the book — and still not because it’s a perfectly timed slice of horror. Because it’s yet another chance for DC to show off some truly amazing cover options. There’s Wonder Woman straight fighting a T-Rex (courtesy of Tyler Kirkham). Or, Doug Mahnke’s “The Flash as Neil Peart” cover. And even the simple awesomeness of an Alex Garner-drawn Superboy-Prime cover. But yet again, it’s the issue’s main cover, courtesy of Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, that really takes the cake. And by cake, I mean a totally haunting profile of a demonic Batman that both plays into the main storyline and summons new levels of terror. Good luck sleeping ever again.
Cover by Matteo Scalera
Even if you haven’t paid much attention to “The Age of Khonshu” event, you can’t deny how badass the Avengers covers have been every single month. For this month’s grand finale, artist Matteo Scalera went all out, pitting a super-powered Khonshu (complete with blazing Mjolnir) against the fury of an especially angry Avengers. Jason Aaron has done a wonder in making Moon Knight and his mythos feel all the more dangerous and compelling, and there may be something much larger at play here. Namely, this idea that what we think is weird or silly or crazy just suffers from a (seemingly momentary) lack of context, and there’s some really amazing things swirling all around us. The Avengers would be wise to remember that if they want to ever really save the world. But don’t think about all that: just peep this dope cover.
Cover by Jorge Fornés
After his work with Mister Miracle and Strange Adventures, it’s clear that Tom King has a penchant for delving deeper into characters to wring out new truths and understanding. So what’s he going to do with Rorschach, who isn’t exactly a silly, pseudo-B-list character but instead has a lot of weird history (on and off the page), to fully recontextualize the character in the here and now. Well, we get our first sort of hint from this cover by series artist Jorge Fornés. Through a (mostly) a healthy bit of armchair criticism and psychology, it seems like this series will 1) respect some kind of slightly retro aesthetic a la the character’s early stories while 2) play up the whole mystery of how Rorschach has returned after being obliterated on a sub-atomic level some 40-ish years ago. Which is to say, this is perhaps the best we could ever hope for.
New Mutants #13
Cover by Mike Del Mundo
With everything that’s been going on at Marvel this year with the many, many X titles, perhaps New Mutants hasn’t always stood out. It’s a slightly funnier, more quirky book compared to, say, X of Swords, but then that’s probably a good thing. But if absolutely nothing else, the series deserves ample praise for its covers, especially the work of Mike Del Mundo on the totally bonkers covers for #9 and #10 (among others). He’s really outdone himself, though, with the cover for issue #13, which is both meta in a really clever way while also just being an amazing piece of art both emotionally and for fans of truly epic sword fights. There’s bound to be more craziness in the X titles, and New Mutants will be a vital part of that storytelling for so many reasons. The covers are just extra sprinkles on this kooky sundae.
DC: The Doomed and the Damned #1
Cover by Kyle Hotz
In addition to dozens of killer variants, 2020 has also been DC’s year for big, multi-creator contributions to special books (see Joker War Zone #1, among others). But none of those other books seem quite as bursting with sheer talent like The Doom and the Damned #1, which features 80 pages of extra macabre horror stories. There’s contributions from Garth Ennis, Riley Rossmo, Marv Wolfman, Travis Moore, Saladin Ahmed, and Max Fiumara, among many others. But our first look comes with this especially creepy cover from Kyle Hotz, which has both a totally dime novel vibe and a distinct ’90s aesthetic. More than that, this cover hints, with real nuance and restraint, at the scares and ample body horrors’ waiting inside. Happy Halloween, y’all!
Commanders in Crisis #1
Cover by Davide Tinto
There’s a lot going into the debut of this Steve Orlando-penned series. It deals with a dead Multiverse, where heroes come to our planet to start fresh, and also seeks to delve into our “modern moment” while exploring the “importance of compassion and hope” in this, the Absolute Garbage Timeline. So far, the only sign of the series’ success is this cover by Davide Tinto, which may actually live up to the hype and promise in a big way. Is there also a real ’90s vibe here? Yes. Does it, by extension of that, make me think of early WildCats? For sure. Is that a good thing that could also go terribly wrong? Definitely! But as we stand now, it’s nice to think there’s a socially conscious cheesy superhero title existing amid the dumpster fire that is 2020. Go team go.
We Live #1
Cover by Inaki Miranda
If you just look at the cover to this new AfterShock series, you may think it’s another slightly cutesy offering (albeit one from writer Roy Miranda and artist/writer Inaki Miranda, formerly of Batman Beyond and Catwoman). But once you know the storyline (two siblings journey across a ruined, monster-filled planet in the hope of rescue), some of that cutesiness fades (and in its place is dread and anxiety). Miranda’s cover, especially, does a great job of balancing these sentiments, showing the connection between Hototo and Tala amid a dangerous situation while never forgetting to highlight some of the energy and beauty their scenario inevitably contains. While they make it? Who knows. Will it be a hugely beautiful, emotionally resonant adventure? Sure looks that way.
Atlantis Wasn’t Built For Tourists #2
Cover by Wendell Cavalcanti
It’s OK for comics to slip through the crack; the world is on fire and we just don’t have all that much time and energy. But if you haven’t paid any attention to Atlantis Wasn’t Built For Tourists, please let me rescue it from the “never read” pile. This series, without spoiling too much, involves a town full of monsters (and secrets galore) and the totally cool stranger whole strolls on in to face all this chaos and horror (whether he wants to or not). It’s well written and plotted, the twists and turns hit just like they should, and the story doesn’t shy away from smacking readers in the face. Don’t believe me? Peep this cover by series artist Wendell Cavalcanti, which has a little fun with all that monster vives without making it feel plotted or heavy-handed. Get on this story train before it gets too far from the station.
The Vain #1
Cover by Emily Pearson
I have a confession to make: I don’t really care about noir-esque stories that often. Sure, there’s something cool about some hard-boiled dude or dame cracking mysteries (and maybe heads) circa 1940, but the whole genre/approach can feel a little underwhelming given how much it (or some variation) shows up in comics. Still, I’m mostly OK with it for The Vain, from writer Eliot Rahal and artist Emily Pearson, which follows a gang of blood bank-robbing vampires operating in a world on the cusp of massive change. Vampires help anything, even if they are also overplayed, and that holds true now. Still, just look at all that gorgeous blood; sure it’s nothing new, but that feel and texture of it looks almost cool and inviting. If the actual story can be half as intriguing, we could have a winner.