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.
The Amazing Spider-Man #51
Cover by Patrick Gleason and Edgar Delgado
There’s a reason Spider-Man always adds “Friendly Neighborhood” before his name: dude’s super nice. So it’s no stretch that he’s always joining forces with some other New York-based hero type, be it Captain America, Moon Knight, Daredevil, or even Punisher. Even Spidey and Doctor Strange have linked up before, but none of those other collabos have looked nearly as cool as this cover. Even if you can’t get lost in the psychedelic goodness, this has everything you still need: a lean, bug-like Spider-Man and an especially dashing Strange. Is that why they’re such interesting semi-partners? Probably not. But it does play off like the best buddy action/comedy ever, and the world always needs more of that.
Sex Criminals #69
Cover by Chip Zdarsky
If you haven’t read it (why are you such a disappointment?), Sex Criminals is a profound meditation on human sexuality, modern romance, and the depths we’ll go for one another. It’s also a series that will happily make dick jokes, and that profound dichotomy is why it’s always been so great. Case in point: for the final issue, the book jumps ahead to issue #69 to check on Suzie, Jon, and the gang. Is the use of 69 an obvious and juvenile joke? God yes, but it’s also amazing. And it’s made all the more better by Chip Zdarsky’s uber cheesy, deeply sentimental cover. This is sex and love and all that is deeply nuanced and complicated, and this book has always been unafraid to show that with unwavering commitment. Godspeed, you lil’ freaks.
Dark Nights: Death Metal – Rise of the New God #1
Cover by Ian Bertram
Should you be reading Death Metal? Yes, it’s a solid event that has its tentacles across the entire DC comics landscape, and it’s a great continuation of the equally massive Dark Nights: Metal from 2018. But even if you don’t pick up a single issue or tie-in, please be sure to enjoy great covers like this . Even the uninformed can see this is some terrible nightmare version of Batman, who has sunk his claws deep into the Earth and destroyed parts of it with the malice and forethought of a bored teenager. Is that scary? Duh. But is it also another way to recontextualize and reconsider Batman? Sure, and that’s really been the point of these two series — play with our perceptions of DC favorites. Demon bats are scary, but not nearly as frightening as a ruined childhood.
Department of Truth #2
Cover by Martin Simmonds
James Tynion IV is a very busy man. In addition to work like the aforementioned Death Metal, as well as the spooky Razorblades, Tynion is now two issues deep into a new Image series with artist Martin Simmonds. Department of Truth, effectively, deals with the power of conspiracies and their larger impact on humanity and culture. As such, you couldn’t pick a much better cover star than a horned Ronald Reagan, who must be some kind of ultimate symbol in the lingua franca of conspiracy nuts. Is it that, then, a little too obvious for this book? Maybe. But if the first issue is any indication, whatever actually happens will be new and thoughtful enough to really mess with our sensibilities. Read this one — for the Gipper, if you must.
Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #1
Cover by Tyler Crook
There’s a reason Colonel Weird is the best character from the Black Hammer universe. Not because of his personality, or the value he holds in the larger plot — it’s what he stands for. As the rest of the heroes are stuck, it’s the colonel who moves freely between dimensions. That role as an outsider, with a special privilege, is hugely important for the core of that dynamic series. Now we get to see just what the Colonel does as he embarks on a freaky trip through the space-time continuum. Based on Tyler Crook’s excellent cover to issue #1, it might involve a weird salmon-colored planet and meeting past versions of himself. Regardless, it’s going to get very weird in the best possible ways.
Cover by Andrew Krahnke
If you haven’t kept up with this mostly great Image Comics series, here’s your chance as they embark on a new storyline, “Death Trip.” It’s also a chance to enjoy the works of guest artist Andrew Krahnke, who brings something truly exhilarating to this series. Krahnke’s aesthetic fits nicely with that of former series artist Jack T. Cole; both have a kind of grit and intensity that’s central to their work. At the same time, though, Krahnke has an entirely different energy, and his take on this “organic” sci-fi entry hums with the kind of attention to detail and humanity that’s both hugely affective and yet also somehow overwhelming. TLDR: read this book already, ya silly heads.
Cover by Eryk Donovan
If you missed the debut last month, Heavy is basically about folks who live in purgatory (the Big Wait), and some of them are badass assassin-types who police a weird and wacky multiverse. If that plot isn’t enough to ensnare your lil’ heart, just peep the cover from series artist Eryk Donovan. It’s the use of totally grey characters to hint at their nebulous moral standing. Or the pops of celestial psychedelics that both expand and run counter to that aforementioned visual device. It’s even in that all the afterlife weaponry has that cool writing and orange-y glow. Whatever you need to get on board, this mostly promising series has it. Unless you need angels and cherubs on clouds, then you’re all out of luck.
The Flash #764
Cover by Bernard Chang and Marcelo Maiolo
Pardon the ignorance Flash faithful, but is Dr. Alchemy really that big of a threat? Sure, Flash’s rogues gallery features dangerous foes that use things like mirrors and tops to inflict damage on the Crimson Crusader. But can an overblown chemist really be that dangerous (especially if he’s supposedly been behind bars for most of this time?) Well, based on the cover to issue #764, Alchemy is both a general threat and quite the scientific marvel. It’s this piece (by Bernard Chang and Marcelo Maiolo) that demonstrates something both hugely nerdy and generally frightening about Alchemy, and that’s sort of the Flash’s entire wheelhouse. Science sure is neat, huh?
X of Swords: Stasis #1
Cover by Marte Gracia and Pepe Larraz
Let’s say you woke up from a multi-year, “Rip Van Winkle”-esque nap and instantly wanted to catch up with your favorite comic book, X-Men. You’d likely have no idea what’s going on — aside from the fact that there’s something called “X of Swords” going on and we’re mid-way through its 22 parts. (You might also wonder if Cyclops is still a needy man-child; some things never change, dear reader.) But I’d bet my bottom dollar that you’d still want to slap down a few bucks for this one. Because even for the uninformed, Stasis hits the benchmarks of every great X-centric book ever published: totally cool, slightly sexy comic book characters atop a mound of skulls, facing some massive threat — or at the center of it. Plus, a giant alligator monster. Now once you’re done reading this book, please go check in with your very worried family.
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