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.
Thor # 9
Cover by Olivier Coipel
Recently, Donny Cates took to Twitter for a lil’ late-night AMA. Tucked among answers about his favorite food (Mexican) and best villain (Thanos), he revealed that the upcoming “Prey” arc of Thor is among his proudest work. So what is “Prey” exactly? From the press available, it seems to be about the God of Thunder’s connection with his “human ward” Donald Blake, and what that fella’s “sudden reappearance” will ultimately mean for Thor. Given that, Olivier Coipel chose a pretty great way to kick-off “Prey,” mirroring the two men together in such a way as to play up the mystery and overall emotional intensity. Wherever this story goes, you can already feel the layers of history and the continued deep-dive into Thor’s psyche that will define this latest chapter. And that’s a Donny Cates seal of approval.
Cover by Geoff Shaw
And speaking of Mr. Cates, this week also sees him launch another auspicious title in Crossover. The book, out from Image Comics, promises to be a deeply meta exploration of comic stories and tropes, where readers are invited to “imagine everything you thought was fantasy…was real.” As far as overarching messages go, you can’t get more on-point than the cover provided by series artist Geoff Shaw. It’s more than just a child’s face being straight obliterated by the wonder and whimsy of comics; it’s that the solitude and timing (late at night when we should be sleeping) that screams familiarity. It’s a feeling we’re all mostly comfortable with, and Shaw captures it in such a way that you can’t help but want to take that ride into the unknown just one more time.
Justice League #56
Cover by Liam Sharp
OK, here’s my best to try and catch anyone up who might be either A) not reading Dark Knights: Death Metal or B) aren’t quite with the rest of us. The Justice League is in the midst of battling even more scourges of the Dark Multiverse, chief among them the Mindhunter (which is basically a hybrid Batman and Martian Manhunter with some other added superpowers). Just forget all that, though, and peep the heck out of Liam Sharp’s cover. Here, we have Mindhunter literally consuming our own Martian Manhunter, adding his own power to his own and keeping him from the fight. Yet it’s also done in a way to pervert normal Martian culture (a shared mind space) and turn MM into little more than a plot device and not the rich well of deep emotion he’s always been. Now that’s truly twisted, and even more of what makes this event so important.
Wolverine: Black, White & Blood #1
Cover by Adam Kubert
There’s a lot already working in the favor of Wolverine: Black, White & Blood. For one, it’s got some big-name talent, like Gerry Dugan, Tony S. Daniel, Matthew Rosenberg, and Joshua Cassara, among others. Plus, it promises all-new tales, packed with more insights and revelations into the ever-mysterious Logan. More than all that combined, it has yet another amazing cover by Adam Kubert. This is not just another snarling, animalist Wolverine covered in blood (his and others?); Kubert once more captures some inner depth and emotionality beyond the bare teeth and knee-high pool of human motor oil. He’s got a way of portraying Wolverine to both scare and engage, and this cover does a heap of work in hinting at what we can expect in the book proper. That, and it makes Wolverine look just tall enough.
Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams #5
Cover by Sam Kieth
I’ve spoken before about this five-issues mini-series from the wacky mind of Sam Kieth. Namely, how it’s really interesting to play up the two aesthetics and character arcs of Batman and The Maxx. There’s a lot of key differences, but there’s also some core similarities; that’s what’s made this deeply weird team-up so effective. However, it’s also been the covers by Kieth that have been a huge part of this story’s larger effectiveness. Case in point: #5 gives us a little preview of a Batman-Maxx tussle, with so much gorgeous detailing, exaggerated lines, and amazing coloring. It’s definitely got a super surreal quality and yet remains extra grounded and gritty. That’s why this series needed to happen: by crossing over these two distinct characters, we’re seeing them like never before.
Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #3
Cover by Miguel Valderrama
Perhaps you’re like me, and the idea of a comic book based on a video game (Cyberpunk 2077) seemed like a generally bad idea. However, if you’ve read either of the first two issues, you’d know Cullen Bunn has written a genuinely great story. It really only ties into the game by using the idea of Trauma Team International (think private nurses with guns) to tell the story of one young medic (Nadia) and her harrowing journey in this pseudo-cyber-dystopia. Need more proof? Just peep Miguel Valderrama’s amazing cover. Cyberpunk aesthetic? Check. Ample blood and violence? Sure sure. Human emotion amid the madness as a primary visual centerpiece? You got it! Whether you like video games or not, this book has gone above and beyond whatever it could have been. The real trauma would be missing out.
Cover by Jakub Rebelka
The whole idea of “rogue A.I. killing mankind” isn’t exactly new in faction. Luckily, it takes on a slightly different life with Origins, from writer Clay McLeod Chapman (Absolute Carnage: Separation Anxiety) and artist Jakub Rebelka (Judas). Here, David Adams, a man who created some super A.I., is resurrected to destroy his creation and maybe save mankind (as opposed to dooming it like last time around). So just what kind of world is David waking up into? Well, based off Rebelka’s absolutely gorgeous cover, it’s a dystopian forest world brimming with life and just a dash of old-world depression. Perhaps that’s very well the larger point of this book: to find that sweet spot between past and future and play up the layers of trauma and history and sheer humanity. Sure, this cover may be beautiful enough for a museum, but it’s never less effective in poking some part of the brain responsible for fear and guilt.
Sweet Tooth: The Return #1
Cover by Jeff Lemire
There’s a lot of reboots in other parts of pop culture (TV and movies, mostly), but it’s not always an issue in the land of comics. Yet here we are as writer/artist Jeff Lemire and colorist Jose Villarrubia reunite for what DC is calling a “bold re-imagining of the Sweet Tooth mythology.” So hopefully that means a slightly different tale of a boy with horns going on adventures, trying to grow up and figure out life in a weird and scary world. Based solely on Lemire’s new cover, it’s at least a different boy than our beloved Gus, although there is that same sense of fear and child-like wonder on both their faces. Either way, Lemire’s a different breed, and if he promises not just another rehash, it’s worth believing. Plus, this is Black Label, so things may get doubly weird.
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