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 Dustin Weaver
If you’ve paid any attention to the ongoing X of Swords event, you’ll know how densely layered a lot of it is. But that’s what truly good comics events are all about: massively intertwined narrative structures that build across titles to tell a truly dynamic and stimulating story. Just don’t forget that these events also have to sell books, and they need to do things that really pull in the ol’ eyeballs. Case in point: this cover to X-Force #14, in which Wolverine carries a sword. Sure, Mr. Clawed Badass is no stranger to wielding swords, but there’s something about this cover, with this specific sword and the angle of his claws, that reaches a new level of awesome. Add in the images of other X-Men, and it paints a nice metaphor about Wolverine’s balance of violence and humanity. Come for the great story, stay for the sword-wielding immortal man with metal bones and dope sideburns.
Teen Titans #47
Cover by Bernard Chang
Endings suck — even the ones we’d been yearning for since the beginning. Teen Titans hasn’t exactly been a massive book, but it’s still a place for a tried-and-true aspect of DC to continue to tell great stories. However, if you’re going to go out, better it be with this dynamic cover. Here, Bernard Chang has seemingly captured what’s most essential to the Teen Titans: ice-cold vibes, a semi-ironic level of attachment, endless family/teamwork sentimentality, and just a dash of weirdness (who could ever eat 40 stories in the air like that?) Books come and go, sadly, but it’s covers like this that remind us of something essential about these beloved characters and why we’re so attached in the first place. Until next time, Teen Titans.
Fantastic Four #26
Cover by Mark Brooks
I don’t trust Reed Richards. Something about his particular brand of nerdery has always felt somehow disingenuous. Sure, he may be among the smartest men in the MU, but at least Tony Stark comes off way more personable. Turns out, I have every right to not trust Richards as he and his chicanery are at the very center of the Fantastic Four’s latest spot of trouble, the Forever Gate. Does “Mister Fantastic” want to unleash hell while his friends/family try to save the day? Sure seems on brand. But if nothing else, this neat-o cover feels like some super cheesy, totally wonderful sci-fi film from 1956, and that’s almost enough to make me forget about my larger issues with Richards. Almost.
Cover by Joëlle Jones
Here’s why Catwoman rules (aside from being unafraid to lean hard into being a cat-themed burglar): she’s a great balance of thoughtfulness and utter abandonment. Case in point: as she tries to assert her dominance in Alleytown, she’s going after the Khadym mob, which seems like a tactically smart idea. At the exact same time, robbing people and flipping the van you’re riding just screams “I’m a poor planner.” Regardless, that charming approach has yielded this genuinely great cover, which could have made a sick stunt in some Steve McQueen movie. But only Catwoman could actually pull it off, and that’s why she’s the cat’s meow, folks.
Barbalien: Red Planet #1
Cover by Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Recently, I may have made the claim that Captain Weird is the best character from the Black Hammer universe. I stand by that claim, but quickly add that Barbalien is a very close second. This send-up of Martian Manhunter is a great foil for exploring ideas of identity and the performance that often comes with everyday life. So, what better visual representation of that then locking Barbie up in chains for his series’ grand debut. Is that a little on the nose as far as metaphors go? You betcha. Yet there’s some kind of specific balance of sorrow and acceptance on his face that makes even this extra blunt metaphor feel totally perfect. I can’t wait to see what happens when he really breaks loose.
Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1
Variant Cover by Jeffrey Veregge
Here’s something that we should all get behind: a sizable cast of Native American and Indigenous talent (including Nebula-winning writer Rebecca Roanhorse, artist Weshoyot Alvitre, and geoscientist/writer Darcie Little Badger) crafting cool stories in honor of National Native American Heritage Month. That includes tales of Echo, Dani Moonstar, and another about the “darkest spots of X-Men history.” But it’s this Jeffrey Veregge variant cover (apparently titled “Ghost Rider”) that has me the most stoked. Here, we get a celebration of Indigenous culture that still feels deeply rooted in the Marvel lore and aesthetic, and that’s something that feels really important to this commemoration. If nothing else, the fact this book exists (regardless of covers) is a huge step in shining a full spotlight where it belongs.
Frank at Home on the Farm #1
Cover by Clark Bint
Just in time for almost-Thanksgiving comes one of the most intriguing horror stories I’ve read this year. Here, Frank Cross returns home from WWI to find his entire family missing. What follows in the first issue is the dynamic start to a bizarre and haunting horror detective story that will make you physically uncomfortable (and yearning for more). As far as debut covers are concerned, Clark Bint’s piece does a lot for illustrating the profoundly psychological nature of this story without giving away too much. It speaks about ideas of obsession and the “fog” of memory, and it feels like a cover that could bring in just as many people as the story’s elevator pitch. Bring Frank to your home, please.
Cover by Robson Rocha
Upon first examination, I thought this cover of Aquaman may have been some romance novel from 1996. You know, the ones with Fabio and some random woman are dressed liking Vikings in front of some funeral pyre or whatever. But in an issue that’s meant to be all about Arthur and Mera as a couple, and the strength of this dynamic bond, it’s only fitting to celebrate their love in such a hugely sentimental manner. Is it a little cheesy? Oh, for sure, but then that’s maybe just a part of loving someone with such sheer gusto. If nothing else, it speaks to a sense of hope they share, and how this shred might help maneuver Arthera (that’s their couple name) through the challenges that lie ahead. Somebody grab the tissues.
Sea Of Sorrows #1
Cover by Alex Cormack
Here’s a fun fact about me: I am afraid of deep water. Not necessarily that of the oceans, but mainly commercial swimming pools. There’s something about seeing how far water goes that just unsettles me like nothing else. Perhaps that’s why I love the cover to this so-called “deep sea adventure with a horrific twist” — it’s not that the ocean is unknowable but that we can see the sheer horrors and monsters waiting to pull us into the endless black void. Add in the fact that this book is effectively an underwater heist thriller set post-Great War, and it’s something worth picking up despite my very real fears. Underwater, everyone can hear you scream and it sounds like “blub blub bluubbbb!”
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