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.
Future State: Justice League #2
Cover by Dan Mora
There’s a lot of symbolism going on in this here cover. Yes, it’s putting the Big Three (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) out front, a long-standing tradition across all DC titles. But those same super-superheroes are in extreme peril, and that says a lot about what’s going in all of Future State. Namely, this idea that our feelings and understandings of heroes can and should change and shift somewhat, and that is both a way to develop new insights and also level the playing field a bit as more heroes take on “lead” roles. It’s also a great commentary about how the future is totes frightening, and the only way to tackle it, despite all the dangers, is head on. Or I’m reading way too into this — IDK.
Cover by Joshua Cassara
This is a huge moment in the life and career of Quentin “Kid Omega” Quire. The hero that everyone loves to hate and hates to love has really stepped up big time over the course of Benjamin Percy’s run. And that’s in no small part to how he keeps totally dying and resurrecting, which is both a hilarious way to deal with his over-inflated ego and perhaps a small way to bring balance and nuance to Marvel’s biggest jerk (and there’s some lofty competition). Yet what this cover does really well, beyond hinting at that larger narrative thread, is show that the more things change, the more Quire remains a stadium-sized bag of hot air and hair gel. It’s a powerful way to explore a character’s development in a thoughtful and organic way. Let’s just hope he’s also somehow truck by errant debris.
Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2
Cover by Lee Weeks
There’s a few different reasons I love this cover: 1) Superman is riding a horse, despite the fact that he can fly through space (depending on the canon) 2) Said horse seems to be angry at him, possibly because Superman is death-gripping his mane 3) Wonder Woman is also riding a space horse, but her steed is a different color and possibly a different breed/variety, and 4) Seriously, a space horse. Add in that the actual story explains why the need for aforementioned space horses, and is yet another standout of the whole Future State event, and this is a must-have book for anyone’s collection. Especially true fans of space horses.
Radiant Black #1
Cover by Michael Cho
The whole crux of early comics is that heroes are young people with heaps of potential given amazing abilities in which to seize their lofty destiny and help improve mankind. (Please see Spider-Man, Shazam, etc.) With Radiant Black, however, our hero, Nathan Burnett, is in his 30s and failing spectacularly at life. So, then, is receiving the cosmic power called RADIANT going to turn things around? Or, is this another chance for Mr. Burnett to blow it big time? No way to know based on the cover, but said piece does accomplish something else: it’s hella cool looking, and radiates a sense of promise just like those old adolescent heroes. Here’s hoping the story itself is the narrative equivalent of a Kansas City shuffle.
Black Hammer: Visions #1
Cover by Dean Kotz
OK, there’s a lot to be excited about here. For one, we’re re-exploring Black Hammer, arguably one of the most dense and rich fictional universes since the establishment of the Big Two. Second, there’s superstar creators attached, and Patton Oswalt is the first out of the gate. But more than all that, we’re revisiting Golden Gail, one of the most emotionally poignant and downright interesting parts of the entire series/canon. Will following Gail’s pre-farm days give us new insights, as this hopeful cover promises? Maybe. Will it be another chance to see her as the salty, big-witted badass she really is? Let’s hope. Either way, more Black Hammer is always good.
King in Black: Thunderbolts #2
Cover by Kyle Hotz
As is most protocol for these big events, King in Black has “visited” several other titles in recent weeks. Some of these tie-in issues have been good, and others mere lip service, but there’s few that proved as promising as Thunderbolts. For one, writer Matthew Rosenberg could continue to contribute to the event while maintaining his own goals/mission statement. But more so, it’s the art, especially this Kyle Hotz cover, that feels like a perfect case of creative synergy. Because in a piece where the demonic-looking space parasites are infinitely less terrifying than the “heroes” of the book, you’ve done something right. You’ve also committed a crime against humanity, but that’s a concern for another day.
DC Love is a Battlefield #1
Cover by Kaare Andrews
Oh, hey, Valentine’s Day is this Sunday! If you’re esteemed lover is a comic’s fan, you can just get them this and be the real hero of this commercialized celebration of what’s effectively a chemical reaction in your dumb primate brain. But even the most jaded or painfully single among us can still enjoy this cover, as DC has decided to choose perhaps the publisher’s finest couple: Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. When they’re not beating folks up, they have the most genuine and earnest connection, and that’s what you want from one of these giant, 80-page specials. Also, is Ivy’s words also a thinly-veiled comment about avoiding going out for V-Day during a global pandemic? There’s just so much to love!
Morbius: Bond of Blood #1
Cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli
The best covers often take a more subtle, nuanced approach to their subject matter. You don’t want to simply announce what you’re trying to do, and instead present an image that works in service of the story. And then some covers, like this new one-shot exploring a story around Morbius’ first victim, throws those rules right out the freakin’ window. Because, yes, it’s a little heavy-handed to have the Living Vampire hanging out in a cemetery during some kind of blood moon. But it’s also just a great image, and one that really plays up the story’s larger themes of regret and second chances. Also, does this sort of count as Marvel’s own Valentine’s contribution? Sure hope it does!
Cover by Christine Larsen
You may best know Christine Larsen from her work on the Adventure Time comics. If you’re a fan, you may be pleased to find she’s working in the same realm of wacky fantasy with ORCS! Here, we follow the whole gang — Bog, Zep, Pez, Utzu, and Gurh — as they fight gnomes, squirrels, and other wacky threats as a kind of weird living tribute to an orc-ian legend named Drod One-Eye. What I love about the art (as previewed by this amazing cover) is it marries the aesthetics of a indie Euro comic and something from a mid-90s Nickelodeon cartoon. The end result it as weird and wild as it is endearing and silly. Whatever the orcs get up to, it’s sure to be a blast.
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