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.
Beta Ray Bill #2
Cover by Daniel Warren Johnson
What’s so great about this latest run of Beta Ray Bill — aside from the gorgeous and resonant work by Daniel Warren Johnson and that Bill already more than deserves his own solo series — is the overt sense of directness. Which is to say, Johnson got right into the heart of the matter, with Bill setting about to build a new hammer, regain his full powers, and get back to smashing bad guys across the universe. That sense of blunt energy is reflected best on the cover to issue #2, as Bill blasts his way through a group of unsavory fellas, the sheer rage and impatience in his eyes as clear as day on a planet with four suns. It’s a pace and setting that fits the character best, and I can’t wait to see those next furious steps.
Cover by Jon Davis-Hunt
If you want to launch a new horror series from a long-standing character, Cullen Bunn seems like an appropriate choice. Bunn, joined by series/cover artist Jon Davis-Hunt, jumps right into setting up a great little story for Jack Boniface (aka Shadowman), as a new threat mounts against the world’s most cool, slightly demonic magic-based superhero. What makes this cover so great is that it feels like it expertly encapsulates a lot of themes or ideas swirling around this early part of the series. Namely, the distinction between Jack and Shadowman, the swirl of magic everywhere, the focused confidence of Jack, and much more. Mostly, though, it’s just a sweet piece that could easily be the best doom blues album ever.
Detective Comics #1,035
Cover by Dan Mora
Roland Worth is certainly a scary foe/opponent for Batman. Forget the fact that he’s right around eight feet tall, with a head that could crush cinder blocks. It’s also that, in addition to being super rich and thus wholly capable, he’s properly motivated to avenge a personal loss he believes Batman himself is behind. And the end result is then reflected on this cover to issue #1,035, with Bats and Mr. Worth squaring off, neither man willing to hold back despite the physicality and fighting ability of his opponent. It’s going to be more than some sick fight scene, but one that resonates with the visceral emotional potential that emanates from this very cover. All the best Bats fights are always more than mere fisticuffs, and this could very well be one for the ages.
Cover by Rafael Grampa
There’s a lot about BRZRKR that could make you forget it’s a genuinely entertaining comic book. Like, how Keanu “I know kung-fu” Reeves is the co-writer. Or, how before issue #2 even debuted, they’d already sold an adaptation to Netflix (who didn’t see that coming though, for real?) But in case you needed a proper reminder of the potential of this title as more than a “Keanu Reeves media platform,” peep the issue to #2 from Rafael Grampa. This bare-bones, highlight-just-the-goods piece shows the titular immortal warrior hold what seems like a millennia’s worth of weaponry, each blade and pistol just as familiar as the rest in his more than capable hands. But then there’s also that hint of sorrow and regret on his face, reminding us of some depth to this story. The final message is clear: prepare for heart and grit in equal measure, and a comic you can enjoy no matter your preference.
Cover by Gleb Melnikov
Love him or hate him (often both, simultaneously), Damian Wayne is one hell of a Robin. Not because of his lineage, or that he’s actually a capable fighter — he’s smug as heck and still backs it up. He’s always felt like Batman should be sometimes: deeply confident, to the point that kind of self belief may be some kind of latent superpower. In this run, Robin gets a chance to back up that perpetually cocky little smirk by entering the League of Lazarus tournament to be named the greatest fighter in the entire DCU. Could he actually win? Sure. Is this likely going to be a great life lesson for young Master Damian? Oh yeah. Will he continue to be an entertaining, painfully confident dweeb? Yup!
I Breathed A Body #4
Cover by Andy MacDonald and Triona Farrell
Forget, for a second, what I Breathed A Body is really all about. It’s not, for the sake of our argument, a poignant, well-crafted exploration of social media and the ever-encroaching influence of big tech. No, right now it’s a series that continually asks one question amid its four issues thus far: “how much can you take?” More specifically, the covers serve as an early preview of the gorgeous yet deeply unsettling depths that the series continues to journey toward. Case in point: the cover to #4, which seems like the default vision board of everyone whose ever had a really bad acid trip. What kinds of beauty and horrors come next? And at what point will it be too much of either, dear reader? The only way to find out is to keep on reading.
Cover by Mauricio Campetella
If you’re like me, you may have had only two or three haircuts in this pandemic year. (If you’re not like me, I don’t want to hear it.) And while that “distance” hasn’t made me fear getting haircuts on a more regular basis — that fear is reserved for going back to visiting large retail stores down the road — the cover to Snatched did give me some pause. Not only for the actual imagery here — that’s pure horror, right there — but that the book also seeks to examine how “racism, misogyny, and unchecked capitalism” fuel international human hair trafficking. Are things going to get weird and bloody? I’m sure. But more than that, I love any story that promises to meld body horror with geo-political discussions. I’m so excited, it’s practically terrifying.
Teen Titans Academy #2
Cover by Rafa Sandoval
The debut issue of Teen Titans Academy pretty much checked all the boxes for a promising new series. 1) Quirky new heroes, 2) beloved “old” heroes cast in new, uncomfortable roles, and 3) Red X! Yes, one of the best things from the Teen Titans cartoon continues to make its way into the DCU proper, as the students seek to crack the mystery behind the identity of the mysterious masked crusader. Is Red X actually one of the students? Maybe. Is it another, more well-established Titan instead? Could be Or is it someone new entirely? Who knows?! And all of that is ignoring other essential Qs, like those Dane (Raven’s new student) and Shazam himself. Luckily, this issue will answer at least one query: Are things gonna continue to be heckin’ interesting?
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #25
Variant Cover by Kael Ngu
Issue #25 of Miles Morales: Spider-Man is going to be a huge issue. Not only because 25 issues always something of an accomplishment in comics, but this is effectively the pay-off of a story that’s been building since circa issue #7. So, given all that, it only made sense to provide some real pomp and circumstance with a slew of great variant covers. Do I pick this cute, slightly creepy piece from Greg Horn? Maybe Sara Pichelli’s totally slick piece instead? Or what about Rob Liefeld’s totally, um, veiny and muscular celebration of… Deadpool on a Spider-Man cover? All great choices, but the clear standout is from Kael Ngu, which manages to blend both Spidey history with the singular coolness of Miles for a fitting celebration before things get totes bonkers with “The Clone Saga.” Good work and congrats, Spidey team!
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