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.
Suicide Squad #4
Cover by Eduardo Pansica
If you read our recent interview, you’ll know there’s a super sweet collabo going on between Teen Titans Academy and Suicide Squad. In this chapter, the Titans’ own Red X is “captured” by Task Force X, and, as evidenced by the cover to Suicide Squad #4, the situation clearly goes topsy-turvy from the get go. There’s a lot to love about this piece, from the fact that we’ll take any excuse to celebrate Red X to how this is another demonstration of the hubris of Task Force X blowing up in their collective faces. But it’s also the slightly meta nature of this cover, as if we’re Waller (or maybe another high-level official?) watching as the scene unfolds and we’re a hapless pawn. It really plays up the themes of both this story and something integral about the whole Suicide Squad canon: with twists and turns galore, it’s hard to tell who’s in charge and who’s just another unknowing sucker.
Iron Man Annual #1
Cover by Nick Bradshaw
I know why Iron Man is so cool. He’s a “billionaire playboy philanthropist” in a dope suit of power armor. If there’s one downside to Tony Stark — aside from the ceaseless ego, maybe — it’s that when he’s in said armor, it can be hard to tell his true state mid-battle. Well, thanks to Nick Bradshaw’s excellent cover to this year’s annual, it’s pretty easy to tell: Stark is getting his butt whipped by Quantum, another story in the arc about those who’d kidnapped and tortured Miles Morales. Whether it’s the way the suit is twisted around, the look of pure rage and domination across Quantum’s otherwise featureless face, or the general look of concern and slight disconnect on Iron Man’s helmet, this cover makes us fear for Stark’s chances and his eventual fate. The best stories maybe don’t punish Stark, but they do put him at a disadvantage to see if he can rise up once more.
The Nice House On The Lake #1
Cover by Alvaro Martinez Bueno
I think if you’re going to write anything horror related, some mysterious force sends you a checklist of sorts. (If it helps, this checklist is written on human flesh, in the blood of a feral hog.) And on that list is a few bullet points that any story must include; not all of them, but enough to really amp up the core scariness. In the case of The Nice House On The Lake, writer James Tynion IV and artist Alvaro Martinez Bueno made sure to pick “skeletons,” “terrified young female protagonist,” and “serene house with terrifying secret.” Do I think that this cover somehow makes the series generic and/or predictable? No way — especially since Tynion is a truly skilled horror writer. That said, though, it’s about honoring something essential about the genre, and based on this cover, that book’s already a huge success.
The Immortal Hulk #47
Cover by Alex Ross
I’ve celebrated more than a few covers from this excellent series, almost all of them having been drawn by Alex Ross. It’s not just that Ross is a master artist, and almost everything he does adds a new air of depth and power to any book. It’s also that he’s done a great job taking the series’ core themes — existentialism, metaphysics, and body horror — and managed to translate them into some truly amazing covers. This time around, Ross has a slightly “easier” job, going for something much more direct as Hulk battles the Avengers for a second time in this series. Here we see not only Ross capturing the sheer intensity of the battle, the stakes involved in battling across NYC, and how round two is so personal, but also something dark and extra angry about the Hulk, adding a new layer to the art and story. See, not everything has to be all body horror to the Nth degree.
Variant Cover by Megan Hutchison-Cates
In what has to be his 40th series of 2021 alone, writer Cullen Bunn teams up with artist Jonas Scharf for Basilisk. It’s basically about five people who work as a kind of hive supernatural force, going around dealing out chaos and murder, only for one of them to break off and come into direct contact with said hive-mates. Oh, and if that weren’t enough, the book is said to be “rooted in the way we process the world — our senses.” Whatever all that means, the only thing we need to focus on right now is this excellent cover from Megan Hutchison-Cates, which captures all the sick supernatural vibes and core story elements with the utmost efficiency. The end result is a really awesome cover that, while not directly emphasizing the narrative threads, it nonetheless tells us everything we need to know about the larger themes, motifs, etc. This is so good, it’s practically scary.
Out of Body #1
Cover by Inaki Miranda
If you’re clever or extra self-aware, you may have known that Antarctic Press recently published another book about astral projection, O.B.E. (Out Of Body Experience). Now, writer Peter Milligan has teamed up with artist Inaki Miranda for another such book, Out of Body. There’s some key differences; for instance, while both books promise to be have a detective, noir-ish vibe, Out of Body focus on one man (Dan Collins) while throwing in some references to demons and the occult. Plus, there’s something really dynamic and unique about the cover to Out of Body #1. It seems to focus less on those detective vibes and seemingly capture Collins in what could be mid-astral projection, a kaleidoscope of psychedelic colors darting across a melting cityscape. Is it scary and yet also deeply thrilling? Yeah — and let’s hope the rest of the book is just like that and much more.
Jenny Zero #2
Cover by Magenta King
If you like giant kaiju monsters and reluctant protagonists, it seems like Jenny Zero is the right book indeed. While trying to avoid following in the footsteps of her monster-smashing father, Mega Commander Zero, young Jenny, who lives to slack off and party with her socialite buddies, is forced into her role when she finds out just how close the apple fell to the tree. All of that is what makes this cover so dang great: not only does it show Jenny’s fate, and the promise of great action with a slew of nasty kaiju, but it works as a larger metaphor for Jenny’s life, and how she’s stomped around through life making a mess. Will playing Mega Commander Zero help her seize her destiny and get her life on tracks, or does this world now just have another giant-sized problem? Find out yourself!
Worst Dudes #1
Cover by Tony Gregori
Calling your book Worst Dudes is pretty brazen — not to mention totes smart. How else can you as quickly and efficiently inform potential readers that this book follows some real nasty folks (a “dirty cop, a drugged-up back-up dancer, and an angsty adolescent god”) tearing about the universe on the “hunt for a missing pop star.” Artist Tony Gregori goes above and beyond selling the story and the whole vibe with this cover, which manages to throw on a warning label that does wonders for playing up the hilarity, weirdness, and utter depravity that’s likely to follow. The fact that the art style is also reminiscent of a really weird ’90s Nickelodeon show, and it just makes for an all the more promising title. Worst Dudes? Nah, hopefully more like Kickass Dudes.
Chaos Agent #1
Cover by Filya Bratukhin
We’ve all had that point in a job where we wonder if we’re making good use of our time, and if maybe it’s instead time to move on. Philip Blank, the star of Chaos Agent, is experiencing just such a moment — only instead of, like, talking to HR, he goes on a “death-or-more-death journey” through W.O.R.L.D.E. (a kind of S.H.I.E.L.D., but meant for “keeping capitalism safe”). The cover, with Blank atop a pile of strange alien robots, speaks volumes about this book’s overall tone, aesthetic, and sense of humor. All of that together screams a totally weird, utterly delightful exploration about happiness, seizing one’s destiny, and maybe even how all the kooky foes in the world are no match for a bad case of existentialism. This title could more than make up for any COVID-centric delays, and then some.
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