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.
The Flash Annual 2021 #1
Cover by Brandon Peterson
If you’re a Flash, you run. That’s kind of your thing, and it’s way more effective as both an offensive and defensive weapon that you might have originally expected. It’s also a great metaphor to apply to the men and women who’ve rocked the lightning bolt, a truly insightful way to explore issues like grief and regret, free will, living up to one’s own personal potential, and even how they perceive the world in general. So when a Flash decides to stop running — even as their A-list hero friends lie dead or dying around them — you know it’s a big deal. A sheer lack of momentum can say just as much, or more, about where a Flash is at then if they’re running around at the speed of light. There’s a deeper message about life in there for the rest of us — or you can just enjoy this sweet cover.
Sinister War #1
Cover by Bryan Hitch
Well, Spidey fans, I hope you’re ready for the horrors of war. Sinister War, if you’re not already in the know, finds Spider-Man effectively between the crosshairs in the all-out war between Doc Ock’s Sinister Six and The Vulture’s Savage Six. What’s sure to be a massive battle kicks off with an issue featuring a cornucopia of cover options. There’s this simple but compelling portrait from Peach Momoko. Or, a slick action shot from Kael Ngu. And even Marcelo Ferreira’s slightly silly, doubly dangerous cover. But for this fella’s money, you can’t go wrong with the actual cover. Is it a teensy bit on the nose to have Spidery literally split by the actions of these fiendish foes? Sure. Yet at the same time, it tells you everything you need to know — “Get ready for one hell of a confrontation.”
Beyond The Breach #1
Cover by Damian Couceiro
In describing his new series Beyond The Breach, writer Ed Brisson said it’s like “The Wizard of Oz on bath salts.” That should be the end of this blurb, really, but in case you somehow need more proof, just peep the cover to issue #1. It readily checks all the boxes for any promising new series: 1) freaky monsters galore, 2) a touch of body horror, 3) some great influences (I see a little bit of The Thing and H.R. Giger), 4) must-have humanity and/or personal stakes, and 5) something silly in the form of weird animal “sidekick.” All of that delivers something that should make clear that this sci-fi/horror family adventure is going to be one heck of a ride. But, seriously, “The Wizard of Oz on bath salts.”
The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #4
Cover by Dario Brizuela and Franco Riesco
As a rule, I don’t real mess with anything that I deem “Silly Batman.” I mostly prefer my Bats as dark and brooding — and it took me reading Glen Weldon’s excellent book The Caped Crusade, like, 1.5 times to even remotely appreciate the work of the Adam West-era Batman. Even still, I chose this cover to the limited series The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries because it raises a few essential questions. For one, why is there a parade celebrating Black Mask? And, beyond just the asinine nature of just such an event, is that the actual Black Mask somehow turned into a float? Are Nightwing and Batgirl just going to pop the balloon to stop him? Is this in Gotham? And why is one henchman dressed like Cthulhu? I get that I shouldn’t look too deeply into these stories, but if I don’t try to sort it all out I just might go batty.
Aliens: Aftermath #1
Cover by Phil Noto
This year, we mark the 35th anniversary of one of the world’s best sci-fi films… and it’s not Spaceballs. No, the totally amazing, groundbreaking Aliens has been influencing art, science, and geeks everywhere for three decades, and in celebration of the franchises’ forays into comics, Aliens: Aftermath finds us returning to the Hadley’s Hope colony. A group of investigative journalists head back to the moon looking for answers — and what they’re likely to find is extra hungry alien fiends. On the one hand, I don’t recall glowing aliens, but then I may be a little out of the loop. Regardless, DayGlo space monsters are somehow more scary then their traditional all-black look, and even if you can see them coming, there’s likely little to be done to stop yourself from being monster chow. Happy birthday, Aliens!
Man-Eaters: The Cursed #1
Cover by Lia Miternique
Released starting in 2018/2019, Man-Eaters was an interesting little series from Image Comics. Described as “Part Cat People, part The Handmaid’s Tale,” it featured a virus that turned menstruating women into mutant were-cats. What followed what was a weird and wild tale of bloody action, robust horror, and some thoughtful exploration of gender issues and politics. Now, the same creative team — Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, and Lia Miternique — have reunited for Man-Eaters: The Cursed, a new tale of “feminist derring-do and supernatural hijinks,” as the slightly older Maude heads to the week-long Craft Camp. But just what kind of hell might she face? We have no idea, as this cover merely depicts some minimalist eye. Yet for what I know of this series, that just makes this latest chapter seem all the more harrowing and terrifying. Prepare for true hell.
Gods of Brutality #1
Cover by Mark Wesler
The whole marriage of demons, metal music, and Norse mythology has been done before. (See, to a large extent, the mostly entertaining video game Brütal Legend starring the Jack Black.) But Gods of Brutality takes this in a different direction, as we hear what happens when famed rocker Nick Dillon went to hell in 1984 only to be rescued by Thor and his godly lot. Such a monumental story earns a truly monumental cover, as we see Dillon and the lords of Asgard blasting demons and enjoying some brews. That’s really all you need — stories like these are about how weird and/or insane things can possibly get. This cover may only be a very small preview, but it seems things will get totes bonkers right away — and they’ll do so with a kind of Heavy Metal-style vibe/aesthetic. All hail rock ‘n’ roll, baby!
Justice League: Last Ride #3
Cover by Darick Robertson
Thus far, Justice League: Last Ride has been an entertaining and effective way to examine this iconic team in a new light. Without spoiling too much, we meet the team post break-up as they try and protect Lobo before he goes on trial. And by issue #3, the story takes us to Apokolips, the former domain of Darkseid that’s now a “lifeless husk filled with ghosts and dark secrets.” With that comes this awesome cover, which is both deeply hilarious and yet also hugely sentimental. The idea of possibly “camping” on Apokolips seems silly — although not out of hand for the League — and yet it feels like the perfect next beat for this larger story. Because it’s all about reunions and making sense of an imperfect past, and what better way to do so than to travel to the heart of so many perilous adventures to sort through the remains of it all? Plus, a Darkseid comprised of stars just makes me feel so many other, hugely dichotomous emotions.
Cover by Olivier Coipel
All is, um, sort of weird and awkward in the realm of Asgard. Everyone’s returned to to the sacred city, but most, especially Thor, are still reeling from the whole Donald Blake thing. And while Odin’s returned, that inevitably complicates the already complicated crown of the king of Asgard. All of that together does wonders to inform the cover to issue #15. In any other context, it might be a mostly harmless disagreement between Thor and Cap. But in this new story, titled “Revelations,” maybe it’s going to mean something more. Perhaps it’s going to be a larger, more meaningful disagreement as Thor sorts through layers of pain and resentment. We won’t know for sure till we read, but I’m pretty sure this saga is going to be another bloody one for the God of Lightning.
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