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.
Moon Knight #4
Cover by Steve McNiven
There’s an air of change running through this new Moon Knight series. Change like how Marc Spector sees his role as a guardian of travelers and denizens of the night, or even just his basic relationship as the avatar of Khonshu. It’s been a welcome occurrence, and adding to and expanding the canon of Moon Knight has been a great way to keep the character fresh. But don’t you ever forget that the more things change, the more they stay the same, as this badass Steve McNiven cover expertly demonstrates. If you need to understand Moon Knight, this image crystalizes his very essence (which is to say, fighting till the clothes on his body begin to peel off). Add in Tigra in an equally battle fatigued state, and there’s clearly been some huge fight going down. And that’s not all MK can do, but putting him up against the odds is really the perfect sweet spot for this singular hero. What matters next, then, is what do you do with such a prolific brawler.
Cover by Jason Shawn Alexander
I’ll admit something now: it’s been about 10 or so issues since I read Killadelphia. I loved the first several issues, and it felt like a new way to talk about race, American culture/politics, and, of course, monstrous vampires. But as tends to happen when you read 15-plus books a week, some things just fall by the wayside. But if anything could bring me back, it’s this cover to issue #18. Per the solicitations, we’ve reached a fever pitch as we conclude arc No. 3, with a massive stand-off between vampire queen Abigail, her ex-hubby John Adams, and… Thomas Jefferson (?!) What I love about the cover — aside from feeling generally excited by the complete lack of familiarity — is the bounty of emotional sentiments. Ex-lovers battling is always entertaining, and then you add in dead little cupid fellas. It’s bound to be funny and weird and really messy and deeply intimate, and that feels exactly what excited me about this series to begin with. Pat Benatar really was right, y’all.
Cross To Bear #1
Cover by Sinisa Banovic
Alternate history can be pretty hit or miss sometimes. For everything like The Man in the High Castle, you have Caveman. (Yes, they gave the GEICO mascots a TV show. And, yes, I am counting that as alt history.) But I have a mostly good feeling about Cross To Bear. For one, it’s got perhaps the best intro sentence in solicits that I’ve read in some time: “Jack the Ripper was never caught because no one was looking for him in the Wild West…No one accept The Order.” And from there, we’re launched into a story about the “descendants of Crusaders” evidently going off to kill the most infamous serial killer in history amid the picturesque landscapes of the southwestern U.S. But, really, what has me just as jazzed is the art itself, and the cover perfectly melds these two worlds in a really compelling way. It also has a kind of dark magic spin to these, and if we can expect demons or spells and whatnot, then that should make things all the more interesting. If the story can match the whole aesthetic, this may be a bit of alt history worth studying.
North Bend #1
Cover by Pablo De Bonis
I saw #1 on the cover and had no idea this is actually North Bend‘s second (and final) arc or “season.” I never paid much attention to the first (clearly, Coplan!) but I think this latest story sounds compelling enough. There’s ample talk about sinister enemies, mind control drugs, and a solider named Brendan seeking answers — whatever configuration that all takes, there’s some real potential there. However, I picked this issue (as you might already expect) from the cover. For one, because it took me a second to realize what was going on. And from there, a gentle satisfaction overcame me — what could have been another bad horror movie trope (I call it “The Maniac Mirror Twin”) quickly subverted all my expectations. Because it zigged where some other covers might have zagged, it makes me think that the story proper could be just as daring and inventive. Maybe that involves a few leaps in logic, but it’s sort of the point when judging things by their respective cover.
DC vs. Vampires #1
Cover by Otto Schmidt
This week, DC releases two highly-anticipated, Halloween-centric titles. There’s Task Force Z, which deals with Jason Todd and a kind of resurrected Suicide Squad. And there’s DC vs. Vampires, which… well, I’m sure you can figure that one out. So, which one do I pick, as if I were dipping my hand into a bag of fun-sized Snickers or Crunch bars. The nougat of Task Force Z is warm and familiar, and who doesn’t love zombies? At the same time, though, you can’t ignore the rich airiness and snap of Vampires. At the end of the day, the nod goes to DC vs. Vampires for a few key reasons. For one, I always love a Batman/Green Arrow team-up, even more so as it involves bloodthirsty vamps. Additionally, it’s Otto Schmidt drawing Batman and Green Arrow, and that’s always a huge deal for this fella. But ultimately, it’s just the endless bloodshed, the monstrous vamp faces, and that Batman has what looks like an ancient dagger handy. Got to love that utility belt, yeah?
Cover by Jerome Opena
If you haven’t read Inferno #1 just yet, let me help you understand. On the hand, it’s kind of the Marvel swan song for Jonathan Hickman, who has lead the building and expansion of this Krakoa saga (and who now heads on to other projects). Given it’s Hickman’s final bow of sorts, it’s a rather large story that sees the many leaders of the X Nation facing the consequences of the “big game” they’ve played with the island and its overall impact and vision for the future. What it means beyond that would involve some pretty big spoilers, but let’s just say it involves Moira MacTaggert, the mutant Destiny, and the potential end of things as we’ve known them amid the Krakoa saga. All of that means a story that won’t pull any punches, and we can expect some big reveals and massive turns and the like — including this cover to issue #2. If you don’t know why it’s a huge moment (inferred or otherwise), maybe you need to start over with X-Men #1. If you did instantly respond with a twisted face of shock and awe, though, then you’re clearly ready for what’s coming. Unlike the X-Men — booyah!
After Dark #1
Cover by Tony Harris
There’s just so much I love about After Dark even with the most preliminary of scans. For one, it’s described as “Tales from the Crypt meets The Twilight Zone,” and that alone has me already scrambling for my wallet. From there, this one-shot has stories from the likes of Jim Starlin and Cullen Bunn, with art by Tony Harris and Szymon Kudranski. And if all that weren’t enough, they’re calling this one-shot a “One-Shock,” which is a thing AfterShock Comics always does but is nonetheless still worth celebrating. But if there’s one thing that has me excited, it’s this cover from the aforementioned Harris. Bog witch drawn like you’re tripping on peyote? Check. A little heaping helping of body horror and gore? Double check! So many layers and things to uncover as you continually take the piece in? Ah, triple check! It’s the kind of horror I love and want more of in comics: bloody and weird, and not afraid to get a little dirty and swampy with it. This cover is like getting a full-sized candy bar during trick or treating — and you’ll eat it even with the razorblade inside.
House of Slaughter #1
Cover by Chris Shehan
If it’s got some kind of abode in the title, you know James Tynion IV can write the heck out of it. Only this has nothing do with Nice House on the Lake, and is instead a deep dive into the equally great Something is Killing the Children. More specifically, the early, mask-less days of Aaron Slaughter as he trained in the titular House of Slaughter. Given that interesting tie-in, there’s a few different variant cover options available. That includes this slick, minimalist-but-profound piece from Helena Masellis. Or, this totally gorgeous cover from Jeehyung Lee, which should be a movie poster posthaste. And even this Álvaro Martínez Bueno piece, which perfectly recreates his cover to The Nice House on the Lake #1. But the true winner is the main cover from Chris Shehan, which puts Slaughter front and center in a beautiful, mostly minimalist piece. Because, like the story itself, it’s a great hint without revealing the horror and weirdness to come. School’s in session!
Cover by Robbi Rodriguez, Rod Reis, Cris Delara, and Damion Scott
The original Harbinger series dates all the way back to 1992, and tells the many misadventures of the “harbinger” Pete Stanchek, a powerful psychic who could one day alter the trajectory of mankind. The series has launched and relaunched a few different times, and this latest iteration comes from writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelley alongside artist Robbi Rodriguez. Together, they’re not only introducing all-new villains and some sidekicks, but also tracing young Peter’s path from “most feared man in the world to one of its greatest protectors.” What better way to send a mostly uplifting message like that with the cover, which screams, “I’m going to smash your head with my brain powers!” It’s a gorgeous precursor to destruction, too, and you can see the way the world warps and bends around Peter’s power. It’s a great visual for what’s to come, and a powerful way to scare and worry folks before hitting ’em with that big redemption arc. There’s a reason Harbinger has existed this long, and there’s so much more story still left to tell.
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