Most comic book fans have a solid idea about what they’re going to buy every week as they descend upon 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, funny, scary, etc. 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. This is Judging by the Cover.
Dark Knights of Steel: The Gathering Storm #1
Cover by Yasmine Putri
At first glance, I thought this was already a spin-off series from the totally awesome, very-much-still-ongoing maxi-series. But, no, it’s just collecting the first three issues, and as much as that feels like an act bordering on outright betrayal, it’s probably a smart move from DC. For one, it lets people who missed the horse (that’s the Middle Ages equivalent of a bus, yeah?) hop on board as the rest of the story builds. Plus, it’s really a story where having a few issues together is really going to enhance the experience and get people properly hyped. But all of that aside, it’s just a damn fine opportunity for more art work from series artist Yasmine Putri, who gives us supreme Ren Faire energy and looks with this exquisite portrait of DC’s Big Three. There’s so much drama oozing off one image, and this is clearly the best way to distill to folks the appeal of this story. That, or they could’ve hired some bard to write an epic ballad.
Radio Spaceman #1
Cover by Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart
Without being overly insulting, some of the titles in the Mignola-verse often feel like they’re part of some larger assembly line approach to comics. Be it Hellboy, Abe Sapien, and even the always amazing Baltimore — and a couple dozen other projects/titles to boot — the formula is clear: take a hero (and maybe the weirder the better) and pit them against increasingly bizarre adversaries. That’s not to say this approach hasn’t worked like a charm — these stories are still entertaining, and few have cultivated a robust universe like Mike Mignola. Which is mostly why I’m excited about Radio Spaceman. Does it fit this same mold? Yeah, you’ve got a “mysterious mechanical hero” who travels to an alien planet only to investigate the disappearance of some crew members. And, based on that description alone, you can assume things get weird and perhaps gory pretty fairly soon thereafter. But none of that changes the cover, which promises a blend of ’50s sci-fi and steampunk with just a dash of Cthulian horror. It’s a profound example of the kind of pop culture remixing that Mignola has perfected, and it’s why this universe is so beloved despite its steady mix of flaws and pure strengths.
Cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson
Truth be told, I haven’t paid much attention to Adventureman beyond issue #1. That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable — especially given the creative team of Matt Fraction and Terry and Rachel Dodson. Just that, as happens far too often, books just kind of all to the wayside. But were I to jump back into the fray, I think issue #8 is a great starting point overall. According to solicitations, this book promises quite the jam-packed story, focusing on “Claire’s sisters step up, the long-buried history of the Ghost Gang gets revealed, and the new Crossdraw makes a date with the new Adventureman!” But for now, let’s focus on this cover from the Dodsons, which I think captures something family-friendly and deeply exciting about this series, a kind of sensibility that promises good things no matter where you are with this book. More than that, though, I feel like this is some wondrous concoction of Akira, Adventures in Babysitting, and The Little Rascals, and that cocktail is exciting even if I’m the only one sipping. Here’s to whatever comes next for this plucky lil’ series.
Cover by Marc Aspinall
I’ve long thought that Alien/Aliens is a series of dichotomies. You’ve got a crew aboard a futuristic spaceship, but they’ve got the same hubris as some early colonizers, and they end up with the same results. (Well, alien acid spit over arrows, I suppose.) Or, that as much as technology like actual robots/androids defines this universe, they’re very much still grappling with ideas more rooted in the 20th century. And all of that is why I love this cover to Alien #10, despite never having read the series so far. Because I love this image if only because (besides being super badass) it shows this dichotomy with lethal efficiency. Do I know why there’s a bow and arrow in an Alien comic? No, but maybe something to do with the story’s conflict between Spinners and the Xenomorphs. Either way, it says everything I love about this whole universe/canon: things change, but they never change too much.
Batman: Killing Time #1
Variant Cover by Ivan Tao
There’s a lot working in the favor of Batman: Killing Time. For instance, the creative team of writer Tom King, artist David Marquez, and colorist Alejandro Sánchez. Or the overall storyline, which sees Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman team up for “the greatest robbery in the history of Gotham City” (which involves Bruce Wayne’s personal archives, FYI). Yet there’s also some things working against this book — like despite being a generally great artist, Marquez’s main cover is generic to the point of being super boring. Luckily, there’s this excellent variant cover from Ivan Tao. It checks all the major boxes: Batman fighting; a Killer Croc appearance; and a scenario that’s either totally unlikely or 1,000% percent part of the story. (Like, I know it’s Gotham, but which MMA org would sanction this fight?!) So in that sense, this variant is a nice little teaser for a book that could really steal a lot of hearts and minds.
What If… Miles Morales #1
Variant Cover by Mike Mayhew
I’ve always both loved and hated Marvel’s What If… series. I adore the idea of tweaking some small element of a character’s backstory, and seeing how it all spirals out of control. At the same time, though, these stories are “safe,” and any big odds or revelations are muted by this being nothing more than a thought experiment. Still, I’m jazzed about the latest story, which posits Miles Morales not as the new Spider-Man but if he’d become Captain America, complete with shimmering shield and Super Soldier serum. And in trying to answer the question of what kind of hero Miles would be in this “new” universe, Marvel rolled out a few different covers. There’s the main cover from Sara Pichelli, which is both cool looking and features Starling/Tiana Toomes as Falcon. Or the glowing glory of Alan Quah’s variant, or the similarly slick piece from Brian Stelfreeze. Still, for my money the nod has to go to Mike Mayhew’s variant, because it’s got the best costume (perfectly melding the Spidey/Cap vibes) and plenty more great Spider-Person representation. (Gwen-verine!) Dress him how you want, but Miles Morales is still going to save the day.
Loaded Bible: Blood of My Blood #1
Cover by Mirka Andolfo
Over a decade ago, writer Tim Seeley (and a handful of artists to include Mike Norton and Mark Englert) launched Loaded Bible. In the aftermath of a nuclear war, the church clones Jesus Christ to fight vampires. Seriously, that’s a thing that happened, and while there was way more nuance and depth to the story, the elevator pitch alone is enough to melt your frontal lobe. Now Seeley, alongside Steve Orlando and artist Giuseppe Cafaro, is back with another chapter in this saga, as Jesus Clone has to contend with the church as well as the threat of a cloned Dracula. There’s so many amazing and wonderful ways they could’ve gone with this cover, but I’m glad they opted for Mirka Andolfo’s more “understated” approach. And by that I mean, Dracula and Jesus engaged in midair combat as bloodthirsty bats swirl around them. Because nuance is great and all, but not nearly as great as badass vampire killers.
Rogue Son #1
Variant Cover by Goni Montes
I was lucky enough to have read the first two issue of Rogue Son some time ago. (#HumbleBrag.) And it’s mostly another great entry in Image Comics’ still-burgeoning superhero universe. But more than that, it’s a great story about fathers and sons, the nature of superheroism, and the real value (and notable downsides) of legacy. But you wouldn’t know all that from the various cover options for issue #1, all of which feel like a slightly “generic” superhero story about some paladin with sun-based powers. Still, there’s some great work here, and the nod perhaps goes to the variant from Goni Montes. It’s the one that feels the most “playful” with the source material, and does a damn fine job in pulling this back from “overt comics title” into something that’s more genre/medium-less. And in that space, there’s lots of really subtle ways to place the emphasis on what it’s like to be the actual Rogue Sun, at which point the book can hopefully provide context and fill in any blanks. Pick this one up for the family drama and the dope superhero action.
Follow Me Into The Darkness #1
Variant Cover by Damian Connelly
This new title from Behemoth Comics is described as a sequel to an earlier project from writer-artist Damian Connelly. (A series, the solicitations readily tout, that moved a rather impressive 55,000 copies.) I haven’t read that book, and so I’m just as confused as you, dear reader, when the press talks about how this book takes place one day before the apocalypse, and how “Yuko and Sebastian” meet with a child in Alaska to try and prevent the End Times. (And none of that even touches on “the children of the comet.”) But what I do know, based on one of the book’s several variant covers, is that things are about to get totes bonkers posthaste. Because the variant cover above is the perfect melding of weird body horror, ’90s underdog superheroes (like a gothic Great Lakes Avengers), and a dash or two of indie comics goodness. And I’m mostly hopeful that the story itself can expand on these ideas into something worthwhile; and if not, then the art is dope and that’s more than enough. Especially when there’s so much heart, humor, and horror on one dang page.
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