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.
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #4
Variant Cover by Riley Rossmo
Sometimes, there’s a close race that happens in my heart of hearts when picking a cover. For instance, the main cover to issue #4, from Dan Mora, is great because it does that thing that should happen more: Green Lantern as the adversary. Hal Jordan, folks, is a great hero, but there’s something about him in the role of antagonist (his Parallax days, DC vs. Vampires, etc.) that just makes him so punchable in the best ways possible. But there’s something else about this book — beyond the current storyline where Mr. Jordan may require a thrashing: the sheer chaos of it all. Not in any kind of negative sense — the book’s plotted well — but just how much is going on at once, which is sort of the hook and appeal of this series at large. And that sense of “chaos” is presented brilliantly in this variant from Riley Rossmo, a veritable who’s who of Bizarro characters doing what they do best (be dumb and cause hijinks). Does it make sense to the story? No. But it does capture the same kind of whimsy and weirdness that makes this all-star title feel so special.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #39
Cover by Taurin Clarke
In the latest multi-verse hopping adventure between Miles Morales and Shift, the pair find themselves in an alternate New York called “The Empire of The Spider.” And if that wasn’t already clear by the cover to issue #39, then the “empire” belongs to the evil Miles clone called Selim. (That never ceases to be a little dumb.) Just like any bloodthirsty tyrant before him, Selim has seized control of this Big Apple with violence, intimidation, and fiery madness galore. But it’s not so easy to forget that this is just another tale of multiversal silliness, and the cover from Taurin Clarke feels really unsettling. It’s likely that Selim is, aside from the face tattoo, the worst perversion of the young, aw-shucks vibes that our Miles generally portrays. That, and the sheer joy he’s taken in torturing Peter Parker, which serves as the most heartbreaking betrayal of everything we know to be at the core of Miles proper. Evil clones aren’t exactly a new trope, but this instance of it feels as off-putting and jarring as it did in Us — you can’t help but look away while everything you know has gone all sorts of wrong. Quick, take us to the universe where memory wiping is commercially available.
Black Adam #1
Variant Cover by Rafa Sandoval
I hope I’m not alone, but I’m not super jazzed for the Black Adam movie with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He keeps saying that he’s no superhero, but the trailer for me screams every antihero trope in the book. (And that book? It’s written by Michael Bay.) Luckily, there’s also a brand-new Black Adam solo book launching from writer Christopher Priest and artist Rafa Sandoval, and they’re telling their own story far removed away from any big budget tie-ins. If you really want to know what the story feels like, without spoiling too much of the story, just peep this variant cover from Sandoval himself. This rather powerful image should scream “tension” to you, and that’s very much at the heart of this tale — tension between Adam and the world and even himself and his larger place in the world and plans for a final legacy. It’s almost painful in its intensity, and that’s just what the book hopes to explore as it takes a very real look at who Adam is beyond the power and fury. Beat that, Mr. Johnson.
New Fantastic Four #1
Cover by Nick Bradshaw
Just last week, Marvel unveiled New Fantastic Four: Marvel Tales #1, a collection of retrro Fantast Four issues about this all-star replacement team. If you thought all of this was for funsie-wonsies, then you should enjoy living in your cute bubble ’cause it’s all just to prime the pumps for another title, New Fantastic Four. Written by Peter David, and with art from Alan Robinson and Mike Spicer, the story takes place after the foursome first came together, and promises mystery villains and surprise guests galore. Do I like this cover as much as last week’s offering? Mostly. It doesn’t really have quite the same sense of drama and emotionality (thanks to that regal-looking Ghost Rider). However, this cover, from Nick Bradshaw, does distinguish each hero a little more, and we get a bit more emotionality and overall personality from the four. I’d buy this if they were all doing their taxes together — especially then! — but this cover does a damn fine job setting a mood for what’s sure to be a fun adventure story.
I Hate This Place #2
Cover by Artyom Topilin and Lee Loughridge
If you didn’t read issue #1 of I Hate This Place, then I hate you. In a market practically flooded with horror, this series’ debut was both charming and emotionally thoughtful, placing the emphasis on the couple of Trudy and Gabby — all without every holding back with a genuinely scary setting and overall sensibilities. But if me hating you isn’t enough motivation to pick up issue #2, then just spend a few minutes studying the cover. Does it once more have that human element front and center? Yup, and their connection and tension (as briefly hinted here) is top notch. But does it also have some clear ’80s horror movie vibes and a dash of weird pseudo-metaphysical absurdity? You know it! All of that together should make it clear that I Hate This Place has heaps of potential and is already delivering in its early stages of developing a new and distinct horror tale. And if you don’t get into it by #3, there’s no coming back from my sheer disappointment.
The Lonesome Hunters #1
Cover by Tyler Crook
Way back in April, we told you about The Lonesome Hunters, a new supernatural adventure tale from writer-artist Tyler Crook. In it, a young girl with some family issues and an old man with ample regrets join forces for a “supernatural road trip to stop…ancient evils.” How do they get together? What’s the deal with that sword? What are these “evils” anyways? Don’t seek out answers to your burning questions just yet; instead, let the cover thrill you with its blend of fantasy and mystery galore. Because, sure, the cover does hint enough as to what we’ll get in the story proper, but it’s also made to feel a little abrupt and uneven — and that really plays up some of the tension and storytelling that defines issue #1. It’s less that, unlike other covers, it’s slightly vague; it’s more that that unknowing is so vital to to the story, and the discovery of it all just feels like part of larger adventure as opposed to any actual “truths.” Also, giant swords are always in.
Cover by Martha Webby
I saw The Toxic Avenger when I was 8, and I’m almost certain that it destroyed most of my sensibilities. And so I often feel a little unsure of how to react when faced with the standard horror trope of, “Hey, we took some cute kid and made their life into a living hell!” That’s mostly the hook for this new Source Point Press series Nook, in which the young Avery and her family leave Germany amid WWII for a small town in France where they discover their home’s haunted (and it may have to do with their new “cat,” the titular Nook). What I think makes the cover effective, besides that really stark color palette, is that is tangentially references some other similar stories. The whole thing has vibes of Coraline (that, um, “child” in the door); some Dora the Explorer (I swear it’s not just the haircut); and even something like Bobby’s World (but if that took place in some bloody nightmare dimension). Either way, I really get this archetype for the first time in a while, and I’m hoping the story delivers on all this delicious visual madness.
Beware the Eye of Odin #1
Cover by Tim Odland and Michelle Madsen
Vikings continue to have a really great “resurgence” of sorts, and a lot of that has to do with Thor and even recent fare like The Northman. Doug Wagner (of Plastic and Vinyl fame) is getting in on Norse fever by joining with artist Tom Odland for Beware the Eye of Odin. As the title suggests, it follows a young prince who has to return the famed Eye of Odin or “face a death of boils and decay.” And our first preview of “what’s basically The Lord of the Rings with Viking warriors” features this excellent cover from Odland and Michelle Madsen. Here, the pair really marry together a lot of influences, like the vibes of a Saturday morning cartoon; a dash or two of D&D-esque fantasy, and a heaping help of Dragon’s Lair (if you know, you know.) The end result is that perfect mix of the stoic and the silly, and seems to push the whole Viking shtick into a realm of more pure warmth and nostalgia. That’s a great place to land if you’re trying to set your Viking tale apart, and it makes it feel a little more robust than some other recent offerings. Still got a super sick axe involved, though.
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen’s Boss Perry White #1
Cover by Steve Lieber and Nathan Fairbairn
If you read Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, you know that Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber forged something truly magical. Sure, Olsen’s been around for decades, getting into all sorts of hijinks, but the duo’s book also let us understand lil’ Jimmy in new (often hilarious) ways. Now, the Fraction-Lieber team are bringing some of that same power to Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen’s Boss Perry White #1, which may be the best title for a comic book in the history of ever. It not only collects old-school stories about Metropolis’ greatest editor (including those from Neil Kleid and Dean Haspiel as well as Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis) but a new seven-page story from Fraction and Lieber. But, really, none of that matters thanks to this Lieber-Nathan Fairbairn cover. Sure it’s all a solid gag (god, just look at that side-eye from Supes); but as someone who studied journalism and worked at a tiny paper in BFE Arizona, White surely does look Herculean in his feats. That’s why these stories work: it’s only funny till they’re actually thoughtful and poignant. That, and more editors should be seen as superheroes…
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