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.
The Avengers #57
Cover by Javier Garron and David Curiel
Jason Aaron really loves to muck around with the Avengers. From Avengers/Savage Avengers way back in 2019 to the more recent “Age of Khonshu” storyline, Aaron’s got a real knack for playing with the structure and context of the team in order to create tension and promote animosity while also just making for some generally dope comics nerd-magic. And along the way, he’s had some help from his many contributors, a trend that continues once more with the cover to The Avengers #57. As the team stumbles across time, series artist Javier Garron (and colorist David Curiel) have delivered this excellent cover. Is it the Cowboy Phoenix, Sgt. Szardos (aka the “mystical man of war”), or a few varieties of Thor that make this cover truly compelling? The answer is all of the above, but more so the sense of wonder and chaos this piece invokes, a central thread of all Aaron-penned Avengers stuff. Whatever (and wherever) is going on, it’s OK to lose your mind just a little.
Cover by Roger Cruz and Norm Rapmund
I get that, even as a recent aficionado, Damian Wayne is a bit of a brat. And rightfully so — just look at his family life. That, and over the last few years, Damian has undergone a lot of personal turbulence, and had to grow up against some very big events (i.e., like the recently-ended Shadow War). All of that together, then, has left Damian in a rather interesting place, as he tries to grapple with going forward (including his budding relationship with Flatline) and dealing with the fallout of a death in the al Ghul “family.” So it’s no wonder that this family photo is a little tense, from the sheer awkwardness and discomfort permeating the whole thing to the knife-happy fiend who may be targeting the Bats Clan. But Damian himself has a slight smirk peeping out, and it’s clear that he’s handling all of this with his trademark pigheadedness and sense of superiority. You’re going to be just fine, kid.
Iron Man/Hellcat Annual #1
Variant Cover by Chrissie Zullo
Here’s a thing I didn’t know I needed in my life: an Iron Man-Hellcat pairing. (Or, to be honest, I never even knew that could be a thing.) That connection has been the centerpiece to the Christopher Cantwell-penned Iron Man run, providing Tony Stark with human connection (that won’t buy into his BS and actually offer him some genuine perspective). And we’ll get more of IronCat (or is that HellMan?) with this annual, in which the pair join forces to tackle a “supernatural crisis.” Maybe, then, this excellent Chrissie Zullo cover isn’t the most appropriate for what’s likely to be a tense emotional situation, but it’s hard to deny its larger appeal. There’s something about Tony as a cat (he’s got real feline energy for sure), or that cartoonish nature of it all, that just feels so appropriate for HellMan’s journey together. Wherever it lands in this issue, though, you better be ready to swoon some more.
Cover by Clay Mann
In the last 11 issues, Batman/Catwoman has been an effective and all together unconventional approach to telling the long, complicated story of the titular duo. And so what better way to end a series that’s used time jumps and a narrative that folds back into itself than by finally having that long-awaited Bats/Cats wedding. But before our eyes melt and/or our hearts shatter by whatever the creative team have in mind, we can enjoy this final cover from series artist Clay Mann. Is “cover with the many versions/iterations of Bats and Cats” a little too on the nose? Maybe, but also it speaks volumes. Specifically, about the power and nuance of their relationship, and maybe even how across all versions it can feel a little, well, doomed, perhaps? Is this the happily ever after we want, or another complicated chapter in this weird and wild love affair? Guess we need to read to find out.
Public Domain #1
Cover by Chip Zdarsky
If you’ve been on Twitter in the last few weeks, you may have seen a few creators gushing about Public Domain. Written and drawn by the incomparable Chip Zdarsky, the series follows the sons of the creator of this universe’s greatest comics hero — and did we mention said universe is where “comic book creators aren’t properly acknowledged or compensated for their creations”? So, it you love Zdarsky (and it’s sort of hard not to), not to mention insanely meta comics — the two things feel like a match made in heaven — then this could be your book. Need further proof? Just peep the debut cover. As if they’re actually looting the corpse of some beloved hero, Zdarsky is clearly going for the throats in this profound exploration of family, legacies, creators’ rights, and the true nature of artistic creation/exploration. Get ready to laugh, cry, and maybe feel a tinge of injustice.
Sins of the Black Flamingo #1
Cover by Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain
If the first four words of your solicitation are, “Occult Noir. Miami Sleaze,” congratulations for already having my heart and mind in full. And the rest of the press for Sins of the Black Flamingo — from Andrew Wheeler, Travis Moore, Tamra Bonvillain, and Aditya Bidikar — proves just as promising, with the story of a “flamboyant and narcissistic thief” who steaks the local elite’s most prize and mystical artifacts. And as far as previews go, the debut cover (from both Moore and Bonvillain) seems to be a great start. Lots of off-Broadway-meets-70s-glam-rocker vibes, not to mention a little spotlight for the always unsung champion of birds, the flamingo. But really, I just love how clean Moore’s work always feels, and that powerful use of color from Bonvillain — together, it just lends a sense of grace and glamour to what could be an intriguing melding of genres.
Cover by John Pearson
Back in April, we got the chance to speak with Zack Kaplan and John Pearson about Mindset. In the book, a group of tech dudes inadvertently create an app that functions as a mind control device. (And, no, that’s not Twitter — zing!) Given our ongoing reliance on phones, as well as the increasingly “complicated” nature of technology development, it’s easy to be scared stiff at the very concept. This is where I could tell you to fear not, but the story itself is pretty intense, and strikes on a lot of that fear and anxiety that comes with our increasing tech “savvy.” Luckily, though, Pearson’s art is just absolutely gorgeous, as evidenced by this cover that both stokes some of those aforementioned emotions while also making this moment and the concept at-large feel really dazzling and almost (gasp!) appealing somehow. That whole approach is pretty effective (see, like, the entire career of Junji Ito), but something about this approach has me feeling hooked. Hey, is that the mind control actually working?
Cover by Devin Kraft
I’ll be the first to admit the whole astronaut storyline/trope is played to death at point. Yeah, you want to see the great unknown, but have you also considered space is actively trying to kill you at every opportunity? But if we’re sticking with the whole motif, then I’m happy to have stumbled on to Neverender. The story follows the “earthborn” punk Merrick, who basically joins a fight club where astronauts “must simply get one good shot in on their opponents suit to win.” And if astronauts with swords wasn’t already sweet enough, the rest of the cover (from artist-writer Devin Kraft) just amps it all up. Whether it’s the smack of Toonami vibes; the subtle but effective bits of psychedelia; and/or the slightly abstract nature, all of it just feels like an interesting spin on some fundamental sci-fi. Houston, we have a problem, and it’s swinging a katana right at my face.
Buffy ’97 #1
Variant Cover by Megan Hutchison-Cates
It’s the 25th anniversary of one of the best shows to ever hit TV. And what better way to celebrate Buffy than to get all meta with it! Written by Max Bemis, and with art by Marianna Ignazzi, Buffy ’97 follows the stars of That Buffy Show (described as “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air meets Dawson’s Creek“) as they “learn actual slayage skills on live television from ‘TV’ Buffy.” Oh but wait, the cake’s not being done decorated, folks, as we get this swell variant cover from Megan Hutchison-Cates, who manages to 1) capture the primo Saved by the Bell vibes; hint at the very meta story without bashing us over the head; and make every member of the Scooby Gang but wholly familiar and like they’re about to be the cover start of Teen Beat. Why have a celebration when you can have a meta-contextual celebration, and why just have one cover when you can have this ’90s-style standout to boot?!
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