Welcome to the Best Comic Covers of the Week article. This is where I pick out some of my favorite covers hitting stores this week. These are the covers I feel have the best story or do something truly special outside the norm. With that said let’s get to the choices.
Cover By: Patrick Gleason
This month Marvel is releasing a number of Stormbreaker variants which are typically opportunities for up-and-coming artists to show what they have on a major stage. Obviously, Patrick Gleason has a long and established career but he is still relatively new to current Marvel. It also makes sense for a comic like this where old is new again. As a person who grew up on the 90’s cartoon, I do love seeing that Cyclops costume again. Outside of the nostalgia, the design of the cover is strong. Showcasing the Summers family powers in a classic action shot with a poster image of Cyclops in the background. Team shots can be stale. You often just get a group of characters doing their poses. Here there is a bit more action involved. I know many purest who have issues when Cyclop’s beams have smoke clouds. Because he is projecting force not hot beam lasers. In this case, it seems to be more of a stylistic choice so perhaps we can give it a pass.
Cover By: Clay Mann
Reflection covers like this are kind of like pizza. Mmm..pizza. We may see them a lot but it is not something I would ever get tired of when they are executed this well. Plus there are always different flavors and designs to make a central idea still feel unique. Here it helps the Phantasm’s costume design is so strong. It alone could make the cover work. Then you add some more storytelling. Adding the blood increases the sense of danger. There are both droplets and smeared blood making you wonder how many recent kills were made with that weapon. I am guessing the number is quite high. Catwoman is living up to her name as she looks like a coiled cat read to explode. Her claws are clearly out to inflict damage of their own.
Cover By: Tony Moore
It is a bit weird one of the best covers of the week comes from a book that was originally released a number of years ago, but as we are seeing with this week what is old is new again. This is classic horror imagery from top to bottom. Eyes are the windows to the human soul, but what happens when that eye is attached to a walker? Is it now a window to a living hell? The yellow tinge to the eye gives it a jaundiced look, but the additional pieces make it clear there is more wrong here than a general medical condition. Having a fly just sit on top of that eye is so unnatural. You are compelled to blink just looking at it. Pieces of dirt and skin just show the humanity has completely left this creature. Even parts of the eyelid are missing. Life is gone. The only thing left is desire.
Cover By: Naomi Franquiz
Barbalien has been this character stuck between a multitude of worlds. This cover represents that struggle. Seeing his true self emerge from the mirage of his human form makes it apparent the fragility of his disguise is being exposed. His hope to live a peaceful life seems to be impossible. He is a target even if he does not want to be. The world around him simply won’t allow him to be his true self. Why? Hate, ignorance, and fear drive their actions. A cover field with tear gas and riot police officers feels very relevant to today’s world. Despite the subject matter of the actual comic being on the AIDS crisis of the 80’s many of the underlying issues remain. Systematic issues that attack the most vulnerable of our society.
Cover By: Ricardo Federici
I do not often include the character variant covers from DC. They often look fantastic but do not have much story, or have little to do with the book you are about to read. That is not the case for Ricardo Federici’s variant for Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #2. The work her feels akin to the covers on classic science fiction pulp novels like John Carter from Mars. A character bleeding is not usually a big deal. When that character is Superman we know something is wrong. When there are dead bodies around him that concern is further heightened. If there one issue with this covers it’s the overbearing amount of red. You can see the point of using it as your base color. I do wonder if it is hindering the detail too much. Overall that is a minor quibble to a generally strong image.
Cover By: Adam Hughes
Black Widow has been one of the best-looking comics Marvel has been publishing and the Adam Hughes covers are a big reason why. Adam Hughes keeps finding new ways to top himself. Both the design and image rendering are wonderfully handled. The perspective is aggressive as it places you directly into the moment. As a person who does not love heights, this is a difficult comic to focus on for a long time. Vertigo would begin to kick in after a number of stares. You also have to appreciate a cover that incorporates the credits into the work. If you did not know the Thompson, Casagrande, and Bellaire that hang next to the Black Widow sign are the creators of this issue. This works so much better than when the names are awkwardly written on the bottom so it inhibits the art.
Cover By: Martin Simmonds
So it appears Haha is going to find as many ways as possible to make clowns look creepy as hell. You probably do not want to hire the clown that has balloons with skulls on them for birthday parties. A face that could send chills down the spine of the undead does not help things much either. Just to make sure intentions are clear the blood around the neck helps to clue us in that maybe she is not on the up and up. Martin Simmonds is not new to creating imagery like this. He is taking what he has been doing with the Department of Truth and transforming it for this HaHa cover. The coloring also has this charcoal-like texture to it. It makes those blacks uber black. If dour was an image it would look something like this cover. One downside to this cover is how the credits lay onto the image. Unlike the Black Widow cover, they do not fit quite as naturally.
Cover By: Taurin Clarke
Now that is a major punch to the face. Talk about a major impact. In my Best Comic Panels article last week there was a tremendous about of head trauma examined. Based on this cover it looks like that may continue with this week’s books. Imagine getting punched by someone whose fist is a big as your face. When you are Spider-Man that must be a regular occurrence. The slight motion blur and the flying bits of skin and mask sell the impact. Even though Miles Morales’s face is mostly covered by a mask his body language tells us everything. You do see his one eye exposed, and that eye being glossed over lets us know a concussion is actively forming. Another small detail is how the right eye is cracking to let you know the pain is being felt all over.
Hollow Heart #1
Cover By: Tim Daniel
I mentioned with the cover for Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #2 that it has the look of a classic Science Fiction pulp cover, and now we are getting an homage cover that is directly referencing past comics. For me, the difference between a good and bad homage is down to the details. For one does the homage make sense or are you just homing something because it is popular? Clearly, this makes sense as it ties to past Science Fiction comics that center on crazy things from outer space. That character design could fit right into the world of Lost in Space or Forbidden Planet. It also has the font styles down including the small logo in the corner that used to be a staple for comics. Every I is dotted and T is crossed with this one. If you were to give it to a random person I would assume they would be unable to tell this was in fact for a brand new modern comic.
The Recount #2
Cover By: Gabriel Ibarra Nunez
My favorite cover of the week comes from Scout Comics. Gabriel Ibarra Nunez’s cover for The Recount #2 speaks for itself in a lot of ways. A type of image that works equally well as an editorial cartoon. This may not be speaking against a specific person or issue, but the message still remains clear. I am impressed with how well this all flows. It is an aggressive statement but the artistry has some subtlety. The use of shadow helps form the general design. At first, I did not realize the function of the trees. My focus was more geared towards the giant nose, but clearly, they are meant to fill out the clown’s massive hair. A cover like this is going to make me check out this comic because if you can inject this much creativity within your opening image my belief is that will continue with the pages inside.