Undercover, or: Five covers from this week that we won't live without

Undercover, or: Five covers from this week that we won’t live without

By Molly Jane KremerArpad Okay, and Jarrod Jones. Undercover is our opportunity to lovingly gaze upon gorgeous works from magnificent artists. Each week, we single out the most striking covers that grace comic book stands and gush all over them.

Redlands #3

Redlands #3, by Vanesa Del Rey. (Image Comics)

AOK: Vanesa Del Rey’s cover for the third issue of Redlands pleases the designer in me. It’s an intentionally muddy, dark cover, one that draws you in to explore and then strangles you once you’re in its embrace.

The title at the bottom of the page is a refreshing break from standard formatting, and the red of “Redlands” stands in sharp contrast with the rest of the page, immediately calling to the eye. Crawl up the cover from there and you are in the swamp at its darkest. There’s a gator in the water.

And that’s the least of it. Move up further and there are more deadly lizards. Among them is another kind of creature. What should be seen first is seen last, hiding in the light, a faceless monster. It’s insidious, but so is Redlands. This is their least bloody cover yet, but maybe the creepiest? It’s smart, it’s beautifully simple, and simply evil. It’s got me.

The Wicked + The Divine #32, by Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, and Noelle Stevenson. (Image Comics)

MJ:  The covers to The Wicked + the Divine all share a delicious symmetry of design and composition. As a retailer I very much appreciate that a new issue can be spotted easily on the rack, no matter the character featured. This month’s main cover (by Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson) focused on Dionysus, the perpetually-happy club god who never sleeps. Pinks and yellows and blues, and bright white strands climb around Dio’s visage, Wilson’s neons jumping off the page.

Noelle Stevenson is the variant cover artist this month, and young Minerva is front and center. Baal stands back-to-back with her, apparently mid-battle, as bolts of his lightning surround them. Minnie’s tiny form contrasts with Baal’s massive height and broad shoulders, and her bright cuteness—the pink ombre double hair buns, the big glasses—complements Baal’s aggressive fists, and the lightning that jolts from his eyes.

Cover C is part of Image Comics’ celebratory Walking Dead variant series (in honor of the company’s 25th anniversary). It’s a tribute to The Walking Dead #150, with Persephone taking the place of a blood-soaked Rick Grimes. Matt Wilson plays with contrast here, shifting the reds of the blood covering Persephone from startling crimson at her chest to a deep, flinty brick at her boots, which are simply caked in the stuff. It’s enough to make sure that, when you scan comics shelves this week, you’ll have no trouble finding The Wicked + The Divine. Not that you ever did.

Royal City #6

Royal City #6, by Jeff Lemire. (Image Comics)

JJ: The latest arc of Royal City finds Jeff Lemire establishing a deeper foundation. One that will be tougher to break. The present day has left ghosts all over the book’s quiet factory town, ghosts both alive and long since dead. If the past is the province of memory, we’re about to take a nice long stroll into the valleys of Pike family history.

Jeff Lemire’s cover to Royal City #6 readies us for what’s to come by startling us into a sense of awareness. The kind of awareness an outsider feels when met with another family’s private crisis. The intimacy that comes with becoming involved with something that hurts on a profoundly deeper level. Here is a family portrait that should give everybody pause. There’s something woefully amiss here, a pain that’s inscribed on these faces. There’s a story that needs to be told. Here. Now. Let Lemire guide you. He knows the path.

And that’s it! Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below.

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