Undercover, or: Five covers from this week that we won’t live without
By Stefania Rudd, Arpad Okay, Clyde Hall, Brendan F. Hodgdon, 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.
Mystik U #1, by Julian Totino Tedesco. (DC Comics)
SR: When looking over Julian Totino Tedesco’s cover for Mystik U #1, it’s reeeeeally hard for me to not start singing at the top of my lungs “May We Entertain You?” from the musical, Gypsy. And in some ways it makes sense. Like Gypsy Rose Lee, showbiz kid Zatanna is no stranger to center stage. Except this time, it seems all eyes are on her as she stands in the middle of a college campus. With the tipping of her top hat, she welcomes you as if to say, “Hello! Let the show begin!” Surrounding her are other notable magical characters of the DC Universe who will no doubt serve as classmates and confidants. I can only imagine the shenanigans that will ensue in this new series set in a university for the magically gifted. As if a roommate who leaves their dirty laundry on the floor wasn’t enough of an annoyance.
Eternity #2, by Tom Muller. (Valiant Entertainment)
AOK: For the cover of the second issue of Eternity, Tom Muller has created a universe of dazzle camouflage collapsing upon itself. Am I looking at a comic book or a Björk single? A computer describing an Alexander Calder mobile seconds before it crashes? It’s the essence of the neon footwork sound. To describe it is a quandary. A highly calculated abstraction in tropical hues. Planes of color folding over, shot through with spikes and rays, segments and parabolas. Muller has drawn an incomprehensible map we are left to navigate as best we can.
Whatever it is (a Mario Kart level from the year 3030?), it fits the book. Eternity is a candy-colored confection that projects innovation straight out of the pineal gland. It’s Valiant breaking the mold, and this cover is all the pieces falling, frozen, beautiful, and perfect.
UPDATE: This is the variant cover to ‘Eternity’ #1, as pointed out by Mr. Muller. Apologies for the mix-up! — Ed.
Batman Annual #2, by Lee Weeks. (DC Comics)
JJ: Lee Weeks’ cover to Batman Annual #2 is a valentine to those who dare. A warning for those who like to play with fire. Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, fated lovers, star-crossed targets. Two hearts, tumbling into fate. Two people doomed by love. In the ongoing Batman series, these wild kids are diving into commitment. A merciless vigilante. An international thief. Two people who will only ever throw themselves into the fray. For those who live by night, life is one of broken glass and broken hearts. Danger is the name of this game. The night calls, destiny awaits. We wish them luck.
America #9, by Joe Quinones. (Marvel Comics)
BFH: Ah, the classic “Hero Strikes Dramatic Pose While Framed By Opponent’s Legs” shot. This may not be the first time we’ve seen this particular composition before, but damn if it isn’t one of the better examples of it. Joe Quinones has delivered yet another quality cover for Marvel’s America, to the shock of absolutely no one.
To me, the most striking element of this cover comes from the leggy, looming danger of America Chavez’s latest antagonist, the Exterminatrix. The black latex, the high heels, the dangling cape, the gold revolver; it’s a striking tableau under any circumstances, made even moreso by the idyllic scene in the background. Exterminatrix is clearly not from here, and it immediately conveys a friction and a conflict through the juxtaposed aesthetics. And then, in the middle of it all trying to buffer that friction, is America herself, striking a determined and heroic pose that’s just as classic as the shot that frames her.
Super Sons Annual #1, by Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez. (DC Comics)
CH: Kid and dog stories transcend generations, Comics Ages or continuity reboots. Norman Rockwell tapped into its universal appeal, and so does Jorge Jimenez with his sublime cover for Super Sons Annual #1. It echoes a Krypto ‘My Dog Skip’ and Bat-Houn–erm, Ace–okay, Titus ‘Turner and Hooch’ spirit, while transposing a classic trope into ‘Who’s flying who?’ and ‘Who’s taking who on patrol?’. The countenance of each young hero mirrored in those canine expressions would make even Batman smile. Just as with our own pets, there’s a lot here to love.
Super Sons has done a tremendous job bringing Robin and Superboy into the Rebirth mythos with humorous, character-building, youth-centric stories, and without diabetic sappiness. Jimenez’s artistry is instrumental in this; he fluently renders the spirit of this title with telling facial close-ups, to full-on splashes of heroic confrontation. His cover’s an invitation to expectation, priming us for the Titus/Krypto team with visions of how complex and amusing their furry friendship may be.
And that’s it! Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below.