By Molly Jane Kremer 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.
S.H.I.E.L.D. #5, by Ming Doyle. (Marvel Comics)
MJ: Never has a drawing of a duck so immediately reminded me of the Thin White Duke. Future legend Ming Doyle’s contribution to Marvel’s month of “What the Duck?!” variants is quite the conversation piece, an amazing reference to the classic album cover Heroes by David Bowie. Even keeping the original’s black and white aesthetic, Doyle titles it “FEATHERS” HOWARD DUCKIE, completing this little wonder. Day-in, day-out, I dig everything Ming Doyle produces, but this inspiring work admittedly leaves me somewhat slightly dazed.
Batman #40, by Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, and FCO Plascencia. (DC Comics)
JJ: If there’s a superior representation of the eternal struggle between good and evil in contemporary comic books, somebody show it to me. Until then, Greg Capullo’s outstanding, minimalistic cover is a rare, perfect example of the pure enmity that has always existed between the Batman and the Joker. And it’s awash in whites and primary colors, which is pretty damned odd for what is the final chapter of arguably the darkest saga in Batman’s life (well, outside a Frank Miller book anyway). Somebody screenprint that shizz on a strip of silk; this sucker belongs in a dojo.
Princess Leia #3, by Francesco Francavilla. (Marvel Comics)
MJ: With Eisner-winner Francesco Francavilla’s massive monthly output of covers, sometimes it’s hard to wrap one’s head around how consistently good every single one of them is. His variant cover for Princess Leia #3 blessedly continues that tradition, with his trademark contrasts over beautifully rendered and gorgeously textured art. Leia’s eyes are especially compelling, bright white shining out of shadow, and the spot-on X-Wing rocketing upwards absolutely completes this fantastic piece.
Superman #40, by John Romita, Jr, Klaus Janson, and Dean White. (DC Comics)
JJ: I may have had problems with Geoff Johns’ latest run on Superman, but one thing I’ve always liked was the idea of John Romita, Jr. working on a DC comic book. And though there are some who think that the artist was better utilized as a Marvel stalwart, JRJR is doing his finest comics work to date with the Man of Steel. And this? A thundering example of the kinetic action Romita can conjure from thin air. Plus, this cover gives us a glimpse into his take on Wonder Woman, and I like what I see (it’s also the best I’ve seen in at least a week).
Justice League #40, by Emanuela Lupacchino. (DC Comics)
MJ: It’s always a tad giggle-inducing when a major comics company switches over and panders a little to the female gaze. DC Comics’ movie poster variant month may have been in March, but the three remaining, delayed titles are finally seeing release. Justice League’s is a loving (and lovely) parody of Magic Mike, everyone’s favorite Channing-Tatum-as-a-male-stripper movie. Emanuela Lupacchino has drawn a hot and hilarious ode to abs and chest-waxing, and even went so far as to apply the little details (like Superman’s lack-of a belly button). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in my bunk.
Justice League #40, by Alex Garner. (DC Comics)
JJ: Ah, another Justice League #40 variant. And it’s just as sexy as MJ’s pick. As far as cover artists go, Alex Garner belongs in the upper echelons, an artist who has the ability to craft arresting imagery with his fully realized takes on DC’s most iconic characters. And here we find Garner tapping into the publisher’s purest Source material, as the evil Darkseid fights to share space with the cosmic journeyman, Metron (and my, how does he glow). If the upcoming Darkseid War merits covers as gorgeous as this, then the last three years of our lives will have certainly been worth it, right? Right?
Jem and the Holograms #2, by Sophie Campbell. (IDW)
MJ: I have loved this cover ever since it was solicited (it was admittedly my phone wallpaper for a few months), and it’s easy to see why. The colors are vibrant and electric, and the character designs are flawlessly eye-grabbing. Jetta’s redesign is particularly stunning (switching her from saxamophone to bass was a good move), and Roxy’s muscley drummer-arms and enormous hair are fantastic. Sophie Campbell draws each girl with a different body type and interesting style, and I can’t wait to see what they look like in the interiors.
The Multiversity #2 and Silver Surfer #11, by Mike Allred. (DC Comics & Marvel Comics)
JJ: It’s a Mike Allred double-whammy! That’s right, Allred has nailed two consecutive weeks as a comics cover double threat. His front to Silver Surfer is a testament to the topsy-turvy chaos Norrin Radd has endured during the artist’s run, and his variant to Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity is likely the only chance we’ll ever get at spotting an Allred-rendered Captain Carrot, so we would all do well to embrace it. Is Mike Allred the best cover artist of them all, or the bestest cover artist of them all? So many questions.
Love our choices? Totally hate them? What covers did YOU love this week? Tell us all about it in the comments below.