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.
Midnighter #1, by ACO. (DC Comics)
JJ: If you know me at all, you know I’m all about glee. (No, not Glee. *pauses* But I am grateful for Grant Gustin.) And this cover to DC Comics’ latest series has its hero plastered across the page with a big, ol’ infectious grin on his face. I can spot “fake smile” from a mile away; I know his guy is seriously pumped. And considering that he’s covered in blood that doesn’t belong to him? ACO’s cover makes me want to read the shit out of this book, in order to find out what has Midnighter so damned pleased. Now somebody tell me who or what an “ACO” is.
The Wicked + The Divine #11, by Jamie McKelvie. (Image Comics)
MJ: The Wicked + The Divine’s regular covers, a series of astoundingly consistent front-facing headshots by series artists Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, never cease to grab the eye when on display, aligned side by side by side. For ten issues in a row, we’ve had covers featuring one detailed, gorgeous close-up after the other of each of the series’ gods, and all perfectly stunning. But now with issue #11 we have a change: switching away from depictions of gloriously (in)human beauty, we focus on the empty space above the bloody stump of a neck (there’s even a tiny bit of severed spinal column peeking out; and you’re welcome). It’s incredibly shocking, kinda gross, poignant as hell, and exactly as it should be. (And honestly, the cover is just as unexpectedly distressing as what lies within its pages, and you should read it as soon as possible.)
JJ: Look at this. Just look at all of this insanity. Do Tyrannosaurus Rex have arteries in their foreheads? Because if they did, Vampirella just let one rip all over this cover. And judging by the expressions on the faces of the two creatures involved, my guess is the stubby-armed carnivore totally had it coming. Tula Lotay’s cover to Dynamite’s latest, greatest crossover is at once monstrously visceral and very nearly hilarious. (That T-Rex is all, “whaaa–?” Priceless.)
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1, by Skottie Young. (Marvel Comics)
MJ: I think I speak for most of comicdom when I say, I don’t think I’ll ever in my life get sick of these Skottie Young baby-variants. Young continues to make each piece fresh and fun, and ensures that each front says something differently (and adorably). The Spidey/MJ cover to the Secret Wars tie-in Renew Your Vows hits just the right notes of squee, while innocently calling back to the now-iconic upside-down kiss of Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film.
JJ: It’s a jam cover so slickly polished, it ought to be on my wall. This gorgeous stunner to Marvel’s Princess Leia features the Galaxy’s Princess ready to stomp irreparable holes into the Empire’s foundation. With a fleet of Imperial ships hurtling through the cosmos as an armada of Stormtroopers stalk the corridors, Leia looks to be outnumbered. But the Dodson’s paint a grim look of determination on her face to remind us all that she is far from outmatched.
Bizarro #1, by Gustavo Duarte. (DC Comics)
JJ: Goodbye! Of all the books coming our way now that Convergence is done, Heath Corson and Gustavo Duarte’s Bizarro might be the one I’m the most excited about. Look at this dummy. What a dummy! He’s so backwards, he can’t even find a part of outer space with some stars in it. He’s such a bewildering contrarian, he can’t even let Duarte stick his big, dumb face on his own premiere issue! And that tiny glimpse of the big, blissful smirk on his face indicates that he’s completely fine with all of it. What a riot!
The Wicked + The Divine #11, by Fiona Staples. (Image Comics)
MJ: Alongside the fearful symmetry of Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson’s regular Wicked + Divine covers has been work by a collection of the comics industry’s best and brightest. Kevin Wada, Becky Cloonan, Stephanie Hans, and Christian Ward are just some of the luminaries who have created striking “B” covers for this series. This month’s cover by Fiona Staples is, of course, no exception. Gods Inanna and Baphomet are entwined in an inverted yin-yang of handsome. It’s hellfire meets starshine. It’s also one hell of a cover for one hell of an issue.
Green Arrow #41, by Bill Sienkiewicz. (DC Comics)
JJ: I’m not sure if it’s one of the most gorgeous covers of the week, but it’s one of the most striking by far. I’m not sure which feelings I’m supposed to be having when I gaze at artist extraordinaire Bill Sienkiewicz’s rendition of a stripped-bare Joker, but I know that at least one feeling is “disorientation”. It’s certainly not the worst feeling I’ve had since the last time we spotted the Joker without a shirt on, but it’s disquieting nonetheless. And I should probably tell you that I’m presently undergoing a smattering of severe, repressed Catholicism-related panic attacks right now.
Agree? Well, do you? Let us know, y’know, down there.