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.
Catwoman #41, by Kevin Wada. (DC Comics)
MJ: Every time I see that the amazing Kevin Wada has a regular cover gig I can’t help but smile (remember those gorgeous She-Hulk covers? Be still my heart). Androgynous and sexy, making direct eye contact with the reader above a sly smirk, Wada draws crime-boss Selina as no-nonsense and all-business, but still adds a playful hint of the cat burglar of old.
Catwoman #41, by Javier Pulido. (DC Comics)
MJ: The Joker 75th Anniversary Month variants have started to come out, and a stand-out of the bunch (one might say it’s a knock-out) is this week’s Catwoman variant by Javier Pulido. Mostly made up of bright, flat reds, a mechanical boxing glove — with Catwoman’s grinning face plastered across it — springs out from the right margin, punching out a dapper-dressed Joker. It’s an iconic and superb cover.
Batman/Superman #21, by Jock. (DC Comics)
JJ: I dunno how Jock does it, but he can make the simplest image look downright spooky. Check out his creeptastic work over on Image’s Wytches if you need some recent proof, or better yet, take a gander at his Joker variant for Batman/Superman #21. With Batman’s cowl shining blue and Superman’s eyes glowing red, it looks like the Joker is flanked by the righteous might of justice. But Jock’s never satisfied with mere subtlety. He shoots straight for iconic spookiness by letting his Joker cackle in the faces of those bent on stopping him. Jesus, what a great cover.
Secret Wars 2099 #2, by Jason Latour. (Marvel Comics)
MJ: There’s another special “month” of variants going on, and instead of celebrating a mass-murdering clown, Marvel is instead fêting the new (and much beloved) Spider-Gwen. So it’s rather fitting that Jason Latour, the writer and co-creator of the character herself, would get to draw a couple. The cover has a strong Mad Max aesthetic — with just a touch of Death Proof thrown in — full of beautifully desaturated colors, an amazing sense of movement, and a badass-looking Gwen riding the hood of a speeding car.
Grip: The Strange World of Men HC, by Gilbert Hernandez. (Dark Horse Comics)
JJ: Grip came out eons ago, so long ago in fact that it’s easy to forget that it was originally published by Vertigo. I’m not sure how DC let this esoteric little treasure go, but Dark Horse is releasing the first ever collected volume of Gilbert Hernandez’s manic masterstroke. And since I hardly ever get to gush over his work, I’m including his beautifully minimal cover this week, just so we can all gawk at it.
1602: Witch Hunter Angela #1, by Stephanie Hans. (Marvel Comics)
MJ: Neil Gaiman’s 1602 was one of the biggest comics of 2003, and has spawned a few spin-off miniseries since. It’s kind of funny that in all this Secret Wars Battleworld craziness, a character Gaiman created has now been placed in the Gaiman-conceived 1602 facet of the Marvel Universe. She fits in beautifully too, thanks to Stephanie Hans’ superb art. Her cover gives Angela an unearthly beauty, and sees her heavily armored (reminiscent of Spanish armor of the era) while staring out directly at the reader, emoting a subtle but chilling threat.
Harley Quinn #17, by Amanda Conner. (DC Comics)
JJ: When I was pouring over the solicits for this week a while back this cover caught my eye with a startling ferocity. “I didn’t know We Are Robin was coming out that week!” I squeaked, and it wasn’t until I clicked the tiny thumbnail for a better look that I realized that Amanda Conner had punked me. Again. But in Conner’s remix of Lee Bermejo’s downright fantastic cover, her attention to detail makes this one of her most fantastic covers in recent memory. And since we’re talking about Amanda Conner, that’s saying a lot.
Which covers are you into this week? We want to know. Tell us about it in the comments below.