by Clyde Hall, Sara Mitchell, and Jarrod Jones. Undercover is our opportunity to lovingly gaze upon gorgeous works from magnificent artists. From Aaron Kuder & Dean White’s ‘Ghost Rider’ #1 to Joshua Middleton’s ‘Vengeance of Vampirella’, here are the covers we love the most this week.
Ghost Rider #1 by Aaron Kuder & Dean White. (Marvel)
JJ: Johnny Blaze: Daredevil, demon—despot? You betcha. Cross the lake of fire and you’ll find Ol’ Johnny holding your new chains, clinking with the promise of hurt, scorched with soot and stained with what you hope is only rust. He’s your new jailer. Your warden. Your king. Attempt to flee, and he’ll run you down with his engine of vengeance.
Look there! Johnny’s showing off again, putting his dread powers of penitence to proper use. We’re falling now, from the earth we called home down, down, down into the depths of damnation. The sulfur is already choking us at the periphery. Whatever we did to end up in this vertiginous moment, we deserved it, for why else would this Spirit come to crack us with his Satanic chains? Oh, we had this coming.
And even as we meet our new warden, we can’t help but marvel at the sheer… awesomeness of it all. Punishment never looked so operatic. Hurtling through the void between life and death, Johnny’s a flaming angel of perdition, we his attentive audience. Even among the flames of Hell, Blaze burns brightest.
Vengeance of Vampirella #1 by Joshua Middleton. (Dynamite)
SM: Hell hath no fury like a woman come back from the dead. Hello, Vampirella. It’s been a while. You haven’t decayed a day.
Vampirella is back and she’s bloodthirsty for life itself. She’s clawed herself out from the grave. Tearing her nails from the root, biting her way through the Earth. Like a Phoenix, rising from the dirt and the blood and the bones. Death becomes her.
Vampirella is both of darkness and of light. She’s the witch who offers the apple and the princess who takes the bite. The apple of life, of lust, of raw femininity. In her power pose, with a mouthful of blood, the bite freshly taken, she snarls and says, I’m here. Fear me.
Doctor Strange #20 by Alex Ross. (Marvel)
CH: In #19 readers got a glimpse of the Sorcerer Supreme restored, a Doctor Strange not seen in comics since his beginning. But such a change fueled by mystical means always comes with a price. This is the last issue of the current title run, and Marvel has plans for Stephen in the near future. Likely, when the bill comes due.
Whatever their intent for Strange’s tomorrow, Alex Ross took the present situation as a flashback opportunity. His variant cover shows another side of Strange’s past, the short span of his masked, superhero imaging courtesy of Gene Colan and Roy Thomas. Doctor Strange #177, February of 1969, introduced his Masked Mystic look, but the suit only lasted until 1971 when the Defenders got together.
Ross’ cover takes us back to a New Year’s Eve of that span (#180, wherein Nightmare attacks Times Square as the ball drops). The artist captures the toll of midnight, shredded fabric of time allowing Norsemen and Tyrannosaurs to rampage over Midtown Manhattan. In his trademark manner, Ross gives us an all-encompassing action splash not found in that original issue. One temporally displaced riot, one wizard confronting the chaos.
Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below!