by Clyde Hall, Mickey Rivera, Kate Kowalski, and Jarrod Jones. Undercover is our opportunity to lovingly gaze upon gorgeous works from magnificent artists. From Tula Lotay’s askew ‘Death or Glory’ to Jeff Dekal’s battle-ready variant for ‘Something is Killing the Children’ these are our picks for July’s best covers.

Undercover: July 2020

Death or Glory #9 by Tula Lotay. (Image Comics)

KK: At first glance, Glory’s sprawling pose across this cover calls to mind an evocative fold-out page in the middle of a stolen magazine. It’s plain to see however, this gal isn’t spreading out for anyone’s gratification but her own. She’s at once relaxed, leaning back and enjoying her cigarette. She stares back defiantly, no sense of fear or urgency in her eyes. Yet, she clutches her revolver tightly amongst the shards of window glass as a horde of fast approaching cars kicks up dust over the horizon. This Glory’s got the getup and the devil-may-care vibe of a James Dean or Marlon Brando cruising the open road, but her world’s been thrown off kilter and her finger is on the trigger.

Dark Nights: Death Metal #2 by Jerome Opeña. (DC)

JJ: Look at this spud. Wanton carnage by Czarnian, luscious locks by L’Oréal. I see what you’re up to, Jerome Opeña.

Opeña’s variant to Dark Night: Death Metal is a Heavy Metal tribute by way of Bisley. It shamelessly flaunts the same post-decimation sass that came from the keyboard of Alan Grant. This is Keith Giffen’s “high violence poster boy” given frame-worthy grace.

Here we see the Main Man in his natural state, resplendent atop a mound of skulls, spikes jutting from the ocular cavities and broken jaw bones of the fallen hordes who ran afoul of the Scourge o’ the Cosmos. Opeña keeps the details of his surroundings undefined, which is perfect considering this cover’s message: there is no battlefield that won’t fall to the hook and boots of the Ultimate Bastich, be it some DCU backwater or some long forgotten outpost left adrift in the Dark Multiverse. Opeña’s variant luxuriates in a brute’s idea of post-war pageantry, where Under-Batmen, Mean-Flashes and Judge Jokers alike are fodder to be fragged. Glorious.

Ash & Thorn #3 by Jill Thompson. (AHOY Comics)

MR: I like how satisfied with its own peculiarity this cover is, a mood that’s fully actualized by that big smirking teacup wearing the official garb of the cool grandma who takes edibles. Grandma Tea (which is actually Ash & Thorn’s demonslaying champion Lottie) drinks a cup of Grandma Guardian (A&T’s champion trainer and thing-knower “Peruvia”), and they’re both just having a great time hanging out and spewing stuff from their heads. Grandma Tea looks like she maybe has a secret that’ll make you flip once you know about it. Maybe it’s the secret of what’s in the tea, or maybe she’s thinking about all the infernal ass she’s about to kick—or maybe the edibles just kicked in.

Undercover: July 2020

Something Is Killing the Children #8 by Jeff Dekal. (BOOM! Studios)

CH:  Jeff Dekal has a way of distilling the courageous in a hero, any power level, any gender, but his street-wise Heracleses and Heras are the most impressive. Flawed humans, mere mortals, battling monsters that are neither. Like Erica, seen here in Dekal’s variant cover for Something Is Killing the Children #8. 

She’s the focal point, the warden at the edge of the woods, the obstruction monsters must overcome to feed. Dekal’s framed her exquisitely in gauzy boughs and branches, rainclouds formed for a summer rain with the first drops slashing dramatically earthward. Echoing an element of the story, we’re left to decide if Erica is more hunter or hero. Her supervisors in the House of Slaughter send her to end unnatural things preying on humankind. Erica does the field work, tracking her quarry by following their bloody, dirty trail into wildernesses like this. Her path is a spiritual detour from the High Road of heroes. 

Dekal gives us Erica straddling that low road, willing to attempt a solution she knows is ineffective because the alternative, the callous hunter’s tact, is too unthinkable. If you’re going to fight a losing battle with integrity, if you’re determined to be more hero than hunter, this is the face you bring.

Don’t forget to share your favorite covers, from this month, from any month, in the comments section below!

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