by Kate Kowalski, Clyde Hall and Jarrod Jones. Undercover is where DoomRocket takes a moment to gaze upon gorgeous works from magnificent artists. From ‘The Swamp Thing’ #11 to ‘X Lives of Wolverine’ #4, these are our picks for March’s coolest covers.
The Swamp Thing #11 by Mike Perkins and Mike Spicer. (DC)
JJ: The world of The Swamp Thing is one of poetry as much as it is horror. Ram V., arguably the strongest and most lyrical writer DC has in its bullpen right now, has a way of articulating the haunted existence of its tragic hero that the title hasn’t known in a generation. The world of The Swamp Thing is a strange, perilous, living thing with all manner of wonders to show us. Things, naturally, are gonna get weird. Mike Perkins and Mike Spicer have been tasked with bringing the peculiarities of The Swamp Thing to life, and they’ve met the challenge with strength. Their cover to The Swamp Thing #11 is the latest example of their powers.
Is this an EC Comics riff on Hamlet? Oh, I hope so. I’m engaged by the cover’s textures, its colors, the swagger of the pose, the way those vines spilling from that earth-made skull bleed like a human bleeds. How the corpse in the background just lays there, a heap of moss and limbs and other things. The way she stands there, almost amused by this fallen titan, measuring its worth by the weight in her hand. The tree behind her cracks the image, angry. The space behind all of it burns. Nature reels at the horror of it all, and so do I.
Batgirls #4 by Michael Cho. (DC)
KK: Michael Cho’s bright, pop-art rendering of Batgirls neatly captures the attitudes and personalities of both heroes in this dynamic duo. Cho poses them strong, poised, reminiscent of a wartime poster. There’s optimism in Steph’s wide-eyed gaze scanning the horizon while Cass lurks below, confronting the reader directly with a cocked brow. Steph stands tall, fist curled, perhaps ready to pack a punch while Cass crouches, cape pulled taut to cover and protect. Cut and divided diagonally, this cover is all about dualism—light vs. dark, offense vs. defense, hope vs. cynicism. These two as a team represent the duality of “the Bat” and all the symbol has come to mean. The girls look shiny, outlined in thick, bold lines and lit up in neon cyan, magenta, and yellow, hues considered secondary in one color wheel but primary in a wheel of their own.
The Joker #13 by James Stokoe. (DC)
JJ: Grit, devastation, details, limits—yeah, James Stokoe is telling a detective story. Jim Gordon, commissioner no more, still burdened by a driven need to help those who’ve been wronged. So there he is, investigating, going places where he definitely shouldn’t. Look at all that yellow tape: it’s representative of the limits of true justice, the Thin Blue Line acting as a brick wall. Someone doesn’t want any crusading private citizens sticking their noses where they don’t belong; naturally Stokoe frames Gordon directly in the center of “don’t belong,” right where he needs to be, shining a light in the dark corners where hurt thrives and goodness dies.
Catwoman: Lonely City #3 by Annie Wu. (DC)
CH: Annie Wu draws stylish contrast between the Cat’s younger days and the present of Catwoman: Lonely City, a glamorous icon of felonious feline flirtation rendered with “Selina in the Sky with Diamonds” cool. Below, the more mature Catwoman models the latest in pressure wraps and non-adherent bandages. Therapeutic freezer bath bombs prevent inflammation and reduce muscle pain. Pensive rumination below, elevated attitude above: the portrait is concentrated, 24-karat assurance with a sneer. “Go on, life. Hit me with your best shot!” Underneath resides a study in “challenge accepted.” More pain reducer of the 80 proof variety, also on the rocks, sits within easy reach while Catwoman’s namesake lets curiosity lead it towards closer examination of whiskered reflection perfection. On the stereo, a cover of “Cat’s in the Cradle” softly resonates; the time for important things grows ever shorter, and danger ever closer, for Selina Kyle.
X Lives of Wolverine #4 by Adam Hughes. (Marvel)
JJ: Tuxedos aren’t for everyone. They’re certainly not for Wolverine, who strolls through another mysterious Madripoor night as Patch, the silent (and deadly) proprietor of The Princess Club. Yet, as rendered by cover artist extraordinaire Adam Hughes, Ol’ Logan takes on a guarded sophistication that isn’t commonly associated with the berserker fury of the fabled X-Man. As he directs his keen mutant senses and his one good eye toward untold peril, Hughes indulges Wolverine the romantic zeal of a secret agent.
Hughes’s skill is staggering. Ferns and fronds frame every inch of this piece, creating: cozy nooks where secrets are told, a shady spot for a spying eye, and just the right amount of shadows splayed over a pair of hands just itching to snikt into action. Cocktails and kisses and Martin Denny holding court in the band pit, this cover evokes smoky reveries of a classic, unobtainable kind of cool. Hughes strikes a wondrous balance of contrast and color to achieve a sense of character, place, vibes—and danger.
Don’t forget to share your favorite covers, from this month, from any month, in the comments section below!