By Molly Jane Kremer, Stefania Rudd, Brandy DykhuizenBrad Sun, 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. 

Shade, The Changing Girl #11, by Becky Cloonan. (DC Comics/Young Animal)

Shade, The Changing Girl #11, by Becky Cloonan. (DC Comics/Young Animal)

MJ: Becky Cloonan is one of my favorite artists of all time (my write-up of her By Chance or Providence collection was in last week’s Staff Picks as further testament to my ardent devotion). DC/Young Animal’s Shade, the Changing Girl elicits from me similar levels of passion, and I can’t imagine the series without Cloonan’s evocative covers.

This week’s Shade, the Changing Girl #11 sees our protagonist floating in front of the iconic Hollywood sign, but lest those big white letters overwhelm, Cloonan knows just the right close-up angle to employ. Cool, soft tones of purple and twilit blue complement the sunset magenta and peach of Shade’s trademark coat. Madness glides and drifts away in a trail behind her, hinting at the psychedelia the comic often brims with, all of it luring the eye upwards to the book’s already eye-catching logo.

Since this is one of the best ongoing series in comics today, the interior is guaranteed to be just as riveting as its gorgeous cover.

Spiritus #1, by Michael Kennedy. (Vault)

Spiritus #1, by Michael Kennedy. (Vault)

BSun: It’s sometimes easy to forget that all created images (even photographs) are really just arrangements of abstract shape and color that our brains imbue with meaning. Usually, this cerebral decoding happens instantaneously and unconsciously, but when these elements are wielded by a skilled illustrator like Michael Kennedy, the results can be far more complicated and rewarding.

The cover to Spiritus #1, with its bold, swirling shapes of high-contrast hues, dances nimbly on the edge of form and pattern. Kennedy’s constantly overlapping organic blobs create a visual push and pull between coherence and flatness, as the robot’s features ooze seamlessly into the woman’s figure, merging them together in a field of intense indigo and electric aureolin. Though we’ve been trained to perceive this image as two distinct subjects, this dynamic visual tension unites human and machine as one, as if they’re occupying the same space, a single spectacular entity composed of flesh and metal.

Lark's Killer #1, by Jen Bartel. (Devil's Due)

Lark’s Killer #1, by Jen Bartel. (Devil’s Due)

SR: The cover to Lark’s Killer #1 is by the incredibly talented Jen Bartel, done in the indelible style that has made her such a favorite among industry types and casual fans. When looking at this cover the first thing that draws me in is the colors. Bright, but soft. A dream-like quality.

The artwork focuses on the main character, Lark, a runaway living on the streets of L.A. There she is, front and center with her piercing and hypnotic blue eyes that have likely seen more than they should at this point on her life. Behind her in an astral haze are three characters, all of whom must be locals in the alien world she will soon find herself embroiled. We don’t know if they are friends or foes, but they look fierce and ready for battle.

For me, Bartel’s cover art is enough of a draw to get me to read a book. Mainly because I know I’ll always get lost in thought with her imagery before the adventure has even begun.

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #7, by Aaron Kuder. (Marvel Comics)

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #7, by Aaron Kuder. (Marvel Comics)

JJ: All-New Guardians? All-out mayhem, more like. The thrill of abandon, that’s what Aaron Kuder brought to us this week.

The cover to All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #7 is an exercise in expertly-rendered pandemonium. Look at it: A landscape of brutality, monster smashed against monster as the world cracks under their tumult, the stars bleeding white light, threatening supernovae. And above it all, Drax the Destroyer, set in his natural habitat, lunging into the fracas blades glinting, teeth bared.

Oh, and check out the rock beast whose face Drax is using as a catapult. This is fury. This is fun. Aaron Kuder excels at both. Let him share his strengths with you.

Mech Cadet Yu #1, by Takeshi Miyazawa and Triona Farrell (BOOM! Studios)

Mech Cadet Yu #1, by Takeshi Miyazawa. (BOOM! Studios)

BD:  I love a good Western adventure. Not in a “curl up on the couch and watch A Fistful of Dollars” kind of way (though I sorta love that, too), but in a “give me a map, a gallon of water and a compass, and plop me down in the middle of the desert” kind of way. Takeshi Miyazawa’s depiction of Monument Valley with those great big fluffy cumulus clouds behind the sandstone buttes instantly activated my wanderlust. The grit and determination on

The grit and determination on li’l Yu’s face as he is being cradled gently by his Robo Mech is beyond adorbs. It’s a great big unforgiving world out there, and, by golly, he can tackle it on his own. With the right map or giant friendly robot, us humans can get mighty confident. That’s a sentiment shared by Miyazawa’s cover to Mech Cadet Yu.

And that’s it! Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below.