By Stefania Rudd, Brandy Dykhuizen, Arpad Okay, Don Alsafi, 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.
Dark Nights: Metal #1, by Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson; Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO Plascencia; Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Brad Anderson. (DC Comics)
DA: And as you look up, you see Batman burst from the jungle, riding a dinosaur, barreling straight toward you. You wonder: When Bruce Wayne was just a boy, did he dream of standing astride a prehistoric lizard, clenched fist upraised, dressed like a bat? And you realize: Of course he did. He’s Batman.
And your vision shifts to a sword-wielding, shield-toting Diana of Themyscira, blocking incoming fire while kicking a blue-armored something. Or maybe she’s standing on thin air while an explosion (possibly nuclear?) destroys the entire background. And… does that blue creature have a hollow head? Like an azure chocolate bunny of doom?
You’re not sure. You’re too distracted. You keep thinking about the dinosaur.
And finally: It is midnight. A dark dark Batman steps out of a smoking portal, seemingly summoned by the arcane symbols around. A pentagram has only five points, but this one has six so you know it’s extra evil. Blood drips from his axes, one gripped in each hand, as blood drips from his mouth. The Batman has come to eat you.
These covers are so damn Metal.
Mighty Thor #22, by Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson. (Marvel Comics)
BD: With Maleficent-esque horns and burning ember eyes, the Queen of Cinders is ready to take on Aesir or Vanir alike. Ain’t no thang to her. She’s got her burning babies in the palm of her hand, all fury and over-extended leech teeth, ready to be flung at any opponent unlucky enough to cross her path. But how will she fare against a Thor or two?
Villain and heroes alike exhibit some pretty smug mugs on Russell Dauterman and Matt Wilson’s gorgeous cover. This is a battle fueled not just by rage, but by confidence as well. Thor’s primary palette is exchanged for their cobalt complected counterparts – the reds are a bit purply, the yellows tinged with green, so Thor(s) can come bolting off the page in white-hot, true blue light. It’s every bit as mesmerizing as watching coals and embers fight for their last breath in a bonfire.
Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #11, by Javier Pulido. (DC’s Young Animal)
AOK: This is the kind of cover you hook non-comics readers with. Cave Carson’s issue eleven variant sees Javier Pulido fiercely channeling the spirit of Joost Swarte. Pulido has always vibed bandes dessine to me, and his gang of monster Carsons here is no exception.
But on top of that, the layout, holy moly. Sublimely Fiorucci. A Sears portrait with the friends, family, and freaks knocked every which way like bowling pins. Cave’s roughneck button down becomes a grid, an OG computer background to compliment the multiple vectors of alterna-Caves.
My favorite bit is that tiny glimpse of Wild Dog. I’m not knocking the hockey mask; it’s always done it for me, from Casey Jones to Jason, but Pulido has transformed Jack Wheeler’s aesthetic into something more refined. Atypical and yet iconic. Sporty Street Fighter. And it’s just a three-quarter view from behind! Give me a Javier Wild Dog miniseries now, please.
Adventure Time Comics #14, by Evan Palmer. (kaboom!)
SR: The deep relationship between two of Adventure Time’s most visible and vocal characters, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline, is depicted in Evan Palmer’s variant for Adventure Time Comics #14. Marceline plays her ax bass, possibly singing a tune meant to comfort in this hour of twilight. Princess Bubblegum, who leans on her friend, gazes off in the distance at a city in ruins as the sun sets…or rises?
Bubblegum is not in her typical princess garb, but rather a suit that implies she has been in battle, or perhaps arrived a bit too late. And what’s going on with that foreboding robot creature in the back? Is it friend or fiend? Or was it their mode of transportation? A beautiful and somewhat haunting cover that pulls at our emotions, saving room for endless interpretation.
Superman #29, by Ryan Sook. (DC Comics)
JJ: Arpad said Cave Carson‘s Pulido variant was the way to lure in non-comics readers, and he was absolutely right. Ryan Sook’s front to Superman #29? This is bait meant almost explicitly for continuity hounds.
Superman, the Man of Steel, the Metropolis Marvel, the… Champion of the Sinestro Corps? That’s certainly what it looks like. I mean, try to explain away the yellow power ring fit snugly on his Middle Finger of Tomorrow, illuminating him in fear’s bright light.
I can hear you now: B-but… Superman is a symbol of hope! Surely a blue power ring would make more sense! We’re completely on the same page. Ryan Sook’s cover seems to contradict that impulse, however. Looks like we’re gonna have to buy the book to get to the bottom of this.
And that’s it! Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below.