By Molly Jane Kremer, Clyde Hall, Mickey Rivera, Kaitlin Beer, and Jarrod Jones. Undercover is our opportunity to lovingly gaze upon gorgeous works from magnificent artists. From Stanley Artgerm Lau’s ‘The Mighty Thor’ to Christian Ward’s variant to ‘Thanos’, here’s what we’re loving this week.
The Mighty Thor #705 by Stanley Artgerm Lau. (Marvel Comics)
MJ: There were a bevy of amazing covers for this week’s penultimate Mighty Thor issue, and choosing anything over art by Esad Ribic, Jee Hyung, or Russell Dauterman & Matt Wilson would be an excruciating decision on a good day. But Stanley Lau’s variant really stood out, and with good reason.
Lau is known for his cheesecake-y pin-up style, but manages here to keep the character from any overt sexualization—proving that drawing someone both strong and sexy can in fact leave the male gaze at the door.
The image is suffused in bright, glowing tones, affirming (and reveling in) the religious aspects of a character who is the Goddess of Thunder. Jane looms tall above us, resplendent in all her godly glory, her blonde locks spilling from her helmet. This is one of the best variants of this (or any) Thor series, and a fitting tribute for the almost-end of The Mighty Thor.
Steven Universe #14 by Missy Peña. (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!)
KB: The underlying essence of Steven Universe as a comic and cartoon is in this cover. The larger-than-life Rose Quartz, encompassing Greg as she no doubt belts out some amazing vocals, is mesmerizing. Greg looks as if he is star-gazing while looking up at Rose, the two posed in a way that indicates the love between them. All this on top of the fact that Rose is serenading him in the sky makes this an incredible piece.
To not mention the coloring of this cover is to do Missy Peña’s art a grave injustice. The entire piece looks as though it is glowing. The art is minimalistic in terms of content, but the delicate use of color adds a romantic tone to the piece, complimenting the relationship between its subjects. The love put into (and displayed on) this cover is incredibly heartwarming.
Cable #155 by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer. (Marvel Comics)
MR: Resplendent with ammunition and anger, Cable floats alone in a snowy white void, hatefully shooting at nothing in particular. Despite being a natural leader, his complicated past and perpetually unsmiling demeanor sets him apart from other Marvel characters. Few others have had their origin fractured between so many volumes. Few have had their authenticity so repeatedly threatened. In that sense, Cable has felt to many like a cyperpunk Wolverine — the main difference being that Cable is at all times focused on telekinetically keeping a techno-organic virus from eating him alive, perhaps leaving little headspace to accommodate anything resembling Wolverine’s trademark sass. The fireworks shooting out of his skull, courtesy of Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer, should make it clear enough that he has a lot on his mind.
So what he lacks in sass he makes up for in shoulder pads, guns, muscles, and endless utility pouches. He’s a man who has made himself difficult to hug, who’s made himself into a professional badass capable of a singular focus so forceful he shuts out the rest of the world.
Thanos #17 by Christian Ward. (Marvel Comics)
JJ: Somewhere out there beyond the stars, somewhere between the inferno of a supernova and the twisting neons of countless nebulae is Frank Castle, Smart-ass of the Spaceways. How The Punisher became the Cosmic Ghost Rider is in itself a legend worth knowing. If you’ve been keeping up on Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s Thanos, you know what’s up.
For those who are still in the dark, I won’t spoil Frank’s cosmic odyssey here. Suffice it to say, an anarchic (though otherwise good-natured) view on life is a good fit for the former vigilante, and in Christian Ward’s variant to Thanos #17, it’s a good look, too.
With his trademark cocktail of blops, swirls, and Neiman-esque use of vibrant color, Ward presents a hilariously stately portrait of our wise-crackin’ Cosmic Ghost Rider, his raised thumb an affirmation of our righteousness. In any other situation, a visit from the punishing Ghost Rider would give us cause to douse our trousers. Thanks to Ward, we just wanna give him a big ol’ high-five.
Batwoman #21 by Lee Bermejo. (DC Comics)
CH: A while back I mentioned that cover art for many issues of Batwoman were poster-worthy works of elegance. Lee Bermejo’s variant cover for issue #13 is exactly what I was talking about.
Bermejo has used the raven-red-ivory color combination that I adore (blame early exposure to Space Ghost ‘toons) not only on Kate, but literally bled into the midnight cityscape that serves as her backdrop. The fabric or latex of her uniform provides most of the light, sheen of the material reflecting details in dazzling perspective. This may not be the stealthiest black for after-hours vigilante runs, but artistically it’s nothing short of amazing.
And nothing against superhero uniforms that could be body paint, but ones with folds and creases that simulate actual clothing simply rock. Perhaps the cosplay community has impacted the art form, or maybe the lion’s share of responsibility rests with Alex Ross, but when mastered this well the style works.
Bermejo doesn’t neglect the personality amidst the panache, either. Batwoman’s on a mission, and her glare along with the firmly set expression makes us hope the cover’s rendered in offender-POV. Her attire may be based on a degree of reality, but her visage is pure revenant. The pale glamour of her skin and the determined line of her kohl lips transcend earthly revenge, making this Batwoman the harbinger of a preternatural reckoning.
And that’s it! Don’t forget to share your favorite covers from this week in the comments section below. Best response wins a pack of DoomRocket stickers!