It is time for the best covers from the week that was. A quick reminder: only comics that I personally have purchased qualify for this piece. If a title contains more than one cover, only the one I own is taken into consideration. Now without further ado:
Third Place Batman: The Dark Knight #22
Alex Maleev certainly delivered one stunning cover this week to take the third place spot. This cover’s main aim is to jar our preconceived notions and it succeeds in attaining this lofty goal. We all know that Commissioner Gordon and Batman are lifelong allies in whatever medium they are depicted in so what we are seeing unfold before our eyes is a truly surprising turn of events. The tagline of “When allies become…deadly enemies!” works well in setting up this issue’s premise but what really sells it is the image of Gordon, a fierce determination permeating off the character, as he takes aim and lets loose. His intended victim? Why none other than the Dark Knight himself who Gordon has set in his sights much like a shooting range target, albeit one fixated on a slant to create a mood of uneasiness. I love how the various scoring rings are placed over top of Gordon as well and I also love how everywhere that his bullets miss the target there are holes left in the background while where he connects they ominously leave spots of blood. The colouring choice has a muted muddy tone to it but the scene still pops off the page thanks to the white background used. The image makes us wonder what would drive the two of them apart? Can they make up? Or is there a twist or two in store for us? It compels you to open the book up for answers and like I always say…that is what truly makes a great cover.
Second Place Young Avengers #8
Jamie McKelvie is the runner-up this week with this cover featuring our heroic team like we’ve never seen them before. In the context of the story, the Young Avengers are travelling through the multi-verse to catch someone posing as Patriot. This chase through alternate dimensions is represented on the cover as we are allowed to glimpse the different team members in their alternate universe attire. The team stands united albeit the shot is at a 45 degree angle in order to keep us off-kilter, a feeling that we are going to keep as we look at each character closer. If we analyze the title itself it appears that we are seeing our regular cast mixed up with glimpses of 2 other universes which I’ll refer to as the green and the gold due to the different colouring on said title. The way the artist shows us these snippets is utterly brilliant as instead of straight vertical lines he chose to show it using a technique reminiscent of brushstrokes. Our regular cast can be glimpsed how they normally look with the white background behind them, their colouring having a faded and washed-out look to it. But just how much could our Young Avengers change from universe to universe you ask? Let’s take a look. First up is Wiccan in the upper left corner, his head coming to us from the green universe adorned in shades and with a very super villain looking attire and haircut while his knees and cape in the gold universe appear armored up and torn respectively. Next up is Hulkling who has one of his wings looking rather dragon-like in the gold universe while in the green universe his other wing appears metallic. Continuing with that theme, Miss America looks to have some cybernetic implants on her neck and is wearing a mask with her leg bandaged on the green universe while in the gold she is all tattooed up. Then there is Noh-Varr who in the gold is all armored up and wearing an eye patch while in the green he is conspicuously absent hinting that he is in fact deceased. Beside him is Loki who is also armored up in the gold while in the green his hand is bandaged and his wardrobe is worn and more pale then we usually see it. Funny enough, Prodigy appears the same in all three universes while the opposite can be said about Kate Bishop as in the green she is a different gender while in the gold she is armored up like her allies. Looking at everything as a whole it appears that the Young Avengers have seen better days in the green universe while the gold has a more medieval slant to it. Regardless, it is a cover that begs you to sit there and analyse it, your own mind filling in the gaps and for a series known for its creative design choices, it succeeds in blowing our minds once again.
First PlaceThe Flash #22
And here is the Cover of the Week by Francis Manapul who wins this distinction for only the second time, which is quite shocking considering how much of a fan I am of his artwork. This month’s offering sees Manapul limit his colour palette to just four colours (red, yellow, white, and black) to absolutely fantastic results. The majority of the background is red just like Flash’s suit but this crimson background is broken up by a gigantic yellow lightning bolt which connects with the Flash dead on, a nice callback to the character’s origins. The bolt crackles with energy in the background and particles of yellow are seen sparking off of it which creates added visual interest. Then comes the utter brilliance: this flash of lightning connecting on our hero has created a shadow on the ground which is fittingly coloured yellow to represent the Flash’s boots. This sinister shadow emblazoned on the ground is not Barry’s though but it is the Reverse-Flash, a shadow that is blurred and streaky which clearly represents his super speed abilities while his hands are claw-like and pointed which hint at his villainous nature. If you didn’t know this shadow was the Reverse-Flash though, a quick look at his chest logo confirms his identity as it is going in the reverse direction of Barry’s. This villain appearing on the cover is apropos considering this issue marks the first time these two legendary foes will meet in the New 52 universe but the way he is depicted, as a shadow coming from Barry Allen, really makes the reader wonder if this has some hidden meaning besides just looking really cool. Another interesting look is that of the Flash himself who is drawn in a more Pop Art style to the cover’s overall benefit. Flash Fact: this series is awesome and Manapul is a mighty big reason of why that is. With that said, Francis Manapul, I award you the first place crown this week. Congratulations!
So those are my favourites and it’s a victory for DC with a three-to-one-to-one showing against Marvel and the Independents. What’s your personal favourite covers from the week that was? Comment below!