Each Monday, staff writers Kevin Melrose and Steve Sunu discuss their five favorite covers from the previous Wednesday’s new comic releases, selecting from among them CBR’s Cover of the Week. Then, at the end of each month, they choose from the weekly winners — you guessed it! — a Cover of the Month.
This week, a certain wall-crawler tries to turn back time, some angry apes go to war, a revenant seeks cold comfort, a reflection holds the key and a comic nears an explosive end.
Keep reading for Kevin and Steve’s favorites from the week of February 1, along with their choice for Cover of the Month for January, then discuss your choices in the CBR forums.
Declan Shalvey’s “Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes” #4 is a bit overwhelming, but in a good way. A veritable army of apes in a battle rage divides the page’s blank expanse from the eyes of a malevolent ape overlooking it all. While the composition and color contrast gives the cover a flag vibe from far away, the most impressive aspect is Shalvey’s ape army. Every figure has a different pose and unique expression with the level of detail continuing through the vanishing point on the right side of the cover. We can’t see what the ape army is after, but one thing’s certain — we definitely don’t want it to be us. — Steve Sunu
This cover is surprisingly, and refreshingly, subtle for comic centering on an undead gravedigger, a wereterrier and a ghost: The lone splash of color in an otherwise gray and lifeless image is Gwen, the aforementioned revenant, taking comfort in the cold arms of the angel of death. It’s also worth noting the face peering out of the ivy on the right — in cemeteries, ivy typically symbolizes friendship and immortality, if that matters here — but I’m not sure who the character might be. — Kevin Melrose
While Gabriel Rodriguez’s cover to “Locke & Key: Clockworks” #4 is excellent on its own, to truly appreciate what makes this cover special, you have to look at Issue 3. Continuing the mirror motif from the last cover, this time Rondriguez has switched the characters and color palette. While the previous cover was largely whites and reds, this one is mostly blacks and blues, emphasizing the sense of darkness and foreboding inherent in the “Locke & Key” series. Plus, Rodriguez’s expression work on both characters’ faces is so solid, you can tell exactly what they’re feeling even from the top down. — Steve Sunu
The cancellation of “Men of War,” along with five other titles from the first wave of DC Comics’ “New 52,” sadly means we’ll only see three more of Viktor Kalvachev’s stunning covers for the short-lived series. But he begins the death march with a bang — a very big bang. — Kevin Melrose
Mike Del Mundo, who had two Spider-Man covers on the best of 2011 list, delivers another winner for the conclusion of a time-travel story in which the wall-crawler “makes a last-ditch effort to save time itself!” The hero wrestling with the hands of a giant clock is fairly tried and true — cliche, even — but Del Mundo manages to pull it off, with the crumbling logo and falling debris adding to the sense of urgency. — Kevin Melrose
With that, we look back at the four Covers of the Week, all contenders for the Cover of the Month for January: “Fatale” #1, by Sean Phillips; “Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand” #1, by Dave Johnson; “Morning Glories” #15, by Rodin Esquejo; and “American Vampire” #23, by Rafael Albuquerque.
And CBR’s first Cover of the Month is …
I confess that when I initially saw this arresting Sean Phillips cover for his new collaboration with Ed Brubaker, I mistook the nearly matching swaths of red on either side of the woman’s head for enormous flowers in her hair. So mesmerizing — so alluring — are her smoky gray eyes, set into a pale face marred only by ruby lipstick, that all of the other elements take a back seat. As such, when I stared at a larger version of the image and realized the background contained not large orchids but book-end demons baring their teeth in sinister grins, the effect was that much more chilling. — Kevin Melrose