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Judging (DC’s January) Books By Their Covers

by  in Comic News Comment
Judging (DC’s January) Books By Their Covers

DC’s January solicits have been up for quite awhile, but now I’m finally going to make some prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don’t we?).

Let’s begin!
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Another decent Peter Vale Superman cover.

Interesting move by Busiek to bring back the Insect Queen.
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Shane Davis shows some impressive dynamism on this Superman/Batman cover.

This is the sort of explosive-type action that WILL make him the superstar DC is billing him as already.
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This Drew Johnson Supergirl cover confused me.

At first, I was like, “Dude! Her skirt is barely covering her pelvis! That’s weird!”

Then I realized that what happened was that Johnson had extended the “v” lines of her pelvis up on her body, so that it was past her belly button.

That looks odd, right?
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Freddie Williams is totally channeling former Robin cover artist Pat Gleason with this cover, to the point where I could not even tell at first that it WASN’T Gleason.

In either event, it is a good cover.

The bad guy should be a returned Ives – only now evil!! DARK IVES!!!
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This is a nice Nightwing drawing, but it doesn’t seem to exactly pop as a cover – ESPECIALLY as the first cover of a new creative team.

The cover is credited to just Michael Bair, but the signature looks like Rags Morales drew it with Bair.

Isn’t it odd that Rags Morales and Michael Bair haven’t done anything higher profile since Identity Crisis? Identity Crisis was a pretty big deal, no?
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Decent Jim Calafiore cover.

Has Batwoman appeared in an actual Bat-title yet?

I also like the tagline “Did Zsasz really kill Batman?” I think the answer to that is obvious. Of coruse he did!
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Not a BAD Adam Hughes Catwoman cover, but not one of his better ones, either.

That Joker bit on the right is just weird.
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On this Tony Daniel Batman cover, what’s up with the hand sticking out with the pearls?

I get Batman re-living his parents’ death in the reflection in the blood – but then why is there an actual hand in the drawing at a different spot?

Is Batman sitting on some dead dude?
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Nice Rags Morales Batman Confidential cover.

I like the use of depth with the falling objects.
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A familiar refrain for Gary Frank’s Action Comics covers (heck, Frank’s covers in general) – nicely designed, good layout – and then the images are rendered to the point of just looking bizarrely stiff.

Frank didn’t always do this – and his work looked a lot better before he made the change. I wonder why the change?
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Interesting Wonder Woman cover by the Dodsons.

Good shadow work.
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Another frenetic Sanford Greene Wonder Girl cover.

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Certainly a distinct looking Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters cover by Dave Johnson.

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Really not a great Suicide Squad cover by John K. Snyder, but boy, was I pleased to see it!

Great picks by Ostrander for his new Suicide Squad! I especially loved that he is using freakin’ WINDFALL!

WINDFALL, people!!

Of course, it likely means that she will be killed, but as she’s been used, what, once in the past 20 years or so – I can’t really complain too much if Ostrander ends up offing her.
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Nice cover design for Simon Dark by Scott Hampton.

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Doesn’t this Tom Derenick Shadowpact cover totally remind you of Humberto Ramos’ old DV8 covers?

It’s weird, because Derenick and Ramos are not two artists I’d ever think I would find myself thinking were comparable at all.
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The extreme lengths some people will do to get free cable…

Seriously, nice character work by Sean Chen for this Salvation Run cover – very expressive.
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Francis Manupal continues to impress with his dynamic, yet controlled, approach to the Legion.

It reminds me a lot of Coipel’s first Legion work.
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WOAH! Freddie Williams, ease up on Hourman’s neck a bit!

Otherwise, this is a strong JSA Classified cover. I especially like the bloodied fingers – nice touch.
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Strong Jonah Hex cover by Jordi Bernet.

A lot of covers this month do a real nice job of working with depth perception.
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Well, this Ethan Van Sciver Justice League of America cover certainly at least pops out at you.

Maybe not for the best of reasons…but it IS attention-grabbing!
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I like that Steel is basically standing in for the reader on this Max Fiumara cover.

Nice cover – but awful team (which, I understand, is Milligan’s POINT – that this is SUPPOSED to be a ridiculous team, but still…)
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It’s like the Gimp from Pulp Fiction as a Green Lantern.

Otherwise, good Ivan Reis cover – definitely an intriguing cover.
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So it WAS Mongul who destroyed the JLA Watchtower? I thought he came by later. If he DID do that – WHY did he do that?

Was it part of some hidden Infinite Crisis plot that I missed?

Either way, nice Green Lantern Corps cover by Pat Gleason.

It’s really too bad the original Mongul was killed during Underworld Unleashed – takes away a lot of the spark of a Hal Jordan/Mongul confrontation.
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Standard cover theme – but a good one by Freddie Williams.

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I just noticed that the Shadowpact cover by Tom Derenick was inked by Wayne Faucher – wasn’t he Ramos’ inker at one point?

If so, I guess that makes the comparison less odd.
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Nice throwback cover by Jim Starlin for Death of the New Gods.

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Very nice Mario Alberti cover for Countdown to Mystery.

It’s interesting, though, that this is the same basic cover conceit of the previous issue (a yin-yang cover with Fate on one side/Eclipso on the other).
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You know I loves me some Pete Woods, but there’s not much to love about this Countdown cover.

It’s well drawn and all, but isn’t very intriguing – especially as Monarch and Forerunner have been hunting these three for, what, 20 issues now?

What Kubert cover is this an homage of? A cool point to the first person who can identify the cover!
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Wow!

Liam Sharp with a great action cover for this Extremists cover.

A lot more fluid than Sharp’s normal covers. I could barely tell that it was him drawing it!
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Good Crime Bible cover by John Van Fleet.

I love the broken glass effect.
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Kalman Andrasofszky designs a nice Checkmate cover, although I’m underwhelmed by the execution of the design.

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Eddy Barrows does a nice job with the facial expressions on this Countdown to Adventure cover.

Talk about some crazy eyes!!
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What an odd Stephane Roux Birds of Prey cover.

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Ladrönn (who I’ve been spelling his name wrong for, like, years) does a very nice job with this cover, and the computer-age colors REALLY make it work, as the creatures completely blend into the walls.

It’s a nice effect.
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Hmmm…this 4 Horseman cover by Ethan Van Sciver….

I like the idea of Bat Brass Knuckles!!!

THAT’s something, right?
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Fun idea having Geo-Force show up in Teen Titans Go.

Nice Todd Nauck cover.
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Scott Gross adds to the list of artists this month who made great use of depth on his cover with this Looney Tunes piece.

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A nice drawing of Saturn Girl for this The Legion of Superheroes in the 31st Century cover by Matt Stewart, but I dunno how great of a cover concept it is.

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An amusing Zach Howard cover for Justice League Unlimited.

LOVE the chickens in Crimson Avenger’s guns.
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Nice Stephanie Gladden for Cartoon Network Block Party.

She designed the cover very well.
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I like the energy behind this Maurice Fontenot cover for Cartoon Network Action Pack.

Certainly matches the “action” theme well!!
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Great character work by Christopher Jones on this Batman Strikes cover.

Great expressions.
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Of all the characters that could be spun out of the Wildstorm Armageddon storyline, why did they choose the one I hate the most?

MAN, do I dislike Nemesis.

Nice Ivan Reis cover, though, for the first issue.
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HOLY HITCH, BATMAN!!

Ivan Reis is drawing this second issue’s cover in the Hitchiest way I’ve seen from another artist, which is weird, as old Hitch used to look like Alan Davis, so it’s weird to see an artist draw like Hitch, specifically.

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Decent Samwise Didier cover for World of Warcraft.

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Nice job by CP Smith making this Programme cover really pop.

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Interesting cover idea by Chris Sprouse.

This Anthem storyline seems to be going on way too long, by the way.

And could we get a scripter on Midnighter, please?
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Okay, if the buildings on this Carlo Barberi Gen13 cover are SUPPOSED to be bent, as they are “spying” on Fairchild, then it is a cool idea.

Otherwise, it is weird looking.
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This J. Scott Campbell piece of Ash is just a detail of a different Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash cover, right?

In any event, it’s a nice drawing of Ash.
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This Mike McKone Friday the 13th cover reminds me a lot of a Jock Scalped cover from awhile back.

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It looks to me like Apollo is punching himself on this Darick Robertson Authority Prime cover…

and I don’t mean that it looks like his duplicate is punching him, either.
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Good Massimo Carnevale cover, but a bit lackluster for the LAST issue of Y.

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Very nice Sean Phillips Vinyl Underground cover.

I am glad that they are allowing him to mix things up a little bit. The man is such a great cover talent, it’s wise to let him to give him freedom to operate.
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Definitely a visceral cover by Tomer Hanuka for the Un-Men.

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Interesting final cover for Testament by Liam Sharp.

It would work as a FIRST issue cover, as well.
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Jock is near incapable of drawing bad covers, as shown by this interesting Scalped cover.

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Very impressive Andy Kubert Northlanders cover.

I think I’d like to see Kubert do some non-superhero stuff.
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Pretty straightforward Glenn Fabry cover for Hellblazer.

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Nicely foreboding Fables cover by James Jean.

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Looks like Philip Bond watched the Justin Timberlake SNL from last year before drawing this Exterminators cover.

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Brian Wood always does a nice job with silhouettes on his DMZ covers, and I love the color contrasts, as well.

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Good JH Williams cover for Crossing Midnight.

I like how they’ve been working the story titles into the covers.
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Another funny Rick Veitch cover for Army@Love.

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Yet another “interesting” Celia Calle cover for American Virgin.

Nice, I guess, to see someone working with a total “do whatever you want, even if it makes little to no sense” mandate.
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Not one of Dave Johnson’s better 100 Bullets covers, I have to say.

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I like the idea of making toys based on the Showcase reprints they’ve been doing.

Clever idea, DC!!
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Pretty hard to draw a figure based on the work of Bob Kane, eh?

You have, like, three panels to choose from.

And please note that DSK, over at The Vallely Archives, makes a good case that even this piece, which is one of Kane’s more notable drawings, was likely swiped from the following Tarzan panel by Hal Foster…

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I love the way mini-mates managed to convey body types using basically the same format for each figure.

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Okay, I am sure you all have jokes to make about DC actually releasing action figures based on the Killing Joke.

So tell you what – you make your jokes, and I’ll pick what I think is the best one, and you’ll get a cool point (I still need to award a cool point to the last time I did this)!!
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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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This could just be a bias, but I just love the idea of a cover featuring Superman wrestling with a bunch of Mexican wrestlers.

That’s just too awesome.

Nice job by Phil Hester for this Superman Confidential cover – although the idea behind it – showing us how Superman and Jimmy Olsen became pals – didn’t Kurt Busiek JUST do that?
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I LOVE the gag on this Robert Pope Scooby Doo cover.

The idea of the Phantom’s scarring actually being a pizza is hilarious.
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Very nice Mauro Cascioli Trials of Shazam cover.

I especially like the helicopter usage.
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Clever cover homage by Alex Ross on this JSA cover.

And credit to Ross and Geoff Johns for creating some cool new heroes.
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Nice Joshua Middleton Justice League Classified cover.

Writer Roger Stern is doing this arc with John Byrne. Anyone catch Stern’s Atom fill-in? Quite good! I expected some rust – there was none!
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Cliff Chiang uses modern computer coloring to make this interesting Green Arrow/Black Canary cover, where the background figures turn black from a distance.

Impressive visual – if the basic cover design is, of course, a standard comic trope.
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A striking Black Adam cover by Doug Mahnke.

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DUDE! THERE’S A FREAKING BEAR BEHIND YOU!!

Awesome idea by Walt Simonson for this Bat Lash cover.

Where’s the signature, though?!?
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Darwyn Cooke is almost impossible to follow, but picking a fellow comic great like Jordi Bernet is a clever idea to follow him on covers (a smart idea would be to get a different great for each cover – like getting Simonson to do one, then maybe Sienkiewicz, etc.)

Love this cover design.
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A hilariously clever Jack of Fables cover by Brian Bolland.

There’s a reason his covers are in such high demand!
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TOP FIVE
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5. A great start to Dustin Nguyen’s run on Detective Comics!

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4. That’s two awesome cover designs in a row by Dan Jurgens for Booster Gold covers.

First the Killing Joke, and now the death of Blue Beetle.

Great stuff.
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3. I absolutely adore this Karl Kerschl Teen Titans Year One cover, and it freaks me out that I am only ranking it third, as I really love it.

Such a great glimpse of childhood. Brilliant.

Look at the attention to detail, right down to Donna having the Amazonian equivalent of running with your shoes untied!!

An awesome cover.
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2. However, Duncan Rouleau, though, has been putting himself to the test with each issue of Metal Men.

It is like a test for him – how to make them form the issue number REALISTICALLY.

It’s a true challenge, and while last month I think it was a bit of a stretch, this time around, for issue #5, he was right on the ball.

SO clever, and as Rouleau is a talented artist NORMALLY, it is just a top-rate cover.
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1. However, this month, Ryan Sook did another one of his special Countdown special covers.

And they are just near-perfection, giving him the “win” once again (and one time, for the Flash cover, as it was an ad before it was a cover, I didn’t even count it – or else that would have been a #1 cover, as well)!
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Well, that’s it for me this month! Feel free to share YOUR prejudices (and your Top Fives)!

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