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Judging (DC’s October) Books By Their Covers

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

DC’s October Solicitations are up, so now is as good a time as any for us to make prejudgments based just on the covers (as we all love to make prejudgments, don’t we?).

Let’s begin!
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The record for the most rendering had stood for over a hundred years, set on a hot July day in 1905 in a meat packaging plant outside of Chicago.

That record now falls due to the staggering amount of rendering in this Gary Frank Action Comics cover.

Dang, is that a lot of rendering or what?

The general idea of the cover is good, though!
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Some blog out there (I honestly forget which one – whoever you are, if you read this, let me know and I’ll be sure to edit a credit for you in here) made a very interesting observation regarding Bernard Chang’s cover for last month’s Supergirl.

He made Supergirl look essentially the same as his porn star character from the graphic novel I panned last November, How to Make Money Like A Porn Star, and by golly, I think he’s on to something…

They do look pretty similar, right?

Not a bad cover by Chang, though. He’s a good artist. It’s just strange to see the resemblances between the two characters.
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Pretty blah cover for the conclusion of what felt like a three-year storyline in Superman.

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Would be nice if the solicitations actually told us WHAT Tim Sale stories were going to be in this Tim Sale collection.

Still, a Tim Sale collection by DC is a great idea, and this is a fine cover by Sale.
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According to CBR’s own Rich Johnston, the rumor is that Peter Tomasi was going to write Batman and the Outsiders, but is off because of creative differences with artist Koi Turnball.

I knew I liked Peter Tomasi.

Seriously, though, Peter Tomasi is the guy who put together the awesome collection of artistic talent that was Seven Soldiers – so for him to then work with Koi Turnbull must have been quite the shock to the system.

That being said, this is actually one of Turnball’s better covers. Some J. Scott Campbell influence going on, and I think it works pretty well.
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Tony Daniel has really improved as an artist, and honestly, if I had to choose between him and Andy Kubert for Morrison’s Batman, I think Daniel would be my choice.

Had you told me on the day The Tenth #1 came out that, ten years later, I’d be cool with Daniel drawing Morrison’s Batman run, I’d be quite surprised to hear you say that.

Decent (if pretty generic) cover.
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I really don’t get the concept of this storyline. “Yeah, remember The Killing Joke? That Moore guy had some good ideas, but we’re going to improve upon them!”

Seems weird.

Nice cover by Denys Cowan, though!
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I don’t think Batman is exactly in Jim Calafiore’s wheelhouse.

It scares me to think that Tieri might have gotten this Underground assignment on the basis of his underwhelming Underworld series for Marvel (which, in an amazingly brash move, Marvel collected the original Underworld mini-series along with a Civil War one-shot starring the characters from the mini-series, and then sold it as a Civil War trade – BOLD, Marvel! BOLD!).
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Design enough cover design, but it looks like Simone Bianchi didn’t bother to actually finish drawing the cover.

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Even Ryan Sook’s greatness can’t save this Nightwing cover.

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I think we may need a trained professional to investigate Pat Gleason’s bit of using character’s blood to sign his name on covers.

A bit graphic.

Decent cover, but the bloodiness kind of throws me, to be frank.
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Interesting Jason Pearson cover for the Robin Annual.

I mention I wanted to see Pearson interiors, and since that point, he’s done a story in Welcome to Tranquility, and now he’s doing the Robin Annual!

Man, I wish I could see some interiors from Michael Golden….
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You can never go wrong with a cover featuring Wonder Woman fighting a bunch of gorillas.

I think that’s somewhere in the Constitution…

Nice job, Dodsons!
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I’m really digging the fluid style of Sanford Greene on these Wonder Girl covers.

They’re pretty neat.
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Cool cover homage for this Teen Titans cover by Ale Garza.

I notice he doesn’t credit the artists, just the issue number. Do you think he just doesn’t know who the creative team was on the cover in question? I mean, I notice he wrote the wrong issue number (Brave and the Bold #28, not JLA #28), so maybe he’s just not all that up on comic history (which seriously isn’t a big deal, I was just curious).
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Great cover idea by Ethan Van Sciver for this Sinestro Corps one-shot spotlighting the Cyborg Superman.

But the execution is strange – it doesn’t even seem like Van Sciver’s artwork at all.

Weird.
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A less strong effort for John K. Snyder on the second issue of the Suicide Squad mini-series.

Still a pretty good cover, though!
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A fun Darwyn Cooke cover for the Spirit, but not as clever as Cooke’s past efforts.

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Funny Shadowpact cover by Tom Derenick.

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An improvement over the last couple of Denis Calero Legion of Superheroes covers.

I like the facial expressions a lot.
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Simon Dark – the greatest addition to the Batman supporting cast since Orpheus!!

Pretty strange cover by Scott Hampton.
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Great facial work by Kevin Nowlan on this Metamorpho Year One cover, but the overall layout seems a bit sparse.

This reminds me – remember the first Metamorpho mini-series by Mark Waid?

How weird was that series? Where it’s revealed that Stagg had an incestual interest in his daughter?

Soooo creepy.

It was so unlike Mark Waid’s normal work, as it was a kinda mean-spirited “re-examination” of the Metamorpho supporting cast.

Great Graham Nolan artwork, though!
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Wow, an Alex Ross Justice Society of America cover that actually works for the story!!

Neat job, Mr. Ross!
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This Alex Sanchez JSA Classified cover has some nice aspects of movement, but ultimately, I think it is a bit haphazard, in terms of getting across exactly HOW the movement is met to be displayed.

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Very nice, straightforward David Michael Beck cover for Jonah Hex.

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This Walt Simonson JLA Classified cover seems a bit slapdash.

It’s Simonson, so it’s still pretty good, but I think it could be tightened up a bit and it would look a lot stronger.
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I do not know if this is John McCrea’s cover to the second issue of JLA/Hitman, or if it is an interior panel, but boy, does McCrea draw a great looking Superman.

Hoo boy, that’s some good drawin’ there, McCrea.
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Okay, for this Justice League of America cover, besides the obvious “Oh look, Ian Churchill found a way to make sure the female members push their chests out” notation, the first joke you’d make upon seeing this cover is “Oh look, the Justice League is being forced to watch _____.”

So your mission, dear readers, should you choose to accept it (and best answer gets a cool point), is to come up with the funniest thing to fill in the blank in the joke “Oh look, the Justice League is being forced to watch _____.”
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Oh no!

Steel is getting Marilyn Manson songs downloaded directly into his brain!!

The horror!!

Seriously, interesting layout for the second issue of Infinity Inc. by Max Fiumara. I think it ends up looking a bit too weird, but I admire the usage of the background and the foreground to tell two distinct, but connected narratives (Foreground – main action, but Background – Superman there to save the day).
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Straightforward, but well done Green Lantern cover by Ivan Reis.

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Also in straightforward territory is this lovely Green Arrow/Black Canary cover by the great Cliff Chiang.

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I am not counting this Flash 80-Page Giant cover as a new cover (or else it would be high on the list this week), I just wanted to give DC a shout-out for managing to work this great house ad by Ryan Sook into a cover, somehow!

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A bizarre Dougie Braithwaite cover of the Flash.

Superman looks so weird.
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Nice Gene Ha cover for DC’s Halloween special.

“Yes, it’s frightening to believe, but it is true – DC really did kill off Aquaman and replace him with essentially the Golden Age Aquaman!”

“No, Joker! Stop it! You’re scaring us!! Why would they DO that?!?”

“Just wait until you see Shawn McManus’ artwork on the book – here’s a sample…”

(screams of terror)
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Nice Tony Daniel cover on this Countdown one-shot featuring a visit to the Earth where the Crime Syndicate reside.

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This Countdown cover by Ian Churchill is one of his better works.

I sure hope this means Kyle is back to being Ion by this point in time!
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I am torn. I have to give John Van Fleet a LOT of credit for the basic cover design of this other Countdown one-shot (focusing on the Question and the Crime Bible).

The idea of using the scissors as a way to focus our attention?

That’s just a brilliant idea by Van Fleet.

But the execution really turned me off. It ended up looking kinda hokey, really.
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Very clever Scott Shaw! cover for the new Captain Carrot mini-series.

I especially love the tiny jokes mixed into the cover, like the book being “20,000 Semoleons Firm.”

Priceless.
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There ya go, Kalman Andrasofszky!! A strong Checkmate cover.

The Black King is really J’onn? That’s a super clever idea, Rucka!

Sadly, the plot of this storyline is yet another “Greg Rucka decides that characters Brian likes a lot need to be driven out of comics” story, following the Harvey Bullock one in Rucka’s Detective Comics.

Naturally, Rucka could surprise me and have the Wall not be taken down, but when you name the story “Fall of the Wall,” and when the person trying to TAKE down the wall is Rucka’s pet character (is that what I’m going to have to go with – pet character? We don’t have anything better than that? LAME!), well, things don’t look good for me.
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Decent Ivan Reis cover for Countdown to Adventure.

I dig the Children of the Corn action he has going on.
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I believe this is an old cover, first solicited when the book was just Doctor Fate, right?

So I will not make any comments about Paul Gulacy’s inability to draw human faces, as that would just be piling it on, as I’m sure I made the same comment when the cover was first solicited.
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Interesting cover idea by Stephane Roux, as it is difficult to depict dramatically two computer hackers going at each other.

That being said, what exactly is the Calculator’s icon supposed to be?

I notice Jason Orfalas is the guest-artist. Nicely done by Tony Bedard. Way to look out, Mr. Bedard!!
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Nice Doug Mahnke cover for Black Adam”s mini-series.

However, what are the random black lines all over their arms supposed to be?

Veins?

Seriously?
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A very endearing Booster Gold cover by Dan Jurgens.

Jurgens pulls off a level of casual emotion I did not know he had in him! He also struck me as a broad strokes type of guy, so job job well done, Mr. Jurgens!
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Decent Blue Beetle cover by Rafael Albuquerque.

His Sinestro is quite strong.
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Decent George Perez Brave and the Bold cover.

But ladies, you do know you can’t actually punch fire, right?

I mean, you CAN – but it won’t do much good.
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Good Kevin Maguire Aquaman cover.

I love Maguire’s attention to detail. The sliding is depicted beautifully.
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So-so cover by JG Jones for the last 52 trade paperback.

Is this one a movie homage, too?
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Okay, either that lady on the cover is important to the story, or Ethan Van Sciver just didn’t feel like showing more than one person react to a whole pile of bugs swarming after them.

I hope it’s the former!!

Nice cover idea by Van Sciver.
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Robin is pretty tough! Batman is out cold, but Robin is still awake!

Okay Sanford Greene Batman Strikes cover.
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Interesting stylistic choice by Todd Nauck on this Teen Titans Go cover, making the Titans appear basically in shadows.

Nice use of bright lighting and shadows for effect.
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Very clever Scooby Doo cover. I love the horseman’s head being a candy basket. Very neat.

Question – who drew this cover? The solicits say Robert Pope, but the cover is signed “Serra.” What gives?
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Nicely laid out Legion of Superheroes in the 31st Century cover by Sanford Greene.

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Zach Howard might not have laid out his cover for Justice League Unlimited as nicely, but he makes up for it with the nice figure work he does on this cover with Giganta and Wonder Woman.

Nicely turned by Howard.
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Pretty boring looking Cartoon Network Block Party cover by Robert Pope.

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Wow – Ben 10 NOT as the lead cover feature on a Cartoon Network Action Pack!?

Shocking!

When’s the last time that was the case?

EDITED TO ADD: Yes, I forgot to mention that a bunch of Gorilla Commandos on a cover is awesome.
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Decent cover design by Aaron Alexovich for Kimmie66.

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Decent Scalped cover, but not too great by Jock standards (which are very high, natch).

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Strong Marcelo Frusin Loveless cover.

I love the facial expression.
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I do not believe this is the cover, but just a drawing by Andrew Robinson.

I can’t wait to see what he does for Jack of Fables. Robinson is an amazing artist.
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Interesting Lee Bermejo Hellblazer cover.

Certainly a disturbing cover, but an effective one, nonetheless!
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Good James Jean Fables cover.

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An oddly rushed looking Exterminators cover by Philip Bond.

It’s still pretty good, but he’s done a lot stronger work on these covers before.
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Very cool DMZ cover by Brian Wood.

It is a great idea by Wood to revisit this character again, to see what she is up to.
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A strong JH Williams Crossing Midnight cover.

The mirror effect, in particular, is striking.
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Decent Celia Calle American Virgin cover.

The character of Mel has been a really interesting one in American Virgin (in a book with a number of interesting characters).
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Pretty darn weird Tomer Hanuke cover for Un-Men, but then again, I guess that’s the point, no?

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Tony Harris, though, goes all out trippy with this Ex Machina cover.

But I think it works.

And after all, like Wonder Woman would tell you, nothing sells comics like a gorilla on the cover!
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You know what would be neat?

If Carlo Barberi would do something different with his art style on Gen 13, rather than ape the book’s previous artists.

He IS a good aper, though!
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Actually, this Whilce Portacio Wetworks cover is pretty strong.

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Bizarrely creative Welcome to Tranquility cover by Neil Googe.

Good stuff.
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I don’t like this Mike McKone Stormwatch PHD cover. The Checkmate cover from this month worked because it was clear what the point of the items of the desk were, and why we should care.

Here?

What’s the point of any of these items being on the cover?

To make this cover work, I think McKone really needed to add some sort of additional thing, like maybe circle one of the people in the photo – something like that, something to show us WHY we are looking at this photograph.
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This JG Jones Supernatural cover is decent, but just seems totally perfunctory on Jones’ part.

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Nice Programme cover by CP Smith.

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I am used to Midnighter covers by Chris Sprouse to not have a lot going on on them.

This one, though, takes that to a whole other level of inactivity.
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Mike McKone joins Chris Sprouse in drawing a Midnighter cover where everyone just stands around!

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Brian Stelfreeze quite nicely demonstrates the coolness of the situation occurring on this Highwaymen cover.

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Pretty nice Friday the 13th cover by Adam Archer.

What else has Archer worked on?
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I can’t be the only one bemused by the sale of a Starfire bust, can I?

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I love the way they draw in muscles on the mini-mates.

It looks so silly.

Ambush Bug mini-mate!! AWESOME!!!
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These Justice League figures are supposed to be based on Ed Benes artwork, but they don’t look like his work, do they?

Oh wait…maybe they should just reposition the figures so we can see their taints – then I would know if they were based on Ed Benes artwork…
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They did a good job of capturing Miller’s style with this statute.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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Very nice Jim Starlin cover for the first issue of (le sigh) The Death of the New Gods.

This would make a really neat poster, wouldn’t it?
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Scott Gross does a great job on this Looney Tunes cover.

It’s a clever idea, and it’s executed perfectly, right down to all the reflections.
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NObody does manic energy like Pat Gleason does manic energy.

This Green Lantern Corps is Gleason at his most manic.

Very cool stuff.
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Interesting Faker cover by Jock.

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I like it when Ladronn gets trippy, like this Atom cover.

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Dave Johnson could draw a good cover while fighting off a shark blindfolded.

This Uncle Sam cover is no exception.
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Wow, Superman sure gets around…

First a coffin, now a big giant staff!

Seriously, nice cover design by Dustin Nguyen.
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Adam Hughes seems to like drawing Zatanna!

In any event, the result is a cleverly designed cover that is well executed by Hughes.
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WHAT’S THIS?!?

ORIGINAL COVERS ON TRADE PAPERBACKS?!?!?

DC, you spoil us!!!

Strong cover work by Scott McDaniel on this Green Arrow trade…

This is probably his strongest cover of his entire Green Arrow run!
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And while it’s basically just a pin-up, WHAT a pin-up by Walt Simonson for this Hawkgirl trade cover!!

Boy, that is some strong artwork by Simonson.
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TOP FIVE

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5. What a great idea for a cover by Sean Phillips for this new Vertigo series.

Someone else must have tried this cover before, right?

It’s a great idea.

I am surprised Phonogram didn’t try it.
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4. Darick Robertson manages to infuse his characters with so much personality (how freaking awesome are the facial expressions on Darick Robertson’s characters!?), and design such a nice background that he is able to take this Authority cover out of the area of a simple, boring pin-up cover.

Robertson is a very strong artist.
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3. This Action Comics cover featuring the Bizarro Justice League is right in Eric Powell’s wheelhouse, and he absolutely NAILS it.

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2. This George Perez cover for the Brave and the Bold trade collection is probably the strongest Perez cover that I’ve seen in years.

What a fun cover! It has the LOOK of an old school comic book, but I wonder – has there been a comic cover with the same basic design before? Is this an homage?
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1. It’s one thing to make the Metal Men all form the number of the issue in question.

That’s a cute thing by Duncan Rouleau.

However, what gets him the #1 spot in my book is that he manages to get the Metal Men to form the number of the issue in question, all the while actually getting across the PLOT of the issue itself!!

That’s just some truly gifted thinking there on Rouleau’s part.
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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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