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Judging (Marvel’s February) Books By Their Covers

by  in Comic News Comment

Marvel’s February solicits have been up for so long that March is right around the bend, 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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This is a really clever cover approach – Marko Djurdjevic painting over Oliivier Coipel’s pencils.


I am eagerly awaiting this issue to see if Marko can do as well as Jelena did on her interior work on Iron Fist Annual #1.
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Nice, solid cover for Tony Harris’ new Spider-Man mini-series.


I like the use of floating heads to get across the plot of the book.
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I can’t be the only one who saw this Karl Kesel cover and did a double-take, can I?

Kesel seems to be doing a total vibe on his former art partner, the late, great Mike Wieringo, to an extraordinary degree.


In any event, it is a nice cover.
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Not a fan of this Greg Land cover – I understand that bullets are not supposed to hurt She-Hulk, but if Land’s intention is to show off how useless bullets are by not having She-Hulk even react to them, then

A. I think he’s overestimating her powers

and

B. I think he’s misjudging how such a scene appears – it doesn’t look as striking as he may have planned – it is way more static than I think was his intent (or rather, what one’s intent would be if he/she set up a cover in this manner).


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This storyline has been going on for so long that it feels like the first part predated Del Shannon’s “Runaway.”


Nice Jo Chen cover.

It would be interesting to see Chen do some interiors.
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Strong Oeming cover for this Powers Annual.


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WHALE COVERS!!!!

First off, Mike Deodato does a decent job with this Punisher vs. a whale cover…


but he is bested by John Watson, who bring a real classical feel to his cover…


This cover reminded me of some early American paintings, and how they basically had to GUESS what whales, sharks, etc. looked like, because no one ever got a good look at them.

There’s this one classic painting with a shark with a NOSE!
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Nice Alex Maleev cover for an issue celebrating the victims of the Punisher…


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Surprisingly drab Farel Dalrymple cover.


Not a lot going on here.
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Nice layout by Nic Klein for this New Warriors cover.


By the by, might I add how absurd it is how long readers had to wait to find out who the characters in New Warriors WERE?
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Why is Nova standing on a brain?

I kid, Nic Klein! I kid!


Still, the end result is a bit stiff – which is odd for Klein, who usually is as fluid as his cohort, Marko Djurdjevic.
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Reasonable enough Doom cover by Mark Bagley.


Is this his last Marvel work for awhile?
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Yet again, I do NOT want to know where Greg Horn got the photo reference for this cover.


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Nice Rockwell homage by Arthur Suydam, but I don’t get the cover concept.


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There really is a limit to what one can do with covers for Dorian Gray, so I will gladly cut Gerald Parel (who I love) some slack with the relative blandness of this cover.


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Dave Wilkins’ Cap kicks so much ass that he is trying to kick through the cover!


That is pretty badass.
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Nice Defenders reunion by Juan Santacruz for this cover.


I like the way writer Paul Benjamin has slowly introduced these characters before he made them as a group.
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Nice energy on this Tom Grummett cover.


Definitely a cute idea.
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Fairly blase cover by Leonard Kirk.


Most of them barely seem interested in the cover shot.
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Standard enough cover by Kyle Hotz.


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HA!

Gotta hand it to Fred Van Lente – the silver and crimson armor?

Classic.


How long do you think Marvel thought they were going to have Iron Man have this color armor when the move was made?

Nice Francis Tsai cover.
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I love when Dave Finch pulls back a bit with the rendering – he is quite a talented artist.


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Man, I have no idea of what to say about this Clayton Crain X-Force cover.

It is just so scary.


Bad scary, like “I Love New York.”
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Not a terrible Roger Cruz cover, but I miss the fancy covers from Djurdjevic and Nguyen!!


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Very nice Glenn Fabry X-Factor cover.


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Decent Jimmy Cheung cover, if a bit uninspired.


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I love the cover idea and layout by Mike Choi.


The end result is a bit too artificial looking for my tastes (and what the heck is up with Emma Frost?!), but there is a lot to like here.
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Decent enough Apocalypse by Salvador Larocca.


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I love Stuart Immonen’s Magneto.


And the cover layout isn’t half bad, either.
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Boy – one thing Joe Madureira certainly does not lack is dynamism.

That is one frenetic cover.


A bit TOO much, if you ask me, but still, it is definitely a cover that moves.
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Another suitably bizarre Iron Man cover by Pasqual Ferry.


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Very nice design by Cary Nord for this cover.


Breaking through walls is a great cover idea.

What is your favorite “person breaking through a wall” cover?
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I love the use of perspective by Nic Klein, but the main event is just not interesting enough, even with the great creation of depth.


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Just last month, I praised Kaare Andrews for his great work with facial features – so he then does a cover where the face is obscured.


Damn you, Andrews!!
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I loves me some Michael Golden, and the background of this cover is strong, but otherwise, that is a pretty garish cover.


I guess it DOES sorta pop, so that’s something, I suppose.
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I just wanted to note how pleased I am that readers can finally get Man in the Iron Mask and other classic stories in a convenient book form.


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David Nakayama had some big shoes to fill by following Patrick Scherberger as Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man’s cover artist, but Nakayama, at least on his first cover, acquitted himself quite well.


Very nice cover.
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Oh sweet!

Proctor has returned!


Tommy Ohtsuka does a nice job on Proctor. I wonder when we will see the Gatherers.
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I will admit that the Proctor joke was all I had – why did they have to do a variant cover?!?!


Is this a new character or is this some famous novel series I should have heard about?

Decent enough Tom Grummett cover, I suppose.
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Kick-Ass looks interesting.


John Romita Jr. is always a good guy to get on your project.

I love how the solicits for Kick-Ass tell you basically nothing.
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Okay, Paolo Rivera, I’m sure, knows more about perspective than I do – but man, that spear just looks weird to me.


Otherwise, fine cover.
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Interesting Kaare Andrews cover.


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Super cute Iron Man/Power Pack cover.


Any one see the Chris Giarrusso back-up strip with Iron Man giving the other Avengers armor?

Very funny stuff.
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Another strong Eric Canete cover.


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Gerald Parel evokes such interesting moods with his Iron Man covers.


Nicely done.
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Is this going to be a reoccurring thing? Various characters all beat up Iron Man for kicks?


Nice Ed McGuinness cover, though.
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A good design by Mike Perkins for this cover.


Hard to pull off the angles well on shots like these, and he does it quite well.
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That is a really good drawing of Ghost Rider by Marko Djurdjevic.


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Sweet Fantastic Four poster by Art Adams!


Kinda random timing, though, no?
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Where is this Kirby piece from?


It is quite good.
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I’m less impressed with the cover to Hitch’s first Fantastic Four.

Nicely drawn, but I think I’d like a little more zest for their first issue on the book.


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Another spot on drawing by Marko Djurdjevic, this time of Howard the Duck.


He really cuts to the core of the character, doesn’t he?
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Good to see Marvel getting older creators involved, like Frank Brunner here.


Good cover.
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I think Kaare Andrews took the homage so far that it doesn’t even really work as an homage – it’s just a remake.


And not a particularly interesting one, at that.
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I didn’t even know Mr. Fear’s mask WAS reflective!

Still, strong cover by Marko Djurdjevic. He has had a number of strong covers this month.


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Nice moody piece by Sean Phillips.


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Alan Davis gets his point across quite well on this first issue of Clan Destine.


The idea is that there is a lot of them – and this cover puts that point across nicely.
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Standard enough of an idea, but still strong execution by Ed McGuinness.


And no, that was not a pun.
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Decent, if a bit forgettable, cover by Steve Epting.


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Is Juan Doe an actual propaganda poster maker?

Because a LOT of his covers are like that.


Anyhow, nicely done. That said, it is pretty amusing to see stuff like “Here is a glimpse of the future where Black Panther dominates the Marvel Universe.”

It’s like the time when Damage was the most important DC Universe hero – oh wait, I meant when Ray was the most important DC Universe hero – wait – maybe it was Captain Atom…

See what I mean?

It is always a bit precious when minor books do bits about how important their leads are.

I mean, come on “The Watcher showed up and he said our guy was the bestest!!” Too precious.
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I’d go with Rage for the block.


Decent Stefano Caselli cover.

By the by – I read somewhere, I think it was Bendis in a letter column, about how amazing Caselli is as an artist.

I’m not seeing it. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s fine, but I don’t think he’s some major talent. Any Caselli fans out there?
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Good Art Adams cover.


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Nice angle work by Larocca for this cover.


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Another strong cover concept by Ron Frenz.


Old fashioned, but right on the mark.
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That is one bad ass game of Red Rover by Aleksi Briclot.


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So what’s the deal – are those supposed to be berries in blood or something?


You’ve gone over my head, Brett Booth!!
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Wow! A Ron Lim COVER!

Amazing.


The last few years, it seems like DC and Marvel have been treating him as a dirty little secret, only springing him on people in the interior pages.
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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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DJURDJEVIC COVERS!!

First off, we have this emotionally charged New Avengers cover…


Next, we have this striking Thunderbolts one…


Both fine works in a fine month by Djurdjevic.
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A very strong Tan Eng Huat cover.


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“I keep trying to get out… but they keep pulling me back in!”


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This is a really clever cover motif by Jimmy Cheung.


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TOP FIVE
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5. I can’t recall the last time I saw such a funny cover by John Romita, Jr.


Humor does not seem to be his “thing,” yet this cover is quite humorous.
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4. A very strong Art Adams cover made all that much stronger by the excellent facial expressions he gives the background characters.


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3. This IS Bachalo, right?

Great cover.


The hammer use alone is striking.
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2. An excellent send-off for this title with another excellent Skottie Young cover.


I can’t wait for his next cover assignment.
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1. Another excellent send-off, this time to the Whedon/Cassaday run of 1984-2008.


I especially dig the Spidey shot.

You can click on this cover to enlarge it (as it is a gatefold one, so I figured it best to do it that way so folks can see the cover clearer).
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Well, that’s it for me this month! Feel free to share YOUR prejudices (and your Top Fives)!