Cover of the Week - January 9

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.

This week, John Constantine and the Phantom Stranger meet up, there's a crisis on infinite vacations, the Leader gets red in the face, a galaxy far, far away goes classic, and the B.P.R.D. agents go snooping in a warehouse.

Keep reading for Kevin and Steve's favorites from the week of Jan. 9, and then discuss your choices in the CBR forums.

I love that you can read the solicitation for this issue -- "A group of agents enter an abandoned warehouse in Chicago, only to discover the site of a hundred-year-old magical ritual and an old Hyperborean weapon, which leads to shocking revelations about man's prehistory and the legacy of the Ogdru Hem!" -- and then look at James Harren's cover and go, "Oh, yeah, that's exactly what it's about!" OK, maybe the cover doesn't tell you exactly that, but it strikes a balance between weirdness and wonder and "It's right there on the tin." -- Kevin Melrose

The final issue of "Infinite Vacation" sends the series off with a bang -- quite literally, given Christian Ward's cover. Ward depicts chaos with a marvelous simplicity as the focus is not the so much the central figure as it is the colliding alternate earths. What makes this cover all the more impressive is its colors -- a hot pink background starkly contrasted by yellow Earths as the single red-and-blue figure watches the destruction. -- Steve Sunu

Jae Lee's covers are always a wonder to behold, a trend he continues with the meeting between John Constantine and the Phantom Stranger. Lee's composition is impeccable, allowing the smoke from Constantine's cigarette to mesh with the logo of the book as it forms arcane symbols. The Stranger, fragmented, holds for dear life onto Constantine's coattails. Most impressive is Lee's decision to present the scene against a stark, white background, giving both the smoke and the Stranger's fragmentation that much more impact. -- Steve Sunu

Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the Leader never quite gets his due among Marvel's classic villains. He's probably closer to M.O.D.O.K. and Batroc the Leaper than he is Doctor Doom and the Lizard on the list of all-time baddies. But visually? He's creepy, what with the supers-zed cranium and bulging veins. Even when he's red, rather than the traditional green, as on this Julian Totino Tedesco cover, the Leader is pretty intimidating. Maybe it's that John Waters mustache. -- Kevin Melrose

Alex Ross, who specializes in heroic nostalgia, hits the nail on the head for the debut on Dark Horse's latest "Star Wars" series, set following the events of the 1977 film. He gives a nod to the franchise-defining posters of the Brothers Hildebrandt and Tom Chantrell while still making the image his own. Even without the (somewhat obtrusive) tagline "Classic Characters, All-New Star Wars," readers know what they're picking up -- not only from the appearance of original-trilogy characters like Luke, Leia and Han, but because of the classic way in which they're depicted. You can almost hear the opening notes John Williams' score ... -- Kevin Melrose

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