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Judging (Marvel’s December) Books By Their Covers

by  in Comic News Comment
Judging (Marvel’s December) Books By Their Covers

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

Let’s begin!
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Not a bad 1602: Fantastic Four cover by Gabrielle Dell’Otto.

Although, I’d like to see him throw a little more pizzazz into his covers. He has the art style down pat, but at times, it almost strikes me as though he is saying, “My characters are so well drawn, I don’t have to bother with making the rest of the cover interesting.”
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Mike Wieringo breaking out the remote control with superhero faces on it for this Avengers Next cover!

Well done, Mike! That’s a classic motif little used anymore!
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These Anita Blake cover (from Marvel’s new deal with Dabel Brothers) are all credited to Brett Booth. They don’t all look like him, though.

I like this more cartoony style from him. At times, his older work seemed to be too stiff.

and the wraparound effect is handled nicely, I think.

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This non-wraparound cover, though, reminds me a bit more of his old stuff (if this is, in fact, Brett Booth).

I’m less impressed with this one.
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I have not been thrilled with Phil Hester’s Ant-Man covers.

Even here, while the idea is quite interesting, the execution leaves me disappointed – the decision to go so broad with the teeth and all? I don’t think it helps the cover.

As an aside, how long can Kirkman possibly keep the character “irredeemable”?
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Like the ‘Ringo Avengers Next cover, this Frenz Spider-Girl cover is also pretty old school, but I think this one is a lot less interesting looking than the Avengers Next cover.

You can barely tell that is Spider-Girl’s arm!
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I don’t get Dave Johnson. His 100 Bullets covers are exquisite, and yet, the very same month, he has a cover like this that looks like he drew in, like, 20 minutes.

He’s a great enough artist that it is still a good looking piece, but it doesn’t (and his previous cover didn’t) have a tenth of the same creative spark as his 100 Bullets covers.
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Very nice cover idea by Scott Kolins for this Beyond cover.

Probably should have gotten an honorable mention.
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Wouldn’t you buy, like, three copies of this book if Hudlin had to write Black Panther agreeing with Iron Man?

That’d be hilariously awesome.

As it is, we’ll certainly either get

A. Black Panther siding with Cap

or

B. Black Panther siding with Cap, but saying that, politically, he must support Iron Man.

And yes, I understand that I’m criticizing a book for a position it hasn’t taken (and won’t take for a few months), but come on, it’s Hudlin – it’s a given!
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I had been loving Tommy Lee Edwards’ covers for Marvel, but his first Bullet Points cover was a letdown, and this second issue cover is even more so.

I mean, the individual figures are drawn well enough – but there seems to be no point to the arrangement of the figures.
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I like that, when Deadpool thinks of all the people he’s killed – a member of ULTIMATUM makes the list!

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Very nice, cinematic cover for Criminal by Sean Phillips.

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I’m not that impressed with this Bermejo Daredevil cover.

It’s a nice enough drawing, just not all that dynamic.
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This pains me.

I love Marcos Martin’s art a lot.

I picked his #1 cover for this mini-series as my favorite cover from that month.

This one, though?

I don’t even think it’s particularly GOOD.

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It’s nice to see an artist stay with a book like Jim Calafiore has stayed with Exiles.

I mean, the dude’s never even been the book’s regular artist, and yet he’s remained the fill-in artist for now 89 issues (plus, if you look down a bit, an annual now).

That’s pretty impressive.

These covers, however, are not.

Although I like the second one (the Annual) better.
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Well drawn Fantastic Four: The End cover by Alan Davis, but I dunno…I think the perspective feels a bit off to me.

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What I like about brining Deb Whitman back is that you really don’t need to know who she is to understand her role in this story. Peter David could have just invented her, and it would work the same.

Not the greatest Scot Eaton cover, though.

Who’s inking Eaton?
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Pretty cool looking Ghost Rider cover by Richard Corben.

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Yuck.

This Billy Tucci Heroes for Hire cover is just icky.

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Ladronn was doing such a great job on the Hulk covers before, but the last couple of months, they feel a bit listless.

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I have a real problem with issues like this. Captain America and Iron Man take one last shot at privately reconciling their relationship.

In a one-shot.

Written by Christos Gage.

Drawn by Jeremy Haun.

Yeah, something big is gonna happen!!!

Man, why even bother with stories that everyone knows months ahead will have no relevance?

Remember that Adventures of Superman issue awhile back where Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman talk after the events of Sacrifice? Written by Nunzio DeFillipis and Christina Weir? Same deal.

We knew nothing would actually happen, so the issue was just this filler waste of space.

Gage (and DeFillipis and Weir) are too talented to be wasted on fluff like this (although, obviously, they appreciate the exposure, so I understand that it is, on the whole, good for them and their writing careers).

Pretty good Cheung cover, though.
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When you have a design virtuoso like David Mack, you have to have cooler covers than this.

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Very nice cover for the collection of the first two issues of Magician: Apprentice.

It’s listed as being by Brett Booth.

Seriously?

Did this guy just discover three new styles at once, or is it a miscredit?
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The OTHER Magician: Apprentice covers, however (also credited to Booth) are falling down fairly dramatically.

First, this one for #3 is pretty non-descript.

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While this one for #4 – I wish was LESS descript!

Not a good character figure here.

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Wow, Sean Chen’s figures on this Marvel Adventures: Avengers cover are just astonishingly stiff-looking.

Remember when they tried putting Tom Palmer on Chen’s pencils?

Such a non-match, because not even Palmer’s character-infused inks could do much to help Chen’s stiff pencils.

Chen obviously has a lot of talent, but I would really love to see him loosen the pencils up a bit. Give the characters some more personality! Everything doesn’t have to be sharp and stiff!
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Kano seems to be having a lot of fun on his Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four covers.

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I really like Patrick Scherberger’s pencils on this Marvel Adventurs: Spider-Man cover.

Just bursting with a dynamic energy that is a lot of fun to see.

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Fun drawing by Mike Wieringo for this Ms. Marvel cover, and he also does a nice job (not on purpose, of course) of showing us just how garish Coipel’s redesign of Ms. Marvel’s costume was.

That MAY have been the worst redesign of an Avengers costume ever – including George Perez’s Wonder Man.

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What I wouldn’t give for this Jimmy Cheung Illuminati cover to have Professor X saying, “Wanna make somethin’ of it?”

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Tsk, tsk, Paco Medina.

Should have tried to pull a Van Sciver on that New X-Men cover!

Like maybe a wispy cloud of smoke!!

It was there for the taking, Paco!!

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Not a fan of this Calafiore New Excalibur cover. Is Black Knight on the team now?

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Not to belabor the point, I do not think this Onslaught Reborn cover by Rob Liefeld is all that good.

To be fair, though, it’s not godawful or anything like that.
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Pretty interesting Ptolus covers from Caanan White, a name I am unfamiliar with.

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The first cover for Red Prophet by Renato Arlem is strong, I think. The Dabel Brothers, so far, have done a very good job on the covers for the collected editions of the books they’re bringing over to Marvel.

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However, the following two covers that FOLLOW the collected edition by Arlem are none too impressive to me.

The latter is better than the former, but still, not the most eye-catching of covers.
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Jo Chen does a good job of making Niko’s eyes appear as though they are looking through the staff.

Impressive.

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That’s supposed to be Peter Parker on this Clayton Crain Sensational Spider-Man cover, right?

Not, like, a Marvel Zombie, right?

Right?

Cuz that dude doesn’t look human.
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Greg Horn!!

Woah!

Horn pulling out a really nice drawing job!

I am heartily impressed!

Very nice cover.

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Cute Miyazawa Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane cover.

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This Arthur Suydum cover for Son of Satan reminds me of a recent Image book…I can’t recall which one, though…

Could anyone help me out?

It may just be the logo to me.
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Decent Gurihuru Spider-Man/Power Pack cover.

Not exactly a lot to work with here.
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As I mentioned before, not a fan of this Kaare Andrews’ Spider-Man: Reign cover.

Looks like it was drawn by a fan of Andrews.

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Wow.

I’ve heard of being a slave to continuity, but I’ve never seen someone ATTACKED by continuity before!

Thunderbolts – using continuity in new ways every month!
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Nice Aja cover for the Immortal Iron Fist.

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I like Pasqual Ferry’s artwork, but his covers seem so lifeless to me.

It’s just like a scene from the comic, not a cover to a comic.
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An improvement for Greg Land on this Supreme Power cover.

However, is that a THIRD photo reference he’s using for Hyperion – in THREE issues?!?
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This would be a pretty cool band.

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Mike Carey has his work cut out for him if he’s to make me interested in Ultimate Vision at all.

Decent Brandon Peterson cover, though.
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Fine enough Ben Oliver cover, but seriously, Cable? STILL Cable?

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I think, on this Billy Tan cover, Havok is thinking, “This still beats being written by Chuck Austen.”

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Iron Man and the Kingpin.

Civil War: War Crimes.

Neat-o.

Seriously, Iron Man has to die, doesn’t he?

How could he exist after Civil War?

And Sean Scoffield looks like he is better off sticking to realistic artwork (which he is quite good at).
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This Marko Djurjevic What If…? cover is a nice enough drawing, but really doesn’t get across the idea behind the topic well at all, I don’t think.

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Now THIS is a classic What If…? cover.

It totally gets across the topic in a clear and concise (and inviting) manner.

Well done by Yardin.
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When you have a design virtuoso like David Mack, you have to have cooler covers than this.

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Similar to the Bermjeo Daredevil cover, this Epting Winter Soldier cover is drawn well, but is not that dynamic of an image.

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Oh, wouldn’t it be great if that was the hand of It, The Living Colossus?!?!

No one else?

No one?
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Strong Wolverine Origins cover by Quesada.

And a shout out to Danny Miki, who apparently inked this cover with a broken arm!

Well done, Mr. Miki! A real trooper!

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Laurence Campbell had a great idea for this Wolverine cover, but I think obscuring the face was a really bad choice.

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What the hell is up with this hideous Wonder Man cover?

Shouldn’t someone somewhere said, “Yeah…listen, here’s the thing, that’s just awful.”? Someone? At some point in the process?

I like his inking, though (no need to mention the guy’s name, I think)!
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Nice Marvel debut cover for Mike Choi.

He has improved so much since he began on Witchblade – nice to see stuff like that.
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Nice Pablo Raimondi X-Factor cover.

And I’m not just saying that because there’s no big stupid giant wolf head in sight.

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Marko Djurjevic does wonderful character figures.

Wonderful.

I think a good deal better than Alex Ross.

However, the poses he puts them in sometimes seem kinda awkward.

Like this one from X-Men: First Class.
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Nice Chris Bachalo X-Men cover.

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Just creepy enough Zombie cover by Kyle Hotz!

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HONORABLE MENTIONS
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VERY nice piece of design work by Salvador Larocca for this newuniversal #1 cover.

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Bradstreet is making me look bad!

ANOTHER strong cover!

Isn’t it interesting how things open up when you move the characters around a bit?
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Not a big fan of this Tomm Coker Agents of Atlas cover, but he’s so strong, that even a lackluster cover is worth an honorable mention.

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TOP FIVE
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5. Christmas covers!

I love Christmas covers!

And this Frazer Irving one is a very good one.

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4. I am pleased to see Mike Perkins mix things up a bit and have less “posing” covers, and have a little more interaction in the covers.

It is a striking work.
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3. Now HERE, Marko Djurjevic is using his characters in a more interesting manner.

And it’s a CHRISTMAS cover! I love Christmas covers!!!
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2. Meet the reason I made it a point to reference Gabrielle Dell’Otto not doing anything interesting with his character work.

Because he sure shut me up later on with this striking Annihilation cover.
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1. Was there ever any doubt?

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Okay, that’s it for me, folks!

Feel free to share YOUR prejudices (and YOUR top five)!!

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