Monday, September 26, 2011

The Best of DC's December Covers

DC recently finished releasing their solicits for December, and there are quite a few gorgeous covers in there. I think the power of good cover art is often underestimated, and I always want to take the time to spotlight a great looking cover when I can. It wasn't easy narrowing them down, but here are my top 10 DC December covers.

10. Batwoman #4, by J.H. Williams III

At this point, I'm pretty sure J.H. Williams III is incapable of making a cover I don't love. This one is especially cool to me because of the way it recalls some of the Batwoman logos DC ultimately decided against. I love the contrast between Bette's muted colors and Kate's deep rich ones, and I'm fascinated by some of the imagery there at the bottom. Having read the first issue of Batwoman, that hook makes me think that we might see more crimes inspired by urban legends in some way. The feathers floating up by Bette's hand is a nice touch- one of those little details that you might not notice the first time you look at it. There's also a very cool variant cover for this issue courtesy of co-artist Amy Reeder. I'm looking forward to seeing how the current logo looks on a cover not done by Williams, and I'm even more excited to see how the images on these two covers wind up fitting together.

9. Captain Atom #4, by Stanley Lau
Stanley Lau's been doing some really nice covers for Captain Atom, but none of them have caught my eye in the way that this one did. I love the blur of colors trailing behind and below him, and the terrified expression on the face of the soldier at the bottom. I'm not sure if Stanley Lau colored this or if it was Jose Villarubia, but the whole color scheme is so striking, and uses the recommend "blue and orange" elements without looking like everything else on the stands. It's a good match for Freddie Williams II's new art style, and shouldn't leave readers feeling disapointed when they check out the interiors. There's nice detail all over, even at the top of the page, and it's a shame some of that's going to be obscured by the book's logo. Captain Atom is a tougher sell than many of the other new 52 books, but this is the sort of cover that could convince someone to give it a shot. Here's hoping this issue is a good jumping on point.

8. Justice League Dark #4, by Ryan Sook

Man, that Ryan Sook can draw! And while you might think he'd be getting sick of drawing Deadman right now, he seems to be full of ideas. This is a beautiful cover that really gives you a feel for the sort of book Justice League Dark is. There's a lot of negative space here, but he still manages to fit in a fair amount of the book's cast- I believe that's June Moon and Enchantress along with Deadman. I get more bothered than I should by nice deals being obscured when the cover goes to print, so I always appreciate a cover like this, in which almost nothing will be covered up. Justice League Dark may not make its debut until Wednesday, but this cover has me more excited to read the title than ever before. While I love all of Ryan Sook's covers, I hope we get to see the book's interior artist, Mikel Janin, take on a cover in the months to come.

7. Batman and Robin #4, by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray

During Batman and Robin's last run, my favorite comic artist, Frank Quitely, turned out cover after cover for the series. While this cover is very obviously not drawn by Quitely, I feel like it appropriates a lot of the things that made his covers so cool, and such a great fit for the title. I love the image of Damian breaking free of Batman, with both of them breaking free of the city below, while Nobody lurks beneath them, and something sinister reaches out for them. It's a lot going on without looking crowded, and makes me really curious about what's going on plotwise. This is another cover that seems to have been designed with the book's logo in mind, and I think all those bats might actually look cooler when it appears that they're pouring out from beneath the Batman and Robin symbol.

6. Stormwatch #4, by Chris Burnham
There have been elements of this style in some of the other Stormwatch covers we've seen, but Sepulveda's never gone cartoon-y in this way. I absolutely love it. It's a joy to see this sort of take on the Stormwatch crew, and I would love to read an entire issue drawn like this. It's filled with wonderful facial expressions, from Adam One's look of panic to the reaction image worthy look on Midnighter's face. It also makes wonderful use of Martian Manhunter. When you really pay attention to it, this is a pretty gory cover, but the bright colors and overall fun look of the image distract from that. I keep looking and looking at this and spotting new details every time. There's some detail that will sadly be lost when the logo gets added, but I'm actually really curious to see how the standard Stormwatch logo looks against an image like this.

Edit: It looks likes the solicit was incorrect, and this cover was actually drawn by Chris Burnham. In that case, I'd love to see him fill-in for an issue or two! Thanks to commenter Jill for pointing this out.

5. Batman #4, by Greg Capullo
Greg Capullo's Batman covers just keep getting better and better. This cover has a few similarities with the next cover on the list, but it's so eyecatching that I couldn't help but include both of them in my top 5. The bleeding image of Gotham at the bottom of the page is so striking, and gives me so many ideas about what this story might be like. Capullo's Batman feels as though he's in a completely different world from everything else in the image, and I absolutely love it. We haven't gotten a look at the new owl themed Batvillain, but I have a feeling this image will only become cooler when we do. The gold against the black looks fantastic, and that's really a beautiful coloring job. I hope the silver of the new Batman logo is changed to gold for this issue- it'd look really striking with the rest of this cover. With the way these covers have been improving from issue to issue, I can't wait to see what Capullo has for us next.

4. Swamp Thing #4, by Yanick Paquette

Yanick Paquette isn't doing the covers for this issue, but he still managed to turn out an incredibly creepy and eye catching cover. I love all the symmetry in this image- the design at the bottom looks like something you'd see on a greeting card in hell, and that creature lurking behind the diver is the stuff of nightmares, That the image of Swamp Thing isn't symmetric makes him feel a little more real than everything else on the page- a very cool effect. There's been an awful lot of green in Swamp Thing covers past, and I like that this still heavily incorporates the green (hee) without it feeling so overwhelming. This is one of my favorite books of the relaunch, and seeing a cover like this just cements that.

3. Wonder Woman #4, by Cliff Chiang
I saw this cover before I had a chance to read the fantastic first issue of Wonder Woman, and while I thought it looking great, I didn't quite get how well it encapsulates the vibe of this books. It's hip and it's different, it's sometimes brutal and sometimes loud, and Diana herself feels a little separated from everything else in the comic. She's a presence, someone intimidating in both the world of man and the often terrifying world of the gods. I am so glad they changed the Wonder Woman logo before it went to print- this one looks perfect with both covers I've seen it on. This is the sort of comic that I really wish DC could get on newstands, because I have the feeling this cover could help drawn in a brand new audience. I never thought I would say this, but this is an image that would get me to hang a Wonder Woman poster on my bedroom wall.

2. Frankenstein, Agent of Shade #4, by J.G. Jones
Even without taking the book's leading man into consideration, Frankenstein is a title very clearly inspired by the Universal monster movies of old. To play tribute like that is awesome, and I love seeing this side of J.G. Jones' style. Frank looks like a real movie hero here, and not just like a monster. Working that title (which uses a great font) into the cover is also a clever idea. While those who've read the solicits have known about monster planet for a little while now, this sells the concept to anyone who might be browsing what's on the shelf. This really doesn't look like a DC book, and I think that's a good thing. Fans of indie titles, horror comics, and more are going to be picking this one up, and I have a feeling they'll like what they see. This issue will take place in the middle of a storyline, but I definitely think Jeff Lemire is the kind of writer who understands that every issue is someone's first.

1. The Flash #4, by Francis Manapul
Francis Manapul said he didn't expect DC to let him play the book's logo like this, but I'm so very glad they did. Everything about this cover is visually interesting, from the bullet traveling panel to panel Frank Quitely style, to the way the bridge in the two panels near the bottom comes together, to the flip-book like effect on the book's right hand side. Manapul uses a color scheme like this in a lot of his work, and it always looks fantastic. There's so much action going on here, but there's still this softness to the image, something that makes you want to pause and soak up all the details. This isn't just one of the best covers of December. I can already tell you this'll be among my top covers for the year, and maybe even one of my top covers of all time. I'm tremendously excited to read Flash #1 this Wednesday, and one look at this image should tell you why.

By Marceline with 2 comments


Just a note on the Stormwatch cover, Sepulveda's never done cartoony like that.... cus it's not Sepulveda's art. Look at the street sign, Chris Burnham drew that cover, no matter what the solicit says. I'd love for Burnham to draw Stormwatch, but I'm sure he's rather busy with Leviathan. oh well.

I love the Frankenstein cover the best :)

Thanks for pointing that out! I totally missed it. I'll edit it into the post.

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