web stats

CSBG Archive

Judging (Marvel’s July) Books by Their Covers

And, now, I turn my eye to Marvel’s July covers. There are so damn many of them. Thankfully, I don’t do these posts in one go or, by the end, I’d be insane and writing nothing but gibberish peppered with the odd f-word. Actually, that sounds much easier than trying! Hmm…

As I mentioned in my post on DC’s July covers, my format is to tell you what comic the cover is for, who drew the cover, the cover itself, my comments with a top five at the very end. I’m also using the same order as the actual solicitations, which is an odd mix of grouping titles by imprints, characters, overarching stories, and alphabetical. I can’t quite figure it out, but who cares?

Halo: Hell Jumper #1 by Eric Nguyen

That spaceship on the left just does not fit into the verisimilitude of this picture, which is pretty decent. It doesn’t blow me away, but it does the job.

Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead #3 by Richard Isanove

Isanove’s art here has a “Jae Lee lite” quality and the computer colouring isn’t too intrusive like a lot of Isanove’s colouring can be. The image itself draws attention and catches the eye.

The Stand: American Nightmares #4 by Lee Bermejo

A horror comic with a horrific cover. This cover doesn’t immediately jump out, but when you actually look at it, there’s a lot of elements that really give it a sharp edge like the man eating the rat and the lighting.

All-Select Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special by Russ Heath

I’m not familiar enough with old covers to know if this an homage to a specific cover, but I’m not sure it works otherwise. Or, at the very least, this cover needs some text. The inset of the male character is a nice touch, but without text, it just looks odd.

USA Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special by Clint Langley

A striking image, but I really don’t like this sort of colouring. For a nostalgia book, it doesn’t fit. Though, I do enjoy that it looks ready to jump off like that were the top rope.

Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse — Necromancer #4 by Ron Lim

Ron Lim trying to imitate Brett Booth to maintain an artistic consistency is admirable, but misguided since this art style is godawful, ugly shit.

Riftwar #3 by Jason Chan

Minimal, but effective. I really like the composition and how the background figures blend into the darkness.

Pride & Prejudice #4 by Sonny Liew

Rather boring, but I’m also not sure how one could make a Pride & Prejudice cover exciting. This looks very much like one would expect a cover for this comic to look, so… no real complaints, I guess?

The Trojan War #3 by Dennis Calero

Very striking and designed well. The focus is clear and the drawing itself is engaging.

Daredevil: Noir #4 by Tomm Coker

Good use of shadow and light with a moody, dark composition.

Wolverine: Noir #4 variant by Dennis Calero

The use of black and white is a nice callback to the era with the use of yellow an allusion to Sin City, another noir comic. The image itself is dynamic. If I had to choose between this and the regular cover, I’d have a hard time.

Scourge of the Gods — The Fall #1 by Aleksa Gajic

Not bad. The art is clean and nice, and I like the colouring. The composition is decent.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #8 by Scottie Young

Scottie Young has really become one of the cover artists I look for in each month’s solicitations as his covers are always unique, dynamic, and wonderfully drawn. This one is no exception.

Ultimatum: Fantastic Four Requiem #1 by Pasqual Ferry

The “end of the school year” vibe works well since Ultimate Fantastic Four has always been the smart teenagers comic. While it may not match up with what’s been going on, symbolically, it’s the right way to end the book.

Ultimatum: X-Men Requiem #1 by Mark Brooks

And, going the other way is this perfectly acceptable but utterly boring cover by Mark Brooks. “Oooh! Wolverine, Cyclops and Jean Grey in action — kind of! Haven’t seen that before!” At least it doesn’t have the horrible colouring that early Ultimate books used on their covers.

Story continues below

Dark X-Men #1 by Jae Lee and Uncanny X-Men #513 by Terry Dodson

I’ve grouped these covers, but they pretty much have the same concept, just executed differently. Both do nothing more than illustrate the new Dark X-Men group. Both demonstrate the differing styles of Lee and Dodson, but aren’t that spectacular in their own rights. Thankfully, neither artist did an homage to Giant-Size X-Men #1.

Dark Avengers #7 by Mike Deodato

Osborn and Frost as the minds behind the fight below? Effective concept and well executed.

X-Men: Legacy #226 by Terry Dodson

I imagine this comic is about Rogue, Gambit, and Danger. Not really dynamic or interesting, but Dodson sure can draw a nice looking picture.

New Avengers #55 by Stuart Immonen

A pile of Avengers… whenever I see an image like this, I always hope that, in the comics, the heroes will get beaten and, then, th villain(s) will gather them up in a pile like this. But that never happens. THAT NEVER HAPPENS, SO DAMN YOU, IMMONEN FOR MAKING ME HOPE IT WILL HAPPEN THIS TIME! GAH!

Secret Warriors #6 by Jim Cheung

The design for Secret Warriors covers is pretty good. The connected Jim Cheung covers have worked out well, too — especially since he hasn’t had any problem depicting the same characters multiple times despite the covers forming one larger image.

Dark Reign: Elektra #5 by Lee Bermejo

Well drawn, solid concept, that’s about all.

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 by Pasqual Ferry

Wow, this version of the Fantastic Four sure doesn’t look that different from the one in Ferry’s Ultimatum: Fantastic Four Requiem #1 cover despite one group being teens, the other being adults. Oh, except Reed’s hair has that white streak here. Totally different. I was wrong.

Dark Reign: Hawkeye #4 by Clint Langley

Very striking and eye-catching. I like it.

Dark Reign: The Hood #3 by Marko Djurdjevic

Thanks to writing a review of Thor #601 earlier in the week, I can now spell Straczynski and Djurdjevic without looking. I thought that fact may be more interesting than this cover. I was right.

Dark Reign: Lethal Legion #2 by Tommy Lee Edwards

I love Tommy Lee Edwards’s art. This cover is pretty standard, but his art is fantastic. I do hope this fight between the Williams ends with one saying “I quit.” Superhero fights need more ‘I Quit’ resolutions.

Deadpool #12 by Jason Pearson


Dark Reign: Young Avengers #3 by Mark Brooks

Well drawn, kind of cliched concept, but not bad.

Dark Reign: Mister Negative #2 by Jae Lee

Nicely drawn, but not that interesting.

Black Panther #6 by J. Scott Campbell

Um, what is up with these poses? Very odd.

Agents of Atlas #7 and 8 by Leinil Francis Yu

The foreground/background disparity on issue seven’s cover is bothersome, especially because the drawing isn’t that dynamic. Issue eight is put together much better.

Dark Wolverine #76 by Leinil Francis Yu

The Thing looks PISSED OFF. I like the composition here and the continued playing with shadows to suggest the similarity between Logan and his son.

Dark Wolverine #76 variant by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback

Bloody and boring. Very, very boring.

Dark Reign: The Goblin Legacy by Kalman Andrasofszky

I like that they coloured the line surrounding Osborn green. Other than that, it’s very typical.

Skrull Kill Krew #4 by Mario Alberti

Interesting, but not well executed. The animal-tinged villains are interesting, especially the Galactus in the background.

All-New Savage She-Hulk #4 by Stephane Roux

The look on Ms. Marvel’s face is perfect. The faded, muted colours is a great way of suggesting the dust and dirt in the air as a result of the fight. Rather good.

Ms. Marvel #41 by Sana Takeda

Not to my taste, but not bad. A little too posed.

Invincible Iron Man #15 by Salvador Larroca

This should be intriguing and dynamic, but it isn’t. Something about Larroca’s style makes images like this fall flat and seem lifeless.

Thunderbolts #134 by Francesco “Matt” Mattina

Energetic and moody. Good use of light and shadow.

Amazing Spider-Man #599 by Phil Jiminez

Solid composition. Nicely drawn. Definitely not a bad cover, but not really great either.

Amazing Spider-Man #600 by Alex Ross

The blank background really hurts this for me, as does the all red colouring. The image itself is very nice.

Story continues below

Amazing Spider-Man #600 by John Romita, Jr. (click for larger)

A standard Spider-Man shot. Well drawn. But so very mediocre in conception.

Amazing Spider-Man annual #36 by Olivier Coipel

Fun, standard, I like the suit on Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man Family #8 by Nuno Plati

I really like the effect of the symbiote taking over Spider-Man. The background is awful, but that central drawing is rather good.

Avengers: The Initiative #26 by Matteo de Longis

Mediocre propaganda-tinged image. Not nearly as dynamic or original as other covers in this vein.

Astonishing Tales #6 by Kenneth Rocafort

I like the art style here, but the montage concept is weak. I understand that this is an anthology book, but a stronger central image would work better.

Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter #2 by Patrick Zircher

The Silver Surfer doesn’t quite look himself. Otherwise, I like this image. A classic mid-brawl bit.

Captain America #601 by Gene Colan

I can’t explain why exactly, but I really like this. The combination of images and the paint… lovely.

Captain America #601 variant by Marko Djurdjevic

Nice drawing. Boring otherwise.

Captain Britain and MI:13 #15 by Mico Suayan

Nice image, nice concept, well drawn… overall, pretty good.

Exiles #4 by Dave Bullock

Solid cartooning. Every character has a unique look/feel.

Fantastic Four #569 by Bryan Hitch (click for larger)

Looks good, but is so very boring and uninteresting.

Franklin Richards: School’s Out! by Chris Eliopoulos

Wow, the larger version of this cover did not turn out well. But, looking past the poor resizing, it’s a good concept and very well executed. Eliopoulos does some very good work here. It’s a shame we get a horribly resized image.

Fantastic Force #4 by Bryan Hitch

This looks rushed, not up to Hitch’s usual standards. The concept isn’t bad, but the execution isn’t great.

Incredible Hulk #600 by Alex Ross

I don’t know what to say. This cover isn’t that bad, but there’s nothing about it that I really like. Angry Hulk coming at us with angry Rulk and mushroom cloud in the background. Yeah… I don’t know. Let’s just move on.

Incredibe Hercules #131 by David Williams

Very static despite the emotional undertones.

Mighty Avengers #27 by Marko Djurdjevic

USAgent’s curled fingers is a nice touch in an otherwise serviceable cover.

Immortal Weapons #1 variant by David Aja

No regular cover given, and this one is rather boring with the characters just standing around. But, still, it’s David Aja, so at least they’re standing around looking very good.

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #3 variant by Nico Henrichon

I love the art here. Very sketchy and whimsical.

Iron Man: Armored Adventures #1

This advertises the contents ably enough.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #53 by Scottie Young

And this cover seems like the partner to the Iron Man: Armored Adventures #1 variant by Young. Poor Tony couldn’t outrun Peter. HA HA! This cover works more when put next to that one.

Marvel Adventures The Avengers #38 by Casey Jones

Not sure why some of these heroes look scared. This doesn’t quite work, but isn’t bad.

Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #13 by Patrick Sherberger

The art isn’t the best, but something about this just makes me laugh. It’s so absurd and funny. And weird. Heh.

Marvel Divas #1 by J. Scott Campbell


Marvel Zombies 4 #4 by Greg Land

That woman’s face is freaking me out. She is enjoying her magic a little bit too much. Awful.

Marvels: Eye of the Camera #6 by Jay Anacleto (and black and white variant)

Very good (albeit brainless) concept and well executed. The black and white variant spotlights Anacleto’s gorgeous pencils.

Punisher #7 by Mike McKone

Very striking and strong.

Son of Hulk #13 by David Palumbo

A little mysterious, nicely drawn… pretty tame, but still nice.

Kid Colt #1 by Luke Ross

A great action shot. Who is Kid Colt shooting at? I want to know.

Runaways #12 by David Lafuente

Cute, but kind of blah.

Thor #603 by Marko Djurdjevic

Doom looks like an evil robot. Still, I like this cover.

Thor & Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica by Mico Suayan

A bunch of mythological characters standing around… what else would you want from a cover to a book like this?

Story continues below

War Machine #8 by Francesco “Matt” Mattina

This image tries to be energetic, but it’s very static and lifeless.

Timestorm 2009/2099 #3 by Piotre Cielinski

Very static despite this image obviously being the middle of a fight. The art itself is really energetic. I like the sketchy look.

War of Kings #5 by Brandon Peterson

I like the energy in Black Bolt. Very nice.

War of Kings: Ascension #4 by Brandon Peterson

*yawn* I already passed over this for the next cover on the rack.

War of Kings: Warriors #1 by Paul Renaud

Simple, but effective. Striking and very focused. Lovely.

Guardians of the Galaxy #16 by Salvador Larroca

Meh. But that could be because I miss the old Drax and Warlock. Or it could be because this cover isn’t very good. Whichever reason makes you feel better.

Nova #27 by Daniel Acuna

Good design, nice use of colour to bring one character into focus while not distancing him from the background too much.

X-Force #17 and “bloody” variant by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback

I like the drawing and the pose, but there’s not really anything to this cover. Either of them.

Cable #16 by Dave Wilkins

That kid has GIANT EYES. I like the concept, but it’s a little empty. Doesn’t anyone do background anymore?

New Mutants #3 by Adam Kubert

Hey! A background! And a compelling image! Nice!

Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #1 by Arthur Suydam

Okay, it says this is by Arthur Suydam, but it doesn’t look like his work. Neither does it quite have the quality of Ed McGuinness who does the variant cover. *shrugs* Again, where’s the background? Nice enough drawing.

Genext: United #3 by Alex Garner

Oh, those colours are just fucking horrendous. The image is okay.

X-Factor #46 by David Yardin

I like the close-up nature of this image. It focuses on the rage and energy of the fight without going for a “cat fight” feel. Well done.

Deadpool: Suicide Kings #4 by Mike McKone

No more goddamn homages to Amazing Fantasy #15! Or Action Comics #1! Or any of those cliched, over-referenced images! It’s lazy! Create your own epic, memorable cover!

Wolverine: Origins #38 by Doug Braithwaite

This image looks familiar… another homage? Or is it just another Wolverine fighting someone cover?

Uncanny X-Men: First Class #1 by Roger Cruz

No background. Characters standing around. I don’t care.

Wolverine: First Class #17 by Cameron Stewart

Heh. I like this. The body language, the composition, the actual drawing… really, really nice.

X-Men: Forever #4 by Tom Grummett


Punisher: Frank Castle Max #72 by Dave Johnson

Johnson working the title of the storyarc into these covers has been really nice. A very design-oriented cover, but not that striking.

Terror Inc. — Apocalypse Soon #4 by Marko Djurdjevic and Jalena Kevin Djurdjevic


Destroyer #4 by Jason Pearson

Nice use of colouring and dynamic image. Great facial expresson on the soldier.

Kabuki Reflections #14 by David Mack

Gorgeous, typical Mack.

And, now, the top five!

5. Incognito #6 by Sean Phillips

A great call-back to the second printing cover for the first issue. Very direct and grabs the attention.

4. Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #2 by Chris Bachalo


3. Woverine: Noir #4 by C.P. Smith

An old trick of using Wolverine’s claws to reflect another person’s face, but the way that Smith breaks the woman’s face up is fantastic. As is the darkness on Logan… very evocative.

2. Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #3 by Karl Kerschl

A really interesting cover. Great conception, great execution, all around a great cover. I like it a lot.

1. Iron Man: Armored Adventures #1 variant by Scottie Young

Goddamn, Young is good! Everything about this cover works. It’s cute, funny, energetic, beautiful. Well done, sir.

That’s it until next month. What do you think?


Young is great, for sure.

I really dislike the placement of the “camera” on that Sinister Spider-Man cover. A Venom crotch-shot? Why?

Also: I could swear that Terror, Inc. cover is an homage to a classical sculpture (or painting). I just can’t remember which piece. The stance and the snakes seem awfully familiar, though.

Yeah, I don’t care (in that way where knowing would change my opinion of the cover — thanks for the info). I’m so sick of the constant references to previous works of art. Maybe when it’s a really clever spin on the idea, then, yeah, do it… but doing it just to do it? Please don’t.

Yeah, referencing older work can get a bit tired.

Here is the image I was thinking of, by the way. It depicts Laocoon and his sons battling serpents.

I’ll give the Terror Inc. cover credit for referencing the Laocoon statue

Darn, you guys beat me to it.

I like that Athena (I assume that’s her) on the cover of the Trojan War #3 strongly resembles Athena in the Incredible Hercules series. Coincidence? I sure hope not. I’d be tempted to buy Trojan War if it’s intentional.

What’s up with Hulk’s arms on #600? I assume that’s what they’d look like at that angle, but reflexively, it looks like they’re unnaturally bent up. I do like the ambiguity of the cover: that COULD be Rulk in the mushroom cloud, but it could also be an iconic representation of the Hulk’s origin. I hope the latter.

That Wolverine Noir #4 cover looks like it has huge red hairy asscheeks in the bottom corner. Gross.

I didn’t even see that Iron Man cover in the solicits! If I had, it’d probably be my #1, too!

CBR didn’t have it, but Newsarama did. Don’t know why.

Is the Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth cover the first Heisman Trophy homage in comics?

Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man – do we really need to be looking at Venom from that angle? I mean, really?

Venom’s crotch at #4? Really?

It’s not like there’s any groin details…

I dunno, I sense some kind of Byrnian Phantom Wang.

That Wolverine: First Class cover isn’t just my favorite this month; it’s my favorite ever. Cameron Stewart rules. He and whoever winds up having drawn Heisman Deadpool with zombie arm guard.

Also, I appreciate the wrestling references, even if they are generic. That said, I expect something specific next time to be fully pandered to and properly placated, Nevett! Drop some names, man! I was able to work CM Punk and Candice Michelle in to an Air review, for god’s sake!

That “I Quit” reference would only have been weaker if I mentioned the Hardys by name.

But, yeah, next time, I’ll throw in names. So many names that the post will be so godawful that Brian fires me.

The idea of “bloody” variants is both hilarious and horrifying. Have Marvel done these before and I’m just forgetting, or is it some new thing?

My God, there are a lot of Dark Reign books. If you don’t like the general concept of Dark Reign, you pretty much just need to skip Marvel comics as a whole. None of the covers really stand out too much for me. I guess the Stand and Hawkeye covers would probably be my top 2.

“… I’m also not sure how one could make a Pride & Prejudice cover exciting.”

Add zombies.

Oh Daken, they may be crawling in your skin, but these wounds will indeed heal…

Speaking of homages, I’m pretty sure that the Wizard of Oz cover is supposed to be a reference to Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”.


Marvel did bloody variants in a 50/50 ratio for the entire first arc of X-Force and a bloody variant for Moon Knight #6, which was the same as the normal cover except the basic cover had the all blood in it colored white to match Moon Knight’s costume, but outside of that I can’t remember any others.

Aw, beat to the Deadpool/Heisman reference!

That Fantastic Four cover is really not good – what is up with Reed’s face? And why does it look like he’s about to donkeypunch Sue?

That Cable cover would look freaking awesome on black velvet.

Hey Chad,
Immortal Weapons regular cover was showed here:
It is one hundred tinmes better than the variant, though.

That Wolverine Origins cover is a homage to the cover of X-Men #5 from back in 1991. Why anyone would want to homage that, I have no idea. It’s not even the first Omega Red cover really (although that point is argueable).

I would put a link up but the Comic Book Database is down at the moment

I find your comments about Ron quite funny and uninformed. If you look at this artwork for Anita Blake, he is lacking an inker. Marvel has chosen to go without and inker and color directly from the pencils. I am not a fan of this because I think a good inker is important. As far as the look of this book. He is working on the designs which have been authorized by the author herself. If you could see the original pencils, I think you would have a different opinion…

I actually have heard that, sniperboy, that Lim’s work on the Anita Blake stuff is often more about “doing the best with what you have to work with” than anything.

Be that as it may, it’s still Lim’s name on the cover and his art, so…

Oh yeah, agreed. Just noting that I actually had heard that in the past about Lim from other people (that the Anita Blake assignment is re-donk-you-luss). But yeah, as you say, if you take the assignment and the pay, you gotta live with the negative feedback, as well.

can some one explain to me the hulk # system? didnt herc take over incredible? shouldn’t that be the 600 milestone issue?

i think it is weird that there is now incredible Hulk and incredible herc.

Why is the Cap America 601 cover so good? Because it’s Gene Colan. That’s all we need to know.



Um, If that’s Bachallo’s Venom, Why does it say “Townsend” on his palm? Or is the target thing Bacchalo’s current signature, and Townsend doing ink/colour?

Tim Townsend is Bachalo’s inker. I think the target is a signature of sorts.

The Ultimate X-men cover looks fine to me, energetic and dynamic. The Greg Land cover on the other hand is utterly dreadful. I wish he’ d stop tracing his adult magazines and start doing real stuff. Not going to happen anyday soon though.

Spidey takes a ride on Mjolnir and gets his head humped by a dog. Awesome.

Daredevil Noir…A guy in a DD wife beater fights Curly??

Dark X Men (Isn’t that redundant?) That guy in the front with the pointy ears…what’s his problem? Does he have a belly ache? Does he have to poop?

Thor Hercules Mythologica…A bunch of mythological characters standing around… what else would you want from a cover to a book like this?

Um..say the characters looking heroic and god like rather than looking like the costume competition at Comic Con?

Trojan War #3 is terrific. #1 this month for me. Just a dynamic, striking cover by an artist I’ve barely heard of.

Man, I really like the Alex Ross “angry Hulks” cover. You, obviously, not so much. I really think that you’re suffering from Ross burn-out.

That Trojan War cover really IS sweet.

The Mike Choi double covers (bloody and not so bloody)? Kinda fun. I think Choi is turning out to be a terrific artist.

The Wolverine: Noir cover is striking. Just wish the idea wasn’t so overdone.

Brandon Harbeke

May 18, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I think you were a little hard on the Uncanny X-Men: First Class #1 cover. Colorful characters on a white background stand out, and the hero characters should be the focus on a #1 cover. I think it’s beautiful.

How was the War Machine 8 cover NOT energetic? Are you joking?! I think you’re being overly critical and have lost sight of what is good.

Like it.. Very cool;)))

The Terror Inc. cover that you passed on is a really interesting homage to a Greek sculpture called Laocoon. Look it up. It makes the cover very interesting.

muy arrechos esos comics!…

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives