Comic Cover Critique of the Week: The Best and Worst Avengers Comic Book Covers
30 Apr, 2012
It’s Avengers week here at AiPT! Each day we’ll be delivering articles pertaining to the mighty team. To get in the spirit of the soon to be released Avengers movie we’ve decided to pick our favorite Avengers comic book covers of all time. New and old, many of the Avenger covers seem to be more focused on fitting as many heroes on the cover as possible. That lends to some busy and sometimes messy covers, but also some magnificent pieces that really shine.
With almost fifty years of Avengers comics hitting the stands, we had our hands full choosing our favorites. Let’s take a look at what we found!
The Best Covers
The Avengers #4
By Jack Kirby
Dave: It took Kirby four issues, and the introduction of Captain America, but he knocked it out of the park here. Cap’s battle cry is impressive, and the perspective is in your face. It’s a fastball to every comic nerd’s gut. Captain America lives and he wants you to know all about it.
Brendan: You just can’t hate on a classic. Great action and great framing make you want to pick this up and read it. I love the details on the buildings in the far background. It shows that Kirby cared.
The Avengers #85
By John Buscema
Dave: This reminds me of the famous Twilight Zone episode where the planet has been knocked off course and is hurtling closer to the sun. Buscema frames the cover incredibly well; the dying public scattered at the bottom and left of the frame, the Avengers somehow safe and powerless at center, and the melting buildings and burning hot sun at the top.
Brendan: Ahh, back in the day when word bubbles on the cover was all the rage. In a way, I don’t like that feature because it takes away from the art. I’m sure most people would be able to understand what’s going on without the text. I mean, the sun is big and shit’s melting. It’s not that hard. But yeah, beyond that this cover is great. It’s full of drama and I love the warm colors.
The Avengers #187
By John Byrne
Brendan: That girl is poisoooooon (POISON).
Beyond the groovy stuff happening in the foreground I think this comic shines for the beautiful background. A lovely mountain landscape overcast with burning hell-clouds is what really catches my eye.
Dave: With stuff like this happening back in 1979 you’d think M day would have never happened. Scarlet Witch should not be trusted. This cover adequately freaks me out. The heroes look so unnatural it unnerves me, and Scarlet Witch looks to be evil incarnate.
The Avengers #9
By John Romita Jr.
Brendan:Nothing says “shit’s going down” like the title getting destroyed. The ol’ Infinity Gauntlet is the one Mcguffin that will always sit well with me. I just love the look of it. I love the first-person perspective on the glove as if you are the one controlling it. It almost gives you a rush.
Dave: Love the energy in this Candyland extravaganza. The power of the Infinity Gauntlet is on display, and while there aren’t a lot of heroes in this cover, I can’t help but love how the title is being blown apart. Very dramatic.
This cover also points out maybe Thor should get a haircut.
The Avengers #161
By George Perez
Dave: Oh dear god not the ants! The placement of the heroes is nice (because who doesn’t dig more Wanda) and Ant-Man’s punch from small to large actually makes him look formidable.
Brendan: Ant-Man is one of those heroes that never gets the cred he deserves. Luckily every now and then we have covers such as this one that will at least leave part of the majority thinking “Damn. Ant-Man’s a bad ass!”
New Avengers #27
By Leinil Yu
Dave: I’ve seen the basic idea of this cover emulated a few times since this book hit comic shops back in 2007. Sure there aren’t ANY of the usual Avengers on this cover, but it’s something you can frame.
Brendan: Love this cover. It really conveys how much of a hassle it can be to fight the hand. (Great story as well, if I recall correctly. At one point Luke Cage gets thrown off a building which incites a hilarious Bendis monologue.)
The Avengers #233
By Johnny Rocwell
Dave: Talk about a step better than the Wolverine/Colossus fastball special. Not only is the perspective dramatic as hell, this cover makes you ask a few questions. For starters, is Ant-Man going to be shot into a person? What’s he going to do next, tear at the person’s insides? Lay little eggs in their intestines? Give them the Wettest of Wet Willies? Burrow into their genitalia like a candiria? The possibilities are endless.
Brendan: Haven’t they done the “Ant-Man grows from inside you and blows you up” thing before? Or am I thinking The Atom? I’m sure it has been done to some non-human organism in the history of comics. I have to say though I would be much more concerned if Wolverine was getting hurled towards my face by a metal Russian man.
Where we don’t understand, are insulted by or would rather stab our eyes with acid pops than look at these covers for various reasons.
The West Coast Avengers #30
By Al Milgrom
Dave: Pretty sure every comic fanboy creates this hero/villain in the first year of their fanboy-hood. It’s called infantile dreaming and it occurs most prominently in Elementary school. Not sure this character is pulling off the bow and arrow arm either.
Brendan: I would LIKE to think that my ORIGINAL character Captain ThIronAntHulkEye came out at least a bit better than this guy. This story must have been recovered from the “We’ve run out of ideas” file.
The Avengers #201
By George Perez
Brendan: I like Jarvis a lot and I have no problem thinking he will fuck somebody up for dragging mud onto his freshly steamed carpet. Notice how Iron Man is the only one standing back as if to say “No, seriously guys, he’ll kill you.”
Dave: I actually like this cover, but it’s definitely a WTF moment. Jarvis is going to fight with a vacuum, which is somewhat funny. What I love though is the Avengers’ reaction to his call to fight. Beast looks pleasantly amused “the help” is going to fight, and Captain America is downright insulting with his giggle. Bunch of jerks.
The West Coast Avengers #10
By Joe Sinnott
Dave: I love the dialogue box at the left, but Iron Man is getting bitch slapped by a griffin. Also: WTF Wonderman, get your shit together. Why are you floating in the background?
Brendan: I think the background color is what I dislike the most. The way the pea-green sea blends into the pea-green sky is pretty gross. I’m not sure if Wonderman is coming to the rescue or preparing for a serious belly-flop. Headlock… excuse me, “Headlok” may be the worst villain I’ve ever seen.
|The Avengers #78
by John Buscema
|The Avengers #204
by Josef Rubinstein
|The Avengers #152
by Jack Kirby
Dave: Ah, racist covers. Where would history be without your presence?
Brendan: What if none of these covers are meant to be racist, and you are just projecting your latent racism onto them?
You heard it here first, ladies and gents.
Dave is a racist.
The Avengers #232
By Joe Sinnott
Dave: This is more of a criticism of one of the lamest Avengers ever than a criticism of the cover, although all those floating heads, and the shit eating grin on StarFox are a bit much. I guess Captain America digs the haircut. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a cosmic cover, but what the hell? When he first shows up the Avengers decide they can’t call him “Eros”. Totally normal, to tell a guy from another planet his name doesn’t work. Then Wasp tries to help by coming up with a new name by saying:
What. The. Fuck.
Brendan: Those eyes on The Wasp remind me of Giada from The Food Network.