Since their debut in 1963, the X-Men have sworn to protect a world that hates and fears them. But you know what? Here at AiPT!, we’ve got nothing but love for Marvel’s mighty mutants! To celebrate the long-awaited return of Uncanny X-Men, AiPT! Brings you UNCANNY X-MONTH: 30 days of original X-Men content. Hope you survive the experience…Most comic book fans have a pretty good idea what they’re going to buy every week when they visit their local comic shop. With that said, there’s still a lot of fun to be had just glancing at the week’s new releases and taking a chance on a book that looks promising. That’s where covers come in-a fantastic image can make the difference between trying something new or saying, “Nah, not this week.”
Throughout Uncanny X-Month, we’ll be publishing special editions of Judging by the Cover. This week, we asked our contributors to share their favorite covers featuring X-characters going solo. Here’s what Media and Content Manager David Brooke, Manga Editor Eric Cline and contributor Jason Segarra picked out:
Marvel Comics Presents #79
Cover art by Barry Windsor-Smith
Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X run is one of the most iconic solo X-Men series ever, so I had to pick one of these covers. I went with issue 79 due to the impressive headgear and the streaks of blood that don’t seem to bother Logan one bit. There’s a Terminator quality to the cover that is distressing and frightening.
X-Men Legacy #11
Cover art by Mike del Mundo
Mike del Mundo’s cover work on this series was stellar, but this image stood out the most. It at once captures the current mental situation of Legion, gives a bit of info about the plot and is one of the most creative ideas I’ve ever seen done on a comic book cover. Frankly, I’m surprised big movie studios haven’t ripped him off yet!
Wolverine/Cable: Guts and Glory #1
Cover art by Stephen Platt, Matt Banning and Chris Dickey
Technically, this is a duo cover, but I think it still counts since it’s not a traditional team book. I love how the artists use the size of each hero to help convey the difference these two characters have. Wolverine is tiny and Cable is absurdly huge. Logan is smoking his iconic cigar and Cable is ready with his equally iconic, big-ass guns. Cool stuff from 1999.
Cover art by Terry Dodson
I love this. It captures so much about the character so effectively yet simply. All of the weapons pointed at Gambit convey the danger he’s constantly in, and having the enemies be indistinct kind of enhances that: he gets in so much trouble so often, you never know who he’ll be up against! Add in a hint of his trademark purple energy powers and a bit of sensuality and boom, you’ve got Gambit.
Cover art by Kevin Wada
I knew I was going to pick an Iceman cover, and I ultimately had to go with this one. Kevin Wada’s watercolor painting is always great, and he conveys a lot through his choice of details here. All the household items (including, of course, the family portrait) make it clear just how important domestic life is to this issue, as Bobby makes an eventful visit home. The presence of the Purifier in the house is jarring on multiple levels–of course, any home invasion is upsetting, but it’s also unsettling because the Purifier’s hatred is eerily similar to that in Bobby’s parents’ hearts.
Marvel Comics Presents #84
Cover art by Barry Windsor-Smith
It was hard to narrow it down to just one Weapon X cover, but this one is the best. The colors are so striking and establish such a strong mood that’s perfect for the story. There’s pain here, but also a sense of vulnerability. This cover looks even better in person due to the way the colors pop with the sheen of the paper. All in all, this is just beautiful.
Uncanny X-Men #122
Cover Art by Dave Cockrum
Though he’s a very popular character, Colossus has always been more of a background character in the X-Men world. The dude usually fills the role of “team muscle” and little else. To be honest, though, that’s where Piotr shines. As such, this cover does a great job of showcasing Peter’s role in the team. The stalwart foundation, unflinching in the face of danger and able to stand up to anything you put in his way.
X-Men: Kingbreaker #4
Cover Art by Brandon Peterson
For a dime-store version of his brother, Havok’s design has led to a lot of cool interpretations of his powers–and the big amorphous energy storm filled with tons of negative space is my favorite iteration. Here we see Alex cutting loose in a swirl of energy that is excellently captured here by Peterson. The posture (and the entire Kingbreaker series, in fact) is a little pedestrian, but the effects make this one to watch.
Uncanny X-Men #251
Cover art by Marc Silvestri and Dan Green
While my other choices were depictions of powerful characters showing their strength, this is a great image of a character at his lowest point. While the Australian era of the X-Men was pretty hit or miss, this image is so deeply evocative and powerful that it has survived, whereas more meaningful elements such as the Siege Perilous and the X-Men’s invisibility to cameras and computers have fallen to the wayside. The use of shadow and muted colors really sets the somber tone that such a moment demands, and Silvestri’s pencils skillfully lend the kind of gravitas this violent scene deserves.
What are your favorite solo X-Men covers of all time? Let us know in the comment space below!