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Judging by the Cover – Our favorite X-Men villain covers

The AiPT! staff shares their favorite X-Men villain covers of all time!

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 the X-Men’s iconic villains. Here’s what contributor Trevor Richardson, Media and Content Manager David Brooke, contributor Jason Segarra and Manga Editor Eric Cline picked out:

Trevor’s Picks:

Uncanny X-Men #165
Cover art by Paul Smith

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

What’s not to love about the influential link between the Xenomorph and Starcraft‘s Zerg, the Brood? And what’s not to love about this campy as hell cover of Storm “Animorphing” into one? I know if I had seen this on the shelf, I would’ve grabbed it immediately at the thought of an iconic character like Storm turning into this vile beastie.

New X-Men #147
Cover art by Phil Jimenez

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

When I first read this arc of Morrison’s New X-Men, I was so scalped bald by the Xorn-Magneto reveal that I didn’t even have time to process all the plot holes and wouldn’t have cared to if I did. I remember seeing this cover on the front of the trade and thinking, “Oh no! Magneto kills Xorn, maybe?” Reader, I had a big storm coming. Also, Magneto’s robes here are so dramatic and really speak to the character’s theatricality.

Magneto #2
Cover art by Chris Samnee

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Like I said: theatricality. The floating eyeball is probably the best detail on this cover that just oozes Magneto’s “Don’t @#$& with me attitude.” And the hollowing out the Sentinel head to shape it like his helmet? *chef kiss* The color palette also invokes colors that have appeared in Magneto’s costume at one time or another. This is a cover that you can hand to someone as a quick summary of what to expect with Magneto.

Dave’s Picks:

All-New X-Men #9
Cover art by Stuart Immonen

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Immonen is one of my favorite artists (it’s a bummer he recently retired) and this cover does a lot of things well. From the dramatic camera angle to the costumes, there’s a lot going on. Immonen was always good at drawing the whole picture with foreground and background rendered well. Just look at those clouds in the background!

X-Men #25
Cover art by Andy Kubert

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

This cover takes me back to my youth. It not only harbors one of the most iconic villainous moments in X-Men history (Magneto tearing the metal out of Wolverine) but it even had a hologram card pasted onto it showing off Gambit’s awesomeness. This is pure ’90s nostalgia.

X-Men #5
Cover art by Jim Lee

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

This is a wild cover that shows off how impressive Omega Red can be, surviving a battle with Wolverine in close quarters. I love how we can see the metal in Wolverine’s arm and a bit of the metal of his skull breaking through. This is an intense cover filling the page with an impressive fight.

Jason’s Picks:

Uncanny X-Men #213
Cover art by Alan Davis

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Though he’s currently on the side of the angels (and even leading an X-team all his own) Sabretooth is always best as a villain–especially when he’s beating the ever-loving crap out of Wolverine. This issue features ‘tooth at his worst, terrorizing some of the X-women (particularly Psylocke) and just being an all around menacing monster. As such, this cover is a great glimpse of the melee you can expect within. An all-around solid addition to the Uncanny lineage.

Uncanny X-Men #142
Cover art by Terry Austin

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

This Issue: Everybody Dies! HOLY S--T, right? The unstoppable Wolverine is literally being killed on the cover while the sentinel palms the literal goddess of mutantdom. This cover puts over the Sentinels as a HUGE threat to the X-Men, and really sets the tone for one of the series’ most enduring and celebrated stories. This is one of the series’ best covers altogether.

Uncanny X-Men #174
Cover art by Paul Smith

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

So let’s be real: Among X-villains, Mastermind is a D-lister who lucked his way into a major storyline by sheer chance. I hate to say it about anyone named Jason, but Mr. Wyngarde had exactly one win, and this… actually has nothing to do with that storyline. Still, that is one hell of a cover. From content to color composition, it’s so well put together. The serene faces of Scott and Madelyne as they’re unknowingly manipulated by the shadowy yet somehow luminous machinations of Mastermind. Just A+ work from Smith with this one.

Eric’s Picks:

Uncanny X-Men #232
Cover art by Marc Silvestri and Glynis Oliver

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

The Brood are some of my favorite villains of all time, and the ’80s had a ton of great Brood covers. This one is probably my favorite, as it leaves no room for anything but the evil creature and it’s giant teeth. It’s gruesome and disgusting, and I adore it.

Magneto #1
Cover art by Paolo Rivera

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

I considered multiple covers from Magneto’s latest solo series, but I ultimately had to go with the very first issue. Magneto’s gaze is immensely intimidating, befitting the power and resolve of the character. Even more impressive, however, is the barbed wire helmet. That’s just next-level creative and horrifying.

Uncanny X-Men #4
Cover art by Jack Kirby

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Early ’60s Kirby X-Men art doesn’t get talked about enough. This composition is silly but also earnest and to the point. Magneto is back with some new allies, and the team is at their mercy. Kirby’s characters always look fantastic, both in their expressions and motions.

What are your favorite X-Men villain covers of all time? Let us know in the comment space below!


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