Each Monday, staff writers Kevin Melrose and Steve Sunu discuss their five favorite covers from the previous Wednesday's new comic releases, selecting from among them CBR's Cover of the Week. Then, at the end of each month, they choose from the weekly winners -- you guessed it! -- a Cover of the Month.
This week finds an homage to "Star Wars," dueling barbarians, a shadowy thief and Frank Castle's final resting place.
Keep reading for Kevin and Steve's favorites from the week of February 8, then discuss your choices in the CBR forums.
Viktor Kalvachev's amazing homage to "Star Wars" would be enough on its own to catapult this cover to one of the best this week, but it's the fine print that really pushes it over the top. Reading "Blue Estate Pawn Shop & Collectibles," text under the logo transforms the cover into an ad for a fiction store which offers "top value for Comic Con cast-offs" and features everything from vintage Slave Leia costumes to used hentai. Kalvachev's humor aside, his depiction of "Blue Estate" characters as Slave Leia and Han Solo in carbonite is a pleasure to behold. -- Steve Sunu
Featuring Bêlit, Becky Cloonan's variant cover perfectly captures the spirit of the issue, the pirate queen surrounding Conan with a seductive expression of amusement and conniving. Cloonan's linework is astounding, from the charms all over Bêlit's body to Conan's stubble to the rigging on his ship, but it's Bêlit's gaze that is the cover's true triumph. Much like da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," the antagonist's eyes seem to follow you wherever you go, as though she's the hunter and you're the prey. -- Steve Sunu
If this image doesn't scream "final issue," then nothing does. Dave Johnson cleverly places the readers within the open grave, so they're looking up at the looming tombstone -- it was inscribed with the impersonal "R.I.P." in the solicited cover -- and the skull created by the bare branches of the lifeless tree. I appreciate that Johnson, and Marvel, resisted the temptation to add a splash of color, instead opting for this stark and somber black-and-white cover. -- Kevin Melrose
Shawn Martinbrough and Felix Serrano's cover is so subtle, it's easy to miss much of what it has to offer. The use of shadow is fantastic, obscuring the thief's face as he carries off the painting -- and that's where the genius of this cover comes together. The painting itself features images of the protagonists and (presumably) events to come while Serrano's muted colors, backgrounds and shadows add a level of depth to the overall composition. It's a piece of art just waiting to get lifted by the discerning comics connoisseur. -- Steve Sunu
Reteaming with "Northlanders" writer Brian Wood, cover artist Massimo Carnevale establishes from the get-go that this isn't the Conan we're accustomed to from decades' worth of comic stories: The brawny, brutish warrior has given way to the brash, young upstart. As Carnevale demonstrated with "Northlanders," and "Y: The Last Man" before that, he's an expert painter with a mastery of light and color, presenting a determined Cimmerian bathed in golds and reds, glowing against the murky backdrop of the ship and its crew. -- Kevin Melrose