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Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

I thought I’d make sure to do one this week especially, considering I’ll be traveling back to school this week and won’t have as frequent access to comics.  And since I’ve got a fractured foot and don’t feel like traveling downstairs to use the scanner, it’s a bare-bones edition!

Action Comics #868–The cover shows Superman confronting Brainiac.  And, well, that’s exactly what happens in the issue.  Woo-hoo!  Putting one in the first stack at the start!  Ahem.  Moving on…

Amazing Spider-Girl #23–Peter Parker is pushing at Kaine’s face with one hand (almost in a choke-hold, but not quite) while Spider-Girl restrains his left fist.  Sure, that happens.  Maybe not exactly like that, but close enough.  Two in a row.

Astonishing X-Men #26–It’s Beast.  And Beast’s head in the background.  Uh-huh.

Batman #679–If I were including scans, I’d show this cover, as it could be used in How to Make Useless Covers 101.  It’s Batman doing something dynamic.  Not really anything there except pretty colors.

Blade of the Warrior: Kshatriya #1–The cover shows the main character (Kshatriya) with a bloody sword.  In the background is the face of a tiger.  It tells you little about what happens.  A tiger is important, especially in this issue, but that’s not really enough to put it in the first stack.  I might normally still put it in the first stack due to the back cover, but the description located there encompasses the series, not just this issue.

Captain Britain and MI:13 #4–It’s Captain Britain in a wrestler pose flying in front of what looks like a giant British flag flare.  (I’d call it a Union Jack flare, but there’s actually a hero named that in Marvel.)  Sift this to the second stack.

Fantastic Four #559–According to the cover, you’d expect a throwdown between the mysterious “New Defenders” (or so the text on the cover names them) and Mr. Fantastic helping a weakened Doctor Doom.   Text above the title indicates that these New Defenders want to kill Doom and the Human Torch.  If they do, that’s not clear in the issue.  Mr. Fantastic doesn’t have a scene with Doom or the Defenders.  Nope.  Too misleading to count.

Final Crisis: Revelations #1–The sliver cover, as all Final Crisis-related material has, shows Libra reaching out amidst a background of skulls.  Libra is in the comic, and plays an important (though not substantial) part.  It’s really a Spectre story.  With some Question in it.  So, despite what the cover tells you, it’s not a Libra story.

The Last Defenders #6–The cover depicts Hellstrom, She-Hulk, a Nighthawk, and Krang in a nice action-y group shot.  And I’m putting it in the first stack.  This series has largely consisted of a rotating cast, and the members of the cast get the spotlight in the issues.  Here is no different.  The cover tells you what Defenders are in this issue, while also telling you who’s important.  Well… mostly.  A couple of guys are left out.  That’s fine.

Secret Invasion #5–It’s a Skrull!  Moving on…

Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1–A (presumably) naked Medusa embraces the costume of Black Bolt.  If you look closely, you can even see that Medusa’s crying.  I’m feeling a little lenient today so, since Black Bolt missing is pretty much the driving point of the issue and Medusa’s grief and anger at said situation are important to a sizeable chunk of it, I’ll put this in the first stack.

Secret Invasion: Thor #1–The cover shows Thor holding his hammer up from underneath a pile Skrulls and blasting them all with lightning.  A neat visual.  A shame Thor doesn’t actually fight any Skrulls inside.

Sparks #3–There are four snippets relevant to this issue.  There’s an action figure, a hanged man (the lead character), a mysterious guy in a mask, and an injection needle filled with some red liquid.  It is all relevant and all interconnected, even though what happens within the story itself remains vague.  Into the first stack it goes.

Wonder Woman #23–Here, Wonder Woman battles a giant armored demon in a pool in front of a government building.  Wonder Woman looks normal on the cover, even though she doesn’t inside, but that’s a small matter.  The issue is largely about Wonder Woman fighting a giant armored demon named D’Grth in the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.  So, there you go.

Trinity #11–Superman flies toward the reader with an American flag in the background.  And there’s a line of text that reads “LIBERTY…”  Not really good at all.

X-Men Origins: Jean Grey #1–The five original X-Men charge toward the reader.  Marvel Girl stands in the center.  In the background in a young Jean Grey, overshadowing the rest of the scene.  It’s a pretty cover, I’ll give it that.  The title essentially spells out what to expect in the story.  It’s the origin of Jean Grey.  But the cover offers no real inisght beyond that, so it has to go in the second stack.

That makes this week’s count 6:10 or 3:5.  Not great, but I’ve seen worse.

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Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

This week, I review Astonishing X-Men #25 as a bonus!

American Dream #5–The mini series comes to climactic finish and can you guess the focus? American Dream versus a giant crystal monster! Sure, they don’t burst through the ground and fight above the city. The conflict is the draw and it happens to be the final one in the issue. Comics from the week of Independence Day and this one makes it in the first stack. Kinda cool.

(not full cover)

Astonishing X-Men #25–Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi pick up the X-Men after the events of “Messiah Complex”. The X-Men have moved to San Francisco and are still trying to figure out their new method of operation (which readers can figure out if they read the recap page at the front). Due to this, and probably the likelihood of people buying the title simply because of a change in creative team, Ellis spends the first half of the comic introducing us to the characters, their relation to each other, their respective roles on the team, and how they’re adjusting to San Francisco life. My only complaint here is that nearly everyone is funny, even when they don’t seem like they’re supposed to be (such as Storm describing how she got permission to be on the team).

Bianchi’s art is decent, and the odd layouts work well enough. However, there are no real dynamic sequences for him to draw. The art works well for this issue, but can Bianchi handle a more action-packed issue?

There are clever concepts (such as the secret of Chaparanga Bay) and nods to continuity. But as character issues go, since that is essentially what this it, it’s nothing exceptional. I give it a 3:5. And, no, the cover doesn’t make the first stack.

Batman #678–The cover shows Batman standing in the city underneath a psychedelic light. It probably is meant to show that Batman is somewhat insane inside, which he might be. The cover is a bit symbolic that way. However, there are other important aspects and, well, that thing on the cover looks to me like an attack from above more than it does psychosis. Close, but not quite.

Billy Batson & the Magic of Shazam! #1–Here, Captain Marvel is depicted as slowly turning into Billy Batson. Or maybe vice versa. Either way, this is both an inaccurate depiction of the character, and says little to nothing about the story.

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #5–From the cover, one can see that in this issue there should be a confrontation between these two guys and that the one on the right wants to kill the one on the left. More or less, that covers the first half of the story. First stack, away!

Dynamo 5 #14–The first third of this issue deals with a mysterious new protector of the city named Vigil. (And if you check out the back cover, that name is provided.) She does fight a strong guy and a guy with an electric fist. Good enough, but just barely.

Grimm Fairy Tales #28–The story is about a girl’s life as influenced by the tale of The Ugly Duckling. The cover seems to express this simply by including a group of ducklings and a swan. However, the focus of the cover is a bikini-wearing-girl that is presumably the mysterious redhead that essentially guides the story. So, I can interpret the cover going backward. But just looking at the cover itself beforehand, I’d assume it’s a standard poster wannabe.

House of Mystery #3–The cover depicts a shadowy figure standing in front of a skull. The figure in question appears toward the end, but has little impact on this issue specifically. Death is an important concept here, as well. However, learning important details about the story is nigh impossible.

Legion of Super-Heroes #43–The team above are trapped on Rimbor, on the run, and getting shot at whenever they make their whereabouts known. So, yes, they do flee from the sewer while hiding and, yes, Colossal Boy gets shot. It’s not a pivotal moment of the issue, but it is relevant and does adequately express one of the plots. I’ll put it in the first stack.

Nightwing #146–“BURIAL AT SEA”, it reads, while showing Nightwing surrounded by corpses. That scene isn’t that important, and is handled within the first two pages.

Noble Causes #35–I’m going to be lenient and let this one into the first stack. The Nobles confront the metallic guy on the cover, and his machinations are in pretty much every part of the issue. It would help if the cover showed everyone that attacks Crucible (said metallic guy), but I won’t be picky.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #3–The main characters are in the clutches of a villain! (He’s named Deacon Dark, but you can’t know that from the cover.) Within the issue, they are, but they aren’t. Dark himself plays a small role in the issue, but it’s what he does and has done that’s of more relevance.

Star Trek: Enterprise Experiment #3–The cover shows Captain Kirk fighting a Klingon. It doesn’t happen. Nothing close does, actually.

Trinity #5–In a surprise twist, Trinity’s cover actually does fit into the first stack. Not only does Wonder Woman fighting the big monster (Konvikt), but that fight (though not depicted accurately here) is a crucial event.

This week, American Dream, Dark Tower, Dynamo 5, Legion of Super-Heroes, Noble Causes, and Trinity fall into the first stack. That makes the Count this week 6:8.

Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

Action Comics #856–The cover emphasizes Brainiac and bottled cities. Those are important elements, and may become driving elements to the overall story, but I especially like this cover for including references to the other people who appear. Three bottles devoted to Daily Planet staff and one devoted to the Kents. A nice touch. The story is about Brainiac and the rest of the elements are at least referenced, so this one fits into the first pile.

We’re off to a good start! Let’s see where this goes…

Amazing Spider-Girl #21–Okay, moving from left to right in a clockwise fashion, this cover includes Peter Parker (somewhat) assaulting Normie Osborn, a blurb regarding a mystery girl that matches the image next to it, and Spider-Girl fighting a powered enemy. All three images are essentially panels from the story inside. Peter does get upset at Normie and manhandles him a little. The mysterious May-looking girl is a prominent figure. Spider-Girl does fight that character, a mutant named Nucleus. This one definitely goes into the first stack.

ClanDestine #5–Readers of ClanDestine know that a fair amount happens each issue as various plot elements are touched upon. In this cover, we essentially get a glimpse at the climax of this issue. It really isn’t much, as that event is only a few pages long. However, it is unique to this issue specifically (as opposed to the other plots). It may be a little marginal, but I’ll put it in the first stack.

Green Lantern Corps #25–A cover that depicts the Green Lanterns of the issue! Yawn.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #3–In one corner, we have Doctor Doom wielding Excalibur! In the other corner, we have Iron Man wielding… the normal stuff! In the background is a sheath within a pink glow and a stone structure! Okay, that fight takes up the first half of the issue or so and the sheath in Stonehenge (as it is) is a key part of the second half. Definitely a cover for the first stack.

The Last Defenders #4–The cover shows Atlas (of the old Thunderbolts) being crushed by a giant metal hand.  He stands amidst a large amount of rubble and debris, with Nighthawk and Paladin unconscious around him.  Nothing close to that happens.  The Defenders do face a giant robotic construct, but it’s dealt with fairly quickly and everyone stays conscious (save maybe the guys in the construct).  Admittedly, it is really the only action sequence in the comic, so I think I would’ve settled for that scene being depicted somewhat accurately.  It goes into the second stack.  Still a neat-looking cover, though.

Skaar: Son of Hulk #1–There are two covers for this issue.  I happened to get the variant one, which shows Skaar hunched over amidst ruins and rocky terrain.  I don’t think I have to tell you where this one goes.

Titans #3–First off, the cover tells you the themes of the issue:  Lust, Rage, and Envy.  Lust is shown through Nightwing and Starfire looking longingly at each other.  Rage is shown in the fight sequence between Beast Boy, Red Arrow, and Raven.  Envy is shown with Donna Troy and Flash arguing.  To top it all off, Cyborg even gets thrown on there just to say he is in the issue.  All of that is true to the comic.  In fact, Flash is even in the exact same pose here as he is on the inside for one panel when arguing with Donna.  First stack, away!

Trinity #2–Remember last week, when I said Trinity might become a recurring part of the second stack?  Well, in a theme stretching across three inter-connected covers (which means we have one more to go), this week we get Batman standing on a rooftop in Metropolis.  Next week we’ll have Wonder Woman in Gotham City.  I do not expect that one to make it, either.

So, if you’ve been playing along, you might have noticed something.  It’s a week where the first stack won!  I love it when that happens.  The count is 5:4.

Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

American Dream #3–Here we have a simple homage of the classic Uncle Sam poster, with American Dream in Sam’s place and “TRAITOR!” written across the poster. The notion of American Dream actually being a traitor only comes up once, when Maria Hill says she could have her tried for treason based on a series of actions. Nothing comes of it and it only somewhat plays a role in other events. It is relevant, but only somewhat loosely and not without being potentially misleading.

House of Mystery #2–I know there is a girl on the cover. And some sort of monster is cradling her. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what the monster is. If it is actually a representation of the House of Mystery itself, then the cover symbolically shows an important part of the comic. However, since I can’t tell, I can’t in good faith put it in the first stack.

Justice Society of America #16–The issue is, in fact, about the guy in the center, the JSA’s shock, and the people of the village below. Good job, Ross.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #40–In this issue, Spider-Man does not actually lift Thor’s hammer and fight somewhere in New York. However, he does gain Thor powers (including a hammer), and the very inclusion of Asgard and Asgardians is the primary focus of the issue. I think this cover does a nice job of balancing salesmanship with content. Very nice.

(Side note: there is a Mini-Marvels comic on the last page. On the one hand, I want them to tell me so I know to buy it. On the other hand, there are more fingers. …I mean, it was a pleasant surprise.)

Noble Causes #34–This is a title that has multiple story veins running through it. That makes it difficult to do a cover that handles most of the issue. However, the main action sequence of the story is the Noble family facing off against Bonechill (and specifically those members of the family to boot). Another one for the first stack.

Wait. That makes three in a row. Something has to give.

Nova #14–The cover simply depicts the Silver Surfer holding Nova’s helmet.  I, for one, am unsure as to what that is intended to imply.  I do know, though, that issue #13 had Nova and Surfer fighting in front of Galactus.  That does happen this issue and is the highlight of approximately half the story.  I feel like the covers were switched, making the relevant cover end up on the wrong comic.  No dice here.  I have been left confused.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #2–Much like Noble Causes, this title focuses on multiple plot points at once.  In this case, they are much more scattered, with different stars for each one.  Here, though, we have a cover that depicts an action sequence that takes up about eight pages of the comic.  Although Tigorr (who you can see in the lower right-hand corner) is not involved in that fight, he does play a minor role in the issue.  I’ll let that slide and put this in the first stack.

Secret Invasion #3–Two main things happen in this book.  The main thing is the Battle of Manhattan, as it takes up about thirteen pages or so of the comic.  I would have preferred that that be on the cover.  However, the Iron Man/Spider-Woman sequence, which is only about three pages, may be equally important.  It really does regard Spider-Woman, in a way, trying to seduce Iron Man.  This goes in the first stack.

Star Trek: New Frontier #3–I will be providing a review for this comic later in the week (at least, that’s the plan), as it is quite good and people need to be informed.  The cover provides some details.  The Vulcan woman (named Soleta) uses a mind trick to gather thoughts from the uniformed officer (Admiral Jellico).  It does not quite happen as depicted on the cover, but it is symbolically represented and may be the most important part of the entire story.  Also, the surprise twist at the end and the ship he controls are included as well.  And even here, we get a sense that the Excalibur (the Enterprise-looking vessel) is on the defensive.  This cover touches on some major points while actually revealing very little.  Good enough.

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #4–I could make an argument for this cover, as the demon depicted is an important figure in the story and may even be the focus.  I cannot justify it, though, as other things happen and what he does is not adequately shown or even implied.

Tiger and Crane #2–For those of you unaware, this is a Bluewater Comics limited series that is an espionage/martial arts tale.   Anyway, the cover shows two men standing back-to-back holding guns, one appearing to be a soldier and the other being a man glowing green and wearing bandages and a trenchcoat (he’s actually called the Green Ghost and is a radio personality).  In actuality, the latter of those two is not important to the story at all and the former is very important, but does little within the confines of the issue.  Most of the issue follows a family in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  You cannot possibly know that given this cover.  Also, the cover implies that the Green Ghost is a character the soldier fights alongside, making it misleading as well.

Trinity #1–Superman stands in front of ancient architecture, presumably on Paradise Island.  Superman is not the focus of the issue–and barely appears as Superman himself–and Paradise Island is nowhere to be seen.  Based on what I’ve seen of upcoming issues, I expect this comic to be a recurring second-stack member.

Ultimate Origins #1–Wolverine poses for you.  Wolverine, as Wolverine, is arguably not even in the comic.  Yippee.

So, let’s see.  This week, the count comes to 6:7.  A couple of surprises in that batch, too.  At least it’s a better count than the ones I have been getting as of late.

Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

It is a big week this time, totalling 21 comics, so bear with me.

American Dream #2–American Dream fights two crystal monsters on a pier while guys with guns look on. Really, that is the climax of this issue. Admittedly, American Dream doesn’t drive a motorcycle during the fight. However, that also probably doesn’t mislead anyone terribly. This one works.

Avengers Classic #12–‘Tis a fun-filled issue of Avengers fighting Moloids, and then briefly the Mole Man, the Red Ghost, and an infernal machine. Sure, the Red Ghost is not on the cover and the machine is also not referenced, but the story is mainly about the Avengers versus Moloids and the overall danger that is being caused by the Mole Man. If that weren’t enough, the back-up features this time showcase the Moloids. Let’s put this one in the first stack.

A brief aside: Avengers Classic has frequently had covers indicative of the interior. Good-bye, Avengers Classic. Your issues were fun, but your contribution to these entries will be missed.

Avengers: The Initiative #13–Prodigy, Batwing, Sunstreak, Annex, Boulder/Butterball, and Gorilla Girl stand (or float) around on the cover. As the new recruits, they are the stars of the issue, especially Butterball. However, more people play significant parts and more happens than them just being present. This one is close, but not quite.

The Brave and the Bold #13–Like the above, this is a 13th issue that isn’t quite good enough. Batman, Jay Garrick, and killer samurai are the stars, sure. But that is part of the problem. There are multiple samurai. Also, Batman is nowhere close to being that knocked down. The cover makes you both expect an imposing new villain (not a mob of androids) and Batman down for the count (which he never is). So, it is representative, but does too much misdirection.

Captain America #38–The cover depicts the Red Skull within a mock poster stating “Vote 3rd Wing for a new America” (except done to look somewhat Russian and written mostly in capital letters). The slogan is a part of the issue. The Red Skull himself does not appear at all, and definitely is not the 3rd wing candidate the cover makes him to be. Even if that political aspect were a major point in the issue (and it isn’t), this is still too misleading.

Countdown to Mystery #8–Doctor Fate is trapped within the Black Diamond and is at the mercy of Eclipso! Oh n–wait, that’s not right. Like always, the stories remain separate. Eclipso and Fate just do not interact. Fate is trapped somewhere briefly; I guess that counts a little.

DC/Wildstorm DreamWar #2–Here is a cover that simple depicts a giant brawl between a bunch of DC heroes and a bunch of Wildstorm heroes. Essentially, the inside story is nothing but the two sides fighting. However, not all of those on the cover are shown inside. Were you actually wanting to see a Nightwing/Grifter confrontation? Sorry. Grifter is nowhere to be found (unless you count the Wildcats comic preview in the back). I would have given this one to them if it depicted the right characters. And, honestly, I don’t really see the point to doing otherwise.

Dynamo 5 #13–Huh. Lots of 13s. Anyway, the cover just shows the team standing around, looking slightly off-camera. As Dynamo 5 covers go, in regards to the Cover Count, this is one of the weakest so far. If I counted the back cover, this title would probably always make it, since there is a plethora of information back there. But that would be a little unfair, since most comics use the back cover for ad space, and the back cover cannot be seen until one picks it up and starts looking (and maybe not even then).

The End League #3–Essentially, this cover just showcases three characters that briefly appear within the story inside. None of these characters are referred to by name, so their names not being on the cover makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose. Only one of the three gets speaking lines. So, none of them are really that important. Not going to cut it.

Fantastic Four #557–The Fantastic Four face off against a giant star-spangled robot. In the background is a shadow of something that looks vaguely like Galactus, in reference to the text blurb that says “WHO IS THE ANTI-GALACTUS?” Now, first off the FF do not fight the robot (named C.A.P.). Reed is the only member to do so, and only fights from within the Anti-Galactus, which is a machine, not a person. The final text blurb on the cover, “Plus: Alyssa makes her move”, is significant. Unfortunately, everything else about the cover is just misleading.

Flash #240–As your eyes go down the cover, you should notice what happens. Something involving something called “The Dark Side Club”, Wally West versus Gorilla Grodd, Jay Garrick versus a mysterious attacker, and the kids being threatened by another mystery character. The Dark Side Club do play a part, as two members of that group are part of the mystery strike referenced in that third panel there. Wally does fight Grodd. And Jay… okay, he doesn’t actually fight someone mysterious in a physical confrontation. He does try to confront Spin (the villain), but ends up trapped in rock. That panel is still essentially true, in its own way. Even if you don’t agree, it’s my blog! Woo-hoo!

Ghost Rider #23–I provided the cover to show something that will never make it. Just… no.

The Incredible Hercules #117–Normally, covers of people just standing around don’t fall into the first stack. However, the gathering of the five gods on the cover is the main focus of the issue, with most of the rest being taken up by explanations of those deities. It’s fine, though you probably would not guess from a casual glance.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull #1–The cover is designed like an Indiana Jones movie poster. As such, it touches on all the important characters and at least one important concept. However, it fails to tie any of it together.

Justice League of America #21–In a nutshell, the cover, well, covers the second half of the comic. The Human Flame and Libra appear, defeat Red Arrow and Hawkgirl, and leave a fair amount of fire behind. The cover expresses that sequence of events in more of a symbolic fashion, as opposed to what actually occurs, but it’s still pretty good.

Justice Society of America #15–Although the image depicted does not exactly occur, the issue is almost entirely about a battle between Gog (or so he is called) and the JSA. It may be mildly misleading, but is still pretty faithful to the comic itself.

Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad #6–The mini series hits a turning point as Petroclus, close comrade of Achilles, dies in battle after taking Achilles’s place. On the cover, we see him leading the Greek army into battle. There are two problems here. One, you have no way of knowing which army that is unless you read the issue. Two, Patroclus is poorly defined. If one were to open the comic and read the recap page, they might think the cover depicts Achilles himself (which is actually somewhat amusing in-context). So, the cover is eye-catching and fairly true to the story, but a bit vague. Very close, but not quite.

The Mighty Avengers #14–This issue is almost exclusively about the Sentry. From the cover, though, I would have assumed the Vision. Indeed, the Vision does play a role (though whether he is a Skrull–as the cover depicts–is still questionable). However, his significance can only be found toward the end. It’s a nice homage cover and might get someone flip through the comic. It just doesn’t suit the first pile.

Superman/Batman #48–Superman and Batman face off against the force of destruction that is the All-American Boy! Seeing this cover, one might get the feeling that Batman and Superman will be defeated at some point. More importantly, though, there is more to this issue than that conflict. The inclusion of Amanda Waller, the battle being in Smallville, and the All-American Boy’s origin are all other important aspects, none of which are included on the cover.

Tangent: Superman’s Reign #3–To be honest, I do not know who is squatting in front of Batman on that cover. I do know that that character does not appear inside and that Batman himself is not a focal character.

X-Men: Divided We Stand #2–This comic is divided into five stories. The main characters of four of them are shown on the cover. The fifth story is unrepresented and the others lack any kind of story reference.

In total, the count comes to 6:15. Getting more comics means the second pile increases more than the first, it seems.

Every so often, I take a stack of comics I read and sort them into two piles based on their covers. One pile is for those comics with covers adequately relevant to the issue. The other is for those comics with every other type of cover, including relevant ones that are misleading.

This week, I have to be lenient because otherwise the Count is so dismal that it doesn’t deserve a mention.

I was going to make this the standard length and include the cover images, but I can do neither, as I lack time. This things normally go up on Sunday!

So, here’s what I read this week:

Amazing Spider-Girl #18

Annihilation: Conquest #5

Avengers: Initiative #10

Countdown to Final Crisis #07

Countdown to Mystery #6

Fantastic Four #555

The Last Defenders #1

Marvel Comics Presents #7

Marvel Illustrated: Moby Dick #2

Mighty Avengers #10

Nova #11

Superman #674

This week, the ones to make go in the first pile are Amazing Spider-Girl, Avengers: Initiative, Marvel Comics Presents, and Mighty Avengers.

4:8. 1:2. Meh.

The Cover Count is when I sort the comics I have read in a given week into two piles: one for those with a cover that well represents the interior and another for those that fail to do so. It’s the first Cover Count of 2008! How goes it?

Amazing Spider-Girl #16–Spider-Girl faces a mysterious invisible enemy! And, actually, that’s pretty much it. This title is constantly not decompressed, so a fair amount happens each issue. The cover can only hold so much. Now, I would’ve preferred that at least Chesbro were depicted, but I’m willing to settle for this. The majority of the issue is devoted to this plot of Spider-Girl being tracked by and attacked by an enemy that can turn invisible. This cover is good enough for me.

Avengers Classic #8–On this cover, we see Giant-Man handling an explosion, Iron Man fending off a missile, Cap doing… something, Wasp in the grasp of a hand, and Thor turning into Donald Blake. In the center of it all is Kang. The problems the Avengers are facing on this cover are indeed caused by Kang, with four out of five representative of actual events in the story. This cover definitely works.

Countdown to Final Crisis #15–Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, Jason Todd, and Ray Palmer raise a pole with a black Superman cape attached to it–an homage to that classic Iwo Jima war photo. That might give the impression that a Superman has died or will die inside. That is not the truth. Superman Prime plays no role in what those four are doing. Besides, this cover doesn’t even state exactly what war is going on.

The Flash #236–Flash’s glove sticks out from rocky waters, as if he’s struggling to break free. Flash does struggle, that is true, but not to get out of the water. Instead, he has to break free from the aliens that came from the water. Plus, his children and members of the Justice League are involved. You can’t deduce any of that from the cover, can you?

The Incredible Hercules #113–Despite the cover showing Hercules and Ares in a slugfest, that doesn’t happen in the issue. They do fight (briefly), but Ares uses a gun and Hercules is engaged with Wonder Man. It is a dynamic cover, though.

Justice League of America #17–I don’t know what comes from beyond, but it certainly isn’t explained within this issue.  Yet, the cover asks that question.  Also, although he is the only one on the cover, Black Lightning gets little attention in the issue.  Overall, this is pretty, but little else.

Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad #2–This is the honorable mention of the week.  The issue is filled with a large-scale battle between the Greeks and Trojans, where the gods interfere greatly.  The cover depicts Diomedes and the god-induced fury he unleashed.  One of the goddesses is behind him.  However, the armor depiction is not the same inside, the identity of the goddess is vague, and it’s not clear exactly what’s going on around them.  Specifics aside, the cover does a great job of touching on an important part of the issue.  I just think it might be a little misleading.

New Exiles #1–This cover essentially looks like a poster.  True, the interior largely just introduces the character, but you don’t even really know that from the cover.  It is not as close as The Iliad, but is at least okay.

This week, the Count comes to 2:6.

The Cover Count is when I sort the comics I have read in a given week into two piles: one for those with a cover that well represents the interior and another for those that fail to do so.  This week, I will make two counts.  One will be strict, much more like the normal count.  The other will be more loose and include the borderline covers.

Action Comics #860–Represented are the evil Justice League of 3008 with Superman banners in the background.  There is a blurb at the bottom that actually tells the reader that this is a Legion story.  Unfortunately, since there is no mention of which Legionnaires are included nor the condition of the Earth at that time (not even that the sun is red), this cover is lacking.

Amazing Spider-Man #545–Here we see a cracked picture of Peter and Mary Jane with a hand gloved in red holding shard.  I don’t know who wears the glove and, speculation aside, there are many reasons why the couple could be depicted this way.  There is more that needs to be said, in spite of the “‘Nuff Said!” written in the corner.  The marriage is in jeopardy and Mephisto is running the show.  Neither of those is clear given this cover.

Batman #672–Batman riding a motorcycle?  Next.

The Brave and the Bold #9–This cover shows the three team-ups of the issue and includes mention of the Challengers of the Unknown.  It is true that no mention is made of the villains inside, but since so much else is covered, I can’t bring myself to hold that against it.

Captain America #33–Yes, that would be Iron Man and the Winter Soldier duking it out on a helicarrier.  Surprisingly, except for the fact that they fight inside, this is pretty much what we get.  The Winter Soldier escapes and then engages in a fight that takes up at least a third of the issue.  This pleases me, as this title has not been doing too well in the count previously.

Captain Marvel #2–For the most part, this is an issue dealing with both Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel and their relationship.  The cover gets some credit there.  However, there is a bit more to this issue, such as S.H.I.E.L.D. management and the Cobalt Man.

Countdown: Arena #4–Three Supermen  Supermans fight each other.  Unlike Captain America, however, the fight depicted is not the main event of the issue.  The fight between Iron Man and the Winter Soldier is built toward, given, and ended, with a little more happening.  Here, though, the issue starts with the three characters being thrust into a fight (which they don’t actually start until page 4).  The main fight, however, is the one against Monarch and includes much more than multiple versions of Superman.  This cover tries, but not hard enough.

Countdown to Final Crisis #18–Ray Palmer travels in a bloodstream.  In the corner is a message saying “The Search is over!  The NEW life and times of RAY PALMER!”   Anyone who has been following Countdown will know what this means.  The Challengers (not the same from above) have finally found who they were looking for, finally found their Ray Palmer.  It is true that we go on a journey with him in his new life, but there is no sense on the cover of what that life entails.

The Death of the New Gods #4–The cover shows Mister Miracle using the Anti-Life Equation, the dead bodies of the Forever People, and, if you look at it from a distance, the face of Darkseid blended into the background.  The first two are important parts of the issue, even though they happen early on.  Darkseid is less important, but I suppose it is nice to remind readers that he will be in the issue, just for those who will buy things if he’s in it.   This one works for me.

The Flash #235–Linda and Wally are caught in a sandstorm presumably in front of the Flash museum (give the statue and the building in the background).  This just doesn’t happen.  Something akin to a sandstorm occurs, I suppose, but even then Linda isn’t in immediate danger nor are the two of them “Stranded” anywhere.  More importantly, there are villains and heroes unaccounted for on the cover.  I would think that the inclusion of Wonder Woman on the cover might pull in some reader.  Ah well.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #37–The cover simply shows a bunch of Legionnaires, some of which don’t appear and one of which gets a costume change two pages in.  I would’ve settled for a fight scene with the enemies of the issue.  That would still be a group shot.  No?  Too bad.

Thor #5–Thor does more seeking for compatriots and we get the sense that he really wants to find Sif.  He does indeed find a female Asgardian, as the cover depicts, but that’s not how she looks.  The fight scene of the issue is entirely ignored, as is the villain therein.  This one just isn’t really close enough.

Ultimate Spider-Man #117–Much like the Captain America issue,  this fight is an important part of the story.  The stuff before builds up to the fight and the stuff after is a direct results of it.  The issue is pretty much centered around what’s on the cover.  Good job.

X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #4–The cover would have you believe that Marvel Girl unleashes the Phoenix.  This is not so.  That aside for the moment, I cannot from the cover who she would be attacking nor why she would be attacking them.    Is Emperor Vulcan even in the issue?  I know that he is, but I wouldn’t be able to tell from just the cover.  This cover is misleading and provides no information.

Strictly speaking, the ratio would be 4:10, with Brave and the Bold, Captain America, Death of the New Gods,  and Ultrimate Spider-Man making the first pile.

If I become less strict, and therefore more loose, I could throw in Countdown: Arena, bringing the ratio to 5:10.  That hardly helps this week.

As I am home for the holidays, I thought I’d have another go at a Cover Count.  For those unaware, it’s when I sort the comics I read in a given week into two piles: one for those with a cover that represents the interior well and another for those that don’t.  Here goes:

Avengers: Classic #7–The cover shows us the Executioner, Baron Zemo, and Enchantress on the left and Thor versus evil-looking Avengers on the right.  The three on the left are indeed the villains of the issue.  Thor does fight his fellow Avengers while thinking that they are evil.  The story contains a little more, such as Captain America tracking Zemo down and the backup story, but the cover still does a pretty good job.

Countdown: Arena #3–Here, we see three versions of Wonder Woman fighting each other.  Yes, there is a lot more to the issue than that.  Nothing is said of Monarch, the other gathered characters, or the plot to free them all.  Most of that can be implied by the cover in that it might make the mind wonder why those three are fighting.  So, in the spirit of the season, I’ll grant this one a pass, too.

Countdown to Final Crisis #19–Are there buzzards picking at the dragged corpse of the Trickster?  No.  But the Pied Piper is dragging him through the desert.  Of course, the argument could be made that there is a larger story inside, that of the fake Amazons, but it only gets a little over a page more of story.  This one barely squeaks by.

Detective Comics #839–Essentially, this issue is a large battle.  Monks versus ninjas, Nightwing and Robin versus assassins, and, as the cover clearly shows, Batman versus Ra’s al Ghul.  What the cover depicts is the main conflict and the one through which all the others exist.  The cover conveys the interior well enough.

Exiles #100–It’s times like this I wish I had a “maybe” pile.  Blink, Thunderbird, and Nocturne do depart from the team in this issue.  It seems to be what the main purpose for the issue is, aside from some reminiscing.  However, there is a little bit more within the story plus the first issue is reprinted, which the cover neglects to mention.  In this case, it’s close, but not quite.  Sorry, Exiles.

Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad #1–The cover shows two armies at war, with a beautiful woman standing between them.  That’s The Iliad in a nutshell.  The Greeks and Trojans are fighting over possession of Helen, the most beautiful woman of the time.  More could be included, such as the notable characters.  Most likely, though, more might become troublesome art-wise.  This cover goes in the first pile.

Justice League of America #16–There are many things misleading about this cover.  For starters, only one of the League members in the background actually appear.  Perhaps more importantly, though, the second story gets no mention at all even though it takes up a third of the issue.  No, this cover won’t do.

The Mighty Avengers #6–In the background we see a pile of Iron Man suits.  In the foreground, we see Ares, Ms. Marvel, and Sentry staring down some unseen threat.  Unfortunately, this just does not work for this issue.   The Iron Man armors are nowhere to be seen, there is no mention of Pym (a prominent guest star), or even what the Avengers are really up to.  Let’s put this in the second pile and move on.

The Order #6–There seem to be multiple covers for this issue.  As such, I will make it clear that I have the one that features Supernaut, one worthy of a poster.  Although the issue does largely center around that character, there is much more than him, including a special guest star.  This one doesn’t really come close.

Star Trek: Year Four #5–This issue contains an experiment gone wrong that threatens the lives of those aboard the Enterprise and two satellites.  Here again, there are multiple covers, but I got the one most likely to count.  It is divided into three panels.  The first depicts the Enterprise being trapped by the black hole (although to a passerby, they might not recognize it as a black hole), the second shows Spock in a distortion, and the third shows the interior of the Enterprise under Red Alert.  I give Steve Conley credit for trying, but it’s not quite good enough.

Superman #671–The cover shows Superman fighting an army of bugs and has a blurb about this being “The Insect Queen, Part One”.  Aside from a charity function and a little investigative work, that is the issue.  It could probably showcase the bugs’ powers, though.  Still, this one works for me.

Superman/Batman #44–The story is about a movie, a fight with Livewire, and Superman being hurt by Kryptonite again.  The last of that is the most important piece of information, as it leads us to the next parts of the story arc.  I’m not sure if any of that can be interpreted from a cover that depicts Batman and Superman flying toward the reader with a backdrop of Earth (under some sort of scan–in the issue, that’s a scan for Kryptonite).  This one doesn’t fit.

Ultimate X-Men #89–Uh, no.  I remember the days when I would give these covers the benefit of the doubt because the title of the story was on it.  That probably would’ve worked here, as the Shadow King is really all this story is about.  Storm is prominent, yes, but by no means the whole story.

What If? Civil War #1–This wrap-around cover shows a bunch of prominent characters of Civil War and a couple of glimpses into the first What If? story, with the inclusion of a S.H.I.E.L.D.-garbed Gyrich and an army of Sentinels.  As a whole, it fails to say enough.

The count this week is 6:8.  Almost half and half.  Not bad.

After a month, I’ve finally had the opportunity to read comics in the week they shipped.  What better time to do a Cover Count?

Amazing Spider-Girl #13–The Hobgoblin is depicted playing chess and the cover states that he has a game.  He does a have a game or at least a plan.  However, this cover touches on aspects the interior doesn’t (such as the Scriers and the detective) while offering little about what Spider-Girl handles in the issue.

Captain Carrot and the Final Ark #1–Although the villain threatening the first issue of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew is included in the issue, it’s a minor note.  However, he is the main villain, all those members of the team do appear, and the Sandy Eggo Comic-Con does play an important role.

Countdown #29–By looking at this cover, I was expecting a confrontation between Brother Eye and Karate Kid with Karate Kid coming out on top.  That does not happen in the inside.  Brother Eye attacks and Karate Kid can do nothing.  Moreover, it’s a small event given that events involving other characters receive many more pages.

Fantastic Four #550–This was quite an enjoyable issue with really very little happening.  Unfortunately, the cover doesn’t express any of that content, save that the original Fantastic Four are in the issue.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24–Even without the words this cover, uh, covers much of the story within.  Dr. Strange summoning mystical hands.  Spider-Man confronting mysterious shadowy figures, and Aunt May on her deathbed.  Short of journeys through time and space, that’s everything.

Ghost Rider #16–I don’t really know the details myself, as this issue is somewhat confusing, but I do know that Ghost Rider doesn’t go one-on-one with an evil brunette.

Green Lantern #24–The Sinestro Corps mercilessly attacks Earth, knocking down the JLA and parts of the Statue of Liberty.  The damage isn’t as bad as he cover suggests, but a little creative exaggeration never hurt anyone.

Heroes For Hire #14–The last issue did a pretty good job.  Now all we get is the crew walking in a wasteland.  No mention of Paladin or the Brood or even where the missing members of the team are.  Disappointing, really.

Nova #7–As typical with Nova covers, this doesn’t tell much.  Yes, Nova is infected by the Phalanx.  Well, for some of the issue anyway.  But there really is so much more.

New Avengers/Transformers #4–There’s sort of a confrontation between Spider-Man and Megatron.  Sort of.  But this one not depicting the story isn’t surprising given the past three covers.

Punisher War Journal #12–No, Frank Castle does not fight the Hulk.  The Hulk doesn’t even appear.  Odd.

Spider-Man/Red Sonja #3–Venom does play an important part in his issue, but there’s little interaction between him and the two title characters.  Nor are the two title characters defeated.

Superman #668–Given the words above the title, I was almost willing to give this to them.  Then I realized that fans of Robin or, maybe, Chris Kent don’t know that those characters in the title.  Nor does anyone know without reading that an alien menace is on the horizon, which is revealed on the first page!  So it’s close, but not quite.

Sword of Red Sonja Doom of the Gods #1–Has there been a Red Sonja cover that does an adequate job?  I can’t recall one.  This one is no different.

X-Men: Die by the Sword #1–It’s a cover of a bunch of people standing around on a rooftop somewhere.  Yay.

The Count:  This week, things were 3:12 or 1:4, with one cover coming close to depicting its interior.  Really not that bad.