Max manages to goad Essad into knocking him unconscious, after which Julia manages to retrieve him and return him to his normal life, awaiting the next mission.
Cover, in terms of the over-arching narrative, continues to be a slow burn. While one could argue that little of interest happens in this issue in terms of pushing the story towards a natural conclusion, the beauty of Cover is not found in the plot, but rather in the delivery. The discourse, though heavy-handed at times, is just that– a discourse on the times that we live in and the relationship between our global social structures and the industry that spawns the US mythos. Julia’s fear of the future in light of the new status quo (from how we conduct day to day interactions to the larger scale of what conflict in the 21st century looks like) is a rational fear. Her trepidation and ingenuity are markers of a generation.
We see sketches outlining various meta-narratives naturally present in a series driven by a look at the comics industry but thanks to Mack, even these sketches are embroiled in various contemporary discourses. Look at the sequence here:
This page is from the beginning of a dream sequence prior to Max’s awakening. On the surface, it could be read as an introspective memory of a moment in Max’s life in which he saw the budding of his comics series begin to crystallize, but the iconography suggests more. The static “Male Bathroom” icon, something very much a part of recent events in the United States, stands in as a mask for Max to assume as he searches for an identity in a world designed to flatten the individual into consumable demographic. The encounter with Others, larger flattened individuals gestures towards the steady march of globalization at the realization of Max’s Korean influences on his work. There is the fear of bullying as the larger figures attempt to steal Max’s book, perhaps a nod to the insecurity of intellectual property in a world of hacking and security leaks. An offhand sequence that is pregnant with possible readings becomes the hallmark of this series.
The process shots and the development of intellectual properties help to discern other readings layered upon readings as we get an inside glimpse into the creative process but also the mindset of the creator/Creator. There is a certain god-like power in world-building that Bendis and Mack manage to both capture and elude as words like “genre-defining” or allusions to previous blockbuster “worlds” are dropped and quickly refuted. Comic book famous indeed.
What are you doing still reading this? Go read Cover for yourself!
Cover #4: War Heroes Revisited
Writing - 9.5/10
Storyline - 8/10
Art - 10/10
Color - 10/10
Cover Art - 10/10
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