In anticipation of next month’s release of the X-Men: First Class film, Marvel is producing a set of “X-Men: Evolutions” variants on its May titles. This follows a month of “Thor Goes Hollywood” covers on books in April coinciding with the God of Thunder’s big screen debut and is part of a long line of variants timed with the release of movies featuring Marvel characters. The X-Men’s evolution themed covers feature individual characters highlighting design and costume changes they’ve undergone during their publication history.
The idea for these covers is really neat. Unfortunately, they’re incentive covers so it’s unlikely most fans will ever see the books on shelves. The books they appear on are currently priced at $10 or more from Midtown Comics and the full set is comprised of 14 images. The most disappointing aspect of the promotion is not that they’re uncommon or expensive so much as the fact that they’re on everything but the X-Men titles. This week’s X-Men #11 is the only X-title featuring an “Evolutions” cover with the rest being on everything else across the publishing line. I don’t mind the covers being on books without an X in the name, but with nine X-titles published each month (some currently shipping more than one issue per month) there should be more than one in this set. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but it likely has something to do with increasing orders on other books in order for stores to get the variants.
The artwork for the set is hit or miss for me and it’s a shame that’s there’s not more consistency. In cases like the Emma Frost cover to Hulk #33, the art is gorgeous but the designs just aren’t different enough to sell the idea. The opposite occurs with characters like Rogue where the designs are very different but the composition is just too static. I do like the landscape orientation used for the covers. It’s fairly uncommon and it really adds to the “timeline” aesthetic of each piece, as the designs are chronological from left to right.
I can’t justify the cost for books I wouldn’t even normally be buying, but I’m sure I’ll seek out a few of these that feature my favorites. For my money, the best of the set is Alan Davis’ Jean Grey, but I’m pleased that Larry Stroman’s Havok and Lee Weeks’ Beast covers really hit the mark for me.
Marvel’s “X-Men: Evolutions” variant covers for May 2011:
Amazing Spider-Man #661 – Cyclops (on sale 5/18/11)
Avengers #13 – Jean Grey (on sale 5/18/11)
Captain America #618 – Rogue (on sale 5/25/11)
FF#3 – Wolverine (on sale 5/11/11)
Herc #3 – Angel (on sale 5/18/11)
Hulk #33 – Emma Frost (on sale 5/18/11)
Invincible Iron Man #504 – Iceman (on sale 5/18/11)
Journey Into Mystery #623 – Havok (on sale 5/11/11)
New Avengers #12 – Magneto (on sale 5/11/11)
Secret Avengers #13 – Beast (on sale 5/25/11)
The Mighty Thor #2 – Storm (on sale 5/25/11)
Venom #3 – Sabertooth (on sale 5/25/11)
Wolverine #9 – Hope Summers (on sale 5/25/11)
X-Men #11 – Kitty Pryde (on sale 5/11/11)