Today’s article continues the countdown of the ten best Batman covers of Kelley Jones. After a stint as the cover artist for Detective Comics, and then the Batman title, Jones eventually took over interiors of Batman. These runs, along with some various side projects, constitute one of the most dramatic looks the Dark Knight has ever had.
To get caught up on the countdown, check out 10-3 here:
And now the second best Batman cover by Kelley Jones is:
2. Batman: Unseen #2
The second issue of this mini-series that re-teamed Jones with his Batman collaborator, writer Doug Moench, has the Dark Knight facing off against an invisible foe. Leave it to Jones to depict an invisible man who fades away in layers.
As in sections of the book, here we see Dr. Nigel Glass as only portions of his body’s interior. This is as innovative as an approach to depicting an invisible man as it is gruesome. Which, of course, is right in Jones’ wheelhouse.
Above, Batman is crashing through a window right at him. This is a great Jones depiction of Batman. Here his hands are very claw like and the ears of the cowl are very long, but probably not the most extreme of Jones’. My only complaint here is that so much of the cape is in shadow, that we are robbed of his great detail within it.
Behind them is a mad scientist’s laboratory straight out of James Whale’s Frankenstein. Hearkening back to Jones’ use of older sci-fi elements for mechanical equipment, as discussed previously in this list. The stone walls ascend upwards with the window in the background. Even the container that Glass is raising, filled with a boiling potion, fits in well here.
Unfortunately, the woodcut style moon Jones has depicted here is cut short by the title. While the title graphic and other text on the cover utilize a good choice of fonts, old-school horror/science fiction themed, it is disappointing that we can’t see more of the moon outside.
There is also a great use of color here. The red of Glass’ figure and the title are complimented well by the shades of green in the background. The laboratory equipment with its green variations, along with the olive tone of the stonework behind, help to make this an eye-catching piece.
The blue and yellow of Batman’s costume is also well thought out as these colors are also spread throughout the equipment and the “Mad Science!” text blurb. Therefore, the colors of Batman’s uniform don’t demand your attention and distract from the overall scene. Instead, they work with it and still present an identifiable Batman for the viewer.
Jones really excels at drawing monsters and here is a great example of it. Especially with an “invisible man” character that has been done ad nauseum over the years. While there are some examples in this series of Jones depicting a more traditional or “Universal Monsters” invisible man, they feel more like homages, and less “rip-off”.
All of this helps to make this the second best Batman cover produced by artist Kelley Jones.
Now, while there is only one more cover to go on the countdown, I will probably post a list of honorable mentions that almost made the series first. So be sure to check back to see those and the greatest Kelley Jones Batman cover!