This week's cover is that of Dark Angel #9, from April 1993. Art by Bryan Hitch.
I absolutely love this cover. If you ever needed one specific image which truly encapsulated the character of Dark Angel then this is pretty much it. So much in fact that I've met quite a few people over the years who through the mists of nostalgia have this cover in their heads as being that of the first issue of her title. It was not. The title was actually called "Hell's Angel" for its first 5 issues, (something which was changed after threats of legal action from a certain motorcycle organisation which some of you might have heard of... :) ), and the book's first issue cover arguably focussed more on the X-Men guest starring than on Shevaun Haldane herself....
It was the 90s. The X-Men were everywhere...
I love the energy pulses on this cover. I love the use of colour and the way that all this energy is just flowing out so joyfully from Dark Angel. In panel Shevaun was always a little severe. Not without good reason, of course. She always had a lot to contend with. Very little downtime, very little chance for the reader to see this kind of side to her. Here, presumably either in the night sky or out in space itself, she's just letting herself go for a change. No MYS-TECH. No Anti-Being. Just enjoying the use of her powers and seeing what she can do.
Bryan Hitch has always been an artist who goes into an hugely rewarding amount of detail in the backgrounds of his work. This cover is no exception. Much as though I love the use of colours I would love to see the original black and white inked version of this cover. The detail is incredible, and it would be great to see that detail as originally conceived.
As I've said many a time before I really wish we'd seen Dark Angel make an appearance while Abnett and Lanning were running Marvel's cosmic line a few years back. It was brilliant to see her having made a brief cameo at the end of Captain Britain and MI13, but in terms of a proper comeback I think that probably would have been her best bet. Because while Marvel Cosmic is getting somewhat of a high profile relaunch this year, through Brian Michael Bendis' Guardians of the Galaxy relaunch and Jeph Loeb's integration of the kids cartoon version of Nova in to the Marvel Universe proper, I honestly doubt that Shevaun Haldane is on either of their radars, even at a distant background level.
A great shame. Dark Angel remains a favourite character of mine (obscure though she may be) and while her origins may be tied a little tightly with MYS-TECH and Mephisto it would not take an awful lot to reintroduce her to new readers as a likeable cosmic level character. Just as long as they kept her in that costume. Was never really a fan of the revamp.