Ok, look, variant covers are a tricky thing to talk about. On one hand, they give special artists the ability to weave powerful pieces that don’t have to technically tie into the story, nor, be bound by certain expectations or rules. And trust me, I’ve seen some BEAUTIFUL variant covers. But…there’s often a cost if a person goes “too far”. Sadly, we’ve seen a lot of those over the years.
From the Spider-Woman cover that set the internet on fire, to the Joker/Batgirl cover that was so hated DC Comics decided not to let it be a variant cover after having it made, there are some bad ones. Then, there’s ones that may “look cool”, but don’t make sense in context.
Take a look at this variant cover below for Super Sons #1 (which for the record is about the sons of Batman and Superman teaming up). Look over who’s in the piece:
Do you see the problem here? It’s all about who’s in the shot. No, not Damien, or Jonathan, or even Joker. No, it’s about Catwoman and Ivy. Why are they there? Now, the easy answer is, “They’re villains! Why wouldn’t they work together?”
And that’s true on a level, but not an accurate one. You see, Catwoman has long flirted with the line between hero and villain, even being straight up hero. And in the recent Batman comics in DC Rebirth, she’s been more hero than villain. Then you have Ivy, who has long desired to be more than just a “villain”, and her fans agree with that, the “Poison Ivy League” rallied so hard for this, that DC Comics gave her a miniseries where she was mostly heroic. The recent All-Star Batman shows that even Batman knows she can be good, and Pam (Poison Ivy) knows it too. But there’s an even deeper connection here.
Based on what we know of those two ladies, and one other character who cameos in the cover, there’s no way this would happen. Why? Because Harley Quinn is BFF’s with Catwomwn and Ivy. And they all know her relationship with the Joker is abusive. So, there’s no honestly no chance that they would help Joker in any regard. And yet, they appear very happy to be with him, and having the son of Batman (who Catwoman loves, and knows that Damian is his son), and Jonathan tied up.
The twist? This isn’t the only variant with these characters. There’s a set of covers that shows just Catwoman, and then just Ivy, no others (save for the Super Sons) in the shot. But the fact that this is getting the most attention speaks volumes. And to be honest, the Ivy and Catwoman solos don’t make sense either.
Are we reading too much into this? In a way, maybe. But, that’s just because we’re passionate fans, ones who want to see characters portrayed how they are both in comics, and on covers. If this variant had some random Joker goons, it probably would’ve gone unnoticed. Or just Joker would’ve been fine. Just another variant. But, because of who is in the cover in this pic, the question gets raised. And we have the right to question.