So much of this cover is good: The stark simplicity of the cover lines. The jewelry. The subject. I would argue that “Combat Instructor” should go before “Beauty Queen,” for a whole bundle of reasons, not least being that I doubt “Beauty Queen” is the first thing Gal Gadot would put on her resume. But here’s what I don’t get: Why, when you are celebrating the things this woman is while then asking her to pose like she has a headache? Gal is an interesting person who contains multitudes, and here seems overwhelmed by that fact. This cover doesn’t say strength to me, so much as it says that she’s frazzled, or stressed, or, “I need two Excedrin Migraine and some caffeine, and until it gets here, I’m just going to stand very still and try to keep my skull from splitting open.” That, and the fact that it’s as much about her armpits as her face, are real letdowns for an enterprise that I think could have been so, so stellar. Even if her armpits are quite nice.

[Photo: Elle]

Tags: Elle, Gal Gadot