Sunday, January 27, 2019

BEST COMICS: 2018


THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN
T H E
T E M P E S T




Shortcut links:
> Best Comics
> Best Graphic Novels
> Best Collections
> Best Movies And TV
> Best Websites

> Rest In Power






B E S T
C O M I C S :





I D W




-THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: The Tempest, by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill (Top Shelf/IDW) _______ ⇧

Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's swan song... for the series, and for their comics careers.

The wink in the cover design to Classics Illustrated should give a clue. This six-issue series is as complex as Pynchon, as subversive as Joyce, as interlaced as Farmer. Gradually, the saga of the League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen has become the story of one extraordinary woman, the indomitable Mina Murray. And, through the concept that all literature was a true interconnected history, it has woven together the sources of everything we enjoy into a new way of seeing them.

Read, Think, Create.

Handy checklist:
  • LOEG 1
  • LOEG 2
  • LOEG: The Black Dossier
  • LOEG 3: Century
  • LOEG: The Nemo Trilogy
  • LOEG 4: The Tempest

> THE CANON 1: 50 Books That Created Modern Pop Culture



-GHOSTBUSTERS: Answer The Call, by Kelly Thompson and Corin Howell _______
Along with their crossover comics series in which all versions of Ghostbusters (from live to cartoon) met, IDW also did this series starring the women from the 2016 film.





I M A G E





-SAGA, by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan _______ ⇧
Contemporary comics' consistently finest series went on a year hiatus after issue #54.

-PAPER GIRLS, by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang _______ ⇧
Contemporary comics' consistently most complex series only enriches with time.




-SLEEPLESS, by Sarah Vaughn and Leila Del Duca _______
A rethinking of Fantasy and Romance idioms.

-BITTER ROOT, by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown and Sanford Greene _______
The '20s Harlem Renaissance vs. arcane forces (and family quarrels).

-INFIDEL, by Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell _______
A horror allegory where a building feeding off of bigotry plagues the immigrants who live there.

-PRISM STALKER, by Sloane Leong _______
Like Octavia Butler writing 'Sailor Moon' .


-THE NEW WORLD, by Aleš Kot and Tradd Moore _______
After the USA's Second Civil War, two opponents screw up the program by falling in love.

-BLACKBIRD, by Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel _______
A neon-noir L.A. Occult mystery.

-SKYWARD, by Joe Henderson and Lee Garbett _______
Class wars, science intrigue, and zero gravity.

-HEY KIDS! COMICS!, by Howard Chaykin _______
Howard Chaykin's loving (while unvarnished) homage to the history of the comics industry.



-MONSTRESS, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda _______
Best-selling author Marjorie Liu's Gothic Fantasy, with stunning art by Sana Takeda.

-THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie _______
Life and death and lifestyles of the rich and infamous.



"All Good Things...", dept.:

Creator-owned series have the benefit of taking their stories to a definite endpoint. These stalwarts bowed out this year.


-SEX CRIMINALS, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky _______ ⇧
The climactic five issues. >

-DESCENDER, by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen _______
The concluding seven issues. Indiana Croft.
The sequel series Ascender follows.

-BLACK SCIENCE, by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera, and Dean White _______
The concluding eight issues. Dare all pretensions in parallel dimensions.

-BLACK CLOUD, by Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, and Greg Hinkle _______
10-issue series concludes.





M A R V E L




-AMERICA, by Gabby Rivera, Joe Quinones, and Ramon Villalobos _______ ⇧
Latter end of 10-issue maxi-series.
America Chavez, amazon luchadora immigrating from another dimension, represents the best ideals of the country she's named for!
Fascists and bigots, begone!



Art by Russell Dauterman

-THE MIGHTY THOR, by Jason Aaron And Russell Dauterman _______ ⇧
Jane.
The death of the mighty Thor.

-MS. MARVEL, by G. Willow Wilson and Nico Leon _______
Embiggen your mind.

-THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL, by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and Derek Charm _______
Fight the sour! Un-glower to the People! Go, nuts!

-SPIDER-GWEN, by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez _______
Does whatever a spider can.




-RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER, by Evan Narcisse and Paul Renaud _______
A skillful streamlining of his Origin.

-BLACK PANTHER, by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuna _______
Bestselling author Coates relaunches the title from #1, continuing his golden run.

-SHURI, by Nnedi Okorafor and Leonardo Romero _______
T'Challa's sister, who once wore the mantle of Black Panther, breaks free into her own series.




-JESSICA JONES, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos _______
It's the dialogue.
During 2018, after nearly two decades of course-correcting Marvel Comics and blueprinting all of the Netflix shows, Bendis moved to DC.

-DOCTOR STRANGE, by Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz _______
"And Doctor Strange is always changing size."

-BLACK BOLT, by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward _______
Any excuse to enjoy Christian Ward's psychedelic art is a valid one.

-LEGION, by Peter Milligan and Wilfredo Torres _______
With the radical TV series attaining new levels of quality, this 5-issue mini-series returns the troubled psionic to the page.


_______________


S T A R
W A R S


Marvel is doing a splendid job making movies between the movies.


-STAR WARS, by Jason Aaron and Stuart Immonen, + _______
The flagship title covers the Rebel side of events during the period between A NEW HOPE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

-DARTH VADER: Dark Lord of the Sith*, by
Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli
_______
This second VADER series covers his emergence immediately after REVENGE OF THE SITH.

*(They don't include the subtitle on the cover, causing great confusion with the previous 25-issue DARTH VADER series, set later.)



-STAR WARS: Doctor Aphra, by Kieron Gillen, Emilio Laiso, and Kev Walker _______ ⇧
The inverse Indiana Jones, the bizarro Han Solo, continues to crash the party and take your lover.

-STAR WARS: Poe Dameron, by Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta _______
This fun series continually brought depth to the pilot and his squadron, fleshing out the events leading up to THE FORCE AWAKENS until its conclusion with issue #31.

-STAR WARS: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi— CAPTAIN PHASMA, by Kelly Thompson and Marco Checchetto
A one-shot which explains events for her between THE FORCE AWAKENS and THE LAST JEDI.





D C




Timely Reminder, Dept.
  • WATCHMEN (1986) is a graphic novel by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, with color by John Higgins.
  • They are the sole creators of this original saga, despite a copyright swindle by the publisher.
  • This is a self-contained story, period.
  • Any other "before" or "after" supplements, "crossover integrations", or "screen extensions" are a complete fraud perpetrated by the greedy and supported by the foolish.

This also applies to all ABC Comics characters misappropriated and franchised. The Corporation didn't create it, they don't ethically "own" it, and their appropriation is just irrelevant exploitation.

(See also: Siegel and Shuster; Bill Finger; Fawcett Comics,...)





V E R T I G O


Forget the corporation, support the creators.


-ASTRO CITY, by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson, + Alex Ross _______
Only two issues and a hiatus, but hey, it's Astro City!

-DEATHBED, by Joshua Williams and Riley Rossmo _______
Hallucinogenic six-issue series about a mysterious adventurer reaching zenith.





Y O U N G
A N I M A L


Forget the corporation, support the creators.

Art by Paulina Ganucheau.

Gerard (My Chemical Romance) Way's imprint, rechanneling the spirit of early '90s Vertigo Comics.


-SHADE, THE CHANGING WOMAN, by Cecil Castellucci and Marley Zarcone _______
The twelve issue Girl book was followed by this six-issue mini-series.
Meta-Zone, Mensa-mad, mega-rad!

-DOOM PATROL, by Gerard Way and Nick Derington _______
Like the other shoe dropping for Grant Morrison's '90s storied run.

-ETERNITY GIRL, by Magdalene Vissagio and Sonny Liew _______ ⇧
What if your best solution is the worst outcome for all?

-CAVE CARSON HAS AN INTERSTELLAR EYE, by Jon Rivera and Michael Avon Oeming _______
The 12-issue Cybernetic Eye book was followed by this six-issue series for the cosmic explorer.





D A R K
H O R S E





-BLACK HAMMER: Age Of Doom, by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston _______
Black Hammer, Lemire's alt-universe parallel to Kingdom Come, ran 13 issues, and was followed up after their 'Crisis' event with this sequel book.

-BLACK HAMMER: The Quantum Age, by Jeff Lemire and Wilfredo Torres _______
A six-issue spin-off of the Black Hammer series.

-ETHER: The Copper Golems, by Matt Kindt and David Rubín _______
A five-issue sequel to Ether, continuing the adventurer caught betwixt science and fantasy.

-AMERICAN GODS: My Ainsel, by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, and Scott Hampton _______
The second arc in their adaptation of Gaiman's book, concurrent with an excellent TV series version.



I never metaphor I didn't like.>
Art by Martin Morazzo.

----- Berger Books -----

In a just universe, Karen Berger would be the one running DC Comics instead of the Corps and the Ballcaps.

Berger edited Alan Moore's Swamp Thing (1984-'87) as he completely upended the comics industry. When that maturity reached an adult level well past the mainstream DC hero books, she ushered in their 'New Format' titles that would morph into Vertigo Comics (1993). Her adult imprint, thriving in the Direct Sales comics shops, brought us Gaiman's Sandman and The Books of Magic (well before Harry Potter); Morrison's Doom Patrol, Animal Man, and The Invisibles; Delano's Hellblazer; and Milligan's Shade, The Changing Man. This grew across 20 years to include Preacher, Lucifer, A History of Violence, 100 Bullets, Fables, Vamps, Y: The Last Man, and The Unwritten. While the '90s mainstream lost much of what made the '80s Revolution so mature, she created a legacy that is beyond compare, still influencing the best work on the page and the screen.

She's back now to show you how it's done right with the imprint Berger Books, distrubuted by Dark Horse.

-LAGUARDIA, by Nnendi Okorafor and Tana Ford _______
Acclaimed Afrofuturist writer Nnendi Okorafor (BINTI, AKATA WITCH) challenges xenophobia with this allegory of interstellar immigrants facing discrimination in NYC.

-THE SEEDS, by Ann Nocenti and David Aja _______
Childhood's End from another angle in a four-issue series.

-SHE COULD FLY, by Christopher Cantwell and Martin Morazzo _______ ⇧
A four-issue series about the mystery left in the wake of a Flying Woman.

-MATA HARI, by Emma Beeby and Ariela Kristantina _______
A layered reevalution of the controversial WWI spy in this five-issue series.




L I O N
F O R G E



-MAE, Volume 2 by Gene Ha _______ ⇧
The next chapter in the all-ages cross-dimensional adventure series by the acclaimed artist of Alan Moore' TOP 10.



B O O M




-CODA, by Si Spurrier and Matías Bergara _______
Like Mad Max goes to Mordor.

-JUDAS, by Jeff Loveness and Jakub Rebelka _______ ⇧
A deconstruction of Judus Iscariot as fate's puppet.

-ABBOTT, by Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivela, and Jason Wordie _______
This hard '70s detective will solve this arcane noir, if she can get past everyone's biases. Five issues.

-FIREFLY, by Greg Pak and Dan McDaid _______ ⇧
Jumping from Dark Horse, the adventures of everyone's favorite cult TV Space Western continue.







B E S T
G R A P H I C
N O V E L S :





-STRONG FEMALE PROTAGONIST, Vol. 2, by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag (IDW) _______ ⇧
Mulligan and Ostertag wrestle with the complexities of being a postmodern feminist superhero.

-THE HIDDEN WITCH, by Molly Knox Ostertag (Scholastic) _______
Ostertag's hailed sequel to THE WITCH BOY.




-The Beatles' YELLOW SUBMARINE, by Bill Morrison (Titan) _______ ⇧
"It's all in the mind, y' know."
A labor of L-O-V-E by the co-founder of Bongo Comics and current editor of MAD Magazine, distilling the film into thoughtful graphic tableauxs.

-FAB4 MANIA: A Beatles Obsession and the Concert of a Lifetime, by Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics) _______
Tyler's diary entries and illustrations lovingly recreate the thrill of Beatlemania taking hold of the new youth through 1965, with a you-are-there sweetness.




-The Provocative COLETTE, by Annie Goetzinger (NBM) _______ ⇧
Lateral to the film bio COLETTE (2018) starring Keira Knightley, Annie Goetzinger tells her version of the notorious life of the great French literarary rebel.

-McCAY, by Thierry Smolderen and Jean-Philippe Bramanti (Titan Comics) _______ ⇧
A comics bio of the life of Winsor McCay, creator of the esteemed "Little Nemo In Slumberland" comic strip and modern animation, told in the style of his work.

[See also: "The Adventures of Hergé" (Drawn & Quarterly), and the Art Masters graphic novel bios of fine artists.]

-THE JOE SHUSTER STORY: The Artist Behind Superman, by Julian Voloj and Thomas Campi (Papercutz’s Super Genius) _______ ⇧
A lovely biography of the co-creator of Superman, the character that established the entire comics industry.
And how that industry then established the legally-upheld pattern of bilking massive corporate profits at the expense of disposed creators.
[See also: 1938-Now]

-MEMORABILIA, by Sergio Ponchione (Fantagraphics) _______
Bios in comix form of Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Wallace Wood, Will Eisner, and Richard Corben, referencing their styles in each.




-MONK!: Thelonious, Pannonica, and the Friendship Behind a Musical Revolution, by Youssef Daoudi (First Second Books) _______ ⇧
BeBop or be dead.
The symbiotic relationship of Jazz prophet Thelonious Monk and his patron, Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter.

-ALL THE ANSWERS: A Graphic Memoir, by Michael Kupperman (Simon & Schuster) _______
A nuanced memoir about his father, a Quiz Kid champion of the '40s, and the toll of celebrity on soul and family.

-BERLIN 3: City Of Light, by Jason Lutes (Drawn & Quarterly) _______ ⇧
Across 20 years, Lutes has woven an ongoing examination of how the rebellious Wiemar Republic was (ahem) trumped by repressive Nazism, which he has now finished in this timely third collection.

-I, René Tardi, Prisoner of War in Stalag IIB, by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics) _______ ⇧
The French comics legend gives account of his father's time surviving that Hell.




-BRAZEN: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, by Pénélope Bagieu (First Second) _______ ⇧
Revolution Grrrl Style Then!
A herstory of international hellions.

-I MOVED TO LOS ANGELES TO WORK IN ANIMATION, by Natalie Nourigat (Boom) _______ ⇧
In which she does exactly what she set out to do, and maybe you can, too.

-WHY ART?, by Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics) _______ ⇧
Eleanor Davis peels away layers of assumption in a quest of better understanding about the practice of creation.



-THE LIE AND HOW WE TOLD IT, by Tommi Parrish (Fantagraphics) _______
A contemplation of how the anxieties in mundane relationships can lead to their undoing.

-GRAFITY'S WALL, by Ram V and Anand RK (Unbound) _______
A wall in Mumbai, the pivot point for the futures of young friends.

-THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER, by Jen Wang (First Second Books) _______
'Princess fairy tales' are getting thankfully challenged and liberated at every turn nowadays, and this welcome volume about friendship, secrets, and personal expression is another push forward.

-COYOTE DOGGIRL, by Lisa Hanawalt (Drawn & Quarterly) _______
The designer of the 'Bojack Horseman' show decides to indulge any fun fantasy she wants.



-UPGRADE SOUL, by Ezra Claytan Daniels (Lion Forge) _______ ⇧
Can you attain perpetual youth? Should you?

-ON A SUNBEAM, by Tillie Walden (First Second) _______
A collection of the webcomic series, a poignant tale about outer space exploration and inner space revelation.

-TAEMONS, by Kim Salt (ShortBox) _______
Any deal with a devil is more than you bargained for.

-HOMUNCULUS, by Joe Sparrow (ShortBox) _______ ⇧
A character story about artificial intellence and the turning of time.



-CASSANDRA DARKE, by Posy Simmonds (Fantagraphics) _______
The evergreen Posy Simmonds (GEMMA BOVERY, TAMARA DREWE) returns.
No one combines literate text, narrative illustration, caustic barbs, and sublime moments in their work like her.

-HASIB AND THE QUEEN OF SERPENTS, by David B. (NBM) _______
Who can resist a Thousand And One Nights tale, told in kaleiscopic design?

-BARRIER, by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin (Martin Panel Syndicate) _______
A self-published indie comic by one of the most important writers of the medium, which you can name your price to buy.
(Be generous.)

-LIKELY STORIES, by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham (Dark Horse) _______
A new horror anthology by the two luminaries.
Now let's wrap up Miracleman after 25 years, guys.



-The Sons of EL TOPO, Vol. 1: Cain, by Alejandro Jodorowsky and José Ladrönn (Dark Horse) _______ ⇧
Alejandro Jodorowsky spoke for decades of doing a sequel to his epochal symbolist Western film, EL TOPO (1970).
At last, he gives us a version of it, beautifully panarama-ed by the cinematic art of José Ladrönn.


-WONDER WOMAN: Earth One, Vol. 2, by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette (DC) _______ ⇧
Morrison and Paquette continue their alternate take on the origins and arrival of the eternal Diana.

-MARVEL RISING: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl meets Ms. Marvel, by Devin K. Grayson, Ryan North, G. Willow Wilson,
and Marco Failla
(Marvel) _______
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel meet for the first time.
Well? Throw money at it!






B E S T
C O L L E C T I O N S /
R E I S S U E S :



Quality is timeless.


-PRINCE VALIANT: Volumes 4-6 (1943-1948), by Hal Foster (Fantagraphics) _______
Hal Foster -and his peers Alex Raymond and Milton Caniff- turned comic strips from kids stuff to a literate art form, inspiring every comic book artist who followed.

-EC ARCHIVES: Weird Fantasy, Vol. 3, by Multiple Creators (Dark Horse) _______
EC Comics invented adult comics in the early '50s, and were crucified for it.> Catch up to the original revolution.
Stories by Gaines, Feldstein, Frazetta, Wood, Kamen, Orlando, and Williamson.

-EC ARCHIVES: Haunt Of Fear, Vol. 5, by Multiple Creators (Dark Horse) _______
Stories by Gaines, Feldstein, Binder, Kamen, Davis, and Crandall.

-THE UNKNOWN ANTI-WAR COMICS, by Multiple Creators (IDW) _______
A trove of previously overlooked anti-war stories across the years, featuring work by Steve Ditko and others.



-YRAGAËL AND URM: The Madman, by Michel Demuth and Philippe Druillet (Titan) _______
Philippe Druillet intersected Kirby cosmicness with Moorcock experimentalism, changing the comics industry after co-founding Metal Hurlant/Heavy Metal magazine with Moebius.
This is a remastering of the 1974 Science Fantasy classic.

-LONE SLOANE: Gail, by Philippe Druillet (Titan) _______ ⇧
This third volume in the ongoing remasters of the Lone Sloane series reprints the 1978 book.


-INSIDE MOEBIUS: Vol.1, 2, and 3, by Jean Giraud (Dark Horse) _______
In 2001, Jean Girard/Moebius/Gir sought to reinvent himself again in a doodle diary, which instead became a sprawling discourse of an author inverting his ouvre with perverse glee while questioning himself.
Looser, funnier, odder, crazier.

-THE PRISONER, by Jack Kirby and Gil Kane (Titan) _______ ⇧
In the mid-'70s, Marvel Comics supported the return of Jack Kirby by letting him adapt two projects dear to his heart: the film 2001 and the symbolist TV series, 'The Prisoner'.
But they felt the cerebral tale lacked action, and had Gil Kane take another go at it. Neither version was ever released, a grievous error set right by this deluxe book scanning the original art of each.
BCNU.





-WONDER WOMAN: The Golden Age Omnibus, Vol. 3 (1946-'47), by William Moulton Marston, Joyce Murchison, H.G. Peter, and Robert Kanigher (DC) _______
The final stories written by original creator Marston and his ghost partner Murchison, illustrated by co-creator Peter.
After Marston's death in '47, the feminist firebrand was systematically neutered over the next 20 years by Robber Conniver.

-GREEN LANTERN: The Silver Age Omnibus, Vol. 2 (1965-'70), by John Broome, Gardner Fox, and Gil Kane (DC) _______
Editor Julius Schwartz kicked off the Silver Age rebirth of comic books in 1956, in the wake of the attempt to extinguish them. He did it by streamlining them for the Space Age, with sharp writers, sleek artists, and always always always smart Science.
This Cosmic Cop series inspired all of the imitations that followed: Captain Mar-Vell, Nova, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Men In Black, etc.

-GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW: Hard Traveling Heroes (1970-'74), by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams (DC) _______ ⇧
This is the precise turning point when comics grew up and were first acknowledged by the mainstream media.
O'Neil and Adams were the peers of the New Hollywood, bringing a level of literacy and illustration and sociopolitical realism that the New York Times Review Of Books termed "the Age of Relevancy". Every mature innovation since in the medium branches from right here.

Essential.



-JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: The Bronze Age Omnibus, Vol. 2 (1974-'77), by (DC) _______
The classic line-up of the most influential super-team in history.

-BATMAN By Neal Adams, Book 1 (1968-'69), by Bob Haney, Dennis O'Neil, and Neal Adams + (DC) _______
The first stories, when Neal Adams' naturalistic illustration began propelling the medium forward.

-ALL-STAR SUPERMAN (2005-'08), by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC) _______
One of the most majesterial celebrations of the Last Son Of Krypton gets remastered.

-MISTER MIRACLE (2018), by Tom King and Mitch Gerads (DC) _______
The recent, highly acclaimed 12-issue maxi-series compiled.
How does the escape artist escape himself?



-FANTASTIC FOUR, The Coming Of Galactus: The Epic Collection (1964–'66), by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (Marvel) _______
Fantastic Four had been a brainy adventure series, but this is the moment when Marvel Comics first got biblical on a cosmic scale.

-DOCTOR STRANGE, Master of the Mystic Arts: The Epic Collection (1963-'66), by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (Marvel) _______
The creators of Spider-Man go unexpectedly mad with glorious visions of the beyond.

-SPIDER-MAN, No More: The Epic Collection (1966-'67), by Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., Larry Leiber, and Marie Severin (Marvel) _______
Every story where a superhero chucked it all and walked away comes from right here.

-Jim Starlin's MARVEL COSMIC ARTIFACT EDITION (1972-'77), by Jim Starlin + (IDW) _______ ⇧
Inspired by Kirby's New Gods, Jim Starlin invented Thanos and the struggle for galactic power, blocked by Captain Marvel, The Avengers, and Warlock.
He set off the entire Marvel '70s SciFi wave, as well as the throughline of the Marvel Films which culminates in AVENGERS: Infinity War (2018) and AVENGERS: Endgame (2019).



-MASTER OF KUNG FU, Weapon of the Soul: The Epic Collection (1974-'75), by Jim Starlin, Doug Moench, and Paul Gulacy + (Marvel) _______
After four decades of backstage legalities, Marvel is finally free to reprint this vital series.
Initiated by Jim Starlin during the Martial Arts craze, it would evolve under writer Doug Moench and artist Paul Gulacy into an interrogation of previous Asian stereotypes with profound philosophical introspection, amid radical Steranko-esque page arrangements.
And it would only get better, as subsequent volumes will prove...

-Marvel Masterworks: KILLRAVEN (1973-'76, 1982), by Don McGregror and P. Craig Russell, + Adams, Chaykin (Marvel) _______
While writer Don McGregor was revitaling Black Panther, his modern sequel to WAR OF THE WORLDSs took full flight with artist P. Craig Russell. As Russell found his unique graphic Art Nouveau style, the series became fine art, culminating in a stunning 1982 graphic novel reunion finale.

-MOON KNIGHT, Final Rest: The Epic Collection (1982-'84), by Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz, + (Marvel) _______ ⇧
Moon Knight during this period was the exact equivilent of the GL/GA O'Neil and Adams stories a decade before.
The title was one of the first to go off newstands to the new Direct Market of comic stores, allowing writer Moench and artist Sienkiewicz to bring an adult intensity and stylistic innovation unseen before.
This volume contains their final three issues, plus some other worthy work by creators that followed.

[For a fuller span of their run, get the essential previous volume, MOON KNIGHT, Shadows of the Moon: The Epic Collection.]



-The Ballad Of HALO JONES, Vol. 1, 2, and 3, by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson (2000 AD) _______
One of Moore's first series, and his first with a dynamic female lead.

-THE ONE, by Rick Veitch (IDW) _______
A rare six-issue series for Epic Comics (1985), in which Veitch paralleled Moore in deconstructing modern superhero tropes.
After this, he began an ill-starred arc following his friend Moore as writer/penciller for Swamp Thing.

-VIOLENT CASES, by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (Titan) _______
Gaiman and McKean made their comics debut in 1987 with this experimental Noir story.

-V FOR VENDETTA 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd (DC) _______ ⇧
Because you need to be told, at all times, to pay attention, to fight back, to never give up.

-LOST GIRLS: Expanded Edition, by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie (IDW) _______
Comics' royal couple treats coupling royally.



-RONIN, by Frank Miller (DC) _______
After his early-'80s Daredevil run brought hardboiled maturity to mainstream American comics, Miller had more clout than anyone in 1983.
So he made a cutting-edge Lone Wolf And Cub/cyberpunk epic that shocked or divided everyone, and which across time has come clear as one of the best things he ever did.

-Bill Sienkiewicz's MUTANTS AND MOON KNIGHTS Artifact Edition, by Bill Sienkiewicz (IDW) _______
The experiments from "Moon Knight" led Sienkiewicz to expand his Adams realism into Steadman frenzy, coming to the fore in his bracing 1984 work on The New Mutants, the first X-Men spin-off team.
His experimental work on the character Legion therein is why Noah Hawley's TV show LEGION is so artfully stylized.

-DAVE McKEAN: The Short Films, by Dave McKean (Dark Horse) _______ ⇧
A blu-ray of McKean's short films in a book with production photos and art.

-DC Comics: The Art of DARWYN COOKE, by Darwyn Cooke (DC) _______
Cooke left the Bruce Timm animation shows to become one of the luminaries of modern comics, until his untimely passing.

-DIRTY PLOTTE: The Complete Julie Doucet, by Julie Doucet (Drawn and Quarterly) _______
Another lost soul, this one a pioneer for confessionals in indie comix, with a bent and sad edge.



-STAR WARS: Forces Of Destiny,
by Multiple Creators (IDW) _______ ⇧
All-ages comics with new adventures spotlighting Leia, Rey, Hera, Ahsoka, Padme, and Rose with her sister Paige.

Watch the Forces Of Destiny cartoon shorts for free here:
Season 1, Season 2

-SPECTACLE, Vol. 1, by Megan Rose Gedris (Oni Press) _______
A paranormal circus murder mystery.

-MILK WARS, by multiple creators (DC/Young Animal) _______
A crossover event between DC and its punk imprint Young Animal, including: JLA/Doom Patrol; Mother Panic/Batman; Shade, the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman; Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye/Swamp Thing.


_______________



WHERE WE COME FROM, Dept.

Explore the past to map the future.
Get with, get going.



-Comic Book History of Comics: Comics for All, by Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey, and Adam Guzowski (IDW) _______ ⇧
The sequel to "Comic Book History of Comics", which told the history in graphic form, goes international in scope.

-NEW HOLLYWOOD, by Jean-Baptiste Thoret and Bruno (IDW) _______ ⇧
A graphic overview of how the counterculture saved Hollywood and advanced filmmaking between 1967 and 1980.







B E S T
M O V I E S
a n d
T V:



I write and illustrate reviews of all comics-sourced films at the Four Color Films site.

Art by Tym Stevens

-AVENGERS: Infinity War
10 years of quality superhero films coming to fruition, and hinging into the new future.

-BLACK PANTHER
The best aspects of Kirby, McGregor, Priest, and Coates' comics now innovating on the screen.

-ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Underrated fun, led by the formidible Wasp.

-SPIDER-MAN: Into the Spider-Verse
A quantum leap forward in animation, with a smart plot, laughs, and heart.

-THE DEATH OF STALIN
The satirical graphic novel expanded by a fine ensemble cast.

See Also:
> Four Color Films,
THE Comic Movies Review Site!



-LEGION, season 2
The highest level of fine art craft on Television.

-DAREDEVIL, season 3
"Born Again" reborn.

-CLOAK AND DAGGER, season 1
Black and White are social delusions, only human empathy matters.>


See also:
> BEST MOVIES & TV: 2018






B E S T
W E B C O M I C S





-NANCY, by Olympia Jaimes
Under a psuedonym, someone is upgrading the classic strip's mindtricks for the digital age.
"Sluggo is lit" and you should get literate, too.

-ON A SUNBEAM, by Tillie Walden

-The Nib
RESIST!






R E S T
I N
P O W E R





  • Stan Lee
  • Steve Ditko
  • Marie Severin

From you, we exist.
Because of you, we persist.





Nuff said, pilgrim. Excelsior!


© Tym Stevens



See also:

-FourColorFilms: THE Comics Film Review Site!


BEST MOVIES & TV: 2018
BEST MUSIC: 2018

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2017
BEST MUSIC: 2017
BEST COMICS: 2017

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2016
BEST MUSIC: 2016
BEST COMICS: 2016

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2015
BEST MUSIC: 2015
BEST COMICS: 2015

BEST MUSIC: 2014
BEST MOVIES & TV: 2014
BEST COMICS: 2014

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2013
BEST MUSIC: 2013
BEST COMICS: 2013

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012
BEST MUSIC: 2012
BEST COMICS: 2012

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2011
BEST MUSIC: 2011
BEST COMICS: 2011

BEST MOVIES: 2000-2010
BEST COMICS: 2000-2010
BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010


-STARSTRUCK Strikes Back!
-STARSTRUCK: The Roots and Branches of Elaine Lee & Michael Kaluta's space opera
-How STAR WARS Is Changing Everything!

-THE CANON 1: 50 Books That Created Modern Pop Culture
-THE CANON 2: 50 More Books That Created Modern Pop Culture



Saturday, January 19, 2019

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2018


The Great, The Good, and The Interesting!

New life.



Shortcut links:
BEST MOVIES: 2018
BEST DOCUMENTARIES: 2018
BEST TV: 2018



Note: This will often spotlight directors for special merit.
But Auteur Theory is a shoebox; films are a collaborative effort with everyone involved.





"And...Action!"

B E S T
M O V I E S :
2 0 1 8





T H I N K





-✭✭✭✭✭
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND ⇧ (1970+)
The best movie of the year was made in the early '70s and never released.

Orson Welles was the god Hollywood couldn't kill. Ostracized in his latter decades, the Golden Boy became the original Indie filmmaker, creating an unsupported ouvre that -in retrospect- is as interesting and challenging as his acolytes Fellini, Kubrick, Cassavetes, or Altman in the same period.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND was filmed intuitively and in pieces between 1970 and 1976. Financial setbacks prevented it from being edited and released until this year (see next entry). If it'd premiered in the '70s, it would surely have been hailed as the decade's (1963), a radical work visually and verbally quoted ever since.

Welles essentially sums up two decades of the film movement innovations that had been spurred by his early work. He spoofs/honors/savages his legacy as well as the experimental techniques of Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, and the counterculture's New Hollywood. It is a strobe of metatextual brilliance: stunning visuals, multiple film stocks, films-within-films, intense eroticism, nonlinear complexity, arresting editing, and all with an abrasive wit that is downright Punk Rock.

It is a perfect bookend to CITIZEN KANE (1941): from a debut movie about the making of a myth, to a finale movie deconstructing movie mythmaking. And it's the worthy capstone to Welles' career that he hoped for, deserved, and now has finally achieved.


-THEY'LL LOVE ME WHEN I'M DEAD
The making of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND.
Like Josh Karp's book, this documentary details the insane backstory behind the Master's last great vision.

Welles' film had all the right ideas and all the wrong factors. It was undone by personal excess, betrayed friendships, swindled money, government coups, and indifferent Suits. But crowdfunding and Netflix restored and released the film at last, along with this wry exposé which interviews everyone involved.



-THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN
Set in 1981, this loosely true heist dramady will convince you it was made then, like a lost New Hollywood refugee.
And Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Tom Waits, and Danny Glover remind you how great acting only improves with wisdom.

-BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
An excellent thriller by Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Cabin In The Woods, Daredevil Sn. 1), with a sharp ensemble navigating startling twists.

-WIDOWS
A terrific heist film and character drama with fresh angles, layered complexity, and peak players.
Adapted for the screen by Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave, Shame) and Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects).

Note: Even with the famous casts, Cynthia Erivo is the breakout star of both Bad Times and Widows.


-COLETTE
The turn into the 20th Century was the birth of the modern world, and the French writer Colette was one of its prime harbingers.
Keira Knightley (like her rhyme, Natalie Portman) has liberated herself through indie character dramas, and brings vivid life to this biopic.

-SKATE KITCHEN
Crystal Moselle's handheld film about NYC skater grrrls is so real it's practically a documentary.

-MADELINE'S MADELINE
Josephine Decker's drama about improv theatre and mental illness gains all its potency from the riveting friction between Molly Parker and newcomer Helena Howard.


-ROMA (Mexico) ⇧
Alfonso Cuarón's calm meditation on class and identity during the brewing political upheavals of 1970 Mexico City.
Real performances captured in loose-panning cinematography.

-DISOBEDIENCE
The best love story of the year.
Sebastián Lelio's tale of forbidden love amid orthodox Judaism slowburns into glory with Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams.

-I AM NOT A WITCH (Africa) ⇧
Director Rungano Nyoni debuts with her sober eye and a quietly sweet heart.
A young African girl accused of witchcraft navigates superstition, bureaucracy, and class.


-FIRST MAN
The public calm and troubled soul of Neil Armstrong.
The private life is subtle, the flights unnervingly intense.

-BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
Quite possibly the best Rock docudrama ever made. (Along with THE DOORS).
Letter-perfect details, continually rousing use of Queen's music, a bravely poignant story, and a fine performance by Rami Malek as the ever-great Freddie Mercury.

-MARY SHELLEY
With two books alone, Mary Shelley was the mother of Science Fiction, Future Dystopias, and Gothic Horror. Respect.
Elle Fanning leads a strong, thoroughly detailed account of her stunning life.




Depose Corrupt Presidents, dept.:

History is repeating because of mass ignorance. Catch up to history's lessons with the perfect movie trilogy.

-THE POST ⇧ (2018)
The Pentagon Papers blew the whistle on the U.S. Government's illegal and immoral Vietnam War practices in 1971, and President Nixon tried to stop the Washington Post from exposing it to the country.
-ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN (1976) ⇧
After the 1972 Watergate burglary, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein followed the trail of multiple crimes to the President's office.
-MARK FELT: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017) ⇧
Woodward and Bernstein were helped by a mysterious informant called 'Deep Throat'. It turns out, the criminal President was deposed because of the leader of the FBI.

Any similarity to current reality is entirely our neglect.



Interesting:
-BURNING (South Korea)
Mixed feelings.
Good craft and mood, dubious story hinge.




S M I L E



-SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
Public Enemy's heirs in Conscious Rap were the political firebrands, The Coup.
Frontman Boots Riley wrote and directed this ambitious satire: constantly hilarious, surprising, scathing, and ultimately startling.


-THE DEATH OF STALIN
This adaption of the French graphic novel about the lethal scramble for power in Communist Russia crackles like an '80s Monty Python solo film with a razor ensemble.

-SUPPORT THE GIRLS
What makes a breastaurant comedy worth it?
Satire, heart, and Regina Hall's breakout performance.

-THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
A Coen Brothers anthology of Old West tales breezing on all their strengths.

-BLACK KLANSMAN
A bit too cartoonish, but the early-'70s Black Power movement gets some good moments, and the end montage is downright chilling.
All Power To All The People!
Ban the Klan!



-PADDINGTON 2
The enchanting first film gets the expansive, astonishing sequel (see also: BABE).
Director Paul King's triumph is buoyed by an exuberant cast, including the versatile Brian Gleeson.



John Hughes Redux, dept.:

The '80s-Spoiled-Suburban-Fantasy never worked for me. That said, some smart RomComs about High School love are updating Hughes's formula with needed upgrades.

-TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE
Director Susan Johnson and writer Sofia Alvarez bring more diversity and wit, fronted by the charming Lana Condor.

-LOVE SIMON
Greg Berlanti (the CW superhero shows) surprises with this necessary adaptation of Becky Albertalli's book, bringing wider sexuality and personal character issues into the mix.




D R E A M


-SOLO: A Star Wars Story
✭✭✭✭✭
Ron Howard saves the day by delivering the exact Han Solo origin story we needed: a Space Western (with nods from Ford to Leone to Penn) and a heist story gliding on fun banter, inverse turnovers, edgy grit, and moments of poignancy.

Lawrence Kasdan. Val. L3-37. Enfys Nest.

All fake Flitwits and MalBots on the net aside, the true fans appreciate this fine film.

> Why EMPIRE and LAST JEDI are actually the Best of the STAR WARS films



-A WRINKLE IN TIME
Ava DuVernay (SELMA) brings lucid life and range to the insular and sometimes abstract classic book by Madeleine L'Engle.
> THE CANON 2: 50 More Books That Created Modern Pop Culture


-HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES >
The best Science Fiction Romance Punk Opera Mindwarp Comedy of the year.
Director John Cameron Mitchell (HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH) returns with this expansion of a Neil Gaiman short story. Bristling 1977 Punk energy, celestial Motorik, latex polyamory, D.I.Y. tribes, metaphor speak, and scabrous cartooning, all laced by the always delightful Elle Fanning.

-PLEASE STAND BY
Quiet and underrated dramady following an autistic writer (Dakota Fanning) in her efforts to win a Star Trek screenplay contest.



-HAPPY AS LAZZARO (Italy)
A class allegory that shifts into enchanted metaphor as gently as a sun beam.

-READY PLAYER ONE
The insane cornucopia of pop cultural Easter Eggs wins the day for me.
Plus Olivia Cooke ('Bates Motel') gets the star turn she deserves.

-MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT
Solid basics, but the epic finale makes it worth the trip.


-FAHRENHEIT 451
Killing knowledge kills humanity.
Ray Bradbury's timeless book portrayed how censorship and ignorance is cultural suicide.
Ramin Bahrani's new update couldn't be more timely.
> THE CANON 2: 50 More Books That Created Modern Pop Culture



Interesting:
-THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX
CLOVERFIELD and 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE get an unexpected summation in this SciFi thriller with a great cast, including perennial greats Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, and Zhang Ziyi.

-MUTE
Duncan Jones' long-awaited follow-up to MOON (2009) turns out to be a BLADE RUNNER homage.
An erratic pinball with effective moments and dodgy turns.




N I G H T M A R E



-A QUIET PLACE
Less is always more, implication is always more potent, suspense always outweighs shocks.
All the right moves, and Emily Blunt.

-BIRD BOX
As effective as A QUIET PLACE, and perhaps more so, through sustained implication and wider ensemble character.



-ANNIHILATION
Alex Garland follows EX MACHINA with this lofty headtrip that deserves far more attention than it got.
After a fine run of Indie successes, Natalie Portman reminds the mainstream she can do anything.


-HALLOWEEN (2018)
There are only three that matter: HALLOWEEN (1978), HALLOWEEN 20 (1998), and HALLOWEEN (2018).
The second and third are alternate sequels that honor and enhance the original well.
Jamie Lee Curtis.



Interesting:
-MANDY
Wrong but mesmerizing, like Hal Ashby slowly getting possessed by a rabid Sam Raimi.
Panos Cosmatos (BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW) applies A-level art to B-movie tropes.
Your mileage may vary, but it sure as hell was shot well.




G R A P H I C
I M A G E S


(Full reviews for the following films
will be forthcoming from the review site,
Four Color Films).



Art by Tym Stevens

-AVENGERS: Infinity War

-BLACK PANTHER

-ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

-THE DEATH OF STALIN



See Also:
> Four Color Films,
THE Comic Movies Review Site!




A R T F L I X


-SPIDER-MAN: Into The Spider-Verse
At last, the cinematic debut of Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy, the new heirs to the Spider mantle.
After their kiboshed attempt at helming SOLO, Miller and Lord (THE LEGO MOVIE) return to their strengths here.
Smart story, perfect cast, genuine laughs, deeply touching moments, Pop metatext, all vibrating in a spectacularly innovative visual style never seen before.
All this and Kirby Krackle, too!

> Waiting For Spider-Man


-THE INCREDIBLES 2
Pixar only does a sequel when a strong story idea merits it.
Elasti Girl stretches out completely in this crafty expansion.

-MARY AND THE WITCH'S FLOWER (Japan)
A Studio Ghibli producer founded a new company, Studio Ponoc, with former Ghibli animators.
This first-rate Fantasy anime debut does the Miyazaki legacy proud.

-TEEN TITANS GO! To the Movies
All of the goofball fun of the TV series magnified, with a million winks to DC history and more.



TV Animation:


-STAR WARS: RESISTANCE 1 ⇧
An anime take, with a fresh location and fun characters.
Great cameos by current film trilogy actors, a comedic tone, a gratifyingly diversified cast, and excellent graphics.

-DISENCHANTMENT 1.0 ⇧
Matt Groening's spoof of Fantasy.
Edgier and bawdier than 'The Simpsons' and 'Futurama', voiced with perfect loopiness by the great Abbi Jacobson ('Broad City').

-HILDA 1 ⇧
A completely winning adaption from Luke Pearson's acclaimed contempo Fantasy kids books, winningly voiced by Bella Ramsey (Lady Mormont from 'Game Of Thrones').


-ADVENTURE TIME 8
Absurdist Fantasy's finest bows out.






B E S T
D O C U M E N T A R I E S :
2 0 1 8




-HALF THE PICTURE
An overview of female directors and expose of the discrimination used to restrain them.
> halfthepicture.com

-FILMWORKER
Leon Vitali did everything beyond human endurance to make the greatness of Stanley Kubrick's films happen.
And he still does. Learn the crazed history of this compulsive archivist who deserves his true due.

-SHIRKERS
Singapore was almost revolutionized in the early '90s by Indie Punk auteurs... until their film was stolen.
Sandi Tan's riveting unraveling of the fate of the rebel film she made with Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique.



-BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT
1968 was the fork in the road for the world's future.
Much of what went wrong in the USA political landscape followed the (specific) murder of this potentially great leader on the right side of progress.
This maxi-series reminds us what should have been.

-FLINT TOWN
Corporations have the right to kill you, and their politician lapdogs will enable it.
How the water of Flint, Michigan, became poisoned by the greedy.

-FAHRENHEIT 11/9
FakePrez.
Greedy
Bigot
Traitor.



-WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
Fred Rogers was a sweet, compassionate person who brought a lot of good into young peoples' lives.

-HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING
A poetic contemplation on rural reality.



-THE TOYS THAT MADE US: Star Trek (S02/E01)
Like their fine Star Wars episode, this one affectionately details the marketing of Star Trek toys.

-Robert Kirkman's SECRET HISTORY OF COMICS
Very mixed bag.
The first three are Golden Age intro overviews, good if sensationalistic. The latter three are recent trends marred by binary politics and backslapping.






B E S T
T V :
2 0 1 8




(The season number follows each title.)




N E W S



Feed your mind and your activism will follow.


-The Rachel Maddow Show

-THE NAKED TRUTH

-THE BREAK With Michelle Wolf

-LAST WEEK with John Oliver

-PBS NewsHour




D R A M A



-BABYLON BERLIN 1 and 2* (Germany) ⇧
*(Netflix showed both as one season)
First-rate version of Volker Kutscher's books.
A crime Noir set in the Weimar Republic just as the Nazis are rising.
Fine cast, cinematic production values, smart music.


-THE HANDMAID'S TALE 2
An original extension of Margaret Atwell's crucial allegorical novel.

-HOMECOMING 1
Military-Industrial recontext.
Sam Esmail ('Mr. Robot') translates Horowitz and Bloomberg's conspiracy thriller podcasts into live action.
Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, and Sissy Spacek get stiff competition from newcomer Stephan James.

-BETTER CALL SAUL 4
What may be the sharpest, subtlest adult drama on TV weaves all the elements together this season to presage the events of 'Breaking Bad'.


-THE DEUCE 2 ⇧
Jumping from 1971 to 1977, Simon and Pelecanos ('The Wire') abetted by female directors trace the rise of Porn in NYC amid the backstory of political corruption guided by slow corporate takeover.

-POSE 1 ⇧
Set in the resulting 1987 corporate NYC, Ryan Murphy ('The Shield') gives wonderful spotlight to the fuller range of human sensuality, following a first-rate ensemble navigating through dance school, voguing matches, identity struggles, yuppie scum, and the neglected onset of AIDS.
Pro-LGBT, pro-compassion, anti-Trump, anti-hate. Nuff said.


-THE FIRST 1 ⇧
One of the best character dramas on television.
Framed in the build-up to the launch of the first personed mission to Mars, it's truly about personal character, visionary science, the tolls of tribulation, and ultimately a hardwon optimism.




W O N D E R



-✭✭✭✭✭
STAR TREK: DISCOVERY 1b ⇧
The best 'Star Trek' series we could have hoped for gets even bolder and better in its latter half.

This is precisely what we needed, a show that recalls where we started from to go where we have yet to go. 'Star Trek: Discovery' vogues the canon and styles of every version that preceded it, and then pogo dances crazed with it. All restraints are over, all possibilites open.

Warp conventions, phase into stunned, transport your spirit. All hail.


-LOST IN SPACE 1 ⇧
I was unkind to 'Lost In Space' in the past, and this excellent new version caused me to recant.

My old feeling was that the '60s show was all the cliches of bad '50s movies, geared for kids, and that its concurrent rivel 'Star Trek' brought the maturity of actual '50s SF literature into the living room for adults. Perhaps true, but kids deserve fun, too.

The two became entwined with time. Will Robinson charted the course for young cast members like Wesley Crusher and Jake Sisko (and actor Bill Mumy guested on 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'). The brief cult hit series 'Earth 2' (1994) was a hybrid of both shows. So was 'Star Trek: Voyager' (1995-2001), with a starship lost in the far cosmos. The reboot film LOST IN SPACE (1998) adapted the cinematic production values common to TREK films. And the opening credits montage of this new series includes the real space shuttle Enterprise.

On the other side of all this comes a new series bettered by all of that. Within two episodes it builds a family we care about in a rough survival series we believe. The locations are grand, the production values first calibre, the science sharp, the twists whiplash. But it's the gravity of the performances that hooks, particularly Molly Parker as the formidable Commander.


-WESTWORLD 2 ⇧
There is more, much more.
Television's smartest philisophical series continues to invert while magnifying itself with new depths and scope. One of the best made and fearlessly ambitious productions going.


-3% 2 (Brazil)
The first season of this timely political future dystopia and class struggle series was great.
The second is even better, doubling the span while deepening the characters.

-COLONY 3
The little show that does.
The best alien invasion/dystopian future series that too many sleep on. Fresh location, social barbs, family bond.


-MANIAC maxi-series ⇧
Like ETERNAL SUNSHINE refracted inside out by Philip K. Dick.
Brainy, absurd, mercurial, rending, surreal.
Emma Stone is a prism.


-ALTERED CARBON 1
After waiting three decades, we got three BLADE RUNNER sequels within six months: the official BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017), and then two clones, MUTE and "Altered Carbon".
Based on the first book of Richard Morgan's trilogy, this adaptation is a generally solid SciFi Noir that revs up fully every time Dichen Lachman enters the room.




H O R R O R


-NIGHTFLYERS 1 ⇧
Based on George R.R. Martin's novella, this extension plays like 2001 rewritten by Stephen King.
Interesting trip with a bumpy middle.

-THE X-FILES 11/maxi-series
The end?

-FORTITUDE 3
The end.
TV's most willfully perverse stealth horror series was like an art film gone horribly deranged that you couldn't pry your eyes off of.

-BLACK MIRROR: Bandersnatch
An interactive special with multiple endings.




U K



-OUTLANDER ⇧ 4
OUTLANDER is one of the finest shows being made.
And my favorite romance, ever.

-DOCTOR WHO 11 ⇧
Jodie Whittaker supercharges the Doctor with her eminence.

History isn't just a package tour. New showrunner Chris Chibnall created all 3 seasons of the acclaimed "Broadchurch"; here he escalates the lightning wit and astonishing locations, while infusing a welcome sociopolitical depth into the adventures.




H E R O E S



Origins.
The core strength that made these seasons of the Hell's Kitchen heroes so effective lay in healing the fractured bonds of family.

-JESSICA JONES 2
The unfolding mystery is chancey, but as brave as it is ultimately successful.

-LUKE CAGE 2
Some may differ, but the second season is stronger, more focused, more intricate.

-IRON FIST 2
The only thing actually wrong with the first season was length, and the second bore out its core quality to fruition.

-DAREDEVIL 3
The best.
The "Daredevil" comics by Frank Miller pretty much kicked off the '80s Comic Renaissance, when maturity and artisanship revitalised the industry.
Through these show adaptions, that same revolution is now revising the screen.
This interpolation of the classic 'Born Again' arc is both a renewal and a payoff for all that has been and what can be.


When Netflix first announced these series, it seemed like they would be a single season of each leading up to a finale team-up with 'The Defenders'. Instead we got multiple seasons of each that only got better in ascension.

Although Netflix has now canceled them, short of certain events that needed to happen (Heroes For Hire, Luke and Jess', White Tiger, Elektra anew), I'm just grateful that we got more than we expected, and always better than we could have hoped.

So thank you, kindly, to all involved.




-LEGION 2 ⇧

There are degrees of merit.
There's High School, there's College, and then there's Oxford.
There's the CW hero shows, there's the Netflix hero shows, ...and then there's 'Legion'.

The most purely fine art show on television, by light years, has no comparative peers in any sphere.

Showrunner Noah Hawley ('Fargo') burned the envelope on the first season, and now melts reality to his whim heedless here, downright daring any tsks or sloths to whine. You're either on the bus or you're on your ass. It's like YELLOW SUBMARINE recut by Burroughs, "Tommy" staged by Laurie Anderson, a Noh play documented by Buñuel. This is a higher better level, a conceptual contagion spread by airwaves.

Tune in to the turnaround or drop out.



-AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. 5b
The first arc, set in the future, was stronger.
But Marvel's most underprized show always proves its worth regardless with maturity, craft, and sly wit.

-THE GIFTED 2a
Who could foresee the day when Claremont, Byrne, and Austin's "X-Men" comics would be on the screen every week, and yet there it is.


-CLOAK AND DAGGER 1 ⇧
Steve Ditko's "Hawk And Dove" comics were Rand-ian absolutist caricatures which dishonored the '60s youth rebellion. Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan's "Cloak And Dagger" always risked being similar absolutes of 'race' misconceptions for the '80s inner city.

They were usually more canny than that, and this TV series does even better.

In a current era still being cynically manipulated into kneejerk separatism based on cliched absolutisms, any mature sociopolitical show with sophistication is a breath of fresh air. Generally aware enough that 'white' and 'black' are just enforced delusions>, the show navigates its two young leads past those dumb deadends as kindred spirits helping each other forward in union.




Batwoman

The pleasure of the DC-TV shows is seeing the Silver/Bronze Age Of Comics come to life.
As a desperately needed antidote to the dour Snyder-verse films, any formula loops, teenie focus, or dumb missteps involved are forgiven in the fun of it all.:
-SUPERGIRL 3b/ 4a
Brainic 5. Dreamer.
-THE FLASH 4b/ 5A
Elongated Man. XS.
-LEGENDS OF TOMORROW 3b/ 4a
John Constantine.
-ARROW 6b/ 7a
The vigilante team.
-BLACK LIGHTNING 1b/ 2a
Thunder. Lightning.


-TITANS 1
Extremely mixed feelings.
The mature Robin, streamlined team, and actual comics continuity are right solutions.
But the ultraviolence, cursing, and kill-ethic are a disease that poisons the show.
It's everything wrong about the ('90s-damaged) New 52 comics era now ruining the screen.
Retrograde Newsflash: Aggro ≠ Adult.


See Also:
> Four Color Films,
THE Comic Movies Review Site!




D E T E C T I V E S



-MISS SHERLOCK 1 ⇧
A female Holmes and Watson in modern Tokyo.
Crack cast, great fun, steady build.


-SHARP OBJECTS 1
Gillian Flynn's mystery novel is actually a bruising Midwestern Gothic.
Amy Adams, taking chances.

-THE ALIENIST maxi-series
A solid if stolid adaption of Caleb Carr's book, with some unnecessary expansions.




C O M E D Y



The marvelous Rachel Brosnahan
-✭✭✭✭✭
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL 2 ⇧

One of the best shows on television, bar none.

Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino ("Gilmore Girls") makes going for glory seem easy, in a sterling production as elaborately ornate as Zhang Yimou films, as chaotic and sharp as Lucille Ball.

Set in 1959, this supercharged season hoofs our fierce stand-up comedian from Paris to Manhattan to the Catskills. It all flows like a musical, in long one-shot scenes with complicated dialogue in big locations with an army of extras in period costumes and cars woven together by a spin cam, sometimes with dancing or fights. (One sequence is more complex than other shows' episodes.) It's a mesmerizing juggle as aware of fashion, etiquette, color, and pace as it is sexim, anti-semitism, classism, military industrialism, and political dissent.

The ace cast cracks wise like clockwork stage plays. Zachary Levi (the original Captain Marvel in SHAZAM) is a fine new foil. Luke Kirby gets ever deeper into the pathos of Lenny Bruce. But, better than anyone out there, Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein are the dynamic duo of screen comedy.

This show is a blessing as much as it is a major achievement. And knockdown hilarious.



-THE GOOD PLACE 3 ⇧
TV's most surreal and subversive comedy only gets ever better.


-KIDDING 1
Jim Carrey's dramady spins a modern Mr. Rogers into something both harrowing and poignant.

-ATLANTA 2
Donald Glover returns.


-LODGE 49 1 ⇧
THE BIG LEBOWSKI and 'John From Cincinatti' were fun, but I like this more.
Spinning its title off Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49", this evolving narrative of the Holy Fool surfer and his laconic sister, the alchemic Lodge, its eclectic members and missing artifacts, and the mysterious Captain binds all together with heart.
Is it stoner comedy, quest allegory, magic realism? Plus.
And it has easily the smartest soundtrack on TV, shimmering on waves of Pop Psyche from all decades.


-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT 4 Remix
The oddly structured return season (2013) gets re-edited in chronological order, feeling more like the original show, with more cast interplay and some lessening of the excessive narration. (Mitchell, give Ron a chance to breathe.)

-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT 5a
Learning the lessons of Season 4: tighter story, more ensemble scenes, lessened narration for the cast to do their magic together.




THINGS TO CATCH UP ON, Dept.



Hey, who has time (or money) to see everything?


VICE
BISBEE '17
THE FAVORITE
A PRIVATE WAR
VOX LUX
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
JEANNETTE: The Childhood of Joan of Arc

MRS. HYDE
GAVAGAI
DESTROYER

MARY POPPINS RETURNS
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
______

THE TERROR 1



© Tym Stevens



See also:

Four Color Films, THE Comic Movies Review Site!


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"Cut!