My comic book news day started with good news... Shang-Chi 2 is a go with Marvel Studios. But then I read the gut-wrenching news that brilliant comic book artist George Pérez has inoperable pancreatic cancer with months to live and there was no amount of good news that could compensate.
So many comic books I bought simply because George Pérez was drawing them. I bought every magazine I could find where he discussed his art and career. Every book, every special, every interview, every everything. His revival of Wonder Woman remains my favorite version of the character. His interpretation of The Scarlet Witch remains one of the best super-hero costumes ever created (and the sexiest). And nobody draws a team book like George. Absolutely nobody. There are many comic book artists whom I enjoy... but there's only one George Pérez. And while I am sad to hear of his latest setback, I temper my sadness with the knowledge that his work will live on. He has left us a legacy so amazing that it cannot help but endure.
In other comic book news, The AV Club ranked all the Marvel TV shows. It's kind of hard to take any list seriously that doesn't have The Inhumans in dead-last place... but a lot of their reasoning is sound (except with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which I can never understand how people actually enjoyed). Just for kicks, here's my ranking...
- Agent Carter
This series was sublime. Haley Atwell made every scene worth watching. And while it took a nosedive in the second season, that didn’t diminish my hope that we’d get a third. I still want it.
While a bit more esoteric than I was hoping for, I did like that they found a way to make the character interesting. It would have been so much easier to make him trade on his one-note villainy, but they took him in an entirely different direction while still letting him be Loki. Since we’re getting a second season I hope that they figure out how to avoid a sophomore slump that would be all too easy after the way the first season ended.
This one had a rocky start, but ultimately managed to do the character justice. The casting of Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock was flawless, and has me really hoping that the character crosses over into the MCU proper. And then there’s Vincent D’Onofrio who nailed his performance as The Kingpin so thoroughly that it seems impossible that they can’t pull him into the MCU somehow.
- Luke Cage
This series might have taken my top spot if the second season was better. I didn’t like the storyline they had going and it was weirdly paced. But that first season? The guy WAS Luke Cage. Another series that should come to the MCU, Mike Colter and all.
- Falcon & Winter Soldier
This series had a lot to love, starting with the undeniable chemistry that comes out of Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. But it was a lot of setup for stuff that may or may not ever pay off. I wish they would have concentrated on a good show for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier first and MCU-building second.
A critical darling that never quite landed with me. The whole TV gimmick was clever, but I would have rather seen them actually have a story that focused on the super-heroes that are Scarlet Witch and The Vision. Yes, there were some clever, emotional, and smart moments that made me take notice... but I wanted something else.
- Jessica Jones
Another bit of flawless casting... this time married to some really good, thought-provoking stories. Kristen Ritter’s Jones is another character that should just walk across to the MCU and give us another couple seasons on Disney+.
- What If
While they tried to tie it all together at the end, it was frustrating seeing so many of these episodes not really end. And when you think about the finale, they don’t really actually ever have an ending. Still, I am looking forward to more.
I think if I were watching this now I might enjoy it more. But I watched with the full knowledge of who the character is in the comics and what ties he has to the X-Men and couldn’t escape the idea that we were being short-changed.
- The Punisher
I enjoyed the series and thought that Jon Bernthal did a great job with the material he was given. Unfortunately what he was given was kinda weak. Sure there were bright spots to be had, but not enough of them to really get me invested in the series.
Funnier than it had a right to be, I did start to get bored as the series progressed. They had their idea, they stuck to that idea, then rode it right to the end. Sometimes that works, but in this case it felt like they could have done more. Still... darn funny in spots.
- The Defenders
It is inconceivable that they managed to get Sigourney Weaver for this series... which wasa everything that four other Netflix series were leading up to... and they kind of shoved her aside. I mean, come on. Sigourney can do loads with the smallest of parts (look at her amazing albeit small contribution to the movie classic Paul) so even if your time was limited you could have still given her a compelling villain to play. Instead we were left a bit disappointed.
- Cloak & Dagger
Two good actors... New Orleans as a location... based on an interesting comic book concept... how could you go wrong? Well, you could go seriously wrong if you were to drag things out and make the show more about Tandy and Tyrone than Cloak and Dagger. When their powers were going on and being used creatively, this show sang. But most of the time I was bored, bored, bored.
- Iron Fist
Where to start? The show was always going to be problematic by having a white guy be a martial arts master trading on an ancient power that comes out of Asia. But then they just made the stories so bad. SO bad. And Finn Jones really never embodied the character (especially in the first season). What really sucks is that by the end of the second season we were finally getting to an interesting place... just before it was canceled. Where they ended is where they should have started, because the character CAN be interesting.
- Agents of SHIELD
Despite loving Agent Phil Coulson, I detested this series. It was comically bad. And every time people would tell me “No! It’s getting good now!” I would tune in only to find that it was just as bad as when I had left it. Then it went all "Agents in Space" and built weak-ass ties to The Inhumans for something I didn’t like even a little bit from start to finish.
I could NOT get into this show, even though the concept in the comics was pretty great. In the end I think they skimped too much on what could have happened with a bigger budget and interesting stories.
- The Gifted
Yeah, this was pretty much a disaster from the first episode. Trying to do the X-Men without the actual X-Men is a recipe for disappointment and I never made it past episode three.
The show never really had a chance and I cannot fathom why Hulu bothered to make it in the first place. A Marvel series that’s not a Marvel series with no ties to Marvel shows? WTF? It could have been different if they at least made it interesting. But they watered down an already watered down concept which left a bland show that didn’t know what to do with itself.
Lord. Not only the worst Marvel show ever made... one of the worst television shows ever made. Period. Just like Odo the shape-changing alien than never changed shape on Deep Space Nine, here’s a TV show with super-powered characters that never really did anything super. And they made it clear that’s what they were going for from the jump when they cut off Medusa’s hair... her only power. Awful stories with awful performances and laughable special effects that sold absolutely nothing. Every frame of the show was shoddy and cheap, and it makes zero sense how it ever came out of Marvel Studios. They should have just buried it rather than let it tarnish Marvel’s hard-earned reputation.
Still trying to wrap my head around The AV Club thinking that Helstrom was somehow worse than The Inhumans.