This week I share my thoughts on Daredevil’s final season (and where the series fits in the overall MCU), make some predictions for comics in 2019, and rank my favorite albums of the year!
Note: Light spoilers for DD S3 follow!
Featured Comic Book TV Of the Week –
Daredevil (Netflix) Season Three
As much as I’ve enjoyed the Netflix Daredevil since launch in 2015, I would not have guessed the series would come together this strong for its third and final (as it turns out)season.
The Marvel Netflix partnership has been in an unshakeable slump since Daredevil’s second season was released in 2016 (some would say the slump *started* with DD S2). Daredevil’s third season course corrects all of this with an incredibly gripping thriller. While the action and character work are top notch as always, the thirteen episode’s ability to magnify and elucidate fading trust in stable institutions is remarkable.
Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier was rightly praised for capturing the paranoia of fallen establishments,but I honestly think Daredevil S3 hits this feeling even harder, in a moment when the feeling needs to be articulated. Every time Karen, Matt, Foggy, and Agent Ray Nadeem turn to the“right way” of doing things, the law warps into a molested monstrosity hand-crafted by the Kingpin of crime. The pit of despair endlessly escalates, refusing to let Daredevil and his engaging supporting cast hit bottom.
Even mid-way through the thirteenth episode it remains unclear: Can they actually get out of this?
All in all, it’s a masterclass in tension and a clever interpretation of a modern Daredevil: Born Again. Truth be told, Daredevil S3 is a substantially better Kingpin vs Daredevil showdown, with the duo’s relationship firmly established, and the Kingpin at the absolute height of his powers. Despite his status as an inmate at the start of the season, Vincent D’onofrio’s Wilson Fisk pulls every string throughout this narrative, including the supervillain origin of one Benjamin Poindexter, aka Bullseye.
The gradual build of Bullseye as a nightmarish perversion of Daredevil’s vigilantism is perhaps the most surprisingly effective work executed in season three. I thought I was done with Marvel Netflix’s slow-play special, but the Bullseye build is earned. More importantly, the storyline is supported by an entire Hell’s Kitchen universe that’s already earned my trust and interest. If you’d told me before the season that the series ends with the possibility of Poindexter in a Bullseye costume, I’d have dismissed the decision as another example of the brand’s worst tendencies. Watching it play out, though, I’m just disappointed we won’t see this version of Bullseye on screen.
In a strange twist of fate, as the third season was renewing my faith in the Marvel Netflix brand, Netflix announced the series cancellation. While it’s disappointing that such a successful adaptation is put down like this when there’s clearly more story to tell, I do think season three works as a fitting endpoint, and stands as one of the finest works in the entire MCU.
MCU Power Rankings!
Tier 1: The Best
1) Avengers: Infinity War
2) Jessica Jones (Season 1)
4) Guardians of the Galaxy
5) Thor: Ragnarok
Tier 2: Great
6) Captain America 3: Civil War
7) Black Panther
8) Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
9) Daredevil (Seasons 1,2,3)
10) Spider-Man: Homecoming
11) Iron Man
Tier 3: Good
12) Captain America: The First Avenger
13) The Punisher
14) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
15) Iron Man 3
16) Ant-Man & The Wasp
17) Avengers 2: Age of Ultron
19) Doctor Strange
Tier 4: Mixed Feelings
21) Luke Cage (Seasons 1 & 2)
22) Thor 2: The Dark World
Tier 5: I’ll Watch With a Comic In Hand
25) Agents of SHIELD (Seasons 1 through 4)
26) Agent Carter (Seasons 1 & 2)
27) Iron Fist Season Two
28) Incredible Hulk
Tier 6: Nope
29) Iron Man 2
30) Jessica Jones (Season Two)
31) Too much coffee on an empty stomach
32) Iron Fist Season 1
33) Baby poops in the tub
TREND: 2019 Predictions
Here’s what’s going to happen next year in comics!
- Marvel – War of the Realms Is Going To Be Good
By my count, it’s been three full years since Marvel had an out-and-out good event series. It’s certainly not for lack of trying.
Nonetheless, I have genuinely high hopes for The War of the Realms. Modern Marvel events tend to work better when three conditions are met:
- An ongoing series has been building up to the event for more than a year
- The same writer of said series is also writing the event
- The event involves Doctor Doom
Two out of three ain’t bad, and Jason Aaron’s Thor run is now – quite astonishingly – on six years of general excellence.
For the record, I’m also very intrigued by Age of X-Man, but expect the net product will be a more uneven transitional comic.
2) DC – Batman’s Going to Make a Comeback
It’s perhaps strange to predict big things for the biggest seller in comics, but the critical reception of Batman has waned throughout 2018. In particular, the disastrous rollout of Batman #50 is one of the worst looks DC’s had since Rebirth began in 2016, and puts an exclamation point on a slumping backhalf of the year.
Likewise, Batman writer Tom King has finally hit full backlash with Heroes in Crisis (this despite the fact he and Mitch Gerads still made my favorite comic book of 2018). King’s written some of the best comics of the last 4 years, but both Batman and Heroes in Crisis have DC questioning the plan.
I don’t know that Heroes in Crisis can ever really be salvaged (wrong plot, wrong place, wrong time), but I do fully expect Batman to make a comeback as one of 2019’s best series. King’s been promising a 100+issue plot since he started on the title, and as we move into the 70’s it’s time for the threads to begin weaving together in fascinating ways. There’s a little bit of faith that goes into this prediction – when King’s on point, his Batman can rank among some of the best we’ve seen in the 2000’s.
So here’s me saying, I trust where King and company are taking the title, and fully expect great things next year.
3) The “Indies” – The Year of Hickman
You know who was oddly quiet in 2018? My favorite comic book writer: Jonathan Hickman!
Hickman’s been unattached to either of the big two for three full years now (unless you count the hilariously delayed S.H.I.E.L.D. #5 and #6), and has worked on some of my absolute favorite comics over that time. The likes of East of West, The Black Monday Murders, and The Dead & Dying are all highly recommended reads.
The biggest issue I have with any of these comics is simply that the rate of release has slowed to a crawl. Fortunately, Hickman announced toward the end of the year that both East of West and The Black Monday Murders will release their series final arcs in 2019, which has me anticipating a year of reflection on two of the best comics, well, of all time!
LOVE OF THE WEEK
Since it’s the end of 2018, my love of the week lists out my favorite albums of the year (from #10 to #1!).
- Wise Blood – +
- Vince Staples – FM!
- Broncho – Bad Behavior
- Superchunk – What a Time To Be Alive
- IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance
- Kendrick Lamar – Black Panther Soundtrack
- Merlin – The Wizard
- Shame – Songs of Praise
- Tierra Whack – Whack World
- Jeff Rosenstock – POST
- The 1975
- Antarctigo Vespucci
- ANMLPLNET – Fall Asleep
- Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer