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Let’s start with this amazing creation:

Topher Grace and Jeff Yorkes wove together footage from every single Star Wars film so far to create a gorgeous, emotional five-minute tribute to the Star Wars saga.  I have watched this thing a LOT of times so far.  What an incredible expression of love for Star Wars, and what an impressive achievement of editing.  I love the way they juxtaposed moments from the different films in order to connect events and characters.  And I love that they even included snippets of deleted scenes from Episode III, A New Hope, and Return of the Jedi.  Most impressive!

The second trailer for Dark Phoenix recently appeared:

I’m not sure what to think.  X-Men: The Last Stand broke my heart because it bungled the Dark Phoenix storyline.  I’ve long hoped for a reboot.  But so far what we’ve seen of Dark Phoenix doesn’t look any more faithful to the original comics (by Chris Claremont and John Byrne) than The Last Stand was.  For example, the trailer’s opening moment in which a tearful Jean asks “why did you make me do that?” implies that she’s not in control of her actions, which in my opinion is a complete misunderstanding of the Dark Phoenix story, which is about how ultimate power can corrupt even the most noble of souls.  (True, the later comic book stories that returned Jean to the Marvel Universe retconned the Dark Phoenix Saga to suggest that the Phoenix power wasn’t from within Jean, but was an alien entity that had bonded with her.  But even so, I still think it’s incorrect to depict Jean as being controlled by that entity.)  Also, from what we can see on this recently-released poster, Jean’s Dark Phoenix attire doesn’t look anything like her iconic look from the comics, but instead looks almost exactly like the sort of silly dark red jacked that Famke Janssen wore as Dark Phoenix in The Last Stand.  What a weird choice!  With the X-Men characters returning to MCU control following the Disney-Fox merger, Dark Phoenix feels like a “lame duck” movie, as I expect these characters and stories to soon be rebooted and incorporated into the MCU.  I still want Dark Phoenix to be amazing… but as of now I’m not expecting too much…

(And, actually, there is one other remaining Fox X-Men film — the much-delayed New Mutants.  Apparently the planned reshoots for that film still haven’t happened… will they ever…?)

We also recently got our second trailer for the rebooted Hellboy film:

As with Dark Phoenix, I’m not blown away by what we’ve seen of this film so far.  I desperately want this film to be great.  This second … [continued]

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The Top Fifteen Comic Book Series of 2015 — Part Two

And so we come to it at last, my final Best of 2015 list!

A few days ago I began listing my Fifteen Favorite Comic Book Series of 2015, listing numbers fifteen through six.

Here now are my Top Five:

5. Velvet (by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting) — What if Moneypenny was actually a former double-oh agent, now assigned to a desk at HQ but forced back into the field by a terrible betrayal?  That’s the brilliant hook of Mr. Brubaker and Mr. Epting’s phenomenal spy yarn Velvet.  The year is 1973, and Velvet Templeton has been, for eighteen years, the secretary and right-hand woman for the Director of Arc-7, a super-secret British organization of spies.  When their best agent (think James Bond) is murdered on assignment, Velvet finds herself framed for the deed and on the run from everyone she once trusted.  Velvet is a rich conspiracy thriller and a loving homage to the mystique of sixties-era James Bond adventures  Mr. Brubaker’s twisty story constantly has me guessing, trying to put the pieces together (just like Velvet herself is doing).  Mr. Epting’s art, meanwhile, is jaw-droppingly astounding, filled with incredible period detail.  I don’t know how he does it.  I love this book and, as I wrote last year, I desperately need it to come out more frequently.

4. James Bond (by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters) — One of the few 2015 comic book series that was better than Brubaker & Epting’s Bond-inspired saga is Warren Ellis and Jason Masters’ take on the actual double-oh-seven himself!  I’d never have expected to see the phenomenally talented Warren Ellis writing a licensed comic book series, but it’s a match made in heaven.  This James Bond series doesn’t feel like any other licensed comic book series that I have ever read.  This comic is brutal, take-no-prisoners story-telling.  I love Mr. Ellis’ depiction of Bond as a merciless “blunt instrument” of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  And Jason Masters’ art is extraordinary, with clean crisp lines that nevertheless manage to incorporate a staggering amount of detail into every panel.  It’s perfect for this series.  I love this team continues chronicling the adventures of James Bond 007 for many more years to come.

3. The Fade Out (by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips) — The latest collaboration between Mr. Brubaker and Mr. Phillips, the best team in comics, is a riveting whodunnit set in Hollywood of the nineteen-forties.  Hollywood screenwriter and drunk Charlie Parrish wakes up one morning to find himself in a room with the dead body of  young starlet Valeria Sommers.  As the story unfolds, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ugly story whose tendrils stretch … [continued]

Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

The Top 15 Comic Book Series of 2013 — Part One!

My Best of 2013 lists roll on!  I hope you enjoyed my list of the Top 15 Movies of 2013 (click here for part one, here for part two, and here for part three) and my list of the Top 10 Episodes of TV of 2013 (click here for part one and here for part two).

Today we begin my third Best of 2013 list — The Top 15 Comic Book Series of 2013!  Onward:

Honorable Mentions: Series I loved but that didn’t make this list include: Secret, The Manhattan Projects, The Massive, Peter David’s X-Factor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Batman Beyond Unlimited, Mark Millar & Frank Quitely’s Jupiter’s Legacy, IDW’s X-Files re-launch, Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo’s Batman, Jason Aaron & Nick Bradshaw’s Wolverine & The X-Men, and Brian & Olivia Bendis’ Takio.  I also thoroughly enjoyed Grant Morrison’s DC work, including his run on Action Comics which wrapped up earlier this year (click here for my detailed thoughts on Mr. Morrison’s Superman saga) and his work on Batman Incorporated, which concluded Mr. Morrison’s years-long run on Batman (click here for my in-depth comments on Mr. Morrison’s Batman saga).

Here now is my main list:

15. America’s Got Powers I loved this seven-issue mini-series (the final three issues of which were published in 2013) by superstar artist Bryan Hitch and writer Jonathan Ross, about a brutal reality TV show in which super-powered kids are forced to compete.  The concept is a delicious melding of super-hero action and social commentary, but what most surprised me about the series was by how hooked in I was by the series’ main character, Tommy Watts, and his struggle to somehow find his way through and survive the competing interests operating all around him.  I was sorry when this mini-series ended.  I hope that someday Mr. Ross and Mr. Hitch return to this world.

14. Wonder Woman Writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang (along with Goran Sudzuka and Tony Akins)’s reinvention of Wonder Woman continues, and it has been just as thrilling in its second year as it was in its first.  I can’t believe I am actually purchasing a Wonder Woman comic book every month, let alone enjoying it so much.  Mr. Azzarello has, on the one hand, connected the Wonder Woman mythos far more strongly to Greek mythology than has ever been done before (with the series’ main cast now consisting of various Greek mythological figures, each brought to unique life by Mr. Azzarello’s writing), while also (in an even more surprising move) beginning to tie the series into Jack Kirby’s New Gods concepts (with Orion becoming a major player … [continued]