When doing the first few drafts of this list it became apparent to me that Marvel could just run the table. There was one point where I thought Marvel properties could have up to six spots on our best of 2015, and that felt a bit excessive considering there were so many geeky things I loved this year. Thoughts of briefly expanding the list entered my head, but I had constructed it so craftily to take us to the end of the year and didn’t feel like budging on that. Then it hit me. Why not include all the Marvel things I loved in an all encompassing Marvel blanket? Does it seem like a cop out? Sure. But it’s my site and I’ll cop out if I want to.
Although I think it’s hard to argue that Marvel had one hell of a year. From comic books to movies to TV shows they seemed to be everywhere and dominating. So what I decided to do with the number five spot is make a list within the list. That’s right people we’re talking the Inception of lists. Going to get all types of crazy in here. So without further delay here are my favorite things Marvel provided this year.
7. Ant-Man- I really, really enjoyed Ant-Man. Was it the breakout that Guardians of the Galaxy was? No, but it didn’t have to be. After Age of Ultron I had no problem with Marvel toning it back a bit and giving us a different type of superhero movie. Paul Rudd was terrific and I’m looking forward to seeing his roll in the MCU expand. Plus was I the only one who dug Evangeline Lilly here? The movie was just a lot of fun, very quirky, and was a nice breather from infinity stones and killer robots. Ant-Man showed us a lighter side, with a possible glimpse to Dr. Strange’s world, with very believable characters. All I ask is more Michael Pena for the sequel please.
6. Marvel Collector Corp- I’m not going to re-hash my love for Pop Vinyls here, but I will say as soon as I learned that the Marvel Collector Corps was going to be offering an exclusive Hulk Buster pop it was more or less love at first site. I’ve gotten every box, with the exception of one because of an unexpected billing issue, and I’m delighted every time. Through the Collector Corps I’ve gotten a Miles Morales pop, a Groot scarf, some killer t-shirts, a Star Lord mug, and some really cool pins and patches that I’m not entirely sure what to do with yet (I won’t put them on apparel as even my geekdom has limits). For twenty-five bucks every two months this promotion is totally worth it. My mother can vouch for my excitement as she was present when I opened the Secret Wars box and squealed like a four year old girl when I saw the Miles Morales pop. It’s the little things in life folks.
5. Daredevil- You guys remember when Ben Affleck did a Daredevil movie and it kind of set superhero movies back a few years? Yeah Marvel doesn’t want you to remember that either, so this re-booted version quickly erases any lingering afterthoughts of Jennifer Garner’s rain shaped face.
Daredevil does fit into the MCU, but maaaaaaaaaaan is there a whole different feel here. The attack on New York, from the first Avengers movie, sits in the background enough to remind viewers that this show lives in the same universe as Iron Man and Thor but that’s where it stops. The action is tight and violent, the language is harsh as is the section of Hells Kitchen, and the characters are fully developed and quickly engage you. I dare you not to be hooked after the tracking shot that comes at the end of the second episode. It’s not as amazing as the one from True Detective but it’ll still have you holding your breath as our hero fights bad guys for about six minutes without a cut.
I also feel that it’s important to mention Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal as the King Pin. Up until a month ago I would have said he was clearly Marvel’s second best MCU villain next to Loki, but his fall in the rankings means little. D’Onofrio added depth and in some cases sympathy to a power hungry brute of a bad guy. I would love to see him show up in the looming Spider-Man movie.
4. Ms. Marvel– Man, do I have a crush on this book! I mean legit. I was late to the game on this series and spent the early part of this year binge reading the hell out of it. Once I was caught up the monthly wait became painful. G. Willow Wilson has provided such a real and relateable female super hero here folks. In a medium where female heroes still have large breasts and tend to be over sexualized, it was wonderful reading a book where the hero was actually a person and not an object to be drooled upon by fan boys. Willow takes this platform as a way to discuss religion (Kamala Khan is Muslim), coming of age, responsibility, and finding ones self. Kamala Khan has all the Peter Parker qualities yet feels brand new and refreshing. She has established herself as a true player in the Marvel universe and is exactly the type of female super hero young women comic readers should be aspiring to. I also loved seeing a Ms. Marvel poster in an episode of Modern Family because Alex is totally the type of character who could relate with Kamala Khan. I’m very much looking forward to her expansion in the upcoming year.
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron- There was a wee bit of hype going into the second Avengers movie, and I’m not going to say that it lived up to all of it, but that didn’t stop me from really enjoying it. I mean what’s to hate here people? You take all these characters from the MCU and throw them together in one movie, like an event comic. It’s just fun to see all the personalities come to together and play off each other, shrinking the universe a little bit. I thought James Spader did a great job as Ultron, and totally served his purpose. But the show belonged to the strife brewing underneath the Rogers and Stark relationship. With Civil War only five months away, I feel that Age of Ultron did a great job in setting the table for Marvel’s next big movie installment. Other notes, there was a Hulk Buster ya’ll! A Hulk Buster! And who knew that Black Widow and the Hulk were the Avengers relationship we wanted.
2. Hawkeye– Okay, okay I was really really late to the Hawkeye game. I had read tons of good things about the series, but it took a free first issue from Comixology before I really got started. Then the obsession began. With the final issue of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run being printed a few months ago, and despite the fact that I haven’t read it yet (I’m stalling. I don’t want the series to end so I keep putting reading off. Don’t judge me!), I feel totally justified putting this series in the best of 2015. This book is insanely good. Crazy good. Like I can’t believe how good, good. Fraction gives us a secondary Avenger and makes him a star. The book is filled with humor, action, feels, and unique story telling. There’s a whole issue told from the perspective of a dog and it’s a face melter. Hawkeye has quickly become one of my favorite comics of all time and I’m deeply saddened that Matt Fraction no longer writes it. But if you’re looking for a comic that is the definition of what an awesome comic book should be, look no further. Cause bro, seriously bro.
1. Jessica Jones– Soooooooo did any one expect that?! Wow. This show is beyond different from anything else in the MCU. The material is dark and edgy, everything but an F-bomb is uttered, there’s sex…lots and lots of sex, and a heroine who is flawed and fantastic. Jessica Jones, for me, is the best thing that Marvel has done all year.
When they announced that Jessica Jones was going to be the basis of a show I kind of had my doubts. I’ve had very little interaction with the character, outside of Bendis’s run on New Avengers, and wondered if she would be able to carry an entire show. Well I was wrong. Super wrong. Krysten Ritter, of Breaking Bad vomit choking fame, is perfectly casted and gives us a character who desperately wants to be good and to do good, but doesn’t know how. Jessica Jones does not shy away from tackling serious subject matter like rape, what it’s like to have been a victim, child abuse, and the terrible possibilities of mind control. Ritter feels right at home in this universe and embraces every one of Jone’s flaws.
David Tennant’s Kilgrave is by far the creepiest Marvel villain yet. There is something so disarming and charismatic about him, that I felt my skin crawling when he was on screen. Tennant chews up this character and steals most of the scenes he is in. Also I couldn’t be happier that Marvel didn’t pull the trigger on Luke Cage in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as his portrayal here was awesome and has me very excited for his show. I just hope a healthy dose of Krysten Ritter shows up in it.
So that’s it folks. That was my year in Marvel in a nutshell, and 2016 is looking to be just as good with season two of Daredevil, Captain America: Civil War, Luke Cage, Civil War II (comics), and Dr. Strange. It’s times like these where it’s good to be a Marvel kid.