The Comics We Loved in 2018
Rogue & Gambit – Admittedly, I fell out of comics a bit in 2018. Not for lack of quality or interest, but time and scheduling. However, I did manage to read, review, and absolutely fall in love with Kelley Thompson’s Rogue & Gambit miniseries. The series took me right back to my childhood Saturday mornings, watching the 1990s X-Men cartoon and longing for a relationship as passionate and fiery as theirs.
As an adult, I’ve since learned that relationships are built on much more than fireworks, so when Marvel announced they were getting the two X-Men back together in a series that would explore the complexities of their decades long romance, I was hyped. Nothing about Rogue & Gambit disappointed. Thompson’s storytelling (and in particular her dialogue) was top notch, and the artwork from Pere Pérez and Frank D’Armata was the perfect compliment with its bright colors and excellent designs. –Sarah Moran, Editor-in-Chief
X-Men: Red – Those who know me know that I consider the X-Men line in general to be symbolic of everything that is wrong with American comics. It is insular, being based on a deeply intensive continuity that is largely inaccessible to newbies. It is repetitive, with the same battles with the same villains being fought over and over. Given that, the fact that I can declare an X-Men title to be my favorite book of the year should give you some idea of how phenomenal X-Men: Red is.
Writer Tom Taylor redefined the X-Men for the modern era, not only by developing the Sentinels into a threat that utilized social media but by telling a simple, contained story that didn’t require any previous exposure to the X-Men to enjoy it. Backed by fantastic artists like Carmen Carnero and Mahmud A. Asrar, the book was as amazing to look at as it was to read. Alas, like all good things in this world, it came to an end too quickly. Still, for 11 weeks out of 2018, X-Men: Red was the first book I read every week when I picked up the new comics. -Matt Morrison, Managing Editor
Young Animal – I’m going to cheat a bit here. Instead of picking a single comic or series, I’m picking DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint because I really enjoyed everything to come out of Gerard Way’s project. Mother Panic brought a fresh perspective to Gotham with its anti-hero, Violet Paige. Doom Patrol was a great call back to Grant Morrison’s run, while forging new, weird paths for the team of outcasts.
Cave Carson, Shade the Changing Girl, Bug the Adventures of Forager, and Eternity Girl all brought weird and fresh stories into the DC Universe. While I enjoyed everything this imprint published in 2018, it was the Milk Wars crossover event that really showed what this group could accomplish together. The event was weird, cohesive, and placed many DCU mainstays in fresh situations. –Marcus Hammond, Contributor
The Weatherman – This was a complete and pleasant surprise for me to discover in 2018. The Weather Man is a non-stop, action-packed story with a lot of human emotion and amazing artwork worthy of being framed. –Roy Buckingham, Contributor
The Movies We Loved in 2018
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – I’ve written before about how I’ve always felt a kinship with Peter Parker as a brainy nerd who was picked on a lot in middle-school. That feeling has continued this year as I’ve been underemployed, unlucky in love, and just feeling generally depressed and helpless to do anything. And then along comes this movie, which proves to be more than some animated fluff piece, a standard superhero movie, or even a love letter to the Spider-Man mythology.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a reminder that we all have the power to be the hero that we need to change the world and our own lives. Whether you’re a 30-something grad student, a mixed-race teen prodigy, a free-spirited punk rocker, a brilliant inventor, a hardened detective or even a talking cartoon pig – anyone can be a hero. Mix that lesson with some truly revolutionary animation and stupendous voice acting, and you have my favorite movie of 2018. -Matt Morrison
Deadpool 2 – One of the most amazingly entertaining comic book movie sequels created by studio not named Marvel is without a doubt, Deadpool 2. Ryan Reynolds, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and director David Leitch tapped into comics continuity and made a wholly original and super-fun sequel that didn’t take itself too seriously. The movie unabashedly makes fun of just about everything, but also told a really great story. (Side note: If you haven’t read the Rotten Tomatoes synopsis, do yourself the favor). –Marcus Hammond
BlacKkKlansman – Spike Lee masterfully takes a story that is too outrageous to be true and crafts one of the most suspenseful and fulfilling films about politics since All The President’s Men. This film is destined to finally (and hopefully) give Lee the Oscar recognition he deserves. –Roy Buckingham
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – For me it was a toss up between Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, but ultimately, Spider-Verse ekes out Black Panther because never before have I seen a film that so perfectly adapts the comic book medium. From the designs to the textures to the framing to the actual text appearing onscreen to illustrate a character’s inner thoughts, Spider-Verse is an impeccable recreation of what it’s like reading a comic.
On top of that achievement, Spider-Verse is without a doubt the best Spider-Man movie – ever. Sure, Spider-Man: Homecoming was a triumph and Spider-Man 2 will always be a benchmark film, but Spider-Verse bust opens the Spidey mythos in a way no live-action film would ever dare. As Matt noted above, the message of the movie is that anyone can be a hero, but Spider-Verse will go down as groundbreaking film because it specifically states that anyone can be Spider-Man, anyone can wear that mask. And I can’t think of anything more empowering for today’s generation than that message of inclusivity. -Sarah Moran
The TV We Loved in 2018
The End of The F***ing World – To me, TV feels even more subjective than movies or comics. Perhaps it’s because there’s just so much television, or that I more often than not re-watch old series rather than new ones. I don’t know, but The End of The F***ing World is the only TV show where I binged the entire series in a day, so I’ll wager it’s got enough merit to be my favorite of the year.
Airing originally on Channel 4 in the U.K. before coming to Netflix, The End of The F***ing World follows two teens as they embark on wild road trip across England. James believes he might be a psychopath, and wanting to branch out from killing animals to people, he chooses a rebellious classmate, Alyssa, to be his first victim. Alyssa, however, is looking for adventure and a reason to escape her chaotic home life, so she quickly agrees to run away when James when asks. Their ensuing journey is a hilarious, disturbing, and incredibly sweet love story between two really mixed up kids and I cannot recommend it enough. -Sarah Moran
Legends of Tomorrow – More than any other show, Legends of Tomorrow has truly captured the variety of the DC Comics universe and the sheer absurdity of the superhero genre. Many people hate Legends because it is often silly. That is precisely why I love it. The addition of John Constantine (played perfectly as always by Matt Ryan) as a series regular in season 4 has only served to heighten the hilarity, able to play the dour straight man to the insanity around him and add to the insanity himself with his naked yoga and insistence on not donning period-appropriate clothing whenever the team time travels.
The ensemble as a whole is fantastic, however, and the special effects budget for the show is generally impressive given the limitations of television. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this faithful viewer will continue to Praise Beebo and pray to the god of war for the series’ swift return. –Matt Morrison
The Games We Loved in 2018
Spider Man PS4 – Combining the lore of all things Spidey, fantastic graphics, re-playability, lots of Easter eggs, an amazing story and most of all, swinging through NYC. We were gifted video game ambrosia. –Roy Buckingham
Spider-Man PS4 – From the very first mission when I was called upon to help bring The Kingpin to justice, to every minute afterward just swinging from rooftop to rooftop exploring New York City, Spider-Man PS4 snared my heart and webbed it up. With gameplay reminiscent of the classic Spider-Man 2 game, but with the addition of combos like the Batman: Arkham games, and the elimination of some of the more annoying side-quests, this game will let you do whatever a spider can and then some. Even with the DLC, the story mode is a little short but you can happily play around with the customization options and keep swinging around to protect your city long after finish the main game. -Matt Morrison
Monster Hunter World – I honestly can’t recall what first made me look at Monster Hunter World, but upon learning that my character would be accompanied by a small cat creature (called a Palico), I was sold. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a cute animal companion. From there, though, I was absolutely floored by the stunning scenery and the real sense of accomplishment that comes from tracking and slaying a giant beast.
I’ve been playing Monster Hunter World sporadically throughout the year and I still only feel as if I’ve just scratched the surface. To be fair, this game can seem daunting, what with so many monsters and weapons and armor. But if given the chance, Monster Hunter World is a really unique entry in a year of shooters, battlegrounds, and more RPGs than you can swing a Palico at. (Note: Please don’t swing your Palico.) –Sarah Moran
What We Want To Love in 2019
There are a couple titles that I can’t really choose between as my most anticipated comics for the new year. I am really looking forward to Jen and Sylvia Soska’s new Black Widow series. As one of Marvel’s predominant female leads, I feel like Black Widow needs strong writers (see Waid and Samnee’s run). The Soska twins are known for breaking boundaries in the horror film genre, as well as being outspoken community representatives. I’m excited to see what they have planned for Natasha. As a secondary pick for 2019, I’m also excited to see what Cecil Castellucci has planned for the Female Furies series from DC Comics. Castellucci has provided some amazing storytelling in DC’s Shade, the Changing Girl series and I’m happy to see him get more opportunities to write.
Again, there’s two movies I’m really looking forward to in the new year and neither one of them are going to surprise anyone. Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame may be two of the most anticipated movies to choose from right now, but I’m going with the majority here. I just recently saw the trailers for both of these movies, and the mowhawk’d space Captain Marvel from the last few seconds of the first Captain Marvel trailer and the Hawkeye/Ronin reveal in the first Endgame trailer had me audibly “Squeeeeeee!” like a kid on Christmas morning. –Marcus Hammond
Star Wars: Episode IX – There are a lot of great-looking movies releasing in 2019 – Captain Marvel, Shazam, Us, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Men in Black International, The Lion King, Detective Pikachu, just to name a few. But if there’s one movie which I really want to love, it’s Star Wars: Episode IX.
I loved The Force Awakens, I really loved The Last Jedi, and I better well love Episode IX. This is it, the grand conclusion of a nine film saga. And while the films of this saga have varied in quality (and as to what quality is a matter of very personal and deeply held opinion), the Star Wars saga needs to end on a high note. It doesn’t need to be the best Star Wars movie ever (besides, that’s ESB and always will be), but it must be a satisfying conclusion to a generational story. Episode IX needs to be a definitive end for the Skywalker saga while also leaving us wanting more, new adventures set in a galaxy far, far away. It’s no small order, but I’m hopeful Disney, Abrams, and Kennedy can stick the landing. –Sarah Moran
All The New Programming on DC Universe – Thus far, I’ve been a little disappointed with my DC Universe subscription. Being able to pull up various classic movies is great and I love the remastered Batman: The Animated Series episodes. Unfortunately, the comic book archive’s selection is incredibly erratic and the first original program – Titans – was a real stinker in my opinion. (Check out my reviews if you don’t believe me.)
Still, I have hope for the new programming coming in 2019. The long awaited third season of Young Justice. A new live-action Swamp Thing show? Geoff Johns making a Stargirl series with tons of JSA members on the supporting cast? A Harley Quinn cartoon that will be everything we should have gotten from Donald Glover’s cancelled Deadpool cartoon? Heaven help us, I even think the new Doom Patrol show could be something special, if only because we’ve been promised Danny the Street. –Matt Morrison
Kingdom Hearts III – This is a game that has long been in development hell. It was one promised to us since the birth of the PS4. Yes… that long ago. With it taking since 2013 for the game to finally debut, can it live up to our expectations? I hope so. But past events have shown us that we could also have another Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy on our hands. –Roy Buckingham