“Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel” by Bob Batchelor

61szh04fjpL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I come to this book less as a Marvel fan and more as someone interested in the history of pop culture. Given the recent explosion of superhero films, Stan Lee has come to rank as one of the most important figures in pop culture history. Yet, I realized I knew remarkably little about him. I’ve enjoyed some of the Marvel movies, but had never read any of Stan Lee’s comics.

Bob Batchelor’s new biography is a good start for the uninitiated. He provides a comprehensive overview of Stan Lee’s life and work. It’s a largely sympathetic – but not uncritical – biography of a man who brimmed with creative energy and occasionally made bad financial deals.  Continue reading ““Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel” by Bob Batchelor”

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Daredevil (Season 2)

12794707_1719825021587067_5890561489880274871_oSeason 2 of Daredevil was released on March 18 via Netflix. This review contains spoilers for the first few episodes of Season 2.

The first season of Marvel’s Daredevil explored what it means to be a hero in a world wracked by moral ambiguity. Matthew Murdock (a.k.a. Daredevil) wrestled with his conscience at least as often as he fought against crime lord Wilson Fisk’s cronies. Season 2 continues with this theme by pitting Daredevil against other vigilantes. This season introduces the Punisher and Elektra, superheroes who don’t share Matthew Murdock’s aversion to killing criminals. Continue reading “Daredevil (Season 2)”

“Jessica Jones” (Netflix)

Marvels-Jessica-Jones-posterAs I prepare for Season 2 of Daredevil (March 18), I decided to go back and share my thoughts on Jessica Jones, Netflix’s other Marvel series. (originally posted on Legendarium Media)

Jessica Jones is Netflix’s second journey into the Marvel universe and has much in common with Daredevil. Both shows are set in Hell’s Kitchen, although the crossovers are for the most part minimal and subtle. Both shows feature heroes defined as much by their imperfections as by their superpowers. However, in some ways, Jessica Jones is the opposite of Daredevil, serving as a sort of mirror to its predecessor.
Continue reading ““Jessica Jones” (Netflix)”

Daredevil: Is it wrong that I like the villain?

Daredevil-Wilson-Fisk-Poster-2015-Netflix-Vincent-DOnofrio-800x1167I’m reposting this review to celebrate the release of Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix

As I wrote last week, I enjoyed arvel’s Daredevil. Yet, as much as I liked protagonist Matt Murdock, I found the antagonist, crime boss Wilson Fisk (played by Vincent D’Onofrio), even more fascinating. This man is easily one of the most compelling characters in the Marvel franchise. Even as I loathed his actions, I also pitied him.

Continue reading “Daredevil: Is it wrong that I like the villain?”

Daredevil: The last TV hero?

daredevil-poster

I’m reposting this review to celebrate the release of Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix…

n the post-9/11 era, “heroes” became persona non grata in popular culture. Viewers seemed to view “hero” as equivalent to “simplistic” or “dull,” which didn’t fit the moral ambiguity and complexity of the times. Antiheroes – protagonists who lacked the moral bearings of conventional heroes – became more popular. In shows like Battlestar Galactica, the protagonists would engage in torture or kill unarmed prisoners to achieve their aims. Game of Thrones goes out of its way to punish characters that display heroic traits. Continue reading “Daredevil: The last TV hero?”