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Superheroes of 2016 – Marvel, DC and More! (Part 2)

by on January 9, 2017
 

If you missed Part 1 of Superheroes of 2016 – Marvel, DC and More!, you can read it here. Just like the previous article, this blog does contain minor SPOILERS for television series, comics and video games.

Television

The Flash continues to be really good in its third season. Barry creates an alternate timeline called Flashpoint, that causes all kinds of trouble throughout the Arrow-verse. The show’s take on the event is more of a satisfying slow burn. Seeing the new relationship with Barry and Cisco or Wally and Caitlyn’s new status quos is quite compelling.

Arrow has seriously improved following the last couple of divisive seasons. While I didn’t hate seasons three or four like some people, I did think they were lacking in some areas. Oliver’s new team of heroes was quite interesting. The new villain Tobias Church was a ton of fun and the flashbacks Russia has been quite strong so far thanks in part to the amazing Dolph Lundgren!

Legends of Tomorrow season one often felt like it was stretching out its story to fill the 16-episode order. That being said, there were a ton of great moments like Ray and Kendra’s relationship in the 1950s, the team’s adventure in 2046, and the Pilgrim’s hunt for the younger version of the crew including an adorable young Rip Hunter. The finale really added a nice mystery that grabbed my interest and season two continued that plot nicely.

The second season of Legends of Tomorrow has been more vibrant with a streamlined team and a better plot. New characters Amaya and Nate really grew on me. One of my favorite episodes was in feudal Japan because of my enjoyment of Japanese culture as well as Ray and Nate’s story arcs. The plantation episode was a very emotional and relatable episode to me that I’m really glad they made.

Supergirl felt a little different in season two; I suppose because the show moved from CBS to The CW. I appreciate Alex’s story and its’ emotional connection viewers. Unfortunately, one change I didn’t like was the reduced focus on CATCO after Cat Grant left which affected James Olsen’s importance in the show. Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman, Mon-El and Lena Luthor have been well-developed, enjoyable characters.

The Invasion! crossover between Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow was a fun comic style event. I always love and appreciate that stuff. A few standout moments included Barry’s attempted leadership of all the heroes and everyone’s reaction to Flashpoint reveals. Arrow’s 100th episode was a successful display of misty-eyed fan-service. Some moments were noticeably glossed over like certain character meetings and explanations in favor of the crossover as a whole, however.

Gotham is a somewhat odd yet compelling series and continues that trend in season three. James Gordon’s rogue bounty hunter plot was pretty fun as well as his relationship with Valerie Vale. However, when Jervis Tetch started to mess with Gordon, his new way of life came crashing down. It was quite fun to watch, but Tetch felt overused in the following episodes. The new dynamic between Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot was a unique spin that didn’t exactly play out too well for Cobblepot. The new Ivy Pepper actually works for me as well as Bruce, Alfred and Selina’s mission against the Court of Owls.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is still very strong in its fourth season. Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider works very well in the show, visually and character wise. Usually, Ghost Rider is a dark supernatural character, and fortunately, the show accommodates him without straying away from the established tone of the series. Additionally, new character AIDA is really starting to pick up in her storyline.

Agent Carter’s second season was pretty good. Whitney Frost was a fun villain (though she lacked her iconic mask) and Peggy’s past really opened up more of the character. However, the romance triangle with Wilkes, Peggy, and Sousa was a bit unnecessary. It’s really unfortunate that the show was cancelled and I hope a TV special or even a movie can finish the plot.

The Punisher episodes of Daredevil season two were excellent and kept me quite invested in the story. Elektra was a pretty good if different version of the character but her episodes really felt out of place compared to the Punisher content. For that reason, plus Matt’s chaotic relationship with Foggy and Karen, season two wasn’t quite as good as season one for me.

I’m really glad Luke Cage was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to some degree with a bulletproof black man! The hype and anticipation for this show was quite feverish. Personally, I thought the show started very slowly and made it difficult to get into. Fortunately, it does start to pick up with some pretty great music accompanying the show and a strong lead with Mike Colter.

 

Marvel, DC and More! – Animation

I personally find enjoyment out of Teen Titans Go!. It might be an extremely silly show, but when I’m struggling with my depression, the simply hijinks of this show can really lift me up. Sometimes I just need something totally goofy and zany to cheer me up and this show has bucketloads of it! I understand many people’s reasons for hating the show (and part of that has to do with Cartoon Network’s scheduling). However, I hope people recognize that there are others out there that enjoy this show. So please don’t insult the viewers that like this show (or other shows) simply because you don’t.

With that out of the way, I really enjoyed a lot of Teen Titans Go! episodes in 2016, though a few of them were a bit weak for me. The two-parter Operation Dude Rescue was a very fun treat as a lot of fun female villains returned to help out Starfire and Raven. The Island Adventure episodes, however, weren’t as exciting, though the final episode definitely made up for it. There were quite a few funny songs like Booty Scooty and Shrimps & Prime Rib within the new episodes. We even got an extra episode thanks to the Teen Titans Go!/PowerPuff Girls crossover episode!

Justice League Action looks like a ton of fun so I’m glad it still came out in 2016 as promised. I really hope the ratings are strong for this show. I seriously don’t want to see another DC series get cancelled far too early in its run.

While it had a few issues, Ultimate Spider-Man improved quite a bit and had a bunch of great moments so it will be missed by many now that it’s ending. The HYDRA Attacks two-parter was a great way to start off the season with a variety of memorable episodes following that strong start like Miles From Home, Force of Nature and the New Sinister Six two-parter. We even saw the animated debut of Spider-Gwen, Anti-Venom and Moon Knight!

Avengers Assemble has also improved with various strong episodes like Saving Captain Rogers, featuring my favorite Avengers in the show, The Kids Are Alright introducing Kamala Khan in animation, and the series debut of Black Panther (once again played by James C. Mathis III) in Panther’s Rage.

Guardians of the Galaxy blew me away with the wonderful Asgard War two-parter and some pretty strong episodes that led up to it. While the season finale wasn’t as strong in my opinion (especially in comparison to Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Assemble’s improvements), the first season of the show was very enjoyable and consistent in its storytelling overall.

I didn’t see a lot of animated movies this year, but I do have to see Batman: Bad Blood is awesome, Justice League vs Teen Titans is pretty good, and from what I’ve heard, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is a great time. I saw the first two movies while I intend to watch the latter movie soon.

Marvel, DC and More! – Comics

DC Rebirth has simply knocked it out of the park! After DC You kind of fell apart, I’m glad DC found some serious success with this relaunch. Geoff Johns’ Rebirth Special was very solid and pretty amazing fan-service. The books that have followed have been really good like Detective Comics, Nightwing, Titans, Superwoman, Trinity, Superman, etc.

Unlike many people, I had a blast and a half reading Civil War II! For once, I give an event a thumbs up. The story (and tie-ins) kept me engaged through the adventure with characters like Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, Karnak, and Amadeus Cho offering interesting reactions to the stories’ events. My only real complaint is how Captain Marvel was portrayed at times. Some strong titles unrelated to Civil War II include Black Panther, Hawkeye, The Vision, Spider-Gwen, Black Widow, Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat, Spider-Man/Deadpool, etc.

A ton of excellent mini-series and books released as well including The Legend of Wonder Woman, Dark Night: A True Batman Story, Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cage, Han Solo and The Unworthy Thor.

 

Marvel, DC and More! – Video Games

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is pretty fun with fantastic and nicely priced DLC (which is rare). I love using different characters’ team-up moves or playing characters with fun powers like Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange or Iron Man’s various suits. The slightly altered New York City from LEGO Marvel Super Heroes was expected and the story wasn’t as clear as it could’ve been for casual players. None of that really takes away from the experience though.

Batman: Return to Arkham gave returning and new players the opportunity to enjoy the first two games in the series, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, together with all the DLC and upgraded visuals. Another new release in the Batman: Arkham series came exclusively to PlayStation VR via the PlayStation 4, titled Batman Arkham VR. Meanwhile, Batman – The Telltale Series introduced a unique take on the Batman mythos that definitely excited me.

 

Marvel, DC and More! – The Future

For 2017, the future is already looking great for superheroes. Wonder Woman is definitely an anticipated movie following the character’s memorable introduction in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Justice League is even more anticipated by many fans because this will be the team’s first live-action film appearance! Of course, there are some cautious fans who want to Wonder Woman and the Justice League’s first live-action movies to be well-received successes. And of course, the hilarious looking The LEGO Batman Movie will start off 2017’s superhero movies!

Spider-Man: Homecoming received a strong reaction when the trailer released, simply cementing the hype behind Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios’ first collaborative movie. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 already looks like a blast with Baby Groot. Thor: Ragnarok might be a really fun movie, but some fans are waiting to hear and see more about the movie’s overall plot and how characters like the Hulk and Grandmaster play into it. Logan looks different from all these movies with a more emotional and violent character piece that looks exquisite.

Young Justice’s return was a huge deal! This was a crazy announcement that I did not see coming. I do have to admit that I didn’t get into this show the way other people did, but I hope hardcore fans enjoy themselves when the third season is available sometime around late 2017/early 2018, I’d assume.

I’m personally excited for the Big Hero 6 TV show since I adored the movie and Marvel’s Spider-Man to see what a brand-new Spider-Man show can deliver to its viewers. The Ant-Man shorts and Rocket/Groot shorts should be very fun as well.

For live-action, Legion looks like an interesting series with a short season similar to Agent Carter. Marvel’s Netflix shows expand to three releases similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies with Iron Fist, the huge crossover series The Defenders, and Daredevil spin-off The Punisher. All three look like they could be stellar products, especially the Punisher following his great appearance in Daredevil season two. We even have an Inhumans TV series on the way.

A variety of exciting new Marvel comic series are on the way including Secret Warriors, X-Men Blue & Gold, America, Iron Fist, Elektra, Kingpin and Bullseye just to name a few. Over at DC, great looking new series include Batwoman, Justice League of America, Super Sons, The Odyssey of the Amazons, and Justice League/Power Rangers. Some major events from both companies include Marvel’s Monsters Unleashed and DC’s Justice League vs Suicide Squad.

Next year promises both Injustice 2 and Marvel vs Capcom Infinite! Quite exciting even if I’m no good at fighting games. I’m also super hyped for Spider-Man on PS4! It should be very exciting for PlayStation owners. I am sorry that Xbox fans will miss out on it though. Guardians of the Galaxy – The Telltale Series should be a fun adventure as well.

While entering 2017, many people may be feeling defeated by 2016’s events or fearful of what’s to come in the new year. Superheroes can definitely help escape that pain or fear, by showing a everyday person like Peter Parker save the day or a man stricken with grief as a child rise up and protect those he loves like Bruce Wayne. No matter what happens, it’s important to stand strong and keep moving forward. Always forward. Forward always.

If you missed Part 1 of this article, you can read it here. Just like the previous article, this blog does contain minor SPOILERS for television series, comics and video games.

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