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Things I Liked Today: January 2nd

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I guess I’ll be doing these the morning after? I often read a bit before bed, so to then whip out the old laptop and start writing as my eyelids begin to droop seems counter-productive to sleep. Anyway, here’s what I liked today yesterday:

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3-#7: The problem with catching up with a great series like SFoSM is that I now have to wait a full month until the next issue. Because this series is seriously great. I talked about it a little yesterday, but it’s very funny, extremely well plotted, and the art by Steve Lieber (and Rich Ellis for #7) is pitch perfect, emphasizing the story and nailing the jokes brilliantly.

Issue #5 in particular is a masterwork of misdirection, twisting and twisting again but never losing its sense of humor. It’s tough to write a really good crime series, and even tougher to write a good villain focused series without giving in to the “Thunderbolts” impulse to turn them into good guys. This series walks that line perfectly.

Loki: Agent of Asgard #1: In my spare time, I write AR (Augmented Reality) recaps for Marvel, so I often get to read scripts for issues far in advance. I won’t talk about specifics for “Loki: Agent of Asgard #1” other than to say it’s a great first issue that fits perfectly into the Nu-NuMarvel style pioneered by “Hawkeye,” “SFoSM,” and most importantly Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s “Young Avengers.”

Also, given the way writer Al Ewing lays out the script, I’m hoping Marvel publishes sections of it in a special edition or something. There’s a fight scene he lays out that would be a lot of fun for readers to see, and compare to the final product.

Community, “Repilot” and “Introduction to Teaching”: I recently read in a review of the first two episodes of the impossible fifth season of “Community” that it was not the best show the reviewer had ever seen, but it was their favorite show. I think that nails the appeal of “Community” to a T. It’s not always good, but it is always great. That was the major problem with Season 4, and why it didn’t click with fans: it didn’t take chances. It stuck with what worked in previous seasons, not understanding that what worked was the constant sense of experimentation and growth.

And the first two episodes of Season 5 aren’t necessarily good, but they are great. There’s a difference in tone, to the dialogue, the shooting style, and the plots that refocuses the show back to where it was over a year ago. I don’t think you have to look further than Danny Pudi’s Nicolas Cage arc in the second episode to see something that shouldn’t work – and wouldn’t have worked in Season 4 – that does here. It’s subtle, but Harmon’s influence and focus is there. I’m glad it’s back.

Slate’s Embarassing Middle-Earth Error: There’s almost nothing funnier than very specific, purposeful nerdery.

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