So Now Who’s DC’s Smartest?


Mild spoilers for DC’s Doomsday Clock coming up. So Black Alert is on for anyone who hasn’t caught up with Doomsday Clock.

Doomsday Clock is two issues in and has raised a ton of questions so far. With Ozymandias in the universe, where does the hierarchy of DC’s smartest people stand now. The top three were always Lex Luthor, Bruce Wayne, and Michael Holt (Mr. Terrific). The next two are subjective, but some combination of Will Magnus, Dr. Sivana, T.O Morrow.  New 52 introduced Silas Stone as a an additional consideration on the smart chart. Now we have to factor in Ozymandias. It may be an effort in futility, but I am going to try to do it anyway.

It is easy enough to dismiss Sivana and Morrow. They are smart, but they can’t quite keep up with the top three of this list. Ozymandias was capable of doing just about anything in his universe. So he most definitely slots in within the top 3. Michael is capable of hopping through universes (managed to do it between Earth Prime and Earth 2) and a very smart entrepreneur. Arguably capable of rivaling Veidt’s business exploits. His T Face Plate documents encounters. Giving him an instant data base he can draw upon at a moments notice. His T Spheres offer a diverse offensive and defensive capabilities. To put it lightly, he is prepared for any situation. He might often be dismissed as lesser than the top 2, but he is every bit as much of a threat as they are. Yet, he was not the target of Ozymandias’ investigation. Only Lex and Bruce, for that reason, the worlds self appointed Third Smartest Man has been demoted to the 4th. He’ll have to do some rebranding it seems.

This leaves Bruce and Lex. the Worlds Greatest Detective and the world’s smartest man. Or at least this worlds smartest man. There is no doubt how intelligent and powerful these two men are. Yet in Doomsday Clock #2, Adrian seems to have little interest talking to Bruce. That leads Rorschach to go talk to him. He quickly figures out a way into the Batcave, and discovers Batman. Lex meanwhile appears to have no time for Ozymandias and quickly calls security. Scoffing at the notion that Veidt could have as superior intellect. So where does Ozymandias fit into the hierarchy. We know full well what Bruce and Lex are capable of. And when comparing their exploits, Veidt seems to pale in comparison. It is made worse that Veidt’s plans were undone by a journal and his world has fallen back into the same despair he attempted to fix. In a fight, it appears clear that Lex and Bruce would both have the upper hand. Bruce can easily out fight him, and Lex can just wait him out. Or crash a satellite into him. Which ever came first.

Given the similarities between Veidt and Holt, it appears that he is excluded from the top tier of smarts. Both Bruce and Lex appear to retain their ranks at first and second. Leaving Ozymandias to slot in as the DC Universe’s third smartest man. I’ll look at getting Michael Holt a consolation basket.



Civilization 6 First Look: Mongolia


Genghis Khan is back! Mongolia is officially in Civilization 6 with the upcoming Rise and Fall expansion. As we all expected, they are good at killing people. Let us look at just how well they do so. To see my previous First Looks, you can read Korea and the Netherlands by clicking through. You can view the complete release video here.

The Mongolian unique ability is actually very different than you would expect. It is called Ortoo. Trade Routes automatically create a Trading Post in the cities they are sent too. Mongolia also gets increased Diplomatic Visibility. This all sounds very passive doesn’t it? Well the ability goes even further. Mongolian unites get a +3 combat bonus for each level of Visibility they have. That means that a single Mongolian Trade Route to anyone will allow them to attack them without mercy. The Mongolian ability packs quite a bit into it, and generally seems to have more going for them than several other Civs. Their Unique Building is the Ordu, which replaces the Stable in the Encampment District. Any Cavalry unit trained in a City with this building gets an additional point of movement. So Mongolia, who already specializes in Horse based combat, can make them even faster. This leads right into their unique unit, the Keshig. The Keshig is unlock-able with the Stirrups technology, but does not replace the Knight. The Keshig is a ranged cavalry unit that can pass on its excellent speed. The video demonstrates them at a movement of 6, but we don’t know if that already factored in the Ordu benefit. 5 base speed is great, but 6 is exceptional. Finally we get to Genghis Khan’s unique ability, Mongol Horde. Just in case you thought Mongolia couldn’t get any stronger, here this is. All cavalry units get +3 combat strength and have a chance to capture enemy cavalry units after you defeat them. So not only will they be stronger than your opponents horse units, but they have a chance to capture them instead of killing them. This includes units like Scythia’s Horse Archers and Russian Cossack’s. Both very powerful units that you can now employ in your Mongolian Horde.

Mongolia is well suited for any type of map, as long as they can find a resource of horses. That will definitely be key. On TSL maps they look poised for great success. They will have the passive but defensive Korea to the South, the peaceful China to the South West, and Scythia to the North West. The only enemy they would have immediate problems with would be Japan. Makes sense. Horses can’t walk over the oceans, and historically they failed to do this twice.

We have just 4 more Civilizations to go. Chandragupta was revealed as the second leader for India, turning the passive Civ into an aggressive one. Today it was announced that Poundmaker would lead the Cree. While I am happy to get another Indigenous Civ into the game, and it will help balance America’s power on TSL Maps, I am disappointed it isn’t Canada.

Ravingnerd’s Best of 2017: Best Reads

My nightly festivities got in the way of me getting this post out Yesterday, so you’ll have to figure out the best reads of 2017 today instead. I will be focused on individual series’ and not characters nor specific issues. Some have performed so well they have landed on the list with just a few issues. I have already spoken about several of these series’ in recent posts, so several of these should not be a surprise. So here we go!

There will be mild spoilers sprinkled throughout, so Black Alert is up!


10. Super Sons was one of the longest awaited books of Rebirth. We sadly had to wait more than 6 months after Rebirth’s launch, until just after the first of the year, to get this book. Needless to say, this book has been every bit as good as we thought it would be. What isn’t to love? A team up with the lovable Jonathan Kent and almost as lovable Damian Wayne. What could go wrong? Well nothing really. Jonathan has the powers of Superman while Damian is a little jerk who is up for anything. This book is very similar to Tomasi’s Superman story. It features the perfect balance of light hearted humor and fun to add into the action. It helps that Damian and Jonathan balance each other out very well. Jorge Jimenez’ art is perfect for capturing the raw energy that both Sons’ have and it often feels like they could burst off the page.


9. Grass Kings was Matt Kindt’s latest attempt to prove to the comic industry that he is one of the best writers in comics. Period. Together, with fantastic water colors from Tyler Jenkins, Matt is able to do what he does best. Write a compelling and fascinating mystery. Kindt’s name needs to be up there with Brubaker as one of the greatest mystery writers in all of comics. Books like Super Spy and Red Handed are some of the most brilliant reads out there. This time around, we get a newer kind of mystery from him. The Grass Kingdom is a land unto itself. It appears to exist outside of Federal jurisdiction, or at least that is how they operate. This, of course, hasn’t gone over with others. Including the villainous sheriff of the next county. The mystery in this book is three fold. What is the mystery behind the Grass Kingdom, why does it feel off? Who is responsible for the string of murders that have plagued the land for a decade? Biggest of all, who are we supposed to really trust? If you are looking for a thrilling and beautiful read, this is the perfect book for you.


8. Star Trek: Mirror Broken is an odd duck as far as Star Wars comics goes. I generally shy away from IDW’s Trek line, as it normally bothers me more than anything else. This book, however, does not. Mirror Broken, as the name suggests, is set in Star Trek’s Mirror Universe. Seen in the shows throughout the series in TOS, DS9, and Enterprise. There is an established time line that details the fall of the Terran Empire (it’s fine, they were pretty terrible). Mirror Broken shows us the TNG crew for the first time in the Mirror Universe. Believe it or not, none of them are particularly likable. Noticeable differences include Borg augmented Data, Barkley with a spine, and a psychotic Wesley Crusher (no he still isn’t likable. Scott and David Tipton helm the book better than they have some of their previous Trek books, and the interiors by JK Woodward are nothing to scoff at. This is absolutely worth the read for Trek fan out there. We also get to see Captain Jellico, and even in the Mirror Universe, I just love him.


7. X-O Manowar is easily the best book that you are not reading. Matt Kindt has taken the flagship Valiant property and turned it into a space opera epic for the generation. It Aric, Vandal with alien super armor. Has turned his back on Earth and his suit. Instead leading a simple life as a farmer on a foreign planet. When war comes, he is conscripted to fight. Yet he quickly realizes that he is in an army of ‘undesirables’ and that his unit is designed to fight until they die. The higher ups have no interest in their survival. It is up to Aric to not only win the day for his squad, but save as many people as he can. Heroes never seem to be able to escape being heroes, do they? The art by Tomas Giorello is also stunningly perfect. It is dynamic, and his wide shots of the alien landscapes range from beautiful to terrifying. This book should have made a lot more waves than it did, but you are hearing it from me. It is awesome. Valiant has also followed this up with Ninja K, another spin on one of their classic super heroes. With their feature film debut close at hand, these books should be must reads for anyone who is excited to see Valiant in film.


6. Superman has been one of the best books on the shelf period. Peter J Tomasi is the hero we need, not the one we deserve. Having written almost 2 and a half years of the best Superman you could ever imagine. His secret? Having fun! Sure things can get dark, but he is always able to bring things back. Case in point with his “Road Trip” arc from early in the year. After dealing with Manchester Black in a very dark and serious arc before, the Kent family could really use a rest. And that is exactly what they got. Yet instead of flying, Clark decided to do things a little more by the book. He rented an RV. The 3 issue story arc features the Kent’s going to various different monuments and historical markers, and interacting with people along the way. Central to the story is Clark teaching Jonathan to be a good, kind person. It may sound odd to say, but I think the best Superman stories are the ones that don’t feature big, all out brawls. It is the ones that focus on the underlying humanity Clark has. It is why stories like Injustice and Batman VS Superman are so hard for me to get behind.


5. Doomsday Clock. Do I really need to say more? The long awaited resolution to the Rebirth premise is finally at hand. Only 2 issues in, the story is more glorious than anyone could have imagined. Rather than deep diving into the Watchmen/DC Crossover, we take things a step back and find out how things have been going in the Watchmen universe. Not well. Rorschach’s journal told the world the truth of Ozymandias’ deeds, and united the world against him. Sadly, this also brought back the animosity between nations that Adrian had desperately been trying to avoid. We get a chance to see several fan favorite characters again plus the addition of a few new ones. The story has yet to really get going, but Geoff Johns knows what he is doing. What makes this series exceptional is Gary Frank’s art. Instead of relying on modern comic art methods, Frank is doing things differently. Gone are the overdone splash pages, or large comic images, and in its place are traditional 9 panels. This does not diminish Frank’s gorgeous art at all, it instills it. Every single frame can be poured over, and new readings will find new insights. Plus the classic feel to the book, is the perfect presentation for the Watchmen event we have all been waiting for. I know there are several people out there burned out on Watchmen due either to the film, Before Watchmen, or any number of other things. If you are one of those people, I get it. I was too. But the opening of this series should have everything you need to get you hooked in seconds. Trust me, and take the plunge.


4. Batman by Tom King has been an interesting book to figure out. At the start of its launch, it just seemed off. While everyone was positively abuzz about King taking over the title. Yet the book released to an underwhelming presence. In comparison to the other fantastic launches the rest of the Rebirth line had, Batman got lost. Yet 2017 is truly the year of Tom King. With his story arc “The War of Jokes and Riddles” and “Super Friends”, King has successfully made Batman one of the hottest books on he shelf again. Featuring the brilliance Mikel Janin on art, the War of Jokes and Riddles was the Batman epic of the year. Focusing on an untold story from early in Batman’s tenure, similar to Scott Snyder’s year zero. Joker, who is unable to laugh, is desperately trying to find something ‘funny’. On the other side is the Riddler, who’s motives are to kill Batman, thus answering the ultimate Riddle. In the process the villains of Gotham draw a line down the middle, and enter into a messy and bloody conflict. The messy conflict sees Batman do something we don’t normally see him do. There are a number of surprises and fantastic moments sprinkled in across the way that I won’t spoil. Tom King follows this dramatic and dark story arc with one of the most fun two part stories I have ever read. In “Superfriends” Clark, Lois, Bruce, and Selina go on a double date. The issue is to delightful to spoil, so go get on it.


3. Archie’s “Over the Edge” and “Heart of Riverdale” broke my heart this year, and deserves a high spot on this list. Mark Waid has a way of weaving comedy and tragedy into the same book, and has never shied away from pulling any emotion punches with this book. These arcs cranked those emotions up to a ten. I after nearly every issue I was left devastated and near tears. Yet this wasn’t due just to the darkness and tragedy that Waid just threw in my face. It was also due to how well he was writing the characters. They were as devastated as I. Yet how did they handle these dilemma’s? They bought guns to appease their vengeance. Just kidding! If you wanted that, go watch Riverdale. As for me, I will stick to the heartwarming melancholy that I get on a monthly basis from this book. Pete Woods’ art highlighted the energy and emotion of the Over the Edge arc. Audrey Mok took over for the Heart of Riverdale arc, and here sweet and personal style is perfectly suited for the subject material. Warning before you read, not everyone makes it out of this one alright. So bring tissues.


2. Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy is easily the second best book of the year. Originally slated as the 4th arc of Scott Snyder’s All Star Batman, DC wisely gave Murphy free reign of this book. Set in an alternate universe, where the Joker eventually goes sane. As Jack Napier, he not only sees the lunacy of his actions, but the havoc that Batman has reeked across Gotham. He sets out trying to not only fix the broken and corrupt political system of the city, but to stop Batman himself. With Alfred clinging for life with an illness that Bruce cannot cure, he has gotten more and more savage. This story helps beg the question, what is Batman without Alfred? If the death of his parents broke an 8 year old Bruce, what would the death of his caretaker, friend, mentor, and surrogate parent do to him? The answer is nothing good. On top of this brilliant premise is the twist that has propelled the 3 issues of the series out so far so high up this list. There are two Harley Quinn’s. The original Harley is Harleen Qunizell, who legitimately fell in love with Jack (Joker) and was driven away at the height of his madness. Taking his place is a manic woman obsessed with Joker’s madness. The original wears her jumpsuit she debuted in, while the new favors a look more like her appearance in Suicide Squad. As a reader the devolution of Harley in comics has long been a point of contention with me. Seeing my issues with the character addressed so quickly and effortlessly was not something I had expected, but I loved it. This book still has another 5 issues to go, and Sean Murphy has barely cracked the surface of what he is going to do.


1.  Mister Miracle is without a doubt, the best series of the year, and is Tom King and Mitch Gerads at their finest. This series clocks in at just 5 issues of its 12 issue run, and has been a smash hit since day one. The story so far sees the titular hero thrust into a war between the New Gods and the forces of Darkseid. While it is made clear early on that absolutely nothing is at it seems, the curtain has yet to be pulled back to reveal the full extent of what is happening. The war has taken several turns so far, including the death of High Father. This has led to Orion becoming the new leader of New Genesis. Most recently he ordered the death of Mister Miracle under the accusation that he was corrupted by the Anti Life Equation (he may be, we don’t know). The book has managed to nail down a very dramatic and action packed story, and sneak in brilliant moments of comedy and heartwarming tenderness as well. Something Tom King has proven very deft at. Gerads art is a credit to this book. Able to pull off a captivating and brilliant read every issue, while also making things fuzzy enough to make the reader confused an unnerved. This is well worth a pick up if you haven’t gotten to read it yet.

Ravingnerd’s Best of 2017: Best Watches

Hello everyone! I have returned from a near perfect Christmas break, worked a day, and now have the two days of New Year off. I have compiled my list of the 10 best things I watched this year. Either shows or film. I limited it to only things that came out this year, but Oh boy were there some good stuff that came out this year. There will be minimal spoilers ahead so Black Alert is not necessary. Lets get right to it!


Honorable Mention: Coco.

Coco is only an HM because I have not had the funds to go watch it yet. I know it would really be ranked much higher, as I am hopelessly brainswashed by Disney (well 50 percent of the way). That said, the last several films have left huge impressions with me and I have purchased the last 3 films for myself. A rarity these days. Sadly I wasted my dime on the Last Jedi, but you can read my thoughts on that later.


10. Handmaid’s Tale

This show is too haunting not to include. I was introduced to Margaret Atwood’s brilliant novel through Hulu’s break through show this year. Not only was I too disturbed, yet curious, about the show, but I later went back and read the original book. You heard me. I enjoyed the show so much I later read the book. That is something that never happens. Yet months after my initial viewing of her show I had to see what she had envisioned originally. To my surprise, I came out very impressed with the updated setting for the show. In case you were not aware, here is the basic premise. It is set in a not so distant future where the United States has turned into the Republic of Gilead. At least New England has. This new government is a Theocracy, hellbent on protecting the sterility of the few women who can still bare children. Those who can are enslaved and handed out to the wealthy family’s to bear children for them. Once they have, they will be passed on to the next family to do the same. It is a remarkably depressing story. Especially given the current political climate of the world. More remarkable about the show, is how well they update things to adapt from 80’s era political hot buttons to modern ones. This show is a hard watch. It took a lot out of me mentally and emotionally every week, but if you can manage it, Hulu’s hit is for you.


9. Kingsman: the Golden Circle

The original Kingsman film is one of my favorites, ever. It easily makes my top 20 favorite films, and that is if it doesn’t manage to crack top 10. I was very excited for the sequel to the film. Sure it featured some film no-go’s for me (Hallie Barry), but I was excited none the less. As I saw the trailer for the film more and more, I became worried. Despite this I was not turned away. Sadly, my worries about the film were true. It veered well away from the follow up I wanted to see, and did several things from the get go that I have problems with today. Fortunately for me, the film brought me back. It managed to not only bring me back, but almost win me back. The film still has some problems to it, and is far from the spotless work of the first installment, but fun all the same. Seeing the likes of Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal, and Channing Tatum join in on the fun made it all the better to watch. Julianne Moore’s villain was good, but lacking. Especially compared to Samuel L Jackson’s charming performance from the first go around. Despite it all, I recommend this film to all fan’s of the spy genre. I was thrilled to get it as a gift this Holiday season, and I look forward to several more watches of the film.


8. The Lego Batman Movie

This movie was flat out fun. Not only did it manage to touch upon literally every aspect of the Batman film franchise. Including references to the late, great Adam West. This film managed to just be a great watch in that of itself. Will Arnett is the perfect Batman, able to play up every aspect of the character as both fun and sad. The film pales in comparison to the original film, but still manages to be a ton of fun by itself. The remaining cast was pretty excellent as well, and I am very excited that so many people can be introduced to the zanier side of Batman. The Dark Knight rarely needs to be as dark as portrayed after Frank Miller’s fetid claws left him, and it is my hope that this film can inspire the next generation of comic fans to expect some light hearted fun from their Caped Crusader.


7. The Orville

I was not sure how to expect this show. A comedy version of Star Trek brought to you by Seth Macfarlene and Fox could have gotten dicey. Especially coming from a massive Star Trek fan such as myself. Being a member of multiple Star Trek Community threads, this show receives a surprising amount of ire from Trek fans. I can only imagine they are jealous of the show. As a fan of Star Trek, and good Science Fiction, I can’t imagine being upset at more genre excellence. Even as recent as this week, I was visiting my family. We passed an Avis Rent A Car agency. My sister and I both smiled at one another, each now taking joy from seeing something as mundane as a rental car company. That is how insidiously delightful the Orville is. You may not even know that at first you are enjoying the show, yet at some point you will find yourself laughing at something because you can’t help yourself. That is how well Seth has done this show. On top of all of this, he has managed to do so while creating a very tasteful and well done universe. I am very glad this show has another season so that I can not only laugh, but be impressed with the universal design Macfarlane has as well.


6. Bojack Horseman: Season 4

This show is still one of the greatest shows out right now. While animated, its humor far outpaces anything like normal animated shows. And unlike Rick and Morty, where people desire to be Rick (for some awful reason), I have yet to meet anyone that wants to be Bojack. Even better, people are worried that they are him. This season was the first time that I truly felt like the washed up, messed up, failure of an adult that Bojack constantly struggled with. The fourth season of this show came just as my best friends turned their back on me and called me an unforgivable monster. I had no idea any of these claims were coming, and today I am still surprised that it all happened. Surprised and hurt. Turning around and watching season 4 of this show was probably not the greatest idea, but it did help me cope. It is for this reason that this season speaks out more than any of the previous seasons. But it goes well beyond me. This season managed to explore Alzheimer and dementia in new ways. Following the mind of a normal character who’s memories get more and more intruded by fuzz and nothingness. While visually stunning to see, it is just as stunning to see how frustrating this is. The awful an irredeemable character of Bojack’s mother is discussed in new lights. We are left this season utterly devastated by all the she had gone through, and sad that her life ended the way it did. The audience feels empathy for an otherwise detached and mean character. This season was the most ‘real’ this show has ever been for me. I saw so many aspects of my personal life play out in front of Bojack’s hilarious/tragic drama/comedy that I can no longer separate myself from the character. Not because I cling to the notion of being a self destructive character. Instead I find comfort from him. If Bojack can find some small comfort in his messy fucked up life. Then I should be able to as well. I don’t have it nearly as bad as he does. At least not yet.


5. American Gods

I was initially mad at this show. Not because I knew anything about it, but because it took the great Brian Fuller away from Star Trek. Something I was 1000% more excited to see. Yet, now that I have seen the show. I am an absolute fan of it. I was introduced by people who loved the books. They would squeal in anticipation for the things to come, and look at me, waiting for my reaction to things about to unfold on the screen. I am glad I had no prior sense of what was happening. The splendor and audacity of the show was unmatched by almost anything I have seen (save for literally anything Bryan Fuller has been apart of). Knowing that legendary writer Neil Gaiman was responsible for creating this beautiful story made things all the better. The struggle between the Old Gods and the New (go away Game of Thrones fans) was something that played out excellently on screen. I was constantly curious about which diety was being represented, and in almost every case the casting choice was perfect. Following the main character, Shadow Moon, trying to figure out his place in all of it, is all the better. The show is gorgeous, powerful, and well worth every watch possible. Saddly it appears that Fuller has left the project, and the future of his masterpiece is in jeopardy.


4. Power Rangers

For optimal reading pleasure, click here.

Look. I was born in the 90’s. I had a Power Rangers sleeping bag until I was 10. Now as an adult, I have moved on to better things. Like editing the flaws on Power Rangers Wikipedia Pages. I am looking at all of you who think that Dom, the Jungle Fury White Rhino doesn’t fit the archetype of 6th Ranger. Yes. I am a bit of a nut for Power Rangers (and all Tokusatsu, but we can dive into that another time). To say I was excited for this film was an understatement. When I found out we were to see the first official LGBT Ranger and a Ranger on the Spectrum, I was literally buzzing with anticipation. I have several friends who claim to love the Power Rangers franchise as much as I and they all fell 50 shades of shy from enjoying this film. I was quite different. I loved this film. Just about every bit of it. The plot was a refreshing and modern twist on the original. The cast brought a bit of an edge that was missing from Zordon’s initial call for “Teenagers with Attitude”. Yet not enough to alienate me, or anyone who is excited to see a fun film. It was truly the best of both worlds. The first two acts were well worth the watch of course, but it was the third act that propelled this film into pure bliss. Unfortunately, the critical reception of this film was not there. I can understand it, to some extent, but it does make me very sad. Yet with the leads landing rolls in Stranger Things, the Live Action Aladin, and others, their future’s will be very bright. Even if I won’t see them Morph again.


3. The Good Place Season 2

This show is the best thing on network television. It is not only one of the funniest shows on television (though I would argue the funniest). It is also one one the smartest. As someone who regularly likes to deep dive into philosophy purely on whim, to see a half o dozen legendary philosophers used in a 20 minute network comedy to such great effect is exhilarating. What is even better about this show is that it is done so well, you can get a general understanding of the basic philosophies of Descartes, Kant, and even a brief introduction of Nietzsche. The cast is superb lead by Kristen Bell and the legendary Ted Danson each having a delightful time in their roles. The second season of this show has yet to be concluded, but the brilliance demonstrated by its first half is truly something to behold. Many wondered where the show would go after the first season’s cliff hanging ending. I doubt few expected it to go the way it did, and I mean that in all the right ways. It is truly hard to better describe the show without divulging to much of the twists and turns in the plot.


2. Wonder Woman

The DC Cinematic Universe is an unrepentant pile of horse shit. Full of the most grotesque and foul abominations of the characters and locations that I hold so dear to my heart. It has been since the dawn of Zach Snyder and I expect it will continue as long as anything his horrid condemn-able tentacles have had a hold of. To see something like Wonder Woman rise above the maggot infested carrion of the previous films was truly a sight to behold. The film truly embodies everything the character has to stand for, and I am amazing such a masterpiece exists. I am baffled that this film alone almost makes up for the rest of the wretched termite mound of films by itself alone. I digress. I am wallowing to much in the despair of the franchise and not the glory of the film itself. Very little media can make me cry, especially tears for joy. Yet as Diana rose above the trenches to “Defend those who can’t defend themselves” I was instantly moved to tears. What followed was one of the purest super hero films ever made and the hope that maybe DC had finally figured things out (spoilers, they didn’t). Yet Wonder Woman goes so much further than a super hero film. It is action packed, touching, fun, and sad. It is the complete package. It is a film that makes me smile when another mentions it, and not shy away in disgust. To have the world introduced to a character so near and dear to me in this splendid fashion is incredibly heartwarming. If the sequel to this film is even a tenth as enjoyable as his film was, it will be one for the record book.


1. Star Trek Discovery

I am so pleased that Star Trek is at the top of this list. It has truly been a sight to see. In the hiatus of the show (which comes back in just over a week!) I have re-watched the first portion of this season no less than a dozen times. The down time I would normally be watching favorite episodes of DS9, TNG, or TOS, are now consumed watching, and loving as much of DSC as I possibly can. For starters, getting a show set in the prime universe, and away from the Kelvin Time line has been something long coming. Despite a rocky start to the pilot episodes, the show has stuck the landing. Helped by a fantastic cast, Discovery is so much more about ‘Boldly Going’. Set roughly 10 years before the 5 year mission of Kirk’s Enterprise, Discovery follows the outbreak of the first Federation Klingon War. What this doesn’t tell you to the show is the fantastic character development rarely seen this well in Trek (I would make a case for DS9, but that’s just me). It is easy to find heart and humor amidst the back drop of drama and war. As well as finding all the fun science-y things you expect from Star Trek. Despite coming on a platform I have to pay extra for, I happily do so and will continue to if the quality keeps up like this. All this said, I riot if Tilly dies. She must be protected at all costs.

So there you have it. Another Ravingnerd stream of consciousness. I hope you found something useful out of this list. If you disagree with anything here, please let me know. I would love to hear your reasons behind it. Stay tuned tomorrow for the best comics of 2017!

Civilization 6 First Look: The Netherlands


Once again this post comes after the next Civilization is announced (Mongolia!) but I am going to delve further into The New Dutch Civilization. Much like I did with Korea, I will look at all of their unique benefits as well as how they work on normal randomized maps as well as TSL maps. The Netherlands are led by Queen Wilhelmina, one of their most well regarded leaders. This not only helps ring true to their lead designers goal, but helps get more bad ass ladies into the game. That is all good by me.

You can watch the full release video here.

The Netherlands unique ability is Grote Rivieren, which grants an adjacency bonus when Campus, Theatre Squares, and Industrial Zones are built next to a river. This benefit appears to be a plus 2 addition, which considering no other Civ is gettting that type of bonus, it is a very excellent ability. It also likely means that they will have a river/coastal starting bias. In addition to this bonus, they gain a culture bomb whenever they build a Harbor district. The term culture bomb refers to a situation where you grab tiles adjacent next to something. This ability is also possessed by Civ’s like Poland and Australia. Meaning the Dutch gain an excellent benefit from just about every District type, which is definitely a nice bonus. It’s with their unique improvement this ability really shines. The Polder can be built on specific water tiles with sufficient coastal tiles. The Polder grants production, gold and food. The food output is increased as you progress through the game. Similar to Indonesia, they can make use of water tiles in a way that few other Civilizations can. Their unique unit, the De Zeven Provincien, appears to be a replacement for the Frigate. It not only has more range and combat strength, but gets a specific benefit when attacking defensible districts. Finally Wilhelmina’s leader benefit is Radio Oranje. Internal trade routes gain plus one loyalty, which is one of the new mechanics in rise and fall. This will help keep Dutch cities, Dutch. Foreign Trade routes (including those your opponent sends to you) grant you 1 culture. This is a handy benefit too.


The Netherlands look to be an excellent tool box Civ. They have all the tools to make tall, thriving cities, even with just a few land tiles. Their inclination to be towards rivers will help guide you on where to settle further cities. If you can hit the jack pot with a coastal city with a river near by, you will have one of the best cities in the game. Their trade routes provide excellent utility and help protect against enemy influence. Their unique unit will be one of the most feared units on the sea. The one down side would be advanced settlement by an opponent. Similar to Brazil, who gets a massive benefit from Rain Forest tiles, cutting them off from their tiles is devastating. However, with benefits from both river and ocean, they will find success some where.

TSL is a different story. I expect True Start Netherlands to be a force in games. They will likely have their capital start next to a river and ocean, helping tremendously. Their Districts will be better than those of their opponents, and their Polder will allow them to maximize little space to great effect. You will need to make sure you have some early defenses, or Norway will be a quick adversary in the North. With their unique unit, they will be able to keep up with Britain to the West. It is your land adversaries to the West, East, and South that will be problematic. Germany, Russia, and Poland will be your biggest problems. Germany will be aggressive, but you can cur some early favor with them by avoiding City States. Poland has the ability to cut into your land with their culture bomb ability. Russia naturally grabs more land. You will likely need to either look at early aggression towards them, or hope that they attack each other. Or you will find yourself cut off from the rest of the European Continent. That said, once the Viking Longships are obsolete, you could conversely conquer Norway. It is also very likely that you will have an edge on the fight with England.

Unlike Korea, the utility the Dutch have will allow them to survive a TSL map easily. This same utility will allow them to escape the pitfall’s other resource specific Civilization’s. Their clearest victory option appears to be Culture, but their benefits and strong Maritime focus mean that you could conquer your enemies by sea. I for one cannot wait for my chance to play with the Netherlands, and find out how ridiculously tall I can make my cities. Stay tuned, my look at the Mongolian’s are next.

Lets Chat About the Last Jedi

Hey everyone. I was normally going to write up my “Best of” list or my review of the new Netherlands Civ in Civilazation 6, but I have to talk about the new Star Wars movie. I will be unleashing full spoilers for this film, and using comparisons from a wide variety of TV and Film. So if you haven’t seen the film, or if you haven’t caught up to date with binge worthy things like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, their associated films, and several other sci fi franchises.

So Black Alert! Spoilers are active.

I saw the Last Jedi today. I did not like it. My problems with it go beyond the glaring plot holes, and into the over all tone of the film. Now to be fair, I have long strayed away from the Star Wars franchise. I will see the new films when they come out, but will rarely re-watch them or the originals. On the other hand I watch Star Trek almost daily. As such, I couldn’t help but compare this film to the other mediums. This is my logic and mine alone. I am not angry about this film. I am not angry that people enjoyed it. In fact I am excited for those that enjoyed it. It’s always nice and refreshing to get such a pleasant experience from something. I just hope I can succinctly state my issues with the film.

My biggest problem was the overall tone of the film. I understand that people saw a bright and positive aspect of the overall plot and message. I did not. I saw some of my childhood heroes fail spectacularly on the big screen. I have never once in my life wanted to see and angsty Luke Skywalker. I mean like angsty. If you thought he was bad in A New Hope, you have another thing coming for you. The anger and the sorrow in Luke completely overshadowed the hope that he was supposed to bring. And in his death, I am supposed to feel happy and positive. Just because he was ‘in a good place’ when he died. That doesn’t ease the sting of it any more. With the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher, the franchises next installment is now without any of the three stars of the original film. Though she passed nearly a year ago, I feel saddened that they didn’t change things to include Luke in the next film. Aside from Force ghost, which is not the same thing. I did not get any sense of hope from the film. A ragged band of Rebels on the run in a single ship, who would not be aided by any of their supposed allies. All three of the original series’ stars dead and gone. While an incredibly underwhelming cast of villains are hunting them down. This film did nothing in making me enjoy Kylo Ren. It also tempered my enjoyment of Hux from the first series. The end of Empire Strikes Back is indeed depressing, but a repaired Luke staring at the Rebel Armada is inspiring and leaves you with a sense of hope. This film did no such thing. To compare it to the most recent Star Trek film.

I have seen several different Enterprises’, in several different series’, get destroyed. Yet my emotional resonance of that destruction was never higher than it was in Star Trek Beyond. Krall (Idris Elba) and his forces have completely overrun the Enterprise and already triggered all the alarms. He takes it a step farther by telling his men to “cut it’s throat”. This humanized the ship in a way that had not previously done as effectively. Then we witness the ship die. Completely destroyed, in uncharted space, with no chance of rescue or communication. This happens within the first 30 minutes. The rest of the film is the crew overcoming the odds and inspiring each other, and in turn me. I had none of this inspiration from the ending of Last Jedi. I saw the death of the franchise hero, who was but a hollow shell of what I thought I would see in this film. I saw the heroes completely pushed to the brink, and then some. I also saw the rising tide of villainy. Something I was initially excited about, but as the film dragged on, they just devolved into mewling cowards.

The last two years there has been much speculation on everything from Snoke’s identity, to the true nature of Rey’s parents. You know what? None of it mattered. Snoke did not matter. Rey’s parents didn’t matter. Captain Phasma sold millions of dollars in merchandise and did effectively nothing in the two films. Her four part comic mini series was arguably better than this entire film. Not only did we get a long, drawn out, monotonous film. The answers to the most burning questions in the franchise were jettisoned out in favor of a stuttering Benicio Del Toro. No, really. While many were expecting a big reveal like we got in Empire, we got literally none of it. I had hoped that this film would change my opinions on Force Awakens. And it did, I like it much better than this drivel of a film.

Also, the mechanics of the Slow and the Furious style combat that was the dominant portion of the plot is unforgivable. The Rebel ship was just fast enough to not gain any actual speed on the other ships. Just a super uninteresting car chase. No ship capable of doing anything to change the outcome. Sure this might be intended to increase the dramatic odds, but Luke was dramatic enough as it was. If they had enough fuel for one more jump, could they not have jumped just a little closer to the planet they were heading for? The questions go on and on. Yet in BSG we see the crew do this on a day by day basis, and still make it out of some pretty dire straights, all the while still maintaining some sense of hope and wonder. Even despite the unrelenting onslaught of Cylon Base Stars and Raiders. An enemy that built two death stars, and a death planet, couldn’t make their engines just a little faster? Or jump just a head of the enemies? The Empire really has no long distance fighters? There is no Imperial version of Scotty capable of throwing some extra plotmacguffium into an engine to get their giant death ships just close enough to finish the job?

The answer, apparently, was no.

Well there you have it. My completely unneeded rant on Star Wars the Last Jedi. Again, If you enjoyed the film. More power to you. But this viewer will spend the next few days trying to decide if this is better than Anakin and his sand rant or not. To say the least, this is in the company of the worst Star Wars film in the franchise.


Top of the Stack

Hey everyone! This post is delayed mostly because there really weren’t that many great books that came out this week. Normally I could go on and on about books like Action and Detective, but they both had sub par issues this week. I figure there is enough negativity in the world right now, so I won’t critique these books. Instead I will focus the few books this week that I liked. So with that done, I’ll get to it!


Mister Miracle #5

This book is hands down the best book on the shelf. Period. Tom King is able to embrace the bombastic and wild style that Jack Kirby brought to his books. In doing so, he is able to nail down the New Gods in a way few have since their creation. Mitch Gerads art is also perfect for the book. Able to make a page feel warm, yet unsettling. Heart warming, yet creepy. By sticking close to a 9 panel per page layout, the book has a classic feel to it which helps to add to both the overall enjoyment. Additionally it helps him sow seeds of distress that remind the readers that there is something sinister we haven’t seen yet. This issue is the best of the series so far. I have longed to get an issue that is just Scott and Barda exploring their relationship, and we get it in this one. I have long loved their love for each other, and this issue has it all. It has Barda, who is as strong as Wonder Woman, be more vulnerable then we have ever seen her. She spends the book with a smile on her face, but a heavy heart. The execution of Scott weighing heavy on her mind. Scott is much more relaxed, and seemingly at peace with the decision. We see them spend the last two days together. They do everything from enjoy a carnival, to eating at a diner, and some creative love scenes. With the book far from issue 12, we knew Scott wasn’t headed for the chair this early. The issues conclusion left one of the most dangerous women in the universe on a quest to protect her husband from a neurotic Orion. Yet sadly, I have to wait another 30 days to read the next part of it.


Port of Earth #2

I am a sucker for a good sci fi story, and this is one of them. The story follows an Earth that made contact with an alien consortium in the not so distant future. The aliens were not after peace, or war, or anything like that. They needed an intergalactic gas station. Their ships are powered by water, and Earth has an abundant supply of it. So an agreement was made. They give us some advanced tech while we let their ships fill up. Not enough to hurt the environment, just enough to get them to the next stop. The story is set several years after this bureaucratic first contact.  The story follows two agents of the Earth Security Agency. Tasked to guard the facility from unauthorized humans, or escaping alien entities. This issue picks up with them hot in pursuit of an escaped alien. A powerful being from a race the humans have not had the displeasure of meeting. Zack Kaplan is weaving threads of sci-fi, action, and alien horror. All excellently drawn by Andrea Mutti. If the story keeps up this way, Image will have another hit on its hands. I am hoping that this book finds an audience, as it truly is one of the best Science Fiction stories I have read in a long time.

Sadly, that’s about it for this week. I hope you will check these books out, if you haven’t  already. In the mean time, what are you reading?