2017 was a great year for geekdom. We saw some great movies, games, and comics this year. Awesome books and tech, and all fun things we geeks and nerds love. Amidst all the negativity, conflict, and arguments there’s been a lot of good to be had. So here’s a look 2017’s Best of Geek based on what we’ve seen.
Video games have been a mixed bag this year but some fun has been had as well. Just from what others have said we’ve had some awesome games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Cuphead, and Nier: Automata. I didn’t pick those up myself but I did play some fantastic games this year, and one that truly blew me away. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands was a lot of fun and a unique experience. Great graphics and interesting play style that kept me and my friends occupied many nights working together to finish it. Little Nightmares was a fantastic use of lighting and suspense in a fun puzzle jumper. The Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire expansion added some great new features to the original game with huge beautiful maps and the addition of mounts this will see many more hours added to my game play.
The game that blew me away this year, and without a doubt our game of 2017 was Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. I haven’t played a game that had such a profound affect on me in a long time. I’ve played games that heightened my adrenaline, or made me nervous with anxiety. Games that have been exciting, or had a moving story, but very few that wrap that all up into one. Hearing voices behind you in the dark makes you feel like there’s other people in the room while you play the game. I was always nervous about what was around the next corner, constantly engrossed in the game. The story was moving, powerful, and emotional all wrapped in a gorgeous package. Take a serious look at this game if you haven’t played it already.
The past year was a rough one for comics and fans. The big two took some heavy hits in sales, though DC seems to be bouncing back from the New 52 debacle finally. Several cancellations at Marvel marked the end of the year, though that is not out of the ordinary. That doesn’t mean we were without some great books released this year. Darkhorse, Image, Titan Comics and Alterna Comics all top my list as some of the best and most interesting releases this year but a couple series shined through and one stood above the rest, though I still need to get to the last issue. Extremity is a book I picked up after getting a free incentive issue from my comic guy. Right away it intrigued me and I signed up to get more. The art and story remind me of some of the great shorts I used to read in Heavy Metal. I also picked up Skydoll: Sudra, which officially released years ago but got its first English release this year. The art in it is amazing, and the story isn’t like anything I’ve read before. Rose is another that I picked up after a free issue from my shop. This book is great, and would hit #1 for me if it weren’t for one other. I look forward to more from the team behind Rose, it’s a great series so far with some intriguing world-building behind it.
Topping my list is The Chair from Alterna Comics. Officially released in 2006 it got a re-release this year in Alterna’s newsprint line as a 4 issue mini series. What I’ve read so far is a dark and twisted look at a nightmarish prison housing the worst of the worst, and also some pretty terrible inmates. I look forward to the final chapter and highly recommend picking up this book. There’s also a movie out there that I haven’t seen yet. I do have to mention Alterna’s newsprint line here too. A lot of young readers won’t remember when comics were put together in newsprint. No expensive glossy pages means the books can be sold cheaper but more than that is the feel for an old collector. Much like old books the feel and smell of an old comic is something that cannot be replicated anywhere else. While these new books don’t yet have that smell, they do have the feel. Holding a newsprint comic might feel cheap to some; lighter and flimsier, but it was nostalgic to me. It reminded me of my early days of collecting when you could pick up an X-Men issue for $1.50 or $1.75. You can pick up their current issues for $1.00 or $1.50 each.
2017 had a lot of returning television shows that we all love, but so many new ones as well. The Gifted is doing a great job creating the world of the X-Men with the feel of the late 80’s-early 90’s with mutants hunted and on the run. Godless is such a good western, and another fantastic show from Netflix. Knightfall on History snuck in at the end of the year with an attempt to do what Vikings is doing, but set during the Crusades. They’re doing a fair job though it won’t be able to bank on holding us history nerds without some improvement. The Orville is almost our best new show of 2017 so deserves some high recognition. Who would have thought that the creator of Family Guy could pull off a better Star Trek than the actual Star Trek we got? Don’t get me wrong, Family Guy is good for what it is, but no one wants to see that in space. They’ve done that already. While we did get a little bit of that type of humor, overall we got a wonderfully fun and inspiring show that would feel right at home among the rest of the Star Trek shows we all love.
Taking the top spot for new TV shows is The Punisher on Netflix. They really stepped up their game after some lackluster showings from a couple other Marvel shows we’ve seen recently. Netflix gave us a Punisher we’ve been wanting since Dolf mumbled onto the screen. While the Thomas Jane version wasn’t terrible, the War Zone followup was so ridiculous it had to be intentional with its trolling. John Bernthal’s Punisher is spot on for me, and the short season format was perfect for telling the complicated story of Frank Castle. It’s not just guns and explosions, fast cars and brooding anti-heroes. This show gave us the full character, and I’ll confidently place it just behind Daredevil as the best Netflix has given us of Marvel so far.
Of course we’ve seen loads of awesome tech this year. AI home assistants that order stuff from the internet and control your lights, to new phones, tablets, and computer hardware. We saw Apple release an incredibly expensive phone that has lower specs than most of their competitors (bold?) and admit to slowing down older phones to save the batteries they made difficult to replace in the first place. AI units developed their own language and started talking to each other, which scared the poor meat sacks that had to shut them off before they shared notes about SkyNet. Overall it was a fun year for those who are into gadgets, devices, and just cool things to play with.
The one piece of tech this year that will, in my opinion, make a huge impact on our world is Google’s Pixel Buds. This device can translate up to 40 languages almost instantaneously! It reaches the height of geekdom as far as I’m concerned, bringing a fantasy tech to life with your very own Babel Fish. This will change how everyone does business, foreign relations and cultural interaction everywhere. This can help medical professionals treat patients who do not speak the same language without having to wait for an interpreter. It can help first responders, emergency call-center personnel, and the general public in large metropolitan areas with multicultural communities. This device can help break down the barriers caused by differences in language and should bring more understanding between the various cultures of the world.
2017 was huge for movies. It was also contentious. Marvel continued to show DC how it’s done on the big screen with Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We got a sequel to the cult classic Bladerunner, DC’s follow-up Justice League, and the adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower. Those three, as well as Star Wars The Last Jedi, saw some serious debate and mixed experience from fans. They were loved by many though, and will go down as great examples of geek cinema.
One movie sits on top this year though. Despite how much I liked Star Wars, I loved Logan more. Watching the final days of my favorite comic character on the big screen were pretty emotional for me. I know, a comic book character…emotional…but that’s a testament to how good this movie was. If this had been any other set of characters other than from comics I believe this could be a serious contender for Oscar nominations, but these types of movies don’t get recognized that way. It was by far Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s best performances in these roles, and together they were phenomenal. It is my pick for best geek movie this year by a long shot. My only fear is that with the recent deal between Disney and Fox we’re going to see a newly cast Wolverine and it just won’t be the same. Part of me wants to see more of the flashing claws and all, but another part wants them to leave him alone. Let this last performance stay with us for awhile before trying to reskin it, but it’s Marvel and they never leave a main character alone.