It’s been a very exciting year here at AiPT! What better way to close out 2017 than with staff picks from the two men that started it all–co-Editors in Chief Patrick Ross and Russ Whiting!
Favorite current comic series: Since I’ve been swept up in Star Wars mania I’ve been going back and reading a lot of the Star Wars comics I had missed. I just bought the first volume of Charles Soule’s Darth Vader, and it is awesome. I liked the first Vader series Marvel released a year or two ago, but this one is even better. Revenge of the Sith is actually one of my favorite Star Wars movies, believe it or not, so seeing what Vader is up to immediately after the end of that movie is a real treat to read.Favorite current TV series: I binged The Punisher over the course of the weekend it came out and enjoyed it quite a bit. It dragged a bit in the middle, but Jon Bernthal did an amazing job with the character and the final two or three episodes were good old fashioned Punisher action. I’d rate it above The Defenders, Luke Cage and Iron Fist (obviously) in the pantheon of Marvel Netflix shows. Season 2 has already been announced and I’m already looking forward to it.
Last great movie you saw: The only movie that matters, of course: The Last Jedi! It wasn’t a perfect movie by any stretch and I have several criticisms. I can see why people who hate on it didn’t like it but its themes of learning from failure and letting go of the past (even on a meta level) were executed perfectly. I’m all-in on Rey and Kylo Ren.
Current gaming addiction: Weirdly enough, I’ve gotten hardcore back into Diablo III. I’m a big fan of every Blizzard franchise, and played the hell out of D3 when it and its expansion pack originally came out, but I hadn’t touched it in a couple years. A few weeks after opening it up in curiosity of the new Necromancer class, and I’m paragon level 750 with four fully geared seasonal characters.
Coolest recent purchase: My iPhone X. I’ve been a huge Apple nerd ever since the 90s, and I’m still getting over how damn cool this thing is. The edge to edge screen (I know, I know, besides the notch) is sexy as hell and Face ID works beautifully.
Biggest pet peeve of 2017: Bleh. I’ve always had an interest in politics but this year I can’t avoid thinking about it almost every waking moment despite how terrible I feel the state of the country is right now. So I guess my biggest pet peeve is the bleak timeline we seem to find ourselves on.
And on a positive note, what was the best thing about 2017: In the realm of the nerdy stuff we deal with, Nintendo’s resurgence to not just relevance, but excellence. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild honestly might be the best video game I’ve ever played, and the Switch is a giant leap in the right direction after the missteps of the Wii U and the weird precedent set by the Wii.
Oh, and Star Wars. Duh.
Favorite current comic series: I consider myself lucky to be able to review Tom King’s Batman every month. When all is said and done, King will have left an indelible mark and influence on the Batman mythos.
There are too many highlights to list in this piece alone, but some of my favorite story arcs have been: “Rooftops,” which sparked what could very well be the most intimate and balanced Batman/Catwoman relationship (rooftop rumubsticating included) we’ve ever seen; “The Brave and the Mold,” featuring a fascinatingly eerie team-up with Swamp Thing; “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” where Kite-Man (hell yeah) became the most interesting ancillary character of 2017; and “Superfriends,” a wholesome tribute to a Silver Age double date with modern day flavor between Super-bros Batman and Superman and their lady friends Catwoman and Lois Lane.
If you haven’t checked out King’s run and consider yourself a Batman fan, the hell are you waiting for?
Favorite current TV series: I was late to the party with Breaking Bad; I decided to watch it about a year ago and powered through all five seasons (sixty-two episodes) of the gripping, Shakespearean-echelon epic in a couple weeks or so. Superb acting, intricate writing — it was the first time in a long time I’d been straight-up enthralled by a series from start to finish.
I’m on to Better Call Saul now, which is a Breaking Bad spinoff written by the same showrunners (Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould). I was a little worried that the underhanded charm of scene-stealing Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), who played an equal-parts sleazy/shrewd lawyer in Breaking Bad, might lose some of its luster under the extended spotlight — and thankfully, I was wrong. Although a completely different beast from Breaking Bad, Saul is the real deal and has captivated me in much the same way as its Heisenbergian predecessor.
Current gaming addiction:I don’t game as much as I used to, but one I sink more time into than I care to admit these days is Hearthstone. I’d never played a trading card game beforehand, so I had my doubts, but the allure of World of Warcraft lore combined with fun visual effects, sounds and tongue-in-cheek humor sucked me right in.
Coolest recent purchase: For the first time in thirty-four years, I finished my Christmas shopping a week early. Did all my shopping online, made everyone happy and brought my stress levels from hair-pulling, last minute furor to “I bought these in my boxer shorts.” #whatatimetobealive
And on a positive note, what was the best thing about 2017: Besides Martin Shrekli being sentenced to 20 years in prison, a new treatment being developed for ALS and Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow reaching number one on the Billboards?
I still thank the good Lord above that we have an abundance of amazing, live action superhero movies being released on the regular. As an ’80s child, the comic book movie epoch we’re blessed to experience now was still the stuff of dreams back in the day. I mean, besides the original Batman film, the choices were pretty limited; I had to make do with stuff like this: Spider-Man (1970) and Captain America (1990). We’ve come a long way, youngins.