Ranking Marvel’s Netflix Series

I recently caught up on all of Marvel’s Netflix series, and I found myself compelled to compare them to each other. It makes sense. Following the formula set by the Avengers film sequence, each superhero has his or her dedicated series, and then in 2017, they came together to form The Defenders.

First a note: All but one of these series have only produced one season, so things could change. The creators could right the ship or sink it. I don’t expect my rankings will change too much, considering these first seasons will always exist, but crazier things have happened. Also, this is all spoiler-free, so if you haven’t seen all of them yet, never fear.

Here’s where I see them standing, worst to best.

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The Last Jedi Reaction

I saw The Last Jedi a couple weeks ago, and like most of you, I hrmph’d out of the movie theater, feeling an immediate need to reflect upon what I’d just seen. For those first 24 hours, I experienced strong emotional waffling as seemingly warring factions in my brain attempted to win out. I expected this tension would continue to evolve, but it didn’t really. I think both of my minds are right.

I’ve decided The Last Jedi is a really good Star Wars film in its own right, but in context of the series and its surrounding culture, it’s mediocre and even harmful.

This is less a review and more a reaction. That said, I spoil the hell out of the film because I found it really unsatisfying to discuss my points in general terms, which leads me to my first point [final spoiler warning].

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Pulling Strings by Nick DeWolf

PULLING STRINGS is easily one of my favorite novels of 2017. Not only is it smart and meaningful, but it’s also fun as hell. It is a novel in that place where genre fiction and literary fiction blend, a novel you might see a literature professor and his or her student run into each other and discover they have something in common.

The synopsis goes something like this: Agent Colt has a psychic ability to fire kinetic mind bullets from her fingers. She’s a legend at the Department of Scientific Investigation (which doesn’t exist … but it could!), and she has led a storied career that the new recruits talk about in hushed tones. Now, however, she’s approaching retirement, working a cushy detail out of a field office in Middle America. It’s boring compared to her heyday. Then a new case comes in, and she thinks it could be her swan song. Little does she know the target she’s hunting is the most dangerous psychic she’s ever encountered.

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The Pillars of Dawn Is Live

Today is launch day, and The Pillars of Dawn is now available to purchase on Amazon.

This thing has been a long time coming. Through many rewrites and revisions, the throes of misfortune that is the publishing industry, and the existential crises, the one constant has been that this story was mine, and it lived only in my head. And now it doesn’t. Now, it’s ours, and I hope you consider venturing into the wilds of Lumen with me.

It’s far from perfect, but I’m proud of it and think it’s something special. I hope you do, too.

Catch up with me on Facebook and Twitter, and let me know what you think.

Meet the Gang in The Pillars of Dawn

The Pillars of Dawn is less than a week away from hitting bookshelves, and I’d like to take this time to offer to get you acquainted with the people you’ll be spending a lot of time with if you crack open these pages (or tap the e-reader screen).

In a way, I consider this blog bonus material. It’s b-side reading for readers who just can’t get enough. These are the deep cuts.

But in another way, I consider this particular post a supplement for this novel. As I’ve written before, The Pillars of Dawn is a big book, and it has many characters. One of the chief criticisms I received from early readers is there are too many characters to keep track of up front, and my name isn’t George R.R. Martin, and wouldn’t I like it if my name were George R.R. Martin and all of my problems were solved?

Over the many drafts of this novel, I took this feedback to heart and culled characters who weren’t necessary or combined others who were weak alone but became strong together. However, there’s still a lot of people in this one. After all, it’s about a small town on an alien planet. There is a core group worth following, though. Allow me to introduce you to them.

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More Details About The Pillars of Dawn

Last week, I revealed the cover for my upcoming sophomore novel, The Pillars of Dawn, and I mentioned more details would be forthcoming. The first question I usually get about this one is if it’s a sequel to my novel Carrier. No, it isn’t. Stellan and Daelen are going to stay on ice for now, and I understand if I’m the only one who thinks that joke is funny.

Other than publishing a few short stories, I’ve been quiet for a long time about what I’ve been working on, and the reasons are three-fold: 1). I’m a slow worker, 2). it was difficult to find a home for this novel, and 3). this story is a beast.

I’d rather not talk about 1 or 2, but I’m eager to talk about 3.

There’s really no other way to put it. The Pillars of Dawn is a fat child. All told, it comes in at about 160,000 words, which is enough for two average-length novels (or, technically, three short novels). Not only is it big, but it’s complex, following six main characters as they struggle to keep their home safe and unravel the mysteries of the unknown lands beyond their colony on an alien world.

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Hey, Charlottesville

Hey, Charlottesville. I hear you’re having a bad day. I know you pretty well, and I want you to know that, though the world is looking at you today and normally is content to ignore you, I know you’re a friendly, small city in one of the most beautiful regions of the United States, and you’re a beacon of culture, art, and enlightenment, and you’re trying to be a good home for a lot of different people with different stories and different ideas.

And that’s not an easy thing to do.

Much of that is why some of the worst of humanity is there today. You see, they don’t like you. They want to hurt you. They aren’t content to be a part of something great. To them, it is not great unless they dominate it.

But I want you to know that I know they are not you. I know that, today, this is not you at your worst. Today is us at our worst, and it just so happens to have found its way to you.

I’m really sorry about that and wish I could do something. Today, all I can really do is watch to make sure you make it through all right, and when you do, I want you to know I still love you.