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Top 10 Mad Scientists

GeekOut Top 10s

Ahahaha! Ahahaha–!!!

… Ah. There really wasn’t much to laugh about, was there? Anyway, welcome back to our weekly Top 10, ladies and gentlemen, where we take a topic that you choose and we choose the best of the best in that category. Today’s subject is a little bit experimental, as we’re going to be looking at our Top 10 Mad Scientists and write up our thesis about their potentials for the top spot. We’ve taken a lot of candidates and we felt like we’d do something a bit different for this one. We’ve put a pinch of this and a dash of that together to give birth to a list which shows off the best of the best of these mad scientists. Creation is a powerful tool; so let’s see what these scientists can bring to life!


Top 10

10) Mayuri Kurotsuchi – Bleach

Captain of the 12th Division of the Soul Society’s militarised wing of Shinigami, dedicated to hunting the hollow and damned souls who still stalk the living world, and who’s vast counterparts dwell in their own little demi-plane and covetously eye the realm of mortals. The devastating powers of the greater Hollows like the Menos Grande and the Espada require the use of increasingly terrible weapons to use against them. Enter the head of the science division, who is a brilliant master of biology and chemistry, implementing toxins and biological engineering to create defences and countermeasures of awesome potency.

But he is waaaay off his rocker. He has no regard for life, evaluating everyone by their use as a test subject, including his second in command and hand-made “daughter” Nemu. Even his own mortal shell is just a plaything for his twisted brain, keeping his organs and inner workings in jars… somewhere, having greatly improved on his own design. When faced with an Espada with the power to destroy organs with only a “voodoo” doll, he feigns his own death by vomiting blood and folding at hideous angles, before standing, laughing it off, and straight up butchering the creature with barely a thought to the others who were suffering around him.

9) Doctor Evil – Austin Powers

Frickin’ sharks with laser beams attached to their heads!

Okay, so let me start by explaining that Doctor Evil is actually not always the one who creates; but he’s often the brains behind the operations. Sure he’s not exactly the smartest brain behind the operations, that probably belongs to his son, but he’s definitely amongst the most dangerous minds around. In fact, Doctor Evil probably is one of the least intelligent geniuses to have ever existed in all media.

You see, he’s rich as all heck (Somehow); He has legions of minions (Somehow); He has friends (Somehow) and (Somehow) he manages to do some pretty crazy things, such as intimidate the president of the United States of America, by playing footage from Independence Day. He’s not the brightest, but so long as he has access to so many people to build his crazy ideas, he’s going to keep on doing evil things. Now if only he would stop being interrupted by Austin Powers – Time to steal his mojo!

8) Doctor Albert Wily – Mega Man

Probably the epitome of a cranky old man, Dr. Wily is one crazy, creative scientist who managed to turn something good into something terrible. You see, Wily wasn’t always a cranky old man; instead he was once a colleague of the esteemed Dr. Light, a scientist who created robots for the betterment of mankind. Unfortunately, Wily being under his wing meant that Wily knew how those robots worked and was able to reprogram them into something much more sinister and evil. I guess, when your surname is ‘Wily’ you know you’re going to be trouble.

He’s actually had some degree of success, come to think of it. You see in the original game, he was actually taking over the world with the robots he stole. In the second game, he created his own robots to try and take over the world. In the third, he pretended to have changed his ways, whilst still manipulating robots. In the fourth game he captured an esteemed scientist’s daughter – and so on and so forth. If there’s nothing else to say about him, Wily somehow always manages to bounce back after being defeated by Rockman/Mega Man.

7) Algernop Krieger – Archer

Former Nazi scientist and master of cybernetic enhancement, dangerous biochemistry, and highly illegal sciences, Algernop Krieger works for the worst intelligence agency in the world, formerly known as ISIS (but undergoing several facelifts due to unfortunate connections with a present day organisation, you get the idea). Krieger has a catalogue of horrifying creations to his name, a pig/human hybrid, a goat/human hybrid, a crazy killer cyborg with multiple personalities, and some of the most messed up hallucinogens.

There are many questions best not asked about Krieger, many of which he has asked “Is it technically murder if they’re my clones?” and what happens to the hobos who he invites in for free meals, and what exactly happened to Len Trexler. Despite having never technically earned a qualification, Krieger is alarmingly intelligent, wildly unhinged, and a possible clone of Hitler himself. Probably better off under Malory Archer’s control than back in Brazil though.

6) Frank-N-Furter – Rocky Horror Picture Show

Doctor Frank-N-Furter, from transexual Transylvania, is an absolute genius madman who lives in a massive manor far away from most city life. In fact, when newly engaged couple Janet and Brad have a flat tyre, they notice the manor is the only place that they can get to. Thinking they could manage calling someone to come and replace their tyre, they’re invited in and are made to enjoy the customs of Doctor Frank-N-Furter himself, who takes extra special interest in the pair of them.

Frank-N-Furter claims to have found the secret of life itself; claiming that he was able to make a living being. He wasn’t lying, as he managed to make Rocky come to life; His vision of a perfect man. Say what you want about Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Frank-N-Furter is a true classic staple of Sci-Fi goodness. Of course, he is quite a parody of a certain “Ugly monster” which we’ll be talking about later in this Top 10, but my goodness, if I could look as good as Frank-N-Furter whilst making life, I know I would!

5) Professor Farnsworth – Futurama

Mad may not quite cover Hubert J. Farnsworth, the man who treats doomsday machines as family and family as layabout parasites who sit on his couch and shirk their jobs… because they are. Farnsworth has done it all, time machines, intelligent monkeys, killer robots – during his days contracting at MomCorps – and every other manner of reality warping and brain melting device. His masterpiece ship pushes the universe around it, all while remaining absolutely stationary, which raises the question “What if you have two?”

Farnsworth is a god amongst machines in a very real sense, and has created life on numerous occasions. The man’s senility coupled with his tendency to tinker with the fabric of reality makes for a rather daunting mix, and may indeed have been forced to destroy and recreate the universe or perform some similarly horrifying task to cover up some even more terrible blunder! And he may do it again without a second thought… but he is  already in his pyjamas.

So that’s good news I suppose.

4) Otto Octavius – Spider-Man

A megalomaniac who’s body has irreversibly fused with the mechanical tentacles that he uses to manipulate radioactive and dangerous substances, Doctor Octopus is possessed of a determination to achieve great scientific achievements and damn the consequences or who is harmed or what master is served along the way. The classic Spider-Man nemesis was superbly brought to life by Alfred Molina with a subtly different adaption, but can we please talk about the whole mind-swapping thing that happened in the comics?

Octavius managed to implant Peter Parker’s mind into his own decaying corpse (long story) and take the place of Spider-Man. After being forced to understand what made Spidey a hero, the life he’d led, Otto decided, not only to take up the mantle of the Wall Crawler, but to be an even better version! Superior Spider-Man, complete with mechanical spider-limbs! Seriously for quite some time now the Spider-Man of the comics has been the brain of one of his biggest nemeses riding around in Parker’s body. Kinda weird, kinda cool, all mad science! This may be a few too many exclamation marks for a single paragraph, but damn Marvel, that’s some seriously crazy narrative.

3) Victor Frankenstein VS Henry Jekyll

How are you supposed to choose the best mad scientist from classic literature? We didn’t. We’ll make our cases for our favourites; you choose who’s just crazy enough for the number 3 slot.

Frankenstein’s Argument – Timlah

Doctor Victor Frankenstein is a scientist who studied chemical processes for a living, when he suddenly came across a way to effectively create life itself. From understanding how living beings decay, along with a morbid fascination for how to create life in an inanimate object, Victor set about making a humanoid. Now, presumably, Victor stole body pieces, or at least was donated them but this is never really fully described.

Victor creates Frankenstein itself (or Frankenstein’s Monster as it’s often referred to) and whilst an impressive feat, he is mortified with what he’s created. He wanted to make life; but he didn’t expect it to be so ugly a being. Fleeing his creature, Victor lives with the regret of making his monster, who went around murdering. They say you cannot kill what you did not create, but they rarely tell you that what you create may kill you.

Jekyll’s Argument – Joel

Henry Jekyll’s greatest achievement in life was proving that man is capable of tremendous goodness and terrible evil. In an effort to separate, control, and ultimately destroy the evil side of man he creates an alternate personality, a wholly different creature within his own mind made of his darkest urges. Edward Hyde is a monster by deed only (not the freakish mutant that pop culture seems to have conjured up by NOT READING THE BOOK), beating men to death, indulging every dark urge with a strength born of unbridled rage.

If we’re talking about the creators of classic monsters, Frankenstein may have had a mishap toying with the nature of life, but Jekyll found out how to unleash the monster that dwells within all of us. In the end of course, the sweet and loving side of himself that remained chose to make the ultimate sacrifice to spare everyone the wrath of Hyde. Maybe not quite so mad all told, but y’know, still pretty out there.

2) Rick Sanchez – Rick and Morty & Doc Brown – Back to the Future

It’d be negligent not to list these two side by side in the same entry, as Roiland and Harmon have never hidden the parody origins of Rick and Morty.

Emmet Brown may not be quite so unhinged as his caricature but his lunatic devotion to his craft makes him rather dangerous. Building a time machine out of an old Delorian and taking a hormonal teenager back in time with him was dangerous to begin with, but from there the two just seem to enjoy toying with reality! They spend the subsequent movies generating every paradox that geeks and nerds would deliberate for years to come, but that may not be the end of Doc Brown’s legacy.

Rick Sanchez began life as a drunken parody of Emmet, but has become something unknowably terrible. Wanted by every major government in the known multiverse, including one his many duplicates formed among themselves, Rick may no longer be from his own universe, in fact he may have changed his family for an exact copy repeatedly. He’s an embattled veteran of terrible wars, a convict of the most secure prison in existence, and has fought against the galactic government, the council of Ricks and the devil himself.

No doubt which is the madder scientist, but you can’t fairly separate the two.

1) Doctor Ivo Eggman/Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog

Doctor Ivo Eggman, or Robotnik depending on what you’re used to, is one evil, evil man with a glorious mustache. He’s usually seen flying around the place in a strange pod called The Egg Mobile; or the Egg-Pod… Or– Y’know, let’s not list all of the names right now. The point is, he flies around in this strange pod, has some very cool theme tunes dedicated to his flying around and he’s got a very freakish obsession with trying to kill off a blue hedgehog, as well as capturing woodlands creatures.

Sure, it doesn’t sound all that mad, but when you think about the sheer volume of things he’s created, it’s a wonder where he gets all of his funding from. However as long as he has his Egg Mobile, he’ll always somehow manage to get out of any certain death situations. He’ll escape back to his hideouts, which includes a freakishly large battleship called The Egg Carrier… And he’ll just get on with his next invention. Love him, hate him, regardless it’s undeniable that he might not be far from the truth when he calls himself the world’s greatest scientist. Depending on the game, show, comic or otherwise, he can be quite the complex moral character. Whatever side he’s on, he’s always creative, always persistent and always dangerous. He’s definitely the maddest scientist on this list.

Think of it like this; whilst all of the above scientists are thoroughly accomplished in their own rights, Robotnik has made robots, who create things that he dreams up. Robotnik then has created something that is able to aid him in creating more things for himself.


Honourable Mentions

This list was full of characters that we really didn’t want to forget about; so much so that we decided that for once, two slots on our honourable mentions just wasn’t enough. So here’s six honourable mentions that we even considered putting into our main Top 10 list itself. Remember that we’re going to make a Top 10 eBook? This entry will become an exclusive Top 20!

N. Gin – Crash Bandicoot

Doctor Neo Cortex’s right-hand-man; definitely the science behind the evil masterminds plans. N. Gin replaces Doctor Biro after the events of the first Crash Bandicoot game. Being part cyborg himself, N. Gin has a natural affinity for learning about sciences and creating evil machines and lasers. He’s seriously dangerous and seemingly has a nuke stuck out of his head. He’s not one to be trifled with and in the events of Crash 2, he’s seen in a giant mech suit that he built. Crazy, inventive and dangerous – A bad-to-the-metal-bone mix.

Rintarō Okabe – Steins;Gate

Okay, he’s not really a mad scientist, but he seems to think that he is. In all honesty, the amount of things Okabe has actually made could probably be counted on one hand. But he refers to himself as a mad scientist, which is “so cool”. But, even though he seems obsessed with branding himself in this way, he might not be far from the truth. He has extensive knowledge about time machines and he’s got a small team who are willing to help him with his strange, yet often interesting creations.

Professor Putricide – World of Warcraft

 

This is one strange, strange man – But trust me when I say he’s hugely important for the story of Warcraft in general. He’s the mad scientist behind the development of all forms of blight, plague, ooze, scourge, and death delivery. You can find him in a 25-man raid in Icecrown Citadel’s Plagueworks wing. He may be a relatively simple throw-away character in the grand scheme of things, but really if he didn’t exist, the scourge may not have plagued the world of Azeroth as much as they had.

Doctor Nefario – Despicable Me

Long time colleague and mastermind behind the villain, Gru owes most of his success to Nefario’s various constructs and contraptions, as well as the horde of genetically engineered yellow bubbles of usefulness (whose blueprints can be seen on the wall in the kid’s room, the prequel is a lie!). Nefario’s days of villaining are behind him, but he’s content to work behind the scenes so long as his works are only used for evil.

Singed – League of Legends

Literally called the Mad Chemist, Singed is one of the earliest League of Legends champions to have been introduced. He is a master chemist, so he’s great with toxins such as poison. He’s also pretty good with adhesives as well. He can slow his opponents down and just poison them; a slow brutal death. He’s able to handle himself pretty well in a fight, often favouring a slow, poisonous kill over an all out assault. He’s dangerous and can seriously change a team fight, as well as being durable in combat by himself.

Lex Luthor – Superman

It can sometimes be easy to forget that business mogul and CEO of Lexcorp is not all business, but can pull off science when he needs to as well. As a man on a mission to defeat a god, Luthor has mastered most fields of science and engineering, and constructed a suit of armour designed to tackle the Man of Steel himself. It’s no small feat, although his biggest to date may be stealing forty cakes. That’s as many as four tens.

And that’s terrible.


Everybody, cover your heads, there’s yet another assault on our cities by giant mechs! Send out those electronic pulses and switch them off – The monsters are alive and it’s all down to these mad men who got a taste of power… And they liked it. But science can be a very scary subject indeed – That’s why these men are so mad after all. They do what the rest of us could only dream to accomplish and it’s all because they have had that taste of power. Scary, to think that typically it’s age that makes you most mad.

Our experiment was a complete success and we ended up producing more in our results than anticipated; They called us mad, they said it couldn’t be done, but we’ve now listed our Top 10 favourite Mad Scientists. A little bit sad, but we couldn’t remember any female mad scientists: is this a niche that just needs to be captured? Let us know if you know of any female mad scientists in the comments below, or why not let us know what you thought of this weeks Top 10? Did we get the right candidates in our list, or did we forget about the best scientists known? Do you agree with our order? As always, leave us a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Top 10 – Fictional Celebrities

GeekOut Top 10s

Worlds filled with fictional characters require people to fulfil every role. While we may follow the riveting adventures of school children and taxi drivers, they remain fascinated by popular characters that are only popular to them. You’ll never see a film starring these actors, nor read the works of the authors listed here, but to someone who doesn’t exist they’re very, very real.

If that made any sense, plough on gentle reader, through our Top 10 Fictional Celebrities. (more…)


Top 10 – Super Tiny Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

It doesn’t matter if you’re ten sizes too small, when your heart is ten sizes too big. Good lord, that’ll give you chest problems. Yes, heroes come in all shapes and sizes and we’re here to celebrate those who reached optimal size. Some of you may call them small, others may call them super tiny, whatever you call them, we’re here to look past all the boring small characters and find the Top 10 Super Tiny Characters. Please, watch where you’re stepping for this one… (more…)


WrestleMania 33 – Timlah’s Summary

I love the wacky world of professional wrestling; so much so, I’ve written about it on numerous occasions. Either in passing, or as a full-blown review, it’s no secret that I love that industry and all of the weird and wonderful people who have come and gone with it. That’s what this article is really mostly about: the people who have come and gone with it. More on that later, but there’s no doubt you’ve heard about the retirement of the legendary Undertaker and if you hadn’t, you might be alone. It was one of those moments that shook an industry to its very core – So if you’re at least somewhat intrigued to know more about the whole show, read on. Otherwise, eh, hopefully you get a good insight about it and why I’d call Professional Wrestling fans equally as geeky as some of the other fandoms we cover on this website.

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Remembering Trap Door

I feeling wistful, in a mood to reminisce about moments from my youth, and I find myself pondering a little stop-motion animation that ran for a short time in the 80’s, and though it was originally released before I was born I was fortunate enough to experience a great deal of it thanks to the miracle of VHS.

The forty episode run featured the young manservant of dark and clearly haunted castle, Berk cleans, cooks and generally tends to the every whim of The Thing Upstairs, a disembodied voice with generally disgusting body parts. Berk’s only company is Boni, an animate skull prone to headaches and pessimism, and a fat and hyperactive arachnid called Drut. The regular five-minute interludes into their lives and their daily activities always coincide with the appearance of some terrible entity or dark monstrosity that has emerged from the dread portal in the cellar, The Trap Door. (more…)


Top 10 Space Battles

GeekOut Top 10s

Space… the final frontier, and like any untamed wilderness there are always struggles and conflicts for the resources and strategic advantages they might offer. While the physics, tactics, and possibilities offered by all out space-combat might go under utilised and appreciated in modern media, there’s one thing we can do in film, TV, and games, and that’s make it look epic!

Though the loss of life may be tremendous, and the horrors of war are made even more heartbreaking when the fallen are cast adrift in the endless dark… but damn it looks pretty! Here’s the Top 10 Space Battles.

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TV Review: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Are you prepared to listen to a tale of serious misfortune and misery? The serial misconduct of those caring for three children; the Baudelaire orphans? Lemony Snicket advises that you are better off just looking away. But if, like me, you have a morbid fascination with watching things people tell you not to, this might be the series for you! So don’t adjust your screens, it is time to review Lemony Snickets A Series of Unfortunate Events.

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Review – Iron Fist

At last, the final Defender steps into the lineup. We pass from noir and pulp into a more Wu-Xia film style, the student’s voyage of discovery, facing his enemies without and within, trust is gained and lost, demons are mastered, and the day is… well. Iron Fist drew a lot of hatred before release on two grounds, the first was cultural, the second was quality. Let me start by addressing the cultural matter as briefly and succinctly as I can. We try and avoid getting into controversial matters where we can but this needs to be said:

A: If we make a martial arts series starring an asian guy it’s a racial stereotype.
B: If we make a martial arts series starring anyone else it’s cultural appropriation.
C: This is called a no-win scenario.
D: Danny Rand was always a white guy! It’s kind of the point, child of rich industrialists plunged into a culture where he is out of place, his competitive nature drives him to obtain the highest honour in K’un-Lun… but that’s backstory, I’ll get back to that.

I’m not trying to offend anyone here, this is a cold statement of fact. Can we please judge Iron Fist on it’s quality? It won’t end any better.

In The Green Corner – Danny Rand

My name is Danny Rand. After fifteen years in a pocket dimension I have returned home to save my city, but in order to do that I need to become something else… a ten year old having a tantrum.

Ok, that may not be an entirely fair comparison, but it’s an easy one to make. Both return home from a long period of intense and at times mystical training with a mission in mind concerning the company that their parents own, and have to struggle to reclaim their company from the hands of those who are responsible for some serious criminal activity in the area. Oliver Queen has learned a great sense of personal responsibility over the course of several seasons, but by this point he’s already overcome his juvenile habits over the course of five years of torturous “education”.

So why am I still getting “brat” from Danny Rand after fifteen years of discipline, martial arts training, and spiritual guidance?

The duty of the Iron Fist is to guard the gates of K’un Lun, a pocket dimension, a slice of heaven, one that’s sought by many but who is only accessible every fifteen years. Danny wants, and obtains the role because of his natural competitive nature, but for reasons listed in the spoiler below he returns to New York. He is the sworn enemy of the Hand, the drug-dealing ninjas we’ve come to know and love, so when he discovers they’re heavily active in New York he sets about efforts to root them out.

Minor spoilers, When he has begun his duty he realises how tedious the life of an Iron Fist will be, Danny ups and leaves. This has a rather predictable outcome, which becomes more predictable when he’s reminded constantly about the duty he has shirked, nut not only is this a wholly predictable ending but the “grand reveal” is badly composed and blandly delivered. End Spoilers.

Finn Jones – who you might recognise as Loras Tyrell – does his best, he manages quite a bit with the material like Rand’s struggle to overrule his emotions in order to harness his powers, the realisations that he hasn’t even begun to discover his powers and purpose, how his trusting nature finally collapses under betrayal after betrayal and the need to embrace his enemy to destroy someone he thought was a friend. Let’s not blame Finn Jones here, it’s not his fault that the Fist’s powers just manifest whenever most convenient and vanish whenever most dramatic, or that Rand can’t spot the bad guy staring him in the face, or just accept his damn responsibilities! He’s got a hard task to win us back for the dramatic finale…

In Every Other Corner – The Hand

It’s not entirely fair to lay the blame for the boring story at the feet of the protagonist, bringing the heroes down to street level has brought a new level of threat to the previously indomitable “super-hero”. Daredevil faces down a ferocious beast of a man presiding over a kingdom of fear, Jessica Jones is pursued by a man who can control anyone with a voice and wants her absolutely, Luke Cage‘s most terrifying enemy is his own skin when he needs medical attention.

Where was the terrifying power of the Hand we have come to fear throughout the Defenders series so far. Daredevil series 2 showed us how terrifying ninjas can be! Oh sure we can laugh off Naruto and guys in pyjamas right up until we watch the hospital siege, or the raw power of Madame Gao, the one person in the world who earned the fear and respect of Fisk. We know that the Hand can raise the dead, but the methods by which they do this are horrifying beyond description, certainly far beyond your Saturday morning Spider-Man.*

So where were the Hand in Iron Fist? Manipulating Rand Enterprises, selling heroine to keep the “ghetto” down, and helping kids get out of that ghetto so that they show absolute gratitude to the Hand for giving them a purpose. Cunning, terrible, not scary! And Madame Gao – who should have been a centre piece for the series and the kind of silent dread the Hand could bring – started Iron Fist looking like a real master, a floor to herself right under Danny’s nose to run her criminal enterprises, an undead corporate tool under her heel, and a legion of killers at her disposal, none of which she needs as she floors the greatest heroes in the world with a touch and hobbles away. That lasts for a few episodes towards the beginning and then… nothing.

That leaves Danny to face off against a bunch of kids while he deals with his angst.

Fortunately they’re not the only threat to the Iron Fist’s fragile ego.

Meachums, Meet the Meachums

A highlight! And a big one. Former childhood friends of Danny and the children of co-founder of Rand, Ward and Joy Meachum have been running Rand Enterprises for quite some time following the death of father Harold. Tom Pelphrey plays Ward as the rage-filled, pill-popping, and tortured pawn of several higher powers. He goes off the hinges and spirals out of control only to be pulled back from the brink shortly after falling into it. Jessica Stroup is the kindly but business savvy sister Joy trying to understand how an old friend could suddenly return from the dead, deal with her brother’s lies and drug addiction, and slowly breaking under the strain.

And finally Harold, not dead, in hiding in a luxurious penthouse from which he controls the actions in Rand Enterprises via a network of puppets including his beaten and belittled son. David Wenham plays the abusive father excellently, he keeps telling his son that everything he’s doing is for him, so Ward should do everything he’s told because he’s an idiot and owes his father everything. This has been made worse by the fact that he was resurrected by the Hand to do their bidding; not only does he channel his frustration at being out of control of his life into his son, the process makes the recipient more and more likely to lash out at those you love.

By gods, I love Harold Meachum! A couple of spoilers in this paragraph but it’s worth it. The scene where he rises out of the swamp like some morbid Solomon Grundy and stumbles around recovering from death is darkly comical in a way that unnerves you just enough to brace for every terrible thing he does from that point onwards. You feel the tension whenever he and Joy are in the same room, “Dear god Joy, get away from him!” and the escalation of his hatred towards his son is stunning. I’ve seen Wenham in a variety of very different roles but I’ve never seen him as terrifying before.

The entire Meachum family makes Iron Fist worth watching, and elevates it to merely second worst in the Defenders series so far.

All Together Now

Between Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and a season of Daredevil that didn’t quite meet standards, I feel like we’ve had a rough ride to get to the Defenders. It was an amazing start, Daredevil set one hell of a tone for Jessica Jones to build onto. We’ve gone through the best of noir, shot for pulp and made a half-hearted attempt at Wu-Xia, so if we can pull it out of the bag for our ensemble piece I’ll be happy enough.

There’s every chance that the Defenders may very well cast Iron Fist in a light that makes this series more enjoyable. Truth be told there’s a lot went by that was too unremarkable, and so I haven’t remarked on it. Colleen Wing, Davos, a few moments where I feel like the narrative was trying and failing to make us wonder what the truth was. Actually I can sum all three up in one go, we made to wonder if the Hand really are the bad guys (yes, yes they are) because of Davos’ affirming of Danny’s constant repeating that the Hand are evil and must be stopped, Colleen makes a fair point about how they blindly accept what they’ve been told and how the Hand have done great things for these kids but – oh no wait I guess actually they are bad, moving on.

The presence of Davos and the symbol of the Steel Serpent all but confirms Gao as Crane Mother at this point, along with a casual remark concerning The Order of the Crane Mother. If that’s the case a short delve into storylines involving them both point to a narrative in which Jeryn Hogarth (Jeri to us watching along at home) is likely to get kidnapped and saved by Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. It would also make Gao something far more terrifying than we have even glimpsed so far.

Do I need to mention Claire Temple at this point?

Yes, I do. Because dammit she’s the only one who demonstrates that the Hand are a terrifying force to be reckoned with, and gives us a horrifying account of the hospital siege and the events that led her to wander New York trying to make herself better and stronger. But to be honest, her vehemence only serves to highlight how ineffective the Hand are this time around, and I was more terrified of the hospital administration than the ninjas. Plus now Claire has sweet claws!

There’s more I could easily cover, but Iron Fist simply doesn’t grab you as thoroughly as it should. I’m suddenly a little concerned for the future of the series. At least I was until Netflix showed us this:


*I’ve been reading a lot of Carnage comics of late, and I’d actually like to see Spidey get the R-rated treatment just to see the horror that the more interesting Marvel villains can wreak.


Top 10 – Inspiring Leaders

GeekOut Top 10s

To be inspired; to be led by someone you can look up to. Sure, their goals might not be noble, their vision might be distorted, or they might literally have light shining out of their butts, it doesn’t matter. These are people that should be looked up to, whether or not they are actually an effective leader, or a good or a bad leader makes no difference to us. They inspire their people to the best of their abilities.

So join us as we count down our Top 10 inspiring leaders. This is going to be quite a hard fought list! (more…)


Babylon 5 In Depth – Beauty In The Dark

There is something intensely beautiful about Babylon 5, despite the age and the increasingly dated characters. It has an aesthetic of its own that sets it apart from any science fiction before or since, and perhaps that’s in the design of the universe, the uniqueness of every race and their diversity, perhaps it’s in the epic musical score that underlies those moments of intense action or dramatic importance. Personally, I think it could be the philosophies and views espoused in the series, both subtly and overtly.

There is a scene in the episode “There, All Honour Lies”, very brief, in which Kosh is teaching Sheridan lessons that he will need to win a war of minds with the most powerful military forces in the galaxy. In the lesson, Sheridan is ushered into a dark place of the lowest part of the station, crawling on his hands and knees where he is greeted by a hunched and faceless figure who sits in silence until given something. Sheridan carries no cash, but instead places the metal bar that denotes him as command staff into the beggars bowl. As soon as he does, the dark chamber comes alive with shrouded figures identical to the beggar, singing in one angelic voice as the angelic Vorlon stands outside, entranced. One moment of perfect beauty.

Why?

Shedding Labels

The inquisitor sent by the Vorlons to “test” Delenn and Sheridan asks one question, over and over, “Who are you?“. Names, ranks, titles, none of them are the right answer, and he inflicts pain and suffering until both of them acknowledge that as individuals they are meaningless, but that their role stands for something. It is not long after this moment that the actions of Earth cause the crew to denounce and declare independence from Earth, and symbolically shed their uniforms, replaced by a blank uniform devoid of symbols.

Sheridan offering up his command bar builds upon that image. By taking away his symbol of command he takes a step towards humility, making himself more equal to the humble surroundings, connecting to them and appreciating them. In removing a label given to him by others he becomes more his own man, allowing him to define himself. Every step takes him away from a faction and makes him a part of the greater whole. You witness the moment of revelation on his face – kudos to Bruce Boxleitner for that subtle moment – and he embraces a new enthusiasm from that moment on.

Finding Beauty Everywhere

Much like when he visits G’Kar in his telepathic fugue, Kosh offers another lesson of light in places of shadow, hope in the midst of despair. Desperation causes us to resort to incredible measures, but a moment of clarity when the universe is crashing down around your ears is the only way to resolve the worst of situations. On their way down to the choir, Sheridan makes an off-hand comment about how Security Chief Garibaldi would go mad if they found them down in Brown Sector he’d go mad, just to impress how dangerous that part of the station is as a last-minute exaggeration before that singular moment of perfection.

Kosh lays the groundwork for a moment that comes later, for which a minor spoiler alert is in order – At Z’ah’adum, when Sheridan plummets to his death he is found by Lorien the First One, who encourages him to give in to the darkness utterly, to stop struggling and clinging to life and simply die, or else he could not be resurrected. Would Sheridan have simply lay down and died without the lesson, or would he have fought on, ultimately dooming himself and the galaxy in the process?

A Note On The Song

The song is Puer Natus Nobis Est, a Gregorian chant for Christmas. A Latin song for a human holiday rather puts pay to the notion of the choir being pac-ma-ra, but let us look at the translation:

A child is born to us and a Song is given to us upon whose shoulders authority rests,
and His Name shall be called, the Angel of Great Counsel
Sing ye to the Lord a new song for he has done wonderful things…

Incomplete, but sufficient for now. The Christ comparison is easy to make, a saviour who dies and is reborn, nice and easy, but Puer Natus Nobis Est never mentions the name. Sheridan bears the woes of his government while facing down a great darkness, but would also come to be the highest authority in the galaxy as head of the Interstellar Alliance. The Angel of Great Counsel could refer to Sheridan’s power to resolve more with words and advice than with application of military force.

I’d be open to other opinions on the choice of song. It’s not enough to merely dismiss it as a beautiful chant and a comparison to a saviour character, the use of Peur Natus has relevance, for which I am open to debate, please join me in the comments or over on our Facebook page.

I would challenge anyone to watch this particular moment in Babylon 5 and draw their own conclusions. It is beautiful, poignant, and not discussed nearly enough.