Tuesday, August 27, 2013

White House Down Has Fallen

White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. Two very similar movies that came out around the same time. They both involve the white house being taken over by terrorists looking for the US Nuclear launch codes. So, let's discuss:

Olympus Has Fallen stars Aaron Eckhart as the president and Gerard Butler as his head of security. When a horrible accident occurs Butler is transferred to the Treasury Department. Eighteen months later Korean terrorists take over the white house via an air and ground assault and Butler's Mike Banning has to invade and take it back under the orders of Speaker of the House and acting president, Allan Trumbull played by Morgan Freeman.

On the other hand we have White House Down where we have a security guard for the Speaker of the House who is inside the white house with his daughter on a tour after having an interview for the secret service. During the tour, a repair crew pulls out weapons and takes over the white house. Tatum's security guard character rescues the president and saves the day.

So let's take a look and see how they stand up.
Plot: Olympus was pretty basic. We have the disgraced agent saving the day from Korean terrorists. White House Down had villains with a much more personal motivation and some complex twists. Tatum is a qualified candidate who just can't catch a break since he doesn't have the right degree, just the right experience. White House Down is borderline too much, but the fact that it's an inside job makes it a better choice than the cliche of Korean terrorists. Also, it's far more realistic that a few guys can take the White House from inside than a Korean bomber makes an unauthorized trip to it before being shot down.

Lead: I like Channing Tatum. I think he jokes too much to be a solid action star. Gerard Butler is as badass as it comes and his straight up action takes the cake. I get comic relief and it really helps a movie when done right. Tatum's character used jokes to lighten the mood whereas comedy inherent in the situations will always work better for me. Olympus had far fewer moments of comic relief and I enjoyed that a great deal more.

President: While Aaron Eckhart did a fantastic job as the caring President who held out on giving up the launch codes, Jamie Foxx actually had something to do and got to be a part of the action. The biggest problem I have with Foxx is that he manages to stick around the whole time when realistically he would be taken out of there at the first possible chance.

Other characters: Both movies had a child get stuck in the White House during the invasion. The use of Tatum's daughter felt as if its only purpose was to evoke emotion from the audience. I'm fine with that, except when it makes the story make less sense. Butler has to chase down the president's son and save him before worrying about the president in his safe room. Having it be the president's son is a lot better for me. The stakes of it being someone else's kid who he has a close relationship with makes the motivations more interesting than the following orders vs. following your heart conflict.

The Speaker of the House is played by Morgan Freeman and Richard Jenkins in Olympus and White House Down respectively. I think the twist in White House is contrived and not totally believable and of course Morgan Freeman is incredible. Especially since we got to see more of him and it was more of a realistic character.

To wrap up a post that could go on much longer were I to refresh my memories on these films, I liked Olympus Has Fallen much better. White House Down is not at all a bad movie, but the plots are far too similar not to compare. Olympus definitely felt like "Die Hard" in the White House, whereas Down felt closer to "Spy Hard" in the White House and seemed to make fun of itself more than it should have. I only wish that OHF had the invasion from WHD as then the arguments would be much more one sided.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekly Pull List 8-21-13

Big week this week. had a nice variety too. First off we have Sonic Universe 55. I picked this up because I needed an extra book to spend enough for the punch card and the idea of a pirate sonic is super cool. Unfortunately we don't see Sonic at all in this issue. It's more Blaze, Marine, Amy Rose, Cream, Bark, and Bean. I don't know any of these characters apart from their roles in Worlds Collide. That being said, I did thoroughly enjoy this issue. Blaze and co. are roaming the high seas looking for the final Sol Emerald when they come across another ship that opens fire on them. A battle ensues and the issue ends with Blaze onboard Captain Metal's ship as her boat and her friends are sinking. Much like the Worlds Collide series, there's not a ton to talk about. The art does what it needs to. The story is interesting. The twist is unnecessary and doesn't mean a ton to me as I haven't read the story that the supposed prisoner was introduced in. Good book. 3 out of 5.

Next we'll head to Image with Steve Niles' Chin Music 2. Last issue seemed to just introduce the characters. Issue 2 introduces the story.  We follow Elliot Ness investigating a crime scene where he eventually tells the press to not release that Capone is dead to the press. Ness visits Daniel Shaw to arrest him as he robbed Ness the opportunity of bringing Capone in so he will become a legend. The issue ends with Shaw agreeing to bring Capone in alive. Once again, Steve Niles brings out a really awesome, intriguing idea and story. Messing with history is always interesting and adding a mystical element is such a cool way to do it. Shaw is a man who apparently can't die and now he's supposed to bring back the dead Capone? I'm in for the ride. Tony Harris' art is super stylized and eerie and really adds to the story. Super cool book. 4 out of 5.

I decided to try something new with Batman Beyond Unlimited 1. This is a collection of digital issues of Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond that were released over the last month. Written by Kyle Higgins who was on the Fat Man on Batman podcast recently. While I haven't watched Batman Beyond and this continues that story, I still enjoyed this book. It's interesting seeing the future of the DCU. I like this book, but not enough to buy each issue. I may be picking up the trade when it comes out, tho I think I need to watch the series before I'll really care about these characters. 2.5 out of 5.

Continuing with DC we'll head to Superman Unchained 3. We pick back up with the stand off with Superman, Gen. Lane, and Wraith. A minor scuffle ensues andSuperman surrenders to the seemingly friendly Wraith. When something attacks Tokyo, Superman and Wraith fly across the world when suddenly (gasp) Wraith says he has to kill Superman! This book is losing quality with each episode. The story is losing it's surprise and intrigue with each issue. There were subtle hints throughout the issue that Brainiac is involved. If that's the case I may still be interested, but this villain isn't very intriguing at all and I don't find myself caring what's going to happen. 2 out of 5

Trinity of Sin: Pandora 3 is a Trinity War Tie-in. We get some more back story of Pandora through the ages, which is interesting to see the training she received and to see it pay off at the end when she kills Envy. She promises to explain how, but also says it won't be till next issue. So yeah. Not a whole lot of bearing on the actual trinity war as her fight with the sins goes unseen by everyone. It's a weird decision and I'll have to wait to see how it plays out. Story itself is alright, but the set up gets this book up to a 3 out of 5.

We continue Trinity War with Justice League Dark 23. Everyone's fighting for the box again. Shazam manages to grab hold of it, sending a magical pulse throughout the world to be felt by all the magic characters, allowing Deadman to sense Madame Xanadu's location. The story ends when Constantine shows up and takes the box. It doesn't effect him negatively as "you can't soil a pot that's already filthy" which I found interesting. Zatana and Constantine whisk away to find Madame Xanadu and meet up with Batman and crew. She reveals that the box is actually a doorway and the Outsider says it's time to open it. A lot of good action, but realistically this book could have been half this long. As I mentioned before, I wish that we could have seen better interplay between this issue and what happened in Pandora's book. You can see where they cross if you examine both books. Decent story. Art is great as always. I'm looking forward to the end. See how they work that out. 3 out of 5.

Finally we have The Sixth Gun 33. Drake is mourning his inability to do anything while Kirby Hale, Gord Cantrell, and friends go looking for the dream hunters who are pursuing Becky. And Becky herself is trapped in an alternate reality dream where Hume is still alive and has killed Drake. There's a somewhat tense dinner scene that's interrupted by the dream hunters. When Hume is speared from through the window, Becky grabs his Sixth Gun and heads out to intercept them with Hume's men. Next issue promises to be a nice, epic fight which is super exciting. However, last book hinted that this one would be dealing with dragons so I will not keep my hopes up. This issue is up to par for Bunn and Hurtt. On a side note, he was on a recent Fight for Comics podcast doing an interview. It's a great one and we get some awesome insight into this book. Definitely check it out! 4 out of 5.

That's all for this week. Next week will be much lighter so I will review some trades I read as well.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Weekly Pull List 8-14-13

And we're back to talk about the comics I picked up this week. A little bigger week than last week. Wait, what's that? There's no post for last week? Well I suppose it will be an extra long post since I need to catch up.

Let's start with Green Arrow 23 - We catch up with Ollie and Shado as they work on escaping Count Vertigo and his mountain lair. There's some really cool action sequences and I really like how the book portrays Vertigo as a hapless, amateur of a villain. We first see him undergoing brain surgery to fix the damage done to him and his vertigo device last issue. There's a fantastic flashback sequence that is drawn as if on old parchment in shadowy silhouettes. It's beautiful and some of the best comic art I've seen. The comic ends with the pair driving away then a tease of a new villain, Richard Dragon, arriving to take over Seattle. Fantastic issue! I love the new take on Vertigo, the art is incredibly awesome, and the tease is quite intriguing. They wrapped up the Vertigo arc a bit quickly but they really set him up to get better and be a classic nemesis to Green Arrow. 5 out of 5.

Helheim 6 - This wraps up the first story starring the undead Rikard. He confronts the second witch and his new companion manages to kill her as she tries to get away. The witch's dark magic pulls many dead souls out of the Helheim that is the undead Rikard and in a moment of clarity he has Rikard's father behead the monster. The book again ends with a tease of the young girl walking through the empty village and into a cabin where Rikard's body is being sewn back up by some demonic looking characters. This book's pacing has been very odd throughout. The first couple issues seemed slow and thepace has been quickening until this book where it went way to fast. I wish this had been an 8-10 issue arc or just start a bit later in the story and skim over the content of the first issues in flashback. Still a solid book that has lots of intriguing magic and mystical forces in it. At least it leaves me excited for some more Rikard stories. 3 out of 5.

Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger 11 - This is an odd book where Phantom Stranger has taken Batman, Deadman, and Katana into "Heaven's Basement" in order to talk to Dr. Light to get some clues on his killer. Naturally he doesn't really know anything and in bringing them there, the Stranger has broken a promise so he apparently killed by an angel. As a Trinity War Tie-In this book works in that it's not necessary to the overall story. On the other hand, it's superfluous. The characters know nothing more after this issue than they did before. The dialogue is pretty good and the art works well for the world of "heaven's basement." 2 out of 5.

Now onto this week: We get part 4 of Trinity War in Justice League of America 7. Pandora visits Lex Luthor to see if he can open the box, Martian Manhunter and a bunch of others find the Outsider and interrogate him, Catwoman and her team visit the House of Mystery and find Batman, Katana, and Deadman, and the book ends with Wonder Woman breaking in and grabbing Pandora's box before Lex can. Again this issue didn't do a whole lot to progress the story. I feel like most of it could have been told in 5 or 6 pages. Doug Mahnke's art is gorgeous and really saves the book from being boring. This story was apparently spoiled when Geoff Johns announced the next event in DC, but I have managed to avoid that spoiler so far. Anyways, 3 out of 5.

Constantine 6 - Following the Trinity War Tie-In last month, Constantine is nearly dead and in the astral plane fighting Chris who has been waiting in the Astral Plane for a time to kill Constantine. There's a new cult led by Tannarak who is out to get something from Constantine and while he's distracted with being MOSTLY dead, Tannarak is able to find Constantine's place and raid it of some artifacts. Fun book. Not entirely sure what's going on, but I am definitely interested in the next few issues.  3 out of 5.

Thor: God of Thunder 11 - The conclusion of the Godbomb story picks up as the bomb is exploding and all the gods throughout time begin to die at once. Thor grabs hold of the 2 Mjolnirs and tries to take the bomb into himself to save the rest of the gods. All the other gods begin praying to Thor and give him enough strength to become the god of gods and survive the godbomb. Thor kills Gorr with his axe and they drink Mead. Thor takes some worldless gods to the world with no gods that he visited before to nicely wrap up the story. As I said before, I was getting a little tired of the Gorr story. This wrapped it up perfectly and was a great palate cleanser to get us to a new story next issue. Jason Aaron is a master story teller and brought out some fantastic story from Thors of three eras and will continue to kick some ass as the series goes. Great story, beautiful art, nigh perfect wrap up. 5 out of 5.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weekly Pull List 7-31-13

Trinity of Sin: Pandora 2 - This book is a tie-in to the Trinity War, which I don't understand as Pandora is at the heart of the story. Pandora hears that Superman killed someone and decides to go with the other part of the prophecy from before: "The purest of heart or the darkest." So she hunts down Vandal Savage to try the darkest. When he touches it, he falls down injured and is apparently useless. Average book. The story isn't very intriguing and the writing is par at best. It doesn't have anything apparently important towards Trinity War. The characters aren't super interesting. Quick read, and the art is beautiful so it earns a 1.5 out of 5.

Sonic the Hedgehog 251 - The Worlds Collide crossover wraps up with an invasion of the Wily Egg. Sonic and Mega Man go super and demolish a lot of the base and get to the chaos gems to return the universes back to normal. They say their farewells and reverse the genesis wave. In the end, Mega Man goes back to his home and Sonic and Dr. Eggman disappear into a white light, clearly leading into the next story line which is mildly intriguing. I really enjoyed this crossover. I know it was cheesy and cliche, but it did what it needed to. It was a great read and super fun, which is not all that prevalent in a lot of comics nowadays. The story by Ian Flynn was solid throughout and the art was cartoonish in the most epic way. Love the book, love the series. Book: 4 out of 5. Series: 4.5 out of 5