Fail Safe Review

It’s time to look at another film about possible nuclear war. It’s certainly a fun topic to take a look at and definitely makes for a pretty intense film. I love seeing governments talk about this stuff in movies like this, especially while it’s happening all around them. A whole film about this is pretty ideal. The only thing that holds this movie back is the ending which….is pretty bad. Oof. Definitely not an ending you want to see but otherwise this one is pretty solid.

The film starts with the Air Force giving a tour to some of the funders. It’s all pretty routine as they explain how we have counter measures set up for if someone starts triggering World War III. They run these drills every month or so. During this test there is a UFO which the army is unable to identify. It turns out to be a false alarm but unfortunately due to a system malfunction the bombers get orders to blow up Moscow and there is no way to call them back. The President will have to think of something quickly in order to stop this from happening. The only option now appears to have the rest of our troops actually shoot them down ourselves. Is it really worth shooting our own soldiers down to prevent the bombs from dropping?

A big part of the film is really about what lengths we are willing to go in order to prevent this tragedy. Blasting our own men is just the tip of the iceberg as we also order our soldiers to effectively commit suicide and then tell the Russians how to completely destroy our planes and missiles. This means that in any future battles we will be at a massive disadvantage. Effectively the more we do to avert this current crisis, the more likely we are to lose the next one. This begins causing some dissent among the officials as they all have different ideas on how to play this. You’ve got the President, The Vice President, A professor, the General at the scene, and then the board room. Everyone’s got an opinion and they’re all willing to share it.

My favorite character was definitely the Professor. The guy is definitely on the extreme side but is certainly quick on his feet and makes for a lot of entertaining banter. He’s been heavily interested in death since day 1 and so getting put into a position like this is quite interesting for him. He believes that since the attack has already begun we should press our advantage and send in an attack squad. This would then force Russia to surrender and we’ll have won the war without firing a shot after the bombs. While there is nothing necessarily underhanded about doing so if we presume that there is no way to stop the bombs, it does turn an accident into a full war offensive.

So while he may be extreme there and we don’t need to follow up the attack, I find the president to be too extreme in the other side. He wants to avert a diplomatic disaster so he agrees to bomb New York to appease the Russians. Wait a minute…that’s a horrible idea. Not only was our sending the bomb a mistake but we find out that it is partially the Russian’s fault as they intentionally jammed our communications and then kept on jamming it as our fighter plane approached their territory which is why we couldn’t call them back. You can’t answer an accident by intentionally destroying 5 million of our own people. It’s an eye for an eye only it’s worse in this case since we’re delivering both blows. I feel like the President wouldn’t live much longer after people find out what he did here.

He tries to justify this as making everything even but it’s just not so. As the leader of your station you have the utmost duty to protect your people. Whatever happens that’s the job. I’d say his first mistake was trying to shoot down our own pilots, the second was giving the enemy the tech to take us down, the last and biggest was in blowing up New York. I wouldn’t say that the film glorifies this and it’s still a well made movie so I consider it a character error as opposed to a film error. The President made his call even if it was the wrong one so this is a solid film to check out. That said, it’s still just pretty bad. put it this way, once our nukes are going to hit Moscow only two things can happen. One is that they will retaliate and then that will force the U.S. to blow up the planet. The other is that they don’t retaliate and while this will be a diplomatic nightmare, things will go on as usual.

You have to accept those as the two outcomes of this action. Blowing ourselves up just isn’t a factor. It’s far better for us all to die together as one planet than for the country to turn on itself. That’s just not a good idea. It would have made for a good twist if one of the pilots had hijacked the final plane to prevent it from dropping the bomb or for the interpreter to have taken the President out. Certainly would have been very unexpected but it would have been a good move for justice to have prevailed. Of course you never know how you will really react in such a situation but I like to think we wouldn’t do this.

Overall, Fail Safe is definitely a pretty interesting film. I like all of the discussions and plans of how to handle this situation. It’s a film that inherently doesn’t have a lot of replay value since most of the fun is in seeing how things will play out. It’s like a mystery, once you know all of the answers then it won’t be quite as interesting to check out the next time around. At least a mystery allows you to see if any hints were dropped while this movie doesn’t have such an advantage. Still, if you haven’t seen this movie before then I would definitely recommend changing that. It’s one of the better political thrillers to check out even if you’ll shake your head on the ending.

Overall 6/10

The film industry has forgotten why Godzilla films are so great

I’ve been a huge Godzilla fan for quite a while now. At this point it’s safe to say that I talk about him almost every day. It’s hard to say just how many years it’s been, but one of the first Godzilla films I ever saw was the Megaguirus one. It’s one of my least favorite titles so it didn’t start me off on the right foot, but it got me thinking how hype the G series could be. Eventually I went on to watch the rest of the Godzilla films and even bought 3 of the games. Naturally it’s been a great time to be a G fan lately with all of the new films and comics coming out. Unfortunately though, some of them seem to miss the point of what a Godzilla film is all about. Mainly I’m referring to the recent Netflix films, but others are guilty as well. So, I’m going to talk about why Godzilla films are a blast and the popular misconceptions around them.

1. Godzilla films have quality Kaiju fight scenes

At the very least this is why I love the Godzilla films. I always enjoy a good monster battle. See, the average monster film has to walk a fine line here since if the fight is too graphic it can fall into the animal violence camp. Likewise if the monster acts too much like a creature. It’s for that reason that I believe the films should stick away from having kid monsters in it like Minilla. Ultimately he serves as more of a liability to Godzilla than anything else. The Godzilla films have always been pretty careful about this. Occasionally you’ll get a fight that isn’t too fun like Megaguirus, Vs Gigan, and Kumonga, but for the most part they are rock solid. The Ghidorah fights are a blast, I like seeing Godzilla go up against Space G, etc. Whether Godzilla gets up close to dish out some hand to hand action on the villains or falls back on his atomic breath, the stakes are quite high from start to finish. These fights were a blast. I always have a hard time deciding which era was better for Godzilla, Showa or Millennium. Both are fantastic but for mainly different reasons. Showa had more close combat fights while Millennium went for the beam wars. Both approaches are fun and the important thing is that they had Kaiju battles. This is where some of the films start to mess up.

Take the recent Netflix film. Godzilla doesn’t actually fight against any real opponents. It’s just the army bombarding Godzilla for about an hour until they realize that this approach isn’t working and quickly fall back to plan B. That’s not entertaining. It’s like watching a human try to hit a robot with a sling shot for the whole film. We know that it’s futile from the start and that doesn’t change as the film goes on. It works as a great backdrop to solidify what a threat the Kaiju is of course, but that’s not supposed to be the payoff. Take Godzilla Against Mecha Godzila for example. It’s great to see the army give it their best of course, not because they have a chance, but because it shows how impressive the robot is to damage Godzilla when the full armaments could not. Take away Mecha Godzilla and you have to wonder why they are wasting so much ammo. You need a Kaiju opponent. For that reason, I consider some fan favorite Godzilla films to be among the weaker ones. The original Godzilla film, Godzilla Returns, the 1998 Godzilla film, both Netflix Godzilla films, and Shin Godzilla. Most of those are still quality films in their own right, but compared to the other Godzilla films I can’t really say that they rank. You end up sorely missing the fights that got you into the series.

Final Wars is still the best Godzilla film because it took the modern day effects of the Millennium era and mixed them together with the close quarters combat of the Showa films. It had nonstop action and easily the best soundtrack in the series. It was just a masterpiece and the human plot was actually really good as well. Usually I end up forgetting the human plot as soon as it pops up because I’m just ready for the Godzilla action to commence. Even if it takes 40 minutes for the Big G to appear I know that the payoff will be worth it. It’s why I’ve seen Final Wars 3 times already.

2. Godzilla can be a humorous series and that’s not a bad thing

Usually when someone says that the Godzilla series is pretty cheesy or that they were laughing the entire time that can be seen as negative when it’s really a positive. Yeah, the old Godzilla films have some dated effects, but that doesn’t mean they were bad. The English dubs of the films had fun turning the films into full comedies at times and it worked quite well. Seeing the monsters rolling on the ground and wrestling makes for great entertainment. It’s part of why I love the era so much. I may not take it all that seriously, but I’ll still be enjoying it quite a lot. The Godzilla series doesn’t need to be super somber or take itself seriously to be good. Some films choose to look at the situation really realistically with how the world would handle the Kaiju, while others do not. The former can work, but there are only so many ways you can portray this. Sometimes it’s best to skip that and get right to the action. In general my favorite Godzilla films are the ones that don’t bog themselves down in the drama and just get right to the action. The characters have a very New York attitude of “Lets get this done” regardless of how absurd the whole situation is. They’ll have time to think about it after the job is done. Again, I have to point to the recent Netflix film. They spend the whole movie talking about how scary Godzilla is without actually showing it. That just doesn’t work well in a visual medium like a film. Show us how powerful Godzilla is and it’ll be obvious that he’s a threat. Words aren’t necessary at that point. Show Godzilla flying by blasting the ground and that’ll be a funny scene, but also one that shows how much velocity is in his Atomic Breath. It just works. The recent films have tried to be extremely serious lately and don’t seem to understand that having a giant monster running through the streets can make for a bunch of funny scenes as well. At least Shin Godzilla had a little fun with it to be fair, but the recent American one and the Netflix movies didn’t even try.

3. Modeling the films after the original Godzilla is a mistake

There is a sect of Godzilla fans who really only liked the first film or have just enjoyed a small handful. I’ve met at least 2 people who felt this way and have heard from many others on Reddit. If the first film is indeed the only one that you like can you really call yourself a Godzilla fan? You’re a fan of the Godzilla film or even the creature, but not the series. On Reddit there’s a user who said that he always goes to watch the films in theaters, but has never liked any besides the original since they’re not as deep and moving. That’s fine (Although we’ve had many other G films with big messages like Shin Godzilla) but then it’s really just an outlier that you liked the original film. It’s like how I could like a James Bond film and not like the series. After you’ve churned out 20+ films, odds are that at least one of them will be good right? The first Godzilla film is actually one of my least favorite since the action isn’t quite there compared to most of the sequels, but it’s still a good film. It’s a little different from the average G flick though and shouldn’t really be used to compare to the other films for the most part. If you expect every G film to be like that one then you may be in for a surprise. However, that seems to be an aspect that the recent films have focused on. It is pretty similar to point 2, but I don’t watch a Godzilla film to see him being compared to a Hurricane or to just watch Humanity roll over and accept that he’s the strongest. I came to see aliens take over the planet and send their monsters after Godzilla. I came to see humanity awaken a powerful monster and for Godzilla to fight it. Without big conflicts like that, it’s just not much of a film. One of the most annoying things about horror films is that often times the humans have no shot. The Mothman, Paranormal Activity, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. The villains are effectively all powerful so the humans are going to lose, it’s just a matter of when. If Godzilla is the only Kaiju in the film then the humans are doomed and the whole film feels pointless. Even if they do win it will just seem cheesy and not very earned.

However there is hope!

The new Godzilla film coming up sounds like it’s going to be a blast. Honestly I wasn’t really impressed with the trailer, but it was a teaser so I couldn’t expect to see too much of the monsters. The happy music seemed a little off and once again everyone appears to be super in awe of the monsters. Hopefully the film isn’t ultra dramatic there. At the same time, we are going to have at least 4 Kaiju, potentially a 5th. We should get a ton of action and the Godzilla introduction was already taken care of so maybe the action will occur right away. So long as the film was given a reasonable budget this time there should be nothing to worry about. The 3rd Netflix Godzilla film also sounds like it may finally give us some true Kaiju fights as well which would be a huge deal. I think both of these films are going to be excellent and will be a true resurgence for the series. The recent films have been solid though so don’t get me wrong there, but I feel like we are finally getting back to the heart of the Godzilla franchise. At its core it’s an epic movie series about a bunch of monster fights and aliens taking over the planet. The deep messages about nuclear war and fighting nature are nice backdrops of course, but the core premise will always be about the monsters. It’s what separates this series from all others and is why the franchise is iconic. Godzilla films will always be around for us so we need to be around for them. Hopefully more people will realize that Orga is the most underrated Kaiju out there someday though.

Captain Phillips

Time for another super realistic story. This one’s about a boat that was attacked by pirates and the Captain of the crew was able to ultimately stall them long enough for the heroes to make it to safety. It’s naturally a gruesome battle between both factions, but not a whole lot of actual fighting since it’s more general action or in fighting among the pirates. Definitely not my kind of film and I’d argue that it could have been a much better adaption as well. You’ll be glancing at your watch quite a lot as this one goes on.

An interesting angle is the fact that the film gives the pirates a lot of scenes. I suppose that this is for development, but it comes off as more annoying than anything else. Let’s fact it, you don’t care about the villains because they’re just here to try and get rich as they shoot and injure the unsuspecting crew members. They have their reasons of course, but there’s no way that you’ll be able to generate any sympathy for these guys. None of the villains are likable as you might expect and there is definitely a lot of in-fighting among their members the whole time. One of them even bits the big one during one of the skirmishes.

Meanwhile, Phillips and his crew didn’t do the greatest job of stopping the pirates, but it may be more due to bad ship design than anything else. They’re going through waters where pirates aren’t just a random chance, but are actually expected. Why are there no guns or any defenses that are better than water turrets? Granted, water turrets aren’t a terrible idea, but the way that they were implemented is. Once you turn them on, you can’t turn them off so they just use up water as the pirates stay away until they are down for the count. This is where proper turrets would come in handy or at least a few rifles. It’s definitely annoying to see 3-4 guys take down a group of 20 or more.

On the flip side, it was great to see the government get involved towards the end. They came across as super professional and high-tech next to the other players. They got the good music and the best scenes. It’s a little iffy that they’re immediately reminded a lot that the hostage isn’t really their concern, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things you have to worry about the big picture. The person did sound super unsympathetic to the plight though. The government also looked unprepared in one scene as Phillips made a break for it and swam for a while, but the government’s budget cuts really hurt and they didn’t have any good flash lights. It was dark out so we can’t blame the government for slipping up…right?

The film is definitely pretty violent and over the top though. I’m almost surprised that it wasn’t R and expected it to be, but I suppose that it just made it. At least the pirates speak another language or else we probably would have been bombarded with language throughout the film. As this did not happen, I’ll give the film some mild props for that.

If you’re not too knowledgeable on what happened during this event, then this film should be very informative. Of course, if you don’t want to use up a lot of time watching all of the extra subplots and details in the film, then your best bet is probably just digging up some news articles. You’ll get more of the facts that way and you can do it in a much shorter period of time. It’s a win-win situation isn’t it? I believe that the film could have handled the adaption much better if it had followed 2 pieces of advice. One, they can definitely tone the film down quite a bit. That one’s pretty self explanatory. The other is that the villains should get less screen time. The pirates are not going to be sympathetic villains and no amount of screen time will really be able to alter that. The film could have used the extra moments to focus on the government or the film could have just been made a little shorter. That certainly wouldn’t have hurt the film in the long run.

On a final note, I also agree with the crew over Captain Phillips on not getting into the boat. See, one common mistake that people make is that they listen to demands when a gun is pointed at them, but just think about it. The classic situation of you and a villain pointing guns at each other and the villain says “Put the gun down” If you do…he’ll shoot you anyway. You may as well go for the sudden death. If it’s 5 vs 1, just rush the guy. He can’t take you all down, although if the other 4 chicken out then the gunman will win that round. The last example is the one in the film, don’t get into the boat because then you are outnumbered and defenseless. Nobody will typically be able to rescue you at that point so you should just accept your fate and make a break for it. At least try to escape instead of getting in the boat. When you think about it, that’s definitely your best move. Deciding to write a will when the villains told you to stop moving is another thing that I could really get into as the move made no sense and just resulted in another beating, but I think it’s clear why you wouldn’t make such a move. It’s not as if anyone would ever see the will anyway once you’re underwater and in enemy territory. A somber thought, but one worth thinking about before making such a move. Captain Phillips did save the day though and I’m sure that the situation was very different in real life. He did his country proud.

Invaders Classic The Complete Collection Volume 1 Review

The Invaders were a classic group of Marvel heroes from back in the day. I believe that a retcon turned some of their adventures into Earth II romps, but many fans remember them from back in the day. I also could be thinking of DC as retcons affected their old issues a lot more than Marvel’s. These issues helped people vent out their frustrations as the heroes took the Nazi’s down a few pegs and helped the US look quite good. It’s always a blast to see them winning battles and these retro comics never get old. There were more super threats here than I would have expected like the tricky Master Man.

There are quite a few issues are you would expect from such a large collection. For the most part, the issues are all stand alones and while there is certainly a continuity present, you don’t need to worry about it all that much. Some stories do go on for a little while though like Toro being shot, which pushed the Human Torch over the edge for a little while. The villains went too far that time and they certainly ended up regretting it. Another story arc, which actually lasted the longest involves Union Jack as he decided to come out of retirement to help the heroes.

His daughter was distraught about this as her father was quite old and would almost certainly perish in these battles. She wasn’t wrong as he was crippled very quickly and then she decided to fight with the heroes as Spitfire, after a blood transfusion from the Human Torch gave her the ability of super speed. Union Jack couldn’t fight anymore, but he gave his costume to his son who ended up inheriting it. Considering how old some of these comics are (Not as old as you would expect though as the issues actually came out in the 1970’s, but are made to feel like the 1940’s.) the story lines can be quite deep and intense. For the most part though, you’re just here to see the heroes beating the Nazi’s and you don’t need much of a plot beyond that right?

Another really fun pair of issues was when the mind controlled Invader’s had to fight the classic heroes like the Whizzer, Guardian, and a few others. It was like watching old heroes fight ancient ones and while the Invader’s had the massive advantage in skill, the old timers put up a good fight and showed that they can still fight. While the Whizzer and one of the other members were constantly bickering, they still had powers for the most part so they were useful in the fights. Team against team battles are always a blast.

The heroes are all fairly likable. The Human Torch is my second favorite hero and he nearly passed Captain America for me, but the drama with Spitfire hurt his case a little. He was actually active as a hero long before Captain America joined the crew so he has the most experience and he’s certainly not afraid of fighting with Namor. He relishes the challenge and Human Torch will do whatever’s necessary to protect the US. It’s cool to see him from these days as he finally became a major player in the modern FF comics from not too long ago.

Captain America is true to character and essentially identical to his modern incarnation except that he’s far more heroic. He doesn’t need to make any of the tough calls here as he just fights for what’s right and makes sure that everyone else is in line. At one point, Bucky is kidnapped so Captain America declares that if he has been harmed, he shall commit cold blooded murder for the first time! The characters like to make very grand and bold gestures like this one and it shows that they’re finally getting serious. The heroes are all tempted to destroy Hitler at one point, but they decide not too. It’s all about showing that they will stick to their morals through thick and thin. Despite Captain America’s words, he didn’t actually destroy everyone, but Bucky was safe. If he hadn’t been, you could tell that Captain America meant business. Did this all sound contradictory? Good.

Namor is an interesting case as he is technically the strongest member of the group and makes sure to mention this as much as possible. He fought off the other Invaders when things got personal as one of his underwater troops decided to join the Nazi’s. He’s typically useful even though he threatens the rest of the surface dwellers a lot and aims to defect once the war is over. His true allegience is to the sea after all and the other members are aware of this. That being said, his weakness to any form of humidity is a big one and it takes him out of action very quickly at times. I don’t mind him disliking the humans, but Namor can be a little annoying at times.

Spitfire joined the group in the second half of the collection and her talents certainly come in handy. I could have done without the drama between her, Human Torch, and Captain America, (To his credit, he is basically oblivious to the whole thing) but her super speed instantly makes Spitfire one of the strongest members of the team. Who knows, maybe you could make a case for her being the most powerful individual on the team. It was cool that she got to help keep the family name going since her father retired. I liked the original Union Jack a lot so I was worry to see him go. The british catchphrases were a lot of fun, but the new Destroyer fellow should do a good job of keeping up the mantle. I was worried that the original Union Jack would be jealous for a while, but it only took him an issue to get over this ordeal.

Bucky is sort of like Robin from these days. He was really vocal when talking about how cool Captain America is and he never let anyone insult him, which made for a few fights between him and Toro. Bucky definitely has the edge in hand to hand combat, although Toro would wreck him in an all out fight. Bucky means well and was likable for the most part, but he did look bad in the comic where he assembled some heroes to beat the brainwashed Invaders. (Unlike the JSA, who never helped the Nazi’s, the Invaders were forced too) Instead of telling the other heroes about his plan or just waiting the extra 5 minutes to discuss it with the government, he decided to fight the Guardian on National Television and act like the bad guy. There was no reason for this and he comes off as a little insane to the viewers. What if the heroes had decided that he wasn’t good enough to lead them or that it was some kind of joke?

Toro got quite a few plot twists about his backstory which gave him some development. The twists weren’t really needed I suppose, but why not right? It’s better than nothing and makes him a more relevant character when you think about it. He’s no Human Torch, but he helps out in the fight. His bond with the Torch is so strong that when he was shot, the Human Torch instantly incinerated the guy who shot him. That was probably the only death in the comics where we saw the hero do it with the intent to destroy the guy. It was certainly a deep moment even if the comic tried to quickly brush it off.

There are a few named villains scattered throughout the comics, but there were really just two who gave the heroes a run for their money. One was the Master Man, who was essentially a Nazi version of Captain America. His ideals are the opposite of the American hero and he certainly means business in a fight. He can fly and his super strength is greater than Captain America’s. I always found that ironic since everyone wants the super soldier serum even though it has been surpassed so many times. Master Man’s definitely not a likable character, but as a villain he is certainly a threat. He was shown to easily be able to defeat the Invaders and the heroes can never win against him without plot devices. Seriously, you could call the guy overpowered as he just makes the heroes look bad whenever they fought.

Making matters worse for the heroes was the debut of the Warrior Woman. She took her own Super Soldier serum and her abilities were about on par with Cap’s. This meant that she was still a little too tough for most of the Invader’s. Hitler was still obsessed with showing off his power though so he arranged for Warrior Woman to marry Master Man instead of joining in the fight. She didn’t like this, but didn’t do anything about it. That certainly helped make sure that she wouldn’t be a likable character either. At least there were now two villains for the Invaders to fight, even if it meant that they really should not have a ghost of a chance! It was interesting to have two super villains in the WW II days and this certainly spiced up the fight scenes. Namor became the only hero who could fight these two opponents on equal ground.

One of the issues was a lot of fun because the Invaders were warped to the future to fight the Avengers. The story had already happened in the Avengers title so this way we got to see it from the Invader’s point of view. That was definitely a neat experience and it helped to remind the readers that this is still relevant to the rest of the universe. To be honest, I was definitely rooting for the Invader’s this time and while it’s safe to say that they were losing, they put up a good fight. Dealing with foes like Vision and Black Panther can just be a little dicey. I can see Captain America beating the Black Panther, but he had his old shield and was likely tired from his adventure. Yellow Jacket would be doomed against anyone, but Vision’s the true threat. Either way, while it may have been a little out of place in the down to Earth WW II stories, it was a very fun issue.

The art is quite good as you would expect from a retro Marvel comic. All of the character designs are on point and the simplicity of the art allows you to read through the comics very quickly. The fights are also pretty engaging and are actually drawn at length rather than being rushed into a page or two. The colors are not quite vibrant as they’re purposefully pale, but they work in this context.

As always, the writing is one of the strengths of the issues. I particularly like the subtle USA vs Britain debates that the heroes have as Captain America uses his American jokes and Union Jack purposefully uses his Britain slang to get his point across. Cap asks him if he’s half American at times, which Jack always denies very quickly. They’re both proud of their countries and it makes for some nice team ups. I still wince a little when the UK characters call the heroes “Yanks” but I suppose that it was an acceptable nickname at the time. I dunno, it just feels unrefined and I prefer “chap” to be honest. (That used to be the British slang for pal or person anyway)

You can also tell that this is an older comic as all of the heroes bow their heads and pray in the final comic as the original Union Jack says to leave it in the hands of the one who will really decide his fate. You likely won’t see everyone praying like that in a modern comic. It’s really good to see and scenes like this show that despite their super powers, all heroes can still acknowledge God and his sovereignty. Definitely a great way to end the main issues.

Overall, This Invader’s collection was actually a lot of fun. I just eat this stuff up and I’ve always had a soft spot for the old comics. They were just pure popcorn entertainment that you could read at anytime. If only the modern comics would take a few pointers from these issues right? I actually didn’t know that there was a volume 2 for a while as I didn’t notice the large one on the cover, but hopefully the library gets that part soon. Either way, I definitely recommend checking this comic collection out. It may be around 500 pages, but maybe that’s a good thing since this way you get more value for your purchase! There is a lot of commentary from the writers throughout the issues as well, which is definitely a lot of fun! You won’t regret this read.

Overall 8/10

America vs. The Justice Society Review

It’s time to look at a very interesting Earth 2 story. I haven’t read almost anything with these guys except for the very old comics from way back in the day. This was an interesting way to find out about a lot of their adventures since then as the danger comes very close to home in this personal arc. I always root for America in films, but can I really root for them over my favorite heroes?

The plot is fairly straight forward. Shortly before dying, Batman gave his diary to an old scientist, who gave it to the newspaper to publish. The diary told a very frightening story about how the Justice Society actually worked for Hitler and the Nazi’s in World War II and have been covering it up ever since. Naturally, the Americans are outraged and decide to take the heroes to an unofficial trial to hear both sides of the story. The Justice Society decides that the best way to clear their name is to start from the beginning and recount their entire history to counter the diary’s lies. The thing is…are they lies? Robin isn’t so sure!

Naturally, this is Earth 2 so you should definitely expect some changes. This world seems to be farther in the future than Earth I so Superman and Wonder Woman are already quite old. Likewise, the Green Lantern and Flash have always been old in this place. The team isn’t exactly young anymore and the Sand Man has had a few strokes recently. They’re not in their prime, but they’re still tough enough to handle a villain or two when they pop up. That being said, old age has also changed them a little. Superman mentions a few times how he will probably abandon Earth so that he can finally retire with some peace and quiet. Wonder Woman wants to go back to the Amazons to take care of Steve Trevor, who’s in a pretty critical position after being injured recently and she does make a few outbursts in the comic.

This stresses the point that these aren’t the happy go lucky heroes that you are used too. Superman is even tempted to burn the diary several times even if it meant destroying something that could have been very important. Luckily, the heroes don’t take the easy route and even get a lawyer to help their case. That’s where the story really gets interesting and I was pleasantly surprised to see just how long the court case lasted. I’ve always been a big fan of seeing the courts so mixing that in with the superheroes was a winning combo.

That being said, it did come at the expense of the action as there are no real fight scenes to speak of in this collection. It’s all about trying to make a solid case and convincing the US that the heroes are for real and weren’t working for Hitler. The very premise is a little hard to swallow as you can’t imagine this ever being true and even the US acknowledges this except for the fact that Batman wrote it. That’s the only reason why anyone actually buys this.

Naturally, everyone reading the story probably figured that he had some kind of reason for doing this. Naturally, he did, but it was only a half reason. In the DCAU, it is acknowledged several times that Bruce Wayne actually believes himself to be Batman with Bruce Wayne as his alter ego. That seems to be the case here except it’s even more extreme as both of their personas now believe themselves to be completely separate. Bruce Wayne had gone crazy and was now completely suspicious of the League while Batman was still sane, but dying of cancer. It led to some interesting developments and Bruce making a lot of mistakes, which forced Batman into the ring. The plan was really convoluted and it’s hard to actually picture it succeeding, but this is Batman so we have to trust his plans.

If you haven’t read many Earth II comics before, then this can also be seen as a very large wrap up of just about everything that has ever happened on this planet. I believe some of the events may have been created for this arc, but I also think that most of them had simply happened and this worked as a nostalgia trip while reminding fans why they liked Earth II so much in the first place. It was definitely a pretty cool DC continuity even if the current Earth II is in shambles. This is really how Earth II should always be portrayed. An alternate Earth with similar heroes so that we can have more inspiring adventures!

Of course, due to the nature of the issues, there’s not really much to discuss. The heroes certainly saved the day very efficiently in all of their past cases and they won in the court setting fair and square. It was neat of the Spectre to offer to destroy this Earth though. A nice reminder of how powerful he is. Unfortunately, Robin did not look so good. He wanted to know Batman as a mentor who always took the right path so he decided to believe the diary. He mostly just spent every issue flinching, crying, and wondering why the heroes were trying to make Batman look so bad. It was their lives or Batman’s legacy and one has to hold more weight than the other.

I will admit that Batman’s version of the story was a lot of fun to read though. It was almost like an abridged version of a show as he showed many true events, but tried to make them look sinister by adding his own commentary. Batman essentially summarized all of the stories into one comic and then the Justice Society would expand upon that for the next 3 issues. It took a while to clear up the shadows that Batman had left, but the Society was certainly ready for the task. Superman and Wonder Woman were not really left in any danger since they weren’t accused of the same crimes (Even Batman couldn’t pull that one off) but they stuck around to support the team. All for one and one for all right?

The art is fairly solid as you can expect from a classic DC arc. The art definitely carries that retro feeling across while also being modern enough where you can picture it having some real action scenes. I definitely would not have minded a game changing villain for the ending to have a quick bout, but with the League members so old, the villain could not have been made to be That powerful. This League is definitely not as strong as the main one. Still, the good art just added another positive to the collection.

Overall, America vs. The Justice Society is a great DC collection. Finally, we get a full length court case where Superman and the rest of the League has to debate against the US. It would have been even better if Batman was here, but I suppose that the plot would have been completely different in that case. Still, the art is good and the writing is exceptional. You’ll be on the edge of your seat during the debate as the Judges continue to give the heroes a lot of time. You will need to be prepared for a lot of reading though as the collection is certainly very text based. Each page will take you about as long to read as 3-4 in the average comic. There is text everywhere as dozens of the team’s adventures finally come to light and we learn why they did not end the wars sooner. I’m going to miss the DC comics as I may not be checking one out in a while, but if you wanted to see a Superman who felt like Superman…this is definitely the comic to check out! It’s an AU future that actually feels fairly realistic and it could work with some mild tweaks in the New 52 someday.

Overall 8/10

Red Dawn (2012) Review

Looks like it’s time for round 2 for Red Dawn. The original got a reboot and now we can see if America could put up a better fight with the modern technology that we have at our disposal. Spoiler alert….America doesn’t fare all that well. While it’s a decent film for the most part, I can’t say that Red Dawn is really my style and the premise is completely unbelievable, although I’ll get into that in a second.

The main characters are enjoying the city life and having fun when the film starts off. Matt ends up losing his team the game, but he gave it his all and that’s what counts. His brother Jed is finally back from being abroad at war and it’s a good thing that he is. See, Korea and Russia have launched an attack against the US of A and we lost big time. The kids must now form a band called the Wolverines and strike back at the oppressors with their experience in warfare and combat. Can they really liberate the greatest country in the world?

Well, let’s go back to the premise since that’s the part that I can’t buy into. See, America is the greatest country in the world and no one can stop us. We have friendly ties with several countries like France and Great Britain, but even if they wouldn’t help us through such an attack, we’d be okay. Would they help us if we got invaded by Korea? I like to think so since it was an unprovoked attack and they would want to get in on the action and spoils of war before the enemies came after them.

Back to the America is for winners part. Apparently, all it takes is a well placed super EMP to take us out of the picture. Without our tech, America simply isn’t very tough and we were defeated in roughly a day. That’s….embarrassing to be honest. America loves its tech, but we also have the best defenses for it and they can’t be permanantely shut off so easily. Moreover, the enemies have closed circuit technology so that they can communicate…and we don’t? Booooooo. America is prepared for all eventualities and we wouldn’t have lost.

At most, they could maybe take a state or two, not 42. We would quickly win them back, turn our tech back, and then nuke the place. America cannot be defeated and we quickly proved this in World War II. Once America got involved, it was essentially Game Over for the enemies. So, this film really feels like propaganda from the enemy. I had this thought during the original one as well and it makes you wonder how this film got into theaters. Freedom of speech and films of course, but we don’t want the American people to get the wrong idea or for the enemies to take this as a challenge to attack. While not as politically controversial as that comedy film about Korea recently, this one’s still not quite as patriotic as you would hope.

There are still patriotic themes of course as the kids take out quite a few enemy soldiers and continue to blow up their bases. It shows that we will never give up and Americans will always have their freedom, but that should have been applied to the whole country, which is why we shouldn’t have lost. America fights hard and they fight to win. That’s how it’s always been and the only way to take us out is with Global Destruction. A mutual nuclear attack would do the trick and then it would be game over.

Naturally, this film is pretty dark given the serious themes that are at play the whole time. Characters drop off one after the other and the heroes are put in many tricky circumstances with people that they can’t always trust. It’s a film that will keep you interested from start to finish, but not one that is really fun to watch. It is fairly realistic as people go through these situations in other countries and in our past, but that’s part of the reason why it turns out to be a film that you won’t find very enjoyable.

There is a twist at the end to keep things real and all films need a twist of some sort nowadays. It’s expected and it adds more drama for the sequel. The event in question definitely comes suddenly and the film did a good job of not being obvious about it although the foreshadowing did start to get a little iffy as the heroes were having too much of a good time. You have to have nerves of steel at that point since everyone is dying so you learn to be able to get decently happy very quickly since you don’t know how long the peace will last. Still, they should have kept moving.

Jed’s a really good main character and the film does a good job of making him likable. The main gripe with him is just how much beer the guy drinks. It certainly won’t help him when he’s out in a firefight. Luckily, the guy has a lot of experience in the field and he really ends up helping the team a lot. Without him, it’s safe to say that the heroes may have been a little out of their league. Matt is not nearly as good. I really didn’t like his character from start to finish. His first appearance has him crumbling during the end of a football game and it seems like he barely cares. He just heads out to have fun with his girlfriend and really acting like one of those throwaway characters from any film or show. He’s the kind of guy that you just don’t like and the film tries to correct that later on, but it’s too little too late. He abandons the team and disobeys orders when he feels like it without any real remorse.

Most of the other characters are here to remind us that this is serious business and not for the faint of heart. The guy who lacked will power steals the food and betrays the heroes to the enemy. The surest way to tell who isn’t a real American is to find the guy who betrays you to the other country. That’s just sad and I’m pretty sure that the guy didn’t live through the experience. The other characters are typically all right or a little on the not cool side. Matt’s girlfriend certainly did not help him become likable and I thought that she was a bit much the whole time. Jed’s friend was much better as she was more reserved and dedicated to the cause.

The writing seemed to be decent as there was only one piece of unnecessary language that I noticed, but I saw this on TV so they helped the film out a little by covering this area. I don’t know how much or how little they cut, but that’s always nice of them. The film was over in a flash and felt way under 2 hours. That’s probably a good thing as short and sweet has actually been working out quite well lately. If you’re as good as Man of Steel or Avengers, then go for as long as possible. Otherwise, go for a shorter route.

Overall, This Red Dawn is better than the first version. The main character is easily the best person in the film and he puts the other guys to shame. It’s too bad that Matt couldn’t be quite as good. The film is pretty careful in terms of violence and while a lot of things happen to the heroes, it’s never as intense as in the original. That being said, the premise is still as unbelievable as ever. America simply doesn’t lose like that and this is the kind of film that shouldn’t be given a theater release without some kind of propaganda video before it to pump us up. At the very least, we should have had an epilogue about how we ultimately won the war and crushed everyone. It was neat to see the Marines and they actually looked impressive in this version, but they sure tried to be as unlikable as possible at times. If you like war films where the underdogs have to fight against large odds check this out. If you want a lighter film where America owns the world, check out The Avengers! Now that film shows us the determination and skill of The American people!

Overall 4/10

Green Zone Review

Note that this review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be understood as belonging to this version of the film as a review of the uncut version would likely be more negative.
Green Zone is a war film and that makes it a pretty unique one for me at the moment because I have not seen many of those. I probably haven’t even seen 5 at present. That being said, it is not a genre that I would expect to enjoy typically because of the very concept. War isn’t fun and it typically translates to some pretty gruesome stories. On the whole, this film handled the situation as well as it could.

Things are heating up in Iraq and it seems like they are harboring weapons of mass destruction. Roy and his team are tasked with retrieving them, but every site that they arrive at is empty. Something clearly isn’t adding up and Roy begins to realize that a darker plot is happening in the background. One way or the other, he plans to get to the bottom of it.

One of the main things that I didn’t like was how America did not look good. There is usually a corrupt politician in the films, but the film makes us look bad on many fronts. Our army is quick to believe the intel that it acquires even though it is proven to be false again and again. Surely, we have people who prevent this from happening. More than one person should be required for this in case we have a turncoat in our midsts. It is rather sad to see the U.S so confused.

One of the soldiers doesn’t even care why they are fighting and he just wants to get out of the war alive. Certainly not a noble sentiment. Really, the picture that is painted shows that the US is simply too big and there is corruption everywhere. We are not fighting the good fight and are using our power to bully those who are weaker than us. That’s just not the US that I remember and I prefer to see us look very heroic and composed.

As a side note, America also looks like it is lacking in intelligence aside from the falling for fake intel part. Why would we publish everything that we are doing to the Wall Street Journal? Seriously, we shouldn’t be publishing anything like that. At the most, we should just be posting false data. Transparency is all well and good, but not if it costs us the war. Sometimes you just need to trust the government. As long as all of the senators and governors are in the loop, we should be okay. We can still know basic data, but certainly not any specifics.

As I mentioned earlier, the film did well in how it handled the violence. The only real violent scene was likely the interrogation one. That was certainly hard to watch as we never like to see an officer abuse his power. The man in charge seemed to realize that the officer was dangerous, but did nothing about it. You end up feeling bad for the man since he was caught between two factions of what he thought was the same army.

Roy is a good main character. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot that one man can do in a corrupt organization, but he performs to the best of his abilities. He does a good job of getting the last laugh with the ending even if it is a little bitter sweet. He exposed a lot of the wrong doings, but if won’t bring the people back and now the world knows that the US is very disjointed. Still, it is safe to say that he made the right call. At least there will be consequences for the villain now.

Freddy was the main supporting character and he was definitely not very good. His ending is meant to be hardcore as he shows us that we are sticking our noses where they don’t belong, but he just looks s little delusional instead. His country is going to have even more violence now and he panics a whole lot. There was also a reporter to be found here, but she didn’t really add anything to the film. She helps us piece some parts of the puzzle together, but it’s hard to trust her since she will be quick to release any news and I still think that it is a tactical error on our part.

This is the edited version of course, which helps the film out in a big way when it comes to the language part. There were several words that were aired out, which hints at a bad script. It is not much of an issue, but something to be ready for depending on how you see the film.

As for action scenes, we get a few of those, but only one fight scene. Roy looks decent in his fight scene at first, but then he gets trounced. He likely threw the fight, but it still didn’t do him any favors. It reminded me of a fight in the Karate Kid as the main character was beaten up on the beach. Perhaps Roy could have won if he tried, but now we shall never know.

Green Zone’s locale isn’t very interesting as it is very bare and there are no real buildings to be found. Naturally, this is unavoidable based on the plot, but it can still make you wish for something more glamorous. The film is interesting though and you will want to see how it all plays out. That’s always a good sign. The film was certainly a little better than I had expected it to be, but it was still not enough to get in the clear.

Overall, Green Zone had some of the typical negatives that are usually present in the war genre, but it also avoided some. The violence wasn’t as bad as it could have been and the war themes didn’t get too radical. I didn’t like how America was portrayed though and there is certainly not a happy ending to be found. If you like war films, then this is a very good bet for you. If you don’t want any grim reminders of war, then I recommend checking out LBX, the show instead. You will still have high stakes battles, but they will typically end on an epic note.

Overall 4/10

Red Dawn Review

It’s time for a retro war film. As you may expect from the title, things are looking a little dicey for America in this film. We’re outgunned and we’re outnumbered, but we’ve got determination on our side! I can’t say that I had high expectations going into the film and it was more or less what I may have expected. A little worse than what I had expected, but trust me when I say that I was not expecting a masterpiece in the first place. All right, let’s see what made this film hit the ground.

The plot involves a group of teenagers. Jed, Matt, and a few others were at school trying to learn a thing or two when they are attacked by the enemy. See, The United Nations was basically disbanded and all of the countries were either taken over or ran away when the going got tough. This basically left America by its lonesome along with some support from England against Russia and an army of other lands. Their troops attack the school and decide to destroy everyone who’s inside of it. The teenagers escape and head to the mountains where they stay for a little over a month. Eventually, they decide that they’re going to try and take America back as they form the Wolverines. They shall slay anyone who gets in their way. America shall survive!

Well, it’s a classic tale of how a few people can really make the difference in the war. Naturally, it’s hard to even know where to begin when discussing why this does not work. First of all, let’s talk about America. We would definitely not be defeated so easily. I won’t say what the outcome of the war is, but the enemy invaded way too easily. We definitely would have been more prepared and we would have watched as tensions escalated. Never underestimate the strongest country on the planet.

Next up, the Wolverines are very overpowered. They have enough resources to grab rockets, dozens of grenades, different uniforms to camouflage with the environment throughout the year, and so on. They’re still bold enough to walk into town though since nobody can recognize them without their proper gear. The Wolverines are only made up of a few teenagers (at first) but they know how to fight. They easily outshoot the trained professionals when necessary and it just goes to show that your average Quarterback is more than just a strong arm.

I wasn’t really impressed with most of the characters. Jed was definitely better than most of the other heroes. The problem is that it’s more of a default victory than anything. He knows that it’s not good to cry after every casualty and he’s the one who gets everyone to keep their acts together. That being said, Jed can get a little too confident and his big words, “You lose” come back to bite him.

The rest of the teenagers either get no character or are here to drag the rest of the heroes down. Keeping track of all of the names can be tricky, but it doesn’t really matter all that much here. One of the teenagers tends to panic whenever the going gets tough. He’s not the kind of guy that you really want on your team. The heroes also get betrayed by one of the teammates, who basically sells them out. He got sold out first and then decided to sell out his friends. There were two girls who joined the group and they were way too unprepared. They panic at one point in the mountains, which almost costs the heroes everything. Encouraging the others to stay and eat when the enemies laid out an obvious trap wasn’t cool either, but all of the heroes were to blame.

Really, I can’t say that I liked any of them. With the constant panicking, fighting, or just making mistakes in general, it was hard to believe that these guys could really take out so much of the enemy forces. We also had an American pilot who joins the ranks at one point, but he doesn’t really add anything to the story. He just reminds us that America is getting creamed out there and he belittles the teenagers a lot. He has his big moment where he goes up against a tank and realizes that it may have been a bit of a dicey move. At least he reminds the heroes to shoot straight.

One of the classic mistakes that this film makes is the animal violence. We don’t need to see the “heroes” taking the animals down for food. The “hardcore” American tries to one up them by saying that he’s seen squads have to eat each other to keep on going. Yeah…those guys lacked strength of will. Those things certainly aren’t going to help the film at all.

We don’t get much of a soundtrack and I’m not sure how much it could have helped anyway. Red Dawn just isn’t a good film and even writing the review can be a little tedious. It gets to the point where the film had so many negatives that it’s just a little overwhelming. To put it simply, the film was just pretty dreary and it lacked any interesting characters. All of the figures were just there to take up space and to remind us that war isn’t typically good for anyone. The film just forgot that America never surrenders and we should have quickly launched the nukes after such an assault.

The only piece of credit that I would give the film is that the events can feel a little surreal. I can’t say that I really expected the teacher to be taken down so quickly and for the action to suddenly begin like that. It was a little hard to believe that the invasion was actually happening. The film just stayed in the mist for the rest of the experience though and it’s something that’s only good for short bursts. Red Dawn needed to quickly embrace the action or to try and go in a different direction. Staying in the mist is not a good idea either way.

One of the flaws of this film is that is can also be pretty boring. I already mentioned how detached you become from the characters. That’s definitely the first step and it doesn’t get any better since you need to like the characters to enjoy the story. (Typically this is the case) You really know that nothing’s going to happen so it also takes your drive away from watching it. Ah well, you just watch the minutes go by and think about what would have happened if the film had actually gotten a sequel. Now That would have been dicey!

Overall, Red Dawn is a film that can’t break through the test of time to get me to recognize that it was a good film. It will have to be thrown to the wayside along with other classics like The Lord of The Rings and James Bond. The teacher at the school was one of the only characters that I found to be pretty interesting and he’s written out of the film right away. At least he stayed courageous from start to finish. He never showed any fear and that’s what I would expect from him. If you want to watch a war film..check out the Avengers. It’s like watching a war skirmish in New York since there is a lot of destruction and the heroes face extremely large numbers of aliens. Skipping this film will be one of the better decisions that you’ve made in a while!

Overall 2/10

Justice League of America Volume 1 Reveiw

We may have the Justice League and the Justice League Dark, but there’s always room for another group. The main difference is that this group is under government jurisdiction, which makes things intriguing. The cast can be a concern since the main members won’t be able to join, but I can safely say that it is still a good comic.

The plot involves Steve Trevor as Amanda Waller tells him that she’s forming a group. She wants him to lead it and Steve talks a good game, but he is basically forced into leading the group. Amanda has selected each member so that person can theoretically beat their Justice League counterpart. The members are kept in the dark about this of course and the team consists of Martian Manhunter, Stargirl, Catwoman, Green Lantern, (Not Hal of course) Vibe, Hawkman and Katana. The cover already shows Green Arrow so I may as well say that he joins up with them later as well.

The group doesn’t really do a whole lot at first, but they look into stopping the secret society. These guys mean business since even Green Arrow was powerless to stop them. The second half involves the real Justice League as the Trinity Wars kick into high gear as both groups are launched into the fighting. Only one team can walk away from this (maybe) and the stakes have never been higher… a while. Meanwhile, Pandora is still around so the adventure could get even more dangerous for the heroes.

Steve Trevor is the leader of the Justice League of America, but he’s definitely no Batman. Batman can fight in hand to hand combat when necessary and he has a lot of gadgets. All Steve has is a long list of witty comebacks at the ready and a good handgun. He gives Catwoman a decent fight, but I’m glad that she defeated him. If a regular guy can defeat a super villain, then there’s no real need for an Anti Justice League group now is there? Steve tries to be a good character, but almost all of his lines are really just bluffs in the end. He always ends up listening to the government at the expense of common sense and he needs to stand up for himself some more. As far as leading the group goes….Steve doesn’t actually give many orders. He mostly just stands around and tries to talk tough. Still, Steve is a good guy despite all of this and he just needs to have more courage to stand up for what he believes in. Once he embraces this, Steve can end up being one of the better GI Joes.

Martian Manhunter is the big hitter for this group. He does pretty well, but I can’t say that he looked like he was anywhere near Superman’s level. We get some flashbacks into his origin, which will likely serve as foreshadowing for a future arc. It was intriguing, but not much has changed from the original origin so it was pretty basic. We met a new villain who I’m sure will be back at some point. The Martian is pretty short and direct in his manner of speaking, which is always good to see. I still can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the fact that he signed up with this counter league to stop the original ones, but I guess that I could say that for all of the members. At least he tried to end things diplomatically.

Katana gets a really small role compared to the other members. It’s easy to forget that she’s even on the team because she only gets a handful of lines. I don’t have much of an opinion on her at this point, but I would say that she’s decent. She’s not really a hero so hopefully these good influences will help her turn over a new leaf. I can’t say that her sword is very impressive as a person either, but all of his lines were off screen so it can be hard to tell for sure how cool he is.

I’ve never really been a fan of Hawkman and I can’t say that he looks too great here either. He seems to be pretty delusional and he overrates his own ability. I don’t really see him standing up to Aquaman at all. Hopefully he comes back to reality soon because he definitely seems like someone that you wouldn’t trust as a fellow hero.

Stargirl seems to be one of the more powerful fighters, but Amanda Waller wants her to stay at the base and act as the team’s PR rep. That doesn’t really fly with Stargirl and she escapes, which is pretty cool. She’s easily one of the most likable members of the group and she even got her town to accept her as a real superhero. It’s a feat that only a few superheroes like Superman and Flash have been able to pull off. Hopefully she gets a good fight in the next volume so we can see what her abilities can really do.

Simon Baz only appears for the latter half of the volume so we don’t see that much of him. He’s definitely no Hal Jordan and he’s a little generic so far. I’m sure that he’ll improve as he gets more screentime and he beats most of the other members. He seems to be pretty experienced after his latest adventure so hopefully he will show this as he gets some action in the future.

Catwoman was definitely not one of my favorite members. Her unnecessary embrace with Steve to steal his wallet and find out about his past was pretty sad. We get her backstory once again so that we can sympathize with the character and also learn about the Martian Manhunter, but it doesn’t really change the fact that her current self isn’t really likable. Catwoman always has the potential to be a good character, but she typically squanders it.

Green Arrow is actually pretty likable and it’s good to see him blackmail the government since they’ve been blackmailing everyone else. He’s definitely a pretty shady hero and he only answers to himself, but it’s an interesting change of pace at this point. The New 52 Arrow is completely different from the Pre 52 one and that’s just fine with me. I may actually prefer this version of the green hero. He definitely doesn’t look very impressive in the fights, but he can’t really be expected to match up against these powerful foes on his own. I’ll admit that his villain costume was pretty simple so I can see why the villains saw through it. At least Green Arrow made for an interesting addition to the team.

Vibe has a lot of room to grow so he has the potential to turn into a good hero. Right now he’s just a little too inexperienced and he doesn’t make the hero calls when necessary. He blindly listens to his superiors when they tell him to blast the Flash even though he didn’t know how it would affect him. Why take the risk when it could have potentially blown him up as with the robots? Vibe just cracked under the pressure and some more experience under his belt should help with that…hopefully!

Batman doesn’t get a huge role in this collection, but it’s good to see him thinking of a way out of this. He tries to help Superman get out of his predicament, but it’s tough without any leads. I have no qualms with his portrayal here. Superman was more on the dicey side since he allowed himself to be locked up. Luckily, the Leaguers are still watching him so the government can’t try anything, but it’s a little too risky if you ask me. Superman’s taking it pretty hard, but he should know that something’s up as he continues to get weaker and weaker. Wonder Woman actually gets most of a comic to herself as she consults the gods, villains, and finally the Justice League Dark to see if she can help Superman. She does a pretty good job although I do agree with the Welder that she didn’t need to be so threatening since they were on good terms. Bringing in the Justice League Dark was a good call….except that they turned out to be a little too unprepared for the battle.

Lex Luther didn’t get a huge role in this one, but it was good to see his portrayal went. Going after the box just to irritate the Justice League was classic and I’ll admit that I was rooting for him. It may have just been a cameo, but it was still good to see. The Flash didn’t really do anything either, but tackling Martian Manhunter was pretty good since traitors needs to be taken out of the fight right away. He may have misread the situation, but he made the hero move. (Although I believe that phasing through people should be a last resort unless they’re super powerful)

Amanda Waller is still a woman who only cares to help the government. She threatens the heroes and makes sure to be as unlikable as she can be throughout the comic. I was rooting for Stargirl to arrest her or to completely ignore Waller’s commands after the threats started coming in. Lucily, Stargirl did rebel, but I would have liked a more direct approach. Amanda always makes for a decent villain, but she’s seriously misguided in her attempts to help humanity.

The plot does jump around a lot in this comic though and you may not be crazy about this if you want to see the whole story. It jumps right into the 2nd or third part of the Trinity War and then jumps to the after effects of the event. That’s because only one issue was really in this series, but it can make for an interesting read in trade paperback form. The Secret Society plot also kind of vanished as the volume went on. I suppose that it could have ended in a way, but it didn’t really feel like an ending.

I have to wonder if Amanda Waller really thought her plan would work since her members are not nearly as powerful as the real league. Hal Jordan is better than Simon Baz in just about every way. The Flash would beat Vibe in his sleep. Batman’s better at hand to hand combat than Catwoman. Wonder Woman vs Katana is a bit of a joke. (No offense to Katana fans of course, but I don’t see her trading blows with Superman) Superman has heat vision to take care of Martian Manhunter. I forgot who Stargirl is a rival of, but let’s say that she loses to Cyborg and Aquaman beats the rest. That sounds about right. Amanda’s plan would not work and I don’t see how she can get past this fact.

DC’s done a really good job with the artwork in just about all of their New 52 comics. This one is no exception and all of the characters are drawn really well and the fights are pretty dynamic. We don’t get a lot of action scenes unfortunately, but we can still see that the art is solid from all of the other scenes. It would be hard for the aer to be even better than this so I’m completely satisfied in this area.

Overall, This was a fun Justice League comic. It’s kind of like watching the B listers instead of the main members, which is always good as a change of pace. I’d say that the only thing that brings down the comic a little is the convoluted timeline and the fact that there are no likable villains. The League needs a serious threat if it wants to establish credibility with the world after all. Some of the members are decent while I don’t really care for the others so it’s a bit of a mixed bag in that area. This comic had the infamous Catwoman getting shot scene that made its rounds on the web a while back, but it’s not that bad. I suppose that direct gunshots aren’t typically shown that often which could be a while, but you should be okay as long as you remember the classic comic book rule about characters who die. If not, it’s easy to skim through that part since there are a lot of panels leading up to it. Personally, I found the Martian Manhunter story worse in that regard since we got classic animal/alien violence that is always sad to see. It’s part of what kept this one from getting an 8 like the classic Justice League stories, but also the fact that we’re missing most of the main members. I recommend checking out this story if you’re a Justice League fan or if you like to read comics with very good art. There’s a decent amount of action and a lot of plot lines are developed that should help you get introduced into the New 52. I just wish that Hal Jordan could have been around to participate in the fights and maybe the Forever Evil tie ins will occur in the next volume.

Overall 7/10