Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Tony Stark that isn't a Total Arse

The Invincible Iron Man. Yet another Marvel animated DVD has joined the recent Comic to DVD range and it's another good one. Although I find it quite strange this one was even made as we're not that far off from a Hollywood Iron Man with the genius casting of Robert Downey Jr, especially since both versions seem to be dealing with a different telling of his origin.

Not that I'm complaining because I did really enjoy this one, far more than the two Avengers films previously released. This being me and as an extreme continuity nut I noticed that this actually seems to be based in the same timeline as the Ultimate Avenger films, the armour bay Stark has is extremely similar to the one shown in the second Avengers film and both the Ultimate Armour and the War Machine Armour were shown in it. Also establishing this link further, the voice of Tony Stark is exactly the same guy as the other films.

Onto the actual film and I've always preferred Iron Man in cartoons than in comics. I'm not sure why but Tony just never works quite as well for me in the books as he does when in motion and after months of evil Stark, proud sponsor of the Super Human Registration Act over in Civil War I thought it'd be nice to get a nice friendly version. We didn't quite get that, instead we get a typical heartless business man who places himself first and everything else second. He lied to his best friend and kept him out of the biggest project ever undertaken, even when Tony and Rhodey are building a makeshift armour Tony totally underplays the fact he wasn't exactly creating this stuff from scratch. As the film progresses Tony becomes more human and all round nice bloke but at the start he is a bit of a bastard.

Of course dealing with Iron Man we have to put up with his greatest enemy, the bottle. I mean the Mandarin, though a drunk Iron Man could make for some interesting viewing. This version of the Mandarin is ten times better than any other and instead of being some mental Chinese bloke, he’s a spirit of an ancient Chinese ruler. His appearance is brief and it is far better for it.

The other characters were quite a surprise, James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes was different to any version I’ve experienced before but then I’m used to him either being War Machine or having fallen out with Stark for some reason or another. Pepper, Tony’s secretary, was a lot older and there was no sexual tension there as there would be normally. Most bizarrely, we have a version of Tony Stark who stands alongside his father in running Stark Enterprises. Also, considering this is an origin story the armour was handled very surprisingly. It was explained well but it does catch you by surprise.

To date this is easily the best Marvel Animated film, let’s hope they continue this upward curve with Doctor Strange and beyond.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

No More Through The Gate

Stargate SG-1 has now finished its 10, and final, season making it longest continuous Sci-Fi series ever. I’ll definitely miss the show and feel bad for Ben Browder for having another show end on him but am I sad about it? Not really. Please be aware any American readers, your scheduling sucks and Sky One has shown the whole thing here in Blighty. This here blogging is going to be very spoilerific.

To be honest, I know I'm a story arc kinda guy but I was hoping for the SG-1 version of Deep Space Nine’s Dominion war. A ‘sod all else and those little happy stories we’re in a war and it’s a nasty one so follow us while we take this galaxy back one system at a time’ sort of thing. Ooo that made me feel all Sheridan like typing that.

Instead the shows leading up to the end of the season certainly didn't leave you with the feeling that it was all going to be over. After Daniel gets taken by the Ori, things quieten down and we get to see Mitchell's school reunion. Daniel returns and despite then unleashing the entire Ori army onto our galaxy we get some wonderful stories involving alternate realities and rebels. I’m not saying these weren’t good episodes, just they weren’t what I was hoping for. Then with two episodes before the curtain falls it all kicks off. In one episode so much ground was covered and it was fantastic. I applaud the writer who came up with Ba’al’s plan, that was an absolute masterstroke.

Then we have the last ever episode of Stargate SG-1. It, erm, wasn't what I expected. Sure I got the explosion I wanted and the start of the episode explains something that has seemed a bit off during the whole Ori storyline in the most shocking manor possible. But most of the episode was a character piece looking intently at our five main characters. It was an interesting way to end the series as nothing concerning the defeating the armies of the Ori was really addressed, but it did make for a good look at what was good about the show.

Then it was all over… well not really. SG-1 have two movies coming, the first ending the Ori storyline and the second a good old fashioned timeline buggered story that Stargate does so well. Plus Atlantis plunges on, a show I really think I need to watch considering how closely I’ve followed SG-1. There’s the 2008 debuting Stargate series that nobody knows anything yet. Plus apparently one of SG-1’s main guys hasn’t given up the fight for his series yet. Though I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm with Union Jack

Because everyone's doing one.

[EDIT] It has come to my attention that Marvel's UK does indeed have a Superhero law, but our superhero's didn't have a hissy fit over the whole thing. So I'm still with Union Jack.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy Smiley Counter Terrorists

Rainbow Six, bit of an odd name for a counter terrorist agency but that's what Tom Clancy has given us. We're onto the fifth version of the computer game and this is my second. I'd messed around with the original game but only really got stuck in with Rogue Spear. I became disenchanted with the franchise when they abandoned the planning phase and went all action in an attempt to take on SWAT.

However, I had really loved Rogue Spear and its add-ons so I always felt the need to go back. Enter XBox Live's ability to download demos and I was trying Vegas. After telling myself this was a much needed buy since I first tried it, three months later my Dad came to the rescue and I finally own it.

The game is great and it’s reminding me of the fun I had playing Republic Commando and I'm really starting to like the tactical squad games. The pleasure you get when you successfully take down a room is fantastic. More than once have Michael, Jung and I stormed a room and the dirty terrorist scumbags all dropped seconds later. Also there is a lot of joy from sneaking about slowly killing all involved without alerting anyone else.

Though that brings me onto the problems I have. Sometimes the enemy AI is great, but all too often am I amazed how stupid these terrorists are. Last night I opened a door and shot gunned the guy on the other side for the pure joy of the shotgun. Amazingly, a couple of guys down the hall (out of my view I will point out) failed to really react to my little bit of Rambo. Admittedly they did switch from just standing around to being alert, but it didn't occur to either of them to go investigate what the loud noise was.

As I already stated, I cut my anti terrorist teeth on Rogue Spear and we no longer have the planning aspect. I don't pine for its return but I do miss the level of control it gave me over my team mates. More than once have I wished that they move up from the cover position I gave them. As it stands they only move to cover I tell them too, and therefore I have to be able to see that cover. I also find that when they are on follow in a fire fight they don't make the smartest of moves and I now do my best to make sure they're ordered to do something else other than just shoot people.

The Rainbow series hasn't totally filled the gap it created by removing its planning phase but all in all I am enjoying the game a great deal. I wonder if they've managed to fix the problems with Splinter Cell.