Strip Talk #24: Get ready for the deluge of comic book movies

Lyndsey-2013-cutout-onlineThe del­uge of comic book movies these days is like heaven-sent mana for a geek like myself. The sheer vol­ume alone is over­whelm­ing, and the major­ity of them hap­pen to be good. I will prop­erly con­fess that I wasn’t antic­i­pat­ing the qual­ity of the major­ity, but it’s a wel­come prob­lem to have because it could always be worse.

If your name is Mar­vel, you have done extra­or­di­nar­ily well. Basi­cally, every­thing they touch is gold. Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War was HUGE; we’re talk­ing bil­lions in box office receipts. Even the B-Team movies (i.e. the spin­offs) such as Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy have exceeded expec­ta­tions and made buck­ets of money for the Mar­vel brand. So, we’re good here because just about every­thing about Phase III is going to trans­late into crit­i­cal acclaim and finan­cial windfall.

If your name is DC, you have some issues and we have con­cerns about you going for­ward. DC’s cin­e­matic uni­verse just can’t seem to get it right, whether it’s the poor char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Superman’s solo film, the tepid Bat­man vs. Super­man or the silli­ness of Sui­cide Squad. It seems that DC is strug­gling to tell even the most basic sto­ries about its leg­endary sta­ble of heroes. Superman’s movies have been mostly miss since the ill-advised reboot attempt in 2006 with Super­man Returns. Bat­man has been mostly good since the Christo­pher Nolan tril­ogy wrapped up with Dark Knight Rises, but there is yet another new face under the cowl — Ben Affleck — that’s going to have to carry major bur­dens. Sui­cide Squad has been hit or miss, with either enthu­si­as­ti­cally great or hor­ri­ble reviews. DC has got to get its act together if it’s seri­ous about com­pet­ing with the Mar­vel jug­ger­naut in any way, shape or form.

If you’re not named either DC or Mar­vel and you’re pro­duc­ing a comic prop­erty, chances are you’re the X-Men or Wolver­ine. Fox han­dles the X-Men and it shows imme­di­ately that they’re not Mar­vel (despite being a Mar­vel prop­erty in ink). While First Class and Days of Future Past were won­der­ful and a great restora­tion of the X-Men name from the hor­rific days of Last Stand, the more recent Apoc­a­lypse nearly destroyed the good­will that the fran­chise has man­aged to earn back. Poor pac­ing and char­ac­ter devel­op­ment of promi­nent X-Men such as Storm and Psy­locke does not endear the series to any­one look­ing to see the merry band of mutants make a come­back. While Dead­pool did extremely well for Fox, it’s hard to see where they’re going after this except for more X-Men/Wolverine and more Deadpool.

I’m all for the gag­gle of movies expected to release in the next months to few years. By the time you read this, Doc­tor Strange and Thor: Rag­narok will have been released and we still have on the hori­zon Won­der Woman, Black Pan­ther, Cap­tain Mar­vel, Jus­tice League, Avengers Infin­ity War, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Shazam, The Flash, Aqua­man, Jus­tice League 2, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, Spider-Man: Home­com­ing, an Old Man Logan/Wolverine final movie, Ant Man and the Wasp, and sev­eral TV prop­er­ties such as Luke Cage, and future sea­sons of Jes­sica Jones, Arrow, the Flash, Dare­devil, Iron Fist, Cloak and Dag­ger and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If that doesn’t keep you busy and informed on comic adap­ta­tions, you’re miss­ing quite a bit.

You can’t escape the preva­lence of comic books in cin­ema, espe­cially now that the main­stream pub­lic at large is invested in either Mar­vel or DC and second-tier char­ac­ters like Groot are house­hold names. You know you’ve jumped into main­stream con­scious­ness when the band­wagon fans are sym­pa­thiz­ing with the Win­ter Sol­dier with­out know­ing his back­ground and up-to-date biog­ra­phy. But it’s not really for the band­wag­oneers, is it? It’s more for us, the comic book faith­ful who won’t turn down a movie about a super­hero because, well, super­heroes. I don’t know about you, but I’m about to be a lit­tle kid on Christ­mas morn­ing once again.

Lyn­d­sey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. She can be reached by email at editor@gaminginsurrection.com

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Anime Lounge #14: Death Note

Death Note-animeAnime-LoungeSeries: Death Note

Episodes: 1 to 6

Premise: A young man named Light Yagami is bored and incred­i­bly gifted men­tally. He’s look­ing for things to do out­side of hack­ing the national police data­base and is prepar­ing to go to law school for a career in crim­i­nal jus­tice. One day, while in school, he hap­pens to notice a strange book appear out­side. He opens it and finds a shinigami, named Ryuk, that’s bound to fol­low the per­son who finds it. Light’s dis­cov­ery and sub­se­quent deal­ings with Ryuk and his Death Note begin the twisted tale of jus­tice as a means to an end.

Is it worth watch­ing?: YES. This is one of the best anime to be released in the past 20 years. It’s got every­thing you could want: Sus­pense, drama, sev­eral mur­der mys­ter­ies, a plot that makes you ques­tion life choices and char­ac­ters to root for.

Break­out char­ac­ter: There are four: Light, Misa, Ryuk and L. Each of the four is cen­tral to the story and yet, all man­age to steal the show in their own way.

Fun­ni­est episode: Episode 1, “Rebirth.” The open­ing episode finds Light inter­act­ing with Ryuk once he obtains the Death Note, which is hilar­i­ous for sev­eral rea­sons. Light doesn’t seem to be that enthralled with a death god near him and he imme­di­ately uses his pow­ers of deduc­tion and rea­son­ing to come to sev­eral con­clu­sions about the Death Note and its usage. Their inter­ac­tion is always fun and serves to set up the way the rest of the series flows ultimately.

Where it’s going?: Light is in con­trol for the first few episodes. He’s still learn­ing the ropes with the Death Note and under­stand­ing how it works, and what kind of jus­tice he can enact: Right­eous or mali­cious. How Light con­tin­ues to suc­ceed in stay­ing hid­den and not get­ting caught is the name of the game going for­ward. It’s worth it to watch to see just how Light stays ahead of the game and avoids sus­pi­cion from the most tal­ented inves­ti­ga­tor in the world, L.

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Top 5 on The Strip: Things wrong with the Super Mario Bros. movie

Mario and Luigi

John Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins as Luigi and Mario.

1. Their names aren’t Mario and Luigi Mario
Accord­ing to the author­i­ta­tive guide to all things Mario – MushroomKingdom.net – the script called for the Mario Bros. to have a last name. The char­ac­ters were never given names in the game series and the pro­duc­ers decided that because they were the Mario Bros., their last name must be Mario. Accord­ing to the site, cre­ator Shigeru Miyamoto was quoted in Game Informer as hav­ing “laughed rather loudly” when he heard this info.

 

Samantha Mathis as Princess Daisy

Saman­tha Mathis as Princess Daisy

2. Princess Daisy is not the ruler of the Mush­room King­dom
Princess Daisy, first intro­duced in the Game Boy’s Mario Land, does not rule the Mush­room King­dom; she’s the leader of Sarasa­land. Luigi isn’t even present in the game, though he later devel­ops a rela­tion­ship with her as Mario and Peach’s counterparts.

 

Thwomp Stompers as worn by Big Bertha.

Thwomp Stom­pers as worn by Big Bertha.

3. The Mario Bros. nat­u­rally jumped high, with­out the need for spe­cial boots
The weird jump boots in the movie really had noth­ing to do with Mario games. Also, Big Bertha is a fish in the game, not an actual woman.

 

Goombas

Goom­bas

4. Goom­bas are not rep­tiles of any kind
We’re not sure why the goom­bas were made to be tall reptilian-like crea­tures when they’re lit­er­ally liv­ing mush­rooms gone bad.

 

Dennis Hopper as King Bowser Koopa.

Den­nis Hop­per as King Bowser Koopa.

5. Bowser isn’t a lizard crea­ture; he’s a tur­tle
While Den­nis Hop­per made a believ­able Bowser, King of the Koopas, sadly, he isn’t a lizard. Bowser has been con­firmed to be an evil tur­tle with a spiked shell.

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Otaku Corner: Death Note Vol. 8

L con­tin­ues to inspire jus­tice in Death Note Vol­ume 8

Brandon-2012-cutoutFour years after his death, the world’s great­est detec­tive L con­tin­ues to chal­lenge Light Yagami in the most intense  game of cat and mouse via his suc­ces­sors. Will L and com­pany tri­umph or will Light have the last laugh? The answer to these ques­tions awaits in Death Note Vol­ume 8: Tar­get.
Writ­ten by Tsug­umi Ohba, drawn by Takeshi Obata and pub­lished by Viz Media, Death Note Vol­ume 8 lives up to its sub­ti­tle. At the end of Vol. 7, we left Light (Kira/the sec­ond L) — the newest mem­ber of the NPA’s intel­li­gence bureau — unchal­lenged in mak­ing his idea of a crime-free world come to fruition. How­ever, he was unpre­pared for a two-pronged attack from Mello and Near, L’s true suc­ces­sors. Mello joins with an orga­nized crime group to kid­nap Light’s sis­ter, Sayu, while Near gains the sup­port of the pres­i­dent of the United States to form the SPK (Spe­cial Pro­vi­sion for Kira). Both par­ties’ main objec­tive is to cap­ture Kira and the Death Note.
For a brief period, Light and Near coop­er­ate to res­cue Sayu while Light’s father, Soichiro, leaves for Los Ange­les to deliver their Death Note to Mello’s hench­men. Although Sayu was safely recov­ered, the note­book fell into the hands of Mello, allow­ing him and the gang’s boss, Rod Ross, to elim­i­nate indi­vid­u­als who sold var­i­ous ille­gal goods with­out Ross’ per­mis­sion as well as three senior mem­bers of the SPK.
As the psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare con­tin­ues, U.S. Pres­i­dent David Hoope gets thrown into the fray via Mello, whoDeath Note Vol. 8 cover states that his group would give the U.S. Kira’s note­book in exchange for fund­ing, weapons and shared use of the SPK’s satel­lites. Fac­ing a poten­tial global cri­sis, Pres­i­dent Hoope briefly com­plies with Mello’s requests but also noti­fies Light. Light promised to pro­tect the pres­i­dent but also requests use of spe­cial forces sol­diers to com­bat Mello and his group. Unfor­tu­nately, Mello was able to use the shinigami Sidoh to elim­i­nate the sol­diers at the same time Pres­i­dent Hoope was elim­i­nated, pos­si­bly by Kira (aka Light).
Vol­ume 8 con­tin­ues the tried-and-true for­mula that made Death Note a smash suc­cess: A great sto­ry­line that com­bines action and mys­tery with ele­ments of super­nat­ural hor­ror. I still can’t keep my jaw from drop­ping to the floor when I read about Light and his plans to keep him steps ahead of the task force, Mello and Near while act­ing as L and Kira. As Death Note con­tin­ues, you will form a view of Light Yagami: On one side, you admire Light’s intel­li­gence and his just goal to make the world a bet­ter place, while on the other side you despise him and root for his down­fall.
The art by Obata-san is flat-out awe­some, from char­ac­ter design to the loca­tions in Amer­ica. You will have to give Mello and Near credit; they’ve made some game-changing moves of their own such as Near let­ting Light take the lead while he still has author­ity over U.S. law enforce­ment, while Mello uses the mafia and resources to force the U.S. pres­i­dent to give him money and other sup­port to slow down Kira and Near to stay on top. Viz media, again, did an excel­lent job of adapt­ing and trans­lat­ing, this time entrust­ing both tasks to Tet­suichiro Miyaki.
Vol­ume 8 con­tin­ues the non­stop bat­tle of good vs. evil with the vic­tor claim­ing the  weapon to END all weapons. While read­ing, I felt like I got a front-row seat to a three-way bat­tle of devi­ous minds that are deter­mined to be tri­umphant. Who will prevail?

Bran­don Beatty is editor-at-large of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. He can be reached via email at brandonb@gaminginsurrection.com

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Property review: Super Mario Bros. Super Show & The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3

SMBSS cartoon

The Super Mario Bros. Super Show

Mario impresses in car­toon form

Super Mario Bros. Super Show Vol. 1

When you’re able to have a live-action show and you’re a house­hold name through­out the world, you can afford to do what­ever you want and take what­ever licenses you want with your own source mate­r­ial. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show did just that over the course of a year with the live-action adven­tures of Brooklyn-based Mario and Luigi and the ani­mated capers of the Mario Bros., Princess Peach and Toad.
It seems odd to say a year is enough time to explain the hap­pen­ings of the Mush­room King­dom, but the weekly show lasted 52 episodes and fully explored the world that Mario and Luigi found them­selves in after get­ting sucked down a warp pipe. The show cap­tures the essence of Super Mario Bros. and even throws in quite a few ref­er­ences and ideas from Super Mario Bros. 2 Japan and USA. The level of detail is a bit hap­haz­ard from time to time (there are some anachro­nis­tic things in the ani­mated por­tion of the show — such as Bowser being in charge of Wart’s min­ions), but over­all the show is extremely well done and enter­tain­ing. And, as a Mario fan, you get a glimpse into the early days of Mario mania, the time before Mario was as rec­og­niz­able as Mickey Mouse.

Like the games?: 8.5
Acting/Voice act­ing: 7.5
Story: 8

Over­all: 24 out of 30 or 8

 

The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3

The Adven­tures of Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3 ani­ma­tion soars

The Adven­tures of Super Mario Bros. 3

Of the three Mario-based car­toons pro­duced, The Adven­tures of Super Mario Bros. 3 has the dis­tinc­tion of being the best and most accu­rate. Sure, some of the Koopa Kids’ names are changed, but you still know it’s Mario and that it’s unmis­tak­ably Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the most pop­u­lar games of all time.
The story is closer to the games this time with Mario and crew tak­ing on Bowser and the Koopal­ings’ var­i­ous plots to enslave the Mush­room World and — unsur­pris­ingly — human­ity. The ani­ma­tion is slightly rough in the begin­ning episodes but by the end of the series, it picks up and looks more like the game in terms of qual­ity. The voice act­ing is top-notch from start to fin­ish, even if our favorite cap­tain, Lou Albano, no longer pro­vided the voice of Mario.
If you like Super Mario Bros. 3 as much as we adore the game, you prob­a­bly already own the series on DVD, which doesn’t have extras, sadly. The best rea­son to own this, how­ever, is for the nov­elty and Mario col­lec­tion com­ple­tion sake.

Like the games: 9
Voice act­ing: 9.5
Story: 8

Over­all: 26.5 out of 30 or 8.8

 

HOW WE GRADE
We score the prop­er­ties in three cat­e­gories: Cast­ing (or voice act­ing in cases of ani­mated), plot and sim­i­lar­i­ties to its source mate­r­ial. Each cat­e­gory receives points out of the max­i­mum of 10 per cat­e­gory and 30 over­all. The per­cent­age is the final score.

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Strip Talk #23: Animated Mario has wins, losses over the years

Lyndsey-2013-cutout-onlineCar­toons, to me, fall in the same sphere as anime and comic books. If you tell a good story, I don’t care what medium you choose to tell it in. If it hap­pens to be about some­thing I love, chances are I’m even more for it. So it goes with Mario. I have loved the portly plumber since 1988, the first time I played Super Mario Bros. and died on the first goomba on the first level.
With that love of Mario cemented, I started look­ing for other avenues in which to pur­sue my affec­tion. I found them in the only ani­mated Mario show out at the time: The Super Mario Bros. Super Show.
Super Show was fan­tas­tic in the fact that Cap­tain Lou Albano and Danny Wells really were Mario and Luigi for the live-action seg­ments, and the ani­mated por­tion of the show was really well done. Super Show got a lot of things Mario right, despite the com­bi­na­tion of the then-unheard of Japan­ese ver­sion of Mario 2, Mario 2 USA and the first game. But, while I loved Super Show, the fever pitch in Amer­ica for Super Mario Bros. 3 began and it was then that I truly fell in love with ani­mated Mario.
The Adven­tures of Super Mario Bros. 3 is one of my favorite Nintendo-themed prop­er­ties.
First of all, it was based on Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the great­est games ever made and one of the few The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 games that lived up to the hype that pre­ceded it. Sec­ond, the ani­ma­tion was great and really made you think about things from the per­spec­tive of the world Mario was in. Sure, I didn’t like the ref­er­ences to the real world because I asso­ciate Mario with fan­tasy and the Mush­room King­dom, but I could kind of look past all of that so long as it didn’t hap­pen that often. What Adven­tures did was take the con­cept of Mario the game to Mario the cash cow, mean­ing Mario was every­where at this point. It didn’t hurt that McDonald’s had toys based on the game and TV show in their Happy Meals at this point, either.
After the hype of Adven­tures died down, though, there wasn’t much ani­mated that I really cared for. Super Mario World’s car­toon didn’t do it for me and it didn’t seem to have the same magic that the pre­vi­ous car­toons cap­tured from the games.
The brief cor­nu­copia of Mario ani­mated bril­liance came to an end, and there haven’t been any replace­ments since. At least the game was fun while it lasted.

Lyn­d­sey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. She can be reached by email at lyndseyh@gaminginsurrection.com

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Anime Lounge #13: Free!

Free -- Anime Lounge

Anime-LoungeSeries: Free!

Episodes: 1 to 12

Premise: Three friends — Haruka, Nag­isa and Makoto — decide to begin a swim club after a fourth in their group, Rin, reap­pears in their lives after liv­ing abroad and rejects their offer to swim together again. The trio recruit another mem­ber, Rei, into their club and begin in earnest to res­ur­rect their old swim club and try to make it to Nationals.

Is it worth watch­ing?: Yes. It’s got com­pe­ti­tion and friend­ship, which is stan­dard for most anime these days. Also, if you’re into that sort of thing, the ani­ma­tion used in the mus­cles in this swim­ming anime is expertly drawn.

Break­out char­ac­ter: Rin Mat­suoka. Rin comes across as a pretty dark jerk, but he’s got his rea­sons for stay­ing away from the group. He’s inter­est­ing and he’s writ­ten well because of the real­is­tic way in which he comes back to his roots after a long absence. The strug­gle is there but the way he man­ages it makes it worth­while to keep watching.

Fun­ni­est episode: Episode 4, “Cap­tive But­ter­fly.” It’s all about teach­ing one of the club mem­bers to swim, which is kind of the point of hav­ing a swim club in the first place. We won’t reveal which mem­ber can’t swim, but the efforts to teach are what make the episode hilar­i­ous. Also, search­ing for the per­fect swim­suit in the episode also end in hilarity.

Where it’s going?: The Iwa­tobi High Swim Club trains hard to make it to Nation­als. Their efforts will not go in vain, we promise, and it remains to be seen if they can patch things up with their for­mer friend Rin. How they go about reach­ing these two goals is the best and bright­est part of acquaint­ing your­self with Free!

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Otaku Corner: Cosplay is not Consent

Godzilla Guy panel-Otaku Corner

Sean “That Godzilla Guy” McGuin­ness hosts the “Cos­play is not Con­sent” panel dur­ing Nashicon 2015. | Photo by Bran­don Beatty

Say it loud and proud: Cos­play is not Consent

Brandon-2012-cutoutI’m divert­ing from the nor­mal course of review­ing the lat­est in anime and manga for a new seg­ment called “the otaku tent.” I’ll give my thoughts on issues that not only affect otaku, but also other fel­low fans of geek cul­ture. Don’t worry, Otaku Cor­ner will still do reviews of great anime and manga. This quar­ter, how­ever, is a topic that affects more than just fans of anime. I feel that as a fan and fel­low con-goer, this requires an imme­di­ate call to action.

GI Editor-in-Chief Lyn­d­sey Hicks has recently writ­ten columns about issues regard­ing equal­ity in geek cul­ture. Those arti­cles were writ­ten not to put down the entire male geek pop­u­la­tion, but to ensure that no gamer or fel­low geek is dis­crim­i­nated against in our diverse-yet-awesome world. After read­ing her columns, I felt com­pelled as a fel­low gamer/geek to write about a move­ment called Cos­play is not Con­sent. While attend­ing Nashicon 2015 in our home­town of Colum­bia, S.C., Lyn­d­sey and I sat in a CNC panel hosted by fel­low Columbian Sean McGui­ness. McGui­ness is a known fix­ture in our city’s con scene as “That Godzilla Guy,” who sets up shop at Nashicon and Ban­za­icon, dis­play­ing excel­lent draw­ings of the King of Mon­sters and his cohorts.

Dur­ing his panel, I learned about CNC and why it was unfor­tu­nately cre­ated and needed. Last year, there was an attempt of sex­ual mis­con­duct toward an under­age Nashicon attendee. The alleged per­pe­tra­tor was found and reported to con staff and police, but if that attendee had not spo­ken up, it would have been a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion. This is sad because inci­dents like this one are not iso­lated to Nashicon. In 2013, Seattle’s Aki-con expe­ri­enced a pub­lic rela­tions dis­as­ter when a spe­cial guest DJ was charged with sex­ual assault against a minor attendee. Despite his cap­ture, Aki-con’s han­dling of the sit­u­a­tion resulted in Aki-con being liable and los­ing ded­i­cated attendees.

After the panel, I spoke with McGui­ness and learned that cos­play­ers (espe­cially females) are catch­ing inex­cus­able lev­els of hell for either dress­ing too provoca­tively or being a poser. To me, a fan is a fan be it either anime or video gamer. It takes CRAZY lev­els of courage to do a cos­play of a favorite char­ac­ter and brave their way while at cons with­out the side looks of either an ultra fan or bible-thumper. My fel­low geeks, I need to say this: Alien­at­ing our own kin­dred AIN’T COOL. I also have mas­sive beef with dudes that are per­verts toward women cos­play­ing or not.

In my six years writ­ing for GI, I’m VERY for­tu­nate to have learned from a gamer that eats, breathes and sleeps video games and geek cul­ture, and also has the intel­li­gence to make sure that this pub­li­ca­tion is on the mark in get­ting to the pub­lic on time. With all of the stu­pid­ity in our soci­ety, I’m glad that peo­ple such as Sean McGui­ness are step­ping up to make our anime — and sim­i­lar con­ven­tions — which we thrive in are wel­com­ing to all. I’m send­ing out a call to all my gamers, larpers, comic book fan, bronies and all geeks: If we see harass­ment of another geek, whether it be inap­pro­pri­ate touch­ing or putting down one’s fan­dom, PLEASE step in or report it to con staff so that they can do what is need to stop it. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, fel­low geeks. Let’s step up like our favorite char­ac­ters and fight against evil. Let’s say to the world COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT.

Bran­don Beatty is editor-at-large of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. He can be reached at brandonb@gaminginsurrection.com

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Top 5 on The Strip: Best X-Men arcs

God Loves Man Kills

1. God Loves, Man Kills

The mutant strug­gle against one of the X-Men’s most human pro­tag­o­nists is a tragic tale of self hate and big­otry. It’s eas­ily one of the most sor­row­ful tales of the lengths homosapi­ens will go to in their efforts to erad­i­cate mutan­tkind. William Stryker is the leader of the anti-mutant move­ment and stops at noth­ing to pun­ish mutants in the eyes of other humans and the media.

Days of Future Past

2. Days of Future Past

One of the more recent X-Men movies, Days of Future Past shows what would hap­pen if the Sen­tinels, mutant-hunting robots, took over North Amer­ica and even­tu­ally the world. It’s a good look at the effects of a sin­gu­lar event affect­ing mul­ti­ple realities.

Onslaught

3. Onslaught

If Pro­fes­sor Charles Xavier were to lose him­self in the cause of fight­ing mutant hate and believed in the goals of his neme­sis Mag­neto, Onslaught would be the result. The merged con­scious­ness of two of the great­est minds in mutancy does not equal a good being and what becomes the gen­e­sis of Xavier giv­ing up the fight even temporarily.

Messiah Complex

4. Mes­siah Complex

A child born with the pos­si­bil­ity to save mutants in their dark­est hour makes up the Mes­siah Com­plex sto­ry­line. Although it’s cen­tered on a child with the name Sum­mers, it’s inter­est­ing to see what hap­pens when Cable – a known battle-hardened war­rior – becomes slightly more human when he’s tasked with pro­tect­ing a child.

Age of Apocalypse

5. Age of Apocalypse

One of the largest sto­ries ever to come to the X-Men fold, the Age of Apoc­a­lypse is the focal point for a lot of changes in the X-Men uni­verse, and, Mar­vel at large. Apoc­a­lypse man­ages to take over North Amer­ica and kill numer­ous impor­tant mutants in the process. The fall­out con­tin­ues to ran­kle some sto­ry­lines today.

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Top 5 on The Strip: Burning anime questions

Big O

1. Big O

What was the event that caused the amne­sia 40 years before?

It’s hinted that an event caused every­one in Par­a­digm City to lose their mem­o­ries. Every so often the city resets itself, but it’s also explained that a world­wide cat­a­stro­phe is the cause of the amne­sia, and that real­ity in the series is a vir­tual real­ity that resets because of Angel. Also, there is spec­u­la­tion that Roger Smith aka The Nego­tia­tor is a robot, but it is never confirmed.

Oreimo

2. OreImo

Which girl did the main char­ac­ter wind up with? And did his par­ents ever approve of his sister’s eroge collection?

The main char­ac­ter, Kyosuke, basi­cally enters a harem sit­u­a­tion with sev­eral girls in his life, includ­ing his sis­ter, Kirino. All squick­i­ness aside about the poten­tial incest angle, the sit­u­a­tion with the girls proves a point about sib­lings grow­ing apart and then com­ing together again with matu­rity. As a side note, their par­ents find out that Kirino is an otaku and col­lects eroge but Kyosuke man­ages to defuse the sit­u­a­tion and save Kirino’s eroge col­lec­tion. The main ques­tion there, how­ever, is did her par­ents ever real­ize that the eroge col­lec­tion was, in fact, Kirino’s and that she still had it?

Cowboy Bebop

3. Cow­boy Bebop

Did Spike actu­ally die at the end?

Spec­u­la­tion has run ram­pant that Spike Spiegel, the main char­ac­ter of Cow­boy Bebop, didn’t die in the final duel that he has with antagonist/main rival Vicious. Accord­ing to some fans, Spike man­aged to sur­vive his gun­shot wounds after being shot down in the cli­mac­tic clash at the Vicious’ head­quar­ters and lived to see another bounty. Per­son­ally, we don’t believe so. He was very clearly shown to be dead as well as Vicious and the woman they were fight­ing for. Spike knew the bat­tle was going to end one way and there was no com­ing back to Jet and the Bebop.

Legend of Korra

4. Avatar: The Leg­end of Korra/Avatar: The Last Airbender

Who is Suyin Beifong’s father? Who is the mother of Zuko’s daughter?

Pop­u­lar char­ac­ters from Avatar: The Last Air­ben­der Toph Bei­fong and Fire Lord Zuko each present some inter­est­ing ques­tions in rela­tion to their future off­spring. It’s stated that Toph has two chil­dren that you see in the series, Repub­lic City Chief of Police Lin Bei­fong and Zaofu matri­arch Suyin Bei­fong. The women men­tion sep­a­rately that they have dif­fer­ent fathers that nei­ther knew. While Lin’s father is briefly talked about, Suyin’s is not. Zuko, on the other hand, is shown to be in a rela­tion­ship with Mai at the end of The Last Air­ben­der and to have a daugh­ter who takes on the Fire Lord throne in Leg­end of Korra. This begs the ques­tion of who is the mother of his daugh­ter, Mai or some­one else? These ques­tions are never answered.

Bleach

5. Bleach

Does Aizen actu­ally carry out the full 20,000-year sentence?

While we do know that Sosuke Aizen is sen­tenced to his long stay in prison at the end of his arc in Bleach, we don’t know if he will ever carry out the full sen­tence. It’s prob­a­ble that the vil­lain will, given that souls do not die or age like nor­mal in Soul Soci­ety and he was empow­ered by the Hōgyoku, which ren­ders the per­son infused with it effec­tively immor­tal. Even though he was let out of prison in the final act of Bleach, it’s implied that he was effec­tively held to serve the entire sentence.

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