Strip Talk #37: No equal for Henry Cavill as Superman

Old folks usually say you don’t miss someone until they’re gone. Henry Cavill hasn’t been Superman for a number of years and was ousted from the role approximately five minutes ago and I miss him.
You know, if there were a viable alternative, I could stomach this ridiculous decision. Cavill stepped into the role after the massive disappointment of Brandon Routh, and we let it slide because we were already familiar with Cavill and what he could bring to the table. Sure, he was Mr. Charles Brandon in the Tudors on Showtime and Edmund Dantes’ son in The Count of Monte Cristo, but there was something there, even if he’s British. Yes, I admit I can now wrap my head around a British Superman. But he had something that Routh did not: Charisma. Cavill brings a certain something to the role that was all but shaped by the venerable late Christopher Reeve, and it wasn’t hard to see that Cavill loved the work and wanted to do the memory of Reeve right without also pretending to be him. Routh tried and failed to do this, and it was a sad sight to witness.
So, forgive me if I’m a little bitter about the foolishness that James Gunn and Peter What’s His Name are peddling by getting rid of Cavill. It seems petty, ignorant, and simpleminded in execution and dumb at the highest level of thought. Why get rid of something and someone who worked? Cavill is a fan of the comics, knows the material and gives everything in the role every time he’s sucked into a nonsensical story that needs remakes to straighten out – see Justice League. He’s donned the tights and cape with aplomb, but his considerable talents have been wasted and now thrown out with baby and the bath water. Call me a cynic, but I don’t have the time or attention for whatever Gunn and Peter What’s His Name are cooking, selling, crafting, or scheming. I want no parts of whoever they’ve got stepping into the role, and I’ll simply acknowledge Cavill as this generation’s best choice alongside Reeve as my generation’s best choice. Gunn and Peter What’s His Name can keep that bargain-bin Kryptonite they’re selling as the next choice for Superman.

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

Posted in Strip Talk | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Strip Talk #37: No equal for Henry Cavill as Superman

Anime Lounge: Afro Samurai Resurrection

Series: Afro Samurai Resurrection

Episodes: 1

Premise: The Afro Samurai is revealed as the wielder of the No. 1 Headband and has retired, not having fought for years. He encounters his old friend Jinno, who was turned into an emotionless cyborg; and Jinno’s sister, Lady Sio, who intends to resurrect Afro’s father as a servant. Sio succeeds and Afro deals with the onslaught from the three that follows.

Is it worth watching?: If you loved the original Afro Samurai, watch the follow-up. It’s not nearly as good as the original, but it’s serviceable because of the all-star voice cast and the RZA’s soundtrack. Just be forewarned that it isn’t on the level of the original in terms of story.

Breakout character: Jinno. Though he was in the original, he shines in Resurrection. You understand why he’d go to the lengths he goes to fight Afro and seek his revenge, and you can sympathize with his plight. Sometimes, there are fates worse than death.

Where it’s going?: This is the end, though it was hinted that there could be more to come with the reappearance of Afro’s old foe Justice. However, nothing else has come to fruition since it aired in 2009.

Posted in anime lounge | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Anime Lounge: Afro Samurai Resurrection

Marvel Character Highlight #34: She-Hulk

Name: Jennifer Susan Walters

Alias: She-Hulk, Savage She-Hulk, Sensational She-Hulk, Agent Walters

Affiliation: Avengers, Ancient Order of the Shield, A-Force, Defenders, Fantastic Force, Fantastic Four, Future Foundation, Heroes for Hire, Hulkbusters, The Initiative, Lady Liberators, Mighty Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Seven Brides of Set

Special abilities: Fourth wall awareness, superhuman strength, stamina, durability, speed and leaping, healing factor, gamma manipulation, energy absorption, emotion empowerment

Background: Jennifer Walters, the cousin of Dr. Bruce Banner, was shot and seriously injured by operatives of crime lord Nicholas Trask. Because Bruce was there to tell her about his Hulk transformation, he was the only blood donor available. Receiving his blood enabled a Hulk-like transformation of her own. After learning to deal with her transformation, she was transported to the Beyonder’s Battleworld to participate in the Secret Wars. After returning to Earth, she temporarily joined the Fantastic Four in the place of the Thing. After preventing a radiation leak, she permanently transformed into She-Hulk, though she retained her intelligence and developed less monster-like features.

Relationships: Bruce Banner (The Hulk), cousin; Luke Cage, partner; Wally Wingfoot, partner; John Jameson III, husband; Skaar, cousin; Lyra, cousin

First Versus appearance: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

Appearances in other media:
Television: The Incredible Hulk (1982), Fantastic Four (1994), The Incredible Hulk (1996), Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes, The Super Hero Squad Show, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Ultimate Spider-Man, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

Video games: Fantastic Four (1997), Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, Marvel Avengers Alliance, Marvel Heroes, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Pinball, Marvel Avengers Alliance Tactics, Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel Future Fight, Marvel Contest of Champions, Marvel Avengers Academy, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, Marvel Puzzle Quest, Fortnite Battle Royale, Marvel Snap

Posted in Marvel character highlight | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Marvel Character Highlight #34: She-Hulk

Property Review: Thor (2011)

Photos courtesy of IMDB.com

Thor
Marvel Studios, 2011

Thor’s initial outing lightning in a bottle for Marvel superhero

Thor has always been a fan favorite in Marvel circles. Whether it’s the pseudo-Shakespearean vibes of Asgard or Thor and Loki’s relationship, there’s something about Thor that entices. And, it does well to keep you entertained in the first outing for the God of Thunder.
Thor sets up the story of the titular god (played by Chris Hemsworth) and his quest to rule Asgard as his birthright. Thor’s father, Odin, previously battled the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, defeated them and took their prized possession – the Casket of Ancient Winters. During this time, Odin also found and spirited away an infant Loki, raising the abandoned Frost Giant child as his own. The Frost Giants attempt to retake the Casket, after secretly being allowed in by Loki. They are repelled but Thor decides to take the fight to them, against his father’s wishes. After Odin intervenes to save Thor and his group, he exiles the wayward and brash prince to Earth without his godly power and his beloved hammer, Mjolnir, which is protected by an enchantment that only one worthy may lift it.
Once we get into the meat of Thor is where it gets fun. Thor, as a character, is fun. You already know Thor is a hero. You can see it as soon as you get a glimpse of him. However, it’s the journey of him learning to be worthy that makes this film more than just a passing fancy. It’s your usual “the power was inside of you all along” kind of tale, but what makes this a good origin story are the characters. Thor is the hero and shines brightly – weird blond eyebrows and all – and the supporting cast has fun riffs and moments that make you glad Thor has support among his friends in Lady Sif, Jane Foster, Eric Selvig, Darcy Lewis and the Warriors Three. Chris Hemsworth is sublime as Thor, and not only has the brawn required for the role, but also the range required to play the character as more than a meathead with a heart. The support is great as well, with Natalie Portman doing a serviceable job as Thor’s love interest in Foster.
But let us get to the real breakout star here: Loki. So much has been said about his development from beginning – here – to end – Infinity War – that it’s almost a waste to retread it. But we cannot talk about the first Thor film without mentioning the scene-stealing brute force of nature that is Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of the God of Mischief. Hiddleston glides in and finesses the movie away in his favor in every scene he’s in, whether he’s the focus or not. It’s an effortless, quiet theft whether he’s brooding or plotting or both that takes you by surprise and delights. This was Hiddleston’s role of a lifetime – as evidenced by the fact that he’s still playing the character – and he knows it.
Thor’s origin story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has all of the right ingredients and still shines 12 years later. There’s been more Thor stories since and nearly every character has gone on to other things or Valhalla, but this was a great way to get the Asgardian god started. This particular version of Thor showed his brand was deemed worthy of more to come.

Like the comics: 8.5
Acting: 8.5
Story: 8.5
Total: 25.5/30 or 8.5

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.

Posted in Property review | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Property Review: Thor (2011)

Otaku Corner: Tokyo Tribes Vol 3

Tokyo Tribes Vol. 3 looks at dynamics of gang life

Previously, I reviewed Santa Inoue’s Tokyo Tribes, an experiment mixing hip-hop with manga. Volume 3 is here and to be honest, this volume is a collision course of fathers concerned with their sons’ futures and the beginning of a three-way battle for Tokyo’s streets with a hint of vengeance mixed in.
At the outset, Saru members are running from Unkoi’s bodyguard, Galileo, who severely injured them. When Kai is told about what happened, he, Hasheem and Steno set out to help the wounded Saru members, leaving his father who is determined to get Kai to be more productive. When they get to the injured Saru, Kai, Steno and Hasheem come face to face with Galileo.
During dinner at a Japanese restaurant, Bubba and Unkoi along with Mera are finishing a dinner with planners for a new subway connector/flood prevention tunnel being built in Bukuro. When one of the planners asks Bubba who would help supervise the project, he suggested that Unkoi take up the job to help him prepare to inherit his father’s business.
On the other side of town, Kai and Galileo are battling on the back of a trash dump truck, headed for a local waste processing center. During the fight, the dump truck dropped its load and its unknown passengers into its assigned waste field, briefly giving Kai and Galileo time to catch their breath before they fought again. Steno and Hasheem were able to track down Kai, having to go through the waste center. Once they found Kai, they fought against Galileo during which Galileo got stuck in a tunnel. Hasheem, sensing an opportunity for payback, kicked Galileo in the backside. Galileo was able to get out of the tunnel and was ready to strike Hasheem until Kai distracted him from continuing the chase.
Meanwhile, Unkoi, Mera, and Skunk met with the supervisor of the subway/flood tunnel project. During the tour, the group stops on the fifth floor, and they approach a service tunnel. Mera opens it up and goes inside, not knowing that Unkoi locked the tunnel door as payback. Skunk tries to rescue Mera but is stopped by Unkoi. As Mera calls Skunk to locate his group, his phone call is picked up by a pair of Hand soldiers. One of them named Lefty recognizes Mera and he and his partner, Konpora, go after Mera. When he finds him, Lefty attempts to shoot Mera, but fails, allowing Mera to cut off Lefty’s right arm.
As a result of Mera’s action, air pressure in the service tunnel drops causing air to travel upward, knocking Konpora out of the sewer. Konpora lands in a tree and, after getting down, attempts to call Iwao. Back in the subway tunnel, Unkoi is listening, impressed by his father’s genius plan of the subway connection, when he sees Kai being chased by Galileo. Unkoi jumps off the train to pursue. With Galileo restraining Kai, Unkoi pulls out his knife, ready to kill Kai until Mera arrives, stabbing Unkoi through his chest. Galileo, seeing Unkoi stabbed, runs toward Mera, but Kai sneaks up on him and knocks him in the back of the head. After Kai and Mera recover from the battle, they go through a sewer connection only to be chased by Galileo again. He restrains Kai and motions Mera to stop his sword with the volume ending at that point.
After reading Volume 3 of Tokyo Tribes, I’m still hyped for this series. Santa Inoue’s skills of drawing and writing hit the mark, making me invested in the story of each of these “tribes.” Inoue-san took care with each character’s backstory, from Kai’s conflict with his father to Mera’s desire for power and vengeance against Kai and Bubba. I loved the backstory of Unkoi having compassion when he helped Galileo get replacement hands because of a childhood accident involving a moving train. Galileo’s steadfast loyalty to Unkoi was a calm moment in battle which spoke to me that the Wu-Ronz are not completely heartless. The excellent production is backed up by Tokyopop CEO Stuart Levy executive producing alongside Inoue-san with translation and English adaption handled by Alexis Kirsch and David Walker.
Tokyo Tribes Volume 3 has shown itself to be the wildcard setting a new level in manga. With Unkoi dead in the sewers, Saru trying to regain its footing and the Hands preparing for war, Tokyo is about to be a full-fledged warzone. Who will survive? We’ll figure this out in future volumes of Tokyo Tribes.

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

Posted in Otaku Corner | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Otaku Corner: Tokyo Tribes Vol 3

Anime Lounge: Ruroni Kenshin Ep. 1-12

Series: Ruroni Kenshin

Episodes: 1-12

Premise: A mysterious samurai assassin – the Hitokiri Battousai – stumbles into the dojo of Kaoru Kamiya as a wandering swordsman in need of a place to stay. He defeats another swordsman claiming to be the Hitokiri and offers to help Kaoru. During his stay, the people of the town and Kaoru come to know him as Himura Kenshin and slowly love him for the kind and gentle person he has become since his days as the feared Hitokiri.

Is it worth watching?: Yes. It’s a classic – premiering in 1996 – and should be on everyone’s watch list at least for one viewing. The characters are great, learning about Kenshin’s past is interesting and it features samurai and is set during the Meji era. The setting alone is definitely worth the price of admission.

Breakout character: Himura Kenshin. He’s the obvious protagonist of the story and finding out more about him is the name of the game here. Also, he’s adorable until you learn about his past, and that makes him even more worthy of attention.

Where it’s going?: Learning more about Kenshin and his past life as an assassin is going to figure prominently. Folks from his past and future will begin to appear, and the reasons for his new life will start to take shape.

Posted in anime lounge | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Anime Lounge: Ruroni Kenshin Ep. 1-12

Top 5 on The Strip: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Top-Tier edition

Storm
The weather witch has always been a fan favorite and is consistently top tier in the Versus series. She’s no different in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Her rushdown skills, potent super moves, and ability to work well with other top-tier characters makes her an instant anchor for a lot of tournament teams.

Magneto
So, let’s establish that any version of Magneto is top tier and godlike. Especially deadly in MvC2, Magneto’s chain bread and butter Hyper Grav-Magnetic Tempest is potent enough to one-character victory nearly everyone in the game if used by the right player. Many tournament teams center on Mags with a setup assist such as Psylocke.

Cable
The MvC2 newcomer is one of the most divisive-yet-high-usage characters in the game. Cable dominates nearly every matchup, he’s countered by himself and Spiral, and learning the tricks to his repertoire (Tiger Knee Air Hyper Viper Beam and no ground beam mean a whole new level of play) only helps better play. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to learn the character because you’ll be seeing him often.

Sentinel
The machine beast is nearly perfect. Highly damaging and capable of destroying teams quickly, Sentinel is a frequent anchor on tournament teams. Throw in fly/unfly combos and he’s a force to be reckoned with. He also pairs well with the other top characters and can be played as a point character or a deadly assist just waiting for his chance to wreck entire teams.

Spiral
Quirky yet effective, Spiral is a great point and assist character. Mostly, she’s used on point to counter Cable, as she can teleport around his Air Hyper Viper Beam easily. But her main attraction is the Wall of Swords tactic, where she initiates Dancing Swords in a timed rhythm that locks down the opposing team. She can hang and bang with the rest of the top-tier echelon, and she works well with nearly every other lockdown pairing on the roster.

Posted in Top 5 list | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Top 5 on The Strip: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Top-Tier edition

Strip Talk #36: Marvel burnout has finally arrived

Welp, that time I dreaded way back when has finally come: I’m tired of Marvel stuff being released.
There, I said it. Dear readers, you all know how much of a fan I am of all things Marvel. I mean, I claim a Marvel PhD that technically doesn’t exist. I go hard for Marvel and all of its associated properties. But somewhere along the time of Avengers: Endgame, I thought to myself, there will come a time when I’m tired of Marvel movies coming out every year. And that time is now.
Don’t get me wrong: I love seeing the lore for the MCU expanded after Endgame. I love seeing the future of a movie series that I spent the better part of my adult life loving. But between the releases after Endgame in theaters and the TV shows, I seem to get less excited every time something is released. I haven’t seen anything in the theater since Endgame because of the ongoing pandemic. No Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Widow, or even more regretfully, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. I haven’t seen any shows beyond Loki Season 1. I just haven’t been in the mood to watch anything, though I know the plots of all mentioned here.
I know it’s partially because I felt everything release as I watched the credits roll in Endgame. My favorite actor was done (Chris Evans), and the band was breaking up as it were. But the other part of it is the fact that I’ve been surrounded by Marvel stuff since 2012, latecomer to the party as I might have been. Eleven years is a long time to care about something so passionately as I have with Marvel. And we still haven’t even touched everything that could be coming down the pipe. Doom and the X-Men are on the horizon and I’m just, I don’t know, tired.
One day I’ll get my groove back and fire up everything I’ve been dodging on Disney Plus. One day.

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

Posted in Strip Talk | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Strip Talk #36: Marvel burnout has finally arrived

Strip Talk #35: Firings, new hires at root of DC’s bad plans

You know how you buy something and immediately have buyer’s remorse? Yeah, it’s beginning to look a lot like that over in WB land. It never fails that just when we praise WB/DC for getting it together, they immediately turn around and muck things up. The latest foolishness is the best example of DC gonna DC.

Let’s start with the hiring of James Gunn and Peter Safran to run the now-christened DC Studios. I’m not entirely sure I’ve discussed my dislike of James Gunn, so we’re going to now. I don’t like him. There, I’ve said it out loud. I think Guardians of the Galaxy is good, but it and him are overrated in the grand Marvel scheme of movies. The first installment of that branch of the MCU is great. The second movie drags too much, and the opening sequence is entirely too long. And, the genius that’s ascribed to Gunn is not there for me. I don’t know about Safran, but I do know he’s a manager-type behind the scenes for a lot of A-list celebrities. So, to sum, you’re asking me to trust a guy who’s lauded for making a nice movie and an unknown guy who’s a talent manager to run a longstanding comic book movie company that has known issues in leadership? OK. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Next, let’s gobble about the decisions made by the new regime in the weeks after their hiring. Whew, let’s take stock: Henry Cavill, who made a cameo at the end of Black Adam as Superman and has been the best choice since Christopher Reeve, is effectively fired from the role. Dwayne Johnson, who spent 15 years getting Black Adam made and viable with some aggressive old-fashioned marketing and blood, sweat and tears, is told to sit by the phone and wait for a call. Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) is still around, but Ben Affleck (Batman) is out after Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Jason Momoa is still in as Aquaman, but Ray Fisher is also MIA and probably never coming back as Cyborg. And, last but certainly least, Ezra Miller appears to still have a job despite a lot of felonious activity. There’s a lot of other problematic folk still around as well (cough, Zachary Levi, cough) but the principal names of the Justice League are either question marks, gone or hanging by a thread. The debacle and ensuing uproar dealing with casting is enough to make any DC fan frustrated and uneasy yet again, but as a casual observer and Marvel lover, I’ll take MCU burnout any day over incompetence.

Finally, that level of overwhelming incompetence with the turnover and weird decisions in handling the structure of the DCEU is just the sort of reason why I can never get down with DC. I love Batman and the Joker, tolerate Superman and dislike everything else enough to never pay attention, but it seems I’m justified in ignoring most everything going on. It’s a turn off seeing the multiple changes in leadership, the turnover in the acting talent and nonsensical decision being made for no reason. No one asked for the changes to the Justice League and yet, here we are, having to look for another Superman and Batman. I just want DC to get it together and create some magic again. Maybe put a smile on my face, for old time’s sake.

Lyndsey Beatty is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at lyndseyb[at]gaminginsurrection.com

Posted in Strip Talk | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Strip Talk #35: Firings, new hires at root of DC’s bad plans

Marvel Character Highlight #33: Black Panther

Name: T’Challa

Alias: Alley Cat, Black Leopard, Catman, the Client, Coal Tiger, Damisa-Sarki (the Panther), the Great Cat, Haramu-Fal (Wakandan for “Orphan King”), King of the Avengers, King of the Dead, Luke Charles, Mr. Okonkwo, Orphan-King, Panther, Panther-Devil, Panther King, T’Charlie, Red Panther

Affiliation: Taifa Ngao, Panther Cult, Agents of Wakanda, Congress of Worlds, Maroons, Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda; formerly Avengers, The Crew, Ultimates, Nameless, Board of Directors, Illuminati, Fantastic Four, Fantastic Force, Defenders, Secret Avengers (Civil War), sponsor of Mutantes Sans Frontières, ally of the Knights of Pendragon, Queen’s Vengeance

Special abilities: Genius-level intellect with a photographic memory, master martial artist, master acrobat, heightened senses (due to the Heart-shaped Herb), expert marksman, master tactician and master inventor. He is capable of necromancy, hyper cosmic awareness, and creation of spirit energy constructs. Superhuman strength, speed, senses, and stamina.

Background: T’Challa was born to Wakandan King T’Chaka and raised in his homeland as the heir to the throne of the secretive yet technically enhanced African nation. As a teenager, T’Challa was sent on a rite of passage journey where he met a young Ororo Munroe (Storm). They enjoyed a romance until his royal duties prevented further growth of the relationship. T’Challa then went off into the world to attend several universities. He earned a doctorate in physics and then returned to Wakanda to begin his path to rule. Once he defeated his uncle S’Yan in combat, he rightfully earned his place among the Black Panther protectorship and began protecting his country from all outside threats.

Relationships: T’Chaka, father; Ramonda, stepmother (comics; mother in MCU); Shuri (sister); Ororo Munroe (Storm, wife);

First Versus appearance: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Appearances in other media:
Television: Black Panther (animated), Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Avengers: United they Stand, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, The Super Hero Squad Show, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Avengers Assemble, Marvel Future Avengers, Spidey and His Amazing Friends, Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers

Film: Marvel Animated Features, Ultimate Avengers 2, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Avengers Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, What If…?, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Video games: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, Marvel Heroes, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Avengers Alliance Tactics, Marvel Contest of Champions, Marvel Mighty Heroes, Marvel Future Fight, Disney Infinity 3.0, LEGO Marvel Avengers, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Marvel Strike Force, Marvel Power United VR, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, Marvel Dimension of Heroes, Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel Puzzle Quest, Fortnite Battle Royale

 

Posted in Marvel character highlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Marvel Character Highlight #33: Black Panther