Top 5 on The Strip: Comic book roles with multiple actors

Batman

1. Batman
The Dark Knight has long been a friend of the big and small screen. Five actors have stepped into the dual role of Bruce Wayne and Batman: Adam West in the 1966 television show, Michael Keaton in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, Val Kilmer in 1995’s Batman Forever, George Clooney in 1997’s Batman and Robin, and Christian Bale in the Dark Knight trilogy of films from 2005 to 2012.

Superman animated

2. Superman
At least six men have played the iconic superhero in television and film roles. Starting with George Reeves in 1951, the role was then taken the big screen by Christopher Reeve in four films from 1978 to 1987, then television by Dean Cain in 1993 and Tom Wellington in 2001, and back to film by Brandon Routh in 2006 and Henry Cavill in 2013.

Spider-Man animated series

3. Spider-Man
There have only been two actors to suit up as the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler: Tobey Macguire for three outings in 2002, 2004 and 2007; and Andrew Garfield in two films in 2012 and 2014.

Joker-Animated Series

4. The Joker
Batman’s arch nemesis has only appeared three times but each time has been memorable, film or television. Caesar Romero originated the role of the maniacal clown prince of crime with the television version of Batman also starring Adam West. Jack Nicholson took over the role opposite Michael Keaton in 1989’s Batman, Mark Hamill has voiced the Joker for Batman: The Animated Series and Heath Ledger posthumously won an Oscar for his portrayal in The Dark Knight.

Hulk animated

5. The Hulk
Four actors have portrayed the unstable Dr. Bruce Banner and his counterpart, the Incredible Hulk. Bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno played the Hulk while Bill Bixby played the good doctor in the live action television version first. Hulk moved to the silver screen and was first portrayed by Eric Bana, then Ed Norton and finally, Mark Ruffalo.

Property review: Transformers (2007)

Transformers 2007 main review

Transfomers

Dreamworks Pictures, 2007

Transformers rolls out in uneven debut

Let’s get one thing clear from the beginning: We at GI are not huge fans of the Transformers. Yes, we watched the original cartoon from the 1980s, and yes, we know the difference between an Autobot and a Decepticon. However, we did not revere the creatures who have more than meets the eye going on. Really, the only reason why we even bothered going to see the original film was because a certain former GI editor made demands. So, we indulged. It was not exactly the most fun two hours we’ve suffered through, but it wasn’t a total wash, either.

Transformers takes itself seriously, we’ll give it that. It’s based off of the original cartoon about the warring robots, but it tries hard to downplay its cartoon roots. With Michael Bay as the director, you know what you’re probably going to get: Lots of loud explosions and maybe some exposition that refers to the source material. Or maybe not. In this case, there are references such as Sam Witwicky and most of the Transformers’ names. But there’s this uncomfortable pall cast over everything that signals a struggle to be Transformers yet not be Transformers at the same time. It’s as if Bay wants to use the name to lure in old heads who love the franchise, but he doesn’t want to tread too much in the realm of giant talking robots who take the forms of common everyday objects because just who could believe that? While the premise is a bit much, you can take it because you more than likely took it back in the day when Transformers was still a thing.

Pushing the film along is the extensive use of live-action mixed with CGI. The mix is decent and mostly seamless, and it’s handled well. Usually, CGI and live action do not mix well at all, but this is well done enough that it’s not distracting. The acting is hit or miss, but the humor more than makes up for the stilted nature of the film. And while the acting is a little wooden, the chemistry between Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox is obvious and welcome. It’s more than obvious that these kids got together at some point during the making of the film, so it helps that it comes out in their scenes together.

While it manages to get some things correct, Transformers does miss a few beats. Firstly, it’s a tad too long. It’s nice to have the military realism in the film because you’re going to want to know exactly what the government is doing throughout the film. But the film drags in too many places and that’s one of the them. Secondly, it’s a little hard to figure out and keep up with the different Transformers, especially because while some of them look exactly like their original series counterpart, some do not (i.e. Megatron and Starscream). Though Optimus Prime is voiced by the immeasurable Peter Cullen (again!), it’s hard to follow what’s going on when you’re constantly trying to figure out who’s a Deception and who’s an Autobot. Some of the lesser characters feel a little throwaway. Lastly, it’s a Michael Bay film so some of the logic is missing and you’re tasked with making spurious leaps in logic that assume you watched the original show religiously. Not everyone did, and that’s a terrible assumption to make. And what bothers us the most about that is, parts of the movie deviate from the show and the comics.

While it has its share of problems ranging from too much going on to too much deviation from source material, Transformers isn’t that bad. Just make sure you that you do know the difference between an Autobot and a Decepticon before you sit down to watch.

Casting: 8.5
Writing: 6
Like the comics?: 6
Total: 20.5/30 or 6.8

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.

Otaku Corner: The All-New Tenchi Muyo Vol. 5

Tenchi Vol. 5 provides enjoyable escapades

Brandon-2012-cutoutTenchi, Tenchi, Tenchi. As a college-aged otaku, I remember when Tenchi and company graced Cartoon Network’s airwaves in 2000 when I had my first experience with harem anime, a kind of compromise that gave Toonami’s male and female viewers what they wanted without sacrificing the focus of that block. A young high school guy loved by an alien space pirate, two alien princesses, a mad-yet-chibi-sized genius and a tanned space detective that would give Inspector Gadget a serious run for his money, plus new daily chances for adventure? I was sold. Now an older and more mature otaku, I look back on my love for Tenchi and thought “Yeah, it’s that time for Otaku Corner to experience Tenchi Muyo once more.”
Written and drawn by Hitoshi Okuda and published by Viz Media, Point and Shoot has Tenchi, Ryoko, Ayaka, Sasami, Washu and Mihoshi doing their usual: having fun while at the same time getting themselves out of some crazy mishap. This starts with celebrating Mamemaki (traditional Japanese demon-fighting ceremony), during which whoever hits Tenchi dressed up as a demon is boss for a day. Ryoko goes all out to win (let’s say she has deep plans for Tenchi), and nearly destroys home and occupants alike. This ends with Sasami winning for the sake of world peace.

Next, the gang finds out that Sasami has a special guardian assigned to her by the King of Jurai and must help her remain in Sasami’s grade level. Also, the gang gets a little exercise in babysitting thanks to a mishap that

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

involves a variety of books, a photo album of Tenchi at age 3, bio-medical equipment from outer space, and Mihoshi’s clumsiness. Her clumsiness results in the running of pint-sized Tenchis that must be caught before permanent damage is done to Tenchi and the frail fabric of time and space. Ryoko gets some focus in the last two chapters as she is taught a lesson in moderate drinking by Tsunami (Sasami’s protective spirit), who also awards her with a year’s supply of sake for helping with expenses and dueling with a self-proclaimed “king of revolving sushi.” She wins by using slight-of-hand tactics but ultimately must undertake a fishing expedition outside of Japan for three months or until the next volume.

Point and Shoot continues the same Tenchi formula used in previous manga editions and the anime: great story and artwork with a mix of comedy and learning crucial life lessons. As always, Okuda-san never skips a beat or overuses his characters in scenes to gain attention. To me, that’s always a sign of great animators, comic artists and writers who know how to get the reader’s attention without being too focused on selling x number of volumes in a series. Viz Media gets credit as always since they stayed true to Tenchi Muyo, thanks to the excellent work of English adaptation and translation from Fred Burke and Lillian Olsen. Credit should also go to Shaenon Garrity for taking the helm of series editor.

She shows that Tenchi is a major staple in her anime experience and presents strong female lead characters who are not present during the early days of manga and anime.

The All-New Tenchi Muyo! Volume 5: Point and Shoot is another piece of manga goodness that hits all the right chords without being too serious. Any veteran otaku or budding novice SHOULD have this manga and its anime counterparts in their collection or at least watch and read a few volumes. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a dessert date with a fellow connoisseur during which carrot cake will be consumed. Don’t judge me.

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

Marvel character highlight #20: Hawkeye

Name: Clint Bartonhawkeye
Aliases: Captain America, Golden Archer, Goliath, Ronin
Affiliation: The Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Defenders, Great Lakes Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, Thunderbolts, West Coast Avengers, Wild Pack, World Counter-terrorism Agency
Special abilities: Despite having no super powers, Hawkeye is at the peak of human conditioning. He has a vast amount of strength, is a grandmaster archer and is extremely efficient in acrobatics, hand-to-hand combat and weaponry.
Background: After losing his parents in a car accident at an early age, Hawkeye joined the circus with his brother, Barney. During his time living with the circus, he was trained as a master-level archer by Swordsman and Trick Shot. After leaving that particular circus, he joined other traveling carnival outfits until he saw Iron Man/Tony Stark in action. He wanted to become a costumed superhero but was accused of theft in his first try at adventuring. He soon met the Black Widow (Natalia Romanova version) and fell in love with her. Things did not end well between the two and he later saves Edwin Jarvis, Iron Man/Tony Stark’s assistant, from a mugging. Through this relationship, Clint joined the Avengers in its second incarnation after being sponsored by Stark.
Clint left and rejoined the Avengers several times and was reunited with his wife Mockingbird several times. He was also wiped from existence and killed at least twice, thanks to his former lover Scarlet Witch.
Relationships: Barney Barton (Trick Shot), brother; Barbara “Bobbi” Morse (Mockingbird), wife; Janet Pym (Wasp), lover; Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), mentoree; Natalia Romanova (Black Widow), lover; Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), lover; Buck Chisholm (Trick Shot), mentor; Jacques Duquesne (Swordsman), mentor
First Versus game appearance: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Appearances in other media: The Marvel super Heroes (television), Iron Man (television), Fantastic Four (television), The Avengers: United They Stand (television), The Super Hero Squad Show (television), The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (television), Iron Man: Armored Adventures (television), Ultimate Spider-Man (television), Avengers Assemble (television), Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers (television), Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (animated film), Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher (animated film), Thor (film), The Avengers (film), Avengers: Age of Ultron (film, not yet released), Spider-Man: The Video Game (video game); Captain America and the Avengers (video game), Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety (video game), Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (video game), Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (video game), Marvel: Avengers Alliance (video game), Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth (video game), Marvel Heroes (video game), Lego Marvel Super Heroes (video game), Marvel Avengers Alliance Tactics (video game), Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (video game), Marvel Universe: LIVE! (theater)

Anime Lounge #11: Cowboy Bebop Ep. 1-13

Anime-LoungeSeries: Cowboy Bebop
Episodes: 1 to 13
Premise: A bounty hunter crew featuring a former syndicate member, Spike Spiegel; a con artist, Faye Valentine; a retired police detective who pilots a ship named Bebop, Jet Black; a genius child hacker, Ed; and a genius dog, Ein, travels around space in the year 2071 in search of their next bounty that will put the food on the table. They also have their own agendas and pasts that come back to haunt them or help them during the course of their travels.

Is it worth watching?: If you consider the fact that Cowboy Bebop is near-universally considered in the top five anime series ever created, the answer is yes. There’s drama, action, perfect voice acting and a history that makes you want to delve deeper into the mysteries of every character in the show. Oh, and the animation is awesome and the soundtrack is amazing.
Breakout character: By the midpoint of the series, nearly every character is considered a breakout character. But if we had to choose, we’d say Ed. She stands out, not because it’s a mystery as to who Ed is, but more about why Ed is even involved. She’s weird but there’s reasons for the madness.
Funniest episode: Episode 11, “Toys in the Attic.” The entire episode revolves around the majority of the crew being bitten by a venomous blob creature. The crew are stalked and taken out one by one, leading to hilarity when Ed and Spike attempt to tackle the mystery of what exactly the blob is and how it got on the ship in the first place.
Where it’s going?: Every episode up to 13 is a build up of the characters and their reasons for coming together on the Bebop. How everyone’s stories intersect and conclude is the basis for the next 13 episodes. Background stories are more fleshed out and characters’ motivations from their pasts are the catalysts for character development.

Strip Talk #21: Don’t let outside opinion sway your film loves

Lyndsey-2013-cutout-onlineListen, there comes a time in the entertainment business that things (i.e. songs, movies, art) will be remade. And we will have to live with it. Just because something is a classic, that doesn’t mean it’s sacred and off limits. No, this is Hollywood. Land of the movie stars, mega rich and lack of creativity so distinct that it is often duplicated and imitated worldwide. Hollywood knows nothing about creativity and originality so, inevitably, there will be a remake or reboot of a franchise where multiple people have played the same role over the course of several movies. Let’s take, for example, Batman. The Caped Crusader has been played by numerous people yet remains popular. So, with the passing of the torch by the latest to step into the iconic tights — Christian Bale to Ben Affleck — there’s been a frenzy of criticism surrounding the casting. Justified and unjustified, you might say.

I’ll admit, I’m not exactly seeing Affleck in the dual role. I get his sex appeal and his acting chops. He’s got all of that and then some to spare, but he doesn’t exactly jump out at me as the perfect Bruce Wayne and Batman. But, in fact, history shows that the first actor to bring Batman to life — Michael Keaton — faced the same sort of scrutiny. And what do you know? He just happened to weigh in on the situation:

My guess is he’s a smart guy. I don’t know Ben, but he’s been around long enough to see all this stuff happen,” Keaton said. “My guess is he’s laughing [at the criticism], he’s laughing and I hope he’s going, ‘Shut up!'”

And that about sums up my feelings on the matter.

Now, full disclosure, I love Keaton as an actor. I really do, and I loved him as Batman. I’m just old enough to remember the hype surrounding the original movie and to remember not being allowed to see it without an adult present. But I don’t remember the criticism Keaton received, and from what I know, there was plenty of it. I read about it and my initial thought was, who cares? My next thought was, Keaton made an excellent Batman/Bruce Wayne so I guess he proved quite a few folks wrong, didn’t he? My third thought on the matter, after reading the interview with Keaton on Affleck as a choice, was, why did they ask Keaton? Is he in charge of casting, because if he is, that’s news to me. He doesn’t care and, yet, someone felt they had to go there as if it’s the elephant in the room that no one is talking about. No one is talking about it because it’s a non-issue. Not important. Next.

Here’s my main point: What does it matter what anyone thinks, outside of Affleck and studio executives? He’s the one getting paid for putting on the cowl and cape. They’re the ones risking two franchises with casting (remember, Superman and Batman are affected by the next film). All of the critics in the world aren’t necessarily the end-all, be-all for a movie. And, you should never listen to a film critic, anyhow. It’s all subjective in the first place and how someone feels about a movie could change with the next human over. This is what I want you, the reader, to take from this: Make up your own mind and don’t rely on someone else’s thoughts to determine what you like and don’t like. Because, as I like to say all of the time, you aren’t the one cutting the check or depositing it, either.

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