Tina Guo! The woman behind Wonder Woman’s badass theme song!

Wonder Woman”, which absolutely smashed box office expectations earlier this month, is undeniably one of the most badass movies of this year. But aside from the incredible Amazon-like victory of the story and crew who made it possible, most will particularly remember Wonder Woman’s hard-hitting theme which first played when Diana, Princess of Themyscira, lept onto the screen in full armor back in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”.

For that, we have 31-year-old Grammy-nominated cellist and electric cellist Tina Guo to thank.

Her music has been featured in films like “Sherlock Holmes”, “Inception”, “Iron Man”, “Fast Five”, “X-Men: First Class”, and dozens more including television shows and video games, according to Inuth. Guo has also been featured on hundreds of albums with artists such as John Legend, Ciara, David Archuleta, and Big K.R.I.T.

 

Justice League re-created as traditional Malaysian shadow puppets

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DC Superheroes re-imagined as traditional Malaysian Wayang Kulit shadow puppets by Fusion Wayang Kulit!

Called the DC Superhero Wayang Kulit Exhibition, Tintoy Chuo and his Fusion Wayang Kulit first came into prominence when they first performed Peperangan Bintang (the direct Malay translation for Star Wars) back in 2013.

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Pre-order the sleek new Batman figure envisioned by prolific video game designer Tetsuya Nomura

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RocketNews 24:

Tetsuya Nomura is the mastermind behind this upcoming Batman figure, the likes of which you’ve never seen before. The 44-year-old video game artist/designer/director of Square Enix fame (he’s a veteran of both the Final Fantasy series and Kingdom Hearts) personally designed this version of the Dark Knight, and if you’re a fan of both his work and DC Comics, you’d better ready your wallet now!

Even by Batman standards, this new figure is a relatively dark interpretation of everybody’s favorite brooding superhero. One look at its design and Nomura’s stylistic flourishes are evident in every little detail, from the incredibly intricate bladed arm gauntlets to the flowing, jagged cape. A pair of mobile arms sprouting from the figure’s back, which can be “deactivated” at your pleasure, add a nice personal touch.

This definitely seems like the Final Fantasy X Batman crossover that we’ve all been waiting for.

Check out these promotional images:

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The glossy black coloration accented by a rich red does wonders to further stylize the Dark Knight. Just watch out for those claws!

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At approximately 306 millimeters (12 inches) tall and weighing 670 grams (1.5 pounds), the figure has quite the threatening presence.

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Nomura’s figure is currently available for pre-order on Amazon Japan’s site for 19,786 yen (US$166.01), which is also listed as being 26% (6,998 yen/$58.72) off the list price. The actual release date is slated for July 31.

Boxers & Saints author Gene Luen Yang to take the helm of DC’s Superman

Gene Luen Yang will be writing DC's Superman. Where do I sign up?
Gene Luen Yang will be writing DC’s Superman

 

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Last year, Marvel announced efforts to broaden the diversity of their superhero lineup; only to run their main Marvel universe through the shredder this year and possibly erase all those gains. Meanwhile, both DC and Marvel have been criticized that even when they elevate the profiles of non-White and non-male superheroes, previous efforts have stumbled due at least in part to failures to implement behind-the-scenes diversity initiatives; thus, earlier announcements have come across as transient pandering that lacks connection to the actual experiences of women and minorities while failing to produce opportunities for minority creators.

Last week, DC announced its own radical shift that would be taking hold of the DC superhero universe in the coming months. No, not another Crisis: DC announced a major roster change in the creative teams behind several ongoing titles as well as the launch of several new books, all with the general goal of “broadening” the focus of the DC universe. In layman’s terms? DC is diversifying their superheros, and it turns out that they’re going to do it the right way: behind-the-scenes as well as in front.

MarySue is all over the news, highlighting the launch of two new titles that feature strong female superhero protagonists –– Black Canary and Starfire. This will be Starfire’s first solo title, and notably, she’s received a costume redesign that (finally) covers her top half (although, of course, she’s still wearing booty shorts).  In addition to a limited run Harley Quinn/ Power Girl (which may feature the new Power Girl, Tanya Spears who is Black and also apparently awesome) miniseries, these newly launched female-led titles will join ongoing series featuring Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Batgirl and Wonder Woman, making DC’s newly announced efforts one of the most inclusive comic lineups with regard to women.

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Starfire’s new look.

With regard to racial diversity, a few (but not that many) characters of color will also be promoted to solo title status; most notably, Cyborg will get his own series, written by current author of Shaft, David Walker. The cover of We Are Robin also features several Robins, including both women and people of colour. The new title, Midnighter, will focus on a gay male lead character.

But the real news here is what’s going on behind-the-scenes: DC’s newest slate of creative teams features an almost unprecedented number of women and minority creators. For the New 52 relaunch, less than 1% of DC’s writers were women. In this new announcement, six women (or 17% of all writers, a big deal in the traditionally male-dominated comics industry) will be women. Even more importantly, several of the female writers will be writing female protagonists: Meredith Finch will be writing Wonder Woman, Gail Simone will continue her work on Secret Six (which includes several female characters), Amanda Connor will co-write Harley QuinnStarfire, and the Harley Quinn/Power Girl mini-series, and Genevieve Valentine will write Catwoman.

Today’s announcement is also a big deal for Asian American comic book writers and artists. Greg Pak, who has done phenomenal work for both DC and Marvel, will be continuing to write Action Comics and Superman/Batman. The big news is that Gene Luen Yang, author of several award-winning comic books including American Born ChineseBoxers & Saints, and The Shadow Hero will be making his DC Comics debut to take over the ongoing Superman series. DC reports that Yang will be charged with helping to depict Superman “in a more contemporary light”. Ming Doyle, one of the industry’s few Asian American female talents, will also be joining Constantine: The Hellblazer as a writer, and Dark Universe as an artist.

Teamed with artist John Romita, Jr., Yang will be the first Asian American to write the tale of DC Comics’ flagship superhero in his eponymous title; this is also symbolic because Superman’s story — with its immigrant narrative overtones — has long spoken to Asian American fanboys. As Will West put it:

This is a pretty big deal. An Asian American is writing the American Dream superhero.

(Of course, Pak has been writing Superman through both Action Comics and Superman/Batman or some time, but you get the gist!)

Yang’s writing is just superb and stellar; I’ve been a fan for years. I haven’t been buying comics in a number of years; the addition of Yang and Doyle to a writing staff that already includes Pak’s strong work is making me change my mind on that decision.

As far as Asian American creative talent are concerned, Yang, Pak and Doyle will also be joined by several Asian American artists in driving the behind-the-scenes work for DC. Talented Asian American artists Bernard Chang, Sonny Liew, Ardian Syaf, Annie Wu and Billy Tan will pencil Batman BeyondDr Fate, Batman/Superman, Black Canary, and Green Lantern, respectively; Irene Koh is also working on art for Black Canary although she’s listed by BleedingCool and not included in  DC’s official announcement.

DC says:

“This heralds in a new era for the DC Universe which will allow us to publish something for everyone, be more expansive and modern in our approach and tell stories that better reflect the society around us,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Dan DiDio.  “Whether you’ve been a DC fan your whole life, or whether you are new to comics – there will be a book for you beginning in June.”

 

Resort in Philippines has literally giant Gundam rip-off, plus Disney and Marvel knockoffs galore

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RocketNews 24:

Although the Philippines have plenty of seaside travel destinations, Jed’s Island Resort isn’t one of them. Being located in the landlocked municipality of Calumpit means that while Jed’s isn’t far from Manila Bay, it doesn’t have any coastline to call its own.

That’s OK, though, because you can still relax in one of the resort’s nine advertised swimming pools. And while you may not be able to enjoy listening to the sound of the waves, you will be able to look up at Jed’s gigantic Gundam statue that’s as tall as the one in Tokyo yet far, far skinnier. Not into anime? Not a problem! Jed’s is also home to beloved characters from Disney, Marvel, and DC…or at least their disturbingly off-model, knockoff doppelgangers.

The facility’s grounds used to be a private estate, but were opened to guests as Jed’s Island Resort in 1995. The resort’s website boasts that “During its five summers of existence, Jed’s has welcomed actors and actresses, singers, and band members from showbiz as its guest.” Ordinarily, we’d write the use of “guest” off as a typo, but considering that the reference to Jed’s five summers of existence is on a web page updated in 2014, nearly 20 years after the resort’s opening, it’s possible the management simply isn’t very good at math.

But hey, who needs statistical accuracy when you’ve got the most iconic giant robot in the history of Japanese animation, the RX-78-2 Gundam!

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Wow…looks like Gundam needs a sandwich. Or, seeing as how he’s in the Philippines, maybe a plate of lechon, the local variety of suckling pig. The robot is looking so skinny that we’re surprised it can still stand, and also so anemic that there’s no way it could survive an attack by the bellicose Zeon forces.

Gundam is so gaunt that at first glance it seems like the photo is the product of a weird camera lens, but the proportions of the woman standing between his feet aren’t warped at all.

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As further proof, here’s the anorexic mobile suit from a different angle that reveals more of its narrow dimensions.

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Still, this is a pretty gutsy move by Jed’s designers. Non-official wonky physique and large letter J on its crotch, that’s clearly and literally a huge Gundam rip-off. We’re sure executives at Bandai, the company which holds the licensing rights to all things Gundam, aren’t happy about it. If it’s any consolation, though, Bandai’s lawyers should bear in mind that Jed’s Island Resort isn’t just ripping off Gundam, they’re ripping off everybody!

Well, maybe not everybody, but that only seems to be because there’s not enough space for a project of that magnitude. Still, Jed’s has done an impressive job of filling its property with as many unlicensed likenesses as it can hold. The resort isn’t shy about this, either, at least in the case of these two photos from its Facebook page, which are excitedly touted as “New attraction-One Piece at Jed’s! and Big Hero 6 Robot Baymax!”

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Among Frozen’s many crowd-pleasing aspects, some fans were thrilled to see a Disney movie with two princesses. But apparently the special Jed’s edition of the film features no less than three royal ladies.

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Elsewhere, Jed’s gets the number of siblings just right. Can’t say the same about their facial features, though.

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▼ Elsa must be hitting the gym regularly to have added that much muscle definition to her shoulders. She’s apparently become so addicted to the pump from lifting weights that she’s curling half a head of cabbage.

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Going from Disney’s newest hit characters to their oldest, here’s Mickey and pals Goofy, Donald, and Mickey Clones 1 through 3, plus rival Bugs Bunny, all posing in front of a brachiosaur.

 

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We’re guessing some older, hand-drawn cartoon characters must look down on their nouveau rich CG counterparts. How else could you explain why the heroes of Avatar were left out of the Disney/Warner Bros. group photo?

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Of course, not all classic animated characters are so set in their ways. For example, Snow White has expanded her social circle beyond her seven stout housemates, and is seen here in the company of 1977 anime mecha Voltes V.

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As a matter of fact, Jed’s Island Resort seems to be all about crossovers, like this snapshot of the Sesame Street gang hanging out with Mother Goose.

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Awesome as it is to see Superman and Captain America in the same place, it’d still be cooler if they were fighting.

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Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Wonder Woman seem to have climbed all the way to the top of the water slide tower before losing their nerve to actually go down it.

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Legalities aside, we can at least see why the management of Jed’s Island Resort would want to decorate their pools with these instantly recognizable and hugely popular characters. They may have been a little too zealous in their efforts to copy as much as possible, though. For example, can you imagine any travelers picking where to stay according to which resort has the cast of free mobile game Clash of Clans?

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But even then, Jed’s “creative” team wasn’t done scraping the bottom of the barrel, because you haven’t exhausted every option until you’ve made a knock-off based on the cover 1980’s flight disaster satire Airplane!

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Top 20 Asian superheroines of DC Comics

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Amped Asia: 

Now you know we could not write an article about the Magnificent Asian Superheroines of Marvel without doing one about the Dynamic Asian Female Superheroes of DC. That’s not only bad form but poor nerd etiquette, and our tiger moms raised us way better than that. The Asian women of Detective Comics is a proud bunch and by no means play second fiddle to anyone, so without further adieu, here is our companion piece to help bring nerd order balance to the galaxy.

20) Traci 13 (Asian)

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Now we are not entirely sure if Traci 13 is Asian but her mother was named Meihu Lan, so just go with us here. What you need to know is that Traci 13 is of the homo magi line, or humans born with the power of sorcery, has a pet iguana named Leeroy, and the ability to cast “urban magic.” And no we don’t mean the David Blaine kind. Instead of failing at living in a water cube for a week, she can cast spells to teleport, create fire blasts, and even turn her pet iguana into a dragon. Hell if she can do that, maybe she should name the thing BRUCE Leeroy! HAHAH.. we will show ourselves out..

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19) Lady Shiva (Ambiguously Asian)

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Born in an unknown country, Lady Shiva for all intents and purposes is most likely Japanese, Manchurian, maybe Chinese, but some sort of Asian at the very least. She is the goddaughter of the martial arts expert O-Sensei, and not only became a master of the martial arts, but quite possibly the world’s deadliest assassin. As a fearsome mercenary for hire she has been equal parts enemy as well as ally to the one and only Batman.  As a member of the League of Shadows she has battled Batman to near defeat as well as trained Batman and Tim Drake in the arts of stealth. She even mothered Cassandra Cain, a former Batgirl, and even battled her own daughter to the death on more than one occasion. With a mother daughter relationship like that, it makes Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest look like Carol Fucking Brady.

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18) Judomaster (Japanese)

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Many of the entries on our DC list are not only members of such illustrious groups as the Justice League, Doom Patrol, but also DC’s elite group of super heroes that are Japanese Characters Not So Subtly Named After Japanese Things, or JCNSSNAJT for short.

Take for instance Judomaster, what possibly could the metahuman Sonia Sato’s powers be? Well like the two other Judomasters before her she has a mastery level use of the Japanese grappling art of Judo, plus the ability to create an “aversion field.” This power prevents her from any attacks directly aimed at her.  However it is not effective against random attacks, explosions, and thinly veiled stereotypes it seems.

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17) Katana (Japanese)

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Another proud member of the JCNSSNAJT, Tatsu Yamashiro became the super heroine Katana through a love triangle between herself, her husband, and her husband’s jealous Yakuza brother. Like most matters of the heart, this family quarrel ended with Tatsu’s husband being slain by her brother with a mystical katana known as the “Soultaker”, having his soul trapped in said sword, and Tatsu disarming and defeating her brother-in-law, thus obtaining the mystical sword.

After fleeing from the battle, a heartbroken Tatsu would train to be an elite samurai warrior and took on the code name Katana after the sword she wielded with her dead husbands soul.  Glad to hear these crazy kids worked it all out.

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When Chandi Gupta’s parents discovered that their daughter, later known as Maya, had elemental super powers, they did what any good parents would do: they left their daughter in the hands of a  strange and evil cult that believed she was the reincarnation of the Hindu god Shiva, and planned to sacrifice her. And you thought your parents leaving you at math camp was bad! After realizing what her parents didn’t, that the cult was bat shit crazy, Maya escaped to London. Eventually she would become a member of the Justice League Europe and used her ability to manifest a mystical bow and control water and fire to aid in the team’s many battles. One of which I am sure was convincing readers that the Justice League Europe was not as depressing as say other European incarnations of popular franchise leagues. NFL Europe anyone?

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15) Linda Park West (Korean)

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The wife of the Wally West version of the Flash, Linda Park West helps balance out the Flash. Essentially she is the Flash version of Superman and Lois Lane. Not a super hero per se, Linda Park is a plucky journalist with the smarts of a doctor. In fact she has even learned the medical knowledge of an advanced alien race when she went into exile with her husband the Flash. She once even rode a lightning bolt to return to her home world. Not to mention that as the mother of Flash’s twin babies, her most incredible super powers must be the ability to handle the sonic boom level thrusts of her husband.

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14) Naiad (Japanese)

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Mai Mizyazaki was your run of the mill environmentalist who was murdered by the Shogun Oil Company while protesting their drilling rig off the coast of Alaska. After her murder she would be reborn as Naiad the Water Elemental of Earth, a being with the ability to control the elements of water. She along with Firestorm, Swamp Thing, and Red Tornado, is one of the Four Elementals created by Maya the Earth Mother to protect the planet and help mankind evolve. So basically she is like Gi from Captain Planet, only much darker.

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13) Grace Choi (Korea)

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Grace Choi never quite fit in. She grew up tragically as a survivor of a child prostitution ring and lived as a transient on the streets with her metahuman powers remaining dormant until puberty.  When her powers started manifesting themselves she became recruited by Batman to join the Outsiders, a group of metahumans that did not conform to the mainstream image of the super hero community. Her powers of super human strength, heightened endurance, and regenerative healing would later be further explained due to her Bana Amazonian heritage. To recap, former child prostitute with Amazonian metapowers that blossomed during puberty. And you thought your awkward teenage adolescence with terrible haircuts and stretch marks was bad.

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Of the many dark and brooding characters on our lineup, Solstice is a nice bright ray of sunshine. Her upbeat demeanor is fitting since it matches her glowing gold costume and ability to emit golden blasts of concussive light energy. With all the tales of revenge, heroes born from tragedy, etc. it’s nice to see a change from all the negativity to a hero that is not such a Debbie Downer.

Oh wait, we forgot since the New 52, Solstice has been retconned to have been abused and altered by N.O.W.H.E.R.E  and even had her body changed to resemble black smoke that emits blue light through her eyes, mouth, and skin. I guess it’s back to reading Archie Comics for us again.

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11) Tsunami (Japanese)

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Miya Shimada started her career as an enemy against the United States during World War 2 after the prejudice she felt as a Japanese American by her fellow citizens. Soon she began using her superhuman strength, ability to swim at incredibly speeds, and ability to form and control tidal waves against the United States of America and heroes such as those in the All-Star Squadron. Fortunately for us, after being disillusioned by the brutality of the Axis of Amerika and characters like Sea Wolf, a Nazi wolfman that could breath under water, she eventually joined the fight for truth, justice, and the American way. She even sold war bonds at one point at the behest of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Confused? Don’t be, it was just a different time. A simple time when Americans could leave their doors unlocked, eat some apple pie, and enjoy a comic about a Japanese super heroine who used her water powers to fight Nazi wolfmen underwater.

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10) Ghost Fox Killer (Chinese)

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A member of the Great Ten, DC’s super hero team from the People’s Republic of China, Ghost Fox Killer is in charge of killing evil men and has the power to control the ghosts of these dead men. She even has the power to cause instant death simply through her touch, a convenient power considering that the city she calls home is powered by the souls of dead men. And what with global warming and all these days, it’s good to see a super heroine on our list go green. Plus if she ever decides to give up the super hero gig, with a name like Ghost Fox Killer, I am sure the Wu Tang Clan would welcome her with open arms.

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9) Mother of Champions (Chinese)

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Another member of the Great Ten, the Mother of Champions probably has the weirdest if not grossest of super powers on this list. The heroine known as the Mother of Champions is quite literally that. You see, Wu Mei Xing was a theoretical physicist who was exposed to the “god particle” by accident while working on a particle accelerator. This exposure triggered her metagene and granted her the power of well, super fertility and fecundity. You see, although she was at first unable to bear children after being exposed to the “god particle,” later she would discover her new found ability to birth twenty five identical super soldiers every three days! These soldiers only live for about a week aging 10 years every twenty four hours. A pretty unique super power to say the least, we can’t help but feel a bit grossed out by it. The clean up alone after one of her Terracotta litters is shudder worthy. Nothing is wrong with the miracle of life, but the Mother of Champions sounds more like a cross between a pregnant hamster and a respawn unit from Starcraft. Maybe instead of Mother of Champions she should consider renaming herself to “Super Milf.”

 

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Before there was the Super Young Team, more on them later, there was Japan’s original super hero team, Big Action Science. Basically Big Science Action was Japan’s version of the Justice League except with more haikus and super kawaii heroes. Case in point Goraiko, a psionic construct projected from the mind of a young unnamed Japanese girl in a high tech sensory deprivation tank.  This construct is apparently inspired by a Totoro like doll that the girl has in her tank, and can only speak in haikus and mathematical equations. Just add in a Keroppi Mecha and she completes a Japanese hat trick.

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7) Nazo Baluda (Japanese)

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Rounding out Big Science Action is their resident dark star stealth warrior. Little is known about her, except that roughly translated her name Nazo Baluda is combination of the Japanese word enigma and reference to Dominatrix Baluda, a leather clad character from a Japanese manga. And really that is good enough for us at Amped Asia, in fact that is what we look for on our interns’ resumes. *Hint hint class of 2015*

6) Shy Crazy Lolita Canary (Japanese)

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The next two entries on our list both happen to be members of Super Young Team, a Japanese group of super heroes who are influenced by American super heroes and Japanese pop culture. If that wasn’t already apparent with member names like Sunny Sumo, Most Excellent Superbat, and Shy Crazy Lolita Canary. The latter of which sounds like some sort of screen name used by Chris Henson on an episode of To Catch A Predator. With a name like that you would expect her super power to be luring some creepy dude into her house with a couple of Subway sandwiches and horrible intentions. In actuality, she is a winged super heroine in a school girl costume who is small enough to fit in someone’s hand and possesses a sonic scream similar to Black Canary.  So a little from column A and a little from column B.

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5) Shiny Happy Aquazon (Japanese)

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If you hadn’t already figured out by her name, Shiny Happy Aquazon is also a member of the aforementioned Super Young Team. Although she sounds like the designated child swim area at your local Japanese YMCA, she in fact has the ability to create hardwater constructs, making her invaluable during the Justice League’s annual Spring Break Wet T-Shirt contests in Ft. Lauderdale.

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4) Jenny Quantum (Singaporean)

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Apparently.. she’s playing with glitter art?

Born on January 1st 2000, Jenny Quantum became the Spirit of the 21st century and has the ability to manipulate reality on a quantum level. She can do anything her imagination can come up with. Apparently her sense of fashion is extraordinarily immune to near limitless powers. Seriously all you could come up with is a Singaporean flag t-shirt, jean jacket, and slacks combo? I mean we get the flag is a nod to your hot British predecessor Jenny Sparks but come on. Anyway she can be seen currently as the leader of The Authority, a group of super heroes dedicated to getting the job done by any means necessary, except if it means in anything other than casual wear.

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3) Dr. Light (Japanese)

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The Japanese born Kimiyo Tazu Hoshi took the mantle of Dr. Light when the Monitor, the embodiment of all positive matter in the universe, chose her to defend the Earth against his nemesis Anti-Monitor, granting her the power of photonics. Now known as Dr. Light, Kimiyo Tazu Hoshi became a prominent character in the DC Universe and even member of the Justice League. But for the record, Kimiyo didn’t need some quasi god like being to grant her the title of doctor. She already was a medical doctor and scientist before her encounter with the Monitor, showing that all you need is hard work, dedication, and probably an overbearing Asian mother.

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2) Cassandra Cain/Batgirl/Black Bat (Ambiguously Asian)

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A former Batgirl now Black Bat, Cassandra Cain is the daughter of Lady Shiva and the world class assassin David Cain. Raised by her father to be the world’s greatest assassin and future bodyguard for Ra’s al Ghul, Cassandra was not taught to read or write, but only read the body language of an opponent. Although this would hinder her ability to communicate through conventional means, her intense training gave her high level cognitive abilities that let her perform extraordinary feats of physical and mental coordination.  It would seem she gets these killer moves from her mama, but more likely from her psychotic assassin father. But does it really matter? She has a literal and figurative killer body that expresses itself through extraordinary feats of multitasking; we don’t care where she gets it from as long as she gets it to us.

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This is a tricky one honestly since the daughter of Ra’s Ah Ghul has just as cryptic background as her father. We know that Ra’s Ah Ghul was born around 600 years ago somewhere in what was once considered “Arabia” near a city whose inhabitants migrated from China. Some have said he is of Arabic and Persian descent making him Asian. Also Taila Al Ghul’s mother came from Chinese and Arabic ancestry. Either way the sometimes love interest sometimes enemy of Batman still makes it on our list. She is an Olympic level athlete, holds advanced degrees in biology, engineering, and a business MBA, oh and incredibly deadly to boot. With a resume like that we she would make any Asian parent proud. But you know, they would still compare her to their friend’s kid who just got into John’s Hopkins, ON SCHOLARSHIP no doubt. NOTHING IS EVER GOOD ENOUGH IS IT MOM?!

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