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The Pinoy Avengers |


The Pinoy Avengers


MANILA, Philippines - For a country that goes nuts over celebrity editions of reality TV shows, fantaseryes and character mash-ups, it’s quite surprising that there hasn’t been a TV show or a movie about a superhero collective. No, Enteng ng Ina Mo doesn’t quite count although Si Agimat at Si Enteng could almost pass off as one. We’re talking about something close to the scale of The Avengers. The cast ensemble alone is enough already for massive box office draws, but aside from the beloved albeit overused characters of Mars Ravelo, there isn’t enough concept going around for a potential superhero collective.

In his introduction to Paolo Fabregas’s Filipino Heroes League, one of the few local comic books about a superhero team, Budjette Tan addresses the scarcity of a third world hero collective, especially one that strays from the Westernized idea of a superhero. “For some strange reason, we’ve never had a Pinoy super hero team. We’ve had “loners” like Darna, Panday, and Lastikman. Yes, some of them had their kid sidekicks, but they mostly fought their super villains by themselves. And yes, there may have been times when one hero would make a cameo appearance in the other hero’s comic book or movie and they’d do a marvelous five-minute team-up, but that was mostly it.”

Filipino Heroes League, along with Bayan Knights (a landmark superhero team by several creators who each retain rights for their respective characters), are Pinoy creations that could possibly stand against their DC and Marvel counterparts. After all, a rickety group of heroes running around the city in a pedicab has “Pinoy” and “third world” written all over it. These characters may have not achieved iconic statuses yet, but at least they’re alive and kicking.

So while these heroes are waiting for their turn to explode into the scene, here are five distinctly Pinoy characters that should make a good screen ensemble just in case a local movie production wants to ride the superhero hype. Culled from comic books, TV shows and films, each of these characters has gained a following that warrants their inclusion in a supersized hero team.

Zsa Zsa Zaturnah

Taking cues from Darna, Zsa Zsa Padilla and parloristas around the world, Carlo Vergara’s Zsa Zsa Zaturnah is arguably the country’s only sassy superhero that doubles as a pop cultural vanguard. Gifted with superhuman powers after ingesting a huge stone, Zaturnah’s sashays with the bull that every gay man has to swallow while saving the world, one barangay hunk at a time.


Category: Comic relief with a social commentary subtext

Costume changes: 5-6

Potential merchandise: Zaturnah’s parlorista showcase, blow-up dolls

Super Inggo

It’s every kid’s dream to find out that their parents are actually superheroes, and enroll in a training academy to unleash latent powers. Super Inggo’s run may have been marred by clunky archetypes and soap operatic fluff but his potential to be a veritable child superhero is undeniable, especially for comic book flipping kids.

Category: Melodramatic slush looking for parental figures

Number of jokes about his age and height: 20

Potential merchandise: cutesy iPhone cases, a joke book

Anton Tubero

Your pipes may not have a leak, but you’ll probably drill a hole in them just so you can call Anton Tubero. Although technically not a superhero, Anton Tubero’s main draw is his Men’s Health/Playgirl-worthy body, which seems to be that target of impure thoughts by every person who sets their eyes upon him. This makes him an ideal negotiator for evil mistresses, closeted gay warlords (*cough* Loki *cough*) and old hags or just a swell object of desire to look at, just like Chris Evans in Captain America.

Category: Man candy

Number of shirtless scenes: every second of the movie

Potential merchandise: a spa franchise, notebook covers

Andong Agimat

Arnold Arre’s Andong Agimat brings a much-needed badassery to the folkways of tabloid fodder. This hulking ex-con combines the adept supernatural sleuthing of Constantine, Wolverine’s invincibility and the required angst of any superhero. Andong Agimat’s world has enough material already to guarantee a superhero collective movie deal, particularly with its storyline that marries Philippine history and traditional myths.

Category: Brooding superhero

Number of times the camera will cut to his death stare: seven

Potential merchandise: video game, Julie’s Bakeshop agimat-shaped pastries

Alexandra Trese

Part-time club owner and full-time supernatural detective, Alexandra Trese (created by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo) is a one-woman CSI: Banahaw, complete with a flurry of white ladies, tikbalangs, and engkantos that run in the dark corners of the city. Alexandra Trese may not have actual superpowers, but she has plenty of fighting spirit and clout to ward off any villain. While she has the mysterious kambal on her side, having her on the team with Andong Agimat will make a pretty good pairing.

Category: Sensible heroine with an attitude problem

Number of times her daddy issues are mentioned: Thrice

Potential merchandise: Engkanto figurines by Leeroy New

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