A couple’a three weeks back, I reported that the long-awaited second HELLBOY sequel was likely in preproduction, as writer/director Guillermo del Toro had conducted a “poll” on his Twitter page to see how many fans were interested, and as I pointed out, he wouldn’t have mentioned it at all if some progress hadn’t already been made on the project. Sadly, Del Toro just announced, also via his Twitter account, that the film would “100%” NOT happen. This would seem to be the final word on the subject. What happened?

If Del Toro wants to do the project and star Ron Perlman wants to do it, it would seem a logical assumption that the holdout is character owner Mike Mignola. I don’t know WHY Mignola wouldn’t want them to do another film, as it could only help sales of the HELLBOY comic book. Maybe Mignola has reached a level of success where he no longer has to worry about book sales and royalties? There might be other reasons, too, why it all fell through, but it’s hard to figure what those issues might be. Del Toro is himself at a level of success where he can get projects made, even if the studio involved isn’t crazy about said project, so we can probably rule out the studio as a contributing factor. We’ll never know for certain, but it’s sad news to all fans of the films that the planned finale to what was supposed to be a trilogy will never get made. As Hellboy would say, “Crap!”

This, in my (not so) humble yet educated opinion, is exactly what the BATMAN comics need right now. To my mind, there has never been a satisfactory rematch betwixt Batman and Bane. Batman never really got even for bane snapping his spine way back in the 90s during the KNIGHTFALL event/publicity stunt. For all the times they’ve locked horns, there was never a satisfying round two. Not for me. Not on the printed page. In the film THE DARK KNIGHT RISES there sure was. Batman laid some serious smack down on Bane in that one. I could scarce stay in my seat in the theater. It was like I was a kid again, watching Hulk Hogan battle with some nefarious heel inside the WWF ring. (Back in those days, it was the World Wrestling FEDERATION. There was no “entertainment” in the title.) THAT is the kind of visceral reaction I want to have to a comic book showdown, and I’ve never gotten it. Maybe this time will be different. Twenty years is a long time to wait, but it could be worth it. Come on, writers! Don’t let me down!

Superman got HIS second round with Doomsday. He came back from the dead to whip Doomsday like meringue pie topping. And that was BEFORE he got to kill him in the BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN movie. I don’t want DC to kill off Bane. He’s much too good a villain for that. But I DO want to see him get his ass kicked. I have a feeling he will, this time. The question is, how much damage will he do before that happens?

He’s officially out as the DIRECTOR of the forthcoming BATMAN movie. That he will not be playing the character, either, is just a rumor at this point, and probably a rumor is all it will remain, despite all the online prognostication to the contrary. Nor is it necessarily a bad thing that Affleck is stepping down as director. He states that it is because he doesn’t have the time to devote to both starring in and directing the feature, that he doesn’t want to limit himself by dividing his energies. He could have let his ego drive him into doing both, and as such he might have failed to give either his full effort. The film would have suffered because of it. I’d much rather see him focus on playing the lead role. There are plenty of competent directors out there.

Don’t forget, also, that Affleck is co-writing the screenplay, so there’s another labor to potentially distract him, as it is doubtful that the script, once completed, would have remained set in stone once filming began; revisions large or small would have likely been necessary. This is another reason why stepping down as director was a prudent move. Lastly, the fact that the script has undergone several rewrites does not bode ill for the production, as some have said. Affleck has gone on record that he will not be involved in the film until the script is “perfect.” His commitment to keep working on it until it IS perfect should give fans hope rather than make them doubt. IF—and note this is a big IF—Affleck leaves the project altogether, it would mean that the studio has made it impossible for him to create a quality film. THEN we can all give up hope. Until then, give the man credit for not settling and for demanding the best of himself.

I’m a tad behind on this one, but I’m bringing it to you in real time. I’ve been behind in all my reading as of late, and I couldn’t very well review the comic before I read it. (Sure, I coulda lied about it, but you all would have seen through that, plus it would be disingenuous of me.) I finally read the comic this morning; it’s now one o’clock in the afternoon. That’s as “hot off the press” as you can get, even if the review itself is coming several weeks after the comic hit the stands.

As much as I’ve enjoyed the series overall, I was a tad disappointed in this final issue. It sorta felt like a cop-out by writer Brian Michael Bendis. I’m a big mark for the guy, but this time he seems to have taken the easy way out. He gets rid of the character, Ulysses, who is causing all the problems with his premonitions of future events, by having him “evolve” to a higher spiritual plane or some such. No satisfying answer is reached over whether or not it was morally right for the superheroes to seek to prevent crimes from being committed before they could happen. Maybe there IS no satisfying answer. And then Bendis puts Tony Stark into a coma for a little while, conveniently allowing him (flowing Marvel’s orders, probably) to ramrod his new character, RiRi Williams, down everybody’s throat as the “new” Iron Man. (INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY AT ANY COST—EVEN GOOD STORYTELLING!) It does afford him the opportunity to give us Dr. Doom putting on Tony’s armor and playacting as a good guy—no, I still don’t think he’s sincere—as the “infamous” Iron Man, so it isn’t a completely disappointing move. Even so, this last issue of CIVIL WAR 2 felt anticlimactic to me. Unlike with the first CIVIL WAR, which was solidly based on real world politics, this one came off as contrived –which, let’s be honest, it was. The first series had long-lasting reverberations. I don’t see this one has making the same sort of impact. Tony will be out of commission for a few months, long enough for the ALL NEW! ALL DIFFERENT! Iron Teenager to get established. That’s about it. The only thing this series really accomplished was to make me dislike Captain Marvel, who came across as a total b*tch. After the original CIVIL WAR I never again cared for Reed Richards. Will I likewise be turned off to Captain Marvel? Or will some other writer manage to make her likable again?