[NOTE: This article was written on Monday, March 21st.]

I’ve been saying all along that if I was wrong I would gladly admit it. I’m talking about BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN. I’ve been predicting failure for the movie, for numerous reasons. While it’s still too early to say one way or the other—there will be no conclusive answer until I’ve seen the film for myself—the early reviews from fellow geeks coming in are overwhelmingly positive. Even some of the commoner critics, those who don’t “get” genre cinema and are thus unqualified to critique it—not that this ever stops them from doing so—are saying that it’s good; their grousing is limited to the things one would expect, the sorts of things that people who don’t much care for comic book movies would be expected to say. Too action-heavy, too dark, non-comics fans may have a hard time figuring out who’s who, yadda yadda yadda. Not many have said the acting, directing, cinematography or storyline were sub par. In fact several have grudgingly admitted that they were impressed by these. And while many *cough* “professional” critics have grudgingly conceded the films’ quality, the average fan on the street has thus far been shouting with glee from the rooftops.

I was worried that WB was rushing it. I was worried that they were including too many characters, too fast. I questioned their casting choices. (Affleck, Momoa, Miller.) But I’m starting to have hope. Maybe I WAS wrong. I damn sure hope so.

I will have a definitive answer for you, and a full review, next week.

Yeah, we wish. The casting of Affleck was the one decision among all the rest that divided the fan community and firmly implanted doubt in the minds of a multitude regarding the future of the entire DC cinematic universe. And now we get the news that director Zack Snyder DID want Bale—but not as Batman. Boy, is he lucky that Bale didn’t take him up on it. Having the man who SHOULD have played Batman in the film alongside the man they went with, much to the chagrin of so many, would have been an unwelcome reminder to those fans of what COULD have been. It would’ve been like, “Let’s take our audience out of the moment, scrap their suspension of disbelief, and remind ‘em of what pissed ‘em off in the first place!”

Also, Snyder’s assertions that they COULDN’T have used Bale as Batman, because he was “retired,” are ridiculous. Affleck’s Batman is retired, too, until his fears of Superman running rampant spur him to put back on the suit! Ludicrous. The reason they didn’t use Bale is because Bale didn’t want to do the film without Christopher Nolan, and Nolan didn’t want to do the film. The studio SHOULD have just thrown enough money at him until he decided to do it (and then we would have gotten Bale back), but they went in another direction and now, for better or worse, we’re stuck with the results.

source: screenrant.com

In the words of legendary wrasslin’ commentator Jim “Good ol’ JR” Ross, “Bizness is about to pick up!”

I’ve shared my concerns over the “new” Marvel comics in recent posts. Initially those were minimal, but as the months have sped by they have grown exponentially. I’m still digging on THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and the new IRON MAN series is on par with previous runs of the armored Avenger’s exploits. But the new take on the AVENGERS books and teams, while there is nothing overtly wrong with them, can’t help but come across as a little lackluster compared to the earlier epic-ness of Jonathan Hickman’s run, preceded by that of Brian Michael Bendis. Unless you’re all about teen angst superheroics, in which case the focus on Ms. Marvel and Nova should be right up your alley. Longtime fans like me, though, we miss the epic-ness that we enjoyed before Marvel allowed the majority of their established writers’ contracts to expire and replaced them with “fresh blood.” The Marvel Universe, post SECRET WARS, just seems smaller these days. But it may be about to grow again.

This new series STANDOFF is returning the real Captain America, Steve Rogers, to his superpowered prime, and looks to be more in tune with big concept stories of the past like SIEGE and SECRET INVASION. Or, if not so grand in scale, it promises to set up an “event” that IS that grandiose, the upcoming CIVIL WAR 2. Will Marvel get its groove back? I sure hope so.

source: ap.ign.com

Technically—if I were speaking that word aloud instead of typing it, I’d draw it out. “Teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh-ch-ni-ca-llleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”—it was a tie. Godzilla, back when the character was licensed to Marvel in the late 70s, took on the Avengers. And the Fantastic Four. And SHIELD. He would’ve taken on Spider-man, too, but Spidey was late to the party. And combined might of those vaunted heroes failed to take down the big gray-green titan, which—as a lifelong Godzilla fan, I must attest—is how it should be. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes DID manage (with help from some kid) to convince Godzilla to take a hike. Or maybe Big G just got bored. Either way, there was no clear-cut victor. Superhero fans could hold their heads high after the fight (which took place in issue 24 of Godzilla’s Marvel series) and the Godzilla faithful felt satisfied, too. Sure, there were grousers, and there still are. “The Avengers should’a won!” or “Godzilla would’a totally fried ‘em all!” But neither of those could happen.

Marvel didn’t OWN Godzilla, see. They were just renting him. As part of their agreement with Toho Studios, they had to treat the King of the Monsters with all due reverence. They couldn’t depict him getting his scaly hide handed to him by a bunch of costumed do-gooders. Neither was Marvel about to let their top characters—ALL of them—get schooled by any giant monster, not even the greatest of them all. After the rights for the Godzilla character reverted to Toho, Marvel did pull a sneaky and have a giant green beastie show up, one that looked and acted an awful lot like Godzilla but was never mentioned by name, and then they had this faux-zilla get its arse kicked. That fight wasn’t canon, though, and it wasn’t reeeeeeeeeeeally Godzilla.

source: goodcomics.comicbookresources.com

Looks like the rumors were true. Sorta. DC has taken notice of declining sales figures and grousing, increasing in volume, from its hardcore faithful readership, and is now willing to admit—sorta—that the “new 52” has been a failure. Sure, it snagged plenty of attention at the outset. But as the new series all plodded on, fans soon began to pine for the good ol’ days when Superman wore red underwear (with yellow belt) over his blue suit, and Barbara Gordon was paralyzed from being shot by the Joker in the classic THE KILLING JOKE graphic novel. If the New 52 was DC’s attempt at having an Ultimate version of their universe, ala Marvel, then it came to an end much quicker than did the latter “reimagining.” Sorta.

Geoff Johns, the Chief Creative Officer over at DC, has promised that its upcoming event, REBIRTH, is NOT a reboot. However, he states that the event will restore the “legacy” of the DC Universe, giving back those elements that fans have been missing. Personally I suspect the hesitance to call it a “reboot” has to do with fan fatigue connected with the term in general, as REBIRTH certainly fits all the criteria, by definition, of a reboot. They aren’t throwing away EVERYthing from the New 52, though, but splicing back into the fabric enough of the “classic” DC Universe to appease longtime fans while hanging onto the new ones they acquired via their LAST reboot. Just how much will the new DC resemble the old, and arguably better, one? (I admit I hope to
see the return of Superman’s red underwear. But that’s just me.)

source: www.comicbookresources.com

It’s deliciously appropriate that Deadpool would be the one to do this. The movie bearing his name just destroyed all expectations—these based off the flawless “system” employed by simpleminded studio executives to predict whether or not a movie project will be successful, and just how successful it will be—by opening to a bigger box office than had been predicted. How much bigger? Oh, 75 to 100 million, depending on which projection we’re talking about. For the record, DEADPOOL was the highest grossing R-rated motion picture EVER, had the largest single opening day for an R-rated film EVER, the biggest opening in February ever (this last one isn’t THAT impressive, since all it had do was top FIFTY SHADES OF CRAP), and the biggest opening weekend for Fox Studios EVER, beating STAR WARS EPISODE THREE: REVENGE OF THE SITH. Not bad for a flick nobody (but its star) wanted to make.

Why was the movie such a smash? I credit three factors. Ryan Reynolds has never been a great thespian, but he is rock solid in this role; Deadpool is custom-made for him. Also, it’s February. The cinema is typically devoid of tasty geek fare in February, excepting the big holiday movies that are still playing but everybody has seen already. Lastly, because it’s Deadpool. The character is just plain loveable. He’s come a long, long way from the days of his inception, when he was a cheesy rip-off of Spider-Man named after the lamest of the Dirty Harry movies. When did he become so original? When they decided to make him crazy. Crazy is loveable, peeps. Crazy sells.

No, I didn’t watch it. I have never watched it, and, unless someone ties me down and pins my eyelids open, like they did to Malcolm McDowell in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, and plop me down in front of a television at the prescribed time, I will NEVER watch it. There are only six people in the continental United States who don’t like or watch the (so-called) Super Bowl. Your intrepid reporter is two of those; I hate football that much. (Sports in general, really.) Yes, I am male. Yes, I am heterosexual. Yes, I know I am an anomaly. I never even tuned in just to watch the commercials, which a lot of non-football fans do. If I hear of a commercial that interests me, I just google it. Which is how I saw the ad featuring the Incredible Hulk and Ant-Man.

Kudos to Coke for the best 30 seconds of the night. No, I haven’t seen all the commercials. I don’t have to. I KNOW the Hulk vs. Ant-Man commercial was the best. The ad for CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR came in a close second. I’m still too trepidatious about the BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN flick to get too excited over the trailers. The Coke ad was funny. It prominently featured two of the most popular characters in Comic cinema today. And best of all, it had nothing to do with sports. It just happened to air during a sporting event, one which, as I have told you, I did not see but you probably did. That means you’ve probably seen the commercial, too. You probably saw it before I did, and laughed at it before I did. But you know what they say, “He who laughs last . . .”

source: www.superherohype.com

Bruce Banner himself has officially confirmed it. There will be no standalone Incredible Hulk movies anytime soon. It has nothing to do with the fact that the last such film, 2008’s THE INCREDIBLE HULK, was not a ratings monster. And it has even less to do with Ang Lee’s dysfunctional 2003 HULK, which was really a remake of KING KONG if Kong were hairless and green. Marvel could easily overcome such past failures these days. Look at the hype the new Spider-Man movie is getting, fresh on the heels of the tacky and terrible AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. Just the fact that it would be a Marvel movie, produced by Marvel Studios, would be enough to get people into the theater to see it. No, Marvel won’t give us another standalone Hulk film because they don’t want to share.

Back before Marvel Studios became such a box-office juggernaut and before Disney bought the big M and made it even more of a force to be reckoned with, Marvel farmed out a lot of their properties, and Universal still owns the rights to any standalone film. They do not, however, have any claim on the Hulk character. That’s why Marvel is going to put the Green Goliath in a bunch of its upcoming films. He’ll just have to share the screen with other prominent Marvel characters, is all. Which, come to think of it, is not in any way a bad thing.

source: www.cinemablend.com

That didn’t take long. Oh, I suppose it was always part of writer Nick Spencer’s plan to have TWO Captains America, one black and one white. In fact I’m pretty sure it WAS his plan, as the scenario offers lots of potential story ideas. Two guys running around with the same superhero name, two guys that don’t see eye to eye politically, one of them black and one of them white. Yeah, I can see that, sure. But I am skeptical that it was Spencer’s idea to bring Steve back from his geriatric retirement (He devolved to his natural age after the Super Soldier Serum was leached from his body by a villain.) quite so soon. I expect a force greater than a writer’s outline is at work here. The big “S.” Sales.

As interesting as the story arc with Sam Wilson subbing for Cap might be, it’s still just that. Sam subbing for Steve. Steve Rogers is Captain America, regardless of who else might wear the costume and wield the shield. Readers want Steve, and Marvel is gonna give him to them. But they’re also going to keep the substitute Cap story going, so fans get to have their red, white, and blue cake and eat it, too. My only complaint is that I don’t care for the new costume they have for Steve. Granted it isn’t radically different, but the one the Falcon is sporting right now is a far cry from the traditional Cap costume, so why not just have Steve go back to that one? And what is up with that shield?

Remember the 90’s? If so, if you’re a comics fan, I’m sorry. I sympathize. It was a bleak, depressing time, a time perfectly defined and symbolized by Image Comics. Not the Image that’s still around today. Back then the company was a different sort of animal. Basically what happened, for you Millennials who missed it, is this: a bunch of Marvel’s hotshot artists, pissed off at the House of Ideas, broke away and started their own company, where they would enjoy full autonomy. Which sounds well and good, but the problem with a complete lack of regulation is that there’s nobody around to tell you “no.” The artists thought they could write their own comics, featuring characters they themselves created. Again, sounds good. But those “original” characters were by and large blatant rip-offs of Marvel characters and those artists couldn’t write their ways out of paper bags. Image ended up signifying the low-water mark of the comics industry, producing some of the worst comic books ever printed.

Why would I dredge up this unpleasant history? Only to make a point. Neal Adams is one of the greatest artists in comics history. I love his work. But he is not a writer. When he got to write his own Batman series, it was gorgeous to look at but at times painful to read. And now they’ve given him Superman to play with. Oy. I HOPE he’s gotten better at it. We’ll see.

source: www.comicbookresources.com