I’m kinda excited about this. Maybe it’s pure gimmickry but I dunno, it looks to have the potential to be awesome. There are going to be seven–that’s SEVEN–parallel universe versions of Batman–but they’re each and every one EVIL! We haven’t seen what they’re gonna look like yet, just shadowy outlines. But those outlines look sweet! There’s going to be a Batman with a Green Lantern ring (In brightest day, in darkest knight…?) called “The Dawnbreaker,” and a Batman who has The Flash’s powers called “The Red Death.” (Personally I wish they’d named him “The Red-Hooded Death.”) The Cyborg Batman is called “Murder Machine,” the Batman with Wonder Woman’s powers is called “The Merciless,” and the aqua-Bat-man is going to be called “The Drowned.” Hey, I’m detecting a theme, here. There’s an evil Batman for each of the primary members of the Justice League! Except…where is the Super-Batman? That one could be called “The Bat of Steel” or “The Bat of Tomorrow.” We are gonna get some joker called “The Batman who Laughs,” though. (See what I did there?)

All the Evil Batmans/Batmen are going to get one-shots in September. Will you be reading them? Which one sounds the coolest to you? Me, I’m going for the last one on the list. Remember when Prince combined himself with Batman and the Joker in the video for “Batdance”? I’m betting this will be even cooler than that. I wouldn’t expect the Joker-Batman to sing, though, or be able to bust a high note without bustin’ a string.

When I was a little kid, I didn’t have any understanding of “camp.” They used to run the old BATMAN TV series every weekday evening, and I never missed an episode. When Batman and Robin would get into the fisticuffs with the bad guys of the week, I’d jump around and shadowbox and help them fight. As I got older, I began to have a negative view of the series, though. Batman is the darkest of all the superheroes. Why would anybody, then, think it was a good idea to make a joke out of him? Batman should be treated with the gravitas he deserved, dangit!

As the years have passed, I’ve come to appreciate the television show anew. I take it as it was meant to be, as parody. And as an example of such, it was brilliant. And Adam West played the part to cheesy, sincere perfection.

They lit up the Los Angeles City Hall with the Batsignal to honor Mr. West after his death this past week. I know that, somewhere, West’s Batman, to the accompaniment of that classic, cornball theme song of his, answered the call.

Some Middle Eastern countries hostile to Israel are refusing to let WONDER WOMAN be shown there, because star Gal Gadot is of Israeli descent. This will deprive Warner Brothers of about three dollars and thirty-five cents of revenue, which it will more than make up for in providing free publicity for the film, and also by driving the black market price for copies of the movie over there, when it comes out, into the stratosphere. It isn’t just foreign governments who are a-hatin’ on the movie, though. There’s at least one PC dillweed squawking that the movie is racist, that it is, and I quote, “Dangerous for [her] black feminism and liberation.” (Yeah, I laughed when I read that, too.) And her complaint is for the same reason: the lead actress is Israeli. (I actually suspect, based upon her own words–and she almost says as much–that this person’s real complaint is that the actress is Caucasian, period, and that the only thing that would really satisfy her would be for the studio to have cast a black woman in the role. And I ask you, how racist is THAT?)

Then there was that theater somewhere–I think it might have been Texas (I could google it but I really don’t care)–where they held a women’s-only showing, and a few insecure males got their tighty-whitey knickers all twisted about it–thus providing even more in the way of free publicity. Then there were some thirteen-year-olds who were complaining on the Internet (’cause nobody would listen to them in real life) that the actress’s boobs weren’t big enough. It’s embarrassing from a sociological/anthropological standpoint that this griping by said teenyboppers (no grown man would be so childish, surely; this bitching must have been the work of little boys in their early teens) got mentioned at all. But the fact that it DID get mentioned only served to–you guessed it–provide more in the way of free publicity for the film.

Let’s review, then. We’ve got nitwits clucking that the movie is sexist, racist, political, and that the actresses’ boobs are too small. Just laugh, my friends. Just laugh to keep from crying. The stupid, it overwhelms us!

The fact that everybody is talking about the film, however, even if they’re bitching about something, constitutes SATURATION. This is what it means to be OVER. (Wrestling term, in case you didn’t know. It means to be accepted by “marks,” or fans, to get the desired reaction from them. The term suggests that the fans are buying into what is being sold.)

It’s nice to see a movie good enough in terms of its quality to deserve this level of OVER. You go, Gal!

Faulkner once said that the only thing worth writing about was ‘the human heart in conflict with itself.” Or in other words, the human-ness of a story is what makes it or breaks it. Not the “plot” but the “what,” to again quote Faulkner. I loved both BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN and SUICIDE SQUAD, but I will concede that both of them tended to skew more towards the onscreen action, leaving less time for the characterization, the “what” Faulkner spoke about. They had to, to fit in all the plot and action sequences they needed, but if those films had weaknesses, this was the source. A truly perfect film manages to get the balance just right, leaning more in one direction or the other depending on the type of film in question. Action and genre movies must by necessity lean more towards the flash over the fleshing-out. Again, though, a perfect film manages to include just the right amounts of both. WONDER WOMAN manages to achieve that perfect balance.

To put it another way, WONDER WOMAN has enough heart to go with its heroics to satisfy Faulkner’s requirement. It’s old-fashioned and beautiful. It’s as dark as any of the other DC films, but achieves enough lighthearted moments, or at the least stresses the need for the seeking of that light, to keep it from becoming depressing. WONDER WOMAN, the character, is a beacon of hope personified. And so is this movie. By all means, if you haven’t already, go see it!

The 90s were a cesspool for the comics world. If you were around back then, and by “around” I mean reading and purchasing comics, you already remember it as such—if you have any sort of discerning taste at all, that is. If your taste is lousy you probably recall the decade as a golden era. It was, however, a golden era that almost destroyed the entire industry. The birth of Image led to a deluge of books offering style with no substance, the viewing of comics artists as rock stars, their names on covers guaranteed to sell millions of copies sans writers or even coherent storylines; this in turn led to the speculator phenomenon which, when it imploded, threatened to take the medium with it. In the 90s it was all about money, with no thought given to history, to quality, or to the fans. Image pandered, while Marvel started publishing an excessive number of titles in an attempt to glut the market and put all the small presses out of business. It worked and they did—but it also bankrupted the company! (Also, there was that Spider-Man clone thing.)

DC wasn’t immune, either. Remember when DC essentially purchased its own exclusive distributor, also in an attempt to kill off the little guys? Remember the stunts? Replacing Batman—twice—and killing off Superman. The latter, though, despite being a stunt, ended up being a decent story. (The one that followed it, however, the Red Superman/Blue Superman fiasco, made up for this oversight by sucking as badly as anything any of the other companies had done.) I don’t cringe when I recall the “Death of Superman/ Reign of the Supermen” storyline. I wouldn’t mind seeing it revisited, as DC plans to do—IF they handle it properly. And if they never mention Red Superman/Blue Superman again, ever. Like, EVER.

Amid reports that extensive reshoots of the upcoming JUSTICE LEAGUE movie had resulted in Zack Snyder’s film essentially being remade before it was ever released comes news that Snyder is stepping away from the project altogether. Snyder’s daughter, we have learned, committed suicide in March, and Snyder has stated that he and his family need time, space, and privacy to cope with the tragedy. To hell with all the online trolls who are celebrating, or taking advantage of this family’s pain to hurl insults. I commend the man for taking care of his family first and extend to him my deepest sympathy. Only a truly evil person would find it impossible to dredge up some compassion for a father who has lost a child.

As far as the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie goes, though, there is good news. The man who will be stepping in to oversee the project from here on out is none other than Joss Whedon. You know, the guy who did a little movie called THE AVENGERS. Oh, and THE AVENGERS 2. And BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. And a shit-ton of other cool stuff. Yes, the League is in good hands. And, as the decision to bring in Whedon was Snyder’s, the latter deserves the credit for taking care of the project and not just dropping it, which would have been completely understandable given the circumstances. Kudos, Zack. And thank you.

It’s the most controversial comic book story to come down the pike (as opposed to the “pipe,” which I often see used in its place; this latter is incorrect; in the 19th Century, a “pike” was a road, hence the expression; Sorry. Self-admitted grammar nazi, here) in years. It raised hackles as soon as the first issue of the new Captain America series hit the stands, revealing that Cap had always been a secret sleeper agent for Hydra. Honestly I didn’t understand the hubbub. I said to myself immediately, “Oh, it’s that Cosmic Cube creature messin’ with Cap’s history.” Seemed obvious to me. (The sentient Cosmic Cube was revealed in the earlier series, the one where all the supervillains were being brainwashed and held prisoner by SHIELD in a makeshift Mayberry; I forget the name of the place. It was the storyline in which Cap, an old man at that point, devoid of the Super Soldier Serum, was made young again by the powers of the Cube.)

SECRET EMPIRE has been good so far, a kickin’ story. The bitchers will bitch, as that’s what they do, but it has thus far been a good read. The thing that really tripped me out occurred in the Free Comic Book Day offering, wherein the now evil Cap was able to lift Mjolnir. Those Cosmic Cubes don’t play, y’all. When they warp reality, they REALLY warp it. Anybody got an Infinity Gem handy?

This will be more of a commentary than a review. It’s not like, any of you, really need a review, anyway, right? I’m fairly certain 95% of the people who are going to see this movie, which equates to 95% of EVERYbody—excluding, possibly, those weirdoes who only like chick flicks, My Little Pony, and Woody Allen, which are all tantamount to the same thing, if you want to get technical about it—will have already seen the flick by now, as I sit typing this article. The other 5% will see it NEXT weekend, which may well already be past by the time you read this, in which case EVERYbody who is going to see this film will have already seen it. Ergo, no review is necessary. You don’t need me to tell you that GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Volume 2 is a flawless film, an instant classic, possibly better, if such a thing is possible, than the first one. You already know that it achieves the perfect mixture of hilarity and heart, pathos and poignancy.

What I don’t get is those people—I’d say roughly 5% of the packed theater when I saw the film—who got up and left during the end credits. Are they so clueless that they don’t know there are more goodies to see? Or do they just not care? You all, having seen the movie by now, know that there are FIVE after-credits scenes to enjoy. For those rare few, is it really more important for them to get out of the parking lot before the rush hits that they’d forego those extras? Maybe they’d already cheated by finding those scenes online? Maybe they all just really, really needed to pee?

If you’re one of those people bitching about Marvel making Captain America into a Hydra agent, you need to realize that, by generating publicity, you are doing Marvel a big favor. You are encouraging the company to keep pulling just such stunts as this. Publicity generates revenue, and it all comes down to sales. Your bitching is putting money in Marvel’s coffers.

Still, Marvel does care enough about the feelings of its faithful—or at least pretends a sham concern—to address all those Twitter comments and blog posts. Their message to the fans: “At Marvel, we want to assure all of our fans that we hear your concerns about aligning Captain America with Hydra and we politely ask you to allow the story to unfold before coming to any conclusion…What you will see at the end of this journey is that his heart and soul — his core values, not his muscle or his shield — are what save the day against Hydra and will further prove that our heroes will always stand against oppression and show that good will always triumph over evil.” In other words, Cap will overcome. Cap will return to his status quo. Is there anyone out there dense enough to seriously believe Marvel would LEAVE cap as a Nazi?

Listen, people. It’s a Cosmic Cube, okay? The Cosmic Cube that made cap young again? Remember that? Cosmic Cubes warp reality. The Cosmic Cube turned Cap into a Hydra agent. And Cap’s inherent decency, and the strength of his character will shatter that reality. Cap’s goodness will turn out to be stronger even than reality itself. It will all be okay. Breathe.

It was easy to predict. As reported a couple of weeks back, news that Marvel’s sales were down, and that this slump was being blamed on, in part, Marvel’s forced diversity, its habit of removing prominent characters from circulation and replacing them with minorities and female characters just for the sake of having more female and minority characters, heralded a return to a more classic Marvel, the return of those aforementioned prominent characters to their prior statuses. Wisely, it doesn’t seem that Marvel is doing away with all those new characters, which would have been a PR nightmare, had they done it, but is going to offer readers both the classic and new characters—which is what it should have done in the first place.

Let’s look at that teaser image for LEGACY. Sam Wilson is back as the Falcon. (Making him Captain America just to have a black Captain America was a bonehead move to begin with.) Steve Rogers is back in his classic costume. The Hulk is back, as is Iron Man and Thor. But included are the faces of the “new” Thor, the “new” Wolverine, the Totally Lame Hulk, Amadeus Cho, Miles Morales (who will always be stuck playing that OTHER Spider-Man, unless Marvel gives him the proper respect and changes his name), and Ms. Marvel. Marvel’s readers, it appears, will now get to choose between these flavor-of-the-month newbies (along with the occasional new characters that could actually become permanent fixtures) and the established icons. About time, Marvel.