Well, that didn’t take long. I remember a few years back, when Grant Morrison (the most overrated writer in the comics medium, in my opinion) “killed off” Batman by having Bruce Wayne sent back in time, wherein he had to fight his way back to the future. (It is worth noting that Marvel had done the exact same thing with Captain America the year prior. And with Cap, it worked.) While Bruce was gone, they stuck Dick Grayson in the Batsuit. Grayson fans were all atwitter, while I and all the other fans of the one true Batman gave vent to a collective groan. “It’s going to be a long time before we see Bruce again,” DC bigwigs promised at the time. Then—it seemed like just overnight—Bruce returned and claimed his rightful place as Batman. Why the rush? Why did DC change their plans? I suspect sales. Money talks, peeps. And it carries a BIG stick.

Looks like we’re about to see Bruce return as Batman in the current series. He hasn’t been out of the costume for very long at all. Are slumping sales again to blame? Was writer Scott Snyder’s plan always to bring Bruce back so soon, or has need necessitated it? I suspect the latter. Either way, color me happy. Get Commissioner Gordon as Robocop outta there. It’s time for the one and only BATMAN to retake center stage.

source: www.yahoo.com

I’ve been saying this for a while now, to pretty much anybody that will listen, but I have some serious doubts that the new BVS movie, unlike Superman, is going to be able to fly. I’m actually expecting a crash and burn. Not that I WANT a crash and burn; I WANT it to be as good as possible. I want to joyfully and gleefully announce to the world that I was wrong. Alas, I can’t lie to myself. I can’t deny the doubt is there. And rather than becoming lessened by each new trailer, piece of footage, or leaked fact concerning the film, I in fact become MORE convinced, the closer we get to the movie’s opening, that I am right. If the footage looks awesome—which it does—my rising hopes are soon enough squashed by some tidbit or snippet of an interview I read from one of the movie’s creators.

The latest case in point: Putting the Flash in the movie. Too many characters packed into the movie will make it top-heavy. As we already have Cyborg, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman in addition to Superman and Batman, the flick is sure enough starting to list now that the Scarlet Speedster is onboard. Couple that with the ridiculously bizarre miscasting of Ezra Miller as Barry Allen and what we have is, unfortunately, a recipe for another GEORGE CLOONEY AND ROBIN. Like I said, I hope I’m wrong.

source: news.yahoo.com

If I’m right in my belief that a complete reboot is coming, not only for Superman but for DC Comics in its totality, in the wake of the failed reboot that was the New 52—wait, if we’re rebooting a reboot, does that count as another reboot, or wouldn’t we be in fact retro-booting?—then the various creators pretty much have carte blanche to do whatever they want to the status quo. This could be either a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Where Superman is concerned, I vote for the former. Besides, I expect SOME traces of the New 52 to make it into the new-old continuity, when and if it happens.

Does that mean I think Jimmy Olsen will stay dead? (He was killed in the recent SUPERMAN #46.) Nah. He may not even remain dead throughout the current run. Even so, I’m digging what Gene Luen Yang is putting Superman through. Depowered, with his secret identity no longer secret, and getting his ass soundly kicked on a regular basis—and now his best pal has been killed. It lets us see what Supes is really made of. A man’s
character is determined by how he conducts himself at his lowest point, and I expect this character will, by the end of it all, prove to us why they call him the Man of Steel.

source: io9.com

It’s guaranteed to get some notice. Stir up some controversy. Garner publicity. And sell comic books. Which is, at the end of the day, what it’s all about, right? Sure. But there’s a good way and a bad way to go about it. So which approach is Marvel taking right now? I’d say, for the most part, the right way. Sure, making Captain America a black man and Thor a woman is a stunt. Or stunts, plural. And having them kiss is an even bigger stunt. Throw in the fact that it’s going to be an INTERRACIAL kiss, and it’s all so much better! Feathers will get ruffled and second printings, and thirds and maybe fourths, will take place. Cha-ching!

Still, I think it’s okay. Remember Marvel back in the 90s? If so, my sympathies. The focus then, as now, was on making the mean green, and they used stunts and gimmicks galore to do it. Or tried to. The approach failed and ultimately led the company to bankruptcy, because the gimmicks and stunts were not supported by good storytelling. Marvel, in its haste to make money, had forgotten that the quality of the product actually played a part in it. The big M has since learned that lesson, and for dang sure Disney knows it. Thus while we still get stunts and gimmicks—like this kiss—they are backed up by solid story content and strong characterization. I’m cool with that.

source: wixtechs.com

Sorry, Frank Miller. Or Brian Azzarello. The linked-to article doesn’t specify which of the two co-writers of DARK KNIGHT 3: THE MASTER RACE actually said that this new comic, and specifically its introduction of a FEMALE in the role of “Batman,” is going to “piss people off.” I kinda doubt that it does. It just isn’t that big a deal nowadays. I know this will disappoint Frank, who delights in rubbing fans the wrong way.

Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS became an instant classic when it was released back in the 80s. It introduced an old, retired Bruce Wayne (who quickly enough came out of retirement) and a female Robin. That girl sidekick has now risen up to take over the role of Gotham City’s Caped Crusader. This would be more newsworthy if DC hadn’t already done it with the character Batwoman a few years back. And after the sequel to THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, which debuted several years back, failed to leap over the critical and creative bar set so high by its predecessor, this latest effort has even more to live up to. Can Frank pull off the hat trick?

source: nypost.com

So let’s see if we can get this straight. The reason Captain America Steve Rogers and stand-in Captain America Sam Wilson are no longer on speaking terms is because one’s a Democrat and one’s a Republican? And we’re given the rather trite challenge of trying to guess which one is which? Um, no. That would be too simplistic and, given that Marvel doesn’t want to risk alienating any longtime fans (or new ones, recruited by their cinematic universe), pretty dumb. No, Captain America must represent ALL Americans. He can’t take political sides. He must remain neutral. At least that’s how Steve Rogers views it, and so do I.

Sam, though, wants to take a more active role in political matters. That’s the crux of their argument. It’s an intriguing story idea, having Sam as Cap speaking out more openly on certain issues than Steve did. Marvel can be a little controversial—remember, the Captain America comic has in the past offended some Rightwing group, and reaped some free publicity from it—without tarnishing the iconic character as he is depicted in the movies. How far are they willing to go? Just how vocal will Falcon-Cap be? We’ll just have to wait to find out.

source: io9.com

Times sure have changed, and they changed pretty fast. Just a few short years ago, the hinting that a comic character MIGHT be gay was enough to get a writer fired (Remember when Northstar was “outted” in Alpha Flight?) and have fans boycotting. Now you can’t turn a comic book page without hitting a gay character. This is a good thing. I believe comics SHOULD feature a wider diversity of characters; not all our heroes and villains need to be heterosexual white males. Comics should reflect real life in that regard. People come in all shapes, sizes, colors, religions and sexual orientations.

Do you sense a “but” coming?

BUT. If it feels forced. (If you are retconning an established character, for example.) Even when handled by a master scribe like Brian Bendis. If you are basically shoehorning a character into a new role—Let’s make this hero a female! Let’s make this hero gay! Oh, we need a Latino superhero now. Let’s create one!—just for the sake of having a gay/Latino/Muslim/vegan/whatever, it becomes a case of tokenism. That’s a bad word. “Token.” It cheapens the value of that diversity creators are trying to establish in comics.

Iceman has been around for 50 years. And we’re just NOW learning that he is gay?

source: www.advocate.com

After watching the FIRST fantastic fiasco to be played out on the silver screen and leaving the theater grousing and shaking my fists at the sky, lamenting the film’s greatest sin, the grave disservice it had done to Doctor Doom, my lovely better half, not as up on her comics culture as you or I, asked me, “What’s so great about Doom, anyway.” This launched me into a fifteen minute diatribe on Marvel’s greatest villain.

First, I explained that Doom is only a villain in that he frequently tussles with superheroes. His motivations, though, are ultimately noble. Doom wants to save the world. He wants to see an end to the sufferings brought about by human frailty. It’s just that he’s such an egomaniac, he believes the only way he can save the world is to conquer it and impose his inflexible will upon it. The only way he can protect the human race is to rule over it. But Doom isn’t motivated by hate (except his hatred for Reed Richards). The Fantastic Four are passé and have been for quite some time, but Doom is as vital as ever. Marvel needs him.

And my lovely better half, after hearing me extol Doom’s virtues, began to shake her fists at Hollywood, as well. To know Doom is to love him.

source: www.vox.com

I’ve spoken previously about my concerns for the NEW new Marvel Universe, now that so many of their top-level writers, including former “architects” Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Jonathan Hickman, along with fan favorites like Rick Remender and Kelly Sue DeConnick, have all departed for greener pastures. (Double entendre alert!) I expressed optimism, though, in that Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Aaron were sticking around, and that talented scribes like Charles Soule, Mark Waid and Al Ewing would be stepping up to fill the vacuum left by the departed. And, while not crazy about the current reshuffling of major players—the Hulk is now Aamdeus Cho; the Falcon is Captain America while Captain America is now an old man; Wolverine and Thor are both women; Peter parker is now Tony Stark and there’s a pretender posing as a second Spider-Man—I’m content to wait it out.

I’ve read the first issues of books like UNCANNY AVENGERS (hate the artwork, but good story), DOCTOR STRANGE and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and the first couple of issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN. So far they’re good. Up to the level of quality I’ve come to expect and demand of Marvel good. Even Spider-Man. I was initially worried that Spidey wouldn’t fly away from his urban NYC roots, but so far . . . Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

I heard again this past weekend how Zack Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL “ruined” Superman because of its ending. “Superman doesn’t kill,” this person said. “EVER!” I agreed, with the caveat that for every rule there is an inevitable exception. A fanboy might complain that he prefers his Superman painted in lighter tones—and I don’t just mean the color palette used for the movie—and this is a legitimate opinion. Some fans enjoy goofy and silly instead of dark and gritty where certain characters are concerned. However, within the context of this particular movie, Snyder put the Man of Steel in a situation where there WAS no other choice. Either Superman killed Zod, or Zod killed innocent people. Under those circumstances, what else could he do? Had he placed his ethical stance against killing above those people’s lives, would he not then have been complicit, to some extent, in their deaths?

It’s a much larger debate than superhero morality. Does perfect pacifism work? Had the world followed Gandhi’s suggestions NOT to violently oppose the Nazis in WW2, would the Nazis not have conquered the world, murdering hundreds of millions of innocents? There are some gripes where MOS is concerned that carry weight. (I for one thought that fight scene with the other two aliens went on too long—and this coming from a guy who loves fight scenes.) But Superman killing Zod isn’t one of them. Superman did the moral, conscientious thing. Ugly as it was, it was necessary.