The latest bat-tastic slate of DC Comics related news items from August 24th - 26th, 2013!
In case one has been hiding under a rock over the weekend, Warner Brothers (WB) issued a statement as who will don the cape and cowl of Batman in their next costumed epic from their studio and DC Entertainment. With Christian Bale apparently making good on his statements to "retire" from the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman after his third performance in last summer's "The Dark Knight Rises", WB have tapped actor/director Ben Affleck to be the next caped crusader on the big screen. Such an announcement was a case of WB heading "back to the future", as rumors of Affleck being attached to the role of Batman as well as a potential Justice League film first arose early last year. This also comes amid a rumor that WB offered Bale some $50 million to return as Batman, which the actor presumably refused (assuming said rumor was even true). His first appearance as Batman would come in "Superman/Batman", a team up film debuting July 15th, 2013 and featuring most of the cast of this summer's "Man of Steel" reprising their roles - specifically, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Laurence Fishbourne as Perry White. To date, "Man of Steel" has earned some $650 million worldwide, which is a success but apparently not so much of it to allow Superman a sequel instead of a team-up.
Ben Affleck's career as an actor, screen writer and director has seen its ups and downs. In 2003, he played another comic book character as the lead in Fox Studios' "Daredevil". Active since the 90's, he's earned Golden Globes and Academy Awards for work on "Good Will Hunting" and last year's "Argo"; he's also appeared in some spectacular bombs in films such as "Gigli" and "Surviving Christmas". He's close friends with cult director and former Batman writer Kevin Smith, having appeared in at least three of his films, and had several high profile romances with Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Garner. Having just turned 41, he would actually be quite a bit older than Henry Cavill, who turned 30 a couple of months before "Man of Steel" debuted. The Hollywood Reporter adds that Affleck likely agreed to the role for multiple films as a change to re-establish himself as a big name actor after some critically acclaimed directorial exploits, and should "Superman/Batman" fare well, he could rethink directing a "Justice League" film himself. USA Today even notes the actor has begun a daily work out routine to bulk up for the role.
The reaction to this casting news across the internet and even mainstream press has been nothing short of bombastic, akin to reactions to natural disasters. Naturally director Zack Synder and WB president Greg Silverman are backing Affleck all the way, many comic book professionals across Twitter have had mixed reactions. Variety reports some 30 petitions to WB to amend their decision on Change.org, a forum usually reserved to change, well, things that matter such as abortion rights or voting rights or so on. Even the front page of New York Post noted how angry fans were petitioning the President in a fury not over NSA spying or the risk of war with Syria, but to remove Affleck from the role of Batman. The amount of hysteria over the announcement has gotten so out of hand that media pundits as well as many citizens have no moral high ground in regards to mocking the British when they regale their royal family again. One would think Affleck had killed someone, or at least a dog (i.e. Michael Vick), given such a harsh reaction. There was less of a reaction when anti-gay activist Orson Scott Card was once attached to write "Adventures of Superman".
The bottom line is that this announcement garnered just the reaction WB wanted. With Marvel Studios seeming to own the box office in terms of comic book adaptations as well as much of the news cycle, this got everyone talking about "Superman/Batman" instead of "The Avengers 2" or even "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Affleck's body of work has included some bombs as well as some spectacles as well as everything in between. Surely it couldn't be worse than George Clooney and "Batman & Robin" from 1997, right?
Bryan Cranston is Lex Luthor!?
Buried among the hyperventilating over Ben Affleck's role as Batman is a scoop by Cosmic Book News that the role of the next Lex Luthor has also been cast. Bryan Cranston, best known for "Breaking Bad" and "Malcolm in the Middle" has been cast to play the villain in "Superman/Batman" as well as other films should that prove successful. This wouldn't be Cranston's first dabble with DC Comics roles; he voiced James Gordon in last year's animated DVD adaptation of "Batman: Year One". The previous actor to play the role of Luthor was Kevin Spacey in 2006's "Superman Returns".
The Justice League moves to Canada in 2014!
Writer Jeff Lemire told fans and the media at the Canadian Fan Expo that he will be taking over writing duties on "Justice League of America" in the spring of 2014; currently Geoff Johns is writing the title. Furthermore, the team will move north of the border and be called "Justice League of Canada". This announcement could be taken with a grain of salt, as some pandering to our Canadian neighbors during annual Fan Expos has happened before. Marvel Comics once announced an "Alpha Flight" relaunch at the northern con, and DC Comics announced Booster Gold's new Canadian nationality two years ago. Perhaps one should tell Lemire that technically, Canada (as well as Mexico) are part of the continent of North America, and a name change may not be needed. This also may remind fans of the 80's and 90's when DC published spin-offs such as "Justice League International", "Justice League Europe" and "Justice League Antarctica".
DC Comics reveals new Lobo & retcons Rob Liefield!
As "Villians Month" approaches, DC Comics have revealed via their "What's new in the New 52" column a dramatically redesigned version of Lobo. This version is sleeker and younger looking than any previous incarnation (except for "Slobo" from the "Young Justice" comics from 2001-2003) in a seeming attempt to lose a lot of the character's parody appeal. While Lobo technically debuted in Rob Liefield's run on "Deathstroke", editor-in-chief Bob Harras has bluntly claimed that Lobo as an impostor. Created by Roger Silfer and Keith Giffen in 1983, Lobo was quite popular in the 1980's and even had his own ongoing series which lasted at least sixty issues. The character has appeared in several animated TV shows despite his gruff appearance, and may probably get a feature film before Wonder Woman will.