Monday, March 28, 2016


During the course of any given month, I am asked many questions. I answer some of them in e-mails, posts to mailing lists and posts to my Facebook page. As time permits, I’ll continue doing all of the above. But, because time does not always permit, I’ll try to talk about these subjects in this brand-new feature of the bloggy thing. Let’s see how many I can cover today...


The title is misleading. I am terribly disappointed that, instead of the legal drama I was anticipating, this turned out to be another dark take on classic DC Comics characters with an excess of violence, callousness and teeth-gritting. I’m thinking of filing a class action suit to demand Zack Synder and anyone who approved the movie title go back to school to learn the difference between “v” and “vs.” Just kidding, but not entirely.

I haven’t seen the movie. My current plan is to watch it when it’s released on Blu-ray. That was also my plan for Man of Steel (2013),  but the more I heard about the movie, the less I wanted to subject myself to it. I made the decision not to watch Man of Steel when I requested and received a copy for my local library. I returned it unwatched.

Although the reviews of Batman v Superman have been overwhelmingly negative, there are enough favorable comments that I haven’t ruled out watching the film when I can get it from my library months from now. I think my favorite negative review to date claims the movie is so bad it’ll make you hate the entire Justice League, including the members who weren’t in the movie. Harsh.

I’ve read and heard favorable reviews from folks who aren’t comics fans. A bunch of fans on a comics art collecting list also seemed to like it. Then again, Mark Evanier quipped, “To honor the name of the late Bill Finger, maybe we should be campaigning to get it OFF the Batman movies.”

There are super-heroes who work with dark treatments, but I can’t imagine Superman or Wonder Woman being among them. Well, I can, on account of I’ve seen it in some not particularly entertaining comic books, but I don’t like to imagine it. Going dark with Batman makes a bit more sense to me, but not when he’s portrayed as a psychotic or a sociopath. It still wouldn’t be my preferred choice...and this may be why no one asks me to write Batman.  Well, maybe that and because, in doing so, I would totally lift Kite-Man to the heights that misunderstood villain deserves.
If I do watch Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, I won’t review it unless I can find something to say about that a dozen other critics haven’t already said. Or unless it turns out to be a whole lot more enjoyable than I expect.


Two frequently asked questions fall into this section. Why do you write negative reviews? Why don’t you write more negative reviews?

I’ve been reviewing comic books and related items longer and more often than any other comics professionals. I met with some industry resistance for this with naysayers claiming it was unprofessional for a professional to be writing about the work of his fellows. It was a ridiculous claim. Mystery writers have been reviewing mystery books for decades longer than I have been reviewing comic books and graphic novels. Fantasy and horror and science fiction writers have been reviewing works in their field for just as long. And so on and so on. This isn’t toddler t-ball where everyone gets to run around all the bases and everyone gets a participation trophy. This is an adult art form and its creators should not expect to be coddled as if they were children.

I write negative reviews for the simple reason that it helps gives my readers a base line for judging if they would like a comic book or graphic novel I’ve recommended or panned. While I would caution anyone from assuming I’ll like or dislike something, I would hope my reviews help you in your buying decisions.

As to why I don’t write more negative reviews, it’s simply because I don’t find them as much fun to write. I write them when I think I can make an educational or societal point and, I confess, when I find something hilarious in a comic book or graphic novel’s failed execution. But I’d rather introduce you to the really good stuff. That’s where my heart is.


I don’t have a clue how or if DC’s Rebirth event will affect Black Lightning. I expect DC will bring me up to speed on this, but, even if they do, I likely won’t be able to write about it. I’m afraid I can’t answer every question you ask me, though I will certainly try to answer them when and if I can.


While overall negotiations with DC are progressing and I very much enjoy my occasional conversations with various DC brass and staff, we’re not at the stage where I can announce anything. I remain relatively optimistic that day will come. 


For those wondering where they can meet me, I’m appeared as a guest at two conventions in April.

The first is Gem City Comic Con in Dayton, Ohio on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2. You can learn all about this comics-centric event by going to the show website...and you read my personal take on my forthcoming appearance here.

The second is FantastiCon in Toledo, Ohio on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17. I’ll be writing about this appearance next week, but, in the meantime, you can learn about this convention by going to the event’s website.

In May, I’ll be a guest at Canal Fulton’s The Toys Time Forgot for Free Comic Book Day, Saturday, May 7. I will have more details for you closer to the end of April.

Also in May, I’ll be a guest at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention, home of the Glyph Awards, in Philadelphia. The Awards will be presented Friday evening, May 20, and the convention itself will be on Saturday, May 21. This one of my favorite conventions. I’m looking forward to returning there.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with either the start of my multi-part Wizard World Cleveland report or one of three single-day pieces I’ve been working on. Thanks for stopping by.

© 2016 Tony Isabella


  1. Re: Batman v. Superman (I added the . to the title). I read the reviews and noted that most were negative. My "other half" wanted to see it and so we went. I went in with low expectations.

    However, I actually enjoyed it more than I expected. Sure, it was overly drawn out here and there, the Superman and Wonder Woman costumes are awful and, also, one would think Bruce Wayne could afford to buy some razors. I still came away enjoying the movie more than I expected. It is not the best super-hero movie, nor is it the worst.

    Henry Cavill, at times, reminded me of George Reeves. That's a plus in my book. Ben Afflick did a good job as Batman/Bruce Wayne. Anyway, that's my take on it.

  2. I wrote a mixed to negative review as part of my local newspaper column. One observation I made was that the effects were state of the art, but maybe the wrong art--instead of feeling like a comic or a movie, about half of the film felt like watching someone else play a video game.

    Steve Leavell

  3. I greatly enjoy your reviews, be they negative or not. Many are the times that you have alerted me to a comic or graphic novel that I may have overlooked. I have kept a lot of old CBG's so that in my limited spare time, I will look up one of your old columns to see what you have recommended, then I will try to hunt down to try!

  4. I enjoyed the BvS, too -- but I have a high tolerance for reinterpretations (even dark ones) of comics characters. And yeah, it lingered on some shots and scenes too long (Zach loves his own images). But, I thought the principals were all really good, and Affleck may be my favorite "realistic" Batman.

    Plus, my wife got very excited when Wonder Woman came on the screen, and we both wished there'd been more of her. WW is a super-icon to whole generations of women (and feminists), and it's nice to see her on the Big Screen.

    I still like the Dini-Timm cartoons better, though. ;-)