Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes

August 15, 2016

Axe Cop, Vol. 1Axe Cop, Vol. 1 by Malachai Nicolle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Axe Cop is written by a boy and is drawn by his half brother who is 24 years older. This volume contains early adventures of Axe Cop from when the boy was five and six.

The book is certainly imaginative and zany in its realization of the ideas from the minds of five year olds as characters change identities and absolutely absurd things happen throughout with rhyme and reason occasionally elusive.

I found this book to be hilarious and cute, despite some of the grisly ideas that come from a boy’s imagination (not really portrayed in a gory way.) However, you’ve got to have the right sense of humor and be in the right mood to appreciate the pure wackiness of Axe Cop.



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Published on August 15, 2016 18:29 • 68 views • Tags: axe-cop

August 14, 2016

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor, Vol. 3: ConversionDoctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor, Vol. 3: Conversion by Al Ewing

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The first year of Eleventh Doctor comics comes to conclusion in this final volume collecting Issues 11-15 of the series along with the Free Comic Day 2015 book.

I do have to say the story of a reality-warping entity that starts the book is probably the best of Titan's first run of Free Comic Book Day offerings for Doctor Who.

The rest of the book wraps up the big questions of this first series such as how did Jones become a well known king of pop music when his career had been as a bland beige figure who blends is so he's practically invisible as well as the finale of the battle against the scout.

While they're a few off notes, the story really does shine. The art is bold and imaginative and there are some powerful emotional moments when Alice stands out as a companion despite her having a few shaky moments. All in all, it's a satisfactory conclusion to a very good first year for the Eleventh Doctor at Titan Comics.



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Published on August 14, 2016 19:03 • 63 views • Tags: doctor-who, eleventh-doctor

August 9, 2016

Daredevil, Vol. 4: The Autobiography of Matt MurdockDaredevil, Vol. 4: The Autobiography of Matt Murdock by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collect the end of Mark Waid's legendary run on Daredevil with issues 15.1 and concluding with 16-18.

Issue 15.1 are excepts from Matt Murdoch's titular autobiography and they're fun stories that carry the readers back to Daredevil's early days. Waid has excelled at this type of stories, so it's not hard to understand why he goes back to that well. My only complaint is that I'm kind of uncertain about the chronology of Daredevil's Yellow costume and working for another firm, but Waid probably has it right.

The final three issues bring us the climax of Murdoch's attempt to cut a deal with the Kingpin in order to restore his secrets and stop the damage that's been done by a Cyberattack. Wilson Fiske is probably the biggest (in both a literal and figurative sense) villain that Waid hasn't tackled. It's a very solid and satisfying story with great personal stakes and the book ends solidly even if it's in a way that makes this whole renumber after the end of Volume 3 of Daredevil seem more pointless than already has.

Having the read the entirety of this run, I have to say that Waid (and artist Chris Samnee who was with him for most of the run) deserve a ton of credit. Waid's entire run on this series has been historic, not just for Daredevil but for comics in general. He managed to take Daredevil in new directions while honoring what came before. It's been a strange mix brilliant originality which touches of nostalgia, with great character development and emotion throughout the series. Young writers and artists looking for an example of how superhero comics should be written couldn't really do better than looking at Waid's run on this book.



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Published on August 09, 2016 17:53 • 74 views • Tags: daredevil, mark-waid, matt-murdoch

August 6, 2016

Galaxy Quest: The Journey ContinuesGalaxy Quest: The Journey Continues by Erik Burnham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is a fairly good story idea where a key device that saved the day for our heroes by reversing and replaying time in the Galaxy Quest movie ended up causing problems across the solar system. The result is okay and for fans of the movie, you get to see the characters in action again. But that's about all I can say for it. Galaxy Quest set a high bar of combining humor with earnestness and poking fun at Sci Fi tropes in order to make a great movie and tell a superb story. This book tells a serviceable enough story with a few laughs that's otherwise forgettable.



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Published on August 06, 2016 20:08 • 68 views • Tags: galaxy-quest

August 2, 2016

Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 9Essential Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 9 by Marv Wolfman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book is one of the larger Marvel Essential Collections featuring 25 issues of the Amazing Spider-man (186-210), along with 2 Amazing Spider-man Annuals and the first Spectacular Spider-man Annual.

The majority of the book is by Marv Wolfman, with Roger Stern doing a guest issue for #206 before Denny O'Neil takes over for Issues 207-210.

There were some good stories told in here. Wolfcouman hits a good stride with the introduction of Black Cat coupled with re-appearances by old favorite rogues such as the Kingpin, Electro, Doctor Smythe, and Mysterio. The Amazing Spider-man Annual #13 combined with the Spectacular Spider-man Annual #1 makes for an epic Doctor Octopus story. The multi-issue storyline regarding the apparent death of Aunt May is a superb lead in to the events of Issue 200, a huge milestone for the webslinger. Peter Parker faces a moral dilemma when Betty Brant, estranged from her husband, tries to rebound with Peter. Also, we see Jonah Jameson put through the ringer as he suffers personal tragedy and then a nervous breakdown.

The negatives of the book are few. The early going for O'Neil on Marvel's best known title are a bit mixed. He has an interesting story featuring Kraven the Hunter, but Spider-man's match-ups against Mesmero and Fusio are uninspired. And Amazing Spider-man Annual #14's story with Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom is interesting but feels like Spidey's become a guest character in his own book. Still, this is balanced out by Issue #210 introducing the mysterious Madam Web.

Overall, the late 1970s and early 1980s were a great time for the Amazing Spider-man and this title is a worthwhile read for Spidey fans.



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Published on August 02, 2016 19:52 • 68 views • Tags: bronze-age, spider-man

July 31, 2016

Secret Origins, Vol. 1Secret Origins, Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book collects four Issues of Secret Origins, examining the origins of DC Comics characters in the New 52 universe. This first volume contains well-known characters such as Batman and Superman as well as the lesser lights of the DC Universe and even a villain.

The book surprised me by being able to wring a bit of emotional tension out of the Superman origin story. I also liked the Green Arrow and Red Robin origins. I'm a less a fan of Hal Jordan and Harley Quinn's origin. Hal Jordan is portrayed as being a disrespectful brawler before finding the ring, and otherwise it's unremarkable. With Harley Quinn, they go over the top and give her a bunch of serious mental issues prior to becoming a psychologist and ending up in Arkham. It's a bit trite that a psychiatrist needs a therapist herself even if there is a fairly large kernel of truth to it. It'd make sense for her to have some minor issues before going to Arkham, but they went over the top.

Other than that, the book was mostly forgettable. The stories were okay but rarely conveyed any great sense of epicness or made you want to read these characters books. For DC fans, it's still a legitimate as a definitive resource on where your heroes came from. until the Rebirth Universe takes full effect anyway...



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Published on July 31, 2016 15:18 • 72 views • Tags: dc-comics, secret-origins

July 29, 2016

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor, Vol. 2: FracturesDoctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor, Vol. 2: Fractures by Robbie Morrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


After a lackluster First Volume, Robbie Morrison hits his stride with the Second Volume of 12th Doctor Stories.

"Fractures" is the story of one of Clara's students dealing with the loss of her father, only to have him mysteriously re-appear and then the family is menaced by a strange alien race. The story has a great deal of emotion. It also captures the feel of the Twelfth Doctor perfectly with that crustiness combined with a heart of compassion underneath it.

"Gangland," finds the Doctor and Clara arriving in Las Vegas in the 1960s and meeting up with the Wolf pack (a knock version of the Rat Pack meant to avoid paying license fees.) and it features a somewhat typical alien invasion story that's spiced up by a Time Lord legend. It's a very stylish story. There's a gorgeous spread of the Doctor rolling the dice at a Craps table which stands out as a favorite image.

The lowlight of the book is the Free Comic Day comic that's included. The story itself is kind of forgettable, but the tale is written with Clara narrating and it includes some of the most smug narration I've ever read and manages to capture what people like least about her.

Overall, though, this is a very solid collection and the Twelfth Doctor comic stories appear to have hit their stride.



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Published on July 29, 2016 10:18 • 102 views • Tags: titan-comics, twelfth-doctor

July 27, 2016

Batman: Gotham AdventuresBatman: Gotham Adventures by Ty Templeton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Gotham Adventures is the third comic book series based on Batman: The Animated Series (following Batman Adventures and Batman and Robin Adventures.) This book collects Issues 1-6 of that series.

Issue 1: “With a Price on His Head:” The double length opener finds everyone in the city is gunning for the Joker as the father of one of his victims has put a $50 million price on the Joker’s head, leading to a public safety problem and Batman forced to hide the Joker: the one place the Joker will be safe: The Batcave. Overall, a bang up first issue that manages plenty of action, a bit of comedy, and a great moment of truth. Grade: A
Issue 2: “Lucky Day:” Two-face takes over a TV studio where one lucky winner is going to walk away a millionaire, though if Two-face has anything to say about it, he won’t walk away at all. The story tries to offer additional insight into Two-faces past, but it seems forced, as does the ending. Not a bad story, but a bit flawed. Grade: B-
Issue 3: “Just Another Day,”: A sequel to “I’ve Got Batman in My Basement,” with a Batman obsessed kid with Batman in his belfry. A little monotonous at the beginning, but had a very cute ending. Grade: B
Issue 4: “Claws,” Batman’s relationship with Cat-woman was not as friendly in the New Animated series as it was in Batman: TAS. This is the story of how their relationship changed. A solid character piece. Grade: B+
Issue 5: “Polar Opposites,” Mister Freeze is stuck as only a head but is given access to his body suit to pursue Grant Walker as part of a rescue attempt for one of Bruce Wayne’s scientists, accompanied by Night Wing and Batgirl. Why he even cares is a mystery that’s answered only at the end. Okay, but not all that engaging. Grade: B-
Issue 6: “Last Chance,” In a previous Batman series, Boston Brand appeared but didn’t die and become Deadman (the paranormal with the ability to take over the bodies of others. Instead, he became a gymnast who went by the name of Deadman and wore the costume because you always want to dress the part if you might want to become an avenging spirit of justice. Brand dies and hunts his killer. The story is lackluster with little for Batman to do and Deadman is pretty much brought to a complete end and the story feels dull and pointless. Grade: D+

Except for the last comic, the stories in the book are good reads with the first issue being a truly solid start. Overall, a good beginning with a few ups and downs.





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Published on July 27, 2016 20:19 • 90 views • Tags: batman, gotham-adventures

July 26, 2016

Martian Manhunter, Vol. 1: The EpiphanyMartian Manhunter, Vol. 1: The Epiphany by Rob Williams

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


A good first issue or first collection should be very welcoming for new readers. It should be a good jumping on point. This is not a very good first collection.

The book is puzzling. It's trying to be mystifying, profound and mind-bending. Instead, the story is disorienting, and unpleasant. The book spends a lot of time focusing on the issue of What the Martian Manhunter is that the who is very quickly lost in the shuffle. Plot wise, the end of the book should have felt like a great cliffhanger that made me want to pre-order the next volume. Instead, this leaves me cold.

Overall, fails to give a good judgment to a great character and that's a shame.



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Published on July 26, 2016 18:51 • 76 views • Tags: martian-manhunter

July 25, 2016

What If? Classic, Vol. 7What If? Classic, Vol. 7 by Peter Gillis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 40-42 and 44-47 of What If? The final issues of the classic What If? Series:

#40: What if Doctor Strange Had Never Become Master of the Mystic Arts?: I’m not really a Doctor Strange fan but I found this to be an interesting story. I understood the basics because of another Doctor Strange What If? This one sees Baron Mordo getting the honor from the Ancient One. The only complaint is that the Ancient One has to be incredibly dense to Mordo’s obvious evil to make this story work. Still, Strange gets involved in an interesting way at the end and this is a well-thought out yarn. Grade: B+
#41: What if the Submariner Saved Atlantis From its Destiny?-Examines what had happened if the Submariner had stayed in Atlantis and saved it. A good action story with a bit of a downbeat (and not too believable ending. Grade: B
#42: What if the Invisible Girl had died? A look at what would have happened if Sue Richards had died in childbirth? The story was emotional, though occasionally overwrought. As is often the case in What If, they like to test concepts that might cause Reed Richards’ machine-like thinking to give way to emotion and do a fair job here. It shows how important Sue is the Fantastic Four. Grade: A-
#43-Since most of the book was Conan (for whom Marvel no longer owns rights and therefore can’t reprint), we only have a back-up feature which has three Marvel characters (Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, and Phoenix) flying around a blank page.. The story’s not horrible but it feels like a pointless filler piece. Grade: C
#44-What if Captain America were Not Revived until Today?- A similar theme has been explored a few times. What if Captain America remained frozen and an imposter had taken over for his own means. This isn’t the best take on that scenario but there are some interesting angles, but some odd choices as well. Grade: B
#45-What if the Incredible Hulk Went Berserk?: Short answer is that a lot of people die. The story is a little better than that pat answer but not by much. Grade: B-
#46-What if Spider-man’s Uncle Ben had lived?-A good premise that examines what would have happened had Aunt May and not Ben died at the hands of the burglar. The difference in character and approach leads to a different life for Peter Parker and Spider-man? Grade: QA
#47-What if Loki found the Hammer of Thor-The classic What If? Series comes to a conclusion with an Asgardian epic wherein Loki finds Thor’s hammer before Don Blake leading to disastrous consequences and a battle royale. Grade: B+

Overall, What If? was still a fine magazine at the end even if they were running a bit low on ideas.




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Published on July 25, 2016 22:33 • 62 views • Tags: what-if

Christians and Superheroes

Adam Graham
I'm a Christian who writes superhero fiction (some parody and some serious.)

On this blog, we'll take a look at:

1) Superhero stories
2) Issues of faith in relation to Superhero stories
3) Writing Superhe
...more
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