Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes

December 5, 2016

Superman UnchainedSuperman Unchained by Scott Snyder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


There are several elements to Superman: Unchained, but the two big ones are that it's an epic action adventure story and it's a story about the character of Superman.

Superman always has to be a bit restrained in how he fights evil. He could kill most of his opponents easily. As the title implies, Superman gets to cut loose in this book as he battles a genetically engineered opponent who is every bit his equal along with other world threatening menaces. If you want to see what Superman can do when he doesn't have to worry about hurting his opponent, this book shows you. At the same time, it's not a stupid action story. There's a solid plot filled with surprises and nuances.

The book is also a look at Superman, the character. In many ways, it's almost a counterpoint to the classic "All-Star Superman" book. While that book imagines Superman as a demigod or a replacement for gods with a mythic epic feel, this book paints Superman as a bit more human and humble. This book does focus on the New 52 and How much of his characterization still holds up in light of the recent changes to the DC Universe is a fair question. Still, this is a very fun and enjoyable Superman story that comes to a fairly satisfying conclusion.



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Published on December 05, 2016 23:07 • 7 views • Tags: new-52, superman

November 25, 2016

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 3: The Fountains of ForeverDoctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 3: The Fountains of Forever by Nick Abadzis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Fountains or Forever is actually the first Tenth Doctor book where one storyline runs through the entire book as the Doctor tries to intercept a powerful artifact and when that fails, he has to unlock its mystery and things more complicated when an aging Hollywood startlet is re-invigorated. The story also has a nice call back to a classic series villain.

Overall, this is a story that holds a reader's interest. Gabby's friend Cindy is an interesting character that I'd like to see more of. As usual, the art on this series is top notch with Elena Casagrande turning in some superb work.



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Published on November 25, 2016 15:42 • 18 views • Tags: doctor-who, fountains, tenth-doctor

November 19, 2016

The Batman Chronicles, Volume FiveThe Batman Chronicles, Volume Five by Various

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Compared to Superman and other Golden Age comics, this Volume of Batman stories from late 1941 and 1942 show how Batman was already emerging as very different from its golden age counterparts. Five of the fourteen stories involve supervillains with three battles against the Joker and two against the Penguin. While these don't show the big scale absurdity of later plans, they do show promise and a hint of the schemes to come.

In addition, the book has a nice Christmas story and a true underrated golden age classic, "The Three Racketeers" which finds three criminals discussing their encounters with the Batman and has a nice surprise twist ending.

Overall, a solid collection of stories that captures the Batman's evolution in comics.



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Published on November 19, 2016 23:16 • 19 views • Tags: batman, golden-age

October 15, 2016

Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, Volume 2Doctor Who Classics Omnibus, Volume 2 by Steve Parkhouse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A collection containing stories of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Doctors, originally printed in Doctor Who Magazine and colorized here.

The Fourth Doctor stories at the start of the book are mostly pointless and only “okay” in and of themselves. They’re more important for how they set up adventures for the Fifth Doctor.
The Fifth and Sixth Doctor stories are the highlight of the book as they’re very different from happened on television but still plausible. The Fifth Doctor is shown as without companions (or with them safely stowed) and living a happy life as an English gentleman of leisure when trouble comes a-calling. The Doctor gets two temporary companions in here: A medieval knight named Sir Justice and a World War II pilot.

The Sixth Doctor stories take him on epic cosmic adventures. This collection is most noteworthy for introducing the character of Frobisher, the shape shifter who would settle into the default form of a penguin. The portrayal of the Sixth Doctor is a bit more balance than what we had on TV.
Overall, these are very enjoyable stories which offer a different spin on two Doctors that didn’t necessarily receive the best treatment on Television but made up for it somewhat in comics.




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Published on October 15, 2016 22:20 • 70 views • Tags: doctor-who

September 16, 2016

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics, Vol. 5Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics, Vol. 5 by Carl Burgos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book has one huge highlight and that is the first ever superhero team up between Namor, the Submariner and the Human Torch. This happened more than a decade before Batman and Superman teamed up and is notable because these two had previously fought each other but now were combining forces against the Nazis. It's a superb classic story that's overlooked in comic history.

As for the rest of the book, Namor continues to be a highlight of any book in which he appears as you see the complexity of the character as well as his shift to war-footing. He continues to be fearsome, moody, and unpredictable. The book's final Namor story has him, oddly enough, returning to New York to fight in a boxing match.

The Torch stories are more standard fare. They're well-written but not all that memorable.

The Angel and Ka-Zar strips work in serialization with the Ka-Zar having a two part story and the Angel having a three part story. This made a lot of sense and I wish more Golden Age comics had done multi-part stories particularly as paper shortages required shorter stories. The Angel story features the Cat's Claw, a villainess who calls to mind the Pulp Heroine Miss Fury. Ka-Zar's last solo story is of note as he takes on the Nazis and drives them out of Africa.

The Terry Vance stories are light juvenile detective tales that could have stood a bit more development. The only truly unenjoyable story is Electro, the Robot whose stories are tedious to read. Thankfully, he's not included in the final issue.

The text stories in this book are noteworthy as they're about the heroes of the comic books. Thus we get stories about Terry Vance, the Angel, and the Human Torch, which is nicer than the generics included in many golden age Comic books.

Overall, there are already some slight declines in comic book quality already visible in this book, but each strip (except Electro) is enjoyable in its own right, the text stories are interesting, and the story of the Submariner-Human Torch team up make this a must-read.



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Published on September 16, 2016 18:38 • 76 views • Tags: marvel

September 15, 2016

Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor Volume 1 - A Matter of Life and DeathDoctor Who: The Eighth Doctor Volume 1 - A Matter of Life and Death by George Mann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects the five issue Eighth Doctor mini-series for Titan Comics. The story includes several nods to the Big Finish Audio productions. It begins with an a list of many of the Doctor's Big Finish companions (don't why Liv Chenka didn't make the cut but whatever) and we find him visiting his house on Baker Street (which was something the Doctor acquired in the Fifth Doctor Audio Adventure, "The Haunting of Thomas Brewster.")

From there, the story takes on an arc format that's been typical of the Moffat era where a Companion is introduced and there is a mystery that ultimately centers around her and this holds all five issues together even though they're different stories. What makes this work well is that writer George Mann has created a delightful and thoroughly likable companion in Josie, the Cyan haired painter. That plus, Mann has really captured Paul McGann's Doctor. I can hear him reading every single line.

The weakness of this book is its length. Of the five inter-locked issues, a couple stories really cry for more development. Still, it's a good arc and it has a nice twist cameo at the end. Overall, I love this book and would truly enjoy an ongoing series for the Eighth Doctor and Josie.



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Published on September 15, 2016 09:20 • 97 views • Tags: big-finish, doctor-who, eighth-doctor

September 3, 2016

Showcase Presents: Justice League of America, Vol. 2Showcase Presents: Justice League of America, Vol. 2 by Gardner F. Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects Justice League of America Issues 17-36.

The book is chock full of Silver Age silliness and there's no Silver Age silliness like DC Silver Age silliness. The book isn't quite as fun as many of the heroes' own books because of the lack of differentiation of personalities. There are silly ideas like an evil tornado being who decides to turn good and then creates duplicates of the Justice League to fight his evil side to prove whether good is really better than bad.

However, there are some good stories in here. At this point, the Justice League has developed a solid line up and would add Hawkman to the mix in here. Heroes would rotate whether they'd be in the book or not which gives heroes more time to showcase their unique powers and abilities. Kanjar-Ro and Doctor Destiny are two of the villains that make return appearances, already beginning the Justice's League rogue's gallery shape.

At the same time, the book also features the first two big team ups with the Justice Society of America on Earth 2 and we're introduced to Earth 3 where the only superbeings are villains who take on the Justice League for "reasons," in a somewhat contrived story that's still fun. Another favorite in here is, "The Mystery of Spaceman X," which is surprisingly good.

Overall, despite a few stupid moments, this is a very fun book and it lays out some core ideas that would define the DC Universe to this day.



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Published on September 03, 2016 20:00 • 80 views • Tags: justice-league

September 1, 2016

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis Volume 4Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis Volume 4 by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Fourth volume of Miles Morales finds Miles facing off against Venom who is determined to find the new Spider-man and is convinced that it's Miles da. The story presents a real crisis for Miles and ends in a really powerful and different, "Spider-man no more moment, " while also questioning who he can trust.

At the same point, one thing that really makes this compelling is the portrayal of J Jonah Jameson who is a bit more cautious about endangering the new Spider-man and has definitely impacted by his experience of what happened to Peter Parker. I never read Ultimate Spider-man during the Parker era, but this book makes me very curious about it.

Overall, the villain fight is a decent even if it takes a long time to start, there are definite consequences that will play out in the next book, and there are some great characters moments as well.



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Published on September 01, 2016 00:13 • 60 views • Tags: miles-morales, spider-man

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 • 82 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 • 78 views • Tags: doctor-who, eleventh-doctor

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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