Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes

September 18, 2021

Book Review: "Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 1

Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 1 (Batgirl (2009-2011)) Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 1 (Batgirl by Bryan Q. Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects the entire first year of Stephanie Brown's run as Batgirl and the multi-story arch, Batgirl Rising which highlight her taking up the Batgirl mantle from Cassandra Cain.

While I don't think she's nearly as interesting a Batgirl as either Cassandra Cain or Barbara Gordon, she does win me over by the end with a combination of dedication and a desire to help people. In addition, Barbara Gordon is a bit of a secondary lead in here. The story was released after Batman Beyond and does have that kind of vibe of her training her successor. However, unlike Bruce in Batman Beyond, she has her own life and storyline.

Overall, this was a well-written book that sold me on a character and a concept I wasn't sure what I'd feel about it. Overall, nicely done.



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Published on September 18, 2021 23:06 Tags: barbara-gordon, batgirl, stephanie-brown

September 15, 2021

Book Review: Agents of Atlas

This is a fun book about the 1950s Avengers being driven into a new mystery surrounding their point man from back in the day, Agent Jimmy Woo.

This is fun, but I should warn that these character are obscure. If you know who the likes of Venus, Marvel Boy, Namora, and the Human Gorilla are than you can jump right into the story. If not, this is a book it makes sense to read the back subject matter first which includes first appearances of all these characters and the 1970s WhatIf Comic that revealed the existence of this team. Read it and then get ready for a fun team-up book written by the ever-entertaining Jeff Parker.
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Published on September 15, 2021 22:53

August 28, 2021

Book Review: Avengers: West Coast Avengers: Zodiac Attack

Avengers: West Coast Avengers: Zodiac Attack Avengers: West Coast Avengers: Zodiac Attack by Steve Englehart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This trade begins with an East/West Coast Avengers Annual that has a softball game transformed into a sequel to the Contest of Champions. The annuals are fun but a busy.

The story continues on with contact with the AI-powered Zodiak and their powers to assume the identity of various Avengers. These aren't horrible, but they aren't particularly engaging. Indeed, the characters are a bit lackluster, and our heroes' story arcs are a bit hard to get into. This isn't bad, but it's just a bit mediocre.



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Published on August 28, 2021 22:57 Tags: west-coast-avengers

August 21, 2021

Book Review: Essential Web of Spider-Man, Vol. 1

Essential Web of Spider-Man, Vol. 1 Essential Web of Spider-Man, Vol. 1 by Louise Simonson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This collects Web of Spider-man 1-18 and Annual #1 and #2. A solid collection of Spider-man comics from the 1980s beginning with Spidey's battling of the Alien Symbiote in a classic story, and includes the Smithville Thunderbolt story, but also a bit of a crossover with Secret Wars 2. A mix of villains as well as a lot of experimental ideas. While it's a mixed bag, this collection is definitely worth a read if you want Spidey comics with an anthology feel.



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Published on August 21, 2021 23:43 Tags: batman, bronze-age

August 14, 2021

Book Review: Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff

Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff by Peter David

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects the original four-issue story arc involving the murder of Spider-man Ally Jean DeWolff as well as the follow up three-issue story a couple of years later when the killer was released.

DeWolff has been a sort of female Nick Fury-type character with a certain gruffness but a love for our hero. Peter David fills out her backstory and then kills her off to set off the mystery. The mystery and the continued activities of the killer push Spider-man into the edge and into conflict with Daredevil.

The follow-up story is also good, though only slightly related. Overall, this is a worthy story arc and fine collection of 1980s Spider-man comics.



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Published on August 14, 2021 21:04 Tags: 1980s, peter-david, spider-man

August 7, 2021

Book Review: Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, Volume 5

Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, Vol. 5 Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, Vol. 5 by Al Milgrom

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A pretty solid collection of Spidey comics (Issues 97-114). On the strong side, we have the conclusion of the story arc involving the Black Cat and all the complications in her relationship with Spider-man, we also have a nice two-part team up with the Wasp, and the classic, "The Death of Jean DeWolff" and a very solid Christmas story.

The only bad parts of the book are an annual (#5) that features a Michael Jackson lookalike who becomes this central character and a Secret Wars 2 tie-in.

Other than that, the book has interesting stories and good solid character tie-ins.



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Published on August 07, 2021 22:50 Tags: bronze-age, spider-man

July 10, 2021

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Sub-Mariner, Vol. 3

Marvel Masterworks: The Sub-Mariner, Vol. 3 Marvel Masterworks: The Sub-Mariner, Vol. 3 by Roy Thomas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 2-13 of the Sub-Mariner and it features plenty of highlights, including the return of a friend from the Golden Age era. The last plot arch involving the Serpent Crown is pretty good. However, most of the book is strictly middle of the road. There's nothing particularly unique or unusual about these stories. Tiger Shark is introduced and given a lot of space, but he's not all that interesting, neither is the man called Destiny.

Again, this is perfectly okay read, but a bit average overall.



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Published on July 10, 2021 21:53 Tags: silver-age, sub-mariner

June 21, 2021

Book Review: The Eternals, Vol. 2 by Jack Kirby

Eternals by Jack Kirby Vol. 2 (Eternals (1976-1978)) Eternals by Jack Kirby Vol. 2 (Eternals by Jack Kirby

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Kirby artwork was great, but sometime (probably after the Annual), the story seems to lose its focus. Ideas like the a robotic Hulk attacking really feel a bit random. The story meandered a lot and I can't help but wander if Kirby would have been happier had the option of writing a 12-issue Maxi Series were available. As it is, the book feels like it meanders. Some of the characters do show more development. Otherwise, though, this is a bit of a disjointed close to the early Eternals comics.



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Published on June 21, 2021 22:38 Tags: bronze-age, jack-kirby, the-eternals

June 14, 2021

Book Review: Justice, Volume 3

Justice, Volume 3 Justice, Volume 3 by Jim Krueger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Justice, Volume 3 brings the story to a conclusion and heroes and villains head into final conflict. While story has a satisfying resolution, it is a bit of a mess to get there. So many different plot lines and plot points have been set out through the story, meaning there's a lot of confusion and it can be hard to keep track of as we're switching back and forth a lot. Still, even if you're a bit confused, you can always feast your eyes on the glorious artwork, which really carries this tremendous book through the pitfalls of trying to resolve this massive plot.



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Published on June 14, 2021 22:38 Tags: alex-ross, dc-comics, justice

June 12, 2021

Book Review: The Eternals, Vol. 1

The Eternals, Vol. 1 The Eternals, Vol. 1 by Jack Kirby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The first volume of Jack Kirby's run on the Eternals collects issues 1-11.

This book thrives on a couple of things. First, is its big concepts. It introduces big cosmological ideas to the Marvel Universe about three species of man: the Humans, the Eternals, and the Deviants, as well as space gods who tampered with men and were responsible for this and have returned.

The other strength is the art. While this isn't Kirby of the Silver Age. Kirby in the Bronze Age was still a very good artist and this gave him opportunities to draw monsters, big cosmic beings, giant spaceships, and they're just glorious to look at.

The weakness are the characters. Most of them were one to two dimensional and really not that interesting. The most interesting character in the book is Sersi, who gets minimal time. The plot also does drag on a bit. In many ways, it seems to be a throwback to the old Sci Fi comics that Kirby used to write/draw in the late 1950s, only expanded with a much bigger story.

Still,, I think it's a solid read on the strength of the art and it's overall influence on the Marvel Universe.





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Published on June 12, 2021 08:08 Tags: 1970s, marvel-comics, the-eternals

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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