Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes

October 19, 2018

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Vol. 3: Full CircleBatgirl and the Birds of Prey Vol. 3: Full Circle by Julie Benson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects the final nine issues of the DC Rebirth series.

It begins with the one-shot, "Gotham City Limits" in which Helena takes her class and Dinah out to the woods near a historic site. While Barbara does a ton of work as both Batgirl and Oracle in Gotham City, while Helena and Dinah end up fighting the ghost of a witch Doctor. This one is okay, but it's a bit frantic and unfocused.

Then there's the three-parter, "Manslaughter" in which every male in Gotham City is struck down with a disease and it requires a massive all-female team-up of heroes and even a few villains to save the day. I particularly loved the epic appearance of one hero at the end of an issue. This one was a lot of fun.

Then we get another one-shot, "Eco-Deadly" where at the request of Spyral, Helena goes to Paris and gets her team helping her as they deal with an arms dealer kidnaps the inventor of a device that has weather-control features. This is a fun jaunt through the streets of Paris, though I will say Batgirl is given some really clunky dialogue.

The book ends with, "Full Circle" where Calculator sends a robot to find out who is Oracle and it kills an ally of the Birds of Prey and secrets begin to be revealed. This is a very good wrap up for this series. It ties into a lot of stories that have come before while also showing how our leads have grown. A very solid finish.

Overall, this was another good volume in an underrated series. An enjoyable read.



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Published on October 19, 2018 22:44 • 25 views • Tags: batgirl, brids-of-prey, dc-rebirth

October 13, 2018

Kings Watch Volume 1Kings Watch Volume 1 by Jeff Parker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The old King Comics characters: Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, the Phantom, and several supporting characters are brought together to save the world from an invasion by Ming the Merciless. The story is pretty good with solid art and a fun adventure. The characters are more scattershot. While most are consistent from what I know of the comic strips, many characters are flatter. Also sadly, this doesn't follow the continuity of Parker's Flash Gordon series but rather stands alone as the start to some lesser spin-offs and future team-ups. Still, for what it is, this is pretty fun.



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Published on October 13, 2018 23:14 • 38 views • Tags: dynamite, flash-gordon, king-features

October 12, 2018

Superman: Action Comics, Vol. 5: Booster ShotSuperman: Action Comics, Vol. 5: Booster Shot by Dan Jurgens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 993-999 of Action Comics as well as an action comics special.

It starts off with the story, "Booster Shoot" where in the aftermath of, "The Oz Effect," Superman has headed back in time to find out of if Jor-El really was Oz. Booster Gold heads back in time to stop him from messing up the timeline. Meanwhile, with Superman gone, Lois sets out to rescue her father from a prison in a dictatorship. This is a very good story. Jurgens' loves his six issue story arcs and this is one that doesn't feel padded with some great time travel work as well as some solid interactions between Sups and Booster Gold.

The next is "What Would Superman Do" and it's a nice one-shot in which Superman is examining his approach to dealing with criminals in the Phantom Zone as well as life in general, while Lois deals with relationship issues with her dad. This is a solid issue that really serves to provide character moments for the man of steel.

Finally, the last story begins with Lois receiving a call from someone who knows she's "Mrs. Superman." Suspicion falls on Lex Luthor who has turned on Superman, but not apparently to a life of crime. This one has some nice twists in it.

Overall, I liked this book as Jurgens brings his run on Action Comics to a very strong conclusion.



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Published on October 12, 2018 08:31 • 37 views • Tags: action-comics, dan-jurgens, dc-rebirth, superman

October 8, 2018

Avengers InfinityAvengers Infinity by Roger Stern

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The cosmic hero Quesar needs help fighting a threat that wiped out a colony and so he turns to the Avengers. However, most of the regular well-known Avengers aren't available, so he gets a team of Thor and some lesser known characters.

This story actually works really well. The plot has some high concept ideas that require the intervention of a big cosmic being, and I have mixed thoughts on that. What I did like is the character work. Stern did a great job making all the characters come to life and be really interesting. Monica Rambeau is very well-written and there's some great conflict with Thor. By no means is this a great book, but if you're working for a good cosmic story with solid character work, this is worth checking out.



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Published on October 08, 2018 23:03 • 37 views • Tags: avengers, roger-stern

October 3, 2018

Showcase Presents: Martian Manhunter, Vol. 2Showcase Presents: Martian Manhunter, Vol. 2 by Jack Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This second volume of Martian Manhunter stories is not up to the standard of the first. The book starts out with 22 stories in Detective Comics where Manhunter is pretending to be John Jones, Detective. That set up was really played out. The strip gave Manhunter a pet/sidekick in the strange alien creature Zook. The character wasn't annoying but also didn't really help the series. John Jones was killed off as the series moved to being a back up in House of Mystery.

The House of Mystery strips were better. Most months, the idol-head of Diabolu would create some new nightmare creature for him to battle most months. Fighting monsters of the month aren't great comic stories, but they were fair.

The final House of Mystery stories were the best in the book as Manhunter tried to take down a criminal organization known as Vulture and discover its leader, the mysterious Faceless. I love the 1960s spy motif. These are mostly fun stories, even though the solution is utterly illogical.

Overall, this isn't a bad Silver Age collection, but there are a lot better ones. This isn't as good as the first volume.



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Published on October 03, 2018 20:18 • 28 views • Tags: martian-manhunter, showcase-presents, silver-age

September 26, 2018

Wonder Woman Archives, Vol. 6Wonder Woman Archives, Vol. 6 by William Moulton Marston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects Wonder Woman stories from Sensation Comics #41-48 and Wonder Woman #13-15. Despite William Moulston Marston's name being on the masthead, the vast majority of comics in this book were written by Robert Kanigher and Moulston's editorial assistant Joye Murchinson, with Martton only writing on two stories.

The writing is in mostly as good as in previous volumes, but the internlinked book-length Wonder Woman Adventures were not as good as the earliest Wonder Woman series as Wonder Woman's foes are not impressive and there's a sense of repetition with visitors from other planets coming to the Earth only to be taught to mind their manors by Wonder Woman.. I did like the second story set in Shamrockland (mystica Ireland.)

The Senation Comics stories were all solidly written and well-drawn, particularly for the era. There are many fun adventures including an evil spy planning to ruin Wonder Woman by giving Steve superpowers.

Overall, this book is a pretty fun read despite its flaws



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Published on September 26, 2018 22:59 • 37 views • Tags: golden-age, wonder-woman

September 25, 2018

Batman: The Silver Age Newspaper Comics, Vol. 3: 1969-1972Batman: The Silver Age Newspaper Comics, Vol. 3: 1969-1972 by Whitney Ellsworth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects the end of the Silver Age Batman Newspaper comic. Here's a look at each story.

1) My Campaign to Ruin Bruce Wayne: Continued from the previous book, a formerly wealthy woman turns to a life of crime to enrich herself and ruin Bruce Wayne. Overall, a fun story with a very crazy opponent in an extreme case of a woman spurned. A bit overlong. Grade: B+

2) Batman's back is Broken. In a freak accident, Batman's back is broken and it's up to Superman to help save his life and to fill in as Batman. Overall, a fun story. Grade: A-

3) The Circus is Not for Sale: Batman and Robin help a circus owner that's being blackmailed to sell the circus. Not, but easily the most padded story in the book. Grade: C

4) Everything Will Be Different: Matching comics of the era, Bruce Wayne moves out of Wayne Manor into a Penthouse after Dick Grayson goes to college. Then he and Green Arrow team up to find a boy who's run away from Gotham to Star City and fallen in with some radicals. Grade: A-

5) I Am...Man-Bat: Introduction of Man-Bat to the comic strip. Pretty well-done. Grade: B+

6) Too Many Riddles...Too Many Villains: A series of crimes where the Riddler is involved, but not the leader of the racket, and he gets to team up with a host of criminals. Also Batgirl appears. The leader of the gang doesn't seem very logical, but this is exactly the sort of story you'd want from a Batman Newspaper strip. Grade: A

7) Hideous Newlyweds: Tying up the loose ends of the Man-Bat plot, Kurt Langstrom and his fiancée are getting married despite not addressing the issue of being Man-Bat, so Batman and Robin crash the wedding. Not a bad story, but a little silly. Grade: B

8) The Secret in Grandma Chilton's Attic: The son of Joe Still discovers evidence that his Dad killed Bruce Wayne and then became Batman and that Batman's actions led to his father's death, so he decides to blackmail Bruce Wayne. Also in the middle of this story, Ledger Syndicate starts inserting its own artwork instead of DC's and it's not good Grade: B-

9) Dick Grayson: Kidnapped!: Ledger Syndicate takes on writing the strip with no input from D.C. The result?: Ugh. Dick Grayson is kidnapped and held for ransom in a basic story hampered by the fact that the writer doesn't know these characters and can't write them well. Grade: D

10) Dick Grayson: Skyjacked!: Dick Grayson is flying back to college and a skyjacker moves on his plane. It's a pretty simple plot without any style or interest. Art continues to get worse. Grade: C-

11) The Duo Becomes a Trio: Ledger Syndicate's horrible idea to continue the strip with Batman and Robin deciding to become second bananas to a Flash Gordon ripoff named Galexo. The writing is horrible. American newspapers stop covering it mid-strip. Credit the Library of Americans for recovering some additional foreign strips from Signapore that show how the strip progresses after it left U.S. papers, but honestly don't care that this was incomplete. Grade: F

Setting aside, the horrible Ledger Syndicate stories, most of the book is actually pretty enjoyable. I do appreciate the effort and time put into bringing these tales to life. Overall, a solid collection even if some individual stories were not all that worthwhile



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Published on September 25, 2018 23:14 • 41 views • Tags: batman, silver-age

September 23, 2018

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 5: Twilight of the GuardiansHal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 5: Twilight of the Guardians by Rob Venditti

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


We get two stories in the book. the Two Issue Mind Games and the titular Twilight of the Guardians.

The first is Mind Games which features a team-up between Hal Jordan and Superman. This is a follow up on a recent story in Superman where the man of steel was possessed by Parallax and met up with Sinestro and at first, it appears to Hal that Parallax is back. This is a decent story that does a good job focusing on the relationship between Hal and Superman.

The second is, "Twilight of the Guardians" which features all the surviving members of the Guardians of the Universe being kidnapped by the Controllers who come from the same planet of Malthus. This story featured a child from Xundar who became a Green Lantern and a husband and wife guardian pair. These were nice touches. They also tried to highlight a team dynamic between all four of the Human lanterns, which I don't think worked very well. The story seems in love with continuity with the Controllers not being a compelling villain and the series moving towards a more traditional status quo at the end. Reaching that point seemed to be what mattered most as opposed to telling a good story.

This isn't a a bad book, but it's below the standard of what I've come to expect from this series.



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Published on September 23, 2018 05:23 • 46 views

September 12, 2018

Super Sons of TomorrowSuper Sons of Tomorrow by Peter J. Tomasi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book is a three-way crossover between Super Sons, Superman, and Teen Titans that features alternate possible future Tim Drake returning to murder someone in order to save lives in the future. In this case, he's here to murder a ten-year-old boy as Jonathan Kent's (Superboy) powers are going beserk some time in the future.

What works about this book is the relationship between Superboy and Robin. The book really showcases that. We also get to see some cool potential future alternate heroes that are a call back to the 1990s Young Justice series. Unfortunately, the rest of the book is more meh than anything else. Tim is repeating the same thing he did in Detective Comics. The Teen Titans aren't particularly heroic or likable with many of their decisions bewildering from any logic other than the writers wanting the team to split in certain ways.

It's not as bad as Lazarus Contract, but it's disappointing and unimpressive, though with enough good moments to make it readable.



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Published on September 12, 2018 23:03 • 41 views • Tags: dc-rebirth, robin, super-sons, superboy

September 6, 2018

MarvelsMarvels by Kurt Busiek

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Marvels takes a look at the genesis of the Marvel Universe, from the Golden Age to "The Night Gwen Stacy Died," through the eyes of photojournalist Phil Sheldon.

The art is stunning. This is the stuff that put Alex Ross on the map. Many of these painted pages are so good, you could spend hours looking at them. However, they're not just pretty, they're emotionally evocative and powerful.

Kurt Busiek writing is equal to the task. Through Phil Sheldon's eye, we see the reaction of the ordinary person to the beginning of an agent of giants, both the fear and doubts, and the bouts of wonder and awe. Phil goes on a great and totally believable journey.

Busiek and Ross do a good job of taking a well-worn and well-known story and giving us a new angle that's an absolute classic.



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Published on September 06, 2018 17:09 • 49 views • Tags: alex-ross, kurt-busiek

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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