Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes

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

June 10, 2021

Book Review: X-Men'92: War Zones

X-Men '92, Vol. 0: Warzones! X-Men '92, Vol. 0: Warzones! by Chad Bowers

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not at all what I was expecting. It attempted parody (I guess) but really comes off as disjointed, confused, hard to follow, and pointless, not helped by the efforts to tie it in to the main Secret Wars story arc.

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Published on June 10, 2021 22:40 Tags: animated-series, meh, x-men

June 8, 2021

Book Review: Thor by Walter Simonson Vol. 1

Thor by Walter Simonson Vol. 1 Thor by Walter Simonson Vol. 1 by Walt Simonson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Walt Simonson's early run on Thor manages to do a couple of seemingly contradictory things. On one hand, the book shakes up the title character's status quo with the introduction of Beta Ray Bill and changes in the enchantment of Thor's Hammer and secret identity. At the same time, there's obvious love and affection for what Lee and Kirby did in the 1960s. The book manages to feature some truly epic and magical cosmic battles with great concepts drawing and occasional full-page spreads that are very much evocative of what Kirby did on the book.

Overall, there's a great energy and excitement about what's coming back. Overall, a smashing start to Simonson's run.

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Published on June 08, 2021 22:38 Tags: thor, walt-simonson

June 5, 2021

Book Review: Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond

Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond by Adam Beechen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A serial killer is targetting villains and anyone associated with the old Batman and they're going by the name of the Batman villain H.U.S.H.

Sometimes a really good story can break a character and I think that's the case with Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. It's a phenomenal film, but it's also been the template for far too many comic stories. This book essentially rips off that basic plot, misses the spirit and susbtance of it and adds nothing interesting to the story. It also doesn't make a whole lot of sen in light of the JLU episode, "Epilogue."

This isn't horrible, but it's a below average story with nothing to commend it.

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Published on June 05, 2021 21:55 Tags: batman-beyond

June 4, 2021

Book Review: Batgirl: The Bronze Age Omnibus, Volume 2

Batgirl: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 2 Batgirl: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 2 by Various

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects the rest of the pre-Crisis Batgirl stories.

There are two stages of these stories:

1) The rest of the Batman Famiy stories: The rest of Batgirl's solo and team-up appearances in Batman Family were actually pretty fun for the most part. The handling of the Barbara's brother Tony story is a bit weak and some of the team ups get a little goofy. The book features solo stories, stories that direct team ups with Robin, as well as stories that involve Justice League style team ups with various members of the Bat-family who handle their own chapters but come together to battle the boss.

2) Detective Comics and the Batgirl Special: A bit of a bumpy ride on these. After Batman Family ended in 1978, Batgirl got her own solo feature in Detective Comics. Bob Rozakis, who had written for her on Batman family wrote the first three stories including a two-part story that dealt with Batgirl finding Barbara Gordon's lost brother. It was okay as was a silly story about someone getting a date with Batgirl. Then Jack Harris took over...and in my opinion, he didn't get the character and the stories were just lackluster. The best thing in the Harris run was having Barbara Gordon defeated for re-election. It didn't make a ton of sense as Babs was defeated by a feminist who was a stand-in for left-wing Congresswoman Bella Abzug, but the whole point of sending Babs to Congress was the end of Batgirl. Having her be in Congress was more of an impediment than good stories.

Cary Burkett took over and he had a really superb two year run on the character. I'm a little iffy on his decision to have Batgirl decide to quit when she was nearly assassinated, but he managed to work in a lot of good character stuff and tell some pretty solid stories that approached to the height of her stories in Detective Comics in the 1970s.

The final writer was Barbara Kesel, who got to do the last two Detective Comics stories before they were unceremoniously cancelled. The story's okay, but doesn't quite feel right. I feel bad Kesel didn't get a chance to develop her vision of Batgirl. In the two Detective Comics stories, the art of Trevor Von Eeden shines through.

Kesel also wrote the Batgirl Specail which was to be published as a story explaining how she left being Batgirl. I think Kesel did the best she could with it, given that it was an editorially mandated piece which limits options.

Kesel also wrote the intro which told of the sort of her background on the book and the sort of toxic attitudes at DC towards Barbara Gordon with the Killing Joke and the discomfort she experienced. It says something about the DC staff that they didn't respect a heroine like Barbara Gordon back in the day and not something good.

Overall, this is a fun read for all Barbara Gordon fans. It's not quite as good as the first volume, but it's still a very solid read.

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Published on June 04, 2021 19:33 Tags: barbara-gordon, batgirl, bronze-age

May 29, 2021

Book Review: Flash, Volume 14: The Flash Age

The Flash Age The Flash Age by Joshua Williamson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Flash Age collects Issue 88 and the main story from Issue 750 and then 751-755 and sees the introduction of a new villain called Paradox who is killing the Flash over and over again. In order to stop him, the Flash is forced to team up with one of his deadliest fes.

This is a good story. The story from the 750th issue does a great job paying tribute to the Flash and settin gup this story that really takes our hero on an epic journey that covers so much of his timeline. The last few volumes, Williamson's writing has been his mark perfectly and this book is no exception.

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Published on May 29, 2021 23:27 Tags: barry-allen, the-flash

May 28, 2021

Book Review: The Flash (2016-) #750: Deluxe Edition

The Flash (2016-) #750: Deluxe Edition The Flash (2016-) #750: Deluxe Edition by Brian Buccellato

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Flash #750 collects a number of stories in celebration of 750 issues of the Flash.

The Flash Age, Part One-This is part of the ongoing story and it's actually really good. It manages to pay tribute to the Flash as a character while also setting up the next story.

Geoff Johns' story, "Beer Run" is a humorous bit that finds Captain Cold just going out to get beer and finding himself in the middle of a punk robbing a convenience store. It's light and fun.

"Why You" finds Barry and Iris talking about why he should be the Flash. This one is decent albeit a bit of navel gazing.

"Flash of All Worlds" is a lore-filled tale finds the Flash battling Mirror a funhouse. Nice and it does pay tribute to a lot of different events in Flash history.

"At the Startling Line" is a Jay Garrick story, which is nice given the way he's been utterly robbed since the New 52.

"Flash Forward Epilogue" is a wrap up from the Flash Forward event and kind of an awkward inclusion.

Then we get a reprint of "Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt,' the first Flash story.

Overall, this does what it's supposed to do. While there are a few weaker stories, these 1000 and 750 issues are plays for fans and pay tribute to them. They're a weird mix of commercial efforts for collectors and works of love by creators from gone-by eras. While it's tie into current events in the comics takes up more issues than I'd prefer, when you add in the artwork and pin-up, this book does exactly what it needs to and is worth reading for Flash fans of all generations.

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Published on May 28, 2021 23:04 Tags: deluxe, the-flash

May 21, 2021

Book Review: Justice Volume 2

Justice, Volume 2 Justice, Volume 2 by Jim Krueger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second volume of Justice picks up right where the first one left off. DC's first string Justice League in serious peril.

They're helped out in part because the Justice League has an unbelievably deep bench including many people who are second stringers for no logical in-world reason but because marketing and precedents. So that mean Alex Ross is unleashed to paint even more heroes and there's much rejoicing.

The plot deepens as there's a mysterious revelation and then even more questions raised. While the Joker adorns the Second Volume's cover, the focus is more on the heroes and their response.

The book can be a bit over-indulgent. Jim Krueger wrote a lame Superman and Batman having a meta discussion scene that doesn't really work. There are a few other times, fan service gets in the way of good pacing. Still, this story is moving along at a solid pace.

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Published on May 21, 2021 19:25 Tags: jim-krueger, justice-league

May 18, 2021

Book Review: Batman; The Demon Trilogy

Batman: The Demon Trilogy Batman: The Demon Trilogy by Mike W. Barr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collects three Batman Graphic novels featuring Ra's Al-Ghul.

Son of the Demon: Batman and Ra's join together in a somewhat long-running partnership to stop a villain and he renews his acquaintence with Talia and it turns out they're still married and so there's even a bundle of joy on the way. The art in this story is beautiful but as a story, it was good, but Batman's actions are out of character. His allieance with Ra's and hopes that it continues seem very out of character. He even goes so far as to train Ra's men, which seems like something that would come back to haunt him. However, despite the out of character nature of it, the action's good and it's a solid read.

Bride of the Demon: This is a more convention Batman v. Ra's story as Ra's has a plot to cleanse the Earth and has determined Batman must die first, but Ra's also has to put an aging Hollywood starlet into the Lazarus Pit so she can be his bride. This story is fairly good. While I'm not the biggest fan of the art, given the sort of comic art that would so dominate comics in this era, this isn't that bad. If I had a problem with it, it's that this doesn't really seem like a story that mertis a graphic novel treatment. It should just be three or four issues of Batman or Detective Comics.

Birth of a Demon is the Ra's Al-Ghul origin story written by Dennis O'Neil with superb art by Norm Breyfogle. The story is mostly about Ra's origin framed with the Batman story. It explains a lot and is interesting. The art has some great freakly surrealistic turns and feels like real art. It's an intriguing tale that held my attention throughout.

Overall, I think all of these are good and worth reading if you're interested in Ra's Al-Ghul as a character.

Dennis O

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Published on May 18, 2021 23:01 Tags: batman, ra-s-al-ghul

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
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