Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes

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 • 25 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 • 33 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 • 36 views • Tags: alex-ross, kurt-busiek

August 30, 2018

Spider-Man: Hobgoblin LivesSpider-Man: Hobgoblin Lives by Roger Stern

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This books collects the Hobgoblin Lives mini-series written by Roger Stern and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-man #259-261 with plot by Roger Stern and written by Gleen Greenberg .

In the mini-series, Peter Parker's long-time friend Ned Leeds was revealed to be the Hobgoblin, but is he really? Spidey teams up with Mary Jane, Flash Thompson, and Betty Leads to find out the truth. This is a fine mystery plot by Stern that gives us a lot of suspects and a good reveal.

The Spectacular Spider-man story is set with Norman Osborne back from the dead and a partner in the Daily Bugle. However, the imprisoned Hobgoblin claims that some of his journals have survived in containing truths about the Green Goblin. This story brings together Norman Osborn, the Hobgoblin, and the Green Goblin and is pretty fun, although not as good as the mini-series.



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Published on August 30, 2018 16:27 • 50 views • Tags: hobgoblin, spider-man

August 27, 2018

Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Marvel Masterworks Vol. 1 (Luke Cage, Hero For Hire (1972-1973))Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Marvel Masterworks Vol. 1 (Luke Cage, Hero For Hire by Archie Goodwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This volume collects the first sixteen issues of Luke Cage, Heroes for Hire.

The book starts out with a solid origin story written by Archie Goodwin for Luke Cage befitting of the blacksploitation wave Marvel was playing into. Lucas is a man imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, chosen for prison experiment which goes wrong thanks to a sadistic guard and gives Lucas skin that' not hurt by bullets. He then escapes prison, takes the name of Luke Cage and becomes a hero for hire.

From Issue 3-13, the book is fun (Steve Engelhart took over for Goodwin with Issue 5), although a bit sillier than you'd expect a Marvel comic at the dawn of the Bronze age to be. Cage battles Gabriel Mace, a man whose hand is a mace. He sleuths out a couple mysteries in Scooby Doo style. He's hired by Doctor Doom to fight robots who are disguised as Black men, and faces a Christmas plot to wipe out the human race.

During these issues, the action is good, even though the attempts to give Luke Cage a supervillain rogue's gallery mostly fizzle. Black Mariah is the classic. Engelhart decided to take the typical nickname for a paddy wagon and give it to a large Black supervillain whose entire gig is running out phony ambulances to take dead bodies and roll them.

Luke Cage has a great style of dialogue fitting the times. However, his catchphrase, "Sweet Christmas!" isn't uttered in this book as it wouldn't be used until Issue 27 although we get a few, "Sweet Sister!" and "Christmas!" exclamations

The book takes a turn for the awesome with the three issue story, "Retribution" which also featured a shift from Engelhart to Tony Isabella with artist Billy Graham helping plot it. Several plot threads from previous issues are brought together as sadistic guard responsible for Cage's powers has retired to the city, two prison buddies of Cage break out to hunt down the guard, a gossip columnist has gained a journal from the Doctor Who was experimentin on Cage and wants to blackmail, and the woman he loves finds herself a murder supect. It's a high flying conclusion and easily the best issues of the book.



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Published on August 27, 2018 17:16 • 43 views • Tags: bronze-age, luke-cage, marvel

August 24, 2018

Superman Vol. 5: Hopes and FearsSuperman Vol. 5: Hopes and Fears by Peter J. Tomasi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Issue 27-32 features three two-part Superman stories that examine the Man of Steel.

Issues 27 and 28 find Lois, Clark, and Jon on a patriotic road trip across America. This is heartfelt and really patriotic with some beautiful and moving art. It can also seem a bit talky and preachy, but I think it does a good job of showing how Lois and Clark would raise Jon and the values they taught them. Plus, we could use a bit non-partisan patriotism feels, so I like this one.

Issues 29 and 30 is by a guest creative team and finds Superman looking for lost children who are being taken by an incredibly scary looking alien creature. This one is...fine. It turns out to involve a villain most commonly associated with another character. The plot is less interesting than the simple character insights into Superman.

Issues 31 and 32 is by yet another guest team and finds Lois getting into danger while doing her job and settling for an interview with Deathstroke killed the person she was sent to interview. Then Deathstroke is hired to go after her. This one is good for the character insights and has an interesting idea about what even those morally gray characters want of Superman.

Overall, all the stories in this book are good enough. None are great, but they're all enjoyable. What works is that they do show an understanding of Superman's character and so often, writers just don't get Superman and I think every writer on this book did. So, that's enough for me. Well done.



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Published on August 24, 2018 21:25 • 55 views • Tags: dc-rebirth, superman

August 23, 2018

Atomic Robo: The Hell and Lightning CollectionAtomic Robo: The Hell and Lightning Collection by Brian Clevinger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Everyone's favorite robot tech. tycoon and adventurer extraordinaire is back in three Atomic Robo stories in this collection. My thoughts on each of the three stories:


The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific: While flying an experimental plane in the early 1950s Atomic Robo encounters women who've continued to live and fight in the Pacific and live on their own island. They'll need to team up to fight a die-hard mad scientist determined to restore the glory of Japan. This story is fine. It works on its awesome high concept ideas, but it's probably the least funny of any Robo story and the characters outside of Robo are very generic. The "Strong Independent Woman" archetype has rarely been used so often. Still, the coolness of the plots makes it a decent read even if it's the weakest in the volume.

The Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur: Doctor Dinosaur is back and he has a plan to use his army of rockmen and atom bombs to restore dinosaurs to ruling the Earth. To be honest, I was nervous about this one because Dr. Dinosaur is a great villain, but it could be really hard for him to carry a whole story. No worries. He doesn't have to. We have a seperate plot of a government siege of Tesladyne while Robo's away. While this is more often than not, just an "okay" B-plot, it does avoid Doctor Dinosaur overload. This story has some great humor with Doctor Dinosaur stealing every scene he's and superb action.

The Knights of the Golden Circle: Picking up where the last book ended (believe it or not), this story finds Robo in the Old West as he fights an outlaw badman whose actually working for a nobleman bent on world domination. To stop them, Robo teams up with Doc Holiday and the awesome Bass Reeves (who is not enough fiction.) There's some great Steampunk elements in this, but more than anything I appreciated how Clevinger managed to capture the spirit of the Old Westerns in Robo who is facing the end of his life. A very fun read.

The book also includes the three Free Comic Book day offerings for 2013-2015. The 2013 is pretty good and has a nice twist that does set the stage for later events. 2014's is okay. 2015 features Doctor Dinosaur and while not as good as the previous Doctor Dinosaur FCBD offering, this is still pretty fun.

Overall, a solid enjoyable collection of Atomic Robo stories.




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Published on August 23, 2018 17:32 • 35 views • Tags: atomic-robo, idw, robot-adventures

August 22, 2018

Silk, Vol. 2: The NegativeSilk, Vol. 2: The Negative by Robbie Thompson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


The Negative struggles a lot as Silk doesn't come across as particularly likable. There's a fine line between a hard luck hero/heroine and one that's whiny and navel gazing. Unfortunatley, Silk falls into that patterns. While she understandably and realistically has issues after what's happened to her, Thompson doesn't do a good job helping us to see as strong or admire her. See Sam Humphries characterization of Jessica Cruz in Green Lanterns to see how this is done right.

In addition, there are some plot twists that are weird and out of nowhere for the type of book this has been. Overall, can't say I'd recommend this one.



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Published on August 22, 2018 22:27 • 33 views • Tags: marvel, negative, silk

August 19, 2018

The Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives, Vol. 2The Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives, Vol. 2 by Mort Weisinger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 5-8 of Leading Comics, featuring the Golden Age mostly non-superpowered Seven Soldiers of Victory with Green Arrow and Speedy, Crimson Avenger and Wing, Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy, Vigilante, and Shining Knight. Like the JSA, they came together to fight whatever problem of the quarter had come up.

Issue 5: A wealthy man known as the Skull rescues convicted murderers from prison and asks in return that they track down gifts that money can't buy. The team splits up and fights the murderers, many of whom die in ironic ways. The story is about average for a typical JSA/Seven Soldiers crossover of the era. Grade: B-

Issue 6: "The Treasure that Time Forgot." This is a bit different as the Seven Soldiers go after some lost treasure to get it to the government. However, this is really different from any big team up like this I've read as bad guys try to turn them against each other through impersonation, we have misunderstandings, hero battles and hero team-ups. Usually these stories read like five adventures with a framing device. This reads as one whole story and does a lot with its concept. Really fun. Grade: A

Issue 7: "The Wizards of Wisstark:" The Seven Soldiers are whisked off to a fantasy land where the rightful wizards are being overwhelmed by false wizards. Once again, you have a more continuous story and a break from the traditional format with heroes working together. Grade: A-

Issue 8: "Exiles in Time": A tiny mob boss known as the dummy disperses the Seven Soldiers throughout time to rid himself of them and they have to get back. This is a more traditional format. Still, it's a lot of fun as we see our heroes in different historic eras. One of my favorite parts is the team up between Green Arrow and Speedy and the Three Musketeers. Overall, a lot of fun. Grade: B+

Overall, while the first story is kind of bog standard, none of the stories of the bad and the middle two present a more interesting approach to storytelling than most team up books of the era. Well worth reading



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Published on August 19, 2018 23:05 • 46 views • Tags: dc-comics, seven-soldiers-of-victory

August 13, 2018

Adventures of Superboy Vol. 1Adventures of Superboy Vol. 1 by Don Cameron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects Superboy's earliest comic appearances from 1945-47 in 8-11 page stories in More Fun Comics 101-107 and then Adventure Comics 103-121.

The comics are fun stories, most of which are less about crimefighting and more about Superboy's efforts to help others, in particular kids. Superboy is very much a selfless role model In one story, he ensures no one will show up for Clark Kent's birthday by ensuring a big party is thrown for a girl at school whose dad's been subject to nasty rumor. In another story, Superboy helps a blind boy avoid being chiseled by a couple crooked toymakers.

The stories also teach morals, one teaches kids about the pitfalls of games of chance, another features a man who denies the wisdom of old proverbs and pays the price for it.

There are some things you can complain about. The book often messes with continuity. It has Superboy being raised in Metropolis. In one story, it's acknowledged to be set in the post-World War II even though Superboy should be about 20 years in the past, and the one story where Superboy helps out a know it all kid is a bit too silly even for this book.

Still, I think it works. It's not meant to be earth-shaking stuff. It was a comic to capture kid's imaginations, have fun, and teach some good morals. Superboy does that in these early stories and only regret that DC hasn't published more of them.



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Published on August 13, 2018 17:49 • 38 views • Tags: dc-comics, superboy

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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