Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes

May 8, 2021

Book Review: pider-Man: Miles Morales, Vol. 4

Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Vol. 4 Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Vol. 4 by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The final seven issues of Brian Michael Bendis' run as writer for Miles Morales' Spider-man. It's got a lot to wrap up as someone from Miles' past is back leading a new Sinister Six and a friend of MIles' is caught in the crossfire. At the same time, there's issues with Miles' parents over his father helping him keep his secret identity, and school drama with Ganke and a girl running a Spider-man fan vlog.

Thisstory does what it needs to do. It's entertaining and manages to wrap up all of its threads. The final battle is satisfying and the final issue is a triumph playing on writer Bendis' own experience with a serious illness that almost killed him.

There are flaws slike a few parts that are way too talky (as is typical) and the whole doing other than being Spider-man idea is still not really fleshed out or made sense of in this volume.

Overall, though, a solid final bow for Bendis on Spider-man and an end to an incredible run.

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Published on May 08, 2021 22:42 Tags: brian-michael-bendis, miles-morales

Book Review: Spider-Man: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man

Spider-Man: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man Spider-Man: Deadly Foes of Spider-Man by Danny Fingeroth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects two four-issue Comic mini-series, the Deadly Foes of Spider-man and the Lethal Foes of Spider-man.

The Deadly Foes is a very good story. While Spider-man is in the book, the focus isn't on him. It's on the villains of the newly reconvened sinister Syndicate led by the Beetle and featuring several other villains including the Rhino.

The story grows more complex as the villains start plotting against each other and it's fascinating to see how they end up dividing into different sides. It builds up to a really satisfying conclusion.

The Lethal Foes of Spider-man is a sequel that has a lot more criminals and criminal plans at work. While, most of the villains in the first story were (except for maybe the Rhino) were B-listers, this story also features the Vulture and Doctor Octopus among many many others. Honestly, if feels like writer Danny Fingeroth had a big toy chest with all the villains in it and just saw which one he could pull out.

It's certainly not a bad story, but it's not quite as good as the Deadly Foes. With all the characters, it's hard, though not impossible to keep track of the individual plot points. It's just less focused than the Deadly Foes because there's not a clear through-line as was the case in that series. In addition, there's a big difference in the art. The Deadly Foes was pencilled by Al Milgrom and Kerry Gammill and looks good. The second story has art by Scott McDaniel and was drawn in 1993 and embraces the ugliness and exceesses of 1990s comic art. Though this is far from the worst example, it does have some images that are just yeck.

Still, despite its flaws, Lethal Foes was fun to read just to see how many villains would show up and overall as a collection, this is well worthwhile. If you enjoy Spider-man's rogue's gallery of the 1980s and 90s, this is a solid and fun read.

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Published on May 08, 2021 07:35 Tags: rogue-s-gallery, spider-man

May 6, 2021

Book Review: Batman/Superman, Vol. 2

Batman/Superman, Vol. 2 Batman/Superman, Vol. 2 by Joshua Williamson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After a first book that was all abotu battling the Batman who Laughs and setting upe vents and character changes in DC books, this feels like a proper Batman/Superman with several story arcs worked in to the nine issues plus an annual collected here:

The Kandor Comrpomise (7,8): While the bottled city of Kandor appeared to be lost in the Man of Steel mini-series, Zod has plan to revive them but it leads him into conflict with Ra's Al ghul while threatening his truce with the House of El. A solid tale that sets the stage for changes to the Status Quo in Superman's world.

Atomic (9-11): A mystery involving Atomic Skull's mysterious death and raises bigger problems with a long-time Superman foe. This makes good use of Batman's detective skills.

Planet Brainiac (12-14): Superman and Batman are trapped on the moon and it's up to Steel and Batwoman to free them, whether Batman and Superman want them to or not.

Annual #1: Batmite and Mister Mxyzptlk get into an argument over who's better: Batman or Superman.

Snowfight (#15): Solomon Grundy is about to blow up and Batman and Superman to figure out how to get him home to avoid the fate without setting him off. This is probably my favorite story in the books and turns poignant at the end with a suprise guest star.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. This is what a Batman/Superman book should be. It's fun with a couple important stories. It makes for a very pleasant and enjoyable read.

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Published on May 06, 2021 23:16 Tags: batman, superman

May 1, 2021

Book Review: ="Frank Thomas Archives v1 - Centaur Years (Centaur)

Frank Thomas Archives v1 - Centaur Years (Centaur) Frank Thomas Archives v1 - Centaur Years by Frank Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is the first of several volumes collecting the work of Golden Age of Comics writer/illustrator Frank Thomas.

This volume collects his early for Centaur Comics in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The largest section of the book is dedicated to Chuck Hardy, Land Beneath the Sea which finds two divers ending up in a mysterious world undersea and getting strange powers. A good way to describe this is as an Ocean-based Flash Gordon. It's a good bit of Science Fantasy that doesn't offer any closure, but is fun while it lasted.

Doctor Hypno is a superhero who develops the ability to transport his mind into the body of various animals. I didn't care much for the first strip, but he did find a clever way to use them and a kind of wish there had been more because there were definitely possibilities for him.

Beyond that, the book also includes a couple of features that didn't really go anywhere. One introduced a mystery man known as the Researcher and the tales wasn't all that interesting even though the art was fine. Solarman introduced a Saturnian hero to Earth. This one had potential, but I don't if it would have made it in the 1940s, plus the origin took up way much space for a first story in that era.

Other than that, we get some text stories by others that Thomas illustrated and he does some good work on these particularly the baseball story.

Overall, these are some really strong examples of public domain comic work. The main features are better than some of the stuff that's collected in Marvel Masterworks and if you're looking for some offbeat stuff, this makes for a good read.

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Published on May 01, 2021 22:19 Tags: frank-thomas, golden-age-comics

April 26, 2021

Book Review: Justice, Volume 1

Justice, Volume 1 Justice, Volume 1 by Jim Krueger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Justice, Volume 1 is a slow build but a really good one. There's a lot of narration and build up as to what the villains' plans are and why they involve doing seemingly heroic things. There are multiple mysteries that are raised.

Jim Kruegger has a handle and manages to balance all these characters. Alex Ross' artwork is at its captivating best. The fourth issue a real treat. The entire book builds to it and the first four issues end on one heck of a cliffhanger that definitely leaves the reader wanting more. Overall, a just superb start to this series.

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Published on April 26, 2021 23:35 Tags: alex-ross, jla, justice

April 24, 2021

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Young Allies, Vol. 1

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Young Allies, Vol. 1 Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Young Allies, Vol. 1 by Stan Lee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This World War II-era book features the first four adventures of the Young Allies led by Captain America's sidekick Bucky and the Human Torch's Sidekick Toro and then four other streotypical boys from the era.

The book has some strong points. First, the adventures are longer than most typical golden age stories. The first two issues have the Young Allies in full-length adventures (64 pages) and the last two issues in the book still have their adventures clocking in at more than 40 pages. That allows for fuller stories than most Golden Age tales outside of maybe the Justice Society of America.

In addition to this, you have additional guest appearances by Captain America and the Human Torch, and also appearances of villains from other books fighting the Young Allies including two visits by the Golden Age's Big Bad for Timely, the Red Skull. The relationship between Bucky and Toro is actually interesting as they have a great comic rivalry. M0st importantly, the book was written by young Stan Lee.

The stories themselves are okay but not remarkable. Rarely do they make great use of their length. I do think the regular summoning of adult heroes at the end can become a bit of a deus ex machina. The kids outside of Bucky and Toro are really stereotypical. This is particularly true of the Black character Whitewash Jones who has some cringeworthy lines, does stereotypical stuff around watermelon and even pretends to be a monkey. While I understand the past is another country, in a mediocre book like this, I think this makes the book for historical purposes rather than working for any entertainment value.

The short text stories included in each issue are fine, but unremarkable. The House Ads that were originally in the book add to the historical value of the book. The back up features added in Issues 3 and 4 are mostly unremarkable with some humor pieces, some dark fact or fiction pages, some magic and detective comic strips. The best back up strip in here is Issue 4's use of the Vagabond, a brilliant agent who dresses as a stereotypical hobo, fights crime, and then wanders off to the next city.

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Published on April 24, 2021 23:47 Tags: golden-age, marvel, world-war-ii

April 23, 2021

Book Review: Rocketeer Adventures Volume 1

Rocketeer Adventures Volume 1 Rocketeer Adventures Volume 1 by Mike Allred

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Rocketeer Adventures is a grand anthology of pulp adventures featuring Dave Stephens' Rocketeer, written by a talented group of artists. There's not really a bad story in here, although these are pretty standard 7-10 page pulp stories. However, Kurt Busiek's Dear Betty actual does have an emotional journey and an interesting focus on Betty that makes for compelling reading.

There's so many interesting stories, nods, and pastiches to the Golden Age of Comics and Stevens original work that if you love comics and stories of this era or enjoyed the original Rocketeer book, this is worth checking out. There's no ongoing story but a really fun anthology.

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Published on April 23, 2021 23:40 Tags: anthology, rocketeer

April 22, 2021

Book Review: Detective Comics #1000: The Deluxe Edition

Detective Comics #1000: The Deluxe Edition (Detective Comics (2016-)) Detective Comics #1000: The Deluxe Edition (Detective Comics by Alan Grant

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The 1000th Episode of Detective Comics is a celebration of Batman even though Batman didn't show up in the pages of Detective Comics until issue 27, but that's okay. That just gave DC an excuse to do another one of these when issues #1027 rolled around.

Anyway, as a collection, this is a pretty good. You get an anthology release of 8-10 stories, all from top Batman writers. If I had one I didn't like, it was the Arkhamn Knight tale, but it wasn't bad, I've just read that story arc and the idea that "Batman" sounds like "Bad man" as the basis for declaring war on something else.

However, the art really carries it with all the great extra pictures and alternate covers. It's a really nice visual experience.

While I would have liked more stories focused on those who shared the book with Batman (Batgirl, Martian Manhunter, and Elongated Man among others), this is a nice celebration of Batman.

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Published on April 22, 2021 23:38 Tags: batman, detective-comics

April 19, 2021

Book Review: Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 2

Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 2 Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 2 by Jerry Siegel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really solid run for the Legion of Superheroes. It starts off pretty light-hearted with the Legion pranking each other and doing stupid stunt but gets into more serious territory as Legionaires lose their powers (and don't get them immediately back), lose an arm. Perhaps the far future setting made the writers more willing to take risks with the characters.

Of course, there's plenty of silliness and fun, and fantastic situation, but it's a bit more real and grounded than many of the twentieth century earth-set stories DC was putting out at the time. Overall, a decent collection of stories from the mid-1960s.

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Published on April 19, 2021 23:17 Tags: legion-of-superheroes, silver-age

April 14, 2021

Book Review: Donald Duck: The Diabolical Duck Avenger

Donald Duck: The Diabolical Duck Avenger Donald Duck: The Diabolical Duck Avenger by Rodolfo Cimino

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Disney Material that's reprinted from foreign disney publications.

The titular story, "The Duck Avenngers" finds a ticked-off Donald trying to steal a prize that lucky cousin Gladstone and gets a beaten down old manner with hints of ties to a vigilante thief and he decides to try launch his own career and a masked avenger. Of course, whether this makes him a true anti-hero or just someone ticked off due to perceived slights as a result of behavior that's his own fault is a question for debate. However, it's a fun story with a lot of clever plot twists even though Donald is unlikable. This is an Italian story and they were aiming for a kid-friendly pastiche of Diabolique and from what I know of the character, they succeeded.

"Birthday Bugaboo" finds the boys wanting to adopted a stray dog and Donald opposed until he learns some startling information. Donald is once again, a jerk, but it's also a fun story.

The other really long tale is "The Perfect Calm" where Donald is thrown into jail along with an Eastern mystic and joins a Zen-like quest for perfect serenity, but the boys have to follow along to make sure he doesn't get killed. Overall, this was probably the most enjoyable story , with a long page count and a few surprises on the way. There's some goofiness in how they treat personal serenity as like a communicable disease.

The shorts are all good. There's a few featuring Donald Duck and one featuring Ludwig Von Drake. My favorite one of the shorts was a 1937 British short featuring Mickey Mouse and Donald. It's such a cool throwback to that era.

Overall, this book isn't Carl Barks but it actually is quite a bit of fun. If you love Disney and Disney comics than this collection of a lot of foreign material translated into English should be worth your time.

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Published on April 14, 2021 18:06 Tags: donald-duck, italy

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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