Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes

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

April 13, 2021

Book Review: Kingstone Bible Vol. 9: The Christ (The Kingstone Bible

Kingstone Bible Vol. 9: The Christ (The Kingstone Bible) Kingstone Bible Vol. 9: The Christ by Ben Avery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Grapic Novel bibles are hard to evaluate.

The writing of the book was decent. It covered a lot of stories and did a good job harmonizing the different Gospel accounts into a coherent narrative. If I had any complaint, it felt like everything had to be squeezed in. There's very little space for big moments to set in. While this is true of the Bible, I think a graphic version would do well not to cram so much together.

The art is okay, but not remarkable. The angels and demons were unimaginative, and some of the choices of facial expressions for Christ were puzzling.

Overall, this is a faithful, decently written, decently drawn graphc novel about Jesus' life that would make a good kids comic Bible, but doesn't blow me away.



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Published on April 13, 2021 17:54 Tags: christ, graphic-novel

April 4, 2021

Book Review: Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3: Leviathan Hunt

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3: Leviathan Hunt Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3: Leviathan Hunt by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A bit of a mixed review on this one.

Not a whole lot hapepns here to move the ongoing plots forward for Superman. We get some interesting character insights with Red Cloud and Marisol Leone continues to promises a lot of mystery and make some public moves. And Naomi shows up and is more interesting than in her own book.

The big problem is that Naomi kind of takes over this book and becomes a bit of a Mary Sue and has an outsized role in dealing with a threat Superman's had in the background for two volumes. That is just off.

Overall, a so-so volume.



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Published on April 04, 2021 22:54 Tags: action-comics, brian-michael-bendis, superman

April 3, 2021

Book Review: Batman, Detective Comics, Volume 5: Joker War

Batman: Detective Comics (2016-) Vol. 5: The Joker War Batman: Detective Comics (2016-) Vol. 5: The Joker War by Peter J. Tomasi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects a one-shot Pennyworth RIP which has some good stories in it, but has an unpleasant feel as at this wake for Alfred, everyone shows up pays tribute to Alfred, rips Bruce Wayne, and walks off. Batgirl comes off as increasingly catty in a way that really has harmed some of her more recent appearances.

The Detective Comics Annual #3 focusing on Pennyworth was actually good and did a good job balancing a decent story with sentiment as an agent from Alfred's past tries to deal with a traitor.

The main storyline involving Two Face is good as it explores that relationship and also leads right into the Joke War.

The Joker War issue featuring Batwoman is pretty good as well. The others from Detective Comics #1027 are a bit more forgettable.

Overall, this is decent. I think the Joker War material has generally been all over the place in terms of quality, but this is some of the best of it with Tomasi turning in another winning volume.



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Published on April 03, 2021 22:31

April 2, 2021

Book Review: Iron Man: Legacy of Doom

Iron Man: Legacy Of Doom Iron Man: Legacy Of Doom by David Michelinie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is a sequel to two previous stories involving Doctor Doom and Camelot. The book opens with Doom calling Iron Man to Latveria on the pretext of needing his help, but only to sell him out to Mephisto as part of a plot to obtain something Morgan Le Fay.

The story is not bad, but it seethes it's unnecessaryness and disposableness. As a one-off, it doesn't effect future continuity and it doesn't tell some profound or can't miss story. It has some good scenes, some okay characterization, and art that's a bit better than the story deserves. Overall, it was fine, but nothing to write home about.



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Published on April 02, 2021 23:13 Tags: camelot, iron-man, legacy-of-doom

March 26, 2021

Book Review: "Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 2

Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 2 Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 2 by Marc McLaurin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 13-20 of Cage as well as crossover issues with Terror Inc. and Silver Sable and the Wild Pack

The book starts off decently enough with the first two issues taking care of some loose ends from Cage's first book, bring across a big final confrontation and resolving some issues with his family.

Then we get into the six issue crossover including two issues of Terror, Inc. and Silver Sable. Terror is one of the more repulsive characters I've seen. The characters are awful, the storyline is uninteresting, the dialogue is terrible, and the artwork is awful. The best thing that can be said for the story is that the art on Luke Cage looked better than the art on the other two books.

The final four issues of Luke Cage features Cage overreacting to negative PR, then a three-part story featuring evil possession and requiring half the Fantastic Four including the Thing wearing a wrestling mask for...reasons to save the day.

Overall, this was disappointing book. It didn't exactly start strong. It did start okay and set up some good storylines for Cage, but we never got to tsee any of it as the book goes out with a whimper with an awful crossover and some meh final stories in Chicago.



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Published on March 26, 2021 19:25 Tags: 1990s, luke-cage

March 24, 2021

Book Review: Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: The Twenty-Four Carat Moon

Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: The Twenty-Four Carat Moon Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: The Twenty-Four Carat Moon by Carl Barks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects a large helping of Uncle Scrooge stories by Carl Barks. While not as good as some of his earlier works in terms of the writing, they still are quite enjoyable with a mix of full length stories, six-page shorts, and half-to-one page jokes, bolstered by superb art. This book features Scrooge's rematch with Flintheart Glomgold and the Twenty-Four Carat moon story is great. My favorite is, "The Magic Ink" which is just a delicious bit of comedy.

Included in the collection are some Gyro Gearloose-led stories which are decent, though not as good as the Uncle Scrooge tales. The book also features some well-done and insightful commentary on each story in the collection.

A very solid and engaing read.



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Published on March 24, 2021 22:15 Tags: uncle-scrooge

March 18, 2021

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 2

Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 2 Marvel Masterworks: The Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 2 by Chris Claremont

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 101-110 of the Uncanny X-Men following the big events of X-Men #100. In these ten issues, they face off against many villains including the team of Black Tom and the Juggernaut, as well as Magneto, and dealt with alien enemied and met Lillandra. The first issue also sees Jean Gray's transformation into Phoenix.

In many ways, as a 10-issue slice of action from the 1970s X-Men, it felt like a lot of issues were only setting the stage for greater battles ahead, so reading these ten in isolation is a bit of frustration.

On the other, some of the stories we get later, paticularly regarding Lillandra and the Starjammers are ideas that would be key to the 1990's X-men Animated and would essentially be adapted word for word. That series is acclaimed and it's probably time to recognize that one reason for its success is the plots and characters Claremont created here.

One thing that deserves praise is just how balanced the team book is in terms of how its handled. I think its fair to say Jean Grey, Wolverine, and Professor X get more focus than the other characters, but no one's forgotten. You do feel like you know the other characters and they do have their moments. One thing that's particularly impressive is that this volume manages to have all these characters without character-stuff turning the book into a soap opera. There's just enough to make the characters real and then we just get on with the story. This might be helped by the comics being about 18 pages in length and therefore, soap operas are hard to fit in with all the action.

Overall, not as good as the first, but still a strong volume.



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Published on March 18, 2021 23:32 Tags: bronze-age, marvel, uncanny-x-men

March 16, 2021

Book Review: Batgirl, Joker War

Batgirl (2016-), Vol. 8: The Joker War Batgirl (2016-), Vol. 8: The Joker War by Cecil Castellucci

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This brings us to the end of Barbara Gordon's Batgirl series.

We start with an unengaging mystery and a Batwoman appearance, a tie-in to Joker War that calls back to the classic Killing Joke comic while being over the top, hammy, and ridiculous. Then a somewhat more interesting mystery about someone killing red heads and dressing them up as Batgirl, and then a big oversized Issue 50 where she's doing stuff and showing attitude to a lot of people. We get some back-up stories. One that's somewhat bleh, and another that's decent with the apparent message that girsl should play DnD.

And that's it. Fifty issues of Batgirl come to a close. There were multiple creative teams, some good story arcs, some bad story arcs, but never really a consistent direction. The book seems to have existed mainly because someone thought there should be a Barbara Gordon Batgirl comic, and there should be, but she deserves better than she got, particularly in this sputtering conclusion to her book.



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Published on March 16, 2021 23:29 Tags: batgirl, rebirth

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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