Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes

October 16, 2021

Book Review: "Spider-Man: The Next Chapter Vol. 2

Spider-Man: The Next Chapter Vol. 2 Spider-Man: The Next Chapter Vol. 2 by Howard Mackie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This volume feels like a book I should like. There's Mysterio's scheme and Flash Thompson finding himself in a world where he's superhero, the return of Venom and the Sinister Six and a good mystery to boot.

Yet, there's a certain joylessness about the whole affair that gets wearying and drags the book down particularly in the way that Mary Jane is written and her reaction to Peter's lie to her about Spider-man (a contrived problem meant to create drama) .

Thus you've got a more meh feel than the plot elements really would indicate. This isn't bad, but it's just not a fun read.



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Published on October 16, 2021 08:43 Tags: 2000s, spider-man

October 15, 2021

Book Review: Batman, Detective Comics, Volume 6: Road to Ruin

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6: Road to Ruin Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6: Road to Ruin by Peter J. Tomasi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Peter Tomasi is a good writer, but even he's not a good enough to save his premature exit from Detective Comics. There's a lot of interesting stuff such as the Mayoral election and Damian and Bruce have some good moments, but there's a shoe-horned villain, a nonsensical plot, and another attempt to teach Batman a lesson, as well as a guest appearance by most of the Bat-family that's not handled well.

Overall, this is okay, but just underwhelming and below par for Tomasi.



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Published on October 15, 2021 22:38 Tags: batman, detective-comics, peter-tomasi

October 10, 2021

Book Review: Batman and the Outsiders, Volume 2: A League of their Own

Batman and the the Outsiders, Vol. 2: A League of their Own Batman and the the Outsiders, Vol. 2: A League of their Own by Bryan Edward Hill

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Batman and the Outsiders is what happens when a small book gets caught up in the larger events that drive a comic company. The idea for the Outsiders is entirely incompatible with the direction the larger Batman titles were going. So we get a rushed conclusion to the Ra's Al-ghul storyline and then a decent annual involving Katana and Black Lightning.

This book is ultimately not so much a good comic but a symbol of what's wrong with the industry. The big two are obsessed with telling multiple universe-shaking/status quo-overturning storylines every year, they struggle to do the basic thing: put out an entertaining monthly comic mag. The result is a rushed resolution where no character ultimately receives justice.



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Published on October 10, 2021 22:07 Tags: batman-and-the-outsiders

October 9, 2021

Book Review: Static Shock!: Trial by Fire Vol. 1

Static Shock!: Trial by Fire Vol. 1 (Static (1993-1997)) Static Shock!: Trial by Fire Vol. 1 (Static by Dwayne McDuffie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This collect of the first four comics with Static has some good stuff for fans of the character but is a bit of a mess in some ways. We really don't get to any sort of point to the Fourth issue where our hero faces a trial and of his heroism in dealing with the anti-hero Holocaust from the Blood Syndicate book. The writing is average and the art is okay initially but actually seems to get worse in later issues. This is a book for superfans of Static Shock only.



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Published on October 09, 2021 22:56 Tags: milestone, static-shock

October 2, 2021

Book Reveiw: Superman: The Silver Age Sundays, Vol. 1

Superman: The Silver Age Sundays, Vol. 1 Superman: The Silver Age Sundays, Vol. 1 by Jerry Siegel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This collects all the Superman storylines for the Sunday papers from 1959-62. Superman had fallen to using recycled storylines from the comics, but even with that, these are still fun and goofy silver age Superman stories. A highlight is a pretty fun time-travel tale to save Atlantis where Superman edits history (But does he?) and then we have some Superman pretending to be someone else stories and the time Perry Whit got superpowers and made his own costume. Oh and Lois Lane gets engaged to two aliens...as you do.



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Published on October 02, 2021 23:38 Tags: comic-strips, silver-age, superman

September 25, 2021

Book Review: Batman, Vol. 4: The Cowardly Lot Part One

Batman, Vol. 4: The Cowardly Lot Part One Batman, Vol. 4: The Cowardly Lot Part One by James Tynion IV

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In many ways, this is very much a, "Been there, done that," sort of story. A new siniste rforce has arrived to remake Gotham and change how criminals are deal with because what Batman's doing isn't working or he's part of the problem and he needs to come down. Been there, done that, would buy the t-shirt if it was worth remembering. It seems like an obsession with Batman writers to have villains who want to deconstruct Batman rather than commit crimes that Batman can investigate and stop.

Nevertheless, this is one of the better entries. There are several things to like about it.

First of all the mystery is nice and twisted and the villain's plot is entertaining to see unravelled.

In addition, like it or not, Tynion is committed to his trimmed down Batman and all that goes with it.

Barbara Gordon is very good as Oracle and easily makes up for the billions Bruce has lost. There's something compelling about her as Oracle not because it was forced upon her but because she enjoys doing the work and wants to limit her action as Batgirl. It gives her a lot more agency.

Though I still live for the day we can get past the "Deconstructing Batman" fad. This is an enjoyable first part to this storyline.



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Published on September 25, 2021 22:42 Tags: batman, james-tynion

September 18, 2021

Book Review: "Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 1

Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 1 (Batgirl (2009-2011)) Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 1 (Batgirl by Bryan Q. Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects the entire first year of Stephanie Brown's run as Batgirl and the multi-story arch, Batgirl Rising which highlight her taking up the Batgirl mantle from Cassandra Cain.

While I don't think she's nearly as interesting a Batgirl as either Cassandra Cain or Barbara Gordon, she does win me over by the end with a combination of dedication and a desire to help people. In addition, Barbara Gordon is a bit of a secondary lead in here. The story was released after Batman Beyond and does have that kind of vibe of her training her successor. However, unlike Bruce in Batman Beyond, she has her own life and storyline.

Overall, this was a well-written book that sold me on a character and a concept I wasn't sure what I'd feel about it. Overall, nicely done.



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Published on September 18, 2021 23:06 Tags: barbara-gordon, batgirl, stephanie-brown

September 15, 2021

Book Review: Agents of Atlas

This is a fun book about the 1950s Avengers being driven into a new mystery surrounding their point man from back in the day, Agent Jimmy Woo.

This is fun, but I should warn that these character are obscure. If you know who the likes of Venus, Marvel Boy, Namora, and the Human Gorilla are than you can jump right into the story. If not, this is a book it makes sense to read the back subject matter first which includes first appearances of all these characters and the 1970s WhatIf Comic that revealed the existence of this team. Read it and then get ready for a fun team-up book written by the ever-entertaining Jeff Parker.
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Published on September 15, 2021 22:53

August 28, 2021

Book Review: Avengers: West Coast Avengers: Zodiac Attack

Avengers: West Coast Avengers: Zodiac Attack Avengers: West Coast Avengers: Zodiac Attack by Steve Englehart

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This trade begins with an East/West Coast Avengers Annual that has a softball game transformed into a sequel to the Contest of Champions. The annuals are fun but a busy.

The story continues on with contact with the AI-powered Zodiak and their powers to assume the identity of various Avengers. These aren't horrible, but they aren't particularly engaging. Indeed, the characters are a bit lackluster, and our heroes' story arcs are a bit hard to get into. This isn't bad, but it's just a bit mediocre.



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Published on August 28, 2021 22:57 Tags: west-coast-avengers

August 21, 2021

Book Review: Essential Web of Spider-Man, Vol. 1

Essential Web of Spider-Man, Vol. 1 Essential Web of Spider-Man, Vol. 1 by Louise Simonson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This collects Web of Spider-man 1-18 and Annual #1 and #2. A solid collection of Spider-man comics from the 1980s beginning with Spidey's battling of the Alien Symbiote in a classic story, and includes the Smithville Thunderbolt story, but also a bit of a crossover with Secret Wars 2. A mix of villains as well as a lot of experimental ideas. While it's a mixed bag, this collection is definitely worth a read if you want Spidey comics with an anthology feel.



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Published on August 21, 2021 23:43 Tags: batman, bronze-age

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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