Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes - Posts Tagged "1990s"

Book Review: Guardians of the Galaxy by Jim Valentino Volume 1

Guardians of the Galaxy by Jim Valentino Volume 1 Guardians of the Galaxy by Jim Valentino Volume 1 by Jim Valentino

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 1-7 of Jim Valentino's run on Guardians of the Galaxy from the 1990s with the original team. The book also collects the four-part Korvac Quest which has the Guardians crossing over with the Fantastic Four, Thor, and Silver Surfer before concluding the story in their own annual.

The book gets a lot right. In general, Valentino makes the characters far more likable than when Steve Englehart was writing them in the 1970s. The first six issues comprise an epic story arc that has the Guardians hunting for Captain America's shield. The climax is interesting based on the nature of the final tests they face and the results, as well as Vance Astro giving an absolutely epic speech.

Issue 7's not that bad either. The art remain good and the story has a clever story telling method even though there's not a ton of substance to it.

The Korvac Quest is probably what makes this book three stars instead of four. It tells the story that Korvac when he apparently died, he sent his energy forward in time and the Guardians travel forward to stop it from reaching Baby Korvac. It's not bad, but it's not great. The Fantastic Four and Thor entries are okay (although with a Thor hammer wielder from the future), the Silver Surfer entry has some good ideas but feels pointless once you reach the end. Despite the title, the only portion of the Korvac Question actually written by Jim Valentino was the Guardians of the Galaxy Annual. While that story's not perfect, they do have to deal with some key dilemmas, and in terms of getting a desired result, it doesn't turn out well. It's a solid story, but taken as a whole, this four parter was disappointing.

Still, the strength of the first six issues do make me curious to check out more Guardians stuff from this author.



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Published on December 04, 2017 22:15 Tags: 1990s, guardians-of-the-galaxy

Book Review: X-Men: Gambit: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1

X-Men: Gambit: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 X-Men: Gambit: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 by Fabian Nicieza

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects the first 11 issues, the Annual, a half Issue, and an Issue of X-Men unlimited featuring Gambit. The story is set in the aftermath of the Trial of Gambit when the X-Men abandoned him in Antartica after they found he led a band of mercenary mutants to the Morlocks (sewer-dwelling mutant,) and the Marauded slaughtered the Morlocks, even though Gambit tried to stop them.

Gambit was rescued by the New Sun who expects him to steal stuff, which Gambit does in his time away from the team:
ng else.
This book features several strong points and several weaknesses. The good:

-Emotional fall out from the Trial. This is explored throughout the book as Gambit copes with it as does his team. Gambit has been abandonned as a child, kicked out of the thieves as an adult, and now this, plus there's guilt over what happened to the Morlocks. Probably one of my favorite stories in here was the X-Men unlimited which showed him speaking to specters of the X-Men in deciding how to deal with Hydroman.
-Gambit is possessed by a female entity who enhances his powers, but maybe doing something else, more insidious. She's introduced in Issue 1/2 and makes her presence known in various issues until everything's sorted in the Annual.
-Gambit spends time in New Orleans and we get insights on his past and how the Thieves Guild works.
-Two tie in issues to the crossover story the Shattering that felt relatively self-contained rather than you were getting two disjointed parts of a 14-part story. This is how participation in a cross-over be done if it it has to be.
-Team ups with Blade the Vampire Slayer and especially Daredevil. Both were well done, but the Daredevil one was particularly good, creating a good conflict and a sense of mystery.
-The art is not great but avoids the excesses from earlier in the 1990s.

The bad:

---A theme about New Sun and it's true intents is tossed around, and a mysterious lady visits people in their dreams to get information about Gabmit. These take several pages out of each issue. While I appreciate the series eventually answered these issues, it doesn't even feel like the plot moved on these two points.

---Issue 10 has a fantastic set up with work my Gambit's stepfather who teamed up with the Howling Commandos, Gambit in a tuxedo, and the story has a very conclusion.

---The X-Cutioner talks A LOT and was not a fun character to read.

---The art has some inconsistent moments. While this is nowhere close to early to mid 1990s excesses, this book does have some art issues that reflect its times.

Overall, an okay book, that's not a bad read, even better if you're a Gambit fan.



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Published on January 04, 2018 15:38 Tags: 1990s, gambit, x-men

Book Review: Gambit Classic, Volume 1

Gambit Classic, Vol. 1 Gambit Classic, Vol. 1 by Howard Mackie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 265-267 of Uncanny X-Men along with Gambit's first mini-series.

Gambit's first appearance is Uncanny X-Men #266. The biggest annoyance in this book was Issue 265, the inclusion which was unnecessary. It didn't really set up Gambit's appearance and most of the book was about other things. Before the mini-series, the editor summarized two years of Gambit being on the X-men. The relevant of #265 could be summarized in a paragraph or less.

However, the actual initial appearance of Gambit is pretty good. It establishes who he is as a character, and he's both instantly cool and likable. The art is mostly okay, with a few iffy moments, but also some great ones.

The mini-series finds Gambit returning to New Orleans with Rogue when he finds out his ex-wife was alive. This story is chocked full of character development and drama. Gambit is a man trying to do the right thing. He was raised dealin with the warring guilds of thieves and assassins. He's stepped outside that world so he sees somethings more clearly than his family, but he can't escape it entirely. It'a a story with a lot of conlfict that really serves to flesh out Gambit's character.

Overall, this is a good read for Gambit fans.



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Published on February 13, 2018 22:57 Tags: 1990s, gambit, x-men

Book Review:X-Men: Gambit - The Complete Collection Vol. 2

X-Men: Gambit - The Complete Collection Vol. 2 X-Men: Gambit - The Complete Collection Vol. 2 by Fabian Nicieza

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Years after the first half of Gambit’s 1999-2000 comic run was published, we get the rest of the volume as Gambit travels back in time to 1891 because he already did and in the process of fulfilling history gets his powers amped up.

When he returns, he deals with his relationship with Rogue which has always been starcrossed, but now because of his enhanced powers, they can kiss without her absorbing them, but there are other problems and I like that’s dealt with in a very grown up and thoughtful manner.

This leads to the next phase of the book where Gambit becomes leader of the Thieves Guild and also gets two contracts put on his life: one by the Assassins Guild, and one by New Son which is open to any assassin out there, and so Remy being hunted down by nearly every big assassin in the Marvel Universe at the same time.

This leads to an Annual that finally reveals what New Son is up to and who he is, and it’s actually quite clever. Most of the rest of the book builds towards a final confrontation with New Son and is mostly okay. We learn his plan for Remy at the end and it is…underwhelming. Probably the most disappointing part of this is the stupidity of New Son’s plans in light of his stated goal.

The book wraps with a single issue that introduces a new team with Scott Lobdell and Joe Pruett writing. The story involves Gamit having to repay a childhood debt to a mobster and solve the problem of his daughter’ stolen heart. It’s entertaining, even if the art’s a bit off, and sets the tone for a further series featuring Gambit and Bishop.

The book has some disappointing features, most notably New Son’s plan, and the way the forced gender change of Courier is done as I don’t understand why it was done or what they were going for. Still, I do like this book. There’s some great character and some fantastic worldbuilding regarding the Assassins and Thieves guilds.




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Published on April 20, 2019 22:51 Tags: 1990s, gambit, x-men

Book Review: Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2

Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2 Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2 by Christopher J. Priest

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 18-35 of Black Panther plus Deadpool #44 from the 1990s-2000s:

Issues 18-20 features the Panther vs. Killmonger while Ross is serving as Regent. This ends with an unexpected victory for Killmonger that makes him the Black Panther. Issues 21 and 22 has T'Challa fighting for his life in a surreal kingdom of the death (look for Black Panther as Batman and Ross as Robin) while Killmonger assumes the role of Black Panther.

Deadpool #44 and Black Panther #23 features Killmonger trying to join the Avengers while Deadpool is hired by an enemy to T'Challa to kindap Killmonger's pet leopard. This one has some fun concepts but is a bit meh. Issue #24 sees a lot going on, T'Challa continues to be king despite losing leadership of the Panther tribe. They come under attack from his former bodyguard who causes a death of a recurring character. Meanwhile Killmonger's time of Black Panther comes to an end anti-climatically.

Issue 25 is the Maximum Security Crossover. The best part is a long overdue confrontation between Ross and T'Challa over recent events. Ross has been complaining for a while and it's glad to see he and T'Challa finally have it out. There are some nice surprises and that saves the issue from being a dull bit of obligatory continuity.

Issues 26-29 is the Sturm Und Drang: A Story of Love and War. When a Wakandan has a child who ishalf Wakandan and half sea-dwelling deviant Lemurian, the Deviant Lemurians asks that T'Challa return the child to be killed and this sets off a global incident. Magneto and Namor appear and this is one of the better uses of political thrillers in comics. A reveal of an old enemy comes in this story.

Issue 30 is a one-shot in which Captain America's first contact with Wakanda is revealed and Ross delivers a spirited defense of the Panther before a Senate subcommittee. Issues 31-33 is Seduction of the Innocent in which his ex-bodyguard Malice returns for another story while Ross deals with Mephisto having switched bodies. The story is okay but feels like treading water as it also sets up the finale, "Gorilla Warfare" in Issues 34 and 35 as Black Panther battles Man-ape and one of T'Challa's allies learns the truth about her family.

Overall, the book is a strong continuation of the previous volume. While T'Challa does some questionale things he remains undoubtedly on the side of the Angels and is easy to cheer for.



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Published on May 30, 2019 23:08 Tags: 1990s, black-panther

Book Review: Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1

Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1 Luke Cage: Second Chances Vol. 1 by Marc McLaurin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book collects the first twelve issue of Luke Cage's solo series from the 1990s plus an insert from Marvel Presents #82. This book starts off really bad in the first couple of issues, then has a decent enough two-parter featuring the Punisher, Nitro, and most interestingly kickback. Then we get the awful Evil and the Cure four-parter. The final third of the book is pretty good with a two part story featuring the Rhino and the Hulk, a Christmas tale, and then a double length 12th issue that includes the reunion with Danny Rand. From a writing perspective, the best thing about the book is the subtlety of the arc which allows most tales to be read in their own right, but in retrospect, fit into the larger story.

Why the book doesn't earn a higher rating from me comes down to the art. The art is horrible. It's an example of why 1990s comic art is loathed. An ugly book with a few good stories.



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Published on June 30, 2019 23:02 Tags: 1990s, luke-cage, marvel

Book Review: Spider-man: Identity Crisis

Spider-Man: Identity Crisis Spider-Man: Identity Crisis by Todd Dezago

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The follow up to Spider-hunt finds Spider-man a wanted man unable to step outside with a $5 million price tag on his head, so therefore Peter assumes new secret identities...in fact, four of them.

This isn't bad, but it wasn't as good as Spider-Hunt. Don't get me wrong, there are some fun ideas in here. The idea of each of the existing Spider-men books having Peter in a different identity and each of those identities playing into his an aspect of his character is cool. And I love the one story where he worked out so all four identities appeared in the same fight. But man oh man, the realization of these characters were uneven. I think it was hurt by the fact that he only got 2 issues as each of these alternate characters. I think three issues would have made it better as the storylines would have had more room to breathe.

As it is, the book is okay with a few portions being really good, and a few being sub-part. It's a big hit and miss, but I'm glad I read it.



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Published on January 11, 2020 22:30 Tags: 1990s, spider-man

Book Review: Avengers Epic Collection Vol. 24: The Gatherers Strike!

Avengers Epic Collection Vol. 24: The Gatherers Strike! Avengers Epic Collection Vol. 24: The Gatherers Strike! by Bob Harras

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This collection of 1990s Avengers stories...aren't terrible. Yeah, Black Widow and Captain America are on the team and on the periphery of the action and the rest are hardly household names except for Vision. However, the stories themselves are not bad at all, though non particularly memorable. After the Avengers main story material, we get into a story involving Kang, a woman who has taken his place and time travel shenanigans with past and present Avengers meeting up. It's a good fun and i feel like the art while having some of the awful 1990sness that would define Marvel this decade...is not near as bad as it could be.

For me, what takes this book from three starts to four stars (maybe more like 3.5) was the reprint of the Avengers 30th Anniversary issue. There's a ton of insight into the history of its team, its major battles, and the reasoning behind some of the creative decisions made. To me, this more than made up for the book's deficiencies and made for a very fun read.



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Published on October 16, 2020 22:15 Tags: 1990s, avengers

Book Review: Spider-Man: The Gathering of Five

Spider-Man: The Gathering of Five Spider-Man: The Gathering of Five by John Byrne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Gathering of Five collects two separate storylines that brought to an end all of the current Spider-man books and would set the stage for a late 1990s relaunch of Spider-man. The book is helped having read some of the other post-Clone War storylines including things like Spider-hunt and Identity Crisis. Those stories give you a flavor of the sort of hell that Norman Osborne was putting Peter through and all the manipulations going on.

As a climax to that arc, I think this mostly works. The idea of bringing five people together with three promised three gifts while one gets death and the other gets madness is really chilling. The confrontations between Peter and the Green Goblin are good. The decisions and the struggle with Mary Jane is fine and works well. There's a lot of solid surprises and turns, and the art is decent.

The last issue did leave me with a lot of mixed feelings. First, I think the last issue should have been in Amazing Spider-man rather than Peter Parker, Spider-man. Second, it kind of used a big cheat to escape the consequences of the cliffhanger at the end of the previous issue. The issue does end with Peter ending his time as Spider-man and the reason for that is not very well-founded. It's part of a precedent that Marvel would follow in years to come with characters acting how the writers need them to act rather than in ways that are consistent with who they have been stablished to be. Still, that's to read this story through later ones which isn't wise.

This one works pretty well. There are some very nice payoffs and resolutions, great characters, some good plot twists and plenty of excitement. Overall, a decent enough conclusion for nearly 40 years of Spidey history even if stuck the landing a little.




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Published on October 21, 2020 21:50 Tags: 1990s, spider-man

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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