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

Teams of Convenience

Before we leave this whole topic of superhero teams, there's one type of team that's worth mentioning and that is the teams of convenience.

Many of the great superhero teams such as the Justice League and Avengers have had constant turnover particularly in recent years. The teams, particularly in their full forms are not balanced and they're not really "super friends" at least not all of them when you get on teams with dozens of members.

On one level, the comic book Justice League and Avengers are reminiscent of many "teams" thrown together in workplaces though with far more interesting tasks.

On another, they remind us of many organizations of people who join together on occasion for common cause, whether its a volunteer fire department in rural areas or a political group. Great caution is required in these situations as the bonds that tie are weak, and the risk of schism is pronounced. Thus, as both teams have learned, establishing a sense of community can be helpful to long term survival.

While these sort of groups are not ideal, they may have just as much importance as the other two types of teams.
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Published on October 12, 2012 22:30 Tags: avengers, justice-league

Review: Justice League: Friends and Foes

Justice League Adventures Vol. 2: Friends and Foes Justice League Adventures Vol. 2: Friends and Foes by Adam Beechen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Friends and Foes collects five issues from DC's Justice League Adventures Comics published from 2002-2004. The kid-friendly digest plays off the success of the original Justice League Series featuring the original seven Justice League members. This collects a sort of "best of" digest with issues #13-14, #16, #19, and #20.

The stories contained live up to the kid-friendly label. However, the quality varies quite a bit.

"Local Hero" is my favorite story in this collection In it, a teenage girl who is a local small-town Superhero named All-Star who impresses the Green Lantern who offers her a chance to fill in for him while he has some duties in deep space. All-Star is practically floating on air as she gets a chance to fight on the same side as some of Earth's greatest heroes and is starstruck. But is she up to the task? And when a tough battle comes, can she prove she belongs in the Justice League. A touching and poignant story with a powerful point. Grade: A+

"Angry Tide" features Aquaman making trouble in Gotham. What's behind his bizarre behavior? This one was an okay story, but seems like it could have been better with the ingredients of Aquaman and one of Gotham's great villains included. Grade: B+

"Hide and Seek" finds Martian Manhunter faced with a dilemma. The original white Martians from the pilot who destroyed his home world and tried to enslave Earth are coming back. He intercepts a message indicating that one of the Justice League has been replaced by a disguised alien who will sabotage this ship. This would usually be simple enough to detect but to protect from the White Martians, he's given every Justice League member a headband that's blocks mind-reading. Now, he hasn't to uncover which of friends has been replaced. The result: Suspense, Action, and a poignant ending. Grade: A

"What in a Hero?": Worst story of the collection. Green Lantern battles a villain in a neighborhood and encounters a kid who thinks being a hero is all about superpowers, Green Lantern shows him it's not. Overall, I credit the writers for trying to teach values through comic books but this one was just too ham-handed and preachy in its approach. Grade: C

"Emotional Baggage": The Justice League battle the Psycho-Pirate, a disgruntled ex-psychiatrist who seeks to bring about destruction through manipulating emotions and when he faces the Justice League. There was a lot to like about the story as we saw some confrontations between Justice league members as a result of Psycho-Pirate's powers. Some of the emotional reactions I could buy like the Flash feeling that Justice League leadership was too old. Others, like Batman knocking Superman because the Justice League looked to him for leadership seemed outside of Batman's character. They could have done better on that point. Still, I give this one. Grade: B+

Overall, some pretty good kid-friendly comics are packed into this digest. A great find at a library or as a used book.

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Published on November 22, 2012 20:25 Tags: all-ages, justice-league

Book Review: Showcase Presents Justice League Volume 1

Showcase Presents: Justice League of America, Vol. 1 Showcase Presents: Justice League of America, Vol. 1 by Gardner F. Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Justice League of America was the first of several silver age superhero teams. It would be the basis for the popular Super Friends cartoon series in the 1970s. This book collects there 1960 tryout in Brave and the Bold Issues 28-30, their first sixteen adventure in their own book in Justice League of America 1-16 as well as a team up with Adam Strange in Mystery in Space #75.

The team begins with Aquaman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, the Martin Manhunter, Superman, and Wonder Woman. While DC’s two most popular characters, Batman and Superman aren’t honorary members as they were during the golden age with the Justice Society of America, they are absent from several adventures including the first one. Green Arrow would join the team in Justice League of America #4 and the Atom would sign on in Issue 14.

Batman and Superman missed out the first JLA adventure published in the Brave and the Bold #28 as the others take on Starro, a gigantic alien starfish. The character is a more serious threat than he looks, and the story is fun even if the ending is a little silly. Average teenager Snapper Carr is invited to join the JLA as an honorary member. Snapper contributes a little to the plot but mostly adds appropriate 1960s youth slang.

Batman and Superman are presents for B&B #29 that features a man from 10,000 years in the future who believes he’s destined to beat the Justice League. This is one of the best stories in the book. B&B #30 introduces Amazo, a great recurring villain who steals the heroes powers.

JLA #1 introduces Despero. JLA #2 sends the league into the world of magic and need the help of Merlin to get back. Issue 3 introduces Kanjar Ro who arrives in a silly space galley complete with rows and requires the Justice League to defeat his enemies or the whole world will remain frozen.

Issue 4 is actually a somewhat complex story about an alien good guy who has to pretend to be a villain to get the JLA to defeat some dangers so he can return to his home world. Issue 5 has Green Arrow on trial for helping some villains escape, but there’s more to this story than meets the eye. JLA #6 places our heroes against a man who has discovered luck is a scientific formula he can change.

Issue 7 has evil aliens running a funhouse. Issue 8 features a criminal that can control the Justice League and offers their services for sale rather than killing them. Snapper Carr actually proves his worth in this story. Issue 9 attempts to create an actual origin story for the Justice League fighting the meteor people in what’s really an okay flashback. Issues 10 and 11 are the only multi-part stories. In Issue 10, Felix Faust casts a spell making the Justice League his temporary slaves, so he can take over the world. He fails at that but manages to release some demons who the JLA has to fight in Issue 11.

The Mystery in Space story is more about Adam Strange with the Justice League guest starring as Strange tries to get their help to save the Planet Rann. It’s not really a Justice League but is really fun. JLA #12 introduces Dr. Light who is a strong villain with his various light based tricks and presents a real challenge to our.

Another of my favorites in here is JLA #13 which has the league battling robot duplicates of themselves on an alien world. Aquman doesn’t compete because there’s no water on this planet. So instead he serves as a coach/cheerleader which does suggest that Aquaman has value to the team even when not in the water.

JLA #14 begins with the JLA voting to make the Atom a member of their team, but once the ballots are counted, the entire team can’t remember who he is. Neither can the Atom who is testifying in a court case and both he and everyone else forgets who he is and what he’s doing there. It’s an interesting tale as the JLA faces Mister Memory. My big problem with this one is that Mister Memory is that was an existing villain with an entirely different villain identity. Given how much these “theme” villains put into their identities, you can’t just change them to something different and I’m not even sure why they reused this forgettable looking villain.

JLA #15 has the League trying to stop rock monsters from destroying several cities but it’s not just a random monster. JLA #16 has the League facing the Maesto who has a plan that lowers the curtain on the Justice League. This story has a nice fun twist.

Overall, this was a fun book, even if it was a bit silly at time. DC stories of the era were strongly plot based as well as focused on getting the League a chance to show off their powers. The plots are decent and the villains are good for the most part even though there aren’t a ton of heavy hitters in this line up.

If the book’s plot are good exciting sci-fi fun, the book suffers from characters who have no seeming personality in the book. At one point, Green Lantern used his power wing to switch costumes between the characters with Batman disguised as Wonder Woman and you couldn’t tell.

Wonder Woman wasn’t totally respected in this book. JLA members has a loose structure where any hero could say, “Me, Aquaman, and the Flash will go to Atlantic City.” Wonder Woman never makes such a pronouncement, instead she’s always ordered. The only time she commands is when the Justice League is cleaning up its headquarters. Nice!

Batman is also under utilized in this book. As the JLA served to show off superpowers which Batman didn’t have this was bound to happen, plus they didn’t give him much in the way of “cool batgear” to show off.

If I had one big complaint is that with the early JLA, the sum is less than its parts. Having read Showcase volumes about Superman, the Atom, the Flash, and Martian Manhunter from the same era, all of them were more fun in their own stories, and their own individual stories were typically better than the Justice League stories.

All that said, the Justice League was fun and it succeeded at reintroducing the superhero team concept to the 1960s

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Published on December 08, 2013 19:52 Tags: justice-league

The Best Superhero Series of All Time #6: Justice League

Justice League was the logical next step forward in the DC Universe after the success of Batman and Superman.

It begins seven members of the Justice League taking on various threats to Earth as well as other planets. Here I do focus on the first two seasons and 52 episodes rather than the later Justice League Unlimited which still had some good points but wasn't quite the same.

The strength of Justice League was that were seven heroes and usually only four or five would take part in the action though in big stories like, "Starcrossed," you'd get the entire league. The League was made of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, the Green Lantern (John Stewart), Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl.

The Justice League stories tended to be much larger. There was only one one shot episode of the entire 52 episode run with three three parters and twenty-one two parters.

Justice League tended to explore great concepts with a comic book touch. Consider, "Legends" where league members are sucked into an alternate universe where the comic book heroes Green Lantern read as a child actually exist. Also, another great one was "Injustice for All" which had Lex Luthor leading the injustice society. Then there's the three part, "The Savage Time" story line which found the league going back to World War 2 and encountering classic DC WW2 heroes like Sergeant Rock and the Blackhawks.

The series had weaknesses to be sure. Season 1 of Justice League often had Superman too weak. It also suffered from same ailment of amping up Batman's awesomeness beyond any reason such as in, "Fury" where a virus that effects all the men affects Batman last despite all logic suggesting Superman should have held out far longer.

But still, it's easy to forgive these minor issues. In stories like "Star Crossed," Justice League was simply amazing. The fact is Justice League brought a dazzling array of heroes to the small screen and then gave them villains and stories that were truly worthy of them. For this reason, Justice League easily belongs on this list.
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Published on April 12, 2014 13:58 Tags: dc-animated-universe, justice-league

Comic Book Reviews: Justice League Unlimited, Batman Adventures, and Star Trek

Review: Justice League Unlimited #8:

Is the Question crazy? Maybe, the best way to address that is to write a comic where most of it is him narrating to himself about himself, while wandering about the Justice League Watch Tower. Then he goes to investigate and has three suspects as to who planted a bomb on the Watch Tower and he ends up talking to only one of them.

The problem with this issue is that so much of it is spent with nothing interesting going on. There are no grand vistas, no alien landscapes, no evocative visuals, no witty dialogue, just page after page of internal monologue with the story really not moving until the last few pages. This isn't as bad as some stories in this series, but it's not great either.

Review: 1.75 out of 5.0

Batman and Robin Adventures #5:

This All Ages book actually is a pretty entertaining Joker story. The Joker beaks out of Arkham to kill a guy who owes him $20 by slapping him to death with a banana but that all changes when he hears a psychiatrist declare the Riddler the most brilliant criminal in Arkham. This sets Joker determined for revenge and sets Batman as having to protect the riddler.

This is just a good solid Joker story that portrays a joke that can be a true clown prince of crime but who also is deadly dangerous. The plot works beautifully and the result is a well-written and well-thought out comic.

Star Trek #33 (Gold Key):

In this Issue of Star Trek, we're given exposition, way more exposition than belongs in a comic book. It's right near the front, so the whole thing becomes boring before we get to the plot. It all centers around the Big Bang theory and Spock, Kirk, and the Enterprise reaching the spot where they think it all happen. The Enterprise is caught in an anomaly where there's a barrel and inside the barrel is James T Kirk in a blue shirt. But this isn't a parallel universe. This is the James T. Kirk from the previous Universe that's been waiting around in suspended animation for several billion years. We're told that the entire universe plays out exactly the same way each time and that only one person actually has free will and that our Kirk needs to let Blue Shirt Kirk replace while our Kirk gets into the suspended animation barrel and is jettisoned into the void.

Our Kirk refuses and Blue shirt Kirk challenges him to a duel to the death which we're told is done in accordance with Star Fleet regulations. Yes, Star Fleet has approved rules for duels to the death.

This is just a stupid story but with two Kirks, it's not all bad.

Rating: 1.75 out of 5.0
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Published on May 10, 2014 14:13 Tags: batman-and-robin, justice-league

Comics Review: Iron Man, Mr. T, The Flash, Justice League, World's Finest, Superman, Batman Beyond

From the '70s, the 90s, and the twenty-first century, here are my comic book reviews for the week. The Iron Man book I got off of an out of print Marvel DVD containing every Iron Man comic to 2006, and I own physical copies of Mr. T and the T-Force and Justice League Adventures. The rest come through Comixology:

Iron Man, Volume 1, Issue 52:

This issue features Iron Man refitting and retesting his equipment as he moves to California and enjoys fun in the sun,but quickly finds himself in a battle with a guy with fire powers who runs a satanic cult. The story has potential but is a little odd as he'd recently faced anther fire based villain and Firebrand. Also, the stories features Marianne Rodgers, probably the best girl Tony has encountered in this run and who he heartlessly kicked out of his life. She's still suffering and that's sad

I also have to say that I agree with the letter's page in wondering when we'll see a return of Classic Iron Man villains. The 1970s was a difficult time for Tony Stark and Iron Man.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5.0

Mr. T and the T Force #2:

This issue is T-riffic T-centered extravaganza as Mr. T battles an Incan warrior physically and then when forced to take drugs, battles demons that urge him to surrender to drugs. It's awesome call to stay off drugs and again reflects the heart and spirit of Mr. T in this series. Only problem with this is the somewhat silly and contrived rules that the T-Force operates under, particularly that no one in the T-force but one kid can actually save Mr. T. But for a 1990s Indie comic this was still awesome despite that.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.0

The Flash (2011-Present) #22:

A solid issue as the story of the Reverse Flash's rampage against those connected to the Speed Force continues. In this issue, the Flash takes some precautions protect Iris and we get the first hint I can remember of her having a thing for Barry which could create a love triangle situation with Patti.

Also, we get the re-emergence of Darwin Elias who seems to have become practically a mad supervillain and is plotting to kill the Flash but instead becomes a target for the Reverse Flash.

Only complaint is that it's too short, that plus not having Barry working in the lab is dumb. Besides that, this is solid issue that has me looking towards the next issue.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.0

Justice League Adventures #4:

In this book, the Amazons go crazy and start trying to take over the world by force. Part of the key to the Amazons success is that they have magic that makes every woman born on a country's native soil loyal to their cause. This leads to a suggestion that all female members of the Justice League stay at the Watch Tower since they might turn on them in battle which would be a valid point if not for the fact that Wonder Woman wasn't effect and more importantly that Hawkgirl was an alien from Thanagar which means the Amazons were unlikely to have her native soil lying around.

After that silliness, this actually turns into a really good comic. It's a lot of battle scenes but it's all well-told and well-scripted action. The story's plot bears a strong resemblance to the much-hated Amazons Attack. However, the big difference is that this story is actually good. It's helped by the one-and-done nature of the Justice League Adventures and also by having a more comprehensible plot with a satisfying conclusion. This is a fun story that really does work.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

World's Finest (2012-Present) #5:

This book doesn't quite fit the description. There's a bit of a framing story about Powergirl and Huntress talking about getting back to Earth 2 but the story ultimately revolves around the two flashing back to solo adventures. Karen goes to check out one of her investments in research that she hopes to use to get home and instead encounters a robot beast from another dimension that she has to fight in a decent action sequence.

At the same time, Helena is attending a "Take Back the Night" rally in Boston when a sniper begins taking potshots. We don't find out where the alien robot was from or why the Sniper was taking shots. Indeed, Huntress made it clear she didn't care why the guy was taking shots, though she assumed that it was because he was pro-rape rather than just a nut of a sniper which was probably more realistic.

In the end, the story has some moments but this was a pure filler issue and not very entertaining at that.

Rating: 1.75 out of 5.0

Superman Adventures (1996)

The mind-controlling villain, The Commander escapes from prison and implants a post-hypnotic suggestion on live TV telling people to kill Superman. Whenever Superman shows up for the rest of the book and performs a rescue, the crowd shouts, "Kill Superman!" and that's the plot. Even dumber is that Superman thinks of leaving Metropolis over this.

David Michelinie, famed Iron Man writer wrote this book which is what makes it so disappointing. There was a lot that could be done, but instead we get a lazy story. There's a twist at the end but at this point, Superman Adventures was being written by a rotating group of writers, so I'm not optimistic it'll be picked up.

Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0

This is another solid chapter in the continuing story. Batman battles Shriek in a battle that's a distraction from Rebel One's main plain. Max is part of that plan and has to find a way to get a message to Batman without alerting Rebel One who's threatened to murder her family. The book has real tension and the fight scene is solid. Batman Beyond really has the whole digital first thing down and it's a fun book to read.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Superman Beyond #19 (2012-13):

Essentially, this is a battle issue with Superman and the Justice League trying to stop the war. Some decent battle scenes and a promising ending sets up the finale of the series.
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Published on May 18, 2014 21:20 Tags: iron-man, justice-league, mr-t, superman, the-flash

Comic Reviews: Star Trek, Justice League, Batman '66

Star Trek #37 (Gold Key):

The Enterprise encounter two mischievous brothers who are up to no good and trying to get the Enterprise's help. I could actually see this as an episode of the The original series to a certain point. I can't see it as a particularly good episode and the end is just silly.
Rating: 1.75 out of 5.0

Justice League Adventures #7:

The Flash uses his power to fax himself from the Watch Tower to help out Star Labs to find himself transformed and the only one able to see invaders from the second dimension that are attacking. This was a fun story, lessened only by the silly look of the villains. Still, a nice read if you can find it.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5.0

Superman Adventures #46:

In this story, Superman saves the world from one of Toy Man's evil devices only to be given amnesia in an explosion and crash in Smallville where he quickly joins with a couple of homeless guys. The story's point about treatment of the homeless and not judging people is brought home well enough and doesn't become too preachy. Plus it does a good job portraying Superman's character. A decent read.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5.0

Batman Beyond #24:

Max and Terry have to stop a metal creature from destroying Gotham. This story had a nice twist with the re-introduction of a classic DC character to the Batman Beyond universe and then wrapped up with a good cliffhanger. Very nicely done.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Flash Gordon (2014) #1:

This book manages to update Flash Gordon's story to the twenty-first century without going cynical and still maintaining the flavor of fun. Flash and friends find themselves in a world of trouble on Planet Mongo in a very well-done set up. The art is beautiful here and adds to that space sci fi adventure fun.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Batman Brave and the Bold #20:

This book contains two stories and is somewhat atypical in how its structured as usually a short story follows a long one.

The longer story is the better one and it's quite touching as it features Batman teaming up with Barda to find Scott (aka Mister Miracle). The celebration of the couple's marriage and what it means is actually kind of touching with some solid action and story telling.

The next story of Batman teaming up with Martian Manhunter to fight a White Martian is more just an okay story. Still, not a bad read and this is a fun and one of only two issues of Brave and the Bold not to be collected in a trade.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt #5:

Once again, we get another okay issue of Peter Cannon Thunderbolt that's held together by the solid art. The big problem with Peter Cannon is that he's a superhero who looks down on humanity and is clear that he doesn't even like people. Our hero!

However, what makes this issue worthwhile is the great battle with the mechanical dragon and the stupidly insane yet also awesome scheme of the villains whose dastardly dark plans continue to be dark and dastardly. Not a great comic but still keeping my interest.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5.0

Batman '66 #38:

The book finishes with a bang as Batman finds out what villain really became a TV producer who made a TV show portraying Batman as grim and gritty.

While I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous issue, it had some good moments and was funny. I did worry a little bit as to whether Gabe Soria has a feel for what this series should be like. Jeff Parker always managed to play it straight just like the old TV series and let the humor come from that rather than trying to have the comic devolve into self-parody. A few of the jokes seemed a little cynical including Batman's final line.

Will Gabe Soria go more cynical and ruin the fun of this book? I'll tune in same batbook in two weeks to find out. As for this issue, it's plenty of fun despite its few minor issues.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.0

Iron Man Volume 1 #56:

This story continued the eclectic history of Iron Man at this period. The writer varied from issue to issue and the type of enemies varied. Mostly the results were not great This book has a somewhat plot of Iron Man facing an evil monk named Rasputin who turns a statue that personifies human evil into an actual living being. The battle scene with the statue is cool, but this just doesn't feel like an Iron Man story.

Rating: 2.25 out of 5.0

Batman Meets Green Hornet #5:

Through the first four issues, this is what fans have been waiting for. When Green Hornet and Batman make a truly boneheaded deal with the villains that has the villains spare Robin and Kato and take Robin and Kato with them. This leads to Batman and Green Hornet forced to actually team up and from there, the comic is a joy to read as we get to see the two interact and Green Hornet go inside the Batcave. We're left with a nice cliffhanger that promises a smash conclusion.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Indestructible Hulk #18:

This is a hard book to evaluate It's the second of four stories in Inhumanity Arc. with Doctor Bruce Banner trying to save humans from Terrigen Mists which has Banner's first attempt to solve the problem fail-an event that could have been avoided if Tony Stark, Hank Pym, and Hank McCoy had actually tried to talk with him than Stark setting off the Hulk through pure idiocy.

Overall, while this story poses some questions particularly regarding the death of one character and why Maria Hill is complaining about being made to play the heavy. (Kinda comes with the role when you're Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.) I find myself engaged and enjoying this story.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.0
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Published on July 20, 2014 22:57 Tags: batman, justice-league, star-trek

Comic Reviews: Silver Surfer, Justice League, Fantastic Four

Silver Surfer #4

The Silver Surfer is taking Dawn back to Earth, but first he has to meet with cover guest stars, the Guardians of the Galaxy who are serving as de facto custom's agents for Earth when the SIlver Surfer returns Dawn to Earth.

The story continues to be fun. This issue has some good humor that's done perfectly as the Silver Surfer and eating a fish dinner in New England create very natural easy comedy.

The ending was intriguing though if it states the new status quo of the series, it would be somewhat disconcerting. Overall, I continue to really enjoy every issue of this new series.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

X-men #3:

A satisfying solution to the opening story arch with some nice action. Still not sold on this comic.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

She-Hulk #1:

This is a great first issue for a series I picked up on a whim. She Hulk (Jennifer Walters, formerly of the Fantastic Four and currently of the Avengers) finds herself dismissed from her law firm job when she refuses to use her superhero connections to steer work to her law firm. On her own, she finds herself thrust into a case for a woman who's suing a Stark subsidiary over a patent issue. She-Hulk thinks she can settle it in a simple conversation with Tony but it doesn't work out this way,

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. She-hulk's a good character and I liked how the writer worked the legal stuff into the story. If I had one complaint with the issue, it was that it was a tad text-heavy, but I'm left curious that I'll probably take a gander at issue 2.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0

Mark Waid's Green Hornet #2:

This second issue of Green Hornet builds on the foundation Waid laid in Issue 1 as we begin to get glimpses of a plot that's being unfurled to fool Britt Reid and trap the Green Hornet. Waid really is spinning a great tale that feels like a 1930s political thriller laced into the crime fighting tale.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Batman-Robin Adventures #6:

A supermarket tabloid reports that Batman has fired Robin, a story that Batman thinks is no big problem until a crook captures one of a phalanx of wannabe Batman sidekicks believing him to be the new Robin and holds him for ransom. Now Batman and Robin have to rescue the fake Robin while dealing with a phalanx of wannabe replacement Robins.

This is a great story with a lighter touch. It's good comedy because it introduces our characters into a comedic situation and then just has them respond naturally. I love Lieutenant Bullock's line to one of the wannabes, "Lady, we don't need you amateur loonies dressing up like the professional loonies." 'Nuff said. A great issue without a single supervillain in sight.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.0

Mr. T and the T Force #8:

A supermarket tabloid reports that Batman has fired Robin, a story that Batman thinks is no big problem until a crook captures one of a phalanx of wannabe Batman sidekicks believing him to be the new Robin and holds him for ransom. Now Batman and Robin have to rescue the fake Robin while dealing with a phalanx of wannabe replacement Robins.

This is a great story with a lighter touch. It's good comedy because it introduces our characters into a comedic situation and then just has them respond naturally. I love Lieutenant Bullock's line to one of the wannabes, "Lady, we don't need you amateur loonies dressing up like the professional loonies." 'Nuff said. A great issue without a single supervillain in sight.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5.0

Justice League Unlimited #31:

The book is actually pretty formulaic: Have Metamorpho act like a jerk who thinks he's all that and have him humbled by the one villain who could actually be a threat so he learns the value of teamwork. Never mind that Metamorpho appeared in the original Justice League series and was nothing like that...we have a moral to awkwardly repeat.

The book gets two stars because Metamorpho is awesome and the way he defeats the villains was a thing of beauty even if he was acting like a jerk to set up the author's moral.

Rating: 2.0 out of 5.0

Spectacular Spider-man Annual #7:

his book follows up on the successful Spider-man wedding story with a look at Peter and Mary Jane's honeymoon in France. The Puma featured on the cover but his role is not as sinister as the cover applies. Though he does interrupt the honeymoon to offer Parker an $80,000 a year job as a debt of honor.

Spider-man and Puma don't like each other but Peter feels the need to take the job in order to ensure that MJ can continue to live in the manner to which she's become accustomed after some of her jet-setting friends look down at him.

This a good story. It's a weak spot is that it begins with 3 or 4 pages of the Puma being scolded by his grandfather for not having repaid Spider-man. It's a ton of backstory thrown at us up front. However, the rest of the book more than makes up for it. Peter and Mary Jane are a delightful couple with many sweet, romantic, and tasteful scenes that show them enjoying the start of married life without being graphic or gratuitous. The emotional struggle of both is also very adult and well-done as we feel Peter's pressure to measure up and be worthy of Mary Jane while Mary Jane tries to be supportive. Overall, a nicely done issue that's a very fun read.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Fantastic Four #90:

This comic has the Fantastic Four (under the leadership of Reed Richards) letting the Mole Man stage an escape because they believe in the due process of law, but as Reed says, they also believe the law is incapable of dealing with supervillains because while there may be a law against bank robbery, there's no law against trying to take over the Earth. (really, Reed?) and so the FF is discouraged from trying to stop the Mole Man from escaping. The Thing leaves in disgust but unfortunately for him, a Skrull has him targeted as a potential slave. This isn't horrible, but given what the cover and title is, a lot of the story is taken up by Reed Richards being stupid.

Ratings: 1.75 out of 5.0

Fantastic Four #91:

Ben Grimm is taken captive to the Skrull homeworld as a slaver to fight in the games. Pretty interesting drawing. The aliens dress like humans from the 1930s so this calls to mind that Star Trek episode, "A Piece of the Action." Okay, but not spectacular.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

Justice League Adventures #9:

How do you balance superhero and social life? When you're the fastest man alive, you find a way. The Flash (Wally West) is on a date with a beautiful woman and being paged constantly by the Justice League but for him it's just a matter of a quick run out to save the world and then back before his date notices he's gone. It's a fun concept and it's nicely handled here, plus I appreciated how the writers pulled all the emergencies together.

My one complaint is that the look of Wally was wrong with Wally being drawn as a blonde, but this may have been written before, "Star Crossed," when we saw Wally without his mask, but then again the main DC Universe version of Wally was a red head not a blond. Hair coloring aside, it was a good issue.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Batman '66 #39:

The description listed by Amazon wrong. This story is actually by the archer stealing police equipment and setting up his own phony criminal police force. The result is a very solid piece that fits nicely into the world of the TV series and Batman has a very clever solution that his henchwoman tries to stare the Archer away from. However, the archer has gotten so into character that he believes he's required to do so as a debt of honor. The henchwoman comments on a con believing his own line. Just a very good and enjoyable story.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
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Published on July 27, 2014 22:39 Tags: batman-66, fantastic-four, justice-league, silver-surfer

Recent Comic Book Reviews: Silver Surfer, She-Hulk, Green Hornet, Justice League, Batman '66

Silver Surfer #5:

I really was somewhat nervous when Issue 4 of Silver Surfer ended with our hero somewhat earthbound. But I shouldn't have been. It's not a matter of Galactus' barrier being put in place, it's just that every life on the planet is in danger and only one person can actually save them.

I appreciated the call back of Hulk and Doctor Strange, the Surfer's former colleagues on the Defenders as was appropriate for such a big threat.

More importantly, Slott made Dawn's continuing roll in the series plausible as we see how the same type of love that makes it hard for Dawn to leave, makes it hard for them to hold her there. Overall, this was a great issue in a wonderful book. Forward to greater adventures ahead.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0

She-Hulk #3:

Every Marvel hero worth their salt has to battle Doctor Doom every once in a while. It's safe to say that this particular battle is certainly unusual one. Doom's heir Kristoff wants asylum because he fears becoming Doom's heir and puppet. However, Kristoff has been in the country more than a year and for him to have any prayer of getting asylum, Jennifer Walters has to get him to court, but she has to go through Doom's efficient robots to do it.

Overall, I'd rate this comic 3.5 stars. The first flash page was a bit unsettling though somewhat justified by later parts of the story. The story was humorous but not near as funny as the prior issues.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0

Indestructible Hulk #20

This issue wrapped up the Inhumanity saga and the 20-issue Indestructible Hulk series with a change of character for Banner. It was similar in some way that experienced by Matt Murdoch in the final issue of Daredevil Volume 3, though not quite as well-realized. The Inhumanity storyline showed the ugliness in Bruce Banner who's frustration with his life as the Hulk wasn't that his having to focus on running away as the Hulk or on curing the Hulk cost the world the advances he could discover but rather that fate had left him second rate. This issue sees him confront the issue, but his realization is short-lived as our attention demanded by the close which sets up the next series.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

Green Hornet #4:

The theme of Waid's Green Hornet in the first three issues has been the ability of power to corrupt. Issue 3 showed how corrupt the Hornet could get and how blind power made Britt Reid. In this issue, the fall begins and it is a stunning occurrence. We don't see who the man who pulls the strings is but we see that he is diabolically clever and Reid isn't prepared for what he's about to go through. I should say the book does it earns 15+ rating with violence that's a bit more extreme than your typical comic book. The book left me very curious what Issue 5 would hold.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Justice League Unlimited #34:

General Zod from the Phantom Zone by Mr. Mxyzptlik and it's up to the Justice League to save Superman. This issue illustrates what every bad issue of JLU did in the most extreme.

The story had lazy continuity with Superman having claimed never having met Zod, despite the fact this occurred in Superman: The Animated Series. It might be too much to expect the writers for JLU to know every comic story published for the DC Animated Universe, but someone editing this should've known the TV shows. They don't and it shows here.

The story is very slow getting going which leads to a very rushed conclusion. This horrific pacing is added to by the fact that Mr. Mxyzptlik is acting totally out of character by spring Zod. In fact, he's only in the story as a plot device.

This is a lazy and boring story that fails to entertain.

Rating: 1.25 out of 5.0

Batman and Robin Adventures #18:

This story finds Joker depressed as all of his criminal efforts seem in vain. However, Harley is determined to cheer him up the only way she knows how: killing Batman.

In many ways, this story seems like a lighter version of Paul Dini's classic, Mad Love. However, this particular story takes a couple different turns. The relationship between Joker and Harley remains center stage and Templeton's writing really captures its disturbing yet hilarious nature. The end is a nice touch too.

Rating: 3.75 out of 4.0

Batman '66 #43:

This issue wasn't quite as good as what came before. Batman and Robin have to talk their way out of the death trap and really there's far too much standing around talking in this issue. Also, I'm very share of writing "whack whack whack" into the Penguin's dialogue as it doesn't quite seem right for a comic book, particularly when he does it so much. The book has some good moments and while the Penguin's actions were predictable, it was still fun to read. Overall, the Widow saves this story though it's not quite as fun as the one that came before it.

Rating 3.0 out of 5.0
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Published on September 28, 2014 18:14 Tags: batman-66, batman-and-robin, green-hornet, hulk, justice-league, she-hulk, silver-surfer

Book Review: Showcase Presents Justice League of America, Volume 2

Showcase Presents: Justice League of America, Vol. 2 Showcase Presents: Justice League of America, Vol. 2 by Gardner F. Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Justice League of America Issues 17-36.

The book is chock full of Silver Age silliness and there's no Silver Age silliness like DC Silver Age silliness. The book isn't quite as fun as many of the heroes' own books because of the lack of differentiation of personalities. There are silly ideas like an evil tornado being who decides to turn good and then creates duplicates of the Justice League to fight his evil side to prove whether good is really better than bad.

However, there are some good stories in here. At this point, the Justice League has developed a solid line up and would add Hawkman to the mix in here. Heroes would rotate whether they'd be in the book or not which gives heroes more time to showcase their unique powers and abilities. Kanjar-Ro and Doctor Destiny are two of the villains that make return appearances, already beginning the Justice's League rogue's gallery shape.

At the same time, the book also features the first two big team ups with the Justice Society of America on Earth 2 and we're introduced to Earth 3 where the only superbeings are villains who take on the Justice League for "reasons," in a somewhat contrived story that's still fun. Another favorite in here is, "The Mystery of Spaceman X," which is surprisingly good.

Overall, despite a few stupid moments, this is a very fun book and it lays out some core ideas that would define the DC Universe to this day.

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Published on September 03, 2016 20:00 Tags: justice-league

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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