Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes, page 2

January 1, 2022

Book Review: Birds of Prey, Volume 1

Birds of Prey (1999-2009) Vol. 1 Birds of Prey (1999-2009) Vol. 1 by Chuck Dixon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Surpisingly good. Many comic fans talk about Gail Simone as the first and last word for the Birds of Prey, but these stories: One-shots, a mini-series, oversized graphic novel length books, are actually quite good.

Most of the stories are focused on Barbara Gordon as Oracle teaming up and providing support for the Black Canary, who was dealing with teh death of teh Green Arrow and finding herself. The stories have good action, decent mysteries, and really more than a few surprises. There's an interesting dynamic and relationship between Black Canary and Oracle, even though Oracle knows who Black Canary is but not vice versa.

The weakest story in here is the mini-series in which Black Canary teams up with Huntress and Catwoman and even that's not bad, although the idea that this adventure primarily caused by a man standing them up and the villains are bit unengaging. Still, it's a decent mini-series.

Overall, there's a lot of really rubbish comics from this era. This isn't one of them. It's intriguing, it lays the groundwork for things to come and it's well-worth reading.



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Published on January 01, 2022 00:04 Tags: batgirl, black-canary, oracle

December 29, 2021

Book Review: Spacehawk: The Complete Collection, Volume 1

Spacehawk: The Complete Collection Part 1 Spacehawk: The Complete Collection Part 1 by Basil Wolverton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This free collection from the Digital Comic Museum provides a good introduction to Basil Wolverton's only real "Superhero" work Spacehawk.

Really, in terms of Golden Age Sci Fi Superheroes, Spacehawk is top notch. He's powerful and mysterious. His dialogue is very well-done for the era, and the villains are interesting, and his aliens are well-drawn and stand out from so many Golden Age comics which used predictable designs.

The book does lose steam towards the end. Spacehawk was being published by a small publishing house who decided every hero had to get involved in the War including the guy from space who defeated foes that were more dangerous than the Nazis frequently. Later on, entertainment companies would realize that people craved distraction from the War and would stop putting every comic character on war footing all the time. Sadly, this realization wouldn't come soon enough for Spacehawk.

However, the first part of the book is intriguing and a must-read for Sci Fi comic fans.



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Published on December 29, 2021 23:03

December 22, 2021

Book Review:Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor, Vol. 4: A Tale of Two Time Lords, A Little Help From My Friends

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor, Vol. 4: A Tale of Two Time Lords, A Little Help From My Friends Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor, Vol. 4: A Tale of Two Time Lords, A Little Help From My Friends by Jody Houser

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was a story that was set to bring together the tenth and thirteenth Doctors and feature the Nestene consciousness and the Weeping Angels...and it did that.

It's not a bad story, but there's little really good about it. Neither the Doctors, the Compansions, or the Monsters were really given a chance to shine. The result is a story that's okay, but it seems pointless and contrived. It's the type of story that really reads as if the marketing department dreamed it up and Jody Hauser tried to make the best of it. Again, it's not mad, just very bog standard.



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Published on December 22, 2021 22:04 Tags: doctor-who, tenth-doctor, thirteenth-doctor

December 21, 2021

Book Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 5: Like I'm the Only Squirrel in the World"

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 5: Like I'm the Only Squirrel in the World The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 5: Like I'm the Only Squirrel in the World by Ryan North

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The fifth volume of Squirrel Girl is, quite frankly, a hoot. The book opens with Doreen trying to take some vacation time, but going to Canada to fight a new villain who can divide himself into multiple versions of himself of varying sizes and the hijinx that ensues.

We also get a story where the central viewpoint character is a normal but very sweet cat. It's a tricky one to pull off, but I think Ryan North does a superb job.

Then we also get an anniversary issue that reveals the origins of Squirrel Girl and it's written by the character's creator Will Murray. It's such a fun and enjoyable tale.

Overall, Squirrel Girl is just that sort of fun, feel-good book, and this volume is a really solid entry.



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Published on December 21, 2021 22:24 Tags: origin, squirrel-girl

December 17, 2021

Book Review: Green Lantern: John Stewart - A Celebration of 50 Years

Green Lantern: John Stewart - A Celebration of 50 Years Green Lantern: John Stewart - A Celebration of 50 Years by Geoff Johns

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I love John Stewart...but for the most part, this book doesn't really do him justice. To be fair, maybe this reflects DC Comics treatment of him.

There are two big issues that I run into:

1) Stories not really about John Stewart...There are several stories where John Stewart is in the story but is not the lead character that make their way into the book. Having most of the stories from the Bronze Age and the early 1980s be stories where John Stewart has the "B" or "C" plot in stories where Hal Jordan or Guy Gardener are really the lead seems stupid.

2) Incomplete Stories: In an ideal world, these books are going to feature complete stories so fans can enjoy reading about this character and what he did. That's not what we get. In defense of the compilers, in modern comics, it can be very hard to find a one or two issue story that's really good and so you have to take a part or two out of a much bigger story and event. That said. it's not even defensible in all occasions. One example is we get the first part of the transition story from the Bronze Age where Hal stepped down as Green Lantern, we get to see John responding as the new Green Lantern to a supervillain but the fight is in the next issue which is not reprinted. Instead, we get another issue from another storyline that's not completed. A little of this is understandable, but it happened way too much, and again some of these decisions really hurt the book. One example is that an entire extra-large issue of the Cosmic Odyssey is included which is maybe 1/6th about John and part of a much larger event.

Are there good parts? Sure. There was a nice one-shot when John takes over for Kyle Rayner. It's not Eisner-award winning stuff, but at least it features John Stewart and has a beginning, middle, and end. The Future's End tie-in is pretty good, but enjoyment of that is probably enhanced by understanding Future's End and many readers might not even know what that's about.

The best part of the book are two comics from the DC Animated Universe. One was a story from Justice League Adventures, and the other explained how he left the Justice League and the origin for his son. They're actually both very good stories, proving the DC AU has typically done the character justice...while so many creators have not.

While most of the comics were fine, they didn't really fit what I expected of the book and really this book makes me hesitant about looking at another 50 year collection from DC. I think in a 75 year collection, they can put in another material to be worth it, but this book shows a lack of respect for both the character and the fans.



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Published on December 17, 2021 23:48 Tags: green-lantern, john-stewart

December 12, 2021

Book Review: Showcase Presents: Strange Adventures, Vol. 2

Showcase Presents: Strange Adventures, Vol. 2 Showcase Presents: Strange Adventures, Vol. 2 by Various

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A giant collection of Sci-Fi comic short stories from the mid-to-late 1950s. These stories were mostly between 5-8 pages long and needed to be particularly punchy and to the point. These definitely fit the bill, with some ideas being whacky, others being intriguing and others just being bizarre. Overall, these are very entertaining examples of the Sci Fi comic genre of the era and maybe a cut above the stuff that was being published in other magazines like Tales of Supsense. These comics had less monsters, and more different alien ideas. Fun read if you enjoy this era of sci-fi.



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Published on December 12, 2021 00:10 Tags: sci-fi-short-stories, strange-adventures

December 3, 2021

Book Review: The Book of God

The Book of God The Book of God by Ben Avery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a non-fiction graphic novel explaining the Bible, how it's canon was found, and evidence for its veracity.

It's a solid book. It covers a lot of ground but remains engaging and it's very well-organized. The more you're aware of the topic, the less you'll get out of it, but there were a few things I didn't know about and others that it was great to see portrayed in graphic novel form.

This is the type of book I'd like Christians who want to address a non-fiction format to model their efforts on. Instead of producing a thin fiction plot with weak characters to make their points, just find a good illustrator, write engaging prose around it, and explain what you're wanting to say in an engaging way. Well done.



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Published on December 03, 2021 22:52 Tags: graphic-novel, history, the-bible

November 19, 2021

Book Review: JLA, Vol. 2

JLA, Vol. 2 JLA, Vol. 2 by Grant Morrison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The second volume is a bit of a mixed bag. The first several issues start off as Lex Luthor starting a new Injustice Gang and quickly become a prefiguring of Final Crisis.I have mixed feelings on the story and where they went from there.

Then we have the Justice League disbanding...except not really. And then there's an attack on the Watchtower that feels like an overkill right after the previous story.

Then the book concludes with the JLA/Wildcats crossover that's borderline unreadable. Even if I had any understanding of what the Wildcats are about, I don't if I could get much out of the crossover.

For me, this isn't bad, but it's a bit mediocre.



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Published on November 19, 2021 19:46 Tags: grant-morrison, jla

November 4, 2021

Book Review: Squadron Supreme

Squadron Supreme Squadron Supreme by Mark Gruenwald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Squadron Supreme is a pastiche of the Justice League from an alternate universe. After a catastrophe caused by them being taken over by a supervillain, the vast majority decide to remake the world and solve all of its problems. Yet some of their members question what they've done and are determined to stop their undermining human rights and free will no matter what the cost.

This was actually an interesting book with solid art, some well-drawn and emotionally characters and some really good moral conflicts. The characters are typical bronze age superheroes, but to me, this is a positive. I actually got into this and engaged it with more than Watchmen. Because as a fan of this era in superhero comics, the conflicts and situations seemed more closely related to the Superhero comics of the time rather than trying to redefine the genre.

The one Captain America comic was a bit of a filler issue, and at least one of the villains seemed more like a pastiche of Doctor Doom than a DC villain. Still, this was a really solid and vastly underrated maxi series that takes a look at well-intentioned characters and the cost of crossing moral lines to fix the world. Overall, an engaging and memorable read.



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Published on November 04, 2021 23:16 Tags: squadron-supreme

October 28, 2021

Book Review: The Flash Vol. 15: Finish Line

The Flash (2016-) Vol. 15: Finish Line The Flash (2016-) Vol. 15: Finish Line by Joshua Williamson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Reverse is taking on Barry Allen, battling him for the future and for his present. To do that, he's drawn together Barry's foes throughout his years. Will the Flash and the Family

Joshua Williamson came on writing the Flash after Rebirth and I won't say that it hasn't been a bumpy ride at times, with a lot of ups and downs. Fifteen volumes, 101 issues. But it's been a lot more smooth than rough.

Finish Line is a near perfect finish to the run. I loved the first volume and the last volume is its equal. It's a celebration not only of Williamson's run, but of the Flash and the Flash Family. The book is a fan-pleasing rousing fight to the finish with so many fun moments and great Easter eggs. Overall, a perfect end to a very good run.



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Published on October 28, 2021 23:24 Tags: josh-williamson, the-flash

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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