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

August 10, 2019

Book Review: Captain America Epic Collection: Justice Is Served

Captain America Epic Collection: Justice Is Served (Captain America (1968-1996)) Captain America Epic Collection: Justice Is Served (Captain America by Mark Gruenwald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Marvel had created far too many supervillains and so they needed to thin the heard, thus the Scourage arrived, killing off D-league villains and it's up to Cap to stop him.

This book starts out really strong. The Scourage is a great idea. Some of non-Captain America material is pretty good. A Hulk story told in splash pages is a favorite. The Cap stuff is great leading up to the confrontation with the Scourage.r

The rest of the book is still good, but different. This book's Cap is a Captain America who drives around in a van and makes a living drawing comics. In a weird way, he seems to be remakring his life based on the late 1970s TV movies.

Cap has a hard and fast no killing rule which breaks when a terrorist is about to gun down innocent citizen civilians which leads to some very awkward regrets, with Cap one time calling it an "indiscretion."

Yet, there are a lot of fun and interesting things, there's D-Man's arrival, Captain America apparently run into the ghost of the Red Skull, and a moment of truth regarding his wearing of the Shield. Writer Mark Gruenwald took concepts that wouldn't have worked for any other writer, but puts together a really fun and enjoyable narrative.



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Published on August 10, 2019 22:53 Tags: 1980s, captain-america

August 5, 2019

Book Review: The Flash, Volume 9: Reckoning of the Forces

The Flash, Volume 9: Reckoning of the Forces The Flash, Volume 9: Reckoning of the Forces by Joshua Williamson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In Reckoning of the Forces, we get two adventures with Barry Allen dealing with two of the Forces he and Wally West unleashed during their round the world race: The Strength Forces infects the Trickster in the first one and the Sage Force enters into Heatwave.

Thes stories work okay. While the logic of these new forces alludes me, their realization does work pretty well. While it still seems the Flash is still dealing with his "Don't be a horrible person issues," it helps that he's doing that while struggling to relate to Command Cold who the Flash has reasons to distrust and his own issues as well.

The book ends on a good note that sets the tone for the next volume. While this series has been hit and miss, to me this one is a bit of hit.



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Published on August 05, 2019 23:07 Tags: flash, joshua-williamson

August 3, 2019

Book Review: Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands by Tony Isabella

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Original Black Lightning writer Tony Isabella has some good ideas with making Jefferson younger and setting him in Cleveland, and several parts of the story are at least competently handled.

The book has one problem: It's woke to an extreme at a cost of telling good stories. Let's be clear, Black Lightning stories have always had a slight political overtone in dealing with issues of crime, poverty, and race. What this six-issue mini-series does is try to make sure and check every single woke issue, and the best way to do that is copious amounts of exposition boxes to clearly identify every possible progressive cause and ideal the author embraces.

I can't begrudge a little politics, but this is a book that overdoes it. It drips of self-importance and takes itself way too seriously.



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Published on August 03, 2019 12:04 Tags: black-lightning, woke-comics

August 2, 2019

Book Review: Wonder Woman Archives, Vol. 7

Wonder Woman Archives, Vol. 7 Wonder Woman Archives, Vol. 7 by William Moulton Marston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The final volume of the DC Comics Archives collection for Golden Age Wonder Woman comics is still pretty good even as creator William Moultoon Marston's involvement waned.

While the series repeated the same plot points over and over again particularly with Wonder Woman getting tied up, the stories moved at a nice pace. While the ten single stories in Sensation Comics are nice, the highlight of the book is Wonder Woman #16-18 each of which tell interlinking stories in three chapters making for rarely seen comic epics including one with the psychdellic world of King Pluto, a woman facing a key decision sent on a magical journey through time, and an encore appearance for one of Wonder Woman's best Golden Age rogues, Doctor Pscyho.

The last story is probably the most disappointing in the book, but the rest of it is just solid and a great read.



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Published on August 02, 2019 19:34 Tags: dc-comics, golden-age, wonder-woman

August 1, 2019

Book Review: Superman, Volume 7: Bizarroverse

Superman, Volume 7: Bizarroverse Superman, Volume 7: Bizarroverse by Peter J. Tomasi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The book contains the final four issues of Peter Tomasi's run on Superman as well as a story from Superman Special #1.

The Bizarroverse story is fun as Boyzarro (the Bizarro version of Superboy) runs away from the Bizarro dimensions which leads to a confrontation with Bizarro. Tomasi simplifies Bizarro language to Bizarro wanting the opposite of what he says which is different from many Silver Age stories where the Bizarros want the opposite of what they say and do the opposite, it's a bit simpler. It's a simple story that once again shows the kindness and openness of Superman.

The run concludes with a last farewell to Hamilton County as the Kent's farm has been sold and they make one last visit to the Fair. The Superman Special concludes with Superman and Superboy tying up a plot threat from Volume 2 and going to rescue the last surving member of the World War II squad the Losers from dinosuar island and reintroduce him to the modern world.

Both are fitting codas to a series that was about Superman, Lois, and Jon as family and the type of values they gave their son. It's been a wonderful and often poignant run and this makes a nice wrap0-up.



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Published on August 01, 2019 22:50 Tags: dc-rebirth, superman

July 31, 2019

Book Review: Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash, Vol. 1

Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash, Vol. 1 Showcase Presents: The Trial of the Flash, Vol. 1 by Cary Bates

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


An epic tale stretching across Flash Issues 323-327, 329-336, and 340-350 as the Flash kills the Reverse to save Barry Allen's Fiance Fiona Webb and finds himself on trial for murder.

This is a good story where the world seems to keep dumping on the Flash, yet at the same time, it's also a celebration of Barry Allen. This book had a more realistic approach to the Trial given how many issues it took to even to get to that point and that Flash's most celebrated Rogues never let up. At the same time, he has to make key sacrifices of his own secret identity and Barry's heroism shines through. In the trial itself, there are some surprising twists including an attempt from someone from the future to make sure history comes out right. And then there's issue #350 which is pure magic, with excitement, twists, and a team up between Flash and his Rogues against a common foe.

The book does suffer because of some omitted issues. Issue #328 was a reprint, but Issues #337-339 were original stories which means there was a break in the tale and a jarring resumption in Issue 340. The information is not vital and you can enjoy the book without it, but it appears to have only been done to keep the book under 600 pages.

The book's got legal realism problems, but then again it was published when Matlock and LA Law where kings of legal drama on TV, so I can't judge it too harshly for that. It does drag in places. Wally West "testified" as an expert witness so that we can almost an entire issue of Flashbacks to ol Kid Flash stories.

Still despite some melodrama, this is an epic and really fun story if you're a fan of the Pre-Crisis Flash with some great emotional beats and foreshadowing of the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. I hope DC eventually reprints all the issues in color as an omnibus. Until then, fans of the Silver Age Barry Allen should get a hold of this if they can.



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Published on July 31, 2019 07:01 Tags: flash, pre-crisis

July 26, 2019

Book Review: Superman: Birthright

Superman: Birthright Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A re-telling of Superman's origin story. The story is fairly well told with some interesting twists. It focuses more on Luthor and how he tries to take down Superman in the first year and I think it certainly a fair point that Luthor would be unlikely to just sit on the sidelines.

I do think the book does go a little off-track in the chapter about Luthor's youth in Smallville. It's a digression from the main story and it feels like Mark Waid's trying to have his cake and eat it too but introducing such a silver age element.

Overall, while this is good, I personally prefer Superman: For All Seasons.



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Published on July 26, 2019 21:39 Tags: mark-waid, origin-story, superman

July 5, 2019

Book Review: Nightwing: Knight Terrors

Nightwing: Knight Terrors Nightwing: Knight Terrors by Benjamin Percy

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


I checked and I've not given any graphic novel/comic collection a one-star rating in fifty-six months. Meet Nightwing: Knight Terrors, the book that broke the streak and might just be the worst mainstream comic collection I've ever read.

This book completely derails the unresolved plotline from the previous volume in favor for some good old fashioned editorially mandated tripe. Dick Grayson, for 77 years, one of the DC Universe's most beloved heroes becomes Ric Grayson, moody navel-gazing cab driver who you don't even care about. All of this because of a bullet to his brain in Volume 8 of Batman. But don't worry Rik Grayson may be done as a superhero (because he's too whiny for that) but there's a whole team of police officers who decided to play vigilantes because of a stockpile of weapons and equipment Nightwing left around for funzies.

The Nightwings are indistinct and dull, so I found it impossile to be invested them. Scott Lobdell does such a bad job with characterization that in one of the last issues he has to tell you who the wreckless one is and who the cautious one is because if you didn't have him tell you, you wouldn't know from reading the story. Scarecrow is in this and he's doing typical Scarecrow things only in a badly written manner.

The art isn't the worst of all time, but its bad, and bad art in a stupid story makes this a simply dreadful book that makes this one of the worst examples of a company destroying a character since One More Day.



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Published on July 05, 2019 22:08 Tags: night-terrors, nightwing

July 2, 2019

Book Review: Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od

Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od by Brian Clevinger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


We get an Atomic Robo story set right before World War II as Robo goes to occupied Manchuria in 1938 to rescue a scientist captured by the Japanese who has discovered an energy source that could change the course of the war.

As a story, this is a pretty good Robo tale. There's plenty of robot hitting mad science things action, and we get some fun supporting characters in the Ghost Bandits. The re-appearance of Robo's ex-girlfriend Katie McAllister and her new boyfriend don't actually have a whole lot of impact emotionally, but they don't detract from the story either.



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Published on July 02, 2019 23:24 Tags: atomic-robo, idw, robot-adventures

June 30, 2019

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

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
...more
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