Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes, page 3

April 5, 2019

Book Review: Spider-Man: The Complete Alien Costume Saga, Book 1

Spider-Man: The Complete Alien Costume Saga, Book 1Spider-Man: The Complete Alien Costume Saga, Book 1 by Tom DeFalco

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects about six months worth of Spider-man comics across three titles when he returned from the Secret Wars saga with an alien costume.

The actual costume is in all three books but doesn't play as major a role as you would expect, particularly if you grew up on Spider-man stories where the Black costume enhanced his powers. None of that is represented here. The suit is there, but the real twist doesn't come up until the last two issues of Amazing in the book and a little in the last Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-man story. Since the storyline didn't cross much, the best way to look at by is according to the particular magazine:

Amazing Spider-man #252-#258: It begins with Spidey's triumphant return from the Secret War, where all those returning have agreed not to tell the rest of humanity what happened but to tease it at lot so the readers would go out and buy Secret Wars. #258 is a great start to Tom DeFalco's full-fledged on Amazing. However, the book follows with more seeming random villain of the month stuff as Spidey encounters a Football tempted to go crooked in #253, battles the Jack-o-Lantern #254, and faces off against the Red Ghost in #255. There is some connection between these and the ongoing which begins to emerge with #256 when the new Supervillain the Rose hires the Puma to assassinate Spider-man which conflicts with what Kingpin's doing in Petar Parker, the Spectacular Spider-man. We also see Mary Jane re-asserting herself and get a shocking revelation from here. The real core of addressing the costume itself, comes in about half of Issue #258, though that does have some iconic art and it also features the disturbing image of the costume taking Spider-man's body out webslinging without his knowledge.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-man (#90-#95); To me, this is the most interesting magazine in the book. The key point is that in order to pull her wait as part of a team with Spider-man, Black Cat acquired superpowers and she got them from the Kingpin. Her powers allow her to change the luck of anyone who attacks her. However, she's keeping a secret from her erstwhile lover Spider-man. The Kingpin is really working a plan, though we don't get to see how it all plays out in this book, but he's manipulating so many figures and is aided by the Answer, a guy who makes a superb henchman known as the Answer. Cloak and Dagger become involved and we leave with the story not quite resolved.

Marvel Team-Up (#141-145 and Annual #7): The Spider-man team-up book is the weak link. Not only doesn't the title address the costume much, it's clear that this team-up title has become obligatory more than anything else. That's not to say the stories are all bad, but qualitywise, it's a bit of a crapshoot. There's a pretty good team up with Daredevil, though it seems to be continuing from previous stories. There's a decent two-parter between Spider-man and Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) and Star Fox to save the World and then save an Avenger. Then, there's a fair team-up with Moon Knight. The last Annual with Alpha Flight is a bit dull and tedious, and the final team-up between Spider-man and Jim Rhones which is actually a story to make us feel bad for wailed villain Whiplash is painful to read.

Overall, though the goodness of Amazing and Spectacular covers for the lackluster team up and this is a very solid era for Spidey comics even if the Alien costume seems tenuous at best.



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Published on April 05, 2019 20:13 Tags: 1980s, alien-costume, spider-man

April 2, 2019

Book Review: The Life of Captain marvel

The Life Of Captain Marvel (The Life Of Captain Marvel (2018) Book 1)The Life Of Captain Marvel (The Life Of Captain Marvel by Margaret Stohl

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I was expecting an epic retelling of Carol Danvers' origins with some major changes. The hype led me to expect no less. What I got was a lot less.

First of all, what's good about this book? The art is actually pretty decent. In addition, the novel restores Carol's classic hairstyle, which is a nice change.

The rest of the book doesn't do a whole lot for Carol's character. The first big change is to add more daddy issues for her to deal with, because there's never enough daddy issues in the comics even if they cut against your main retcon.

Carol goes back to her old hometown and lets a relative get into a car wreck because Carol was too busy destroying her dad's headstone. Carol doesn't have any amazing victory and if not for her showing up in her small town, at least one relative would still be alive at the end of the book. She fights no Supervillains but still manages to lose big.

The characters are uninteresting. Whether it's Carol, her brother, her mom, or her bland ex-boyfriend, none of these characters pop or are worth remembering. The book's big goal seems to be to tinker with Carol's backstory enough so that Mar-Vell of the Kree has less to do wih her getting her powers.

Disappointing



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Published on April 02, 2019 23:12 Tags: captain-marvel, carol-danvers

April 1, 2019

Book Review: Nightwing, Volume 7: Bleeding Edge

Nightwing, Vol. 7: The Bleeding EdgeNightwing, Vol. 7: The Bleeding Edge by Benjamin Percy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was my favorite Nightwing Volume since DC Rebirth. The first part of the book is set in Bludhaven as a new software promises people the abiliity to manipulate their environment, but of course there's something more nefarious afoot. Nightwing follows the evil plan to Gotham where the evil plan involves fake news and media manipulation. The events of that part of the story lead Nightwing to a no-holds-barred race on a mysterious island with a moral dilemma coming along with the prize if he wins...and survives.

This book does a great job exploring the conerns many have about technology without going preachy. The ideas are well-thought out and often unsettling. I also love Barbara Goardon in this. This is yet another book where Barbara is better written than she is in her own series.

Overall, this was engaging and fun and really left me eager for the next volume.



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Published on April 01, 2019 23:22 Tags: dc-comics, nightwing

March 28, 2019

Book Review: Superman: The Atomic Age Sunday Pages, Volume 3

Superman: The Atomic Age Sunday Pages, Volume 3 (1956-1959)Superman: The Atomic Age Sunday Pages, Volume 3 by Alvin Schwartz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In three years of beautifully colored Sunday Comic Strips, Superman takes on genies, alien invaders, and Old West Villains while dealing with few comic adventures that are more about Lois Lane's antics, a TV host who seems overly interested in learning Superman's secret identity, and the biggest terror of all...being suddenly obese.

This is actually a really good book. Most of the adventures are light-earted, but don't become as goofy as some Silver Age tails would. Superman also shows some real cunning in a few, the genie story is my favorite in this book for that reason. The art is great for the era, and overall I have to say this is probably my favorite collection of Sunday strips since the Golden Age.



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Published on March 28, 2019 18:19 Tags: atomic-age, comic-strips, superman

March 25, 2019

Book Review: Incredibles: Secrets and Lies

The Incredibles: Secrets & LiesThe Incredibles: Secrets & Lies by Landry Q. Walker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This is a book where everyone in the Incredibles is lying, either directly or as a co-conspirator. Given the title of the sequel (and final book in this comic series), this is not the end of the story, but I have to question why this storyline is going to take eight issues. As it is, the book feels very unresolved, and worse than that, the family doesn't particularly likable, which is a sign of a big fail when you're writing the Incredibles.



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Published on March 25, 2019 23:20 Tags: incrediles

March 12, 2019

Book Review: Batman: Detective Comics, Vol. 7: Batmen Eternal

Batman: Detective Comics, Vol. 7: Batmen EternalBatman: Detective Comics, Vol. 7: Batmen Eternal by James Tynion IV

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book has seven issues.

The first issue is the Trial of Batwoman and it deals with the aftermath of the last story and what the Batfamily is going to do about Batwoman's killing in the last volume. The idea of the trial that Batman wants to hear from his "family," the people he trusts is a great idea and each brings an interesting perspective that I can totally believe, although its Batgirl who really has the most important insight. (As an aside, it's a shame that Batgirl's not being written this well in her own comic.)

Then, we have the Fall of the Batmen story which finds Tim Drake being approached by a former tech for the colony about avoiding becoming the future Batman. This was a decent storyline, though not perfect. It does feel a tad padded and to me it felt like there was too much about future Tim Drake, who has loomed over the last three volumes. Still, I think it managed to tie things up nicely. Not only did Tynion come full circle to take care of issues that had been raised for the first issue, Tynion deserves credit for his character work. Several characters, in particular Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain had been pushed aside by the new 52. He gave them a new start in DC Rebirth and left them with some experiences and set things up so other creators can easily utilize them and reintroduce them. These characters have a future Tynion really set the stage for that. So job well done.



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Published on March 12, 2019 23:08 Tags: batman, dc-rebirth, detective-comics

March 9, 2019

Book Review: Batgirl, Vol. 5: Kicking Assassins

Batgirl, Vol. 5: Kicking AssassinsBatgirl, Vol. 5: Kicking Assassins by Andersen Gabrych

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


After her failed team-up with TIm Drake's Robin, Cassandra Cain is flying solo in Bludhaven.

This book works pretty well. There's great action. Cassandra continues to evolve as a character. The art is actually fairly good. She faces off against the Brotherhood of Evil all by herself.

I had to groan a bit when it seemed like Deathstroke had been hired to take down Cassandra but it turned out to be his daughter instead. However, the final issue was really good as Cassandra had to combine her skills with some clever tactical thinking. We get some really nice insights into how she fights and sees the world. Overall, an enjoyable read.



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Published on March 09, 2019 21:31 Tags: batgirl, cassandra-cain

March 5, 2019

Book Review: Silver Surfer: Devolution

Silver Surfer: DevolutionSilver Surfer: Devolution by Greg Pak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


While Galactus bathes in the sun, the Surfer goes to rescue a woman and finds out its a trap by the High Evolutionary, who steals his powers. Now the woman and the Surfer must team up to save the world.

The attempted romance doesn't work, but otherwise, this story is okay. It has some action and even some high points. Mostly, its mediocre and a bit forgettable



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Published on March 05, 2019 23:27 Tags: silver-surfer

March 2, 2019

Book Review: Wonder Woman: Diana Prince: Celebrating the '60s Omnibus

Wonder Woman: Diana Prince: Celebrating the '60s OmnibusWonder Woman: Diana Prince: Celebrating the '60s Omnibus by Various

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Wonder Woman became a mortal and quickly learned the martial arts and fought supercriminals as Diana Prince while running a fabulous clothing boutique. This massive collection covers all the new material from Wonder Woman #178-204 to guest appearances in the books of Batman, Superman, . Supergirl, and LoisLane. Because Wonder Woman was published bi-monthly, this book collects 4 1/2 years of comics.

The change to the New Wonder Woman is abrupt and so is the end of her storyline. In between, there's a lot of fun stories as she deals with the villainous Doctor Cyber, and other street-level threats for a 70s hero as well as getting into some fantasy quests. She helps out Chinese nationalists fleeing from the Chinese Communists.

At its best, the fashion and incredibly colorful, although towards the latter parts of the book, Wonder Woman's outfits become nothing but White, which also is marked a decline in writing leading to the worst written story in the book in #196. After that, the book only has covers for two issues of reprints, and then we get into further stories, including a pretty fun one involving Catwoman before getting to "The Women's lib issue" which ends with Wonder Woman having created some cruel sexists only to find she'd put a bunch of women out of work. The comic advertised it would address the question in the next issue. However, the next issue saw the end of this era.

Overall, this is a pretty enjoyable run. It's a different take on Wonder Woman, but works fairly well with a lot of fun and colorful stories



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Published on March 02, 2019 05:46 Tags: wonder-woman

February 27, 2019

Book Review: Star Trek: Ongoing, Volume 1

Star Trek: Ongoing, Volume 1Star Trek: Ongoing, Volume 1 by Mike Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


For the Start of the Kelvin Universe Star Trek books, we get a re-telling of two stories from the original series in the new Universe.

The first is, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" where an old friend of Jim's obtains incredibly dangerous powers and must be dealt with. This one is almost exactly like the original story except for losing the romance angle and emphasizing on how Gary had helped Kirk.

The second is, "Galileo Seven," in which the shuttle "Galileo Seven" is brought down during a side-trip while the Enterprise has a pressing engagement they have to get to with lives on the line. On the positive note, I think the Federation Commissioner is a lot more reasonable and a lot less annoying than in the TV show. On the negative, it highlights how insane it was to send out a Shuttle with the first officer, ship's doctor, and chief engineer while the ship is on a vital mission. Further, it messes with the overall tone of the story. The TV show highlighted was a character spotlight on Spock that highlighted how he, as a Vulcan, related to a largely human crew and what his style of command might be, and it was Spock's story of how he found a way to save the day. Instead, another character (who wasn't even on the shuttle) became a Mary Sue and we got a cheesy bit of innuendo from Kirk instead.

These aren't bad stories, but they are rather pointless, particularly if you've seen the original series. Retelling stories with very minor alterations isn't a good way to run this comic book series and looking ahead, they do get away from this, but overall, this is a lackluster start for the Kelvin Comic universe.



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Published on February 27, 2019 23:20 Tags: idw, kelvin-universe, star-trek

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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