Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes, page 6

November 12, 2018

Book Review: Namor Visionaries, John Byrne, Volume 2

Namor Visionaries: John Byrne, Vol. 2Namor Visionaries: John Byrne, Vol. 2 by John Byrne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Issues 10-18 of John Byrne's 1990s Namor Series and has four stories therein:

Issues #10-#12: The Invaders Fight Again: West and East Germany are reuniting as the Cold War ends but that leaves Namor (and to an extent) Captain America nervous about a possible resurgence by Nazis. Namor goes to Berlin to investigate and discovers that Masterman is already part of such a contingency and has captured the original Human Torch (Jim Hammond) as part of the scheme. Whe Namor himself is captured, he'll need some help from some old friends. Overall, a great story that serves as a very good reunion for the Invaders with so many wonderful and fun moments.

Issue #13: Trial of the Sub-Mariner: A necessary story that has the Marvel Universe dealing with Namor's behavior during the Silver Age. It rehashes quite a bit as well as cutting to stuff that will be dealt with later, but also helps set things up so that Namor can be used in other ways (such as being an Avenger) without having the absurdity of not dealing with the fact he tried to wipe out New York City.

Issue #14: A Child is Waiting: Phoebe Marrs reveals a lot about herself and her feelings to Namor. It's a well-developed back-story but is hindered by a fight with a griffin that turns out to be superflous.

Issues 15-18: Namor returns to where Atlantis relocated when he receives word that is long-believed-dead wife Dorma is alive. However, before he can be really sure he has to go to the Savage Lands to investigate what's heating Atlantis where he runs into a battle with the apparently resurrected Danny Rand (AKA Iron Fist.) Some problems with this, mainly that they spent too long in the book setting this up and Misty Knight's behavior is hard to understand. Still, this is a pretty good story.

Overall, a big step up from the first volume, with all the issues being well-characterized and the Invaders story being absolutely brilliant. Well-worth reading.

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Published on November 12, 2018 22:53 Tags: john-byrne, namor, submariner

November 8, 2018

Book Review: The Starman Omnibus, Vol. 4

The Starman Omnibus, Vol. 4The Starman Omnibus, Vol. 4 by James Robinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Issues 39-46 of Starman, The Power of Shazam #35 and #36, Starman 80 Page Giant #1, Starman-The Mist #1 and Batman/Hellboy/Starman #1 and #2

The Book starts off with #39 and #40 and the crossover with the Power of Shazam. It's probably one of the oddest given that Starman was a pretty edgy title and Power of Shazam was as close to a "kids" book as DC had. Jack tries to protect a Golden Age superhero and give his dad cover to get the superhero to safety which includes a battle with the Big Red Cheese. There are some inconsistencies (and not just in writing style) between the two books. Not bad, but not a great fit either.

Issue #41 has Shade and Matt O'Dare killing a bunch of people who know he's a crooked cop so he can be a good one. This one does develop the Shade's relationship with O'Dare.

Issue #42 is a tale of Times Past when the original Starman's naturalism is challenged by the demon Etrican.

The 80-page Giant starts with Jack coming after the Ragdoll but the reader discovers the plot centers around an object that's tied into the history of many characters in the Starman universe going back to the Old West. Very fun with a variety of different styles and stories.

Issue #43: We see Jack's new shop in great detail and he goes to see the Justice League about getting a spaceship. It's a nice story and sees Jack interacting with DCU characters.

Starman-The Mist #1: A story on the mother of Jack's son getting involved in a job for the Black Hand and meeting Mary Marvel. It's part of a series on "Girlfriends" of Superheroes that was done back in the 1990s. Okay, but not particularly remarkable.

Issue #44: Things that go Bump in the Night-Introduces Sandra Knight (aka Phantom Lady.) Kind of shallow characterization. Okay, but not all that interesting.

Issue #45: Jack leaving Earth on a spaceship to find his current girlfriend's brother and making sure city stays in safehands. Jack started the leaving Earth thing back in the previous Omnibus and it says something about the series that it can work with this much digression.

Issue #46: Another tale of Times Past from the 1950s involving the Supervillain Bobo coming to the Shade because someone's going to kill Starman. A pretty good story.

Batman/Hellboy/Starman #1 and #2: Jack's dad is kidnapped by a group of Nazis and Batman and Hellboy investigate in Issue 1 and then Hellboy and Starman go and fight them in Issue 2. This story is right up Starman's alley. I felt like this could have just been Hellboy and Starman, but that someone at one of the companies concluded that Starman wasn't popular enough to carry the crossover on his own. Batman didn't need to be in this book. Still doesn't hurt the story.

Overall, this volume still good, but not as much as previous installments. There's still that golden age nostalgia, but not quite as much foreward momentum. Still, even at less than it's best, this is still really good and I'll be checking out the next volume for sure.

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Published on November 08, 2018 05:14 Tags: dc-comics, hellboy, starman

October 29, 2018

Book Review: Civil War: Ms. Marvel

Civil War: Ms. MarvelCivil War: Ms. Marvel by Brian Reed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects issues 6-10 of Miss Marvel and Special #1.

The Civil War issues are really on the periphery of anything major that happened in Civil War. She's tasked with taking down D-listers like the Prowler for failing to register. Thrn when one member of her team goes rogues, Carol goes a bit berserk, showing how her anger may be one of her greatest impediments to becoming "best of the best." The best thing about the three Civil War issues is that they bring Anya Corozan (later Spider-girl) as a young hero who because she was underage didn't think she was required to register. She is.

Issues 9 and 10 are a two part-story featuring her former identity Warbird. This Warbird is from another dimension where Carol got off booze and the world ended and now she travels to other universes killing their version of Rogue to get revenge for what Rogue did to her. It's a story that forces Carol to confront who she was and who she still is.

In Miss Marvel Special, a strange boy in a library begins reading Carol's novel based on her time using the identity of Binary. This is a really fun imagination-bending story.

Overall, this book despite getting bogged down in Civil War does manage to advance Carol's character arc.

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Published on October 29, 2018 23:41 Tags: carol-danvvers, civil-war

October 28, 2018

Book Review: Miles Morales Spider-man, Volume 1

Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Vol. 1Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Miles Morales is in the mainstream Marvel Universe now, and this first book features the first five issues of his solo series and integrates him into the 616-Marvel continuity.

In this book, Miles fights a Demon and has the original Spidey questioning whether he can use the name Spider-man. Then, he's kidnapped but the new ruler of the Underworld in New York, Black Cat. In a way that's very reminiscent of the original Spider-man dealt with personal problems while also fighting crimes, Miles has to deal with his mom being so concerned about his grades that she's concluded he's using drugs and called in his very strict grandma who complicates his superhero career. Also his best friend Gangke reveals his secret identity to a former X-men who came to the school.

The book works, with a few nice battles, but also sets up some compelling plot points that hopefully will be answered in the course of the series. It's very entertaining for the most part. My only complaint was that teh book had a few Ultimate Spider-man TV show style flashback with a silly cartoonish looking Spidey. Less of that. But other than that, this is a solid book that left me wanting more.

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Published on October 28, 2018 23:50 Tags: miles-morales, spider-man

October 26, 2018

Book Review: Batman, Volume 6: Bride or Burglar

Batman, Volume 6: Bride or BurglarBatman, Volume 6: Bride or Burglar by Tom King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

We get four stories in this book that collects Issues 38-43

First up we get, "The Origin of Bruce Wayne" which starts as a mystery and turns into a somewhat smugh commentary on the man behind the Batman. It feels almost like a joke involving murders with the reveal as the punch line. It's not bad, but a little too smug for its own good.

Then we get, "Superfriends: Wonder Woman" in which the Gentle Man takes Batman and Wonder Woman up on an offer to spot him for a while in his eternal battle against the everlasting hoard (the Hoard is everlasting if we haven't said.) However, he neglects to tell Bats and Wondy that time will pass longer for them. He might only be out for hours, but they'll spend decades in there fighting those everlasting hoardes.

This story has some nice stuff, particularly as Catwoman prods the Gentle Man to bring them back. However, the central of conceit of this story centers around the relationship between Batman and Wonder Woman. It's become consensus that Wonder Woman's relationship to Batman and Superman individually is just as important as their relationship to each other. The problem is that this isn't historical in the comics and no writers have a handle on it. Here, writer Tom King wants to settle whether Bruce cheats on Selena. Once we know the answer to this, the character fades.

Then we have, "Everybdy Loves Ivy" where Poison takes control of every person on Earth except for Cat Woman and Batman and they have to find some way to stop here. This is a silly story that determines Ivy's not a criminal because the War of Jokes and Riddles.

Finally, we get the Titular Bride or Burglar story where Catwoman breaks into a place to dry dresses and has Flasbacks to previous encounters with Batman. While this story was okay, it did feel like it was replaying tricks from previous volumes. Some of this reminds me of stuff in Annual #2.

Other parts definitely feel like they're repeating a previous idea like the Superfriends story again and the first story re-used the alternating panels story-telling method of a previous volume. It's as if there's an effort to freeze the book until we get to a big round number and hold the wedding. Okay, but nothing special in this volume.

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Published on October 26, 2018 05:54 Tags: batman, catwoman, dc-rebirth

October 24, 2018

Book Review: Batman and the Justice League

Batman and the Justice League Vol. 1Batman and the Justice League Vol. 1 by Shiori Teshirogi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was given a free digital copy by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Shiori Teshirogi writes Batman and the Justice League. A boy comes to Gotham City to search for his parents and finds they apparently died. At the same time, Luthor and Joker are planning something and it's time for the Justice League to gather.

I really a lot of the art style for structures and settings. Some of this art is just gorgeous to look at. The story is also not bad, but it is flawed.

The biggest problem with the book is that it's nearly 200 pages long makes very little progress. Part of the problem is that the writer is trying to introduce so many characters and concepts, most of them aren't done well and the story doesn't really develop. To me, it feels like it would have been better had we had the boy meeting Batman and one villain and we couldn't have gotten to know everyone and how our hero relates to Batman. As it is, we get very little sense of what's going on.

I also thought the art for some of the characters didn't work, particularly Superman who seems to be based on a very emaciated New 52 design.

Overall, this book's not horrible, but it needs to move more.

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Published on October 24, 2018 23:22 Tags: batman, manga

October 21, 2018

Book Review: Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: Best of the Best

Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: Best of the BestMs. Marvel, Volume 1: Best of the Best by Brian Reed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects the first five issues of Brian Reeds run on Ms. Marvel.

The first story opens with Carol Danvers trying to right her life. When she fights Stilt Man and he has no clue who she is. It confirms for her that she's wasted a lot of her life and talent what with her alcoholism as well as general goofing off. She says, "I can do more, I know I can. I can be the person other people strive to be...I can be the best." That's a solid goal. Though her move of hiring a publicist is an iffy way to do that.

However, by the end of Issue into Issue 3, she's facing off against the Brood and another alien creature known as the Cru and she's the only one who can save the Planet. We get a well-paced action story that shows what Carol can be and feeds into her character arc.

Issues 4 and 5, we get a story with a sorcerer coming after Carol while she's trying to do an interview with a Superhero news magazine show. This is a follow up to House of M guest starring Doctor Strange. This isn't a bad story, it's okay, but Doctor Strange is the real star as he tends to be in any story featuring a non-magical character dealing with magic.

Overall, the book is pretty good. The book sets up Carol Danvers' character arc and has a nice three-issue story but gets bogged down by Marvel's mandated never-ending crossovers and that may be the first time that happens in this series, but it'll be far from the last.

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Published on October 21, 2018 22:38 Tags: carol-danvers, miss-marvel, volume-1

October 20, 2018

Book Review: Flash, Volume 6: Cold Day in Hell

The Flash, Vol. 6: Cold Day in HellThe Flash, Vol. 6: Cold Day in Hell by Joshua Williamson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Issues 34-38 of the Flash and Annual #1.

Issues 34 and 35 is the Black Hole rising story that has Meena returning to Barry and Young Wally West and offering to take the negative speed force away, but of course, it's more complicated than that for Barry. This story is good, and it also helps Barry bond with young Wally. However, the big reveal was spoiled all the way back in Volume 3.

Issues 36-38 features the murder of a rogue in Iron Heights with the Flash trying to solve the crime with little cooperation from the Warden. Barry has been sent out to the prison to work as their permanent crime scene preservation guy. This is a good story with quite a few surprises and does a good job playing up the darker view of the rogues that Williamson's got going.

The Annual focuses on the old Wally West flash who is set off by the news that Iris had to kill Reverse Flash in Volume 4. It adds to his frustration about people he loves not remembering him and him not being able to get through to him. He finds someone who he can get to remember. Unfortunately, she also remmebers she's a supervillain. This is a good story with a nice character exploration of Wally West.

Overall, I like this Volume. It's not great, but it's probably Williamson strongest release since Volume 1. The stories are fun and the art is passable. Overall, a good book that brings the Flash to a better place.

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Published on October 20, 2018 22:01 Tags: dc-rebirth, flash

October 19, 2018

Book Review: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Vol. 3: Full Circle

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Vol. 3: Full CircleBatgirl and the Birds of Prey Vol. 3: Full Circle by Julie Benson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects the final nine issues of the DC Rebirth series.

It begins with the one-shot, "Gotham City Limits" in which Helena takes her class and Dinah out to the woods near a historic site. While Barbara does a ton of work as both Batgirl and Oracle in Gotham City, while Helena and Dinah end up fighting the ghost of a witch Doctor. This one is okay, but it's a bit frantic and unfocused.

Then there's the three-parter, "Manslaughter" in which every male in Gotham City is struck down with a disease and it requires a massive all-female team-up of heroes and even a few villains to save the day. I particularly loved the epic appearance of one hero at the end of an issue. This one was a lot of fun.

Then we get another one-shot, "Eco-Deadly" where at the request of Spyral, Helena goes to Paris and gets her team helping her as they deal with an arms dealer kidnaps the inventor of a device that has weather-control features. This is a fun jaunt through the streets of Paris, though I will say Batgirl is given some really clunky dialogue.

The book ends with, "Full Circle" where Calculator sends a robot to find out who is Oracle and it kills an ally of the Birds of Prey and secrets begin to be revealed. This is a very good wrap up for this series. It ties into a lot of stories that have come before while also showing how our leads have grown. A very solid finish.

Overall, this was another good volume in an underrated series. An enjoyable read.

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Published on October 19, 2018 22:44 Tags: batgirl, brids-of-prey, dc-rebirth

October 13, 2018

Book Review: Kings Watch, Volume 1

Kings Watch Volume 1Kings Watch Volume 1 by Jeff Parker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The old King Comics characters: Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, the Phantom, and several supporting characters are brought together to save the world from an invasion by Ming the Merciless. The story is pretty good with solid art and a fun adventure. The characters are more scattershot. While most are consistent from what I know of the comic strips, many characters are flatter. Also sadly, this doesn't follow the continuity of Parker's Flash Gordon series but rather stands alone as the start to some lesser spin-offs and future team-ups. Still, for what it is, this is pretty fun.

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Published on October 13, 2018 23:14 Tags: dynamite, flash-gordon, king-features

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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