Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes, page 8

July 2, 2018

Daredevil: Back in Black, Volume 2: SupersonicDaredevil: Back in Black, Volume 2: Supersonic by Charles Soule

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book collects Issues 6-9 of Daredevil as well as Annual #1.

Issues 6 and 7 find Daredevil going to meet Elektra and Elektra trying to kill him for a very personal reason. It's a Noirish story with a good twist.

Issues 8 and 9 are Blind Man's Bluff, which finds Matt Murdoch playing poker incognito in Issue 7 leading to a team up with Spider-man in Issue 8. This story had some interesting ideas and a lot of fun, but also some fairly dumb plotholes.

The Annual contains a kind of mediocre story involving Echo and a pretty bad one involving Gladiator.

This book isn't bad and there's some great art in here, but I'm really feeling this new Daredevil series isn't for me. Soule turned the entire status quo at the end of Mark Waid's run on its head and two books in, he's not offering any explanations or even any hints. The series would have to be great to overcome my annoyance and this one just isn't. Not bad, but not for me.

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Published on July 02, 2018 23:09 • 81 views • Tags: charles-soule, daredevil

July 1, 2018

Spider-Man: Revenge of the Green GoblinSpider-Man: Revenge of the Green Goblin by Howard Mackie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book collects Issues 20-29 of the relaunched Amazing Spider-man series the 2001 ASM annual, the Spider-man: Revenge of the Green Goblin Mini-series, and Issues 25 and 29 of Peter Parker, Spider-man. The issues are set during a time when Mary Jane is presumed dead.

The book opens up with a two-parter in ASM #20 and #21 where Alistair Smythe is out of his wheelchair and blackmailing J Jonah Jameson and has hatched yet another spider-slayer plot. This isn't particularly original, but it's enjoyably done.

ASM #22-24 is a three-part story which involves a U.S. Senator who is really a traitor from his SHIELD days and Arthur Stacy (Gwen's uncle) is determined to kill him and says he's the most dangerous man in America. It turns out Arthur's right. I like the scope of the story as it has Spidey saving the world, but there are a lot of plot points that are nonsense.

Revenge of the Green Goblin Mini-Series (#1-#3): Written by Roger Stern, this mini-series tells how Norman Osborne is crazy, hates Spider-man, and plans to bring him down through his revenge plot. The focus of these issues is squarely on Norman as he monologues and reveals his evil plan. This really does feel like it could have been condensed to a one-shot if this weren't the early 2000s and Marvel was trying to bleed readers for every penny. There's a very thin romance plot with Norman and a nurse that is supposed to give some pretext of a plot to keep this going three issues. We also learn how Norman is able to get through Peter. Peter Parker's poisoned by using a free toothpaste sample he got in the mail. Peter and his love of crummy toothpaste almost proves to be his downfall.

Darkness Calling/Trick of the Light (AS #25, PPS #25): Two double issues tell the story of Norman Osborne's revenge plot as Spidey races to find out about the returned Green Goblin. It leads to a very long psychological showdown between Peter and Norman. On one hand, there are some pretty clever and twisted ways Norman takes to obtain revenge and some dramatic moments. On the other hand, there's a lot of monologuing and repetition and retcons of the Goblin's past that are meant to make him darker and edgier but are kind of dumb when you think about it. It also ends on a really negative note. This one kind of left me with a meh feeling.

The Mask (ASM #26): After Peter's battle with Norman, who tried to put himself up as Peter's father figure, Pete sets out to find out about his real father and finds an old friend of his dad who runs a bar. Unfortunately, said friend's neighborhood is being terrorized by a lame Squid villain who gives Spidey more trouble than he should to set up a contrived parallel to his dad.

The Stray (ASM #27): Randy Robinson has decided that he is the arbiter of how long Peter has to grieve and has decided after six months, it's time for him to date again and he creates an awkward uncomfortable situation. Meanwhile, a cat rescue goes wrong and Peter has to protect a stray cat whose had some weird stuff done to it from being killed by AIM who has sent assassin because of unspecified reasons. The story has two two-page spreads that have turned to be read. Neither are all that amazing. It's a transparently lazy attempt to pad out the page count.

Distractions (ASM #28): Randy decides to take awkward new level when he tricks Peter into meeting up with a very intense woman whose under house arrest. He no more has chewed him out for setting him up with a woman whose into witchcraft, has piercing, and tatoos (something Peter wouldn't say today because Marvel doesn't want to offend the fans) before he has to go and save a friendly mobster from the Enforcers. Overall, probably my favorite issue in the book.

Mary Jane/Destinations (ASM #29/PPs #29): In this issue, it's revealed what happened to Mary Jane and boy is it anti-climatic. The man behind it is some random guy who monologs and whines a lot. At the end of the day, the issue is resolved in a way in which Peter doesn't save the day or do anything, but at least Mary Jane and Peter are back together until...

Passages (ASM Annual 2001): Peter and Mary Jane are together again and making plans to move back in, laughing and having fun, and then it all goes abruptly downhill. This wasn't really an attempt to end the marriage. If it was, it was a heck of a lot better and realistic to the characters than One More Day, but that's damning with faint praise. Still, I think if this had been how it ended, fans would be upset but they would move on. That doesn't make it a good issue. It screams editorial mandate. It ended Howard Mackie's run on Spider-man and that's the best thing about it.

Overall, this book isn't horrible, but there are lots of problems. If you're a fan of the Green Goblin or a Spidey completist, this could be a worthwhile read. Otherwise, I'd give it a pass.

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Published on July 01, 2018 17:14 • 124 views • Tags: green-goblin, howard-mackie, spider-man

June 27, 2018

Darkwing Duck Classics Vol. 1Darkwing Duck Classics Vol. 1 by Brian Swenlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects the first and sadly only volume of Boom Studios' archived Darkwing Duck comics from the 1990s.

The first 100 pages collects the Darkwing Duck comic mini-series that is essentially the first two episodes of the TV show in Comic Book form. It's a really good adaptation of the TV episode, I'd almost go as far as to say it works better than the TV show. The plot finds Darkwing trying to make a name for himself and needs to battle a big supervillain and he collides with he bovine villainy of Taurus Bulba.

The comic explains how Darkwing met Goslin and Launchpad and just generally sets up the series. It's a faithful adaptation with only one detail changed that I could see. It's an intelligent adaptation because they find a way to translate some things which worked on TV that don't always easily translate to comics.

The rest of the book contains four Darkwing Duck strips from Disney Adventures magazine. These strips could be of varying lengths depending on whether they were the main story or a back up story. The quality of these varies quite a bit.

The first story, "Let's Get Fiscal" is about a FOWL accountant who has defected to SHUSH with a calculator that allows him to perform real-life calculations, multiplying, subtracting or dividing. The story is dumb and non-sensical, but thankfully only eight pages long.

Next is, "Liquid Diet" which finds the Liquidator released from prison and claiming to have gone straight while offering the public a popular new sports drink. Everyone thinks he's reformed, but Darkwing things otherwise. My favorite of these four stories. At 24 pages long, it feels like a lost episode.

In, "Turnabout is F.O.W.L. Play," Steelbeak has a ray that will turn Darkwing evil and it works, but Steelbeak learns the hard way to be careful what you wish for. Overall, a fun story even if the end is a bit of a copout.

In the final eight-pager, Darkwing is forced into a vacation when St. Canard goes through a bout of low crime. As is usual when Launchpad is flying, they fall out of the plane and find themselves in a mysterious jungle. A nice twist ending and a cute story.

Overall, this book is a lot of fun and it's a shame there's no plan to collect the other 31 Disney Adventures tales

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Published on June 27, 2018 16:44 • 146 views • Tags: 1990s-comics, boom-studios, darkwing-duck

June 26, 2018

All Star Comics Archives, Vol. 7All Star Comics Archives, Vol. 7 by Gardner F. Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Golden Age Justice Society team of Hawkman, the Flash, Green Lanter, Doctor Midntite, the Atom, Johnny Thunder, and Wonder Woman as Secretary return for five post-War adventures in Issues 29-33

Issue 29: The Man Who Knew Much: Landor, a man bored with a Utopian future returns to the 1940s only to discover it takes money to live so he sets out to commit some daring crimes to capture the attention of the Justice Society. Really fun. Grade: B+

Issue 30: Dreams of Madness: An old JSA villain Brainwave tricks the JSA into going under so that he can use their dreams to drive the mad. Can anyone save the JSA? This is the best story for Johnny Thunder I've ever read. A very fun ending. Grade: B+

Issue 31: The Workship of Willie Wonder: A toymaker is turned evil by a mini-red evil alien sun creature and designs stuff for criminal. A bit meh for me on this one. Grade: C

Issue 32: The Return of Psycho Pirate: Psycho Pirate returns in a story that serves to teach kids the dangers of letting various emotions get out of control. Not sure the writer understands humility, but anyway not a bad story. Grade: B

Issue 33: The Revenge of Solomon Grundy: JSA Headquarters has been trashed, Green Lantern's disappeared and his old enemy Solomon Grundy is on the loose. It's easily one of the best JSA tales I've ever read. Very tense ending. Grade: A

Overall, this is a strong volume. The worst story is only mediocre. I actually found myself enjoying the Johnny Thunder chapters, and everything else is as good or better than previous volumes. One big bonus of this book is Roy Thomas' loving introduction. His passion and enthusiasm for the series shows and is quite contagious. A very solid read.

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Published on June 26, 2018 23:11 • 66 views • Tags: all-star-comics, golden-age, jsa, justice-society

June 22, 2018

Spidey, Volume 1: First DaySpidey, Volume 1: First Day by Robbie Thompson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book takes a look at Spidey as a modern teenager start out at mid-town High.

The first issue is a bit rough. It's frentic and jumps all over the place. It features the out of character moment where Gwen Stacy punches Flash Thompson in the face and then there's the lady in a bunny suit who robs a bank so Spidey makes puns, Peter goes to a lab and a fight with Doc Ock is shoe-horned in.

However, after the first issue, the book gets better as we feature Spidey battles with all-time great foes like the Vulture, the Lizard, Doctor Doom, Green Goblin, and Sandman. The stories are fun and make for light breezy reads. If you like simple Spidey away from all ways the Marvel 616 version have been messed up, this reads great. Also, if you want to introduce a kid to Spidey, this is a good book to do it with if you're afraid they won't be able to get into the originals. Although, these aren't on par with that.

My one complaint after the first issue is that the story reuses the art for the same opening page telling the story of how Peter got his powers.

Other than that, though, it's a fun book for kids and for fans who just want a simple continuity-free Spider-man story.

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Published on June 22, 2018 23:48 • 128 views • Tags: peter-parker, spider-man

June 21, 2018

Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 by Jeff Parker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jeff Parker brings together these two nostalgic iconic television franchises in this comic book crossover.

Parker takes advantage of the fact that the first season of Wonder Woman was set in the 1940s but later seasons were set in the 1970s, and thus we're given a three era story with the first part being set in the 1940s (with a robbery that occurred in the 1960s leading to Batman telling the story to Robin), the second part is set in the 1960s, and the final part occurred in the 1970s. Ra's Al-Ghul is the featured villain throughout.

The art is fantastic. It's a visual nostalgia piece for fans of either series. We get to see all three of the TV Catwoman actresses portrayed, 1970s redesigns of some Batman characters including a 1970s Nightwing and 1970s Catwoman henchmen (the best) as well as seeing Wonder Woman in a Kathie Crosbyeseque jump suit that's really intriguing. The art is drawn with great care for every little detail.

The story is mostly fun and for most of the book, I had a smile on my face because of the nostalgia. The story does have some problems. The Batman '66 story/family has a particularly dark turn that seemed a bit out of place. In addion, Ra's Al-Ghul seems strangely out of place in this and his plans don't amount to much.

Still, the superb art and general tone of the book makes up for the few flaws in details. This is a worthwhile read if you're a fan of either series.

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Published on June 21, 2018 22:27 • 121 views • Tags: batman, wonder-woman

June 15, 2018

Marvel 1602: New World Marvel 1602: New World by Greg Pak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is this every bit the classic story that the original is held up to be? No, but it's a lot of fun.

It takes the story of 1602 and continues in the New World where the wealthy Norman Osborne wants the local native Americans gone and the King's Man David Banner is hiding from the King as well as the beast within.

This book takes the 1602 concept and runs with it. We get to see Peter Parquagh emerge as the Spider, the Hulk fight dinosaurs in Roanoke, and a 17th Century Iron Man who stands on a mast and is hit by lightning to power his suit. If this sounds like the type of story you'd like to read, this book will be fun and you don't even have to have read the original, although that does help.

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Published on June 15, 2018 18:08 • 181 views • Tags: marvel-1602, new-world

June 7, 2018

Action Comics: Superman-The Oz EffectAction Comics: Superman-The Oz Effect by Dan Jurgens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Issue 985-992 of Action Comics.

First up is the two-part story, "Only Human" written by guest writer Rob Williams finds terrorists using chips from Lex Luthor to encourage mayhem and Civil War. Superman suspects Luthor has gone back to his old ways, but Luthor denies knowledge and the two team up to sort things out. This is a nice look at the Lex-Superman relationship and leads into the main arch.

Issue 986-991 makes up the proper Oz Effect story where Oz is revealed and his agenda is to convince Superman that humanity can't be saved and to take care of himself and his family. This is a good emotional arc that gets to the core of Superman is. I think Jon is a bit flat here, but otherwise it's a strong arc that sets up Doomsday Clock.

Issue 992 has Superman working in after-math of the main story, leading to a fateful decision to take an extreme step that will set up the next story arc.

Overall, some decent comics with an interesting answer to the question of Mr. Oz, although it's all a tease for what is to come.

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Published on June 07, 2018 22:52 • 247 views • Tags: action-comics, dc-rebirth, superman

June 5, 2018

Supergirl: Book Two (Supergirl by Peter David, #2)Supergirl: Book Two by Peter David

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So this book collects Issues 10-20 as well Annual #2 of Supergirl. We get a lot of weird stuff in this book as we explore the world of Supergirl. The book is a mixture of decent superhero battles, weird supernatural stories, and Peter David's somewhat shallow views of religion and religious people and why they believe and might lose their faith.

The book has some decent character moments and the art is usually good (except on the Powergirl-Supergirl crossover issue where they look the same except for their costumes.) My big complaint about the book is there were two tie-in issues (including the final issue in the book) and it's easy to become lost as to what's going on. A good practice is if it's a short crossover with another book to reprint the other issues. If it's a companywide event, either don't reprint the tie-ins or reprint them with context. That's what Marvel does and it makes a lot more sense than what's done here.

Overall, not essential, but still a somewhat interesting read.

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Published on June 05, 2018 18:26 • 176 views • Tags: peter-david, supergirl

June 4, 2018

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me NowThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now by Ryan North

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book features the first six issues of volume 2 of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, along with Issue 6 o Howard the Duck as part of a crossover.

The first issue is a one-shot that establishes the characters, has Squirrel Girl (Doreen's) mother come for a visit and embarrass her and then we have a Brain Drain appear. The first issue felt a bit over-stuffed and had moments when it was trying to hard

Issues 2-5 is a four-part story that finds Doreen sent back into the time to the early 1960s before the age of Superheroes began. She finds other former ESU Computer Science students also sent back with her. She enjoys the styles of the time and sends a message to her friend Nancy. Unfortunately, the only help Nancy can find come from Doctor Doom. This is a fun travel story that also manages to effectively make fun of Doctor Doom's egotism and his often overrated sense of honor.

Finally the book concludes with a crossover with Howard the Duck. What begins as a search for a missing cat turns into a life and death battle as our heroes face a woman determined to hunt the deadliest game. The first part of this story (Squirrel Girl #6) is really good and has some nice funny moments but the final issue (Howard the Duck #6) is a pretty standard paint by numbers story that often gets Squirrel Girl's voice wrong.

Overall, this book still h has more enjoyable moments than not, so this is wroth a read.

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Published on June 04, 2018 22:23 • 165 views • Tags: marvel-comics, squirrel-girl

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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