Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes, page 9

June 23, 2019

Book Review: Gambit Classic, Vol. 2

Gambit Classic, Vol. 2 Gambit Classic, Vol. 2 by Howard Mackie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


We get two 1990s mini-series in this book.

The First is the Rogue Mini-Series which is in this book because not only does Gambit feature but it's a sequel of sorts to the first Gambit mini-series. In that series she accidentally stole the memories of Gambit's then-comatose ex-wife, Belladonna. Belladonna decides to seek vengeance by kidnapping the boy Rogue accidentally put into a coma. It's a decent story with pretty good art for the 1990s, Rogue is good, and she has some nice character moments. I'm not sure this is worthy of a four-issue mini-series, but otherwise it's fine.

Then we get the second Gambit mini-series in which Gambit robs Cuban monsters, is met by the spirit of a person who's not dead who tells him he's going to work for the Lord, a naked woman falls down from the sky and Gambit to avoid demons while getting her to Vatican City. While there are details missing, they really don't help much. This is an incoherent story plotwise and the art seems to grow worse as the mini-series goes on. It's yet another story ostensibly addressing religion or a character's faith but doing so in such a shallow way that it's utterly meaningless.

Overall, a sort of meh collection.



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Published on June 23, 2019 23:25 Tags: classic, gambit, marvel

June 20, 2019

Book Review: Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition Vol. 2

Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition Vol. 2 Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition Vol. 2 by Marv Wolfman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book continues collecting Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-ins.

Detective Comics #558 drops us in the middle of a lot of stuff going on with Batman with not a whole lot of forward momentum.

DC Comics Presents #86: Features a Superman/Supergirl team-up as Supergirl tries to find out what's behind the crisis and we get some foreshadowing of her fate in Crisis.

Swamp Thing #44: Not quite as confusing as Batman, but still off doing its own thing with the Crisis element being relatively small.

The Losers Special #1: We learn the fate ofWorld War II-level heroes in a solid war comic, we get a look at the end of three World War II war story heroes.
Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 was probably the most surprising story in the book. It was written by Wolfman in the 1990s to introduce Earth-D where his idea of a more diverse identity for the DCU was in place with a Black Superman, Native American Wonder Woman, and a different take on Batman. The heroes from Earth 1 arrive to try and stop the crisis. It's a very moving story and quite well-done.
The bulk of the book is Infinity, Inc. #18-25 and Annual #1 and Justice League of America #244 and #245. Infinity Inc. is pretty good, but I don't think its as good as All-Star Squadron in the previous book. It focuses on the second generation of heroes in Earth 2, many of who were rejected for the Justice Society. There was a lot of good stuff, including the wedding of the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott and the introduction of a new Doctor Midnight and Hourman. There's also a team up with Solomon Grundy in the middle of the crisis. On the other hand, some of this is over-angsty. The final JLA-JSA crossover is pretty lame. Add to that, that this run begins in the middle of one story and ends with a cliffhanger for another, and this is good but not great reading.
New Teen Titans Vol. 2 #13 and #14 concludes the book and its pretty good. There's a lot of stuff that's been going on, but like a good soap opera, it draws you in. The highlight of this may be seeing the Crisis affect another planet.
Overall, while I liked this a little less than the first volume and I think the Detective Comics and Swamp Thing books feel tangential, this is a worthwhile read for fans of 1980s comics and Crisis on Infinite Earts.



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Published on June 20, 2019 06:44 Tags: crisis-on-infinite-earths, infinity-inc

June 14, 2019

Book Review: Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, Volume 2

Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, Volume 2 Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, Volume 2 by Paul Kupperberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects the final pre-Crisis Sueprgirl books. The Daring Adventure title is dropped after the first issue of the book and it continues with the same continuity of her studying in college in Chicago.

We get a couple costume redesigns, the last one of which sets up her new iconic Crisis look. It includes the goofy and unnecessary excuse for her headband that citizens of Krypton wear headbands and then was made more complicated when someone realized that only men had been portrayed as wearing headbands on Krypton. "I like headbands," would have made it simpler. I mean it was the 1980s.

In this book, we see the introduction of Blackstar, a villain stirring up hatred and antisemitism with an unusual tie to the holocaust, she meets up with Ambush Bug, deals with a mystery of her life being stolen, and then has to face the Parasite in a parallel crossover with Superman in Action Comics (which isn't reprinted even though it's also written by Paul Kupperberg) and in the last issue plus she has has to deal with one of her professors who's turned into a monstrous future creature.

Overall, these are fun stories with a likable lead, and an appropriate dose of goofiness.



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Published on June 14, 2019 22:57 Tags: precrisis, supergirl

June 11, 2019

Book Review: Captain Marvel Masterworks Vol. 5

Captain Marvel Masterworks Vol. 5 (Captain Marvel (1968-1979)) Captain Marvel Masterworks Vol. 5 (Captain Marvel by Scott Edelman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This penultimate volume featuring the avengers of Mar-vel of the Kree as Captain Marvel collects issues 47-57, as well as his guest appearance in Avengers Annual #7 and his somewhat less substantial role in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2.

At this point, Captain Marvel settled into being a decent enough "villain of the month" comic which alternated between typical Earthbound Marvel villains and more cosmic threats (including a beserk Ronan the Accuser.) Some of the highlights of the book include the introduction of Doctor Minerva, a crossover with the Avengers to battle the Super Adaptoid in Issue 50, and a team up with Black Bolt in #53. He also decides he needs to settle into life on Earth and so think about adopting a secret identity before deciding he doesn't need one given that he doesn't have any loved ones. However, when he lands a job based on being Captain Marvel, he learns that may have been a mistake. The Annuals are all about Thanos. No, it's not as good as the Jim Starlin stuff, but it's really a fun bit of Space opera, featuring a guest appearance by Adam Strange. Mar-vel is relegated to the side for most of Marvels Two-In-One Annual #2 which focuses on Spider-man, and to an extent, The Thing. However, it's still a good story and leads into Issue #57 where our hero tries to get Thor to kill him.

Overall, while this isn't Spider-man or Fantastic Four, Mar-vel continues to be a fun character to read and if you love 1970s comics or Sci Fi of this era, it's a book that's worth checking out.



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Published on June 11, 2019 17:07 Tags: bronze-age, captain-marvel, mar-vel

June 10, 2019

Book Review: Doctor Who Classics, Volume 8

Doctor Who Classics, Vol. 8 Doctor Who Classics, Vol. 8 by Grant Morrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects comic strips from 19 issues of Doctor Who Magazine during Colin Baker's time as the Doctor and featuring his TV companion Peri Brown and Frobisher

Exodus/Genesis/Revelation: Three inter-linked stories that lead to one of the Doctor's oldest enemies. A decent story, though the Doctor's a bit rude to refugees who arrive in the TARDIS due to no fault of their own. Grade: B-

Nature of the Beast: The Doctor and crew arrive on a planet where there are military types going about and a queen has disappeared and a strange beast has appeared. Typical Doctor Who story with a surprisingly New Who feel for the 1980s. Well-executed. Grade: B

Time Bomb: An alien species is threatening to stop all life on Earth from existing and its up to the Doctor and Froisher to thwart them as Peri at a baseball game on Earth. Major annoyance is how little the Doctor does in this story, minor annoyance is how they messed up the baseball stuff. If they had a U.S. Audience in mind I'd think the writer was making a joke, but here it just feels a bit ignorant. Stilll, I do love the final scene. Grade: C-

Salad Daze: Brief 1-part story where Peri ends up in an Alice in Wonderland pursued by salad vegetables. Zany and with a humorous explanation. Grade: B

Changes: Weird things happening in the TARDIS. Has since become a trope of Doctor Who comics, however this is written by Grant Morrison, so it's a bit better than usual. Grade: C+

Profits of Doom: It's up to the Doctor to stop profiteering space pirates from destroying an Earth Colony Ship. A fairly typical plot but done with gusto and some great twists. Grade: B+

The Gift: The longest story in the book and the best. The Doctor, Peri, and Frobisher go to a planet that's an echo of 1920s America, complete with jazz culture to celebrate a duke's birthday. However, the gift of the Duke's scientist brother causes a lot of problems and puts the Doctor and friends lives at risk. This is big, colorful, and fun. It's the perfect Sixth Doctor comic story. Grade: A

Overall, this is a good book. There's not a really bad strip in here, but the quality does vary quie a bit. Still, I enjoyed this and for me, it definitely ended with a bang.



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Published on June 10, 2019 23:42 Tags: doctor-who-comics, sixth-doctor

June 7, 2019

Batman, Detective Comics, Volume 8: On the Outside

Batman: Detective Comics, Vol. 8: On the Outside Batman: Detective Comics, Vol. 8: On the Outside by Bryan Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


After James Tynion's departure, we get a five-issue storyline where Batman brings Black Ligtning to Gotham to care for the remaining former Gotham knights and help Batman protect them from a new villain called Karma who believes that Batman's family makes him weaker.

This is a pretty good story with a lot of nice character moments and moves at a good pace. The story is the comic version of a backdoor pilot for Hill's Batman and the Outsiders. My only complaint was dragging Barbara to the batcave and put her under Black Lightning. Given the time she's been in the Gotham and the fact that she's so far beyond the other members of the team, that was practically an insult.

Then we get a Batman fighting in the shadows and dealing with Deacon Blackfire. The art is nice for the dark scenes, though a little less impressive for the beautiful cityscape at the end. Nice atmosphere and some good character exploration without spiraling into out of control navel-gazing.

Overall, a fun filler volume.



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Published on June 07, 2019 21:33 Tags: batman, detective-comics

June 5, 2019

Book Review: Batman, Volume 8: Cold Days

Batman, Volume 8: Cold Days Batman, Volume 8: Cold Days by Tom King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


In Cold Days, Bruce Wayne gets jury duty on a case where Mr. Freeze is being tried on evidence produced by Batman. Bruce becomes the only hold out on a guilty verdict based on a theory that Freeze was set up that has no evidence to support it.

Tom King delivers what every Batman fan wants: three issues full of Bruce Wayne on jury duty. We essentially get an idea of the over-the-top amount of self-doubt that's hit Bruce after Selena left him standing at the aisle.

The final issue includes a long conversation in which Bruce makes his case for not believing in Batman's evidence because Batman's not God. This monologue was touched off by Bruce asking a woman wearing a chain if she was wearing a cross under her shirt. Good thing it wasn't a dogtag to honor a fallen soldier or the whole monologue wouldn't work.

There's something to the monologue because a lot of writers who treat Batman like he's a God and not just writers of Batman, but writers of other books who can't stop themselves from fanboying about Batman even to the detriment of the story and characters to be writing. It's a good idea to remind readers of Batman's humanity.

However, there's something silly about applying this to religion and further the overwrought reaction to the break up. Sometimes Bruce sounds like, "My engagement was broken, therefore Batman is not God."

Next up is the one-shot story where Nightwing shows up in Gotham to team up with Batman and just be a friend. This is a nice celebration of Dick and Bruce's relationship and my favorite part of the book.

That leads into Beast of Burden where a hired killer shoots Dick and Batman sets out to hunt him down. You have Batman getting tough, finding his man, and having a solid fight scene. You also have some gratuitous patricide because Tom King. The story ends with Batman doing something that is not consistent with his character.

Overall, this book is just not for me. The art is very good, and I think Tom King is a good writer in general, but I don't like his conception of Batman as overdone indie comic psychodrama and self-analysis with a few fight scenes and gratuitious acts of cruelty and murder to keep the hoi polloi reading. At this point, I've lost confidence that he's going to land the book somewhere good, so I'm done with this series.



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Published on June 05, 2019 23:44 Tags: batman, tom-king

May 30, 2019

Book Review: Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2

Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2 Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection, Vol. 2 by Christopher J. Priest

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects Issues 18-35 of Black Panther plus Deadpool #44 from the 1990s-2000s:

Issues 18-20 features the Panther vs. Killmonger while Ross is serving as Regent. This ends with an unexpected victory for Killmonger that makes him the Black Panther. Issues 21 and 22 has T'Challa fighting for his life in a surreal kingdom of the death (look for Black Panther as Batman and Ross as Robin) while Killmonger assumes the role of Black Panther.

Deadpool #44 and Black Panther #23 features Killmonger trying to join the Avengers while Deadpool is hired by an enemy to T'Challa to kindap Killmonger's pet leopard. This one has some fun concepts but is a bit meh. Issue #24 sees a lot going on, T'Challa continues to be king despite losing leadership of the Panther tribe. They come under attack from his former bodyguard who causes a death of a recurring character. Meanwhile Killmonger's time of Black Panther comes to an end anti-climatically.

Issue 25 is the Maximum Security Crossover. The best part is a long overdue confrontation between Ross and T'Challa over recent events. Ross has been complaining for a while and it's glad to see he and T'Challa finally have it out. There are some nice surprises and that saves the issue from being a dull bit of obligatory continuity.

Issues 26-29 is the Sturm Und Drang: A Story of Love and War. When a Wakandan has a child who ishalf Wakandan and half sea-dwelling deviant Lemurian, the Deviant Lemurians asks that T'Challa return the child to be killed and this sets off a global incident. Magneto and Namor appear and this is one of the better uses of political thrillers in comics. A reveal of an old enemy comes in this story.

Issue 30 is a one-shot in which Captain America's first contact with Wakanda is revealed and Ross delivers a spirited defense of the Panther before a Senate subcommittee. Issues 31-33 is Seduction of the Innocent in which his ex-bodyguard Malice returns for another story while Ross deals with Mephisto having switched bodies. The story is okay but feels like treading water as it also sets up the finale, "Gorilla Warfare" in Issues 34 and 35 as Black Panther battles Man-ape and one of T'Challa's allies learns the truth about her family.

Overall, the book is a strong continuation of the previous volume. While T'Challa does some questionale things he remains undoubtedly on the side of the Angels and is easy to cheer for.



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Published on May 30, 2019 23:08 Tags: 1990s, black-panther

May 21, 2019

Book Review: Pet Avengers Classic

Pet Avengers Classic Pet Avengers Classic by Stan Lee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book is a hodgepodge of stories including a few full-length issues and a lot of back up stories that haven't been reprinted elsewhere as far as I know, all focusing on pets of Marvel Universe heroes. There's even a Jack Kirby drawn story from a pre-Silver Age Journey into Mystery. There's even an issue of Speedball and I've never heard of this character.

Unfortunately, rare doesn't add up to good and it's fair to say the quality is pretty uneven. My favorites are the Squirrel Girl orign story from Marvel Superheroes #8 from#2 from 1992, The Franling Richards Special from 2007, the New Warriors #2 from 2005 and the aforementioned Journey Into Mystery. The rest are kind of okay. However, due to rarity, this might be a nice one for a collection if you could get it at a good price.



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Published on May 21, 2019 22:11 Tags: pet-avengers

May 17, 2019

Book Review: The Flash, Vol. 8: Flash WarThe Flash, Vol. 8: Flash War

The Flash, Vol. 8: Flash War The Flash, Vol. 8: Flash War by Joshua Williamson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Flashes battle with Wally attempting to use his speed to reclaim his memory and his life through time travel, but Barry is trying to stop him. Together both Flashes are ripping the world apart until the Justice League has to step in and do their best.

This story isn't awful, but it's got problems. The heroes don't act heroic. In fact, Wally is literally willing to risk every other person on Earth to get his family back. We get two new forces in addition to the Speed Force: The Strength Force and the Sage Force which sounds like a dumb idea, but I'll reserve full judgment.

Overall, an okay meh volume that leaves hoping that I can get a book where I like the Flash (at least one of him.)



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Published on May 17, 2019 22:24 Tags: dc-rebirth, 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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