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Archive for the ‘Superheroes’ Category

A weekend leisure reading review…because sometimes Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!

 

Tom King.  Batman, Volume 9: The Tyrant Wing. Burbank, CA: DC Comics, March 26th 2019. 152 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Ready for another adventure with Batman?  This title collects Batman comic issue 58 through 60 and also Batman Annual 3 and Batman Secret files 1. While the cover says this is written by Tom King in actually he was the writer for issues 58 to 60 and the rest was written by various other writers.

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A weekend leisure reading review…because sometimes Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!

 

Mark Waid. The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom.  San Diego, CA: IDW Publishing, March 5th 2013. 104 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Do you remember the movie the Rocketeer?  As a kid I seen commercials for it and never got to watch it until recently.  The Rocketeer is a story of a young man name Cliff Secord who found a rocket backpack.  He goes around doing good with it.  After watching the movie I wanted to read comic books about the Rocketeer so I picked up this graphic novel.  As my first reading of the Rocketeer it didn’t disappoint!  In fact I want to read more adventures of the Rocketeer as a result of this book.

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A weekend leisure reading review…because sometimes Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!  So here’s my first comic book of the year!

Mark Waid.  Batman/Deathblow: After the Fire. New York, NY: DC Comics, May 1st 2003. 160 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

I picked this up because of the cover.  Yes I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but it seems pretty cool.  But I also decided to read this book because who authored it (Brian Azzarello); previously I have read comics that he wrote the story for and I enjoyed them.  I also thought this was worth reading because it introduces to me a character that is new to me: Deathblow.  What did I think of it?

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Thanks to DC Comics for this advance review copy!  This work is out for sale today!

Tom King.  Batman Volume 3: I Am Bane. Burbank, CA: DC Comics, September 5th, 2017. 176 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is volume three of the new Batman series in the DC rebirth series.  It picks up where volume two left off in which Batman was able to bring back the character named Psycho-Pirate to help restore Gotham Girl back to a regular mental state due to events that are explained in volume one.

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I appreciate the publishers providing this review copy before its official release date!

David Liss.  Green Hornet: Reign of the Demon.  Runnemede, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment, June 20th 2017.  96 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is another Green Hornet comic book volume that I enjoyed.  I liked that this one is “old school” in that it is situated in the past rather than the present.  Putting the Green Hornet in our contemporary era seems to take away something from the story and I was disappointed when other Green Hornet graphic novels did that.  So I’m glad that one of the latest Green Hornet from Dynamite Entertainment retain the 1930s-40s era of the Green Hornet.  Note: If you don’t want to read any spoiler skip the next paragraph and read what follows after that.

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Another Weekend Light reading review.

Jai Nitz.  Kato Origins: Way of the Ninja.  Runnemede, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment, December 7th 2010.  140 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

The character Kato is the sidekick of the Green Hornet and while the title of this graphic novel is Kato Origins: Way of the Ninja it really is not an origin story per se but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the story.  While it did not cover Kato’s origin in the traditional sense of how most comics would approach it, this work though was definitely a story about the identity and identity crisis of Kato, among other things.

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I haven’t posted a light leisure reading for the weekend for a few weeks now.  Sometimes Pastors also need to take a mental break…

green-arrow-year-one

Andy Diggle.  Green Arrow: Year One. New York, NY: DC Comics, April 22nd, 2008. 160 pp.

This was for a fun read.  I did enjoyed it.  This is another character that I don’t know anything about and it explains the origin of the DC hero Green Arrow and his beginnings.  The story tells us of a rich and spoiled young man name Oliver Queen who suddenly found a purpose in life in fighting for justice.  What began as a trip on a yacht with an ex-Royal Marine mentor on all things “manly” becomes horrific as he is conned and left for dead.  But Oliver survives alone in an island where he soon found out that it is run by an evil enterprise where the natives are enslaved.  This fight for justice for the native would launch him into a career of being a hero for justice.  Overall I enjoyed this story and the character’s transition from a celebrity spoiled brat as seen in how he ruined a charity auction become a man with a deep sense of justice.

Purchase: Amazon

 

If you are interested in comics here’s a link to my Collection of Posts: Superheroes, Comics and Worldview Series.

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The following below are the graphic novels or comics I did finished but for one reason or another it wasn’t on my list of exceptional works, hence my delay in reviewing them earlier in 2015.  Just for the record there’s many comics and graphic novels that I didn’t finished because it was either not that good of a story or because it was inappropriate.  So for me to finish a graphic novel requires a lot, unlike my reading with non-fictions, which I typically can’t stand the idea of not finishing.  Also with all my discussions of worldviews, there’s time where the reading was just for enjoyment.  I’ve arranged the order of these reviews from what I most enjoyed to the least satisfied.

The Shadow Hero

The Shadow Hero

Gene Yang. The Shadow Hero. New York, NY: First Second, July 15th, 2014. 169 pp.

5 out of 5

It’s hard to find a good graphic novel involving superheroes that has good story telling, original, nice artwork, meaningful and also appropriate and clean that you can really recommend to people of all ages.  This is one of them.  It is not so childish that it’s beyond adults or teenagers reading them either.  I really enjoyed this book and I picked it up to read because of who authored it.  This book certainly didn’t disappoint.  I love this story about a hero and how it touches on the Chinese American experience: it has reference to Chinese immigrants coming to America, a son who is born in America and raised by traditional Chinese parents in an ethnic enclave of China town in an urban city.  Readers of Asian American descent will have a kick and the story is told in such a way that all can follow and appreciate.  I like how the author and illustrator also tells us the background to why they told this story and apparently there was a “Green Turtle” superhero during the 1940s that mysteriously died out as much as it mysteriously started.  Very fun read and I highly recommend it.

Purchase:Amazon

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Comics

This is our series on a Christian look at superheroes, comics and worldviews.

Principles

Analysis

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WARNING: Contain spoilers.

I don’t really watch much movies let alone movies with superheroes but when I do, I do think about worldviews.  Here I want to look at X Men: First Class and it’s theme of God, evolution and ethics.

We’ll start with the movie’s opening scene.

The movie’s opens with a rainy moment where the first thing viewers see are some feet walking in the mud and the rain.  Whoever those feet belong to, they certainly were not walking in confidence or in a hurry to get out of the rain.  One can’t tell whether it’s day or night; nor does it matter, since it is meant to invoke nihilistic and hopeless feeling to the viewers.  Nothing captures the symptom of nihilism and hopelessness as the losing track of time and where one’s external environment no longer matter.  A few seconds into it, you see the backside of a soldier manning a machine gun post with the unmistakeable Nazi shape helmet, and a caption that says “Poland 1944.”  Here everything on the screen tells the viewer that the setting is in a holocaust concentration camp, with a line of people marching.  As the movie continues, attention focuses on a young boy and his father and mother.  The Nazis separated the child from his parents, with one party going one direction and the other another.  With the mom crying and looking back, the young boy ran towards the direction of his parents, only to have one soldier, then two and eventually four soldiers pulling this young boy back.   All the while, the young lad has his hand stretched out to the gate that blocks where his parents has headed towards.   If that does not call the viewers attention to the incredible power this boy has, the scene with the Nazis soldiers looking at the twisted gate now makes the viewers realize that this child has super power (and for those familiar with the X-Men story, this would make fans immediately realize that the young child is Erik Lehnsherr who later becomes the villain Magneto).

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geek comics video games

I saw someone shared a news story on Christmas day with the following headlines, “Star Wars fans and video game geeks ‘more likely to be narcissists’, study finds.”  The first three paragraphs states

Those who take part in “geeky events” are more likely to have an “elevated grandiose” level of narcissism, according to a study conducted by the University of Georgia.

Psychologists examined the personality traits of those who turn to “geek culture”, developing a Geek Culture Engagement Scale and a Geek Identity Scale to help quantify the figures.

It was found that those who scored highly on both scales were more likely to narcissists.

Since we’re doing a current series on our blog on Christian worldview series on superheroes and comics I thought it was timely to post on this finding especially after reading the abstract to the actual study identified geek and geek culture relations to “obscure media” which include comics:

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Here’s some audios that looks at comics from a Christian worldview from a show that calls itself “Theonomy in Panels.”  There use to be some Youtube videos of these shows but they have since been deleted.  The following are what audios that can be still be found online:

Episode One – Watchmen and Worldviews

Episode Two – Spider-Man and the Theme of Responsibility

Moebius and Hedonistic Sensuality

 

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Here are comics that deals with fathers’ issue that I’ve read this past year.

Jonah Hex, Vol. 3: Origins

Jonah Hex Vol 3 Origins

Justin Gray. Jonah Hex, Vol. 3: Origins. New York, NY: DC Comics, November 7th, 2007. 144 pp.

This is a Western story of a tough as nail bounty hunter who roams the Wild West.  This particular volume touches on Jonah’s past although I think the title can be misleading since the volume isn’t entirely on his origin per se and it goes back and forth in time and gives glimpses of his past rather than it being a linear story.  One thing I noticed in this work was the frequent theme of fathers and in particular bad fathers.  We see this in one of the story where a father was an alcoholic beating his son which gave Jonah Hex flashbacks to his own childhood and his own father.  We also see this theme about son and father even with the story of Jonah Hex being given away to the Apaches by his dad and then the relationship of the Apache chief, his son and Jonah Hex.  This volume also ended with Jonah Hex being a widow maker which is also echoed in the earlier stories in this book.  In between these stories there is also the story of how Jonah Hex met Tallulah Black and her backstory.  I found these stories a fascinating read.

Christian Reflection: 

Paul in Ephesians 6:4 says “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  We see the detrimental consequences of this upon children, the effect in which we see even when they become adults.  The correlation between those who have a bad or non-existent relationship with their fathers and crime rate can be seen by those who want to look up the statistics.  As a Christian reading this volume, the death and killing of fathers left me gasping.  But it made me think about the men I have ministered to who have issues with abusive and negligent dads and the pain and rage they have.  Of course there must be a call to repentance but one must also understand just how detrimental is the effect of bad father figures are in people’s lives.

Purchase:Amazon

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This is part of our short series on Superheroes, Comics and Worldview.  The following are comics that I found intriguing in that they have a political overtone and message.  Specifically they warn the readers of the danger of Statism.

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta

Alan Moore. V for Vendetta. New York, NY: DC Comics, October 12th, 2005. 296 pp.

I read this nearly a year ago back in January and it still left a strong impression on my mind.  I can only compare to this to George Orwell’s 1984.  It is a 1984 with a superhero, if V could be called that.  Originally written in the 1980s it is a story about a future England in 1997 and 1998 in which the government has become tyrannical and authoritarian with a sole dictator on top who is obsessed with his computer dictating to him things by chance.  As powerful and smart as those within government think they are, one lone vigilante suddenly challenges all that.  What’s incredible is that our hero goes about doing what he does while singing, rhyming and throwing out witty slogans.  This shows the incredible genius of the writer Alan Moore and he even manage to alliterate each section of the book with the letter V.  Incredible.  As our hero carry his subversive campaign to undermine the evil government and cause the people to rise up we are also drawn into the story in learning more of the mystery of the origin of V and his motivation to fight the regime.  Although the story does have a bit of the left leaning taste there is still a powerful lesson about the dangers of Statism.

Christian Reflection: 

As I said earlier this book does have the same feel as 1984.  This reminds us just how dark a tyrannical government can be and how the mass could simply let the government do the evils they do.  While our hero is a lone revolutionary as a Christian we must not believe in vigilante justice or call for the rebellious overthrow of the government.  This of course is different from the duties of the lower magistrate to disobey wrongful orders from their superiors.  Christians must be very careful not to subscribe to the pagan ideology that chaos (revolution) will reproduce order.

NOTE: I did not watch the movie nor do I plan on reading it.

Purchase:Amazon

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Below are reviews and Christian reflection of comics that has the theme of Darwinism.  I’ve organized it from the subtle to the more explicit.

Ultimate X-Men: Ultimate Collection Book 1

Ultimate X-Men Ultimate Collection, Book 1

Mark Miller. Ultimate X-Men: Ultimate Collection Book 1.  New York, NY: Marvel Publishing Incorporated, April 26th, 2006. 336 pp.

This year I started doing something new as an adult: read comics and graphic novels.  I picked this up because the X-Men were characters that I enjoyed as a kid.  I thought if I were to read about the X-Men, I pick up volume one to read as the starting point.  Overall it was good to see the origin of the X-Men as retold in this series.  In terms of storytelling it was okay—not too bad and not too corny.

Purchase:Amazon

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