Superman #702 - It's the journey that matters not the destination
This is my first review and I'm going to do it on a comic I read yesterday. The Grounded storyline has recieved mixed criticism by comic readers. Personally, I liked Superman #700 and 701 so far. It's provided a refreshing change of pace from the usual Superman stories but how does Superman #702 stack up to the previous two issues?
Superman continues his journey across America, stopping in Detroit, Michigan where he encounters aliens, a run down factory and Detroit's economic problems
- JMS has a knack for revitilising and putting new directions on characters he writes. He's already done this for Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Thor and The Twelve. The decision to have Superman walk across America is a bold move on JMS' part and so far he's carrying the story well.
- Bringing Superman from facing down Lex Luthor, Brainiac and Bizarro to encountering real issues such as immigration, economy and a life and death scenario is a welcome change of pace for the book.
- Returning the Golden Age Superman's desire to help the common man back into modern Superman was a nice touch and in this issue, Superman does just that.
- Mixing a typical Superman problem (aliens on Earth) with more realistic problems (economic issues) worked well for me. Some people may believe that using aliens was unnecessary and that Superman should have solved the problem himself but for me, it deonstrates JMS' new Superman and how he will solve future problems both big and small.
- The dialogue. This, as with the previous issue is chockablock with words. Here, JMS demonstrates Superman's ability to bring out the best in people whether it be to inspire them or put a smile on their face. It wasn't as good as in Superman #701 but there was interesting dialogue in this issue and I was glued to each page studying the dialogue.
- Superman's feel good factor. Some of these scenes may be too cliche but I've always had a soft spot for Big Blue so I liked these scenes even if they were too corny. The basketball scene shows how much of a nice guy Supes is and reminded me of Spectacular Spider -Man #262 where Spidey plays some rough teens at basketball to get the children's basketball back. Touching. And the man who just wanted to see Superman fly? Very nice.
- The fight scene. Again, some people may find it pointless to insert action in here but I found it to be well executed, perfectly choereographed and a good break from the walking and ordinary problem solving. I mean, if Superman just walked around solving ordinary problems all the time, people might lose interest. The fight scene keeps people on their toes. Reminded me of Thor #5 where Thor fought the Destroyer.
- Portraying Superman in a new light is an interesting direction for JMS to be taking the Man of Steel in. Heroes are known for staying out of matters such as the ones in the issue and instead fighting big monsters and evil supervillains. Having Superman deal with real situations brings out the true nature of Superman as being the best of humanity and a symbol for good not just for America but for the world.
- The ending was a real cliffhanger and really makes me want to get Superman #703. My real question is is it Bruce on the last page and if so, what the hell is he doing there? Isn't he supposed to be stuck in time or something?
- The art. Eddy Barrows' pencils perfectly capture emotion on people's faces and his layouts if they are from actual places in Detroit were brilliant as well. The action scene was dynamically drawn, demonstrating Barrows' strength at these particular scenes. Combined with JP Mayer's inks to highlight the colour in the comic, Barrows and Mayer are an artistic partnership perfect for this story.
- The cover. It depicts a classic pose of Superman. Great shot, great colouring and a stoic face.
- The immigration speech. In this, Superman ignores the alien's compelling argument about how he is living here illegally and instead berates them on coming here, despite the fact he knows several other aliens living here illegally e.g Martian Manhunter and Supergirl. And then saying he'll think about whether they can stay?! Not very Superman like. He's tolerant of everyone from wherever they come from.
- Superman threatening to expose the alien's cover just so they can stop a man from dying. Not on whatsoever.
- The aliens saying that letting a sentient being die goes against what they believe in which is confusing because I'm sure that robot was trying to kill Superman!
- Despite the fact JMS is trying to provide Superman with a new direction, there is still the unsolved matter of Lois and Clark sorting out their feelings about New Krypton and the Death of Sam Lane which I feeel ignoring it is not a sensible move.
Story: 8 out of 10
Art: 10 out of 10
Cover: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9 out of 10