Does illness affect the performence of a comic book?
At last, my 3 review. Now I have a spare moment, I can at last do some evaluation on Superman’s current storyline Grounded. I’ve been an avid champion of this story ever since it started. JMS is my favourite writer and I love what he’s doing with Superman at the moment. This issue was delayed due to JMS having Bronchitis I think. Will this issue be worth the wait?
Superman meets with Batman and travels to Danville, Ohio to investigate and recover debris from New Krypton, unaware it isn’t in the best of hands...
· Storywise, this is the best of Grounded so far aside from the prologue. The dialogue here is brilliant. JMS has at last found a way of combining his Superman’s character with that of the Superman we all know and love today. His speech and character are both interesting and unique to the usual Superman.
· Although this issue is more focused on Superman dealing with bigger problems and doesn’t intermesh ordinary problems with the usual superhero menaces, it does show Superman dealing with a stalker harassing a waitress. Some may say his method of deterrence was out of character but wouldn’t you fly a stalker into the sky to stop him from harassing people? This is another method of Superman integrating with the common folk.
· The issue really picks up with the Batman talk. This is Dick, not Bruce although from the looks of Eddy Barrows’ drawing of Batman in this issue and the previous, I think it was meant to be. Anyway, Dick confronts and argues with Superman about his journey. JMS did well in this because Dick respects Superman and looks to him as an uncle/father figure. After all, it was Superman that gave Dick the idea of becoming Nightwing. The fact Dick is standing up to Supes about this journey shows just how seriously he and the rest of the superhero community are taking this. The discussion between the 2 is fantastic and the final point Dick brings up is excellent which is that supervillains know where to find him and that his presence in small towns could bring destruction. Dick goes on to say that heroes like them can’t interfere with ordinary people anymore, at least not without paying a very high price.
· The fight in this issue was brilliant. Eddy Barrows did a fantastic job here capturing the destruction, the blows, the heat vision and the distress on people’s faces. Action wise, this outshines the robot fight of the previous issue greatly as it demonstrates Superman’s experience with his powers against a foe with equal powers to himself. Despite its randomness, this has to be the best Superman fight in a while.
· The next point addressed by JMS is collateral damage, something that happens a lot in the line of a superhero. It usually comes down to who cleans up? Sometimes it’s the hero as is the case in this issue but other times the emergency services are left to clean up the mess. And sometimes, more than buildings are lost. Family mementoes, treasured items and people’s jobs are lost in the battle. It addresses the issue superheroes don’t always do the right thing and not even Superman is perfect.
· At the end, JMS tackles the point that Superman’s prescence isn’t always a good thing. Krypton was destroyed as was New Krypton and in order to keep an eye on Zod, he had to fake his betrayal of Earth. In the end, it wasn’t an alien invasion or monster attack that destroyed the town. It was Superman’s fight with the drunk guy that caused it and that is something that will weigh on Superman’s mind
· As always, the art is spectacular. Eddy Barrows does an excellent job on pencilling and JP Mayer’s inking is the perfect accompaniment to it Aside from the best part of the art on the issue, the fight scene, Eddy captures the expressions on people’s faces perfectly, the inking is awesome and the fact this is based on real life locations make this even better.
· The villains of this issue are arbiter, unoriginal and not particularly convincing. I mean, a kryptonian sunstone that goes on to possess a school teacher who then places the town drunk under her control, gives him superpowers and sends him to fight Superman? What’s up with that?! It’s like JMS went, “Hey, instead of having Superman fight a powerful and at least well known villain, I’ll just throw in some sunstone that possesses people and has a connection to Krypton and stuff!” In that sense, the robot from the last issue was a better villain than this!
· The Daily Planet scene was unnecessary. It merely served the purpose of providing Superman with his next challenge. Whilst I did like it, it was short and not really followed upon, making it pointless.
· Whilst John Cassaday may have been going for the simple yet effective cover, it didn’t work. Sure you have people flocking to Superman like Jesus, either coming to celebrate his arrival or to tell him to f*** off but all you have over than that is the cape and boots of Superman which doesn’t work for me. My score will be influenced by the cover I bought so if you get the choice, choose the alternate cover. It’s far more dynamic, the best of the alternate covers of Grounded as of yet.
My final point is this. Grounded may not be for everyone but JMS has had Aunt May discover Peter was Spider-Man, wrote the controversial 9/11 story, resurrected Thor and the Asgardians, turned Loki into a woman and shredded the entire continuity of Spider-Man, for heaven’s sake! Let the story work its course like in his Wonder Woman story. The man knows what he’s doing and if you don’t like it, that’s your choice. The most important thing about a comic is that the reader enjoys it!