Sometimes things aren't always black and white...
After a good but pointless last issue, Superman #707 sees a new writer join the creative team. Chris Roberson, better known for his Clockwork novels and Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love miniseries. JMS’s name is still on the book as his plot is being used but Roberson is scripting and possibly advancing on the Grounded storyline. Will his debut be any good?
Superman travels to Kansas to avert a power plant fire only to be faced with a moral dilemma about the plant’s environmental abuse and the community’s need for it.
· First off we get to see Superman saving people. Not from the little things but averting crimes and tragedies such as stopping a freight train to save a little girl and her balloon, catch a falling helicopter and prevent a power plant fire. Superman’s way of dealing with these crises was pure awesome indeed and was definitely the high point of this issue as it’s nice to see Superman back to doing what he does best: saving lives.
· Another positive thing is Superman’s efforts to fit in with us normal folk. He could use his JLA communicator to talk to his wife or somehow use superventriloquism to project his voice to her (Sigh. Another SA addition to modern comics. If he gets super hypnosis I swear I’m going to drop the series). Anyway it’s a good and funny thing to see in a comic book.
· Environmental, along with bribery and corruption issues are called into play here and it’s good to see that being covered in a DC book. Also it was an interesting premise to have Superman face a real prickly moral dilemma and have him realise that truth and justice isn’t always black and white this time around. However what happens after that isn’t as good. I’ll explain in the bad section.
· The appearance of the Superman Squad brings hope for the future of the story as I was intrigued by the teaser image and I’m still intrigued now. I hope Roberson uses the SS in a good way as I really enjoyed the Squad from the All Star Superman series. It does suggest that DC is playing up more of the team/legacy/organisation of their top 4 characters. We’ve had the Green Lantern Corps, the Flash Family, Batman Inc and now the Superman Squad. What’s next? Wonder Women United?
· The art is good in this comic. Not as good as in the last issue but very decent for the book.
· The cover is another one of John Cassaday’s striking images. Superman is rendered in a strange but cool pose. The massive S shield and white background play well off one another but Supes’ facial expression is something I don’t get. The alternate cover is far better one of the best covers of the year IMO.
· First off Superman steals steel bars (pardon the pun). Now whilst Superman is the world’s greatest hero I’m sure not even he can just take steel bars whenever he wants to. At least he could tell the driver why he’s taken the steel bars? It may be for a good cause but the driver doesn’t know that.
· Superman’s way of dealing with the power plant problem is crazy and appalling. All he does is give them a finger wag and a stern look with an almost primary school teacher vibe in the way he delivers this “OK make sure you don’t do this again. I’ll be watching you” Seriously? Is that the way DC has the Man of Steel deal with this moral crossroads? I can think of several ways in which Superman solves the problem in a way that cleans up the plant and allows the workers to keep their jobs. One, make the necessary modifications whilst repairing the plant at superspeed. Two, call Bruce Wayne, Karen Starr or some other rich superhero to provide the money to fix the plant so that the plant doesn’t have to spend money repairing it thus having to lay off workers. Three, let Lois run the story so that the proper authorities are aware of the problem and repair the plant instead of shutting it down meaning the workers can keep their jobs.
· Furthermore, Superman not only verbally threatens Lois to stop her from running the story he physically threatens her as well. THAT.IS.NOT.LIKE.SUPERMAN. He would never do that to Lois in his own right mind and that scathing look only reinforces his threat. This is just so out of character for Superman in every way.
· However, we do get an explanation, or a hint at least as to why Superman is like this. The bitch is back and I hate her guts. She is a horrible character, meaningless to create and now she’s possibly manipulating my favourite superhero? That just makes me hate her more. Still it does provide a failsafe mechanism for Superman’s decisions in so much that his current angry state is all her fault. And that is a good thing I guess. Still I hate her.
· Finally one more bad point. Lois looks like Lara Croft. WTF is up with that? She’s not even in Brazil, Africa or the Mediterranean. She’s in Kansas. Sort that out for the next time she appears.
My love of Superman and the good points in this issue prevents the story score from being less than 5. But #708 better be better than this iffy comic book. Please sort Grounded out very soon. I really want this story to work but you’re not helping yourself DC. Anyway that ends my rant which you stopped reading ages ago.