Don’t despair in Grounded yet!
I’ve been disappointed with Grounded recently. The story has provided pointless interludes and character flawed perceptions of Superman. However, I have been looking forward to this issue as it features a team up between Superman and the ‘new’ Wonder Woman. Plus that last page on #707 left me hanging. Let’s start the review!
Superman travels to the future with the Superman Squad and is then taken back to Nebraska where he faces a near impossible choice and meets a new yet familiar ally.
· Firstly I really loved the inclusion of the Superman Squad. Those first few pages where they were introduced meant I could really sink into the dialogue and artwork of the story. The SS’s sci-fi links are great as not only does it draw from the All Star Superman series, it also brings to the reader’s attention the scale and location of the Fortress of Solidarity and the mass of beings who have taken up Superman’s mantle in the future to protect the timestream. Awesome stuff!
· The SS’s inclusion provides a neat story purpose aside from simply appearing to show off their hideout. The revelation that Superman is suffering from depression and that it is being magnified by an outside force (crazy bitch) meant that at least Superman was not totally responsible for his outrageous behaviour last issue. Furthermore, on a similar point, finding out that it is not Superman or his mind that is under attack it is his ideals of truth, justice and the American Way that really hits home. People have beaten up Superman and mind controlled him plenty of times. But when his morals come under scrutiny, it is cause for concern as it is they that keep Superman on the path he follows in life.
· One last thing on the SS front is the membership. It is cool and varied. There’s Titano, a giant gorilla, a super sentient solar system that patrols the Milky Way and Super Ego, a conscious idea that rarely takes physical form and who examines Superman to see what is wrong with him.
· Next we have the flood/tornado disaster. The school bus scene is highly reminiscent of the 1 Superman movie and it’s always good to pay homage to the classics. Then we have Superman faced with another moral dilemma between saving flood victims and stopping a tornado. Oh and BTW the way he stopped the tornado was super awesome! The power clap is kinda borrowing from the Hulk but since Supes can beat Hulk any day and it looked really cool I’m not complaining! Fortunately he does not have to choose or reach a compromise due to the appearance of....
· Wonder Woman! Now I’ll come onto the bad point about her later but her inclusion, the fact she was portrayed quite close to her now ‘new’ self and the connection between Grounded and the new WW storyline, it was good to see this team up. Although tbh I wish they were fighting the Keres like they were supposed to in the solicits for this issue.
· Superman is back to doing what he does best, saving lives and preventing major disasters. Plus it looks like he’s gaining his confidence back which is a very good thing.
· Barrow’s artwork is superb. His brilliant backgrounds, the emotion on people’s faces, Superman’s muscles... Oh how I have missed Barrow’s pencilling and JP Mayer’s inking! F erreira was good don’t get me wrong but the other 2 make for one of the best Superman art teams for a while!
· The cover is brilliant. Superman looking all depressed highlighting what is to come in the issue with the crowd seemingly jeering him followed by a great super imposed image of WW makes for a striking cover.
· As for the bad there are some issues. Firstly, there have been plenty of WW fans who are not only annoyed with the new story they’re pretty peeved with this issue too. Why? Because Wonder Woman, who becomes inspired by Superman’s example of heroism does not become motivated to be a superhero in her own book! This I believe is the crux of what WW fans seem to dislike. It doesn’t concern me as much as them but it is troubling how WW has to be inspired by someone else as opposed to choosing to become not just a superhero but also a symbol of peace and love in her own right.
· The annoying Lisa Jennings is back and I thoroughly dislike her. Although to be fair, she is portrayed as being the source amplifying Superman’s depression and she does do an OK job at giving Superman a difficult moral dilemma (Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few) and punching WW. But I still hate her and wish she would die a grisly death.
So an engrossing story combined with fabulous artwork. Don’t despair in Grounded yet as there’s still life in JMS/Roberson’s story. Although many would disagree, I say buy this issue!