A Decent Send Off for the Man of Steel
So this is it. My final Grounded review before the DC Universe Reboot. I’ve enjoyed my long run on reviewing the ups and downs of this storyline as a final farewell to the Diamond Age Superman but now all good things must come to an end. So time to begin methinks!
Superman finally confronts Lisa Jennings and answers the question as to whether there must be a Superman?
· One thing I’m surprised seeing is the fact that this story has all the elements that a Superman story should have: Action, character exploration and interesting plot twists. It’s nice after seeing so many poor issues that Roberson made the structure of the story finally mesh together.
· Another good thing is that not only do we get a staple Superman moment through him saving Lois but you also see Lois and Clark finally reconcile. Whilst this was always in the cards, it’s nice to see this happen before the reboot and shows off the merits of Lois and Clark’s marriage, demonstrating to me at least that marriage has not made Superman into a boring character.
· Action comes only for a few pages, which is a shame but those pages are still decent fight scenes, exactly what you’d expect from an issue of Superman.
· Also, the return of the Superman Squad is a real treat but I wish that the Squad had been used more often. They really added another layer to the Grounded storyline and I wish that they appeared before the end of the storyline. Still, they were put to good use by Roberson if only briefly.
· Whilst I despise the Lisa Jennings character, it was interesting to see her as a personification of Superman’s doubts and flaws. I’ve hated the character ever since she appeared but it was fascinating for Roberson to use this villain as an opposite to Superman. And the fact that a Kryptonian object, a sunstone made Jennings into what she is added to the merit of the story.
· Undisputedly, the highlight was Roberson showing that Superman had overcome his depression and finally realised what he stood for. The way in which he defeats Jennings by countering his doubts with his hope and the reasons why he became Superman made this story even more compelling as it demonstrates that Superman has physically and metaphorically overcome his doubts.
· Furthermore, I liked the setting up of the Superman Squad through Superman handing out signal watches to his allies and the fact that the Sunstone upon its destruction fell to Earth throughout history giving individuals who touched it a fragment of Superman’s powers and ideals. It’s a cool way of showing that even after Superman is gone, his symbol has lasted to inspire others to maintain his legacy
· Finally the story ends in a nice way. Superman and Lois are back together and stay together forever (if anyone’s read the One Million storyline or knows about Superman: One Million you know what I mean) and continually fight for Truth, Justice and the American Way.
· It’s nigh impossible to replace Eddy Barrows and JP Mayer on art but Jamel Igle along with the inkers give it a try. The pencils are detailed and the inking is lively, giving the artwork a nice feel. The action pages are where this art team shine but they do a good job on the other pages as well.
· For all the good things about the story, it is tainted by the fact that this kind of story should have come sooner. Grounded went from a storyline with real potential to a near failure in my eyes. Grounded could have been better than this but since JMS went to work on a sequel to Superman: Earth One, Chris Roberson was left to pick up the pieces to which he cannot be blamed for.
· Also, Superman shouldn’t have been depressed in the first place. He knows who he is and what he stands for so this whole depression thing really shouldn’t have affected him as much as it has.
· Furthermore, whilst I enjoyed the plot twist that Lisa Jennings was a future Superwoman, I hate the idea that she has become a part of the Superman Squad after seeing her poor performance as a character in the rest of the Grounded storyline.
· As well as this, we have Lois saying that she dedicated her life to the truth long before she met Clark and that she would rather stick to the truth than remain married to Clark. I found this to be a rather off hand callous comment from the woman who is married to Superman.
· Whilst the art is good, it isn’t a replacement for Eddy Barrows and JP Mayer who I wish could have come back for this issue.
· Finally, the cover, whilst a nice shot is very bland and dull.
There’s a lot of good and bad stuff here. But to tell the truth, I was surprised that Grounded gave a better send off to Superman than I was expecting. I thought given the quality of the last issue, this would be a terrible send off but I was proven wrong. Don’t judge a book by its bland cover, as the saying goes.