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With the Grounded story arc still just beginning, Superman is still struggling with being a hero. In the last few pages of Superman #701, Superman said “To be a hero – and I’m not saying I am one, I’m just saying – is to live your life in a small cell whose bars are the principles and rules that define what you will and won’t accept. Injustice. Cruelty. Murder…” As Superman continued this conversation with a civilian a few little words stood out to me “… What are you doing out there”? So by Superman saying this I’m guessing it means, why aren’t you out there fighting crime and protecting innocent lives. Superman is conveying that we can all do a certain job that keeps others safe, not just ourselves. Superman continues to help the little guy in this issue and he is greeted by an evil mind controlling magic villain which takes over different host with a single touch!
With immense power, also comes with immense responsibility. Over the many story arcs that Superman has stared in, writers have been making Superman an extremely powerful character. He has lost his ability to relate to people (readers) who like emotional and interesting characters. However now, Straczynski is taking Superman and molding him back into a character that is relatable to new and old readers. In this Grounded story arc, Superman is walking from state-to-state searching for America. Corny, however Superman is that kind of character. Superman finally being caught up by one of his superhero friends is knocking on the door of his mind. Dick Grayson (Batman 2) has been like a son to Superman (for more details on this check out Dick Grayson becoming Nightwing). Anyway, Dick has high respect for Superman, so him telling his surrogate father to stop walking across America is a big change in his personality. Superman is really making a name for himself in this issue (good and bad). Dick Grayson is still keeping an eye on Superman, while the public’s hope is fading from the Man of steel, because of the destruction he’s caused!
J. Michael Straczynski (Wonder Woman, Thor) is removing all of the heavy duty hero, and making him more of a relatable character. Straczynski has done a great job at making his series more relatable by adding more world issues for example, poverty, job’s being lost and other things. Most readers will hate what Straczynski is doing to Superman’s character, however I enjoy how Superman is turning out.
Eddy Barrows (Firestorm, Batman War Crimes) is doing a terrific job at the artwork for the Grounded story arc. I notice now, that he draws regular talk scenes with a lighter hand, however when it comes to action or battle panels he really gets into detail. I think his work on Superman’s story is the best he’s done as an artist.
Anyone that has lost interest in Superman’s stories should pick up this story arc. Straczynski is writing this part of Superman’s journey, and the story has already taken off at a great (not accelerated) pace.
Overall - 9.0