Superman Grounded

Writers: J. Michael Straczynski, G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Eddy Barrows, Leandro Oliveira, Wellington Dias, Amilcar Pinna, J.P. Mayer, Walden Wong, Eber Ferreira
Colourist: Rod Reis
Letterer: John J. Hill

Story: After New Krypton is destroyed, Superman returns to earth. His absence has caused widespread resentment on his adopted planet. Mourning the loss of his New Krypton family and stung by the accusation that he abandoned those who need him most, Superman decides to reassess his role as a hero and get in touch with the people of his home country… on foot.

‘Superman Grounded’ is probably not the kind of novel the average fan would enjoy. It has minimal action and is heavy with dialogue-more drama than spectacle. This first volume finds Straczynski thinking outside the box by trying to bring the iconic character back down to earth-literally.

To achieve this the writers have our mighty hero, fix a busted car, stop child abuse, tackle immigration and unemployment. All these aids are used to re-evaluate the character for our consideration as well as to show how Superman re-considers his role within the wider social scheme of things.

Superman’s stoic march across the hinterland allows for more intimate, sincere encounters with people which makes one empathize with him and the people he serves. This successful aspect is let down in parts by clunky, uninspired dialogue that detracts from the serious nature of the story.

The artwork is good albeit inconsistent. The latter half of the novel suffers from over-simplified line work and bland colouring – though this might be a homage paid to earlier times in Superman’s publication or simply the result of so many artists working on the story, maybe both conjectures apply. This throwback however, still does not invoke any sentiment to the naked eye.

‘Grounded’ is far from the weak work some want to classify it as. The story is endearing and cleverly strips away the herculean, demi-god status of Superman to show that even when not battling larger than life villains he is still a compelling three dimensional character even in the most mundane circumstances.

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