Superman #705: The 'Luka' issue
If you're not enjoying JMS' take on Superman, you're far from the minority. Grounded was redundant in that the man of steel who left his wife to be with his own race for a year would come back, only to walk the Earth like Cain from Kung-Fu. If you didn't know this was Superman, you'd think a super hero/husband was making a statement about his marriage.
By the 4th chapter of this un-necessary arc, Superman walked his way to Chicago with a media entourage much like the scene in Forrest Gump where he ran from side of the country to the other. One would think the city of Chicago would embrace the celebrity hero whose roots are from the Midwest. Instead, Superman was attributed to a loaded gun without any explanation as to why the animosity.
Not every one in Chicago was as nihilistic as a Cubs fan towards the Man of Steel. An abused boy with a shiner hoped to meet Superman. Fitting the cliche' profile of a characterless abusive old man, he literally ripped his hand painted Superman logo. This issue was full of plot devices as Superman appeared to have accidentally punched himself in the face, while having a nightmare. Do you see the symmetry of this story? It's a safe bet JMS wasn't trying to be contrived but it's about as self-explanatory as the famous song by Susan Vega in 1987.
The concept of a Super human trying to make a more practical impact to the lives of the ordinary citizen has been done before in more interesting ways. Most recently, Iron Man's Stark Resilient arc where Tony forgoes being an industrialist/technologist and tries ending the world's dependency on oil. One would think Superman would try to do a bolder service to ordinary people like ending world hunger, brokering a cease fire, or curing cancer. Instead he's trying to get to know us one at a time. Only problem is, he understands humans better than we know ourselves from his days growing up in Smallville. What is missing from this arc is the sense of doing the greater good.
While this issue was more coherent, it was also cliche' and didn't offer any perspective on child abuse and the rule of super heroes with the problems of ordinary mortals. If only JMS told this story from the perspective of Lois Lane, he might have a more dynamic story. The Pulitzer prize winning journalist who accompanied her husband on his eccentric Journey could have been be better utilized as a voice over and not as a pointless character in a bland linear narrative.
Rating: Borrow it