Chain Reactions | <i>Superman</i> #700

This week saw the release of Superman #700, a milestone issue that closes out James Robinson's nearly two-year run on the title and ushers in J. Michael Straczynski's much-publicized "Grounded" storyline. That's the one in which the Man of Steel, newly returned to Earth, walks across America to reconnect with the people he's sworn to protect.

As you might expect, there's been a good deal of discussion about the issue, as well as the 13-part story that it sets up. Here's just a sampling of the comments from across the comics blogosphere -- and beyond:

Martin Gray, Too Dangerous for a Girl!: "JMS sets up the coming 'Grounded' storyline, in which our hero will walk across America to connect with the people, via a scenario familiar to longtime comic fans. It's the classic -- yet senseless -- scene from 1970's Green Lantern #76 that prompted Hal Jordan to drive across the US with Ollie Queen rather than protect an entire space sector. [...] JMS has written some great books since he came to DC, so I'll give this storyline a chance, but gee whiz, I like the idea of a cross-continent walk little enough without the pretext being a 40-year old plot idea that was stupid the first time out."

Phillip, A Comic Book Blog: "The scene with the irate woman was a little too similar to the opening of Marvel’s Civil War, where Tony Stark is spit on by a mother who blames Iron Man and the Avengers for the death of her son.  In fact, it’s almost exactly like that scene."

Chris Murphy, Comics Alliance: "To me Superman's only interesting when something threatens his emotional and psychological vulnerabilities. For example, see the finer points of Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman, or for that matter Morrison's primary motivation for Superman in his Final Crisis series Superman Beyond. Or for a more recent example, the dilemma posed to a future Superman in Paul Levitz's recent Superman/Batman annual. ... So I found Straczynski's story here, in which Superman tries to come to grips with a world in which people see him as a near-godlike perfect being who is expected to save everyone, everywhere, without fail, far, far more fascinating than cliched one liners with a villain who gets knocked through several large shelves of crates."

Evan Narcisse, Techland: "JMS's story bears out my worst fears about his take on Kal-El. He seems just too slavishly devoted to the idea of Superman as symbol. It's the Bryan Singer problem: if you come at the symbolism too heavy, it just looks embarrassingly insecure. 'Hey, everybody! Look how deep Superman is!'"

Erik, Kandou Erik's Blog: "The cynical side of me keeps shouting 'how dumb is that, Superman gets slapped in the face by some crazy woman, who wanted miracles from Superman, and now he has some Super Thinking to do!' It's sentimental crap like that which should have me running for the hills. But, despite that, it still comes off to me as a good story, and possibly JMS will succeed in getting into Superman's personality. Here's hoping."

David Letterman, The Late Show with David Letterman: "... in the next Superman comic book, listen to this: Superman walks across the United States ... walks across the United States. Do you know why? To help people out with little everyday chores. That's what he's going to do, Superman. Why doesn't he fix the damn oil leak? Come on, Superman. 'Howdy ma'am, can I rake your yard?' 'What? Go fix the oil leak, you dope!'"

What did you think about Superman #700 and our introduction to the "Grounded" storyline?

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