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Superman Issue 702 “Grounded, Part 2”

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August 28 2010

Superman Issue 702 “Grounded, Part 2”
by Samodean

Superman Issue 702 “Grounded, Part 2”

DC Comics
Story: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Eddy Barrows & J.P. Mayer

As I said in my review for Superman #701, despite all the larger controversy, I like the concept of J. Michael Straczynski’s “Grounded” arc. Having Superman connect with the normal people of America, helping them with normal problems and trying to make them better people as a result is a fun change of pace for the Man of Steel.

Issue 702 brings Superman to Detroit, another real city with real difficulties, and that’s the problem I had with this issue, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The issue starts off innocently enough, with Superman participating in a pickup basketball game and even trying to talk some aliens that have taken up residence in the city into helping their neighbors out. Unfortunately, that’s where the first facepalm moment comes in.

Superman made a joke about illegal immigration, obviously referring to the recent issues in Arizona. Seriously? Why was that necessary? Now, it’s not the first time a comic character has involved himself in world events. Captain America fought in World War II and Spider-Man was on-site for the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks, but in both those cases, the issues and the people involved were both handled with respect. Hell, even Aquaman took a shot at BP in a recent issue of Brightest Day. It seemed a little unnecessary and out of place, but it didn’t bother me.

Why does this particular issue bother me? Because it’s controversial. All those other events were not. Oh, they were each terrible in their own ways, but they happened. An event that touches so many lives should be reflected in the fiction of the time. Regardless about how I feel about illegal immigration, (and that’s not a subject I will even consider addressing here) the last thing I want to see is a bad joke about it in a comic. It’s simply not the place to joke about a subject that has divided so many.

ANYWAY, if that were my only problem with this issue, I could deal with it and move on, but it’s Superman’s next stop that really bothers me: an abandoned auto plant. It’s no secret that Detroit is one of the cities hardest hit by the economic troubles in recent years. Many auto plants actually were shut down, leaving many jobless. I have no problem with Superman acknowledging the issue. Again, many were affected by this event, and it would be ignorant to pretend it never happened. I felt this same issue was handled well in a recent issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Here? Not so much.

Does Superman come into town, interact with some of the people, and give them hope for the future? No. He just fixes the whole damn problem. Yeah, Superman rolls in with his new alien buddies and reopens the plant, giving everyone new jobs. As someone who has felt the hardships of the last few years, it does not help to know that all it will take for my family and friends to get their jobs back is fucking Superman walking down the street. Captain America didn’t win World War II, the soldiers did. Having Superman solve such a major, REAL problem literally overnight, is nothing but disrespectful to those who have to live with the reality of the situation every day.

I understand the purpose of this storyline is to bring Superman back down to earth, but you need limits. This issue just left a sour taste in my mouth, and it is unlikely I will pick up future issues, regardless of how much of a JMS fan I am.


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