Monday, April 16, 2012

Superman #701



You will believe a man can... walk, I guess.




NOTE: Apparently, JMS WAS against splitting up Peter Parker and Mary Jane. I'm surprised I never read about this as it was going on, but there was a flamewar between JMS and Amazing Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker where JMS admitted so. You can read it HERE.

157 comments:

Joshua McGovern said...

I believe the reason Superman didn’t answer the cop’s question on why he didn’t just let the girl jump off the ledge to her death is that everybody already knows the answer. Superman just left the scene because he was subtlety shocked that someone, from a legal committee, would ask Superman if he ever reconsider in the situation like what he just witnessed for most of the day, but then again, cops in JMS’s world of Superman didn’t show intelligence in this issue. It would be uncharacteristic if Superman let a young woman jump off possibly a 4-story building, but it’s even more uncharacteristic that a cop just walked up to Superman and questioned to him, “Hey, Superman. Why didn’t you just let her end her misery?” Hal Jordon possessed by Parallax had more goodwill than that two-dimensional Police Academy reject!

And to end on that note, great review! I have the comic myself and I liked Superman helping that young woman get over her problems. Thank goodness, you swayed me that this young lady has the selfishness problems than that woman from Superman #700 that caused Superman to go on his little quest of rediscovery.

I also have the feeling that the prologue woman was actually Mephisto in disguise. I mean, we saw his shapeshifting abilities in the Spider-Man event, One Moment in Time. But then, we have our own conclusions on how minor characters are usually viewed in fandom.

Mountain King said...

" let's see what is wrong with this book."
My first thought is a lot, it doesn't improve. JMS is a fantastic writer, when he has a long time to develop a story. B5 took YEARS to go from idea to production, have a look a the original notes on Babylon 5 one day G'Kar was originally Jak'ra and was an odd mix of Londo and Kosh… Not kidding.
The problem is he (JMS) is good at high concept ideas but needs time to narrow them down. Working on two comics at once doesn't give the time needed and just leads to mess. Like this and, of course, Legend of the Rangers. My god, that make this look like Shakespeare. Again, not kidding.
The idea of Superman dealing with what is everyday, realistic, problems. Alright almost realistic problems, is a good one. The problem is it falls flat when presented by SUPERMAN! This guy is a god amongst man, he doesn't deal with one on one problems on this scale. He saves hundreds of thousands of lives at a time. Whole worlds, solar systems even entire galaxies are saved by this guy. We deal with the "little" things, and let our mythical heroes deal with imaginary problems.
It's someone else that should do this "walkabout". Animal Man, Booster Gold or even one of the Green Lanterns could pull this of a thousand times better and make more sense. Hell there used to be a DC hero of the middle ground, Swamp Thing, he was supposed to see the whole picture, not just the big bits. Ahh well maybe that was just how I read him.
This is a waste of Superman and JMS. He should have spent his time polishing Wonder Woman, or inventing his own comic series rather than jumping on board this mess. I'm not saying he should have stuck to B5 and nothing but that, Wheadon's done a good job (some might say better) putting Buffy behind him and moving to other, new, horizons… Just for example.

Thomas

PS
Love the sting at the end. All the while, through out this episode that one quote was running through my head. It said it's message so much better than the whole damn comic in a handful of lines.

Jen Harvey said...

You, I noticed something when watching your review; Philly's appearance in the comic is a lot prettier than it actually is. And I would know! XD

Rick Griffin said...

Hmm, I thought the issue was weak but not necessarily terrible. For instance, the whole premise of attacking drug dealers tends to come off as a lose-lose situation (it doesn't solve the problem of people wanting drugs more than a useful life) but it's not bad because he gets at the drug dealers in a slightly roundabout way, but because the issue is not examined beyond that point. Weaker because the justification/reasoning behind it was poorly considered but the action itself wasn't necessarily "bad" the way most people think of bad or good actions.

Talking to the suicidal woman, the problem here was mainly that the police were oblivious idiots. Have you talked to someone suicidal before? There's always a problem with figuring if they'll perceive your comments as insincere, so some kind of honesty tends to fare better than false hope. What's BETTER is finding some point from which to draw out real hope . . . but Superman sort of leaves it where it is. So, weakly executed, but not completely terrible.

So okay, most of the problems with this comic boil down to the reasoning not being clearly spelled out beforehand. This seems to be a running problem with Superman, because it's not clearly defined what HE thinks he ought to be doing on a global scale, and why he might be reconsidering his perspective, IF that's what's happening. It needed a much, much better justification for this story's existence before the script should have even begun production.

MichaelGrey said...

Well, you definitely tore this comic a new one. I've been waiting a looooong time for you to kick this comic's ass. I've never read such a pretentious piece of bullshit in my entire life. I picked this up in Barnes and Noble. I was so sure this was going to be a great story. I usually LOVED JMS's work, and besides, it was a Superman work, how could I not love those two great tastes?

But I...was...CONNED.

One thing, though. I don't view life as unfair. Life is a "netural" thing, a collection of events and environments and people, and usually the things we view as "unfair" are things that happen to us because others are being jerks. I view PEOPLE as being unfair to each other, and the solution to is, y'know, being more decent to each other. Not that this comic comes even close to suggesting something like that. Every two pages Superman is being condescending and preachy. This is horribly done. HORRIBLY done. I can't freakin' BELIEVE JMS screwed up Superman so badly.

And as if all the crap in the comic wasn't bad enough, then there's the FINALE of number 701. There were lots of other things going on in the comics at the time. For example, the "Brightest Day" event was going underway, if I remember correctly. The whole Earth was rebelling against humanity. That's a bit more pressing than belittling reporters.

You addressed quite a few of the things I brought up in my own review on the "TGWTG" site, and I was really happy to see you take this comic down. This was well-done analysis, Lewis. Really well done.

Inquisitor D. said...

...

You know, I get it. "Over there has to stand for itself, over here is what's important." It's standard non-interventionist stuff; we shouldn't meddle, yadda yadda.

Two points occur to me

1; I disagree with that philosophy quite strongly, but even if you subscribe to it, this comic is selling the principle short. There are legitimate points to be made in favour of Superman not meddling with this stuff, and the comic isn't making them

2; This means that Superman is advancing the same arguments that were proposed against America getting involved in WWII

Just sayin' (Callback to Action Comics #1?:))

Timothius said...

Good review. That comic just seems full of really horrible implications.

I was half expecting you to contrast that scene with the suicidal woman with the one from All-Star Superman, which handled Superman's reaction correctly as opposed to...what this comic presented.

Cryptix said...

Hmm...

It took a little while to figure out just how to word my thoughts on this one, but here goes. I haven't read this or much of any Superman, so I'm basing my opinions entirely on the review, which means I might be completely off-the-mark about Supes' usual characterization and whatnot.

Most of Superman's preaching in this one... it's stuff that *could* be meaningful and deep, but it's poorly handled and not supported by what I can see of the context. Superman questioning his desire and/or right to be a hero, and/or having an existential crisis about how he's expected to not only save the world, but to fix every little thing along the way, too? Not a bad subject for a story, I'd think. The actions of the woman in the last one would have fit in with that theme -- he just got back from a major catastrophe only to be berated for not fixing something minor -- although I'd have liked if it was something less presumptuous and annoying than 'you failed to notice that my husband, one of six billion people all with their own problems, had a tumor'.

His speech to the jumper and the implication that he would let her fall -- if she CHOSE to jump? Could have been a great parallel to his own issues, and how at this point he doesn't (or feels that he doesn't) have a choice in how he leads his life. If she chooses to end her own life, does he or anyone else really have the right to say that she can't?

All crammed in together the way it is, though, it's confusing and annoying rather than deep and meaningful. The jumper would have meant more if she was someone who had honestly hit rock-bottom. The speeches would have been stronger if, instead of speeches, they'd been implied through action, or if it was clearer that these were the thoughts of a man in crisis, trying to sort out his own thoughts by bouncing them off other people. I don't get that impression from what I've seen.

And while I do love B5 and still consider it an amazing piece of sci-fi, it was prone to some of the same pitfalls -- trying to make a point and missing the mark with sloppy writing.

Anonymous said...

Been looking forward to this one.
The idea seems like a decent one,
so it's always fun to see how they can screw it up.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lewis,

I totally agree with what you said. Superman is not some preaching wanderer, he's the goddamn Last Son of Krypton who fights for truth, justice, and the American (nowadays global) way. I have vague recolations of this story, but if its is just bad by the start of issue one, than we are in for a world of agony, despair and rage.

Jack Linde

P.S. I read the scene in All-Star Superman in which Supes handled suicide and compared it to this one. For all the WTF Grant Morrisson gives, he wrote that scene better than JMS.

Kathryn said...

Hey, I live in Pennsylvania. I am in fear that I am not here but there. For if I am there, then Superman just screwed me over.

I do have to agree, this would have been a great story if only it was written with a little more care.

Synchronist said...

OK, I got worried that you meant the Dennis Leary thing for a minute. Also, I'll take this opportunity as the only comment to suggest a comic called Heroes Reborn: Avengers #1. You'll LOVE it. By LOVE I mean HATE. As it is drawn by your favorite artist.

Jaebird said...

The amount of stupid in this issue must have never registered in my mind, back when I read this issue.

Anonymous said...

Great review as ever, Linkara. Personally, aside from a few good issues and the "Superman Dynasty" Idea like in All-Star Superman, this storyline disappointed me. Oh, well. I can always go read All-Star Superman.

Rowdy C said...

Don't worry. You're having no problems keeping this show funny.

I admittedly hated JMS' Wonder Woman run at first, but I think now its biggest problem was that it was poorly marketed. It originally sounded like it was a complete reboot of the character and her entire backstory when it turned out to be someone messing with the timeline and Wondy needing to correct it (I haven't seen how it ended yet). What didn't help was how it messed up other books; If you read Justice League Generation Lost #15 and see Max Lord's anger that no one knows who Wonder Woman is now, I still think that's Judd Winick venting at frustration at what that storyline did to his. That, combined with JMS bailing on DC after just four months and the rumor that his explanation for OMB was his excuse to completely rewrite Marvel's entire history, makes me think he has a bit of an ego problem.

Steve said...

So does this storyline end with Superman getting stabbed in the gut and having his sense of duty verbally bitchslap him for being such a coward? Cuz that'd make this whole ordeal worth it.

See, here's the thing about JMS. Most of the time, the man is damn brilliant at what he does and he pulls it off fantastically. When the man is on point and he's free to craft his universe how he sees it, the results are nothing short of breathtaking; there is a very good reason One More Day did not kill his career when similar failures ruined men like Frank Miller.

But here's the problem: JMS works best when not working with archetypes. He's at the top of his game when his characters are morally complex and have to make tough decisions as they work through their many, MANY interpersonal and political conflicts. The zenith of this is Babylon 5, and...well, what else can I say that Linkara, Spoony, and SFDebris couldn't? Everything people say about scifi with hyperbole can be said about Babylon 5 with total sincerity; it really is that damn good.

And therein lies the problem. I could tell JMS was writing for a G'kar-style character, a Londo-style character (kiiiiiind of), or even a Sinclair-style character. But Superman is not G'kar. He's not capable of the moral compromise or internal struggles to survive in a corrupt world, like JMS is used to writing for. Superman is an absolute good; this is a man whose principles never bow, never break, even in the face of the hostility of life. He's the absolute Paragon, not a philosopher or soldier. His conflict is that he must be that Paragon, even if it tortures him like it does. He does this because he has the skill and the resources to keep his morals alive, in a world suited to helping him protect these ideals. He's not the type to struggle with the line between good or evil; his struggle is to stay as far in the light as he can, and it's a very different, but no less harsh, conflict he has.

That said, given how awesome JMS is at morally complex shows, I'd probably endure a 24 hour marathon of Rick Berman fairy tales if it meant he could work on Batman. Seriously, DC. JMS on Batman would be effing Vorlon-tier.

Unknown said...

Wow, what a stinker. JMS is also known for his stellar work on animation in the 80's and early 90's, including several excellent episodes of The Real Ghostbusters. Admittedly, he could get a little speechy in those, but nothing like this. I don't know, maybe comics just aren't his medium?

LucasChad said...

Look at the bright side Linkara, you still manage to make your show as humorous every week as it can be, plus Kadaffi was stabbed in the ass to death way after this comic. So there's a step in the right direction.

August M. said...

This is just bad. I remember reading it when it first came out and proceded to tear the comic to sherds for being insulting to Superman, and I'm not a huge fan of the character.

Great review.

P.S. As you're anger grew with each panel, I was expecting the trade to be burned at the end.

ackbarfan5556 said...

I'm no superman! I LOVE SCRUBS and this song definitively was related extremely to the subject!

Jessica said...

yeah I think how this story arc should have ended would be Hal Jordan and Ollie Queen show up, and say "hey Clark, this whole go across america to find yourself and run into small time people and their small time problems that you learn from thing? yeah it was a lot more interesting when WE did it! Get back to work super-jerk!"

rewind83709 said...

Linkara, I have to be honest, your comedy a lot of the time for me is hit or miss. But when it comes down to it you are a great comic reviewer, and entertainer, and I am always entertained and inspired by what you do every week.
And I hope you keep doing it for as long as humanly possible.
Thank you again sir.

Hiruma said...

are you sure there wasn't any All Star Squadron or JSA in Philadelphia ? (because of Liberty Belle)

B.A.K said...

Maybe the kid meant Europe when he said Over There in reference to the World War I song.

Wait...except then the Yanks go over there to fix the problems so...no, that doesn't work.

Yuoaman said...

Wow, I'd heard that this was a bad run of stories, but I hadn't imagine it would be quite THIS horrible. It's like JMS wrote this story for his own philosophy-spouting superhero but then adapted it to be a Superman story, because that guy in the comic sure as hell isn't the Superman I know and love.

Amber Dai said...

Here I was planning on sitting down and watching a new episode of Atop the Lightbulb when I see you trying something different this and I must say you should stick with reviewing lamps than comics, they cause you less stress.

Kevin Kennedy said...

Oh my god, not that freaking photogenic marathon runner..

KKDW said...

Early on from this review I was kinda enjoying this comic in a 'so bad it's good' way, but as it continued that went away.

And I had seen pages of this before online...I thought this issue ended after the bit with the drug dealers so I was rather surprised when it didn't.

Chuck Plymale said...

Wow, just wow. Fantastic review, as always, Linkara! Now then, where to start?

First off, as someone who works with the mentally ill, I've been taught that the first thing you do in any crisis situation is to ensure the safety of the person at risk. The FIRST thing Superman should've done is bring her the heck down, and then talk to her in a safe place.

Second, if he just wanted to walk, why not wear a disguise? If glasses and small changes to posture are enough to separate Clark from Superman, then a blonde wig would keep people off his back indefinitely. It's like the equivalent of the President just taking a walk across DC, and not understanding why he's suddenly and constantly surrounded by reporters the whole time.

Third, Superman is not, nor has he ever claimed to be, a philosopher or a politician (excluding the Silver Age, lol). Why is he suddenly trying to wax eloquent everywhere he goes? If he has this great speech he wants to share with the world, surely YouTube would be more efficient than telling each individual person.

Fourth...I'm too tired to go on. Can somebody pick it up from here?

Jellote said...

I've been waiting for this one ever since it was submitted to Know Your Meme. Oh Ridiculously Photogenic Guy, you can make anything good.

Now walk, Linkara. Walk for your life.

KMA. said...

I'm just remembering All-Star Superman. There's a girl on the edge of a building, about to jump. She's not making a spectacle of it. She isn't whining or complaining or...saying much of anything, actually. She's so far beyond hopelessness and despair that she really doesn't have any words left. Superman flies up, gives her a big-ass friggin' bear hug with all his heart, and leaves her with a few short, sweet, humble, and brilliant words of wisdom. That's real storytelling. It's simple. It's subtle. It's goddamn powerful. So much more emotional than the endless overwritten diatribes we see in 701.

It's a little amazing that a story called "Grounded" turned out to be so much the opposite. Nothing about it was grounded or real. It was preachy, lofty, and pretentious. Superman's not on a journey of self-recovery here. He's not getting back in touch with his people. He's on a walking tour of douchiness, bent on lecturing on every single person he passes. He's supposed to be humbled by the unbelievable loss of life, aiming to rediscover himself, but instead, he seems more arrogant and patronizing than he ever was.

MichaelJGleason said...

Great review! Someone should review this review! Just kidding. But doesn't a walk across America kind of rip off Forrest Gump? But I digress that this review was great, though my favorite of yours will always be the Mightily Murdered Power Ringers, as it was the first one I saw. But this is a close second because the comic is just so bad it's good.

Jarkes said...

Two questions: Which clip was from Birdemic: Shock and Terror, and whose face was pasted onto Superman's body on the title card?

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"I was half expecting you to contrast that scene with the suicidal woman with the one from All-Star Superman, which handled Superman's reaction correctly as opposed to...what this comic presented."

I was going to originally, but decided things were getting long as it is so decided to leave it out and keep moving.

Jonathan M said...

Walking is cool!

marconius666 said...

I'm not gonna go into detailed stuff about what I didn't like about this review, because frankly I feel comments are a terrible place for any kind of discussion, but I will say that, based purely on what I saw in this review (and no, I have not read the comic)... I really think Linkara is wrong about so, so many things. A lot of stuff Superman said and did in this is, I think, perfectly sensible and apart from the reference to a real life figure I'm not familiar with, I think the bit at the ending makes perfect sense.

As one thing to highligh, I think Superman's "no response response" to the officer at the end of the suicide bit makes perfect sense; the logic that one's right to life also means one should have a right to end it whenever they wish is not unsound and it's understandable that Superman would be conflicted about such a thing. After all, who is Superman to decide when someone can and can't take their own life? Surely that's at least something to consider.

And as a small sidenote, I'm disappointed by the lack of House reference when the fat reporter said "everybody lies"... that was such an obvious joke too!

rewind83709 said...

PS, I am so glad that you gave this comic the burning it deserved. Thanks again.

E. Wilson said...

It's also worth noting that part of JMS's conditions for working on the title was that it be the only book starring Superman. So, unlike his long run plaguing Spider-Man (Ezekiel can bite me), Superman fans had no other title to follow their character if they didn't care for this one.

Ironically, "Action Comics" ran a year-long story arc with Lex Luthor as the protagonist, and it was actually really good. (Lex is one of the few comic villains I think could consistently support his own book, but that's a separate conversation.) If you haven't read "The Black Ring", it's totally worth picking up.

And good call on not bothering with Earth One. It's breathtaking in its mediocrity.

The Blue And The Gold said...

A few things I want to say, I'll try and keep each point brief:

-For some reason, I had that section of Forrest Gump playing in my head when he's doing that huge run around America (the world? Been a while, can't remember) when Superman was being annoyed by the reporters

-I don't think Peter Parker cameo'd in this, I think Superman (or Walking Idiot in this case) and Lois ended up in the Marvel universe, due to the large number of ingrates and arseholes running around

-The New Krypton stuff reminded me of Season 8 of Red Dwarf. Yes the main character's not the only member of his species anymore (excluding Kochanski, and you can still say he's the last human male alive) but you knew it wasn't going to stick

-And lastly, when Batman had an epiphany, he did the sensible thing and underwent a similar journey to when he was starting out, except he took Dick and Tim with him. So, how exactly did Batman, who is often considered emotionally stunted and not exactly up with people in the way his companions are, end up looking better than Superman with his journey?

Gah, I wish I had my own copy of All-Star Superman, so I can wash away the lame. What is it with Superman's stories being underwhelming anyway? And how did Grant Morrison's Superman writing skills decay on Action Comics? I wish he'd get taken off that and just work on Batman Inc. and maybe get a new Doom Patrol up should a third wave happen.

(P.S, small thing, good to see your Silent Hill: Downpour game be put to good use for the show, too)

rutana said...

I don't know when I laughed to an review this much before...
THIS was incredible funny, I gave up at the scene with the kid and had to fight not to laugh loudly (since it's 1am here and my boyfriend is sleeping in the neighbour room...).
This was awesome!
Thanks so much for the great review. I think it might have even beaten my most favorite review so far, which was your first "Miller Time" btw, All-Star Batman and Robin #1-2. So... if you're really worrying about keeping your show funny... (which I never doubt in, since I'm enjoying every single episode and storyline of it) you did it damn right here! If this Superman run is continuing like this, please review the next copy of it any time when you feel it's right... because it's just hillarious...

boooratt said...

Nice review! I've heard bad things about this comic but I was still curious to read it as I kind of like the idea of the story. Makes me kind of think of this being like a Superman set in story like the old Incredible Hulk TV series! Him going from town to town helping with small local problem and maybe one huge problem. That'd be a great mini-series! but not this!
Actually Superman has done micro-surgery with his heat vision on the brain before! In the famous and VERY good one-shot Whatever happened to Truth, Justice, and the American Way, which is being adapted into the DCAnimated movie Superman Vs. the Elite, Superman while having a old fashion villain hero stare-down with Manchester Black, the leader of the Anti-Hero team the Elite, uses a mixture of his telescopic vision, X-ray vision, and heat vision to find the unusual nerve cluster that gave Manchester his telekinesis abilities and served either some of the nerves or the blood flow to it so his powers were render inert not permanently but long enough til he could be arrested and incarnated in a prison designed to house power meta-humans! I don't know if that's how the movie will end too or not since the idea of superman doing that in a cartoon might be taboo even though they didn't show any of it. But it does make that woman' claim in this comic possible but... yeah Superman had the whole world to save over her husband! Hell, if she wanted to blame Supes she could also blame Green Lanterns, Batman, Lex Luthor, the ray, Supergirl, Powergirl, Doctor Fate, Zartana, ect... pretty much anyone with super intelligence, super advance tech, same power set as Superman, or reality whorping based powers!
I do like the jokes made on this comic on how freaking dumb is that drug dealer to threaten Superman or insult him! Superman could kill him by sighing to hard in his direction!
The reporter that was blocking Superman and Supes wound up taking 2 miles up looks to be based on Harry Knowles. So I can see why some might like him being mishandle a bit!
Nice use of more songs using or based on Superman! I personally like Krytonite by 3 Doors Down!
That final clip at the end had a lot more of an impact than the whole book and made more since... BRAVO!!!

Aquinas said...

Surprised you didn't reference Forest Gump or Plan 9, but what you had in there is better.

13th Doctor said...

Oh, God. Oh.....GOD. So much stupid in the this comic; I don't know where to start. What makes it worse is that it started ok. Heroes having a crisis of faith and deciding to take a break and figure things out is nothing new; Jack Bauer, Batman and The Doctor have done. And it is good to see that Superman doesn't consider anyone's problems beneath him.

But then the drug pushers show up and this comic gets real stupid, real fast. You pretty much nailed everything wrong with the "over there" scene. That might be the dumbest thing I ever heard, hands down.

As for the ledge scene, I can understand how working at the same job day after day can produce feelings of stagnation and hopelessness. And I have first hand experience with depression sadly though not the suicidal kind fortunately. Be that as it may, that doesn't always mean you want to kill yourself. I am sorry but her feelings were not well-delineated. Does she want to kill herself because she has serious emotional problems or because she just has been having a rough time?
This kind of character must be expanded on. Also, I nearly squirted soda out my nose when you said, "life suck, whaddaya gonna do?"

But the crowning moment of stupidity is when Superman says that real heroes do.....nothing. WHAT. THE. HELL. Superman is a hero. How is he not? This is the same reason why I hate it when people say the Doctor is an evil sociopath. The Doctor is flawed and has done questionable things but who hasn't? he is a hero, nonetheless, and so is Superman. Anyone who says that actively risking yourself on a regular basis for the sake of others is not a hero is A FREAKING IDIOT.

"As one thing to highligh, I think Superman's "no response response" to the officer at the end of the suicide bit makes perfect sense; the logic that one's right to life also means one should have a right to end it whenever they wish is not unsound and it's understandable that Superman would be conflicted about such a thing. After all, who is Superman to decide when someone can and can't take their own life? Surely that's at least something to consider."

I am a psychology student and if someone attempts suicide, you stop them. No exceptions.

Quicksilver said...

Sort of in line with another commenter, but if Superman had said "of course not," when the cop answered his question, it would have really been worse on his character, IMHO. Not only because of the aspect of choice (as the previous commenter mentioned) but also because it would show that Superman's a lying dick. If he is, as you mentioned Linkara, supposed to be wondering when he should step in, what will keep him from acting as a God, then isn't that the bottom line? Respecting other people's choices, even bad ones, and upholding his word of honor? Especially when he said earlier in the comic, and we are meant to believe, that he does not lie? I dunno, maybe I have a skewed view seeing as I am one of the people who find Superman (even in the best of hands) a really boring character and expect him to always take the moral high road--even if that means letting someone die because he promised that's what he would do.

I agree that contrasting this suicide segment with the one in All Star Superman might've added length, but I think the comparison is a really good one and highlights the differences between the two works. It'd be interesting to see you do a video/s of situations like that, where writers take similiar ideas and one does it better than the other. Kind of like what NC does with his "Old vs. New" reviews.

Trevor said...

Hey,

Whose face is in the Superman body on the title card ?

OOOOOOH boy, was this a step in the wrong direction for Superman. I remember reading the trade and thinking "man, this is really boring", but I at least enjoyed the art. Still, for anyone looking for a good JMS book pick up his run during Amazing Spider-Man (sans ONE MORE DAY) and if they want a good Superman story, read Superman For all Seasons.

Bazookoidben said...

Wow, that's...well lets see.

HE WOULD LET HER FALL? *Reaches for booze*

WHAT?!

*Glug glug glug*

Okay, I'm probably going to ramble about the 'Jumper scene' as it is the most fresh in my mind and probably the focal point of this story outside of his intentions to do this walk.

As someone who actually cares for a person with depression (not in any professional way mind you) I find it slightly insulting that this contrived situation has to be built so that A) Superman is the only person who can help her B) No one would listen to this person C) She was really just a selfish person who agreed that life sucked and squatted on a window pane.

Depression so does not work that way. And it does a disservice to the character of Superman for the ham-fisted way he handled the scene.

(I know a few people have mentioned it in the comments but I'll be an ass and talk about it) I'm surprised you didn't mention All Star Superman for a similar scene that is handled so much better when he convinces a person not to jump. The scene is far more emotional and not a lot of pointless yacking away. It's a simple kind-hearted message of "You're much stronger than you think you are. Trust me." That and the artwork create the perfect scene.

This...well this is Supe's saying "Well b*tch life sucks. Stop crying and get back to work." And it's just insulting to think that a depressive person could be given a lecture like this and then MAGICALLY convinced that life is worth living and that she should do the aforementioned squatting.

I hate to quote Star trek V but... "You know that guilt and pain can't be taken away with the wave of a magic wand."

But Superman does...somehow. And then she's all magically better and being told life sucks means that she can now go on living life. Yeah....

Urgh...

See, the idea behind this in the context of the previous story. I think this would make a nice mini series. Something light hearted with strong feelings of human emotions of joy and sadness. That would have been nice to come to that after what seems like a nightmare and a half of the War of the Supermen. But not, this makes Evangelion look coherent in it's pseudo philosophical ramblings

I take my hat off to you for getting through this one. It's not an uber horrible comic. But really, the way Supe's is mangled through this is enough to hurt his fans respect for him.

Anonymous said...

I think Superman needs to go on Jeopardy and get all this random philosophy and factoids out of his system.

Kaibaman41 said...

Everytime Superman did or say something dumb in this comic I was thinking...."Superman is being Bearded Idiot again!"

Scott Tibbs said...

Good point about Superman being a jerk randomly. Someone at DC has been spending too much time on SuperDickery.com.

Anonymous said...

I liked JMS's spider-man up until one more day which is when i think things started to spiral downward for him and i like this review

i want to know however are you going to review the issue of superman revokeing his american citizenship

Benjamin J said...

Yeah, I really wanted to like this Superman run, because despite the hiccups and outright stupidity of some of his later work on Spider-Man, I really like JMS as a writer (and I still love very much just about all the Amazing Spidey issues he did with John Romita Jr, which was about the first half - three or four years - of his seven year run). But there was no defending this. From the bad characterization to the ham-fisted preachiness, it's just one fail after another.

"I'm just remembering All-Star Superman. There's a girl on the edge of a building, about to jump. She's not making a spectacle of it. She isn't whining or complaining or...saying much of anything, actually. She's so far beyond hopelessness and despair that she really doesn't have any words left. Superman flies up, gives her a big-ass friggin' bear hug with all his heart, and leaves her with a few short, sweet, humble, and brilliant words of wisdom. That's real storytelling. It's simple. It's subtle. It's goddamn powerful. So much more emotional than the endless overwritten diatribes we see in 701."

It's also worth noting that Grant Morrison absolutely NAILED far more in terms of what Superman is all about, as a character AND as a symbol, in relation to human beings, in that jumper scene in All Star Superman #10, which took all of ONE PAGE (!) Than Straczynski's, which took up about a quarter or more of the issue.

firestonex said...

Linkara, you should consider buying/ making one of those home made flame throwers...

One good scene would give the "bad comics burn" part of the intro a whole new punch.

Karfsma778 said...

STILL not the worst Superman comic you've reviewed

Anonymous said...

Hey Linkara! Superman DID do that whole Heat-Vision surgery trick in Truth, Justice and The American way!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to comment on this subject to what I'm sure is going to be very controversial, but I don't think the woman in this comic would've jumped. Or, more than likely not! First, her problem wasn't too bad. Shew as having basically an identity crisis(no pun intended). Second, suicidal woman with her types of problems tend to commit suicide by poisoning or by slitting her wrist for 2 reasons. 1. There is always a slim chance to back out at the last minute without so much of a spectacle. 2. Now, this might sound sexist but most(not all) woman are a little vain and want to leave a presentable corpse. They want an open casket basically. Men are more than likely to shoot themselves, jump off a building, or jump in front of traffic.
The reason I'm the writer used a female jumper in this comic and also All Star Superman is basic sympathy ploy. Again 2 reasons. 1. It's an easy save for Superman to do. In real life once a jumper jumps there is hardly anything normal humans could do to save them. Superman can just swoop in and save the day. 2. As a female young adult you're instantly subject to feel sorry for her plight. If in this story the young woman was replaced by a fat balding 40-something year old man the audience would've given a crap about his dead mother and identity crisis. Actually in most cop comedies if there's a jumper scene it's always a businessman and played for chuckles. (See Lethal Weapon)
I'm going Anon for this as I'm sure someone is going to get pissed at this! Sorry, Linkara!

Phantom Roxas said...

A bit disappointed to hear that JMS was fine with Mephisto's involvement, but it's good to hear what he had planned to write afterwards. I do believe that it was Quesada who came up with the deal with the devil though.

The selfish woman that caused Superman to begin his walk reminds me way too much of Civil War, since it begins very similarly: Iron Man is attending some event (I believe it was a memorial service), then some random bitch spits on him, claiming that he could have prevented her son's death.

Superman's speech about "heroes being trapped in a cell" or whatever was completely moronic and downright stupid, and the final proof that this comic is outrageously pretentious. As for his speech to the woman, if life is neither fair nor unfair, then what the hell is it?

Anonymous said...

I would just like to point out two things.

First, Unfair literal means not fair. As such something can not be both unfair and fair at the same time. It is the same things as being both true and false at the same time.

Second, it would have worked much better if Superman had used Socrates instead of Thoreau.

mephosto said...

just commenting on a mistake. as a life long pa resident i can tell you arson based vigilantism is both encouraged and admired in pennsylvania. we have a festival and everything.

C-Puff said...

I've never commented on your actual blog before Linkara but I didn't feel like waiting for this to show up on TGWTG.

Just wanted to say that as some-one who actually does have medicated Depression... Superman's speech did nothing for me.

And how am I suppose to watch Babylon 5 when I'm trying to start Dr. Who??

Anyway, I see lots of people with real thoughtful responses to this video here so you'll have to excuse my nonsensical ramblings but I stay up till 3am to watch this thing.

I'd like to see hat happens in the next issue of this if you ever feel a need to revisit it.

Also, I presume it's Silent Hill that you refered to. Whatever it was I laughed myself silly.

Also, great sting.

Gonzo said...

I'm still boggling at the fact that Superman put John Lennon and Moammar Gadhafi in the same sentence and was serious about it. Lennon's awesome and all, and yes it stinks that he's dead, but... equating him *Gadhafi*? Who is dead now anyway so his point is moot? Really?

Y'know, I never thought a story that can be summed up as "Superman goes cross-country" could be so flipping stupid. It should be one of those goofy World's Finest stories, where Supes, Bats, and Robin all pile into the Batmobile with a big heap of luggage tied onto the trunk and they all go driving around visiting Carhenge and the world's biggest ball of twine and stuff. That, I would read.

Jesse J said...

"A hero is one who inconveniences himself to aid others."

By that definition, you sir are a hero. You inconvenience yourself by reading horrible comics for our enjoyment. Thank you, Hero.

Anonymous said...

I really didn't like the RetJohns about Brainiac & the Toyman (One day I really should talk about Supes foes, you'd never guess who I think of as the greatest Supes villain ;) ) , mostly because it was once again bringing the silver age fr the sake of bringing it back, PHOOOEY ! . Then again here's my opinion on Superboy http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d4rla7k

I would say to that angry lady the same thing, Clark is a journalist, & an apprentice car repair man ... not a surgeon .But here's the thing about the idiotic woman , & it's a quality that makes great villains : Pettiness ! From Venom's depression due to being fired & putting the blame on Spidey to Dr Doom's outright loathing of Reed Richards for being right while he was wrong , it's what makes the villains actually believable & relatable ! And trust me, a lot of overpowered monsters are much more complex than anyone would give them credit for .

I know it's easy to slam a character motivation like that, but that's to forget that humans are selfish & transient by nature . We make mistakes & blame them on others more often than not , we give importance to things that should not be taken tht seriously . Now of course what makes someone better is how he or she'll choose to fight off said pettiness & maturing (what most heroes do actually . Here's why I never see the so-called Goody 2-shoes as boring ... they make mistakes, in the stories I've read with Supes (my favourite Clark is mostly the Jurgens-Simonson-Kelly version & the TAS one), he can screw up but at least does everything to repair that. Biggest one? What happened to Henshaw ... ring any bell ? That's harsh but it's not like he could do anything about it actually ...)
(to be continued )

BBally81 said...

I was really dissappointed with how New Krypton ended and this arc only added to that dissappointment.

However when JMS left the title and was replaced by Chris Robinson, Grounded wasn't that bad of a story in the long run if you avoid most of JMS' run and go onto Robinson's run, which I think is actually quite a good read, I really liked what Robinson was doing on the title, he basically took JMS' bad lemons and was able to make a decent lemonade. In the end, his mind was being manipulated, which explains why he was acting out of character.

I find it funny that in the 2 volume trade paperback, the first consisted of JMS' run while the other consisted of Robertson's run.

Anonymous said...

... (continued )
Now things I've learnt with this comic
- Drug dealers are suicidal
- Superman is pyromaniac ... AWESOME ! Now he can team up with Heatwave ! He's irrational & irresponsible ! GREAT ! That means he worked with Eddie Brock at some point in his career (guess he did follow the Venom way of justice... except that it's not that effective when you don't slaughter the dealers after destroying their drugs , so Clark's half-assing it .)
- Miss Rose read YJ/TT Graduation Day & countdown on the same day ! THAT IS HER REASON ! What ? That's the DCU ...
- Well Supes , you can say that Tunisia is free ! I mean I can never repeat enough because no one believed it at first WAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA ! And Kadaffi is worm food so you can take him out now...
- WAIT ? SUPERMAN DAMAGES CABLES THAT CASUALLY ? Wow Supes is a vandal & a nihilist ... So he's Deadpool minus the humor ?
- I always thought that heroes are mostly defined by good intentions, altruism & the will to oppose what is unfair & cruel

By the way Lewis , what do you think of the saying " Superman is a god who thinks he's a man, Lex Luthor is a man who thinks he's a god " ?
While I am at 100% with the latter part ( Lex is an unsatiable overachiever that could be the best if it were not for his jealousy ) , I view Supes as a man who happens to be born with the abilities of a "God" (in the loose definition of the term of course) ; I am also disagreeing with the paragon of good stuff . He's a very good & kind man , YES, but paragon ? No , he also has flaws (just not the ones shown here ...)

Anyway here's something to cheer you up ( Well depends how much you like the Hungarian Rhapsody N°2 & Daffy , Since it's more of a remix ...)

http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=0#/d4v49po
http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=0#/d4v4b4k
http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=0#/d4v4d16
http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=0#/d4v4duz

& why drawing & drinking can be bad ! This is what you'll see !
http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4vm2sn
http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4vmat9
http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4w1itj
http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4w1ohu
http://devilkais.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4waquy

SOoooo Long now , HOOHOOOHOOWOOOHOOOWOOOHOOOHOOO HOOOHOOOHOOOOHOOO !

Anonymous said...

This is a simple question and I hope you answer it Linkara, Are you going to do the entire "Grounded" Arc? I'd love to see how this ends up and your opinion on what happens next.

ramses said...

I had only heard hearsay about this comic and it always intrigued me a bit, so I'm glad to see an in-depth review.

How the hell did that woman reach superman anyway? Normally, when a speech is held, there is stuff like security. Even Superman needs it due to his little problem with kryptonite.

A lot of writers really have problem setting up their stories. Because writer's runs are usually pretty short nowadays (most writer's have their run end after a year or two, maybe three), stories are very much decompressed and the next writer will probably want to re-invent the character rather than follow your plan, it has become incredibly hard to plan ahead in terms of character development. This means that if there is a story you really want to tell, you must do it fast, with as little set up as possible. Which I think is a real shame.

Not able to write a story about a guy walking down a street? You're a major newspaper! Just assign some values to the walking and babble on about those for a few paragraphs.

This comic is really something that just needed a bit of deliberation before writing and it could easily have been saved. A little conversation with the editor and a bunch of very minor changes could easily have made this a good comic.

Well, it is pretty hard to claim damages when you've got illegal stuff burned. Any investigation of the fire, which is needed for most damage claims, would find traces of the drugs. So, while illegal, the criminals could only respond in a way that would get them convicted for at least possession.

Also, detecting the irregular heart-beat could just have been super-hearing, rather than x-ray vision. And I think the implication was that the irregular heart-beat wasn't a stroke, but something that lasts for a long time (maybe a weakened heart muscle or something), since the guy calls his doctor rather than an ambulance.

I think that, if you only changed superman's terrible dialog, the issue could be improved to the point of at least being decent. I'm not saying that it would be great, but it would still be a fun read. Though the comic would probably be way too short if you cut out all the quasi-philosophical gibberish from Superman.

Mecha-Gino said...

Yeah... That final issue of one more day wasn't written by JMS, it was Joe. His ending I'm told was different from what you said but what you didn't mention was it wasn't just Joe and to an extent JMS who wanted the marriage dissolved. Many writers wanted to do it before and Marvel had a big meeting or something with several writers plotting a way to end it.

Plus I'm told JMS did not like the ending. You're kind of slacking with research lately I noticed, from what I've watched recently.

Mecha-Gino said...

*re-reads one more day wiki entry*
Yep, the idea came from Joe first.

Anonymous said...

All I can think during that ending is about BETTER speeches about what a hero is.

There are loads of neat ones like Captain Blue's in Viewtiful Joe ("You see, 'hero' isn't just a title that's bestowed upon a person, it's something that's earned every single day"), Quest for Glory 2's Paladin trial ("He works not just for glory/and he does it not for gain,/But because he knows that others/will be spared a greater pain.") or (in a real life example), Patton's speech to the third army.

Epsilon said...

no forest gump reference?
mighy hero just walking whit no reason or destination and no forest gump reference???

Fault-Finder said...

Depression and suicide are indeed very serious issues, ones that I don't believe JMS has ever had to personally grapple with. If that's not true I apologize for jumping to conclusions, that's just how this comes off to me, speaking as someone who's currently dealing with depression and has had thoughts of suicide in the past. Also, kudos to you Linkara for managing to tackle the issue, and the comic's foolish handling of it, with sensitivity and intelligence while still cutting the B.S.

Anonymous said...

Wow... that was kinda unpleasant. Overall, I really liked this run, although admittedly some of the later issues are better. Sure, the philosophical stuff is a little heavy-handed, but Superman doing little stuff like this makes for a read good enough for me to overlook that. And it seemed like you were failing to understand some of the stuff he said on purpose, while at the same time taking a horrifyingly dark viewpoint on a lot of the stuff, darker than your average bad Family Guy joke. Sorry Linkara, not my favorite episode.

"They aren't here. But when there becomes here, we'll have one. I'll be watching here." 'Here' means wherever the drug dealers are.

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"Depression and suicide are indeed very serious issues, ones that I don't believe JMS has ever had to personally grapple with. If that's not true I apologize for jumping to conclusions, that's just how this comes off to me, speaking as someone who's currently dealing with depression and has had thoughts of suicide in the past. Also, kudos to you Linkara for managing to tackle the issue, and the comic's foolish handling of it, with sensitivity and intelligence while still cutting the B.S."

The sentiment is certainly appreciated, though one person I know has pointed out to me that I was a still a tad insensitive, since even just an overly-stressful time (like the loss of a parent) can trigger suicidal thoughts and as such calling out the woman as "just wanting attention" is not my finest moment.

Carol Ferris said...

I kind of like Big blue's personality in this. At least at the beginning. Not because it fits Superman at all, or that it made any sense, but because it reminded me of Guy Gardner. Then he started burning down neighborhoods and leaving children to die and now I'm not sure what character he's supposed to be. Sure as hell no one from a comic I've ever read.

FugueforFrog said...

Well as a Philadelphian, I am happy to finally have a comic on this show to depict my home...except it doesn't. I mean seriously, if Superman was traveling west and started out around that part of 48th street, he would already be out in West Philly, just west of the Penn campus. (I lived for a while around 43rd street near Spruce but since have come back to the NE) Unless Superman wandered around a lot more of the city, he probably would have just headed towards Upper Darby or that part of Montgomery or Delaware Co. Heck, I thought for some silly reason that the subsequent scenes were occurring further west like the suicidal woman was in Harrisburg or even Lancaster...what did Superman decide to loop back towards Center City because he thought it wasn't enough for the comic to have him in West Philly? Then again...the drug dealers out there make a bit of sense but the neighborhood if I thought it was looked too "diverse"...sorry, that's my welfare experience talking.

With local ties out of the way (outside my final aside), this comic was just way too preachy for it's own good. Why is it that every writer of Superman has to find their own way of interpreting the same morals of the same character, with some making her a bigger douche than others? And this one was terrible at it, instead of just trying to have him be a moral standard for all humanity while still being this bigger-than-life god-character. The woman on the ledge was the worst part: it takes forever to get over a really depressive situation (personal situation myself but that's a long story itself) and not just some guy in a cape telling you that people are dead and people are alive.

And now my final aside: yeah there are places you can buy cheesesteaks everywhere here, but most normal Philly residents get them from a cheesesteak shop, not a diner. Diners sell them but real Philly residents get them from a real cheesesteak stand...just saying. (being a NE resident, more a fan of Steves or Wit-or-Witout)

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"Well as a Philadelphian, I am happy to finally have a comic on this show to depict my home...except it doesn't. I mean seriously, if Superman was traveling west and started out around that part of 48th street, he would already be out in West Philly, just west of the Penn campus. (I lived for a while around 43rd street near Spruce but since have come back to the NE) Unless Superman wandered around a lot more of the city, he probably would have just headed towards Upper Darby or that part of Montgomery or Delaware Co. Heck, I thought for some silly reason that the subsequent scenes were occurring further west like the suicidal woman was in Harrisburg or even Lancaster...what did Superman decide to loop back towards Center City because he thought it wasn't enough for the comic to have him in West Philly? Then again...the drug dealers out there make a bit of sense but the neighborhood if I thought it was looked too "diverse"...sorry, that's my welfare experience talking."

Actually, at least one of the blogs I read while doing research for this one pointed out all the geographical errors in this comic regarding Philadelphia. XD Another one analyzed the racial aspect in that there seemed to be an abundance of white people in the comic, but very few black people (most of them immoral, stupid, or criminal) for a city that has a population at least 40% non-white.

Since I'm not too well-versed in the geography (I only lived in Pennsylvania for a few years as a child) and less so about sociology or population breakdowns or the greater eyebrow-raising racial undertones, it was probably best not to try to point them out.

Raven's punk said...

This reminded me of a quote from Schlock Mercenary: "Sometimes people need to do the things only they can do, rather than the things they want to do, or even the things they're best at."

The reason Superman is a hero is that there are some things only he can do.

JoeCat said...

Gee willikers! A Comic that acknowledges the existence of Philadelphia. I'm tempted to love this comic for that reason alone. But, then we see the content of the comic, and are rudely reminded that DC hates Philadelphia (but we're used to that at this point).

And Jen Harvey's right, that was pretty clean for 48th street (I actually used to work for a company on 48th street, which is kind of funny). Interestingly though, those houses are actually about right for the architectural style of the neighborhood. 2 story and front porch w/ overhang. Cars are just WAY too fancy and area looks to "spiffy" for the 'authentic' look.

Ozaline said...

Holy hell, the only thing I knew about this comic before now was the reporter scene... and there's just so much that can be said about it.

But here's one thing

RE: Superman VS Cancer

There is a major Supergirl storyarc just shortly before Sterling Gates took over in the build up to New Krypton... where Supergirl tries to cure a child's cancer, in that comic it established that Superman can not do what this woman wanted him to do.

Jesse said...

Event he GOOD messages are lost when you take into account Superman lied during the whole "Mind wiping era" of the Justice League. Covered it up, never stopped them, let personal opinions outweigh what was right and wrong. Superman has lost a lot of credibility.

Still, this could be a case of "so bad, it's funny" bad.

Ozaline said...

Oh sorry forgot the other comment I was going to make.

Someone walking across the country can't be a news story? Well the people who covered Terry Fox's walk across Canada would disagree! Geez.

Ben said...

The strange thing is that from what you've said, I don't hate this comic at all, even though I love having you make fun of it. I'm with Jesse. This is "so bad it's funny" bad when it is bad. It's got a sort of Silver Agey quality to it, in that it hits profundity by accident through irony (my favorite Silver Age comic I've read was one in which Superman pretended to be an in-universe fictional superhero called "Mental Man," not making this up). The distinction here is that it tries to hit profundity on purpose, but not accidentally on purpose like the Adam West Batman where one could tell that he sometimes meant to make the opposite point from the one Batman was making on screen. Here, when Superman's preaching gets ironic you feel the author may not have meant for it to get ironic. A lot of it is missing the mark just slightly, but that slightly causes the reader to think about just how much it is missing the mark and how much of it is on point.

Mitchell Martinez said...

You don't have to worry about the comedy in this review, Linkara. This was really great. Personally, I've been waiting for JMS's work to find it's way onto here, plus I really enjoyed the beginning when you clarified those facts about him. Plus, while I really didn't care for his run on Spiderman, I have to admit that you've got me interested in Babylon 5.

Like I said, I'm really glad you chose a comic like this. After the more bizarre choices out there, it's nice to return to something more recognizable like a bad Superman comic.

The only thing that seemed off to me is the fact that you actually owned the trade. Why would you do that to yourself? :->

Bobcat said...

I love JMS' work, but when he tries to be profound (see: parts of his Fantastic Four run) he falls flat on his face more often than not. His skills aren't in exploring weighty real world stuff; it's in character development and coming up with interesting scenarios.

QuetzaDrake said...

Overall an okay review, but I have to say I found some of your comments rather nitpicky and disagreed with some of them.

Minorly, with the old man, I think it was more a matter of just informing that there was indeed a problem and then letting him solve the problem himself instead of just flying him over to a hospital and solving the problem for him (besides, earlier you DID say the fat reporter guy should've died from Superman flying him around so fast and high). Speculating that he probably died from a heart attack immediately after the scene from meeting Superman is a pretty huge conclusion jump to make and didn't really work as a joke since you just sounded legitimately annoyed by it. He just had an erratic heartbeat which insinuates a heart problem, not an imminent heart attack that will happen in the next minuet or two.

As for the suicidal girl, I'm going to speak as an actual psychologist (who has also been heavily legitimately suicidal for a long time in the past) and say what Superman did and said wasn't actually a terrible way to go about it. Truly suicidal people on the literal edge of a building do not want to hear about "hope". If they've gotten to the point that they're really going to jump, they have lost all hope and just want to end their pain, and nothing anyone says like "things will get better" or "you have so much to live for" won't get through to them. In fact, trying to be optimistically hopeful can even be seen as insulting to the suicidal person, which may further entice them to go through with it in the very worst-case scenario.

What I see from Superman is basically he was telling her how things are, and he's sort of correct in ways. He's right that all the things he mentioned and she mentioned aren't fair, and while they are perceptively 'unfair', the idea that things just happen sometimes and sometimes you can't really do anything about them is true, and actually, agreeing with someone about that is helpful to calming them down or at least getting them to listen to you. It helps the suicidal person actually become more open to you: a person who agrees with them that the things they think aren't fair and are bad is a person they can trust, as it's much more likely that they do actually understand what they're feeling and how they think, rather than a blindly-optimistic speech that the suicidal person will scoff at and be more resistant to anything else you say.

The woman smiled because she was surprised that someone would even agree with her, not because she found hope or comedy or anything in what Superman said. It's just something some people do in that sort of situation, not really an error or to show that her problem is getting fixed by what he's saying.

QuetzaDrake said...

And what he said did get her to just sit down (or to do a very uncomfortable crouch, anyway) instead of going through with it. It was a period for her to think about what she was doing, to think about what she was depressed about and to consider what was going to happen and if suicide was really the answer. Suicidal people either tend to do so spontaneously or to plan it very well; a person on a building threatening to jump off is one who generally is doing so spontaneously (especially if they just don't do it right away), and thus it shows that she hadn't truly decided for sure as of that moment. Superman staying there and telling her what he did got her to sit down and think more, which is very good, and it ended up working.

So honestly, that wasn't a terrible or idiotic thing he said or did. Superman basically got her to trust him a little more by agreeing with what she found as problems and not trying to butter her up with sympathy (which suicidal people don't like very much honestly), and then just staying with her as she sat down and thought about what she was doing. Also, the fact Superman didn't answer the officer about letting her die was more of a matter of "is it right for me to intervene on something they truly end up wanting?" Of COURSE he would've caught her, but his lack of an answer isn't one of "well, probably not, cause I said I wouldn't!" and more "yes, I would've, but that's not important now that it didn't happen."

Really, the problem inherent in this whole thing is that the police weren't very bright. One, you're right, they SHOULD have had a psychologist on the megaphone or climbing up to talk to her and do basically what Superman did. Two, they should've gotten people up the building and also a safety net or something set up while Superman was stalling, in case she decided to go through with it anyway.

So... yeah, I really think you overreacted to that stuff, so not a huge fan of this particular review.

Anonymous said...

Quicksilver@ "Sort of in line with another commenter, but if Superman had said "of course not," when the cop answered his question, it would have really been worse on his character, IMHO. Not only because of the aspect of choice (as the previous commenter mentioned) but also because it would show that Superman's a lying dick. If he is, as you mentioned Linkara, supposed to be wondering when he should step in, what will keep him from acting as a God, then isn't that the bottom line? Respecting other people's choices, even bad ones, and upholding his word of honor? Especially when he said earlier in the comic, and we are meant to believe, that he does not lie? I dunno, maybe I have a skewed view seeing as I am one of the people who find Superman (even in the best of hands) a really boring character and expect him to always take the moral high road--even if that means letting someone die because he promised that's what he would do."


What? If someone would save a guy from suicide, even if he promised he wouldn't, is a lying dick? You would let the woman fall? And there is no reason Superman wouldn't do that. He is a good person, not asshole, who only cares about how people see him.

If you think letting someone die for no good reason, because you are such an self-centered asshole, who is so in love with boyscout image he created, is a right thing to do (and Superman would do the right thing), then fuck you sir. Sorry, but fuck you.

Gray Morality said...

As someone suffering from depression myself. I think that you managed to handle that issue well and somehow kept the humor coming. Overall, I really enjoyed your review.

PS: Some of the post OMD stuff in Spider-Man was actually pretty good

R said...

Ah, that song brings up re-eally good memories of Scrubs!

Just FYI, JMS still writes for Marvel, as he's gotten around to finish The Twelve, a 12 issue maxi-series he pretty much abandoned in 2008. But it is damned good, so he's not like Frank Miller. He can write a good story when he feels like it. Clearly, he didn't here as he abandoned both this storyarc and his Wonder Woman run.

I think you should have given him a harder time for not even bothering to finish his shitty Superman story.

Tyr Germanic said...

you really should review JMS' wonder woman comic.
and cross over with Nostalgia Chick or Film Brain and review Catwoman starring Halle Berry.

i also agree with the all star superman one page thing being awesome,telling people not to bring up the same point in comments is dumb because then there would be no way for you,the shows producer,to gauge demand.great review by the way.

Ming said...

I respect JMS. He's the guy who created Babylon 5, but I'll be honest with you. After hearing your great review on Superman 701, this is definitely bad. The idea of Superman reconnecting with the ordinary men and women is sound (even if just walking across America does seem stupid), but the way it was executed was disappointing, especially the way Superman handles the drug dealers and the suicide scene.

The worst part about this is that I'll take any part of Superman Grounded over One More Day, Superman at Earth's End, and that Big Barda porn story.

Anyway, will you be doing the rest of Superman Grounded?

Anonymous said...

Dear Linkara,

Thank you for reviewing this comic. I've always knew that this comic was stupid but not this stupid. As much as i like the art, Superman was way out of character in this. Oh By the way, Thank you so much for pointing out how STUPID and selfish that woman who slapped superman earlier was. It is really insulting to the fans and to superman's character that he wants to take a break from superhero activities all because some woman slapped him in the face. What a load indeed.

Lotus Prince said...

Ah, so you HAVE seen Silent Hill Downpour! What did you think of it?

As for the comic itself, I do like that Superman really is doing what he set out to do, which includes fixing problems, however minor, but it seems that he hasn't lost his "Superdickery" streak.

Unknown said...

I have to take your side on this Linkara. It IS possible for a sane person to commit suicide, just like it's possible for a depressed person to not even think about it. This woman was talked down by fo-philosopy so... yea probably not really depressed.

Also, I have to be honest on this idea. The idea of Superman, when the occasion strikes doing mundane tasks sets up an interesting character trait. Superman doing nothing but is boring because all that would be is a series about him just showing off. After all, no mundane task would take much time or effort for him, so there's no question of how or if things will work out.

boooratt said...

#4. Superman vs. Drug Dealers

Writing Superman shouldn't be very hard. He flies, punches asteroids out of orbit and shoots lasers out of his eyes; we're sure most anyone can come up with something fun to do with that. The problem is that a lot of Superman writers, instead of dealing with issues such as "how many times Superman has to punch a black hole so it stops stirring shit up" prefer to deal with "Do we really need a Superman?" and "Gee whiz, what is Superman's place in the world?" These questions become completely unnecessary the next time a robot army from the future shows up in Metropolis (by the way, the answers are "yes" and "at fist's length from the bad guy's face.")
The story titled "Grounded" has been the latest snorefest in the life of Superman, where, after a crisis of faith, Supes decides to stop flying and instead walks aimlessly around the U.S. to find his true self. So it's kind of like Eat, Pray, Love, but without the good food or random sex with foreigners.
So, what kind of adventures has Superman stumbled into during his walkabout? Well, he meets with the either the ballsiest or most brain-damaged crack dealers in the world.

Look, we don't care how much crack you have on the brain -- you do not taunt people who can grab your head and compress it like a Pepsi can. But Superman doesn't do that; instead, he uses his heat vision to burn all the crack stashes and the houses where they stand. That, while probably fun in a pyromaniac way, was probably less useful than flying at superspeed to the nearest police precinct and telling them there's a bunch of shitheads openly selling crack in the streets who keep their stashes inside their own houses.
So he's kind of a dick, but that's OK, because later Superman sends a kid to deliver a message to the crack dealers.

Yes, Superman sent a 10-year-old kid to talk to a bunch of crackheads, trusting that they wouldn't mess with a little kid if he is under Superman's protection, right after we just saw that they were too stupid to not mess with Superman when he was right in front of them. The thing that will come out of this is that science will finally be able to answer how many switchblades can fit into a child's torso.
Now, what Superman did was basically pointless, since the crackheads will just get more crack and set up shop in another place. Even the little kid knows how stupid the whole thing is, and he is not smart enough to know he has been sent into a suicide mission. Here is Superman's reply:

For those of you keeping score at home, crime is OK as long as it happens to someone else. The phrasing of Superman's reply is so tortured that it looks like it was just rescued by Rambo from a Vietnamese POW camp. All Superman did was relocate the crackheads and then declare them somebody else's problem. For real, Superman? Especially since we can't think of a good reason why he couldn't stop his self-discovery jogging for a second to have them arrested and make them nobody else's problem.


Read more: 6 Comics That Covered Serious Issues And Failed Hilariously | Cracked.com http://www.cracked.com/article_19105_6-comics-that-covered-serious-issues-failed-hilariously.html#ixzz1sHUzYBMO

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"Ah, so you HAVE seen Silent Hill Downpour! What did you think of it?"

Seen it, played it, liked it. ^^

Bellarius said...

Okay, I skimmed through this so i'm sorry if someone else posted this, but JMS didn't just disagree with One More Day, there were contiual parts of it added to show how stupid the breakup was.

That out of the way, i'm glad you didn't spend most of the review on One More Day or making comparisons to it. Instead giving the Superman comic the treatment it rightfully deserved and hitting just how bad it was point for point. Especially that opening bit with the reporters which seemed to serve no purpose besides trying to shout down people criticising the idea of the series.

Unknown said...

I really hated Thoreau. When someone claims that if you do not like their writings you are not intelligent, I've got a problem with that.

I had to write a paper on that guy's writings in college. I believe I may have referenced The Emperor's New Clothes, and may have commented how Thoreau just needed someone to tell him he was naked and needed to put some damn clothes on.

Oh, and if memory serves, Thoreau didn't pay taxes because he was intentionally evading paying taxes and had even moved out to the woods near lake Walden in an attempt to avoid arrest for not paying even rent.

Volvagia said...

Gonzo: Gadhafi WAS alive at the time of the comic's publication. (June 2010.) Also, does the story REALLY jump from Part 9 to Part 11, like it says on the wikipedia article? Does this indicate that Part 10 was SO BAD that they couldn't actually publish it?

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque said...

Fault-Finder said...

"Depression and suicide are indeed very serious issues, ones that I don't believe JMS has ever had to personally grapple with."

Perhaps not, but there's a semi-famous story he told about his time writing Captain Power And The Soldiers Of The Future, where a character dies in the finale. According to wikipedia:

"I've never talked about this before--said I was in a thoughtful mood--but I've known several people, friends, who've taken their own lives. In one case, I spoke to her just beforehand. Tried, through the phone lines, to reach her one more time, pull her back from the edge. I couldn't. Years pass. Time comes for me to write the last filmed episode of Power.
"Jennifer Chase is going to die, partly of her injuries, partly of her own volition. Part of my life went into that scene, in the way it was constructed, and what was said. And what was not said, what never had the chance to be said, and thus still burns. I knew that, at the crucial moment of that scene, he couldn't be near her, as I wasn't near my friend . . . it had to be long-distance, hearing but not seeing her, and the terrible pain of arriving too late. I cannot watch that episode without crying. Ever."

Anonymous said...

the thing I don't understand is that JMS was a very good writer of spider-man before that 'thing'. moreover, he really seemed to understand the character, which made the fact he supported OMD really confusing. his run before that event had some of the best stories of spider-man ever,

Gyre said...

Frankly the constant 'not the villain, just a probe/Doombot/illusion/whatever' is getting OLD. Actually I take that back. It got old a long time ago. Why should anyone even bother reading a comic if it's just going to be retconned to something unimportant and anticlimactic six months later? If a TV show had the hero constantly fight the villain only to learn every single time that it wasn't the real one do you know what I would do? I'd change the channel.

As for the comic, if the news can try to throw a fit at the idea of the Secretary of State daring to take some time off at a night club I think they can make a story about Superman at a diner. Heck, I could do it.

'He sits down. Around him the various patrons of Sal's Diner look with open shock at this legendary being in their midst. Everyday life is driving the truck from a drop-off in south Jersey to stores in Philadelphia. It doesn't involve the Man of Steel stopping by for a burger.'

Admittedly it probably needs to be shortened and the language could use something more evocative but the point stands.

As for Superman and admissible evidence, Law and the Multiverse has a lot on it. A judge MIGHT just accept his word that he had seen the drug in those houses but depending on the circumstances they might get it easily overturned on appeal. One of the constant problems with superhero comic books is that writers (even when trying to write realistic stories) don't seem to get law.
This comic, even accidentally, is actually a good argument for how little superheroes could do for the real problems of society.

Quicksilver said...

What? If someone would save a guy from suicide, even if he promised he wouldn't, is a lying dick? You would let the woman fall? And there is no reason Superman wouldn't do that. He is a good person, not asshole, who only cares about how people see him.

If you think letting someone die for no good reason, because you are such an self-centered asshole, who is so in love with boyscout image he created, is a right thing to do (and Superman would do the right thing), then fuck you sir. Sorry, but fuck you.

It's not that I think the person should die for no good reason. In real life, I don't think its a dick move to promise someone you'll let them commit suicide and then find them help. I hold human life higher than that. BUT, if I made such a promise and then said person never trusted/wanted to see me again I would understand why.

It's a classic battle over whether I as a person have the right to tell you what to do with your life--even losing it. In real life, I have not only a legal obligation to prevent suicide but also a personal moral imperative to preserve life. But other people would say that if they are suffering from a delibitating disease, be it depression, cancer, or some other incurable thing, they have the right to end their lives. It's why we have euthansia debates.

Superman in this comic is not a normal guy--"good" doesn't really cme into play because "good" is subjective. He is not you or me. If THAT was the stress of the story, how unlike us/above us he is, then I would have no problem with him saving the girl against her will and maybe using that to fill his angsty spot over "letting the woman's husband die." It'd be shit writing, in some ways even worse than what we already have here, but it would fit the tone. In that story, he could tell the police officer "of course I wouldn't have let her fall."

But the focus of this particular story is that Superman is just a guy. Or that he wants to be just a guy. If that is true, if we are trying to see him as more of a human being and less of a big hero/god, then he should be dealing with the issue the same way we would.

So, he has the same legal responsibility mentioned above, but as he's already put himself above various laws (see also: privacy, destroying drug dealer stshes) that goes away. The only aspect that remains to examine him in in light of suicide, then, is the moral one. For him, in this particular story, to be human, he has to have doubt, and that small moment reinforces that.

On the one hand, he treasures human life and seeks to preserve it; if he didn't, he wouldn't have stayed there the whole time the girl was up there. On the other hand, he made a promise--one human to another, not one hero to a civilian, not one god-like-being to a weak human. If he exerts his powers to resolve the situation, then he takes away the humanity in that relationship--it again becomes hero to civilian, god-like-being to weak human. Superman can't stop himself from physically being Superman--but he can stop himself from acting like Superman. That to me is all the ambiguity of his response means, that he is morally debating what he would have done had she actuall jumped. Normal Superman would save her, no questions asked, but Superman trying to better understand humanity, as he is in this comic? Maybe not.

I've already commented how I'm perhaps not the best judge of Superman as a character, and I stand by that. I'm basing this judgment only on what was presented in the comic in the review. And I still stand by my assertion that in this particular comic, Superman granting the illusion of choice through his promise and then stripping it away in conversation would have been a weaker position than the ambigious "Good night, officer." And that to see him lie to get to his end, when earlier in the comic he stressed that he did not lie, would confirm him as a Super Dick to me. Just my opinion.

trent bowie said...

Having read that issue, I couldn't help but wonder whether JMS wrote it just so it could appear on Superdickery.com. For someone who "cares about all humanity", Superman comes off like an arrogant prick.

"Hello, citizens, I'm Superman! I can fly but I'm walking in YOUR town!"

Sooooo, why haven't you burned this?

DJ1107 said...

Great review Linkara but I have to wonder does when JMS left the book and Chris Robinson continued the story arc did it get at least slightly less stupid or was it pretty unsalvagable? I happen to own the trade of JMS Spider-man run where he fought Morlun and met that Ezeikel guy I thought it was pretty good. By the way what are your thoughts on his 12 issue maxi series called The Twelve?

Lotus Prince said...

"Seen it, played it, liked it. ^^ "

Awesome! I finished Downpour relatively recently, myself, and while I thought that the enemies were samey and uninspired (except for the Doll, which was amazing), and that I was shunted through the Otherworld too often with that red void, I felt that the atmosphere was the best Silent Hill has seen in a VERY long time, and later Otherworlds made up for the earlier ones.

The game is definitely flawed, but I think its pros outweigh its cons. Also, its references to earlier games are fantastic. Did you ever play the jukebox in Devil's Pit? Or, did you find my absolute favorite reference - the apartment in the streets of Silent Hill which you need a fire poker to get to? :-D

Anonymous said...

I kinda think you didn't get the speech
Sounded to me more like the idea that we should make the entire world OVER HERE
"Over Here" may vary well mean the extent of our powers
Doing as much as we can to solve problems, but realize our limits

I also think that Superman being silent was supposed to be interpreted as "you know the answer"

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how much canon one can consider this, but I think that in one of the direct-to-DVD animated movies, Superman surgically removed a microscopic bomb from his own brain

And life isn't really unfair, it's mindless, the universe is mindless
Em I right, Kyras?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbmDLVFAaec

Damienx247 said...

This is going to sound cruel and heartless, but if that bitch at the beginning wanted a superhero doctor, maybe she should gone to a hero JMS formerly worked on Thor, who unlike Superman is a doctor, and a damn good, after all Donald Blake figured out how to reboot Tony Stark's brain.

Dr. Ivo Buttnik said...

Whoa whoa whoa whoa! I don't think Denis Leary is the right person to be lecturing ANYONE on why they should "get over it just because their life didn't work out as they planned." The guy stole some of his best material from much better comedians like Louis CK and Bill Hicks and used it to weasel his way to the top, then ditched comedy to become a big-name actor when he started getting recognition. He's in the new Spider-Man movie, for Pete's sake. He should be the LAST person trying to lecture people on not being selfish because their lives didn't go according to plan.

But yeah, I think that if this comic has taught us anything, it's that Superman should probably stick to superheroics on a larger scale, and leave the small stuff to us average Joes and Janes. I'm sure he'd come to help us out if we asked. Superman, you go ahead and take care of Brainiac or Darksyde. The drug lords, and the therapy? We'll work on those, big guy. ;)

FordXanakov said...

As a life long native of Philadelphia, I noticed a few things.

-Nobody says "the south side" here. We say South Philly. Same holds true for North Philly. It's just how we name our neighborhoods.

-Nobody orders a "Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich." It's just a cheese steak. You don't have to specify "Philadelphia" in the title. You're already in Philadelphia! By the same logic, why would you specify "sandwich"? Does Superman think the waitress is going to send out a T-Bone Steak with a slice of American cheese on it?

-South 48th Street looks NOTHING like that

-What was the point in having it be in Philadelphia at all? There was nothing you would expect to see if Philadelphia was the locale such as the Liberty Bell or Independance Hall. Hell, even Superman walking up the Rocky steps at the Art Museum would be something Philadelphian.

Jarkes said...

"Whoa whoa whoa whoa! I don't think Denis Leary is the right person to be lecturing ANYONE on why they should "get over it just because their life didn't work out as they planned." The guy stole some of his best material from much better comedians like Louis CK and Bill Hicks and used it to weasel his way to the top, then ditched comedy to become a big-name actor when he started getting recognition. He's in the new Spider-Man movie, for Pete's sake. He should be the LAST person trying to lecture people on not being selfish because their lives didn't go according to plan."

...I'd like to point out that a LOT of comedians have become big-name actors. Robin Williams, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy... the list goes on. Also, is there actually proof that Dennis Leary, in fact, stole some of his material from Louis CK and Bill Hicks? I'd also like to say this: He was making a joke. He wasn't making a serious lecture on that sort of thing. Plus, what does "stealing" material and becoming a "big-name actor" (which he is neither the first nor the last to do) have to do with not being selfish when one's life doesn't go according to plan? You, sir, have completely missed the point.

Gonzo said...

Volvagia:

Yes, I know he was alive then. :) I just meant that naming names in a situation like this was kind of short-sighted, given that everyone Supes mentioned will be dead eventually anyway, which means his examples will be irrelevant and outdated to future readers.

Or maybe they realized the whole thing is so stupid that there won't BE any future readers and just gave up.

Anonymous said...

"Gonzo said...
I'm still boggling at the fact that Superman put John Lennon and Moammar Gadhafi in the same sentence and was serious about it. Lennon's awesome and all, and yes it stinks that he's dead, but... equating him *Gadhafi*? Who is dead now anyway so his point is moot? Really?Gonzo said...
Volvagia:
Yes, I know he was alive then. :) I just meant that naming names in a situation like this was kind of short-sighted, given that everyone Supes mentioned will be dead eventually anyway, which means his examples will be irrelevant and outdated to future readers.
Or maybe they realized the whole thing is so stupid that there won't BE any future readers and just gave up.
April 17, 2012 2:06 PM"

Nooo, I think the point the writer and Superman's character here was trying to make was all the good people they list were murdered before their time and all the bad people they listed(at the time of the books publishing) looked like they were going to die of old age. Which is considered a good death by today's standard. They got to live a full life while the good people got killed while still fairly young. Granted no one at the time this was written knew the point would be moot since Gadhafi was killed actually instead of dying of old age like Castro and Mansion are more than likely going to die of.

Dave said...

Sorry Lewis.But I do not agree with this review.You made a ton of mistakes here that made the comic worse than it already is

Sabre said...

Sorry for asking this, but if the events leading up to this were as bad as you said, why is no asking how they can help Superman?

Gareth said...

I haven't read Grounded because while I had been reading the World of New Krytpon, Last Stand of New Krypton and War of the Supermen stories I've never really collected the main Superman title (apart from the recent Doomsday story).

I'm not sad I missed it and I've never seen much of a reason to have a look at the story.

With the woman who was going to jump I think Superman was right when he said she needs someone to listen. Assuming she is seriously depressed I imagine she will be given counselling as well as drugs, and on my counselling course I was taught that it is indeed more about listening than talking.

Lord Seth said...

You know, I can understand why they wouldn't have Superman actually answer the police officer's question as to whether he would have allowed her to jump. But I think a far better response than just ignoring the question entirely would have been to just respond with "What do you think?" and leaving it at that.

Ave said...

You mentioned in the review again your not looking at the cover when reading from a trade, which I would like to point out (maybe for the second time--I don't know specifically whether I mentioned it before) why I don't agree with your reasoning on this.

For one, all of the issues were once sold separately. Since trades will reprint the cover of each individual issue inside, there is still a cover to look at for the individual issues. Since these covers were once used to sell the issues, then their merit towards the issue is still valid.

As well, I will mention my experience at the local Barnes and Noble: while many trades are on the shelf with the spine facing out, select (usually newer) ones are displayed with the front cover facing out. These are generally considered the ones they're trying to push at the moment, and so the cover is a big deal, and a huge selling point.

This can even go to the local comic book shop, where all decently new issues and trades are displayed with their covers on display. It's only the back issues and older trades that don't get this treatment.

Further, there is always the fact that a reader will still pull a book off the shelf and look at the cover. If it doesn't look intriguing, that book will go right back on the shelf, especially since they like to shrinkwrap trades, preventing a reader from flipping through before buying.

Dragons Dusk said...

I would just like to comment on how pleased I was at your added few words about the seriousness of depression and other similar or accompanying illnesses. Too often Depression gets lumped in with people being 'emo' and any true acknowledgment of it's need to be treated not laughed at is appreciated.

Also, Babylon 5 is still my favorite Sci-Fi series. But that doesn't have much to do with my above comment.

Wednesday said...

YES YES YOU USED IT YOU USED MY FAVORITE MARCUS QUOTE.

Sorry, I was just so disappointed you didn't use it in the review proper that I clapped like a seal when it was the stinger.

Watching the review made me wonder if this storyline would have been improved by Superman doing his walkabout as Clark, or at least in disguise. If the idea is that he's feeling the need to reconnect with the average American, surely doing it as an average American makes much more sense than doing it as Superman? Oh well.

Matt said...

I'm stunned you didn't cover 702 (or maybe 703?), the one where Superman has the stones to tell Batman that he doesn't focus on the common man's problems enough. All I can say is thank God for Chris Roberson for coming in and writing a scene where newly-revived Bruce Wayne points out just how stupid that was to Superman.

Jesse said...

Granted, I don't know all that much about Superman, but he seemed really out of character in this one, to me. I mean really, that was the best he could do with that suicidal woman?

And really, JMS wrote that? I can think of plenty of examples that make it hard to believe that, and B5 is just the top of the list

Sabre said...

Since no one has mentioned it yet.
Bicycle Repair Man
http://youtu.be/5eCdIe0wdvU

Shanethefilmmaker said...

No No Not One More Day, It's Not True That's Impossible!!!!

Shanethefilmmaker said...

Not that this redeems the comic any better. She is smiling because she realizes while Superman is an extraordinary being with unique abilities, he is just as imperfect as any other human being.

Anonymous said...

So, with this and your use of all the Dr. Cox rants, I'm assuming you're a fan of Scrubs? :)

arw1985 said...

Well, that was interesting. You didn't bust a vein there did ya, dude?

That was a weird issue. I heard it was bad, but seeing is believing in this case.

"I will let this child tell off those thugs while I walk off over there!!"

....

WHAT?

On the plus side, the artwork was easily the best thing in the issue.

FugueforFrog said...

I think the problem with JMS's depiction of Philadelphia is it just feels like he has no idea and just wants to depict it how he feels as a stand-in for some regular old-fashion city. It's a diverse city but if Superman was walking west, he wouldn't really have come across what he did where he did. For the most part 48th St. may still have a bit of the influence of being close to Penn, but that is around where West Philly really takes over. And the further west in Philly you go, the more 'interesting' things get. Honestly while I don't know all of the sociology of that area (with my job I have knowledge of parts of the NE and North Philly and know of the major populations we have of blacks, Hispanics, Russians, Brazilians, Indians (a large Malayalam but there are others), Vietnemese, Cambodians, etc; and admit that I've never really worked that far west and mostly have knowledge from driving and heading to an aunt who lives at the city line near both Montgomery and Delaware Counties), it just felt utterly wrong with where Superman met up with the crack house. And while there are areas that have major gentrification (Northern Liberties and Passayunk for starters), most of it in that area stems from Penn...and I doubt they've really reached beyond 46th St...unless DC is another universe regarding those sorts of things.

(sorry, I am a geography minor in college with a bit of sociology in my BG and thus why I'm so interested in this sort of thing)

geektality said...

This comic is like that scene in Forest Gump, where Forest treks across America because he was bored and everyone was wondering why he did it, only for him to reply "I just wanted to run."

Anonymous said...

Dear Linkara,

Since your points are very solid on their own, you do not need to raise your voice to fortify them. I found your reviews far more entertaining when you took certain aspects with a grain of salt. It is a comic book afterall. It's actually more funny when you review a dramatic section (depressed girl about to jump from a building) with a dissipated viewpoint. A "been there done that" mentality.

Look forward to seeing more Superman reviews! I like to see how the big blue boy scout is doing in the panels.

Anonymous said...

Excellent choice for a review, Linkara. I had seen scans of the whole "over here/over there" speech (which goes down as one of the dumbest attempts at profundity that I've ever witnessed), as well as Superman pretentiously name dropping Thoreau. But until now, I hadn't heard of the awful anti-suicide speech, complete with Superman stupidly implying that he might have let the woman jump. What, is Superman so stupid/egotistical that he would put his own word over another person's life?

You said that you didn't bring up All-Star Superman because you were running long on time, which is understandable. But it really should've been brought up. Grant Morrison totally nailed Superman's appeal in his series. His Superman is strong but soft spoken. An idealized role model who also acted very down to Earth. JMS however, wrote the complete opposite. The Superman in the ironically named "Grounded" is preachy, stupid, and arrogant, putting on airs even as he spewed complete nonsense. It's not often that a writer so completely misses the mark with such an established character.

ProfessorB said...

Good review as always Linkara!

Also, funny little thing to note is how you can tell the writer isn't from Philadelphia (I am). That would be that no one in Philadelphia or the Philadelphia area calls cheese steaks, "Philly cheese steak sandwiches". We call them cheese steaks. Like I said, you can tell the writer didn't know that.

ngrey651 said...

You know what, I can't let this go. Lewis...HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?!?

After saying over and OVER again how you don't believe life is pain and all that emo crap, you go and make a statement like "Life is terribly, horribly unfair"?

IF LIFE WAS UNFAIR, WE'D BE LIVING IN A FUCKING FINAL DESTINATION MOVIE. THAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF A WORLD FILLED WITH UNFAIRNESS. If life was ALWAYS terribly, horribly unfair, our ceilings would be caving in constantly, every laser eye surgery would end in death, EVERY car and roller coaster ride would cause explosions, and so on and on! Life is only SOMETIMES unfair! OCCASIONALLY! You can't make such a broad bullshit sweeping generalization like that!

No offense to you and Dennis Leary but...what the fuck is wrong with you?! Do you even LIVE life?

DefectiveType40 said...

Okay, after reading Mountain King's comment, I was suddenly reminded of a quote from the webcomic 8-Bit Theater, where Black Mage argues that Lex Luthor is actually the hero:

"Superman is the invader. He's the anomaly. He's the thing that doesn't belong. And what's he do? He robs humanity of its drive. Why excel at ANYTHING when Superman is, by definition, inhumanly better than you at EVERYTHING? Lex Luthor is giving us back our dignity."

This review is the only thing I can look at and think, "Wow. Black Mage has a really good point there." 'Cause in this comic, that's kind of exactly what he's doing. With Superman taking care of all these minor domestic issues, what's stopping these people from just sitting at home, lounging around, watching TV, and just letting Superman take care of all of their problems?

Just a thought I had--the concept still has some merit, but, like Mountain King said, doesn't really fit with SUPERMAN very well.

Anyway, great review! Greatly looking forward to the Marville #2 review.

kingofmadcows said...

Harlan Ellison was creative consultant on Babylon 5 so that probably helped a lot.

DefectiveType40 said...

Actually, I think I'd like to rephrase my earlier comment... the concept of the comic does fit Superman. It fits him very well. No problem is too small for him, so him helping people with everyday problems does work. The problem is that an ENTIRE COMIC centered around that sort of thing isn't particularly interesting to read. And throwing in the BS pseudo-philosophy doesn't help matters.

Anonymous said...

I'm normally greatly enjoy your work Lewis and seeing as how you've gotten a lot of positive feedback on this review I feel no shame in saying this.

This is the absolute worst review I've ever seen you do.

I fail to see how this is a bad comic. In addition your summation as to why it's bad seems to rely heavily on a lack of understanding of both actual police and medical procedures and a lack of what JMS is intending to accomplish in this work.

Making criminals go next door is actually what you are supposed to do when you are in law enforcement and security. In the real world, police are not superhuman. All you can do is enforce the laws in the area your at, arrest what criminals you can, and maintain a police presence which deters crime by letting the criminals know that if they a commit a crime in your area they are going to jail. This naturally results in criminals going "over there" because they can't cause trouble in your part of town. It's all about you as the officer making the place where your at better because you suffer from human limitations but you can make difference where you are. The theory being that if all people make a stand against evil and crime and police there on neighborhoods or at least ensure that they have decent police force that the criminals will keep going next door to evade the law until they have no where to go and are either arrested or they become law abiding citizens. That's how its done in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Now I know were talking about Superman here, but he has his limitations as well. Even he can not be everywhere at once. That's what the Justice League and other super heroes are for. We don't see him in Gotham city solving Batman's problems for him all the time we do we? And even with an army of super powered men and women that are still tons of crime that goes on when they are not around. Superman's point was that he was here now and since he was there used a rather round about method to solve that particular neighborhoods drug problem. I saw nothing wrong with it.

As for the arson seeing as how no one on are world has heat vision or x-ray vision no laws have been made to effectively deal with that situation since it's never come up. And since the DC Universe is basically our world plus the fantastic, there probably are no laws on the books there. He can't beat up the drug dealers since they are not attacking him or breaking any laws in his presence so attacking them would be a violation of due process and a repeat of the bullshit from Cry For Justice and I think we can all agree that we don't want that again. Burning all there drugs with a promise to continue doing so is a pretty clever way of solving the problem for that neighborhood. And seriously, what are the drug dealers going to do? Go to the cops? Mean old Superman burned my drugs officer! Arrest him! Even if the cops do find out about this, you know what they are going to do? Pat him on the back. Hell, the cops I know would buy him a drink. I judges that would buy him a drink. Also, there drug dealers. No one gives a shit about them. He could have been fascist and killed them. All he did was burn there drugs. The Punisher would have just shot them all in the head.

As for the attempted suicide, I think QuetzaDrake summed it up perfectly. He let her get her problems off her chest, he agreed with her, he listened, and he watched her to see what she what she would do. He didn't act out of line there. And he didn't answer the cop because he didn't need to. We know what the answer is. It's called subtlety Lewis. You could learn a thing or too about it. You ham ;)

Also, its entirely possible that they did not have a police psycologist on hand to help talk the women down. Many police departments are underfunded and undermanned and the cops are expected to be everywhere at once which is impossible for them to do. If the department is worth a shit, they take calls by priority (the more serious situation gets the most attention) and they get to everything else as soon as they can. I work as security guard and I can't tell you how many times I have had to call the cops and I'm lucky if they show up within 30 minutes. As my father always says "There's never a cop around when you need one." And that's just regular patrolmen. Can you imagine how long you have to wait for a special agent such as a police psycologist? It takes awhile. Most cops are given some training in psycology, nothing to exstensive mind you, but basic human behavior, to deal with situations like that. It could be that they were undermanned at the event or were just getting started and were going to make preparations to send a team up to collect her while they watch her from the ground, call the fire department to set up a rest effort and so forth. And right when they were doing that they were fortunate enough for Superman to arrive.

Anonymous said...

Anyway QuetzaDrake probably explained the how and why better than I did. He does have training and experience in this matter over me. What struck me about that entire part of the review was how gloriously insensitive you were doing it. Given what we know about he character, the fact that her mother died, she lost her job, her life is falling about apart, and the fact that she is thinking about killing herself, all things signifying that this woman is clearly legitimately depressed, summoning Dennis Leary to tell her to shut the fuck up and get over it is not the right response to that situation and comes across as out right deplorable. And then immediately after showing the clip, you immediately back pedal and acknowledge the issue. It makes you seem like a bigger jerk for coming down so harshly on suicidal and then immediately back down. It kindof raises the question as too why you made a tasteless joke there in the first place. Also, no sign that she's depressed? Her mom, died, she lost her job, probably is having trouble finding another one, and her life is so bad right now that she wants to jump off a building. Dude. She's depressed. That's text book. And many people have attempted suicide over a less than that.

If she was cutter, I might agree with you on this but even then she would need psycological help.

I'll agree with you on a couple points: The woman blames Supes for here husbands death IS a selfish bitch and telling the kid to talk to the drug dealers for him was incredibly stupid, but other than that, I kept waiting for this issue to get so bad that that it warranted being on Atop The Fourth Wall. And it never did. To me it's very clear what JMS is doing here. Superman has been going through a rough time lately and he's pulling a Forest Gump to reconnect with humanity, the parent species that adopted him and that he feels kinship with. For all his power and alien ancestry, he considers himself one of us and he just needed to walk in our world for awhile. To walk amongst and be with the people he considers brothers and help with our problems on a very personal scale. He doesn't consider himself a hero because he is humble and he doesn't consider himself any better than any one of us. He sees everyday joes as heroes to him who have to live out boring tedious lives working everyday until they die to take care of themselves and their families and having to put up with injustices all around them do to their own personal limitations as ordinary people and ones placed on them by the government. He sees them as heroes because they do that every day and inspite of that they do the best to make the world better in their own small way. Him performing small acts of heroism is what he feels any ordinary good person in his place would do with the power to do it. That is what makes him a hero. It's not the powers, its the man. Although the powers are cool ;)

And I was able to understand that just fine. I don't mean to sound pretensious, but Lewis it just really doesn't feel like you get this work or what JMS is trying to do here. This story doesn't really seem bad. Its a little unusual but a unusual doesn't mean awful and your thrashing of it comes across as uneducated and unwarranted. This just isn't badly written enough to be reviewed in this way on your show. There should be a Frank Miller or Rob Liefeld comic here in this ones place. I think the big problem here Lewis and I don't mean any offense by this but your trying to tackle JMS's writing in this review and I hate to break it to you Lewis but...he is a better writer than you. He really is.

Anonymous said...

And now don't get me wrong. I love your work and your writing. You've come a long damn way since Angel Armor. But I think what at least JMS is TRYING to do here is a little more complicated than this. If this were One More Day, I'd be right there with you.

And to be fair this is not the greatest Superman story I've ever read but I don't think its that bad either. I'm really surprised to see it here at all.

But as always, you have a right to your opinion. I'm just giving you my opinion and my opinion is that you can pick a worse comic to throw on the grill than this one. All I asked is that you here me out and few of the others on the comments such as QuetzaDrake and Quicksilver. You don't have to agree with us but please read our feedback and think about what we have to say.

I know you will anyway, cus that's just the kindof cool person that you are.

Take it easy Lewis and God speed.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that in this review you take issue more with JMS' philosophy than whether or not the execution is "bad".

Remember, the original Superman did try to solve problems on the ground level but later he (the Weisinger version) became a "boyscout" who always respected the "law" and stuff like domestic violence was outright avoided!

Yes, Superman fights aliens and the like but in this case,he decided to take a little time off from this to deal with those "small" problems that he often misses otherwise. Could he have saved that woman's husband from cancer, probably not but at least her pain reminded him
of us "little people", the ones Wonder Woman frequently helped during Perez' remarkable run. Yes, she was "selfish" but it doesn't deligitimize her pain. And yes, as one who faced depression in my youth, I can say that sometimes a person who is willing to LISTEN is BETTER than sucking down more "medication".

Now, there a LOT of people who look to Jesus of Nazareth. Some people believe he was God while others,like myself, believe he was a humble prophet of God, but in either case, especially in
the Gospel of Matthew, his actions of aiding the poor and downtrodden while speaking out against hipocrisy inspires MILLIONS of people to work in soup kitchens, give to charity, become doctors who don't charge extraordinary rates and some even join the Peace Corps and help others around the world! It's about INSPIRING
people into action.

In JMS' story, The Man Of Steel is trying help people and unless JMS dropped the ball, Supes too will inspire people to do likewise in some small manner. I can't remember the story but I think it was in Mark Waid's KINGDOM COME where Batman said something
to this effect, albeit grudgingly.

While it may not be a perfect story, it's certainly a fascinating effort.

Also, I VEHEMENTLY REJECT the statement spoken in the clip from DOCTOR WHO. We should NEVER "delight" in the "unfairness" of the Universe but always strive to do our part to make it MORE fair. That's like saying "Oh well, there's always going to be injustice, so let's just get back to watching AMERICAN IDOL!

No, whenever someone wakes up, he or she has a choice of
whether or not they are going to do something to make the world better, or just contribute to making it a Hell on Earth. That's what I believe, but then again, I might have grown up reading too many BATMAN comics!

-LEADER DESSLOK-

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"Also, I VEHEMENTLY REJECT the statement spoken in the clip from DOCTOR WHO. We should NEVER "delight" in the "unfairness" of the Universe but always strive to do our part to make it MORE fair. That's like saying "Oh well, there's always going to be injustice, so let's just get back to watching AMERICAN IDOL!""

Well, for the record, that clip in the stinger isn't from Doctor Who. It's from Babylon 5. Written by JMS.

Anonymous said...

So, that's from Babylon 5?! Well, it's nice to see JMS essentially rebutting his previous "statement". Like Supes told the suicidal victim, it's neither "fair nor unfair" but there is Supes trying to make it "...more fair..." In short, Allah\"God" gave us each other--provided we find the courage to help, rather than hinder one another. Now, if only that message will spread throughout the Mid-East!

(Cue in 70s disco song "I Love You, Superman"!)

Even though I disagree with the review, I DEFINITELY want to at least check the TRDPBK out of the library so "props" to AT4W!

-Leader Desslok-

Mario Di Giacomo said...

Just because someone should, here's the scene in All-Star Superman #10, showing how a well-written Superman deals with a jumper.

All Star Superman #10

Please note that he was in the process of dying from an overdose of solar radiation and STILL had time for one person who needed help.

Victor Hernandez said...

This is utter garbage, hate to say this, but this is the worst comic you have reviewed Linkara and that's saying much.

@Mario di Giacomo: That's the way you write Superman, I shed some tears after reading that.

Blues said...

To the people praising All Star, I don't even remember him dealing with a jumper, and no one truely explained it but that Superman was amoral and that comic was a diss to the silverage, that Superman also didn't take any firm stance on even basic things like slavery.

That aside, it's interesting that you criticize what Superman did with the drug dealers when the birds of prey did the exact same thing, and Oracle did worst, and usually does worst to people, things highly illegal and unnecessary to bring them under arrest.

I'm not defending this comic though. This type of thing should happen in a one shot or during some other series. Making a 12 issue series(which is what I think it was going to be) was a bad idea. And it just doesn't seem very good.

ABTC said...

nice stuff

Doug Puthoff said...

Instead of stopping in the middle JMS should've stopped this before it began.

There was a Funky Winkerbean strip a few months back making fun of JMS's leaving "Grounded" unfinished:

http://content.comicskingdom.net/Funky_Winkerbean/Funky_Winkerbean.20120912.gif

(Of course FW creator Tom Batiuk should've stopped his strip strip years ago. Please review FW, PLEASE???)

Of course this whole arc has been rendered moot by the "New 52." Why should readers care about comic strip character when the creators and executives kick them around like soccer balls.

Rowan Le Fey said...

Personally, I took Superman's utterance to the guy with the dog to be a message he planned to spread: "Be the heroes in your own neighborhood". Which, when looked at as an adult reader, might inspire the reader to try to be heroes in their own neighborhood and do good deeds.

And I think he decided to go cross country on foot for two valid reasons: 1) PR. the people had lost respect of superman and he needed to improve his image in a world where increasingly your exposure in media was everything. 2)To make him feel better about himself. By saving everyday people he was being rewarded in a way that defeating any villain high up in the clouds cannot. And this will sound dumb but it is measurable science, positive energy. More can be found on this particular matter if one google searches heartmath institute

Interesting review. Mainly because throughout the comic I saw a deeper meaning.

Markus Criticus said...

"Personally, I took Superman's utterance to the guy with the dog to be a message he planned to spread: "Be the heroes in your own neighborhood". Which, when looked at as an adult reader, might inspire the reader to try to be heroes in their own neighborhood and do good deeds. "

So, he basicly told the guy, "do something yourself" for asking valid question? Yeah, that doesn't make it any less dickish.


And I think he decided to go cross country on foot for two valid reasons: 1) PR. the people had lost respect of superman and he needed to improve his image in a world where increasingly your exposure in media was everything."

That woman was the only one, who showed any disrespect towards Superman and he really shouldn't what people like her think of him.

Anonymous said...

Did the artist ever seen Philly? Its not just the whole city is just some generic suburb, but the fact in the city with one of the highest number of African american the only blacks are the drug dealers.

Also Sup you got to go to Pat's Kings or Geno down the street if you want a REAL Philly Cheese Steak.

DaveWire said...

How's it going Linkara? How was your Free Comic Book Day? Sadly I live nowhere near a decent comic book store, but a friend of mine does and he got to meet Joe Kelly. The guy was actually really cool and when I told him via text that his run on Deadpool was one of the things that got me into comics, he gave my friend an autographed comic to give me.

Anyway, I figured I'd look into some of his other works, of which I found some lengthy runs with Superman. Not one of my favorite characters, but one of the issues was the oft praised Action Comics #775: What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, & the American Way. So I figured, what the hell, I'll get a digital copy and read it.

I know this is an older review and I'm not going to defend issue 701 which was just god awful. However, there was something in Action Comics #775 that made me think of something you said near the beginning of this review about Superman #700. Here are some spoilers, just to warn you. Near the end of Action Comics #775, Superman tells Manchester Black that he used his x-ray vision in conjunction with his heat vision to perform microsurgery on the guy's brain and cut out a tumor that was responsible for giving him his powers. And he does this while being broadcast on several enormous televisions across the world. This, of course, is revealed to be a bold faced lie, which is ironic considering he's fighting for "truth". Despite this, even if he was lying, he does imply that he does have this ability to cut out tumors with his eyes.

This brings me to Superman #700. Yes, the woman is nuts. No, there was no way Superman could have known that her husband was dying of a brain tumor. No, there was no way for her to contact him to save her husband. But he has implied and virtually told all of humanity that he can perform this type of surgery if the mood suits him. He might not actually have this ability (though I suspect that given his bluff and given the fact that he was trying to fight for truth, he wasn't entirely lying about being able to do this). You have to remember that this woman was crazy with grief and once, long ago, she had heard on a giant television screen that Superman could perform the surgery to save her husband's life from the man himself. I can understand her getting a bit pissed off at him, trying to find someone to blame.

Still, it was a terrible way to transition into Grounded. The events of New Krypton should have sufficed. Maybe not understanding the problems of common man is what this woman was trying to invoke and that's what gave Clark the final push to go walkabout. I don't know. That's just my two cents.

Adam Graham said...

There is some precedent for Superman doing surgery and that may have inspired the story in Superman #700:

http://sacomics.blogspot.com/2009/02/some-nice-moments.html

I actually like this story in Superman #701. I think that the woman was depressed was implied and clearly indicated and depression often comes over things that other people cope with.And his point in his speech to the girl isn't just that we try, but also that sometimes we can help just one person.

I will say that a couple of Superman's other speeches would be better read by the Tick.

Felix Brunschede said...

IF Superman had these abilities in terms of surgery, how exactly would she know about it? Because Supes would probably use it in secrecy so people won't realize that he is the one behind miraculously cured patients of cancer and other ills that usually require such delicate operations. I mean, the guy is humble and well-meaning, but he also has got a private life and a wife he loves(In this continuity, anyway, he has no excuse in the New52 since he, at least I think that happened, learned several medical degrees in ten minutes or so) with whom he wants and needs to spend time with. Also it helps not seeming like a god when he isn't. At least not before being granted the powers of a 5th-dimensional imp, but that's something that would ne- Oh, nevermind, it did happen. Whoops.

Anonymous said...

I believe that this show just wasted a little more than a half hour of my life. You sat there and basically yelled the entirety of superman 701 in my face(figuratively, and yes I do FEEL like I have to point out that I'm saying it figuratively after watching this episode). and for what? You did it simply because you fail to understand that superman is tired. I'll go one step further and say that superman is not just tired, but exhausted, because of people like YOU. I mean how would you like it if you have all this power, to be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and you were able to leap tall buildings' in a single bound and decided to use your powers to help this race of people who adopted you, and then get basically commandeered into being everyone's go to solution. Helping the people of earth goes from a service that he honor's and offer's, into a chore because people EXPECT it of him. It bogs him down, it would bog anybody down. He goes from being the LAST SON of Krypton, to having a people, a race he could call his own. His race ends up getting VIOLENTLY YANKED from him, he has NO race again he IS THE LAST SON OF KRYPTON for the second time in his life, and some selfish jerk smacks him because someone SHE cared about died? Is nothing ever good enough? I think it just got to the point where superman said, screw it I'm taking a walk. Your kind of like that woman in a way, because you just don't get that Superman is just that, a man.

A few other key point I want to hit on are the gangs and the jumper in this book. The thugs would not have killed that kid, I know this because I used to live in the heart of the ghetto, and trust me on this even gangsters have limits. However I will entertain the thought of them trying to kill the kid. Gangster walks out and asks where superman went, kid tells him, gangster pulls a gun, superman with his super hearing and super speed, HEARS what's going on and beats the gangster(s) Why? because he wouldn't let a kid get killed. However he might let a grown adult jump to her death if he promises. Because a promise from superman is almost law binding. He gave his word, and didn't you say any judge would take superman's word? I feel slightly cheated out of my Sunday with this blog, however I will give you the benefit of the doubt and keep watching other posts/episodes to maybe try and understand the logic you have going with this, because I see almost none. Then again this is the first time I have watched anything of yours.

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"I feel slightly cheated out of my Sunday with this blog, however I will give you the benefit of the doubt and keep watching other posts/episodes to maybe try and understand the logic you have going with this, because I see almost none. Then again this is the first time I have watched anything of yours."

Well, then feel free to check out other episodes. Many have said they disagreed with this one mostly for philosophical reasons, and it was an episode that was more than a bit ranty than jokey as some episodes can be. ^_^