The Grounded prologue wasn't the only story in Superman #700. This was also the conclusion of the James Robinson run on the title. And there was also a nice flashback story by Dan Jurgens as well.
Given that this issue represented the final panels of the New Krypton arc and the beginning part of the next big storyline, it really felt like a transition issue. The Jurgens story was almost like a palate cleanser between courses.
And I love Gary Frank's work on the Superman family, so this was a great cover to reel in the readers.
The James Robinson story shows the reunion between Superman and Lois Lane.
The first time they lay eyes on each other is while Lois is running away from the Parasite. The events leading up to this are inconsequential. The story here is that Lois finally is able to see Superman.
Superman makes short work of the Parasite punctuating the fight by saying that there is too much in Metropolis to keep him away forever.
It didn't read as powerful as it should since he was gone for sooooo long. 'There is too much here in Metropolis for me to leave it forever .... just for a long long time.'
With the Parasite out for the count, Lois and Superman embrace and kiss for the first time in eons.
There is a lot of loving looks and nervous stammering which feels right given how long they have been apart.
But it ends up being laid on a bit thick.
She can't describe the horrors of seeing her father kill himself. He can't describe seeing his planet destroyed.
But they have each other. The thoughts of each other was the only thing that kept them going through despite the horror around them.
After some amorous time at their apartment, Lois asks to go out. She wished to be flown around the city much like the 'can't you read my mind' sequence in the Donner Superman movie.
The Lois line above just reads a little off. It would be one thing for her to say she feels safe with him holding and carrying her. But why preface it with the known fact that if he dropped her she'd die. It just read a bit weird.
She asks him if he will never leave her again and he admits he can't promise her that.
But they again reaffirm that they love each other ... kissing above the city.
The story read just a bit too long, so much of it devoted to Lois and Superman fawning over each other. I understand that the reunion between the two needed more than just a couple of panels. Their love for each other deserves some space. But after a while, it just felt redundant.
Part of that feeling might be that I know that despite all their showering of devotions and fidelity, that Superman is going for a year long walk away from his wife and she is going to aid and abet Lex Luthor in Action Comics. The lines sounded hollow because meta-textually I know the two are going to be separated again. Would this have read better if I knew that the upcoming arc was a standard 'in Metropolis working at the Planet fighting bad guys' arc.
Maybe Superman could become Grounded by actually being around for his spouse.
Bernard Chang's art is very nice here. I have commented in the past how much I love his art when there is a good disaster or battle happening. Here he mutes his scratchy kinetic style to make it a nice smooth pretty romantic tale.
Overall grade: C+
The Jurgens story is almost more of a Robin story guest starring Superman.
The story starts with Superman dropping off a boat and criminals at the Police Station. The crooks are gun runners who say within the range of Superman's super-hearing that their capture means the timetable of the other part of their scheme will be pushed up.
Is this another Donner movie homage? Is this the boat and crooks dropped off in the first Superman movie?
The other part of the scheme is for the gang to deliver guns into Gotham City. With Bruce busy at a Wayne Foundation event, only Robin can stop them.
But this is a Robin:Year One story. This is Dick Grayson at the very beginning. Bruce forbids him from acting alone but the sidekick sneaks off.
Unfortunately his skills aren't up to snuff and he is trussed up and tossed into the bay to drown. Luckily Superman was around to stop this part of the crooks' plan. With Robin safe and sound,Superman easily captures the bad guys.
With the case wrapped up, Robin suddenly realized that he is going to be in major trouble if Bruce discovers he went out.
Superman flies him back home and even does Dick's geometry homework so Batman will have no evidence of the ill-conceived adventure. It is a nice moment, showing what a good guy Superman is. Robin sounded like he already learned his lesson ... why make him face Batman's wrath.
But they don't call Batman the World's Greatest Detective for nothing. He figures out that Superman helped Robin and mildly chastises the Man of Steel.
Simple, sugary, nostalgic - made even more nostalgic with Jurgens doing the art as well.
It also nicely plays on the more 'cool uncle'/nephew vibe that Clark and Dick have. Nice to see that has been there since the beginning.
Overall grade: B/B+
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