At Comic Con, JMS said that #701 was not the story he had always wanted to tell but #702 was. It shows.
#702 succeeds while #701 didn’t because it has focus. The first part of “Grounded” has a lot of good and fun ideas. Some landed others didn’t but the biggest problem with them all was they weren’t explored to the extent they should have been. We know JMS can do better and he proved it.
The comic seems to be missing a lot of the preachiness the first issue had. Superman doesn’t even seem happy about the idea of a bunch of aliens escaping a police state of their planet to come live in America. That’s very surprising but at least he comes to a solution.
The story is split up into two small stories that actually come together and have some sort of message that doesn’t get bogged down with a bunch of other messages like the first issue did. This issue even gives us a small fight scene that makes fun of a status quo with villains building machines to fight Superman. He does seem to have a grip on this universe. The end shot gives us an idea of the fun for next week; the only question is which one is it? You will get the question when you read it.
Eddy Barrows’ art improves with this arc, yet he did have to deal with a little too much during the New Krypton arcs. The blame falls more on the writers of that than Barrows himself. The worse thing DC has done is put John Cassidy on as the cover artist. Cassidy just has a right fit to JMS than Barrows does and most would probably like to see him as the interior artist over Barrows.
This is still shaping up to be the best Superman story since the “Brainiac” in Action Comics about two years ago, as long as every issue can have a focus.
FINAL SCORE: 4 OUT OF 5