The landmark issue features a Silver-Agesque cover, three stories, and several promotional items for other titles. In contrast with the recent fan-film, “City of Scars,” which captures Batman at his darkest moments, this issue re-presents Superman as the embodiment of hope and light.

Writers: James Robinson, Bernard Chang (“The Comeback”), Dan Jurgens (“Geometry”), J. Michael Straczynski (“Grounded: The Slap Heard Round the World”).
Artists: Gary Frank, Brad Anderson (cover), Blond (“The Comeback”), Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapund, Pete Patazis (“Geometry”), Eddy Barrows, J.P. Mayer, Red Reis (“Grounded: The Slap Heard Round the World”).

Premise

  • Superman returns to earth after recent events in the DC universe, and seeks his wife. Lois, meanwhile, finds herself in danger—from the Parasite.
  • The second tale returns us to Superman’s earlier days, and captures nicely the tone of the current Secret Origins mini-series. The Man of Steel has had many first meetings with Batman. This one takes place after they’ve started to establish their relationship—and instead has Superman teaming with the young Robin for what seems to be the first time. The story pits our heroes against everyday criminals who, of course, haven’t got a prayer. What matters here are the interactions.
  • The most publicized of the stories sets into motion a story arc that should take up the next year, and which could Bring Superman to Your Home Town. Concerned he could lose touch with humanity, Kal-El decides to Gump across America.

High Points

I enjoyed the World’s Finest story, which recalls the playfulness of the Silver Age without becoming too goofy. Without sacrificing the sensibilities of older fans, Jurgens has served up something a kid could read and enjoy. Leave the heavy brooding to Gotham City and the real darkness to Graphic Novels.

This is a Superman comic book.

Low Points

While DC is on a Silver Age kick, could they perhaps get Supergirl out of that turn-of-the-millennium pop tart outfit and into something more befitting an underage super-doer? It’s dated, and it really doesn’t suit her character.

The Scores

Originality: 3/6

Artwork: 5/6.

The computer-augmented artwork of the first story impressed me less than the others. “Geometry” looks pretty much like what you’d expect to find in a Superman comic book.

Also—can we have some kind of agreement on what the late Pa Kent looked like?

Story: 4/6. “The Comeback” is epilogue; “The Slap….” is prologue. Still, the former gives comic fans a slugfest, absent from the issue’s only complete tale, and the latter hints at what could become a memorable story.

Characterization: 4/6 Even the villains in the first story question how Lois manages to be so entirely a danger magnet.

Emotional response: 4/6.

Flow 5/6

Overall: 5/6.

Hal Jordan and Ollie Queen Kerouaced around the U.S. in the 1970s, and many readers recall the arc fondly. Many a superhero fan from that era got their start with Billy Batson and his Mentor driving their RV over the “highways and byways of the land, to right wrongs, develop understandings, and seek justice for all!” I’m interested in the potential for “Grounded.” As Jules Feiffer writes, “once you’ve made a man super, you’ve plotted him out of believable conflict.” Some of the best Superman stories have explored, instead, the interactions of the icon and symbol with the everyday and the mundane.

Here’s to hoping.

In total, Superman #700 receives a score of 30/42.