[an error occurred while processing this directive] Celebrating Five Years of Pushing Comix Forward [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] Grounded #1
Written by Mark Sable
Drawn by Paul Azaceta
Published by Image Comics; $2.99 USD

I’m going to be up front and say that my sole reason for picking up Grounded in the first place was the cover, drawn by Michael Avon Oeming. I remember when comic covers were actually a selling point for me. Hell, I remember when album covers for CDs were selling points for me, but neither of those is the case these days. Oeming’s name is not on the cover, but I know his work well enough to recognize it when I see it. I also dug the way the title and the credits were set on the cover, like some kind of school notebook. All of that, as simple as it was, was enough to get me to check the book out, which kind of puts these “90s revisited” multiple covers into perspective. You don’t need incentives, you just need a little showmanship.

The story of Grounded isn’t a complicated one. Jonathan is a kid who’s life revolved around comics, superhero comics to be exact, so much so that he began to believe he was one, going so far as to break his arm trying to fly off his roof. Six years later he rejoins his peers in high school, apparently still believing he has some great thing locked inside him. When he and an old friend (Julie) begin playing superhero dress-up again they discover that Jonathan’s dad actually is a superhero, and he’s cheating on his mom as well.

That’s where things got off track for me, see at the book’s start Jonathan admits to believing in superheroes, which kind of implies that they don’t really exist. By issue’s end we’re shown that they do, and apparently it’s kind of public knowledge. It’s too big of a jump in one issue, and realy feels more like a plot hole than any kind of leap of faith expected by the readers. There are other missteps in the book as well, but none of them as glaringly obvious as that one. The jumps between panels can be a bit jarring at times, but for a book trying to find its legs, that’s a bit more acceptable.

Azaceta’s art is probably the most appealing thing about the book. From the retro opening scenes to the “day-in-the-life” depictions of Jonathan, both as a child and a teen. His line work is slightly erratic, lending a sense of movement to what mostly amounts to an action-less issue. Some of the credit also falls to colorist Nick Filardi, without whom the book would feel pretty much soulless. Filardi does a fantastic job with the switch in style from beginning to end, enhancing Azaceta’s work all the way.

Overall, Grounded is a decent superhero comic, which lacks pretty much every basic thing you find in most superhero comics. Sable infuses a ton of humour into what could be a boring origin story (albeit an origin we’ve seen plenty of times before), and Azaceta brings it to life wonderfully. It’s a book that’s off to a promising start, and it will definitely be interesting see where the plot goes from here. I only hope Sable is capable of crafting a story worthy of the art. Grade: 3/5

-- Logan Polk

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Logan Polk
5812 Glenlake Ct.
Columbus Ga 31909

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