The answer? The intended story.
The original solicitation for Superman #712:
Meet Los Angeles’s newest super hero in the latest Chapter of “Grounded”: Sharif! But Sharif discovers that in today’s current cultural climate, some people don’t want his help – they just want him gone. Can Superman aid Sharif and quell a prejudiced public, or are there some problems too big even for the Man of Steel to solve?
That was a story written by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Roberson, part of the long-delayed “Grounded” arc, originally solicited for June 8. DC sent out a media release late yesterday that states:
Please note the new contents for SUPERMAN #712, now written by Kurt Busiek with art by Rick Leonardi, a cover by Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino and a variant cover by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau.
This fill in issue contains a lost classic, Lost Boy: A Tale of Krypto the Superdog, set shortly after Superboy died in Infinite Crisis and Superman went missing.
DC Comics determined that the previously solicited story did not work within the “Grounded” storyline. However, Chris Roberson, will be back for the final two issues of Superman’s year long walk across America. As we near the conclusion, catch up with Superman next month as he makes stops in Portland and Newberg, OR.
SUPERMAN #712 is scheduled to arrive in stores on June 22.
Hmm. Well, that’s cool that the Busiek story is finally seeing the light of day and hey, Krypto! Who doesn’t love Krypto? But what happens to the Sharif story now? According to DC’s website, Superman #713 has Superboy and Supergirl meeting up with Clark in Portland, #714 in Seattle for his last stop. Does that mean the original #712 is canned for good? Here’s the cover for the new Superman #712:
The intended story revolved around a non-white hero coming into contact with prejudice in America. With all the flack DC has gotten recently for its patriotism (or lack thereof), is it any wonder this story got pulled at the last second? Roberson spoke with Newsarama back in March about the character Sharif:
I didn’t create Sharif so much as I salvaged him from the back issue bins. The defender of Los Angeles is a character who appeared as a teenager in the pages of the Superman titles back in the early ’90s (and drawn by none other than Curt Swan, as it happens!), but we’re meeting him here a few years later, when he’s taken on a new costumed identity in his new hometown.
Like Superman, Sharif is a character with powers and abilities far beyond those of normal folks, who came to this country as a child and grew up dedicating himself to Truth, Justice, and the American Way. But the fact that he comes not from an alien world but from another country here on Earth complicates matters for him, and he quickly learns that some people have a different idea of what “The American Way” is all about.
I have no idea whether the Busiek/Krypto story has been altered since it was first intended to be released but this is a questionable move to say the least. Will the missing “Grounded” piece affect that story at all? I’m betting not since it’s been so all over the place for the last few issues anyway. And that’s not a slight to Roberson, it’s just, what do you expect when you’re working from an outline? Any way you slice it, fans are not going to be happy about this move.
So the Krypto story was originally solicited for Superman #659. If we go by those numbers that means we should see the Sharif story in Superman #765, right? Oh wait, make that Superman #51…