For Pete's Sake
Written by: Max Landis
Art by: Jonathan Case
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 20, 2016
I have loved American Alien since the very first page of this series and I think my love has only gotten stronger with each issue. Max Landis is giving Superman fans an alternate take on the Man of Steel and at times it's been harsh, other times it's been confusing, but just about everything has been awesome. Landis has done such a great job in showing us just what has made our hero, both good and bad. In fact, I think one of the things I've enjoyed most is seeing the stumbles and missteps along the way and how they have been just as instrumental in making this Superman who he is. That continues in this, the penultimate issue of the series, but does that mean it's another great issue? Let's find out...
The issue opens with Pete and Kenny on the train to Metropolis. They haven't seen Clark for a while and are a bit nervous that the big city has changed their buddy...and they have every reason to be concerned! Clark meets them and after the shock of the big city dies down, they start grilling Clark about his extracurricular activities.
If you haven't been reading this entire series, this beginning is bound to throw you off a bit. Yes, everyone in Smallville knows Clark's "secret" and that's the backbone of this issue. Max Landis has kicked ass with his characterizations and dialogue throughout the series and this issue is no exception. He nails the awkwardness of friends who have drifted apart, but at the same time, shows they will always be there for each other. I say that like it's an easy thing to do, but I give Landis total credit for spinning his black magic here.
With his friends in town, Clark wants to show them the sites so it's off to Jimmy Olsen's Photo exhibit. It continues to show how far Clark has come from his days on the farm, but I really wish Lois was in the scene and issue. It's not that it needed it...I just love how Landis writes Lois.
The guys go back to Clarke's place after wards and while everything up until now was nice, we get down to brass tacks here. After some odd feeling bits with Pete and a certain other hero's mask, Pete begins to question Clark what the long term plans are for Superman. When Clark doesn't have any, Pete kind of freaks out on him. Actually, there is no "kind of" as Pete questions Clark about everything...Are you doing this to be famous? Is the "S" just to sell t-shirts? Clark doesn't really have any answers and when Pete tells him he is letting his HUMAN parents down, Clark flies off.
This whole fight between Pete and Clark was so intense and I loved it because Pete is right! Sure, he may have had a few too many drinks and could have accomplished more without all the yelling and insults, but HE IS RIGHT! Clark is just playing around, being a superhero without any ideas of what he's really doing. I also love the revelation of the other heroes that are already out and about, waiting to join up...maybe even start a league of some sort.
The issue continues with Clark blowing off some steam by trying to do something mentioned earlier in the issue. That's when things get thrown sideways, left, right and upside down when Clark runs into a couple a crazy characters. It puts a little more perspective on the time frame of the story (even if this is an elseworlds kind of tale) and gives Clark a little connection to his home world. It really is tiny but it's enough for Clark.
The issue ends with Clark and Pete making up and Pete explaining the fears of seeing his best friend going up against stronger and stronger monsters. It puts everything in perspective just as things are about to go ape shit crazy in the finale. At least I think they will, but Max Landis is full of surprises...and Black Magic!
This issue was really good even if it was my least favorite of the series. Landis uses Pete Ross to show that playing superhero doesn't happen in a vacuum. While Clark would rather do it solo, we see that he is never alone. Hopefully, it's enough to push Clark to seek out his future friends and comrades next issue. This issue sets up a whole lot and hopefully, the finale can wrap it all up.
I liked Jonathan Case's art and wonder if I would have liked it more if there was more for him to do. While there were a couple of cool cameos, there weren't a lot of big set pieces or action to speak of.
Bits and Pieces:
It's a testament to the quality of this series that this is my least favorite issue and I still like it more than 80% of what's on the shelves these days. Max Landis uses Pete Ross to show Clark that he has more than himself to worry about and after a couple of cool cameos, we might be ready for a little Superfriends action. I can't wait for the finale!