Who Do You Play For?Written by: Max Landis
Art by: Jock, Lee Loughridge and John Workman
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 18, 2016
American Alien is one of the real shining lights for Superman fans and believe me, we all need some light in our lives. Yes, I said "we" because I am one of those fans who has suffered through the New 52 and while I am cautiously optimistic about Rebirth at least I still have American Alien to get me through these dark times. With that said, this is the final issue and while I am excited to see how it all ends, it's just sad that it's ending. Max Landis has given us a slightly off kilter version of Superman's origin that has been touching, fun and at times even horrifying. Every time a new issue comes out, I can't wait to see what Landis will show us, but also how he will do it. That goes with the art, as well. Each issue has a new artist jump on board and it's been a joy to see their version of the Man of Steel. So, does this issue finish it all off with a bang? Let's find out...
The issue opens up with Clark and Jimmy texting each other about Lois and it is one of those simple, awesome scenes that Max Landis keeps giving us and what makes this such a great series. With one page, he catches us up to what's been going on and everything seems so natural...and then the shit hits the fan! There's been an explosion downtown and it's time for Superman!
So, going into this issue I had a lot of ideas swirling around in my head as to what we were going to get for this finale. It had to be big, right? Pete Ross did mention the other Justice Leaguers last issue and begged Clark to reach out to them While each issue hasn't always been a direct continuation of what we saw last, it did seem like we were watching the learning curve of Clark becoming Superman. I couldn't help but think that this issue would be the culmination of it all and yes, I thought we would see the beginnings of the Justice League. Silly me that I didn't realize that the reason why I love this series is the exact reason why we weren't going to get that...Landis is anything but conventional.
No Justice League here. Just Superman and...Lobo! Yep, the Main Man is in the house and I can assure you, this is the classic Lobo through and through. I will tell you right now, Max Landis should be writing a Lobo book for DC and it really feels like he is pushing for the job. If not, he is a huge fan of the character and didn't want to miss the opportunity to write him.
The dialogue between Superman and Lobo is spot-on excellent. Lobo can sense that Superman is not ready to fight with the big boys just yet and when Superman mentions Krypton it leads to some hilarious put downs. This all takes place in the Metropolis skyline while the world watches and I was on the edge of my seat, not because I was afraid of what Lobo or Superman might do, but what Superman might say. It might sound silly, but I was really worried that Lobo's taunts and jokes might lead Superman to say some awful things that would make him look like an ass in front of the entire Earth. Instead, he kicks some ass!
|Superman has Eli Face!|
Lobo and Superman start beating the living shit out of each other and while a part of me still went back to the Man of Steel collateral damage issue, it was pretty sweet to see. Watching Superman slowly get his confidence as Lobo quickly realized that this Kryptonian was not faking the funk was great. Then we got the The Moment.
It happens in almost every story..book, movie, comic, etc. We've all seen it, that moment when the main character or characters realize that they've been doing things all wrong. Instead of changing these inner city youth, why don't I change? Instead of trying to be popular, why don't I just be myself? Why worry so much about getting my hand stuck in the drain, let's just see where this goes. As Lobo taunts Superman for being a Kryptonian, it reminded me of the pivotal scene in the movie, Miracle, where the team finally realizes who they are really playing for.
When Superman tells Lobo, "I'm not from Krypton...I'm from Kansas" I got chills. Yes, they were multiplying as we see the determination in Superman's eyes and the fear in Lobo's. It all ends with Superman calling his shot and a very touching scene where Lois says the words we all wanted to hear. Again, it was a nice, human scene that fit the entire series so well.
I really did like this issue. Max Landis ends it by showing that Superman finally feels at home on Earth and is ready to go forward to protect it as his own. I loved seeing Lobo and boy, Landis can write the shit out of the Main Man! Yes, there are still things that bothered me...when did Clark change out of his tights before they found him in the rubble? The cameras were rolling, right? The biggest problem I had, however, was that after everything that lead up to this, the finale was a little underwhelming. We got our lesson, we got the chills, but it just didn't feel "big" enough. I guess you could argue that it's all part of the charm of this entire series, but I still felt a little let down. Just a little, mind you.
I'll say one thing for Jock, you know when he's on a book. The problem is, he has a love it or hate it style and I tend to punch my ticket on the second trolley. I realize I am in the minority here so I will say that if you like Jock's style, you'll love the look of this book. If you don't, nothing here is going to change your mind. I know that's kind of a cop out, but I just don't want to badmouth anyone today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today. Though tomorrow I might say that at times, Superman looked like he aged 20 years and some of the action was harder to follow than it needed to be. Remember, though, that's talk for tomorrow.
Bits and Pieces:
This is another really good issue of American Alien and while I was expecting something "bigger" for the finale, Landis is not writing books to please me. He should be, but he isn't. Fans of the series will no doubt already be buying this, but if you haven't been reading, you can jump into this issue easily and see what the hype is all about. After reading this series, I want Landis to write his take on so many more DC heroes and after this issue I demand he write a Lobo book.