Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Superman: American Alien #1 Review

...And Away

Written by: Max Landis
Art by: Nick Dragotta, Alex Guimaraes and John Workman
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 11, 2015

The big thing DC was pushing going into this book was the Eisner Award nominated Superman story that Max Landis did with Jock last year...which I hated.  So, being reminded of it every time this book came up wasn't really making me hopeful that I would enjoy this story.  Throw in the promo image of a young and law breaking Clark Kent and I was sure that this book wasn't for me.  Fast forward to now and I'm not so sure anymore.  It's crazy, but while this issue might not break new ground, it gave me a ray of sunshine in a very gloomy month of DC Comics.  Sorry for sounding so corny, but really, it's been such a crappy month and this book made me smile.  Before I give it all away, let's get on with the review.

The issue opens with a young Clark soaring through the air...well, he is young and he is in the air, but instead of soaring, he is trying to figure things out.  Like I said, this story isn't going to wow you with it's uniqueness, but it has charm.  The issue may center on Clark learning how to fly (or at least control his hovering), but there is more.  It's also about fitting in, responsibility and family.

While we see some early examples of this through the reluctant eyes of Jonathan Kent, it all comes to  a head when Clark sneaks off with his friends, including Lana, to watch E.T.  It was a nice pick by Landis and fits the story so well.  While everyone watches the movie, Clark starts to lift off into the sky and when he comes down, runs to the bathroom where he sees himself as E.T. and instead of phoning home, punches a (big) hole in the wall.  On the ride home, Jonathan tells his son a very important lesson...don't be a jerk.

The rest of the issue is a bunch of father/son bonding while Jonathan and Clark do a little flying lessons.  At first, it's more like going real fast and falling on your face lessons.  It finally does lead to the beginnings of some flying, the origin of the famous cape and a really excited little boy just starting his journey down a great and important road.

I liked this issue, but I'll admit, it was a curious one.  On the surface, it was a very fast read with not a whole lot going on.  Maybe it was because I'm a father myself, but I loved seeing Jonathan and Clark building their relationship as the little guy figured out a bit of his place in the world.  Like I said earlier, this issue isn't going to change the world, but it made me smile.  The one thing that bothered me was that everyone in Smallville seemed to know about Clark's "secret".  That may be because it's part of Landis' big plan for this series, but right off the bat, it threw me off.

I'll admit that I am not familiar with Nick Dragotta, but I really liked his art in this issue.  I didn't expect it to be so cartoony, but after the initial shock, I really liked how it fit the story.

Bits and Pieces:

Max Landis starts off his Superman mini with a nice issue about a young boy trying to find his way in the world.  It doesn't matter that the boy happens to be Clark Kent...well, yes it does and  it's a story that made me smile.  The art added to the charm and in the end, I'm glad I read it.  That might not sound like much, but these days, that's a rousing recommendation.  Take it for what it is.



  1. Like you, this issue made me smile several times. Unlike the many many other Superman stories this shows how hard it would actually be to hide his powers... even in Kansas.

  2. I thought the story was cute enough but the artwork was bunk. Looked like one of those STD pamphlets from the 1970s with hi-tech coloring and shading applied!

  3. Nick Dragotta turned in some below-average work this issue. If you've ever read EA EAST OF WEST you'd agree. His work there ispretty amazing.

    On the writer front, the picture of Max Landis at the end of every DC book really make me hate him a that way I hate all hipsters with plastic bows on their sunglasses.

    1. Hey, he called me an ass on twitter so he can't be that bad, right?