These days, the Man of Steel has really been struggling in the comics. How can a person as powerful as Superman actually be someone we can relate with? And he’s so moral that we just know what he’ll do next because he always makes the correct choice! How can someone like that be at all interesting? At least, that’s how the reasoning goes.

Well, the first part of this miniseries really made me feel for Clark Kent. I figure you’ll have the same reaction if you give this issue a chance!

SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN #1 of 7
Writer: Max Landis
Aritst: Nick Dragotta
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN: “Hollywood screenwriter and Eisner Award nominee Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN) joins forces with top comics artists including Jock, Francis Manapul and Jae Lee to bring you SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN, a 7-issue miniseries chronicling the life of Clark Kent and his development into the archetypal hero he will eventually become. But these are not the stories of the iconic ‘Superman’ as you know him, but of the soft-spoken, charming, often-funny Kansas farm-boy behind the Man of Steel. With the tone of each issue ranging from heartwarming and simple, to frighteningly gritty and violent, to sexy, sun-kissed and funny, SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN is unlike anything you’ve seen before.”

A MORE ‘HUMAN’ ALIEN

I often remember the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie because so many people could understand the character. He had feelings like we do, he had difficult choices to make, but he was also heroic in that he stood up for those who couldn’t defend themselves. THAT’s a hero we can relate to!

It doesn’t matter to me what costume or outfit he’s wearing – what counts is that he’s someone dealing with unusual circumstances the way we might in that same place.

And that’s what the first issue of Superman: American Alien is all about. We see the all-too human Clark Kent having to try to get a handle on flying, in particular. Time and again, he struggles with this ability that no one else can quite understand because, hey, we can’t fly!

One of the best aspects of this comic is it’s drama. From the first page, we feel for Clark, who’s floating in the air with his mother holding on for dear life! Then Jonathan Kent gets hurt running through the fields as he tries to help them get back to solid ground. It’s good stuff!

Another important aspect of this comic is its use of humor. There’s one sequence where Clark goes to see, of all things, the ET movie. Now that he knows that he’s an alien himself, he sees a lot of himself in that little green guy. In fact, there’s a great panel where Clark sees himself AS ET in the mirror. I had to laugh at that! Then, too, there’s a great sequence where Clark is floating in the air, wearing a red sweater. When his father uses a plane to try and get him down, we discover just how he got that red cape of his! You have to see it to enjoy it!

Also, Clark’s powers don’t overwhelm the people around him. They’re human, too, and they are also coping with this strange situation as much as he is.

‘SUPER’ ART

Dragotta’s art is perfect for this issue. It has just a hint of a cartoony feel, but it works with the superhuman things going on.

My favorite part of the book art-wise had to do with Jonathan holding Clark up as he runs through a field in an attempt to help him get a handle on flying. It doesn’t quite go according to plan, and the two guys end up on the ground laughing at this touching moment. Great, just great!

There will be different artists on each issue, but this book kicked off the miniseries with strong, dare I say ‘super,’ art that was really engaging.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Great Superman!

As I mentioned earlier, I feel the Man of Steel is in need of good storytelling. This issue is literally the best Superman story I’ve read in years. I laughed, I choked up, I felt for this alien, and that’s accomplishing something!

I wonder if this creative team could handle one of the monthly Super-family books? Hey, I’d love to see them take a chance at it!

According to Mr. Landis on the “Are You Ready For” page in the back of the book, “issue one is heartwarming, two is brutal, three is sexy, four will make you think, five’s thrilling, six might make you cry and seven… seven has the most violent fight you’ve ever seen featuring Clark Kent.” I agree with him when he says that it’s worth the money.

He wraps up that page with the following: “This has been my dream since I was ten years old. Come on this journey with me and Clark. C’mon.”

I know I’m on board! If you like Superman at all, you should be, too!

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About Author

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

3 Comments

  1. This is a huge relief. After Man of Steel came out, I have become very wary of any kind of “grittier, more realistic” look at Superman. I think exploring the more human aspects of Kal El is perfectly legitimate, but I feel it should help better inform us about Superman as a character rather than just “make him more interesting”

  2. I was really excited for this version of Superman origin story. The story in the first issue was really well done. I really like how they bring out and focus on the humanistic aspects of Superman. I am looking forward to this entire run.

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