Review – Superman: American Alien #3 (DC Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Max Landis
Art: Joelle Jones
Release Date: 13th Jan 2016

With issue one dealing with Clark first as a young kid desiring normalcy, and then as a teenager in issue two struggling with the moral responsibility of having his powers, issue three takes a slight break from the more serious questions. Max Landis (CHRONICLE, AMERICAN ULTRA) went a litle bit dark in his representation of a teenage Superman’s moral struggles, but part three couldn’t be more different. It’s bright, beautiful, and an unashamedly fun piece of fan service.

Don’t believe me? On one page alone we have Ollie Queen, Sue Dibny, Victor Zsasz, Bobby Milestone and Barbara Minerva. It’s amazing how many of the DC cast were socialites before becoming their respective heroes or villains. The premise of this tale is that Clark has won a holiday in the Caribbean, and while flying between Islands, the plane he is in crashes. Clark saves the pilot he was travelling with by managing to climb onto a passing luxury yacht. However, this yacht is the venue for Bruce Wayne’s 21st birthday and everyone thinks that Clark is Bruce, and that the plane crash was him making an entrance.

The whole issue is delightful in its comic absurdity as a future Supes gets friendly with the future Cheetah after she convinces him to play along and pretend to be Bruce. No-one has seen Wayne for years anyway, and when Clark does try to come clean Ollie Queen doesn’t believe him. I’ll admit it, it’s great to see Clark unwind and be the life and soul of the party… and have a bit of a holiday romance with Barbara Minerva. It flawlessly gives way to an ultimate acceptance of his position and a realization that Clark Kent wants to be more than a vet in Kansas.

A lot of people will remember that coming of age conversation with a friend when you’ve had one too many beers. That moment when suddenly the world makes a little bit of sense to you, and Max has shown us Clark’s own epiphany here in the pages of American Alien #3. It had me grinning from ear to ear if I’m honest. Even the attempt on Clark’s life by a Falcone assassin (he’s playing Bruce Wayne – remember) is a nice touch. Having Clark doped up on a Neurotoxin that would be deadly to humans will have you giggling, as will the way he deals with the situation.

Joelle Jones’ (HELHEIM, LADY KILLER) art in the issue really captures the vibrant sense of being young and having fun in the issue. There is a delightful sense of fly-away detail in her drawing that seems effortless and lively. More to the point she has a great talent for facial expression, a talent which she uses with unashamed abandon telegraphing every emotion and thought Clark is having as plain as day.

American Alien three is a delightful escape from the normal responsibility of Kal-El becoming Superman, and it’s great for the reader just to spend a little time having fun with Clark Kent. Ultimately it may be a fun throw away story, but it does seem to share that one significant moment and perhaps the beginning of the decision Clark makes on who he wants to be. That, tied in with all the exquisite fan service, makes this an issue every Supes fan will want to have in his or her collection to go back to every once in a while and enjoy. If that isn’t enough to convince you, the bonus one-page story at the end had me do a virtual fist-pump as I read it.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.

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