Hollywood screenwriter and Eisner Award nominee Max Landis joins forces with top comics artists including Jock, Francis Manapul and Jae Lee to bring us 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.
In the solicit for this limited series we’re told to expect a range of stories from heartwarming to gritty and violent. Superman: American Alien #1 is definitely in the former category with a story that gave me feels and put a smile on my face.
Landis for his first issue takes us to the early years of Clark as he’s just learning about his powers and before he knows what he is. In this case most of the issue revolves around his ability to fly, and with that comes the excitement, fear and more that’d revolve around that. He doesn’t have control, he doesn’t know what’s going on, he just knows he keeps floating into the air.
With that pretty simple idea Landis gives us a fun, funny, and heartwarming story. There’s just something very innocent to it all, and while the comic isn’t deep, it has tons of heart about it all. When you get towards the end, Clark’s enthusiasm is at a point its infectious.
It also is subtle in many ways. Landis lets us know what Clark’s parents are thinking in many ways just through the art. What is not said is as telling as what is said. That’s very much due to Nick Dragotta‘s art. I really like Dragotta’s art on East of West and it translates perfectly here with a style that enhances the innocence of it all in a weird way.
This is easily one of the best Superman comics DC has put out in a while, and I can’t wait to check out the rest of the series. This is another comic I came to the end and want a pairing of these two creators going forward with this character. Comics should be fun, and this comic is. The excitement of it all soars off the page.
Story: Max Landis Art: Nick Dragotta
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review