Superman American Alien #3 Review
by Bryan Scheidler
Issue 3 of Superman American Alien hits the stands and digital stores this week and I am conflicted about it. I keep going back and forth on if I love this issue or if it frustrates me. The series written by Max Landis takes a look at Superman during his youth as he begins to really grow and change his world view from just being a small town farm boy to something more. The premise is great and it is an important time in Clark’s life that is talked about a lot but has never really been explored. This issue though, it vexes me.
First off let me just say that the first time I read this issue I loved it, it was fun. The story creates an entertaining event in Clark’s life that while trivial in the grand scheme of things does have a major impact on what he wants for himself. The fun begins as Clark accidently ends up on the boat of Bruce Wayne for his birthday party. A party thrown every year for Bruce’s birthday, one he has never shown up to since he is too busy training to be the Batman. So when Clark accidently arrives to the boat (and has enough similar features to Bruce Wayne) the guests assume that the guest of honor has finally arrived. The entire issue has little moments that shout out to the future of DC comics and the wider world that they are all apart of. Like I said in my first reading this was fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
On the Second reading though that little itch of frustration appeared. In a story so full of coincidences the fact that so many “future” heroes are all essentially kids at the same time interacting together feels cheap. Max Landis has said that this series isn’t about Clark becoming Superman but about Clark figuring out who Clark is, and hands down that part of the story is great. I just think the idea of Clark Kent accidently ending up on Bruce Wayne’s boat during a party that is attended by Oliver Queen is a bit much. Of course maybe that is the nerd in me who gets a kick out of nit picking stuff?
Either way, if that kind of interwoven character history bugs you or not, don’t let it distract from what Landis was really doing in this issue. In between all of the party scenes where Clark does his best impression of billionaire playboy we get some true insight into the internal conflict that Clark is going through. Who is he and who does he want to be, not what do his powers make him. It is this theme in the story that makes this issue a good read, because everyone knows Superman but not everyone truly knows Clark.