Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Superman: American Alien #1 of 7
Landis, Dragota & Guimaraes
"Superman: American Alien" kicks off with a look at Clark learning to fly. The comic presents some beautiful artwork that help tell a tale of a scared kid that is unsure of the changes he's going through. The comic has a coming of age element to it, but it also has a family theme as Ma and Pa build some trust with their adopted son. It's a decent read and is probably one of the better Superman comics to come out in a number of years. I recommend giving this a shot.
Clark finds himself spontaneously floating in the air. Sometimes he is floating away, other times he simply comes crashing to the ground after hovering a little bit. The inconsistency of when this occurs and the variety of the outcome has the kid and his parents scared to death. They try different things to deal with the issue. Clark eventually learns that this is a gift rather than something to be scared of. It's a nice little story.
The aspect of the comic I liked best was how Ma and Pa were portrayed. Specifically how they handle the people that witness his floating and how they try to keep their son's mind off the idea that he's so very odd compared to others. I think the comic hits a human element within parenting that is missed often times for these types of super-heroes. Values are one thing, but feeling confident is another and it seems this comic captures how these have been handed down to Clark well.
The comic is tough because it doesn't really fit anywhere. As so many of the Superman comics of the last five years they all seem to have a place in some sort of continuity but they don't really line up to any one vision of the character. As a result they all seem to feel like a retread of something that has been told before whether that's true or not.
I'm not sure the title helps at all in that department. Unless this series is a runaway hit the trade back catalog is going to make this one look like he's a fugitive of some kind that fits in with the current status of the character. When, realistically, you want this to stand up as an origin of sorts. With that title it will get lost in the shuffle.
The artwork is brilliant. I wasn't really thrilled to see how young Ma and Pa were when the issue opened but it all fits so well. The characters have a timeless look to them. This could easily be the 1950s, 1970s or 1990s. The artwork also captured the frightening aspect of the boyhood changes so well. I enjoyed the artwork tremendously as I felt it added so much to the story that Landis was trying to get across.
"Superman: American Alien" kicks off the series of one-shots by taking a look at the early days of Clark's childhood when he learns to fly. The book explores his relationship with his parents and is a coming of age type story. The artwork is gorgeous. It captures the frightening proposition of a kid going through unexplained changes. I liked this issue and if you are looking for a lighter look at Clark and his beginnings then I urge you to pick this up.
3.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles