The idea of a series exploring different aspects of Superman is a good one because more often than not he’s a rather flat character. What better way to see Clark Kent’s firsts than in a series of snapshots written by Max Landis and drawn by multiple artists? The last issue did a lot of things well, but how is issue #3? Is it good?
Superman: American Alien #3 (DC Comics)
Twenty-one-year-old Clark Kent was going on vacation to the Caribbean when his two person plane crashed. That’s not the only thing he crashes though, as he’s rescued by a yacht that’s hosting Bruce Wayne’s birthday party! Funny thing is, Bruce never goes to his birthday parties so everyone thinks Clark is Bruce Wayne. Time to get drunk and party!
Why does this book matter?
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Clark Kent let loose at all, let alone at age 21. Aside from this issue offering something a little bit different, it also offers an interesting never known tidbit about DC characters Clark met way before we ever thought he did. That’s fun.
When in Rome!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Joëlle Jones, the artist behind Lady Killer, may have been the perfect artist for this book. She’s very good at drawing facial expressions and younger characters. While this issue is dialogue heavy it’s never boring as Jones carries us along each scene as we enjoy the party with the characters. It’s easy to see why Clark enjoys the company of a certain female and it’s a wild ride to see them fall for each other. There’s a chemistry between them and it’s obvious due to Jones’ deft hand. From a simple lean in, to the way they smile, Jones makes you believe Clark could party like this. Plus, you’re going to flip when you find out who the girl is.
Jones kicks it off with a fantastic full page spread of jetskiing and drinking and it’s like a sequence straight out of spring break. When there is action—don’t worry, it’s not all dialogue and romance—Jones adds a great bit of movement and speed to the proceedings. It’s easy to forget Clark is a superhero since he’s so naturally drawn and average looking, but when the action does kick in it’s exciting due to how the scenes unfold across the layouts.
Landis writes good dialogue. It’s pretty obvious after this issue if it wasn’t already as there’s a lot of it, but it flows very nicely. He even sticks in a sly penis joke if you keep your eyes open. There’s a good amount of action and surprises in store, and you really can’t gauge where the story is going. That keeps what could have been a slow and boring experience interesting. The dialogue tethers everything together; it’s the lifeblood of the issue and it doesn’t disappoint.
It’s not all fun and games though and there are some interesting character developments to be found. The biggest is Clark coming to the realization that he needs to do something bigger with his life. I guess it only took him a night of cutting loose to realize it. There’s also a fun tie to Bruce Wayne that makes one wonder what could happen next for these two characters going forward.
On top of a solid main story there’s a fun one page story written by Landis and drawn by Mark Buckingham. It involves a certain chaotic villain, but that isn’t the point. The point is made about characters living beyond what us mortals could ever accomplish and it has a fun villainous bend to it.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Trying not to spoil anything, but another young hero is on this yacht and I don’t know why. They are introduced, but aren’t used. I guess it’s a fun nod? Either way it seemed kind of pointless.
Can’t you fly!?
Is It Good?
A great issue as we explore Clark Kent letting loose at the young (and very horny) age of 21. It’s a side of Superman you haven’t seen, but need to!