See the Story of How Clark Kent Learned to Fly in Superman: American Alien #1

Thursday, 12 November 2015 - 7:52PM
DC Comics
Superman
Thursday, 12 November 2015 - 7:52PM
See the Story of How Clark Kent Learned to Fly in Superman: American Alien #1
Max Landis' new series, 'Superman: American Alien' made the top of the list of new DC Comics titles to get excited about this Fall, and it most definitely delivered. The first issue just dropped yesterday, and to state that this series seems to be a beautiful reimagining of Clark Kent's Smallville days would be saying the least.

In Landis' first issue, he tells the tale of how Superman learned to fly. Clark, not yet able to control his powers, mysteriously starts floating away from the surface of the earth. This happens a few different times, and once in a public area. It happens one final time back at the family farm, but on this occasion, he can't seem to make himself return to the ground! So Jon goes to a neighbor, borrows his crop-duster, and tries to snatch his son in mid-air using a cattle hook. Though his attempt fails, this collision gives the young Superman the push he needs in order to learn how to fly.

Landis' goes where practically no writer has gone before by painting an almost entirely new picture of the Kent family. Jon and Martha aren't the same old, hick town farmers they're usually portrayed as - they're very much what one would expect modern parents to be. Likewise, while Clark is still the goodhearted, small town kid that he always has been, he's still just a kid, and Landis accentuates that. He makes mistakes, gets into trouble, has accidents (some of which are quite large due to his power set). The story he tells is exactly what it would be like if a young, human looking alien were being raised by a modern American small-town family.

Besides Clark's first flight, this issue of American Alien had quite a few touching moments to go with it as well. Perhaps one of the most intriguing scenes is when a young Clark is at the drive-in with all his friends watching a horror movie about aliens. He nervously asks Lana Lang whether she thinks the government would really lock up an alien like they do in the film if they happened to find one - her reply is a rather comical glance back at Clark that seems to say "this kid can't be serious." The reader doesn't know whether to laugh or empathize with a young Superman pondering what mankind may do to him someday!

Likewise, hearing new types of Jon Kentisms, such as: "Here's a tip Clark - when you're mad, don't act like a jerk," and "Who needs normal? Maybe weird is better," was extremely entertaining. Just as well, the ending was perfect, with Clark giving the classic "you don't have to say yes, just think about it" talk to his parents that every kid has at some point in their lives, as he fervently tries to convince them that his new ability to fly could mean they could go to a ton of great vacation spots.

Landis definitely hit all the right notes in this issue, and American Alien is quite arguably the best new comic series as of yet to make its debut in 2015. Some may be hesitant to accept the changes made to the Kent family, especially since the classic, older Kansas couple has become a staple in almost all Superman comics. Yet this is an out of continuity story experimenting with a new way of looking at Superman - and it really, really seems to be working. The character can never be brought to new heights if new ground is never broken!

In the DC YOU interview posted in the back of most of this week's new releases, Landis says of the series:

Opening quote
Issue one is heartwarming, two is brutal, three is sexy, four will make you think, five's thrilling, six might make you cry, and seven…seven has the most violent fight you've ever seen featuring Clark Kent. It's worth your money. This has been my dream since I was ten years old. Come on this journey with me and Clark. C'mon.
Closing quote


Judging by issue #1, Landis definitely isn't lying. There's still a few other new series that'll be on their way quite soon (such as Batman: Europa and The Dark Knight III), but American Alien certainly has its hat in the ring for the best new DC comic series of 2015. Make sure to catch issue #2 at the local comic store when it drops next month!
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