Clark Has a Showdown with Lobo In the Final Issue of Superman: American Alien

Thursday, 19 May 2016 - 6:30PM
DC Comics
Superman
Thursday, 19 May 2016 - 6:30PM
Clark Has a Showdown with Lobo In the Final Issue of Superman: American Alien
Max Landis' mini-series, Superman: American Alien, has just wrapped up before DC's Rebirth, which kicks off next week. American Alien took a very special look at Clark Kent's identity and why it is that an overpowered being like the Man of Steel really is an immensely relatable character, despite what some may think. It did this in an episodic format, including bits and pieces from Superman's life, such as his first flight, his first experience chasing down bad guys, his first time meeting Batman, his first job in the city, and so on. This week, it was Superman's first time learning about the destruction of Krypton, and his first time fighting a particular fan favorite alien bounty hunter named Lobo.

The plot was pretty straightforward this week, with Superman rushing off to the scene of a demolished building. Of course, the culprit is Lobo, and as they talk, he reveals that Clark's home planet, which he had only gathered bits and pieces about over the series, is totally destroyed. He accentually serves as a foil to Clark, accentuating his tender-heartedness and his  humanity by contrasting it with Lobo's callousness and alien demeanor.  

Lobo also poses Clark's first real challenge in the series, and he doesn't go down too easily. However, it's no surprise that Superman wins the fight at the end of the day, and the final pages of the series end with him in a hospital, listening to what everyone has to say about how well (or how terribly) they think Superman handled the situation with Lobo. Lois shows up finally, and they share a moment that cements their relationship going forward as the issue ends.

Landis has done a phenomenal job with American Alien, focusing rather on Clark's humanity and personality rather than full-out brawls with bad guys. He's had some of the most fun moments that have potentially been featured in any Superman comic ever created, and with almost every bit of dialogue revealed from panel to panel, he proves that he knows these characters in a very intimate way.  

That being said, as the final issue of the series, it could have potentially been a bit more climactic than just Superman learning his planet got destroyed and fighting someone who can actually hurt him for the first time. However, this penultimate issue does fit in very well with the style he's chosen for this series, and the writing is so high above average for most comics today, it's extremely hard to complain about the bang possibly not being big enough.  

American Alien will likely be on a number of essential reading lists for Superman for years to come, as there were so many inventive ideas and lighthearted, goofy moments featured throughout the story. Many saw Zack Snyder's version of Clark in Man of Steel as a modernized Superman; Landis provides a totally interesting and modern alternative to Snyder's grim vision by keeping things in step with the lighthearted feel of his the character's origins. There's a lot of people out there who are convinced that an overpowered being like the Man of Steel isn't one bit relatable in the 21st century; American Alien is one of those Superman stories that absolutely proves them wrong.
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