Batman and Superman Just Had Their Latest Fight in This Week’s Issue of Superman: American Alien

Thursday, 18 February 2016 - 6:54PM
DC Comics
Superman
Thursday, 18 February 2016 - 6:54PM
Batman and Superman Just Had Their Latest Fight in This Week’s Issue of Superman: American Alien
Max Landis' limited series, Superman: American Alien, has been a critically acclaimed hit and may have very well been the very best new DC comic series to begin in 2015 (and that's certainly saying something, seeing  as that's when TDK III and a number of great Vertigo titles debuted as well). Landis' take on the Man of Steel has been one of the most original and refreshing iterations of the character in decades, and he manages to do it all while staying true to the core of who Clark Kent really is.

Landis' series has taken fans back to Clark's first flight, his first real facedown with true evil, his first one night stand, and in this week's issue, his very first confrontation with the Dark Knight of Gotham.

The issue began with glimpses of Clark trying to fit in to his new surroundings in Metropolis, having just taken a job with the Daily Planet. His first task was a press meet featuring three prominent billionaires: Lex Luthor, Oliver Queen, and Bruce Wayne. He's supposed to meet up with "Louis" Lane for the project, who he soon found out was really, of course, Lois Lane. She seems to think that Clark is kind of incompetent at first, but things change by the end of the issue.

While at the press meet, Oliver Queen spotted Clark in the crowd and took him with him on his private helicopter. In the last issue of American Alien, Oliver mistook Clark Kent for Bruce Wayne, and so this explains why he would bring the reporter with him. Clark finally explains the mistake now that they've become truly acquainted, and Oliver understands, having underwent his ordeal on the island and come out a changed man.

When they land, Ollie introduces Clark to Lex, who then goes on a long rant about his own importance, Clark's non-importance, and how he (Lex) intends to help the human race. This isn't the last DC celebrity appearance, though, as Lex drops Clark off on the appropriate floor — the one featuring LexCorp's KidZone. There he meets up with Bruce Wayne's ward, the young Richard Grayson, who then grants him an interview when Clark is able to tell him what's in his pockets (with the help of X-ray vision, of course).  

At the end of the issue, Clark goes home to type up his report. However, there's one more celebrity he's still yet to meet. While hard at work at his computer, Batman sneaks up from behind and smashes Clark's head into the keyboard. He obviously intended to try and brutally interrogate him like he does common criminals, and he's able to sound off a few questions before Clark gives him the inevitable beating: Why did he impersonate Bruce Wayne? How did he defeat Deathstroke? What does he want with Dick Grayson? Why's his birth certificate a forgery?

Of course, Bruce never expected Clark to be superhuman. Clark then slammed Bats against the wall and ripped his cowl and cape from his body, an attack that exposed his true identity to Superman. Though Bruce tries multiple gadgets on the Man of Steel, he soon learns that none of them will work. Knowing he'd been beat and had come underprepared, Batman then performed his famous disappearing act and exited Clark's apartment before Clark ever knew he was gone.  

However, this confrontation gave Clark an idea. Not only did he get three awesome interviews with some of the biggest names on the planet that day, but he also received inspiration to become a caped crusader himself. The closing panels show him seemingly making the choice to don a cape of his own, as next month's issue #5 will no doubt deal with the beginning of Clark's transition from man to Superman.  

There aren't enough words for how refreshing Landis' take on Superman and the DC Universe has been. Very few authors have been able to so accurately characterize the likes of Lex Luthor, Richard Grayson, and Oliver Queen so well (and in the same issue, no less). He's somehow able to make an issue with such a minuscule amount of action one of the most exhilarating reads of this week's new releases. Just as well, his consistency throughout the series is certainly something to be proud of. American Alien #1 was one of the best Superman stories since the 2011 reboot, and the same goes for every issue that's been released since.

Hopefully Landis finishes the last half of his series just as strong as he's started it. It's so disappointing to think it's halfway over, but hopefully this won't be the last that fans see of his take on the DCU.
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