Clark Kent Picks the Name Superman to “Troll” Lex Luthor in the Latest Issue of American Alien

Friday, 18 March 2016 - 8:50PM
DC Comics
Superman
Friday, 18 March 2016 - 8:50PM
Clark Kent Picks the Name Superman to “Troll” Lex Luthor in the Latest Issue of American Alien
Max Landis has had a spectacular run so far with his seven issue mini-series, Superman: American Alien. Choosing to focus on the human side of Superman, Landis has delved into the psyche of Clark Kent and held up everything that makes the Man of Steel such a rich, deep, and interesting character. This is exactly what both Kal-El and DC have needed for a long time, as so many today have come to see Superman as this totally overpowered and un-relatable hero.

Past issues have explored things like Clark's first flight, his first confrontation with true evil, his wild side, and his first day as an intern at the Daily Planet. In the latest issue, he goes toe-to-toe with his first superpowered baddie, Parasite.  

The issue opens with scenes of Superman stopping robberies and saving lives - in other words, classic Superman stuff. Having been inspired somewhat by Batman (and also having stolen his cape), he flies around Metropolis, beginning to become the hero that everyone knows and loves.  

Of course, Parasite poses a minor problem, but it's nothing that the Man of Tomorrow can't handle. After a brief battle, he plunges him into the bay, causing him to devolve back into his human form. Shaking on the ground, Parasite breathes Luthor's name, causing Clark to fly off to confront the billionaire megalomaniac (after smashing through his window, that is).  

During their talk, Luthor mentions how he was unsure of what to think of Clark at first - whether he was a terrorist, a weapon, or a post human "Superman." He ends up deciding that he's an idiot, seeing how Clark thinks that he's going to find a way to implicate the untouchable Lex Luthor in a crime. They end their talk, with Clark zooming off and deciding that there's nothing he can do…yet.  

In the end, he and Lois talk about the purpose of Superman and why it is they believe this flying, indestructible superhero has decided to help people. Clark, feeling down about the fact that he's the one causing Luthor to create monsters, wonders aloud if Superman's causing more harm than good. In the end, however, Lois tells him exactly what he needs to hear to keep up the good fight.

The final scene shows Luthor going back to his office, talking about how he needs to get his window fixed. When he gets there, he finds it's already been done and the culprit's left this nice little message for him: "Sorry about the window, see you real soon. XOXO your pal, Superman."

Landis has failed to write a mediocre issue of American Alien yet, and he continues to do a phenomenal job developing his version of Clark Kent. American Alien takes everything that people love about Superman and puts it front in center, exactly where it should be. In the end, being able to fly, shoot lasers from his eyes, and crush any being in the universe is not what makes Superman such a rich character. It's the fact that he's just a small town guy with a big heart, who wants to make a real difference in the world.  

Landis has absolutely nailed the core of both Lex's and Lois' character as well. The dialogue he's written is not only funny, but heartwarming, and he has a way for characterizing Superman and his supporting cast through dialogue that is altogether too rare in modern comics. There's no doubt that Superman: American Alien will be on essential reading lists for years to come.  

Oh, and how ingenious was it to have the name "Superman" develop from Clark wanting to troll Lex Luthor?    

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