Review – Superman: American Alien #4

Superman: American Alien #4 – 
DC Comics
Written by Max Landis
Art by Jae Lee
Colors by June Chung
Letters by John Workman
Cover by Ryan Sook
When it comes to comics, readers seem to have almost ridiculous expectations when it comes to Superman. At times, I’ve fallen victim to that myself and I admit it’s been somewhat irrational.  So, why not tell a Clark Kent story…a REAL Clark Kent story.  Enter American Alien from DC Comics and Max Landis.  They also snagged someone for this issue who is familiar with the Man of Steel from his work on Batman/Superman, Jae Lee.  So what makes this story different?
If you’ve been reading the story so far, you know it started from the beginning with a VERY young Clark Kent.  I won’t give you those details (you’ll have to read the back issues), but let’s just say it’s been a steady progression and the issues have grown with him.  In this story, Clark is just a student trying to get noticed at The Daily Planet.  On another funny note, he doesn’t know who Lois Lane is and they have a very awkward encounter.  Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen also play a role in this issue, but there is one character who stole the show.  Lex Luthor doesn’t appear in many pages, but REALLY stands out in his limited time.  I found myself thinking, this is the Lex I want to see on screen, as I was reading it.  When Clark and Lex encounter each other for the first time, it has a very unexpected result for the future Man of Steel.  There is also a pivotal encounter at the end of the issue that will make things very interesting going forward.
Landis gives us something we don’t really get to see in other comics…a young, somewhat immature Clark Kent.  We’ve seen the bumbling, unsure Clark…strong, confident Clark…but it’s possible that this evolution of the character is more true to life.  You put yourself in his shoes when you were that age, how did you or would you have acted in similar circumstances?  That and the way Landis brought out the best in Lex Luthor really made this a good read.  Jae Lee’s art isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but his attention to subtle details make him perfect for a story like this.  Combine that with great color work by Chung, and this is a book that is definitely worthy of your attention.  Appreciate this comic for what it is, because this is a true to life story that needed to be told.

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