Superman: American Alien #2
By Max Landis & Tommy Lee Edwards
Max Landis continues exploring the “lost years” of Clark Kent’s youth. This story jumps forward a few years from the debut issue. Clark, now a full-blown teenager, is going through his rebellious, awkward phase (obviously more so than most teenagers). A group of criminals wander into Smallville leaving a bloody trail in their wake. Kent becomes wrapped up in the investigation and has some tough decisions to make…
Landis has developed an excellent angle to explore in the Superman mythos. The previous book was a decent way to start things off, but this comic just falls short. The material is very bleak and heavy, which is fine, but the dialogue seems a bit over the top and forced. He’s being gritty for the sake of shock value. Man of Steel does a much better job of handling the Clark Kent/Superman story in a mature, dramatic fashion. Even the reasoning for the criminals being in the town was generic and a bit random. Max also has Kent being injured from bullets, which makes no sense, even if he was trying to make the stakes of the situation more dire. Needless to say, there are problems with the writing. Edgy doesn’t make a story interesting, plain and simple.
Now, I’m not familiar with Tommy Lee Edwards’ prior work. Based just solely on what he has done in this comic, it’s not that impressive. It seems very reminiscent of Alex Maleev or Sean Gordon Murphy, so some readers may end up being attracted to Edwards’ art style. What’s at issue is that his facial expressions, in close-up panels specifically, are incongruent with the corresponding dialogue or intended emotion; it’s very off-putting to say the least. His coloring was decent. It works well with his art because it doesn’t cover-up any of the small details in his sketch-type form. Also, there was only one full-page shot in the whole issue that seemed wasted on what was depicted
Unfortunately, this was an extremely disappointing follow-up. Again, the idea makes sense on paper, but the execution just didn’t carry it out properly. There is no doubt room for some great young Superman stories, but this comic should make people weary of Landis’ future work on this mini-series. One doesn’t need to break the mold too much to tell a compelling, realistic story. Hopefully, issue three will take two steps forward from this.