Superman: American Alien #3
By Max Landis, Joëlle Jones & Rico Renzi
This third issue in the mini-series throws readers into the slice-of-life of 21-year-old Clark Kent. After a death-defying accident, Clark boards a cruise ship and everyone on board mistakes him for another young man who looks eerily similar…Bruce Wayne. Needless to say, this complicates things for Kent, especially when he meets a girl who sees right through his charade.
The previous issue was an absolute mess; writer Max Landis took some extreme liberties just for the sake of trying to go against the grain and deliver shock value.As a result, one would likely have extreme trepidation reading this comic, but surprisingly it’s better than issue two even if it’s really not hard to improve on the material after that prior debacle. Landis took a step back and focused on the introspection of the iconic character. That’s what this series should be about: chronicling the hardships of youth through the eyes of a man from another world and how different/difficult that must be. Perhaps it’s just easier to write for a 21-year-old than say a 16 or 18-year-old, regardless Max did much better this go around.
The majority of the issue is the interaction between two characters, which sounds boring as can be, but the dialogue and the artwork allows the material to come to life well. Joëlle Jones varies her page layouts so the imagery never becomes dull. With Rico Renzi bringing a vibrant color palette to the Caribbean setting, the panels just pop off the page. Jones’ work might be new to some, but her work on this title merits investigating her other comic work.
Landis has taken a step in the right direction with this issue of American Alien. Readers should still be wary because it is by no means perfect due to some lines and story beats that seem out of character and/or forced. All the easter eggs were a bit unnecessary as well; he doesn’t have to try to establish his “geek” cred by name-dropping characters like Bobby Milestone because the plot and story should be enough to establish that. The cliffhanger of the issue is extremely promising and definitely clinches whether one should pick up issue four or not. Here’s to keeping fingers crossed, hoping the book delivers on the promise! In the meantime, give this one a shot. It’s nothing exemplary, but it’s a nice little Superman story.