FTH Comics Corner: Superman: American Alien #1

November 15, 2015 Author: John Amenta

Max Landis, writer of the found footage superhero film Chronicle, and son of Hollywood director John Landis, gives writing comics a go, and sets his sights on penning a good Superman story. This should be easy, as Supes has 75 plus years of history to mine from, and is one of the most recognized figures in the world, right up there with Jesus Christ and Ronald McDonald. Alas, more often than not, writers fail to capture the essence of the character, or fail to deliver on a good storyline. One issue into Landis’ seven issue trek through the life of Superman, I am at least hopeful for a worthy series.

Each issue will feature a specific moment in the life of our favorite Kryptonian, as well as a different artist, hand-picked according to Landis as having a matching style to the mood of that story. Nick Dragotta lends his pencils to this first issue, as we follow a 12-year-old Clark Kent, whose powers are starting to manifest. In particular, he begins to float away, having no idea how to direct his ability of flight any better than any of us would. The story revolves around the Kents trying various methods to help Clark gain control over this odd dilemma. One well done sequence in particular has Jonathan and an in the know local pilot trying to intercept Clark as he uncontrollably floats into the clouds. Another moment featuring an already alienated feeling Clark going to see E.T. with his friends is a nice moment as well.

Landis’ dialogue feels natural, and it works well seeing a younger Clark filled with doubt and anger because he is different. This is not the character that has realized his purpose yet, and oozes with quiet confidence and strength, although by issues end we start seeing the birth of that iteration. Dragotta’s pencils are clean, and have a touch of that big eyed, big-mouthed style used in Anime and Manga.

As far as first issues go, I’m impressed enough to keep reading. If you have never seen Landis tell his unused story pitches for Superman comics, check them out here, and  at the least realize that this is a guy with true reverence for the character at the helm. This may not be the key to finally getting some truly memorable Superman stories, but it’s a start.

3.5 Stars of 5

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