Superman: American Alien is a collection of seven Superman stories by Max Landis. We see Clark Kent as a child, a teenage, a fledgling superhero, a journalism student, and as the Superman of Metropolis. The collection states outright that it’s not a Superman Comic. It’s a story about Clark Kent’s road to becoming the well-known Superman in mainstream media.
Each of the seven stories covers a different point in Clark Kent’s life. They’re each drawn but a different artist as they each convey a different tone. There are appearances by Oliver Queen and Batman as well as some DC villains and of course Lana Lang and Lois Lane. It’s cool to see variations of these characters through the different artists who draw and colour them.
The thing that sticks out to me is how well the writing makes you care about Clark Kent. Max Landis’ version of the sometimes overpowered God-like alien is much more in line with a small town farm-boy from Kansas. He’s a more relateable Clark Kent who struggles with identity issues and really wants to fit in but also learn about where he came from and what his purpose is. As any fan of Superman knows, Krypton was destroyed when Clark was sent to earth. When Superman learns this, it’s heartbreaking. Nobody wants to see a grown superhero cry.
This book is a must-have for any Superman fan. It manages to be sexy, funny, intense, and heartbreaking throughout the course of the seven stories. It’s a great look at different snapshots of Clark Kent’s evolution into Superman.