COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #1 – Dove | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #1 – Dove

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #1 - Dove

Writer: Max Landis

Artists: Nick Dragotta, Alex Guimaraes, John Workman


DC Comics

Max Landis, writer of films like Chronicle and American Ultra, gets his hands on Superman in a seven part series titled Superman: American Alien. Let’s take a trip to good ol’ Smallville and check it out.

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #1 - Dove

Superman American Alien #1 (2016) – Page 14

American Alien is really fun, but packs a Superman-sized punch. The story here, at least in the first issue “Dove,” is about a young Clark Kent trying to manage his oncoming powers while still functioning in society as a school-aged child. The script pacing is a magnificent ride that gets you into the head not only of Clark, but of Ma and Pa Kent as the family bands together to take on the fear of learning to fly. I mean that literally. Basically this entire first book is Clark floating away on a whim, repeatedly, and getting stuck in mid air with no knowledge of how to come down, or move in any direction, really. Someone has been feeding this boy Fizzy Lifting Drinks.

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #1 - Dove

Superman American Alien #1 (2016) – Page 15

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Though this scene repeats itself a few times in different settings, it never gets tired. Each time is an opportunity to witness Clark’s emotions, his anger and fear and frustration, and how he handles those things with his family. Ma and Pa Kent are kept classic. Martha is the protectorate of the Kent clan, just as she always was, right from the start as she dangles from Clark’s clumsy grip in one page, only to be bandaging Jon’s foot in the next. Jon is the same teacher he always was, helping Clark to understand his powers and embrace his weirdness while all the while delivering his famous stern advice.


Nick Dragotta’s art is whimsical, taking direction from the styles of anime or modern animation, but keeping the lines deep and refined. The playfulness of the character design is juxtaposed by the real life salt-of-the-earth Smallville setting, which works great in those more irreverent emotional scenes.  This all plays out like a classic Superman origin, but in a more human way.

What’s exciting as well is Landis’ own description of the series in the back of the book presented in a DC You segment. “Issue one is heartwarming, two is brutal, three is sexy, four will make you think, five’s thrilling, six might make you cry, and seven… seven has the most violent fight you’ve ever seen featuring Clark Kent,” said Landis. This fills my heart with warmth and joy, and leads me to believe that maybe this story won’t all be Clark as a boy. I’m looking forward to seeing where Landis takes this story, especially if he ain’t blowin’ smoke about issue number seven.

COMIC REVIEW: Superman: American Alien #1 - Dove

Superman American Alien #1 (2016) – Page 21

The “Best There Is”: Issue one of American Alien hit me in the feels. The notion of Clark wrestling with his origins is nothing new, but the presentation this time around is shiny and polished. Landis’ script work lends itself kindly to Dragotta’s lines, making this first of seven a quick start to a love affair. The addition of the DC You interview plays well for those wondering whether this story will have legs, and promises an adventure grander than the one that has been set up so far.

The “Not Very Nice”: That being said, the burden of proving that now falls on Landis. One has to wonder if this series will live up to the hype, as so far the opening of the series has been worthwhile and entertaining, but a slow start if those are the promises we have to look forward to. Let’s hope Landis hasn’t bitten off more than he can chew.

FBI Score: 8.5 out of 10. “Superman: American Alien #1” is a great start to what promises to be a new and adventurous take on the life of Clark Kent and his journey to becoming The Man of Steel. The tandem work of Landis and Dragotta seems effortless in this compelling and dramatic retelling of a familiar story. Issue one shines, and left me anticipating the brutality promised in issue two.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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