Most iconic comic book characters have been reimagined in one form or another. Superman, the industry’s first great superhero, is no exception. In Superman’s case, unique voices have redefined the Man of Steel only to reveal how timeless the character is. Enter: Max Landis.
Landis made a splash in Hollywood as the screenwriter of Chronicle (2012). In the past, he has made his affinity for Superman known. He’s even had a crack at Adventures of Superman but now, DC COMICS is letting Landis swing for the fences in the brand-new, seven-issue miniseries, Superman: American Alien.
This installment of Superman’s newest take is shaping up to be something special. Landis approaches a young Clark Kent with the human essence that speaks to us all: the fear of being an outcast in light of fighting to figure who and what we are. Landis’ Clark Kent is a kid who just wants to be normal. And whereas we’ve often seen uniformity in the relationship Pa and Ma Kent have with Clark, collectively and respectively, never have those relationships felt so defined and tangible.
Artist Nick Dragotta conveys a world that may be familiar to longtime Superman fans, yet he reinterprets the tropes of Clark Kent’s world in dynamic fashion. He injects wonder in Clark Kent’s eyes. Dragotta delivers tone and atmosphere, personality and psychology, all through body language. As good as Landis’ writing is, Dragotta’s images, his visual beats, speak for themselves.
Superman: American Alien #1 is one of the most charming Superman narratives to be published in a long time. Landis is a unique talent. He has a distinctive voice. And he clearly understands what makes Superman, well, “Superman”. This version of Superman is wholly his. Yet, there is no doubt in mind that when this series wraps, there will be those who claim this version of Superman as theirs. It’s that good.