Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fall Reading 2016 Superman : American Alien


The seven stories in this book reveal Clark Kent's journey from a young boy whose powers are beginning to reveal themselves, to a young man who has begun to make his place in the world. There are many memorable scenes and quotable lines that fans will enjoy adding to their list of favorites. Perhaps they will choose his father telling him, "Who needs normal? Maybe weird is better." Or they might prefer his mother saying, "You're the best thing that ever happened to me...You're a shooting star. You're a wish that was granted." I like Oliver Queen's philosophical remark, "You can be more than who you are. That's the part that sneaks up on you. I think that's what growing up is...becoming a greater version of yourself."

Anyway, enough about the dialogue. The illustrations play just as large a role in showing the development of Clark to Superman. Scenes with Clark skimming over the Kansas cornfields capture the boyish fun of mastering his power of flight. The illustration of Superman coming through the wall of a shopping mall along with a tactical team in pursuit of a giant purple creature makes the point that he has entered the larger world, taking the side of those who protect the masses.

The stories also manage to introduce or refer to many of the main characters from the Superman saga, as well as the larger DC universe. We see Oliver Queen, Lex Luthor, Dick Grayson, Batman, and a couple of the Green Lanterns. And even in the short time they are shown, we begin to pick up on the personalities involved. Clark's friend Pete suggests that he seek out others like himself, "The red blur in Central City. That scary woman with the lasso in D.C. That fishy guy who keeps sinking whaling boats." Just that easily the Justice League members are added into the mix and ready for a future appearance.

One bonus of collections like this, besides the chance to binge read, is the inclusion of the variant covers and interior sketches. I think my favorite is the picture of Earth as seen from space. It is night, and the lights along North America form the Superman symbol. (That would make a great scene in a movie.)

Loyal readers of Superman and DC comics in general will welcome this addition and look forward to future issues from this story arc.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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