There are already a number of titles focusing on Clark Kent, but Superman: American Alien might be the best. A limited run series written by Max Landis, the storytelling is episodic rather than linear. Each issue shows a seminal moment in Clark Kent’s life, with a different artist chosen to enhance the tale’s specific tone. In the back matter of the first issue–where young Clark learns to fly–Landis said this latest issue, with art by Joëlle Jones, would be “sexy”.
Sex appeal isn’t typically the first trait that comes to mind with Superman. He’s the all-American boy scout, womanizing is Bruce Wayne’s thing. Funnily enough, Bruce is the reason Clark gets to have a sexy Caribbean vacation in the issue. When his plane crashes right in front of pre-Green Arrow Oliver Queen’s yacht, the billionaire playboy mistakes him for Bruce. Though Clark initially tries to correct the case of mistaken identity, he’s soon swept up in the fun thanks to a pretty redhead who knows he’s not Mr. Wayne.
That girl just happens to be heiress and future superhero/villain Cheetah, Barbara Ann Minerva. But here she’s just a girl, more confident about her place in the world than Clark, but still looking for something more. Long-time comic readers know nothing really pans out between the characters, but it’s refreshing to see Clark have a fun yet meaningful connection with another woman between his great love affairs with Lana Lang and Lois Lane. Clark can often be a bit of a stick in the mud, but his banter with Barbara and the overall playful tone of the issue gives the character new depth. Jones’s art only reinforces that feeling. The thick line drawings give the images a lushness and Rico Renzi’s coloring feels turned up, like this party and these people are so full of life that everything is more vibrant than usual.
Admittedly, all the fun can make this third issue feel slighter than the others. Yet while there’s not much derring do within these pages, it’s important to remember that Clark Kent wasn’t always trying to save the world. He had to decide to become more than just a farm boy from Smallville and this series makes that journey more interesting and human than it’s maybe ever been.