You guys, I don’t know how this is possible, but Max Landis’s Superman: American Alien just made me want to ship Clark Kent and the Cheetah. I’m serious, you guys. This book is probably the best Superman book out right now and it does so because it takes a long hard look at Clark and just how human he is.
Superman: American Alien #3, illustrated by Joelle Jones (who did the fantastic book Lady Killer), is all about Clark going through a post-high school, pre-college crisis. He decided, for his post-high school experience, to go on a two-seat plane trip, but the plane ended up crashing into the ocean and Clark pulls the pilot to safety...onto a party boat for Bruce Wayne. At which point Clark is promptly mistaken for Bruce himself (because Bruce never comes to his parties).
I’m sort of peeved about Sue Dibny’s characterization here (and the fact that Landis has her last name as “Dibny” pre-marriage to Ralph Dibny), but it helps that this is a very young Sue — and the fact that Oliver Queen is shown as a hanger on and Bruce Wayne fanboy tickles my funny bone (originally, Green Arrow was basically a Batman ripoff).
In any case, the story then kicks off when Barbara Minerva (the future Cheetah) convinces Clark to just go with it. So Clark has the time of his life pretending to be Bruce Wayne. And being someone else actually makes Clark understand himself more — during a conversation with Barbara, he realizes that he doesn’t actually want to stay in Smallville and become a veterinarian, but rather travel the world. In fact, Clark and Barbara have several deep conversations (including how Barbara wants to become an archaeologist), which leads to this:
This isn’t even the funnest part of the book. That bit comes later when it’s revealed that Deathstroke has been hired to kill Bruce Wayne and drugged Clark’s drink.
Superman: American Alien continues to be an interesting and intriguing exploration of Clark Kent — and this issue almost perfectly explored the kind of post-high school and pre-college (or even post-college, pre-job) crises people sometimes find themselves in, where once they knew what direction they were going, but now they don’t.
The issue also ends with a kind of creepy, fourth-wall-breaking short about Mister Mxyzpltk that reminded me so much of Grant Morrison (as opposed to the Doomsday hints we’ve been getting for the previous two issues). In any case, this is one of the best books DC is putting out now and probably the best depiction of Clark Kent in a long, long time.