By Jarrod Jones. You ever wonder what it was like to be a kid back in the early Forties? To read a book like Superman and get completely stoked on the idea that there could exist a hero who soared overhead? In big-ass red boots? Y’know, back in the day, when a person could point up to a less smoggy sky and shout, “It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! Its...” without a shred of irony, because everyone around them had the exact same goofy grin as they did. Because Superman ruled.
Some say the pinnacle of Superman’s popularity was in those days. Those halcyon days. To be a Superman fan now means you have to steel yourself for the guffaws and breathtakingly short-sighted internet comments that all read like they were plucked from the same vaguely xenophobic page. If you’re walking downtown staring up at the sky, people either take you for a tourist or a loon. Either way, they give you a wide berth. So what can you do, Superman fan, to show these people that your heart is right where it needs to be? You hand them these three books: Mark Waid’s Superman: Birthright, Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman, and now that it’s wrapped up its downright stellar run, Max Landis’ Superman: American Alien.
Landis has his own share of doubters and anti-fans online, so it was with great trepidation from the comics community that he began his high-profile Superman project in earnest. (I even piled on last year, to my shame.) But Max, a lifelong Superman devotee, did what any lifelong Superman devotee would do when surrounded by doubt and fear: he dug in his heels, kept his eyes directed forward, and did his very best. And he gave us one of the finest Superman tales in recent memory in the process. Now issue #7 — the series’ last — is in the rearview, having artfully dodged his naysayers and our vicious minefield of scorn that would have loved to capitalize on a single misstep. To that I say, “Bravo.” (Also: “I’m sorry!”)
Because the last issue of Superman: American Alien is everything it should have been. A thrilling conclusion to a wonderfully thoughtful and surprisingly touching miniseries with gorgeous artwork from the finest in the business. (This month, Lee Loughridge’s earth-bound hues give Jock’s reliably mighty performance a fitting sparkle.) The confident finale to a series that will be enjoyed again for years to come, made timely and timeless. It’s a book for everyone, not just those of us who still dare to look up in the sky. It may be tough out there for Superman fans these days. But American Alien reminded us all that it doesn’t have to be.
Written by Max Landis.
Art by Jock.
Colors by Lee Loughridge.
Letters by John Workman.
10 out of 10