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Superman: American Alien

(Superman: Miniseries)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,964 ratings  ·  321 reviews
Screenwriter and Eisner Award nominee Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN) presents the seven-issue miniseries that chronicles Clark Kent’s development into the archetypal hero he will eventually become. With the tone of each issue ranging from heartwarming and simple, to frighteningly gritty and violent, to sexy, sun-kissed and funny, SUPERMAN: A ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 12th 2016 by DC Comics (first published November 11th 2015)
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4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,964 ratings  ·  321 reviews

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Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with a Soul
This is my new favorite Superman story.
All the goddamn stars!


When somebody says they don't like Superman - too overpowered, too unrelatable, too boring - I start spluttering and flapping my arms around like a crazy person.
Butbutbutbut...NO! He's like totally down to earth, but really cool! Like, he's the best! He's just a Midwest farm boy at heart, except he's a total BADASS! Loves his mom (<--my personal favorite), good friend, smokin' hot boyfriend material, all-around swell guy...
And he is
Jan Philipzig
American Alien retells the story of Superman’s origin (as far as his time on Planet Earth is concerned, at least) in seven chapters, each self-contained and illustrated by a different artist. I think the changing visual styles are supposed to vaguely mirror the protagonist’s progression through the various stages of his life, as they shift from cartoony to gritty to more sophisticated and iconic, and I generally enjoyed the varied ride. The surprisingly humane, often humorous, bouncy, slightly A ...more
Sam Quixote
Nov 21, 2016 rated it liked it
A criticism I’ve heard from some people who’ve read a Superman comic goes something like “He’s not interesting because I can’t relate to him - he’s too powerful, he’s too perfect, it’s too much. He’s a frikkin’ god!” American Alien is Max Landis’ attempt to humanise Superman and make him an approachable character to those readers. And it’s not a bad comic but it’s definitely flawed.

From what I’ve seen of Landis’ work, his writing doesn’t have a shred of originality to it, which is ironic becaus
David Schaafsma
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is from (apparent) wunderkind Max Landis and a host of artists depicting what are for Landis seven shaping stories from Superman's development. It's a kin of millennial origin story that focuses more on relationships than action. It has the feel of fan fiction in places, like what if Clark Kent were this party guy for awhile as he was growing up? What if people back home knew he could fly?

The seven stories include 1) an early one on Clark learning to fly, with family help. I really liked t
James DeSantis
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One Minute Video Review -

Max Landis is someone I respect, but don't love all of his work. I also don't always agree with him on subjects.

Saying that Superman: American Alien is the best Superman story I've ever read.

What makes this 7 issued collection so great is they feel seperate yet all flow so well. We start with Clark as just a kid, then teenager, young adult, aspiring hero, and a true fucking badass by the end. Not badass in the sense he beats the
Rory Wilding
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing

This is what it says on the back of this hardcover volume of Max Landis’s seven-issue love letter to the Man of Steel who actually doesn’t take centre stage, but really his mild-mannered alter ego Clark Kent. Since his inception in 1938, Superman has been reinterpreted over the decades as many writers and artists have given their own spin into Superman’s origin story and what does he mean in each time and place, from shining examples such as Mark Waid’s Birthright t
Paz R.M.
2.5 Stars
This is the second '' Oh, you will loooooooove this '' Superman title that I didn't enjoy. Yeahhh... guess the hype got me and this was not what I was expecting.

This is a new origin, modern an updated story, by Max Landis. Every issue focuses on a different age, on a different time in Clark's life. They're self-contained stories and every chapter has a different artist, so there is great artwork here.

I could tell you about my complicated relationship with Max Landis. I usually hate the
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is another origin retelling of Superman which yes had been done quite a few times before, but this one totally nails it! So if you love a good origin story you're totally in for a treat.
The story is awesome, the issue where Clark is mistaken for Bruce on his yacht is just amazing and the volume itself is very funny, and doesn't take itself too seriously. It has some really sweet moments too, it's not high on drama or an overly technical plot. It focuses more on Clark becoming Superman and
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Well before I read this Superman tale I had no idea who Max Landis was. My bad. I will have to check out more of his work. As far as this particular work? I loved it. Yep.

American Alien is a origin story. While origin stories of Superman abound, there are some that stand apart. This is one of them. American Alien is funny, strange, modern and a phenomenal look at Superman as the issues progress through his ages. I thought that was very well done. I enjoyed watching young Clark learning how to fl
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, dc, best-of-2016
Max Landis is famous for writing shitty movies, producing mediocre TV shows and sexually assaulting women. But there's one thing I can't take away from him, and that's writing pretty good Superman comics. between him and Eddie Berganza, Superman was attracting a very unpleasant crowd in recent years, eh? Good thing they're both gone from DC now.

Anyway, if you can look past the writer being a scumbag, American Alien is actually a really good Superman comic. It's not an origin story per se, more l
Jesse A
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Well that was disappointing. I'd heard great things but I really hated what this did to Supes' origin story. One of the worst Superman books I've read. Sad.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
3.5 Stars

This was certainly a breath of fresh air! Written by Max Landis, known more as a screen writer than comic writer, it offers multiple chapters within Clark Kent's life, giving the reader a peek into various formative points in his development.

Each chapter is drawn by a different artist, and I have to say this is one of the most beautiful books I've read in awhile. My favorites were Dragotta, Jae Lee, Francis Manapul and Jock. Again, these were all instances of Clark's life where somethin
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yay! I found a good superman story. Very good. Shame it finished so quickly.
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the few Superman stories I loved so far, though arguably I'm not that much of a fan. It's ideal for someone who isn't versed in the Superman universe, though I expect that die-hard fans would enjoy it too.

The period in his youth when Clark Kent started manifesting his powers was a discouraging one. His control over his powers was nonexistent, but it was that much more satisfying to finally learn to use them. His parents' love for him made him into what he would eventually become.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Superman: American Alien.

The most critically praised abomination of Superman's repertoire.

First some background on Landis:

Landis' first contact with the character was the one that made him quite famous in the internet, with his parody of "Death of Superman". Since then Landis has been praised as a Superman expert, doing blogs and videos on the character, he was approached to write him at least twice.
So now Landis has complete freedom, to show us, what a good, revolutionary insight he has on the
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A series of vignettes featuring Clark Kent in his life before he became Superman. The writing is fantastic. I found myself enraptured with each issue. Each issue has a different artist, all of which are great. The one thing I didn't really get were the one page stories in the back of each issue. They didn't really tie in to the rest of the book and seemed superfluous. This series is in it's own continuity and not part of the new 52.
Callie Rose Tyler
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, dc, wish-list
This is my favorite Superman book, hands down!

Each issue is a snapshot of Clark Kent's life as he becomes Superman from discovering his ability to fly as a young boy in Kansas to his first real test as Superman. Each issue has a different aesthetic but the story and tone are consistent.

This comic is cinematic and masterful, it is a character study of Clark Kent, not a story of the omnipotent Superman. This is a MUST-READ!!!!
Bruno Kulić
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I went into this expecting this to be my favourite Superman story (that's not that hard since I've only read Superman in some Action Comics, Superman, JL and Batman/Superman from The New 52), but it turned out to be the best superhero story ever?

Max Landis somehow managed to write realistic child and teenage dialogue, funny stuff and emotional big ideas without it feeling melodramatic or forced... he can go from writing a wordy self-important Lex Luthor to Supes breaking it down:

The art changes
John Yelverton
Oct 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
This was an awful piece of garbage. Superman's origin story is reworked so that everyone from Smallville not only knows who he is, but also knows that he'd an alien. In the meantime, he's an ignorant and complete buffoon, who is angst ridden and so unsure of himself that he decides to imitate Batman. Batman! But setting all of that aside, any author who walks into an editor's office at DC and pitches an idea where Superman has sex with Cheetah (especially while he's dating Wonder Woman in other ...more
Gianfranco Mancini

Another very good cinematic retelling of Superman origin story with just one of the best Lex Luthor ever.

I loved the first "Archie" style episode where young Clark learns to fly, the Clark "Bruce Wayne" one was hilarious, and the two one page stories about Mxyzptlk and the Parasite were 5 stars gems, but the young Clark in Smallville chapter was just too much "Man of Steel" grimdark style and Batman sounded like the "Collegehumour" one for me.

Interconnected vignettes of Clark Kent's start in the world. I don't think I've ever liked Superman more, but I wish there were more Louis.
Drown Hollum
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is damn good. It's written with a ton of heart, and a fundamental understanding of the Man of Steel. The cast of rotating artists only features absolute powerhouses, making each issue a refreshing change of pace. Also, Lex Luthor cuts one of the greatest heel promos of all time in these pages, and I'm pretty floored by how excellent this book is. There are some truly incredible moments in this book, and it's handled so well from an editorial standpoint, it almost makes me want to have faith ...more
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was recommended to me by a friend who absolutely love Superman. I was a bit iffy in reading it because of the title. Yeah. I'm one of those people that judge books not only by the cover, sometimes, by title too. Sue me. But whatever. I absolutely loved this. I'm glad I picked it up.

One of the things I loved about SUPERMAN: AMERICAN ALIEN was how each story is self-contained. You can read just one of the issues inside this volume and you'll be fine. You don't have to read the entire thing
Scott S.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's -- Holy #$@&!"

Without a doubt, reading the varying GR reviews (it seems to be a 'love it or hate it' tome) on Superman: American Alien was almost as entertaining as the book itself. I can see that some folks will think of it as trashing, or at least severely tweaking, the classic mythology of the 80 year-old (gasp!) character. I would counter with the opinion that they took the Man of Steel and filtered him through a Marvel lens. I ended
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Max Landis is my hero. See, Superman and I never really meshed before. He's always been this superhero who, at least for me, was unreachable. He didn't feel human (which yes, I know he's an alien technically) and his bevvy of superpowers always kept him at arms length for me. I like my superheroes with a little more fight in them, I guess. It's tough to love a guy who is all but unbreakable.

Enter Max Landis' take on Superman. Here was a Clark that I could actually fall in love with. Each issue i
Scott Foley
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You all know I struggle with Superman.  Many writers get the "super" right, but fail to truly capture the "man."

Max Landis absolutely put the "man" before the "super" in this collection, and Superman is all the more "super" as a result.

The premise is short and sweet: Landis depicts key moments in Clark Kent's life that define the hero he will one day become.  As a result, we get to see what is not often addressed: failure.  We see Clark as a child fearful of his own abilities.  We see Clark as a
Kyle Berk
I think this is something that should have the attention it does.

Here you have someone with a passion for the character that uses that to tell an anthology of connected stories but those stories vary wildly in tone, art, and color. Each well suited to the task.

And I really like the format. As well as the references to other parts of the DC universe.

The characterization of Superman may be my biggest criticism because at times he doesn’t feel like Superman. But he’s consistent and it isn’t bad cha
Mohamed Ahmed
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dc-comics
Outstanding ,A Must read.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The art in this book is amazing and the story is, too. It really humanizes Superman. Please say there is another book after this. Please! With sugar on top?
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You need this. The world needs this. WE ALL NEED THIS.

American Alien is hands down the best comic series to debut this year. Really, what would it be like for Clark Kent to grow up as an alien living in a human world? We see so much of him as an adult and we even got to see a bit of teen Clark in Smallville but we haven't seen Clark this raw and real until now.

Each story is a self-contained moment in Clark's life. There are familiar characters and canon events but this is very much an out of con
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Max Landis is a Hollywood screenwriter and Eisner Award nominee. Featured as one of Forbes 30 under 30 two consecutive years, Max Landis is an outspoken rising star in the screenwriting world. Having sold over fifteen projects in the last five years, Landis' first produced feature, Chronicle, did well at the box office and led to more sales.

Other books in the series

Superman: Miniseries (1 - 10 of 35 books)
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“You can be more than 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.” 1 likes
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