Sunday, April 24, 2016

Superman: American Alien #6

Where's Waldo Joke.

The Review!
This issue is about Clark discovering who he is and what he wants his place in the world to be. It's also a story about friendship. I didn't really understand the friendship part. There was hugging and saying nice things and feeling scared for the safety of others and empathy and sympathy. What are those things? I thought having friends was having somebody you could call a huge turd while making fun of their kids. Once again, it's the kind of Superman story that I enjoy, presenting Superman in fairly mundane situations and showing how they affect him. Usually these kinds of stories have a B Story that involves a lot of punching but this one decided to use that space for a bit of an argument between friends and then a space encounter with Green Lanterns. It was better than punching.

The Commentary!
This has been my favorite Superman comic book since The New 52 began. I should probably state how much I like this comic book in more specific terms because I could pretty much hate this thing and it would still be better than just about every other Superman story that's been published since The New 52 began. That isn't to say that the Preboot Superman stories were always magnificent. Fuck no! I don't want people thinking I'm one of those New 52 haters who don't understand how quality works and believes there's some kind of magic chronobarrier set up between August of 2011 and September of 2011 which has kept quality in the past. Although it was right about the Reboot time when all of the worst writers to ever work at Marvel were suddenly given jobs at DC! Now that was a shitty decision.

This issue is called "Angel" even though an angel isn't a kind of bird. But it does have wings, so I guess I have to not complain too much about how it fucks up the gossamer theme stringing these issues together. It begins with some of Clark's old high school friends visiting him in Metropolis. They know he's Superman so they're concerned that he's going to be acting like a big shot Hollywood movie star. I bet he does act that way! But not because he's a secret celebrity! I bet he acts that way because he's now had sex with a bunch of prostitutes!

I'm going to pretend I understand aeronautics as well as my grandfather who worked on the SR-71 Blackbird and nod emphatically. Talk about needing a cape! The SR-71, not me. Or my grandfather.

Clark's friends are trying to figure out why nobody recognizes Clark as Superman when he only has glasses to hide his identity. But that's not all he has! The real secret in maintaining a secret identity is to cultivate a personality that nobody would ever believe could be Superman. So Clark is clumsy and naive and nerdy which is totally the opposite of Superman. It's how Bruce Wayne used to keep everybody from guessing who he was as well! Nobody would expect an unfeeling playboy who spends most of his time carousing from one society function to the other might be Batman! At least that used to be the case. Now most comic books just allow Superman to seem cool and well-muscled and confident and everything Superman is. So it's no wonder people scoff at the idea that his whole costume is "glasses." Bruce Wayne is the same way. He no longer really puts forth the image of an unsympathetic rich playboy. He puts himself out there as somebody who is trying to help the community and also as a guy whose company creates all of Batman's gadgets. Because of the close ties and the similarities (right down to the young ward/son), Batman's cowl should be less effective than Clark's glasses. Apparently the only thing keeping the people of Gotham from guessing Bruce Wayne is Batman is their low intelligence quota.

Clark and Pete and Kenny go to an art gallery. I guess Clark wants to embarrass them by putting them in a place where they won't fit in! What a jerk! The gallery is presenting "Super-Villains!", Jimmy Olsen's photos of costumed criminals. He even has a picture of Count Vertigo that's totally in focus! He really is a good photographer!

Pete suggests Clark should meet all of the other people with powers appearing around America but Clark is all, "Those guys are dweebs!"

Pete should, I don't know, start a website about Superman's dickery or something.

Peter oversteps his guest boundaries and calls out Clark on a bunch of stuff that he really didn't need to call Clark out on. I'm not sure what Pete's motivation is but he seems to want to light a fire under Clark so that Clark becomes the Superman Pete thinks Clark should become. It's probably one of those doing it out of love things where he thinks Clark is wasting his potential and he wishes Clark would just live the life Pete and Kenny wish they could live. Or maybe Pete is just an asshole who would be using his super powers to get laid all of the time. Clark takes it in stride trying to explain his perspective right up until Pete tells Clark that Ma and Pa Kent are disappointed in him. Ooh! Pete's lucky to not be a pile of ash after that!

Not really. Superman probably hasn't begun killing yet.

Superman decides the best thing to do after ditching his friends is to fly to the moon. His mission fails spectacularly for reasons I don't quite understand based on the art and my previously mentioned lack of understanding of aerodynamics. I'm sure it had something to do with pushing too much air together too quickly so that the air doesn't have time to move out of the way and instead builds up a ton of pressure which causes the air in front of Superman to super-heat up and burn off his clothes and then Superman's in space and suffocating. But Abin Sur is there to save his life!

Also there is an advert for Preacher on AMC. Shitballs, that ignites some of that joy and exhilaration with life that I'd thought I'd lost!

Tomar Re is with Abin Sur and they mention Krypton in front of Clark which gets him all riled up to find out what the hell that means. But Abin Sur decides to pull the old "Green Lantern Memory Lapse" move that I suppose they do all of the time when they don't have access to one of the magic heroes or J'onn J'onzz to erase minds. Clark wakes up back in his apartment with his hungover friends.

The next morning, Pete reveals his real reason for getting on Clark so hard. It's just that Clark is his best friend and Pete feels powerless to help him, and he's afraid for his friend's life. They hug it out and everything is okay again. Also, Clark remembers his encounter with the Green Lanterns and the name of the planet he's from, so I guess Abin Sur went easy on him.

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