Clark Kent spends some time in Metropolis and finds himself in the midst of interviews with some of the city's biggest names: Oliver Queen, Lex Luthor, and Dick Grayson, the ward of Bruce Wayne. However, Clark learns that snooping around too much may be bad for his health.
What writer Max Landis does well with this book and issue, in general, is present Clark Kent as a human. Sure, he's an alien, hiding amongst the masses in Metropolis, but what Clark is trying to do is fit in and to the untrained eye, he's doing a good job. Everything seems to be working for him, up until he meets Dick Grayson, who is a lot more perceptive than the other children around him.
Landis, Jae Lee, and June Chung deliver a pretty awesome single panel detailing Grayson's thought process as he sizes up the young man talking to him. We're getting inside his head, and it's one of the highlights of the issue.
The thing Landis nails is who these characters are during this time period. You can tell he has a lot of love for who these people are and a great grasp of what makes them tick. Just reading Lex Luthor's egotistical rant proves that point, but that idea reaches out to Oliver Queen, Clark Kent, and Dick Grayson as well.
While the issue is good and the characters are a hit, it feels like the issue could have been polished up a tad bit more. It drags in certain areas and scenes linger on a little too longer, but that's the only real problem with issue #4.
Jae Lee and colorist June Chung do a great job here as well. Lee is a bit more restrained with his art, so things don't get as surreal as we've seen in the past, which looks great, but can be a bit tough for readers. Lee's page and panel layouts are a bit more tradition here, and his art just looks stoic in every panel, especially the scenes with Lex Luthor.
The end of the issue is a blast as Batman confronts Clark, and Clark shows off that he's more than just a mild-mannered reporter. Landis, Lee, and Chung deliver a pretty intense scene of the first time Clark and Batman came face-to-face. This is more than a mere confrontation though. This is a pivotal moment in Clark's upcoming superhero career, and that point is driven home in the final moments of this issue, with a beautiful splash page from Lee and Chung.
American Alien tells the story of the "missing years" of Clark Kent/Superman and does so pretty well. This issue primarily focuses on characters that will play a bigger role in Clark's life later on, but what this issue does exceptionally well is show that while Clark has powers, he can become something greater. The only downside is that there are a few scenes that drag on a tad, but overall, this is a fantastic issue. I highly recommend checking this out.