Superman Vs. Aliens...Round One! (Mania.com)

By:Arnold T. Blumberg
Date: Monday, April 08, 2002

In our last two feature installments, we presented a chat with artist Jon Bogdanove focusing on the new Superman/Aliens match-up, SUPERMAN/ALIENS II: GODWAR, a sprawling cosmic epic co-starring Darkseid and the New Gods. This mini-series, courtesy of comic book industry big boys DC and Dark Horse Comics, is set to be of interest to many fans from sci-fi buffs to DC aficionados, but it isn't the first time the Man of Steel has crossed paths with those creepy creatures from the hit film series. Back in 1995, Superman went toe to toe with a whole host of nasty Alien warriors and even found himself facing the ultimate horror - impregnation with an Alien Queen! If that bizarre concept sounds like something a bit odd for the man with the steely exterior to match his stalwart heart, then read on it happened all right!

SUPERMAN VS. ALIENS opened the door to future encounters between Supes and his acid-dripping arch-foes.

Scripted by Dan Jurgens and illustrated by Jurgens and Kevin Nowlan, the first three issue series to pit DC's greatest hero against those Giger-designed monsters with acid for blood was an atmospheric space-faring adventure that put Supes in a decidedly vulnerable position. The vulnerability aspects of the plot were in fact specifically calculated to provide the necessary tension when matching the Man of Steel with those Alien creatures from beyond the stars (a plot point that Bogdanove took issue with just a bit as you know...if you read the interview, that is). Taking a page from his erstwhile buddy Batman, Superman even loses his shirt in the battle sequences, but what's more, he learns of a secret chapter in the history of his home planet, Krypton.

Weaving in material not only from the Alien films but from the pre-Crisis Superman mythos (thus playing havoc with fan expectations and offering a little extra thrill for all those who felt the Crisis was an ill-advised "fix" at best), SUPERMAN VS. ALIENS begins when LexCorp detects an approaching object entering Earth's atmosphere. Superman learns that it carries Kryptonian instructions to find a floating city out in space, apparently a last remnant of his home world sealed beneath a protective bubble (yes, by now many old-time fans were wailing in delight, but more on that later). But when Superman makes it to Argo (just like in the old days), he discovers a city besieged, with the last survivors blasting away at a marauding army of Alien intruders. Picture a fanciful cityscape as shot by Jim Cameron and you have some idea of the look and mood of these sequences.

Superman and Kara (no, a different one, but strangely familiar) team up to battle Aliens in the original SUPERMAN VS. ALIENS.

Teaming up with a feisty young girl named Kara (hmm), Superman eventually discovers that the city is not from Krypton but was instead influenced by a visit from a Kryptonian survivor. Supes forges a brother-sister bond with Kara (convenient, that), and the two cut a swath through the hordes of Aliens while Superman struggles with his strong moral code and his unwillingness to take a life. Can he face the idea of eradicating even these reprehensible creatures, loathsome though they may be? He also faces true danger from the Aliens, as his powers have diminished while away from Earth's sun. Can even Superman survive the deadly emergence of a chest-bursting Alien? He's about to find out when, in the series' most disturbing sequence, he's cocooned and impregnated by an Alien egg just as many humans victims have been before. We've never seen Superman battle an invader from within in quite this way before, but his solution proves to be quite inventive.

SUPERMAN VS. ALIENS first introduced the Man of Steel to the Aliens of the popular 20th Century Fox sci-fi film series.

The Man of Steel is of course every bit as tough as his nickname, but while he manages to survive impregnation, he has no way to protect Kara from a similar fate. The two are separated when the city must be annihilated to prevent the spread of the infestation, but Superman makes one last attempt to save Kara from death. Returning to clean up a few last Alien matters on the LexCorp space station, the Last Son of Krypton mourns the loss of his would-be "sister," not knowing that she did indeed survive, and is now heading out into deep space in a tiny escape pod. And no, to date this particular plot thread has never been picked up by any subsequent writer. Peter David's SUPERGIRL series, superb though it is, follows the adventures of a new incarnation of Supergirl who post-dates the Crisis and has no relationship to either the old Kara or the new one introduced in this unique crossover event. A shame too, because as hard-edged as she was, this Kara had a spark of the old Supergirl in her. Perhaps one day...

Adding a healthy dose of macabre atmosphere to Superman's usually sunny adventures, and touching on his steadfast determination never to kill again (and how many remember the landmark moment in John Byrne's tenure when Superman sentenced the Phantom Zone criminals to a green-glowing doom? Show of hands, please), SUPERMAN VS. ALIENS was a well-reasoned mingling of two distinctly different universes. And the best is yet to come, or so it would seem...