DCAU #370: The Believer

IN THIS ONE... An old UFO nut helps Superman find a missing girl.

CREDITS: Written by Jay Faerber; art by Neil Vokes and Terry Austin.

REVIEW: There are some interesting ideas in The Believer, and though he's working within the DCAU style, Faerber's natural humor is recognizably his, especially in the aliens being represented with a family dynamic. But it perhaps gets a little too sentimental in the end, at least in the way things are all-too-easily resolved.

So Smallville has an old UFO nut, but the Kents feel responsible for his marginalization because his obsession (and stigmatization) started when he saw baby Kal-El's rocket crash to Earth 29 years ago. His story was never believed, and of course, the Kents didn't come forward to blow their secret wide open. Now he's an old man, and on the verge of being sent to a nursing home by his family who are starting to think he's senile for once again coming home (and going to the police) with a story about aliens. But is that such a reach in the DC Universe? Even when Superman shows up to talk to him, his family doesn't start to suspect it might be true, and it ends with him lying about having made the whole thing up to get attention, and the family embracing him and putting all his stuff back in the house, a sudden turn that's extremely facile. Much better is the bit where Superman takes him to see the flying saucer take off after he's repaired it, proof that brings a tear to his eye. And yet, I already feel emotionally exhausted by then; it's one feel-good moment too many.

As for the comedy aliens and their trouble, that's well-handled, and Vokes' more cartoony style suits their lumpy appearance. The younger members of the brood being a bit more aggressive and then getting cussed out by their mom is a nice moment, and the solution - a lead deposit that both prevented Superman from finding the girl and can be used to shield the damaged ship from radiation - is well handled.
REREADABILITY: Medium - Hammers its sentimentalism a bit too hard, but it's elements do work on the whole.

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