The American Way is kind of like Watchmen, but with more of an emphasis on race matters rather than political ones. While race matters are often political ones as well, the dynamic here, as opposed to in Watchmen, involves the development of African American character, Jason Fisher/New American, and the complexities of his situation as the first African-American superhero. Nevertheless, is The American Way: Those Above and Those Below unique enough to separate itself from its inevitable, and already done in this article, comparison to Watchmen?
Yes, it is capable of standing on its own. It will always be dogged by Watchmen comparisons, but in many ways distinguishes itself due to its focus on how race relations and matters infuse the unique American experience for both whites and blacks. The focus on Ole Miss, the retired Deep South superhero who is now running for political office under a deplorable "heritage not hate" platform stands as foil to Fisher as protagonist. Writer John Ridley does a good job developing both characters and making them multidimensional.
Artist Georges Jeanty's excellent focus on detail, including the particulars of Amber Waves' drug use and it's consequences is a breath of fresh air and brings a comparable air of reality to The American Way that Dave Gibbons brought to Watchmen (there's another pesky Watchmen comparison). He also realistically and accurately captures the look and feel of 1970s America perfectly. The look is cinematic in effect.
The American Way Those Above and Those Below is a worthy entry into the "what if" real world superhero genre and one that, despite its 1970s setting, is highly relevant to the state of race relations and politics today.