Superman Red Son

What would happened if Superman landed in Cold War Russia?

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A Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua

  • Aug 25, 2012
  • by
I got this book last Christmas and while I'll admit that my Superman collection is rather slim (I hope to change this in the near future), this is one of the most remarkable comics I've read.

It shows what would have happened if Superman landed in a Ukrainian collective farm in the Soviet Union instead of the heartland of America.  In this book, Superman's fixation on making a world utopia (a global Soviet Union, if you will) soon infriges upon civil liberties, and in this book, there's a good deal of moral ambiguity between Superman and Lex Luthor. 

Despite the fact that this is a book taking place during the Cold War, I'm extremely glad that Mark Millar didn't portray America and the Soviet Union as one side being good and the other being bad.  Rather, the conflict between Superman and various other DC figures (and their ideologies) that are the focus instead of glorifying and condeming economic philosophies.

My only complaint with this book is that the use of the Cyrillic alphabet is a bit inconsistent.  In some panels, there's proper use of the Cyrillic letters in scenes in the Soviet Union, but in some others in the same nation, there's Roman characters to spell out English translations of Russian names and words.

The artwork for this is fantastic in that it's not only detailed, but the visual styles and color choices perfectly fit the Cold War setting, even in the parts of the book that go way beyond the 1950's.
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About the reviewer
David Kozak ()
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more
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Superman: Red Son is a three-issue prestige format comic book mini-series published by DC Comics that was released under their Elseworlds imprint in April, 2003. Author Mark Millar created the comic with the premise "what if Superman had been raised in the Soviet Union?" It received critical acclaim and was nominated for the 2004 Eisner Award for best limited series.

The story mixes alternate versions of DC super-heroes with alternate-reality versions of real political figures such as Joseph Stalin and John F. Kennedy. The series spans approximately 1953-2001, save for a futuristic epilogue.

In Red Son, Superman's rocket ship lands on a Ukrainian collective farm rather than in Kansas, an implied reason being a small time difference (a handful of hours) from the original timeline, meaning Earth's rotation placed the Ukraine in the ship's path instead of Kansas. Instead of fighting for "...truth, justice, and the American Way", Superman is described in Soviet radio broadcasts "...as the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact." His "secret identity" (i.e. the name his adoptive parents gave him) is a state secret.

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Author: Mark Millar
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels, Political and Social Satire, Superheroes
Publisher: DC Comics, Elseworlds
Format: Graphic Novel

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