Graphic Novel Review: Superman: Red Son

Graphic Novel Review: Superman: Red SonSuperman: Red Son by Mark Millar
Published by DC Comics on May 5, 2004
Genres: Alternate History, Alternate Universe, Dystopian
Pages: 160
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars

Strange visitor from another world who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands ... and who, as the champion of the common worker, fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, Socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.

In this Elseworlds tale, a familiar rocketship crash-lands on Earth carrying an infant who will one day become the most powerful being on the planet. But his ship doesn't land in America. He is not raised in Smallville, Kansas. Instead, he makes his new home on a collective in the Soviet Union!

I enjoy comic books, although I have not read many of the classics. At least not yet. Superman is one of my least favorite superheroes; he is a boring do-gooder with a lame disguise. For this alternative history, I was willing to give Superman a chance.

For any history lover, this is a must read. The idea of a Soviet Superman is incredibly interesting from a Cold War perspective. I wish we had read this for my Soviet Union class in undergrad (only sort of kidding). I took this in to work today and showed one of my coworkers. He is in his upper 40s or so and was absolutely astounded and horrified at the thought of a Soviet Superman. Having been such an American icon, this is a really amazing reimagination.

The historical goodies in here are just delightful. For example, Superman’s Soviet emblem or the propaganda posters. The absolute corruption of absolute power is certainly in evidence too. Watching Superman transition from goody two shoes into the heir of Stalin is remarkable, but believably accomplished.

I loved this, except for one thing: the ending. It’s a bit open-ended, so I am not one hundred percent sure I hated the ending, but I am definitely annoyed by it. There must have been a better way to conclude the story.

A quick, wonderful, thought-provoking read set in the Cold War era. (Can you tell us where the nuclear wessels are?)

2 responses to “Graphic Novel Review: Superman: Red Son”

  1. Roscoe says:

    “boring do-gooder”

    Oh, ma’am, no.. Do yourself a favor, go hunt down All-Star Superman. Morrison and Quietly might even sell you on the Clark Kent persona (Interviewing Lex in Jail. All I’mma sayin’), but they’ll definitely erase the boring from that description, and pretty much redeem the other half of the phrase.

  2. Christina says:

    They have All-Star Superman at my local library, so I will check that out.

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