Vicki's Reviews > Superman: Red Son

Superman by Mark Millar
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Jul 07, 2011

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Read on July 07, 2011

Superman's epic story is totally reimagined in this compilation of three related comics in which the premise has the rocket from Krypton landing not in Kansas in the 1930's, but in the Soviet Union in the 1950's. So wouldn't Superman figure out that "truth, justice and the American Way" was where it's at and get here as quick as he could? Well, maybe not.

This well crafted tale has Superman just as committed to Stalin and the noble goals of Communism as we remember him originally dedicated to America and it's freedom loving entrepreneurial spirit. In the first third of the saga (Red Son Rising), Superman is just as earnest and eager to save his fellowman from crises big and small. His extraordinary ability to see and hear keeps him "on the fly," and he has no compunction about offering his assistance around the world when only his skills can save the day. In fact, one such crisis brings him to Metropolis, where he encounters Lois Luthor, a reporter who is married to Dr. Lex Luthor, reportedly the smartest man alive. Eisenhower is president, and is facing what well may be the downfall of the US: the Soviets have announced Their Weapon to End the Cold War, and it is Superman!

Though he is loyal to Stalin, he originally has no ambition to run the country, but after Stalin's death, he comes to realize that only he has the ability to make the economy run smoothly and to save the people from themselves. Along the way in Part 2, Red Son Ascendant, we see Superman interacting with Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Brainiac. Batman is a hero to the underground freedom fighters who hope somehow to overturn Superman's hold on their lives and their society.

In the meantime, Lex Luthor is devising counter measures in the hopes of defeating Superman in battle. Though the monsters he creates do not defeat Superman, Lex never quits trying and is eventually elected president of the US. At that point, the United States is about the only country still out from under Superman's authority.

The final segment, Red Son Setting, takes us through an epic battle between Superman's Soviet Union and the United States as led by Lex Luthor. That battle and the eventual conclusion of the saga give the reader much to ponder, and maybe even a desire to re-read the story and pick up on even more of the references to the comic book world and the applications the authors would have us consider in reference to our current foreign policies. It's definitely an enjoyable, thought-provoking read, and well worth a second or third look as well!

The artwork recalls the WWII posters of citizens at work to support the war effort. It is exceedingly well drawn and inked, and though the plot is innovative and new, many tried and true characters are part of this story too. Jimmy Olsen and editor Perry White are there, and even the woman who might have been his mom, had the rocket ship traveled a few thousand miles further before it crashed, Martha Kent, puts in a cameo appearance!
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