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Superman: Red Son

(Superman: Red Son #1-3)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  50,137 ratings  ·  2,117 reviews
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 th
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 5th 2004 by DC Comics (first published 2003)
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David W. A lot of Russian and Eastern European people are Christians as well, only their most popular church is Orthodox Eastern instead of Roman Catholic or P…moreA lot of Russian and Eastern European people are Christians as well, only their most popular church is Orthodox Eastern instead of Roman Catholic or Protestant. The Soviet regime might have frowned upon religion as being "bogus", but afaik it wasn't outright outlawed. (less)
Joe I don't think an average 12-14 year old will have the historical background knowledge to understand it, and the ending is pretty complicated. That sai…moreI don't think an average 12-14 year old will have the historical background knowledge to understand it, and the ending is pretty complicated. That said, I'm going to let my 12-year old read it and we can talk about it. It's not "inappropriate" IMO, just hard. (That said, I'm a pretty permissive parent and I know my kid.)

There's violence that isn't deeply gory (but there is blood). There's a method of mind control used which is pretty creepy (not over the line for all middle schoolers, but I found the illustration scary). No sex scenes, though there are references to marital infidelity in a scene with JFK and his second wife Norma Jeane Mortenson. There's actually a lot about relationships and careers in it... again, not inappropriate but pretty complicated for middle schoolers. Jesus' name is taken in vain 2-4 times; there's a little smoking and a little drinking.

So I'd say you should read it and decide which kids (and which parents) it would or wouldn't be good for.(less)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  50,137 ratings  ·  2,117 reviews

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Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Honestly? The best Superhero comic I've read in years. I might say "The best Superhero comic I've ever read" if not for The Dark Knight and Watchmen.

Very clever. Tightly written. Different enough to be interesting, but still true to the original source mythology of Superman.

Highly recommended. Even if you don't really give a damn about superheroes.
Jan Philipzig
Coulda Been a Contender...

What if Superman had crash-landed and grown up in the Soviet Union rather than in the United States? What if he was… oh my God, dare I spell it out… a “commie”?! What would he be like? Would we still cheer him on? How would the Cold War have turned out? The premise behind Superman: Red Son is as obvious as it is intriguing: in the tradition of Watchmen, it allows – theoretically, at least – for an investigation of the genre’s underlying ideological and political assumpt
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comix
Nature or Nurture?

Is Superman’s moral code hot-wired in his DNA or did being raised by the do-right Kents help establish his role as the world’s ultimate Boy Scout?

What better way to examine this question than for Mark Millar to have Superman’s rocket ship land in a collective farm in Soviet Russia rather than in the American heartland.

When Superman’s powers are realized by the Soviet government, Stalin elevates him to become champion of the common worker and a handy tool in the Cold War agains
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
It's a's a plane...It's Commie Superman!

It was alright, but I'm not as in love with Red Son as everyone else seems to be. Intellectually, this is a good Superman What If story.
But it bored me.
Sorry, but I had a hard time not putting this down.
I can't give it less than 3 stars, because it really is an ingenious take on Superman. I can't give it more, because I had to put it on the back of my toilet to ensure I would finish it.

Recommended for Superman fans looking for a What If co
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Yes, it's Superman - strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men . . . [who] fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way!" -- from the introduction to the 1952-1958 Adventures of Superman TV series

Sure, that's all well and good because Superman - a.k.a. Kal-El from the doomed planet Krypton - was rocketed to our planet and landed in a Kansas cornfield, soon to be raised by the humble and salt-of-the-eart
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, fiction, comix
Could you imagine if Superman landed in Canada instead of the United States? What if Joe Shuster tried to persuade Jerry Siegel that Clark Kent should grow up on a farm in Alberta or the snowy terrain of northern Manitoba? Or God help us, Newfoundland? What kind of a hero would he be then? Far too polite to get physical.

“It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nah, that’s just Superman, eh.”

Fortunately for us, the readers, Mark Millar gives us a more interesting scenario. What if Superman landed in Ukraine a
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dc, superhero, superman, comics
Truly one of the great Superman stories, written by early 2000s-era Mark Millar back when the author was in his heyday.

This alternate world story exploring the possibility of Superman's rocket crashing in the Soviet Union is, of course, quite political. The communist iconography works great, and the cameos by Stalin and Kennedy are enjoyable for any fans of alternate history. But in a way, it's not about communism and the Soviets specifically. That's the initial premise to be sure, but in the b
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
The idea of reimagining Superman as a Soviet hero instead of an American one could've led to so many great political, moral, and societal questions, but instead Millar goes out of his way to write Superman as the exact same boring, perfect character we've seen for 70 years. We see all the same villains acting pretty much exactly how they always act. He isn't raised by the Kents in Kansas. He's raised in the Ukraine by some farmers we never meet, and yet still has the exact same moral compass as ...more
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites


Mark Millar’s got the alternate reality/universe/elseworlds thing down. Between Superman: Red Son, Ultimate X-Men, and Old Man Logan, he has penned some bomb-ass shit. He’s got some haters out there. He certainly isn’t the most sensitive dude. But boy can he write some fun stuff. Anybody that can get me to sit through a Superman book has some talent. Sorry, not a lot of love for the boy in blue.


Well in Red Son he’s actually the boy in grey. In this twist of fate story, Kal El crashes in Russia i
Sam Quixote
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What if Superman had landed in Soviet Russia instead of Smallville, Kansas? DC's "Elseworlds" series imagines an alternate take on the Superman story with "Comrade Superman" becoming ruler of Soviet Russia, slowly taking over the world while an independent America led by Lex Luthor fights against an increasingly unhinged and totalitarian-minded Man of Steel.

Mark Millar has written no less than a masterpiece with "Superman: Red Son". We see the character of Superman evolve from an idealistic youn
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a re-read for me. This book captures what Elseworlds is all about. Millar, Johnson, and Plunkett have created a fully realized world where Superman landed on Earth 12 hours earlier and so crashlanded in Russia instead. Superman appears in Moscow as an adult and becomes the new red scourge for America in the 50's. Superman allows communism to flourish and spread throughout the world and establishes order whether citizens want it or not. Lex Luthor is still his terrible self but still an ...more
What a fantastic idea. A counter-fantastical take on Superman, where the once Clark Kent comes to Earth in a communal farm in the Ukraine, USSR rather than the Kent farm outside Smallville, USA. Twelve hours difference in Superman's arrival is twelve hours that make all the difference.

Soviet Superman works for Stalin instead of Eisenhower, and the Cold War takes a very different turn. The Warsaw Pact comes to dominate the Earth. Nixon is assassinated, Kennedy becomes a debauched old fool, Lex Lu

"Superman: Pride of the Soviet state, symbol of our military might."

Otherworld stories are the best, aren't they? My second read was better than the first because I picked up so many more details.

I won't do any summary because it's far too interesting to reveal. This takes place (unofficially) on Earth 30 in the DCU. And let's just say this books contains probably the most fascinating versions of well-known characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Brain
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Every culture has its icons. Characters or figures that are recognizable by anybody who lives there, figures that are almost impossible not to know. And America is very good at producing those icons and spreading them worldwide. I remember reading somewhere - I don't remember where at the moment - that the United States' chief export is dreams, and I think there's definitely something to that.

Of all the dreams to emerge from the American subconscious over the last century, Superman is one of the
J.G. Keely
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was ok
The fact that I only became an aficionado of comic books in college while receiving a degree in literary analysis gives me a slightly different take on the medium. For example: my understanding of Superman and Batman come mostly from reading the odder, subversive versions of them (Frank Miller's 'Dark Knight Returns', Loeb's 'Hush', Moore's 'Killing Joke') as well as allusive explorations of what the characters could have been (Astro City, Watchmen, Powers, Invincible, Enigma).

Though I do have c
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: collected-comics
Mark Millar reinvents Superman into a Soviet superhero in this Elseworlds story appropriately named, "Red Son".

What if the craft carrying Kal-El landed in Soviet heartland instead of Kansas? Millar writes a compelling and ultimately re-readable story of Superman ended up behind the Iron Curtain. It definitely changed how superheroes emerged for once and a Russian Batman emerges with a different reason for existing. This went one for two-thirds of the story, until Millar revealed his trump card.
Aug 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Red Son is an elseworlds story positing what might have happened if the pod carrying the infant Superman would have crash landed on a farm in the Soviet Union under Stalin's rule. It's a pretty awesome idea for an elseworlds story, but I thought it could have been much better than it was. I suppose I can cut some slack for the fact that it was only three issues long.

The idea behind the overarching plot, though it comes at it from an entirely different setup, is that superheroes have the ability
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L. McCoy
I mean... it’s okay but I expected to like it more.

What’s it about?
It’s an Elseworlds sort of story that’s basically “what if Superman had landed in Russia instead of America and was used in the cold war?”

The story is interesting. I like “what if...” sort of stories, DC comics and history so that is something I definitely dug.
The art is pretty good.
This book has some pretty cool superhero action.
This rendition of (view spoiler) is fucking awesome! He is more vicious
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, superhumans
One of the best entries in the now defunct Elseworlds line. I miss seeing creators take imaginative risks with characters, but very few have paid off as completely as Millar's Red Son. It's a pretty simple, almost natural concept: what if, instead of landing in Kansas and becoming the prototype All American hero, Kal-El's little ship had landed in the USSR and he had become the prototype All Soviet hero?

Millar clearly put an incredible amount of thought into his new reality. I can't recall a si
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of "what if" comics
Recommended to Eric by: Zach Connelly
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is a good example of the difference between graphic novels and comic books. While, yes, this does feature Superman and Lex Luthor, this is as stark a departure you can get from Superman's Action Comics roots. It basically inverts everything you know about Superman by asking one simple question -- What if Superman's ship crashed in Soviet Russia instead of Kansas?

Well exactly what happens I won't spoil, but it starts with Superman as Stalin's champion of Socialism, Louis Lane married to Lex
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nbtr
Wahaha what a wonder concept and how wonderfully executed. Nice illustrations, nice story, nice elseworld scenario only one blip for me that the Brainiac episode started a little jarring but rest of it was just brilliant. And the twist at the end was just too much, too much it was AWESOME. Superman might have been a communist but we wasn't the villain, he stayed a hero as he is just embracing Russian political system rather than US. Wonderfully shown loved the Batman too.

I have always loved comi
Hazem Walid
What if Superman was a communist?
What if Batman was an anarchist?
What would happen if Lex Luther was the president of the United States?
What if..

The story was good and had quite the twists.
The illustrations were amazing, and the design of the characters was really good.

My real problem with the story was...All the characters are the same except maybe for Batman. I love the anarchist Batman, I wish there was more of him. But Superman is good, regardless of being in the United States or the Soviet
Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

What if one of the greatest superheroes of all time didn’t have his rocketship crash-land in Smallville, Kansas? What if he were to have it rerouted into the Soviet Union? Would Superman grow up to become the same hero we have all known and rooted for? Under the hands of the great writer Mark Millar, we are presented with one of the best Elseworlds stories that has ever been written.

Best-selling writer of the Kick-Ass series, Wolverine: Old Man
Karl Marberger
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
A very interesting concept and an enjoyable stand-alone story. Even if you don’t read a lot of Superman, you can still find this to be a fun graphic novel experience.
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
OK, so I recalled reading this, but I think I got it confused with Last Son of Krypton...because there's no WAY I wouldn't have gushed about how awesome this book is.

Superman: Red So(u)n (You'll get it.) is, quite possibly, Mark Millar's finest work.

This book is so full of little teasers and links to the original DCU that it's like a Where's Waldo game to find them all...I only read once, and I saw a few that were AWESOME.

I could literally gush about this non-stop. It was one of those few books
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is part of my 'i gotta read more superman shit' plan and all it did was make me love batman more how does that happen, like leave Bruce i'm working on this highly scientific plan. I put off reading this for ages because i study history and the last thing i wanna do is read more history, especially altered fictional accounts of history but i needn't of worried. Russian history is my jam so i think i was expecting something different, maybe more political but it doesn't, it's mainly just supe ...more
A good What If story, but it wasn’t as spectacular as I’d been led to believe. In a lot of ways, it was just the usual take on Superman taking over the world with the communist twist thrown in for variety sake. And even the socialist slant disappeared pretty quickly. The ending was unusual I’ll admit, just not very satisfying for me personally.
Aug 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic, superheroic
What if the ship carrying infant Kal-l had crashed in Russia instead of America, and Superman had grown up to become a Soviet superhero, subduing the world for communism?

Great idea, although I would have liked a slightly longer book with more time to get in depth characterization and explore more history.
Juho Pohjalainen
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
This comic holds a formidable reputation as one of the finest Elseworld stories out there - and I can sort of see how that could be, but it's not for the merits of the premise it sells us. The "Communist Superman" angle itself turns out to be just about irrelevant.

We don't get to see any of his childhood or adolescence at the farms, how the Soviet ideology might have affected his upbringing, how differently from the Kents they might have raised him, or how he discovered his powers and how the Pa
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Mark Millar is the New York Times best-selling writer of Wanted, the Kick-Ass series, The Secret Service, Jupiter’s Legacy, Jupiter’s Circle, Nemesis, Superior, Super Crooks, American Jesus, MPH, Starlight, and Chrononauts. Wanted, Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2, and The Secret Service (as Kingsman: The Secret Service) have been adapted into feature films, and Nemesis, Superior, Starlight, War Heroes, Jupit ...more

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Superman: Red Son (3 books)
  • Superman: Red Son #1
  • Superman: Red Son #2
  • Superman: Red Son #3

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Psychological thrillers that will leave your head spinning. Cold cases, detectives hot on a trail, unreliable narrators, and a dash of poison...
148 likes · 86 comments
“I offered them Utopia, but they fought for the right to live in Hell.” 86 likes
“Batman: a force of chaos in my world of perfect order. The dark side of the Soviet dream. Rumored to be a thousand murdered dissidents, they said he was a ghost. A walking dead man. A symbol of rebellion that would never fade as long as the system survived.

Anarchy in black.”
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