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Superman: Red Son
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BotM Discussions > July BotM Discussion - Superman: Red Son

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message 1: by Kate (last edited Jul 04, 2017 04:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate (kgskocelas) | 532 comments Mod
What did you think of Superman: Red Son? If you've read any other alternate timeline or Superman comics, how did you think it compared? If this was a reread for you, what was it like revisiting it now, with Russia's recent international propaganda efforts?

This month's BotM episode will be recorded on July 30th. Tune in to the IRCB Podcast on Wednesday, August 2nd to hear our discussion of this book. If it's ok to read your comments on the show, please include "OK TO AIR" in your post!


Chris Gordon | 47 comments OK TO AIR

I always thought of Superman as being a rather one-dimensional superhero with little to offer as it relates to his storylines. I mean, he can literally defeat any enemy on his own without so much as batting an eye; evidently, you can't make interesting stories based on his powers. Thankfully, Superman Red Son takes a different approach and develops a story around the psychology of Superman and his true character instead of his endless abilities. Red Son asks an interesting question about Superman: is his benevolent disposition towards humanity the result of nature or nurture? That is, is he good because he was raised to be good, or will he always be the hero despite his upbringing? Since Superman was taken in by the Soviets as opposed to the Americans, we are able to see this age-old debate play out before our eyes. I love these kinds of "what-if?" stories that not only place my favorite heroes in new scenarios, but also make me think more deeply on the character and the universe in which they reside. Speaking of the Red Son universe, I really hope there are more stories that come out of this one because I found it to be quite intriguing and worth delving into more extensively (as a matter of fact, my biggest complaint towards Red Son was that it was so short, thus not spending enough time in this fascinating alternate reality). Overall, I really enjoyed this Superman story and hope that I can find others that are just as thought-provoking.


message 3: by Jason (new)

Jason Sandberg (Jason_Sandberg_eBooks) | 16 comments OK to Air
"Red Son" begins as a great elevator pitch. A "What If" story that sets out to explore the Nature-vs-Nurture debate. It's a fun read, but Stalin's embrace of the Kryptonian child didn't ring true to Soviet history. It would've been more realistic to have Superman kept at arm's length from the Kremlin, since they could neither kill nor control him. I think it would've been more entertaining to see the Politburu struggle with a socialist-educated idealist who pointed out the shortcomings of their central planning, but who couldn't be shipped off to the gulag. I would've preferred that dramatic tension to the Luthor/Batman tropes they feel required to plug into all the Superman Elseworld stories.
Have a great July!
Jason Sandberg


message 4: by Nikola (last edited Jul 06, 2017 07:19AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nikola Kostov (koala_smug) | 1 comments OK TO AIR

Kudos to Mark Millar for the great idea and to DC for green-lighting it. Why there’s still to this day no animated adaptation is baffling to me. Imagine this story presented in Fleischer’s Technicolor animation with a splash of grandiose Soviet propaganda-style imagery- I would watch that. But I digress.

To me, Red Son deserves more attention that it’s already received and in that regard, I think it warrants a discussion more than TDKR.

It’s not, by far, the best superhero or Superman story out there. Some developments seem rushed, others seem downright unnecessary (the Batman subplot). And the ending, while serving the message of the story, feels a bit like, “Oh we are doing this now, ok”. But for the most part, it contains a lot of brilliant moments.

Particularly noteworthy is the relationship set up between Superman and Pyotr Ruslov. On the surface, Pyotr’s hate towards him stems from his envy of his abilities, and Stalin’s favoritism. But deep down he despises the fact that Superman is allowed to be a good person, who is guaranteed ascension by doing heroic deeds, unlike Pyotr himself who has to inflict horrible tragedies to even stand a chance of getting somewhere. The scene with the scarecrow is my favorite part of Red Son and it tears me up a bit. Consequently, I believe part one is the best of the three, not only because it contains the aforementioned great scene but also because of good structure. For example, the whole introduction to this world is really a reaction from the States to this different Man of Steel. It’s clever and having in mind Millar’s recent independent work it seems so uncommon for him to start off in such a moderate manner instead of a provocative wtf moment.


Alex Decker | 20 comments Ok To Air

I have a hard time talking about this book without being overly hyperbolic. This book found me early on in my comic book reading. I bought it because I wanted to read something with Superman, but something that was different. I didn't really have a great deal of expectations going into it, just hoping it was a good read. For me, Red Son, transformed what comic books could do.

After going back and rereading it 5 or so years after my initial read I realize that it isn't perfect. The story kind of drags in parts, Wonder Woman is portrayed as this fan girl sidekick, and at times the cameos just seem to be thrown in without rhyme or reason just to say that they did it (Oliver Queen). However, what this book demonstrated to me was comic books unique and powerful ability to take a crucial but undervalued detail and expand it into this story that really changes your perception of the world. Superman is so intertwined in the ethos of America that it is almost impossible to untangle the two. He gave us confidence and made us feel morally superior. "Truth, justice, and the American way."

But here we have this story that just says "What if he landed a little bit earlier..." and it shatters that perception. Do we grow up with the same confidence and swagger or do we evolve in a different way? That for me is the magic of this book and of literature in general. We get to map out these scenarios in our minds which informs us on how we would react in this type of situation. This is why this book was so powerful for me because it allowed me to take hardened opinions and mold them into something different.

In some eerie ways it does find us in the same place that we are today. A fractured country, struggling with our identity, and unwittingly becoming the puppet of a thriving Russia.


Mike Rapin (mikerapin) | 294 comments Mod
Boy oh boy, re-reading this book has brought back some memories.

I think the first time I read this series I was a freshman in college looking for some "non-traditional" DC comics to read as I was a serious Marvel fanboy and DC books were "lame." Nonetheless, already knowing the basics of Superman, I wanted to read something that was cool and edgy and this book was definitely it.

I'll let my full thoughts for the show next week, but whew... memories...


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