Comic Review: Superman: Red Son

Posted: April 2, 2015 in Comics
Tags: ,

Mark Millar’s Superman:Red Son is one of the best Superman stories to date. The set up puts a simple and effective spin on the Man of Steel origin; instead of crash landing in the United States what if…he landed in Russia? Communist Russia to be exact. That’s the hook for Red Son and the results are brilliant. Superman. Enforcer of the state.

These Superman as the total enforcer (Kingdom Come/Injustice) stories aren’t uncommon so the power lies in the execution and that is what sets Red Son apart. Throughout the story we see Superman never question Stalin’s communist ideology. He accepts it because it’s the world he was raised in. There is a purity to this too. The book never reads like ‘communism is bad/Superman sees the light etc’. If anything it makes a pretty good argument for how the regime could work. Thanks to Superman’s efforts everyone in Russia is working, has a home and enough food. These ideas are maximised to the stuff of ideal life as the story continues to span decades and we see his nation’s ideals spread and consume almost the whole world. Millar is great at not painting anyone in the book as good guy/bad guy. Each character simply has a strong idea they believe in and hold true to it.

Red Son isn’t just about Superman. We get some great twists on Batman, Green Lantern, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane and Wonder Woman. I loved Millar’s take on each of these characters and the spin he put on their origins. The Batman and Green Lantern sections are great. Wonder Woman comes off a tad unlikable, which is a bit of a recurring thing I’m starting to feel about her the more I read of her. Maybe it’s the character? She simply comes across as always believing she is above humanity and that they do need policing etc. Not a likeable quality.

The art is top-notch. Very reminiscent of the older Superman/Wonder Woman designs of the 50/60’s. I like those touches. It’s a wonderfully illustrated book. Defo check this one out if you have not gotten around to reading it. It’s a shame Superman doesn’t appear to have the same amount of quality stories as Batman. When given to a talented writer he’s given just as much depth and the scope is there to do some fantastic stuff with him. Hopefully more will materialise in time.

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