Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar

In an alternate universe, Superman lands in Communist-controlled Ukraine and become a symbol for the U.S.S.R. rather than the United States. In the coming decades, as Cold War tension mounts, American genius Lex Luthor leads the attempt to stop him and his ever-spreading ideology by any means necessary. Given the increasing number of retakes on superhero origin stories, especially in recent years, its odd to find one as refreshing as Red Son. Perhaps this has to do with Millar’s refusal to rely on tropes, cliches, and pre-established lore, or perhaps it's because Superman seems to truly believe in his Communist ideology, much as he usually epitomizes the American Way.

One of the more interesting aspects of Red Son is how similarities can be drawn between it and real world tensions. Superman, normally a hero, is in many ways the villain of this story, both as an enemy to Americanism, and in his ethics. Influenced by his near omnipotent power, he goes so far as to lobotomize criminals to create peace. Luthor, the “hero” in that case, isn’t much better, manipulating the American people to raise funding for super weapons, turning DC heroes into his own soldiers, and creating twisted clones and monsters to try and stop Superman. Given this, who then, if either of them, is really fighting for good?

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Published by on May 18, 2020
Last Modified December 11, 2023