Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar (Author), Dave Johnson (Illustrator), Kilian Plunkett (Illustrator)

Matt Millar turns the Superman mythos on its head. Instead of growing up in the heartland, Superman’s ship has landed on a collective in the Soviet Union. Most of the usual suspects are still in the universe: Lois and Lex, but also Batman, The Green Lantern, and Diana (Wonder Woman). These were some interesting and at times seemed arbitrary choices to keep in the world and put in the new roles of ally or enemy. There’s also Stalin and one of his illegitimate sons who is a secret police enforcer, but yearns for more power.

The story starts when the US finds out about a the Russian’s new weapon who flies through the air, and has x-ray vision and super strength. Noted scientist Lex Luther is called upon to come up with a way to defend the nation. While this drama is happening on one side of the Atlantic, Stalin and his son are battling over succession rights with Superman stuck in the middle. The plot continues with the other characters popping in and out periodically. The central internal conflict is that Superman is caught between his loyalty to the human race and his loyalty to the Soviet nation. His brainy robot tries to manipulate him to its side of these choices.

The old school art style is reminiscent of all those golden age classic issues. But I saw it stray in places as different characters entered the story, from the blocky chin of the Man of Steel to the more visceral look on Batman.

The comic spans several decades as the cold war rages on… this is a plus because you can really see the evolution of Superman’s character and how he is forced to defend not only his nation, but his own set of morals. I thought there were some great twists along the way, but the plot ultimately fell flat for me.

A great premise, but didn’t really wow me overall.

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