Red Son by

28 April 2010

Call no:
Genre: ,
Setting: ,
Rated :

Dave Johnson & Kilian Plunkett, pencillers ; Andrew Robinson & Walden Wong, inkers ; Paul Mounts, colorist ; Ken Lopez, letterer.
LibraryThing ; Millar’s site ; Wikipedia
Part of the Graphic Novels Challenge

I love the idea behind this graphic novel. Superman, instead of being raised by the Kents in Kansas, instead lands in the middle of Russia and is raised on a collective farm. Growing up, instead of embodying the American Dream, he becomes the Champion of the common worker. And so much of it is just cool. There are loads of great touches, I loved the idea of the alternate Batman.

Unfortunately it never got beyond the “oooh that sounds cool” aspect of the story.

And while in the introduction we are told that Millar’s idea could have been so much lesser in other hands, that the story could have been reduced to America=good, Russia=bad, that wasn’t the case in this story. Well, I’d have to disagree. Now I know that Soviet Russia was not a good place to be. And I know that for many people the ideals of communism are similar to satanism, but I have to question why Superman would go down that particular route in Russia when he didn’t go anywhere near it in America? Hmmm, tis hard to pose these questions and not be spoilorific.

Also the timescale, this one book, or three comics, covered from 1953-2001 plus a glimpse into the far off distant future, and that meant we only really got snapshots of what this Superman was like. All surface sparkle and no depth.

But it looked pretty, and that is important to a comic, so it earns points for that.

Other reviews: Dubious quality ; I hunt books ; Reading list of a book pusher

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2 Responses

  1. I haven't read it, but I think the idea Millar was trying to play on was that Kal-El found something true in the value system his adoptive parents believed in. So if he'd been brought up by a couple who had faith in Communism – as many Russians in the 50s did – he'd have grown up seeing that worldview as normal instead. (After all, he's an alien. *All* the societies on Earth would be some degree of foreign to them…)

    As I say, though, haven't read it, so can't judge how well Millar executed it…

    • Fence says:

      Oh, I totally agree. I was trying (and failing ;) )to refer to something he does in the Soviet version that I don't think he's ever chosen in the more usual Superman stories. I may be wrong though, I haven't read many Superman comics.