It’s Josiah, writing to you today to share a few thoughts after re-reading one of my favorite comic books, Superman: Red Son.
Written by Mark Millar, this comic book tells the origins of Superman from the point of view of the Soviet Union. The story follows the last Son of Krypton as he achieves more and more power, even replacing Stalin after he is assassinated. Over the course of the story, Superman meets familiar faces re-imagined in this alternate universe like Wonder Woman, Batman and Green Lantern, all re-written within the context of living in a world where Superman is a weapon of Communism.
What I loved most about the book is Millar’s understanding of Superman as a character. No matter what political side Superman aligns with he is the same noble boy scout we all know and love, he’s just a Communist this time.
I only fix things that are broken… I’m not interested in politics or leading the party or any of that behind-the-scenes stuff. I came to Moscow to help the common man. I’m a worker. – Superman.
Superman is forced to walk a fine line he never had to before, one where he wields not only power over the physical world, but legally, over people’s lives and their destinies. Millar writes a poignant story of a noble man trying desperately to be a better man than his predecessor. Where it would be easy for Superman to break the backs of his citizens with his combined physical and political power his resolve to fight for the common man despite the world’s suspicions of him are inspiring to read.
Watching Lex Luthor try to save the world from Superman with his inventions and government funding as the golden boy of the U.S. of A is enthralling as well. Before this story, these two titans duked it out within the same city limits but now the world is their chess board as they try to outwit and outgun the other in the name of what they believe in. Usually I like my Lex Luthor a stone-cold villain but this story manages to make him out to be an edgy antihero of sorts… of sorts mind you. Both men are fighting for the same thing in different ways and that’s for mankind to realize its full potential. And isn’t that what Superman is all about?
Whenever I talk superman with friends I always recommend this book to them. This, and Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid and All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison. I’d say these three are the holy trinity of Superman books. And it blows my mind that even fighting on the side of the hammer and sickle for a brief yarn, this strange visitor from another planet continues to strive for human excellence and goodness.
Another worthy gem from Mark Millar would be Marvel Comic’s Civil War which is now a major motion picture.