A mess. So simple can it be put forward when the talk falls on Mark Millar’s “Superman: Red Son”, a tale that dares to ask what if Superman had crashlanded in Russia and not in the USA. It is definitaly an intriguing and interesting premise that could provide us with a lot of thoughtprovoking reflections and observations as the tale is spinned around a superman with communist values. Yet, even with all this potential Mark Miller manages to create a messy, incoherent story that seems more intented to suprise and provoke than to actually present us with a thoughtful Superman story.
It all seems fun and games. Superman is raised in a collective in Russia and soon rises to the occassion of presenting himself as a defender of communism and the common worker. He befriends Stalin and protect people, not only in Russia but all over the world. The world is in awe about Superman and all his work to promote the best version of socialism all over the world. Soon a majority of the world’s countries join the Warsaw-pact and the United States gets more and more isolated. Meanwhile Lex Luthor is hired by the american government to create an anti-superman weapon spawning countless infamous villains that fans of Superman will recognize.
This fight between Luthor and Superman is essentially what the story is focused on and you notice quite quickly that the rest of the story and its universe comes second to this struggle. Although the premise naturally incourages to explore the possibilities of a Communist Superman Millar instead chooses to ignore the consequenses of the premise and instead make up a lot alternate scenarios intertwining with each other. It quickly appears very chaotic and a lot of explanation for why certain elements happens is simply lacking. You found yourself asking questions like:
Why is Louis Lane married with Lex Luthor?
Why did the Batman rise in the Soviet Union?
How come Lana Lang suddenly is a russian?
Why was Nixon elected in 1960 and then assassinated in 1963?
None of these questions are answered even if they do raise eyebrows when you read them. Millar may not have cared about this simply because he wanted to make an alternate scenario rather than an exploration of a certain timelines consequences. Instead he just want to have fun messing up the Superman-story as we know. There is nothing wrong in that but they could at least have pointed this more clearly. Instead one expects some sort of intelligent reflection upon capitalism and communism in a world with a superior Superhero. However, what we got here felt more like a fan-fiction crazy portrayal of a communist Superman.
On a more positive note, I thoroughly enjoyed the drawings that was clear and easy to look at. It was as overproportioned as a superhero-comic should be without becoming too crazy and wild while also having a great variety of colors that was nice to see.