Long Live President Superman
Since 1938, Superman has been one of Comic’s examples of America’s greatest myths. Not because of his powers, but because of his ideals. He has always been portrayed as standing for truth, justice, and the American way. As time went on, that idealized version of the Man of Steel gained a variety of different forms, seen through the Multiverse. One such version decided to take a reversal on that old idealism and have Kal El’s ship land in Soviet Russia. The story, written by Mark Millar in 2003, has since gained fame as one of the most extraordinary Elseworlds stories ever written. Its popularity had earned a place in DC’s official Multiverse as well as a recent animated adaptation. How well does the Comrade of Steel’s tale hold up?
**Major Spoilers Below**
Starting in 1953, Russia shows the world its newest soldier: Superman. Much like the Superman of the main DC Earth, he protects the people of the world. Despite being used for Soviet Propaganda, he does his best to help wherever he can, including America. This garners the affection of Josef Stalin, who sees him as the ultimate tool to spread the Soviet’s ideals across the world. This also causes the illegitimate son of Stalin, Pyotr Roslov(Pete Ross of this world) to grow jealous and plot against the Comrade of Steel.
Meanwhile, The United States begin to worry about their chances against Superman. This causes them to turn to the smartest man they have: Lex Luthor.
Despite this story being nearly two decades old, it holds up incredibly well. One of the keys to making an Elseworlds story is creating an exciting world with the concept. Millar is able to provide this in spades with a fantastic alternate history. With Superman being on the side of the Soviets, we get an entire DC History where heroes appear against him. A Batman who spreads terror and chaos to tear down the Soviet Union, A Wonder Woman who joins Superman’s crusade to spread communism, and more. It paints a fantastical world that readers can get invested in with a story that spans decades.
The story itself could also be seen as an allegory for the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. Much like the start of the movement, Superman takes control of the Government with the intent of helping the people. This only changes after betrayal from one of the inner circle, causing our heroes to tighten his grip. It ended with the Soviet Union collapsing after Superman realized how far he’d gone and America picking up the pieces, similar to how the two nations ended up making a begrudged peace years after. Throw in one of the greatest twist endings in fiction, and we have a captivating story that stands the tests of time.
Our art team is able to provide a fantastic look for this Soviet Superman and his world. Dave Johnson provides several iconic panels and designs in this story. It’s a disservice he doesn’t get tapped for more mainstream DC work. His style presents a wide range of emotions: From hope when Superman holds up the Daily Planet stature to fear when we see the rebellion lobotomized. His style, along with fantastic ink and colorwork, provides an iconic look to fit a grand story.
Does Superman: Red Son hold up after nearly two decades? Well, in President Superman’s language, да. It’s one of the greatest Elseworlds stories that has earned its place in the DC Multiverse. Mark Millar provides a deep story with a fantastic, realistic world with plenty of action to keep even the more casual readers entertained. If you want a Superman story with a fascinating premise and incredible art, look no further than here!