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December Book Club: SUPERMAN: RED SON
(W) Mark Millar (A) Dave Johnson and Various Artists
In this tale of Cold War paranoia, the spaceship carrying the infant Superman lands in the 1950s Soviet Union, where he grows up to become a symbol of Soviet power.
Superman: Red Son is a three-issue prestige format comic book mini-series published by DC Comics that was released under their Elseworlds imprint in 2003.
Author Mark Millar created the comic with the premise “what if Superman had been raised in the Soviet Union?” It received critical acclaim and was nominated for the 2004 Eisner Award for best limited series.
The story mixes alternate versions of DC super-heroes with alternate-reality versions of real political figures such as Joseph Stalin and John F. Kennedy. The series spans approximately 1953-2001, save for a futuristic epilogue.
In Red Son, Superman’s rocket ship lands on a Ukrainian collective farm rather than in Kansas, an implied reason being a small time difference (a handful of hours) from the original timeline, meaning Earth’s rotation placed Ukraine in the ship’s path instead of Kansas.
Instead of fighting for “… truth, justice, and the American Way”, Superman is described in Soviet radio broadcasts “… as the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.” His “secret identity” (i.e. the name his adoptive parents gave him) is a state secret.