From all my comic reading, trying different characters stories, I eventually settled on Superman as my favorite superhero.
Not only do I philosophically agree with his inherent altruism and dedication to protecting everyone, but no other superhero comic has impressed or moved me quite like Superman For All Seasons. There is something so beautiful in the way Loeb and Sale took a simple concept and made it elegant. To me, it is a book that if I learn you haven’t read, I will tell you to as soon as possible because of how amazing it is. It is my favorite comic book without any doubt in my head, it transcends comic books.
So, this week I read Superman: Red Son, following in the same vein as last week (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and checked out another seminal Elseworld comic.
My reaction: meh, I liked it.
Let’s start with the concept. What if Superman landed in the Soviet Union instead of America? This is a brilliant concept, which never gets developed into a truly satisfying answer because a lot of the details that would have made this comic more relatable to the real world are left out in place of other things (more on that later). My perception on this may have to do with my political science background, or it may just be that the Soviet Union had dissolved two years before I was born.
What they do manage to show through this premise is that regardless of circumstance Superman still ends up being a genuinely good person. When Lex Luther plans an attack on the United States (yes, he plans an attack against his own country) Red Son Superman still comes to save the day.
This is exactly what I expect and want from Superman. But speaking of what we want, as fans (this is that later I mentioned). In place of more intricate politics or the good or bad that happens in the Soviet Union, this comic decides to spend time on developing all the other DC superheroes we love in this new world. The problem is almost none of them make sense.
I’ll admit Wonder Woman’s part of this story is perfect, but Batman? What? So this comic wants me to believe that because Superman landed in the Soviet Union Batman is some Russian kid who had his parents killed? Why wouldn’t Bruce Wayne still be Batman, I mean, as far as I know, Superman had nothing to do with The Waynes’ deaths.
It was little things like that make parts of this comic feel lazy. Why didn’t they just have Bruce Wayne Batman go to the Soviet Union and fight Superman? Why did it have to be Russian Batman? And why is there a newspaper in a panel (which takes up a majority of the page) that has less than a sentence of actual words and is followed by “fghjjjjk kkjjhsh jsjjsn” for the rest of the lines? You are already writing a comic book, why not write an article to go in it?
While I was at times frustrated with this comic, I will say that I enjoyed reading it. It was a fun read with a solid conclusion even though it didn’t capitalize on the potential of the premise. It was definitely worth the read, and I hope they eventually make a DC Animated film which expands on the concept.
What do you think, Junkies? Have you read Superman: Red Son? Do you think they should adapt it into an animated film? Sound off in the comments! #AFJ4LIFE