Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Review: "Red Son" by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, and Killian Plunkett

Who is the most dyed in the wool, patriotic, all American that you can think of? George Washington? Patton? Chuck Norris? Let me offer a suggestion, what about Superman? (I know I set you guys up for failure on that one since technically he's not real and technically he's a space alien but the point still stands). For being an alien and not real, Superman is an iconic American. But what if he wasn't?


In  the graphic novel "Red Son" the Superman legend is turned on it's head. Superman landed in Ukraine instead of the United States and when he grows up he goes to Moscow to be Stalin's right hand man. Though he is Papa Stalin's best boy Superman tries to always do what he feels is best and is necessary, not just what is according to Party lines. (Like, he saves Americans when they need saving. Even though they are capitalist monsters).

In America, Lex Luthor is a mad science genius whose lady love is Lois Lane.The CIA hires him to find a way to destroy this Soviet threat. He makes several different monsters/super hero type things to go up against Superman but it's all for naught.Beating Superman becomes his obsession into which he pours all of his energy and pretty much abandons Lois, who is still a reporter at the Daily Planet.

Another of Superman's enemies is Batmankoff, who is a bomb happy anarchist. (He wears one of those fuzzy ear flap hats over his Batman mask and bat ear thing and it's Adorable even though I don't think that it's supposed to be.) Another familiar face is Wonder Woman. She's a princess from some idyllic paradise that has no need for men (...) and she's Superman's little comrade in crime and she harbors a long standing crush on Superman that even with all of his superpowers he still is too blind to see. (He still is a man after all).

There's huge battles, unrequited love, betrayals, KGB, America in turmoil, and a twist ending. Kind of everything you want in an action packed story, right?

I am a newbie to the graphic novel genre, and am pretty unfamiliar with the Superman canon but I really enjoyed this little tale, I give it 3 and a half stars out of 5. I have always been interested in Russia's turbulent history, especially during it's time in Communism's stranglehold which I think helped. I really wish they would have called him Supercomrade though.I liked the artwork. It was all very much in the style of Russian propaganda of the past, which kept with the continuity of the idea and the overall feel of the story.

Tip of my military styled government issued hat to my friend Oliver who suggested this book to me and is my graphic novel comrade.

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