Superman: Red Son


Title:  Superman: Red Son

Author:  Mark Millar

Publisher:  DC Comics, 2004

ISBN: 9781401201913

About the author:  from

MARK MILLAR is the New York Times best-selling writer of Wanted, the Kick-Ass series, The Secret Service, Jupiter’s Legacy, Nemesis, Superior, Super Crooks, American Jesus, MPH, Starlight, and Chrononauts. Wanted, Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2, and The Secret Service (as Kingsman: The Secret Service) have been adapted into feature films, and Nemesis, Superior, Starlight, War Heroes, and Chrononauts are in development at major studios.

His DC Comics work includes the seminal Superman: Red Son, and at Marvel Comics he created The Ultimates – selected by Time magazine as the comic book of the decade, Wolverine: Old Man Logan, and Civil War – the industry’s biggest-selling superhero series in almost two decades.

Mark has been an Executive Producer on all his movie adaptations and is currently creative consultant to Fox Studios on their Marvel slate of movies.

 Plot Summary:

Superman: Red Son is based on the idea that instead of Kansas, Superman might have landed in the Ukraine. In this upside-down realm, anything and everything can happen.

Critical Evaluation:

Instead of fighting for “Truth, justice, and the American way”, Superman lands in the Ukraine as a baby and grows up in a commune.

In this “Bizarro” world, the nemeses of Superman are the good guys, JFK and Norma Jean are a couple, and the word “comrades” is thrown around. Mark Millar writes an intricately plotted and unconventional story.  The Kremlin wants Superman to join the party. “I’m not interested in politics or leading the party or any of that behind-the-scenes stuff. I came to Moscow to help the common man. I’m a worker, not a public speaker.” This fast-paced graphic novel is dramatic and serious, and a large cast of characters keeps the story at a fast pace. Did the United States have an influence in Superman as good guy, or was it innate?  With Millar’s banter-filled, richly detailed, and compelling writing, we are about to find out.

Art & Drawing: The illustrations are colorful mixes with dark and red hues. The characters and drawn and big, bold, and detailed.

Reader’s Annotation: What if Superman landed in the Ukraine instead of Kansas?

Genre— graphic novels, comics, historical fiction

Curriculum Ties: history, alternate endings

Booktalking Ideas: Like Superman in Red Son, can you name other fictional storylines that might have alternate endings if circumstances were different?

Reading Level/Interest Age: 12+

Challenge Issues: violence, political viewpoint, inaccurate, unsuited for age group

Challenge Resources 

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Why did you pick this for your collection?  

  • Good reviews from respected sources
  • High Interest