Ever wonder what would have happened if Superman were a Communist?

Ever wonder what would have happened if Superman were a Communist?

Superman fights for Truth, Justice, and the American way. But what if he fought for Stalin, Socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact? The cold war just entered the Superhuman arms race. America’s answer: The smartest man on the planet, a man so brilliant that he thinks up of a formula to balance the American budget on his coffee break while winning six chess matches at the same time. Here he is after his first portentous battle. The first of many. For the indefatigable Lex Luthor had never met a problem he couldn’t solve. So he set to work creating a thousand destructive experiments to defeat the [amazon_link id="1401201911" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Soviet Superman.[/amazon_link]

Lex is a seriously excellent character in this series. He isn’t a hero exactly. He’s more of a foil. A check on the nearly infinite power Superman possesses.

By the by, Superman has different levels of power depending on who happens to be writing the book. This time Supes is unstoppable. He has titaninc amounts of strength, can travel at velocities approaching lightspeed, can hear conversations in a bunker a continent away. Basically he’s a one-man Orwellian Big Brother. And brother that is scary.

But back to Lex. Easily my favorite character in the book. He uses his massive intellect to compete with the Man of Steel on the usual terms, throwing various supervillians and such at the last son of Krypton, but in a new convention, he competes with Superman on political levels as well. He even becomes the President of America once Superman becomes the head of the Communist party after the death of Stalin.

This I thought was the coolest part. Superman with all of his ridiculous power has by the nineteen eighties made the majority of the world a communist utopia, taking care of the people’s every need, but in the process completely enslaving them. Only America and Chile remain capitalist societies and both are on the verge of collapse as noted by Wonder Woman below.

Speaking of Wonder Woman, at one point, Superman comments to her, “I don’t know if we should be interfering with them to this degree. Half of them don’t even wear their seat belts anymore.” This shows the central point of the comic. It is a critique of socialism.

Basically the book asserts that a Utopian society attained at the cost of personal freedom doesn’t count because freedom is everything. And representing the evil socialist mindset is the world’s greatest hero. The best thing about this story is to see how Superman’s innate morality, (the quality that makes him the most interesting.) plays out on the political scale. He begins as a servant of the public, trying to help the common man in every way he can. His wish to help people transcends borders, just as in the regular continuity. Superman the communist still will never take a human life. Instead he tries to win over his political and ideological enemies through the power of the communist ideal.

But due to the influence of another one of his enemies: Brainiac, the genocidal alien data collector, Superman’s ideas are twisted and he ends up lobotomizing his more rebellious citizens in an attempt to preserve order. Eventually, Lex Luthor convinces Superman of the error of his ways by comparing the civilization he’s created to a very familiar image to Superman fanatics. The bottled city of Kandor(in Red Son the city is Stalingrad) His final argument to Supes causes a revelation. Superman realizes that making the society perfect for the humans is no different that bullying them into submitting to his superior power, the exact antithesis of his socialist ideals: One above all, rather than the collective making their own decisions.

This epiphany causes the man of steel to go into hiding as a meek, mild mannered reporter, and no one is ever the wiser. Meanwhile, Luthor, having finally defeated his adversary is now free to use his knowledge for the benefit o mankind. He begins inventing a cure for a different disease everyday. He advances every field of science beyond all imagination, extending the human life time up to centuries, and even breaking the barrier to the afterlife. His genius creates the World that Superman envisioned.

It’s a really interesting story for a superman fan. It completely re-envisions the character, while maintaining all of the elements essential to his iconic status.