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YMMV / Superman: Red Son

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  • Complete Monster: Brainiac stands as a stark contrast to the misguided intentions of this Superman, who grew up in the USSR. At first allied with Lex Luthor to defeat Superman, Brainiac shrinks down the city of Stalingrad and puts it in a bottle. Superman easily defeats Brainiac and reprograms him, making him his servant. Brainiac becomes the USSR's chief scientist and comes up with a horrifying way to deal with people who threaten Superman's rule: turning them into lobotomized robots. Brainiac tries to push Superman into more extreme actions, like declaring war on the US in a preemptive strike, noting that if they attack now only 6.5 million people will die and the US will be conquered in a matter of hours. Lex Luthor confronts Superman and Brainiac, wanting to debate Superman, but Brainiac has him taken away to become a robot. Superman relents and agrees to invade the US. Superman is confronted by Lois Lane, who uses a letter from Lex Luthor to convince Superman what he is doing is wrong. After calling off the invasion, Superman is attacked by Brainiac, who was not really reprogrammed, and was simply pretending to be Superman's ally because it suited his own purposes. Brainiac plans to kill Superman, conquer the world and then conquer the galaxy. However, Lex Luthor escaped and manages to shut down Brainiac, but after his defeat, it is revealed that Brainiac has rigged his ship to explode if he has ever defeated, which would cause an explosion that would destroy the Earth and every thing in 15 million mile radius, willing to kill the human race out of spite.
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  • Crazy Awesome: Lex Luthor's introduction. A top scientist at STAR Labs, he's taking a coffee break playing (and winning) fourteen simultaneous games of chess while reading Machiavelli's The Prince and also listening to a teach-yourself-Urdu tape on a Walkman of his own invention "to keep my mind occupied". He designed and invented the walkman only a few hours earlier.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: A reader could easily conclude that Communism and Fascism are only superficially similar, because Fascism is a utopia if the dictator is really, really smart like Lex. Since all tyrants believe themselves to be geniuses (since none dare contradict them) and always present themselves as such, this may not be the best meme to be tossing around.
    • Another unwanted "lesson" that might be learned is that communism and fascism are comparable at all. Communism is an economic system while fascism is a political system. The Soviet Union, both in real life and in Red Son, used communism as a means to authoritarianism, which is where the fascism comes in.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • The ultimate example is when Superman implies that the reason he survived Luthor's black hole was that Luthor rounded off a decimal point when calculating Superman's density! See Gambit Roulette on the main page for the full context on this. note 
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    • Joseph Stalin and Superman getting along finely is rather funny, given that "Stalin" literally means "Man Of Steel"note .
      • Not really. It's more like Russian equivalent of surname Steel. However it is still rather funny.
    • Luthor's ability to avoid Brainiac's tendrils makes it likely that he planted Brainiac on Superman all of those years ago in order to further his plans.
    • Superman is oblivious to Pyotr being a traitor to his regime in spite of the latter openly despising him, or Diana clearly being in love with him. This is a hint that this version of Superman doesn't see human beings as people so much as he does as problems that need to be fixed. When Pyotr drunkenly hints that he poisoned Stalin, Superman is too busy solving problems and averting crises to really listen. Lex figures out this flaw and uses it to achieve victory.
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    • One part of Superman mythos that this Superman lacks is that there is no Kryptonite in this story (as Luthor would have undoubtedly used it against him if it did). The reason is that because this story has the infant Kal-L being sent from a far distant future, there is no Krypton, so there is no Kryptonite!
  • Funny Moment: When Superman asks Lex how he managed to circumvent the Fortress' defences.
    Defences? Oh, I just thought they were decorations for some cheap Russian folk festival.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the canon one-shot Superman: The Earth Stealers, a cosmonaut commented that it's a "pity such a magnificent hero did not land in Mother Russia when he came to Earth!"
    • There's this line from Lois Lane in Superman #84, dated 1993.
    Lois: Do you ever wonder what would have happened if the ship that brought you here from Krypton had landed somewhere other than Kansas? Like New York, or Italy... maybe the Soviet Union?
    • After Pyotr kills Red Son!Batman's parents:
    Pyotr: Go on! Get out of my sight! YOUR PARENTS ARE DEAD!!!
  • Magnificent Bastard: Lex Luthor is a brilliant scientist at S.T.A.R labs seeking to defeat Superman, the 'alien', to prove himself and humanity superior to all others. Having the satellite Sputnik plummet to Metropolis to trick Superman into saving the city, Luthor harvests his genetic material to create a clone he then unleashes for his plans, later assisting the Russian Batman against Superman from the shadows. Later becoming President and saving America from ruin, Luthor continues to plot against Superman, Luthor eventually breaks the would-be benevolent dictator with the phrase "Why don't you just put the whole WORLD in a BOTTLE, Superman?" Which triggers superman to give his life to stop Brainiac and Luthor's victory, allowing Luthor to craft a 'Global United States' with an unparalleled era of peace and prosperity.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: Luthor is portrayed as being a Jerkass, but basically an Unscrupulous Hero... right up until he murders all his lab personnel because they know too much about the creation of Bizarro.
  • Mythology Gag: The time travel ending is similar to one of Superman's co-creator Jerry Siegel's original concepts in 1934 where Superman comes from the future and sent by his father, the last man on Earth to the past. [1] [2]
  • Obvious Judas: Why is Superman so shocked when he finds out from Batman before his suicide that Pyotr betrayed him? He made no secret whatsoever of his hatred of him, and even drunkenly admitted that he poisoned Stalin.
  • Shipper on Deck: Josef Stalin of all people ships Superman and Wonder Woman.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A lot of scenes show the canon Superman characters doing random things to show how their lives are different without Superman, even though they have zero connection to the plot. Examples: the Kents, Lois Lane and the Daily Planet staff, etc.
  • What an Idiot!: Pyotr is totally confident of his ability to defeat Batman once their plan to overthrow Superman is complete, right after Bats kidnapped him from his own private car.

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