"Superman: Red Son Rising": In the 1950's, the Soviet Union unveils its newest asset, Superman, upsetting the Cold War and turning the nuclear arms race into a super-being arms race. At this point Superman is a newcomer in Stalin's inner circle. Having grown up in Ukraine, he's kind-hearted and
- You know something weird? I've had the same dream almost every night ever since I was a little girl. I dream I'm falling through the clouds and the Earth's getting closer and closer, but I'm never afraid because I know that you're there to catch me. Can you believe that? You catch me almost every night. Always in the nick of time... and now you're real, Superman. As real as any of this.
Synopsis for "Superman: Red Son Rising"
In the 1950's, the Soviet Union unveils its newest asset, Superman, upsetting the Cold War and turning the nuclear arms race into a super-being arms race. At this point Superman is a newcomer in Stalin's inner circle. Having grown up in Ukraine, he's kind-hearted and just but also dedicated to the cause of communism. When possible, he spends his time detecting and preventing accidents and disasters around the USSR.
The sudden revelation of a superpowered alien committed to the Soviet Union causes panic in the United States. President Dwight D. Eisenhower is forced to contract Lex Luthor, a brilliant scientist at the employ of S.T.A.R. Labs and a super-genius who is very well aware of his intellect and has very little regard for lesser minds. Luthor is married to Lois Lane. At the behest of his CIA contact, Agent Olsen, he begins his first attempt to destroy Superman.
Spurred from reading news articles about Superman's altruistic heroism and the launch of the Sputnik 2 satellite, Luthor concocts a plan to cause Sputnik 2 to plummet towards Metropolis. As Luthor predicted, Superman arrives in time to divert its course. In the process, he meets Lois, and though there is immediate romantic tension between them, they do not pursue their mutual attraction as Lois is married. The satellite is retrieved by the United States government and Luthor retrieves Superman's genetic material found on it to create a clone of Superman.
Meanwhile, Superman meets Wonder Woman at a diplomatic party where Stalin is hosting an alliance with Paradise Island. Diana becomes rather smitten by Superman, but he is forced to leave when he spots Pyotr Roslov, Chief of the NKVD and Stalin's illegitimate son, who is drunk and extremely disgruntled. Pyotr is angry at everything, especially at Superman, whose arrival has rewritten the Soviet Union's power structure, turned his father's attention away from him, putting a stop to his chances of advancement. Having had to shoot a dissident couple before their own son's eyes for allegedly printing anti-Superman propaganda, Pyotr snapped and arranged Stalin's poisoning, which in turn has caused him horrible guilt, though not enough to confess. Stalin dies from cyanide poisoning and leaving the Soviet leadership voided. The Communist Party begged Superman to fill in as Stalin's successor, but Superman initially refused because he sees himself unqualified for being born with privileges and therefore runs in complete contradiction to the communist ideology.
While Superman was distracted from Stalin's death, America and its allies have taken steps to contain Soviet expansionism by increasing their nuclear stockpiles in Western Europe. This is then follow by the completion of Luthor's clone, dubbed as "Superman Two." But the clone is physically monstrous and imperfect, and is met with embarrassment from Eisenhower and privately disparaged by his handlers as a "bizarro thing."
The U.S. government dispatch Superman Two to engage with his counterpart over the English Channel. Their duel is inconclusive on its own, but causes collateral damages and deaths in London and an accidental nuclear missile launch from an American submarine. The clone, which has been made too much like Superman, sacrifices himself to divert the missile into space and saving millions of lives in the process.
Despite of the Superman clone's death, Luthor is more horrified at the implication that Superman is more intelligent than himself after losing a chess game to the clone on the night prior to the clone's deployment. Luthor resigns from S.T.A.R. Labs, murdering his research staff, and founds Luthorcorp, dedicating his life to destroying Superman. He also temporarily divorces Lois which he planned ahead given that his new goal will damage their marriage. Lois is nigh-abandoned and privately longs for Superman.
After Stalin's state funeral, Superman tries to dismiss any interest in politics or leading the Party. But a chance meeting with Lana Lazarenko, his childhood flame, changes things entirely. Seeing the suffering of Lana and her children and others waiting in a breadline for food, Superman realizes that his powers could be used for a greater good, and assumes leadership of the country in order to transform it into a utopia.
Appearing in "Superman: Red Son Rising"
- Superman (First full appearance)
- Batman's father (Dies)
- Batman's mother (Dies)
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Jordan Lazarenko
- Martha Kent
- Mehri Lazarenko
- Red Army
- Jonathan Kent (Mentioned only)
- Sputnik 2
- SSM-N-8 Regulus
- USS Grayback (SSG-574)
- This issue is reprinted in Superman: Red Son.
- The Soviet propaganda about Superman ("Superman: strange visitor from another world! Who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steels in his bare hands...") mimics the intro of The Adventures of Superman radio show.
- When Luthor is first introduced he is seen distracting himself with puzzles from Acme Puzzle Co. The Acme Company is the fictional company featured prominently in the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons as a running gag. Both DC Comics and the Looney Tunes are owned by Warner Bros.
- The splash panel of Superman handing the balloon back to the little American boy while carrying the Daily Planet globe is an homage to the cover of Superman #1 (1939).
- Superman Recommended Reading
- Action Comics (Volume 1)
- Action Comics (Volume 2)
- Adventures of Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- DC Comics Presents (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 1)
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman (Volume 3)
- Superman (Volume 4)
- Superman (Volume 5)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- Superman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Steel (Volume 1)
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow (Volume 1)
- Superman/Wonder Woman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)