What if Superman Was Communist? (Superman: Red Son)

What if Superman Was Communist? (Superman: Red Son)

– Hello, and welcome to
Back Issue Book Club, a weekly examination of the
most memorable storylines in comic books. I’m Tristan Cooper from Dorkly,
and in an alternate universe I host a show about
books without pictures. Who else do we have with me today? – I’m Andrew Bridgman, also
known as Russian Bat-Mike. – I’m Randy McKay, and in
the Elseworlds version of me, I’m Booster Bronze, a
Bronze Age-Booster Gold. – [Tristan] Wow, I love it, I love it. Quite a rogues’ gallery
we have here today. We’re reading Superman: Red Son. It’s pretty famous among Elseworlds alternate universe tales. It focuses on a world where
Superman, instead of landing in rural Kansas, he lands
in Soviet Russia as a baby, and grows up there. Eventually, throughout
the book, he becomes the undisputed ruler of Russia. That basically leads to
World War III with America, and peace for generations. – Unending millennia, basically. – [Tristan] We’ll get
there, we’ll get there. First, I did want to talk
a bit with our guest Randy. What was your impression? Have you heard of this book before? What’s been your history with
Superman up to this point? – Okay, so before getting this
book, I didn’t like Superman, and after reading this, I
still don’t like Superman. – [Tristan] Oh boy! – He’s worse, well he’s not worse. I prefer this to like
the Superman that I know, which, to be honest is
like the animated series and Justice League Superman. I don’t know, man. I think he’s too good,
and I don’t like it. – Too good? – [Randy] Too good. He’s always trying to do the right thing. – [Andrew] “I want people
doing the wrong thing!” – [Randy] Yeah, I want
a villain, actually. I back Lex all the way, all the time. But the thing about Superman
that I always get bothered by is the fact that he always wins. I remember specifically one episode of, I think it was Justice League, where he finally fights somebody who’s strong enough to beat him. He’s like “Ugh! Okay, well all my life I’ve been holding back, but I
finally get to cut loose now!” – [Andrew] That’s an
amazing moment, Randy! – I hate it so much! – [Tristan] He gets to punch
Darkseid as hard as he can! – [Andrew] That’s the best moment! – “Oh you thought I was strong, let me show you my real strength! It’s strong still.” – We’re gonna have a lot of
things to talk about, Randy. – We do have a lot to talk about here. – That’s like saying “I hate
cake ‘cuz it tastes so good.” – Yeah, too sweet man. It’s too sweet, it ruins
other food for you. – “Give me salad!” – Oh, yes! I love a good, what’s that one with the basil and the mozzarella? That’s not what we’re here to talk about. – [Andrew] Basil and mozzarella? – Yeah, basil and mozzarella salad! – I’m not that versed in salads, Randy. I only eat cake. – Moving on to comic books! It’s interesting that you note
that Superman is very samey a lot of the time, because
it’s kind of interesting to me that even though he grows
up in Soviet Russia, the first that we see of this Superman, who’s a myth at the
beginning to all Americans, is that he looks very much like Superman, except for he has the sickle. He has the Soviet symbol on
the shield instead of the “S”, which is obviously hope. – That’s the word. – That’s the word. Which is interesting to
me, because we say that he’s intrinsically good, right? But that kind of flies in
the face of his upbringing in Kansas, you’d think that
his parents have imbued him with, in the regular universe, his parents helped him
to be a good person. But it turns out that
Superman, for the most part, is always just a good guy. – Well, I think with a
lot of Elseworlds stuff, it is about drawing parallels. So, he did grow up on a farm here still, and his parents, you know, they instilled him with good ideals, about good socialist ideals. It’s about taking care of your fellow man, about the value of
workers, all that business. He becomes, obviously,
a tool of Joseph Stalin, which isn’t as great. – No, not the best. – [Andrew] Slightly not as great. I think that’s like an
interesting shade on it though, where his intentions are very
good, but he’s holding up a brutal totalitarian regime. – And I think there’s, legit,
just one line where he says in his introduction, it’s like
“I wouldn’t consider myself a tool of the state as much
as like, I’ve always sort of had free thought, and I just
agree with these values.” – [Andrew] Actually, reading
this made me think that oh, it’s actually weirder
that in normal comics, the government didn’t take him and be like “Hey, you work for us now,
and you are our superweapon.” That’s the weirder thing,
that that didn’t happen. – Yes, I agree, but at the same time, the whole time we paint
this Superman as a good guy, when he is not. He’s not a good guy. He does some pretty
rotten, terrible things. – He straight up goes to evil so quickly. – [Randy] Over the course of
like 80 years, or like 40. – [Andrew] “Aw man, Stalin’s dead? I guess I’ll be a dictator
and give brain surgery to anyone who disagrees with me.” – But at the same time, I
don’t know who the protagonist of this book is. It’s all about Superman,
but he’s not good. – It’s Lex, man. – [Tristan] There’s Lex
Luthor, who is in the book, married to Lois Lane for some, it’s an alternate universe. – A baby landed in
Ukraine instead of Kansas, and therefore, Lois fell in love with Lex. That’s the change. – Also Pa Kent had to die
because he didn’t have a kid? – [Andrew] Yes.
– That’s just part of it now? There’s weird things
that just sort of happen- – Well, Pa Kent always dies. Pa Kent always dies, and this is after a certain period of time. Superman is, what, 30 or
something when the story begins? That’s mostly in line with when he dies.
– [Tristan] We have alternate versions of most of the Justice League. Wonder Woman is there,
she meets up with Superman pretty early in the story. She is entranced by the only other man who could match her strength. There’s also, as we mentioned, Lex Luthor and Lois Lane. They are married. I don’t know why Lois
would marry Lex Luthor. – He’s very good at chess. – He’s a brilliant scientist with nothing to fight against, until
Superman comes around. Basically, the whole thing
around that character, throughout this book, is that
he can accomplish great things if Superman wasn’t there, essentially. – Well, he does, then. – Yeah, he invents a tape
recorder in his shower, or something like that,
when they introduce him. – My favorite part of,
like, Lex is so smart, he balances the federal budget. Which is literally just saying like, “Well you spend the same
amount that you take in. That’s it.” But they were like “Whoa! That’s incredible, how
did you figure this out!” It’s like, well, it’s a math equation. – I can’t expect someone to
actually solve the economy in a superhero comic. But they do go to great
lengths to almost do like that Sherlock Holmes
things, to kind of show off how smart this dude is. – He’s like reading Machiavelli,
while listening to music, while playing three games of chess. – [Randy] And learning Urdu. – [Andrew] Learning Urdu, yeah. – And at the same time, there’s
also, which really gets me. There is a Russian version
of Batman, and his parents are killed by the state. I don’t think he is ever named,
unlike the other characters. – [Andrew] This is one
of my favorite things in Elseworlds stuff and
it’s best exemplified in Marvel 1602, where they envision the entire Marvel universe
having started very, very early in like the time America was colonized, and everyone’s name like… Professor Strange-ius, it’s
like very slightly different. If they had done this, it
would be Bruce Wayne-ov, or something, or Wayne-iov. – Similar to that, there
is a Lana Lang-alike. – There’s Lana Lazarov, or something. – It’s very similar to that, yes. It was just kind of weird to me. We have real characters, we
have Lex Luthor without Superman for a while. We have Lois Lane without
Clark Kent for a while. So how do their lives change? And then, we also just have
“Oh, Russia and Lana Lang.” – There’s a couple that are
like “Well they’re Russian now.” – [Tristan] Kind of mixing
that up kind of threw me off a little bit, as far as the
alternate universe goes. But, at the same time, I
kind of have to accept, “Okay, alternate universe,
anything can change. Anything can be different.” But the appeal here is like
“What changes if Superman lands in Russia,” right? I guess it’s everything, the entire world. – A lot of things change,
and that’s part of the fun of an Elseworlds thing where
also, it’s a limited thing. It doesn’t need to have a
very strong protagonist, that’s like an ongoing thing. I liked it, but I understand
why that’s a little confusing. The greatest thing though? When Russian Bruce Wayne’s parents die, instead of having the pearls
falling on the ground, it’s beans. – Is it? – [Andrew] Yeah, the mom
carried a big bucket of beans and the beans spill on the
ground instead of pearls. That’s great, I love that. – I also love that Bruce
doesn’t cry, he just sort of gives like a screw-you look. Like, I’m gonna get
you so bad, government. – [Andrew] And he does. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but he does.
– And he does. But that’s the thing about this. What gets me is that
everyone in the book is, relative to Superman, their
whole world revolves around him. At first, I like the idea of
Red Son, because it shows that America is not the center of the universe. What if we just changed it just slightly, so everything important didn’t
happen in the United States. But then, at the same time,
we have this book that’s like, “Well, everything important
that ever happened revolved around one person instead.” Wonder Woman’s life completely changes, because Superman landed
in a different place. Lois Lane’s life completely changes. The one character that
I get is Lex Luthor, because he’s an egomaniac. Anyone more powerful than
him is obviously going to catch his ire, more or less. I get that, because he’s also the villain. He’s not a likable character. I can see that he is so
vindictive, that he will change his life, and dedicate himself
to destroying an enemy, no matter where they are. I believe that, but it just bothered me, especially with Wonder
Woman and Lois Lane, that they basically, I don’t know. They kind of lose themselves
in pursuit of Superman. – They definitely,
especially Wonder Woman, they just have her pining
after Superman for decades. – [Tristan] They kind of did
that with Lois Lane, too. There’s a shot of her
looking out to the distance, and thinking about the one
time that she met Superman. – I mean, he’s really hot. She’s married to Lex Luthor,
who doesn’t talk to her, who does chess all the time. – Hangs out on her birthday only. – Hangs out on her birthday only, I thought it was anniversary. Who watches TV with the sound
off, so he can read lips. He’s a big lamewad, and he
is gradually going bald, and she’s thinking of this super hottie who saved her life, and
saved a child’s balloon. And like, I get it. – To just move this story
along, we see Superman grow up. He is a looming force in the Cold War. He eventually supersedes
Joseph Stalin, dies from what, is it cyanide poisoning? – Yeah, his son poisons him. – His son- – [Andrew] Pyotr, who hates Superman. – [Tristan] Who’s like, maybe one of the only original characters. – I couldn’t figure out who
his equivalent would be. I thought “Well, there
has to be an equivalent for this guy, right?” – Because everyone else in
this story is an equivalent. – [Andrew] No, I don’t think he is. – He’s just Joseph
Stalin’s illegitimate son. – They even throw in
Doctor Sivana later on, as like a “Heh, Doctor Sivana’s here!” – Superman takes over Russia
because he can, essentially. – [Andrew] Well, not because he can, he feels like he has to. That’s the crazy thing is,
despite them having Superman, there’s still bread lines,
there’s still people starving in the streets. It’s still all of the normal
USSR-problems, and he’s like “Well, if I were running things, I could make everything run very efficiently.” – There’s that inciting
moment, where he runs into Lana again and he’s like “Oh hey,
yeah let me just hook you up with some bread. Oh you’ve got kids? Not that into that, but I’ll
still get them some bread.” People yell at him, and
he’s like “I can fix this.” – Well, he also didn’t
realize people were starving. He has ultra-hearing, he’s running off to all parts of the globe. He’s like “Wait a sec,
people don’t have food?” – His big thing is trains,
he loves to come in for a train emergency
– [Tristan] There’s a lot of train accidents, and the trains aren’t running on time there, I don’t think. – If he wasn’t superpowered,
he’d definitely be one of those guys with a big
train set in his basement. – Maybe there’s some sort of
alternate universe version of Chris Cuomo running
those trains in Russia. – You’re thinking of Andrew Cuomo. – Yes I am.
– (both laughing) – [Andrew] That’s some
New York specific stuff. Our fans across the world
will love this Andrew Cuomo, or Cuomo family. – Chris Cuomo is Elseworlds Andrew Cuomo. – There you go! Kristoph! – [Andrew] Kristoph Cuom-ov? – That’s a hot tangent
everyone is gonna love. – Everyone loves Andrew Cuomo-talk. – But this is around
the time that Lex Luthor sort of starts to dedicate himself to, not just ignoring his wife,
but destroying Superman. So he creates all sorts of
clones and, in this universe, he is the one who creates
Parasite, and Metallo. – Bizarro! – And Bizarro. – [Randy] The best character in the book. – [Tristan] I think you
might be right there. He is this very sad mutant, as he is in the mainline comic series. He fights Superman for a
bit, but he also accidentally irradiates like 15 miles all around him when he uses his laser vision. Everything goes bad. – That’s not his fault though. – Some missiles go off, and
he basically “Iron Giants”. And it kind of ties back around. – “Me am glad to meet
you,” as he’s leaving. That’s his goodbye. I was like “Aw! Bizarro, come back!” My heart hurt. – He’s a much better person than Superman, he just kind of like watched. Oh, he froze Superman! – He froze Superman so he
could sacrifice himself. – There’s this thing, Superman
has his little monologue about us having a moment of
realization with each other. Then, Bizarro has to
one-up Superman somehow. That’s the smartest thing
anyone does in the book. “You stop for a second, Superman, because I’m the only
one who can stop you.” And then he does a nice thing so the world can still have Superman. I was like “Oh wow, that’s very brilliant, guy who doesn’t know the difference between hello and goodbye.” – He was kind of too good
of a clone of Superman. – [Andrew] Except really ugly. – Because he’s the real Superman. – [Tristan] Right, exactly. Yeah, I guess he is kind
of the real Superman. He’s the American Superman,
which is interesting. But instead, Superman goes back to Russia, and kind of rules it with an iron fist. – Steel fist. – Man of Steel. Wasn’t Stalin known as the Man of Steel, am I thinking of that? – They reference that in
the book, at the very least. – [Andrew] I don’t know
if that was real life, I don’t know anything
about actual history. I only know what I read
in Elseworlds comic books. – Fair enough. – [Andrew] Learn about
the Stalin character, he seems pretty nice. – Great ‘stache. – [Andrew] I don’t see any
problems with Joseph Stalin according to this book. – The book is separated
into kind of three parts. We have Superman’s upbringing. We have the middle part, where it’s basically his rise
to power, his confrontations with Lex Luthor, and the last
bit is where war breaks out. We’re in the middle now, and this is where Lex starts fighting with Superman. This is also where Batman
comes to prominence. In the first book, we see
the beans fall on the floor. – The classic beans-falling scene, that we all love. – In the new one, we see Batman operate in the shadows of Moscow. He is a symbol, kind of like… – [Andrew] He’s the resistance. – [Tristan] He’s the
resistance in the underground, because while things are
technically better, quote-unquote, under Superman, there’s no free thought. People are Superman robots. – Got a lot of brain surgery happening. – Superman robots are
basically people who have microchips or whatnot grafted onto them, so they’re docile and compliant. – Were this built by, um? – That’s a good point that
we didn’t talk about yet. The second issue opens with, it jumps ahead like 20 years, Superman is fighting Brainiac. – Lex Luthor’s Brainiac, I think. – Lex Luthor’s Brainiac,
but it is Brainiac. It came from a different planet, whatever. It has already shrunk
Stalingrad into a tiny city instead of- what was the Kryptonian city? – I believe they wanted… Kandor, right? – [Andrew] Kandor,
yeah, that sounds right. Apparently, Brainiac screwed up. He wanted to get Moscow,
and Brainiac was like, “Aw, I’m sorry man, I messed up. I got this one though, it’s pretty good.” – I shrunk a completely different
city in a perfect bottle. – Thousands of miles away, and like, this is good though, right? I thought Brainiac was a
little smarter than that, but apparently not. – He’s a level 12 intelligence,
as opposed to Lex Luthor, who is only level nine. This is very Dragonball
Z-power levels kind of thing. – I wonder if they’re exponential too. – Level nines can talk you
into suicide in 14 minutes, and level 12s can do it
in one minute probably. – I don’t know, I don’t know
what the curve is there. – What’s the Spirit Bomb
for talking Superman into killing himself? – Just some red flashlights, I guess. – [Andrew] Red flashlights
are it, you know. – That’s an important plot
point that you bring up, because Superman can’t restore this city. We see it later, it is
ravaged by little bugs. We’ll kind of shelve that for
now, because it comes back. – Superman also reprograms
Brainiac to help him with all of the brain surgery. – Right. And that’s where all of the
Superman robots come in. They’re, quote-unquote,
robots, even though they’re mostly human. – Incredibly heavy-handed metaphor. – They’re like
mecha-lobotomized, essentially. But Batman is operating
beneath the shadows, and he eventually comes in
confrontation with Batman, makes his ultimate Batman move
of kidnapping Wonder Woman and tying her up, which is just like, with the Lasso of Truth. It’s super hard to get out
of, but that’s the thing with Wonder Woman. Her whole history is in bondage. That was her weakness to
begin with, in the old comics. Superman had Kryptonite, Wonder
Woman, if she was tied up by a man, she was powerless. That’s messed up in a lot
of ways, and to just sort of make a callback here? Not my favorite. Especially the way that
Wonder Woman has been treated throughout this comic, as just kind of fawning after Superman. – Everything depends on Superman to her. – She’s an Amazonian! – She’s got a little talk
with her mom in one panel, where it’s just like “Hey,
he’s not like most guys, right? He’s taller! Get it Mom?” – “We can float and dance
at the same time, I guess?” – He’s still got that little spit curl, that he makes work somehow.
– He’s got that Curt Swan, an old artist, Curt
Swan, did a little curl. That’s what we see in
Christopher Reeve, as well. During this whole situation,
essentially Batman tricks Superman into going into a bunker, with a bunch of red
flashlights that zap his power. – He just blasts the flashlights on him, and then punches him
and drags him into it. He was like “Hey, you’re stuck here now.” – He baits him with
Wonder Woman, all tied up. Superman calls out to Lois,
“Hey, I know this will ruin you and decimate you for life,
but you have to break out of the Lasso right now, and save me. Or else, everything is gonna, you know.” – Everything we’ve worked
for will be destroyed! – And so, she does, and
Superman breaks out, and Batman blows himself up. Makes himself a martyr, essentially. Wonder Woman is completely scarred. We see her arms are on fire. – [Andrew] Her hair is just all gray. – [Tristan] It’s all gray,
she’s aged like 50 years in like a split second. Superman has to live with
that, but he almost certainly thinks it’s worth it, at this point. – Because, at this point,
he has it in his head that he’s the only reason
why the world is good. – At this point too, the
Soviet Union has taken over every country except for
the United States and Chile. So he’s close to being
the ruler of the world. – [Randy] You know,
typical Superman stuff. – [Andrew] Superman in this,
and in a lot of things, but especially this, is so good at “Oh no! Their cat’s up a tree 5,000 miles away, I’d better get it.” He’s not able to track Batman ever. He doesn’t recognize Batman
kidnapping Wonder Woman and tying her up with the
Lasso, until it’s too late. – He definitely has like
the Golden Age powers. In Modern Age, Superman
can be knocked around. Not super easily.
– [Andrew] They wanted him to not be like, ultra-OP.
– [Tristan] Right, invincible. Back in the day, he could carry
planets with a giant chain. Just like, carry them
through space himself. These days, he’s not able to do that. This Superman in particular
seems extra powerful. – Yeah, he’s real good. – I can see how that, his world changing. it is kind of interesting to
me, just to see a world where superheroes just use the power,
just to take over the world. – Also, he is the only
super-person in this world. Other than Wonder Woman, there really are no other super-people. – There’s Wonder Woman, and! – [Andrew] Until later, we do find out. – Yeah, towards the
end of the second book, the Americans do get a leg up
in the form of a crashed ship with the Green Lantern ring in it. So, eventually they build up
a Corps of Green Lanterns, which includes Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, I think John Stewart’s in
the mix as well, Guy Gardner. Just all versions of them,
but they’re not really fleshed-out in any meaningful way. – No, they just reference like “Rayner! Get it together!” – [Tristan] There is a weird moment, and this is jumping
ahead, just a hot minute, because we still need to
get to President Lex Luthor. In the introduction to Green Lantern, they spend several pages on
how Green Lantern constructed a concentration camp for his
Vietnam captors, in his mind. A, why is Vietnam going on
when Superman is around? – [Andrew] It was a conflict
between Russia and America. – [Tristan] It was a proxy war. – Russia had already
taken over everything, except America and Chile. – That kind of confused me. – Did they say Vietnam specifically? – [Andrew] Maybe they didn’t say Vietnam. – Was it somewhere else? Because if it’s anywhere
else other than America, then it’s taken over, right? – It could have been Chile. – Maybe. I’m sorry. Let me know in the comments, or whatnot. – [Andrew] That’s a good question. The point is, this Hal Jordan
is a complete psychopath, but with incredible willpower. Just incredible focus and willpower. – But, to murder things. I feel like it just doesn’t come up. I feel like they build up this backstory. – The Corps is powered by one ring. They don’t all have
rings; one guy has a ring, and he is armoring all of
this entire group of people. – At the same time, I don’t
understand how that factors in to his character, or
the fight that he has. But, jumping back, towards the
beginning of the first book there’s another time jump. Lex Luthor is elected
President of the United States. – He’s fully bald. So he’s finally the Lex we know. – [Tristan] But he’s doing things that we don’t think of Lex doing. – [Andrew] He makes things good. – [Tristan] He’s doing all
of the things that Superman thinks he is doing, basically. He’s making… I don’t want to finish that sentence, when it comes to America
and how it should be. – Everyone gets jobs. – He like doubles the standard
of living every month, somehow! – After six months, he cures America. Up to that point, it’s in shambles. It’s the only country, besides
Chile, that’s not conquered and Superman refuses to conquer by force. – He doesn’t want to
murder a bunch of people. – [Tristan] He wants
to be right, basically. Which is, like, okay. – Don’t murder anybody.
– [Andrew] Well you shouldn’t change everyone’s brains
if you want to be right! – That’s the thing, is that
Superman remains altruistic, like he has some sort of honor or whatnot, but he’s still brainwashing people. Why don’t you just turn
America into brainwashed? – This is why I don’t like him. – [Tristan] This has been a
bloodless conquest so far. He says, “I want to keep it that way.” Let’s not kid ourselves, and
by the end, I feel like… The realization he has is not
sufficient, I don’t think. But Lex Luthor is only
curing America, out of spite. He could have done this
earlier, I feel like. – He wants to beat Superman, though. That’s his only motivation. I get doing things out of
spite for other people. I get that. – [Tristan] Totally, totally. And I guess his motivation
up to that point, and his thought, was to
destroy instead of create. To humiliate, I guess. That’s his whole plan, is to
just build up the United States to be the second world
superpower, after Russia. It kind of works. – It would have been either
way, since the world was Russia. – Right, right. – [Randy] But he made it good! – [Tristan] Exactly! That’s the thing to me also,
is that these terrible people are, quote-unquote,
making the world “better.” You know what I mean? – We need a strong, totalitarian,
authoritarian dictator to fix the problems. – Exactly, and in both cases. – I’m glad we’re all
in agreement, finally. That’s what we need. – Exactly. – I don’t know, that just
reminded me of another thing that happens if Superman
wasn’t in America. Nixon gets assassinated. – Nixon gets elected
and assassinated in ’63, instead of JFK, who then
theoretically serves like five terms or something. – It’s a bit like Nixon was in Watchmen. Because Nixon is still
around, they extend his terms, and he’s just sort of president-for-life. I assume Kennedy is around until Lex Luthor becomes President
and fixes everything. – [Andrew] He just fixes everything. – Just like that, just like that. It’s such a weird lesson
to take from this book, is just that totalitarianism, as you said, is good and can fix everything. – Just make sure you’ve got
a real smart guy up there. – Name one totalitarian
country that hasn’t had all of their problems fixed. – Wow, you know what, I can’t. I can’t name one. – [Randy] That’s right. – [Andrew] Superman is just
trying to tell us the truth. – Checkmate. – Oh the chess, ah! Everyone loves chess in
this game, it’s a metaphor. – Moving on from there, we sort of see, eventually it comes to the
idea that they have to fight. They basically have got to fight. And it’s a comic book, so you
know that there’s gonna be a big fight. All of the pieces are in play,
there’s the Green Lanterns, eventually Wonder Woman
comes back with the Amazons. – Tries to fight Superman. – [Tristan] Brainiac is in there. As it turns out, Brainiac
is the bad guy, what?! – [Randy] Secret reveal! – Secret reveal: Brainiac
does not think kindly. He says that he is manipulating
Superman this whole time, which is supposed to be a bigger reveal, but I’m not super
certain that is the case. From what happens later,
and we’ll get into it, because there’s a series
of twists and turns there. There’s a big fight all over America for the soul of the world, essentially. It all kind of ends when Lois
Lane gives Superman a letter from Lex Luthor. – She doesn’t even have to give it to him. He reads it with his x-ray vision. – [Tristan] He reads it with
his x-ray vision, and it says, “Why don’t you just put the
whole world in a bottle?” – [Randy] Boom! Dissed!
– [Andrew] Ohhhhh! – [Randy] You know that one
thing you can’t solve, Superman? – Can I stand up right now
and do the floss dance? Because that’s kind of what
I want to do right now. Winner winner chicken dinner!
– Please don’t. Those are two different-
– It’s the same game I think. – I wish you wouldn’t. – After the show, I’m going
to do the floss dance. – After the show, you can do anything in any number of places,
other than right here. – [Randy] I think you can dab. – No, that’s lame. The floss dance is cool.
– Oh dabbing is lame now? – Dabbing is lame, the
floss dance is cool. I watch a lot of TikToks,
I know what’s cool. – I’m glad we’ve sorted that
out, before we’ve finished up this story. – So Luthor dabs on Superman. – Luthor does dab, it’s
very ya yeet, I think. – The Russian city in a
bottle is the one thing that Superman couldn’t fix,
and that’s supposed to be his greatest failure, and
that’s what he’s preying on. – And why he think
Brainiac is such a monster. You took away their free will
and their ability to exist, beyond your control. – [Tristan] But at the
same time, I just feel like this is not a super-big revelation. – It should be pretty
obvious way long ago. – Superman could have heard
anyone say this at any point. – [Andrew] “Hey, you’re
trying to control things!” – [Randy] Like any Batman follower. – Any Batman follower can
say that, ’cause while Batman is dead, he’s become a
symbol of the underground. There are spray-painted
bats all over Russia, and everywhere else. It’s almost like, to me, that
Superman tweeted something and said “Don’t @ me,”
and then someone @’ed him. It crushed him, it just
like ruined him forever. – It’s the right-down-the-middle
metaphor, that he was like, “Oh, I get it now. Everyone was yelling this at
me before, but no one used this exact metaphor, and now I get it. Now I get it.” – And then Brainiac goes
“You’re just like me!” And Superman is like “No I’m not, no!” – And so, Lex Luthor shuts
down Brainiac, and Brainiac has a self-destruct, who knew? Probably Lex Luthor knew. – [Andrew] He seems like awful surprised, and nothing surprises Lex Luthor. – But you’re a level 9 intellect! – Which gets me, wouldn’t
Brainiac have planned for this? Brainiac has a level 12,
which they clearly spell out, and Lex Luthor’s level 9. How could he outsmart? Why wouldn’t the computer
think of this possibility? – A little thing called hubris, okay? Ever hear of hubris? It was the downfall of many.
– Lex Luthor has it. – What’s that thing where
you think you’re an expert, but you’re not? When you think you’re
really good at something, just because you’ve been
doing it for a little bit? – [Tristan] I don’t know. – Everything about me is that. – [Randy] I’m sorry, Andrew. – [Andrew] I think I’m very
smart at a lot of things, until anyone challenges me at anything. – But what ends up happening,
is Superman takes this mini-black-hole bomb up into space, and Supermans his way in. He seems to have respect for
Lex Luthor on the way out. He’s like, “You got me. Goodbye, old friend.” – [Andrew] He says “old friend.” – I’m just like, when were they friends? – They weren’t really friends. – They have a whole moment,
in which Lex is like “You can’t save us now
Superman, you’ll die!” Then Lex is like, “Huh,
well played, Superman.” – [Tristan] No it’s the
reverse, it’s the reverse. – [Randy] Both. – I see. – They do it to each other,
because Superman then, “There’s no time!” But then Superman is
like “Mm, there’s time.” Because I’m too good.
– [Andrew] Lex might be his closest thing to a friend. Who are Superman’s friends? Who are his buddies?
– All of those robots he made. – It’s the robots or
Lex, it’s one of those. – Lana, who works for him now. – At some point, there is
Stalin’s son, who betrays him and he’s the one who
rats him out to Batman. Batman tells him, and
later we see Stalin’s son. – [Andrew] He’s a robot! He’s a Superman robot, or whatnot. I guess that’s the other thing, Superman doesn’t have any friends! He had Lana, I guess, for
a brief period of time. – They indicate, she’s just like… – On the payroll. – Yeah, she’s there for money. – Batman blew himself up, before he could be friends with Superman. – [Andrew] They could have
been respectful friends. – Man, I wish I was reading
Batman: Red Son, truly. I want to see his story. – I wonder if they’ve done that, they might have done that by now. – [Tristan] Here’s the thing with Batman. Batman is like, he is Batman with a hat. – [Randy] He’s a little chubbier too, because he’s like broke
and can’t eat nice food. Did you notice that? They show his Batcave for a little bit. – [Andrew] He’s a little thicker. They show his Batcave? – They show his equivalent of the Batcave, it’s got a lot of the
propaganda and stuff in there. – It’s got American stuff, I think there’s an Eat at
Joe’s sign and whatnot. It’s real shabby looking,
he opens a fridge. – They got the devil pig thing. – [Tristan] That’s one of the
things that I’m interested in. What kind of trophies
does Russian Batman take? – Because they have that
Superman museum, or whatever, that has a lot of the Batcave stuff. It has the dinosaur and everything. So, it’s there, it’s in Russia somewhere. – The world assumes Superman is dead, President Lex basically takes
over the world, more or less. Makes it a super-utopia
that he continues to make, out of spite. – Cures all disease,
extends life expectancy to like hundreds of years,
he lives to be like 1,000. – At the very end, though,
they show him on his deathbed. He’s like “Remember when I beat Superman? That was sweet!” – (mimics hospital flatline sound) – Checkmate! – Which is bizarre to me, that
he just kept doing the thing that he was doing out of
spite, which was like, rule the world into a utopia.
– I think I got fond of Lex. Lex is a real hero now. – I mean, he was just like,
“Well, I’ve got no one to challenge me, so I might
as well just continuously prove how awesome I am.” – Apparently, the Luthor
line lives for billions and billions of years. – [Andrew] Except they keep
shortening the last name, until it’s just L, instead of Luthor. – Then the descendants of
Luthor have a baby, Kar-L. – Jor-L, has a baby Kal-L, and… – But the world is bad
and the sun is red now, because it’s been billions
of years in the future. – It’s about to explode, and
then they send the child, not to another planet, but back in time. – (hums Twilight Zone theme) – [Tristan] To Ukraine. – I love the ending.
– [Andrew] They didn’t choose Ukraine, they just sent
him back in time like, “Well, maybe you can fix things.” – [Tristan] This means,
basically, it’s a time loop. It starts all over again. – The whole book’s in a bottle! – Right. – Oh shit, yeah. I said a swear word, I’m sorry, continue. – So it’s a time loop. Superman was sent back from the
future, lives his whole life and then changes the world. His descendants send him back again. – [Andrew] He keeps going
back-and-forth, back-and-forth. – Lois Lane is kind of
in love with her great, great-great-great-great grandson? – If they had made any
moves on each other, it would have been incest. It would have been like
very time-displaced incest, but incest. Very cool: incest,
authoritarian governments. – When did Lois Lane and
Lex Luthor have a baby? – They had a kid at
the end, and it’s like, I don’t know when this happened. – He was definitely a teen
when they show him first. – It could have been adopted, maybe. Maybe she was bored, because
her husband was never around and her newspaper failed,
and she was just like, “Well, just adopt a kid.” – So, humans eventually
evolve into Kryptonians? – [Randy] Sort of.
– They just get real strong. – Because of the sun? – Because of whatever Luthor’s
doing, to cure all disease, make people live forever. He just makes them strong. – Randy, you said you liked the ending. What did you like about it? – Because I didn’t see it coming. I legitimately didn’t think,
“You’re not gonna do that. Oh you’re doing it, that’s so fun!” The process from shortening
Luthor to Luth-146, to L, I was just like “Oh, that’s clever.” – I mean, it’s kind of silly,
but it’s the kind of silly I’m very into. – It was the most delightful
thing in this bleak book. And then seeing Ollie, who
just works at the Daily Planet for some reason. – Ollie is just like a dud. Oliver Queen, instead of
being the Green Arrow, just because Superman
landed in the Ukraine, he’s just a loser who has no personality. Barry Allen is just a
crime scene investigator, who doesn’t turn into the Flash. They mention, “Barry’s just
solving crimes,” or something. Ollie’s lamer than a
stapler, or something. – I had mixed feelings about the book. The concept is fascinating
and I enjoyed reading it. We didn’t talk much about
the art, but I really like Dave Johnson’s art. – The art is amazing! – He’s usually a cover artist,
but to see him do interior comic book work is really cool. You don’t get to see it that often. I enjoyed reading it, it’s an easy read. It’s a fun read that… Think too much about any one part of it, think about how Lex Luthor,
the evil super-villain, fought another super-villain, Superman, and that created a brilliant,
prosperous society? I’m not super-hot on that idea. If someone were to say
“Hey, I like Superman, should I read Red Son?” I’d be like, “Sure.” – [Randy] I say read True Brit. – [Tristan] True what? – True Brit, Superman: True Brit. Where he lands in Britain instead. – Oh really?
– Does he also become the totalitarian dictator of Britain? – He’s not a totalitarian
dictator, but I think he does wear a bowler hat at one point,
and he’s got a silly nose. – Read that instead. – Yeah, read that instead, in my opinion. In the foreword, it said,
“This is a funny book.” I was like, “Mm, you
didn’t read True Brit.” Although, I would say, I
laughed out loud at some things that I maybe was supposed
to laugh at in this. There’s one point where Superman
is going to save Stalin, and then some guys who were around, someone was like “Why is
he calling for Superman? Superman’s not a doctor!” So Superman immediately runs
and reads as many medical books as possible, to become a doctor. It just made me laugh, it’s
like, “Oh, you can just do any, you’re a dingus.”
– [Tristan] He’s the superman. – On the bowler cap thing,
there’s some sketches in the back of the book of different art concepts. They had one where Superman
had Stalin’s mustache, also. I was like “Oh, that would’ve been great.” And that’s what I like
about Elseworlds stuff, is just taking familiar
elements and remixing them in kind of silly ways,
it’s just kind of fun. – As far as Elseworlds
go, you could do worse. – I think, honestly with the
DC Cinematic Universe not sure what to do with Superman and stuff, and actually doing Elseworlds
stuff, they have that Joker movie coming out, do Red Son. Why not? – There’s a rumor right now
of an animated film adaptation of this. As of this shooting, it
could be confirmed later, but that could be fun to watch. I’ll catch that sometime. – [Andrew] Just a nice,
little self-contained thing. – [Randy] Who would you cast as JFK? – Like an actual Kennedy. – [Tristan] Harry Shearer. – Harry Shearer, yeah sure. Oh yeah, because he does Quimby. That’s good. – We are running out of time right now. I want to thank my panel
for being with me today, thank you Randy and Andrew. Thank you at home for watching. Next week, we are going to
be reading Batman: Mad Love, the Harley Quinn story of legend. If you want to join in and
read up with us, you can do so. Support your local comic book shop, it’s a pretty popular book. Just ask for Mad Love and
they can help you out there, or you can go to digital
storefronts, like Comixology, will help you out as well. Sorry, you were going to say something? – No, I just made a dumb joke. You said “Ask for Mad Love
at your comic book shop.” You said they’ll give
you the comic, I said, “Or they’ll hug you.” It’s mad love. Y’know?
– Sure. – [Andrew] You don’t want to hug anyone. – And that about does it
for Back Issue Book Club. We will see you in the funny papers.

Posts created 26478

100 thoughts on “What if Superman Was Communist? (Superman: Red Son)

  1. That would mean superman would be opposite because its soviet russia everything is opposite to know more click read more

    Now u have to sub to me for a free car. Ya clicked it, Ya sub it

  2. Red Son was pretty great and memorable, it also keeps getting cameos and Easter eggs in Superman and Justice League properties

  3. Comerade Superman Will seize The DC Comics of Production πŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ”΄πŸ”΄πŸ”΄πŸ”΄

  4. Reminder: next week's book is THE BATMAN ADVENTURES: MAD LOVE, introducing the origin story of one Harley Quinn. Tell us what other books we should be reading in the comments!

    And, as always, check us out on DROPOUT: https://bit.ly/2TTLJWi Now worldwide, with a sweet app available in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand!

  5. I saw the title and thought dorkly have you run out of idea's yet? Then i realized its dc that ran out of multiverse idea's.

  6. list with reasons that people like superman in no particular order:

    1)his powers
    2)laughing at his shitty dusguise
    3)laughing at his shitty super suit

    do straight women or gay men happen to find his body sexy?if they do then put his body to the honorable mentions.

    i cannot include things like his personality or character because he has the personality and character traits of a toaster.
    superman sucks so much that in some tv shows the animators didn't even bother to draw his eyes right.

  7. I get the feeling that "not liking" Superman feels, somehow, "cool" to the dude in the hoodie. A tired, desperate "cool" ploy that never comes off as anything but "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! I'M INTERESTING!"

    "He's TOO GOOD."

    It may be "just a comic book character," but I swear, I've never known anyone so proud of disliking a purposely likeable/positive character who hasn't, in the end, turned out to be an asshole.

    "HE'S TOO GOOD."

    He dislikes a character on account of his "overwhelming" decency? What? He prefers villains, he says…which means he perhaps roots for or supports real life villains, or maybe he fancies himself a clever, real life villain. It isn't a big logic leap. I'm all for protagonists being built up by sincerely challenging, three-dimensional antagonists, but damn…

    One can tell a lot about a person by what they like or dislike.

    Lavender Jack…Swooping On Down.

  8. I know that there is a Superman comic where he lands in Nazi Germany, I wonder if you will do something similar for that??

  9. Superman is the definition of a Gary Stu… sorry guys he's iconic and i dont hate him per se but he isnt as strong of a character as say Flash or Batman.

  10. Can I somehow unsubscribe these kind of videos while I can still watch the funny videos? You could make another channel for stuff like this… ah forget it I just unsubscribe

  11. Superman actually LOST that fight with Darkseid in JLU.

    He beat Darkseid up with his real power, but Darkseid got right back up and hit him with the agony matrix weapon and Lex and Batman had to save him.

  12. get with the times the 'dab' died in 2016! any dab considered cool was only done ironically by an actual cool person and the floss was never cool it's a fortnite dance fortnite is a 'kids game'

  13. The final is quite neat indeed. It makes you think that maybe krypton in the "original" history is in fact another earth (DC loves their multiple earths theory)

  14. i know its a common thing to do a podcast talking about comic trades but did you really have to name it back issues book club. Sounds a lot like comicpop

  15. Gah, Tristan, fix your mic. Lol. Trying to listen to this while driving and Tristan is so quiet compared to the other two.

  16. His intentions are good but in reality he's holding up a totalitarian state…. Well what else would you expect from a socialist

  17. I really like the twist that Krypton is Earth in the far off future. Not sure I like explicitly making Luthor be Superman's ancestor necessarily, but I wouldn't be mad if they canonized the time travel twist itself.

  18. Can anyone ever tell me if Superman EVER beat the Flash in a race? I need to know because I'm doing a debate on it. Pls provide the comic issue and name. Also has to be official…

  19. In Kansas he lands…in Soviet Russia-don't know any russian city or state? πŸ˜€ To discuss topics like this you need visit Russia and if you need guide – I can do it for you. I really dont understand whu SUperman should be evil if he lands on USSR. SO I mean thing that I really don't get why americans put politics everywhere even in comicbooks. US always good and USSR always evil-meh.

  20. You that episode of Justice League were Superman stops holding back? He loses that fight, and Lex Luther ends up saving the day. No, really.

  21. – US Superman stands for the truth, justice and THE AMERICAN WAY.
    – URSS Superman should stand for the Russian way as well.
    – Why does he become evil: 'cos a character made in the US wouldn't be a better enemy than an ally. "Hey, maybe he should have dropped somewhere else".

  22. Good Idea for a show unfortunately Comic Pop! has been doing this for over 4 or 5 years significantly better than Dorkly and oddly enough calls the show Back Issues.

  23. Anyone reading the comments needs to check out the far superior Back Issues series on the ComicPOP channel. Especially THIS back issue episode "Red Son"

  24. Re: 'Man of Steel' – that's what 'Stalin' actually means! πŸ™‚ It wasn't his original birth name, it was the 'revolutionary alias' he took on in prison. (A lot of those guys adopted alternate names when they were fighting their governments.) He got the name for being so tough and unbending while he was imprisoned in Siberia.

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