While premiering their animated Batman: Hush at San Diego Comic-Con last night, DC announced that they will be making an animated feature based on Superman: Red Son, the fantastic 2003 Elseworlds comic created by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, and Killian Plunkett. The movie is expected to debut in 2020 and will be followed by Justice League Dark: Apokolips War and Superman: Man of Tomorrow, which is an original feature not based on an existing comic, if you can believe it.
Red Son is out-and-out awesome, a wonderful and different take on the Superman myth. It finds the last son of Krypton crash-landing in Soviet Russia and not Kansas. Instead of being raised to fight for truth, justice and the American way, Superman instead fights for the Soviet cause and butts heads with Batman, Wonder Woman and other characters who are traditionally his pals in the Justice League. It’s a fascinating twist on everything we know about Superman and is also a pretty spot-on representation of the Cold War and tensions between America and Russia.
And now it’ll be another of those animated DC movies and I’m feeling very lukewarm on it. I love this story but am still not crazy about the animated films that DC has been releasing. Not to be superficial but the animation in these movies feels subpar to me, practically just a step or two above Saturday morning cartoons. I don’t feel like that’s doing this story justice. I felt that way about a bunch of the animated DC movies. All of the films thus far have been based on some terrific comic books and it’s a damn shame they’ve been given cheap-looking and forgettable adaptations.
At the same time, I could never see WB or DC putting money into a feature-length live-action movie based on Red Son or some of the other comics they’ve taken on. So I guess I should just be happy that we are getting any sort of adaptation at all. I’ll watch Red Son, I’ll probably think it’s ok-to-good but I’ll forever be wondering what a proper, big-budget adaptation of this book would be like.