Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
If you ever wondered what would happen if Superman landed in the USSR as a baby, then this story is the one for you. It’s: Red Son
In an alternate 1953, the Soviet Union reveals Superman to the world. This revelation shifts the arms race of the Cold War from nuclear weapons to metahumans. James Olsen, a CIA Agent, recruits Lex Luthor to find a way to destroy Superman. As part of his plan. Luthor causes Sputnik to plummet towards Metropolis. This forces Superman to intervene and divert the satellite, in the process giving Luthor enough genetic material to clone him. The clone is a monstrous creature that Luthor names “Superman 2.”
In the Soviet Union, Wonder Woman meets and becomes smitten with Superman. Meanwhile, Pyotr Roslov, the illegitimate son of Stalin and head of the NKVD, is enraged that Superman has taken his father’s attention away from him. Stalin soon dies from cyanide poisoning and Superman is the logical choice for the next leader of the Communist Party. At first he refuses, not believing it is his place to lead but a chance encounter with his childhood sweetheart changes his mind. Superman takes leadership of the country and turns it into a utopia.
Superman 2 is sent to battle Superman, as the United States grows ever more fearful of what his reign represents. The two battle until an accidental nuclear missile launch from Great Britain. The clone, truly believing in the greater good, sacrifices itself to save the millions of lives the missile would have taken. Enraged, Luthor murders his entire research staff and founds LuthorCorp with a single purpose: destroying Superman.
By 1978, the Soviet Union is the dominant global power through “peaceful” expansion. Meanwhile, the United States is on the verge of collapse. The great sin of this expansion is an increasing restriction of individual liberty with Superman even developing an advanced but horrifying brain surgery that makes dissidents into compliant “Superman Robots.” Wonder Woman and Superman work together constantly as Wonder Woman has fallen completely in love with him and Superman remains oblivious to his comrade’s feelings.
Luthor and the alien AI Brainiac conspire together to defeat Superman by shrinking Moscow. However, Brainiac shrinks Stalingrad instead, leaving Superman to defeat the pair and retrieve Brainiac’s CPU. Superman tries but fails to restore Stalingrad and carries incredible guilt over it. Batman, the son of a dissident couple that Pyotr murdered decades ago, has become a hardened vigilante. He is recruited by Luthor and joins Pyotr, now head of the KGB, to overthrow Superman. The pair capture Wonder Woman and use her as bait to draw Superman in. Once he arrives, they blast him with radiation that matches the red sun that shines on Krypton. This depowers Superman and leaves him helpless before them. Superman pleads with Wonder Woman to free herself and destroy the generators which she does, at great personal harm. The sight of Superman’s powers returned causes Batman to commit suicide to avoid becoming a Superman Robot. Pyotr is not so lucky, however, and becomes another drone to the cause. While Wonder Woman continues to work with Superman, she no longer loves him as he shows no concern for the injuries she suffered to save his life.
Superman reprograms Brainiac into a personal assistance and builds a Winter Palace to serve as a fortress of solitude in Siberia. Superman’s authoritative regime grows ever stronger with more peace and utopian like effects at the cost of more and more freedoms. In the United States, a green lantern ship crashes in Roswell, New Mexico. Luthor recovers it and begins his next great plan.
In 2001, Luthor is elected President of the United States with Olsen serving as Vice President. Mirroring Superman’s steel fist, Luthor is able to return the US to prosperity through a similar restriction of freedoms and investment from his personal wealth. He has also used the years to create an entire Green Lantern Corps from that one ring in the desert. Luthor reveals to Olsen that he hopes to provoke Superman into invading the US and intends on using the newly discovered Phantom Zone to do it. Luthor, emboldened by his gains, confronts Superman in the Winter Palace. Before they can get too far, Brainiac abducts Luthor into the recesses of the palace to be transformed into a Superman Robot. Superman protests but Brainiac explains that Lex would convince Superman to commit suicide in less than 14 minutes. Reluctantly Superman agrees with Brainiac’s assessment and prepares to attack the United States.
Superman begins the invasion on the East Coast battling and defeating the entire Green Lantern Marine Corps. Before he can continues, Amazonian forces arrive after forging an alliance with First Lady Lois Luthor. Superman quickly defeats them as well as a few other metabeings. Brainiac decimates the US Pacific Fleet and meets Superman at the White House, where Lois Luthor waits with one final weapon. A small note written by Lex that simply reads: “Why don’t you just put the whole world in a bottle, Superman?”
His humanity resurfacing, Superman orders the invasion ended. Brainiac, however, reveals that he has never been under Superman’s influence and now is the time to end his servitude. Luthor, who has some how avoided becoming a Superman Robot, is able to shut Brainiac down from within and destabilizes his ship. The ship quickly becomes a threat to the entire planet and Superman intervenes, flying it into space where it can explode harmlessly. This seems to leave Superman dead.
The Soviet Union briefly falls into chaos but is quickly brought under control thanks to the Batmen, a number of resistance fighters that took up the cowl after Batman’s death. Without the threat of Superman to push him towards cruelty, Luthor takes a more benevolent approach to leadership. He incorporates some of Superman and Brainiac’s good ideas along with his own scientific advancements to create a golden age under the Global United States. Disease is eradicated, the solar system is colonized and Luthor himself lives over 1,000 years.
Supeman, who did not die in space, appears to pay his respects at Luthor’s funeral. He wears a business suit and thick glasses to hide his identity, which works. He leaves quietly and decides to live among humans rather than ruling over them.
Billions of years in the future, earth’s sun has become a red giant and is wreaking havoc on the planet. Jor-L, distant descendant of Lex Luthor, sends his son Kal-L into space in an experimental rocket. The rocket passes back through time and lands in the Ukraine in 1938.