It's been a spell since I've read Mark Millar/Dave Johnson/Kilian Plunkett's (Elseworlds) "Superman: Red Son". I recall that I found it entertaining, though disturbing. I feel much the same way with the animated edition. Despite its differences from the three-part series, the movie is a curious example of ambivalent, ideological dictation that should prove hard to swallow for any pro-American.
Directed by Sam Liu and adapted by J.M. DeMatteis, "Red Son" begins in the Soviet Union (circa 1946), where young Kal-El roams. Under an unmentioned alias, our parallel Clark Kent sprouts to implement truth, justice and the Commie way. For most who reside beyond the Iron Curtain, that spells trouble.
That's not to say that our Soviet Superman is entirely rotten to the core. As such, the movie depicts him as misunderstood and well intending for much of the journey. In other words, Superman's "servant of the state" creed isn't virulent, just different.
This leaves Lex Luthor to fight for the American cause (even going so far to as to grow his own Superman, or more so, a Bizarro/Doomsday knockoff). In the context of the big flip, that should make Luthor good, right? Not exactly.
Luthor, who's married to the principled Lois Lane, still holds a self-serving slant. To demonstrate the contrast between Luthor and the Man of Steel, the latter halts an ambiguous, missile attack on the U.S.
Superman is also quite the concerned diplomat, interacting with revamped versions of Wonder Woman (a man-hating lesbian), Batman (a radical freedom fighter), Braniac and Green Lanterns, Hal Jordan and John Stewart. However, their dynamic inclusion doesn't differentiate one political/economic side from the other. If anything, the queue's muddled antics just muddy the view.
Though "Red Son'"s concept is fascinating, even "Twilight Zone"-ish in ways, it never etches a hardcore line in the sand, even when Lane shows Superman proof of Stalin's atrocities. Superman is, according to all this, the better side of the Soviet dream (that is, the antithesis of Red extremism), not a superhero born to crush it. Communism, therefore, is only bad if it falls into the wrong hands.
Sorry, but I'm not buying it. Yeah, the animation may be colorful and the pacing swift, but after the air clears, "Red Son" is just plain misconstrued. In light of Superman's traditional history, this makes the otherwise aesthetic "Red Son" an eighty-four-minute act of propagandist betrayal.