Superman: Red Son (4k Blu-ray Review)

In 2003, DC Comics did a total 180 with the world’s most popular superhero. The mega publisher released a three-issue mini-series titled Superman: Red Son. The Mark Millar-written tale (also known for his work on Kick-ass) could be construed as a “what if” in the sense that instead of Kal-El landing in Kansas after the destruction of Krypton, his escape pod crashed in the Soviet Union. Clark Kent is a name you won’t see in this story. Superman, however, is a name you’ll hear as he serves under USSR communist leader Josef Stalin in DC’s latest animated feature, Superman: Red Son directed by Sam Liu.



While the first few minutes of the film displays young Kal-El’s childhood, the majority of the film follows Superman’s adulthood. At a runtime of one hour and 26 minutes, Superman: Red Son succeeds in weaving a story that would make its literary counterpart proud. There is a mild though noticeable evolution of Supe’s character as well as inclusions of other famous DC characters, both hero and villain.

Make no mistake though, as the characters you have come to know may not be that same hero or fiend you are used to. This twist made for a great transfer to the cinematic version of Red Son and is one of the strengths of the film. Another is the animation which is reminiscent of the early 90’s Batman: The Animated Series. As a huge fan of BTAS, I felt right at home watching the foreign tale as the lines and visual flow all had that similar and functional feel.

The voice acting is more than proficient here with Jason Isaacs (Star Trek Discovery, Star Wars Rebels) as Superman, Amy Acker (Grey’s Anatomy) as Lois Lane, Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) as Lex Luthor and Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars Rebels) as Wonder Woman. There are a few other notables in tow but I’d prefer not to give away all who make an appearance in the movie. There is a decent chemistry amongst this group and each delivers their own character quite fittingly. The summation of their performances only adds to the entertainment value of the overall effort here.


Being a cartoon film, it is very easy to get make things pop and the crew behind that aspect here made no exception. Colors pop quite a bit and are muted when necessary (such as some underground cavern scenes). In short, things are visually accurate throughout, as even Superman’s dark gray suit looks visually impressive offset by the bright red hammer and sickle that dons his chest in place of the standard ‘S’.

4k disc:
Coding: HEVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

1080p disc:
Coding: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1


As you can imagine, being a DC title, this is an action heavy piece. With that in mind, those back channels are going to get quite a workout with all the landed punches, collapsing masonry and explosions. Dialogue is clear from the wonderful array of actors on the film’s roster and other than that, there’s not a whole lot to say here. Is it perfect? No, but the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 presentation sure comes close.


With the 4k Blu-ray also comes a standard Blu-ray copy of the film and a code for a digital download of Superman: Red Son. In addition to that, there is a heaping serving of high-def special features that total well over an hour and for that I am grateful.

• DC Showcase: The Phantom Stranger – A cartoon short of an obscure DC do-gooder known as the Phantom Stranger who intervenes. (15:07)
• Cold Red War – Various DC production folks reflect on the real cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union while discussing how it impacted the story and film of Superman: Red Son. (16:57)
• Superman: Red Son Motion Comics – A condensed version of the story, motion comic style. (6:03)
• A Sneak Peak at DC’s Next Animated Film – Justice League Dark: Apokolips War If you’ve been following DC’s animated films, then this is what you have been waiting for. After Darkseid has taken control of Earth, the more supernatural Justice League members band together for one final throw-down with the big gray baddie. (10:23)
• Preview of The Death of Superman – If you remember some years back, there was an animated film of this. Think of this new version as a more expanded version of the story as this is described as act 1. (7:05)
• Batman: Gotham by Gaslight – An overview of the 2018 animated film. (8:29)
• DC Comics Vault – Here you’ll find two episodes of the Justice League cartoon title ‘A Better World: Part 1’ and ‘A Better World: Part 2’. (21:42 and 23:20, respectively)
• Trailers – Two DC animated film trailers get the treatment here which include Batman: Hush and The Death and Return of Superman. (3:42)

Final Thoughts 

Red Son is one of my more preferred DC animated titles. It sits behind the first Wonder Woman cartoon movie and Aquaman: Throne of Atlantis. The visuals along with the voice acting and story do this movie a lot of justice, as does the fact that Mark Millar is associated with the project, as well he should be since he wrote the original comic. With plenty of extras to watch and an impressive display of both audio and video, Superman: Red Son makes for a great addition to your movie-watching library.


  1. No Comments