Jupiters Legacy #1
Mark Millar has brought to life the vivid and popular comics Kick-Ass and Wanted. Frank Quitely has illustrated two high profile DC comics series – All Star Superman, and Batman: Incorporated – in addition to a significant body of artwork.
The comic has gathered some heavy accolades: “The greatest superhero epic of this generation” is printed on the back cover.
Can a new superhero series by these star creators live up to the hype?
The title has a fantasy feel, and the word “legacy” is played out visually on the cover art: the main characters appear in colour, with stone cameos of their parents dwarfing them in the background. Jupiter’s Legacy has Golden Age themes running through it. Better things have come and gone, and the world the characters are living in has become lackluster.
The opening of the comic tells a solid origin story. I felt as though I was watching an Indianna Jones film. There was a sense of times gone by: Sheldon Sampson – possibly based on Samson (a Golden Age, biblical hero published by Fantastic Comics in 1939) – travels on a boat to a mysterious island with his college friends. They return from the voyage with superpowers.
It’s a shame we don’t get to see what they encountered on the island in this issue.
The lofty nostalgia of the past quickly gives way to a cynical and gritty contemporary setting. Sampson’s stubble-faced son Brandon, and punk daughter Chloe slack off in a night club. The impact their parents have had on popular culture is extreme, and surrounds them constantly. People dress in designer superhero costumes, and fans harangue Brandon and Chloe for attention. it’s a convincing world: the pressure has forced Brandon and Chloe into a constant state of rebellion as they try and fail to escape their parents influence.
When Sampson and his friends visit the island, there is an expertly executed series of panels slowly zooming out before finally fading to white. When viewed from above the island looks like a scale from the tail of a giant, eldritch crocodile, floating in the ocean. Peter Doherty selects excellent colour choices across the comic.
A bit more on Jupiter’s Legacy #1
A sense of a story, and a narrative thread, is laid down toward the end of the comic. Walter – a powerful psychic, and the uncle of Brandon and Chloe – insists that it’s time the heroes take charge over the direction of society using their powers.
His argument is based on the fact that the economic crises of the past five years is similar to the the state of the word during the 1930’s. He provokes the question: have we solved anything by being colourful heroes? There is a sense that this comic might end up resembling apocalyptic stories such as Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. Overall, it’s a good start and builds a universe that convinces.