Jupiter’s Legacy ReviewMay 31, 2015
When it comes to superstar creative teams, you don’t get much bigger than Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, the two Scotsmen behind Jupiter’s Legacy from Image Comics.
I have something of a love/hate relationship when it comes to Millar’s work. When he’s good – Superman: Red Son, Ultimates, Kick Ass – he produces some of the best comics around, my most beloved books. Trouble is, he is also responsible for the books like Kick Ass 2 and Nemesis, which in my opinion are just wretched.
Thankfully we have Millar on top form in Jupiter’s Legacy, combined with one of the finest artists in all of comics, Frank Quitely (All Star Superman, We3).
Jupiter’s Legacy is the story of a superhero family. The parents all travelled off to a mysterious island back in the 1930s and came back with superpowers which they used to help America recover from the Depression. Now their kids are trying to forge their own names as a very modern group of superpowered youngsters.
The book is really focused on two very big themes. The first is our relationship with our parents. Certain members of the original superheroes are less than positive about this new generation, unable to understand why they don’t just follow instructions and live up to their expectations.
But their kids are frustrated, sick of being looked at as second class citizens and feeling like failures. It’s an explosive setup.
Millar also takes aim at economics, at the governments of the world repeating the same mistakes over and over again in the name of ‘cycles’.
The bubbling resentment and Machiavellian plotting in the background make this comic feel like a Greek tragedy, but it’s handled brilliantly. It’s not a particularly violent book either, so when there are bursts of nastiness, it hits the mark.
Quitely is in fabulous form too, with the big climactic panels really hitting the reader perfectly. The sections covering the 1930s are just extraordinary too. Quitely could draw the phone book and it would look wonderful.
Given its problematic publishing history – there was a year-long gap between issues four and five – I think it’s fair to say that reading the story in trade format will be a more rewarding, and less frustrating, experience. I’ve been a huge Hawkeye fan for example, but the massive delays between issues have killed its momentum and taken out a lot of the joy when a new issue finally does arrive. I can imagine it has been a similar experience for Jupiter’s Legacy fans.
The book has been successful enough to spawn a prequel, Jupiter’s Circle, looking at the antics of the original group of heroes, this time drawn by Wilfredo Torres. As with so much of Millar’s work, Jupiter’s Legacy also looks set to be converted for the big screen, with The Hollywood Reporter announcing that Millar has teamed up with producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (Transformers, G.I. Joe) to adapt the comic.
If we do see a Jupiter’s Legacy film, it has an awful lot to live up to. This book is a winner.