Jupiter’s Legacy #1
Written by Mark Millar
Art by Frank Quitely
Review by Bobby Shortle
What does it mean to be a hero in an age where heroism is dying? Do we have the right to choose our own path, or do we have the responsibility to pursue what we are born to do? These are some of the questions that the ambitious Jupiter’s Legacy #1 raises in its inaugural issue. It’s in pursuit of these queries that Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s new series reaches its highest highs, but they are also where the book gets in its own way.
It’s quite obvious that Mark Millar has something he wants to say with Jupiter’s Legacy, and for the first third of the book he presents this message with a tantalizing mixture of mysticism and social commentary. Then as the story begins to take shape there is an overwhelming sense that the book is talking at us, rather than telling us a story. I love the scope of the message being delivered here, but I wish the writer used a more deft hand in presenting it to me. The unsubtle delivery of delicate subject matter is one of my biggest literary bugaboos and when a book crosses the line between allegorical and preachy it can sour me completely on a title.
So, it’s a round about compliment that despite the blunt force trauma of the book’s subtext that I ended up coming away from Jupiter’s Legacy #1 feeling positive about it. Millar might not be the most low key of scribes, but his innate sense of how to develop new takes on old concepts is an ability not to be taken lightly. The aforementioned social conscious of the book delves into the obvious problems with the generation that I and those younger than me belong to – a hunger for fame, short attention spans and a squandering sense of history – while also exploring one trait that is often left un explored.
That trait is the depth of jealousy we feel for the people who got to live in a time where their actions could matter. The second generation super human’s of Millar and Quitely’s world are lost sheep who are terrified of responsibility, not because they don’t want to step up, but because they don’t know how. It’s these traits that take these characters from dislikable to understandable and it’s what makes this book so intriguing.
No one could look at the pages of Jupiter’s Legacy and think they were anything less than gorgeous. But the true genius of Frank Quitely’s work is in the subtle way he combines the fantastical and mundane to create a style that is singularly his own. He forgoes complicated layouts for clean, precise compositions that employ diverse focal lengths and that fit seamlessly into the flow of Millar’s writing.
Buy it – Jupiter’s Legacy #1 is not content to simply exist. It’s a book that seeks to say something, not just about superhero comics, but our society as a whole. The degree to which it succeeds in this mission is debatable. What isn’t up for argument is the beauty of Frank Quietly’s pencils and the scope of Mark Millar’s storytelling. Jupiter’s Legacy #1 is a mixed bag, but the things it does right, it does very right. This is worth your time and I think that the potential will shine out in the end.