Jupiter's Legacy #1 Review
Image Comics have always excelled at two things: bringing astounding new talent to the attention of readers and giving well established talent a place to truly cut loose and experiment. Jupiter's Legacy #1 is a wonderful example of the latter. Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, although both well established creators in their own right, team up to bring forth a book which is nothing short of a fully realised alternative superhero comic.
Before I go any further, I should probably 'fess up to being a raging Mark Millar fanboy. I pretend to want intelligent, thought provoking and conceptually mature comics but at the end of the day all I really want to see is two jerks in capes beating the living snot out of each other and Mr. Millar is all too obliging. Make no mistake, Jupiter's Legacy is nothing more (or less) than a tale of sex, drugs and superpowers.
The first six pages of Jupiter's Legacy take place during the great depression where we are introduced to Sheldon Samson. Like so many other business men of the time Sheldon loses his fortune in the stock market crash and is completely shaken. Sporting a social conscience rivaled only by Superman, Sheldon begins to grow more and more disturbed by what the great depression is doing to his beloved United States.
This concern culminates in his obsession with an island he envisions in a reoccurring dream. Convinced that this island holds the answers to America's problems he sets out to find it aided only by his closest friends, his brother Walter and a cynical sea captain.
These introductory six pages end with the discovery of the mysterious island and are easily the strongest part of the book. It's clean cut and makes for a wonderful change compared to the usual breakneck pace of superhero comics. Quitely's artwork, particularly his character work, is stunning in this prelude. No doubt aided by the fact that the young Sheldon Samson bears an uncanny resemblance to Clark Kent in 'All-Star Superman'.
Flash forward to 2013 and Sheldon Samson is now the Utopian, the world's greatest superhero. Aided by his brother and everyone else that accompanied him to the mysterious island he defends the earth from what little super-villains remain. You immediately pick up a strong Watchmen vibe, this sense that evil no longer has a tangible form that can merely be punched into submission. The Golden age of superheroes has ended.
The remaining pages of the book share a lot in common with Mark Waid's Kingdom Come as we meet the spoiled children of the ageing Utopian, children who have no interest in carrying on their father's legacy. Take note of the fact that Jupiter's Legacy is highly derivative. Not only of comics and characters by the big two (I of course refer to Marvel and DC) mind you, but of Millar's previous creator owned titles which are in turn highly derivative. Mix Watchmen, Kingdom Come, Kick-Ass, Superman, and add a dash of Wanted and you get Jupiter's legacy. However, within this mix of cliche and archetype there is something that resembles an original story.
But if you're a Millar fan like myself, you're not after originality, are you? You just want action, some innuendo and of course a sweet, sweet super-powered beat-down or two. This book certainly has you covered. Oh, and the gorgeous art of Frank Quitely doesn't hurt either.