JUPITER’S LEGACY #1-5
Quick disclaimer: I don’t really like writer Mark Millar’s stuff. I feel that he largely just writes OTT superhero movie treatments that he then gets his friends to storyboard so he can sell them to Hollywood…
I did, of course, pick up Jupiter’s Legacy because the amazing Frank Quitely is drawing it. The book, understandably, looks great.
Story-wise we find ourselves in a world 75 years after the first super heroes. Supervillains have largely all been taken care of and, as a result, the heroes super-powered offspring have little to do other than build their celebrity and chase after sponsorship deals. A bit like if Superman’s kids were Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. The superheroes may have defeated their enemies but the world still suffers recession, famine, war etc. The primary superhero, The Utopian, feels regular people should sort these issues themselves, with super heroes not taking a role in the day-to-day running of the country. His brother, Walter convinces his son, Brandon, to lead a coup, removing The Utopian and taking control of America.
My first major issue is that we have two types of characters in this story – clichéd archetypes and people who look cool. There is no real character depth, everyone’s actions being signposted from their first appearance. For a superhero comic, very few characters have clearly defined powers, with most of the cast apparently being super strong, able to fly and telekinetic. It’s hard to get invested in the action when it’s unclear what characters’ powers are: for example, is character A at risk of being shot, or are they bulletproof? Not knowing reduces the drama.
This lack of character also damages the plot. When the majority of the world’s superheroes join in the coup and run the country into the ground, it’s hard to care as we have never seen these characters’ good sides. The same applies to the big reveal at the end of Issue 5; that The Utopian’s daughter, Chloe, plans to recruit an army of the last surviving supervillains to fight back. This has no impact because we have not met any of these characters – we don’t know them or their past.
This feeling of underdevelopment carried on through the whole story with only Issue 5 showing signs of improvement. If this book’s going to be remembered for anything other than its art it really has to improve going forward.