Written by Mark Millar
Drawn by Frank Quitely
Jupiter’s Legacy #1 is the eagerly awaited first issue of Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s new series. I’ve long been a fan of both creators having first been exposed to their work on ‘The Authority’ from Wildstorm. I regard that run as one of finest examples of modern day comics so I was salivating to get my hands on this debut.
In this first issue we start off in the early 1930s, America is going through the Great Depression and one Sheldon Sampson is having dreams of an island that will solve all of its problems. Being a patriot, he charters a ship and with a crew consisting of family and friends sets off to find it and restore America to its rightful glory.
We never get to see what happened on the island but from there we flash-forward to modern day and we see that upon returning from the island they had all gained superpowers and indeed helped America overcome the depression, the Second World War etc. The original superheroes are still alive today, and to carry on the legacy of their achievements many of them have had kids. In the second half of the book we are introduced to Sampson’s son and daughter. Both are teenage superheroes but seem more inclined to get high, seek endorsement deals or get laid than live up to legacy of their parents heroics.
Millar draws some interesting parallels between the America of the early 30s and the world today with economic downturns, mass unemployment and riots. These issues and how to deal with them start to divide the first superheroes and we get a sense that major problems are going to erupt within the group in future issues. Again, with the scenes involving Sampson’s children and indeed title of the book referring to legacy it would be safe to assume that their attitudes and escapades will be a major driving force of the book in the future.
I mentioned both creator’s work on ‘The Authority’ and I think some readers going into this will be expecting more of the same, but for me, this book was a different beast altogether. We still have Millar’s snappy dialogue, social commentary and innovative ideas but we only have hints of the so-called ‘hyper-violence’ associated with a lot of the writer’s previous works. In-fact the only violence in the book is one fight scene. It takes place off-panel, as Sampson’s brother, a psychic explains to a villain inside his own mind what his brother and the rest of the heroes are doing to his physical body while he keeps him pre-occupied. It is a great scene and made all the more chilling from the way it was written.
Frank Quitely’s pencils are a perfect compliment to Millar’s direction. His crisp lines and figure-work vividly bring to life the book here and he is equally at home drawing the quiet character moments, as he is the fight scene. I found myself just staring at the pages and had to be careful not to destroy the pages with drool, it’s that good! One panel in particular comes to mind which I have mentioned involving a physic constructing a scene inside a villains head. Quietly portrays this by having the panel structurally coming together from pencils, color guides and final artwork. It is beautiful and really shows what a talent he is.
I was excited to read this book when it was announced and now after the first issue I can’t wait to read more. The creative team has offered a quality introduction and the teases they have given make this one of my anticipated titles to come out. Being a big ‘LOST’ fan, it also helps that the book has a mysterious island! Pick this book up now.
5 out of 5 nerds