Anghus Houvouras reviews the third issue of Jupiter’s Legacy…
“The heroes conspire to overthrow The Utopian, discontent rumbling in the bars and the clubs where the superheroes get wasted and complain how much he’s been holding them all back with his old-fashioned ideas of power and responsibility. There’s a new world out there if they will only grasp it. But what is his daughter’s secret and how will it change things forever for their family?”
As I mentioned in last week’s review of Ales Kot’s Zero, it’s been a great year for Image with a number of excellent titles populating the shelves. Mark Millar is a polarizing writer who run the gamut from ‘revered’ to ‘reviled’. Admittedly, I’m a fan citing stuff like Wanted and Kick-Ass as comics I’ve enjoyed immensely. While I’ve liked the first two issues of Jupiter’s Legacy, I’m starting to see a familiar pattern creep into the narrative which may be exposing a potentially weak foundation.
After two issues we’ve established the superhero hierarchy. The Utopian is the first superhero, cut from a Kryptonian mold. He’s an earnest boy scout who believes heroes should serve mankind and not meddle in their petty squabbles. His brother, another superhero, has expressed concerns with the state of the world and doesn’t want to sit idly by while nations are on the brink of war and the global economy circles the drain.
The seeds of mutiny were planted in the series debut, and now in the third issue we see them come to fruition. The heroes of the world, tired of the sanctimonious superman patriarch hatch a plan to bring him down. We get an epic scrap courtesy of the excelllent Frank Quitely and watch the Utopian and his wife get brutally eviscerated paving the way for the heroes of the world to not merely serve the world but help to shape it.
My major complaint with the series thus far is the brutally obvious plot. It feels like Millar cribbing material from himself. This universe, these superheroes, the conflicts that exist between the old school heroes and their drug addicted, self serving children feels kind of uninspired. And the series has jumped around so much that there really isn’t a character in the series to connect with. The older heroes are throwbacks to the golden age are portrayed like the lumbering, obtuse monoliths they have become. The spoiled kids are the kind of useless, entitled idiots you’d find on any reality show. There isn’t a character in Jupiter’s Legacy to invest in.
The series is playing out a lot like Wanted, except there isn’t a Wesley to serve as the audience’s entrant into this bizarro world Millar and Quitely have carved. There are only stereotypes and caricatures. Every character feels like a bastard cousin of your favorite DC and Marvel superhero. The pacing is ridiculously fast giving readers little time to immerse themselves into this very familiar world.
Utopian’s downfall is beautifully staged but ultimately meaningless. After two issues we know so little about him. His origin is cloaked in mystery (I’m assuming to be revealed later), and he’s perpetually perched on his high horse. Seeing him executed at the hands of those he fought alongside is at best morbidly hilarious and at worst sub-par paper thin plotting.
I’m holding out hope that there’s more to Jupiter’s Legacy than the dark humor and brutal violence of the first three issues. I’m still enjoying the series, but I’m beginning to wonder if there are any levels at play here. After reading the third issue, I find myself feeling as though there’s only one trick to this particular pony.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.