I’m not really sure what possessed writer Mark Millar to take a step down such an antiquated road with his new creator-owned title Jupiter’s Legacy, but he has. I’m guessing Millar is running out of steam. The man who gave us Red Son has done little more over the last several years than offer up the painstakingly dull Kick Ass and even worse Kick Ass 2. The Secret Service was not a great title, neither was Nemesis or the ongoing adventures of Hit Girl. I was hoping Jupiter’s Legacy would get me excited for a Millar story. It did not.
What we have here is a collection of plot devices posing as a story arc. Jupiter’s Legacy begins in 1932. A once wealthy man, destroyed by the crash that led to the Great Depression, has started having dreams about a remote island nobody believes exists. Page one is this man, his brother and a few of their friends trying to convince a wary sea captain to use his ship and crew to help find an island that’s not supposed to be there. Okay, um, did Mark Millar not see King Kong? 1932? A secret island? Didn’t any editor at Image tap Millar on the shoulder and remind him of the iconic ape movie?
The intrepid crew arrives on the island, but we’re never shown what happens. All we are told is that the people on that island received super powers and flew home to save America. Jump ahead to 2013. The world is crumbling once again and these heroes, now older, have children who are also heroes. Problem is, their children are lazy because all the great super villains have died out. These kids are more interested in sex, drugs and easy money than saving the world. This deviation in priorities leads to tension between the older and newer capes.
Older heroes having no truck with the spoiled younger generation? Seriously? Did Millar not read Kingdom Come? Naturally, the older heroes have dissension amongst the ranks. I’m assuming the older “Superman” archetype is the failed businessman who first dreamed of the island. His brother, a cross between Doctor Strange and Professor X, wants to use their powers to fix a world where the rich get richer by exploiting the poor. The Superman archetype says they should just work for the elected officials as always.
Okay. Here’s where Jupiter’s Legacy really starts to fail. Part of it has to do with yet another title exploring those who want to use power to fix the world and those heroes who believe absolute power corrupts absolutely. Boring. Harder to stomach than that is Millar’s thinly veiled political attack on the current economic and geopolitical situation. Millar hammers his point home with no finesse, so it comes across like propaganda. To be honest, I don’t need politics in my comic books.
In the end, something happens to one of the hero children, which is the big cliffhanger. At this point, I don’t care. Jupiter’s Legacy is a preachy political message hidden behind scraps of plot lines from better comics. I realize this is only issue #1, but Millar has left such a sour taste in my mouth that I have no desire to read another word.
Frank Quitely is the one saving grace here. His artwork, as always, is glorious. I love the kinetic energy behind every panel, the look that everything is moving. Really look at how Quitely pencils a face. He captures the subtlety of movement so well that he brings life to anything on the two dimensional page. His ability to do that with characters simply talking makes his action work off the chart. Quitely’s work is a style, his own unique voice through pictures.
Despite some great art, Jupiter’s Legacy is further proof that Mark Millar is not nearly as solid a writer as he thinks he is.
(5 Art, 1 Story)