Jupiter’s Legacy Review – Trade Waiter

Writer, Mark Millar, and artist, Frank Quietly, earned reputations as two of the most exciting and popular creators working in comics over the last decade. They’ve both created Eisner-nominated comics, including The Authority, which they worked on together. So their first creator-owned work, Jupiter’s Legacy comes with a great pedigree. But does it deliver on the promise?Jason-Sampson-in-Jupiters-Legacy-4

Not immediately, but there’s enough ambition in the violent superhero soap opera’s first trade paperback to keep me excited for the next book.

I don’t review comics I don’t like. There’s so much great stuff being written I don’t want to waste my attention on the mediocre stuff. So let me first say that this is a well-crafted comic. The characters want things, the plot chugs and the art is fantastic (nobody in comics draws greasy hair like Quietly).

But this book has problems. The first two issues get bogged down in whining about Millennials. Millar hits on familiar complaints about how kids these days think they’re special and expect the whole world to be handed to them on a platter. It’s a tired stereotype that doesn’t merit another refutation. The best thing I can say about it is that I think the idea serves a plot purpose and it seems to have run its course in the story by issue #3. On the art side, there’s a good deal of cheesecake in this book and it doesn’t serve much a character purpose or make the book particularly sexy.
Jupiters Legacy_zpsvxcmfhx3On the positive side, Frank Quietly’s art deserves admiration. The level of detail and the way the characters look anything-but-generic is just captivating. These comic pages deserve to be read slowly, not because they’re overcrowded with text, but because the pictures communicate so much. The people in crowd scenes have wrinkled shirts, and they move through a world that feels real.  Also, to temper what I said about the cheesecake shots, this trade would pass the Bechdel test. Women do talk to each other about subjects beyond men. The story of Jupiter’s Legacy shows as much interest in families, as it does in superpowers or world domination. The topics include motherhood and pregnancy.

The book reveals ambitious scope. In the first few issues, it built a world and then destroyed a good chunk of it. Parts of the story will remind comic readers of things they’ve seen before. Millar himself, said that the book is “his Watchmen,” but this intriguing book persuades the reader to give these excellent creators the benefit of the doubt.  And inspires faith that they will be able to deliver on their vision.

Jupiter’s Legacy now has a prequel in Jupiter’s Circle, so it’s safe to assume that Millar has more planned for us. At this point, I offer a qualified recommendation for Jupiter’s Legacy. I would be surprised if Millar and Quietly didn’t see this book as part of their own legacies, We’ll have to wait and see what that legacy will turn out to be.

About Casey Brazeal

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