Even super-heroes are not immune to dysfunction in the family. Mark Millar explores the depths of that dysfunction in his new series, Jupiter’s Legacy. Utopian is the patriarch of a family of super-beings – to call them super-heroes would imply that they are somehow virtuous and that cannot be said for most of them. He struggles to maintain some semblance of morality in this clan of deficient principals, however his struggles seem to be overwhelming even for one who possesses the powers of a “superman”. Besides his drug-addled celebrity children, Chloe and Brandon, who make Paris Hilton and Marilyn Manson look well-behaved by comparison, Utopian has a back-stabbing, power-hungry brother named Walter to contend with.
Chloe has just found out that she is eleven weeks along in an unplanned for and unwanted pregnancy when she is rushed to the hospital to recover from yet another drug overdose. Her “boyfriend”, Hutch just happens to be the son of a super-villain. Brandon looks more like a rock star than a super-hero and he behaves more like one as well. He begins this issue by recklessly and drunkenly using his telekinetic powers to transport a huge cargo ship through the air. The ship is full of containers which start to fall overboard when Brandon loses his concentration. A number of the containers plummet dangerously toward the ground. It is only Utopian’s timely intervention that prevents any loss of life not to mention millions of dollars in property damage. Father and son have a heated exchange full of some very well written dialogue – Millar is quite adept at giving his characters believable voices. Frank Quitely’s awesome visual story telling really shines in this scene as well.
Next we go to Long Beach where Hutch, Chloe’s paramour, makes his first appearance. He is a shady reprobate who has absconded with a shipment of heroin, neglecting to pay for said narcotics. His weapon of choice is something called a “power rod” but he also has the ability to transport anyone foolish enough to annoy him to some rather inhospitable surroundings. For instance when he is approached by a pair of super-powered henchmen representing “The Big Man” whose heroin Hutch pilfered, he simply says the words “shark-infested waters” and bingo! Next thing you know the unlucky henchmen are shark food. This is one of the issue’s highlights – the nonchalance of Hutch just makes this such an awesome moment and Frank Quitely’s cinematic style brings it to life so brutally yet so stylishly.
Utopian finds his brother, Walter in a Cabinet Office meeting with some government advisors. He barges in, making Walter look and feel inferior in front of the government big-wigs. This does not sit well at all with him and makes for a very devious and dubious alliance that begins to unfold on the final page of this issue. I dare not say more suffice to say a knife is looking for a back to call home.
This book has everything I love about good comic books. First of all it has long-time Grant Morrison collaborator, Frank Quitely, who is in my humble opinion the very best comic book artist to grace the printed page. His style is so unique; no one can match the emotion and command of anatomy he wields over his characters. His work is clean with an elegance unrivaled. He lends a sense of humanity to these characters simply by the limitless array of facial expression in his artistic arsenal.
Next there is Mark Millar, who has written Jupiter’s Legacy at a break-neck pace thus far, glossing over some vital history that I hope he gets around to in later issues. That is my only complaint and it is a minor one. This book has come out of the gate firing on all thrusters. I love Millar’s” take no prisoners” style of writing, I have been a fan of his for quite some time. His seminal work on The Ultimates, his groundbreaking Wolverine story, Old Man Logan, the significant Kick Ass trilogy are all examples of the genius of Mark Millar and there are so many other works I could add to that list. With Jupiter’s Legacy he has created a work that will be compared to Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Mark Waid’s Irredeemable for its very human portrayal of super-heroes, their flaws and strengths there to be observed. The plot is intriguing and full of scandalous characters who threaten to bring down a good man who only wants his children to live up to the potential he believes exists within them. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
If you are a fan of superb writing and just phenomenal artwork this book needs to be on your pull list. So until next week, see you at the comic book store.