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Jupiter’s Legacy #2 Explores Dysfunctional Superhero Families and Sets Up Future Conflicts

Jupiter’s Legacy #2 Explores Dysfunctional Superhero Families and Sets Up Future Conflicts

IMG130182AJupiter’s Legacy #2
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Frank Quitely
Colors/Letters: Peter Doherty
Publisher: Image

So Jupiter’s Legacy is basically Game of Thrones with superheroes. There is conflict between members of different families who have power through their superhuman abilities, celebrity status, or political cunning. Each member has superpowers, but has varying degrees of the other powers. Jupiter’s Legacy might not have a roller coaster ride of a plot, but important events happen in this plot as the reader gets to know the principal players well. With the “origin” story out of the way, Mark Millar uses this issue to flesh out the main characters giving them desires, strengths, and weaknesses. Frank Quitely’s art might not be as detailed as his work on All Star Superman or JLA Earth 2, but he moves the story from point A to point B without wasting a panel and zooms in and out to emphasize different scenes in the story.

So far, Jupiter’s Legacy seems like the culmination of Mark Millar’s various political superhero stories, including The AuthorityUltimates, and Civil War. But where he once relied on now-dated pop culture references and sophomoric parodies of George W. Bush, Millar focuses on more universal themes. The national economy will be always be an issue in American politics, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will have different solutions for this problem. Millar applies this principle to superheroes as Utopian and Walter have vastly different ideals for dealing with the financial crisis. Utopian thinks that the political system will solve its own problems while Walter wants to directly intervene by telepathically influencing Congress and the cabinet. The ideological conflict between Utopian and Walter has huge ramifications for the rest of the series and won’t be tied up any time soon.

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However, there are more than just political conflicts in Jupiter’s LegacyBrandon, the son of Utopian, is having trouble living up to his father’s status as top superhero. Although he is blessed with powers like telekinesis and forcefield manipulation, Brandon almost sinks a cruise ship that he is flying to port ahead of schedule. (He’s actually in it for the free booze.) Frank Quitely uses the difference in body language and stance in Brandon and Utopian to show his insecurity in the face of his father’s legacy. Another source of conflict is Utopian’s daughter Chloe’s drug overdose and pregnancy. She also adds a romantic element to the story while keeping grounded in the conflict between generations of superheroes. Millar writes her as simultaneously vapid and vulnerable. Her physician, Dr. Oberman, may be the first and only genuinely caring person in this series.

In contrast with Millar’s other current book Kick-Ass 3, there is relatively little punching, killing, and violence in Jupiter’s Legacy #2. The plot sometimes takes its time. Certain scenes, like the cruise ship rescue, seem overlong compared with “important” scenes like Chloe and her boyfriend’s conversation and the debate between Walter and Utopian. However, Jupiter’s Legacy #2 is only one chapter in a ten-part superhero epic. Millar hints at possible big events down the road, but doesn’t reveal his entire hand. However, in the tradition of great television like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad which have both strong episodes and seasons, this issue is a strong chapter in a potentially great series. Certain characters who featured in the previous issue like Utopian’s wife and Chloe’s cousin Jules are barely in this issue, but Millar and Quitely have plenty of time to make them characters as compelling as Utopian, Walter, Brandon, and Chloe.

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Frank Quitely’s art in Jupiter’s Legacy is solid, but not as spectacular as his previous work. His character models aren’t very detailed, except when zooms in and shows their facial expressions. However, his characters have a variety of body types from Brandon’s lean slacker look to Utopian’s Olympian jaw as well Chloe’s emaciated, junkie body. Quitely also uses his art to make the world of Jupiter’s Legacy come to life. There are little details in his panels, like television screens and graffiti, that correspond the issue’s of the plot to events happening around the main characters. His panel work is also technically sound as he makes great use of establishing and closing shots and cuts to different locations at logical times in the plot.

Though not the most exciting issue, Millar and Quitely add depth to the superhero protagonists of Jupiter’s Legacy and continue to explore the political and personal themes of their story. Quitely’s art may not be his best, but doesn’t detract from Millar’s script. Jupiter’s Legacy #2 is true character-driven title with characters that can’t be pigeonholed into the categories of heroes and villain. Another winning effort for two of the three greatest Scottish comic book creators.