Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Have you ever imagined what it would be like for superheroes to grow old? Well imagine no more!
Writer: Mark Millar
Illustrator: Frank Quitely
Jupiter’s Legacy tells the story of a man by the name of Sheldon Sampson who, with a team of followers, journeys to a mystical island in search of a key to saving America from a downturn. For reasons unknown to the reader (possibly a dramatic set up), Sampson and his team return with incredible powers. Eighty years later they’re still alive and kicking, regarded with high esteem and as models of perfection.
However, life isn’t as perfect as it seems for these heroes. Crime fighting has gotten old—literally and figuratively— and their superhero children have no interest in the family business. In fact, Sampson’s children are spoiled and apathetic, avoiding his calls to fight villains and choosing instead to live a life of drugs, drinking, and getting noticed by the press. And who can blame them? How could they ever match their most celebrated parents? In a nutshell, Jupiter’s Legacy is a tale of struggle between two generations of superheroes.
This first issue begins strongly but loses its momentum when it falls into clichés and introduces some bland and unsympathetic characters. The opening is exciting and mysterious, flashbacking to 1932 when Sampson is planning his journey based on the dreams and hunches he is having. His team does not doubt him either and in return, they are all bestowed with powers. The art and colors of these pages reflect the time well.
Flash-forward to 2013 and the story slows down. We get a tidbit of how life is for the children of the world’s greatest superheroes. So far, they are unlikeable. Of course that’s probably how Millar has set them up in order to develop them throughout the series, but I really can’t imagine myself ever liking them. I hope I am proven wrong.
We are also given pages of the old superheroes fighting a villain that has killed an entire alien race. The fight scenes are uneventful, with all the heroes cluttered and seemingly doing nothing but fly and throw punches.
The costumes are disappointingly uncreative or impractical. Except for Sampson and his wife who are dressed similarly to Superman, all the old superheroes wear light body armor. If you play Mass Effect, it’s like Commander Shepard’s N7 Armor, except plain and not at all epic. Then there is the costume of one of the young yet-to-be-named heroes. She might as well wear nothing. Why even bother with her cowl? Why?
I didn’t mean to sound overly critical. There are some positives to the story. For one thing, Quitley’s art is amazingly detailed (minus costume designs). I find myself staring for a while at panel backgrounds or the designs of a character. Furthermore, the story about the divide between the two generations holds much potential. It’s definitely something to be explored. The series it seems will focus mainly on the children trying to make a name for themselves, but I do hope Millar gives us more development on the parents because they are just as important.
I give Jupiter’s Legacy #1 a 3 out of a 5. Get it only if you’re really interested.
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.