By Jarrod Jones. There can be no argument that Mark Millar is a shrewd businessman. He’s also a damn fine comic book writer, but there’s no doubt that the man knows his way to the long term.
Case in point: Jupiter’s Legacy. The first five issues spanned from April 2013 to January 2014, a story that saw delays that made DC’s All-Star Batman and Robin look downright prolific in comparison. (It’s longest gap was between issues #4 and #5, a matter of 10 months.) That took some steam out of the story’s momentum, one that had already went ahead and executed major paradigm shifts with little to go on beyond the occasional expository wink. It was a series that required you to take notes, if for no other reason because, well — you’d likely forget what you read by the time the next issue came out.
The same can be said about Jupiter’s Legacy Vol. 2 #1. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Legacy is a promise offered retroactively. Its initial premise — where an old guard of superheroes are betrayed by their vain and listless progeny — was Millar’s bold opening salvo delivered with co-creator Frank Quitely’s signature grace. Kingdom Come with smartphones and cocaine. None of the decades’ worth of story that made Kingdom resonate. What Legacy needed was elucidation. A backstory that could provide us context. And a scheduling consistency to go with it.
Enter Jupiter’s Circle. Armed with the slick, rapidfire artwork of Wilfredo Torres, Chris Sprouse, and others, Millar had the breathing room to fill in the blanks left behind by the first five issues of Legacy. Circle came to us with nary a scheduling hiccup, telling a story that didn’t borrow from James Robinson’s Golden Age so much as perfected it. A whip-smart account of gods among men, doing their best to be human. Letting that humanity get the better of them. Circle fulfilled the promise of Legacy and made its initial first five issues feel like the kick in the pants it was supposed to be back in 2013.
Now Jupiter’s Legacy returns. The marquee film event after the television miniseries. Millar has taken the events of Circle and provided equal parts epilogue and prologue to the beginning of this second volume. Mario Puzo’s “son becomes the father, and the father… the son” but with the aesthetic perfection of i-D magazine. That visual punch is all courtesy of Frank Quitely, of course, and Millar rightfully lets the artist get the story across with his usual graphic sophistication. Even though it feels like it takes about five minutes to read any given Millar book these days, Quitely’s artwork demands you stick around to properly soak it all in.
An example of where the artist takes charge: Quitely’s momentum picks up halfway through the issue, wrapping up a plodding escape sequence in style by pulling that monstrously gorgeous grid maneuver he executed in Pax Americana last year. (Though, whether or not that was an intentional poke at Grant Morrison by his former protégé Millar, who can say.)
Jupiter’s Legacy Vol. 2 #1 is a sumptuous display of good guys maneuvering around the bad. All mere setup for the melee to come. But let’s dig a little deeper next issue. Let’s have more of that signature Millar dialogue, some of that qualified swagger and sneer. But most importantly, let’s see that corner get cleared within 30 days.
Written by Mark Millar.
Art by Frank Quitely.
Colors by Sunny Gho.
Letters and design by Peter Doherty.
8.5 out of 10