There are two types of superhero comics: the “punch your way to victory” action extravaganza and the emotionally charged soap opera. Those of us who like both can appreciate a good action sequence, but also the quiet resolve of understanding why a bad guy thought he was right. Both are worthy, and Mark Millar is delivering the latter type in his Jupiter series, but is it good?
Jupiter’s Circle #2 (Image Comics)
Skyfox has had it with the superhero business because he’s sick of helping the political elite. Now he’s expanding his mind with friends from the Beat generation. Meanwhile race riots are taking over California and people are looting as the superheroes watch from afar.
Why does this book matter?
Millar has proven he can do the big action comics, but so far the Jupiter series has proven he can write fantastic drama as well. The pace is slow, but just right for this story and it’s a lot of fun to get inside these characters’ heads. Their motivations are understandable and they’re very well fleshed out people.
Is that Merlin?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with another inspired villain as the heroes attempt to keep humanity safe. It’s a fun take on aliens – an American trope to be sure – as Millar explores the American psyche in the 60’s. This was a tumultuous time as seen by the drama unfolding between cops and African Americans in this issue. Millar shows us that governments would rather the heroes stay out of civil rights issues which brings up an interesting idea. Do we even want to fix this? Can we, even if we have superheroes at the ready to stop violence?
This issue expertly unfolds the drama going on outside and in people’s heads, but the real success comes when Millar shows us how Skyfox’s perspective is valid. Sure he’s doing drugs and expanding his mind while he comes to a major realization, but the idea of heroes rescuing humanity from themselves is a compelling one. Like something out of Watchmen Millar is playing with compelling arguments about superheroes and their role in keeping society safe.
Wilfredo Torres shares art duties with Davide Gianfelice and Rick Burchett and it’s hardly noticeable when they switch. All of their styles accomplish the same even and simple style that makes this more about characters talking, exhibiting emotion and making decisions. The opening pages are grandiose and big, but so are the cops taking on African Americans in the streets.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The double page spread is a little too lacking in the detail department. It’s as if the entire image was drawn for a half page but was blown up instead as faces are blank and the background quite simple. It’s unfortunate as it’s a major moment, but the final full page spread makes up for it showing off Skyfox in all his man of action look.
Is It Good?
Like something out of Watchmen Millar is playing with compelling arguments about superheroes and their role in keeping society safe.
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