Things are getting very stressful in Mark Millar’s superhero world. It’s 1966, Civil Rights and Vietnam are very much on people’s minds and a hero has decided to up and fix these issues. Sure, he’s using his powers to get people riled up so real action can actually take place, but you can’t argue with the results. How long can these things go on with a superhero team in the wings? Is it good?
Jupiter’s Circle Vol. 2 #3 (Image Comics)
Skyfox has had enough, although it did take him some mind expansion to get here. This issue opens with him pointing a gun at the vice president’s head asking for the US troops to pull out of Vietnam. Subtle.
Why does this book matter?
Writer Mark Millar has basically proven a slower paced, soap operatic comic can very successfully bring the drama. So far this series has been more about human frailty than superpowers which is why it’s so damn compelling. Plus it’s capturing a slice of life, being a period piece and all. This book offers something a little bit different, and lots of it!
An aggressive method.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Wow, this issue packs a lot of content into its pages. Looking for superhero stuff? You got it with a super villain that’s super smart and very much hates Utopian—a hero with a Superman powerset—and aims to end him now that he’s out of jail. How about some questionable ethics to chew on? You get that too with a rich aristocrat asking Utopian if he’d sell him some of his super sperm. The guy has all the money in the world, but to sire a child from a little donated sperm that will end up with amazing abilities? Why, his board has “agreed it’s an excellent long term investment”! Creepy, but honestly Millar brings up an tantalizing concept I’m sure would be an issue for heroes if they were real.
There’s also political intrigue including a surprise cameo by a very famous author. Chris Sprouse and Walden Wong do a bang-up job with the time period, particularly with the clothes. The villain of this issue carries the turtleneck quite well and it helps make him feel like he’s from another time. His weapon is helpful too and I like the simplistic design they bring to it.
One of the charms of this series from the beginning has been the simplistic nature of the art. The lines are simple; many of the backgrounds are flat color to let the character speak and take our attention. This includes action sequences—this issue has a good one, and in one page for example only four panels show the action. Usually this slows things down, but the jumping, and again the focus on the characters, really makes the drama sing.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are times the balance is off in this series which makes the read a tad wonky. Not so in this issue though!
Hero: meet villain. Villain: hero.
Is It Good?
This book offers something a little bit different and—if you’re up for it—lots of it. Lovers of character-driven stories must read this series!
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