Filed under: Comic Reviews, Image Comics | Tags: Bryan Hitch, Dave Johnson, Frank Quitely, Image Comics, Jupiter's Legacy, Mark Millar, Peter Doherty, Phil Noto
The much talked about, much-hyped team-up of Mark Millar & Frank Quitely hits with #1 of this latest title from Image. Millar, Quitely AND Image – sounds like a winner before we open that issue but does the title deliver what we’d expect??
Having teamed-up previously on The Authority, it was almost a matter of time before the pair reunited on a project and it seems fitting that they have landed at Image where a fresh, almost limitless supply of creator-owned titles have broken free from the shackles that a continuity-heavy character can clamp on a creative team. Millar and Quitely bring us a fresh new superhero-filled world to get lost in at a time when the industry is already bursting at the seams with a flying guy here and a web-swinger there.
Now if you’ve been a follower of Millar’s work (like I have) you may well have a fair idea what to expect from this as his uncanny ability to tap into pop-culture has remained strong throughout his titles. I’m the first to admit that I haven’t remained a devout fan of his work – be that his comics or his conversions to the big screen but Jupiter’s Legacy does have the feel of a return to the type of form that helped him get his name recognized throughout the comic book world.
The tale is fairly straight-forward as we open with an adventure to find an island seen in the visions of Sheldon Sampson. An island that shouldn’t exist but the belief of his friends and the conviction of his actions almost will the island into existence and it’s discovery brings with it the first Superheroes to the world in the early 30’s. Queue a switch to the present day and the celebrity capital of the world – Los Angeles, where the children of those early superheroes try to find meaning in the values handed down to them along with their powers. All fairly recognizable ideas but it’s the execution here that separates it from other well-known titles.
Developing a clear definition between the days gone past and the modern-day world and the writing and artwork combine their efforts to draw a clear divide between those two elements. The narrative from Sheldon in the 30’s manages to capture a clear nostalgic feel with a subtlety that I wasn’t expecting from the Millar as the brash and extreme nature of some of his titles had me expecting the worst. Similarly, the style of the art holds true to that old-time feel – clothing, surroundings and characters all seem steeped in that flashback feel and the muted tones of Peter Doherty’s colour-work help emphasize that.
Flipping to the modern-day and we see the bright, flashy world depicted expertly by Quitely and again that’s been punctuated by Doherty’s stark and garish colour work. Not a negative aspect in this case as it contrasts so well with those early days. Modern day living with its “live fast, die young” approach taken up a notch with our modern-day heroes lost in their pursuit of pleasure instead of a quest for the greater good. The older generation still fight that out and acts as a constant reminder to that new generation of what they could achieve, if they only wanted to.
With writing, artwork & colouring matching each other step for step it’s allowed a strong opener to develop in the course of one issue and if this keeps up in the rest of the title (which I fully expect it to) then I can see this being a far bigger success than it’s been hyped to be. Add a mix of variant covers from the likes of Bryan Hitch, Dave Johnson & Phil Noto and the title will surely maintain its momentum in pre-sales alone. A return to form for Millar and even though I thought I knew what to expect, this opener has surpassed my expectations and made me glad I’ve got these pre-ordered. Writing and art combining perfectly, well suited for those different time periods and well coloured too – the art team have helped bring a world to life that may be one of superheroes & supervillains but somehow realistic with characters to be believed.
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