Review – Jupiter’s Circle #1 (Image Comics)

JupitersCircle_01-1Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Wilfredo Torres
Release Date: 8th April, 2015

After the first arc of Jupiter’s Legacy came to a close back in January – and it still remains unclear if/when Volume 2 will appear – you can’t help but forgive the comic community at large for chomping at the bit just a little, demanding more of this universe, and faster to boot. But of course, we can’t possibly presume to rush home-team maestro Frank Quitely, and so to tide us over until Issue #6 of the primary series, Image and Millar have thrust this out into the limelight. Same universe, different artist. As good a read? Well…

Hurling us back to heyday of the elder superheroes from the primary series – and strongly drawing upon the Silver Age heroics of DC’s canon, as well as giving a vague nod to Watchmen – on a superficial level it seems almost like a fairly fizzy period piece, a deliberate hark-back to times of yore. But scratch the surface but a little, and it’s clear that Millar is doing his thing once again – this time, his scathing wit and insight has the conservative repression of the USA in its sights; in particular the toxic hypocrisy of Hollywood. It’s fascinating, cutting, and as we’ve come to expect from a Millar issue #1, it reels you in expertly. And that final panel – getting a major historical figure involved – is particularly exceptional, given the rumours that surround them.

The change of artists might feel a touch jarring, but it’s certainly not without its merits. On the meta-textual level, it contrasts beautifully with Legacy – Torres’ clean, clear linework stylings combining with Svorcina’s bold, broad pastel colouring recalling the likes of Romita Sr and Ditko at their best. Contrasting this with Quitely’s modern, hyper-detailed style is something of a joy given the two different timeframes. Conveniently, Volume 1 of Legacy also comes out the same day (Micro-review: It’s fucking excellent. 5/5), so you can have both to hand and see precisely what I mean.

But when it’s all mixed together in the big cocktail that is the book, and taken on its own merit, it’s just not quite as thrilling as the first issue of Legacy was. Whether it’s down to the fact that even relatively speaking, it’s hardly fresh any more, or the change in artist, or the fact that it can at times feel like Millar is desperately searching for something to fill the inevitable wait until Volume 2 of Legacy – it’s just a little softer, a little lower key than Legacy, and that may come as something of a minor disappointment, given quite what the stakes were in its predecessor.

Still, that’s by no means to say that you shouldn’t check it out. If you are one of the patient few who still call themselves fans of Jupiter’s, you will get a kick out of this book. It’s fascinating to match up the jaded, cynical characters up with their idealistic 50’s counterparts, and the exploration of repression in a super-heroic context is as intriguing as anything Millar’s down previously. Well worth your time, and certainly set to go uphill from here.

Rating: 4/5.

RSavThe Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24

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