Title: Jupiter’s Circle Vol. I
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Wilfredo Torres (#1-4 & 6), Davide Gianfelice & Francisco Moratarino (#5)
Inker: Wilfredo Troes (#1-4 & 6), Davide Gianfelice & Francisco Moratarino (#5)
Colorist: Ive Svorcina
Letterer: Peter Doherty
Cover Artist: Frank Quitely
While I was expecting a sequel to Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy, I did not expect a prequel. I have to admit that I was kind of worried about a prequel. The original story, while there were several questions about Sampson clan that were never addressed, I became engrossed with how the offspring of the Sampson clan were going to rebel against their uncle, Walter Sampson. Mark Millar takes the reader back to the 1950s, when Utopia created the superhero group, the Union.
While I always take issue with how Americans envision the 1950s, I have to give Millar a salute for doing the exact same thing. Even in the 50s, the villains were quaint. Times were easy and everyone loved the Union. All of the members were upstanding citizens who didn’t have skeletons in their closet, or so we think…
This part of Millar’s writing is what jumped out at me immediately. Everyone is happy and even when they fight villains there is no sense of urgency or mortality. Hey is that an alien invasion? We got it! News at 6pm. Many have compared Jupiter’s Circle to Made Men. I can see why.
Millar tackles quite a few issues. In the first issue, the Union faces off against the villainous J. Edgar Hoover. As much as I dislike Hoover, I never thought anyone would take him on as a villain. Ironically, he is probably the greatest domestic villain the United States has ever had. Hoover built a career and a government agency as he stepped on the Bill of Rights. Millar has always been someone to push the envelope, but I never saw that coming. Just having Hoover as a villain is enough for the price of admission.
The next several issues deal with the private lives of several of the members. Millar also throws the first bit of tension between Utopia and his younger brother, Walter. I notice that Walter’s powers compared to the other members of the Union are more insidious. He does have super strength and agility but he can control and manipulate minds. This sets him apart from the other heroes. While the tension is subtle, Millar shows how the tension between the two began. Utopia never really entertained any of his brother’s ideas. At the same time, Walter was always accused of being insidious when it came to his powers.
I am completely unfamiliar with Wilfredo Torres’ artwork. However, Torres’ work fits with the overall story line. His pencils are very clean and he makes it all look so easy. The way Torres drew the costumes and the outfits really makes the comic feel like it was a reprint from the fifties. His breakdowns are very stylized and the colors by Ive Svorcina fits the entire motif. The artwork really comes together. Even if there was no dialogue, the reader would get it. Davide Gianfelice’s work also stands out and does not disrupt the series at all.
Now I am invested in the story of the Union and wonder where Millar will go to from here. I am hoping he continues both storylines and publishes them together. The best part about Jupiter’s Circle is that the reader can jump into either story and not actually miss anything. This is a testament to Millar’s writing. While I hope that Frank Quitely returns to full art duties, I think Millar has made a good choice in artists, and I wouldn’t mind seeing any of the aforementioned returned.