Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Frank Quitely
Review: William R. Davis Jr.
"The comic-book event of 2013 finally arrives as superstar creators MARK MILLAR and FRANK QUITELY give us the superhero epic that all future comics will be measured by. The world's greatest heroes have grown old and their legacy is a poisonous one to the children who will never live up to their remarkable parents. Unmissable."- Image Comics
Bold words from Image and the creative team responsible for Wanted, Kick Ass, and All-Star Superman had the hype machine on full throttle for Jupiter's Legacy before issue one even hit the stands. So how "unmissable" is this new series, and is it really "the comic book event of 2013"? I'm not going to piss all over anyone's strawberries in this review, but the word "hyperbole" does come to mind when rereading the above press release from Image.
Since Alan Moore wrote "Watchmen", the deconstruction of the superhero seems to be a pretty common theme in comics. Books like Astro City and The Boys have picked up the mantle where Moore left off and they are both solid, fun reads but not genre changing ones. Jupiter's Legacy doesn't deal with "absolute power corrupting absolutely" in issue one, but it does draws some interesting parallels between The Great Depression and the economic crisis of today. It also explores the dichotomy between the golden age superhero and the would be superhero of the modern world as well. These are both interesting topics, but really not new ideas. This book almost read like Kingdom Come with a bunch of B-team superheroes that no one knows about. Moore did it better, but at this point it is unfair to compare one issue to a book that has found its way onto many college syllabi, and for good reason. Unfortunately, the preview by Image made me draw that comparison almost immediately.
It starts off with an origin story, and a man who lost a family fortune pursuing a vision of a mysterious island. Honestly, I thought I was going to hate this book when the dialogue kept revisiting the idea that "the island will provide". John Locke flashbacks abounded through the first five pages. It then quickly cuts to the new generation of superheros who are more concerned with parties, publicists, and super powered blow than fighting super villains.
Image really did this book a disservice with their sales pitch. After the release of East of West and Miniature Jesus I awaited the this book with bated breath hoping that it would be better those titles. They talked it up way too much, and that left me feeling a little let down in the end even though it was a pretty solid book overall. In closing, I would like to give you a quote from the real book that "all future comics will be measured by". When you read Jupiter's Legacy you will notice the difference in quality right away.
"Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll whisper 'no.'"-Alan Moore