Review: Jupiter’s Legacy Volume 1 & 2 (2013-2017)

Jupiter’s Legacy is a 2 volume comic book series from 2013 to 2017 by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely which is soon to become a Netflix show. This will be the first in what appears to be a long line of adaptations from the Millarworld brand, a catalogue which Netflix acquired in 2017.

With the predicted arrival on Netflix still being slated for a 2020 release I decided to go back to the source material to refresh myself. Hopefully this spoiler free review will help people understand what is in store for them when the show airs and also encourage some to go check out the books and get a head start.

THE TEAM

Mark Millar and Frank Quitely are two names in the comic industry who need no introduction but for the sake of this article I will give them one anyway.

Mark Millar is a Scottish comic book writer who has written everything and anything. Arguably the most adapted comic book writer there is (don’t quote me on that) having written the Civil War story line for Marvel which was the main basis for the 2016 movie Captain America: Civil War. Other stories he wrote which made it to screen are Old Man Logan, Superman: Red Son, Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman. 

Frank Quitely is a Scottish comic book artist and multiple Eisner award winner. Frank has drawn all the big names in comics from X-Men to Justice League and is best known for his collaborations with fellow Scot Grant Morrison on All Star Superman and Batman and Robin.

Jupiter’s Legacy was the second time Millar and Quitely collaborated after previously working together on The Authority for Wildstorm comics between 2000 and 2001.

Completing the team is colorist and letterer Peter Doherty who has a long career predominantly illustrating the 2000AD character Judge Dredd whilst also worked on Batman and the mini series Seaguy with Grant Morrison.

THE STORY

Jupiter’s Legacy is a superhero story set in a time when the original Super Heroes of the world have grown old and stepped away from the limelight, allowing their super powered children to step forward. The main plot points are based around family issues and the differences of opinions between the generations. Seeing how the older generation dealt with economical and political changes is what sparks a lot of the conflict with the new, younger generation.

Going back to read this is 2020 feels incredibly suitable based on the state of the political world now. In the middle of a worldwide pandemic we get to see how different generational views differ in the way things are being handled. The great thing about Jupiter’s Legacy is that it doesn’t try and force any views or opinions on the reader, it simply points out that people from different times and different backgrounds see the world differently and what seems right for one person is wrong for another. These are the kind of realistic and relatable stories Millar has built his career around and proves why he is one of the greatest comic book writers of all time.

Reading these books makes me think about stories like Star Wars or Star Trek and even King Kong and Godzilla because they are outsider stories which deal with family conflicts and political propaganda. Then blended brilliantly into all this are some real heartwarming moments between friends and families. Much of the two volumes are about 1 story told from two different sides, both of which feel they are doing the right thing and both who are determined to stop the other side.

THE ART AND STYLE

What I love about Frank Quitely’s style of artwork is the way it feels like a comic book and makes me feel like I did when reading comics as a kid. Some modern age comics are drawn so realistic they can feel more like an adaptation from the screen where as Jupiter’s Legacy looks and feels like it’s a comic book which could be adapted onto the screen. 

This in no way is a criticism of anyone’s art style but I love how Quitely’s art makes me feel. I had the exact same feeling when reading All Star Superman. When reading stories about people with unbelievable powers it’s nice to remember that these are make believe, these are tales about the unbelievable and the style helps me remember that which I feel enhances the story telling to another level.

The color is an almost pastel theme which is very easy on the eye. What Peter Doherty does that stands out is his use of the color red. Its incredibly eye catching how he used a strong bold red which stands out in comparison to the pale, pastel tone of the book. This is used perfectly to highlight the significance of a characters mask or the stripes on the American flag at a rally.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I will admit I am a huge admirer of Mark Millar’s work but Jupiter’s Legacy is a story which has always stood out for me. It’s a compelling story and a genuine page turner. This is a story which is filled with creative and complex characters who make you think out their actions long after you put the book down. 

Jupiter’s Legacy reads like a perfect story to be adapted into a series or film. I think this will be a real hit for Netflix and recommend people give this a read ahead of its release. There is also a follow up story called Jupiter’s Circle which is a prequel and focuses on the older heroes from Legacy when they were young.

Click here to check out all Mark Millar’s work at Forbidden Planet.

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