Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Issue Review: Jupiter's Legacy 1

The first issue of this new series begins with a flash-back to 1932. In the middle of the depression, Sheldon Sampson, his girlfriend Grace, his brother Walter, and several of their friends chartered a ship to take them into the middle of the ocean, where Sheldon dreamed of finding an island.  On the island, Sheldon and his friends gained powers, and became the world's first superheroes.  The story then picks up in the present day, with Chloe, Brandon, and Jules, super-children of these original heroes.  The old-time heroes are battling a villain named Blackstar, and have put out an emergency call to everyone with powers. The kids don't seem to want to step up and walk in their parents' footsteps, however, and their failure to do so triggers an argument between Walter, who thinks that the heroes should use their powers to fix the economy, and Sheldon (the Utopian) who thinks that the government will right itself, and that heroes have no business getting involved in politics.  As the heroes wrap up their fight with Blackstar and get ready to transport him to a maximum security prison, Chloe, Sheldon and Grace's daughter, complains to her friends about having to live up to her parents.  In the middle of her monologue, however, she falls down unconscious.

This is an interesting story with good dialog and strong characterization.  The motivations of the characters are believable, albeit rather trite (the "rebellious teen" plot is not only unoriginal but has become rather over-used in superhero comics these days).  I found myself regretting the brevity of the 1932 flashback, because I was really enjoying it.  Millar definitely made me want to know what was on that island, and how exactly it led to a team of superheroes.  I liked the "original" heroes - Sheldon, Walter, Grace, and company -- quite a bit.

On the other hand, Millar's walking a fine line here.  The three younger heroes in this story are all very similar, and all come off as being very self-centered and rather unlikable.  Having one character like this is fine, even desirable for interest, but if they all turn out to be like this, there is the danger that it will become overly repetitive.  Millar is going to have to work hard to differentiate these characters so they don't all end up coming across as being carbon copies of one another.

Another problem with this issue's story is that there are just plain too many characters.  There are at least a dozen un-named heroes in the Blackstar battle, and the girl from the cover (who wears red and has a blonde pony-tail), who seems like she might be a major character, is also not given a name.  Keeping track of all the relationships in this issue was difficult, partly because so many characters just wear "street clothes" and most of them are only in the story for a page or two.  I'm sure the roster will "settle down" as time goes on, but for this issue I found it rather confusing.

On the other hand there are some really clever touches in this story.  I particularly enjoyed Walter using his mental powers to trap the mind of Blackstar on a beach, and there was some humor here when he offered Blackstar cake.  The whole thing has a bit of an "Incredibles" feel to it, with the older generation taking a very "been there/done that" approach to heroing, and the younger generation straining against their parents' rules.

The art by Quitely is reasonably solid. He does a better job with facial close-ups than with action sequences, but everything looks fairly good.

Overall, this was a fairly good comic that shows some promise, although it certainly didn't blow me away during the first issue.  It did, however, interest me enough to read the next few and see what happens.

My Score: 8/10

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