Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Jupiter's Legacy

Mark Millar & Frank Quitely Jupiter's Legacy (2015)
All I can say is Blimey! I've always liked Mark Millar's writing, or at least some of his writing, and I've always felt he had great potential; except every so often there would be something slightly shit or just plain fucking horrible and it would suddenly feel like the good stuff probably came about by accident. Throw sufficient numbers of starving transsexual Cambodians forced to consume their own dead fathers' AIDS infected penises on live television at the wall, and eventually one of them will stick and form a pattern which reminds you of Watchmen.

Jupiter's Legacy is yet more revisionist superheroics - caped types with superpowers in a world which behaves more or less like our own, at least in comparison to wherever Spiderman is supposed to live. It's been done a million times before, and yet here it is again but with such snappy vigour as to make it read like a new thing. I can't even tell how he does it, beyond that Millar seems to have an ear for natural dialogue, a great sense of timing, and a good understanding of how people work. Of course there are a couple of horrible moments as you might expect, but still nothing as bad as the slashfest of all that stuff drawn by those who look up to Rob Liefeld as an artistic role model. Millar's gore is repulsive because that sort of thing should be repulsive more than it should ever resemble something cool from a console game.

Jupiter's Legacy riffs on the whole great power equating to great responsibility equation and tries to answer the question of why Superman doesn't ever seem to get around to ending world hunger, our reliance on fossil fuels, or anything else which actually matters. This isn't a new idea, but it feels as though it is, or at least fails to resemble anything else of its kind which I can remember reading. It's a story of human - or rather superhuman frailty told on an epic scale without any of the usual pomposity or attempts to fool the reader with generic grandeur; and Frank Quitely's art is the best I've seen it, invoking the stately dynamism of Moebius and the like, and even the chins seem to be mostly under control.

As I read this I thought to myself Mark Millar is beginning to make Alan Moore and the rest look like hacks, which I know can't possibly be true even if it felt like it was. I wouldn't say Jupiter's Legacy is the greatest superhero comic ever written, but it's possibly the greatest superhero comic written since the previous greatest superhero comic ever written.

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