What if Superman had children?
What if he was a bad father?
That’s the sort of discussion that comes forth in Jupiter’s Legacy #2, a sharply written continuation that builds on the tensions and relationships explored in the first issue. With the origin story left behind, issue #2 charges forward following each of the main characters in dramatic scenes, exposing dirty laundry and rivalries.
After a disappointing night, Brandon Sampson and his crew decide to use their superpowers for the good of humanity by carrying a cargo ship to its destination. The gesture is unnecessary and unwanted by the ship’s captain, but the entourage, drunk and unable to coordinate, force the issue. When the ship begins to tip over, spilling cargo and a hapless shipmate, the superpowers scramble to lessen the potential damage of spilling freight on the unsuspecting neighborhoods below.
Enter the Utopian who saves the days and scolds Brandon for his recklessness. There’s a fundamental difference between the two — a huge generational gap separates father and son that’s represented in their motivations. The father, being born in an age of self-sacrifice, has high expectations for his son who chose a path of self-promotion. Brandon is a disappointment to his father, but if there’s anything to make Brandon feel better about himself — he’s not alone.
Chloe wakes up in a hospital after her overdose and discovers she’s pregnant. To complicate things even further, the father of the child, Hutch, is the son of a supervillain and involved in shady dealings. When two hitmen come to take Hutch away, he uses his rod’s power to teleport one of them away into shark infested waters, which frightens the other man away.
Hutch and Chloe meet up and discuss their lives, and the Utopian catches his brother using his powers on the Cabinet members of the White House. A tense discussion ensues as the two brothers butt heads on using their powers, and the meeting ends with the Utopian demanding things be done his way.
Jupiter’s Legacy #2 doesn’t have any big fist fights or explosions. There’s very little in terms of theatrics and grand gestures, and the issue shows how a family can be torn apart from within by jealousy, greed, disharmony, and great expectations. Jupiter’s Legacy as a title is shaping up as a tragedy of epic proportions because the characters are superheroes who can fly, use mind powers, and destroy walls with by screaming.
It’s to Mark Millar’s credit that Jupiter’s Legacy reads with a fine edge. Dialogue between the Utopian and Brandon is pointed, and the there’s emotional weight in the conversation between Chloe and Hutch as they discuss their problems and the believed causes to those problems.
In a way, it’s instantly relatable for those who’ve grown up crushed by a loving parental embrace that feels more like a deathgrip because of the immense pressure. Parents expect much out of their children, so how much more would be expected of a child whose father is the most loved man on Earth?
Millar’s words are married to Frank Quitely’s visuals which capture a state of inner and boiling turmoil. Especially poignant is the scene in which Chloe and Hutch, both naked on a bed, just talk. Panels are cinematic, cutting away to closeups of piercings and tears before a wide-angle shot shows how alone the two are in the space of their room.
Peter Doherty’s colors accent panels with vibrant and lush splashes. The Utopian’s cape burns bright red, and the ocean — scene of a death — sinks deep in blue. It’s becoming clear that Walter could be the ultimate supervillain in this story arc and possibly beyond. His red gloves look primed for the blood he may spill, and the costume color contrasts between himself and the Utopian already look like they’re opposed.
There’s tons of drama in this issue, and Millar has been known to wrench things even further. Expect upheaval, pain, and misery in the issues to come. By the look of things, it will be worth it.
Jupiter’s Legacy #2 (2013)
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Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Frank Quitely
Colors: Peter Doherty
Letters: Peter Doherty
Previous Issue: Jupiter’s Legacy #1 Review
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