The Supers have taken over, and the world couldn’t be worse.
After Walter manipulated the Utopian’s son Brandon into committing patricide, the world has become a police state with sister Chloe, Hutch, and their super-powered son hiding out in Australia. To stay under the radar, the family has taken up menial jobs while Jason fakes mediocrity in school and sports with an occasional super-good deed of the day.
Meanwhile, Brandon struggles to keep it together as the situation gets worse in America. It seems his tenure as the ruler of the United States hasn’t done his reputation much good as the country’s fallen into a state of welfare and dissidence. Despite having tremendous powers, Brandon’s approval rate is at an all-time low — something Walter’s genius can’t even fix.
If Jupiter’s Legacy #4 feels a little sparse — it’s because it is. Though the issue starts with Sheldon’s journey onto the island that called him, we don’t get much besides being introduced to the aliens who give the clan their powers. We don’t get to the how or the why just yet, and though we get a bit of history filled in during one of Jason’s bedtime stories, the rest of the issue hits predictable beats as Brandon plays the supervillain in the office.
It’s very much the plot of the Incredibles if, instead, the Supers ran amok and took control of everything. The outcome is the same — no one can be special — and in Jason’s case, he fails at pretty much everything except when it comes to following his parental leads, which makes him pretty outstanding. There’s a quick scene in which Jason dons a suit and puts out an uncontrollable fire. It’s a glimpse, the tip of the iceberg that will hopefully reveal more of itself in the coming issues — if they ever come.
Mark Millar’s scripting is solid, and issue #4 is a necessary one to continue the story. The main problem is — did it have to be so devoid of inspiration? Actually, bringing it back to the scripting, I have to say Millar’s dialogue seems a bit lackluster for a Millarworld book with a little too much explication, especially in Jason’s lines.
On the visual side, Frank Quitely’s art looks incredibly polished. The sequentials have a smooth flow, and the composition of the panels as Quitely brings the camera closer to his subjects has a sort of kaleidoscope tunnel effect where you feel like you’re getting deeper and deeper into the story.
Peter Doherty’s colors are bright, and they make Quitely’s artwork pop. Red seems to be the color to watch out for. Jason’s clothing — civilian, athletic, and superhero — stand out. So do the fire engines, the firefighter uniforms, and the anti-inflationary policy criticizer’s hat. The visual cues don’t feel rote because the palette’s contrasting colors don’t get lost in the background.
I’m looking forward to reading Jupiter’s Legacy #5, and if the rest of the issues ramp up with a stellar finish, issue #4 will be remembered as the lull. It’s not a particularly bad issue, but with everything coming before it, there should have been more to this than a doom and gloom chapter that’s too cliche for its own good. What this issue needed was more depth, something more than a few panels that told us that things were sort of terrible. The past issues really brought the pain, but Jupiter’s Legacy #4 settles into bed with a glass of lukewarm water.
Words: Mark Millar
Art: Frank Quitely
Colors: Peter Doherty
Letters: Peter Doherty