The conspiracy has been set in motion, and the world’s superheroes are ready for an epic coup.
For years, the world’s superheroes and supervillains have lived under the shadow of the greatest hero of all, the Utopian. A staunch conservative who wanted to build America according to the ideals of its forefathers, the Utopian has stuck, unwavering, to his beliefs.
Those beliefs now clash with his brother Walter who has seen the country go through an economic collapse. Unable to reach a compromise with his older and more beloved brother, Walter now has the attention of the Utopian’s son Brandon.
What they do, so viciously efficient and emotionally wracking on a visceral level, is take down this universe’s version of Superman — and it’s not for the faint of heart.
The issue is masterfully written by Mark Millar. From the setup — Hutch visits The Utopian, in his civilian identity as Sheldon Sampson, at his auto shop after being given a call — to the brutal ending, each panel is a calculated puzzle piece in a larger picture that ultimately ends in a gut-wrenching page as Brandon stands over the corpse of his father.
Much of Jupiter’s Legacy thus far has been built around the theme of family. The Utopian’s children are thus far disappointments who represent none of the ideals of their father. Brandon and Chloe are mega-celebrities who work for endorsements, are riddled on drugs, and are laden with a tremendous amount of angst against their parents.
If that weren’t enough, Walter’s sibling rivalry with his brother eventually brings him to the point when the only viable solution is to kill his own relatives — and manipulating his own family members for that end — for what he deems is the greater good.
That Jupiter’s Legacy is a deep comic that also deals with celebrity status, entitlement, legacy, and what happens to humans when they succumb to their awful natures — and on a superhero scale — makes this an issue not soon to be forgotten. Readers will witness what Superman’s death could have been if public opinion and not Doomsday had gotten its way.
If Millar is the navigator, Frank Quitely is the cartographer. The art this issue does not pull any punches. From the nuclear impact that weakens the Utopian to the brutal reveal when his wife Grace is released from her mental prison to see what’s happened to her body, the panels are filled with scenes that will pummel your senses.
Add to that Peter Doherty’s colors, with their saturated hues, and the result is a book that doesn’t lack for quality.
With Chloe and Hutch on the run and Walter now in control through his proxy-protege Brandon, things are in flux. It’s hard not to root now for the misguided progeny who had been so lost before. It’s up to the son of the world’s greatest supervillain and the daughter of the felled Utopian to right things, but knowing Millar, will things get better or exponentially worse?
It’s hard to say at this moment. In fact, after reading this issue and chewing on it a little bit, it’s really hard to say anything at all.
Jupiter’s Legacy #3 (2013)
Words: Mark Millar
Art: Frank Quitely
Colors: Peter Doherty
Letters: Peter Doherty