Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Mark Millar
Art, Variant Cover: Wilfredo Torres
Colours: Ive Svorcina and Miroslav Mrva
Lettering: Peter Doherty
Cover: Bill Sienkiewicz
In the first volume (that is, miniseries) of Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Circle we made our way back to the 1950s in order to get to know The Union, the greatest group of superheroes the world has ever seen. But, between fights against the most dangerous supervillains, they have their individual issues. Just a few examples: one of them, Blue Bolt, is homosexual (remember, it is the 1950s); another, The Flare, leaves his wife and family for a teenage girl who drops him like a bad habit as soon as he gets seriously hurt; Skyfox is a childish multimillionaire whose long term girlfriend and only true love left him – for Brainwave, another superhero; Lady Liberty can’t find a man.
In Volume 2 we find out that Skyfox (whose real name is George), disappeared for years from the public eye after his former girlfriend’s wedding, only to return joining up with rioters in Los Angeles, using his superpowers against the Police. He even kidnaps the Vice President to protest against the war in Vietnam. Meanwhile Dr. Hobbs, a genius villain, explains that the presence of superheroes is altering humankind in a way that will reach its tipping point… in 2016. And we saw that happen in Jupiter’s Legacy, of which Jupiter’s Circle is the prequel. Hobbs then managed to build (and use) a weapon that can steal all the superheroes’ powers to give them to his men – until Skyfox rescued them all. But issue #5 showed us how Brainwave (Walter when he’s at home), who married Skyfox’s former girlfriend, had actually used his mind-controlling powers to break up the couple. A big battle ensues, and Skyfox is captured.
This issue #6, that concludes Volume 2 of Jupiter’s Circle, opens showing us the blessed private life of the leader of the Union, The Utopian (Sheldon for his family); this scene is intercut with images of George/Skyfox in jail. Meanwhile Walter keeps insisting that the reason for Skyfox’s rage – the fact that Walter brainwashed his ex girlfriend into loving him – is all a lie, although we know it isn’t.
This series is a long insight into the private (so to speak) life of superheroes in the “golden age”. We see very few battles, while we focus on the men and women wearing the capes. Of course such a style will remind everyone of Watchmen, and indeed there is something in common: the superhero as a figure gets deconstructed and torn apart, the naïveté of some clashes with some other’s thirst for power.
Jupiter’s Circle is a very complex series, nothing to do with any other superhero book. And no, you can’t start from here: you need to at least have read the previous five issues in this Volume 2, and possibly Volume 1 as well. But it’s worth it…