Each couple of issues thus far within this Jupiter’s Legacy prequel have featured one of the super-powered characters within Millarworld’s Justice League facsimile, headed by the Superman-like Utopian (though I imagine the creatives are saving that big gun until later). And issue five is no exception, this time focusing on the Batman-meets-Blue Beetle-meets-Tony Stark (with inherent superpowers) amalgam, Skyfox. Both in costume and in his alter ego capacity as the vapid, bored and affected gazillionaire, Gorge Hutchence, Skyfox is a hero mostly in the nominal sense, more interested in showboating than actual justice, with a penchant for the dangerous, the finer things and the sophomoric: filter cigarettes, high-end hooch, ladies and pranking the dogshit out of his fellow heroes. Needless to say, he’s kind of a dick.
If he is something of a lackadaisical lothario lush, however, Millar does a solid job of making him come across as loveably so, even if the character’s commitment to not giving a fuck and being insipidly entitled proves to be his own tragic undoing on professional, personal and, of course, supereroic levels. Still, Millar is clearly having a great time writing this character, you can tell. He is positively rife with zing, and so far is perhaps the series’ most compelling subject; for me personally, anyway.
One of the central themes of Jupiter’s Circle so far has, of course, been to show in equal measure the godlike powers of its mysterious island-empowered protagonists, but also their crippling insecurities, which they wear as close to their chests as their brightly-colored spandex. And again, while it’s certainly not the first story out of the gate to do such a treatment, that doesn’t mean it’s an unworthy addition to the study, especially given the time in which these stories are set (mid-20th century), which is something of a fresh breath.
As such, descriptions - even within my own reviews - to Mad Men-meets-the Justice League have often been made, and indeed Jupiter’s Circle is definitely that, but with a twist: setting the modern caustic clash of personalities in superhero teams with the dangerously carefree whimsy of a bygone age, where excessive tobacco and alcohol consumption were the norm, where progress was mostly considered nuclear and the masks people wore were even more a dichotomy between literal and metaphorical, obfuscating their nature as much as their visages.
But most importantly, and even with all of the interpersonal, almost incestuous intrigue, this is a fun romp about the consequences of a character who thinks, perhaps rightly so, that he is “above it all.” And as this series has also done before, it sets up dissent within the ranks that should be interesting to see played out, if Millar deems it worthy to do so.
Once again Gianfelice does a great job on art duties here, mimicking with impressive skill the style established by early series artist, Wilfredo Torres. It feels so innocent; sketchy, but also pure, which makes its conceit of undermining its setting that much stronger. At the same time, Gianfelice is able to conjure a significant emotive range from his characters, while still maintaining that classic, thickly-lined aesthetic.
I continue to be a great fan of this series, even if this is most likely the last time I cover it for the site. At this point, I am interested to see it folded back into Legacy as a cross-time study on repercussions. Sins of the father, and so on.