Jupiter’s Legacy Volume 2 #4
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Frank Quitely
Colors: Sonny Gho
I should be doubled over in pain after reading this issue. That’s because Millar and Quitely have pulled a healthy abundance of stops in this penultimate issue of the deconstructionist Jupiter’s Legacy. It was like watching back-to-back episodes of The Walking Dead Season 4. Just when you think that the creators have hit you as hard as they can in the gut, they follow-up with a big haymaker to the right jaw. If this is the second-to-last issue, I’m going to need to do some abs to prep for the last one.
At the end of Issue #3, Skyfox made his heroic return to the villain heroes (it’s complicated), and starts to gear the team up to go take on Walter and his army of hero villains. As this issue opens, there is a quiet moment between George (Skyfox) and his son Hutch. It strips away all of George’s bravado, his drinking, his swagger, and tears down the wall that has existed between these two in the past issues. Skyfox touchingly conveys everything that he has needed to tell a father’s son. It’s an important moment, as it will be the last time the two will ever talk.
Quitely is simply at the top of his game here. I feel like I almost should not talk about it, because I do not know that I can find words to appropriately describe what this incredible artist has wrought. I will mention that in the shadow of Quitely’s genius, it is easy to overlook the colors, which is why I wanted to ensure that I gave Gho a nod in the credits above. The level of detail in color in this issue is amazing. If you page through it, I do not think you can find one character in the issue that is just fully lighted without accurate shadow detail on them. That is on every single character, and this book often has panels where there are dozens of characters on-scene. It’s representative of the type of creative team that Millar put together for this special tome of 5 issues; a group of detail-oriented perfectionists. That is an especially important element that defines what this book is.
Still, while the detail in the book is incredible, from Quitely’s art to Gho’s colors, there is still a wedge of whimsy shoehorned in that makes the book feel not so gravely over-serious. Of course, part of that is the feint that sets you up for the haymaker. And Millar delivers in a flurry of punches that left me gasping for air, praying for a pause. Left jab to the gut: Flying headquarters destroyed out of nowhere. Right uppercut: Character set ablaze and burned to bone. Makes you feel like the Ned Stark episode in Game of Thrones. Left haymaker: Plane full of people killed. Just before the bell: Looks like another hero might get offed. Millar literally picks apart every vertex of hope that the reader may have been holding onto. And does so with a merciless precision that is uncannily skillful.
This is probably the limited series that I am most pleased with staying on through the whole ride since Kingdom Come. I will be sad to see it go. With one issue left, the biggest stakes in the game hang in the balance, and I am certain that Millar is not going to give us a typical Hollywood ending. There’ll be a twist, and while tragic, the story will still be delivered in that whitty style that makes it feel like it could be a family-friendly prime-time comedy. If not for the occasional violence. Millar, Quitely, Gho: bring it. I’ll be working my abs until then.