By Mark Millar, Frank Quitely & Peter Doherty
Finally! The final chapter in book one of Mark Millar’s arguable masterpiece hits the racks this week. It’s been a while since the release of issue four, so it’s highly recommended that readers revisit the material. Millar wastes no time and opens with a taught interrogation scene. This allows for the introduction of the new “villain”, Major Barnabas Wolfe, who is on the hunt for rogue metahumans.
Now Millar doesn’t just jump from scene to scene, he does allow for moments of heartfelt character introspection. The core of this story is a family drama, albeit on a grander scale. One of the most emotional pages I’ve ever read has Chloe and her son, Jason, sharing a solemn hug. This is envisioned beautifully by Quitely. He goes from a close-up panel, sucking the readers in, then, pulls the point of view back to let the scene truly sink in…just awesome. By the way, that’s only eight pages into the comic; there are more scenes just like that!
Every single page or even panel would be worthy becoming a framed print. It’s easy to see why Quitely takes so much time illustrating the pages; one could easily understand the content of the issue without a single word bubble. The facial expressions he renders are not exaggerated and honestly convey the feelings to the audience. One of the best examples is Wolfe showing true fear and shock in one instant. Also, the results of the use of superpowers, whether it be a battered face or property damage, seem to have a sense of weight to them, which really sells the impact of such force. This is a quality that is scarcely paid attention to in sequential art lately.
All this is not able to be complete without the color work of Peter Doherty. Other colorists who have worked with Quitely tend to lean more on sharp, vibrant colors, which is fine, but some of Quitely’s refined penciling is lost in the process. Doherty, using a softer palette, allows for the details to really come through. Yet, when the panel/page calls for a POW! he absolutely delivers. Many colorists worry too much about making the artwork pop and lose sight that they are to complement and collaborate with the artist. This issue shows how an art team should work together.
I could stand on a soapbox and sing praises of the finale of Jupiter’s Legacy’s fist arc, but it’s always best to experience it for one’s self. The price point of $4.99 may seem a little steep, but it is absolutely worth it. This title is well on its way to being one of the cornerstones in Mark Millar’s legacy.