So much talent and so little impact.

I went into Jupiter’s Legacy with such high expectations thanks to the presence of Frank Quitely (a favorite of mine, whose style has inspired the likes of Nick Pitarra and Chris Burnham) and the prolific hype-master/writer Mark Millar, but in the end, those expectations may have only lead to a more grand disappointment for this lackluster first effort.

Reading like an unfortunate prequel to Kingdom Come, Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ seminal post-superhero epic, with echoes of Grant Morrison’s Zenith character, Jupiter tells the story of a band of heroes who sprung into existence during the great depression, only to birth and raise a new breed of hero that thrives on apathy, stardom, and angst in the modern day.

Yes, this is a comic about superhero daddy issues and the crushing pressure of never living up to your parent’s legacy, but its also an over-simplified look at the difference between the depression and this current period of economic stagnation.

Now, this isn’t to say that I have an issue with comic books shining a mirror on our society and the plagues that ravage and render us both horrified and paralyzed, but I do bristle at those books that do it in an in-artful, “hey, look what I just read in the paper” kind of way that conveys a seeming lack of authority on the complex issues at hand, and that’s the sin that Jupiter’s Legacy is guilty of.

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Lack of definition also afflicts Millar’s characters, making it really hard to care or connect. I want to know why these heroes are so beloved and astonishing. I want to know why this is the book for me and why I should come back. I want to know all of those things, and I know none of them right now.

What I do know, is that the wooden dialogue, inane blatherings from the worthless hero offspring, and a boring bickerfest between heroes in the moments following an anti-climactic “fight” with a supposed super-villain, isn’t nearly enough to get me excited about the next chapter.

The bottom line is, that Jupiter’s Legacy is toothless and devoid of meaty exposition. This book just doesn’t feel like a suitable debut for a story that could mature into something useful, and really, the only thing that saves it from being a complete waste of money is the presence of Frank Quitely.

As per usual, Quitely fills his work with expressive characters and a soft precision that blurs the line between toon and truth. Aiding him in that effort is Pete Doherty, whose color work is bold but basic, and a perfect compliment.

I’ll give Jupiter’s Legacy #2 a chance (mostly because of the art, but also because I can’t believe that things won’t get better) but at this point, my expectations are low and I am just hoping that I don’t feel so barren of pocket change and mournful for the moments expended next time.

Jupiter’s Legacy #1 can be found ONLY at your local comic shop right now. No digital same-day-as-print for the Millarworld.