This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on June 30, 2016.
We are very big fans of Jupiter’s Legacy at ComicBook.Com. It’s a superhero comic that embraces the genre while examining it from some of the absolute best creators in the industry today. Last month contributor Chase Magnett had the opportunity to speak with the entire team, including writer Mark Millar, artist Frank Quitely, and colorist Sunny Gho. Following up on that interview series, he will be annotating the first issue of the series. This in depth analysis will point to elements of craft, obscure references, trivia, and interesting story components. Jupiter’s Legacy is a comic that works on a lot of different levels, and this can be your guide in beginning to unpack them.
Beware! There are spoilers ahead if you have not already the issue.
Cover: The cover to Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 2 #1 mirrors that of Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 1 #1. The statues of elder superhero statesmen Sheldon and Grace have been replaced by the leaders of the new regime Walter and Brandon. Their children Brandon and Chloe have been replaced by new character Raikou. This suggests that Raikou will play a key role in the second volume of the story as a revolutionary force. Just as Walter and Brandon destroyed Sheldon and Grace, we may expect Raikou to cause the statues to her back to crumble as well.
Page 1, Panel 1: Graffiti on the wall is written in Spanish. Two legible phrases are “Hermano No” and “Decir Que No”, translated as “Brother No” and “To Say No”, respectively. These can be seen as foreshadowing to Chloe’s rebellion against her brother Brandon, refusing his new world order and teaching others to do the same.
Page 1, Panel 2: This flashback set in 1991 mirrors the opening of Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 1 #1 with a leap back in time to the way things were. However this time it opens on a dark moment instead of one of optimism. This mirroring of the first issue suggests the second volume will follow the opposite arc moving from a low point to a high point. This scene also creates a bridge between Jupiter’s Circle and Jupiter’s Legacy, showing the resolution of Skyfox’s story as the renegade member of the original team.
Page 3, Panel 2: This panel alludes to events that occurred in Jupiter’s Circle when it was revealed team member Blue Bolt was a closeted gay man. Skyfox’s tone suggests that this secret was never publicly revealed.
Page 4, Panel 3: In addition to providing another connection between the Jupiter’s Circleand Jupiter’s Legacy narratives, this flashback also offers an origin for Hutch’s Power Rod. It was designed after the one used by Blue Bolt and was a parting gift from his father, Skyfox.
Page 5, Panel 4: Speaking of Skyfox, it is shown that his surrender to the other heroes was a peaceful one. He appeared in public, in costume, and unarmed. This suggests he was taken into custody unharmed and could still be alive, potentially in the Supermax prison shown later in the issue. It is further possible that his construction of the Power Rod may provide him with some form of connection to it or his son that could come into play later in the series.
Page 6, Panel 2: The guards transporting Tornado refer to a girlfriend and his fleeing Melbourne. This is a callback to Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 1 #5 when Skyscraper is captured by Barnabas Wolfe in Melbourne. This builds a connection between the soon-to-be-freed Tornado and still imprisoned giant. The guards estimated distance of 9,000 miles between Melbourne and Paris falls short by about 1,427 miles, which probably explains why he is in security and not cartography.
Page 8, Panel 2: This scene occurs at Charles de Gaulle Airport. An enormous complex containing the level and variety of shopping within its doors that is suggested by the following action sequence.
Page 8, Panel 4: The design of this panel by Quitely is similar to that of a super speed sequence utilized in Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 1 #5, showing objects hovering in the air due to the invisible movements of air. This suggests the effect of a sonic weapon rather than movement here. Also, a close examination of the contents of an exploded suitcase reveals Quitely’s close attention to detail. A complete set of garments for multiple days can be seen, as can key bathroom components like a curling brush, comb, and nail accessories.
Page 10, Panel 3: Colorist Sunny Gho utilizes an effect similar to an oil slick on the panel here creating a unique sense of lighting that is distinct from anything else in Jupiter’s Legacy. This suggests the intensity of the Power Rod and draws attention to this panel, in particular, on the page. Gho described this as one of his favorite panels to work on inJupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 2 #1.
Page 11, Panels 1-9: The nine-panel sequence at the top of this page guides the eye in two ways: by following the movement of a character (Hutch) and following the typical sequencing of panels. Both readings are effective and made distinct by the character’s placement outside of panel borders. This sequence recalls a similar design utilized by Quitely in the pages of The Multiversity: Pax Americana. It is a trick that while certainly difficult to design has paid off to great effect in Quitely’s work twice in the past few years. This sequence was also described by Quitely as one of his favorites from Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 2 #1.
Page 13, Panel 2: When shrinking into her cell phone, Quitely draws Neutrino in a total of 11 distinct phases moving her from a full grown woman to a speck entering the level of sub-atomic particles. Gho’s coloring helps to distinguish these phases, making Neutrino’s form darker as she grows smaller to distinguish the increasingly tiny silhouette.
Page 13, Panels 3-4: The image of Neutrino riding an electron was described by Millar as one of his favorite sequences. It combines the old-fashioned concept of a hero riding phone lines, like those seen in DC’s Atom comics, with a unique weight and visual presentation provided by Quitely.
Page 14, Panel 1: Quitely and Gho pay as much attention to Neutrino growing as shrinking, providing this transformation with 10 phases and at least one more implied phase as she passes behind an object.
Page 15 and 16, Panels 1-4 and 1: In addition to Tornado and Skyscraper, five new characters are introduced with the potential of joining the rebellion. Each is given a name that clearly suggests a set of superpowers (e.g. Automaton having control over some mechanical forces) or an appearance that does the same (e.g. Jack Frost sunbathing in a Speedo in Antarctica).
Page 16, Panel 2: The Supermax prison is shaped like a cube, reflecting the mental prison Walter constructed for an alien invader in Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 1 #1. There he set a series of cubes around the villain. This prison suggest a visual connection between the two issues beyond Walter also having been the architect for both in the story.
Page 17-18, Panel 1 (Spread): The interior of the prison is also decorated in cubes, structuring them like panels within a wide open space. Quitely noted that this spread was one of his favorite panels due to its use of space. The lighting in the cells also suggests a similar softness of the outer layers of the mental prison Walter constructed in Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 1 #1.
Page 19, Panel 1: This occurs at the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It holds the world record for being the tallest manmade structure with a tip height of 829.8 meters. Quitely’s drawing of that tip can be compared to photographs revealing that it is highly accurate including various panels and instruments also placed on the top of the real Burj Khalifa.
Page 20, Panel 2: The introduction of Raikou mirrors the first appearance of Barnabas Wolfe at the conclusion of Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 1 #4. Both figures are dressed primarily in black and shown to be actors employed by a powerful outside influence. Their facial expressions also resemble one another with a strong sense of determination. Wolfe’s incredible presence sets the stage for Raikou as a powerful figure within the series. The changing arc of the second volume also suggest she may be someone willing to join the rebellion rather than go down fighting it.
Page 22, Splash: The final image of Jupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 2 #1 mirrors the final image ofJupiter’s Legacy, Vol. 1 #1. The first issue concluded with Chloe falling down, representing the downward fortunes of the first volume. Here her son Jason is seen standing up, alluding to an upward swing in the narrative towards hope and victory.