Story: Mark Millar
Art: Davide Gianfelice
Letters: Peter Doherty
Colors: Ive Svorcina
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: August 5, 2015
“Jupiter’s Circle” is one of those books that, like “The Watchmen”, stars superheroes but explores them from a more cynical perspective, one that focuses on their flaws more than their amazing abilities. As has been the theme with the 2nd volume in the critically-acclaimed series, issue #5 gives us more background on the founding members of The Union, this time focusing on the hero-turned-greatest-supervillain-of-all-time, George Hutchence aka Skyfox.
Though alluded to often in “Jupiter’s Legacy”, Hutchence never made an appearance in the events in that book outside of a few flashback sequences that themselves hinted at the super team’s unique origin. In this issue he’s center stage and for the first time we get a more complete picture of who Skyfox is, or more appropriately, was.
Here, he’s something of a mix between Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, albeit not nearly as dark as Gotham’s protector or as self-centered as the billionaire playboy behind Stark Enterprises. While Hutchence does finance The Union’s adventures, he never comes across as simply a bankroller. He does display a little of the jerkiness that can be off-putting in characters of this type, however; he has a fondness for alcohol that borders on pathological and he and Walter Sampson don’t have the best understanding in terms of personal boundaries.
Despite his shortcomings, George always comes across as sincere and, mostly, good-natured. That’s my take anyway; Millar does a great job of leaving it up to us on how to feel about the once-best friend of The Utopian and even throws in a little morally ambiguous scene at the end of the issue to give things more of a real feel.
While Gianfelice is no Frank Quitely (who happens to be doing all of the covers for this volume) his style feels perfect for a book set during the heyday of American excess and political naiveté. He has a tendency toward minimalism that really conveys a sense of classic elegance. Svorcina’s choice to uses simple color patters only enhances the effect; everything in this world feels period appropriate and not just retro.
You should really already be reading this gem from Millar and Co., but if you aren’t now’s a great time to get on board.