Breaking down superheroes is a trend that Mark Millar continues to mine, with the new issue of the acclaimed Jupiter’s Circle. As much as Huck seems to be about the Superman/boy scout model performing good deeds, which are still prevalent in this book; here the devolution is shown through the eyes of those whose life is impacted by Utopian.
Utopian continues his good-doing around the world, concerned by the impact superheroes have had, battling natural disasters, delving into the murky world of high-powered humans whilst all the while there is a battle to face that he will ultimately lose. Created by Mark Millar and Frank Quietly, Utopian works in very much the same way All Star Superman does or even Superman For All Seasons. It’s a quiet book where the action is the characters turmoil, rather than a big battle. There is no real bad guy, no good versus evil unless you count the difficulties and pressures of having to make the right decisions.
Mark Millar’s work here is just fantastic. I have certainly missed a trick by not reading this book earlier. I started reading this with an eye roll and expectations set on “have seen this before”. By the end of the book, I had felt all the emotions, laid bare by the various characters as they face challenges of personal identity and the clash of their psyche and personalities. The book is paced well, with a monologue that compels the reader to keep going. For writers who like to use monologues, this issue is a prime example of how effective they can be. The dialogue conveys each situation, allowing the characters voice to seem real and not some cardboard cut out variant.
Wilfredo Torres provides the art with an easy-going style which fits the tone of this book. I have seen his work before, mainly on The Shadow, but I don’t remember it looking so perfect for a book. Style wise, Torres’ work here reminds me of Darwin Cooke and of course Frank Quietly. I have spoken about influences before and their impact on a book; here I might be tempted to say the book is too influenced by other artists, if it wasn’t such a good read. The colors by Ive Svorcina and Miroslav Mrva also add to the overall feel of the book. In addition there is a fantastic Bill Sienkiewicz cover available that is simply beautiful.
I would have thought that I would be bored by this type of story by now. Examination of heroes, either through their own eyes or a “Jane” character, has been done before. At the moment, Mark Millar himself is taking a slightly different tack on his other Image book Huck. Whilst the method of this dissection is different, the result is similar, the humanizing of this bigger than life characters, which becomes a fascinating and hugely enjoyable read.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Cover – 5 Star
Story By: Mark Millar
Art By: Wilfredo Torres
Cover By: Wilfredo Torres, Frank Quitely, Bill Sienkiewicz