Jupiter’s Circle is not your parents’ comic book. Sure, it might be set in 1959, but writer Mark Millar is weaving a much more adult themed story that’s about character above all else. Is it good?
Jupiter’s Circle #1 (Image Comics)
I can safely say you won’t need to have read Jupiter’s Legacy to enjoy this read. No, this is more about heroes of a different day and age when life was simpler and more refined. I’m talking about the 50’s of course, and it’s not a stretch to say this book feels like it accomplishes some things Watchmen did with a similar look at heroes of a different, older era. This issue focuses on the hero Blue-Bolt and his secret life when he’s not on duty as a hero. Many of the old school characters that were present in Jupiter’s Legacy make appearances, but their involvement is more a way to show the stigmas of the time than any characterization.
His, ahem, rod?
Millar is clearly focused on Blue-Bolt’s inability to be honest about his sexuality with his teammates and the world. It’s a topic other comics have focused on, but it feels very fresh here. Maybe that’s due to Millar getting the fear and tortured lifestyle Blue-Bolt has to lead in order to fit in. The story takes its time developing its main premise, but captures the character so well you won’t be bothered there’s little action. The day and age is only tackled in regards to how homosexuals had to keep everything a secret back then, but the pomp of chauvinism is present which helps set the tone.
Of course the book does end with a cliffhanger that should keep Jupter fans coming back even if they don’t like the Blue-Bolt story. I won’t ruin it here, but it is an interesting twist that could make Blue-Bolt do some bad things only because society won’t accept him as who he is underneath the costume. That’s a strong message and a good one in this day and age of bullying and racism.
The art by Wilfredo Torres is good in its simplicity and fits the time of the comic. The heroes are in poorly tailored costumes so there’s no rippling muscles of the modern age here; it all looks very Golden Age. I’m also happy he doesn’t pull any punches with men kissing men and the like. So often comics, and movies for that matter, cut away to not show the “icky” kissing. Here it embraces it, which only makes Blue-Bolt’s tortured life all the more tragic. Great stuff.
Old school costumes.
Is It Good?
A great character study to start this new series.