Jupiter’s Circle continues to be my favorite character study series this year and possibly ever. It’s set in the era of Mad Men which was much more innocent… at least on the surface, but you quickly learn people back then were just as screwed up as they are now — they just hid it better.
Mark Millar continues to explore the hidden lives of the first superheroes in a Golden Age type era, but is it good?
Jupiter’s Circle #6 (Image Comics)
This issue opens with George furious about the news that his girlfriend Sunny is seeing one of his teammates. George has the look and feel of Batman – right down to the butler and Bat-like cave – while Walter who “stole” his girl has psychic abilities. This series typically runs two issue stories for each member of the team with a different topic. One was focused on alcoholism, another infidelity and this time it looks like jealousy is in Millar’s crosshairs.
So he’s Batman right?
This issue has everything you’d want in a character study and the dynamics to make it sing. You’ve got a fight sequence, a marriage, a hothead and even superheroes smoking! Well the last part is probably thrown in a scene to give it a feel for a time long gone, but it’s still a factor. Ultimately this issue is running a simple path as we see Walter and Sunny fall in love while George stews.
What complicates things, and it’s quite subtly used here, is the question of whether Walter is using his psychic abilities to make Sunny fall in love with him. The twist is that maybe Sunny is the one falling in love with the powers rather than the other way around. There’s one sequence where the characters are walking the streets of Paris. It’s a creation made by Walter and in fact they aren’t even together, but instead doing their day jobs. His powers are so great he can make them act and talk like normal but somewhere in their heads they’re together in Paris. That’s wild.
Another factor in this issue is Sheldon who is the Superman type of the group. He just wants the boys to play nice, but he’s not even sure if Walter is using his powers on Sunny or not. These three heroes are most definitely getting entwined due to this relationship and it’ll surely explode next issue.
I want that power!
By issue’s end I’m sure some folks will feel there isn’t enough in this issue to warrant a purchase. I get that. There aren’t huge jumps in time or big bombastic fight sequences. I sometimes wonder with this series if the two issue arcs could be condensed into one issue, but there’s a lot of subtle, slow storytelling going on that would be lost if it went that route. Plus the art is much more about a slower pace and that’d be lost with a faster jam packed issue.
The art by Wilfredo Torres continues to be excellent. His style is simple, but never drops in quality or deters from his excellent layouts and cinematography. This is a talking heads sort of book and it doesn’t require some hyper realistic artist or someone who goes nuts with layouts. Instead Torres steers the ship deftly on a more relaxed and even keeled direction. The fight sequence at the center of the issue is nice too with enough attitude and pizzazz to make it interesting.
Is It Good?
This continues to be my favorite character book on the stands. It accomplishes so much in subtle ways and it holds characters dynamics a high level.