When it comes to comic books some of the most iconic moments are through anagnorisis. That’s a moment in a story when a character makes a critical discovery about themselves or someone else.
Let’s just say that happens in this week’s Jupiter’s Circle, but is it good?
Jupiter’s Circle Vol 2. #5 (Image Comics)
The heroes have taken a long lost teammate in after he’s helped them conquer one of the biggest threats they’ve ever faced; this hero is George, AKA Skyfox did and the team is ready to forgive his recent kidnapping of the Vice President. Or are they?
Why does this book matter?
Mark Millar has proven to have a master’s handle of character dynamics in this series and others. He’s also woven in American history – seeing as this is taking place over 50 years ago – which has made it all the more compelling and interesting to unpack. Meanwhile, the art is deftly drawn to exhibit a well paced and honed comic that’s at once simplistic and intense. He’ll take a seemingly basic panel and imbue it with enough emotional intensity of the characters to punch your jaw off.
Skyfox is savage!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Characters are making amends, feeling positive and peachy, but of course Millar knows how to blow that up doesn’t he? Jupiter’s Circle #5 is so impressive and well-written because it’s so damn well paced. It reads like a very well plotted TV show and you’ll wonder why most comics aren’t such a joy to read. Subtle panels have characters reveal doubt, anger, and cunning which – with well written dialogue – add up to an incredibly genuine read.
This issue really breaks down to three scenes one of which is a fantastic action sequence that puts most hero-fighting-hero battles to shame. Really it’s quite funny to see yet another hero vs hero battle given Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War coming out shortly, but what we see here isn’t overdone or redundant; on the contrary the battle is fun and tense due to the emotional intensity the characters are willing to bring. It’s the bitter anger and revenge flowing and ultimately the reader knowing this is a turning point for the characters that really gives it its zing. To say more would be to spoil it, but in these three scenes a lot of character development, anger, and pain are expressed.
To know a villain is created to put someone in their place is quite inspired. Because really even the most powerful supervillain is a bully right?
The art continues to be reserved but extremely good at exhibiting the character emotions. Chris Sprouse breaks down the first 15 pages with Walden Wong finishing them with a masterclass in pacing and storytelling. The last few pages by Ty Templeton aren’t quite as riveting with a less refined look and feel – and thicker lines too – which is a bit jarring, but still solid at finishing the action sequence. The art style switches from a more soap operatic style to a classic comic book feel, but it doesn’t bother the entertainment value.
It can’t be perfect can it?
All in all, Jupiter’s Circle #5 is still a bit jarring. It’s a minor quibble but it’s worth noting the art change jars you out of the story just a bit.
The characterization of Utopian seems a bit out of left field and serves the plot more than anything. Much like Superman he’s purely good and wants to do the right thing, but he snaps at one point and it seems out of character. Possibly it’s showing us a side of him for the first time that will only get worse, but the toll taken on him to make a choice – and more specifically a punch that leads to his outburst – doesn’t feel quite earned enough.
Is It Good?
This is great reading for anyone who loves fine character work. In subtle panels characters reveal doubt, anger, and cunning which – with well written dialogue – add up to an incredibly genuine read.