With “Jupiter’s Circle” Volume 2 #1, Mark Millar and Wilfredo Torres are doing the unthinkable: they’ve made the prequel edge past the original. As fun as “Jupiter’s Legacy” by Millar and Frank Quitely is, we now have more issues of “Jupiter’s Circle” in existence, and its continued presence is a reason to celebrate, as we flash back once more to the 1950s.
What’s nice about “Jupiter Circle” is that Millar tells as much a character piece as does a superhero story. Grace’s relationship (or lack thereof) problems, Jane and Sheldon’s deep abiding love for one another and a strange transmitter and mysterious city on Jupiter’s moon Europa are all given equal weight in Millar’s script. None of these elements feels like a throwaway or filler, and — if anything — it’s Grace’s travails that jump out the most. Millar brings her frustration and loneliness to light in a way that works in part because of how we can bring our present-day thoughts and values to the scene. Grace’s actions are no different than how people act in this day and age and — to some extent — how men were already behaving in the ’50s. When the shoe’s on the other foot, Grace ends up with only her books and tropical beach for company.
If the love lives of superheroes isn’t a concept that appeals to you, don’t worry. The discovery on Europa is certainly intriguing, especially thanks to the way Torres draws it. The empty city hanging above Sheldon’s head is simply breathtaking, with its spires and constructs looking almost like an alien root system. The multiple shades of blue from Ive Svorcina complete that moment perfectly; it’s eerie and you get a feeling those icy shades mean it’s abandoned. The transmitter is also great, with shapes and lines that bring to mind Jack Kirby’s designs for “New Gods” back in the day. Torres is just as good with the humans in “Jupiter’s Circle,” too. I love that Grace looks attractive and sexy without ever hanging out of her clothes, and just as much care is brought to the sailor she meets in San Diego to make him look masculine and handsome. When Jane learns about the city on Europa, the way that Torres draws her reaction speaks louder than the dialogue.
It may sound silly, but the long gap in the wait for a second “Jupiter’s Legacy” series actually does “Jupiter’s Circle” a big favor, in that one might very well forget the status of all of these characters in the present day. At this point, it’s actually better to view “Jupiter’s Circle” as less of a prequel and more of a fun series in its own right, divorced from anything else. This is a pleasant opening chapter in the latest story featuring these characters, and it’ll be nice to see where it’s going next.