“Jupiter’s Circle” #6 wraps up the first volume of this prequel series to “Jupiter’s Legacy,” and it’s a pleasure to see Mark Millar and Wilfredo Torres’s comic work so well. In what could have easily been a tired tale, this trip to an earlier era works well because of how it caters to both older and newer storytelling.
George and Walter’s fight over Sunny’s hand is a strange mixture of old-school and modern comic writing. The whole “I suddenly don’t love X, I love Y” shift of a romantic partner from one character to another at the drop of a hat definitely harkens back to the comics of yesteryear. On the other hand, the unsettling (and still unresolved) notion that Walter may have used his powers to pull Sunny away from George is definitely a bit more modern in tone; it’s that mixture of dark and light, new and old that makes “Jupiter’s Circle” work so well.
At the same time, Millar veers away from simple cliches that could have easily sunk the script. There’s no attack at the wedding, no sudden revenge on the part of George, and even as his presence continues to hover over the comic after he’s left the team. Instead, Millar gives us an uneasy final moment, as we see just how much George is willing to give up with the loss of his fiancee. For a writer who rose to fame with loud, brash moments, this understated final page of the comic (and collected volume) speaks volumes in his quiet nature.
Along those lines, I do feel like some of that impact is courtesy Torres and colorist Ive Svorcina. That last page in particular is just gorgeous; the gentle tug on George’s hat brim as he pulls it down, the easy stroll down the archetypal Main Street U.S.A. as George figuratively blends and fades into the everyday, real world. From the gentle red bricks to the carefully crafted vintage car designs on the side of the road, it looks almost like we’ve seen George stroll into a photograph from a bygone era.
It’s also a perfect contrast to the fight between George and Walter that we have earlier in the issue. When George lands his first punch, Torres gets Walter’s body language perfect. Walter’s body as it crashes through the wall is great, with arms reflexively moving up to protect his face and one leg pulled up as it starts to draw in. Torres might have been a surprise for readers expecting an artist as detailed as Frank Quitely is on the parent comic, but Torres’s gift for storytelling — superhero or everyday person — is excellent.
“Jupiter’s Circle” #6’s only real letdown is that it’s over almost before you know it. Later events, like the completion of the prison, feel almost glossed over as the comic hustles towards its conclusion. Hopefully, the next volume will kick off shortly; while we wait for new issues of “Jupiter’s Legacy,” this sister series has become something to enjoy in its own right, not just as a companion to the first title. That’s a nice feat.