Wow, that was all kinds of awesome. After enjoying the first 2 issues of this title, but not really being blown away by them, this was a real step-up, and it has me very excited for what’s next. Millar has said that, if Jupiter’s Legacy were a play, then this is the end of Act 1, and you can really tell that here, as the shit hits the fan in a big way as Walter launches his coup on his brother, The Utopian, and he wins, emphatically.
Millar and Quitely begin things off fairly quietly, with Utopian telling Hutch that he can’t marry his daughter. This was a good scene, as it showed that whilst Utopian can be a bit of an old-fashioned stick-in-the-mud, he’s still well-meaning and, as an analogue of Superman, essentially a great guy. Millar goes out of his way to have him be the epitome of everything people view as great about America, hard-working, honest etc. Which is probably why he has to die. In the midst of talking to Hutch, Utopian is called away, to stop a falling satellite. He tries to call upon the rest of his team, but they don’t help, because they are working with Walter to take him down.
At the same time as the Utopian is dealing with this falling satellite (which is nuclear, Walter is also attacking his wife, who has just welcomed the pregnant Chloe back home. The nuclear bomb detonates, and we see the rest of the ‘heroes’ attacking both Utopian and his wife. I loved how we once again saw Walter use his powers to trick Grace into thinking she’d won, when she was basically already dead, and just seeing Quitely’s pencils was again a very effective and cool technique. Just as Uncle Walter is about to kill Chloe, Hutch teleports in and saves her, using his power rod or whatever it’s called to zap around the world to try and escape. I love how, just like everything Millar, the scale of this teleportation is just massive, going across the whole world. Chloe, Hutch and their unborn child manage to escape, and it looks like they are going to be the major heroes of this story going forward. I’m certainly very interested in Hutch, he’s a great character so far, and I’m especially interested in his background, stuff like his villainous father for example.
The final few pages feature everyone ganging up on the Utopian, kicking the crap out of him in the desert. It was actually a really emotional scene, with Utopian not understanding why everyone was turning on him, not least his own son. It’s sad seeing those old, heroic ideals be shat on by cynical modern deconstructions, and that’s really what Millar is going for with this story I think. He’s known as one of those cynical deconstructors thanks to The Authority and The Ultimates, but it’s clear that he really loves superheroes, and believes in Superman in particular, so to see him kill an analogue here was really effective. We’ve seen conflicts like this before, like Superman Vs The Elite, but here… the cynics can win. In the end, Brandon eye-blasts his dad to death, causing massive flash of light, and searing Utopian’s entire face of, which was just… shocking.
I’m finding Brandon to be an interesting character as well, how much of what he’s doing is him, and how much is him being mentally manipulated by Walter, who claims to just be consulting, but is clearly pulling the strings. I’m anticipating a Darth Vader throwing the Emperor down the hole style scene in the future.
As I said, this is the best issue of this title so far, the first 2 were really only set up, but now the story is really going strong, ‘Superman’ is dead, so what’s next? You get the feeling that this really is Millar’s final statement on superheroes, so it’s going to be fascinating to see where it’s going.
Frank Quitely of course delivers fantastic art here, his style is so unique and cool, and it’s rarely looked better, perhaps only All-Star Superman can live up to it. I particularly like how understated the art is at times, there’s no massive laser beams or flashes of light, it brings the epic superhero fights down to earth, it makes the punches and the heat-vision seem much more real.