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Jupiter’s Circle remains one of the most lauded series so far. In two issues it was able to create a fully fleshed out, imperfect, yet still incredibly heartfelt character. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is writer Mark Millar’s best work (he keeps saying every subsequent release will be), but I wouldn’t doubt that it is up there in terms of impact and quality.
With Jupiter’s Circle #3 readers will find themselves now thrust into the life of another character, moving past the rich nature of Blue Bolt and into the character known as “The Flare”. While I will miss the focus on Blue Bolt as he had the makings of a really engaging protagonist, I was willing to see whether or not Millar could keep the magic going through a character transition. Was it another hit, or would it be a dud? Honestly, I have to say that the Flare has enough to keep readers interested.
He’s not going to be making waves like Blue Bolt did, but that’s not the right mindset to go into character pieces with anyway. Everyone has their own things going on, regardless of how they come off to whatever sensibilities the reader may have. A gay superhero dealing with coming out to his friends? Provocative, to be sure, and even done well – but the Flare’s homestead troubles also speak out. Millar captures the fine line that you must ride with characters like Flare.
As a character whose main conflict comes from a midlife crisis, the real risk of making him unsympathetic, ludicrously so, is ever-present, but I didn’t hate the Flare. I didn’t feel for him, but I also didn’t rail against him. He was palpably real, a man that was as flawed as he was noble. The biggest part of this, that cannot be understated, was Wilfredo Torres’ artwork. Without him I would worry for this series’ future and quality. So few perfect pairings of artist and material exist.
There are hardly any flashy splash pages or double page spreads. Nor are you going to get the fantastic action sequences that Millar books have come to be characterized by. It’s very low key and Torres is able to make it appealingly so. While this issue has something as breezy as two figures talking in a small house kitchen, you’re never bored. It’s engaging as is, without the need for frills, and you get sucked into their intimate interplay and drama, Circle’s biggest strength.
I wish that I could wake up a year from now and be able to read the entire 12 issue series in it’s completion, because it is that good. There’s some coloring issues, to be sure, some things that don’t mesh well with the line work, but it’s better than the sum of its parts. Millar’s usage of smaller arcs is working out wonderfully, and I hope that it keeps this upward trend. Probably the pillar of his new era. Comments and thoughts would be appreciated below.