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Jupiter’s Circle is one of my picks of the year, and with #5 it heads into the final chapter of the first volume. Of the three that this “arc” has contained, the life behind the mask of Skyfox has been the one that I’ve anticipated the most. A combined effort of both heroism, rakeshell boyishness, and simple tomfoolery – Skyfox has come off as maybe the most classically “Millar” of all of the old guard. Was Jupiter’s Circle #5 able to work its magic again this month? Let’s find out.
With regards to the story and how it is handled, this is perhaps the one that confuses the most right out of the gate. While both Blue Bolt and Flare’s two-parters were relatively straight forward episodes of their lives, Skyfox gets an issue that feels more like a greatest hits compilation. There’s the loss of intimacy that was actually rather prevalent for the predecessors, and the audience – by nature of the framing of this issue – may perhaps feel more like outsiders peering through a shop window.
This is not to say that the issue isn’t able to showcase Skyfox in any capable fashion, but it’s something that definitely takes some getting used to. One who might would likely be able to defend the twice-told-tale aspect of the installment as a reflection on Skyfox’s own bigger than life nature. Not even an issue about him could contain him – all we get are small beats. The emotional core of this segment, while as real as the other two, gets lost in the haze a bit – leading us onto the second chapter in hopes of some foundation. Other than that, what really helps the issue out is Skyfox’s antics, which are notably very “Early Ult. Tony Stark”.
Davide Gianfelice returns again as the best fill-in artist I’ve ever seen – once more showcasing how easily his style meshes with the universe created by Millar, Quitely, and Torres. Like Torres, there is a great balance struck with the intentional simplicity of form and the expressions that must be carried from that simplicity. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Gianfelice knows how to draw a mean face. We get a few nice ones peppered throughout the issue, and it helps to carry some wordless panels.
Next month will mark Gianfelice’s departure, for the foreseeable future, of the series and I just want to say that it was a pleasure to have him on the book. Torres will be a welcome return, but when it comes down to say who was there doing what – that note in history will carry two names. The wonderful coloring by Ive Svorcina is also a really big plus for the affair, creating an air of play with the hint of something behind the scenes. A powerful force for the two-parter that will probably shake the series to the core.
Overall, the framing device (which I won’t reveal due to spoilers) was a necessary addition due to the ramifications – but it did lead to the issue having less impact than it could have. It was a detachment, which is a risk that a series which thrives on getting us close and personal would be devil-may-care to take. The issue did have its shining moments though, the stuff that pulls us in, and Gianfelice is now a treat – but it does leave a lot on the 6th and final issue to bring this all home. I know I am anxiously awaiting it, and have more than a little faith in Millar and Co. Comments and thoughts would be appreciated below.