Jupiter’s Legacy premieres May 7 on Netflix.
By Chris Flanagan
Superheroes and comic book adaptations are everywhere. And Netflix is no stranger to greenlighting known properties that have a proven track record with literary fans into marquee tent poles that are required bingeing from the streaming giant. The Umbrella Academy, The Old Guard, Lucifer, and Locke & Key are just some recent hits that have risen to the top for viewers. With Jupiter’s Legacy, Netflix’s newest comic-to-screen adaptation from the popular series of Mark Millar and created by Stephen S. DeKnight, an intriguing narrative is unfolded that should quickly allow for this series to become a part of the binge-worthy conversation.
Millar’s epic follows the world’s first superheroes as they are bestowed powers and oscillates between their origin story as well as their senior years as they have raised families and attempt to raise their children, who are also superpowered, with the same moral code as they upheld. Naturally, their children struggle under the weight of living in their parent’s shadows. This schism is further explored throughout the series as the younger generation understands the evolving nature of their villainous counterparts and how their code is also shifting to a more aggressive stance. At its heart, these themes of young vs. old and the varying viewpoints between the two are the driving force of what makes the series successful and keeps the interest from episode to episode.
At the show’s center is the Sampson family lead by Sheldon, The Utopian, and Grace, Lady Liberty. Both are first-generation supers and have attempted to raise a family while protecting the world alongside other members of superheroes that have formed a group called The Union. The Sampson children, Brandon and Chloe each choose different paths as Brandon is hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps while Chloe finds it much more enjoyable to rebel and smear the family name. Additionally, they are both mentored by their uncle, Walter, who is also a member of The Union and seeks to put them on the right path for them, not just the Sampson name.
While the series’ heart remains the collision of morality between young vs old and how far one must go to protect the people they serve, Jupiter’s Legacy also creates an intrigue beyond that of the main narrative arc by alluding to past history between members of The Union, previous villains and battles, and other character arcs that left me wanting more to be explored. This works both for and against the show as it teases a much deeper history between all of its characters but never leans into or takes the time to explore some other plotlines that, at times, seem more interesting than the main conflict. This is most undoubtedly meant to be the hope for future seasons but it still left something to be desired as if the season was not created to its fullest potential. However, this does not hinder the main story which centers around a suspicious villain’s secrets, who is murdered by Brandon Sampson in battle, which leads the surviving members of The Union on a season-long hunt for the true culprit that is complete with a last-minute twist that fans of the comic will be anxious to see realized on screen.
Overall, Jupiter’s Legacy is a decent effort as a comic book adaptation. It has solid pacing, layered characters, and a central storyline that grows increasingly interesting as it jumps between the past and present. But aside from these strengths, oftentimes I found myself longing for just the series to become just slightly more mature as it always seemed to approach its edge but never fully plunge into that territory. This feeling might be a result of being spoiled by other shows of a similar nature such as The Boys, Invincible, Preacher, or the personally lamented and short-lived Deadly Class. This decision does hinder the overall performance of the series but with just slightly more focus in this area, I feel the series could excel even further and carve out more of a presence in an ever-increasingly crowded super-powered landscape. Ultimately, Jupiter’s Legacy is a solid adaptation that is good but never quite achieves greatness. There is definite potential from the source material as it looks to only grow more fascinating as additional seasons allow but only time and viewership can dictate what happens next. If you find yourself a fan of this particular genre and do not feel overwhelmed by the similar content that is being continually produced, then you will find enjoyment in Jupiter’s Legacy without requiring a deep emotional investment in the series.
I give Jupiter’s Legacy a B-.