In 2017 Netflix ponied up a stack of cash for comic scribe Mark Millar’s creator-owned company Millarworld, with an eye to adapting his various books for the small screen. Now we’re seeing the result. Film fans are familiar with at least some of Millar’s titles: Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Wanted are all derived from his works, and he’s put words in the mouths of Superman, Captain America, Judge Dredd and more over the years. Eight-part series Jupiter’s Legacy marks a new phase in Millar’s career as a creator and Netflix as a production house—so it’s a bit worrying that the result is a bit, well, meh.
Following in the footsteps of Watchmen, The Boys, Invincible, arguably the DC Extended Universe, and any number of other “gritty, psychologically complex” superhero texts, Jupiter’s Legacy posits a world where two generations of superheroes are coming into conflict. The old guard are Superman-analogue The Utopian—aka Sheldon Sampson (Josh Duhamel) and his team, The Union of Justice (an ersatz Justice League) whose origins lie in the 1930s that in our world saw the birth of the superhero genre.