Mark Millar has been writing comic books for as long as I have been reading them. His first piece of professionally work Saviour was published in 1989. It is a story that revolved around the second coming of Jesus Christ, who arrived on Earth and took on a superhero type role, but actually turned out to be the Anti-Christ.
Right from the start of his writing career you can see that Millar has this great ability to take an established idea or character and just dash it against the wall, and in doing so create something so much greater than the sum of its parts. As a writer Millar can take the conventional idea of what a superhero is meant to represent, flip it on its head and then take that character off on adventures that are relevant to its time while also being inventive and new. This is the case with the character I shall be exploring for the first profile in this series.
This article contains spoilers of Millar and Quietly’s series Jupiter’s Legacy.
Chloe Sampson is one of the main characters from the series Jupiter’s Legacy. The book tells the story of the children of two of the greatest Superheroes on Earth, Sheldon and Grace Sampson otherwise known as The Utopian and Lady Liberty. The beginning of the series shows what it is like to live in the long and intimidating shadows that would be cast by such parents. Chloe and her brother Brandon like their parents possess super human powers, but instead of getting in on the family business per say they instead use their powers to live the celebrity lifestyle. Brandon is a drunk who takes advantage of his groupies, while Chloe is the epitome of a LA party girl. She is constantly lending her face to charitable organisations in a hope to garner approval from her mother. This is where we first meet Chloe. She is attending another charity event while a group of superhero offspring look on cynically from their V.I.P. booth.
While everything is going on around her, Chloe seems to be very much living in a world of her own. She doesn’t believe in the fight against evil the same way her parents do, degrading her mother in front of her other super powered friends because apparently all she wants Chloe to do is punch bad guys in the face. She also doesn’t date other super powers because she finds herself measuring them against her Dad who is the ultimate specimen for how a man should be. So instead and unbeknownst to her parents she is seeing a man called Hutch who is the human son of a deceased Super Villain.
Basically at this point in her life Chloe is in a very messed up place, she is just meandering through , using her fame as a super human to make herself feel like she is doing something good while not actually doing anything at all. The problem for Chloe is that it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. The consequences of her lifestyle are catching up on her and even with her powers At this point in her life she is as fragile as any normal human being if not more so.
Following a charity bash Chloe ingests an extra terrestrial drug and suffers an overdose. She is rushed to hospital and with the help of her mother she is saved, and to her horror so is her unborn child. She decides to move back in with her mother and raise the child. Hutch her boyfriend decides to do right by her and visits Sheldon Sampson to inform him of such. That is when everything goes sour. Unbeknownst to Chloe, her parents and Hutch, her brother Brandon along with their Uncle Walter who is also a super human, have been plotting to kill The Utopian and Lady Liberty in order to usher in what Walter sees as a time of peace and prosperity which all rests on his super economic plan that will see everyone on Earth prosper. Chloe is caught in the crossfire of this as her parents are systematically taken down by the collective force of all of the worlds Supers. Hutch intervenes just as Walter is about to kill Chloe. He teleports them to safety using a device designed by his father.
We get a taste of Chloe’s powers at this point, as during their escape she is hit full force by a speeding car, which just wraps itself around her leaving her completely unharmed. So it is pretty evident that this lady can take a hit and keep going. The strength of her character both physical and emotional starts to emerge here, and it only grows stronger.
Chloe and Hutch escape and make their way to Australia where they live in hiding for the next nine years. A lot has happened to the world over this time. Chloe’s brother Brandon now sits in the White House, angered that his Uncle’s plan has not brought the prosperity and peace he promised. The world is nowhere near being the utopia he thought he was helping to create by killing his own father. Meanwhile Chloe gave birth to a boy, whom they call Jason, he has inherited the family trait of super powers, but is forbidden to use them for fear of being discovered .
Chloe has gone from being an LA party girl to being a protective mother. She instills a sense of justice in her son, she tells him of the great deeds his grandparents undertook for the greater good although she is still holding Jason and herself back. She discovers that Jason has been sneaking out of school to save people from accidents. He has also been constructing a device on the moon that will scan for Meta-Humans on Earth. Jason proposes that they find people like themselves, other Super powered people who are in hiding from his Uncle and Great-Uncle and fight back, just like his Grandparents would if they were alive. He knows this is what Chloe really wants to do but his Father says it is too dangerous. Chloe explains that everything they are doing is to keep him safe, and right now fighting is not an option because she doesnt want to loose Jason and Hutch the way she lost her Parents.
Unfortunately running and hiding has all been for naught. Jason’s escapades have not gone unnoticed. Walter Sampson has sent his Anti-Terror unit to apprehend him. This is the moment that galvanises Chloe into acting.
The threat against her son is the last straw. Jason is lured using a fake emergency, declaring that “he has too much of his grandfather in him” he takes off at full speed only to be taken down by the Anti-Terror unit in one swift move. Chloe hears this from all the way across the city and springs into action to save her son.
This is the first proper display of power we see from Chloe, who now has a purpose and drive for the use of those powers. Defending her son is her number one priority.
Gone is the meek self-proclaimed Buddhist who would rather hold a charity gala than punch a villain in the face.
Now its a case of “If you touch one hair on her Son’s head you are in for a beating”, and that is exactly what the head of the Anti-Terror unit Barnabas Wolfe receives. The fight brings a sense of purpose to Chloe, she discovers that she is her parents daughter and is more than capable for fighting for the greater good. The party girl is gone. Chloe now has the drive to correct the wrongs in the world, stacked odds be damned. She spent her life trying gain her parents approval through empty gestures of grandeur, but it wasn’t until she became a parent herself that she discovered her reason to fight.
It gave her a sense of pride for who she is and also where she came from.
She instilled that pride in her son Jason that made him a better hero at the age of eight than she had been all of her adult life. Which in turn shows that she can endow these ideals to her son, which is much more than her parents could do for her. Her father acknowledges this before his death, that in focusing too much on saving the world, he and his wife were unable to save their children. But Chloe takes their example as heroes and not parents to show her son that his powers are to be used for good. From here on in she will be a force to be reckoned with.
Her road to realisation was long, filled with huge obstacles and severe trauma’s, but she has arrived at a point of confidence and stability that will allow her to use her powers for good in a way she never thought she ever could.
For me the first five issues that make up book one of Jupiter’s Legacy is definitely Chloe’s book. Her character arc is the one story throughout that has the best narrative and storyline. Millar has crafted a well-rounded believable character who is the central core of her family. She began as the unlikeliest of heroes, down trodden and helpless and ends up being the strongest both emotionally and physically out of the lot. Jupiter’s Legacy book one is due out in graphic novel form in April, and I highly recommend you pick it up. I cannot wait for book two, but before that Millar is releasing a prequel tie in for the series which will explore how the elder Sampsons came by their super powers.
Rest assured this isn’t the last we shall see of Chloe Sampson and her family. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.