Drew Askew’s cartoon style fits his name, but it gives the comic its necessary distance from reality and emphasizes the cartoon absurdity throughout the story. He uses primarily greys and dark greys to convey a hard boiled noir atmosphere, which is all the more humorous when set up against Jupiter’s flamboyant lucha mask. Askew blends these greys skillfully so the reader isn’t overwhelmed with darkness and shading, while still giving a sense that they’re in the world of The Third Man. The greys emphasize the shadows and the nights in Jupiter’s dark urban noir world, while the unevenness of the cartoon still instantly prepare you for the hyperbolic humor throughout the tale. Set against this darker noir world, the cartoon style instantly parodies it and pokes fun at Jupiter’s self-seriousness. The simplistic character designs are reminiscent of Family Guy or Bob’s Burgers.
The story itself has plenty of gags and puns to propel you along. Askew does a great job of avoiding cliches and throwing twists and turns in the plot to keep you interested. After Issue #2, I can’t tell what our villain’s nefarious plan is or how Jupiter can stop him. That’s a real accomplishment for a story that rides on typical noir cliches, like the femme fatale, detective’s office, and secret cult. However, Jupiter twists them with such gleeful absurdity that you really can’t tell where the story will go–one minute, Jupiter is in a showdown with henchmen, and the next he’s in purgatory, trying to gain his soul back by wrestling his mentor. Askew has a great sense of character. Jupiter is the overblown, self-serious noir detective we’re used to seeing, and his luchador/movie star persona throws in such craziness that he leaves an impression on you, especially when he’s wielding ancient artifacts, interrogating ghosts, and doing general crazy tasks.
Jupiter is an amusing, original take on the noir genre. Its slapstick humor, along with its unique designs give it its own absurdist atmosphere that sets you up for plenty of lucha-themed gags. Issues #1 and #2 are out now from Ink & Booze, with Issue #3 coming soon. The story’s larger-than-life characters and out-of-nowhere twists mean that the story will keep coming at you from every angle, and you won’t see what’s coming next. For an entertaining, funny read that doesn’t take itself too seriously, pick up a copy of Jupiter.