Comics/Graphic Novels

Comics Recommendation Engine: Jupiter Ascending

Jenn Northington

Director, Editorial Operations

Jenn Northington has worked in the publishing industry wearing various hats since 2004, including bookseller and events director, and is currently Director of Editorial Operations at Riot New Media Group. You can hear her on the SFF Yeah! podcast nerding out about sci-fi and fantasy. When she’s not working, she’s most likely gardening, running, or (obviously) reading. Find her on Tumblr at jennIRL and Instagram at iamjennIRL.

This post may contain minor spoilers for Jupiter Ascending.

Not only did I see Jupiter Ascending in theaters, but I bought it — and now have seen it a total of five times. There will be more. So it’s fair to say that I’ve spent some time thinking about the characters, and not just to decide their best lines from the movie. Lately, these thoughts have tended in the “What comics would I give them?” direction.

Jupiter Jones and She-HulkJupiter Jones: She-Hulk Vol. 1: Law and Disorder, Charles Soule, Javier Pulido, and Ron Wemberly

Jupiter not only needs to learn how to be a leader, but she also needs to understand how to negotiate legal systems (because seriously, girl, you made some BAD CALLS). Who better to teach her than Jennifer Walters? She’s calm under pressure, owns her powers but doesn’t rely solely on them, and knows the law like the back of her hand. She also is a good model for building a support network around her, which Jupiter also seriously needs. If you’re gonna be Queen of the Earth, you have to have a court or at least a couple advisers aside from your werewolf-hybrid flying boyfriend, am I right?

Caine Wise and LazarusCaine Wise: Lazarus Vol. 1, Greg Rucka, Santiago Arcas, and Michael Lark
Poor Caine! Sure, things are working out for him by the end of the film, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a bioengineered part-albino part-wolf killing machine, which is a lot to saddle on anyone. And now his girlfriend is the Queen of the Earth!? What’s a hybrid soldier to do? Read some Lazarus, is my vote. Because if anyone shares those frustrations about crazy family, troubled origins, and the fight to make your own choices and not be a pawn of the system, it’s Forever Carlyle.

Stinger Apini with The BeesStinger Apini: The Bees, Laline Paull

This is not a comic; I know you guys, I. Know. HOWEVER, it could not be more perfect for Stinger to read. After all, he is part bee! (FOR SERIOUS.) And I don’t know if you’ve noticed but bees are seriously under-represented as protagonists in literature. Enter The Bees, which takes place entirely in a hive, features a corrupt political system and a scrappy heroine, and is about the workers and unjust class divisions. It’s like it was written with Stinger in mind!

Balem Abrasax and Secret SixBalem Abrasax: Secret Six Vol. 1: Villains United, Gail Simone, Dan Eaglesham, and Brad Walker
Oh, Balem. The evilest space capitalist ever to wear a vest with no shirt. Who has perfected the “whisper-yell.” It’s too late for his redemption, I am pretty sure, but let’s be honest: do we want a reformed Balem? I am not so sure. To which, I recommend Gail Simone’s Secret Six Vol. 1, because I feel like those are his people, you know? Even if some of them turn out to be not so evil, they are still solidly on the amoral side of the fence. And who else could really understand the difficulties of dealing with underlings and the nuances of evildom?

Balem Abrasax with Casanova V1Titus Abrasax: Casanova Vol. 1: Luxuria, Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba

Casanova is my go-to comic of choice for depraved, sex-obsessed, family-dysfunctional villains, because OBVIOUSLY. Titus is a guy who has zero-G orgies and tries to marry his reincarnated mom, for crying out loud. And Casanova is about a parallel-dimension-hopping black sheep from a global super-espionage dynasty. Who has a lot of weird sex. And there are many guns. I don’t think Titus would ever get his hands as dirty as Casanova Quinn does, but I do think he’d enjoy reading about it.

Kalique Abrasax with Rat Queens V1Kalique Abrasax: Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery, Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
Kalique, oh, Kalique. Such a minor player at first glance, and yet let’s remember that at the end she is the only other Abrasax left standing, which means she has now inherited and has control over everything BUT the Earth. Not too shabby for a day’s work, eh? And all she had to do was not try to marry and/or murder her reincarnated mother. While I think she might be a more sidelines player than the Rat Queens, I think she would deeply enjoy their hijinks, both at home and abroad.

Diomika Tsing with Southern CrossCaptain Diomika Tsing: Southern Cross, Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger
A war veteran, a pragmatic leader, and a firm sense of purpose and justice — that is our good Captain Tsing. You can just see her rolling her eyes, and then rolling up her sleeves, at the Abrasax antics. For her, I recommend Southern Cross. It’s about a ship having adventures by way of corporate shenanigans in space, yes, but it’s a completely different kind of adventure. Less gun battles and more possible possessions and poisonings!