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Mark Millar has a tendency to write pretty violent superhero comics. This is the man who wrote Kick-Ass, a comic that featured a pre-teen vigilante known as Hit-Girl who frequently found herself covered in the blood of her enemies. He also wrote Jupiter's Legacy, the 2013 comic that Netflix adapted into a live-action series premiering this Friday. In Jupiter's Legacy, two different generations of superheroes come to a head over, among many things, whether or not the older heroes' code of ethics that's sustained them for 90 years needs to be updated for modern times. The old heroes won't kill, the young ones think maybe it's time that changed.
But where does Millar, who also wrote Nemesis, Kingsman, and Old Man Logan — all comics that rack up a pretty high body count — stand in this debate. Should superheroes kill?
"I 100 percent think they shouldn't kill," Millar tells SYFY WIRE during a press junket for the Netflix series. "One of the things I loved about superheroes as a kid was that they could always find the smart, peaceful solution. They'll beat the hell out of a bad guy but they'll never actually kill them. It makes them less frightening, especially for children."
"I think that's ultimately what makes [superheroes] different from heroes," he continues. "Indiana Jones and James Bond and Captain Kirk are heroes, but they kill people to win. And they'll happily kill people to win. Whereas Superman will find a way to stop a massive world-destroying problem [without killing], which as a kid I think you always kind of like."
It's a bit surprising to hear, given Millar's bibliography, and the fact that the Netflix series makes a compelling (but certainly not unimpeachable) case that perhaps killing can be warranted, sometimes. For Millar, though, that's kind of the point. His own personal take on what makes superheroes super aside, the debate is what's important, as "nobody's right and nobody's wrong."
Indeed, one of the strengths of the upcoming show is that both generations of heroes have their own struggles and flaws, sure, but both are engaging with the thorny issue of "legacy" in valid ways. One of those ways is just a lot quicker and more permanent than the other. And, in Millar's personal view, less "super."
The first season of Jupiter's Legacy premieres on Netflix on May 7.