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Christmas Gift Guide

"Jupiter's Legacy" / "Jupiter's Circle"

"Empress"

"Nemesis"

"Wanted"

"Huck"

"Chrononauts"

Mark Millar, Netflix's newest recruit, has created his own versions of familiar superheroes, freed from the constraints of Marvel and DC to do things a little differently.

Among these superpowered stories are "Jupiter's Legacy" and "Jupiter's Circle," telling the story of a family of superheroes. Lady Liberty and the Utopian have devoted their lives to saving the world, but their kids couldn't be less interested. A combination of superheroics and celebrity illustrated by the inimitable Frank Quitely, the Jupiter's saga could be an interesting family drama-driven take on caped crusading.

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The epic space opera "Empress," one of Millarworld's most visually stunning works thanks to gorgeous artwork from Stuart Immonen, would really stretch Netflix's visual effects budget. It's pretty derivative of other comics "Empire" and "Saga," but the Star Wars-esque story of a resourceful galactic empress fleeing her tyrannical husband across a wacky universe would look fantastic in the hands of filmmakers with a suitably grandiose vision. It really deserves to be on Imax screens though -- if Netflix does make it, we'll all just have to buy bigger televisions. 

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It's interesting that "Nemesis" is specifically included in Netflix's promo clip, because a film version was already in the works. The Netflix deal probably means the Warner Bros. version, which was to have been directed by "The A-Team" helmer Joe Carnahan, is dead -- marking the second time Netflix has killed a project Carnahan was circling (he was touting a gritty '70s reboot of "Daredevil" before the Netflix show came along). 

Anyway, the story, drawn by "Old Man Logan" artist Steve McNiven, asks what would happen if Batman was a bad guy. The answer involves a typically tasteless Millar concoction of mass murder and incest involving a rich bad guy, a devout cop and the president of the USA.

Nemesis is just one of the stories built around Millar's favourite trick, subverting familiar superheroes: see also "Superior," "MPH" and "Super Crooks." Which brings us full circle to...

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"Wanted" was Millar's first foray into the movies in 2008, when Angelina JolieJames McAvoy and Morgan Freeman played superpowered assassins. But the film didn't faithfully adapt the comic, drawn by JG Jones, which featured a wider world of super villains getting up to all sorts of gleeful no-goodery. Perhaps Netflix could have another crack at doing it right.

Incidentally, if you're wondering what kind of writer Millar is, "Wanted" characters include Shithead, a walking pile of Adolf Hitler's and Jeffrey Dahmer's faeces. Like I said: subtlety not always one of his strong suits. 

Caption by / Photo by Millarworld

Conceived by Millar as an antidote to the trend for grim'n'gritty superheroes (that he had at least a partial hand in perpetuating, let's face it), "Huck" tells the tale of a small-town kid who uses his powers to carry out one good deed a day. With art by Rafael Albuquerque, the comic has the potential to be a more dialed-down, realistic take on superheroes with heartwarming family storytelling replacing blockbuster effects.

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A rip-snorting bromance through time and space ensues as two genius scientists and time-travelling Chrononauts bend the space-time continuum into all sorts of knots. As recently as April there was talk of this becoming a movie -- which is fitting as Millar originally conceived it as a short film, and the leads were inspired by Chris Pratt and Chris Hemsworth. The story features all kinds of timey-wimey shenanigans like Huey helicopters fighting in the medieval Middle East. If Netflix wants to emulate the artist Sean Murphy's visuals it'll have to bust out the chequebook.   

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