Champions of Earth #2 review: Secret history of Scarab and Jupiter Man


Scarab and Jupiter Man are the beloved Champions of Earth. Yet they’re also frauds! Will their world come crashing down as a result?

Champions Of Earth #2

Writers & Creators: Alex Banchitta & James Riccardo

Artist: Koko Amboro

Inker: Scott Shriver

Cover Artists: Jamie Jones, Scott Shriver & Gabe Pinto

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It seems like superhero comics are a dime a dozen—or $48 a dozen. In order to stand out, one often needs a gimmick. Champions of Earth by Fright Comics certainly has an interesting one. What if the titular heroes were con men? That’s exactly the sort of situation that Scarab and Jupiter Man have found themselves in! They may be beloved superheroes today, giving interviews on talk shows. But in the recent past, they were convenience store robbers in each other’s way!

Image by Fright Comics

Jupiter Man was a drunk driver who crashed his car into an alien power source. Scarab is the sole survivor of a lab accident he caused himself. Yet their first inclination was to use their powers to steal money, and they each chose the same place to rob! After an initial misunderstanding, they decide to join forces, if only out of convenience. Pooling their powers, they quickly use the proceeds from their robbery to try to move up in the world—but it proves to not be enough.

Image by Fright Comics

It Seems Like Convenience Stores Make as Much as a Bank!

In no time at all, Scarab and Jupiter Man use their ill gotten gains to buy an upscale home and lavish themselves with goods. Yet it’s nowhere near as swanky as their favorite rap star, Ken Tucky. Therefore, they decide to rob a charity event being run by local tycoon Arthur Steele. After all, isn’t that the best way to get a car full of money, just like your favorite rapper? Clearly, Scarab and Jupiter Man are single-minded. Once again, they prove to be more lucky than malicious.

Image by Fright Comics

The pair manage to sneak into the estate easily enough, but come across some complications. First of all, Arthur Steele turns out to be the violent vigilante, Crimson Phantom. In addition, the driver of their cash van turns out to be Terry, former talent agent to the stars! Out of gratitude for sparing his life, as well as wanting to capitalize on the opportunity, Terry becomes the architect of their transformation. He comes up with the names Scarab and Jupiter Man, with bogus origin stories.

Image by Fright Comics

Meanwhile, the city’s real heroes, Captain Galaxy and Crimson Phantom, are behind bars. Arthur sees it as a deliberate scheme, but it’s really more circumstance and poor luck. Captain Galaxy’s alter ego Todd Dylan happened to be linked to stolen goods after bumping into the pair after their shopping spree. He refuses to use his alien powers to escape prison, insistent that truth alone will clear him. Arthur disagrees, and soon sets out to avenge himself on the two costumed teenagers!

Image by Fright Comics

Scarab and Jupiter Man Are Probably Heroes, More or Less!

Alex Banchitta and James Riccardo pool their talents to produce a series akin to Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Nick Spencer. Their leads, Scarab and Jupiter Man, are more lazy and greedy than evil. They’ve stumbled onto power and are taking advantage of the strange rules of their superhero universe. They want all of the prestige and fortune of being heroes without the responsibility. The pair are jerks, but in the manner that many comedy leads tend to be.

Image by Fright Comics

Readers are supposed to take this series with a bit of tongue firmly planted in cheek. The venture into Todd Dylan’s life is proof. A satire of Superman, he is altruistic to a fault. Yet not even those around him seem to appreciate it. A bum he offers charity to calls him a cheapskate. His wife is angry about being neglected. And the convenience store owner, whose place was robbed, expects Captain Galaxy to pay for it since he was away saving kids. It’s all part of this spoof-ridden world.

Image by Fright Comics

Much More Enjoyable Than Secret Empire!

Crimson Phantom is an obvious lampoon of Batman, with a dash of the Punisher thrown in. He’s got a few screws loose and enjoys using grenades. Yet there are plenty more gags thrown in. From jokes about ballet to plenty of puns regarding addresses, this is a series which pokes fun at some of the absurdities of the genre. Koko Amboro’s art perfectly captures this. His style is a fun blend of manga and Western styles which fits the action comedy well. Ken Tucky, in particular, is a hoot!

Image by Fright Comics

Next: See Scarab and Jupiter Man clobber ninjas in #1!

Don’t confuse these two for the Champions or the Defenders of the Earth. The Champions of Earth are not out to save the world—nor destroy it. Scarab and Jupiter Man merely want as much fame, fortune, and women as their new status can get them. They offer some catharsis for some readers, and superhero satire for others. In conclusion, it seems like any new spandex series needs a hook to stand out, and Champions Of Earth has a great one. Grab a copy online or in print today!