Thursday, October 24, 2019

Middle-Grade Review: Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl

Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl is the first cross-over graphic novel featuring Ben Hatke's two popular middle-grade series. I've read Mighty Jack and Mighty Jack and the Goblin King and enjoyed them both, though Zita was new to me. I enjoyed this fun, action-packed story combining the two kid superheroes.

In this exciting installment, Jack and Zita are joined by their usual collection of siblings and sidekicks, plus a slew of interesting alien creatures. The ragtag group must prevent a horde of giants from bursting through a portal that the kids thought they'd closed for good. The giants want to take over Earth for themselves and destroy the whole human race, so when they start trying to break through the door, it's a very urgent matter. Jack and Zita and their friends, Lilly (who is now King of the Goblins) and Joseph, manage to get through to the other side of the portal to look for elves to provide back-up in this epic battle. The rest of the group, including Jack's mom and sister, Maddy, and Zita's interplanetary friends, stay in Jack's backyard to try to keep the giants from breaking through the portal. The odds are against them, but can the good guys manage to win this battle that could otherwise mean the end of humanity?

All of the kid characters together in the Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl cross-over

I haven't read the Zita books yet, but Hatke includes plenty of details for readers like me who need to catch up on the story (and who wonder who all these strange characters are!). As with the other books I've read in the series, this cross-over story is filled with suspense, plenty of action, and lots of fantastical creatures. It's a unique and imaginative world, and I imagine it's extra fun for those kids who are fans of both series to see their favorite characters come together. My only disappointment was that I had an Advance Reader's copy, so only the first few pages are in color, which is a shame because the full-color panels of these books are bold and eye-catching, perfect for pulling reluctant readers into the gripping story. An extra section in the back, The Evolution of Mighty Jack, features a collection of Hatke's earliest drawings of the characters, and it is fascinating to watch how they evolved. As with all of Hatke's graphic novels that I've read, this one is pure fun, with just enough tension and excitement to keep young readers engaged without being too scary. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

269 pages, First Second

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. My review is my own opinion and is not influenced by my relationship with the publisher or author.

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  1. I'll bet this one is a hit with kids!

  2. Wow, this sounds great. My stepson and I read the Zita books, but not Mighty Jack. We'll have to pick up a copy.

    1. Funny, I am just the opposite - read the jack books but not the Zita ones :) He fills you in, just in case! Enjoy!