Mighty Jack and Zita the ­Spacegirl

First Second. Sept. 2019. 272p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781250191724; pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781250191731.
Gr 4-7–In this epic crossover event, the stars of two of Hatke’s previous series, Jack and Zita the Spacegirl, join forces. The book conveniently starts with a recap of their adventures thus far. With an army of angry giants bent on taking over Earth, the stakes are high. It’s up to Jack, Zita, and their pals to put an end to the invasion. One of the villains says it best: “There are other human heroes at large in the scattered worlds and a spacegirl who must be stopped.” The melding of the two groups of friends is entertaining, and there’s realistic tension between Zita and Jack’s friend Lilly, who have very different styles of tackling problems. The adults still get to play their part, albeit back on Earth. Old friends, cameos, and inside jokes make this a great volume for fans of previous installments, but even new readers will be able to follow along and will want to read the backlog once they’re finished. Hatke’s artwork, as usual, does a lot of the character work—he skillfully uses wordless panels where other writers might be tempted to add dialogue. The story is a bit chaotic at times since there’s so much going on, but the plot is tightly constructed and keeps things moving forward. The ending is fairly emotional and leaves open the possibility of further stories.
VERDICT Jack and Zita make a stunning team in this high-stakes adventure—a must for fans of both series.

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