Mighty Jack and the Goblin King
Mighty Jack, Book #2
By Ben Hatke
Author Website: benhatke(.)com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Scott
Once again, Ben Hatke tackles yet another tale of Fairy Tale’s Jack – the elusive hero who appears time and time again, saving the princess (or in this retelling, his sister) as well as the proverbial day. A much better showing from The Mighty Jack This retelling incorporates lip service to the fairy tale and much, much more on modern sensibilities. Listen, if having a ’67 Mustang Shelby leading a charge of goblins to overthrow the evil giant’s vile plans of isolating a dimensional nexus sounds cool, then it probably is worth your half an hour’s reading time.
As far as story and character are concerned, Hatke ramps it up one notch further, introducing a more grounded reality to his fairy tale take. Ribs break, characters are not invincible, and magic has a habit of running out just when it’s needed most. Ben and Lily’s relationship evolves as they attempt to rescue Maddie, Jack’s sister; Phelix (the dragon from The Mighty Jack) makes an appearance; and in an epic battle over the Goblin King, Lily (The girl next door and Jack’s best friend) becomes king of the goblin tribe and after a goblin blood transfusion, becomes, shall we say, a little more. Overall, it is a character driven story, and the characters are three dimensional and very likeable.
The artwork is Hatke at his best. The linework and inking are well executed, and the characters, while maintaining a whimsical cartoonish look, are well proportioned and detailed enough for immersion on this level. The panels are varied and subject or character oriented. The perspective also is character driven (although a few are strictly expositional) and varied in a way that lead the reader’s eye through the page, gracefully and thoughtfully. The lettering is readable, although sometimes it seems like the word balloons take up a little too much of the panel – subsequently the letters very in size more often than not, which causes a reading of the book as opposed to reading the book, words and picture equally.
Overall, fans of fairy tales, modern reinterpretations of such tales, and fans of Hatke’s earlier work, will find themselves a solid and consistent piece of work. The second book in the Jack series, if the epilogue is on the money there will be more to come of this series. This is another solid notch for Hatke, and his followers should look favorably on this as a series, and I for one am in for the long haul, as should you.