Comic Solutions

Book Review—Legends of Zita the Spacegirl

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl
First Second
Ben Hatke
September 2012

I remember discovering Zita in webcomic format several years ago and being entranced, not only with the character of Zita and the adventures she took, but Ben’s incredible artwork as well. Sadly at some point I lost track of the site and Zita. And then…last year Zita the Spacegirl was released and Zita was able to tell us her full story of how she got into space. And why she was a hero.  I feel in love with Zita all over again and I couldn’t wait to read more about her adventures.  Thankfully Ben is continuing the story and now we get the next chapter in Zita’s life as she attempts to make her way home.

In a junkyard on a planet far, far away a robot, a imprint-a-tron, crawls out of the wreckage around it and discovers a poster of Zita.  Meanwhile not too far away Zita’s ship has just touched so that she can meet her fans and continue to look for a way home.  Of course her newest fan, the imprint-a-tron, will be there and it will be made up too look just like Zita!  Zita, looking for a few moments to herself, takes advantage of the doppelganger and  heads off for her own little adventure.  But troubles ensues as the robot decides it wants Zita’s life! And its off on a mission that it may not return from, as well as creating some trouble along the way.  Zita in pursuit of her friends quickly finds herself on wanted posters and the space police will stop at nothing to catch her. Can Zita make her way back to her life and those of her friends? Or will she end up wandering the far reaches of space for ever trying to get back home?

As much as I was looking forward to this second volume, I have to admit I was a bit worried when I started reading the story. The beginning seemed a bit slow and the story was almost predictable.  But I needn’t have worried, because as soon as Ben entered the second chapter the story went down a path I could have never imagined.  It was like being on a good roller coaster ride, one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and cheering Zita on as she makes her way across the universe with good surprises waiting for you just around the bend.  Like the characters we get to meet!We get to meet a group of performers, one of whom has ties to Piper.  And we get to learn more about Zita’s companion Mouse and that there is more to him than meets the eye.  Even better, we get to see Zita grow and mature in this volume as she continues her journey and learns some powerful lessons.

Ben’s artwork remains captivating, for the young and old alike. He wields colors deftly, creating masterful illusions of shadows and light, such as at the circus where colors spin madly in the air. The characters dance on the pages as they rush about the universe helping to save it. In many ways the design of the characters reminds me of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibbli’s work. The design of the spaceports is sure to keep readers enthralled as they look at the detail in the work. And the character design will keep readers captivated wondering what the next person we meet will look like.

I highly recommend this next volume in the Zita series and I can’t wait to see where Ben takes the story next. This is such a great series for young readers and I really like that Zita is such a strong female protagonist. 4 out of 5 stars.

Review copy provided by Gina at FirstSecond

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