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Comicscape: The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

Zita the Spacegirl #3

By Chuck Francisco     March 26, 2014

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl
© First Second Books
There was a time when entertainment media was allowed to be fun and enjoyable without the need for overwrought cynicism. Everything wasn't required to be "gritty" to be considered good. Congruent to that, adults could see an adventure film geared toward kids without the need to worry about it being a sopping mess of boring hand holding. I don't know what exactly changed after the 80's, but that kind of fun for the whole family adventure has mostly gone away (I contend that last year's overlooked Jack the Giant Slayer was precisely this type of classic style film). Stepping into that void for some rollicking adventure time fun is Ben Hatke's The Return of Zita the Spacegirl, third entry in the very popular graphic novel series of said galactic gal.

Zita is a young earth girl who is accidentally flung to the other side of the galaxy when she finds a mysterious button in a crater (and pushes it). Over the course of her first two adventures, she saves a planet, steals a ship, and evades bounty hunters to save a second world- all the while trying to duck her newly minted, intergalactic celebrity status. Now she's been captured by the long arm of the law, and sentenced to a prison planet from whence escape is unheard of. Her friends have disbanded (and don't know that she's in danger), but there's a nefarious purpose behind her captor's plans, so Zita must to find a way to act.

The most striking aspect about the Zita series is Hatke's artwork. There's a softness to his penciling, an welcoming roundness to the style that adds to the wonderful sense of whimsey which the story already possesses. STAR WARS fans take note: Hatke brings the kind of childlike diversity to his aliens and droids that made sure you would never forget the cantina scene (it's a combination of his huge imagination and the roundness of the art style). But the scale is grander here, as even the most random of background panel creatures is given interesting traits, and you'll find yourself commonly stopping to admire the inventiveness. The robots especially are all cleverly devised to inspire further curiosity and contemplation.

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl is a home run for anyone looking to read comics with their young kids, or those looking for a comic to let their kids read on their own. This is the kind of work that kindles the fire of passion for science fiction within children. Simultaneously, this rollicking adventure will delight older genre fans who long for imaginative galactic fiction. Hatke captures that timeless fun perfectly, and serves it up to you with flourish and whimsy, unbound by current societal tastes toward edginess. This isn't the best of the Zita books, but the difference is certainly measured in tiny increments. Mania Rating: B+

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl, third graphic novel in the Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke,  releases on May 13 from First Second Books for $12.99, which gives you plenty of time to dive into the first two books, Zita the Spacegirl and Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, with gusto.

Comic Book Release for March 26th, 2014.
Marvel Comics (37 issues)
A+X #18
All New X-Factor #5
Amazing X-Men #5
Avengers #27
Avengers Assemble #25
Brilliant #5
Cable and X-Force Vol. 4: Vendettas
Captain America: Homecoming #1
Daredevil: End of Days
Deadpool #26
Empire of the Dead: Act One #3
Fantomex Max
Guardians of the Galaxy #13
Hawkeye #18
Indestructible Hulk #20
Iron Patriot #1
Marvel Knights: X-Men #5
Marvel Universe: Ultimate Spider-Man #24
Miracleman #4
New Avengers #16.Now
Origin II #4
Rawhide Kid Vol. 1 (Marvel Masterworks)
Rawhide Kid Vol. 1 (Marvel Masterworks)
Revolutionary War: Omega #1
Savage Wolverine #16
Silver Surfer #1
Spider-Man by Roger Stern Omnibus
Spider-Man by Roger Stern Omnibus
Superior Spider-Man #27 (2nd Printing)
Superior Spider-Man #30
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #11
Uncanny Avengers #18.Now
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 3: Ragnarok Now
Uncanny X-Force Vol. 3: Great Corruption
Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #1 (2nd Printing)
Wolverine by Aaron Complete Collection Vol. 2
DC Comics (25 issues)
All Star Western #29
Aquaman #29
Batman: The Dark Knight #29
Batwoman Vol. 3: Worlds' Finest
Batwoman Vol. 4: This Blood Is Thick
Beware the Batman #6
Catwoman #29
Catwoman Vol. 3: Under Pressure
DC Universe vs. Masters of the Universe #6
Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #6
Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #6
He Man and the Masters of the Universe #11
Injustice: Year Two #3
Justice League Dark #29
Larfleeze #9
Red Lanterns #29
Showcase Presents: Men of War
Suicide Squad: Amanda Waller #1
Superman #29
Superman: Earth One Vol. 2
Talon #17
Teen Titans #29
The Adventures of Superman #11
The Flash #29
Worlds' Finest #21
IDW Publishing (24 issues)
Batman Silver Age Newspaper Comics Vol. 1: 1966-1967
Calico Horses and the Patchwork Trail
Device Vol. 3: Traveling Device
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #200
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #200 (Subscription Cover)
G.I. Joe: Special Missions #13
Ghostbusters #14
Ghostbusters #14 (Subscription Cover)
Ghostbusters: Total Containment
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #10
Judge Dredd: Mega City Two #3
Judge Dredd: Mega City Two #3 (Subscription Cover)
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Popeye: The Classic Newspaper Comics Vol. 1: 1986-1989
Rocky & Bullwinkle #1
Star Slammers Remastered #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures #9
The Complete Chester Gould Dick Tracy Vol. 16
The Transformers #12
The Transformers #12 (Subscription Cover)
The X-Files: Conspiracy #2
The X-Files: Conspiracy #2 (Subscription Cover)
Wraith: Welcome To Christmasland #5
Wraith: Welcome To Christmasland #5 (Subscription Cover)
Image Comics (23 issues)
Alex + Ada #5
Chew Vol. 8: Family Recipes
Dead Body Road #4
Deadly Class #3
Fatale #21
Jan's Atomic Heart and Other Stories
Krampus! #4
Nowhere Men #8
One-Hit Wonder #2
Paul Pope's Monsters & Titans: Battling Boy Art On Tour
Protectors, Inc. #5
Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery
Real Heroes #1
Revenger #2
Satellite Sam #7
Sex #12
Skullkickers #25
The Bounce #11
The Manhattan Projects #19
The Walking Dead #124
The Walking Dead: En Espanol Vol. 3
Think Tank Vol. 3
Umbral #5
Dark Horse Comics (22 issues)
B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth #1 (1 For $1)
Blackout #1
Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine #5
Captain Midnight #9
Eden Vol. 14: It's An Endless World
Elfquest: The Final Quest #2
Empowered Special #6: Internal Medicine
Fear Agent Vol. 2
Furious #3
Halo: Escalation #4
King Conan: The Conqueror #2
Light Brigade
Mass Effect: Foundation #9
Pariah #2
Serenity: Leaves On the Wind #3
Serenity: Leaves On the Wind #3 (Jeanty Cover)
Star Wars: Legacy II #13
The Adventures of Nilson Groundthumper (and Hermy)
The Massive #21
Tomb Raider #2
Vandroid #2
Avatar (13 issues)
Crossed: Badlands #50
Crossed: Badlands #50 (Amazons Cover)
Crossed: Badlands #50 (Fatal Fantasy Cover)
Crossed: Badlands #50 (Mission Failure Cover)
Crossed: Badlands #50 (Torture Cover)
Crossed: Badlands #50 (True Romance Cover)
Crossed: Badlands #50 (Wrap Cover)
Extinction Parade #1 (Army of Bloodlines Blades Book Set)
Uber #8 (War Crimes Cover)
Uber Special #1
Uber Special #1 (Propaganda Poster Cover)
Uber Special #1 (Wrap Cover)
Uber Vol. 1
Dynamite Entertainment (13 issues)
A Game of Thrones #19
Ash and The Army of Darkness Annual 2014
Dejah Thoris & The Green Men of Mars #12
Dejah Thoris & The Green Men of Mars #12 (Anacleto Cover)
Doc Savage #4
Doc Savage #4 (Cassaday Cover)
Legends of Red Sonja #5
My Little Phoney: A Brony Adventure #1 (Haeser Cover)
My Little Phoney: A Brony Adventure #1 (Seeley Cover)
Red Team Vol. 1: Season One
Vampirella Strikes #1 (Michael Turner Blood Red Cover)
Vampirella Strikes #2 (High End Neves Red Ultra Limited Cover)
Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris #37
BOOM! Studios (10 issues)
Adventure Time #10 (New Printing)
Adventure Time #11 (New Printing)
Adventure Time #12 (New Printing)
Adventure Time #7 (New Printing)
Adventure Time #8 (New Printing)
Adventure Time #9 (New Printing)
Bravest Warriors #18
Hacktivist #3
Regular Show #11
The Midas Flesh #4
Cinebook (9 issues)
Alpha Vol. 3: The List
Iznogoud Vol. 4: The Magic Computer
Iznogoud Vol. 5: A Carrot For Iznogoud
Pandora's Box Vol. 1: Pride
Pandora's Box Vol. 2: Sloth
Spooks Vol. 4: the 46th State
The Scorpion Vol. 6: The Angels Shadow
The Scorpion Vol. 7: The Mask of Truth
Wayne Shelton Vol. 2: The Betrayal
Hachette Book Group (8 issues)
Are You Alice? Vol. 4
Bloody Brat Vol. 1
Bloody Cross Vol. 2
Kingdom Hearts: 358 / 2 Days Vol. 3
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story Vol. 1
Soul Eater Vol. 19
Sword Art Online Vol. 1: Aincrad
Wolf Children Ame & Yuki
Vertigo (8 issues)
American Vampire Vol. 5
American Vampire Vol. 6
Dead Boy Detectives #4
Fables #139
The Sandman: Overture #2
The Sandman: Overture #2 (Cover A)
The Sandman: Overture #2 (Cover B)
The Wake #7
Zenescope (8 issues)
Grimm Fairy Tales: The Quest #5 (Laiso Cover)
Grimm Fairy Tales: The Quest #5 (Reyes Cover)
Grimm Fairy Tales: The Quest #5 (Tyndall Cover)
Grimm Fairy Tales: Wonderland - Clash of Queens #2 (Desjardins Cover)
Grimm Fairy Tales: Wonderland - Clash of Queens #2 (Goh Cover)
Grimm Fairy Tales: Wonderland - Clash of Queens #2 (Johnson Cover)
Grimm Fairy Tales: Wonderland - Clash of Queens #2 (Ortiz Cover)
The Hit List
St. Martin's Press (6 issues)
Anya's Ghost
Dance in the Vampire Bund: The Memories of Sledge Hammer Vol. 2
How About Never - Never Is Good For You?
The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza
The Undertaking of Lily Chen
Witch Buster Vol. 5: Books 9 & 10
Aspen Comics (2 issues)
Bubblegun #5 (Andolfo Cover)
Bubblegun #5 (Bowden Cover)
Diamond Comic Distributors (2 issues)
Previews #307 (April 2014 Customer Order Form)
Previews #307 (April 2014)
Antarctic Press (1 issue)
Ninja High School #176
Big Dog Ink (1 issue)
Knightingail Vol. 2: Shadow Divisions
Bongo Comics (1 issue)
Simpsons Illustrated #10
BroadSword Comics (1 issue)
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #85
DMP (1 issue)
Castle Mango Vol. 2
Oni Press (1 issue)
The Bunker #2
Random House (1 issue)
Fairy Tail Vol. 36
Valiant (1 issue)
Eternal Warrior #7
Yumcha Studios (1 issue)
Dim Sum Warriors Vol. 2: Feast of Fury
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous  Colonial Theatre  in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.



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blankczech 3/26/2014 8:49:25 PM

 Thanks for the heads up.  Never heard of this prior to your review.  After reading it...I googled Zita the Spacegirl, checked out images and read further reviews / information.  Then I went to Amazon to see what's available.  I have several grandchildren and I think some of them will really enjoy this (I kinda liked what I saw, myself). 

CyanideRush 3/27/2014 5:24:04 AM

Coolbean, Blankczech- let me know what they think!



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