The problem with being a galactic super hero is that everybody wants to be you and in Legends Of Zita The Space Girl one lonely clone-bot get’s to do just that. No question, writer/illustrator Ben Hatk has a knack for fun stories in addition to a healthy love for painting and doing one man fire shows. This isn’t the first time Ben has dabbled in the graphic arts, he’s contributed his talents to the ever amazing FLIGHT anthologies a series I encourage anyone to take a quick look at. Zita is a great start for any writer looking to break in or create something fans of science fiction and hero stories can get behind. The story is cute and the drawings are solid, bright and highly imaginative. I should probably tell you what this story is all about.
Having been thrown into the role of Zita “intergalactic hero” she learns real quick about the price that comes along with fame. With the crown of success hanging heavily on her head and sycophants around every corner she does the whole Prince and the Pauper switcharoo with a clone droid who willingly plays the role while she gets some rest or so she thinks. The role reversal takes an unexpected twist when the clone is approached by aliens from a neighboring planet who need her help to fight off a deadly adversary. Unbeknownst to Zita the clone accepts and whisks off in Zita’s ship along with her crew to fight this enemy. Meanwhile the real Zita stranded with her pet mouse/mount must find a way to rejoin the ship, but how when everyone thinks your the imposter now and every effort you make, no matter how unscrupulous, to get back into your role reflects negatively on the real Zita. Oh what to do?
Brilliant! I want to make a point by saying this book is like Ben Hatke sat down with a child and asked her what her favorite dream was and she began to spit out this amazing story. Then he took it and analyzed it and said to himself “these characters…these are all people she knows”. Like The Wizard of Oz, it reads like a story where, and I don’t know this for sure yet, Zita could be this highly imaginative little girl whose gone and plugged in people from her real life such as her teacher or mother or father and put them into roles of a Gypsy Pirate, Mystic Traveler or a mouse in this fantastic tale. Again, not sure if this is the case so don’t quote me and I apologize now to Ben if down the road that turns out to be what it is.
I’m thrilled to see more and more imaginative, non violent graphics being published. Seems like Zita along with stories like David Peterson’s Mouseguard and Nate Cosby’s Cowboy are these amazingly written modern day morality tales. Nothing too complex, but in it’s non complexity it speaks universal truths.Truths that both adult and child could use a refresher course in from time to time. What better way than to jazz it up with some cute aliens and colorful characters. It’s hard to say who I’d gear this book to, but I think it’s pretty safe to say anyone can read it. Zita is a recommended read for anyone into a solid storylines and great art. Real quick I want to send this message to parents, don’t get turned off if all you see on the comic book racks are tits and ass and blood and guts cause there are people like Ben Hatke who have your best interest at heart at least with this series he does. Keep searching.