We all want that magic pill to make us thin, smart and ultimately successful which makes Jacked very easy to relate to. The characters are relatable too and feel quite real which makes for an excellent combo, but is it good?
Jacked #4 (Vertigo)
Josh Jaffe has acquired pills that make him super strong, but they’ve quickly made his life super complicated. He used said powers on a bad man and with those powers sent him to the hospital. Unfortunately he woke up and Josh’s life and family are now in danger. Last issue ended with Josh losing the rest of his pills and he needs more stat.
Why does this book matter?
I can’t say enough how surprised I was to love this series by writer Eric Kripke and artist John Higgins. The premise and general feel of the book when I opened it didn’t blow me away, but the writing and art did. The general idea is so simple one might argue it’s nothing special, but the characters are so vividly real and the themes within are so mature that it’s definitely worth your dime.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue continues to kick ass and take names. It not only delivers answers as to what the deal is with the pill (a question I never thought would be answered), but it finally makes Josh into the hero we knew he could be. Kripke opens the book without any of that drama, but with Josh’s wife. She’s filled with doubt and confused about Josh’s actions and doesn’t know what to do. This instantly humanizes the story and brings us into the very emotional world of these characters. His wife has a point too and while we know the truth it’s obviously a very fucked up and weird situation for everyone.
From there this issue is a ride and it’s an exciting one. Josh locates the creator of his magic pill and that kicks off of a set of actions to get more pills inside Josh so he can take out the drug dealer who wants his head. This issue essentially pushes Josh to become the hero he has to be which is in his words, “The most asshat Batman ever.”
Higgins will blow every comic reader away with a two page spread in this issue. Every comic book fan should pick this up just to see the hilarious and tension filled sequence as Josh figures out a way to get some quick cash. While events take place in the background (a background that doesn’t change aside from two characters) Josh must pretend to be totally normal as a fellow parent asks him about a PTA meeting. Higgins does a fantastic job showing Josh’s nervousness rise and his facial expressions do a lot to make the moment quite dramatic.
The rest looks great too, from Josh ripping out a sink to prove he is strong, to the litany of lewd acts taking place in a prison meeting room. It all has a very dirty and gritty crumb feel that makes this superhero crime comic feel realistic.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I know this would ruin the plot, but have any of these characters thought about maybe another solution outside of popping these super pills? It makes their decision making feel a bit linear, particularly when reality sets in and we find out Josh is taking on a drug dealer who also happens to have enough henchmen to call them an army.
This scene is a real treat.
Is It Good?
If you’re looking for something a bit different with adult themes you can’t go wrong with this strongly written book.