Calamity Jack by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale

calamity jack
The crackerjack team of Hale, Hale & Hale are back with another rootin’ tootin’ graphic adventure of that wild girl Rapunzel and her trouble-making friends. This volume covers the back-story of ‘Punzie’s scheming sidekick, Jack. Before he met Rapunzel out west, Jack made his living swindling chumps in the big city with his partner Prudence, a stylish pixie with a serious attitude and an addiction to fancy hats. He was forced to skip town after a problematic beanstalk, a golden-egg laying goose and an angry giant named Blunderboar made it unsafe to return home to his hand-wringing, bakery-owning mama. After hightailing it west and meeting Rapunzel, Jack knows it’s time to head back home and make things right. Except in his absence, the fearsome giant Blunderboar has set up a corrupt shadow government and taken Jack’s mother prisoner in order to force her to bake his human-bone meal bread. Now Jack and Rapunzel must team up with Prudence and verbose muckraking journalist Frederick Sparksmith III to uncover Blunderboar’s citywide scheme and prove to the people once and for all what a, well, BOAR Blunderboar really is! All the while, Jack is trying to work up the courage to tell Rapunzel how he really feels about her. But will silver-tongued Frederick sway her heart instead? This action-packed sequel is every bit as entertaining as its predecessor, and then some. Jack’s big city, in contrast to Rapunzel’s Wild West, is a bustling technological marvel, which adds a little steam punk to the whole whimsical affair. The imaginative team of Hale to the 3rd power envisions their fantastical teeming urbanity as a magnet for diverse immigrants of every color and creed; from Native and African Americans to fairies and porcine half-men. Thanks to Nathan Hale’s meticulous attention to detail, each full color panel is a little work of art. This GN was so much fun that just writing this review makes me want to read it again! Batten down the hatches and tie up the dirigibles–this is one wild ride.

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