COMIC REVIEW: Jacked #5 – One Bad Trip | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Jacked #5 – One Bad Trip

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Jacked #5 - One Bad Trip

Writer: Eric Kripke

Artists: John Higgins, Marc Olivent, Glenn Fabry, Ryan Brown, Clem Robins


Vertigo Comics

Whether your deepest fantasy is to have the powers of Superman, or to wander around in a cave full of breasts, throwing giant candy bars at assorted anthropomorphic snack foods, Jacked #5 has got you covered. As the series approaches its finale, the insanity has reached its climax.

COMIC REVIEW: Jacked #5 - One Bad Trip

Jacked #5 – Page 4

In the previous issue, we learned that the creator of Jacked intended for the pill to be a placebo – there wasn’t ever really supposed to be an effect. The superpowers that Josh gains are just a lucky side effect. With that knowledge, Josh gets a new batch of pills made for him, and he sets off to go scare some sense into the real life drug dealers that have been making his life so interesting. Beforehand, he takes two pills for fear that he’s built up a tolerance, and he begins a journey into his mind as he’s about to break into the drug lord’s compound. That’s where #5 picks up, and that’s where it stays basically the entire time.

This issue has got everything – A star studded cast of DC superheroes; a vicious dog made out of a giant breast; explosions of guts and fountains of blood; a faux Optimus Prime making it with a high school Spanish teacher. The hallucinogen induced list goes on and on, and as a result, the art in this issue is absolutely superb. Kripke’s script is insane, for sure, but Higgins and Olivent embrace that tremendously.

COMIC REVIEW: Jacked #5 - One Bad Trip

Jacked #5 – Page 11

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In fact, one of the reasons that the art is so good and it works so well, is because the scripting is so accurate to what Josh would be experiencing in his drugged up state. I don’t mean the visual hallucinations, those are just a plus, but Kripke sets up the idea of fixation – and that’s entirely real. The whole time that Josh is wandering through this house, talking to his own hemorrhoids and turning armed men into piles of guts, he’s fixated on the idea of getting to the home theater system. In his mind, that’s the thing that’s going to make him the hero he so desperately needs to be. It may seem like a little thing, but this level of human engagement is excellent given the themes of this book. For all of its over-the-top story beats, all of the themes are grounded in human emotion and desire. Quantifying Josh’s needs in a way that replicates an actual experience with hallucinogenic drugs keeps those themes alive, and helps to expel notions that Jacked is just a nuthouse crazy story. That being said, this series is entirely nuts, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

While the issue plays out as one would expect, with Josh rampaging through the house bloodying anyone in his path, it also sets up some things that will be vital to the upcoming finale of the six-part series. For starters, Jessica is revealed to be bending Josh to her will, while it’s been assumed that she’s been sidekicking it since the two ran away together. Her dubious plan is to bring Josh to her father’s house next to do some damage there, which is a nice way of giving us some backstory on Jessica without having to dig too deeply into the character.

COMIC REVIEW: Jacked #5 - One Bad Trip

Jacked #5 – Page 13

The issue’s end also sets up what, presumably, is going to be the largest factor of the next issue. Ray, the evil drug lord, has overheard Josh talking about Jacked, and has tracked down Josh’s family. This, combined with the teaser page for the following issue, suggests that we’ll be seeing a lot of family saving heroism at the end of this series.

While it’s nice that we’re given clues into the direction of the finale, it’s also a bit troublesome giving the information that we already have. In issue four, the doctor that created Jacked is established as wanting to cut Josh open to perform tests on him to learn how his pill is affecting Josh in this way. With only one issue left, it’s difficult to imagine that we will see this, Jessica’s side quest, and the demise of Ray play out in any meaningful way without either a supersized issue or a race to the finish. With what’s been set up, the finale promises to be a blowout regardless, it would just be a shame to leave some of these character building plot points unfinished.

COMIC REVIEW: Jacked #5 - One Bad Trip

Jacked #5 – Page 19

The “Best There Is:” The psycho-realism in both the scripting and the art make for a story that is as based in human emotion as it is unabashedly entertaining. The series creators have done an excellent job with this one all the way around, and have established an overabundant sense of hype leading into their concluding chapter.

The “Not Very Nice:” It’s hard to see everything that has been set up in this series being wrapped up with just one issue left. It’s worth saying, that though this issue was insanely fun, some of these pages could have been spent working towards that end.

FBI Score: 9 out of 10. With just one issue left, Jacked maintains a level of groundedness that is steeped in human emotion and flung through a whirlpool of offbeat hallucinations and endless gore. It’s just pure entertainment with every turn of the page.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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