Jack Sullivan and his friends battle interdimensional evil in a Cthulhu-inspired Christmas special.
Readers coming to the series midstream can breathe easy. Jack gives them a “real-deal recap” right away, explaining all about the Monster Apocalypse, the zombie plague, and the possibility of other human survivors holed up in the Statue of Liberty. This new installment includes sledding disasters, the gang’s attempt to introduce monsters to the wonders of Christmas, and a human girl who always sympathized with villains attempting to unleash unspeakable horrors on Earth. There are several appeal factors for readers who need some pizzazz with their plot; monsterrific illustrations that take the place of description or exposition, liberal use of italics and ALL CAPS, up-to-the-second pop-culture references, and some tame gross-out humor. The cast is racially diverse according to the illustrations; Jack and Dirk look white, Quint appears black, and June, who “knows Spanish, because her parents spoke it at home,” is implied Latina. However, the Christmas-centered plot and the casual usage of “lame” as an insult may prevent some readers from connecting with the story. A few moral lessons about the importance of friendship are scattered throughout, but depth and nuanced characterization come across as halfhearted gestures that are of secondary importance compared to monsters, weapons, and putatively awesome adventures.
Kids who already dig the series will probably like this one. (Horror. 8-12)