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Zita the Spacegirl #3

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl

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Zita the Spacegirl has saved planets, battled monsters, and wrestled with interplanetary fame. But she faces her biggest challenge yet in the third and final installment of the Zita adventures. Wrongfully imprisoned on a penitentiary planet, Zita has to plot the galaxy's greatest jailbreak before the evil prison warden can execute his plan of interstellar domination!

240 pages, Hardcover

First published May 13, 2014

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About the author

Ben Hatke

53 books1,082 followers
Ben Hatke is an author and illustrator of graphic novels and picture books. Most notably he is the creator of the Zita the Spacegirl graphic novel series.

He posts art and stories online at:


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5 stars
3,979 (55%)
4 stars
1,947 (27%)
3 stars
850 (11%)
2 stars
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115 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 447 reviews
Profile Image for First Second Books.
560 reviews539 followers
Shelved as 'first-second-publications'
June 9, 2014
This is the last volume of Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl trilogy.

People keep coming to ask us if there are going to be more. 'Zita is so awesome!' they say. 'That means there must be more books!'

We agree that Zita is awesome! And this book certainly does end on an . . . interesting note.

But right now, there are not any plans for future Zita volumes. We have an amazing picture book coming out from Ben in the fall -- it's called _Julia's House for Lost Creatures_ -- and another graphic novel for kids coming late next year (it's going to be wonderful, you guys!).

We're going to miss Zita too! Maybe she'll have some stories again some day in the far-distant future.
Profile Image for Schizanthus Nerd.
1,117 reviews226 followers
August 13, 2018
What a fun way to round out the trilogy! After the huge Legends of Zita the Spacegirl cliffhanger I’ve been keen to know where we’d find Zita at the beginning of this story. Zita is on trial in the Court of Dungeon World, facing a slew of trumped up charges; her heroics in the first two graphic novels twisted into crimes. Poor Mouse appears at her kangaroo court and, shackled in a way that brought to mind Hannibal Lector, he’s been sentenced to death! But wait! Who or what is that mysterious creature in the blue cape that’s overlooking the proceedings?

Bringing back all of my favourites from the first two books and introducing a few new ones, this is the action packed volume that finally answers the question of whether Zita ever returns home to Earth. I don’t think I’d return if I were her because of all of the amazing adventures she’s had and the wonderful friends she’s met along the way, but it’s what she’s dreamed of since the beginning so I couldn’t help cheering her on.

What’s lovely about this story is that you don’t just get to witness Zita saving a friend, an enemy or a world; Zita needs help herself in this one. Thankfully she’s made such an impact previously that there’s no shortage of people/beings/objects willing to lend a hand or whatever is needed to contribute to saving her.

Femur and Raggy, Zita’s dungeon mates, were the comic relief for me and became new favourites. I also loved that previous favourites including One, Strong-Strong, Randy and Shippy returned.

Like the two previous Zita books the illustrations in this one were brilliant. Although the story could end with this book and currently does, there is potential to keep the story going. While you could argue that this series presents a good case for quit while you’re ahead I’d keep reading if another Zita book magically appeared in front of me.

In what I’ll call the Special Features after Zita’s journey concludes (I’ve been bingeing a lot of TV series recently) there’s a beautiful story of how she came to be. It’s one of those melty heart stories that makes you appreciate Zita even more.

Once again, I have to say that I love my library. They didn’t stock this book but they bought it just because I asked them to. Now they have the whole series, which I plan to borrow again for a reread ASAP!
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews63 followers
June 19, 2014
THE RETURN OF ZITA THE SPACEGIRL is the third and final Zita graphic novel (for now). Zita has saved many people and multiple worlds since leaving Earth to rescue her classmate Joseph. She's also made enemies, which has led to her being thrown into a terrible underground prison.

The Zita series is extremely popular for a good reason. The books have a lot of sci-fi action, colorful and creative character design, and an intrepid heroine determined to save the day. I really enjoyed how THE RETURN OF ZITA THE SPACEGIRL brought back old characters, such as Piper and Madrigal, and introduced new ones, such as Zita's hilarious cellmates. It also has a strong theme of unintended consequences in addition to the usual selfless heroism.

I think THE RETURN OF ZITA THE SPACEGIRL can be enjoyed alone, but it's best if you're familiar with the characters. Each of the novels is a pretty quick read, so there's no reason not to read the first two. Ben Hatke's Zita trilogy combines the appeal of Raina Telgemeier or Matt Phelan's art with a science fiction story reminiscent of Bruce Coville.

Fans of the series should be aware that THE RETURN OF ZITA THE SPACEGIRL is darker than the first two books. It is still suitable for children, but some aspects might require a bit of discussion with an adult. (There are discussions of slavery, for instance.) I did appreciate that Hatke raised the stakes and let Zita go out strong. This trilogy is a great all-ages graphic novel read.
Profile Image for Erica.
1,293 reviews424 followers
March 13, 2017
Zita's origin story comes to an end with this volume, though there's plenty of room for further adventures.

As with the other two, this book is full of well-rounded characters, intergalactic adventures, real-life emotions surrounding not-real-life conundrums, and wonderful creatures on every page.

It's the ending that particularly charmed me, making me say, "Good for you, girl. Take charge of your own destiny!" It's pretty empowering and I wish I'd have had this in my hands when I was 8-years-old.
Profile Image for Hilda.
1,045 reviews126 followers
May 19, 2020
Possibly my favorite so far!! This was an amazing story and I can’t wait to see what Zita and get up to!! This group of survivors and friends keeps growing and getting better and better.

I’m such a big fan!! Ben Hatke is a genius.
Profile Image for Nikki in Niagara.
3,782 reviews123 followers
November 12, 2014
Excellent. All the characters from the first two books return in this book that brings elements from the previous stories together into a new book that has Zita saving the planet Earth. While all three books can be read as stand-alones, this one does a fine job of tying the books together and creating a trilogy with a plot that increases and culminates in this book. However we are not left at the end here and the last few pages set the stage for more Zita adventures. The creativity and imagination of the world and creatures found in these books, and just as much a charm this third time round, is phenomenal. If you liked the first two books you'll love this one. Zita has become one of favourite comic heroines.
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
April 21, 2014
This has to be the CUTEST graphic novel series I’ve ever read. My kids and I love it so hard. The best part is that it’s a perfect graphic novel for my young kids (3 and 6) to understand and enjoy. It’s also great for me to do lots of voices to entertain them. I love the fact that it’s a sci-fi story for kids that features a female heroine. That doesn’t happen often enough! Zita is brave and a good friend. Though she has her moments of insecurity and bad decisions, she doesn’t give up easily. Also, the artwork is beautiful! I loved reading about Zita’s adventures and I’m so happy First Second put these on my radar.
Profile Image for Sara.
433 reviews3 followers
March 7, 2015
Zita's back, hooray!! I just love Ben Hatke's characters. There are some delightful new ones in here, and of course all of our old favorites. He is SO GOOD at comic action -- every frame is filled with color and movement and excitement, and you just cannot put down the story and leave it. Well done, as always.

I did think the ending was a liiittle abrupt. I hope that it also means that this isn't the last we're seeing of Zita, though :)
Profile Image for Chenoa.
8 reviews3 followers
January 12, 2015
Gah, I really love this little superhero. The world Hatke has created throughout this series is filled with all sorts of adorable aliens, quirky robots, and very loyal friends. Fingers crossed that Zita and her comrades have another adventure sometime soon!

"I went coast to coast, and from star to star
that's how you learn, just who you are"
Profile Image for Raina.
1,588 reviews123 followers
February 2, 2015
I love this series so much - it raises the bar for kids comics. Still pretty heartbroken he's stopping at three with Zita.
Profile Image for Lydia.
945 reviews46 followers
December 21, 2017
Zita has been captured and is facing the consequences of her crime, as well as some trumped up charges that suit the Dungeon Lord's purpose of keeping her locked up. However, Zita is far from beaten. She refuses to give into Dungeon Lord and when a mysterious "ghost" tries to help her, but demands she not stop to help others she refuses him too. Zita is determined to save Mouse and help the people of Dungeon World! Fortunately, she has outside help on their way as even Spacegirl heroes need a little help.

An epic ending for this series of Zita (hopefully we get more eventually!) as she faces her past decisions, makes even more new friends and receives support from past friends too! Again, the artwork is spot-on, the story fantastic and the characters likeable! Share and enjoy!

Content issues: No language or sensuality issues. The Dungeon Lord has laser-gauntlet things that he likes to zap people with, mostly just to torture them and seems to cause pain, but not death (though pretty sure he does kill people/robots with them too in one scene; it isn't graphic); some brawling/fist violence and a space battle, as well as a planet imploding, but injuries are minimal and not graphically depicted.

Profile Image for Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku.
753 reviews49 followers
July 20, 2016
Sadly, the tales of Zita's adventures in space have come to a close. The final book in a beautiful graphic novel trilogy, The Return of Zita the Sapcegirl picks up where the last book left off. We find Zita trapped in an asteroid prison because all the good she did as Zita the Spacegirl had some repercussions that might not have been all good. Awaiting trial for her crimes of goodness, Zita and her pals learn that the prison warden is planning to dominate the galaxy-- starting with Earth!

The third volume did a beautiful job bringing together all the elements of the previous books. We revisit favorite characters, explore their personalities more, and even get to know some new characters. Yet, this volume follows some heavier themes than in the past. Zita is losing heart in prison, and is beginning to doubt herself. The theme of doing the right thing in the face of adversity is strong here. It would be easy for Zita to take the easy road out to only save herself. She has learned over the course of these books that all her actions have had reactions. Zita has learned that she has been naïve. A good portion of this book explores this idea, along with the blurred lines between right and wrong, as well as good and evil.

While the characters, art, and themes are amazing, this book fell a bit flat for me. I felt like the story was a little troupe, and after the beautiful and brilliant colors of the first two volumes the darker tone of this book was a bit jarring. I think it was appropriate for the story, but it left me a little down. Even the uplifting moments, [spoiler] like when Zita is drowning in despair and her Strong Strong star breaks into pieces, letting her friends know that she is alive and needs their help [/spoiler] weren't as uplifting as previously. I found the cute or funny moments to be more spread out. It was just a bit disappointing.

I do love how open ended Hatke left the final book. The ending was abrupt, and a bit sad. [spoiler] Poor Zita and Joseph didn't get to say goodbye to their friends, or even to see if they were okay. It was now or never-- and they made the sacrifice to leave. Heartbreaking. [/spoiler] Hatke said he was done with Zita, but this ending will easily allow him to jump back into her world with little effort. As many of my bookish friends have also said, I really hope some day he does pursue this. Zita's world is magical and I will always want to revisit it.
Profile Image for Bruce Gargoyle.
874 reviews143 followers
February 15, 2017
Ten Second Synopsis:
Zita is held prisoner by a despotic ruler who wants to use her portal button to take over Earth. Aided by a skeleton, a pile of rags and a friend from the past, Zita tries to overcome the ruler's evil plans.

You may have picked up that I skipped book two in the series, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, because the library didn't have it (boo!). This wasn't too much of a drama because the opening scenes cleverly work some of the key points from books one and two into the dialogue between Zita and her captor. Yes, this book begins with Zita imprisoned and seemingly helpless, although it is apparent that in book two she had been gadding about making a name for herself across the galaxy and fostering the reputation of someone not to be trifled with.

The plot focuses on Zita's attempts to escape her prison by finding a jump crystal with which she can power up the red-button thingy and take herself back home. Along the way she is helped out by a mysterious masked boy and her cellmates, a skeleton named Femur who possesses some very interestingly shaped digits, and Ragpile, an animated pile of rags. I absolutely loved the little twist at the end concerning Ragpile and Femur and it encapsulates the ingenuity and humour that is woven into these stories. Old friends also make an appearance, including Pizzicato, Strong-Strong and One, as well as some folk from the second book who I hadn't met before, most interesting of which being a space-pirate type lady and her mysterious cat.

Zita's adventures eventually find her back on Earth and even though it is claimed that this is the final story in the series, the ending holds a little hope that there might be more. This was an action packed way to finish the series, full of escapes, ingenious ideas and teamwork. Themes of betrayal and forgiveness loom large and the ensemble cast of characters ensures that there'll be something for everyone in Zita's final adventure.
Profile Image for Just a Girl Fighting Censorship.
1,802 reviews113 followers
October 28, 2021
A conclusion to the trilogy and left somewhat open-ended. I thoroughly enjoyed two new characters, they are basically a living pile of rags and a skeleton. The resolution felt a bit rushed. Perhaps what I enjoyed the most is what Ben gives us at the end, a peek at how the Zita character was developed.
Profile Image for Kendra.
596 reviews31 followers
July 26, 2017
I wish there were twelve more, but also it was so perfect the way it was.
Profile Image for Owl.
213 reviews13 followers
December 28, 2018
4.5 stars. Other than a weirdly gendered comment in the middle about a boy not understanding women, I loved this a whole lot.
Profile Image for Raven Black.
1,853 reviews5 followers
June 1, 2019
Similar to rest. Read all to find start to finish of Zitas story. Then read Might Jack's stories.
Profile Image for Ona Cruz.
62 reviews
October 18, 2022
4,5 perquè el final m'ha sorprès que vulgui tornar a marxar, quan s'ha passat els 3 llibres volent anar a casa.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Matthew Connell.
38 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2019
I was gonna give this five stars, but I think the twist at the end robs it of some of its power. Still, it's another great book with the characters, art, and dialogue I expected and appreciate. Can't wait for the next one.
Profile Image for AndreaLectora.
424 reviews31 followers
September 22, 2022
Pues le pongo las 5 estrellas como colofón final, una nota general a toda la trilogía. Me han parecido unos cómics fantásticos para niñxs, muy disfrutables por los adultxs, llenos de fantasía, personajes entrañables y una protagonista valiente y honesta.
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.5k reviews359 followers
February 13, 2016
Wow, wow, wow, and more wow! What a fantastic volume this was, even better than all the others before it. And then that ending! <3

I will first talk about the stuff that is spoiler-free, after that I will review the rest in spoiler tags, as that is needed. I don't want to spoil the epic stuff in this book. So, be warned, read the spoilers at your own risk! They are big spoilers, but I need to review the book, and thus some things will have to be spoiler tagged.

First up, Zita. Ah, I loved her in the first and second books, but in this book we see a Zita who will never give up, who will fight, who won't give up hope even when everything seems so hopeless. She is strong, determined, even more so then in the previous books.
I felt sorry for her, sorry that she got captured (since this happened in the second book I won't spoiler tag it), sorry that she had to go through all that, and happy for her when certain events happened. But also sad. I can imagine that it must have hurt for her.

It was wonderful to see everyone again. Zita is loved by many, and everyone is up to helping her now that she needs help. It was kind of weird that various people split up, I guess a lot more time passed between this and the previous book then I think it did.

The illustrations are good/great, though at times it looks a bit weird or things are just a bit off. For instance when we see stuff in the distance, or Zita is running and it is a big picture, then she often looks more like some blobs flung together than human. Which is a shame, I would have preferred it if she looks human in all panels. I still love the colours though, they are pretty colourful, even during scenes that are sad or are bad, the colours are still vivid.

Now for all the spoiler stuff! Don't read this unless you really, really read this book!!!!!!!

All in all, I would highly recommend this book. While I rated all of the books 5 stars, I would say this one is more a 5++ stars.

Review first posted at http://twirlingbookprincess.com/
Profile Image for Matthew.
501 reviews17 followers
April 20, 2016
On another episode of Zita the Spacegirl, we discover that Zita is in prison in a planet that is difficult for anyone to locate her. It has been rumored this prison planet existed but never discovered. Zita is guilty on all charges from stealing the space ship and luckily this masked hero helps her almost escape. While she was almost out of prison, she discovers there is a creature that is supposed to be floating in space and instead is chained up and its power is being drained. She wants to help rescue it but fails at first and learns that the creature is the one who is keeping this planet stable.

The alien who is in charge of this prison is trying to find a crystal to transport his species and him to another planet to conquer and after analyzing her blood, he now wants to reach Earth and take control of it. While he strips Zita of her outfit to make her look like a peasant, they made the bad mistake of ripping her star that her friend gave to her. By ripping it apart, it sent a signal to all her friends and together they find her location and decide to bail her out.

Over the course of the story, we get this big epic battle scenes of escape, and attacking the guards and all the evil people and Zita and her friends save the day. We get to learn that the masked hero who helped her escaped is none other than Joseph who she thought was on Earth. In the first book they were about to go home when the crystal shattered sending only one of them in the portal and for Joseph, the portal to Earth became several portals and he ended up on another planet. Now that they saved everyone, Zita and Joseph was about to escape the ruined planet with the bad guy ruined their opportunity. He fights them and finally throws them down to plummet to their deaths.

Zita friends couldn't reach her on time to save her so instead Piper attaches the portal to the robot and he projects the portal for Zita and Joseph to return to Earth before they plummet to their death. Piper was successful and quickly the portal closes. Now that Zita and Joseph have returned home, it seems like they were gone only for a few minutes while its been days since they were in the other galaxy (Similar to Narnia). While Joseph is glad to be home, Zita misses her friends and her adventures and tries to contact them for a year to see them again. A year goes by and nothing until she sees that her robot friend has crashed landed on earth with a note written by Piper saying that they need Zita's help leaving it open for another volume.

From what I read this is supposedly is a trilogy series and I desperate wish that they throw away that concept and making into a series. We only got a glimpse of this Sci-Fi world and I believe Ben Hatke needs to give us more info towards these characters, their background stories, and what is the next adventure for Zita as Piper and her friends need her help. I will definitely be on the look out for a sequel and I would love to read more Zita adventures. Until next time...

To check out all my reviews visit http://dancinginth3dark.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Charles.
Author 61 books118 followers
July 28, 2014
Stuff I Read - The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke Review

I should say that I have not read the earlier Zita books, and that well could have affected my enjoyment of this, the third book in the series. Judging this volume completely on its own, though, and I found that it was a fun and charming read, a light story with some heavier and darker elements and enough plot twists and interesting characters to keep things moving along nicely. The action was solid, the plot complex enough while drawing from elements from previous volumes in what I can assume is a satisfying manner, and it all worked rather well. It's cute and fun and worth a read.

The action started off with Zita captured on a prison world, and while this might have been something picked up from the end of the last volume, it might not be. Having not read it, I can't be sure, but I wasn't lost. The concept of Zita the Spacegirl, adventurer and hero of the stars, is one that can pretty easily be understood, and it was something where she's basically on trial because some of her good actions had some consequences she didn't really think about. And that makes sense, both as she is a rather rash person and because she is young. It's all part of the villain's plan to claim Earth, and it makes sense.

Imprisoned and doubted herself, Zita still manages to be heroic, helping who she can. When rescue comes from an old friend, though, the real message of the volume comes into greater focus. It's a classic argument that if she had had different experiences when she arrived she would care less about helping people. Basically that being kind and saving people is a luxury that she could afford, but that it's rather naive. And the volume does a good job exploring that idea and making it clear that trying to do the right thing is always important even in the face of defeat and destruction.

It's a story about heroism, too, because Zita tries to save everyone at the risk of her own freedom and safety. In trying to save her friends, she ends up losing just about everything that she had gained, and while the ending is a bit more optimistic about where she will end up, that she was willing to do that is a testament to her heroism. It's a good message, and fitting for a young adult sci-fi adventure. The art, too, is fitting, cartoonish but with a great sense of scale and danger. This is an epic story, and it is rendered well, with great expressions on the characters, great personality, and great action. The volume succeeds at what it sets out to do, and while it's not the most complex of things, and while it does make a few eye-rolling plot decisions, I enjoyed it, and would recommend it with an 8/10.
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