jacked 4
Written by Eric Kripke
Drawn by John Higgins
Published by DC Comics/Vertigo

In an interesting call-back to the first issue, the first few pages are narrated by Josh’s wife Alice. It turns out that, like him, she’s facing many of the same insecurities about her life and about growing older. And we see how, ironically, Josh’s recent unpredictable behavior is making her even more insecure. Among other things, she worries that Josh is having an affair with Jessica. Kripke is really good at writing these little moments that humanize his characters.

Meanwhile, Damon has recovered and is staying with Ray, who now knows everything. This convinces Jessica more than ever that she and Josh will need to kill them first. But Josh has told her about the pills which he has ran out of. Josh gets a call from Asher Swartz, the creator of Jacked, and visit him in prison. Even though he tells them that the Jacked pills were just fake placebo’s that don’t really do anything (which I believe is true of most of these nootropics, including Excelerol), Josh swears they worked for him and so Swartz agrees to make some more if Josh bails him out of jail.

I won’t spoil how Jessica gets the $15,000  bail money, but it reinforces my suspicions from the last issue that she’s not necessarily all that trustworthy herself. They get Swartz out and take him back to his crappy hotel apartment, where he has 3 old expired Jacked pills and gives them to Josh, who almost immediately demonstrates his super strength. Swartz is shocked as he says the pills shouldn’t work, but speculates that it must have something to do with Josh’s particular DNA or metabolism that makes them have this affect on him, and only him. Swartz agrees to make more, but is secretly planning to try to figure out how he can make them work for everyone so he can sell them and get rich.

Josh confesses everything to his wife, who pleads with him to go to the cops. But instead he buys a makeshift superhero costume and he and Jessica plan to break into Damon’s big compound one night. The problem is that Josh’s second pill hasn’t kicked in, so he takes the third and, at the moment, final pill, which gives him his strength. But when he gets over the gate and into the house, a virtual mini-army of armed henchmen await him, just as some unexpected side-effects hit Josh.

Like I said before, this series just gets better and better. Kripke and Huggins are awesome collaborators on this series, as the story and art blend perfectly (Marc Olivent is credited as the artist on the final page). This issue is a must-have. A+



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