WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Black Clover Chapter #278, “Undying Bodies,” by Yuki Tabata, Taylor Engel and Annaliese "Ace" Christman, available now in English from Viz Media.
Black Clover has a pattern of having the Clover Magic Knights confront each member of the Dark Triad, and prevailing in some way by overcoming their limits. It may seem repetitive, but the fact that it’s the side characters embracing their inner strengths is what’s giving the story more flare, especially in Jack’s case.
Jack has been one of the more mysterious Magic Knights in the sense that his backstory has never been shared... until now. In Chapter #278, Jack’s malice and desire for seeking stronger foes are revealed to not entirely be derived from an egotistical persona, but rather, from his own personal growth to protect himself and those he cares about.
In Chapter #278, we discover that Jack’s father was a common hunter and taught him to only hunt prey that was weaker than him. These ideas were embedded in Jack at a young age, but after manifesting his blade magic, he discovered his calling. After a faithful encounter with the Lord of the Mountain, Jack's father was lost. But the interesting part is that Jack was not shocked by the way his father died -- he knew that the lifestyle the two had grown accustomed to was not the life he wanted. Instead, Jack went against his own father’s advice and took down the Lord of the Mountain, thus sparking the fuse to blow his childhood innocence.
Jack does not seek stronger prey for mere enjoyment but instead, to validate the reason for his existence. All of this feeds into Chapter #278's big fight. Upon confronting Dante, Nacht and Jack are immediately welcomed with powerful gravity magic that renders Jack immobile. Jack’s true potential has not really been showcased before, so the fact that he’s struggling with one of the Dark Triad is expected, and even Nacht begins to doubt the leader of the Praying Mantis. All hope seems lost for Jack, and seeing as his magic deals with physical combat, zoning magic, like Dante’s, drastically has the upper hand.
Nacht having to change into his defensive Devil Union Mode: Equus to defend Jack is truly a stab at the Captain’s reputation, but that mood quickly changes. Jack’s blade magic does the impossible by sharpening to the point that his blades can cut through gravity. Again, emphasizing the idea of side characters surpassing their limitations to overcome the threat of the Dark Triad -- and the timing couldn’t be better. Jack’s raw resolve to kill anything that stands in his way emulates what it takes to be a true hunter.
In his moment of malice, Jack is able to land a critical blow on Dante, but does that necessarily mean he and Nacht have the upper hand on the devil? Dante’s face makes it seem like he’s in trouble, but on the contrary, he hasn’t unleashed his full power, and he still has his superfast regenerative enhanced abilities.
The true battle is only getting started in Black Clover but it’s good to see that Jack is finally a heavy-hitter in the series. It’s going to take a great deal of impressive magic from Jack to demonstrate why he could even begin to consider himself as a rival to Yami, though.