Do I even need to write a full review of Gigantic to clue you guys in to how awesome it is? Just take a look at this cover, it pretty much says it all: giant robot dudes, alien attackers, massive-scale carnage in the streets, panicked bystanders about to be stomped like ants… what more do you need to know?
Even if Gigantic was simply a giant monster fight, that would be quite fun, if somewhat limited. However, writer Rick Remender also finds time to fit in a budding romance, biting commentary on multimedia addiction, and, oh yeah, the secret origin of our entire species and the Earth! Not bad for a single 23-page story, eh?
Turns out that neither God nor evolution were responsible for our ascension. Humanity, in all its aggressive, irrational, superstitious and confrontational glory is actually the creation of extraterrestrial TV executives, who intentionally populated us on an artificial planet with an extreme range of environments. The motive: ratings. The internecine conflict between our nations is served up on “Channel Earth” for the amusement of bored TV watchers of a vast, complacent galactic audience! It’s the greatest secret origin of the Earth since Douglas Adams postulated that it’s a supercomputer for the mice!
Apparently after so many years of war and strife, viewers have become bored and ratings are slackening. Suddenly one morning, a 100-foot-tall armored guy materializes in the streets of downtown San Francisco. In just a few minutes of fumbling around in confusion, the metal behemoth knocks over buildings, squishes pedestrians and generally causes massive death and destruction. Worse, his armor is about to overload and discharge vast amounts of energy, compelling the well-meaning but misunderstood invader to start leaping about the city in search of a safe place to blow up. But then the giant alien bounty hunters pop in to engage him in 10-story-tall mortal combat!
Again, if this kind of stuff isn’t up your alley, nothing I say will convince you to pick this up. All I can say is I found Gigantic #1 to be fantastic fun. Rick Remender’s script is equal parts intelligent, silly, and wicked. Eric Nguyen’s artwork is terrific and really raises the bar that much higher. Sometimes when there is a light or humorous bent to the book, there a tendency for some publishers to settle for more basic and/or cartoony art, since the comic isn’t meant to be taken “seriously” (see Martian Confederacy or M-Theory, for instance) Nguyen’s top-notch pencils class up a book that might otherwise be dismissed as lightweight. His imagination produces funky aliens, cool armor, great…uh, smashed cars…
As a total aside, this comic also brought back to me fond memories of wasting countless quarters playing the Rampage arcade game at the mall when I was a teenager. I swear there’s few things in life as fun as smashing down buildings, swatting planes, and eating people. Looking up the game on wikipedia I see that it has been translated to many home gaming systems, but I just know it from the old-school arcade version. For all you young whippersnappers out there, once upon a time we actually had to go to this separate place where all the video games were lined up in a row and… aww, skip it.
I checked out a good interview with Remender at Comic Book Resources where I learned that Gigantic is meant to be an ongoing series, released in miniseries-sized chunks. I was a little bit surprised at this, because as fun as this first issue is, I have to wonder how many cities Remender and Nguyen can knock down before it starts to lose its novelty. But these guys are so talented and imaginative, if anyone can make it work, they can.