Review: Giant Days #18
All good things must come to an end, including Giant Days‘ power trio of Esther, Daisy, and Susan’s first year at university in Sheffield, England. But before they head home for the holiday, writer John Allison, artists Max Sarin and Liz Fleming, and colorist Whitney Cogar lets them get involved in one last set of shenanigans, involving copyright friendly versions of Warhammer miniatures, a 24/7 lawyer service, and some college housing gentrification.
Even though it has a hilarious, overexaggerated art style, Giant Days #18 is firmly planted in the reality and drama of being in college as evidenced by Esther, Daisy, and Susan’s love/hate relationship with their atrocious first year housing to wanting to pull off something crazy during the last week of classes (Skinny dipping.), but deciding to just drink and have fun instead. (Also, Sheffield is pretty landlocked.) To go with this reality, Allison spends some time fleshing out the character of Ed Gemmell, who is a little freaked out and has a crazy crush on Esther as they scramble to become dissociated from Dean Thompson, who is running a cheating ring on campus.
Sarin and Fleming have a lot of fun drawing Ed and Esther’s paranoia as a “showdown” between them and Dean is rudely interrupted by demolition crane. (That has a major role in the plot later on.) In the space of a panel, they can go from slice of life talking to heads to high melodrama with plenty of deathly imagery as Ed and Esther stare down a bad future if they get caught cheating. Sarin and Fleming add a touch of magic to the mundane like when Daisy schools the usually unflappable McGraw at pool with all kinds of effects and speed lines before slowing down to show his gift of a pool cue to her in payment of how much she’s hustled him this year. McGraw used to be Daisy’s friend’s (now ex) boyfriend, but this two-page scene is proof of how much Allison has evolved their relationship and those of the other Giant Days characters throughout the past 18 issues.
Even though most of Giant Days is college students getting into hilarious students while dealing with typical concerns like grades, housing, and money, Allison does have a bit of a satirical side. The cheating subplot comes to a close, and he takes a page out of the 2007 housing crisis (See The Big Short.) and has Dean get off scot-free and taking the money of his “clients” as he leaves Sheffield for good. It’s a very 2016 kind of story where people who exploit the stress and emotions of other people receive no punishment for their actions. (*cough* Martin Shkreli.) Except there is a bit of a dark side of this plotline as Esther and Ed are involved in the cheating ring and just avoid being identified by the journalist, who blows the thing wide open. It boils down to Esther being slightly morally unscrupulous (If stylish and witty.), and Ed doing anything he can for the girl he has a crush on.
Giant Days #18 ends with just a touch of emotion as Allison, Sarin, and Fleming don’t end the first school year with a big setpiece, but with Esther, Daisy, and Susan hanging out and throwing bottles at the demolition equipment. They’ve done some ridiculous things this year, but their friendship is strong and is the heart of Giant Days as they leave Cattrick Hall and plan more fun adventures to come.
Giant Days #18 is a hilarious testament to the relationships that John Allison has developed throughout the series, and Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, and Whitney Cogar add energy and humor to everything from an end of term dance (Where someone obviously gets lucky.) to a shouting match at the local Games Workshop.
Story: John Allison Pencils: Max Sarin Inks: Liz Fleming Colors: Whitney Cogar
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review