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Review: Giant Days #40

Giant Days #40 features the triumphant return of artist Max Sarin as well as Ed Gemmill, who was last seen drunkenly confessing his love to Esther while breaking both ankles. Ed’s return and his impending feelings/friendship talk with Esther is dramatic crux of the issue, but John Allison, Sarin, and colorist Whitney Cogar splash in plenty of comedy along the way from Esther losing her mind over a VR headset to the gentle ribbing that Susan gives Ed for his obsession with train routes and timetables and finally Extreme Makeover closet under the stairs edition as Daisy, Susan, and Esther spruce up Ed’s space to make him feel better. It’s the right blend of comedy, character drama, and great facial expressions.

The elephant in the room is Esther and Ed so let’s deal with that first. Allison and Sarin don’t just have them chat at the beginning, but have a nice buildup throughout the issue beginning with a funny take on the “other fish in the sea” speech by McGraw that involves hand motions, the use of the term “gilled creature”, and a final panel of Ed with flames in his eyes talking about mermaid sex. It’s a pretty intense situation that’s broken up by Susan being nice for once and bringing Ed a cup of tea. And that’s the trend of the issue: Ed and Esther’s situation comes up, and boom, there’s a distraction like discussing whether Equus is the ninth Harry Potter sequel.

However, Esther and Ed do get to be honest about their feelings in Giant Days #40. John Allison and Max Sarin deal with the whole friendship meets unrequited love situation delicately.  For example, even though she loves gossip and drama, Esther doesn’t give Daisy and Susan the details of their night out so they won’t treat Ed any differently. She is also okay with Ed having romantic feelings for her (He reminds him of her ex back home, uh oh.), but still hopes for them to remain friends. And these thoughts come out in a melodramatic page from Sarin where she’s constantly making faces at the mirror, changing up hair, and monologuing to her stuffed raven Barry with a soft Goth palette. She and Ed do eventually have a conversation after she reveals that she’s the one who chose a creepy clown duvet cover for him. There’s a little bit of distance in their body language and some great sad eyes from Sarin, but they end up sharing a hug. Esther is also surprised by Ed’s self-awareness as he understands that you don’t have to date every attractive person you meet, and references to expensive X-Files pinball tables aside, there’s no toxicity or friend zone bullshit in his dialogue.

John Allison seriously nails the whole “I have feelings for you, but I don’t want to ruin our friendship” talk from a heterosexual male POV and even creates a little intrigue in the unlikely connection and friendship between Ed and Nina, who busted her leg trying to lift a dragon boat by herself at a rowing party. They’re “dull, sober” workout buddies, and Max Sarin draws her with great energy with Whitney Cogar adding the flame red hair. However, this development pales in comparison to the cliffhanger thrown down at the end of Giant Days #40 where a standard “It’s summer, let’s go to a gig” situation turns out to be more than it seemed.

Giant Days #40 shows how essential Max Sarin’s gift for drawing expressive eyes is to the title and has a great emotionally honest conversation about relationships laid down in the mix between banter and DIY projects.

Story: John Allison Art: Max Sarin
Colors: Whitney Cogar Letters: Jim Campbell
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review