Review: Giga #1
Nobody knows why the skyscraper-sized mechs known as ‘Giga’ fought their bitter, centuries’ long war. All they know is that when the fighting finally stopped, the dormant Giga became humanity’s new habitat and new gods in one. When disgraced engineer Evan Calhoun finds an apparently murdered Giga, his society and the fascistic tech-centered religious order that controls it are rapidly thrown into chaos. Enter this new world with Giga #1.
There aren’t many writers whose work I will pick up without question, and Alex Paknadel is quickly becoming one of them. I have yet to read a comic written by him that I haven’t enjoyed, and given the quality of Paknadel’s writing, With Giga #1 Paknadel takes you to a distant future that finds humanity living inside of giant robots, docile veterans of a long war, acting almost as a symbiotic partner to the robot’s existence. This idea, that the robots need the humans like humans need bacteria, is brought up a couple of times in the comic, and it’s something that sets the series apart from a lot of the other science fiction I’ve been read of late.
The idea of humanity as a virus isn’t new, but humanity as a bacteria isn’t something I have ever seen before. It provides a fascinating backdrop as the story plays out within the dormant giant robots and a world that’s not quite post-apocalyptic anymore, but the scars of the war are still evident if you know where to look. John Lê‘s art, colored by Rosh, is beautiful.
Stylistically the art is clean and vibrant, with the details never getting lost on the page – the world is at times muddy, the interiors often caked in dirt and the detritus of years pushed to the side in a vague attempt at cleanliness, but it’s drawn so well that you never lose focus on what is happening on the page. An interesting factoid from a recent conversation with Paknadel is that one of the textures in the comic was taken by Rosh from bird shit, which makes me wonder what else is lying just beneath the surface of the art in this comic.
It is one of the many reasons to reread this book.
Giga #1 is clearly a labour of love. I have never read a comic from Paknadel that I haven’t enjoyed, and this is another prime example of why. From the very start of the comic this is a wonderful experience; Paknadel treats his audience with a level of respect and trusts us to pick out the history of the world from what we’re shown within the story itself, he doesn’t waste a page on an opening crawl (although there’s nothing wrong opening crawls, they can be over used and tell you too much about what’s about to happen). The comic continues with that level of trust and respect, both for the characters within the book who are fully formed from the moment you see them, and the audience ourselves. Whether it’s the pacing, the dialogue, the world building, the narration boxes… there’s isn’t a wasted syllable in this comic.
I also want to take a moment to point out the lettering of Aditya Bidikar; the speech bubbles are one of the things you’ll notice on the second read through (or first at this point), and at first you may not understand why they grabbed your attention because there’s a subtle uniqueness to them that adds to the visual presentation of an already stunning comic.
If I’m honest, while I expected to like this book, I didn’t expect it to take me the way it has. I should be surprised, honestly, given how much I enjoy Paknadel’s other work. Giga #1 is easily the best thing I have ever read that has come from Paknadel’s keyboard; there’s something here for so many different aspects of fandom, but at the end of the day, what’s most important is whether this comic is any good – and it is. It’s one of those comics that you need to add to your pull list immediately (and thankfully a lot of you have been as the book has already gone for a second printing).
Giga has the potential to be the kind of generational story that’s talked about for decades. Don’t miss the first issue.
Story: Alex Paknadel Art: John Lê
Colorist: Rosh Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy
Vault Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review