In Doug Zawisza’s review of “Gigantic” #1, he called it “easily one of the strongest debut issues” he’d read in a while. I certainly agreed with that assessment and the four and-one-half star rating he gave the first issue.
Its high concept “Godzilla” meets “Truman Show” approach — the basic scenario is that the Earth was created as a reality show for aliens to watch, and they’ve injected a monster into the middle of it to boost ratings — works well because it’s simple and it’s pretty damn cool. It’s a concept that even my seven-year-old son can grasp, and he thoroughly enjoyed the first two issues as much as I did. But Rick Remender doesn’t stop working after he’s set the high concept loose. One of the things that makes this comic rise above the simplicity of its concept is that Remender includes evocative details that bring the concept to vivid, multi-colored life.
For example: Remender doesn’t give us a protagonist who slowly uncovers the Philip K. Dick-like scenario of behind-the-scenes aliens. Instead, the protagonist is the “ultra mega hero” Gigantic, a giant robot-man who has been a ratings superstar for the Universal Broadcast Company (UBC) and knows all about the fake, constructed reality of his home planet, Earth. Issue #1 gave us a whole lot of carnage as he landed in the middle of the city, and issue #2 gives us the fallout of that event, and the exposure of the alien secret.
Another great detail: To stop Gigantic and/or to pile up massive ratings no matter what the outcome, the UBC has brought in “The Iconoclast,” a fiercely savage reptilian gladiator who rages against his opponents’ “lazy, mainstream style of fighting.” He’s the ultimate artist-as-fighter, one who believes that style is substance, and he loathes conventionality. Of course, he’s not going to say no to a bigger, higher-paying job, so he brings his “iconoclastic” attitude to Earth on behalf of his bosses.
All of this leads to the inevitable confrontation between these two behemoths. One thing is for sure: “Gigantic” is not a slow-paced, leisurely exploration of its central ideas. It hit hard and fast in the first issue, and although this one deals with a slightly larger scope, and a wider variety of characters, it is equally compelling and swiftly-paced.
Eric Nguyen’s art, which looked stunning in issue #1, is merely very good here. He seems to excel at the larger-than-life dynamics of giant robots and monsters, and he gets a bit less to do with those sorts of things in issue #2. But he’s still adept at keeping everything moving at lightning speed, and his panels of chainsaw-on-robot action bring a striking close on a dynamic second issue.
“Gigantic” is the best work I’ve seen from Remender since the early days of “Fear Agent,” and it’s certainly the best new series of the year (and now that it’s the end of the year, saying something like that should have a lot more meaning). “Gigantic” will thrill and astonish you, and take you on a ride through this artificially-constructed reality we call planet Earth.