Review: GIGA #1-#3
Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Alex Paknadel
Art: John Lê
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Sensitivity Reader: Danny Lore
Do you like Giant Robots? A post-apocalyptic setting? and a story that satires the religious and capitalist values of our society? Then GiGA #1-#3 is the book for you. Written by the incomparable Alex Paknadel and drawn by the talented John Lê, GIGA provides a thought provoking read that explores how society recovers after a world-shattering event.
This review will cover GIGA #1-#3, providing a general plot overview and covering the art and writing of the story. With that being said be wary of possible Spoilers ahead!
After a century’s long war between the skyscraper-sized mechs known as ‘Giga’, they suddenly stopped and no one knows why. Slowly, the dormant Giga became humanity’s new habitat and new gods in one. When disgraced engineer Evan Calhoun finds a murdered Giga, his society and the fascistic tech-centred religious order that controls it are thrown into chaos. With the question arising; What Happens if the Gods wake up?
By taking a post-apocalypse setting where the dormant bodies of mechs are hailed as ancient gods and combing it with a plot that unpacks some of today’s deeper societal issues, Alex Paknadel has struck gold yet again with GIGA.
The world building set up in GIGA is great, providing an insight into the city sized robots that humanity now call home. Although this is set in the far-flung future the issues of Religion and Class are still as present as ever. Take our main character Evan Calhoun for example, a disgraced engineer from the religious group the ‘Order of the Red Relay’.
After a traumatic event that cost the life of his friend Evan has been discarded by the order. Using his skills as an engineer to survive and thrive in the scrap section of the city. From the outset Evan is a complex character who is immediately smarter than everyone in the Room. This is shown through his dialogue, having just enough charm to not come off as a condescending jerk. Evan’s choice to live on the outskirts of the city, shows his own disillusionment with the religion. His free thinking and non-conforming ideas mirror many of history’s greatest scientific minds who were prosecuted at the hands of religion. In each issue more of Evans character is revealed to the reader, becoming more empathetic and layered with each issue.
His empathetic nature shines through at its best when the reader is introduced to Evan’s friend and AI companion Laurel. She is one of Evan’s only friends and due her status as an AI is a crime according to the Order. Part of Evan’s drive in story comes from Laurel as her corroding memory drive, makes Evan venture to the murdered mech where the plot thickens. Laurel’s design is also reminiscent of old school Transformers characters.
Paknadels world continues to feel alive as we are introduced to the various factions that exist in the world. The two main ones that appear are the ‘Order of the Red Relay’ and The Anti-tech Dusters. Another mysterious group of nomads also appear who are revealed to be connected to Evan in a surprising way.
These groups help to provide context to how people in this dystopia live and how religion manifest in a world absent of traditional ‘gods’. Paknadel does a phenomenal job of fleshing out the world with a cast of interesting characters. Including Evan’s childhood friend, turned Order stooge Max whose loyalty to his job is tested by his friendship with Evan. Overall Paknadel does a great job of creating believable dialogue for a range of characters from various backgrounds. The choice to use Danny Lore as a sensitivity reader is a great move. With the diverse cast of characters who appear being represented in a positive and meaningful way.
Panknadels story telling ability shines through, with his worldbuilding skills and his ability to build a compelling narrative. One Narrative device that is present in all three issues is caption boxes. These tie directly into the religious themes present in the story by quoting pieces of the religious scripture ‘The Book of Assembly’. The use of religious scripture turn up at several points, usually signalling a major turning point In the story. This is a highly effective narrative device that through its old-world language contrasts with the heavy tech setting that appears.
John Lê’s artwork is masterful providing a grimy backdrop to a giant Mech murder mystery. Lê’s sprawling cyberpunk cityscape is brutalist in nature but also beautiful to look at. With a complex mix of future technology and slum like architecture built into giant Mechs. Lê’s character art is eye popping with a detailed expressive nature that gets across the characters feelings in a single panel. In terms of Colouring, Rosh does a great job of bring to life the dirty Neon-soaked city in GIGA. The use of a dark pallet of greys and greens, with rusted buildings that contrasts with the green spaces that appear outside the city.
GIGA has knocked it out the park with it’s first three issues, showing off Paknadels unique brand of storytelling and witty dialogue. GIGA has already set up a complex and interesting story that from the first page hooks the reader. John Lê’ art brings Paknadel’s world to life creating an urban dystopia that sucks you into its grimy setting immediately. GIGA is definitley worth the read providing a fix for those mech enthusiasts out there while also providing a compelling mystery that gets more interesting with each issue.
I kept my review spoiler light. So if you want to read GIGA for yourself and discover the compelling world of GIGA you can pick up the first three issues here.
If You like the review and want to find out more about the aurthor Alex Paknadel, check out the Interview we recorded with him on the BGCP Disassembled Podcast.
If you have thoughts or opinions on GIGA or this review, leave them in the comments below!
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