When men can grow up to be literal monsters, it takes some Big Girls to deal with them! Intrigued? Find out more in Big Girls #1, from Image Comics!
BIG GIRLS #1
Writer: Jason Howard
Artist: Jason Howard
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 12, 2020
Previously in Big Girls: In a world where men, through some unknown mechanism, can turn into giant sized monsters, people live their lives in the Preserve, protected by the only people who can do it – the Big Girls.
AN UNCONVENTIONAL FUTURISTIC PROBLEM
Big Girls #1 is set in a world that appears to be a cross between a post-apocalyptic world and a kaiju battleground. Or perhaps both of those end up being the same thing. It opens with a little teaser introduction where we see the massive clawed foot of a monster in the city. Then the scene cuts to Ember, a young woman patrolling the streets and talking on the radio with her boss. She seems like a normal person until the camera pulls back and there she is, a good 300’ tall, keeping her eye on a man going home with groceries.
And suddenly we’re being introduced to why this is a problem. The man, Martin, lives alone but has been buying groceries – a lot of groceries. Ember’s boss (High Marshall James Tannik), with a squad of armed and armored people, forces his way into the man’s home, and there is Martin’s son Alan, a toddler who is around 15’ tall. And here we are brought face-to-face with the problem. As a boy, not-so-little Alan is doomed to become a monster. His father loves him and wants to save him. Ember has no problem snagging the tot when he tries to escape, but she is as shocked as we are when the High Marshall kills him outright. This raises a thorny question. Alan was a four-year-old. He wasn’t a monster yet. Is it ever truly justifiable to kill someone who is not yet a threat? That’s pretty deep.
Ember takes this to heart when she gets back to base, and she won’t let the scientists who are researching her draw blood. Tannik tries to talk her down. It’s an emotional discussion that is cut short when the alarm sounds. Ember’s more experienced cohort, Apex, would normally take care of things, but she is not close by. Ember must go out on her own, and we finally get a look at the literal monster some men can become. It’s a powerful metaphor. The ensuing fight also provides the time to backfill us in some of the history that led to here, to the moment where Ember is suddenly facing four of the monsters called Jacks. Why are there so many of them?
SETTING A DISTINCTIVE SCENE
The art style of Big Girls #1 is indeed distinctive. The lines give a rough texture to the characters. Facial expressions are exaggerated a bit for drama. The faces themselves tend to be angular. But one thing it certainly does do well is tackle the challenge of the extreme differences in size between Ember and the Jacks, and the normal humans. I like how, when we first meet Ember, we don’t see how big she is for a few panels. We certainly suspect, with the title, but the realization is satisfying. I appreciate that she is wearing practical clothes with some armored plates and this isn’t a book that immediately went for the low-brow humor of giant female body parts.
As awful as the short scene with little Alan is, I like the way he is depicted. He’s big; he’s powerful, but he is still a toddler, and he looks and acts like one. He clearly doesn’t understand what is going on, which makes his death all the more poignant. This is Ember’s first time with meeting a young person who is also big, and she is clearly charmed by his innocence, so charmed that this scene comes back to haunt her later.
BOTTOM LINE: A BOLD BEGINNING
I have a soft spot for kaiju stories, and Big Girls #1 is evocative of this genre. I like the twist that focuses on the human origins of the monsters; this sets up a much more sophisticated conflict. This is a solid start to something that doesn’t feel like a story I’ve read dozens of times before.
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Big Girls #1