Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Trade Waiting - I Kill Giants

Joe Kelly is perhaps most famous for being confused with Joe Casey. Okay, kidding aside, Kelly has always been one of those mid level writers who turns out solid work and is usually known for his work on a specific book, in this case, Deadpool. I wasn't too familiar with Kelly's work when I decided to pick up this trade, having only read and enjoyed the first trade for The Obsidian Age arc on JLA that he did with Doug Mahnke. I Kill Giants is a recent miniseries from Image that Kelly did with JM Ken Niimura, which had a lot of positive buzz, so I decided to check it out. Hit the jump to for the full review!

Written by Joe Kelly
Art by JM Kim Niimura
Collects I Kill Giants #1-7

I Kill Giants is about a elementary school girl named Barbara Thorson who is a self styled giant killer. Barbara is an eccentric character who may or may not be crazy. She's the "weird kid" at school that doesn't have any friends either. After all, she is a giant killer and says as much to her class in the very first issue.

Barbara does get a new friend, Sophia, early on and she becomes one of the other main characters Kelly uses in the story. Others include Barbara's older sister and her brother, the school psychologist, Mrs. Molle, and the school bully, Taylor. Kelly takes the time to give the characters some depth and motivation, especially Barbara, because, at it's heart, implied giant killing in the title aside, I Kill Giants is a character driven story at its heart.

As I said, given the title of the series, it is actually a relatively mundane story. But this is not to say boring either. There is a supernatural edge to the book, too, but the focus of the story is the characters and their troubles and interactions with each other, which is always a plus in my book. The characters should drive the story, not just be generic stage props reacting to situations thrust upon them.

Barbara, being the main character, is the center of the book and it revolves around her and her possible insanity and whether these giants she is killing are real or not. Kelly does a good job of making her appealing and engaging while slowly focusing more and more on the source of Barbara's obsession with giants and her possible insanity.

There is also a lot of drama (not to be confused with melodrama) in the book given Barbara's particular world view. Obviously, it is about the characters reacting to Barbara's peculiaritie. One of the strengths of the story is the cast of characters Barbara interacts with and their varying personalities. It keeps the book interesting since Kelly did a good job creating the characters so that there is always something interesting in their interactions with Barbara and none of these feel forced either. Even better is that they don't always have the same reaction to her, making the story that much more engaging and interesting.

As for the supernatural stuff, the best thing Kelly does with it is leave it vague. He never actually states one way or another whether or not Barbara is actually crazy. Throughout the story, there are things like fairies, omens and other such happenings that only Barbara sees and reacts to. Kelly does give hints as to whether or not they are real, but it is really left open for the reader to interpret as they see fit. They could be the product of an overactive imagination to one person, insanity to another or an actual threat that this little girl is forced to stop on our behalf. These and more are all viable and that is one thing I really enjoyed about the book.

Kelly does come close to making a clear distinction on that topic, but never comes out and directly says anything one way or the other though. In the end, Barbara does slay a giant, imaginary or not, which is what Kelly was working towards for the entire story. It is a very satisfying conclusion and it does a good job of retaining it's impact even after multiple rereadings.

The art by Niimura is wonderful and perfectly compliments Kelly's writing. Aside from his excellent story telling skills and ability to make the character emote, he manages to keep the supernatural elements as vague as Kelly does. He does so because his art looks like it's a series of sketches or a pseudo unfinished look but polished at the same time. It's hard to describe, but similar to the recent The Stuff of Legends #1. The art keeps the supernatural elements from sticking out while providing some wonderful detail for everything else. His art is also dynamic and provides nice amounts of energy to some of the key scenes. All around, his art is wonderful and an equal to Kelly's script.

Verdict - Must Read. A compelling character driven epic with depth that should appeal to anyone who enjoys great stories.

Like this review? Interested in this book? Purchase I Kill Giants from Amazon.com and help support The Weekly Crisis.

Related Posts


Anonymous said...

This looks pretty interesting. Is it all black and white or certain parts? And is it manga digest size or full size?

aughndibi said...

I used to rarely buy indie books, but I picked the first issue up on a whim some time ago and LOVED it. The art is gorgeous, the story is good and the characters are all interesting. Really, this book got me into buying books from companies other than Marvel and DC.

This is also one of those books that I would especially recommend to people who don't normally read comic books to sort of ease them into it. It's a story with an extremely wide audience, and in a sense, it reminds me a bit of some very good animated films. It's like a Miyazaki film mixed with the Iron Giant, in comic book form.

Great review.

Rich said...

Anon, it's regular comic size and all I believe it's all in black/white/gray.

I read this TPB when it came out and wound up trading it in for credit at my LCS. The story is really nice, but I didn't like the art other than (spoiler free!) a particularly effective sequence near the end. I tend to react that way to manga-style in general, so your mileage may vary.

kilmoonie said...

Nice. A geat read. I kept ondering why more people weren't talking about it when it came out, but I'm glad it's getting some exsposure as a trade. Reads better that way, I'm sure anyway.

I think much the same will happen to the even better FOUR EYES Kelly is currently writing. Absolutely one of my favorite books being published at the moment, I just wish it came out more frequently!

Eric Rupe said...

Anonymous - Like Rich said, standard comic size, all B/W and it's only glossy paper, not newsprint.

aughndibi - Glad you enjoyed the review and I agree that it is probably a great gateway comic.

Rich - I can understand someone not liking the art but personally, I love it.

kilmoonie - Yeah, I'm waiting for Four Eyes to come in trade. Looks really interesting.

oakleyses said...

replica watches, oakley sunglasses, nike air max, michael kors outlet online, jordan shoes, chanel handbags, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, burberry outlet, nike outlet, christian louboutin shoes, christian louboutin, oakley sunglasses wholesale, burberry handbags, prada handbags, michael kors outlet online, christian louboutin uk, coach purses, polo outlet, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet online, nike free, true religion outlet, tory burch outlet, coach outlet store online, christian louboutin outlet, tiffany and co, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, prada outlet, coach outlet, michael kors outlet store, coach outlet, ray ban sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet online, tiffany jewelry, kate spade outlet, longchamp outlet, kate spade

oakleyses said...

sac hermes, converse pas cher, timberland pas cher, jordan pas cher, mulberry uk, michael kors outlet, true religion outlet, north face uk, new balance, nike air force, michael kors pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, vans pas cher, north face, ray ban uk, louboutin pas cher, hollister uk, guess pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike air max uk, air max, true religion jeans, nike free uk, ray ban pas cher, nike air max uk, nike free run, true religion outlet, polo lacoste, hogan outlet, michael kors, nike blazer pas cher, longchamp pas cher, nike air max, burberry pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, nike tn, oakley pas cher, polo ralph lauren, nike roshe, ralph lauren uk, hollister pas cher, lululemon canada

oakleyses said...

chi flat iron, hollister clothing, north face outlet, ferragamo shoes, mont blanc pens, nike roshe run, jimmy choo outlet, mac cosmetics, nfl jerseys, asics running shoes, baseball bats, hermes belt, new balance shoes, wedding dresses, nike trainers uk, mcm handbags, beats by dre, valentino shoes, babyliss, p90x workout, lululemon, bottega veneta, oakley, hollister, herve leger, nike roshe run uk, insanity workout, vans outlet, ghd hair, soccer jerseys, north face outlet, giuseppe zanotti outlet, timberland boots, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp uk, soccer shoes, nike air max, iphone 6 cases, nike huaraches, reebok outlet, instyler, celine handbags

oakleyses said...

swarovski, coach outlet, ugg uk, vans, replica watches, uggs outlet, uggs outlet, hollister, links of london, pandora uk, ralph lauren, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, marc jacobs, ray ban, toms shoes, uggs on sale, supra shoes, pandora jewelry, lancel, wedding dresses, thomas sabo, converse outlet, louboutin, hollister, ugg pas cher, pandora charms, ugg boots, montre pas cher, swarovski crystal, ugg, juicy couture outlet, juicy couture outlet, karen millen uk, nike air max, converse, gucci, ugg boots

Post a Comment

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Crisis - Comic Book Review Blog. Comments are always appreciated. You can sign in and comment with any Google, Wordpress, Live Journal, AIM, OpenID or TypePad account.