A Reality Show Tale With A Sci-Fi Twist
♦ Tripwire’s Tim Cundle reviews Dark Horse’s Gigantic, out now by Rick Remender and Eric Nguyen…
Writer: Rick Remender
Artists: Eric Nguyen & Matthew Wilson
Forget everything that you thought you knew, because in Gigantic, Rick Remender completely re-writes the course of human evolution and the history of the world that mankind calls home. Taking a leaf out of the (incredibly slim) creationist book of science and following Giorgio Tsoukalos’ belief that aliens are responsible for all of man’s endeavours and triumphs, Remender turns the dial on strange science fiction up to eleven with his tale of intergalactic entertainment, giant alien gladiators and the end of the world. Postulating that Earth is a mere five thousand years and was constructed and populated with a warlike, capricious and selfish genetically engineered and purpose created species solely to provide a reality show for a Universe that, now it’s conquered all of its ills, has become lazy and complacent, Gigantic is the story of what happens when the marionettes turn on the puppeteers.
With the Earth channel a ratings winner for five millennia, one of the cosmically favoured cast members is, in a delicious nod the to the general paranoia and b-movies of 1950s, kidnapped by a flying saucer and transformed into the greatest fighting machine that the galaxy has ever known, mega champion supreme warrior, Gigantic. But suddenly, after a lifetime of ruling the galactic airwaves as the biggest draw on extraterrestrial video, Gigantic is overcome with an urge to return home and save the day when he discovers that UBC’s (that’s the Universal Broadcasting Corporation for the benefit of us mere Earthlings) highest-rated show is about to be cancelled. This means that the Earth (and everyone on it) is about to be taken off the board. Permanently. However, things don’t exactly go to plan and Gigantic’s return sets a series of cataclysmic events in motion and between the bounty hunters, nuclear launches, being forced to battle one of his comrades in pugilistic arms and facing a world-ending super robot, Gigantic’s long overdue homecoming doesn’t go the way he imagined it would. And when it’s left up to him, with a little help from some of his newly discovered mutant telepathic allies, to step up to the plate and shut down his former employers for good, Gigantic dusts himself down and sets off to do the right thing even though it means he’ll almost certainly lose all that he is and all that he holds dear in the process.
Gigantic is the literary equivalent of a science fiction and comic book fan’s wet dream. Featuring a multitude of wonderfully inventive and imaginative ideas, it’s like a turbo-charged version of The Truman Show as if it had been written as a collaboration between Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick. Drawing from the finest manga tradition and brought into being by the stunning art of Nguyen and Wilson, Remender’s story also serves as a social critique as it questions the masses devotion to mindless, creatively bereft and banal television and illustrates how easily that’s twisted into compliance and the surrender of freewill by the rich and powerful. Proudly wearing its influences on its four colour sleeves, and there’s so many of them it’s impossible to single any out, and joyously incorporating them into its plot, Gigantic is a cinematic epic, a budget bursting blockbuster, that’s been compressed into one hundred and fifty pages of perfectly executed adrenaline fuelled excitement. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s Gigantic…