Review by Frank Plowright
Far more so than usual, there’s a romcom feeling to this volume of Giant Days, as we have our first look at how the new living arrangements made in volume ten are settling. Susan and McGraw have reconciled their differences, and now inhabit an estate flat, while Esther shares a room in a larger place, also occupied by the odious Dean, and Ed, for whom she’s suddenly discovered she has feelings after all this time. The timing couldn’t be worse, though as Ed appears to have found unlikely love with an Australian sports amazon. Both Susan and Esther are concerned that Daisy may be on the verge of getting back together with the obnoxious Ingrid, and there’s also a look at Daisy in her new role of student counsellor.
John Allison mixes that with a story appearing in the UK news pretty well every December about a shabbily constructed Christmas theme park disappointing everyone who visits. It’s perhaps not the best place for Daisy and Ed to pick up seasonal work, and so it proves, with Allison channelling every shady employer he’s ever heard about. There’s a slight problem in that Max Sarin doesn’t appear to have checked the news footage of these places, and her illustrations are considerably cheerier than the actual versions. She’s back to inking her own pencils again for this content, and while being inked by others hasn’t been detrimental, her pages look their best when she inks herself.
Time passes rapidly here, from Halloween to Valentine’s Day over four chapters, the celebration days used as a method of noting the period covered. The final story is almost Allison and Sarin’s version of a Richard Curtis chickflick blockbuster with Esther cast in the role of the woman who may attain love beyond her wildest dreams. It’s brilliantly rolled out with a superb sense of comic timing and visual imagination enabling it to take flight. No wonder this is the material that finally earned Giant Days Eisner Awards.