Review by Frank Plowright
Giant Days greatly impressed with an opening volume featuring an interesting and well characterised cast given smart comic dialogue by John Allison in well constructed sitcom style plots, illustrated with great character by Lisa Treiman. This is more of the same.
Despite wildly differing personalities, Esther de Groot, Susan Ptolemy and Daisy Wooton are room mates, and at the end of vol. 1 they were preparing for a university ball. It seems at first as if Allison’s script is a little too disjointed, but it pulls together wonderfully by the end with no-one really getting what they expected. Confounding expectation is a trademark of the series, which ranges from simple (but very good) gags such as two of the girls entering different adjacent small shops, to more complex plotting at which you’ll marvel.
Unfortunately Lisa Treiman only draws half the book. Her loose cartooning defines the cast brilliantly, and if her idea of some downbeat British locations is a little glamorous, that’s a minor failing. Max Sarin is her replacement, and indeed the artist who’s drawn the series since. She’s also very good at setting a scene, has an appealing loose method of character definition, and occasionally tops Treiman’s layouts, but to begin with lags behind when it comes to subtlety. The reactions she draws for the cast are exaggerated further than Treiman’s cast, as if they’re gagging for the camera, and everyone is taller and thinner. Don’t be dismayed. She gets up to speed rapidly, and there’s a reason she’s been the artist of choice since. If Treiman had to leave, Allison should thank his lucky stars Sarin was available.
The story that comes to dominate this collection is Esther’s lack of preparation for her exams (ie none) and the consequences of that, but having defined the three women leads in the first volume, Allison adds some depth to the male supporting cast. The insecure and infatuated Ed in particular is given some depth.
Like last time, you’re guaranteed a whole bundle of laughs, some of them out loud, the cast are adorable, and the drawing good. That’s your value for money right there. Bring on volume 3.