Review by Frank Plowright
Anything Vicente Segrelles feels like painting is included in a Mercenary story as long as it can just about be narratively justified. Such was the case when in the middle of The Voyage, there was a random appearance for a giant child, beautifully depicted. Segrelles returns to that theme with this selection of short stories, each of them somewhere along the way featuring someone of giant stature. They’re imaginative, they’re entertaining, they’re funny, and the painting is gorgeous.
For the most part Segrelles toys with legends for his stories, Arthurian, Amazonian and that of Aladdin are all touched on over five pieces, or four if you count the two very different connected tales as one. The final story is the most traditional, and ridiculed as such by Nan-Tay after the Mercenary has finished the telling, but the others all surprise and enthral as the Mercenary has to outwit a selection of imperiously powerful enemies to achieve his ends. The first fools readers even as it shocks them, and there’s a laugh to be had with the revelation, as there is in most of the remainder. Segrelles finds a place for some previously introduced technology, and we experience some new miracles, such as a means of simulating death.
Of course, none of that is why people will buy Giants. The real lure is the painting, and that’s even better than usual due to the variety, Segrelles freed from being shackled to one form of design as he was with the Mayan architecture of Lost Civilisation. There’s real personality applied to the people, and who can ever have enough pictures of the Mercenary serenely riding his dragon across cloudy skies? He also loves a naked woman, and supplies several here, all of them gratuitous.
Segrelles produced three further Mercenary graphic novels, but they’ve never been translated into English.