As far as you can get with such an expressive medium as comics, that’s where I Kill Giants drops us off. Joe Kelly (Superman/Batman Annual #1, 2099: World of Tomorrow) wrote I Kill Giants, a comic published by Image Comics and illustrated by JM Ken Niimura, an artist I had never heard of and suddenly has me looking for more of his work. The book landed in my hands as a birthday gift and I think it’s one of the best presents I’ve gotten in a long time.
What’s It About?
I Kill Giants introduces us to the world of Barbara Thorson, perhaps the least feminine girl in her high school, who enjoys playing Dungeons & Dragons with her brother and friends, has an attitude problem with authority and believes unequivocally that the giants of ancient mythology exist and will one day come out of hiding to lay waste to the world.
Of course, Barbara is also convinced that it is she who must defeat them when this hour of darkness comes.
At school, the girl is seen as a classic case of social isolation, avoiding interaction with anyone who doesn’t share her interests and occasionally getting sent to detention for cracking a sarcastic whip against her teachers. In spite of this, Barbara draws the attention of Sophia, a neighbor with a pretty innocent and easy-going personality who, even though she struggles to enter her world at first, eventually becomes the closest person she has and the one who best understands Barbara’s self-imposed reclusion.
Are giants real beings? What if they are? You’ll have to read to find out.
Ken Niimura worked on the character designs and also illustrated the book from start to finish, achieving a style I wasn’t too comfortable with at first, but that slowly grabbed me as the story developed, until I found myself wanting to see more of his work when I was done with the book.
Done completely with the use of gray tones, I Kill Giants has a solid rhythm throughout it’s visual narrative. I can’t mention a single time I felt lost reading the wrong panel during an action sequence or conversation, and this is in part due to the great layouts, crafted with so much care that it feels as if the author is guiding me through each page. It also helps that, in spite of not having real colors, Niimura manages to express the idea of movement, texture and emotion using marks that sometimes border on scribbling and angles that clearly communicate what’s happening with little effort.
What separates this story from your typical one-shots is that there is a firm balance between character exposition, drama and action, giving us slight clues about what’s coming ahead as the plot moves forward. It’s the kind of book you read at a slow pace, because it’s message is quite powerful. Without spoiling it, I’d like to recommend this book to whoever has lost a loved one or is on the hunt for a story with deep emotional value.