Have you ever wondered what would happen if the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman had giant monsters (kaiju, think Godzilla and Pacific Rim)? Well, Jason Howard certainly has. Big Girls is the writing debut of the popular artist known for Trees and The Astounding Wolf-Man. While the book certainly has its share of colossal fights and action, you should know upfront that this book is surprisingly dark, with unexpected violence on top of what the premise would suggest. It’s more like The Walking Dead than it is like Pacific Rim.
Sometime in the past, an experiment caused mutations in a number of people. Men turned into giant monsters called “Jacks”. Women turned into… well, giant women. No one is quite sure why the women have not also become monsters. An additional wrinkle is that the change can start as early as three years old, meaning many of these “monsters” are just children. That’s where the story gets darker than expected.
Jason Howard’s art style is great, with big splashy pages of climactic moments in combat, as well as an attention to detail in the smaller moments. The color palette leans towards reds and purples for most of the book, with bright splashes of green and yellow on the Jacks. It’s dynamic and eye-catching. I could follow the action and the dialog with ease, no bubble confusion here.
The writing itself is a bit flat, though. It’s functional and lends itself well to setting up the scenes and explaining things, but that’s about it. The characters are pretty stock, with the exception of the viewpoint character Ember and the High Marshall. No one else has much of a personality and you could honestly switch some characters out for each other without noticing.
With its similarity to manga like Attack on Titan and movies like Pacific Rim, I could see this being popular with older teens and adults. It’s not clear if there are going to be additional books in this series, so it’s also a good fit for readers who like their stories contained. In a public library, I would place this with adult graphic fiction but make sure that some older teens found it through reader’s advisory. Be careful recommending it though, because this book does have violence towards children, as well as copious blood and gore.
Image Comics recommends this for ages 16 and up, which I agree with. If your readers enjoy Attack on Titan, The Walking Dead, or other books that Jason Howard has illustrated, I think it would make a fine addition to your collection.
I reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by Edelweiss+. As a digital book, it was a fine reading experience, but given the number of two-page spreads, I think it would be a better purchase in print.
Big Girls, Vol. 1
By Howard Jason
Image Comics, 2021
Publisher Age Rating: 16+
Series ISBNS and Order
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)