by Angela Cainen
Giga #3 keeps up the pace of the first two issues by filling in some backstory, ramping up the tension and giving us a new mystery to ponder.
We start by getting some more of the backstory between Evan and Aiko. The latter has been a strong presence in the previous two issues despite never interacting in the present with Evan, and that’s built on here as we see Evan finally try out Aiko’s prosthetic legs with neural interface years ago when they were younger and their friendship present.
There is some gloriously lovely art as they head to the top of the Giga where they live. The vistas John Le conveys with Roshs’s colouring give a size and impressiveness to the Giga as cities, which can really only be appreciated from an angle looking down and across them. At the same time that image is juxtaposed with backstory. Aiko comes from lower levels (we see her literally climb up to the top of the Giga with Evan in a great panel) and this is the only way she achieves dizzy heights on her own, despite her obvious talent. The oppression of the order ever present here among the Giga-like rooftops.
That oppression increases following a terrorist attack. The panels showing the city limits being locked and the dusters being threatened are really evocative and familiar to any reader who has seen governments clamping down on protesters. The art feels dangerous conveying the extra pressures and dangers that our characters are going to have to face in the future.
Then there’s the death of the Giga Evan found previously. Evan manages to persuade Mason to look into. Here the art of the Giga’s dead yet still sacred body shows the reason for its mysterious death, and the events that took place. The twisted damaged corpse, wonderfully conveyed, provides clues to what happened to this giant robot god.
The nature of those robots is a thread running through this issue. They are gods to the order and here we see Evan speak to them in his anger at trying to save Laurel, whom he almost sees as daughter. You can’t help but feel his passion in his words and expressions and he shouts at a Giga and then the realisation of the answer he gets.
There’s a twist at the end too with Laurel earlier being surprised by someone as she is dying in Evan’s apartment, which in itself is incredibly touching as you know how much Evan cares for her and vice versa as she calls out his name. Who appears in the apartment to find Laurel, I will not reveal as it is a spoiler but if you have read the first two issues you will have hints as to who it might be.
Alex Paknadel continues to impress with the writing, telling a story of both spirituality and oppression. These are themes we have seen before and are not new, but the way in which they take place in this unique world of Giga is. The religious text about giant robotic Giga written by humans and used by the order are a strong world building foundation that is now starting to build outward into the society this has wrought.
The focus on a few characters makes this world manageable and it feels big, but not too big. There’s also a few moments of understated humour. Giga despite the grimness of the order and the death and chaos never feels without some sort of hope.
If you enjoyed Giga #1 and #2 you will enjoy this. I personally think this is the strongest issue yet though it does require the prior knowledge of the first two to really wok. The emotional beats are stronger now we have seen more of these characters and we start to dig down further into them and their world.
I give this 4 out of 5 large robots you can build a city in.