Unlike most of what I read I know exactly where I first saw this. On some level I think when it comes to comics and what I read I am a marketers dream. Most of what pops up on my feed either through Amazon, Ebay, or any additional emails I get trying to get me to check out other books usually persuades me to spend more money. That was exactly the case with this one. I had just purchased a comic on Ebay and in my confirmation email I saw the “you may also like” section and saw this book. I had no idea what it was and felt compelled to check it out. Sometimes marketing does work, well at least on me it does.
This one opens up very strangely. There are a few characters that are dealing with some sort of vortex or portal and the reader is left in the dark about what is going on. Quickly this switches to the present and the story introduces the main character Ellen. From there the story is one of survival, while the individuals are trying to figure out what the heck is going on as they struggle to stay alive. There are these strange monsters terrorizing the nation and destroying everything in their path. The monsters seem to be invincible to most weapons. As the monsters continue their path of destruction the characters do what they have to to stay alive, while still looking for answers.
I liked this one for the most part. The story is interesting and myself like most people like to see super destruction across the board. So that is always fun in any regard. The story I did feel was somewhat of a cliché, I mean there are not many new ideas that can be thrown into this genre. I felt there was a lot of Godzilla/Pacific Rim in this book, which don’t get me wrong is cool, but it has been done before. I will say that I have no idea what the heck is going on in terms of how these monsters came to life, or the underlying themes. Although there are subtle hints, but not enough to really draw any conclusions. I should have mentioned sooner that this is an ongoing series so I am sure these ideas will get hashed out in the coming issues.
I also thought it was neat that while reading I felt just as lost as the characters. The writer did a good job of keeping the reader in the dark which was frustrating but also gave you a real sense of what the characters were going through, and how it might feel to actually be in their shoes on the ground. This could be frustrating for some readers, but it does give you a good sense of what it must feel like to be in the midst of a natural disaster of any kind, not to mention one that has to do with giant monsters destroying everything in their path. So this was a neat aspect of the story that might get overlooked.
For me I felt it was hard to keep all the characters straight, but if you read other reviews of mine I think this is more of a personal problem that I have while reading. So this could just be my own issue.
The story did jump around quite a bit, this is neither good or bad. There is a lot going on and there are new characters and new plot developments almost with every page turn, so it will certainly keep you on your toes. Even with all that is going on I still felt like I only had a small fraction of information. Even while writing this I am still trying to figure out what is going on, who is responsible, and how everything came about. Even after reading and rereading I am still no closer to the answers. I have to give some props to the writer for advancing the story while still revealing as little info as possible.
There are also two different story lines that are going on and one is far more mysterious that the other. One is a group that is actually out in the city trying to survive while the monsters run amuck. The other deals with a father and a daughter who on first hearing of the monsters takes his daughter to their bunker/bomb shelter that he built. There are some mysterious things going on including a big secret that the daughter is keeping from her father, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out or how this will fit into the overall story.
There is also a very powerful scene that I think was one of the most real in the story, I say that about a book that has giant monsters destroying everything and eating people. The scene I am talking about is a scene where the father is about to head down to his shelter when his neighbor comes over with his family wanting to join the father in the bunker. There is a confrontation with the two families and the neighbor explains that he helped the father build the bunker so his family should be able to stay with them. I don’t want to spoil how it works out but it was a pretty powerful scene. I also think this scene helped ground the story and make it more real. People are scared and extremely tough decisions have to be made in times of uncertainty. The real question is what would you do to protect your family, how far would you go?
The artwork in this book is superb, and reminds me of something along the lines of the legendary Alex Ross. I am not saying this is exactly like what Ross would produce, but it is very similar and there are many parallels between the two styles. As far as I can tell I think the style is what is called the gouache style which is either a type of paint of a technique used during painting, which really gives an awesome end product. The artwork certainly looks awesome however, there is something odd about it, but I think it has more to do with the colors than the actual style. The shadows and shading elements of the artwork seem to be done with purples and blues rather than blacks or the typical dark colors. It gives the artwork a different hue. I think the colors in this book are very different especially for the style. There are very deep and dark blues, purples, and reds which give the artwork a very unique aspect and really make it pop off the page.
While I certainly think the artwork is great there is also a part of me that thinks that it is a little over the top, which at times makes it hard to digest the scene visually. I will also say that I think the same thing about Ross’s work at times. But this style is different, and I think I have figured out why. I am always a stickler for detail, and I always like artwork that has more detail, as I have often said in my reviews, more is better. The issue I have with this style is that it is very loud and bright and very detailed. So I think when you throw in all those things together it is almost overpowering and a bit too much for the eye balls. I think that is somewhat the case with this style. There are loads of detail and the artwork is extremely well done, but it is almost overpowering for my eyes and there is almost too much to look at at any particular scene. But I will also say that there are some really cool full page splashes as well as some interesting page layouts. So my gripe is a small one and in a roundabout way I think the artwork is almost too good.
All in all this is an interesting book that keeps the reader guessing. The artwork is great but almost over the top. Honestly I cannot complain too much as it is very unique and really cool. The only downside with this one is that it is has become a collector’s item which means that it is very hard to find and if you do find it on Ebay the first issue of Enormous (graded copy) is selling for about $100, which is not cheap, but also not an outrageous price for a graded copy. If you want to buy the tpb that will cost you about $35 or more, which again is a little more expensive than an normal tpb. So if you want to check this one out it is going to cost you, but I am not sure if there is a digital version out there. So that would also be the cheapest route. Just something to keep in mind, but if you have some extra cheddar laying around check this one out.
I also wanted to mention that there is another book out there called Enormous (Image Treasury) that I am not really sure what it is or how it fits into the Enormous story line. (**Update read my interview with Tim Daniel and he explains where this book fits in.)I bought this book because it seems to be rare and I like collecting rare comics. This book is massive meaning it is like the size of a children’s oversized coloring book. I have not read this yet but I am sure the oversized pages will certainly enhance the reading experience. This one like all of the Enormous line is very expensive. I have seen it selling for around $50. So if you want to read this series get read to pay, but you will not be disappointed.