|The opening page of Giantkiller Book One by |
Dan Brereton, August 1999.
|The cover to Book Three.|
In the far-flung future world of 2002(!), atop Mount Diablo, "across the bridge from San Francisco, past the hills of Oakland" an inter-dimensional portal has opened releasing all sorts of Lovecraftian "daikaiju" or giant monsters. In an effort to confront these horrors, our government does what years of reading sci-fi and comic books have taught all of us what the correct answer to this problem is: experiment with evil DNA in an effort to develop super-soldiers.
|One of the many spectacular |
splash pages in Book Four
of Giantkiller by Dan Brereton.
The fruit of Project Giantkiller is the hero of our tale, a human-like creature (with a claw-tipped tail) christened "Jack," though he is affectionately referred to by Dr. Azuma and his team by the nickname "Yochu." Jack is educated ("Grades K through 6 lasted exactly two weeks.") and trained following his "birth," and armed with a samurai katana fashioned from the tooth of one of his "titanic relatives" which he names "Kiba" (Fang).
A number of mysteries involving our two protagonists are introduced and resolved during the course of the series as Jack and Jill meet in the kaiju -populated zone around San Francisco, and ally themselves with one another in an effort to close the portal. In a particularly clever move, writer-artist Brereton embraces the ethical quandry inherent in Jack's role as an agent of destruction pointed at his own race, and his willingness to address the reader's questions within the context of the narrative contributes to Giantkiller's success as a story.
Nox, from Book Five.
I couldn't help but notice some superficial similarities, however, with Mike Mignola's Hellboy. As I was drawn into the world Brereton was crafting, I wondered if these similarities were part of why this potentially marketable character and his world have not since been revisited in some medium. Both Hellboy and Jack the Giantkiller work with (for?) a paternal character who raised them, and both also use their "sons"to somewhat surreptitiously further personal interests. Both are supported by female counterparts that are themselves cursed with abilities that make them distinct form the world around them. Given the opportunity to develop his character, it would have been fun to see where Jack and Jill, in Brereton's skilled hands, could have taken us.
As it stands, Giantkiller remains a promising introduction to a world and characters that work well as a single, inclusive mini-series. This is due primarily to Brereton's work, both as artist and writer; together his clear affection for the genres is infectious.
Giantkiller is a comic book miniseries originally published by DC Comics, along with a one-shot handbook called Giantkiller A to Z: A Field Guide to Big Monsters (which within the context of the story was written by Jill in her early days as a monster hunter for the government). The series has since been collected in a trade-paperback format by Image Comics. Both are still available in the back issue boxes of quality local comic books shops.
|Jack the Giantkiller battles Shrill in Book Two.|