Gargantuan (#0 – 4) – El Torres, Colleen Douglas

1 out of 5

This is very, very disappointing.

Gargantuan has been teased as a promo image since the very beginnings of Amigo, and whatever that version of it was to be is gathered now as a 0 issue by El Torres and artist Rubén Rojas, featuring marshal Sarah Lozen tracking down shock rockstar-turned cult-leader / murderer Crius, his cultish leanings are apparently the precursor to issuing in the end of things via a ‘Gargantuan’: big ol’ kaiju monster that had coincidentally already been rampaging through Lozen’s dreams.  Issue ends grandly, with the Gargantuan awakening, and Lozen standing in the wake of its city-crumbling destruction.

It’s prime Torres, in that it’s unlike anything he’s written before and automatically gripping.  Rojas’ art gives Lozen a personality beyond tuff-cop dame, and his Crius is a fun spin on the goth type, but with an edge of crazy quirk that allows us to buy him as a leader.  And his emerging monster is monstrous.

The torch is then passed to Colleen Douglas and artist Luis Czerniawski for the following series, picking up some unclear time after the Gargantuan’s release.  Douglas showed an ability to casually weave in gigantic mythologies in her previous Amigo series, Titan, which should sync with expanding on Gargantuan’s setup to include Lozen’s Native American background and expanding on her dreams and how they tie in to this new ‘god’ walking the Earth, but Titan also existed on the cusp of being confusing, with too much happening at once, and it’s that latter bit that’s unfortunately exploited here, and without the slight framing that Titan’s narrative allowed.

Which means the story is ridiculously incomprehensible.  I literally cannot tell you what it’s about.  Fates converging; Crius and Lozen in a battle of wits; the president trusting in some unstated plan of Lozen’s.  It’s easy enough to swallow the first issue as a feet-wetting, but it’s relative straight-forward trajectory – Lozen setting off to take care of Crius – is immediately waylaid in issue 2 with the appearance of government (I think?) agents, and Crius’ lackeys, and her Uncle, and then every single page starts to change locations for no discernible reason.  And then we start to have flashbacks for no discernible reason.

To be a bit kinder on Douglas, her narration within any given panel is generally well effected, and moody.  But the lack of humanity that made sense in Titan’s dialogue doesn’t fit here, leading to some misfittingly cold wording and a highfalutin tone that doesn’t match the personalities we see, in moments, between declarations.  I also would say that Czerniawski did her no favors.  Consistency with the characterizations is nil – ages change, wrinkles may be scars and vice versa – and he only has a couple of character models for his interchangeable male faces, causing some confusion.  There are odd punctuated moments in the art that make it seem like something important has occurred that aren’t supported by the script, and the choreography is off – bullet wounds and fatal cuts appear that aren’t clearly shown or suggested as to when / how they occurred.

I’m glad Gargantuan finally found its way to print, and I no longer have to wonder about what it’s lone teaser image was all about.  Unfortunately, the final product is so confusingly constructed as to be pretty difficult to get through, excepting the 0 issue by creator El Torres.  So now I’m left to wonder about what could have been.