During the holiday break, Esther, Susan, and Daisy head into London to visit a friend of Esther’s named Shelley. They quickly become engrossed in Shelley’s adult life and want to help her in a very Love Actually way. Before long they’re juggling suitors for Shelley while visiting various tourist attractions in London.
This oversized Giant Days Holiday Special is a bit more subdued than the usual antics the girls get themselves into. They are on a break from school, so maybe that’s where the manic qualities usually come from. Whereas most of the main series feels like a mad dash to the end, this was more like a scenic stroll.
That’s not to say that the book wasn’t funny. It is just as jam-packed with comedy as it always is. It’s just a little different. I think that I would have appreciated this comic a bit more if I had seen Love Actually recently. The last time I saw it was at least ten years ago, so it’s not very fresh in my mind. Since this comic is a tribute to the movie, some of the jokes probably went right over my head.
What is on point, as always, are the three main characters. Their personalities come through in how they decide to tackle Shelley’s problems with love. Each looks at the men vying for Shelley’s affection and makes a decision as to who is best for her. They concoct elaborate plans to get them to either reveal their feelings or stay far away. At first I thought we’d see each of the suitors reflect aspects of each of the girls, but that was not the case.
Artist Jenn St-Onge brings a warmth to Giant Days that is fitting for this Holiday Special. Coupled with Sarah Stern’s colors, the artwork creates a perfect tone for the content. So much personality comes through in every single character that you get a sense of who they are from a single glance. This is shown best in the three men vying for Shelley’s love.
My favorite of the bunch (although not the one I hoped would end up with Shelley) was Grant, who is a pompous, yet handsome, show-off. When he leaves on his motorcycle, the sound effect is his name trailing across the page. This was a brilliant effect that works so well.
Writer John Allison puts together such seamless plots for Giant Days. Every single piece of dialogue and action is meaningful. It will either help drive the story forward or serve to set up a punchline later on. With the extra pages in this Special, Allison has more room to breathe, but still maintains that regiment.
The Giant Days Holiday Special is becoming a winter tradition that I hope continues for some time. I’m of the opinion that more Giant Days is always a good thing. That’s definitely the case here as we see Esther, Daisy, and Susan out of their usual element, but still getting into all kinds of mischief. It takes all the sitcom tropes that have worked well in television for years and applies them intelligently and efficiently to the comic book medium. As mentioned above, I probably would have gotten more out of this particular issue if I had watched Love Actually recently, but there is still plenty to enjoy in this book.