Do you remember that episode of Friends when they played football during Thanksgiving? What about the infamous Simpsons episode where Homer joins a baseball team? Well, Giant Days #50 works like a mix of the two, but with a local cricket match. McGraw’s team is taken out with some nasty food poisoning, so Susan takes it upon herself to help and fill out the rest of the team with a pretty unusual roster.
I will state for the record that I don’t know a thing about cricket. Fortunately, writer John Allison makes it so you don’t have it. Just like the best sports movies and TV shows, you don’t need a robust knowledge of the game in order to enjoy it. You’re not there for the specifics of the sport. You’re reading this book because the characters are awesome and they’re going to get into some pretty hilarious hijinks.
Of course, a lack of cricket knowledge doesn’t stop the likes of Esther, Daisy, Nina, or Ed, who all join in to help their friend. Susan gives them a basic rundown of the game with stick figures and they’re off. None of these characters belong on a field, yet almost all of them approach it without fear. Granted, we don’t see much of Ed, but that’s beside the point.
The stakes in this game are pretty low, but it means everything to McGraw. This brings out a rarely seen caring side of Susan. She hates seeing her boyfriend in such a position so she does everything she can to not only cheer him up, but to help him on the field.
Although this is just a local pub game, it’s treated like a big league title is on the line. Letterer Jim Campbell gives us frequent updates on the match in official looking font showing the score and who’s playing. I don’t fully understand the reasoning behind the numbers, but it does bring an air of sportsmanship to the book.
While all of the characters approach the game in different ways, Esther’s is by far my favorite. She’s treated it like an epic anime series and artist Max Sarin makes this come alive in the best possible way. Esther’s scenes feel larger than life as she spins around the page, winking for the camera as stars spin out of thin air. It’s equal parts gorgeous and hilarious and I love everything about it.
There’s also a nice homage to Charlie Brown’s frequent sports follies as newcomer Saffy takes a swing and ends up losing all of her gear in an insane tumble. I’m sure there are plenty more easter eggs spread out in Giant Days #50 that I missed too.
One of the interesting aspects of the game is Daisy’s infatuation with a player on the other team. There are hearts flying up all around Daisy’s head as she looks longingly at the other girl. Colorist Whitney Cogar does some brilliant work here to the point where you can practically hear harps playing as Daisy stares forward. There are other similar touches throughout this issue as emotions are shown outside of characters, like small lines of anger or innocence.
Giant Days #50 reads like a fun Bad News Bears version of cricket. This rag-tag group of friends play the game of their lives in such an enthralling read. In typical Giant Days fashion, Allison controls the comedic aspects and timing with precision. I picture a big dial that he turns as needed. While we had our fun in this issue, things are brought back down with a somber and shocking moment to close out the chapter. I am so plugged into this series and these characters that a move like this hits like a punch to the gut. If this is how the first fifty issues close out, I hope we get a million more.