By Patrick Wolf
So, you watched Attack on Titan and loved the storyline, but felt the dialogue was a little too annoying? Maybe you wished for an American giant-monster-story that takes place in contemporary society, but also is grounded in realism? Well, look no further because Graveland has everything you loved about Attack on Titan and more: it’s violent, it’s gory, it’s action-packed, and it’s way too bloodthirsty for your own good. So, if you’re into realistic portraits of doom and giants slaughtering helpless soldiers, this is definitely your poison.
The story takes place in California and kicks off when a hoard of mysterious giants attacks San Francisco. When the U.S. Military is forced to layout the entire city just to have a chance of beating the monsters, the President is ready to entertain any alternative proposals. Now, it’s up to Doctor Wright and his team of super-enhanced humans to take out the giants before they reach Los Angeles. But, will the untested heroes have what it takes?
Going into this story I had no idea what to expect. The title of this series is called ‘Graveland’ which gave me no indication that giants would be in it, so when the giants did show up, I was pleasantly surprised. In particular, I really enjoyed how the Goliaths made short work of the military and how the narrative didn’t’ hesitate to go to dark places. These moves really added to the realism of the story and helped build-up the giants to be the near insurmountable foes they are.
In the second act, the story transforms from a military-versus-monsters story to a superheroes-versus-monsters battle. Here’s where the narrative lost me for a bit. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with superheroes facing giants. It’s just I’m a little tired of the same old good-guy-beats-up-bad-guy shtick. Luckily, I kept reading and, boy, I’m glad I did. Not only were the fights surprisingly entertaining and well-choreographed, but also the third-act twist just blew me away. This story is not at all what you think it is, and its ending will punish you for thinking otherwise.
As for the artwork, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found Nunez’s sloppy, wild style to fit perfectly with the frantic, uncertainty of the plot. Nunez’s work also helps ‘hide’ the monsters from us even when they’re in plain sight, and it did a great job of emphasizing the gore in some of the darker scenes. The only criticism I have for this artistic style is that it muddies-up some of the action scenes. At times, I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t quite follow who-was-who. The panels, of course, were still coherent; I just would have preferred it if they were a little easier to read.
That said, Graveland is a riotous beginning to what looks like an action-packed series. The storyline is absorbing, the fight scenes are energetic, and the art is in tune with the themes. Anyone interested in picking up a man-versus-giant-monsters story—minus the hormonal teens—should absolutely give this series a go.
Writer: Massimo Rosi
Artist: Gabriel Ibarra Nunez
Colorist: Gabriel Ibarra Nunez
Letterer: Gabriel Ibarra Nunez
Publisher: Scout Comics