Big Girls by Jason Howard, with letters by Fonografiks, has been one of the most consistently thrilling and thought-provoking releases from Image Comics this year. With this fifth issue, can Howard maintain that incredible quality?
Big Girls #5 is essentially a huge fight issue, functioning as a climax to most of the story that's been building thus far. We've seen the Big Girls, who are tasked with being "the barrier" between civilization and the mutated Jacks, throwing down with these creatures before, but never to this extent. Here, everything feels on the line as the Big Girls are overwhelmed, and even the most militant of them is forced to think outside of the "shoot everything that moves" box of which she was trained to operate inside.
One critique of this issue, and it seems a bit silly considering how "big" is the book's defining motif, is how decompressed certain parts are. For example, we are reintroduced to the battle teased at the end of the last issue with a double-page spread that has two panels, which then turns to a full splash. In general, the battle may have been more effective if some of the bigger scenes were more focused, rather than certain panels essentially showing the Big Girls shooting over and over again. Compared to other issues, probably because this whole issue is focused on this one battle, there is a bit less build and payoff to the fight. While the fight's messiness is almost surely purposefully done to make the quiet, stunning resolution work best, it still made me have to pause and slow down because the huge panels and broad-strokes action does make one begin to tear through the book rather fast.
That said, the resolution is certainly worth the build-up, as Howard delivers a moment that feels like a crux of Big Girls in its entirety so far. Where things go from here will, if this series's progression continues the way it has, it will only get more interesting.