I Kill Giants by J.M. Ken Niimura and Joe Kelly
Spoiler Free Review
I Kill Giants is one of the comic books or graphic novels that are capable of converting people to the medium. A lot of adult readers do not read these illustrated books but everyone should. There are comic books out there for every audience and age group, don’t limit yourself to novels only.
This contained graphic novel follows young Barbara as she grows up to become the giant killer she’s always wanted to be. She knows this is her destiny even if no one else around her even believes they exist.
She acts out in school, gets bullied and gets into fights, and struggles to be raised by her older sister. Although to many she appears to be a bad kid she is really just fighting battles they’re not seeing. We all process hardships and conflicts in our own ways; Barbara uses her imagination.
She creates a fantasy world for herself to avoid confronting the real world problems that she would rather avoid. This fantasy world empowers her but avoidance isn’t the best technique in the long run. She’ll have to face the real giants at some point.
I Kill Giants shows children and teens as they truly are. This isn’t about young love and high drama, it’s about being confused, overwhelmed, and full of rage with no output. The kids are cruel to each other because it’s the only thing they know how to do, how to control.
Barbara doesn’t want to be a bully, she wants to be the hero. But without a giant to kill to prove herself she lashes out at less deserving humans. By the end of I Kill Giants she learns many better coping techniques that she will be able to carry with her to adulthood.
This graphic novel can be read by a young adult or a grown adult and will be touching either way. You’ll likely relate to the conflicts Barbara must face and how it’s sometimes easier to run and hide but we all must face our fears eventually. As she learns, we are all much stronger than we think we are.
5/5 magic hammers 🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨
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I Kill Giants Summary
This classic graphic novel is all about young Barbara and her responsibility to kill Giants. She is an outcast at school due to only paying attention to her dungeons and dragons books and being argumentative with anyone who speaks to her. During career day she boldly stands up and says that she will be a Giant hunter. This gets her sent to the principal’s office, a common occurrence for her.
She lives with her older sister and although she does not fear giants she does fear being home alone. Her closest companions are some little dwarves that only she can see.
Clearly, Barbara is a strange kid. She gets bullied and is required to see the school counselor regularly. This makes her weary when a new girl named Sophia wants to be her friend despite all of the red flags.
In therapy one day the counselor attempts to get her to talk about her family. Outraged, Barbara slaps her across the face. Her rage is becoming uncontrollable. She demonstrates his again when Sophia attempts to save her from being beaten up and Barbara punches Sophia by mistake instead of the bully.
She lives in a fantasy world and even blacks out information that she doesn’t want to hear.
She carries around her “war hammer” that she has named Covaleski in a little purse that no one is allowed to open. She attempts to use this hammer during her next interaction with the bully and is shocked to discover that it’s just a small keychain. She’s helpless.
After this interaction she goes missing for 6 days. Her sister was too stressed out to notice. It takes Sophia bringing it up to the counselor for anyone to go and try to find her. She’s been hiding in a game shop playing D&D by herself.
She bolts outside away from everyone only to find her dwarf friends slaughtered in the street.
The counselor finds her and says it’s time to confront her sick and dying mother. Barbara pushes her and the counselor sees what she was cleaning up from the road. What Barbara saw as her dead friends the counselor sees as a bag of dead animals.
After fleeing once more she rescues Sophia from the evil bully only to see a Titan for the first time. A giant has finally appeared in front of her. This time her hammer is real and she battles with the monster. Unfortunately, she’s washed out to sea during the showdown. She goes missing once again.
At home with her sister and others the news claims that this titan was actually a historic tornado. Just as they’re preparing the search party she arrives home alive and well.
She takes her new found courage and visits her sick mother in her bed. Shortly thereafter her mother passes away and she’s able to say goodbye. She buries Covaleski with her mother, she won’t be needing it anymore.
She’s able to grieve because the giant taught her that she’s stronger than she thought she was. We are all stronger than we think we are.
5/5 magic hammers 🔨🔨🔨🔨🔨