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The Massive #15 Review

By Zak Edwards
September 9, 2013 - 16:56

Minimalism can be an excellent approach to storytelling.  In many ways, it’s the opposite of pretension, relying on the audience’s active engagement over a sort of passive spectacle.  Of course, it comes with its drawbacks, and The Massive #15 is a perfect example of minimalism not quite working.

Of course, I have had complaints before about this series’ sparsity before.  The plot can meander, the stories can drag, but the series is simply incredible and thus such things can be chalked up to thematics and other excuses.  But here, in this last issue of a strongly built plot, the pieces just don’t come together the way they should.  The relationship between new antagonist Georg, his submarines, and Mag is not really explained very well.  I can understand Wood’s choice to have the betrayal or crime happen off-panel, but the tactic doesn’t pay off.  Mag’s indifference in the events at De Gaulle airport only obscure what exactly is happening.  Then again, the source of Georg’s anger towards Mag, it seems, is Mag’s own narcissism, who is unable to see Georg outside of their connected past.  Still, much of the story’s central tensions are either unjustified or left unexplained in a way that’s less interesting and more frustrating, leaving readers “lost at sea,” as it were.  All of this is unfortunately after perhaps some of the series’ strongest issues, particularly these last two.  However, many of the underlying conflicts are either not addressed, like just what is happening with The Massive or Israel’s cancer, or are unexpectedly added, like this newfound distrust of Mary.  Even the resolution is obscure, with the launched missiles seemingly going up into the air before crashing back into perhaps the ocean, undetonated.  Perhaps Mary stands for something supernatural, her closed eyes and failed detonations somehow linked, but I genuinely hope not.  But after Georg’s speech about violence, I don’t understand the missiles not hitting actual targets, and there are no other explanations except all of them were duds.  Perhaps, like much of what is happening in this series, these loose threads will come together later, but as it stands, The Massive is a bit too adrift.

Artistically, Garry Brown’s art ranges from the clean, simple opening scene at De Gaulle airport to the heavy details of a half-submerged New York with ease.  Coupled with Jordie Bellaire’s gorgeous colouring, which simply stuns at points while narratively guiding the reader.  The final panel in particular leaves readers with a beautiful sunset with deep reds to compound and offset the tension.  Brown’s work is consistent throughout and must read beautifully in the trades.  The consistent use of full page panels overlaid with smaller ones looks beautiful, filling out the series’ minimalism with expansive landscapes, and such an aesthetic will inevitably give some consistency to the series’ trades.  Here, the tactic still looks great.  So, while the story falters, the art team brings some much needed and beautiful consistency.

Grade: 6.5/10    This latest arc ends with a whimper, but still looks incredible.

Last Updated: April 9, 2021 - 22:22

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