The Massive #9 Advance Review
By Diego Chi
February 24, 2013 - 15:58
Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Brian Wood
Penciller(s): Garry Brown
Colourist(s): Dave Stewart
Letterer(s): Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist(s): JP Leon
ISBN: 7 61568 20024 9 00911
Brian Wood brings us into the post-apocalyptic world of The Massive. The story centers around the crew of an environmental activist ship, the Kapital, as they search for its sister ship, the Massive in a world ravaged by a mysterious global environmental breakdown dubbed "the Crash." To bring you up to speed on the story thus far: the Kapital has been stocked with fuel and supplies, and they have docked with Moksha Station-- a supposed utopian community living on a series of oil rigs. Despite claiming to be peaceful, the crew has discovered that Moksha Station has command of a war class submarine hidden in the seas below.
Issue #9 focuses on crew member Georg, a former member of the Russian Mafia. Georg carries out a plan to board the aforementioned submarine, while Callum Israel, the captain of the Kapital, rests in a recovery room on the station. The book dives into flashbacks often, revealing nuances in different crew members-- in this case, Georg's violent and tragic past. As the issue plays out, Wood dedicates time to each cast member to show them accomplish separate tasks. This is where the issue really shines. Wood's past experience with team books like X-Men is apparent as he juggles the multiple plot threads and lead characters, never leaving a dull moment. His smart
narration fleshes out the flashbacks and the closure of the issue-- part
historical narrative, part character commentary. Issue #9 is a testament to Wood's strength at writing dialogue: the meat of the story is an exchange between Israel and Moksha's leader Sumon, and their discourse propels the plot surprisingly well.
The art direction is dark and brooding, nailing the grim tone of the book. Garry Brown has a knack for pacing action elements and Wood writes a script with enough space to allow him the freedom to do so. Brown creates tension panel by panel, often without supporting dialogue or captions, creating powerful results once the release arrives. His layouts tend to begin or end with a large "setting" piece that doubles as the backdrop to the smaller panels within the page, giving each locale the sense of being massive (no pun intended). Dave Stewart makes perfect compliments to Brown's art with a gloomy color palette that captures both the ominous depth of the sea and the bright shock of a shotgun blast. The result is simply superb; I cannot say much more than "Bravo!"
This is only the second issue of The Massive I have read (I had previously checked out the debut issue). I was impressed by how Wood manages to make so many different plot threads easily accessible, even to a newer reader like myself. With a cast big enough to rival a soap opera, I expected to be lost in the complexities of the story. However, Wood focuses on presenting strong characters not just plot ideas-- characters that do not require extensive exposition to grasp. Whether it be Captain Israel's calm calculation, or Georg's grim (albeit cutthroat) determination, Wood's characters are what make navigating the various story-lines seem easy. Taking team goals and interweaving them with personal motivations gives the book great emotional depth, and its story a grand scope. With fantastic characters, stunning artwork, and intricate plot design, The Massive is a comic book experience that should not be missed!
Brian Wood's X-Men (2013) #1 Review
Brian Wood's Conan the Barbarian #13 Review
Brian Wood's Mara #1 Review
Brian Wood's The Massive Goes Subcontinental in Dec.
Brian Wood’s Progressive Comics
Brian Wood on X-Men
Brian Wood Announces "Standard Attrition"
Brian Wood, Thompson, Chiang Debut at Comic-Con
Brian Woods Gives Away Chanel Zero Design Book
From IDW Publishing, the third issue of Supermarket by Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson.