The Massive Vol. 1 (Dark Horse)

The-Massive-vol1-TPb

Rating: 4.5/5 – A Unique and Realistic Post Apocalyptic Tale.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

The Massive is an end of the world tale that at it’s core has a group of people that are driven more than ever before to make the world right, but has a complexity and depth that makes the world around them just as interesting as the characters involved. Brian Wood is creating a world that feels real and genuine but is also a world that you’d never want to be a part of.  There’s been a surge in post apocalyptic stories of late, maybe because of the  success of the post-zombie-apocalypse Walking Dead. Yes the Walking Dead has zombies, but ultimately it’s a story about what happens when the norms of society break down, and the world is no longer the place it used to be. For every Walking Dead out there though, there are plenty of stories and shows that have tried to capture that same feel, yet only a small handful have succeeded.  The Massive is one of those.

The Massive tells the tale of a group of environmentalists that are trying to make the world a better place despite everything that has gone wrong. The Crash was a series of environmental disasters that have plunged the world into despair. Ice caps falling apart, fresh water becoming a limited resource and Tokyo underwater are just a few of the disasters that the world has to deal with. Instead of just resorting to just sitting back and trying their best to just survive, the group of Ninth Wave activists have vowed to continue their attempts at changing the earth for the better. On board their ship the Kapital, we’re introduced to this group of characters that include a former mercenary turned pacifist, another mercenary who isn’t, and a mysterious woman named Mary who seems be hiding quite a bit of who and what she is.

Writer Brian Wood explores these characters through their current situation as well as the use of flashbacks. Their main mission though is to find the Massive. The Kapital’s sister ship that has inexplicably gone missing. It’s this mission that takes the team to different locales and puts them into different situations, each as dangerous as the last. The characters and the world is still somewhat of a humane place, unlike the Walking Dead where everything and everyone just reads so grim. This difference in tone adds to the books strength as there’s still some uplifting moments and characters that are still fighting to make a difference.

The art in this volume is handled by two artists, Kristian Donaldson and Garry Brown who each handle three issues. Kristian Donaldson’s art is magnificent in this book and absolutely works. Just as you feel the realness of the characters, you feel the scale of the world that they’re in. It’s clear that Donaldson is using computer rendered art for the ship and backgrounds, but it still works and gives the ships and mechanics scale and realism. At times the characters and backgrounds look a bit off, but it’s a small complaint given how well the overall package comes together. His character lines are tights and angular giving everything a modern and chiseled look. When Garry Brown takes over in the second half, the art’s still solid, but you missed the tone that Donaldson set for this world. Brown’s character work is such a contrast to Donaldson’s clean line that the overall package feels inconsistent, giving the word a different feel. Dave Stewart’s colors though provide that singular experience throughout though. His use of different color palettes to distinguish flashbacks to present day is brilliant, and just proves how well he understands the medium.  Overall though the art is a pleasure to look at and never takes away from the story.

The Massive is something that needs to be read whether or not you’re a fan of post apocalyptic stories. This may be Brian Wood’s best work to date and fortunately he’s just getting started in this world. This first volume from Dark Horse collects the first six issues so do yourself a favor and jump on the boat now.  This is a story best experienced from it’s beginning.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
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