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The Massive #11 [Dark Horse Comics] Review

Posted on April 20, 2013 AT 07:57pm

Part Two of the latest arc in Brian Wood’s epic series The Massive has arrived, and with it comes some surprising plot turns. It also marks the second of three issues with standalone artists working with Wood, with artist Declan Shalvey joining the team on this issue, with colorist Jordie Bellaire making a return appearance. The “Megalodon” issue of the “Polaris” arc has it’s ups and downs, but overall, he series as a whole is still heading into a great direction as one of the best creator owned titles in comics.

Things aren’t going great for Callum Israel and the Ninth Wave team that works aboard the Kapital. While once again the team (or what’s left of it, as most of the crew has already bailed) finds the signal for its sister ship, the Massive, Cal is continuing to hide the big secret of his illness to the entire crew, including his partner, Mary. This issue also gets pretty complicated as the crew hits an area of the Post-Crash world called the Farallones, where there seems to be an abundance of very scary ocean life. While the issue itself runs a pretty standard course, it felt as though the work that Wood does to describe the Post-Crash world (something that ends up being pretty amazing, considering its depth) goes on a bit too long, taking away from the singular narrative.

Wood is a terrific writer who delivers every issue, this series especially. While this one has a bit too much Post-Crash retelling, it serves the purpose of identifying the area of the world the Kapital winds up in while looking for the Massive. Plot development felt disjointed in this issue due to this, however, as the narrative between Lars and Mary, mainly in regards to the actions and health of Cal, jumps from their own personal conversation to an arching narrative of the world around them in a way that doesn’t flow as well as it feels it should. This is a middle issue to the arc, however, and those have the tendency to drag a bit in all media, so it’s not something unforgivable, especially considering how much Wood has already delivered in this series.

While Declan Shalvey may only be on for an issue, that looks to be a shame, as most of his artwork was more detailed and looked better than much of the art already provided in the title. While it has it’s moments of weakness (there’s a panel near the end of the issue where Mary’s eyes are simple black dots with no facial definition whatsoever), most of the artwork in this issue is above the usual standards of the book, with no offense meant to the continuous great work by the usual art team. Bellaire delivers again as well, giving the dark toned book a bit more color and light to the book than usual. The shadowing and detail work is spot on, and all around, Bellaire did a terrific job once again on the series.

Summary: While there are some points where the issue feels a bit disjointed, the team of Wood, Shalvey and Bellaire deliver to makeThe Massive a hit yet again. With some dark plot points and beautiful artwork, this series continues to be one of the better on the market. Not the best issue of the series by any means, this one does exactly what it needs to do and does it well, providing another entry into the Post-Crash world of the series and keeping up with the engrossing narrative of the Ninth Wave crew that inhabits it.

Pros: Strong art and coloring, well defined portrayal of main characters.

Cons: Disjointed plot progression, lack of narrative expansion.

Grade: B

Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.

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