Brian Wood’s The Massive has been a big hit thus far, and is definitely a departure from the usual licensed material and horror-based comics in the Dark Horse Comics library. Though Dark Horse is known for more than that, The Massive is still a title all on its own, focusing on the horrors of the world, instead of the supernatural. Faced with an ecological Armageddon, the world has fallen into disarray, with earthquakes, monsoons, hurricanes, and all sorts of other natural disasters engulfing the world in an event called “The Crash”. The Ninth Wave, a oceanic activist organization, sails across the high seas in search of answers on The Kaptial, a hulking ship that is made to look small in the face of an endless, changing ocean. It’s mission is simple: figure out what the hell happened to the world, and find the location of their missing sister ship, The Massive.
The third issue is the end of the first arc, “Landfall” and titled “Unalaska”. Lead by Callum Israel, captain of The Kapital, the book, as has become custom, shifts back and forth between the present and the past, showing the reader more and more of the devastation that has occurred throughout the world. The Kapital has had a rough go of things lately, with pirates attacking the ship, with second-in-command Mary leading a team on another boat, which has lost contact with The Kapital. Knowing that they can’t run forever, they take some steps to defend themselves without relenting on their goal of nonviolence. This trip takes them to Unalaska in search of supplies, but that’s not all Israel and his crew find.
Brian Wood has done a terrific job with this series so far, finding a way to blend complete world collapse take a backseat to the adventures of the crew on The Kapital. Their journey to find their sister ship is an endearing plot point full of twists and turns, and to meld that with flashbacks of complete and total disaster coherently is a difficult, but accomplished task that really shows the depths of Wood’s abilities as a writer. The plot moves a bit slowly, as even as the first story arc finishes, the crew is really no further than where they started. In fact, they may even be further back, but in a time where the world around them is crumbling, that may be the point.
The art team of Kristian Donaldson and Dave Stewart add a level of realism to the story, showing a gritty world full of disaster and destruction. The colors are a bit too pale and flat at times, with the level of detail for such a complex story not quite up to par with the story itself, but Donaldson and Stewart do a terrific job, nonetheless.
So far, The Massive has been one of the best Dark Horse books to be released in recent times, especially from an original content standpoint. Innovative, endearing and very well constructed, The Massive‘s first story arc proved to be a good one, despite a bit of pacing issues. Hopefully more from this series will be on the way in the near future that will move this story along further.
- THE GOOD: Well written and character-driven story.
- THE BAD: Slow pace and flat colors.
- THE UGLY: N/A