I don't know what made me decide to read The Massive when Dark Horse released the first issue last year. The story of a group of environmental extremists, the Ninth Wave, onboard their ship The Kapital in a post-ecopalyptic world doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would be up my alley. Perhaps it was the juxtaposition of the book's intelligent and thought-provoking commentary on politics and humanity with the opportunity to make dick puns about the title that first attracted me to it. Regardless, I found myself enthralled by this book about people I would probably despise in real life.
The Massive #11 is part two of a three issue story arc, but it also serves as kind of a stand-alone story, using the migratory patterns of sharks near some unpronounceable reefs and islands off the coast of California as an opportunity to give Mary some time to explain Captain Callum Israel's condition and the future of the Ninth Wave both to watch officer Lars and to slower readers like myself. The Massive is multi-layered though, and less cautious readers might find themselves accidentally learning something about the sharks, or absorbing a lesson about the casually destructive nature of human civilization.
The art in The Massive #11 is beautiful as always. Being interspersed with the dark, blue scenes underneath the ocean with the sharks makes the muted tones on the Kapital seem almost bright, and outdoor scenes downright blinding. I've still yet to get an explanation for where the entire crew of the massive manages to find such an impressive array of hipster clothing in the wake of an ecological disaster, but it works for the overall style of the book. My favorite scene is the book is one of Mary diving into the ocean and swimming through a herd of sharks to be rescued by Lars.
I should mention that, due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up reading this book out loud to my three year old son. I managed to catch and censor one f-bomb, but let another slip through. He'll get over it. My wife did glare menacingly at me while I read the pages describing the destruction of Earth in the crash. I should add his thoughts on the book, which are that he really enjoyed all the sharks. "Do you see the sharks," I asked him several times during the narrative. "Yes," he replied every time. I felt vaguely smarter for reading this comic to him instead of, say, Uncanny Avengers.
The Massive #11 is, oddly, considering its position in the middle of an arc, a great jumping on point for new readers. The status quo for main character Callum is laid out here though he serves as a background character for the story, questions are asked about the motivations and plans of supporting cast members Mary, Mag, and Lars, and the general state of the post-crash world is wonderfully represented by the shark story. I'm very interested to see if Callum Israel, with a few months to live, will find the legacy Mary thinks he deserves. Will Mag end up betraying him? Will Mary?
Oh yeah, and what about The Massive itself? It's a sister ship to the Kapital, one of two in the fleet of the Ninth Wave. The crew of the Kapital is constantly chasing the Massive, which seems to always be just outside their reach. I'm gonna take a stab and say it represents an unattainable goal that will ultimately lead to the Ninth Wave and Callum Israel's detruction. It's his Moby Dick. It may also represent the impossibility of getting back what the Earth has lost in the crash. But I'm an uneducated philistine, so what do I know, really?
If you're feeling like reading above your station, you can find out. Pick up The Massive #11, in stores now. Even the dumbest person will enjoy the pretty pictures.
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