The Massive, the latest from fan favorite creators Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson comes out today!
Credits & Solicit Info:
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Kristian Donaldson
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson
Publication Date: June 13, 2012
Format: FC, 32 pages
UPC: 7 61568 20024 9 00111
In a post-war, post-crash, post-disaster, post-everything world, the environmental-action trawler Kapital scours the earth's oceans for its mysteriously missing sistership, The Massive. Captain Callum Israel, a man who has dedicated his life to the ocean, now must ask himself—as our planet dies—what it means to be an environmentalist after the world's ended. Callum and his crew will come up against pirates, rebels, murderers, and thieves as they struggle to remain noble toward their cause. Can you save a planet that's already doomed?
* The perfect follow-up to Wood's DMZ!
"The Massive is a book to keep an eye on in 2012." —IGN
At the end of the world, the story begins.
"This new world we're living in? It's not always going to afford us the luxury of a personal moral code."
So it goes with post-apocalyptic fiction. It's a subgenre that turns purely on the notion that charactes who would otherwise be categorized as civilized must make difficult, often brutal choices in a world gone mad. Being a hero takes on new meaning when there are no heroes left.
Callum Israel is trying, though. So we're led to believe, as the environmentalist wearily captains The Kapital, a large ocean liner that was supposed to be at the forefront of a powerful environmental organization. He and his crew can only helplessly stand by when that very environment seems to turn on itself. After a year of global climatic catastrophes, there's nothing of Earth left. The entire planet is a wasteland after a series of tsunamis, wildfires, and mass extinctions leave all of Earth almost uninhabitable. How appropriate that at the beginning of The Massive #1, The Kapital is holding position in the frozen North Atlantic, near a somewhat barren stretch of Russian land. In a place so isolated and desolate, who would even know that there's been a horrific apocalypse?
It's a pretty nice-looking post-apocalypse, though. Kristian Donaldson's textured pencils and eye for detail create a rich world within a claustrophobic nautical vessel and a small area of frozen ocean. Dave Stewarts vibrant colors seem to belie the tone of the story at first glance, but the way he uses shadows and silhouettes hint at the darkness at the edges of the narrative. Meanwhile, the flashbacks to the series of global calamities are rendered in a monochrome that connotes the distance of memory, but solidifies the massive (so to speak) consequences of what's happened.
That's where Wood's script really shines. While most post-apocalyptic stories are guilty of losing sight of the big picture while focusing on its small band of survivors, Wood takes great pains to ensure that he's thinking of the far-reaching repercussions of this type of immense disaster. Governments are destabilized to the point of uselessness, weather patterns are in complete disarray, and commercial economies pretty much cease to exist. Flashing back to the environmental disasters adds context to the standoff between The Kapital and approaching high-seas pirates in the present day, showing how the situation got so dire and what that really means in a practical, day-to-day living kind of way. Certainly, the mysteries Wood introduces extends beyond the question of "what caused the catastrophes?" The reader is also left wondering about Israel himself, as well as his crew. We do get a surprising element of his backstory late in the story, which gets expanded upon in some nicely-designed text pieces in the backmatter of the issue. It's just the right amount of intrigue for a first issue, and the story points hinted at have a lot of potential.
It's interesting that Brian Wood, who started out writing about delivery boys shooting at gangsters on an urban battlefield, is thinking bigger with each new project he starts. With The Massive, his ideas seem to live up to the title. He has big things planned and the fact that the first issue is so deceptively dense rewards the reader who will take some time with it, maybe giving it a couple of extra reads. The artwork by Donaldson and Stewart certainly make that easier.
Review by: Royal Nonesuch