Review - The Massive #1

Here's a question. What does it mean to be an environmentalist after the world has already ended. It's not a question Omnicomic came up with, but it's one that's troubled Brian Wood, so much so that he seeks to answer it in his brand new series The Massive.

Published by Dark Horse Comics, The Massive #1 is written by Wood, illustrated by Kristian Donaldson, colored by Dave Stewart and lettered by Jared K. Fletcher (variant cover by Rafael Grampa and Stewart).

The series follows Callum Israel, an ex-mercenary now tasked with leading the Ninth Wave Conservationist Force. He leads to group in a radically different world, one affected by a series of major, cataclysmic events that have had devastating effects on the world. Israel and his crew on the Kapital struggle to survive, all the while searching for their sister ship the Massive.

The first issue really sets up Israel and the crew of the Kapital as they face what seems to be another false alarm in their quest for the missive. Interspersed throughout the present events are looks at the events that created the modern day world, effectively conveying the gravity of the worldwide events.

The first issue's most redeeming quality is its extreme attention to detail. Wood has gone to great lengths to ensure the work maintains what is expected to be his precise view of the series. That seems a little obvious, but in reading the issue you'll get what is meant.

His characters are each alive in their own ways. Israel adheres to a strict moral code, while his lover and second-in-command Mary is a little bit more ruthless. Mag Nagendra is a happy medium between the two. Their travails on the Kapital show a tired crew, both of dealing with the world as it is and seeking the Massive.

Wood's choice to inform the reader of the world in The Massive is somewhat curious. It doesn't really feel natural, as it's more or less spoon-feeding you the relevant information as opposed to letting you watch it unfold. It's not a bad choice or anything, but it clearly shows Wood has a goal in mind with the book and he wants to make sure you get it.

Donaldson's art is really well done. There's a feeling of foreboding pervasive throughout, really helping the reader get fully immersed in the mood of the comic. It's nothing too flashy and its simplicity is very understated and adds a lot to the comic.

It's Stewart's colors that really set the tone of the book. He uses an orange-ish, apocalyptic color tone for the scenes in the past depicting the massive Earth events. It's a great device that helps you in the chronology of the series. What's more is his colors in the character sketches and ocean environments. They're subtle, moving the comic along well.

There's been a lot of buzz surrounding The Massive for quite a while now and Wood's deliberate storytelling is on full display in The Massive #1. There's a little bit in the way of information overload in the first issue, with the entire history behind the missing boat presented to the reader. It's not a bad storytelling device, but it just feels a little forced.

Fans of Wood will definitely want to check out the first issue. It has appeal to a wider audience as well, with the mystery surrounding the Massive, a mystery that will unfold in future issues. There's very little incentive for the crew of the Kapital to find their sister ship in the first issue other than the fact it's the sister ship, so it will be intriguing to see where it goes from here.

The Massive #1 hits stores June 13 with interiors below.