The Massive, Volume 1: Black Pacific (2013) - Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson, Garry Brown,
Collecting The Massive #1-6 and portions of Dark Horse Presents #8-10
Trade paperback, 176 pages
Retail price: $19.99
Amazon price: $12.98
Wow... I may just become a Brian Wood fan for life.
The Massive begins aboard the conservationist ship Kapital, just after a series of unexplained environmental disasters. These disasters have brought most global commerce to a standstill, forcing the Kapital to spend most of its time and effort searching for critical supplies and avoiding pirates. To make matters worse, their sister ship The Massive has gone missing.
The main crew of the Kapital includes Callum Israel, the ship’s captain, a former mercenary turned non-violent environmentalist; Mag Nagendra, also a former mercenary, but one who has no problems using violence to realize the Kapital’s goals; and an absolutely fearless woman named Mary, whose past is unknown to the rest of the crew.
The Massive is not what you might expect from a post-environmental disaster story. It’s not preachy, formulaic, or predictable. The book contains many quiet, contemplative scenes, scenes in which we can get inside the heads of these characters and realize that Wood has written levels of depth to these people, levels we don’t often see in comics and graphic novels.
Information is revealed gradually, and not always in a linear fashion. Many writers (and film directors) seem to do this arbitrarily, but Wood knows exactly what he’s doing. There are no gimmicks or slight-of-hand tricks here, just solid storytelling. You won’t find an explosion on every page, but you will find plenty to engage your mind. If this is what Wood is capable of all the time, give me everything the man’s ever written.
The Massive is good, incredibly good. The characters are superbly written, the pacing perfect, and the suspense - while often subtle - is expertly sustained throughout. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again. That rarely happens with me. Read this now.