The Massive #1
The works of writer Brian Wood are predominantly known for three unique traits or facets: their Network style, punk-rock political rage, the way in which they wear New York City as more than just a simple setting and of course, for being bloody good comic books. He’s been known for those things for years now, from the first page of the rough but potent Channel Zero through to the last of DMZ, the opus of his current career; that’s a long time to stay mad as hell, a long time not to take it anymore and so it only makes sense that his latest series, The Massive, would show him to have mellowed a little, that it would reveal a brand new Brian and that is exactly what it does. This book doesn’t brim with discontent, there is nary an American in it’s cast, let alone a New Yorker and yet, it seems some things never change no matter how much time slips by, because The Massive is without a doubt bloody good comic books.
Like DMZ before it this book tells a high-concept sci-fi story in a gritty and humanized manner. Mankind has again mangled their rule on the planet, only this time it is external mother-earth rather than our own brothers that have bluntly brought the realization down upon their heads. Hippie bullshit, that’s what we said it was, just a lot of tree hugging pseudoscience and hardly a priority, not when there were profits to be made. How wrong they were and worse, how right. All of the theories and potential panics that environmentalists currently chew our ears with have here come true – the globe warmed, the icecaps melted, the whales wasted away – and a few brave crews are all that remain, sailing around, mourning that which they could not save and seeing if there is anything left that they can.
As well as being the story of the series that synopsis also stands as a synopsis for this first issue itself, as it spends a strong amount of page space simply setting up this strange new world and what it means for those left living in it. There is some action as the crew of the comic’s central ship – the Kapital, sister to the titular massive – come under attack from Russian pirates, some character as they then introduce themselves to us through their actions and some philosophy as they debate, almost internally, whether or not they want to defend themselves with force ( emphasis a reference). Really though these are only slivers, slight and not satisfying when ingested on their own, but I strongly believe that they are also seeds because they suggest so much potential for the future of this series.
Wood has in the past penned accurate stories of the near future and after reading this latest attempt I too feel that I have such prescience for I can almost see the situations that could arise from this story, the strain that these will place the people under and the insight these will imbue. I can also tell that the worst of what Wood writes for this series will be stronger still than those tales that I imagine it telling and so I am excited. Despite how overtly ominous this dystopic fiction is I could not help but put it down and see a bright future for the book, so long as our world lasts long enough for its story to be told. There are only a very few ways to save the world and this may well be one of them right here.
And as for the supplemental material, It is extra material that supplements the story more than this sentence supplements the above review.