New from Dark Horse Comics we have The Massive, a new title brought to us by Brian Wood. Wood is known for a lot of different titles from both indie and mainstream such as Local, Demo, Northlanders, Wolverine & the X-Men: Alpha & Omega, Ultimate Comics X-Men or the Conan the Barbarian. These have been under Marvel, DC (as Vertigo) Image and more, so he is a well known writer throughout the various publishers.
The story straight from the outset poses an interesting question for the reader. In a world that has passed the point of no return as a biosystem and is rapidly failing in its other aspects, what is there for an ecowarrior to fight for?
The first issue of The Massive is one that works as an introduction to the cast and crew, but only in so much that it leaves you with enough to start to understand them but not enough to fully appreciate them. It also works as a bridge between the situation now and how it has come to be that way too by flashing back to the past. Something was most definitely wrong, with strange meteorological phenomena occurring and a growing ecological nightmare pointing to even worse things. It was during this time that the crew of the Kapital lost contact with their sister ship, The Massive, which now remains missing to this day. Captain Callum Israel not only is looking for a ray of light in all the surrounding mess but also for the missing ship.
The read through of the comic itself I actually found quite hard. This isn’t a title that will immediately smack you in the face and be full of adrenaline-fuelled action but it is a grower. There is a distinct feel of realism to it with raiders, pirates and danger that even now you can identify with and this has been very easily one by placing it only marginally in the future. Wood has written a considered piece that slowly draws you in waiting for something bigger, which you know will come.
The presentation of the title is also good. There has been so much time, effort and thought put into how it all looks and it all adds extra depth to it as well. There is a lot of emotion passed through the various looks, glances and expressions to support the story as well. What I have also liked is that the whole feel of the comic has been dictated and aided by the colouring. There is a completely muted feel to it, as if the emotional volume has been turned down on it all in line with the tone of it all. Here we have a boat, with an almost unknown set of attackers in the fog. It feels as if you should be squinting out to help them. There is also an almost The Sixth Sense element to it as well when the accentuation of the colour red is pushed through the pages to highlight importance too. I liked it a lot.
As I said this isn’t the easiest of comics to pick up and read easily, but it does deserve a good look at and maybe reading more than once. If you are a fan of Brian Woods’ work then you will really enjoy it as it is a great example of what he can do.
For a new title to try - and one that will actually make you read it properly too - this is a title to get.
Matt Puddy is getting himself fighting fit.