Advance Review: The Massive #9
Brain Wood ends “Subcontinental” with both a whimper and a bang. The end of the crew’s problems on Moksha ends rather fast. For the big build up, there isn’t much payoff. But then again, that works for the overall narrative. This is just another day in the life of The Kapital. This type of story telling reminds me of Y: the Last Man a lot. It’s a crappy world, so why shouldn’t the results be sad and depressing. Wood utilizes every character well, giving each ample panel time. Wood has been writing team books masterfully over at Marvel, so it wasn’t surprising when I noticed how effectively everyone is written. They have a purpose, they do it. If they don’t appear in an issue, there is a logical reason for it. The constant flashbacks have yet to be used incorrectly. With post apocalyptic books being popular right now, The Massive sets itself apart by being only slightly different than the world right now. Books like The Walking Dead and Y: the Last Man made massive changes, but I still recognize our world in The Massive.
Before reading issue #9, I marathoned issues #1-#8. While yes, I had never read the series before, it helped show the serialized format that Brian Wood has perfected in The Massive. There are arcs, but Wood focuses more on slowly moving along every plot point. In modern comics, where every publisher loves long or short arcs for trades, it’s refreshing to see a writer take a chance and just write the story he wants to write. Wood also does quite a few things I consider hard to do in comics perfectly. Constant flashbacks can break up a story’s momentum, but Wood keeps it moving. The flashbacks never have anything to do with what is going on, but they are still interesting. The constant narration is another thing. Narrations are something to be handled delicately. If the writer is telling us information, and not showing us, they treat the reader like an idiot. Wood is doing both at the same time, reinforcing both at the same time. It’s brilliant, and something I wish more writers would do.
Kristian Donaldson’s art didn’t wow me in the first few issues. But once Garry Brown started penciling the book, the books became a lot better. His sketchy style compliments the morally grey world of the crew. For a monthly book, Brown puts an amazing amount of detail. Whenever we had a zoomed out shot of Moksha, I found myself stunned at how much detail Brown put into it. Every character is quite expressive, and the reader can feel their personality without reading a line. Dave Stewart’s colors balance a flashy, yet grimy world. He gives Moksha a level of gleam, as if this place COULD be a utopia. But in the end, it’s a dirty world, and the colors fade the second the crew is below the deck.
The Massive is Brian Wood at his best. If you love his Marvel work right now, pick this book up. My pull list is constantly growing (much to the chagrin of my wallet), but The Massive has earned a spot in my list.
The Massive #9 gets 4/5.