Friday, June 15, 2012

The Massive #1

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Kristian Donaldson

I really hadn't realized how much I've been missing DMZ every month until I read the first issue of The Massive this week.  Brian Wood is one of the best speculative fiction writers in comics (really, I feel like it's just him and Jonathan Hickman, with Carla Speed McNeil being in her own category), and this new series is off to an incredible start.

Wood has not disclosed what year this story takes place in yet, but it's not too far into the future, just after a series of ecological and geologic catastrophes have plunged the world into a new, darker age.  Tsunamis, earthquakes, the calving of the Antarctic ice cap, and other events have shifted global weather patterns, and sunk many low-lying areas (including Hong Kong).  The effect on the global economy has been just as devastating.

The Massive is centred on three members of Ninth Wave, a 'marine conservationist and direct action force', reminiscent of the Sea Shepherds.  Callum is the group's leader.  Mary is his second in command and his lover, and Mag is his close friend.  They have been patrolling the oceans on their vessel, Kapital, since the Crash, and looking for their sister ship, The Massive, which went missing during a storm. 

This issue is nicely balanced, providing a lot of important background information, and introducing the characters, while also providing some action in the form of pirates that attempt to attack the ship.  Wood makes good use of the locale, off the coast of Kamchatka, to add force to the action, and keep things interesting.  There is also a good amount of back matter that helps to add texture and context to the story.

Kristian Donaldson has worked with Wood many times before, and it's clear that they have an easy rapport.  Donaldson does equally well drawing the talking head scenes, the action, and the flashbacks to global catastrophe.  This issue has me very excited to read the next, which is what we want in a debut issue.

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