The Massive Volume 1: Black Pacific Paperback – 19 Mar 2013
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"The artwork is staggering, it's stark naturalism and detail lending the ravaged Earth a beguiling beauty, while at the same time capturing the violent, and often graphic, action of the pragmatic characters in all of their brutal, noir infused dark glory. Fiercely intelligent and terrifying, The Massive is a bold, creative story." --Mass Movement --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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The rest of Ninth Wave was aboard the Massive, which was the group's much larger mothership -- but the two got separated in a storm, and now the Kapital roams the seas in search of the Massive. This collection of six issues jumps back and forth between that search and flashbacks to various eco-disasters and the aftermath. Along the way, we see the Kapital attacked by Siberian pirates, Callum dealmaking with a Somali warlord, Mary and the other woman captured by some other goons, and a strange encounter with a British ship hauling mysterious cargo.
It's all pretty captivating, even if it does feel mostly like setup for something much richer than what we get in its pages. Especially when you factor in a few short interstitials providing more character backstory that appeared in the Dark Horse Presents series. It's hard not to end the volume wondering just who all these goons in goggles are who seem so interested in the Kapital, not to mention whether or not Callum and his crew will find the Massive, or whether that will prove to be an elusive white whale.
The artwork is excellent throughout, maintaining a consistently gritty tone and palette, even across three different artists. It's one of the better post-apocalyptic stories I can recall and I'm definitely intrigued and wondering where this series is headed.
This book is unlike anything I have ever read before. It can definitely be described as post-apocalyptic literature, but it goes a lot further than that. The characters are excellent and you find yourself really rooting for them in their pursuits. Not only this, but the artwork in the first three chapters (by Krisitan Donaldson) is so intricate and detailed that it pulls you further in and makes the book near impossible to put down. Not only that, but the coulorist Dave Stewart won an Eisner Award in 2013 for his work on The Massive. Justified praise indeed.
The only reason I haven't given this book five stars is because, after the third book, Donaldson is replaced by Garry Brown. His artwork is fine, but when compared to that of his predecessor it pales in comparison. This is a real shame and detracts slightly from the immersion of the story.
This collection also contains the initial backstories to Callum, Mag and Mary (printed before The Massive #1), the artwork of which is done by Kristian Donaldson.
If you're a fan of post-apocalyptic literature, if you're into conservationism, if you're into excellent story-telling or beautiful artwork then this story is for you. I'm delighted I found it and I can't wait for Volume 2!
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