Brian Wood's The Massive is quickly becoming one of my favourite books to read every month because of the slow burn. Normally I'm not a big fan of "the set up issues," but with this ongoing, it's been worth it. In the four issues since it's started, we've seen an unfolding series of events that's looking to get a lot of the heavy lifting out of the way before the plot proper can start; characters, settings and motives are being established in one fell swoop.
Things I liked:
- Callum Israel is slowly setting himself up to be one of the most interesting characters of the year. Having his past slowly catch up to him through chance meetings and creative captions has lead me to learn lots about him without having it spoken at us. I enjoy how Wood isn't afraid to outright tell us these things, but not from the mouths of other people.
- That goes double for the background of *"Ninth Wave," the environmentalist movement that most of the main cast are part of. Learning of a fictional history allows me to get an idea how this group will react to situations before they actually happen. This keeps me from going "Wait, why would they do that!?" and instead allows me to focus better on the actual narrative.
- Lastly, I just wanted to point out how much we're learning about the world of the Massive, and how a new economy has taken hold over the weather-ravaged planet. One of my favourite things about Wood's previous series, DMZ, was how well it crafted that new world, and how it drew us in. I'm hoping for more here.
Things I didn't
- The only that keeps this from being one of my favourite issues of the year is the lack of emotional payoff or catharsis. We've spent so little time with these characters that it's hard to feel for them on an emotional level. That'll come in time, but for now I'm happy with the setup.
The Massive #4
Dark Horse Comics
The Verdict: Four oil tankers out of five for the man from Brooklyn. Wood shapes another great world, and hopefully we'll be seeing more of it for years to come.