The Massive #7: Subcontinental

Brian Wood's tale of the human society after The Crash takes an interesting new turn.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

The Massive #7

The Massive has been a quietly fascinating story about the aftermath of the end of the world without all the zombie/nuke/robot/monkey apocalypse malarkey. The world killed itself in a year long series of catastrophes called The Crash, and now humanity is trying to adapt to the new, scrounging paradigm.

Captain Callum Israel of the Ninth Wave environmental vessel The Kapital, still in search of the missing sister ship The Massive, has been sailing around the world in the effort, and has had to survive some hairy scrapes to resupply in an increasingly dangerous post-civilization pseudo-civilization. In The Massive #7 – which Dark Horse has graciously started actually numbering on the cover, as opposed to their recent tactic of just renumbering each arc as its own little miniseries, leading to confusion – the Kapital comes across Moksha Station, which was once just an oil rig off the coast of India in international waters and which has grown and become a thriving "experiment in post-Crash human social utopia."

Moksha Station's disavowal of violence and materialism sheds a light on the philosophical differences in the crew of the Kapital. Israel is a former private military contractor turned environmentally conscious pacifist, while his right hand man Mag is much in the same boat figuratively as well as literally – or at least he was. He's been the badass enforcer so far, and here we see that he's leaning back towards the notion that the Kapital crew is going to have to become more cutthroat and make themselves into warlords. Israel's girlfriend and equally badass eco-warrior Mary is urging Cal not to be the warrior sort and remember the principles. However, all that may become moot when they realize the society in Moksha Station may be more of a fanatical cult.

Wood's been unspooling this tale with an impressively thorough dedication, unafraid of narrative exposition revealed in a very clinical textbook manner, and it's obvious that maritime minutiae is one of his passionate interests. It brings us all up to speed and really helps to ground this desperate setting in our distressingly potential reality. Garry Brown's artwork is also strong in its moodiness, and Dave Stewart's expert use of color helps manage those moods as they shift between the dramatic and the historical.

The Massive has been one of my favorite books of the year – one that I look forward to each month. It's just really damn engrossing.