Written by Brian Wood (author of Dark Horse’s latest Conan the Barbarian series) and illustrated by Kristian Donaldson, The Massive is a three part miniseries about a group of hard-line environmentalists searching for their missing comrades after a slew of environmental disasters. World economies and governments are in shambles, billions are dead, and the crew of the conservationist vessel Kapital are searching the frozen waters surrounding Kamchatka for a ship called The Massive (hence the book’s title). What was originally a barge for extreme environmentalist actions has become a refuge for a small group of eco-warriors, holding onto the hope of reuniting with their friends and searching for ways to survive in a drastically altered habitat.
The idea is pretty clever, taking a post-apocalyptic storyline and telling it from a perspective usually avoided in such stories. It reminds me a bit of the ship Tomorrow from Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 film Children of Men: a craft navigating the oceans after various catastrophes have destroyed everything but the United Kingdom, which is little more than a fascist state (at least if you’re not a citizen from birth), looking to the future and at the problems that need solving. Peppered with interesting and potentially complex characters, The Massive could potentially be another excellent science fiction series from Dark Horse.
The artwork by Donaldson isn’t anything unique but works well for Wood’s words but the coloring by Dave Stewart isn’t anything impressive. If anything, the coloring is pretty banal. I’m fairly certain the coloring is done digitally—which saves both time and money—but takes away the human factor which makes comic books such a joy. The palette Stewart’s working with is decent but its fluidity is like Zoloft, which spreads a giant layer of happiness over the brain, not allowing for human imperfects to shine through. Like the automatons in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the colors are like drones removing any depth from the illustrations. Thankfully Donaldson’s artwork is passable and Wood’s story is intriguing, hooking me in for the entire three-issue run.