Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Brian Wood
Artwork: Garry Brown, Jordie Bellaire
Release Date: 13th January, 2016
Where to start? This might be the second issue of The Massive: Ninth Wave but it comes with a fairly hefty legacy. A 30 issue legacy, in fact, because before The Massive: Ninth Wave there was The Massive. The Massive is about the Ninth Wave (try to keep up), a global environmental-rescue unit who struggle through a world set to ruin by an environmental disaster known as “the crash”.
Fortunately, we don’t need to know everything that has gone on in the main series, because The Massive: Ninth Wave is a six-issue exploration of what made Callum Israel and his crew the best at what they did prior to “the crash”. We have been promised that it will be a fast paced action episodic action comic, and so far that’s almost exactly what we have.
Issue one is called Manifesto, and that’s really what it was, as it laid out exactly what the reader should know about Ninth Wave as well as providing an insight into exactly what they do.
Issue two is called Para. It follows the Ninth Wave as they are preparing to go up against a group of what we initially are led to believe are illegal loggers. In fact, Ninth Wave are after the eco-terrorists that are after the loggers. As Israel explains it, his group are openly non-violent and don’t like the eco-terrorist way of working. They also don’t like the fact that this group stole proprietary information from the Ninth Wave. It’s alluded to at the end of the comic that, whilst Ninth Wave are non-violent, they may not be above bringing in a specialist to do what they won’t.
Brian Wood writes a tight and intelligent story here, even if it isn’t as fast paced or action packed as we were promised, feeling more cerebral and thought provoking. Garry Brown is from God’s own country (Scotland, you heathen) and graduated from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. He does a good job with The Massive: Ninth Wave with his scratchy style and impressive panel placement working well to help tell the story, with his work being enhanced immeasurably by the typically confident colour work of Jordie Bellaire.
Overall, this is a decent tale which I think will work better as part of a collective whole rather than as the stand-alone issue being reviewed. Knowing that there is such a large body of work that this is meant to precede, I can’t help but wonder what nuances in the story I may have missed. I don’t know the characters; I don’t know the history (future?) but it will definitely be interesting to see how these six issues pan out. It’s a thought-provoking book but it hasn’t made me go “wow”. Not yet, anyway. It may be that the prequels do grab my interest and lead me to the Massive, but it’s not tempting me yet. That said, there are still four more issues to go after this one, so who knows?
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The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil.