Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Kristian Donaldson, Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
The Massive #1 reads like the pilot episode of a particularly ambitious TV series. It deftly introduces us to a radically different and intriguing world, catches us up on how things got this way, introduces us to a bunch of new characters, and explains what their mission is, all while starting a smaller story filled with tension and suspense. It’s good stuff (no wonder it was one of the Astro Boys’ picks of the week).
In the near future, the world is ravaged by a series of cataclysmic natural disasters. These events shatter world economies, radically alter the face of the planet, destroy cites, and leave the world in a confused mess. The crew of the The Kapital are a bunch of environmentalists who were patrolling the seas with their mates aboard a ship called The Massive when these events began. That ship, however, went missing. Now, along with trying to figure out what caused The Crash, as the series of ongoing natural disasters is referred to, the crew of The Kapital are searching for their missing friends. They’re also trying to come to terms with how to live in world that’s completely different from the one they’ve known. It’s all fascinating stuff, and although all we get here are the introductions, by the end of it I was completely sucked in wanted to read more. It’s like having to wait for the next episode of Lost because you desperately want to learn more to hopefully help unravel some of the mystery and to get some answers to your many questions.
During this introduction, one of the characters suggests that in a world where things have so radically changed, and where survival is key, there’s no longer any room to live by any sort of “personal moral code.” There are a couple things I find interesting about that. First of all there’s the idea that morals are personal; meaning, they’re determined by each individual. If a moral code is a personal thing, then who’s to say whether or not, regardless of the circumstances, one should or should not live by them? By the statement’s very admission it’s a personal thing that doesn’t apply to everyone, so therefore if someone wants to live by their moral code, who’s to say that’s wrong or that it no longer applies? It should entirely up to each individual. This of course leads to the question of whether or not morals are determined or discovered; meaning that we choose what’s moral or we learn what’s already been established by an outside party as moral. If it’s the former, then we do indeed all have our own personal moral code, one which can be abandoned, modified, or adhered to in any circumstance; and therefore, there will always be room for it if we want. If it’s the latter, if morals are established by a higher outside party, then we don’t have the leeway to change or abandon them as we see fit; we can only adhere to or violate them. However, that would also mean that circumstances wouldn’t alter their validity, so even in a radically changed world, what’s right is still right, and what’s wrong is still wrong. Either way, the statement that there’s “no room any more for a personal moral code” is one that sounds good as a tough, action-movie kind of line, but is actually nonsensical and self-defeating. The fact is, there will always be room for morals, either by our own choosing or because they’ve been established for us.
The Massive is a refreshing change from the usual tights and flights of super hero comic books. It feels more like a novel, or as I said earlier, an intriguing TV show. The set-up pulls you right in with solid writing and a fascinating world. I’m looking forward to discovering more about what happened, about who these characters are, and of course about what really happened to The Massive. Hopefully, this series has those answers for me, in some form at least, and won’t pull a Lost.
Score: 6 of 7
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.