The Massive (Omnibus Vol. 1) by Brian Wood

details
Title: The Massive Omnibus.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Brian Wood.
Penciller(s): Garry BrownKristian DonaldsonGary ErskineDeclan Shalvey & Danijel Zezelj.
Colourist(s): Dave Stewart & Jordie Bellaire.
Letterer(s): Jared K. Fletcher.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: July 16th 2019.
Pages: 392.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781506713328.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

If it isn’t already clear enough, the planet is far from being in the same healthy state as it once was generations ago. With all the wounds we inflicted to our natural environment, leading us to limited resources to work with on a daily basis, we are left with the only viable solution staring disappointedly at us: to slow down the eventual end with short-term solutions. But what if the planet had a surprise for us when we least expect it? What if it was to suddenly grow tired of our foolishness and retaliate by speeding things up? Critically-acclaimed writer Brian Wood offers fans a bleak glimpse of the future by bringing in an ecological disaster that allows him to portray the potential societal and economic consequences that man will have to face if Mother Nature was ever to revolt.

What is The Massive (Omnibus Vol. 1) about? Collecting half of Brian Wood’s famous post-apocalyptic comic book series, from issues #0 to #15, the story follows a determined crew of environmental-activists known as the Ninth Wave, on the Kapital, looking for their sister ship, The Massive. The world in which they roam is now mostly plunged underwater following the Crash, an ensemble of natural disasters—earthquake, volcanoes, you name it. With only skyscrapers poking out of the water and sea stations established in various countries, the crew constantly faces unsettling obstacles, notably pirates of all kind, as they explore a world where the rules have changed forever.

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With three out of six volumes collected into one book, this edition allows the reader to fathom Brian Wood’s writing style. Although Brian Wood is oozing with some of the finest ideas that bring him to explore a dystopian future where mankind is stripped of its resources and needs to work together to build a utopia with what is left in the world, the direction and execution struggled to appeal to me. The story often jumped from one corner of the world to another as the crew fruitlessly searched for their sistership’s location. Each location came with its fair share of threats and gave Brian Wood the opportunity to dive into the past of each of his characters but never managed to make them stand out in any particular fashion. Halfway into the volume, the story seemed to desperately search for land and sprawled on forever, giving a distinctive feeling that it simply never knew where it was heading.

While intriguing, the characters mostly left me wondering about their purpose on this unappealing mission and why they were doing the things they were doing. What mostly made this a rocky boat ride was how the story would continuously flip back and forth between the present and the past to give readers a glimpse into the history of the characters. The constant switch of point of view and timelines gave a feeling of being aimlessly jerked around, merely adding a yellow tone to the art to make it easier to distinguish present from past. This simply made it much more complicated for the reader to be invested in the character, as their background weren’t as interesting as they could’ve been. I also found the artwork to not help too much with my immersion, besides for the setting being grandiose and epic at times, as character designs could vary from mediocre to decent, especially when the artist would change and new visual styles would be attempted.

The Massive (Omnibus Vol. 1) is an overly stretched out post-apocalyptic tale of a world mostly plunged underwater with sketchy characters driven by questionable motives looking for answers wherever they could set foot on.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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27 comments

  • Hmm…that is really a bit of a shame. I read about this series over on another bloggers site quite a while ago, who was somewhat more enthusiastic about it. But if there is one thing I really don’t like it’s constantly switching from timeline, to timeline. That is really annoying, and I have seen it sometimes in movies/ tv shows and that always gets on my nerves. Too bad, because as you know I really like post apocalyptic stories and this one did sound intriguing. Oh well, can’t win them all I guess. Great review! 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    • The first volume was definitely interesting but then it really felt like it was going downhill from there. Switching from one timeline to another frequently and not giving me any time to remember those of the past made it also pretty pointless. Thank you so much for reading, Michel! I appreciate it. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Does he explain how the earth suddenly gains sentience or anything? Or is it presented fait accompli? THAT would piss me off almost as much as the eco-preaching…

    Of course, lots of things piss me off, so I doubt that comes as a surprise to you 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  • Haha i agree with you on this one. I read some of the issues and remember just quitting at some point because I couldnt be bothered anymore. Which is a shame because the premise is awesome and I love climate fiction. I dont even remember most of the character, just a lot of water and a big wave. Which is not a good sign at all 😂😅

    Liked by 1 person

  • The current hot topics (including global warming, etc.) are not something I like to read about or watch. I read or watch fiction to take a break from reality.

    What I find somewhat funny, is that I HATE timeline jumps. However, I find myself writing that way sometimes, too. Maybe time jumps are OK, but they should be done in a proper way. At least they give you the yellow background hint.

    But pirates sound promising!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, me neither. Especially if it’s non-fiction or something. But some post-apocalyptic stories usually find their premise by extrapolating ongoing real-life problems so they’re so sort of inevitable unless these scifi stories don’t interest you of course hahah

      Oh man, the yellow tint was a funny way to distinguish both timelines. And hell yes to pirates! If only the story would have been a bit better…

      Liked by 1 person

  • Awww sorry to hear this disappointed you Lashaan! I can get behind end of the world type stories and I wondered what tanked it after your opening which really sold it for me. Lack of direction though kills a story so fast for me! It sounds like he didn’t expect the characters to capture the reader but thought the general premise did that… so that you would want to see the overarching effect rather than the impact on a localized level. Which is a mistake many graphic novels make to me. Orphans is a comic that went with the opposite and totally won my heart because of it. Great review as always!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, lack of direction killed it for me. I doubt the 2nd and final omnibus can save this series but who knows. I do wonder if the payoff at the end will excuse the development and everything that happens till then. Ouuuh Orphans sounds fun. Will have to look into it now. Thanks for reading, Dani! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Oddly, I don’t recall hearing anything about this title – until now – and although the idea seems interesting it sounds as if the execution is less so. I doubt it’s something I’ll end up making time for, but it’s always great to read your deep-diving thoughts on such things my friend as you really have a talent for nailing down the core elements of a story and what you feel works and doesn’t and identifiable reasons why they do and don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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