We’re officially in the back half of the last arc of The Massive, and I’m not ready to let go. I know I’ll have to, come December, but I will not go gently into that good night. Until then, let’s talk about the third-to-last issue. This issue is a sort of a breather in the middle of what has been a jam-packed arc. A mysterious landmass breaks off of the ocean floor and rises to sea level, where many different factions and world governments vie for sovereignty over it. Meanwhile, Mag and Mary have, if I’m recalling correctly, their first extended conversation, and for sure their first long scene without Callum. Callum isn’t even in the issue, which is unusual but not unheard of; it mostly allows for an interesting pairing in a scene for Mag and Mary.
As much as I think the dynamic between those two is fascinating and worth exploring, as the long-suffering second-in-command and the chosen successor, a lot of this issue boils down to the two of them walking around the South African hills and talking. Luckily, with Garry Brown, we are in capable hands; the backgrounds are lush and well-rendered, so it’s never boring watching them, it just feels like there are other people in Ninth Wave we could check in with periodically. One other thing that balances the issue out is the appearance of the small island. There’s a connection between Mary bringing up the fact that mankind, who showed up less than a second before midnight on the timeline of the Earth and have already managed to completely fuck it up, and the appearance of this island. More accurately, perhaps, is that there is a connection between her analogy and the amount of time it takes for mankind to completely fuck up that island.
Throughout the series, Mag has been the hopeless one, the one who’s bitter about the new world the Crash left the whole crew in; now it’s Mag who defends what little humanity has left as being worth saving. Mary has been the hopeful one, the stand in for a literal Mother Earth figure, and now she’s the one pulling for a scorched earth, clean slate policy. It’s an interesting sea change, and it’s certainly drastic, but it doesn’t feel unearned. It feels like a natural growth of two characters who, even in the relatively short span of 30 issues, have changed and been impacted by the world in new ways. It’s really kind of surprising how natural the shift feels, almost to the point that you don’t notice it happening.
I like that Wood and Brown took a breather issue here, because ever since the discovery of The Massive a couple issues back, it’s been pretty much constant revelations and new shit coming to light. On the flip side of that, however, there’s a whole hell of a lot of shit that could still use some tying up, and there’s only two issues left to do it. I’d be delighted if one of them is a double-sized finale issue, but I also trust Wood and Co. to stick their landing. They’ve been firing on all cylinders, and if there was a time for them to collapse, it would be about here, but the series seems to be going strong. Fingers crossed for a great ending.
Writer: Brian Wood Artist: Garry Brown Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 10/29/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital