By: Brian Wood (writer), Garry Brown (art), Jordie Bellaire (colors) and Jared K. Fletcher (letters)

The Story: Callum Israel searchs for a rogue submarine in a flooded NYC.

Review (with SPOILERS): This was another pretty strong issue of The Massive.  Just as with last month, this series is so much stronger when it is exploring this intriguing post-Crash world than when it focuses on the search for The Massive (the missing titular ship).  This is a cool world and it’s entertaining to see what will happen next whereas the hunt for The Massive is dull as hell and us readers don’t care about those missing people because we’ve never met any of them.  Heck…..I’m not sure any of the main characters have even mentioned the name of a single person on The Massive.

I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of that drab storyline, but let’s enjoy this nifty tale while it is in front of us.  Basically, in this issue we see Callum Israel and his crew looking for a rogue Chechen crew-mate who has stolen a Russian nuclear submarine and may want to fire his missiles at Russia.  All of this happens against the backdrop of a Manhattan that is under 40 feet of water and with the US Navy breathing down their necks.  It’s hard not to have a cool issue when you’ve got all these nifty elements and Garry Brown draws all the ships and helicopters really, really well.

I really like how Wood is playing with an idea of what our current world could become.  There’s a huge theme to The Massive that “you reap what you sow”.  That could describe global warming and its role in The Crash or it could describe a former Chechen child-soldier who is about to launch nuclear missiles at his former Russian oppressors or it could describe guys like Callum and Mag who can’t get away from their past working for a private military contractor.  These issues aren’t always handled perfectly, but I applaud any comic that aspires to something better than “giant monsters fighting giant robots!”

It’s the smaller, personal stories where The Massive leaves me a little flat.  I don’t really care about any of the main characters despite being around them for 14 issues.  Mary is probably the most interesting, but I can’t say I’d shed a tear if Callum or Mag or any of the random crew-members died.  I’m not sure why this series can do such a good job with building a big-picture of a post-Crash world, but can’t build interesting characters.  We know Wood can do this stuff….. look at characters like Zee or Matty or Soames from DMZ or just about any character who ever appeared in Northlanders.  Maybe it’s a problem with the art?  The art is very good at selling the big picture…..but maybe it’s not building characters that I care about?  Maybe it’s an editor problem?  Maybe the Vertigo editors who helped with DMZ or Northlanders helped out more than we knew and maybe Dark Horse’s editors are taking a hands-off approach?

Conclusion: Another strong issue of The Massive.  Even with it’s faults, this is a very ambitious series and worth giving a little more latitude to as it develops its stories.

Grade: B

-Dean Stell