The Massive #1
In the first issue of this new series (though it got some short previews in previous issues of “Dark Horse Presents,” the ecology of the planet is finally falling apart due to environmental damage, leaving billions of people starving and dying. Into the chaos of this new world sails a small ship called the Kapital. Its crew used to be part of a radical environmental group called the Ninth Wave, but their old mission has mostly solved itself — not a lot of whalers around anymore, and mass fishing operations have disappeared. Of course, that’s not a lot of comfort in a world where everything’s dying.
The crew of the Kapital — Callum Israel, Mag Nagendra, a woman who just goes by the name Mary, and a few others — have new missions — survive, and try to find their sister ship, a larger vessel called the Massive, which vanished mysteriously during a storm. The crew of the Kapital doesn’t think the Massive has been destroyed or sunk, because they keep getting brief radar signals that appear to be the Massive, but they’ve never managed to track down or communicate with it.
Unfortunately, there’s a great deal of desperation in the world, and the Kapital must keep an eye out for marauding pirates — and though Callum Israel wants them to remain a pacifist ship, the rest of the crew recognizes that they don’t have that luxury anymore. Can they avoid their enemies, find supplies, find their sister ship, and still have a chance to save the earth?
Verdict: Thumbs up. A great set-up for a new series. Excellent mood, too, with the ever-present and ominous fog helping to bring home the idea that the Earth’s environment and atmosphere have undergone critical and potentially deadly changes. We get some small background on the current state of the world, but most of the emphasis here is on characters, dialogue, and plot developments. And the art’s nice, too. So this one goes in the Win column
Saucer Country #4
There’s so much stuff going on in this issue — Governor Alvarado’s ex-husband recounts his outlandish post-hypnosis memories of his abduction by aliens, but Professor Kidd recognizes the name of the hypnotherapist — a UFO fanatic and publicity hound who may have implanted false memories under hypnosis. The governor’s bodyguards clash with the Secret Service. The hypnotherapist has some shady contacts with a paranoid talk-radio host and a conspiracy-minded ex-military man.
Verdict: Thumbs up — really, this issue felt like a bunch of tiny stories that were there mostly to advance the main plot — no serious developments or action sequences or freaky stuff. But I still liked it. Sometimes, you just gotta do an issue that’s a little slow for the sake of plot advancement. Besides that, the dialogue is nice, the characterization seems very good, and I’m still quite happy with how things are going.