The Massive: Subcontinental

Evidently, I rather enjoyed the first volume of The Massive (going by my rating of the book).  We finally (!) got the trade paperback of volume two in at the library, so I checked it out.  I remembered the basic conceit, but details--who has time for remembering those?

Thankfully, you don't need to remember much from volume one to jump into Subcontinental.  Here are the salient points:

  • World is mostly destroyed.
  • Superpowers no longer exist.
  • The crew of the Kapital are all members of an eco-activist group called the Ninth Wave.  
  • Being part of an eco-activist group is pretty boring after the world is destroyed.
  • The captain, Callum, is your stereotypical egomanical leader who makes poor decisions based on his gut and simultaneously refuses to delegate or share his problems with anyone else (think Rick from The Walking Dead).  
  • Stripped of their rah-rah-save-the-Earth purpose, the crew of the Kapital sail around the world looking for their missing sister ship, the Massive.  The Massive keeps blinking on their radar, but nothing's there when the ship actually arrives.
  • This is literally all they do.  Sail around.
Okay, are we good?  So in their Ahabesque quest (Ahabian?  Anyone?) for the practically mythical Massive, the crew of the Kapital stops off at a bunch of oil rigs that have been welded together to create a city-state filled with refugees from India and its environs (hence the title of the book).  There's some weird racial stuff going on here, which was awkward at best.  Callum and the crew wander into this situation like they were born yesterday, and I basically thought that what happened to them served them right.  Didn't any of them watch The X-Files pre-Crash?  "Trust no one?"  Right?

The rest of the book is them sailing around pouting at one another.  It's illuminating in that a writer and some artists could tell absolutely no story and yet stretch it out over a hundred pages.  That takes some kind of talent.  Jordie Bellaire's colors are, as usual, a knockout, and her muted palette suits the depressed Post-Crash world very well.  The moodiness of her palette does more to make the story bleak than the actual writing.

I wonder how long they can stretch this one out.  Because of my morbid curiosity, I'll probably end up sucked into reading another volume.  Begrudgingly.  I have no idea why I do this to myself.


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