By Brian Wood, Garry Brown, and Dave Stewart
Brian Wood wraps up the three issue story arc, “Subcontinental”, where our beloved crew members of the Kapital have managed to maneuver and power play their way out of captivity within the utopian haven out in the Indian Ocean, called the Moksha Station.
For your average comic book reader, this issue may seem to have wrapped up on a bit of a flat note. While Brian Wood has been exceedingly devout in his storytelling, you can’t necessarily expect all the flashiness and gallantry that you get from many of the other comic books on the stands today. When you read The Massive, expect Brian Wood to carefully peel back each and every layer of this world with a crafty, surgical precision. This issue happens to be one of those slow burns. While the story arc seems to conveniently wrap itself up, we’re left with even more daunting questions about the allegiance and motives behind each of the other characters.
Each character seems to be operating under their own influences beyond Captain Callum Israel‘s directives, which is a testament to the just how much honesty that Wood is putting forth to this series. Mary has exhibited some sort of superhuman abilities when it comes to fighting and water survival; Mag Nagendra is a soldier that seems to be the ghost leader of the group; Ryan is an American student that is questioning her purpose in joining what was supposed to be pacifistic activist group; Lars is a young watch officer that may be in over his head; Georg is a Russian Mafiya member that may find the term, “loose cannon,” an understatement.
For this issue, we get a vignette on Georg and his backstory through his current actions, and via flashbacks interspersed with Callum discussing the release of his crew with Sumon, the leader of the Moksha Station. Let’s just describe Georg’s actions as, “relentless,” to say the least, as he had not been raised under the most ideal of circumstances.
Garry Brown and Dave Stewart execute another exceptional performance in this issue. The styling in this book is unique to this series and carries a tremendous amount of technique in these panels. Brown is able to masterfully create action panels that do not lose your sense of direction or intent, while Stewart has successfully created a consistent pallet of colors that bring gravity to the comic book.
When all is said and done, this “Subcontinental” story arc clearly parallels part of The Empire Strikes Back movie, where the heroes of the movie are deceived by Lando Calrissian upon seeking refuge on Cloud City. Whether that’s a result of Brian Wood also writing Star Wars for Dark Horse also, is neither here nor there and I’ll leave the rest of it for you to assess. Nevertheless, “Subcontinental” does provide a nice respite for the readers to evaluate just where Callum Israel and the rest of the crew of the Kapital are at mentally, especially with the reveal of Callum’s medical condition. Overall, this is a great read for fans of the series, and if you haven’t picked it up yet you owe it to yourself to do a bit of catch up.