Brian Wood kicks off The Massive #19’s part one of the “Bloc: Satellite” story arc by moving into the mercenary market with backstory of Captain Callum Israel’s past all wrapped inside the horrifyingly cutthroat world of a post-crash Europe. Israel is on the hunt for Arkady after bombing the Kapital beginning an awesome new direction for the story and the characters.
Official description from DARK HORSE:
An improvised explosive device rips through the Kapital while at port in the Baltic Sea, and the group claiming responsibility is no group at all… It’s an individual: Arkady, the demon from Cal’s past in Mogadishu. When Cal goes to confront his nemesis, he discovers that Arkady holds a piece of the puzzle that could change everything.
The Massive has been an up and down series and now Wood brings us a new version of Israel and the deadly deeds of his past, raising the bar dramatically. He also follows with more details of the post-crash world and paints a very grim picture. While that’s no surprise for long time readers it is framed with new perspective given Israel’s new task. It’s also a bit discomforting to know that in a place where all out anarchy reigns Captain Israel feels most at home.
The flashback sequence of Israel and Arkady’s mercenary training shows both their similarities and their glaring differences but not much more not that you need it. One scene is enough to understand the danger Arkady poses. Mag catches up to Israel to help but he does so reluctantly and knows regardless of anyone’s help, ultimately his is on his won against Arkady.
Garry Brown uses all his tricks to evoke the darkness of not only Israel’s mission but also the collapse of Eastern Europe. His work sets a strong tone and also falls in line while the feeling of a new direction for The Massive while not reinventing the wheel. It all works so well and Jordie Bellaire’s colors seal the deal.
I love this development and direction for Callum Israel, the Kapital and Mag finding himself facing an all new mountain of trouble to navigate. The Massive is now on dry land but Wood has not missed a beat with the story and leads readers toward new goals and challenges never before conceivable only a few issues ago. Issue #19 has recaptured my attention and I can’t wait to see where the story leads. Strong story and strong character make The Massive one of Dark Horse’s most underrated titles which comic book fans should jump on immediately.
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