12.12.12 Reviews (Brian Wood Edition)
The Massive #7 (Dark Horse): Brian Wood and Garry Brown's modern art blend (Sean Phillips, Jim Lee, even collaborator John Paul Leon, traces of all to be found) kick off the next 3-issue arc entitled "Subcontinental," which centers on the ostensible utopia of Moksha Station. The thing to remember about utopias is that they're usually disguised dystopias in pop fiction, and it's certainly looking like this is no exception. I'm excited to see the mileage and dramatic tension that the creative team is going to draw from that dichotomy. It's interesting to see how quickly it goes from Mary encouraging Cal (and the audience by extension) to accept Moksha Station at face value, to a complete authoritarian state during lockdown procedures, where you basically surrender all personal rights in the name of security. If you've been reading Thirteen Minutes a while, you probably know that one of my writing tics is to make weird analogies in an effort to make my points. Well, with Callum Israel and crew wandering the world in an attempt to survive, and encountering the seeming paradise with a hidden underbelly of Moksha Station, let's juxtapose that with The Walking Dead. One could say that Rick and his crew are to Woodbury as Callum and his crew are to Moksha Station. I did that deliberately because there's certainly no reason that The Massive shouldn't be selling The Walking Dead numbers on a regular basis. I'll go ahead and be an elitist prick and use my powers of reverse psychology and say that if The Massive doesn't succeed financially it will be because it's just too intelligent for most people. I guess for the masses it's just easier to grok people shooting zombies in the head amid the collapse of all humanity as a single central theme in a zombie apocalypse than it is to parse a more meaningful fight for survival amid the collapse of the entire fucking planet in a more realistic environmental apocalypse. I mean, heaven forbid you actually have to think in a non-linear fashion or Google an acronym like U.L.L.C. or F.P.S.O. in a diligently researched Brian Wood script. Easier to just passively watch somebody getting an axe through the skull, I suppose. Don't you want your entertainment to stretch your brain a little bit? Doesn't bother me. My dad never provided me age appropriate reading material. He let me read the books he was reading and just gave me a dictionary along with those challenging books and said if you come across a word you don't understand, then look it up. If that doesn't work, come ask me. Wow, I'm really going off on a tirade here, but I'm just so passionate about this book and I can't comprehend LCS orders decreasing every month. It's disappointing. Anyway. Something else I noticed in this issue around the time that Mary encourages Cal to "be better" is that you can almost draw lines between Cal's identity and the personalities of the crew and say that they comprise aspects of his being. For example, Ryan is the young naïve do-gooder with blind commitment in him. Mary is the optimist part of him that believes in people and wants to bring out the best in them, Mag is the pragmatic paranoid security guy, Georg may represent the last vestiges of pure merc in him. By the time we learn more about Lars or potentially other crew members, maybe this little theory will flesh out in the way you can make the same argument for, say, Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of Serenity. There's that analogy bug again. The only thing preventing this from getting the "+" is that I truly miss the innovative back-matter in print, but at least we now have a digital counterpart. Grade A.