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‘The Massive Volume 4: Sahara’ – Advance TPB Review

Where is the Massive?  Where is Mary?

The fourth trade of Brian Wood’s epic, post-environmental disaster has us wondering these questions and more, as we follow the doomed captain around the world yet again in search for the elusive sister ship to the Kapital and the biggest mystery in this epic series.

After somehow averting a worldwide catastrophe that would push the already fragile remains of civilization over the tipping point, Mary has abandoned Ninth Wave and its sickened leader.  Broken into Bloc and Sahara, we see where Cal and Mary have ended up.

In the Bloc pages, we see the kind of men that Callum and Mag used to be, while hunting down the man who attacks the Kapital.  We’re treated to seeing how the two men met, and why they’re in such danger now.  These pages help define and give us more of a look of the past of these two men and shows just why a part of it is coming back to haunt them.  It’s the kind of intense action and character definition we’ve been hoping for, and it doesn’t disappoint.  The era of non-violence in Cal’s world seems to be ending, and the ride is pretty awesome.

Meanwhile, in the Sahara . . .

Mary has always had a connection to the ocean, so it’s odd to see her in the largest desert on the planet.  Caring for women tasked with guarding a giant convoy of drinkable water, she again shows her steel, intelligence, and skill in dealing with violence on all sides.

The art is on point as it has been throughout the series and still gives the future a ’70s film vibe, except for in the flashbacks, which feel surprisingly modern to my eye.  Though the colors remain dark as ever, it serves more as a backdrop to contrast hope and brightness than burying the story in darkness.

If you’re a fan of the series, this is a phenomenal penultimate trade and sets us up for the last six issues of this compelling story.

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