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Review: The Massive #14, Mind MGMT #13 and Blood Brothers #1

The Massive #14

22506Closed off by rising seas and permanent power loss, New York City has been reduced to a graveyard of empty buildings. The devastation hits Ryan—the only American member of the crew—hard, and the homecoming she dreamed of for the last year is fraught with terror and betrayal. Will Ninth Wave’s mission finally meet its end?

Through the first dozen issues, we were only teased as to what was happening in the United States. Writer Brian Wood has given us our first real taste as to what has happened in this part of the world post global collapse. But, even when we think we know what’s going on, it’s clear there’s more to it.

Surrounded by what we think is the US Navy, Ninth Wave has two goals in this issue, not be taken in and also continue to hunt for a rogue nuclear submarine. This issue can be summed up as a game of chicken and we see the tension ramp up with each passing page.

Throughout all of this going on, we also get more of various characters’ pasts. This provides more of the connections between them and gives insight as to what motivates and leads to their decisions today.

What’s amazing is Wood’s ability to keep us guessing, and to go into more detail would give away some key moments of this issue, lets just say our perception as to what’s going on changes as the issue progresses. And that goes not just for this tense stand-off, but also the world as a whole. What we think is the United States Navy, might just not be. What we think are betrayals, might not be, or are they?

We also get to see more of Callum Israel’s leadership and thought process. To him, this is almost a game of chess, he’s thinking moves ahead. Moves that only become apparent to the reader as the game plays out. The man shows off why he’s in charge and we wonder what might be when he’s not.

Wood continues to put together one of the best monthly series on the market. One that entertains and makes you think at the same time.

Story: Brian Wood Art: Garry Brown
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Mind MGMT #13

23541Prepare for Mind MGMT‘s most surreal arc yet, in this first in a series of one-shot stories! This month, how will sleeper agent The Home Maker maintain her cover when Mind Management invades suburbia?

For a series that traffics in weird and surreal, this is one of the weirdest stories yet. But, writer and artist Matt Kindt continues to deliver a series the oozes cool. From the cover to the last page, every tiny detail of each issue is meticulously thought out and delivers. You’ll not just read each issue’s story and drool over the art, but also spend more time reading all of the small details that pepper the outer edges of the page.

I’ll admit, the story if this issue caught me off guard as it’s a departure from the ongoing saga. But, remembering it’s a one-shot drew me back in. Kindt here digs into the idea of a sleeper agent in suburbia, with a tone that’s serious but also played for laughs.

That duality is a trademark of the tone of the series. While it has this great vibe of an action/spy story, there’s also numerous moments of levity. With abilities to control others through various means or kill with but a touch, the back story often presented or just outright presented here, is serious but fun.

Kindt’s art is amazing with his beautiful water color like style. It evokes something I’d expect out of the 60s or 70s, and is unique and a signature of his.

Overall Mind MGMT is one of the crown jewels in Dark Horse’s cap and a maxi-series unlike any other. This should be on everyone’s list to read and I fully expect it to top numerous best of lists when the year ends.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Matt Kindt
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Blood Brothers #1

22884Nick and Tree have smoked opium with Genghis Khan, had orgies in Michelangelo’s studio, and even fronted a death metal band. But after a century of friendship, these inseparable vampire buddies are on the verge of splitting up. Terrible timing, as an apocalypse-obsessed villain is plotting an end to humanity.

When I first heard about this series, I rolled my eyes thinking it’s yet another comic having to deal with vampires (not sure if that’s better or worse than zombies right now). But I decided to dive into it and give it a shot and beyond glad I did. The comic is hilarious with fantastic banter between it’s characters and some nice twists to the usual vampire mythos.

First there’s the history between the two, shown in numerous flashbacks each funnier than the last. Next there’s their relationship which is having some issues having been together for so long. They have rules set out when it comes to their lives, including on dating women, and one of them is getting a bit antsy. The dialogue also stands out with a great back and forth that’s not super witty banter, but really entertaining. And finally there’s the action. There’s some fun stuff there that just brings it all together.

While on the surface this might seem like jut another vampire comic, writer Mike Gagerman brings just enough new to make it stand out. That’s helped by artist Evan Shaner whose style fits the characters and the tone of the writing perfectly. It’s a solid pairing between the two.

Blood Brothers has a lot of potential to be a fun summer read.

Story: Mike Gagerman, Andrew Waller Art: Evan Shaner
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review