Review by Frank Plowright
Longship is an improvement on previous volumes Black Pacific and Subcontinental by virtue of ignoring the prime plot of locating missing ship the Massive. Without Brian Wood dangling unfulfilled hints about this in front of the readership, the narrative progresses in a more interesting direction.
Two stories occupy this book. In the first the Kapital approaches New York, now only the skyscraper peaks protruding from an abandoned city under seventy feet of water following the global cataclysms. The ecological activists aboard the Kapital are tracking a nuclear submarine stolen by one of their number, Georg, a Polish former mercenary, for purposes unknown. Mag, though, is well aware of Georg’s tendency to fly off the handle.
The second story touches on one of the purposes Calum Israel formed his Ninth Wave organisation, whaling. The protection of the massive marine mammals remains a priority for him, notwithstanding the significant shift in balance. His agenda, though, also has a personal aspect.
The Massive showcases important issues that need to be understood by more people, but Wood hasn’t yet found a method of supplying anything other than info-dumps, dropping the series squarely into the ‘worthy but dull’ category. He still unfolds his story glacially, dropping in lines of portentous dialogue, and pushing his cast in directions that may make sense to him amid the bigger picture, but just puzzle readers. There is an increasing role for Norwegian Lars and the young American woman Ryan, as events of the previous volume resulted in the Kapital having a diminished crew. Both are more straightforwardly understood characters, which provides some relief amid the hints, nods and winks about Mag and Mary.
Garry Brown’s art tells the story, but there’s no dynamism about his stiff figures, and the dull palette Jordie Bellaire opts to apply to his art doesn’t appreciably improve it.
The series continues in Sahara.