Fantastic, intriguing read. (spoiler free review)
The Massive #1 is a fantastic read through and through. If you're a fan of Brian Wood, then you'll recognize this book as distinctly his right away; and if you're not already a fan of his work, this book is a great example of what a talented creator he is.
The story in the first issue is divided between the present (where we see the crew of the ship The Kapital in the Bering Sea) and some flashbacks of how the situation on Earth got the way it is in the present. In doing this, he takes the reader to a very different world, without having it feel like its very far into the future, or out of the realm of the possibilities of today's very volatile world. Instead, the setting feels like something that you maybe could wake up to and see these events happening on the morning news tomorrow... which is kind of scary and very, very sobering.
He reveals just enough about the main cast of characters to have the reader intrigued, again, without revealing too much and making this a cliched first issue. Rather, we get to know the characters in a somewhat mysterious way (i.e., not knowing much about their past, but learning who they are in the present) and their interactions seem to convey the conflict present on The Kapital.
The art is great and it really fits the tone of the story. I suspect that it may be a little cartoony or even one-dimensional for some readers, but there's no denying Donaldson's ability to convey very simple human interactions on the page, without it feeling forced or overtly comic-booky, and the book benefits from it. The colorist, Dave Stewart, also does a really great job of changing the mood of the story and switching between the icy-cold of the present situation and the tragedy of the past.
I'd be remiss if I didn't say how awesome the last pages are--wherein the main character is fleshed out a bit more than in the main story. I really like these kind of things in comics, parts of the story that allow the reader to kind of immerse himself in the world set by the story and get to know the characters through unconventional story-telling.
All-in-all, pick up The Massive #1 if you haven't already and give it a read; it's a great book and I cannot wait to find out what Wood has in store for these characters and watch how he builds this world that is scarily not-so-far-off.