Comics, Reviews

Supermassive (2023) Review: It's Only Getting Bigger From Here

Discover why the MassiveVerse is quickly becoming one of the most exciting places to find incredible stories with this superpowered crossover one-shot.

Supermassive 2023
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:06 AM

Supermassive (2023) #1

Supermassive #1

Writer: Kyle Higgins, Ryan Parrott, Melissa Flores, and Mat Groom

Artist: Daniele Di Nicuolo

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Page Count: 50

Format: Comic

The massive one-shot is a great entry point for people interested in getting into the craziness in the MassiveVerse. Kyle Higgins and the gang have created something special with their unique brand of superheroes.

It’s no small task to create a shared universe in comics, let alone one that is as sprawling and exciting as the MassiveVerse. Writer Kyle Higgins has been the mastermind behind what is shaping up to be a cornerstone within Image Comics, with the Radiant Black series as the centerpiece. In only two years, what started with just a solo superhero comic, the MassiveVerse has evolved into an expansive shared universe spanning ten titles, miniseries, and one-shots.

The first Supermassive one-shot from last year put Higgins’ plans of growing the MassiveVerse into motion. The comic blew open the doors to new possibilities by crossing over new heroes into the world of Radiant Black. Now, Supermassive is back to give readers even more of that crossover goodness. While the first one-shot kicked off the MassiveVerse, this year’s Supermassive is a celebration of how far things have come and where things are going.

The two Radiant BlacksImage: Image Comics

The MassiveVerse Story So Far

The story opens with Rogue Sun breaking into the Brooklyn Museum looking for something that belonged to one of the former hosts from hundreds of years ago. To the surprise of Dylan Siegel, the current host of Rogue Sun, it’s a magical key that opens a doorway to the hiding place of the Holy Grail itself. Knowing unspeakable dangers wait behind the door, Rogue Sun enlists Nathan Burnett and Marshall Ward, the Radiants Black, to help him on his crusade to find the Grail. With something as magically powerful as the Holy Grail, the Radiants believe they might have a shot at solving their problem of being unable to share the cosmic power between them.

Rogue Sun and the Radiants eventually link up with the hired gun known as Dead Lucky. Her employers want the Grail for selfish gain, but she has her own plans. She wants to use the power to bring old friends back to life. With their goals set in mind, the crew of superheroes set out on a mystical adventure that could change their lives forever.

Radiant team working togetherImage: Image Comics

A Crossover Event Like No Other 

As far as superhero crossovers are concerned, Supermassive is a fun romp filled with exciting action and great character moments. For people who mostly follow the story of Radiant Black only, like myself, it’s a fresh departure from the stories we normally find Nathan and Marshall in. Instead of the standard fare of cyborgs and cosmic beings, the superheroes face off against mythical creatures like living statues and fire-breathing dragons. But even with such strange monsters coming at them, the characters keep up their charms and wits, making this such a fun read from cover to cover.

Like the first Supermassive one-shot released last year, the dynamics and banter between characters carry the fun throughout the issue. The big difference this time around is that Rogue Sun’s host is Dylan Siegel instead of Marcus Bell. For those catching up with the MassiveVerse lore, the Rogue Sun series starts with Dylan taking on the mantle after the death of Marcus. Realizing that the last time the Radiants interacted with Rogue Sun was before the burning hero’s solo series even started puts into perspective how far things have come for the different characters and the MassiveVerse, as a whole.

A dragon attacksImage: Image Comics

The one hitch I have about the story is that it takes place during an awkward time for the characters. As I brought up earlier, Nathan and Marshall are in the process of deciding which one of them will be the sole host of Radiant Black. Until they choose who will be Radiant Black moving forward, the two are left to deal with dwindling power that barely holds itself together. Having the Radiants go on a glorified side quest at this point in their story makes it feel like they are putting off deciding on something so important. However, the Radiant powers being on the fritz adds some interesting tension to the fight scenes in the comic. It’s fun to see the duo still find ways to make things work even if they can’t go full power.

Artist Daniele Di Nicuolo was the perfect choice for such a fun crossover adventure. The overall art style for Supermassive feels distinct from the solo titles the superheroes hail from. Characters are drawn very expressive and animated, save for Rogue Sun who refuses to remove his armor, which makes the character moments feel more lighthearted and engaging. But when the time comes to crank up the high-octane action, Di Nicuolo delivers in explosive spades. The big and bombastic scenes make me feel like I’m watching an anime more than reading a superhero comic book.

HallucinationsImage: Image Comics

Final Thoughts 

With the MassiveVerse only getting bigger from here, it will soon run into the troubles people have with Marvel and DC: Accessibility. The more stories and characters that get introduced into the MassiveVerse, the harder it will get for new readers to jump in and join the fun. Supermassive serves as a great place to start for people interested in exploring the MassiveVerse. Take it as a primer in getting to know the major players without needing too much background info. It’s a fun and exciting one-shot that hits the sweet spot of being accessible for new readers while still rewarding longtime followers for keeping up with the craziness within the MassiveVerse. As someone who’s mostly kept up with only Radiant Black, reading Supermassive made me want to start diving into Rogue Sun. Kyle Higgins and the team of creators he’s brought into the fold have really found something special that’s not often accomplished within the world of comics. As a reader and a fan, Supermassive makes me very excited about what's come for Radiant Black and the rest of the MassiveVerse.

TAGGED: Image Comics, MassiveVerse, Reviews
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