Much like with everyone else these days, Pacific Rim isn’t just a movie. While it is undoubteldy mainly a movie, the marketing department of Lionsgate has made the property of Pacific Rim into a multimedia crossplatform property. And now, we’re having a look at the prequel comic to go with the movie we’re watching later today.
“Pacific Rim – Tales from Year Zero” tells the story of the first giant monster which will eventually be known as Kaiju to wreak havoc upon humanity and the first mecha to combat it. It also introduces us to the main characters of Pacific Rim. Idris Elba’s character, Stacker Pentecost, takes central stage, along with the Beckett brothers who are pilots in training. Mako Mori appears as a little girl who’s hinted at to be the some sort of figurehead survivor. And then the first mecha, Brawler Yukon, battles a Kaiju.
“Tales from Year Zero” is not cheaply made, unlike other comic books that serve as a prequel, sequel or mid-quel to a movie. It’s not just someone’s cousin who once had an A in art class and had a Saturday afternoon off. No, they got Chris Batista as an artist. Batista has made a name for himself as the artist on DC Comics books like Robin, Animal Man or the cult fan favourite Booster Gold. The cover was done by Alex Ross whose almost photorealistic style has amazed comic book fans ever since his first image appeared.
However, the weak point of this comic is the writing. But then again, the comic is limited by its big brother, the movie. Because while Pacific Rim is a movie, a comic book and a video game as well as an app for your smartphones and tablets, it’s still mainly a movie. That’s where the money is being made. That’s where the most profit is turned, so obviously the biggest surprises and the big adventures are kept on the silver screen. The table scraps are left over for video games and all other products associated with the brand.. And thus, nobody actually expects this comic book to impress. At the end of the day, it’s just a bit of merchandise to make the movie more popular.
The worst sin it commits, though, is that its not consistent with its own story. Even though it’s been written by the same guy who co-wrote the movie, some things just don’t add up. In the movie, it’s explicitly stated that on the day of the first Kaiju Attack – commonly called K-Day – the Kaiju was stopped by tanks and guns. In the comic, San Francisco gets nuked on the same day. And Mako’s upbringing doesn’t add up either. So, why? I mean, it’s the guy who’s written the movie, right? Did he not remember what he wrote?
Another big weakness is that it lacks the proverbial “Oomph” the trailers have. This is where CGI-effects really get to shine. Because on the big screen, you buy that there’s a giant robot punching an alien with eleven arms in the face. In a comic book, it’s just a bunch of lines on paper, just like Stacker Pentecost and that tree on that panel there. It lacks the excitement that the trailers have, where you see Gipsy Danger – the USA’s best and most famous mecha – drag an oil tanker through a city to hit a Kaiju with.
All this doesn’t mean that it’s a cash-in. Because, in fact, “Tales from Year Zero” does explain some things. For example: Mecha pilots do not need to be related, even though it helps a lot. And while in control of the Mecha, they can’t have secrets from one another. This creates a lot of tension and a very strong bond. The reason why there are two pilots in each mecha is explained too.
All in all, “Pacific Rim – Tales from Year Zero” offers nothing that you won’t get in the movie. You can safely skip it and still get the whole picture. It does, however, look nice and holds nice pieces of trivia.