Travis Beacham, screenwriter of the fantastic Pacific Rim, believes that the story is in the world, and not the other way round. He states this in his lengthy introduction to the graphic novel, which is a fascinating read in itself. This being his first attempt at actually writing a graphic novel, does he do the world of Pacific Rim justice? Is he able to write a compelling story about the early days of the war against the Kaiju? After reading the whole thing, one thing is for sure, Travis Beacham has delivered an engrossing story of loss and triumph.
In Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero, we follow reporter Naomi Sokolov as she interviews several people responsible for the success of the Jaeger program. We’re also treated to seeing a more in-depth look at some of the characters from the movie including Idris Elba’s character, Stacker Pentecost. From his recounts we’re able to see what he lost during the first few years of the war, we also see the early days of the Becket brothers and the impact of adopting Mako Mori, played by Rinko Kikuchi in the movie, as a daughter.
The graphic novel flows from page to page despite this containing 3 separate issues. The first details the first contact with the Kaiju and the effect it had on the people around there at the time. It also sets up some of the tragic events that will help flesh out some characters actions later on. Secondly we have the beginning of the Jaeger program, the tests they ran and the effects the program had the character, with relationships being tested and destroyed along the way. Lastly we come the story of Stacker Pentecost and his days as a Jaeger pilot. Through his story we get to see how the Becket brothers became to work so effectively as a team and what they had to deal with being brothers.
All the stories contained within are highly compelling, making you exited to just turn the page and see what happens next. However, there’s not much action happening as you read. They are very few and far between, it helps as we get to see these characters more and what they end up going through. But more action and longer battles with the Kaiju would have been nice. Perhaps a few extra pages in each issue to focus on this would have excelled my enjoyment of reading it a little more.
As for the artwork, it’s a beautifully drawn and coloured graphic novel. Whilst not being the best I’ve ever seen, emotions are conveyed effectively on the characters and the little action we do get, is just as visceral looking as it was on-screen. It does have a more colourful and brighter presentation than the movie, and to be honest, I’m not quite sure whether or not that’s a good or bad thing. If anything I’d say I’m indifferent about it.
If after seeing Pacific Rim in the cinema, you want more. Then this graphic novel is the perfect item to fill in the void. It’s an enjoyable read and will make you think a little differently about some of the characters in the movie, that totally being a good thing. If you can find it for a comfortable price your happy with, then do not hesitate, pick this up and read it. Whilst not necessary to read before the movie, even though it’s a prequel, I’d actually recommend reading it after the movie just so you know these characters that they’re showing you a little better, it may also make it a little easier to follow as you’ll understand the world more.
8 Awesome Kaiju Designs out of 10