PACIFIC RIM: TALES FROM YEAR ZERO serves as a prequel to the highly-anticipated motion picture — Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures Pacific Rim. Chronicling the very first time Earth is menaced by incredible monsters known as Kaiju, these inhuman beasts rise from the ocean depths and threaten to extinquish all mankind! Witness the race to develop massive robot fighting machines called Jaegers, each one controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. This action-packed book features many of the key characters from the film as we follow them in their early careers. Written by Pacific Rim screenwriter himself, Travis Beacham, and with del Toro’s hands-on supervision, this volume is beautifully penciled by Sean Chen, Yvel Guichet, Pericles Junior, Chris Batista and Geoff Shaw; inks by Steve Bird, Mark McKenna, Pericles Junior and Matt Banning.
While the comic itself wasn’t anything special, Travis Beacham’s prologue helped me pinpoint the reason I loved Pacific Rim so much. The people involved in the creation of the film knew the world and the characters inside out before they even began filming. Because of this intimate knowledge, the movie does not feel like a complete story with a beginning, middle and end, but a segment of the characters lives that starts before the movie and continues long after. The characters felt real because they were real to the people who created them. There was nothing about Pacific Rim that felt far-fetched because it wasn’t just slapped together for the sake of making a movie but was something the whole production crew got involved in.
And then I realized, isn’t that what makes the best books too? The books where the story is just a quick glimpse into the characters lives? Because the character development can never be as good when the character starts off as a an empty canvas to be given life as the story progresses. The plot should never just start off at the beginning of the story but should be ongoing because then it is truly a story in all definitions of the word; just a part of something bigger. And it shows. In books with amazing character development, the characters have all these little quirky scenes that aren’t related to the plot but are there because the characters are real people. Any scenes with world building are instantly better because there is a depth to the information that otherwise wouldn’t be there like extra details. Sometimes books have one or the other – great characters or great plot, so books that have both are very rare but would be undeniably amazing.
To get back to the book itself, Beacham didn’t just sit down and think “hmm, I wonder what went on in the time before the movie starts?” No. He knew all this back story (or at least most of it) before he began which is why it’s not one of those annoying comics that have nothing to do with the movie and ruin it. I liked how it was a collection of interviews of people who played important roles in the movie rather than just information on the creation of the Jaegers. Though I do wish that part was explained a little more.
This comic is a must read for fans of the movie! I really hope there are more of them because I love Pacific Rim way too much.