Guillermo del Toro's giant robot vs. giant monster blockbuster Pacific Rim did well commercially, but not quite well enough. Though a sequel was announced months ago, its status is now up in the air, as the project appears to trapped in limbo.
That's a major downer for moviegoers who can't wait to see more of del Toro's visually stunning kaiju battles on the big screen, but thankfully there are still some new stories in the Pacific Rim universe being told.
Published under Legendary Pictures' comic label, Pacific Rim: Tales From the Drift takes readers back to the early days of the Kaiju war, as researchers are still struggling to understand the interdimensional breach under the Pacific Ocean from which the massive beasts emerge. It's during this time that two wildly different personalities first meet, fall in love and eventually pilot a Jaegar together.
That Jaegar would be none other than Tacit Ronin. Eagle-eyed viewers of the film (or those who have just studied every frame) may remember catching a glimpse of the Japanese Jaegar in the film's opening moments, and here it gets its chance to shine in a battle against a deadly new kaiju.
Much of the comic takes place in the "drift," the dream-like state which pilots sometimes enter as a result of mind-melding with their co-pilot while in their Jaegars. The tale jumps back and forth from an increasingly desperate battle for survival in the present to the quieter moments of two future lovers meeting for the first time in the past. Well, quiet isn't exactly how to describe it, considering there are still kaiju involved, but you get the idea.
Part of what made Pacific Rim such a treat in theaters was its massive sense of scale. We've seen giant monster movies before, but the impressive CGI work and del Toro's use of the camera truly made it feel as if we were watching hundred-foot-tall titans duke it out before our very eyes. While this comic doesn't capture the size and weight of the two combatants like the film, it is every bit as beautiful to look at. Illustrator Marcos Marz delivers some great work here, work made even greater by Marcelo Miolo's excellent coloring. Miolo makes every page, every panel, pop, adding a red tint to high-impact moments that makes them hit even harder.
It helps that the story being told here is penned by film writer Travis Beacham along with writer Joshua Fialkov. Overall, this first issue is a major step up from Pacific Rim's last adventure into comics, which came in the form of the prequel graphic novel Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero. That, too, was written by Beacham, but its inconsistent artwork doesn't hold a candle to what Marz brings to the table.
It might not be Pacific Rim 2, but Tales From the Drift is off to a great start thanks to some gorgeous artwork and its focus on the dynamic between two wildly different, yet in love, characters. Pacific Rim fans will definitely want to pick this up.