There is a lot of stuff I hate. I’m old. I’m cranky. I’m jealous and bitter about half the garbage I see getting published these days. But one of the things I hate more than anything is to be preached to under the guise of entertainment. Don’t use popular songs to tell me about abused animals who need my money, don’t pretend that the movie with all the robots is about apartheid, and don’t throw environmental hoohah into my comic books. So, when I saw Great Pacific sitting on the new book counter when I walked into my comic shop last Wednesday, and I saw that it was about the Great Pacific Gyre, I was expecting a bunch of preachy, tree hugging, Oh-God-won’t-someone-think-of-the-children babble. Then, I opened it, and four panels into page one there is a two headed seagull! Instant sale, dear readers, instant sale. I mean, what could be better than a two headed bird?
All joking aside, this book really isn’t what it looks like on the surface. The story of wealthy oil heir, Chas Worthington, who fakes his own death in order to conquer the Great Pacific Gyre, a miles long floating trash heap in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in order to claim it as his own country and make an impact on this world, it starts out as a preachy book, yes. This first issue has a lot of eco-nonsense, and soap boxing. Twenty-one-year-old Chas, bored and fed up with the empty capitalism of corporate American, believes that modeling himself after J.P. Morgan and Rockefeller, business leaders who made fortunes by solving the great problems of the world, or so young Chas sees it. Using his wealth and extraordinary cleverness to create new technologies meant to clean up the environment, in particular the mess made by oil and petroleum products, the young heir is seen as a nuisance and general thorn in the side of the board members of Worthington Corp, and his works are sabotaged, misaligned and dismissed as part of their determination to remove him from any control over their money making industry. With nowhere else to go and nothing else to do, the young billionaire begins an undertaking that begins with his own faked death and lands him atop the Texas sized island of junk… The question is, is he alone on this strange island?
Put out by Image Comics, Great Pacific is written by Joe Harris, writer for DC’s The Fury of Firestorm and screenwriter for Sony Picture’s 2003 horror film Darkness Falls, the script is nicely done. Like I said before, there did tend to be a bit of soap boxy “They’re killing your trees, people” lecture, but for the most part, it mainly just the story of this young man who desperately wants to do something meaningful. Dialogs are quick and natural sounding, with little unnecessary exposition, and the characters have unique voices. There’s lot of information that has to be told before we understand the tone and topic of the story, but it doesn’t weigh down the story. Things move forward quickly, even the scenes one would expect to be boring, like the boardroom scenes keep up a rapid enough pace that we’re kept interested but not overwhelmed by information. Coupled with nice clean art by Martin Morazzo, the book looks good, reads good, and to be honest is really just plain good. I don’t know that it can sustain itself, but if it can, it’s bound to be an exciting story.
Would I reccomend Great Pacific? Well, not to any of my rabid superhero readers because there is no tights, no capes and no super powers here. But, this is LA, there’s bound to be some comic book loving eco warriors out there, don’t you think?
Writer: Joe Harris
Art and Colors: Martin Morazzo