Over the past 2 years, legendary pictures has been attempting to revitalize the Kaiju (a.k.a. giant monster) genre, as well as giving it some much needed exposure to the mainstream audiences of the West. Last year, the GRAND-DADDY of all giant monsters received a make-over and revitalization in the newest reboot of the GODZILLA franchise. While the film was a commercial success, and a second film is ALREADY underway in production, its predecessor has yet to receive any official announcements regarding a sequel.
While Godzilla is the baddest Monster around, its the monster SLAYERS which truly brought interest in the kaiju genre to western shores with 2013’s PACIFIC RIM. Pacific Rim is a post-apocalyptic tale centering around Humanity’s attempts at self preservation whilst under siege by giant extra-dimensional creatures referred to as Kaiju (Japanese for “strange beast”). In their attempts to defeat the kaiju, humanity begins development on the Jaeger Program. Jaegers are giant mech suits designed to engage kaiju, toe-to-toe. And while the film may have left little room for a follow up story or sequel, Talks of prequel stories and a possible ANIME series have been milling about since the film’s initial release.
While a sequel, anime, or t.v. series have yet to come to fruition, a brand new comic mini-series has FINALLY come to the waiting hands of Pacific Rim fans. Tales from the Drift gives waiting fans a new story to sate their appetite. The book is being published DIRECT from legendary, as opposed to licensing it out to Image or IDW. The story focuses on a pair of Jaeger pilots as they are about to engage a newly emerging Kaiju. Their jaeger, tacit Ronin is badly damaged in the fight, and it forces teh two pilots to fall unconscious, and lets their minds flow into the DRIFT.
The Drift is a concept explained in the original film. It is a process, and a state of mind in which two pilots enter a joined consciousness. they synchronize their thoughts and emotions in order to effectively pilot the Jaeger as a team. However, the Drift has a side effect, in which the two pilots end up sharing memories and thoughts with one another, as if they were their OWN memories. this is why most Jaeger teams are usually comprised of siblings, family pairs, or spouses. In the case of tacit Ronin, his pilot’s are Duc and Kaori.
A couple who worked to fight the Kaiju in their own way with their respective countries of Japan and the U.S.. Kaori is a scientist specializing in kaiju (in what regard they do not elaborate as of yet), and Duc is an amputee navy captain who lost his right leg in a battle with the kaiju. The Drift forces the pilots to relive their memories of how they first met as they fall in and out of consciousness. Using the Drift as a story device to elaborate on a character’s past is not something new to the series, but using it as a framing device for an entire story, THAT is a new use for it.
Overall, the framing of the story is set up well, and our initial introductions to these characters is rudimentary at best, but firmly sets up the groundwork for the rest of this series to expand upon. I also enjoy the swapping of art style between Drift visions, and normal reality, it helps give the reader that DREAM STATE effect, which is not necessarily easy to do in comics UNLESS you use another artist. Both art style are commendable, and the original Designs fit well within the Pacific Rim universe.
I am also a fan of Tacit Ronin’s design, for the little of it we get to see in the comic. Overall i am happy to see more media coming out from this franchsie, and I hope this is the beginning of much more. While i eagerly await the promised sequel, or anime series, I am glad to say I have a piece of media i can readily expect within the next month!