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Great Pacific #1 (Image)

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A young man tries to use his science skills and his inheritance to try to solve the problem of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in this teen adventure series' debut.

 

 

36 pgs., fullcolor; $2.99
(W: Joe Harris; A: Martin Morazzo)
 
Poor Chas Worthington—heir to a great fortune, he’s actually expected to tend to it, and even add to it, rather than spending his life as an idle playboy having exotic adventures around the world. You may wish you had such problems, but his fortune can’t shield Chas from feeling the pressure to make something out of his life. Because that’s a feeling most people can identify with, it’s an effective hook for the new comic series Great Pacific. Judging from issue #1, this comic will deliver both a coming-of-age story and an environmental message—the title refers to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is referenced in the opening and closing frames of this issue.  
 
After a brilliant and somewhat surreal opening sequence, we meet a 14-year-old Chas hunting with the Masai—he’s a very earnest young man, and values their ability to live in harmony with their environment. Duty calls, however, and he’s whisked off to the so-called “real world” of boardrooms and oil rigs. Jumping ahead a few years, Chas has decided that his calling in life is to develop a way to clean up the environment and make a profit at the same time, thus fulfilling his childhood ideals while also meeting his inherited obligation to make money. His first invention, a technology to vaporize oil spilled in the ocean, does not operate as planned, but you know he’s going to keep trying.
 
The exposition in this first issue is brisk, and a number of characters are introduced, including Chas’ Uncle Ted, who encourages him while also warning him (extremely nonspecifically) about dangers he will face in his environmental mission, and Alex, a young man of about Chas’ age who seems to be a combination personal assistant and paid companion. There’s no lack of action, either, and the various story elements finally come together by the conclusion of the first issue, with a nice setup for the next issue.
 
Great Pacific seems to be aimed at children and young adolescents—the combination of boy hero, science facts (“The United Nations estimates that each square mile of the earth’s oceans contains over 50,000 pieces of plastic debris”), the somewhat naïve narrative voice (introducing the Masai, “This proud people has lived in harmony with their environment since they’ve recorded history“) and the opening issue’s emphasis on exposition rather than character suggests a target audience around the age of the hero when we first meet him (14). That’s not a bad thing—I’m all for getting young people excited about science, and an adventure story about a young man who aims to solve environmental problems while also working out his daddy issues might be just the ticket—but any adults who pick up this series will probably be disappointed in it for the reasons outlined above.
 

The artist, Martin Morazzo, is at his best when drawing landscape scenes in which the humans figure work as design elements rather than individuated people—his early scenes of the Masai are brilliant, as are the opening frames that zoom in on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; the latter promise a mixture of science and science fiction along with the coming-of-age story sketched out in this issue. Morazzo’s characterizations of people in close-up are OK, but feel a bit unfinished, while his illustrations for the supposedly real science part of the story (e.g., the part where the device to clean up oil spills is tested) is simplistic and disappointing. You can see a preview of Great Pacific #1 right here at PLAYBACK:stl: http://playbackstl.com/previews/11877-image-comics-111412--letting-loose-the-dogs-of-war. | Sarah Boslaugh

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