Great Pacific #2: Garbage In, Monsters Out

Chas Worthington is about to discover unexpected perils of trying to terraform an island made of trash.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Great Pacific #2

Great Pacific has an interesting premise – we've all heard about that disgusting accumulation of trash that's formed a huge mass in the middle of the ocean. It's even called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or the Pacific Trash Vortex. While it may differ in reality from our mental picture of it as a floating junk island, this Image book from Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo is going with the latter when telling their tale of a whiz kid who embezzles from the company that is his birthright in order to claim and terraform the Patch.

And he's calling it New Texas. Great Pacific #2 opens with the discussion of whether or not that's an insult or an homage. Chas Worthington faked his death, made off with a lot of money, and is now trying to form an indepdendent country on Crapheap Isle. Sure, it's free-floating with no moorings and only gains shape from being in the midst of a swirl of circular currents called a gyre, but that's solid enough for him. Hell, it's solid enough to have hills to traverse and to build shelters upon. It's twice the size of actual Old Texas.

However, up until now, Chas has been fairly cocksure about his big pioneering idea about taking over a man-made continent, complete with super-expensive ways to turn salt water into fresh, but he IS in the middle of the ocean. An ocean full of creatures strong enough to poke holes in this little island anti-paradise. All the high-minded civic engineering may not mean squat when you're sucked underwater by a tentacled beast – and that's not even to mention the fact that it's possible some people have beaten him to the punch. The best laid plans and all.

Harris' story is quite intriguing, combining the hardships of a burgeoning civilization with industrial espionage and sea monsters. Morazzo's art is the only thing really holding it back, although one must imagine having to draw an entire landscape made up of tiny chunks of plastic trash might make an illustrator go mad. The creatures and backgrounds are solid, it's just that his human faces often look like he's trying to be Steve Dillon and not quite getting there, giving an unfortunately unpleasant look to a lot of the goings-on.

Still, Great Pacific has enough great ideas in it that I'm on board to see where it goes. Something about the pioneer spirit is engaging, even if it's a mess of complications and nastiness on a trash heap instead of braving the wild west. To be fair, it was a mess of complications and nastiness back then, too – and we're about to see all that echoed in this series. Should be compelling reading.