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Comic Review: GREAT PACIFIC #15 – Nuclear DEADWOOD

Out in the muck of a futuristic trash pile, writer Joe Harris and artist Martin Morazzo have found Deadwood. I don’t mean the two have stolen from that great show, but that Great Pacific shares a lot in common with it: the intrigues, the bloody politics, the easy violence. This issue, our heroes learn the difference between a clever man and a cunning man.

If you’re not familiar with the series, it involves the state of New Texas, founded on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A potentially toxic wasteland, converted by its founder and leader Chas Worthington into a thriving community. It’s also one that’s a target for any number of other governments and killers out to get a slice of what Chas has cobbled together.

This issue sees one such party, the wall of a man named Baston Duvalier, entering New Texas with the offer to hunt on its grounds. First off, if anyone speaks so passionately and, well, thoroughly, about hunting, you might not want to trust them. If they look like Vandal Savage, then make sure you don’t have your back to them. Duvalier is there for his own purposes – he’s got a connection to the Garbage Patch and the nukes guarded by child soldier Little Chief and her tribe, and we learn he’s not the kind of man who can be stopped.

Speaking of Little Chief – I’m definitely intrigued by this character at the outskirts of the story (see, here I am wanting to hit the back issues). Is she actually a child or just like some kind of fierce little woman? For that matter, how are she and her tribe surviving on what is clearly a pile of radioactive waste (at least the two-headed pelicans are thriving).

The whole world seems worth exploration, thanks in no small part to Martin Morazzo’s art. When it comes to the character designs, his work is like a curious mix of Moebius and Peter Chung – all lanky limbs and lively faces. Baston, in particular is beastly, but not cartoonishly so. Then there’s the fine, detailed line work for the backgrounds and scenes that put me in mind of Geoff Darrow and you have a book that’s very easy on the eyes.

If it sounds like I’m heaping a lot of praise on a book that I didn’t set eyes on until this week – it’s just that good. Between Chas’ attempts to negotiate the status of the nukes and his interactions with bestie/confidante Alex and whatever Zoe is to him, I was hooked. I mentioned Deadwood because like that show, Harris and Marazzo have created a dense space to tell a story about sharply-drawn characters. That I could get a sense of them over a year into the book’s run is a testament to both artist and writer’s work.

Oh, and if Chas is half as smart as he seems here, I’m betting Duvalier is going to learn really quickly that you don’t mess with New Texas.

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