Last year, Netflix released Pacific Rim: The Black, an original anime series that expanded the world of Pacific Rim films. It focused on a pair of siblings who find an abandoned Jaeger and fight against the Kaiju that have overrun Australia. With a second season set to premiere later this year, Legendary Comics has released a graphic novel titled Pacific Rim: Blackout, which takes place before the events of The Black and spotlights a character from the first film, Herc Hansen (played by Max Martini). I spoke with Blackout writer Cavan Scott (Star Wars: The High Republic, Shadow Service) and artist Nelson Dániel (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) about the genesis of the graphic novel and what drew them to the Pacific Rim universe.
BUT WHY THO: Were you a fan of the original Pacific Rim movie?
Cavan Scott: Absolutely. I’ve been a fan of both giant monsters and giant robots since I was a kid, obsessed with Godzilla and Transformers, so the combination of both by one of my favorite directors…well, it was a forgone conclusion that I’d fall in love with the film.
Nelson Dániel: Probably much more than a fan, absolutely. Del Toro is one of my favorite directors; when he announced Pacific Rim, my head just exploded. I could imagine it before I saw any still, and then when I finally saw it, I think my head exploded again, and I jumped out of the cinema seat every time that a Jaeger or a Kaiju appeared on the screen, 100% fan!
BUT WHY THO: Mr. Scott, what drew you to write a Pacific Rim graphic novel?
Cavan Scott: Blackout is my third Pacific Rim project, after Pacific Rim: Aftermath and Pacific Rim: Amara, both of which tied into the 2018 sequel. Legendary Comic’s Robert Napton knew what a big Pacific Rim fan I was, so he came to me with the idea of writing a mini-series that linked the original movie to the follow-up. I had a blast working on that series, so I jumped at the chance of returning to the world when Robert asked me if I’d like to return for this graphic novel. Like Aftermath, Blackout leans heavily into the links between the new stories and the original movie.
BUT WHY THO: Mr. Daniel, what was your favorite Jaeger and Kaiju to design, respectively?
Nelson Dániel: Cherno Alpha is my favorite Jaeger by far. It would probably be the least dynamic/agile/fast of the bunch but the most amazing vintage/old-school design of all; I really love it. It is difficult to choose just one Kaiju. They all seem amazing in their designs, and the truth is that I like them all for different reasons. If I have to choose one, Knifehead would head the list, but very close to him, I would say it would be Slattern… and Otachi… and Raijin.
BUT WHY THO: What would you say was the best thing about creating this graphic novel?
Cavan Scott: Working with Nelson! He’s a complete joy to collaborate with and pours all of his energy into the pages, which shows in every battle as well as the more heartfelt moments.
Nelson Dániel: For me to be part of the Pacific Rim universe, to expand it, to contribute with some designs of Kaijus and Jaegers, but basically to be able to enter this large-scale universe. And, of course, I really enjoy drawing battles and buildings being destroyed in the middle of these combats; that is the better pay for being part of this team.
BUT WHY THO: What made Herc Hansen the best choice for a protagonist?
Cavan Scott: Who doesn’t love Herc? For me, he’s one of the standout characters of the first movie, and I always wanted to know what happened next in his story. When we meet Herc in this story, he’s struggling with a lot of survivor’s guilt. Over the course of his career, he’s lost his son, his commander, and his friends, but he’s still here in a world where the Kaiju just keep coming. Now, he’s faced with an impossible dilemma. Can he abandon an entire continent to the monsters that have plagued his entire world—and his life—for so long?
Nelson Dániel: He should have three more films, at least, as the protagonist, along with Mako, for me the most important characters in the saga. Herc is a classic hero. He is endearing from the beginning, determined, a natural leader. I find it hard to think of someone else with such capabilities.
BUT WHY THO: This graphic novel takes place before the events of Pacific Rim: The Black. What was the most interesting thing about shaping the story prior to the series?
Cavan Scott: I loved working with showrunner Greg Johnson and the team as they were crafting the series to make sure that everything lined up as closely as possible. The care and love Greg displayed for Pacific Rim was an inspiration, and he always knew when to ask the right questions to poke my story and make it better!
BUT WHY THO: Why should Pacific Rim fans pick up this book?
Cavan Scott: Because it’s Pacific Rim through and through. Monstrous Kaiju, kiss-ass Jaegers, competing pilots, heart-stopping action, and heartbreaking choices. That apocalypse won’t cancel itself! Dive in!
Nelson Dániel: Because it has everything a Pacific Rim book needs, of course, Jaegers and Kaijus, big explosive battles, great new and classic characters, and a wonderful new story. There are more than 100 pages of all this, together, scrambled, charged with energy, and put back in its place. It is a book that breaks new ground in Pacific Rim. It is an invitation to let go and enjoy everything epic in this wonderful universe.
Pacific Rim: Blackout is currently available wherever comics are sold. Season 1 of Pacific Rim: The Black is currently available to stream on Netflix.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.