"Kaijumax #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Oni Press
Written and Illustrated by Zander Cannon
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 8th, 2015
You know what shows like Oz or Orange is the New Black are missing? Giant friggin' monsters. I think we can all agree that prison shows would be a helluva lot more interesting if the inmates were hulking beasts capable of terrorizing Tokyo. That's basically the premise behind Zander Cannon's Kaijumax. The title comes from an island jail where the worst monsters in the world are kept safely away from humanity.
Cannon delivers on this concept completely. There are cliques inside Kaijumax, each made up of different types of monsters, like little mobs. The weirdest sect has to be the robots. Instead of pumping iron, they lift skyscrapers or big boats. They run on treadmills with cars and other debris covering them. In lieu of cells, the inmates stay in craters. The human guards can grow to a massive size to handle any uprising. The hole is literally a big hole in the ground. While there's a lot to enjoy with this idea, there's not much behind it yet. The bulk of this issue is mainly focused on introducing the prison and how crazy and silly the layout is.
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The main character is a new fish named Electrogor, a misunderstood monster who is concerned with his children that were left behind. The warden wants to capture the kids too. This is something I don't understand because they make it a point that one of the monsters is getting released from the prison, so why would the warden want to nab a few child monsters that haven't done anything? If Kaijumax is a way to contain all monsters and keep them away from humans, wouldn't you just grab all of them and never let anyone leave?
The sheer amount of monsters in this comic is amazing. Cannon delivers a large variety of beasts. No two look alike. There aren't any “token” kaiju either. These are all unique creations. Godzilla and Mothra aren't there. Some giant or mutated versions of regular animals show up, such as a winged turtle or a humpback whale that walks on four legs. My favorite is probably the vampire / demon looking one that comes in on the boat with Electrogor. He's got a top hat on, so that makes him instantly classy. I'm most creeped out by the weird Teletubby-like one with the clock in its stomach lifting weights at the gym. That thing just looks disturbing.
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Cannon also provided a pretty fun cover for this issue that plays with the whole prison idea. There's a monster in the foreground with a tear drop tattoo and a bandana. The word “RAR” is tattooed on its fingers in the classic love / hate style. Bryan Lee O'Malley provided a variant cover that is absolutely adorable. It's well worth checking out.
Kaijumax puts a unique and fun spin on the prison genre by adding giant monsters. Electrogar's story is heartwrenching. He's going to have to toughen up fast if he hopes to survive behind bars and get back to his kids. If Cannon follows the next phase of your typical prison story, the monster will insult the cook or try to dig a tunnel out of here like Steve McQueen.