Joe’s love of bright colours, giant monsters crushing cities & prison dramas found an exciting niche in the form of “Kaijumax”.
Have you ever bought something just for a lark, not really having a concrete reason to justify the spending other than a strange voice assuring you that you should spend your clams like you’re somehow in the knowledge that this is your last day on earth?
I have. And usually that turns out about as well as you’d expect. A surplus of films you’ll never watch, and a sweet handbag that gets ruined on its first use because *somebody* can’t balance their drink. Sometimes though, it all works out. And in this instance, when I picked up Kaijumax, I was pleasantly surprised that not only was this a severely nice looking book, there was also a fair amount of substance within the story. What I had initially bought on a whim, turned out to be a worthwhile pursuit.
And why, then? Namely, the juxtaposition of Cannon’s sometimes ‘cutesy’/sometimes deeply intricate art with the harshness of the prison drama narrative that unfolds throughout season 1. Believe me, there are certain moments in this book that throw you completely to the wolves, perhaps it’s because the artstyle lures you in with promises of a light tale, that the gut-punches this narrative pulls hurt so much.
Centering on newly incarcerated Kaiju, Electrogor, Kaijumax sees he/she/its (doesn’t matter) journey through the apparently corrupt system. Replete with many zany side characters and the expected shifty guard, Kaijumax confidently builds its universe within a few pages, and keeps you rooted there for the rest of the reading experience (there’s even a map of the prison towards the back of the trade paperback). There are moments of weighty character building here, from the guards (a young upstart human guard who develops something like PTSD after accidentally killing a Lizza – the shorthand for these types of monsters – particularly riveting in places) to the Kaiju themselves, a favorite of mine being the Mechagodzilla cipher “Mecha-Zon”; free’d of all violence and the apparent leader of a Cloud (digital) worshipping cult of other likeminded Mech creatures. Electrogor is very much our ‘in’ to this universe however, and we are wrapped up in its story almost immediately, which itself takes some extremely dark turns, from being separated from its children, to a particularly nasty scene in the showers (waterfalls in this instance). Backing this up are complex side characters that – in lesser hands – could have been relegated to just that, side characters, but in Cannon’s hands they feel well rounded, with their own foibles and quirks that make the entire book extremely memorable, and definitely make it a title to watch going forward.
I won’t spoil any plot points, purely because the experience of discovering this tale is made on the emotional curveballs it throws at you. However, I will say that by the conclusion of season 1, my appetite had been more than whetted, in fact, I feel the pull for searching for Electrogor toys and so on as I find myself so invested in the world already.
If you like giant monsters, prison dramas and sadisticly dark events then you’d do well to add Kaijumax to your collection.
Now, where’s season 2?
Check out Zander Cannon’s blog for up to date “Kaijumax” information.