Kaijumax: Season Two 6 (November 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #6

Season Two wraps up pitting the two “heroes” of the comic against one another. It’s dramatically successful and (albeit horrifically) exciting as Electrogor defends his kids. Cannon pushes too hard at the end, however, and endangers the nuanced characterizations he’s been doing lately. Worrisome, but otherwise excellent.

CREDITS

Above 9000; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 5 (October 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #5

It’s a decent issue, but it’s unclear if Cannon’s building up a new subplot or if he’s just letting something resolve itself here. And there’s the return of awkward, possibly physiologically impossible romance; it seems lazy. It’s like a talking heads issue in a series without them.

CREDITS

Friends on the Outside; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 4 (September 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #4

Cannon doesn’t offer a breather after a heavy previous issue. He sends Electrogor under the sea into the old gods’ territory (with Cthulhu showing up at the end) and it’s a real downer. I feel like it’s the first time he’s branched into different monster mythologies to this degree in Kaijumax–I mean, Cthulhu’s never been a kaiju (right?). Most of Electrogor’s half of the issue is spent with him feeling terrible, which is sort of his thing, but for really good reason as he meets the residents of this hidden, undersea slum. It’s heartbreaking and horrifying, but not in for any predictable reasons.

At the same time, Chisato the good mecha, gets herself a new partner and has to work vice, which provides Cannon the opportunity to do some mixed size action sequences. It doesn’t necessarily seem heavy, but then Cannon sticks the reader right at the end of the issue. He’s heavy on the “real life, real crime” parallels, which isn’t as successful as just when he sticks to the complicated world of Kaijumax.

Season Two is working out to be far more successful than the previous one, which is no small feat. Between Chisato and her character development–it’s not like the humans in Kaijumax have ever been particularly sympathetic so seeing someone try to be more like them is rather effective; her new partner–the burnout human–is a wonderful contrast, of course.

It’s such a good comic. It’s just brutally downbeat.

CREDITS

The Seamy Underbelly; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 3 (July 2016)

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This issue of Kaijumax might be my favorite. It’s sort of talking heads–the warden faces off with a bureaucrat about how the prison is run–but there’s also a whole subplot for the robot cop. There’s a lot of humanity to the issue and it’s mostly ugly. Even when it’s not entirely ugly, it’s ugly. It’s harsh and depressing and hopefully it’ll be Cannon’s legacy for Kaijumax.

The warden and the bureaucrat grew up as the kids in a Showa-era kaiju movie. They loved their giant monster until something happened. Cannon’s flashback is perfect, down to the maser cannons. Kaijumax’s version of pulling on the heartstrings lately has been to make readers question their sympathies and this issue is no different. Cannon’s got a complex resolution to the bureaucrat and the warden’s conversation, juxtaposed against the odd sadness of the robot cop.

It turns out the robot cop has her human-sized body too and this issue Cannon introduces a lot of her backstory. He also addresses with the brother issues (her brother is Kaijumax’s version of Mecha-Godzilla) and makes some disturbing observations about people (and kaiju movies) with in regards to her upbringing.

Kaijumax takes a serious look at movies never intended to be serious, which is great and relatively important (relatively because how many English-speaking devote kaiju fans are there out there and how many of them read comics). It’s also really depressing.

CREDITS

Old School; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 2 (June 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #2

Kaijumax. For when life isn’t depressing enough, you need to have your favorite Saturday afternoon kaiju make you want to cry. This issue has multiple tragedies, both for good kaiju and bad, good humans and bad. Though it’s hard to have a good human. Even when they seem like they’re all right, they really aren’t. It’s endlessly pessimistic.

Maybe it would help if Electrogor didn’t look like he was always about to cry.

In addition to being depressing, this issue of Kaijumax is also pretty good. Cannon goes down the rabbit hole into some of his “world” details, like the rap battle. The rap battle, while well written, has zero narrative effect. It’s like Cannon wants Kaijumax to be one thing but knows he has to give the reader kaiju action.

The kaiju action here is quite good, with the giant robot good kaiju trying to talk down a mutated bad kaiju. There’s great visual pacing, there’s wide scale destruction, there’s a King Kong ’33 reference. Cannon can do it all.

Kaijumax is a relentless book. It requires steeling oneself before reading–there’s magic and the world is still crap.

CREDITS

Nuclear Hearts; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 1 (May 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #1

Because if there’s one thing Kaijumax needs to be, it’s more depressing. Only this time it’s not prison depressing, it’s out of prison depressing. And Zander Cannon is exploring what it’s like to be a monster on the outside.

This issue has three storylines. First, the Kaijumax escapees holing up with a known associate who’s on parole. Cannon’s got a wonderful amount of detail for these scenes, how a giant monster goes about his or her daily life. Very sad stuff. Apparently Season Two of Kaijumax is going to address the bigotry against giant monsters, which seems slightly problematic. The regular people in Kaijumax are problematically portrayed in general, but in Season Two they’re basically all complete asshats. They abuse the paroled monsters, relishing in humiliating them. Like I said, not a happy book.

Then there’s the giant monster fighting robot whose brother is on Kaijumax and she’s writing him a letter about her human pilot. Cannon tries to do a whole lot as far as introducing new elements (life on the outside, life as a regular kaiju hunter, man or machine) and it’s not always successful. The art helps with a lot, but Cannon’s relying a lot on phrase references to Godzilla movies and so on. It’s just a lot, with characters blathering just to blather and to drop a Godzilla: Final Wars reference.

And that reference is fun and cool, it just doesn’t do anything for the book.

The third storyline is the disgraced prison guard. He has a decent enough scene, not too expository even though someone’s trying to tell him about life, but it doesn’t resonate. Nothing resonates yet. It’s all just histrionics and great art.

CREDITS

Same Ambergris, Different Day; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

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