Kaijumax: Season One (#1 – 6) – Zander Cannon

3 out of 5

Kaijumax is a great concept – and kudos to Cannon for not just riding on that concept but trying to dig in and expand on itbut its first “season” lacks a central focus, even though it’s clearly meant to be sympathetic Kaiju Electrogor, and while the slightly uneasy tone of cartoonish monsters impregnating each other and doing drugs will probably, eventually, pay off in rewarding plotting dividends, it is indeed a tough sell at first, and thus moreso affected by that wandering focus.

Kaiju in prison.  That’s the pitch.  As Cannon remarks in the letters pages, the series is meant to capture all those wonderful cliches from classic kaiju flicks and prison dramas; with Oni’s bright printing and Cannon’s choice to go all bold primary with the colors, applied to his bubbly, expressive character types, the book is equally a mash-up of silly and serious, interjecting Ultraman prison guards and variations on techno monsters and cryptids into a world that seeks to eliminate “cloakers” and “mons” – thus treating them with hostility, as a lower class – and where said monsters can escape the drudgery of prison life by joining up with other crews, or getting high on electricity or smokestacks or uranium.  While you trust Cannon’s vision for a guidance of the main characters, it’s also clear the exact level of world-building is in flux: Cannon has fun dropping new slang into each issue, but maintains in the backmatter that he’s not trying to get too into the nitty gritty, keeping it dialed into his featured players instead.  So it’s a weird push and pull where the Kaijumax universe is defined by all of these unseen factors tossed in by Zander’s whim, making it difficult to settle into a “flow” for the issues.  Again, this will more than likely smooth out over subsequent seasons, but the edges are a bit rough on this first outing.

Kaijumax is an undeniably fun idea, and Cannon’s clear appreciation for the source genres enriches the series and characters a lot more than could be expected.  But the “borders” of the world feel in flux and blurry, our creator clearly excited to introduce different aspects of his story when the first arc might be better served by more directly anchoring us to our entrypoint into the prison, Electrogor, and his quest to get back to his family.