3 out of 5
This is on me. I can tell, from the way this final season was written, that I missed much – or that I wasn’t reading this series the right way – and that caused me to not connect with this concluding arc very much. I do think some of my criticism stands aside from that, but there are some signs – things I suspected earlier on, to be fair, but I was able to ignore – that if I’d approached Kaijumax differently, I would’ve gotten more of an emotional zing from this ending.
Mainly: I was never able to view this as not being about Electrogor. The kaiju was our POV for the first series, and has always been in our sights to a degree, but as things went along and Cannon started to explore the larger workings of the prison and beyond, he came just one plot thread amongst many; arguably of less weight in some regards. His role is strong in season six, and he’s here as a narrator, but, being a concluding arc, that was more done as an anchor – one criticism that could still apply, regardless of my mis-approach, and is admittedly typical of wrap-ups, is that we were ping-ponging around a lot, and that added to my dissonance: the sense that there’s supposed to be one major story happening here – a war – and we’re meanwhile doing plot cleanup. That’s also related to my other still-valid criticism, which is that the art had to follow this zippy pacing, which meant that some big scenes were minused some visual cues to help connect panels. I sometimes lost myself in the choreography or the exact beats of conversation for which I think Cannon was aiming, and to me, that was a consequence of needing to move through a lot in the set-in-stone 6-issue format.
Secondly on the list of me-faults, though, and stemming off from my Electrogor focus, is that I allowed myself to consider the guards as completely secondary; when they were given storylines, I viewed them through the narrow lens of antagonists, when Cannon was trying to flesh them out as much as the kaiju. I was able to still not pay them as much mind because the arcs were actually fairly isolated, so I only needed to know what was happening arc to arc, and I enjoyed that; season six definitely requires memory of past events, though, and since I haven’t been doing my diligence of keeping the human characters straight, those parts of the issues didn’t click.
While I truly believe these things will be fixed with a reread, and I can / will revisit this review at that point, it’s also worthwhile (to me, in this isolated world in which I feel compelled to write these reviews) to capture how I’m feeling on this initial readthrough. After all, perhaps there’s something to the DNA of the book that sent me off on the wrong reading avenue, and that’s something else to consider when I go back through it.
Now having lumped all of my qualifications onto the front of this thing, I’ve hidden the positives, because of course there are positives. Season Six was still fun. Maybe I felt lost with its finer points – or, uh, some of the big ones, like the alien invasion that requires bringing kaiju prisoners into the battle and allows for all of the big reveals and character clashes, i.e. the main gist of the season, felt like it came out of nowhere to me, so clearly I’m an idiot – but there were plenty of isolated interactions that still worked gangbusters. Electrogor got some family resolution that was really well effected, and the Whoofy / ghost kid bit was predictable, but I liked how Whoofy was written – it ended up bringing weight to things, despite its predictability. Some time travel stuff felt a bit rushed, but, again, isolating it in terms of the character work, it was also strong. And overall the artwork and energy and designs are perpetually a blast. There was never a sense that there wasn’t heart and effort put into every page, whether or not I was following what was happening. And the last page worked perfectly – I hope Zander had that planned out for a while.
If, when getting to the end of a series, I want to reread it, I always see that as a good sign. Maybe I just want to reread it to confirm my confusion or criticisms, but that means the creators did something beyond the norm to make reevaluation, to whatever degree, seem intriguing. And Kaijumax goes a step beyond that: I’m really looking forward to rereading it, and as soon as possible. And even if I wind up with the same opinion, the trek has never not been entertaining, meaning I have faith that further rereads will be in my future as well.