by Zander Cannon
After the movie Pacific Rim made an impact at theaters, the term “kaiju” has made its way into the American lexicon. Kaiju have never been more popular than now; various stories about giant monsters wreaking havoc in cities all across the Earth. Kaijumax is a new series from Oni Press that takes a look at a life where humans finally rise up against these giant monsters and places them in monster jail.
Now when speak of monster jail, it’s really just a deserted island for giant monsters to go where humans use their latest technological efforts to keep the kaiju imprisoned and away from the rest of human society. Think of Kaijumax as equal parts Godzilla, Pokémon, and HBO’s OZ all rolled into one outlandish series. Zander Cannon has always thought outside the box when it comes to his creator-owned works and Kaijumax carries on that tradition that most people may remember from his previous book, Heck. Kaijumax follows a new kaiju inmate, Electrogor, being brought to the island after being captured while out looking for food to feed his kids. This was a well written and fun issue to jump into Kaijumax, that keeps your attention and will bring you back for more.
Drawing a book where the majority of characters are an assortment of giant monsters can be an artist’s dream job or their worst nightmare. Cannon who also handles the art in Kaijumax seems like he enjoys showcasing all sorts of creatures in this first issue alone. Zander uses a playful art style with incredibly bright color palette which makes Kaijumax incredibly stunning to look at. Cannon shows all types of kaiju cliques on the prison island, with a standout being the born-again religious robot monsters. There are even some hilarious moments, like the prison weight room where you can bench-press skyscrapers, that play off the absurdity of Kaijumax‘s premise.
Kaijumax‘s debut was a ton of fun that didn’t take itself too seriously. Yet, Zander Cannon can take such a goofy concept and make it both serious and silly. As a reader you find yourself relating more to the monsters rather than the human characters. Kaijumax is a prime example of how imaginative and entertaining the comics medium can be in the hands of the right creators, or in this case, creator.