Zander Cannon’s Kaijumax is back for a new season.
The first season of Kaijumax pleasantly surprised me. I’d heard good things about it but I didn’t get around to reading it until we started Comics Corner, and it ended up being so much more than I expected. It featured a fully-realized world populated with characters that weren’t just familiar to fans of tokusatsu or prison dramas, the two genres it blends very well, but who resembled real people, albeit sixty meters tall.
Season Two continues this trend as it picks up not to soon after Season One’s big cliffhanger ending, when Electrogor and Green Humongo escaped the Kaijumax prison. We re-unite with our heroes as they meet up with Green Humongo’s brother, Red Humongo, on the outside. The problem is, Red is on parole and the last thing he needs is his deadbeat fugitive brother bringing more trouble into his life.
Red Humongo’s life is the focus of half of this issue as we follow him to work and get our first look at what life is like for a “free” kaiju. Red’s story neatly illustrates Kaijumax‘s greatest strength, which is Zander Cannon’s ability to apply real-world issues to this brightly colored kaiju-ified universe.
When we first meet Red, he’s on the phone with his human boss and using a noticeably slower, dumbed-down speech pattern than we’ve seen in the book. When his brother and Electrogor drop by, Red switches to the reference-filled kaiju slang we’re used to. The rest of his day is filled with this tension, with the struggle to hide who he is and endure bullying from his human co-workers just to build a life for himself.
A comic about giant monsters is the absolute late place I’d expect to see code-switching, but here we are. In the issue’s other story, we’re introduced to MechaZon’s sister Chisato, and we follow her day as a member of the police force. Through her eyes, sometimes literally, and her interactions with her human partner we get a taste of internalized oppression. Red Humongo and Chisato give readers a look at how hard free kaiju and mecha have to fight and how much they have to compromise to survive, and I can’t help but empathize as I disagree with them.
Kaijumax surprised me the first time around by being a gritty union of Oz and Destroy All Monsters, and it’s surprising me again by expanding the world beyond the prison and illustrating some weighty real-life social issues. You’d think I’d know better by know, but that’s the thing about Kaijumax. Cannon’s vibrant, cartoonish art-style disarms the reader before dragging them through an emotional gauntlet.
Now that Season Two is underway, I both eagerly await and dread where this book goes next.
Readers can purchase Kaijumax: Season One in trade paperback format from your local comic book shop or through Amazon.