Welcome to The Pull List, a weekly column where we check out a first issue of a new series and tell you whether or not to follow the comic based only on that. In Kaijumax, humanity is rounding up all kaiju in a penitentiary patrolled by Ultramen, and the newest inmate is an electro-lizard with a family on the outside.
I was going to tell you not to be fooled by Kaijumax‘s cute exterior… but yeah, it actually is pretty darned cute, but it also manages to be smart, affecting, and visually satisfying to those who can’t get enough of ten-story chimerae, squaring off with spandex robots. Of which Kaijumax has plenty.
The newest title from Oni Press is aware of all the tropes surrounding kaiju as a metaphor for man’s hubris and self-destructo-blah blah blah; it isn’t out to reinvent the wheel or anything, it’s come to kick ass and draw cryptids, dinosaurs, and robosaurs until it passes out, and it does that extremely well. One of the highlights of the comic is the glee with which creator Zander Cannon lets his inner child go to work creating as many of the colorful beasties as he can, doing as many ridiculous things as he can. One of my favorites is a top-heavy mothman decked out with ink on his rippling biceps/ghostly wings–the designs often strike such a good balance between humanizingly cutesy and awesomely monstrous.
Seeing as how it’s a prison, of course you’ve got your kaiju gangs (the cryps, the tokusatsu, etc), you’ve got whale-gorillas pumping iron (two skyscrapers connected by a metal beam), you’ve got shanks made from ship-hulls and the older gents playing checkers with red and black automobiles for game pieces. And if the inmates get unruly, the Ultramen guards are ready to throw down with extreme prejudice.
The newly incarcerated Electrogor, a radioactive bug-tyrannosaurus with puppy eyes and toxic spittle, wants nothing more than to return to his family while they’re still free to roam, but first he must navigate between the in-fighting of the kaiju gangs and the tyrannical warden Kang.
While the premise of man as monster and kaiju as hapless creature isn’t anything new, the charm of both the art and the writing carry the new series very nicely, making this a great title to pick up if you can’t wait for more Pacific Rim, or if you’re looking for something lighthearted, yet not entirely fluffy.