Creator/Writer/Art/Color: Zandor Cannon
Oni Press has a reputation for putting out some exceedingly clever out of the box titles including Scott Pilgrim, Princess Ugg, Sixth Gun and many more. Before this series they started the title Hellbreak, which I also love. Yessir, the publisher definitely puts out a good chunk of hits, with Kaijumax being no exception. Zander Cannon has done his share of out of the box series himself, with his name on a whole mess of titles such as Top 10, Replacement God, and Double Barrel. His style of taking somewhat familiar images and writing them in an unexpected way or giving them a whole new look made his totally creator owned work even more tempting. So tempting in fact, that I bought it.
Alright so Kaijumax is an island set up to imprison giant monsters. Whether they are of the Earth, nuclear creations, aliens, mecha, or scientific experiments, this island can and will detain them. The most recent round of prisoners coming in includes Electrogar, a large orange mixture of an insect and a t-rex. Electrogar quickly discovers that the prison is a horrible place with horrible precautions in place should the monsters act out. Worse than that though, Electrogar's two children are alone, and don't know how to take care for themselves. Understanding the situation, Electrogar doesn't try to escape the island, but he does try to get some help for his kids. However, even with some help, a powerful gargantuan monster can only get pushed so far.
Cannon gives the monsters in this book each a distinct personality. Some come off as stereotyped criminals while others show fright or even comfort. Some don't even need to really say anything at all! They just look how they are feeling or find some way to emote what is going on. I never thought I could feel for city destroying monsters but here we are, with dialogue that Cannon uses to give the readers so many feels. Especially when it comes to Electrogar's paternal instinct, which hits pretty darn close to home. Cannon also sets up the force keeping them on the island in an intimidating but fun way. He also lays the groundwork to set a dynamic between the different types of kaiju.
Cannon has an art style that is totally his own and totally awesome. While the island is a lush landscape the monsters range from goofy to creepy (and everything in between), with both ends of that spectrum accented by a vibrant color scheme. Many of the monsters are derived from various kaiju creatures familiar to the media, as are the warden and officers on the island, each of which having a somewhat Power Ranger/Yatterman look. Every panel is busy with creatures doing various actions and each one is fun to experience while showing what these characters can do.
Oni Press has worked with Zander Cannon to present a terrific and original take on giant monsters. The monsters themselves are peculiar creatures that immediately grow attachment with the reader and the enforcement crew on the island is "protecting the world" while still giving a large feeling of antagonism. The fate of Electrogar is unknown, but I know for sure that it will be written professonally and look amazing. Kaijumax was released on 4/8 and costs $3.99. Get it while you can, it was a relatively low print run and word of it's excellence is going to catch fast.