The Comics Fondle Podcast | Episode 49

We’re a few weeks late but we actually read some good comics, which is always nice.

  • Quick Rant: Comics sales.
  • Floppies: Batman The Damned, Kaijumax vol 4, The Magic Order, Ether The Copper Golems, Black Hammer: Age of Doom, Infinity 8 vol 2, Hey Kids! Comics, Babarella, The Weatherman, Redneck.
  • Trades: The Complete Killer, All My Heroes Have Been Junkies, Criminy.
  • Media: Marvel Netflix, Daredevil, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow.

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Kaijumax 6 (October 2015)

Kaijumax #6

Strange thing about this issue of Kaijumax… Cannon coasts. It’s a good issue and he even reveals an unpleasant reality for Electrogor (in addition to some setup for the Minya stand-in), but it coasts. Cannon’s set up a strong enough comic, he doesn’t always have to excel. In fact, he’s even able to coast past a few things here.

For instance, there’s a big plot development and it’s got a truly bad visualization. One panel from an odd angle to move the plot, then Cannon goes into a–quite good–rap from one of Electrogor’s new buddies. He sets the rap against Electrogor’s flashback, which is problematic, but he gets through it. Even if the flashback is a little rote.

The rap sort of sums up Kaijumax and its self-aware kaiju and their place in the world. Electrogor’s stoner buddy reflects on it in a rather good sequence, the rap coming in and solidifying the idea. Considering this issue is the last of the “season”–the series returning in six months or so–it’s Cannon telling the reader what to expect and declaring his intentions for the comic, maybe for the first time. Before, you had to grok it on your own. Now, Cannon’s telling you his expectations for his readership.

There’s some really good art, in both big and human-sized settings. It’s a good comic. But it’s not an ambitious one. If Cannon really wanted to be ambitious and not pick up pace towards the season finale, he’d have split this issue into two. There’s more than enough story for it.

CREDITS

Into These Forcefields; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax 5 (August 2015)

Kaijumax #5

It’s a thoroughly okay issue, but there’s way too much information about the setting. One of the prison guards gets in a fight while off duty–so think Ultraman fighting a bunch of fighter jets and mecha-whatevers–and the boss shows up and clears things up. During that clearing up, lots of exposition.

And Kaijumax all of a sudden feels like Pacific Rim. Cannon’s been mixing sixties and seventies kaiju movie visuals and silliness with extremely difficult prison stuff. Then he brought in Pacific Rim and he loses his footing.

The slipping continues as Electrogor is in therapy with his shrink (the human woman who’s in love with his assailant). The scene seems too forced, with Cannon going too hard for the emotional devastation for Electrogor.

Minya’s poisoning of Godzilla is similarly problematic. Cannon’s pacing for it (and the issue) is off.

The issue never connects like it should.

CREDITS

The Mega-Monster Battle at Home; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax 4 (July 2015)

Kaijumax #4

Cannon goes the extra step this issue, time and again. By extra step, I mean he distances himself from the gimmick–Monster Island as a prison–and it becomes a prison drama. With all the hard things a prison drama entails.

Sure, there’s the mystery of the kid from Godzilla’s Revenge trying to coax Minya into assassinating Godzilla, but it’s a heavy sequence (full of emotional abuse). It would be the lightest of the four subplots. And there’s a half subplot about one of the Ultraman guards finding he enjoys having the power over the prisoners.

It’s a disturbing comic book.

Cannon’s style, ready for Saturday morning cartoons, along with the wide open vistas of the island (logically, isn’t the island a little small for all the monsters), go against the grit of the story. It just makes the comic all the more affecting.

Kaijumax is rewarding, just difficult reading.

CREDITS

Mutated Out; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax 3 (June 2015)

Kaijumax #3

This issue of Kaijumax is the best so far. Three issues in, Cannon hasn’t really established how the comic reads yet–is it more humans or more monsters, for example. The balance will be worked out eventually. But not yet.

So this issue being the best so far can be something extremely fresh. And it is. It’s Mecha-Godzilla becoming a pacifist and arguing with his father (a human inventor) and older sister (a humanoid giant robot–well, shrunk down this issue) about his past mistakes during a prison visit. And then, lo and behold, the Godzilla stand-in (at least for the Mecha-Godzilla’s story) appears.

Meanwhile, the human guards are on an illegal mission to find a monster and have some crises, physical and emotional. It’s cool stuff from Cannon.

In addition to the great plotting, there are great kaiju movie references in the issue. It’s all fantastic.

CREDITS

No Such Thing as a Halfway Monsta; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax 2 (May 2015)

Kaijumax #2

Kaijumax is something else. It’s so uncomfortable. This issue’s entirely about the corrupt prison guards exploiting the prisoners. Oh, and there’s something with the giant goat monster being in tune with the mountains. It’s unclear where it’s going to go. And there’s a little with the protagonist kaiju bonding with one of the okay prison guards.

But it’s mostly just the bad Ultraman guy shaking down prisoners and abusing them, all while the humans joke about sending them to extinction. And Cannon’s art is so jovial and friendly, it makes Kaijumax such an uncomfortable read.

Cannon’s almost entirely past the “Monster Island as a prison” gimmick just because the evil acts of the humans does so much to, well, humanize the monsters. They’re not just caricatures, the personalities he’s giving them are rather affecting.

The issue doesn’t have much of an ending, which would be nice. It’s still real good.

CREDITS

Ten Thousands Years to Life; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

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