Review: Kaijumax Season 2: The Seamy Underbelly – Zander Cannon
by Zander Cannon
Series: Kaijumax #2
Also in this series: Kaijumax Vol. 1
Publisher: Oni Press
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Genres: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
As bad as things get in KAIJUMAX prison, the outside world can be a whole lot worse! Kaiju fugitives, parolees, thieves, drug addicts, and those who have simply fallen through the cracks are left to fend for themselves against a planet that doesn’t want them. Follow Electrogor as he makes his way across the Pacific rim to his home where -- he hopes -- his children await him. See the tense reunion of the Humongo Brothers! Smell the hopeless Lovecraftian addicts in the undersea Kraken house! Ride along with new Police Team G.R.E.A.T. robotic cop Chisato! Don’t miss Season Two of the critically-acclaimed, Eisner-Nominated satire KAIJUMAX from award-winning cartoonist Zander Cannon!
Trigger warnings: abuse, panic attacks
I picked up season one of Kaijumax without knowing what I was getting into. I wasn’t expecting a hard-hitting, dark allegory about Japanese movie monsters in prison, but by the time I’d finished the book, I was sold and so ready for the next one. Season 2 delivers, and more. While Season 1 took place mostly inside the Kaijumax prison, Season 2 is about the world outside. It follows Electrogor and the Green Humongo who’ve escaped from Kaijumax and are on the run, and also Chisato, Mechazon’s robot sister, who’s joined the police force who hunt down Kaiju.
We already know life inside Kaijumax is hard for a Kaiju, but it’s not much better outside. The Green Humongo reunites with his brother, the Red Humongo, who’s out on parole and trying to stay straight. While Electrogor is only interested in getting back to his kids, the Green Humongo is itching to get back to his pre-prison life.
It’s still social commentary, a little more blatant than last time, but I enjoyed delving deeper into the characters’ backgrounds. The story lines this time reflect on the problems faced by marginalized groups outside prison, about ex-cons who try to go straight, and how structural racism affects them as badly outside prison as in it. There was a particularly poignant subplot (partially told in black and white flashbacks) about Warden Kang and his boss.
The art, while still candy-colored loveliness, is a bit more nuanced than in the first book. I absolutely love the art in this series – it’s a perfect complement to the story. I also loved the new characters introduced, though there’s a weird cameo that I thought was just odd and out of left-field. There’s some absolute brilliance, though, too – I mean, for goodness’ sakes, there’s a Lovecraftian ghetto at the bottom of the ocean that Electrogor passes through on his way home to his kids.
Overall, I liked this volume even more than the first, and I’m very much looking forward to the next season!