Writers: Sam Kieth and William Messner-Loebs
Artwork: Sam Kieth
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Publisher: IDW Publishing
In the 90’s there were a lot of different comics. You had your costumed characters, your spies and then you had a book about a gigantic guy in a purple and yellow costume that kept shifting from one reality to another. Oh did I also mention that book also has a villain who stalks and rapes women, strange black creatures who seem to be the mutated cousins of Smurfs and a scantily clad female lead? I didn’t well those are the players in The MAXX!
The Maxx was first printed by Image comics in 1993 and was so popular that is spawned an animated TV show that ran on MTV as part of their Oddities block. The show covered the first story arc of The MAXX comics and was a dark, gritty show that was also widely popular. Well now 20 years after its initial publishing, IDW has released The MAXX Maxximized which is a HD version of the original books. Since it is a reprinting, issues 1 and 2 cover the first two books of the first story arc; introducing new readers to the characters of the MAXX, Julie Winters, Mr. Gone and the Isz.
The MAXX is a costumed homeless man who shifts reality from the city to a place known as The Outback where he is the protector of the Jungle Queen. In the city he is a vagrant who often finds himself in jail where he is bailed out by Julie Winters. Julie is a beautiful, scantily clad social worker who has been plagued by phone calls from a stalker. Thinking that it’s just some demented person she thinks nothing of it and goes on with her daily life. Meanwhile women are being found raped and killed all over town and the killer is the one who is constantly phoning Julie.
Before too long the MAXX comes face to face with Mr. Gone the serial rapist who has been tormenting Julie. As they fight the Isz (Outback’s primary predators) attack and kidnap Julie and take her to Mr. Gone’s hideout. After some exposition on why Mr. Gone does what he does and the starting of the understanding as to what the link between the city and the Outback is, Julie makes her move for freedom.
Now if you have read the MAXX in its initial run you know how fantastic and genius this book is, but if it’s your first time reading then you are in for a treat. The MAXX was something so different than what was coming out at Marvel and DC at the time and created a hero that was so much more of an anti-hero than anything the other two could come up with. This book brought the weird, macabre and the sexuality that was not all that present at the time. In fact in issue two just the image of Julie tied with leather straps while wearing what can be described as a playboy bunny outfit mixed with a swimsuit mixed with a maids outfit was never going to be seen in say the Avengers of the early 90’s.
The reprint is simply beautiful in every way shape and form. The colors are vibrant, even the black pops out at you and that is saying something. The designs of the characters and the differences of them from the city to Outback are still as spectacular as it was in 1993. Sam Kieth has brought back his masterpiece for a new audience to enjoy and for those old fans to relive. I can’t say enough about how beautiful these issues are and how much people need to read them and see what all the talk was about. I just hope that with this reissue that maybe we may get some new MAXX stories in the futures.
So don’t pass up The MAXX Maxximized as it is a book for all the senses.
So from Spin to you these issues get a Maxximized
5 out of 5 nerds