The MAXX: Maxximized, Volume 1-4
by Sam Kieth, William Messner-Loebs
I have to give the Maxx and Sam Keith a lot of credit. Jon Spencer once said that good rock music has to at least be a little bit weird. Well the Maxx did the same for me and comics.
I have no idea what first attracted me to the comics (maybe the crossover with Gen13 which was my gateway comic?), but once I started, I was hooked and I didn’t know why. Its convoluted story, its weird characters, its graphic subject should have turned me off to the series, but instead they kept me coming for more. One thing I knew for sure was that there was nothing out there like it and being original counted for a lot in that era of comics.
Many years after I’ve read the comics, I’m still at a loss to describe what it’s about. Sure, the Maxx appears to be about good’s struggle over evil with superheroes and supervillains in the mix, but it’s also so much more. As you read on, you realize that this is a very psychological book, and that these apparently superhuman characters are actually dealing with very real inner struggles, learning to cope with their life, afraid of their own weakness. And even though I originally remember the Maxx series being about the Maxx, then I thought maybe it’s about Julie, rereading the series almost 10 years later I’m starting to realize this series is actually about Mr. Gone. A shocking revelation that the villain of the story is actually the hero. Then again, Sam Keith was never one to write conventional stories. Quite honestly, my mind is being blown all over again. I know I said there was nothing out there quite like The Maxx and years later, there still isn’t.
IDW has stepped up to the plate once more and truly revamped the series in these Maxximixed editions. The series is not just printed on thick glossy paper, collected in hardcover books with all new art, but here they’ve also rescanned the original artwork and recolorized the pages. Kieth is nothing if not a breathtaking artist and the Maxx looks even better than it originally did, if you can imagine that. A much needed and truly apt collection of a grossly underrated series.
These first four books end right before we truly get into the root of Julie’s trauma and where exactly the Maxx as we know him came from. Until now we’ve have unpacked quite a complicated story and the boundaries have been drawn. Now, let’s see if Sam Kieth can put everything back in the box.
Hold onto your butts. Things are about to get much weirder.
Get these beautiful hardcovers from IDW.