The Maxx: Vol. 3

Sam Kieth, Author, William F. Messner-Loebs, Author, Sam Kieth, Illustrator . DC Comics/Wildstorm $17.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4012-0298-9

This volume collects seven issues of what's surely one of the weirdest "mainstream" comics ever published. The Maxx is a huge, purple homeless man who thinks he's a superhero, and this tome reveals his origin. Kieth's characters live in two worlds simultaneously: the real world and the "outback," a dream world inspired by Australian aboriginal beliefs. The Maxx's friend Sarah visits his outback and studies the tapes left by her murderous father, Mr. Gone. From these, Sarah deduces that her friend Julie inadvertently created the Maxx when she deliberately ran down a man she believed was threatening her. Meanwhile, Julie's outback has gone from being a jungle to a desert of skulls. Indeed, everything in The Maxx is mutable, not least the art. Neither the landscapes nor the characters can be counted on to look the same from panel to panel; their changes reflect and signal changes in mood. In fact, the psychological state of the characters is the story. This could make for a rather formless reading experience, but Kieth keeps it interesting by slowly unfolding the revelations and tossing in some pretty excellent action sequences. Though barely a superhero comic, this series is an eccentric, unclassifiable minor classic. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/30/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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