I can’t remember the last time I was legitimately excited to read Bat-anything. I was excited to read this. The Maxx is a hero I’ve always loved, I his much too short-lived TV run as part of MTV’s Oddities, and I loved the comic. Due to a number of factors, I’ve only read about 1/3 of The Maxx series, even with several reprints over the years, although this title allowed me to discover an upcoming omnibus collection coming in the near future. But that’s another story for another review. Today we are looking at what happens when you drop The Maxx into the slums of Gotham and when you drop Batman into the wilds of The Outback in Maxx’s head.
Issue #1 opens in The Outback of Maxx’s mind, as he gives us a brief setup of something strange happening there. “Strange” being a relative term when dealing with anything to do with The Maxx. We then cut to Batman patrolling in the coolest looking Batmobile since Tim Burton got ahold of it. He comes across two of Gotham’s finest arresting Maxx, who is taken to Arkham Asylum. Upon arriving Dr. Disparu gives Batman a brief overview of The Outback, while strapping Maxx to a table and electronically forcing his consciousness into The Outback, along with Batman’s.
The two heroes wander the strange land and eventually find the Jungle Queen, who is not Maxx’s Jungle Queen, further proving that this is an Outback it is not Maxx’s Outback. The issue ends with this dynamic duo being attacked but a giant Air Puffer Fish.
If this is your first foray into The Maxx, you may find yourself ever so slightly lost. Don’t worry, this is not an uncommon reaction to the strange world that Sam Kieth has created. Kieth’s art is very distinctive, and his writing style (in the context of The Maxx, at least) is similarly distinct. Just roll with it, and enjoy the ride. You’ll have five issues of Arkham Dreams to figure things out, and if you’re still lost that ok too.
There’s too many little oddities to not give this a strong 4 out of 5 stars, and I’ll be adding the collected version to my bookshelf in May.