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MTV’s The Maxx

The Maxx is a superhero. But The Maxx is not loved by his city’s people or feared by villains. Citizen and villain alike view him with amusement, even uninterested dismissal. He lives in a cardboard box in an alleyway. He runs fast and cuts his enemies down with hardened claws. But he also bewilders people with strange stories about the Australian Outback. Not the Outback we all know, but one where fantasy creatures run wild. Creatures like crabbits and air whales. The Maxx shifts back and forward uncontrollably between the real world — the concrete jungle of… the big city, pick a city — and the Outback, the Other World, also known as Pangaea.

His only friend is Julie, a blond social worker with risqué fashion sense. She bails him out of prison when the cops pick on him. She uses all her money to help other people in her line of work. In the Outback, Julie is the Jungle Queen, and The Maxx is her protector. He sometimes fills the role of protector in the real world, too.

But there is also a great evil in the city: a man known only as Mr. Gone. He kidnaps women, sometimes kills them, likely rapes some of them. He knows who The Maxx is beneath his mask. He knows the painful things that Julie tries so hard to forget. His motives are shrouded in secrecy. His minions are a species of creature called izzes. In the Outback, they’re pure white. When they cross over to the city, they turn black. To ordinary people, they take on the appearance of whatever Mr. Gone dresses them as. Only The Maxx can see what they really are.

What begins as a comical story about a homeless superhero and his friend turns into a surreal psychodrama about the effects of rape and other emotional traumas. A very feminist take on the issue, at that. It’s a rewarding watch, and as each episode is just 10 minutes, and the series is only 13 episodes long, it can be easily digested in an evening. It’s worthwhile viewing.

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