Mighty Max is back, and badder than ever! Things change for Max in his second run: he’s a teenager now, not the big-eyed urchin we’ve come to know and love. And his adventures are even more detailed…and more gruesome.
SERIES 2 DOOM ZONES
You can tell just from the picture that these sets are more hardcore than the last: no more pastels, and certainly no more cuteness. Series 2 traded in Scooby Doo for H. P. Lovecraft.
SCORPION is less of an environment and more of a two-pack of massive machines: a scorpion tank with thrusting tail, and a wall-mounted turret thing with moving claws. The evil dude looks like he stepped in nuclear dog poo and is furious about it (I would be too).
APE KING features a lush jungle environment with a slew of gruesome touches. Check out the look of horror on Max’s face as he witnesses the Ape King’s finisher move, the Megaton Nut Stomp.
DINO LAB has an odd interior color scheme. It also has a Jurassic Park thing going for it, though, so it’s all good. I really love the electrified cage door and the dinosaur incubator on the bottom floor.
CYCLOPS is my favorite Series 2 Doom Zone for the same reasons Skull Dungeon was my favorite in Series 1: spooky old castle with so much stuff to do! Look at all the torture devices! The iron maiden actually works, too! And the big monster is one of the coolest, channeling The Dunwich Horror or something along those lines. The colors are what they ought to be, a dull bluish-gray, not a goofy shade of turquoise like Dino Lab’s floor.
MANEATER is the rare case of a “mobile” set: the entire thing is supposed to be an attack sub that eats through the hulls of cargo ships. The likeness to a battle-scarred shark is an awesome sight. I also like the Dancing Squid Twins. Inka-dinka-doo, ha-cha-cha-cha.
BATTLECAT is an odd one: it doesn’t feature the titular battlecat! He’s in the comic on the back of the card, but not in the set itself! It’s weird, but I’m not complaining: the man-hunter Gor is one of the most memorable Mighty Max villains, for all his ugliness and that hideously gore-slick boulder in his hands. The interior colors are once again goofy, but we can forgive that thanks to the awesome bad guys included.
SERIES 2 HORROR HEADS
The Series 2 ‘Heads number half as many as Series 1, but they make up for it with their overabundance of detail and creepiness. Where the previous ‘heads were little more than glorified carrying cases, the Series 2 environments are interactive enough that they feel more like miniature doom zones. If Series 1 had been as good as this, it would have been astounding.
AX MAN is one of the coolest Horror Heads, due to the demented asshole with the chainsaw and his supremely nasty torture device.
The special feature of CORPUS is the face, which splits in half: it can simulate an open grave if only half-opened, and a catacomb when open all the way. It might actually be my favorite horror head because of this, and because of the creepy, gangly ghoul.
WEREWOLF doesn’t feature the titular lycanthrope (foreshadowing Series 3), but his minions are frightening. I love the sitting one.
LOCKJAW’s Big Red is a nod to Jason Voorhees — he comes locked in a coffin, surrounded by painful-looking farm tools. Max can stand in the loft if you angle it just right.
The big “climax” of Series 2 takes place on a horrid, rocky island shaped like a Dragon’s head and inhabited by unruly lizard folk called the Zilards. It’s a horrible place to be whether you’re scaling its jagged surface or roaming the dreary courtyard.
Oodles o’ neat stuff! The jaws extend to expose a ghastly waterline, along which Max may find an escape raft or a ravenous sea monster — choose your fate!
The courtyard is where all the action occurs. It appears Skull Master is making some dirty deals with the Zilards! Soaring overhead is the Great Red Dragon, surveying the scene. Norman would spring into action if he weren’t being held at gunpoint.
The burrowing iguana is a lever that makes Skull Master rotate on his green base. The silver minecart is the lever for opening and closing the island’s “jaws”.