It can be difficult to stand out in an ensemble. By design, sprawling casts of that variety are meant to have balance. Depending on the moment, anyone can be someone’s favorite character. But that can shift as the scenes turn, with some getting moments or seasons to shine before stepping back in future stories. That’s true of any serialized medium, whether you’re talking TV, books, or, of course, comic books.
And that’s certainly the case for Zander Cannon’s Kaijumax, a series that was endlessly enriched by a broad mix of characters with varying strengths and positions. You have to just give in to the ensemble nature of the series at times, especially when something like Season Four arrives, which saw the bulk of the cast to-date disappear as the comic focuses on the women’s prison for this six-issue stretch. Your favorites can’t be your favorites then, as they’re absent within that part of the tale. 10
It can be difficult to stand out in an ensemble like Kaijumax…but it is by no means impossible. My favorite character from the series is easy to guess, if only because I talk about him a lot. It’s The Creature from Devil’s Creek, aka Daniel, aka my son Daniel. This comparatively miniature goat kaiju wasn’t just a great character, but one of my favorites from the history of comics. And I can tell you exactly when I realized that was the case.
Let’s flash back to the third issue of the third season. Up until that point, Daniel was the weakest inmate in a prison filled with some of the kings of all monsters. He was put upon, beaten up, taken advantage of, and quick to lean into vices, like his love of smog. 11 He was simply trying to survive, like they all were to a degree. Unlike his peers, though, he didn’t have the capability – at least not on the surface – and more than that, he didn’t have the mentality. Daniel tried to stay in the background. But in a land of apex predators, he was the ultimate prey.
Simply based on origins, he was sorted into the Cryptid gang, 12 and this crew was eager to take advantage of something Daniel had that they lacked: a connection to the outside world. Daniel’s nun mother would come and check in on him, and knowing that he had visitors, the gang emphatically urged him to milk that relationship. So in an effort to try and gain favor from his gang – or, at the very least, to limit the abuse – he obliged, asking his mother to sneak drugs into the prison for him. Unsurprisingly, she declined, offering him a cake instead, at which point he broke down. In response, Daniel revealed his greatest desire: someone to tell him it’s okay, and to offer him a little grace for one time in his life.
We had experienced him breaking down before. Daniel wept a lot throughout the series, as he was a troubled young goat man, one whose position in the prison left him constantly vulnerable to threat. But this moment was particularly impactful for two reasons. For one, it was about what he desired, which is a universal need. Everyone else in the prison wanted uranium 13 or a shiv, while Daniel simply wanted someone to care. And the second was his mother’s response to that desire.
When faced with her son embracing the tenets of Christianity, Daniel’s roots reared their ugly head. You see, his mother was a nun alright, but of the church of Satan, and his father was Satan himself. Disgusted by what his offspring was espousing, Daniel’s father decided he wanted to have a chat by possessing his mother, blood pouring out of her eyes as Satan dresses down his son by remote. The character pushes back, closing the scene by wishing he could pull everything of his father out of himself and throw it away forever. 14 This scene underlined that neither nature nor nurture were working in Daniel’s favor, and that anything decent to him originated from him and him alone. He wanted no part of his familial legacy; he just wanted someone to care.
And in that moment, I knew: We must protect Daniel at all costs. 15