ULTRAMAN: THE RISE OF ULTRAMAN #1
In darkness there lurk Kaiju – terrifying and unfathomable monsters. Between Kaiju and the rest of us stands the United Science Patrol!
But who are these enigmatic defenders, and how do they perform their miracles? Shin Hayata and Kiki Fuji have spent half a lifetime trying to find out – and their quest is about to drive them toward a decades-old dark secret and put them on a collision course with a mysterious warrior from beyond the stars!
I have been looking forward to this series since the announcement back in November 2019 at Tokyo Comic-Con and the debut issue from Kyle Higgins, Matt Groom and the art team does not disappoint.
UTRAMAN: THE RISE OF ULTRAMAN
The main story in Issue 1 is very much an establishing shot, setting the stage for the excitement to come, it’s a measured opening salvo which focuses on characters first rather than diving too deeply into the action. Higgins and Groom do a great job of throwing us into a fully realized world with characters that have a history while teasing us with secrets and mysteries yet to come. We are immediately introduced to the United Science Patrol through the eyes of cadet Kiki Fuji and the story unfolds from there. Relationships are established before presenting us with the mystery that the characters find themselves confronted by at the end of the story.
The art by Francesco Mann and colors by Esper Grundetjern lush with strong lines, expressive facial expressions with bold colors. Although this is a western reimagining of Ultraman’s classic origin, the feel of the source material is there and that’s immediately a comfort and it does feel like the entire creative team has respect for the history and story of the character as well as the ideas in the original material right off the bat which bodes well for the rest of the series.
This being an oversized issue not only do we get the main story but Higgins and Groom also use a second tale to establish some history to this world by going back in time, it has an old school noir feel and the choice of Michael Cho as the artist for this tale is nothing short of inspired. We are introduced to a world before the United Science Patrol where various agencies would confront the menace of the Kaiju threat while adding some mystery of its own. It’s a clever way of telling a history story but making it mysterious and that mystery will no doubt in time link to current events.
Lastly, the humor isn’t forgotten and Higgins and Groom get some help from the very talented Gurihiru to break the seriousness with several 1-page strips between the other stories which are both very entertaining and humourous in their format which is that of strip-like infomercials which also tap you into the ideas in the main stories in a very clever and cute way
And just like an infomercial… that’s not all… just when youthink could they pack any more into this opening round? Along comes artist Ed McGuiness with a double splash tease that promises drama and the kind of action that made Ultraman such a rousing success in his country of origin!
ULTRAMAN: RISE OF ULTRAMAN #1 is a clever three-pronged introduction into the Ultraman universe that fans of the original material can appreciate and newcomers to the franchise can also enjoy. While issue one may not have the kind of action some may be expecting, it still has thrills and mystery and combines that with great character work, superb art, and a clever format.
ULTRAMAN: THE RISE OF ULTRAMAN #1: Those That Stand Against The Darkness
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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