REVIEW: ‘The Rise of Ultraman’, Issue 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rise of Ultraman #1

The Rise of Ultraman #1 is written by Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom, illustrated by Francesco Manna with Gurihuru and Michael Cho, colored by Espen Grudentjean, and lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher. It is published by Marvel Comics. In 1966, pilot Dan Moroboshi comes across a massive being made of light. In the present day the USP (United Science Patrol) monitors and contains kaiju excursions. Shin Hayata, who was rejected by the USP, finds himself encountering the same Giant of Light that Moroboshi did.

I’ve been open about my love of the Ultraman mythos, and this issue is packed full of Easter eggs for hardcore fans like myself. For example, Moroboshi was the protagonist of the Ultraseven series; in this comic he’s retrofitted to be the first Ultraman. Much like the Netflix anime series, it also serves as a perfect introduction for those new to the Ultraman concept. Higgins and Groom have a clear love for the classic series, and both are no stranger to the ideas presented here: Higgins previously revamped Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers for BOOM! Studios and Groom previously wrote cutting edge sci-fi in Self/Made.

It also helps that we have a distinct cast of characters: Hayata, his best friend Akiko “Kiki” Fuji, and USP Captain Toshio Muramatsu. Hayata uses humor and intellect to mask his insecurity, Kiki is nowhere near ready to be in the field, and Muramatsu is dedicated to his job. The interaction between them is a highlight of the issue; you see the tension between Hayata and Muramatsu, as well as romantic sparks between Hayata and Kiki.

Rise of Ultraman #!

Manna brings an anime-esque flair to the artwork, as well as cinematic images. When a Kaiju first appears, he stages it like a horror movie. The Kaiju is predominately shown in shadows, its eyes glistening with hunger and saliva dripping off of its teeth. Similarly, Ultraman appears in this issue as a massive being of light. Grudentjean’s colors make Ultraman appear almost angelic in nature, as he is wrapped in fiery white light. He also utilizes bright, eye-catching tones that are often associated with the tokusatsu genre.

Gurihuru illustrates the “Kaiju Steps”, which feature the hilariously adorable Pigmon and USP officer Pierre. They provide a laugh and showcase how the USP deals with Kaiju steps. Meanwhile, Cho illustrates the “Ultra Q” backup which chronicles the origin of the USP. This story features black and white art reminiscent of a 1950’s monster movie; the fact that it’s set in the 50’s doesn’t hurt either. More than that, it plants seeds that promise to bear fruit in the main story.

The Rise of Ultraman #1 is an amazing update to the Ultraman mythos, courtesy of a creative team that has nothing but love for the character. Higgins, Groom, and Manna make an amazing team and I look forward to seeing more of this series, including Hayata’s first transformation into Ultraman. As an Ultraman fan, I highly recommend this to fans both old and new.

The Rise of Ultraman #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

 

Rise of Ultraman #1
5

TL;DR

The Rise of Ultraman #1 is an amazing update to the Ultraman mythos, courtesy of a creative team that has nothing but love for the character. Higgins, Groom, and Manna make an amazing team and I look forward to seeing more of this series, including Hayata’s first transformation into Ultraman. As an Ultraman fan, I highly recommend this to fans both old and new.