REVIEW: ‘The Rise of Ultraman,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Rise of Ultraman #2

The Rise of Ultraman #2 is written by Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom, illustrated by Francesco Manna, colored by Espen Grudentjean, and lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher. It is published by Marvel Comics. Following the events of the first issue, Shin Hayata comes face to face with the Ultra being who crash-landed to Earth. Meanwhile, Kiki and Muramatsu investigate the original “Ultra” event from 1966.

This issue is a bit of a slow burn, setting up the eventual merging of Ultraman and Hayata. However, Higgins and Groom make sure it isn’t boring. Both Ultraman and Hayata have access to each other’s memories: Ultraman learns of Hayata’s past including a childhood encounter with a Kaiju, and Hayata learns the nature of Ultraman’s race. In the end, they both must become one being in order to survive. The expression “walk a mile in another man’s shoes” comes to mind, only the “man” in question is a superpowered alien being.

Readers will also learn more about why the Ultramen visit each planet, and why Kaiju appear. Once again, the writers manage to find a great way to update the lore of Ultraman and make it both accessible to new readers and familiar to old fans. This really is a comic that everyone can enjoy.

Higgins and Groom also continue to sprinkle elements from the Ultraman mythos throughout this issue. During Ultraman’s flashback sequence, we see different Ultra beings from the various TV shows in the franchise. Hayata also gains the Beta Capsule, the device he used to transform into Ultraman in the classic TV show. Longtime Ultraman fans will definitely appreciate these shoutouts.

The other thread of the issue follows Kiki and Muramatsu as they uncover a conspiracy within the USP. This thread is intriguing as it promises answers to what really happened in 1966 but stops short once it starts to get interesting. I understand that future issues will continue this thread, but I wish we’d gotten just a little more.

Manna continues to impress with his artwork. The majority of the issue is spent with Ultraman and Hayata, and we finally get to see the titular hero in all his glory. Ultraman’s trademark red-and-silver costume and helmet feel like they belong to an alien being. Grudentjean adds to that alien vibe with her colors, as Ultraman’s eyes and body seem to almost always give off flashes of light. It’s very unsettling, especially since he has no facial expressions.

Perhaps the best image comes at the very end, when Ultraman and Hayata finally join together. Manna draws the two outstretching their hands, with a brilliant burst of light between them. Grudentjean colors it with vibrant reds and oranges, making the image feel like the true birth of a superhero.

The Rise of Ultraman #2 continues to update Ultraman’s mythos, featuring a new look at his origins and amazing artwork. The stage is set for Ultraman’s first appearance, and the next issue may finally shed light on what happened in 1966.

The Rise of Ultraman #2 is available wherever comics are sold.


The Rise of Ultraman #2
4.5

TL;DR

The Rise of Ultraman #2 continues to update Ultraman’s mythos, featuring a new look at his origins and amazing artwork. The stage is set for Ultraman’s first appearance, and the next issue may finally shed light on what happened in 1966.