REVIEW: ‘The Rise of Ultraman,’ Issue #3

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The Rise of Ultraman #3

The Rise of Ultraman #3 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. After merging with Ultraman, Shin Hayata is approached by the United Science Patrol. Meanwhile, Kiki continues to unravel the secrets behind the first Ultra’s crash landing on Earth.

This is the first time that Hayata transforms into Ultraman and it is a sight to behold. Manna gets to showcase the hero’s signature moves, including his fighting skills and Specium Ray. He also draws more Kaiju, and they are utterly horrifying. They erupt from the ground with stone-like skin, glowing red eyes, and rocky skin. They feel alien in every sense of the world. Grudentjean also uses the bright colors that are traditional to the franchise, including bright reds and blues for Ultraman.

The best image in the issue features Hayata’s iconic transformation sequence into Ultraman. Manna draws him striking a heroic pose, while Grudentjean fills the background with bright blue energy. It’s a splash page worthy of being framed and hung up on a wall, and brings back memories of watching the original Ultraman series with my dad as a kid.

Great imagery means nothing without a great story, but luckily Higgins and Groom have that on lock. They continue to deepen the mystery behind the United Science Patrol, as well as the Ultra race. The USP presents itself as a force for good, but some of their actions call that into question. And given that they may have had a hand in the first Ultra’s death, that may not bode well for our heroes. The last two pages make this clear, leaving a massive cliffhanger that threatens to upend Hayata’s life.

Higgins and Groom also continue to strengthen the relationship between Ultraman and Hayata. They have a mental link, with Ultraman often appearing in Hayata’s mind and offering advice. This also puts a strain on their shared abilities, as their merging came with a few drawbacks. This reminds me of another series I love, Yu-Gi-Oh! In that series, Yugi Muto had a similar psychic relationship with the Pharoah Atem; the two learned and grew from each other.

The rest of the supporting cast continues to be fleshed out. Hayata meets Ureo Ichinotani, the director of the Japanese branch of the USP. Ichinotani comes off as rather avuncular, and very willing to help Hayata. However, the continuing mystery behind the USP lends a sinister air to his actions. Hayata also has a heartwarming reunion with Kiki and reconciles with Murumatsu, which hints at their relationship in the original series.

The Rise of Ultraman #3 features all the high-flying Toksatsu action that fans have come to love from the Ultraman franchise, while dropping a whammy of a cliffhanger. With only two issues left, I’m eager to see what the secret is behind the USP and how Hayata and Ultraman handle their fight against the incoming Kaiju.

The Rise of Ultraman #3 is available wherever comics are sold.


The Rise of Ultraman #3
5

TL;DR

The Rise of Ultraman #3 features all the high-flying Toksatsu action that fans have come to love from the Ultraman franchise, while dropping a whammy of a cliffhanger. With only two issues left, I’m eager to see what the secret is behind the USP and how Hayata and Ultraman handle their fight against the incoming Kaiju.