REVIEW: ‘The Rise of Ultraman,’ Issue #5

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Rise of Ultraman #5

The Rise of Ultraman #5 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom, illustrated by Francesco Manna, colored by Espen Grudentjean, and lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher. After the events of the last issue, Ultraman must come to terms with the secrets of the United Science Patrol and find a new way to protect the Earth. But first, he must defeat the massive kaiju called Bemular.

The majority of this issue is dedicated to the fight between Ultraman and Bemular, and Manna draws the hell out of it. Several splash pages feature the two titans duking it out, with special attention paid to Bemular’s fire breath and Ultraman’s Specium Ray. Manna also gets to draw his own take on Ultraman growing to giant size. As Ultraman leaps from a roof and lands on the ground, Manna draws him increasing in size, until he’s as tall as the building he jumped off of. Bemular is also a reptilian monstrosity, with spikes jutting down his back and beady yellow eyes; Manna perfectly captures the design from the original TV show.

Adding to the sheer apocalyptic scale is Grudentjean’s colors and Maher’s letters. The background is a fiery red sky, with bolts of lightning illuminating Ultraman’s red and white uniform and Bemular’s dark brown scales. Bemular’s speech bubbles come out jagged and garbled, sounding truly alien.  In contrast, Ultraman’s speech bubbles feature white text on a red background, matching his signature colors.

In addition to the art, Higgins and Groom also manage to perfectly tie off several plot threads that have been set up throughout the issue. The USP’s secret history, the rise of the Kaiju, and Shin Hayata’s transformation to Ultraman are all addressed. Hayata also comes up with the name of “Ultraman,” which is rather refreshing as most modern superhero reboots often skip actually naming their hero. The audience also gets to see how much Hayata has grown. At the beginning of the series, he wanted nothing more than to join the USP. When finally presented the chance, he decides to go a different way. Kiki Fuji undergoes a similar character trajectory, as she resolves to change the way the USP works.

This leads to a rather surprising ending, which closes up the main story while leaving things open for a sequel. Ultraman fans will definitely enjoy the last page, as it hints at another Ultraman character being introduced into this universe. With the sequel series The Trials of Ultraman slated to debut in March from the same creative team, this issue closes one book of the modern Ultraman saga and opens another.

The Rise of Ultraman #5 successfully ties up the main story, featuring an earthshaking Kaiju/Tokusatsu battle and setting the stage for the next Ultraman story. This series is a must-read for all Ultraman fans, as well as overall superhero fans and newcomers to the Ultraman mythos. As a longtime Ultraman fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this series and cannot wait to read The Trials of Ultraman.

The Rise of Ultraman #5 is available wherever comics are sold.

The Rise of Ultraman #5
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TL;DR

The Rise of Ultraman #5 successfully ties up the main story, featuring an earthshaking Kaiju/Tokusatsu battle and setting the stage for the next Ultraman story…As a longtime Ultraman fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this series and cannot wait to read The Trials of Ultraman.