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

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The Trials of Ultraman #2

The Trials of Ultraman #2  is written by Kyle Higgins & Mat Groom, illustrated by Francesco Manna, colored by Espen Grudentjean, lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher, and published by Marvel Comics. Following the end of the first issue, Shin Hayata has learned that Dan Moroboshi-the first human to encounter an Ultra-is miraculously alive. However, Moroboshi has been captured by the Joint Armed Disclosure Front, a militarized group of conspiracy theorists who believe the USP “invented” Kaiju. With his transformations as Ultraman dwindling, Hayata joins Kiki and Muramatsu in an attempt to liberate Moroboshi from the JADF.

With a title like “The Trials of Ultraman,” one would expect Hayata to face all different kinds of challenges. And challenges are what Higgins & Groom provide: both in the form of the JADF and his diminishing powers. However, the biggest challenge may be Hayata’s less than stellar relationship with his father. Higgins had previously explored a similar dynamic in Radiant Black, and it works just as well here: Shin is angry that his father diminishes his accomplishments while Mr. Hayata admonishes his son for leaping into things headfirst before thinking. As the issue continues, it becomes clear that both of them were right in their own way.

With this issue, Manna starts shifting his artwork to a more manga-influenced style, which is rather fitting given Ultraman’s Japanese origins. He also designs new outfits for Hayata and Kiki when they go undercover to find Moroboshi. Kiki’s is stylish; Hayata’s, which consists of a floppy hat and massive sunglasses, is not. (Though to be fair, Hayata strikes me as a guy who isn’t really “stylish”.) A new monster also appears to combat Ultraman, which looks like a combination of the scaly kaiju Angirus and a massive bird. It also appears wreathed in a cloud of fiery smoke that matches its reddish-brown plumage, courtesy of Grudentjean. The standout image, however, features Manna and Grudentjean drawing Ultraman’s iconic transformation sequence. Seeing that golden background along with Ultraman’s red and silver form as he strikes his trademark pose will never fail to inspire a sense of awe in me.

The issue raises more than a few questions, and I’m not sure if the series will be able to answer them all. Where did Moroboshi disappear to? How is it connected to the Kaiju vault? And how did the JADF get their hands on a weapon that can rival Ultraman? I’m sure most of these questions will be answered in the remaining three issues. Still, I also hope that another Ultraman series-preferably an ongoing one- is greenlit because there’s so much more story to be explored, and a miniseries can only scratch so much surface.

The Trials of Ultraman #2 continues to throw new challenges at its hero, including a new threat that can match him in raw power. With a deepening mystery surrounding the Kaiju and Moroboshi’s reappearance, and three issues left, this series only continues to flesh out the new Ultraman Universe.

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

 

The Trials of Ultraman #2
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TL;DR

The Trials of Ultraman #2 continues to throw new challenges at its hero, including a new threat that can match him in raw power. With a deepening mystery surrounding the Kaiju and Moroboshi’s reappearance, and three issues left, this series only continues to flesh out the new Ultraman Universe.