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

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Trials of Ultraman #3 - But Why Tho?

The Trials of Ultraman #3  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. Picking up from the end of the second issue, Shin Hayata helps liberate Dan Moroboshi from the grasp of the Joint Armed Disclosure Front. However, Moroboshi has no memory of the years he went missing. Hayata, alongside Captain Muramatsu and Kiki, tracks down a former United Science Patrol scientist who may be behind the JADF’s mechanical kaiju.

In the same vein as The Rise of UltramanTrials is unfolding a new mystery concerning the USP and how it connects to Ultraman. Where Rise revealed that the USP was teleporting kaiju to another dimension instead of killing them, Trials reveals that the new robot kaiju are born from the work that the USP was doing. Not only do Hayata and friends have to deal with another USP-created issue, but that issue is impacting the already fragile trust the world has in the USP. Higgins and Groom’s script continues to subtly build out the world established in The Rise of Ultraman, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’d read as many series as they’d be willing to write.

Marvel Comics is well known for tackling real-world issues, often using the superhero genre to supplement those issues. In the case of Trials, it tackles the issue of radicalization via media. It’s revealed that a popular YouTuber has been radicalizing the JADF with the conspiracy theory that the USP has created the kaiju in order to maintain their standing on the world stage. Reading this reminded me of people claiming the COVID-19 pandemic is a hoax or the vaccines for the virus contain microchips that the government can track you with. The fact that many conspiracy theories are built on utterly ridiculous foundations and yet people believe them takes on a dangerous aspect in Higgins and Groom’s hands; the JADF are clearly willing to go to horrific lengths to prove themselves right.

On the artistic front, Manna continues to knock it out of the park. The issue opens with Ultraman flying a bomb into the atmosphere, accompanied by a countdown as he soars through the sky. The page is separated into various panels, closing in on Ultraman’s face as the bomb gets closer and closer to detonation. The detonation itself is a fiery reddish-orange spiral, courtesy of Grudentjean’s colors. Another fight scene is drawn from the perspective of a video camera, complete with tilted angles and blurry images. The entire sequence has a very Cloverfield-esque feel to it; I wouldn’t mind seeing an entire issue in this format.

The Trials of Ultraman #3 unravels the details of yet another mystery that Shin Hayata and friends are dealing with, and sets the stage for a confrontation between Ultraman and the JADF. With only two issues remaining in the series, the stage is set for Ultraman to have a massive confrontation with a different kind of enemy.

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

 


The Trials of Ultraman #3 
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TL;DR

The Trials of Ultraman #3 unravels the details of yet another mystery that Shin Hayata and friends are dealing with, and sets the stage for a confrontation between Ultraman and the JADF. With only two issues remaining in the series, the stage is set for Ultraman to have a massive confrontation with a different kind of enemy.