REVIEW: ‘The Trials of Ultraman,’ Issue #4

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The Trials of Ultraman #4 - But Why Tho

The Trials of Ultraman #4  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 Trials of Ultraman #3, and the revelations that the Joint Armed Disclosure Front has another robotic kaiju stationed in Iceland, the United Science Patrol resolves to stop the JADF from unleashing something they can’t control as the robot kaiju utilizes an inhuman energy source. Meanwhile, Shin Hayata struggles with the ramifications of revealing his identity as Ultraman to his father and his dwindling powers, as well as what he should do with the Ultra Energy he has left.

Much like The Rise of Ultraman #4, the creative team leaves Hayata at a crossroads. He is berated by his superiors in the USP for telling his father his identity (despite the fact that he felt unappreciated by his father). He and Ultraman have an argument about their combined action—or possibly even their lack of actions—impacting the world for generations to come. And the biggest parallel comes toward the end, where the classic Ultraman kaiju Zumbolar the Walking Inferno appears. In the vein of Marvel heroes such as Peter Parker and Matt Murdock, Higgins and Groom have given Hayata plenty of flaws and enough virtue to balance them out. He genuinely wants to help people, even if his powers are slowly fading away.

Probably the most intriguing aspect of the story is the unexpected connection between Hayata and Dan Moroboshi. Both men have had their lives upended, with Moroboshi’s disappearance and Hayata’s inheritance of Ultraman. It makes perfect sense that Moroboshi would understand what Hayata was going through and serves as the one person to offer him advice. While I do enjoy the rapport between Hayata, Kiki, and Muramatsu, this bond is something I hope to see explored in future Ultraman comics. Fans who know Moroboshi’s role in the Ultraman mythos will more than likely know what I’m talking about.

Manna’s artwork continues to be the highlight of the series, as he knows how to draw the big bombastic action sequences that one would expect from an Ultraman series. The biggest example of this comes when the false Kaiju attacks and the JADF have Kiki and Muramatsu at gunpoint. As Hayata dives from a USP jet, he transforms into Ultraman and slams into the Kaiju in a glorious splash page. Manna makes it look like the image is actually shaking, and Ultraman’s impact literally cracks open the Earth between him and the Kaiju. Grudentjean’s colors add to the epic feel of the image, with Ultraman’s red-and-silver color scheme standing out among the pure white snow and the dark brown scales and dragonlike design of the robot Kaiju. And topping it off is a massive “KRA KOOM” sound effect from Maher that feels quite epic.

The Trials of Ultraman #4  sets the scene for a grand finale and lives up to its title with the creative team testing Shin Hayata’s resilience. Even though there’s only one issue left, I hope this creative team has more Ultraman stories in the tank because I definitely want more of what they’re serving.

The Trials of Ultraman #4 is available wherever comics are sold.

The Trials of Ultraman #4
4.5

TL;DR

The Trials of Ultraman #4  sets the scene for a grand finale and lives up to its title with the creative team testing Shin Hayata’s resilience. Even though there’s only one issue left, I hope this creative team has more Ultraman stories in the tank because I definitely want more of what they’re serving.