Rise of Ultraman #1 out this week from Marvel Comics is an issue full of action and intrigue. A retelling of the classic Ultraman franchise for comic fans, the issue offers amazing art and is full of extras. Along with the Mill Creek Entertainment releases of the series, this issue becomes another magnificent way for individuals to enjoy the ever-growing Universe of Ultraman. Here is the creative involved with issue one; Kyle Higgins, Mat Groom (writers), Francesco Manna, Espen Grudentjern, Michael Cho, Gurihiru (art team), and VC’s Ariana Maher (letter work).
In darkness there lurks Kaiju – terrifying and unfathomable monsters. Between Kaiju and the rest of us stands the United Science Patrol! But who are these enigmatic defenders, and how do they perform their miracles?
The writing team of Higgins and Groom takes the time to update the story of Ultraman to have it reflect a modern setting. The issue begins in the 60s as Dan Moroboshi (the human form of Ultra 7) experiences a first contact and moves into a modern world plagued by Kaiju and the USP as the only one who can stop it. From the second page, the issue captures the reader’s attention early and doesn’t let go.
The reimagination of Shin Hayata and Akiko Fuji is the most notable change but this aids in giving the pair more personality. Hayata is no longer a boy scout and instead of a skilled yet impatient person, thinking with his heart over his head. Fuji can repair the equipment for the USP but wants to be advance and become a field operative. They seem more relatable than the original characters who were characters with specific skills and little else.
The additional story segments of “Ultra Q” and “Kaiju Steps” aid in offering layers to the comic. “Ultra Q” serves to offers a look into the early days off fighting Kaiju on Earth while “Kaiju Steps” offers humorous PSAs on how to remain safe during Kaiju related events. Both are welcomed additions to the issue.
The art by Manna in the main story is a magnificent call back to the old shows. The vehicles and monsters are straight from the series and are immediately recognizable. Meanwhile, in the “Ultra Q” storyline, Cho utilities a gritty look and captures the feel of a flashback to a previous era.
The colorwork by Gudendetjern in the main story is phenomenal. Between the action effects and giving certain moments an extraterrestrial feel while reading the book, it feels like watching an episode of Ultraman. The look of Ultraman before becoming corporal as being a giant of light is magnificent.
The lettering by Maher adds to the immersive experience of the issue. The alien letters as Ultraman speaks is an excellent design touch. Also, the dialogue boxes with scratched out letters make the descriptions of places and objects feel like the reader is looking at classified redacted reports.
Rise of Ultraman #1 is a must-read for fans of Ultraman. Between the callbacks to the old show and the visually pleasing art, this issue is worth the purchase price. Once the series is complete, as long as the level of quality remains high, the book will serve as a means to help others understand the entertainment value of the franchise. Just like the Power Rangers comics from Boom Studios, Kyle Higgins has shown the world the immense joy hidden in the genre of Tokusatsu.