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‘The Rise of Ultraman #3’ (review)

Written by Mat Groom, Kyle Higgins
Art by Francesco Manna
Published by Marvel Comics

 

Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman miniseries has taken its time unfolding its reformatted origin of the man from the Land of Light, but as it reaches its halfway point, we finally get some Ultra vs. kaiju action.

Unfortunately, it’s still wrapped up in a conspiracy narrative that’s only fitfully intriguing.

After merging with Ultraman at the end of the previous issue, Hayata wakes up in the USP’s infirmary. The director of the agency wants him to share what happened to him and what he knows about the alien visitor, but Hayata is reluctant to trust the USP. In fact, the only person he can trust, Kiki, is off the grid.

Fortunately, he has Ultraman as a confidant to advise him through the situation.

Meanwhile, Kiki is trying to question a USP scientist who seems to know the truth about what happened to Dan Moroboshi in 1966, but they’re attacked by kaiju. Fortunately, Shin arrives just in time, and it’s finally on.

Francesco Manna and Espen Grundetjern deliver the best action sequence of the series so far as Ultraman bounds into the fray, leaping, flipping, and using his Specium Ray. Sadly, it’s only a human-scaled conflict; still no Kyodai Hero action yet.

But it’s pretty fun to see all the same.

Sadly, one of the best parts of the first issue hasn’t carried over: the Pigmon backup strips. As I said before, the oddball humor of those strips added a sense of truly weird humor that was missing from the main story.

Which gets to the heart of one of my bigger issues with this series. The Rise of Ultraman takes itself a little more seriously than it should, stretching out the Ultraman story but diluting the essential strangeness of its tokusatsu roots. It’s basically an American superhero comic with an Ultraman skin.

But I guess that’s the point.

 

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