Written by: Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom
Art by: Francesco Manna, Espen Grundetjern, Gurihuru, Michael Cho, Ed McGuinness, and VC’s Ariana Maher
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: September 9, 2020
I was a huge Ultraman fan as a kid, but I have drifted away from it since. However, when Marvel announced this book, I was so pumped to get back to the United Science Patrol, and having one of my favorite writers, Kyle Higgins, writing it made it so much sweeter! So, how was this fist issue? Let’s find out…
The first thing I noticed jumping in was the cool art by Francesco Manna as we start in 1966 with the disaster that started it all. It’s a nice nod to the original television series, which got me into Ultraman back in the day. We then jump to the present for our story and meet one of the main characters, Cadet Fuji.
I am a sucker for secret organizations, especially when they have headquarters hidden in plain sight, and we get that here as Fuji enters the United Science Patrol. It’s a brief introduction, though, as she gets her first fieldwork, and we are right there with her.
While we don’t get a ton of Fuji yet, I liked her. She is a super-smart tech gal and is an excellent pov character for the reader as she learns the dangers of being in the USP. Those dangers seem to be Kaiju, who enter our dimension and need to be dealt with.
Higgins and Groom do an excellent job of easing readers into their world. They use pop-up information boxes (with sensitive material blocked out) on the tech and introduce characters slowly, all playing off of Fuji. That’s how we meet her friend, Shin, who didn’t make the USP, but hasn’t let that stop him from showing up like Han Solo to save the day!
Once we get a good grasp of the characters, Higgins and Groom get down to the meat and cheese of the issue when Fuji, Shin, and Captain Muramatsu head off to an Emerald Alert, something that hasn’t happened since 1966. 1966!!! The cliffhanger isn’t shocking because of the leadup, but I am already ready to read the next issue to find out what happens next!
Guess what? That’s what! I just wanted to say that, but really, the issue continues with a couple of cool extras. Kaiju Steps is a kid-show feeling training video with art by Guruhiru that is fun and made me smile. Guruhiru art usually does that! The other extra story, Ultra Q, played out like a secret file showing the USP’s beginnings back in 1954 with Michael Cho art that sets the mood and the period well. It had an ominous cliffhanger and established the early days of Director Ichinotani (then a captain) and the origins of the first Kaiju that Ultraman fought in the 1966 television show. We even get to see a bit of that battle in the final “things to come” page drawn by Ed McGuinness and Espen Grundetjern.
I loved this first issue! Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom give fans of Ultraman something to look forward to each month, while never leaving new readers behind. The whole art team does a kickass job, and you get the entire package here… action, mystery, and Kaiju! The only real downer is the $5.99 price tag. You certainly get a lot of bang for your buck here with a big issue, but I’m afraid those not familiar with Ultraman may not take a chance on it.
Ultraman #1 is a great start to Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom’s 5-issue mini. If you are not familiar with Ultraman, don’t worry, you will not be left behind. Check it out for the great art, intriguing story, and giant Kaiju!