The Trials of Ultraman #1 Review

Written By: Kyle Higgins, Mat Groom
Art By: Francesco Manna
Colors By: Espen Grundetjern
Letters By: VC’s Ariana Maher
Cover Art By: Arthur Adams, Rochelle Rosenberg
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: March 17, 2021

The world is in turmoil now that the United Space Patrol has gone public that it’s been protecting Earth from giant Kaiju for decades. Now that Ultraman has released the imprisoned kaiju from the interdimensional vault with the intention of putting them down for good, the world must learn to trust a secret agency with massive secrets and a mysterious superhero.

Was It Good?

Yes. As the first issue in the arc, it’s mostly introduction and setup. You see the USP leaders making the political moves to try and establish a good public image, and Shin Hayata aka Ultraman trying to figure out his place in this new global dynamic with everything out in the open. Mostly setup, but plenty of potential.

The art is great. Manna does an excellent job giving an authentic Ultraman TV show feel while taking some of the cheesy, dated edges off the styles.

What’s It About?

The first five pages or so are dedicated to showing and telling how the USP has been functioning for the last 50 years. They’ve captured Kaijus and sent them to the interdimensional vault as a type of giant monster prison. Over time the prison has started to become crowded, threatening a catastrophic break, so Ultraman has stepped in to open the vault with the commitment to stope each Kaiju permanently.

Through a series of smaller scenes, we see Earth’s population accept or reject the USPs coming out as more government nonsense or #FakeNews. But slowly, an increasing number of giant-sized Ultraman appearances is starting to sway public acceptance of the new normal.

One such vignette has Ultraman fighting an undersea Kaiju near an oil rig where he gets plenty of witnesses to testify he’s real and to take a Kaiju out. Unfortunately, the 3 minute timer on the suit runs out when he’s deep underwater, serving as a stark reminder to the audience that running out of time at the wrong time could be very dangerous.

Shin is fished out by a USP VTOL and taken to headquarters for a meeting with the director. They discuss their working relationship and Shin’s desire to go public with his identity rather than keeping Ultraman a mystery. The director warns him off such a foolish move as it would put his human form in danger.

Later, Shin brings home groceries for his father, who hasn’t been taking care of himself. As father and son talk, things get heated and Shin blurts out he’s Ultraman. It’s not quite clear if his Dad believes him.

Without spoiling he ending, Shin gets an enlightening call and Kiki is made aware of a long-lost person of interest.

Final Thoughts:

The Trials of Ultraman #1 has good art and good action but is mostly a setup issue to set the stage for the story to come. Shin is portrayed with a wholesome Peter Parker/Spider-Man vibe, and the copious exposition isn’t slowed down at all with the brisk pace.

8/10

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