It’s been too long since I have assumed my position as the official noob of Ultraman Connection, but here I am back for another journey into Marvel Comics’ Ultraman series! The Rise of Ultraman and The Trials of Ultraman set a high bar, but the third installation, Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven, lived up to that precedent remarkably. Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom have done it again with the help of artists Davide Tinto, David Lopez, and GURIHIRU, with a story that will have any reader on the edge of their seat. Very light spoilers follow.
Starting with the epic cover by the master himself, E.J. Su, we immediately see Ultraseven taking the lead in battle, gleaming red atop a cloudy, muted landscape. Our beloved beacon of light caught mid-strike—who wouldn’t be excited to see what this narrative entails?
The follow-through is instantaneous with the first line hitting hard:
“To be sentient is a privilege.”
Right off the bat we are set up with a seemingly simple yet existential remark. And then, Boom! The explanation I had been waiting for as a noob to the franchise, the answer to why Kaiju arise, why it’s ethical for Ultraman to sacrifice Kaiju lives for the safety of humanity:
“But it comes at a cost. Our darkest impulses—Our jealousy, our greed, our hate—give rise to Kaiju.”
Kaiju are not just benevolent nomads who happen upon Earth, many are incarnates of the cruelest life has to offer. All of this is revealed by the Denbarans, an alien race who go on to preach that though Kaiju are a massive threat to the people, they cannot continue to rely on Ultras to save them.According to EJ Couloucoundis, our esteemed editor-in-chief, tells me that this concept comes closest to the way Kaiju were portrayed in the Ultraman 80 series, which raised the notion that “Minus Energy” agitated and manifested Kaiju. That’s fascinating, but I hope the series does not imply that all Kaiju are inherently evil. I love my Decker-era Eleking!
With entrancing backgrounds, unique character design, distinct style, and an incredibly pleasing color pallet, The Mystery of Ultraseven #1 explores the concepts of self-determination, faith, systemic faults, and questioning the roles we play in the lives of those we care about. The story maintains the visual charm and upbeat energy of the Ultraman franchise, while delving deeper into the nature of Ultraman and the ethical qualms heroes must face.
At the same time, we witness Shin Hayata in the aftermath of his last adventure, struggling with the consequences of his most recent encounter with Dan Moroboshi…or so we think. It’s hard to see such a strong, beloved character in such a critical condition, but Hayata’s state left me optimistically wondering ‘what’s next for our heroes?’
This issue poses many big questions, some within the boundaries of the narrative, and some that stretch far beyond the Ultraman universe. As a noob, it was exciting to see a more conceptual plot, especially considering the usual focus Ultraman has on straight forward confrontation. Delving into the moral structure of this story world as the miniseries progresses will be a treat and I’m excited to keep walking through the doors these comics continue to open.
Make sure to grab your copy of Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven this August 17th, available at comic book shops and digital sales everywhere, and stay tuned for more here on UltramanConnection.com!
The Noob is Evangelia Artemis, a New York City writer who is now on staff at Ultraman Connection.