Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven issue #5 is out now, thus concluding Marvel’s third miniseries in tandem with Tsuburaya Productions. Don’t cry yet though! We have much to discuss. Spoilers ahead!
As usual, Kyle Higgins and Matt Groom have carried this series through beautifully with the help of artists Davide Tinto and Espen Grundetjern. We pick this issue up with a striking tableau: Mecha Jack in full offense mode crouched over the limp and defeated Ultraseven. As a noob, I’ve never seen anything made on Earth capable of staggering a Giant of Light and the image is shocking.
No matter how jarring a situation this seems to be, Shin Hayata and Kiki Fuji are on it. Kiki persuades Mr. Kato to disassemble and disperse the Monster Attack Team, explaining that Director Morheim is not the one in control of Ultraseven despite her shadiness. Once Mecha Jack stands down and splits up, Shin pulls a reverse on Ultraseven, draining his Ultra energy and reverting him back to an unconscious Dan Moroboshi, but not before having an enlightening conversation.
In the liminal space within which Ultras and humans meet, Shin is faced with Ultraseven, who is no longer absorbed in a fit of destruction. Ultraseven makes the declaration that he must protect Dan at all costs, insinuating that the chaos he has caused has been a result of fear and defensiveness. Shin understands this and meets Ultraseven where he is.
“Look, I don’t understand precisely what you’ve been through, but I understand the result. I know trauma, I know that unrelenting, inescapable pain. And I know the only way through it is with the support of people you trust. You can trust me.”
Perhaps Shin is referring to the loss of his brother, the traumatic event that seems to have permanently alienated him from his father. Shin’s intuition and candor in this scene are really touching.
Ultraseven had been honoring a vow to himself that he made in the Kaiju Vault, as wave upon wave of monster assaulted both Dan and him. He promised protection over Dan no matter what and failed to realize that there would be a time where Dan would be capable of caring for himself. A time when Ultraseven’s interference could cause more harm than good. With all of this, we are faced with the idea that tools which might’ve helped us at one point can become obsolete with time.
It becomes clear that Dan Moroboshi and Ultraseven need to redefine the terms of their relationship so they can avoid repeating the traumas of the past. They are reunited with heartfelt communication, Dan assures Ultraseven that the need for this level of protection is over.
The familiar interpersonal nature of the conflict and the almost father-and-son relationship Dan and Ultraseven have reminds me of the Trials of Ultraman miniseries that preceded this one. Groom and Higgins’ work over the course of these stories seems to have motifs of communication, looking within, establishing boundaries, looking to those around us for help, and showing up where we can no matter what. All of which coincide with the principles Ultraman has always stood for.
Mystery of Ultraseven #5 – Cover by EJ Su
And with all of that, the Ultra Guard is formed, bonding Ultraman, Ultraseven and Jack as Earth’s protectors. By the looks of things, Earth will need their help… and possibly the help of some other Ultras and familiar heroes!
This series explores the moral struggles Ultras face regarding their involvement and potential interference in human conflict and we see Ultras grappling with one another in the name of upholding their vows to protect humans without usurping human destiny. To me, this raises more questions about humanity’s relationship with the Ultras. If Ultraseven’s promise to protect Dan could become harmful, is it possible that humanity’s alliance with Ultras could be destined to the same fate? Might other Ultras be acting out of trauma? Might we as a species become too dependent on them?
Regardless, Ultraman and Ultraseven empower us to remember we are capable of handling anything through collaboration. Between Shin, Kiki, Mr. Kato, and the Monster Attack Team, humans were able to neutralize the cosmic threat of the rogue Ultraseven, and with empathy, Shin was even able to get through to Ultraseven about the root of his distress.
The Mystery of Ultraseven does leave a few plot threads dangling. Though her villainy has been revealed to our heroes, Director Morheim is still in charge of the USP and we don’t know how much her corruption has penetrated the organization. (Clearly there are many who are unaware and are operating at the USP in good faith.) This leaves our human heroes on the run, renegades from the very organization they pledged to serve. Honestly, I’m mystified as to how all of this can lead into the next miniseries, a crossover with the Marvel superhero universe called Ultraman X Avengers. Can’t even begin to imagine!
Reading Marvel’s Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven series alongside all of you has been an amazing journey. It’s sad to say goodbye, but Ultraman has many more adventures to come and, from the looks of the teaser on this issue’s final page, Marvel will be sticking around to chronicle them! Stay tuned for more here on UltramanConnection.com.