Only a few more weeks remain before The Rise of Ultraman #1 arrives on shelves at comic book stores. Around the world, fans of both Ultraman and Marvel Comics wait eagerly for this massive collaboration between giants of entertainment (one a literal giant!). No mere retelling of the classic Ultraman story, Marvel and Tsuburaya Productions have crafted a new universe, with mysteries around every corner and answers just on the horizon, let’s nail down what we’ve learned from promotional material, issue previews, and future covers, to be best prepared to join the Hero of Light on his newest adventure!
Just a warning: this article contains potential spoilers for The Rise of Ultraman, so if you want to go into the book completely blind (and we wouldn’t blame you for that!) head out now.
A TRAGIC BEGINNING
The first official pages that Marvel revealed covered events set fifty years in the past: A defense team pilot has a violent encounter with an extraterrestrial visitor in a glowing red sphere. This ill-fated pilot was not the original Ultraman series’ Shin Hayata, but Dan Moroboshi, who fans of the classic series might recognize as the alter-ego of the mighty Ultraseven. This adds another wrinkle to the tale, as in the classic series, Dan Moroboshi never existed, merely being a human disguise for the Ultra.
However, before that thought can be taken to any logical conclusions, it appears that poor Dan’s time is short, as the meeting between he and the interstellar stranger ends in a violent explosion, with the Ultra barely able to speak a few words in an alien tongue before both are gone. It’s a shocking introduction to this world, and from the looks of it, Ultraman may have to contend with more than just Kaiju…
It seems this Ultraman, like his forebears, won’t be defending Earth by himself but will aid a human organization dedicated to dealing with potentially dangerous phenomena, monstrous creatures, and extraterrestrial threats. Called the United Science Patrol (USP), it is a multinational group of highly trained agents who operate covertly, occasionally making moral compromises so as to not raise alarm among the masses.
This is a sharp contrast to the original Science Special Search Party, better known as the SSSP or Science Patrol. The Science Patrol was a highly public agency known even to children. Comparatively, the USP depicted in the new Marvel series is a ghost, with any trace of its existence covered up with near-military precision, in hopes of keeping the general population from hysteria due to the existence of Kaiju.
The USP cannot cover all of its tracks, of course, and it looks like a few dedicated parties have picked up their trail. Who knows what will happen when the organization’s dirty laundry is finally aired?
The original Shin Hayata was a dignified, experienced member of the Science Patrol whose sense of justice allowed him to bond with the friendly alien from the Land of Light. Marvel’s Shin Hayata does not appear to be a USP member. He has inherited a lot of the original Shin’s key traits, however—a kind nature, deep inquisitiveness, and intelligent, thoughtful demeanor—but he is now untested, inexperienced, and still learning about the world. This Earth is facing a Kaiju threat far more insidious than anyone realizes, so Hayata may need more than the powers of Ultraman to keep everyone safe.
Kiki Fuji is the first main character introduced in The Rise of Ultraman, even before lead Shin Hayata, and she’s sure to leave quite an impression in fans’ minds. A childhood friend of Shin and a member of the USP, Kiki follows in the footsteps of capable Ultraman Series heroines like her original Ultraman counterpart, Akiko Fuji, and Ultraseven’s Anne Yuri.
Kiki’s skills lay in engineering due to her analytical mind, but she has nevertheless found difficulty reconciling the potentially amoral deeds of the USP with her own internal code. As secrets and hidden dangers begin to come to light, Kiki will be forced to make hard choices and pick sides. Who can say where she’ll end up?
The Kaiju of The Rise of Ultraman are perhaps the biggest mystery the series has to offer. They appear to be classic foes like Telesdon and Aboras—fittingly feral creatures that suit the more clandestine battles waged by the USP, over the more famous Kaiju that rang in the classic series.
But these monsters seem somehow more malicious than their predecessors, and come in different shapes and sizes. The modern world somehow has little to no knowledge of these violent beasts despite the danger to society that they pose, thanks to the efforts of the USP. It is only when Ultraman finally makes his appearance on Earth that the dreadful truth of the Kaiju may be revealed
With The Rise of Ultraman, every answer seems to generate new questions, and open up new storytelling avenues. We at Ultraman Galaxy can’t for you to see what Marvel will show the world when The Rise of Ultraman #1 drops on September 9th, 2020. For the latest news on Rise and the Ultraman Series in general, make sure to keep checking UltramanGalaxy.com!