THE NOOB SUMMARIZES MARVEL’S ULTRAMAN SERIES
Based on what the Ultraman Connection social media team is telling me, a whole lot of Ultraman fans have finally discovered the Marvel Comics Ultraman series. Twitter especially has been lit up like a Christmas tree, because of how many callbacks to Ultraman lore can be found in the first issue of Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven—Father of Ultra, the Land of Light, Eleking, you name it! Took you long enough, I say.
Yes, there is nothing like coming across an undiscovered branch of your favorite franchise and throwing yourself directly through the first entry point you find. As the designated Ultra-Noob, this is usually my strategy as well, seeing something awesome and diving right in…
However, I’ve come to find that so much of the beauty in many properties, especially Ultraman, comes from the lore! So, for all you eager Ultra-fans who have just found the Marvel’s unique but somehow essential take on Ultraman through The Mystery of Ultraseven by Kyle Higgins, Mat Groom, and Davide Tinto, I’m here to give you a little context. Spoiler alert!
It all began with Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman, released in 2020. The story opens in 1966 with Agent Dan Moroboshi, who some of you are already well acquainted with, piloting his ship on a mission for the United Science Patrol (USP). Almost immediately his ship is intercepted by a giant explosion of light. Within it, we can make out a very familiar, very large silhouette…
Flash forward to 2020, we are introduced to Kiki Fuji as she navigates her new job at the Japanese Headquarters of the USP. Fuji serves as a vehicle to educate us on how this world functions (i.e K-Rays are the tools highly trained USP members use to defeat Kaiju). While accompanying Captain Muramatsu on her first on-field mission, they are faced with subterranean Kaiju, Telesdon. When the attack is too much for them, Kiki’s old friend and formerly rejected USP position-holder, Shin Hayata comes to the rescue.
Kiki and Shin share a fascination with the cryptic nature of the USP as well as a reverence for the USP’s ability to protect humanity from Kaiju, strange monsters who seem to come from other planets to torment Earth. When Kiki is called onto another emergency operation later that day, Shin tags along and the two are met face to face with a being that hadn’t been seen on Earth in over two decades… You guessed it, the myth, the legend: Ultraman!
Shin is encouraged by Captain Muramatsu to attack, but as he follows through, he feels an overwhelming sense of forgiveness from Ultraman. He is drawn to the Ultra energy and submits to merging with him. We’re left alongside Kiki and the captain, equally confused about what this merge entails.
The cliffhanger is picked back up in the second five issue mini-series, The Trials of Ultraman, released in 2021. First, however, we are informed by the executive director of the USP, Aude Morheim, that K-Rays are no longer a feasible way to keep Kaiju at bay. Ultraman is needed more than ever, and he delivers. Underwater, the now merged Shin and Ultra defeat the oil-consuming Kaiju, Pestar. It’s also made clear that Shin will be able to transform into Ultraman for limited time when trouble arises and still sustain his human form.
While the world learns about the existence of the USP and panics in response to the new mass threat of Kaiju, Shin struggles to keep his double life a secret from his father, a deeply embittered man who holds Shin responsible for his kid brother’s accidental death many years ago. Elsewhere, we find the previously declared MIA Dan Moroboshi has been found alive and in the same condition he was in 1966. Like, exactly the same. The only problem? He was found by the wrong kind of people.
Ultraman tells Shin that Dan Moroboshi was the last person known to see Ultraman’s brother, who vanished in the vicinity of Earth five decades earlier. With the incentive to find out what exactly happened in 1966, the USP sends Kiki and Shin to New Zealand where Moroboshi is being held hostage by an anti-USP conspiracy gang called the Joint Armed Disclosure Front (JADF). While trying to reclaim Moroboshi, the JADF releases a man-made robot replica of Kaiju, Star Bem Gyeron. Although Ultraman successfully defeats the “Kaiju” we are left wondering how a small New Zealand gang could have access to such technology…
Well, the answer is engineer Professor Nikaido. This anti-government conspiracy theorist has been building robotic Kaiju with the belief that Kaiju have been a hoax all along and are just government weapons disguised as interstellar threats.
Shin and Moroboshi bond over the weight of working for the USP and the burden of dealing with such grand scale issues, but Shin must put that aside when he and Kiki are sent to Iceland to disarm Professor Nikaido. A crowd of fellow conspiracy theorists surround him as he hypes up the unveiling of his robot Kaiju in an effort to prove that all Kaiju are illegitimate.
While Ultraman battles Jirahs (who has been identified as a human-piloted mecha), a real Kaiju enters the battle: Zumbolar, the walking inferno! Now Ultraman must spare the human inside Jirahs, while preventing the mechanical monster from doing harm, and defeat Zumbolar at the same time!
Once the battle is over and Ultraman prevails once again, Shin and Kiki grapple with the complicated emotional aftermath. They are frustrated that the world has seen the truth of Kaiju and still refuse to believe it, but they decide ultimately that it’s their duty to protect the people of Earth despite their lack of support.
In a rare and touching moment, Shin and Ultraman commiserate on the nature of loss, trauma, and healing but are interrupted when Dan Moroboshi approaches them. He apologizes in advance, but before Shin can finish asking him why, Moroboshi drains the Ultra essence from him—enabling him to transform into Ultraseven!
Wait! Who is that in the foreground…?!
So, we’re here. The Mystery of Ultraseven. Shin has been left helpless (and powerless) after being targeted by Moroboshi, and the USP is frantically trying to piece together a gameplan for dealing with an Ultra that seems to have gone mad—Seven. The more answers we’re given, the more questions arise.
Take it from me, a noob, the Marvel Ultraman comic book collaboration has shaped up to be an enticing journey through the unknown. It’s the perfect introduction to understanding Ultraman’s lore and I would highly recommend it to any curious potential Ultra fans. Go out and read them if you can! But hopefully, now even if you haven’t read the first editions of the series, you’ll be ready to jump into The Mystery of Ultraseven with just enough background knowledge to set the stage! The comics are available everywhere and keep a lookout for updates on upcoming issues here on UltramanConnection.com!