Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven trade paperback is out now, thus concluding Marvel’s Mystery of Ultraseven series. 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 in a striking tableau: Eleking trapped in Ultraseven’s headlock, gritting his teeth in preparation for a mighty blow to the skull! After a long hiatus, our hero is back in action! 

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, the answer to the question pondered by any Ultra-fan either consciously or subconsciously. 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.”

Although many Kaiju in the tokusatsu continuity of the Ultraman Series are benevolent nomads who happen upon the earth, in Marvel, Kaiju are incarnates of the cruelest life has to offer, representing greed, destruction, and chaos that must be harnessed to preserve the balance of intergalactic interspecies union. All of this is revealed by the Denbarans, an alien race who go on to preach that Kaiju are a massive threat to the people and they cannot continue to rely on Ultras to save them. 

With entrancing backgrounds, unique character design, distinct style, and an incredibly pleasing color pallet, The Mystery of Ultraseven is aesthetically delicious but the richness of the story doesn’t stop at the visuals. The story 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 that we love about the Ultraman franchise, while delving deeper into the nature of Ultraman and the ethical qualms heroes must face. 

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 determination definitely left me optimistically wondering ‘what’s next for our heroes?’ 

And what did come next was a shock! As someone who’d never seen two ultras contradict each other before this series, this scene was a disturbing reminder that even giants of light can have their falling outs. 

No matter how jarring of a situation this seems to be, Shin Hayata and Kiki Fuji are on it. In the liminal space that Ultras and humans often meet, Shin is faced with Ultraseven, who is no longer absorbed in a fit of destruction. 

“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.”

Ultraseven had been honoring a vow to himself that he made when in a state of distress. 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 have helped us at one point can become obsolete with time. 

The familiar interpersonal nature of the conflict and the almost father-and-son relationship Dan and Ultraseven have almost reminds me of the Trials of Ultraman mini-series that preceded this one. Groom and Higgins’ work 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. 

This series explores the moral struggles Ultras face regarding their interference in human conflict and we see Ultras grappling with one another in the name of upholding their vows to protect humans. 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? Are we as a species too dependent on them? Is the corruption of human systems powerful enough to override the goodness of light power? 

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 alas 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