It’s been a great time to be an Ultra-fan lately, between the new show and Tsuburaya’s big plans to make its iconic size-changing hero more accessible internationally than ever. Part of that push includes a new ongoing comic from Marvel, and while we’ve had gorgeous teases before, we’ve finally got a look inside.
Yesterday, July 10, was the official “Ultraman Day” — marking the anniversary of Ultraman’s debut on Japanese Television, not in his titular series, but the Birth of Ultraman pilot/stage show that introduced audiences to the alien hero before his adventures began a week later on July 17. As part of a livestream celebrating all things Ultra, Marvel Comics joined Tsuburaya to give a glimpse into its upcoming comic book re-imagining of the original series, The Rise of Ultraman, which is available to read right now.
Being penned by former Power Rangers comic writer Kyle Higgins and Self/Made’s Mat Groom, and featuring art from Francesco Manna, Michael Cho, and Gurihiru, The Rise of Ultraman is a contemporary re-imagining of the first Ultraman series, depicting how SSSP agent Shin Hayata becomes bonded with the alien being known the Ultra Warrior, fusing together to become the giant-sized Ultraman capable of defending earth from Kaiju threats.
But it’s not a strictly “faithful” adaptation of the classic Tokusatsu show — not only is it set in the present day, it takes the chance to incorporate the fifty-plus years of Ultraman shows since the first into the fiction. We get to see that from the get-go in Rise of Ultraman #1’s preview, considering the first alien encounter we see isn’t Shin meeting the Ultra Warrior, but Dan Moroboshi — the human protagonist of Ultra Seven, the series that immediately followed Ultraman — all the way back in 1966, meeting his own superheroic destiny.
No surprises there, given Higgins did similar lore-bending geekery to astounding effect in Boom Studio’s Power Rangers series, which deftly balanced updating the original Mighty Morphin’ team to the modern day while also paying tribute to decades of Power Rangers lore since their ‘90s debut. But still, it’s cool to see that Rise of Ultraman will have something for both newcomers and fans already familiar with the oodles of classic series in the franchise.
The Rise of Ultraman #1 is set to hit shelves September 9 — to see more from the first issue, as well as teasers and covers for future entries in the series, you can check out the Rise of Ultraman sampler here.