The Marvel Rundown looks at the latest offerings from the House of Ideas starting with the new mini-series The Rise of Ultraman along with a few books that wrap up the events of Empyre, and the latest issue of Marauders!

Rise of Ultraman #1
Ultraman: The Rise of Ultraman #1

Ultraman: The Rise of Ultraman #1

Written by Mat Groom and Kyle Higgins
Art by Francesco MannaEd McGuinness, Michael Cho, and Gurihiru
Color Art by Espen GrundetjernMichael Cho, and Gurihiru
Lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher
Cover by Alex Ross

If you’re like me and have a passing familiarity with this beloved ’60s Japanese franchise, the new Ultraman: The Rise of Ultraman mini-series by Mat GroomKyle Higgins, and Francesco Manna reimagines it for the 21st century. This recreated world is immediately accessible to readers, as this is an origin story that does a lot of good things as it opens up, establishing our heroes Shin Hayata and Kiki Fuji, and the ultra-secret United Science Patrol (USP) the organization they work for. Groom and Higgins’s script sets the tone of the book, a nice blend for this noirish adventure. The fusion of an alien being and human male, Ultraman is a super-powered Sci-fi operative of the USP protecting the world from monsters and aliens with futuristic technology and weapons. Groom and Higgins create a fast-paced adventure that pulls the reader along with hints and teases to a much bigger, darker story.

From Ultraman: The Rise of Ultraman #1

Francesco Manna’s artwork is amazing, from the everyday basics to the designs of their futuristic secret headquarters, he pushes the story along making it pop when it needs to. Adding to the sleek linework is colorist Espen Grundetjern lush and vibrant color palette.

Priced at $5.99, the backup stories help with the sticker shock for this reboot. The main backup, beautifully illustrated by another talented artist, Michael Cho, is definitively a tip of the hat to ’60s spy era but with that ‘monster of the week’ feel that further expands the history of the USP and the legend of Ultraman.

From Ultraman: The Rise of Ultraman #1

Final Verdict: If you’ve ever wondered what the X-Files would be like if they had superpowers and a budget like Men in Black, then The Rise of Ultraman is a mini-series worth a look the next time you’re in your local comic shop. This book gets a Strong Browse.

From Ultraman: The Rise of Ultraman #1

Rapid Rundown!

  • Empyre Aftermath: Avengers #1
    • Empyre was mostly a dud… but this issue really worked for me. One complaint I had about the final issue of the event was that it was harping on how the universe would change forever and nothing would ever be the same; you know. All the usual stuff Marvel hoes on about. With this issue, however, you get a sense of how it’ll change. There’s not much that Al Ewing and Valerio Schiti show us, but it’s tantalizing enough to get me excited about the future of the Marvel Universe, and if Ewing will have anything to do with it. This is a must-read, and the ending intrigued the hell out of me. —HW
  • Empyre Fallout: Fantastic Four #1
    • While the Avengers issue was certainly a more galaxy-wide showcase, this was something more personal despite the size of the cast in this issue. The big change in this issue happens to the Fantastic Four and I think some readers have already been able to guess it. I didn’t, and it was a welcome and wholesome surprise that I’m honestly excited to read about in the FF book. Much like the ending of the Avengers issue, there are some serious ramifications I want to know more about. —HW
  • Marauders #12
    • Marauders may be my favorite book of the current slate of X-titles, and the newest issue doesn’t do anything to change that. The creative team of Gerry DugganMatteo Lolli, and Edgar Delgado take some time to celebrate the resurrection of Kate Pryde, to highlight the importance of her place within the X-universe, and to examine Kate’s reaction to what’s happened to her and where she plans to go from here. It’s a largely character-driven story, and it features some big stuff for Kate, including beautifully-handled confirmation of a long-subtextual element of the character that I won’t spoil here. This series just keeps getting better. —JG

Next week, an all-new Iron Man solo series kicks off, and Storm stars in the latest Giant-Size X-Men one-shot!