By Dustin Cabeal
The last volume wrapped up a big chunk of the story and began threading the needle for the next big arc. In a way, this volume feels like a brand-new volume. It follows a new character and introduces not one, but two new Ultramen… damn series is going Ultra crazy with the Ultramen if you ask me, but it always works out.
All the story paths lead to New York all the sudden. The new Ultraman, pictured on the cover, is in New York. The idol heads to New York. Two other supporting characters are already in New York, and after the events of this story, it looks like our main Ultraman is heading to NY as well.
What the hell is going on in New York you ask? Well, there’s an alien drug flooding the streets leaving people acting more like monsters than men. Kotaro, our newest Ultraman, wakes up after being attacked and is miraculously still alive. He discovers his powers while trying to stop a purse snatcher, which makes him want to be a hero. A lot of the volume is spent with him figuring his powers out in a very Spider-Man the movie inspired way. He and his friend begin fighting criminals, especially the ones hopped up on space drugs. Things change when he and his friend are jacked by the alien’s making the drugs, which sets off a new chain of events. One that will have dire consequences for the world and characters.
This is an easy volume to jump on to. There are only one or two big story moments, but for the most part, its focus is solely on Kotaro and his journey as a hero. It’s quite fun to see some traditional superheroing in New York done in a manga. The story does feel forced to check in with every character it has introduced, which makes you realize that the story may have too many supporting characters at the moment.
The artwork is still incredible. You can see some of the influences the artists have when they illustrate New York and their big superhero scenes. It’s a treat to see for any North American comic book fan. This volume may be a bit heavy on the action, but it was a nice change of pace from the story-heavy elements of the last arc. That and it’s annoying when the action gets broken up by monologues all the time. Instead, Kotaro keeps mostly quite while fighting.
While there’s only one big story pop in this volume, the rest is filled with joyful superhero moments. Like any good superhero story, there’s a degree of tragedy that arrives which will play out in interesting ways in future volumes. If you haven’t been reading Ultraman, this isn’t the perfect jumping on point as you’ll be pretty lost on everything that came before, but it’s the best spot to start that I’ve seen in recent volumes. Give it a shot or keep enjoying it.
Ultraman vol. 9