After several long months, Ultraman has arrived once more with a brand new volume for us all to enjoy. It is good?
The past few volumes of Ultraman have been kind of a slow build in a way. Sure, there was plenty of action and exciting things happening, but the focus was more on building up the tension and cast for something big. We got new revelations and new characters, the true villains appeared, and a huge event went down, culminating in a big ending to the last volume. The Star of Darkness had appeared and threatened to unleash a hellish bio-outbreak on New York. It was a good note to leave us on, signaling that things were finally coming to a head.
This is the volume where it all comes together, and it does so in an exciting fashion. There’s a little bit more buildup and set-up to the main event, checking in with side characters and seeing how they’re doing. But when everyone collides, it is easily some of the most exciting, fist-pumping action I’ve seen the series pull. The best word to describe it is “blockbuster.” The second half of the book is like an Avengers film where all the characters come together to fight off the force that’s wrecking everything in a thrilling climax. And just when you think the story can’t top itself, it gets even better as more characters join in the action at the very end. It feels grand and epic in scale, and the promise on the very last page of the book for what is to come makes me unbelievably giddy. This is pure superheroic excitement and writing at its best, but it’s also sometimes cheesy (the villians do have a moment with their evil monologue for instance).
For those seeking a thrillride where the stakes are very high, you’ll get it here. Those wanting an epic climax where the buildup that’s been going on comes together spectacularly, you’ll get that too. But after all is said and done, I can’t help but feel a bit empty. There isn’t much characterization or growth going on, outside of a few bits such as Dan reflecting on the fact that he may face down his brother in the future. The story goes by super quickly without much substance to it and the villains’ goal is cliché and silly in a stereotypical supervillain way (exposing the true horror that is humanity), so you won’t have much to really dig into in that regard. It’s not particularly deep in the end, not even by the standards of the previous volumes.
The artwork by Tomohiro Shimoguchi is always a treat and with this being pure, unadulterated action he really gets to cut loose. The action is intense with big brawls, and it gets you pumped up with exciting full or two-page spreads of the heroes. Everything flows well from panel to panel, making it easy to follow along with and never making the action janky. The art suffers occasionally in some action parts which feel static, but it never gets distracting. The alien designs are great, the artist is better at filling in his backgrounds with details, and the overall package is fantastic. This is easily some of the best art the series has had to date.
Is It Good?
Ultraman Vol. 10 is all flash and action with little substance to bite into. But at this point the series has earned it, delivering one of the best superhero blockbusters you’ll experience off the big screen. Everything that has been built up to this point has come together marvelously, leaving you hungry for more. I eagerly look forward to seeing how the next chapter plays out.