It’s been nearly a year since we saw the last of Ultraman, which left off with a cliffhanger promising thrills and wild action. Does the latest volume live up to that possibility? Is it good?
I called the tenth volume of Ultraman essentially a “blockbuster”, comparable to the second half of the first Avengers movie when all the heroes come together to fight an epic-scale battle. It was thrilling, and seeing everyone team up to take on the Star of Darkness was wonderful. The eleventh volume continues from the cliffhanger of that last book as every single hero or anti-hero joins in the fray, promising something truly epic. Indeed, this book delivers on that promise and more.
The eleventh volume is almost all nonstop action from start to finish as each character breaks off to fight one of the Star of Darkness members that dropped in. Each fight is different from the last, with Shinjiro fighting minions, Jack taking on a physical fighter, and Moroboshi fighting someone who hits very close to home with him. There’s more depth to some of the battles than others, but the results are still the same. Wild, crazy fight scene after fight scene, delivering action on par with a superhero event. There’s no way you won’t feel a little jazzed and pumped after finishing reading.
On the flipside, however, I leave the manga behind feeling…underwhelmed despite it all. Like I stated, it’s all fight scenes. There’re no slow moments, the plot barely moves outside of something at the end and villain monologuing, and characterization is mostly put on the back-burner. With the exception of Moroboshi’s drama, there’s no great character writing or fascinating plot development. We don’t even see the aftermath of the New York battle or where the characters are afterwards. The story fades out and leaves off on a cliffhanger that feels rather weak, nodding to coming characters that we know very little about or have never met. While this volume is a blast to read, there’s not much you’re going to walk away really remembering.
Still, one can’t argue with the incredible artwork on display. Everything looks as good as usual with the visuals capturing the pure, bombastic energy and excitement. Every fight is a joy to read and look at, with some very strong layout work and pacing. Everything flows well from panel to panel most of the time with excellent detailing. Some panels, in particular during the Jack fight, are a tad hard to follow though, which kind of leaves it as the weakest moment of the entire volume. Still, the art is as strong as ever.
Is It Good?
Ultraman Vol. 11 is a great action-focused volume of the series, but it does leave something to be desired by the end. It lacks substance with very little plot development or characterization, somehow having even less than the previous volume. The manga is good, don’t get me wrong, but it blows by so quickly. Unless you recently reread the previous volume that came out last year, you’re just left wanting more, but not in a good way like last time.