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2 - Ultraman
This article is about a comic book series in the Ultraman franchise.

Ultraman was a comic book series published by the Harvey Comics imprint Nemesis which ran for 5 issues starting in March of 1994 and abruptly ended in September 1994 due to the bankruptcy of the company. It is loosely based off of the TV series Ultraman: Towards the Future, but features inconsistencies from writers who believed it to be a remake of the 1966 series. While it began with similarities to its TV counterpart, it quickly adapted a gritter atmosphere.

Plot

After Jack Shindo's time as Ultraman ends, the torch of Ultraman is passed to Ace Kimura, a martial arts trainer who has to put aside questions of why he was chosen and defend the Earth from the likes of massive machines, an evil Ultraman and a returning foe.

Story

Ultraman -1

Ultraman, traveling without a host, takes on an ancient evil in space but is imprisoned by its power. Jack Shindo, the former host of Ultraman, meets with Ace Kimura, a disabled martial arts teacher who finds himself able to walk without crutches and use almost-superhuman strength when the situation calls for it. Both realize that Ultraman is calling them to save him. Despite Ace's concerns about why Ultraman would have chosen him, he helps Shindo sneak into UMA's hangar, letting Shindo travel into space and sacrifice himself by ramming his craft into the creature imprisoning Ultraman, letting the giant free himself and destroy the evil. Back on Earth, Ace learns that Ultraman has chosen him as a new host to defend Earth, and he is promised that he will meet Shindo again.

The Robex Dynasty

Ace is hired by Ayumi, an agent of UMA, to take on a new threat: on the planet Shima 12, where many of Earth's computer systems are stored, an asteroid storm mutated several such machines into massive biomechanical life forms known as the Robex Dynasty, led by a Robex called Cogem. Ace transforms into Ultraman and destroys several Robexes upon realizing that they cannot be reasoned with, then learns that he can hide his identity as Ultraman by changing back to his human form once he's finished. After finding Cogem, however, the Robex leader informs Ultraman that he's set multiple bombs to destroy the Earth if Ultraman should interfere.

For some time, Ultraman and Ace are set on a dilemma: interfere and watch the Earth's destruction, or let the Robex Dynasty continue their rampage. Eventually, however, the two set off undercover, with Ultraman finding and defusing the planetary bombs as quickly as he can and changing back to Ace to avoid detection. Eventually, with Ayumi's help, Ace makes it onto the Robex ship, changing rapidly between Ultraman and himself to avoid detection while destroying whatever he can. However, as transforming into Ultraman wasn't meant to be done so frequently, the rapid pace of the transformations wears down on Ace physically, and he is eventually cornered by Cogem, who's discovered his secret. However, the impaired state of Ace's transformation abilities combined with Ace and Ultraman's emotions causes the two to fuse into a being combining Ultraman's and the human's qualities, who singlehandedly destroy Cogem's body. Cogem, little more than a mistlike ghost, leaves with the promise of returning.

The Return of Gudis

After the fall of the Robex Dynasty, a wave of crime erupts in the city. The worst of the criminals, Raptor, is said to have functionally superhuman strength, which Ace learns of firsthand: while saving children from Raptor, the two put up a fight that bloodies both of them. In the meantime, a tentacle belonging to Gudis is spotted and placed under surveillance by UMA, which attracts the interest of Raptor. After killing the guards, Raptor finds the tentacle, which promptly stabs Raptor and begins to grow into the full Gudis. However, Raptor, now with the DNA of Gudis in him as well as a bit of the Ultraman-infused blood of Ace, starts to transforms into a dinosaur and then gains the ability to transform into another, blue version of Ultraman himself.

Raptor, with Gudis' and Ultraman's DNA, transforms into a blue Ultraman, causing Ace to transform in response. The fight is both titanic and brief, but after both transform back, Raptor runs away while Ace is beaten near death by a mob. Ace all but gives up hope, but Gudis and Raptor terrorize and eventually start to poison Ace's city in order to lure Ultraman back into a fight. Ayumi convinces Ace to continue his fight, and he eventually lands as Ultraman on an asteroid where Gudis and Raptor are. While Ultraman damages Gudis, Raptor (as the blue Ultraman) strikes Ultraman at the exact moment that he would have transformed into Ace, causing them to seemingly die, although both experience visions of who they are. Here, Ultraman is revealed to be a form of Izanagi, one of the Shinto creators of the world, returning to protect Earth, while Ace learns that he is a descendant of Ōishi Kuranosuke from the historical and legendary tale of the 47 Rōnin. Powered by the revelations, Ultraman returns to life, using a previously-unseen power to increase the asteroid's gravity to the point where Gudis and Raptor could never escape it and sending the asteroid off into space. Ace returns home, realizing that he was never alone.

Characters

Heroes

  • Ace Kimura
  • Ayumi
  • Jack Shindo

Villains

  • Unnamed evil
  • Gudis
  • The Robex Dynasty
    • Cogem
  • Raptor/The Blue Ultraman

List of issues

Image Issue No. Release Date
Nemesis
Ultraman Issue #-1 (Nemesis) March 3, 1994
Nemesis Issue 1
Ultraman Issue #1 (Nemesis) April 1994
Ultraman Issue 2
Ultraman Issue #2 (Nemesis) May 1994
Ultra issue 3
Ultraman Issue #3 (Nemesis) August 1994
UM nemesis Issue four
Ultraman Issue #4 (Nemesis) (Final issue) September 1994

Notes

  • Despite not being canon to the TV series, Issue #4 features the first appearance of a blue Ultraman (2 years before Ultraman Tiga debuted).
  • The series also features an Ultraman who uses multiple hosts, over a decade before Ultraman Nexus.
  • The series was preceded by a 3-issue mini-series focusing on Jack Shindo's time as a host.
  • Although the series itself is based on Ultraman: Towards the Future, the comics also include some promotional images for the American/Japanese co-production, Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero.
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