Every now and then, a story pops up in a genre, in this case Kaiju (If you don’t know what a Kaiju is, Godzilla is a Kaiju.), that pushes that particular genre into a new realm. The last time I really felt that the Kaiju genre truly progressed into uncharted territory was Neon Genesis: Evangelion. It was carnal, it was animalistic, it was human. It expanded my brain and popped it. I was hoping that Pacific Rim was going to be the next step forward, but it sort of plateaued for me. Then, Attack on Titan was the next big one—hoo-boy, that brought us to new heights in the realm of the Kaiju, but the trauma of intense violence isn’t the same as elevating a genre to the next level. I haven’t watched the final seasons… yet. I have to say that Ultramega may be the next step I was hoping for. It’s off to a pretty freaking amazing start.
This is a world overridden by a plague that when someone is infected, they turn into a monstrously strange, maggot-like Kaiju. I haven’t seen such weird and disturbing renderings since reading the manga, Berzerker. Three people have been given power by a strange being (and an eyeball is its only distinguishable feature). When our heroes are around an infected person, it causes said person to change into a kaiju early in the process and they in change into something akin to Ultraman to defeat that low-power Kaiju. Alas, at the center of these Ultra-people remains people-people - human beings who are being stretched to their limits. And now in this issue, those human mistakes are about to catch up to them.
There are more than obvious visual references to Evangelion, Ultraman, Attack on Titan, and a number of other Kaiju-related shows, but there is plenty here that I’ve never seen before, things that have the innately Japanese manga weirdness. You can tell James Harren loves this genre, and he loves this story. The emotional journey of our main characters is reflected in the violence they take part in, which leaves the city literally torn to pieces, with a lot of collateral damage. This comic is off the hook.
The design work from Andres Juarez is simply perfect, paying homage to all of this while directing us down a visually fresh path. Plus, if you want something to look amazing, you get Dave Stewart to color it. He is a genuine that can shift from one genre to the next, finding new and remarkable ways to leave his imprint.
I don’t think this series would be difficult for a non-fan of the Kaiju genre to get into, (It’s pretty accessible.), but Kaiju fans, you’re going to do a back flip after reading this.
Creative Team: James Harrem (creator, artist, writer), Dave Stewart (colors), Rus Wooton (letters), Sean Mackiewicz (editor), Andres Juarez (logo, design)
Publisher: Image Comics, Skybound
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