I love a good kaiju story. I love comics. I love giant robot anime, including Neon Genesis Evangelion, arguably one of the cornerstone series of the genre.
So you shan’t be surprised that when I encountered Ultramega on the shelf of my local comic shop I was immediately intrigued. The cover piqued my curiosity, and what lay within captured my attention.
Ultramega tells the story of a civilization riddled with a cosmic plague that randomly turns civilians into massive monsters of incredible power. Only the Ultramega, a trio of otherwise normal people bestowed with powers from beyond, stand between mankind and total destruction.
While the premise is almost painfully familiar, what Ultramega does phenomenally well is provide gravity to these larger-than-life conflicts. When a crowd of people suddenly falls unconscious during one of the encounters, one of the survivors comments:
“This is what happens when gods fight.”
Central to the story is one of the Ultramega soldiers, Jason, who has been worn thin after years of battling monsters for an otherwise ungrateful world. He yearns for the day that he can take some time off, and with the advent of mechanized Ultramega soldiers seemingly on the horizon, things are looking hopeful. Unfortunately, the return of his ex-wife and the horrific fate of their child threatens to destroy the Ultramega team, and the world at large.
Folks – this is a damn good comic. James Harren of BPRD and Rumble fame has really outdone himself with the creation of a stark world where death is dealt in staggering amounts and victories are hollow because there’s no end in sight. Comedy is sprinkled in here and there, but only to serve as a temporary reprieve – which only heightens the atmosphere of this opening issue.
The influences for this story are hard to miss – from the signature Ultramega Beam technique to a berserker attack during the climactic battle, homages to Ultraman, Neon Genesis Evangelion and even Lovecraftian horror are lovingly woven into Harren’s broader tale.
The closing battle, and the (perhaps) unexpected twist certainly leaves doors wide open for what’s to come. All I know is that I’m eager to see where Harren takes us, giant monsters and all.
If you can, pick up this series and add it to your pull list, pronto.