Ultramega is an “Ultraman” riff, with creator James Harren bringing in a bunch of non-standard elements to give a very different feel. Starting with the kaiju being a lot more Lovecraftian, with tentacles and sharp-toothed mouths and sharp-toothed mouths on the end of tentacles. And the Ultramega—the Earth’s defenders who look like Ultraman and get gigantic to fight like Ultraman—have more of a Green Lantern bent for their origin. A very Silver Age alien communicates with three earthlings who soon become the planet’s defenders against the kaiju.
One problem—the only way to get the kaiju to reveal themselves (otherwise it’s a virus inhabiting unaware human hosts) is for the Ultramega to get close to a hidden kaiju. They trigger one another and lead to giant, very blood fights. Harren gets gross with the repercussions of skyscraper tall super-dudes fighting with monsters. Gross in a good way.
The issue’s a setup for the Ultramega as super dudes, while not really setting up Ultramega, the comic. There’s a fairly big twist in the comic and it doesn’t get to establishing what it’s going to be going forward. It’s a compelling tease; very definitely a tease.
Harren’s art is excellent. Great movement on the giant creatures fighting. Great pacing on it too. Ultramega feels very finished, very thoughtful. So even though Harren’s script does the big change-up, it works. Harren’s able to earn enough trust to survive and delay judgement on the next riff on the genre.
There’s some fun dialogue between the Ultramega guys. Harren’s also able to great some tension, particularly because he doesn’t shy away from the collateral damage of giant monster fights. It’s a fine balance between the heroes, their supporting cast, and the bad guys. The bad guys tend to be pretty gross, but never too gross. Ditto the gory fight scenes.
Ultramega is awesome—the fights, the twists, the fights—Harren can definitely draw it and there’s nothing concerning about the writing. I can’t wait for issue two (they’re all double-sized so there’s even enough story to them).