Ultraman Manga, by Eiichi Shimizu & Tomohiro Shimoguchi (Mildy Spoiler-ish)

Volume One

I picked this up since I was a fan of the old Ultraman TV show when I was a little kid. This story is a direct sequel to the original series, ignoring the myriad subsequent Ultra-series.  Earth has been at peace for the several decades since Ultraman went back to wherever it was he came from. Shin Hayata, Ultraman's human host,  eventually retired from the Science Patrol, married, had a son, and rose to become the Minister of Defense. Shin no longer remembers his time as Ultraman, although since he retains a certain measure of super-strength, I have to wonder where he thinks this power came from.  

The protagonist of the story is Shinjiro Hayata, Shin's son, who has inherited Shin's super-strength. His father is aware of this, but, oddly, never discusses it with him. Shinjiro hides his powers until one day he decides to try to impress a girl who's being bullied by some older boys, and accidentally cripples one of them.

The third major character is Mitsuhiro Ide, a member of the Science Patrol from the old days. He runs a sort of "Ultraman Museum". At one point, he reveals to Shin that hostile aliens have begun to take an interest in the Earth again, and that the museum is actually a front for the continued research of the supposedly long-disbanded Science Patrol. 

The fourth major character is Bemular. In the old show, Bemular was the first monster Ultraman fought.  Here, he's a human-sized alien who confronts and attacks Shinjiro.  Shin (who has remembered that he was Ultraman*) defends his son, and sends him off to safety at Ide's museum. Ide reveals to Shinjiro that they've built an exo-suit to help magnify and control his powers, which may one day surpass Shin's.  Shinjiro dons the suit and rushes to confront Bemular, who is beating the crap out of the now somewhat elderly Shin. Shinjiro manages to drive Bemular away, but is left with more questions than answers.

Overall 

I enjoyed this book. The art is pretty good, it suits the subject matter. The exo-suit only vaguely resembles the original Ultraman outfit, but it looks OK. So far, the action has been kept at a human-sized level, I'll be curious to see if that continues. So far, it's been a standard, "Kid discovers that he's the secret heir to the legendary hero" story, but I feel that it's reasonably well-handled. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this.

*Ide reveals that back in the day, the Science Patrollers all knew that Shin was Ultraman, but kept quiet about it for Shin's sake.  I'm personally OK with this revelation. It makes sense to me.

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Volume Seventeen

Rena confronts Endo and he tells her about her parents and how he adopted her. Confuesed , she goes off to think.

Meanwhile, Ide is investigating the "institute" that reached out to Endo.

Endo reches out to Maik at the insitute.

Elsewhere, Shinjiro and Dan ponder the situation.

Rena goes looking for Shinjiro, but mets Taro, instead. He inadvertently lets slip that Shinjiro is a "super-hero", and then tells about his friend that was murdered.

Maki kills Kitawa, the police official who ordered the death of Rena's parents.  Endo's boss informs him  of Kitagawa's murder just as Endo gets a call from Maki.

Edo informs the Ultramen that the Zetton core, a faction within the Council has been exterminating the races that refuse to lose faith in the Ultras.

An alien called Black King begins attacking the city.  Rena attempts to defend some civilians and gets  caught up in battle with it.  The other Ultras arriove and beat it easily.  Bemular arrives and argues with Rena.

Valky arrives, followed by representativwes of the Zetton Core. The Zettons denounce Ultraman  Bemular attacks the Zettons and is crushed.A battle ensues, which isn't going well, but Ide detects that Spacium energy from his suit is flooding Shinjiro's body.

Overall

Still holding my interest.  I'm eger to see where they're going with this, especially to see what deal -if any - that Endo cut with Maki's people.

I really need to get caught up.

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