By Leroy Douresseaux
Jan 25, 2010 - 11:51
|Ultimo Volume 1 cover image is courtesy of Powells.com.|
Rated “T” for Teen
Published in Japan’s Jump SQ. II (the sister publication of Weekly Shonen Jump), Ultimo is a concept created by American comic book legend Stan Lee, the co-creator of The Amazing Spider-Man and the X-Men (among others) and transformed into manga by Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of the manga, Shaman King. The first collection of Ultimo for the North American is set to debut in early February.
Ultimo focuses on two karakuri dôji or “mechanical boys,” the creations of a mysterious figure named Dr. Dunstan (a character that resembles Stan Lee). Mechanical Boy Ultimo is the mechanical embodiment of perfect good, and Mechanical Boy Vice is the mechanical embodiment of perfect evil. Dunstan created them over 900 years ago and has given them a purpose – to battle to the death to prove once and far all whether good or evil is the most powerful force in the universe.
In Ultimo, Vol. 1, high school student Agari Yamato and his pal, Rune, find a strange, human-like doll in an antique shop. Yamato’s proximity to this doll, Mechanical Boy Ultimo, awakens it. However, Ultimo soon finds himself once again in battle with Vice. The reappearance of these two mechanical boys raises many questions, among them questions about Dunstan’s intentions and Ultimo’s bond with Yamato.
THE LOWDOWN: At this early point in the series, I cannot say much about Ultimo. It is well written and well drawn and is so safely shonen that even boys not yet in their teens can read and enjoy this. The narrative takes place in two different time periods in Tokyo, the 12th century and the modern era, which actually makes the narrative more interesting. If the reader’s interested is captured, he will have two eras worth of mysteries to unravel, and so far some of Ultimo’s questions are worth the effort to answer.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: The Shonen Jump reader may want to search out Ultimo.