By Leroy Douresseaux
August 4, 2012 - 16:30
|Ultimo Volume 7 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Rated “T+” for Older Teen
UItimo and Vice are karakuri dôji (“mechanical boys”). Mechanical Boy Ultimo is the mechanical embodiment of perfect good, while Mechanical Boy Vice is the mechanical embodiment of perfect evil. They were created by the mysterious Dr. Dunstan (a character that resembles Stan Lee) to battle to the death in order to prove once and for all whether good or evil is the most powerful force in the universe.
As Karakauri Dôji Ultimo, Vol. 7 (entitled Funeral’s Eve) opens, the day has arrived. Now, begins the Hundred Machine Funeral – the battle between good and evil dôji. However, Dunstan has returned with shocking news for the dôji and their masters. The battle between good and evil is not to be fought in the brutal manner the combatants thought it would be, nor will it follow the timeline they expected.
THE LOWDOWN: The Karakauri Dôji Ultimo manga is the creation of Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei. Lee is best known for his decades-long association with Marvel Comics, which included the co-creation of such characters and franchises as Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men (among many). Takei is best known for his long-running shonen adventure manga, Shaman King, and he was once an assistant of the great mangaka, Nobuhiro Watsuki.
I guess that it should be no surprise that when Stan Lee got around to creating manga, his idea of Japanese comics would involve big robots. However, Ultimo does feature a Lee staple, the battle for good and evil, but with characters that are not so black and white. These characters live and/or operate in a gray area to one extent or another. They are not pure good or evil, even when they declare so. Takei who writes and draws Ultimo keeps readers guessing about both character motivation and the nature of conflicts. Readers will find reasons to be suspicious of the good guys and reasons to like the bad guys.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Mecha and big robot fans (and Stan Lee fans) will want Karakauri Dôji Ultimo.
Rating: B /10