Karakuri Doji ULTIMO
Written by Hiroyuki Takei & Stan Lee and drawn by Hiroyuki Takei
Published by Viz Media. 216 pages. 2010. $9.99.
I read this series, not just because it is a crossover between comic legend Stan Lee, and Hiroyuki Take (mangaka of Shamen King). I read this to just experience if English comic/collaboration crosses over well into manga. Reading this type of manga is just as what Ray is doing with watching the Japanese adaptations of Iron Man and Wolverine. Difference is that, Ultimo is a new and original collaboration. There is currently five volumes in Japanese for this ongoing series, and three volumes with fourth book coming out March in English.
The plot premises of Ultimo is on the question of which is more stronger, good or evil? Dunstan, a scientist/doctor creates two powerful dolls (Ultimo/Vice) that personifies good and evil. They are to be locked in an eternal battle that can annihilate worlds around them. They listen and bond with one human master, and from there learn what makes the world tick for better or worse. (Warning for lots of rather obvious shota moments.) Ultimo bonds with Yamato, a reincarnated bandit who for better or worse is the main human character in this one. Talk about a dense male lead.
My opinion, from the three volumes I have read, is being provided with a quick superficial entertainment for the most part. I am reminded of flipping through Chinese wuxia manga. Especially during the action battle scenes, scenes are depicted with extreme/epic graphic/text. Also do check out images of Dunstan, who is obviously modeled after Stan Lee. Then again there are photo of Mr. Lee himself wearing a white spider print yukata.
This series I definitely wouldn’t want to have on my bookshelf, but for a one time read then it is good. If the franchise is successful enough, then I definitely wouldn’t be surprise if they adapt this into an animation series. This type of story has enough action scenes that would entertain fans of Bleach, Yugioh, or even Gurren Laggen.